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GMA "Pours Over" Roberts Memos on "Comparable Worth" and Abortion --8/17/2005


1. GMA "Pores Over" Roberts Memos on "Comparable Worth" and Abortion
ABC's Charles Gibson breathlessly announced on Tuesday's Good Morning America that "our Jessica Yellin at the White House has been poring over" memos Supreme Court nominee John Roberts wrote when he worked in the Reagan White House "and has uncovered some new details about Roberts thinking." Yellin pleased Gibson by informing him that "we found some surprises." Using the skewed language of the left to frame the issue, she asserted that he had "urged the White House to oppose an effort by some in the women's movement to equalize pay between women and men who do comparable work." Gibson took up the main concern of liberals: "A lot of people obviously very concerned about Roberts thoughts regarding the issue of abortion. Anything in those documents to give you indication of what he does feel about that?" Yellin replied: "There is one indication as to how he might feel. He describes abortion, at one point, as 'a tragedy.'"

2. Stumbling Into Context: Gallon of Gas Same Cost as Gallon of Milk
Amidst the continued media obsession with the impact of rising gas prices and new false claims nearly every day that the price has set a fresh "record high" (CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts asserted Tuesday night that "the record high price of gasoline is putting the squeeze on drivers"), NBC's Andrea Mitchell stumbled into some context about the cost of a gallon of gas compared to other consumer items. On Tuesday's Today, her story on complaints about the price of gas included a soundbite from a man by a gas pump who rued: "Three dollars is, I mean that's what you pay for a gallon of milk."

3. Lahti: Bush "Dripping with the Blood" of "All" Killed in Iraq
Catching up with a Huffington Post blog posting from Thursday of last week, actress Christine Lahti declared that "Cindy Sheehan is my hero. She is the hero of all Americans who make up the 62% of us who oppose this war." Lahti contended that Sheehan's "demand for justice and action -- are a force that is unstoppable" so "no wonder Bush is intimidated. No wonder he can't even walk down his driveway to speak with her. He is scared shitless." The star of the recently-cancelled Jack & Bobby on WB, in which she played the mother of a future President, charged that Bush's "hands are covered in the blood of Cindy Sheehan's son. They are dripping with the blood of all who have died there."

4. NewsBusters: NYT "Chokes on 'Partial Birth'" and AP's Skewed Poll
Two postings of note Tuesday from the MRC's new blog, NewsBusters, exposing and combating liberal media bias: Tim Graham's "New York Times Chokes on 'Partial Birth' Term" and, as read by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show, Lyford Beverage's "AP Running with Skewed Poll Results."


GMA "Pores Over" Roberts Memos on "Comparable Worth" and Abortion

ABC's Charles Gibson breathlessly announced on Tuesday's Good Morning America that "our Jessica Yellin at the White House has been poring over" memos Supreme Court nominee John Roberts wrote when he worked in the Reagan White House "and has uncovered some new details about Roberts thinking." Yellin pleased Gibson by informing him that "we found some surprises." Using the skewed language of the left to frame the issue, she asserted that he had "urged the White House to oppose an effort by some in the women's movement to equalize pay between women and men who do comparable work." Gibson took up the main concern of liberals: "A lot of people obviously very concerned about Roberts thoughts regarding the issue of abortion. Anything in those documents to give you indication of what he does feel about that?" Yellin replied: "There is one indication as to how he might feel. He describes abortion, at one point, as 'a tragedy.'"

Gibson set up the 7am half hour segment on the August 16 GMA, as tracked by the MRC's Brian Boyd: "We're going to turn next to the newly released documents on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts I mentioned at the top of the broadcast. These are documents that come from the period of time Roberts worked in the Justice Department during the Reagan presidency. Now, tens of thousands of documents during that period that he generated have not been released. But our Jessica Yellin at the White House has been poring over those that have been released and has uncovered some new details about Roberts thinking, Jessica."

Yellin checked in from the White House: "Good morning, Charlie. We have spent hours poring over these new John Roberts documents for any clues as to his positions on issues that could come before him were he to sit on the high court. And I can tell you we found some surprises. On the topic of school prayer, Roberts urged the President to support a constitutional amendment that would allow silent prayer in public school. He called the argument [text on screen with ellipses] 'that the Constitution prohibits...a moment of silent reflection...indefensible.' He also urged the White House to oppose an effort by some in the women's movement to equalize pay between women and men who do comparable work. He wrote this policy would allow [text on screen with ellipses] 'judges not the marketplace to decide how much a particular job is worth.' Roberts wrote these memos 20 years ago when Ronald Reagan was still President. But some of the issues could be just as relevant today if Roberts sits on the Supreme Court.
"On the very controversial question of how to treat captured terrorists, the young Roberts also argued at the time that the Geneva Convention, which offers protections to most prisoners of war, should not apply to terrorists. Well before 9/11, he wrote the Geneva Convention's 'protections and courtesies should not be extended to common criminals.'
"And perhaps the strangest of all the documents are two combative memos regarding the singer Michael Jackson. In them, Roberts recommends against writing a presidential letter praising the pop-star and he slams White House staffers, calling the [text on screen with ellipses] 'fawning posture they would have the President adopt...embarrassing.'
"In all these documents give Democrats very little ammunition to oppose Roberts, but they continue to press the White House to stop withholding other documents from Roberts' later years as a more senior official in the Justice Department. They want those released before these hearings begin in September. Charlie."

Gibson then asked her just one question: "Jessica, just one other question. A lot of people obviously very concerned about Roberts thoughts regarding the issue of abortion. Anything in those documents to give you indication of what he does feel about that?"
Yellin: "There is one indication as to how he might feel. He describes abortion, at one point, as 'a tragedy.' But, administration officials point out that Roberts was simply reflecting the position of the President at the time and this might not indicate Roberts own feelings on the issue."

Stumbling Into Context: Gallon of Gas
Same Cost as Gallon of Milk

Amidst the continued media obsession with the impact of rising gas prices and new false claims nearly every day that the price has set a fresh "record high" (CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts asserted Tuesday night that "the record high price of gasoline is putting the squeeze on drivers"), NBC's Andrea Mitchell stumbled into some context about the cost of a gallon of gas compared to other consumer items. On Tuesday's Today, her story on complaints about the price of gas included a soundbite from a man by a gas pump who rued: "Three dollars is, I mean that's what you pay for a gallon of milk."

Katie Couric teased at the top of the August 16 Today: "Good morning. Driving America mad: why are gas prices so darn high and will they ever come back down to earth?"

Couric, the MRC's Ken Shepherd observed, introduced the subsequent story: "It's a story everyone seems to be talking about right now: ridiculously high gas prices. And if you think they're going back down any time soon, brace yourself. The Energy Department says they will remain high for a good long while. So, what's to blame? Here's NBC's Andrea Mitchell."

Mitchell: "For drivers across the country a gallon of gasoline now costs more than groceries."
Man by a gas pump: "Three dollars is, I mean that's what you pay for a gallon of milk."
Woman: "I feel very helpless that I have to pay this."
A second man: "It's LA; you have to drive. What are you going to do?"
Mitchell: "From the West Coast to the East, drivers are emptying their wallets when they fill their tanks."
Third man: "We used to go driving on Sundays, now we don't."
Mitchell: "What's causing the recent spike in the price of crude? It's not because the world has too little oil, but production is stretched thin..."

Lahti: Bush "Dripping with the Blood"
of "All" Killed in Iraq

Catching up with a Huffington Post blog posting from Thursday of last week, actress Christine Lahti declared that "Cindy Sheehan is my hero. She is the hero of all Americans who make up the 62% of us who oppose this war." Lahti contended that Sheehan's "demand for justice and action -- are a force that is unstoppable" so "no wonder Bush is intimidated. No wonder he can't even walk down his driveway to speak with her. He is scared shitless." The star of the recently-cancelled Jack & Bobby on WB, in which she played the mother of a future President, charged that Bush's "hands are covered in the blood of Cindy Sheehan's son. They are dripping with the blood of all who have died there."

An excerpt from Lahti's August 11 posting:

Cindy Sheehan is my hero. She is the hero of all Americans who make up the 62% of us who oppose this war. As an American exercising her right to free speech, she is a brave, passionate, living example of democracy, and she has the undeniable force and the moral authority of a grieving mother. Being a mother of three, I can't even imagine the depths of the grief she must feel having lost her son in this horrific war. But I can imagine that her grief and rage -- her demand for justice and action -- are a force that is unstoppable.

No wonder Bush is intimidated. No wonder he can't even walk down his driveway to speak with her. He is scared shitless.

Whether he acknowledges it or not -- whether his aides try to insulate him from the truth or not -- his hands are covered in the blood of Cindy Sheehan's son. They are dripping with the blood of all who have died there. The real truth he simply can't face is that the woman he never called by name (he condescendingly referred to her only as "mom" at a meeting last year) has now become his worst nightmare. She embodies the insistent, passionate voice of the majority of Americans -- a "mom" who has scared Bush into hiding. Well, you can run, Bush, but you can't hide. Her courage is waking up America.

I bet Bush wishes he'd chosen some remote island in the South Pacific for his vacation instead of Crawford, Texas.

Let's see how loud we can make our protests -- if she can do it, why can't we all? We must all make our voices heard. She is a heroic inspiration to the silent majority and one big, jagged, terrifying thorn in Bush's side....

END of Excerpt

For Lahti's post in full: www.huffingtonpost.com

For the Internet Movie Database's page on Lahti, with a picture of her and a list of her movie and TV roles: www.imdb.com

NewsBusters: NYT "Chokes on 'Partial
Birth'" and AP's Skewed Poll

Two postings of note Tuesday from the MRC's new blog, NewsBusters, exposing and combating liberal media bias: Tim Graham's "New York Times Chokes on 'Partial Birth' Term" and, as read by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show, Lyford Beverage's "AP Running with Skewed Poll Results."


# A reprint of Graham's item:

New York Times Chokes on "Partial Birth" Term

The bloggers at Get Religion (a nicely done conservative blog about religion and the news media) have posted an article for the Notre Dame Journal by Ken Woodward, the longtime religion reporter for Newsweek, exploring how averse the New York Times is in particular to the terminology of partial-birth abortion:

"From the outset, the Times determined to avoid using 'partial-birth' in its news headlines. A computer search of the newspaper's database since June of 1995 shows how persistently this prohibition has been enforced. Only once, on a news story published in April 2004, has 'partial-birth' appeared in a headline. Instead, the Times has employed whenever possible a selection of opaque substitutes. The most frequently used terms were 'type of' abortion and 'form of' abortion, abortion 'method' or 'procedure' or 'technique,' or simply a generic abortion 'ban' or 'curb.' Here is a sample of Times headlines, chosen for their variety of usages and published between 1995 and 2004:

-- House Acts To Ban Abortion Method, Making It a Crime

-- President Vetoes Measure Banning Type of Abortion

-- U.S. Judge in San Francisco Strikes Down Federal Law Banning Form of Abortion

-- Bush Signs Ban on a Procedure for Abortions

Anyone who has ever written a headline knows that a way could be found in most of these examples to use 'partial-birth.' From my computer analysis, I think it is obvious that the Times regards 'partial-birth' as a toxic term."

END of Reprint of NewsBusters item

To share your comments on this item, go to: newsbusters.org

For the Woodward article on Get Religion: www.getreligion.org


# A reprint of Beverage's posting, which Rush Limbaugh read at te top of the third hour of his Tuesday show:

AP Running with Skewed Poll Results

The main political headline from the AP today is the results of an AP-Ipsos poll taken a week ago. Bush Approval a Low for Recent 2-Termers reports that President Bush's job approval is down to 42% with 55% disapproving. That certainly sounds disturbing, or at least it would if he were running for anything again. But looking at it again, something suspicious jumps out.

The partisan divide for Bush is stark -- 80 percent of Democrats disapprove of his overall performance while nearly 90 percent of Republicans approve.

For the past several years, the conventional wisdom has been of a "50-50" America, a country divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have beaten Democrats at the National level in the last several election cycles. If the numbers are fairly close, and the Republican approval rating is higher than the Democratic disapproval rating, how can his approval rating be that bad? If 38% of the sample is Democratic, and 38% is Republican, then he'd have to have a 0% approval rating among independents to have an overall 42%, and that's not realistic. So I went digging around the Ipsos web site, and found the topline results. What they've got is a sample of adults, rather than registered voters. And they've sampled 39% Republicans and 49% Democrats. So that 42% approval rating that they're flouting is a fake number, a number that doesn't represent political reality. But it certainly sounds bad for the President, which seems to be the AP's raison d'etre...

END of Reprint of NewsBusters article

To add your comments, go to: newsbusters.org

For the AP article: news.yahoo.com

-- Brent Baker