Jennings: Bush Assumed "Iraq Would Not Cooperate" -- 11/14/2002 CyberAlert
ABC Highlights Greenspan Opposition to Tax Cut Plan
3. Concern for "Backlash" Against DeLay's Conservatism
4. Clift Defends Moyers' Attack on "Radical" GOP Agenda
Helen Thomas: "Who do I hate today?"
6. Time: Dems Lost Because of "Conservative Bias in the Media"
7. "Top Ten Signs Saddam Hussein is Getting Nervous"
> Update to an Update. The following has been added to the "Update/Clarification" appended to item #2 in the November 11 CyberAlert, which is online at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021111.asp#update
Web Update, 4pm EST November 13: In an e-mail to the MRC and phone call to Brent Baker after seeing the above "update/clarification," Aaron Brown maintained he was not "angry," but "disappointed" the MRC was not more "stand up" in acknowledging its error, though he repeated his lack of interest in addressing "the substance" of the journalism on NewsNight:
Jennings versus Rather. Peter Jennings displayed smug delight Wednesday night as he reported on Saddam Hussein's announcement that he would allow weapons inspectors into Iraq, adding: "The Bush administration has been threatening war almost on the assumption that Iraq would not cooperate." But CBS's Dan Rather noted how all Hussein had done was take "the first small step required of him to possibly avoid war."
Jennings opened the November 13 World News Tonight on ABC:
Over on CBS, Rather began his Evening News broadcast: "Saddam Hussein today took the first small step required of him to possibly avoid war. Speaking through his United Nation's ambassador, Saddam accepted the UN Security Counsel's latest resolution two days before the deadline. It requires him to cooperate fully with inspectors hunting for weapons of mass destruction, weapons the Iraqi dictator insists he doesn't have and President Bush is certain he does."
In July, when Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told a Senate committee that there was no need to rush to pass new corporate regulatory schemes to prevent more corporate abuses since "corporate governance will be just fine for the next two years because everyone has been chastened," ABC's World News Tonight didn't inform its viewers of that point made by Greenspan. But on Wednesday night, after Greenspan appeared before a House committee, Peter Jennings made sure to tell viewers about how Greenspan refused to say making the tax cuts permanent would help the economy.
On the November 13 World News Tonight Jennings prompted reporter Betsy Stark: "Now several politicians today, and certainly the Bush administration, have been trying to get Mr. Greenspan to endorse a permanent tax cut. He won't go for it."
When Greenspan, however, made a point which favored conservatives back in July, Jennings wasn't so interested. As recounted in the July 17 CyberAlert:
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a Senate Committee on Tuesday that there is no need to rush to pass new corporate regulatory schemes to prevent more corporate abuses since "corporate governance will be just fine for the next two years because everyone has been chastened."
FNC's Brit Hume highlighted the observation which the broadcast networks ignored.
Hume played this soundbite from Greenspan: "I'm merely saying to go slow in this area. There is not a need at this particular point to rush, because I will tell you, corporate governance will be just fine for the next two years because everyone has been chastened."...
That theme was absent from ABC, CBS and NBC as well as CNBC's The News with Brian Williams....
ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings announced, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "In the other news today, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board talked to the Congress, and everyone on Wall Street was listening. Alan Greenspan told the Senate Banking Committee today the economy was on its way to a full recovery. And his remarks had a positive effect on the markets for a while. Here's ABC's Betsy Stark."
Stark dealt with some of Greenspan's corporate governance thoughts, including how he favors tougher criminal penalties, but avoided his dislike for the rush to pass new regulations....
END of Excerpt
For the entire CyberAlert item: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020717.asp#1
[Web Update: Jennings stated that the Bush team has "been trying to get Mr. Greenspan to endorse a permanent tax cut, he won't go for it." A front page New York Times headline the next morning, however, declared: "Fed Chief Says He Backs Bush on the Tax Cut." Reporter Edmund Andrews reported that Alan Greenspan "weighed in today in favor of President Bush's campaign to make last year's tax cuts permanent." See the November 15 CyberAlert for details.]
Tom DeLay is coming, Tom DeLay is coming! Run for your lives! By the reasoning of Washington reporters, DeLay, whom Republicans will pick as their new House Majority Leader, is not only dangerous to the nation, he could cause a "backlash" against all Republicans. A touching case of concern about the popularity of conservatives.
CNN's Judy Woodruff expressed that concern to Speaker Dennis Hastert on Wednesday as she worried about how DeLay's "strongly conservative views" could pull the GOP "far enough to the right that you could even create the kind of backlash you had after the Gingrich revolution of '94." But Woodruff refrained from labeling Nancy Pelosi as a liberal, attributing that characterization to how "some" Republicans see her.
After NBC anchor Tom Brokaw referred to DeLay, on Wednesday's Nightly News, as a "controversial member," Lisa Myers warned that "even Republicans say DeLay as a face of the party is a liability with some voters." Myers' expert witness: Liberal Republican Congressman Chris Shays.
During Wednesday's Inside Politics, CNN played a tape of an interview Judy Woodruff conducted with House Speaker Dennis Hastert on the White House driveway. She demanded of Hastert:
For her next question, she raised the name of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, expected to become House Minority Leader, but Woodruff attributed to others a liberal characterization of the Californian: "She's been labeled by some in your party as a San Francisco liberal. Is she somebody you can work with a, and b do you agree with that label?"
A bit later, on the November 13 NBC Nightly News, Brokaw decided that DeLay is "controversial." He set up a story:
Lisa Myers began: "He is arguably the most powerful Republican in Congress, keeper of the conservative flame, the Republican Democrats most love to hate."
DeLay suggested the public agrees with him on welfare reform, pension reform, a ban of partial birth abortion and making the tax cuts permanent before Myers reminded viewers of how he's nicknamed "the hammer" but chooses his words more carefully now and is talking about bringing people together. Over video of whips in his office, Myers relayed how "some say" they "symbolize his tactics."
Myers stressed how DeLay's conservatism could hurt Bush and all Republicans: "Still, even a kinder, gentler Delay could be a formidable problem for the President if Mr. Bush backs off the conservative agenda."
One trusts that Myers will soon profile Pelosi, ask her whether "America is as liberal as you are?" and warn that "even Democrats say Pelosi as a face of the party is a liability with some voters."
Last Thursday, November 7, Myers showed promise when she accurately labeled Pelosi in the one sentence she gave her, "The favorite to replace Gephardt: the current Minority Whip, Nancy Pelosi, a high-octane San Francisco liberal who opposed empowering the President to go to war with Iraq."
[Web Update: See November 15 CyberAlert for how Brokaw and Myers profiled Nancy Pelosi the next night.]
Who better than Newsweek's Eleanor Clift to defend the vicious characterizations by Bill Moyers of conservative policy? As reported in the November 11 CyberAlert, Moyers concluded Now, his left-wing weekly Friday night PBS show, by warning that with the election victories Republicans will use "the power of the state" to enforce "their radical ideology."
Moyers asserted that "the entire federal government...is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate." That agenda, Moyers claimed, "includes the power of the state to force pregnant women to surrender control over their own lives," transferring "wealth from working people to the rich" and "giving corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment."
Confronted by FNC's Sean Hannity with Moyers' claims, Clift declared on the November 12 Hannity & Colmes: "I think Bill Moyers is taking the Republicans at their word."
For a full rundown of Moyers' screed as well as the left-wing rantings from guests which proceeded it on his November 8 show: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021111.asp#1
PBS has posted the Moyers commentary on a page which features a link to a comment area: http://www.pbs.org/now/commentary/moyers15.html
MRC analyst Patrick Gregory tracked down the sparring between Hannity and Clift on FNC in a segment which also included conservative analyst Monica Crowley and Hannity's liberal partner, Alan Combs.
Hannity began by quoting Moyers' ludicrous claim, which Hannity called "a lie," that Bush's "right-wing agenda" includes "using the taxing power to transfer wealth from working people to the rich."
Clift countered: "Well, Sean, I think Bill Moyers is taking the Republicans at their word. On the taxing issue, he is using fairly lively language to portray-"
Hannity soon wondered: "Eleanor, I want to ask you, how do you define rich? I mean, how much does somebody have to make a year for you as a liberal to call them rich?"
Hannity pointed how the wealthy pay most of the taxes and half of the country pays nearly nothing: "According to the IRS, the latest year they have the numbers available, 1999, the top one percent pays 38 percent of the taxes in this country. One percent pays 38. The bottom 50 percent pays three percent. Is that fair?"
What are the chances Clift has already and will forgo her tax cut?
On who pays taxes Hannity is correct. A very small number of people pay nearly all of the income taxes, a situation exacerbated in recent years as child credits, individual exemptions and the Earned Income Tax Credit have all been raised, leaving a situation in which it's nearly impossible to cut taxes for the bottom 50 percent because they pay no or very little federal income tax.
On October 24 the Joint Economic Committee released the latest IRS data for 2000. Here's the table:
> Top 1%: Adjusted Gross Income of more than $313,469, pays 37.42 percent of all income tax collected
> Top 5%: $128,336, pays 56.47 percent
> Top 10%: $92,144, pays 67.33 percent
> Top 25%: $55,225, pays 84.01 percent
> Top 50%: $27,682, pays 96.09 percent
> Bottom 50%: less than $27,682, pays a mere 3.91 percent
For the press release with those numbers: http://www.house.gov/jec/press/2002/10-24-02.htm
For six pages of detailed IRS tables, in PDF format:
The former UPI reporter also charged that "Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is immoral -- such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor" and boasted that she's a hater: "I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter...Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'" One of her targets of hate: President Bush, MIT's news office recounted in a re-cap posted on November 6.
Thomas' hatreds were on display three days after her MIT diatribe as she declared during the November 7 presidential press conference that there are two "impressions around. One, that you have an obsession with going after Saddam Hussein at any cost. And also that you covet the oil fields." She also impugned Bush: "You are leaving the impression that Iraqi lives, the human cost doesn't mean anything." For details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021108.asp#2
The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me a couple of days ago to the MIT posting about Thomas which got fresh play on Wednesday when the DrudgeReport linked to a The Black World Today reprint of the MIT dispatch and FNC's Brit Hume picked up on the link.
An excerpt from the November 6 MIT posting by Sarah H. Wright of the university's news office, headlined: "Journalist Helen Thomas condemns Bush administration."
Veteran journalist Helen Thomas brought the grit and whir of a White House press conference to Bartos Theater on Monday evening, speaking with passion about the media's role in a democracy whose leaders seem eager for war....
"I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter," said Thomas, who is now a columnist for Hearst News Service. "Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'" Her short list of answers seems not to vary from war, President Bush, timid office-holders, a muffled press and cowed citizens, pretty much in that order.
Angered by what she views as the Bush administration's "bullying drumbeat," Thomas referred early and often to her own hatred of war, quoting from poets and politicians to bear down on President Bush and his colleagues....
"I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war. Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is immoral -- such a policy would legitimize Pearl Harbor. It's as if they learned none of the lessons from Vietnam," she said to enthusiastic applause....
"Where is the outrage?" she demanded. "Where is Congress? They're supine! Bush has held only six press conferences, the only forum in our society where a president can be questioned. I'm on the phone to [press secretary] Ari Fleischer every day, asking will he ever hold another one? The international world is wondering what happened to America's great heart and soul."...
"Great presidents have great goals for mankind. During my years of covering the White House, Kennedy was the most inspired; Johnson rammed through voting rights and public housing; Nixon will be remembered for his trip to China and for his resignation; Ford for helping us recover from Nixon; and Carter for making human rights the centerpiece of foreign policy," Thomas said in an even, respectful tone. She just sighed over Clinton, who "tarnished the Oval Office."
Thomas' mood became visibly more somber at the mention of Ronald Reagan's military buildup and at the name Bush. Again and again, Thomas warned the MIT audience, "It's bombs away for Iraq and on our civil liberties if Bush and his cronies get their way. Dissent is patriotic!"
After her talk, Thomas participated in a panel discussion with MacVicar Faculty Fellows David Thorburn, professor of literature, and Charles Stewart III, professor of political science. Philip S. Khoury, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, introduced the speakers.
"Helen Thomas offered a very powerful indictment of the current behavior of the Bush presidency in her comments on the incoherence and inconsistency of Bush's policies and the danger to civil liberties of Bush's rhetoric," said Thorburn....
END of Excerpt
Sounds like Thomas is a good fit with Thorburn and other academic lefties.
For the story in its entirety: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/2002/nov06/thomas.html
For decades mainstream media journalists have derided the claim by conservatives and Republicans that liberal media bias impedes their policies and electoral success, but after Democrats lost last week Time magazine identified the culprit: "Conservative bias in the media." I'm not kidding.
Before citing the Fox News Channel, in the November 18 issue of Time, Josh Tyrangiel suggested Democrats will "have to overcome G.O.P. bully pulpits in the White House and Congress -- and a new reality: conservative bias in the media."
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught that paragraph as well as a similar theme espoused last week by Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt, who mocked the idea of any liberal media bias: "This raises the stakes for the most acquiescent press corps since pre-Watergate; those liberal media conspiracy theorists never contrast the coverage of the Bush and Clinton White Houses."
"Looking Ahead to 2004: Demoralized Dems are licking their wounds, seeking a message-and jockeying for position," announced the headline over the story in the November 18 Time by Josh Tyrangiel. About midway through the piece, in the middle of the second of three pages for those of you following along with the hard copy, this paragraph appeared:
You "get around that" by relying on what Democrats have always been able to count on: Every other major media outlet. FNC may be number one compared to CNN and MSNBC, but cable news has a fraction of the audience of ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS, to say nothing about the DNC's house organ, the New York Times.
For the Time piece: http://www.time.com/time/covers/1101021118/n2004.html
In his November 7 "Politics & People" column for the Wall Street Journal, Hunt lamented how Democrats "blew" the health care issue and then he demanded:
I guess Hunt doesn't watch Bill Moyers on PBS. (See item #4)
As for contrasting Bush and Clinton coverage, Bush's conservative policies have been treated more harshly than Clinton's liberal ones as documented regularly in CyberAlert and in several studies the MRC has completed. Recall how the media blamed the 1995 government shutdown not on Clinton, who refused to sign continuing resolutions, but on House Republicans.
Measuring political bias means measuring political bias, not counting up the level of negative coverage. Hitting both Bush and Clinton from the left equally does not prove there's no liberal bias, nor does counting negative coverage of administration mechanics matter, especially in the Clinton case when reporters spent so much time trying to discredit Ken Starr. Focusing on Monica Lewinsky or the Clinton team's incompetence with Zoe Baird is not the same thing as reporting as a fact the liberal spin that a tax cut helps the rich and hurts the poor.
From the November 13 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Saddam Hussein is Getting Nervous." Late Show Web page: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/
10. Recently he seems less "bloodthirsty" and more "murderous"
9. Every time the doorbell rings he yells, "incoming!"
8. At dinner, can only finish half a gazelle
7. Ebert-sized sweat marks on his fatigues
6. Has had his mustache bulletproofed
5. Panicked after he realized he might not be around to see who wins on The Bachelor
4. Too fidgety to sit still for his monthly gigantic portrait
3. Cancelled his "Victory Over the Great Satan" party
2. Has started making bad decisions, like betting on the Knicks
1. He's taking Zoloft along with his Cipro
Be warned, Al Gore will be on the Late Show Friday night, in an interview to be taped tonight, after appearing earlier in the evening on ABC's 20/20, in an interview with Barbara Walters taped last week. It's all to promote his new book. -- Brent Baker