Jennings Showcases Biden's Tantrum Doubting Wolfowitz's Honesty --7/30/2003
2. Public "Soured" on "Right-Wing" and "Too Hawkish" Bob Hope
3. Brian Williams Contends NBC's "Traps and Filters" Kill All Bias
4. Senior Calls ABC "Misleading" for Not Noting Her Activist Role
Times Food Column Uses Monkfish to Castigate Cap Gains Tax Cut
Corrections: The July 29 CyberAlert credited the wrong MRC intern for transcribing a Today show interview. Nicole Casey deserves the credit. The same item referred to a retired General who appeared on Today as both Wayne "Downing" and "Dowling." His last name is Downing.
Peter Jennings decided to highlight on Tuesday night Democratic Senator, and potential presidential candidate, Joe Biden getting on his high-horse at a hearing in which he had a little tantrum about the Bush administration not coming up with a new cost number for operations in Iraq. Biden impugned the integrity of the Bush administration officials, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and OMD Director Josh Bolten: "When are you guys starting to be honest with us?"
Though Jennings insisted that Wolfowitz "was under fire from both Republicans and Democrats," he only showed Biden. Indeed, Dick Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee questioned Wolfowitz and OMB Director Josh Bolton about estimating Iraqi costs, but he wasn't as rude as Biden, as so didn't provide video exciting enough for ABC.
Jennings set up the video clip on the July 29 World News Tonight, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
Some prominent media obituaries and tributes to Bob Hope, who passed away on Sunday at age 100, characterized Hope as more than just conservative, as "deeply conservative" or a "right-winger," and/or treated his personal conservative political views as unfavorable or even damaging to his career.
The New York Times obituary by the late Vincent Canby referred to how "only during the Vietnam War did he let his guard down a bit and permit his audiences to see his deep conservatism."
In the Washington Post, Tom Shales maintained: "Some of the public affection for Hope soured during the Vietnam era, when he came across as partisan and hawkish." But Shales trumpeted how "though he'd been a supporter of Richard Nixon and had a reputation as a right-winger, Hope was so shocked by the assassination attempt on his friend Ronald Reagan in 1981 that he came out, at least briefly, in favor of gun control, a gesture that brought an inevitable condemnation from the National Rifle Association."
Arthur Spiegelman of Reuters delivered this particularly opinionated charge: "His support of the Vietnam war played a major part in eroding his national reputation with many Americans questioning whether he was funny any more."
NBC's Katie Couric followed that theme, asking a guest to confirm that when he entertained the troops during Vietnam, "some comics were upset because they perceived him to be too hawkish about the war, isn't that right?"
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught Couric's loaded question during a July 29 Today segment with Ward Grant, Bob Hope's publicist, actor/TV producer Carl Reiner, and Ed McMahon.
Couric proposed to the liberal Reiner: "I know you, you mention how he wasn't only a verbal comedian but a physical one as well, but Carl when he did entertain troops during Vietnam some comics were upset because they perceived him to be too hawkish about the war, isn't that right?"
For a bio and picture of Reiner, the creator of the Dick Van Dyke Show, check his Internet Movie Database page: us.imdb.com
Now, more complete rundowns on the print stories quoted above:
-- The July 29 New York Times carried a front page obit, "Bob Hope, Master of One-Liners and Friend to G.I.'s, Dies at 100," by Vincent Canby, who asserted:
-- In a July 29 "Style" section tribute, the Washington Post's Tom Shales insisted "public affection for Hope soured during the Vietnam era, when he came across as partisan and hawkish," but then Shales found something to admire: Hope coming out in favor of a liberal position -- tighter gun control.
The MRC's Rich Noyes caught this display of Shales measuring Hope against Shales' own political liberalism:
For the Shales piece in full: www.washingtonpost.com
-- Arthur Spiegelman of Reuters served up a look at Hope from the left in a Monday morning dispatch highlighted by OpinionJournal.com's "Best of the Web" column.
In the July 28 story datelined Los Angeles, "Bob Hope: Comedian Who Made One-Liner an Art Form," Spiegelman charged:
The Reuters "news" story, as posted by Yahoo: story.news.yahoo.com
At NBC News, Brian Williams seriously argued, "traps and filters" eliminate all the liberal bias. Comedy Central's Jon Stewart on Tuesday asked Williams about the presence of liberal media bias. Williams asserted that he's "a registered independent" and doesn't even tell his family for whom he votes in order to "give them all plausible deniability." Williams also insisted that he can report the news "down the middle like an umpire" because everything he says on the air first "goes through...checks and balances" as "we have an inordinate number of editors. Every word I write, before it goes on air, goes through all kinds of traps and filters and it's read by all kinds of different people who point out bias."
So they find bias, but apparently those traps and filters must be clogged with liberal editors who don't recognize any of the liberal bias and let it pass through.
MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down the exchange, on the July 29 Daily Show with John Stewart on the Comedy Central cable channel, between Stewart and Williams, anchor of CNBC's The News with Brian Williams and heir apparent to Tom Brokaw as anchor of the NBC Nightly News:
Stewart: "Do you have any sense, you know there's the criticism that the news media is liberal or the mainstream news media. Is there a sense of that on a day to day basis in the more mainstream places?"
Stewart later took a shot at MSNBC's low viewership, asking Williams: "I heard that MSNBC now has more letters in its name than viewers. Is that true?"
The Daily Show's Web page: www.comedycentral.com
Even the woman whom ABC News portrayed last Friday as just a typically overburdened senior, in a story about high prescription drug costs driving her to buy drugs from Canada, thinks the network was "misleading" when it failed to identify her role as an official with an advocacy group, Marc Morano of the MRC's CNSNews.com learned when he tracked her down. And CBS News, which last Friday, for at least the fourth time showcased another senior, Viola Quirion, as if she were just an average senior when she too is an activist for a liberal group, told Morano that if someone is "deeply involved in a political organization" then "we should identify them as such." But CBS News refused to acknowledge they did anything wrong in this case.
Before getting to the new CNSNews.com story, some background. An excerpt from the July 28 CyberAlert:
In the wake of the House passing a bill on Friday to allow the re-importation of prescription drugs from other nations, CBS and ABC once again showcased liberal, big government spending senior activists, but cast them as just average seniors struggling to afford their prescriptions.
On the July 25 CBS Evening News, over video of a border agent taking small boxes out of a bag and then of video looking out of a bus window, Joie Chen began a story: "It's scenes like these that pushed lawmakers to act, seniors crossing the borders into Canada and Mexico in search of cheaper drugs."
Viola Quirion, identified on screen only s "Maine senior citizen": "We go to Canada to get our drugs because it's a big, big, big saving. I save, every time I go I save over a thousand dollars." Chen: "The savings can be significant..."
Over on ABC's World News Tonight, Lisa Stark announced, over video of Barbara Kaufman loading her dishwasher: "Barbara Kaufman has high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis. She takes ten bills a day. Kaufman orders them online from Canada to save money." Barbara Kaufman, no other screen ID other than name: "At this point I spend about $300 a month on prescriptions. I was spending closer to $600 a month on prescriptions."
But who are Quirion and Kaufman? As recounted in the July 15 CyberAlert, a story on CNSNews.com detailed how she's an activist from Maine who has testified on Capitol Hill on behalf of a left-wing group.
And via Google, I found a page with a photo that matches Kaufman and identified her as a "spokesperson" for the Medicare Justice Coalition, "a grassroots, senior consumer coalition, founded by the Minnesota Senior Federation." See: www.mnseniors.net
It turns out, Kaufman is President of the Metropolitan Region for the Minnesota Senior Coalition. See: www.mnseniors.net
END of Excerpt of previous CyberAlert
For the CyberAlert article in full, with pictures of Kaufman and Quirion: www.mediaresearch.org
The latest complaint regarding the habit of television news networks describing liberal political lobbyists as typical retirees complaining about the cost of prescription drugs comes from one of the lobbyists herself.
Barbara Kaufman, president of the senior citizen lobbying group, the Minnesota Senior Federation, was featured on ABC World News Tonight Friday, complaining about the high cost of prescription drugs. But there was no mention about her affiliation with organizations currently advocating a federal prescription drug entitlement, according to a Media Research Center transcript of the program.
Kaufman calls ABC's decision "misleading."
"I would have preferred it if [ABC News] had...identified me as the president of the Minnesota Senior Federation because I think that lends more credibility," Kaufman told CNSNews.com....
Kaufman was asked what she thought about the networks leaving out information about the lobbying activities of senior citizens like herself.
"That's kind of misleading, I think," Kaufman responded.
She was also adamant that the ABC News staff had been aware of her title and affiliation with the Minnesota senior group when they interviewed her.
"Oh, they knew. Yes, I know they knew," she said.
ABC News publicist Cathie Levine told CNSNews.com that she would look into the matter but did not comment before the publication of this story.
Another elderly political activist who had already been portrayed several times by CBS News as a typical victim of the high cost of prescription drugs was once again featured on the CBS Evening News Friday, July 25, without any mention of her extensive political and lobbying background.
Viola Quirion, an activist with the Alliance for Retired Persons, was identified as a "Maine senior citizen" during Friday's broadcast. It was at least the fourth time Quirion has appeared on CBS News since 1999 without reference to her background.
Quirion has testified on Capitol Hill in favor of the Medicare reforms that would provide elderly Americans like herself with a federally subsidized prescription drug plan. The Alliance for Retired Americans has as its stated goal to "ensure social and economic justice" by "enroll[ing] and mobiliz[ing] retired union members and other senior and community activists into a nationwide grassroots movement advocating a progressive political and social agenda."
Quirion, who is a member of the Maine Council of Senior Citizens, also participated in the state of Maine's successful legal defense of its drug price control plan.
When asked by CNSNews.com earlier this month whether CBS News should have identified her as a political activist for reasons of fairness and accuracy, Quirion responded: "Well, probably."...
CBS News Monday issued a statement in response to questions about Quirion's unlabeled appearances on the network's newscasts.
"If we know that someone is deeply involved in a political organization, then we should identify them as such," CBS News spokeswoman Andie Silvers told CNSNews.com. Silvers refused to respond to any specific questions regarding Quirion.
Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center (MRC), the parent organization of CNSNews.com, said the CBS News statement should not be taken "seriously."
"It's hard to misinterpret that. [CBS News] seems to be saying we should have identified Quirion, and we didn't," Graham said. "I don't take the statement seriously since this is at least the fourth time they have [featured Quirion without revealing her background]," he added....
In June, the MRC exposed the practice of network news programs recycling senior citizen activists for health care policy debates. The MRC revealed that both the CBS Evening News and ABC World News Tonight featured senior citizen Eva Baer-Schenkein in two separate broadcasts, two years apart, complaining about different ailments and why the Republican prescription drug plan was inadequate.
Another senior citizen activist who has been prominently featured on network newscasts is Pat Roussos, an AARP "Connecticut Community Coordinator" who "oversees the state's 72 chapters," according to an AARP Newsletter.
NBC correspondent Norah O'Donnell featured Roussos in a June 23, 2003, segment of NBC Nightly News. O'Donnell made reference to "...77-year-old Pat Roussos of Connecticut, who suffers from arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure." O'Donnell went on to mention that Roussos' "out-of-pocket drug costs now are as much as $6,500 a year."
The MRC was quick to criticize NBC News for being "sneaky" in not identifying Roussos and her activist affiliation. The MRC called Roussos "part of a political lobbying campaign by a liberal group, the AARP, which consistently pushes for ever bigger government and more spending."
NBC News spokeswoman Barbara Levin acknowledged that CNSNews.com's July 14 article on the subject raised "a good point."...
END of Excerpt
For the CNSNews.com article in full: www.cnsnews.com
-- What a coincidence. Two years apart CBS News and ABC News featured the same elderly woman, in news stories about the need for a new prescription drug coverage program in Medicare and the shortcomings of Republican-pushed alternatives, as the poster victim of high prescription prices. See: www.mediaresearch.org
Not even the food articles in the New York Times are a safe haven from liberal potshots. In a New York Times Magazine story this past Sunday, Jonathan Reynolds ostensibly recounted his trip to Norway to learn how to prepare scallops and other fish. But in the midst of his piece, he took a shot at President Bush's capital gains tax cut.
Reynolds described the monkfish as "the poor man's lobster" and asserted: "If you see a whole monkfish at the market, you'll find its massive mouth scarier than a shark's. Apparently it sits on the bottom of the ocean, opens its Godzilla jaws and waits for poor unsuspecting fishies to swim right into it, not unlike the latest recipients of W's capital-gains cuts."
"This is a food column, for crying out loud," exclaimed James Taranto in his "Best of the Web" column on Monday for OpinionJournal.com (www.opinionjournal.com ). Taranto tried to dissect the analogy: "Aside from the inappropriateness of the political commentary, this is really bad writing. We had to puzzle over it for several minutes before we realized that in Reynolds's metaphor, both the tax cut and those who benefit from it are fish."
Here's the paragraph in full with the monkfish leading to a remark about the capital gains tax cut:
For the July 27 New York Times Magazine piece: www.nytimes.com
There's no where to hide from the bias in the New York Times.
-- Brent Baker