Appearance Alert!
MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's Hannity, 10:40pm ET/PT Wednesday

NBC/MSNBC Team Up to Repress Anti-Kerry Ad, Fret Over "Loophole" --8/9/2004


1. NBC/MSNBC Team Up to Repress Anti-Kerry Ad, Fret Over "Loophole"
NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Friday night denounced the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, treating the group's expression of free speech as a "loophole" in campaign finance law that must be plugged. Unencumbered by any restrictions on their free speech, NBC's Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann launched their own independent attack on the Vietnam vets who are detractors of John Kerry in order to discredit those with a viewpoint NBC/MSNBC apparently wants to keep hidden from the American people. "They may get away with it," Mitchell fretted. Approaching lunacy, Olbermann warned that an upcoming book from a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth leader is "from Regnery Press, which is supported in some way by Richard Mellon Scaife of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and you now bring in the whole mystical right-wing conspiracy jazz."

2. Time Warner CEO: CNN Not Liberal, Bias for "Revealing the Truth"
CNN is dedicated to "revealing the truth," and you just think that's liberal bias. During a Friday session at the UNITY: Journalists of Color conference in Washington, DC, Richard Parsons, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner, ridiculed the Fox News Channel as a place where "crazy people exchange views" and contended that CNN "is viewed as liberal" because journalists "tend to want to look under the covers and reveal the things that the establishment doesn't want to be revealed, and so they get put in the category of being liberal for that reason." Plus, the "bias towards both discovery and revealing the truth that is inherent in journalism comes through in CNN, and they get characterized as being a liberal network."

3. Reporters: Journalist Crowd Cool to Bush, Enthusiastic for Kerry
How John Kerry was enthusiastically greeted by those at the UNITY: Journalists of Color convention while President George W. Bush received a much more tepid reception, was noted by several major news outlets, including USA Today, CNN and the Washington Post. CNN's Candy Crowley contrasted the "enthusiastic applause" for Kerry with how "the President's reception this morning was polite but noticeably cooler." CNN's Maria Hinojosa observed how "there was clearly more cheering for the Democrat." Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein related how "the journalists' reaction to Bush was tepid compared with their enthusiastic reception for Kerry....the audience gave Kerry a standing ovation even before he began speaking and interrupted his remarks with applause nearly 50 times."


NBC/MSNBC Team Up to Repress Anti-Kerry
Ad, Fret Over "Loophole"

NBC's Andrea Mitchell NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann on Friday night denounced the ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, treating the group's expression of free speech as a "loophole" in campaign finance law that must be plugged. Unencumbered by any restrictions on their free speech, NBC's Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann launched their own independent attack on the Vietnam vets who are detractors of John Kerry in order to discredit those with a viewpoint NBC/MSNBC apparently wants to keep hidden from the American people. "They may get away with it," Mitchell fretted. Approaching lunacy, Olbermann warned that an upcoming book from a Swift Boat Veterans for Truth leader is "from Regnery Press, which is supported in some way by Richard Mellon Scaife of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and you now bring in the whole mystical right-wing conspiracy jazz."

So, in Olbermann's bizarro world, anything conservative is somehow tainted by a connection to Scaife, the evil puppet-master, even a book publisher like Regnery which is a division of a private company, Eagle Publishing, and so doesn't get donations from anyone -- though maybe Scaife has gone to a book store and purchased a few of their books over the years.

Keep in mind: Neither NBC Nightly News nor MSNBC's Countdown, which have both frequently relayed scenes of Kerry and his Vietnam vet supporters, covered the May 4 press conference by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. As they did on Thursday night, on Friday night both CNN's NewsNight and ABC's World News Tonight ignored the ads and so since both those shows also skipped the May 4 press conference, their viewers have yet to learn there even are Vietnam veterans who served with Kerry who don't think he's fit to be President. Back on July 29, the night of Kerry's convention speech, ABC's Peter Jennings introduced a taped interview with Kerry by noting how "Kerry's campaign certainly believes that his service in Vietnam is a huge asset in this campaign." Jennings, however, observed that "there are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership" and, Jennings promised, "we'll hear from them in the weeks ahead." We're still waiting.

Maybe if the networks had covered the fact that a significant number of those who knew Kerry in Vietnam don't trust him or support him, the vets wouldn't have had to have resorted to buying TV time to get an airing for their views. See the end of this item for a list of previous CyberAlert items which documented how the networks have ignored or smeared the Kerry detractors while championing his "band of brothers" from Vietnam.

Tom Brokaw announced Friday night that "a harsh political ad attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam war record is putting the spotlight back on the independent organizations which are called 527's. They're raising money and running ads separate from the campaigns and the parties themselves. And as NBC's Andrea Mitchell tells us tonight, the campaign finance law supposed to fix the system left this very big loophole."

Mitchell's story failed to air any of the audio from the ad, but she ominously reminded viewers that "some of the same players organized anonymous attack ads against John McCain four years ago, when he was running against George Bush." Mitchell lamented how "at a campaign picnic today, the President refused to disavow it."

Mitchell popped up 90 minutes later on MSNBC's Countdown where Keith Olbermann led with how the Boston Globe reported that one of the 13 men in the ad had recanted -- though the man, George Elliott, Kerry's commander in Vietnam, maintained the Globe misquoted him and that he stands by the ad his claim that Kerry did not earn his Silver Star -- as if the other 12 men in the ad don't count. "None of the men actually served on either of Kerry's swift boats," Olbermann stressed in a point repeated by Mitchell, but neither explained that those in the ad were officer colleagues of Kerry's who commanded other swift boats based with Kerry's boat, so were hardly unfamiliar with him. In fact, to try to discredit Elliott, Olbermann read from a 1969 fitness report Elliott wrote on Kerry.

Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has an interesting Web page with a photo from Vietnam of Kerry posing with 19 of his officer colleagues. Put your curser over it and all but Kerry and one of the men disappear. The two are the only ones of the 19 who are supporting Kerry. Go to: www.swiftvets.com

Mitchell took sides: Friday morning on the Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, the MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed, Mitchell declared as beyond dispute that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad "is grossly distorting the record, according to anybody who knows anything about Kerry's record."

Olbermann on Friday night at least figured out the group's name, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, after he repeatedly mis-identified it on Thursday night, as recounted in the August 6 CyberAlert: Olbermann repeatedly, and one must assume deliberately, misstated the name of the group behind the ads, calling it not "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," but three times referring to "Swift Boat Veterans for Bush." Olbermann lamented: "The ads of campaign 2004 just stepped up to a new level today -- or down to one -- with the release of an anti-John Kerry commercial that immediately brought the condemnation not merely of the Kerry campaign, but also of Republican Senator John McCain, and even generally and at a distance, the White House. Our fifth story on the Countdown, Swift Boat Veterans for Bush..." See: www.mediaresearch.org

Now, a full rundown of the NBC and MSNBC segments from Friday night, August 6, links to the Globe stories about Elliott and a statement in retort from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and a rundown of previous CyberAlert items about the media ignoring and smearing the anti-Kerry veterans:

-- Tom Brokaw teased: "Up next, NBC News 'In Depth' tonight: The latest campaign ad from an independent political group. Harsh attacks. Are these ads totally out of control?"

Brokaw set up the story which treated the method and not the facts as the story: "NBC News 'In Depth' Tonight: A harsh political ad attacking Senator John Kerry's Vietnam war record is putting the spotlight back on the independent organizations which are called 527's. They're raising money and running ads separate from the campaigns and the parties themselves. And as NBC's Andrea Mitchell tells us tonight, the campaign finance law supposed to fix the system left this very big loophole."

Mitchell began, over video of Kerry on the Democratic convention platform with Vietnam buddies: "It's a central image of John Kerry's campaign, the candidate literally wrapping his arms around his Vietnam crew mates. [video, but not sound, of ad as Mitchell talked] But now Republicans are challenging Kerry's war record with a TV ad featuring other Vietnam veterans, none of whom served on Kerry's boat, claiming Kerry did not earn his medals. The ad is paid for by Bush contributors using a loophole in the McCain-Feingold law. The groups' adviser."
Merrie Spaeth, public relations consultant: "There has been absolutely no communication and no contact and no discussion with anybody at the Bush campaign."
Mitchell: "But some of the same players organized anonymous attack ads against John McCain four years ago, when he was running against George Bush. This year McCain is campaigning for Bush, but he has called the attack on Kerry's Vietnam service 'dishonest and dishonorable.' And said, 'the Bush campaign should specifically condemn the ad.'"
Larry Noble, campaign finance expert: "You basically have ad hit men out there, if you will, whose job is to go out there and to attack, in a very negative way, the candidate, to keep the President's hands off it."
Mitchell: "At a campaign picnic today, the President refused to disavow it."
Reporter to Bush in New Hampshire as he shook hands with barn in background: "Mr. President, will you call for the Kerry attack ads to be taken off the air?"
Male voice off camera, not Bush: "He's on vacation."
Mitchell, with Vietnam era black and white photo of Kerry below current color photo of Bush: "Critics say the attack ad illustrates a larger problem with campaign finance reform. Groups can still spend as much as they want on ads, as long as they claim they're not connected to campaigns, and some of these anonymous ads can be very negative. This month, when John Kerry needs to save money for the fall, Democratic groups are giving him critical help, spending twice as much on ads as Republicans. [Ad scenes float across screen] And the Democratic groups have been outspending Republicans all year, mostly attacking the President." Ad announcer in Media Fund ad over video of man in a fast food restaurant arriving for work: "Is this what you worked your whole life for?"
Ellen Malcolm, Democratic fundraiser: "Congress never said that people shouldn't be able to come together of like minds to participate in the election process."
Mitchell concluded: "But critics say both parties are now spending a total of more than $100 million, a shadow campaign that could help decide who gets elected President."

Funny how those anti-Bush ads never generated such media angst.


-- Keith Olbermann's opening teaser for the 8pm EDT Countdown: "Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? One of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth says what he said about John Kerry lying wasn't true. Then his wife says oh yes it was. Stay tuned. This story may change again before I say good evening."

Olbermann introduced his lead item, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Good evening. First, he said in a commercial that John Kerry was a liar about what happened in Vietnam. Then he told a newspaper that he made a, quote, 'terrible mistake,' saying that. Now his wife says he supports the commercial after all. You might want to get a pencil and paper and write all this down. Our fifth story on the Countdown, swifter than the swiftest of their swift boats, the story of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has changed twice already today, and there's plenty of time for it to change yet again. Lieutenant Commander George Elliott is one of 13 Vietnam veterans heard in the TV commercial, which began running in three key states yesterday. None of the men actually served on either of Kerry's swift boats. Most of their comments were generally critical, but not Elliott's."
George Elliott, Lieutenant Commander, in ad: "John Kerry has not been honest about what happened in Vietnam."
Olbermann: "And in a sworn affidavit accompanying the new book, Unfit for Command, Elliott went further, saying Kerry lied about what occurred in Vietnam. For example, in connection with his Silver Star, 'I was never informed that he had simply shot a wounded fleeing Viet Cong in the back.' In today's Boston Globe, though, Elliott recanted. 'I still don't think he shot the guy in the back. It was a terrible mistake probably for me to sign the affidavit with those words. I'm the one in trouble here.' Elliott told the newspaper he felt no political pressure to sign the affidavit, only time pressure. 'I knew it was wrong. In a hurry I signed it and faxed it back. That was a mistake.' But this afternoon, Elliott's wife told NBC News that her husband supports the commercial and that the Boston Globe had misquoted him. Lieutenant Commander Elliott has struggled with where he stands for years. In 1969, in Kerry's fitness report, he wrote, 'In a combat environment often requiring independent, decisive action, LTJG Kerry was unsurpassed.' In 1996, supporting Kerry's bid for Senate re-election, Elliott said of the event that got Kerry the Silver Star, quote, 'It was an act of courage. It was above and beyond anything that we had seen down there, in that case, at that time frame.' NBC's chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, has been following the story the way a meteorologist might follow a hurricane. I spoke with her earlier this evening."

Olbermann to Mitchell: "Andrea, if you want an opinion about Lieutenant John Kerry, ask Lieutenant Commander George Elliott. He seems to have expressed all of them now."
Mitchell: "Absolutely."
Olbermann: "Do we know what's happening with this man or maybe what happened to him?"
Mitchell: "Well, I talked to the family today, and they say that he stands by his participation in the ad so that he is not retracting it as was previously reported in an interview that he apparently did with the Boston Globe, so he's had three different positions on this so far, but right now he stands by being in the advertisement which is challenging the Vietnam War record of John Kerry. We should point out that none of these men served on the same swift boat with John Kerry."
Olbermann: "The sophistication of the 527 ads from the loopholes in the McCain-Feingold Act, it seems somehow comforting that one of them could so quickly become the center of a double recant. Is it surprising that supposedly crack advertising people playing at this level of politics would rely on the comments of a man who has switched positions on John Kerry at least twice, and now maybe three times?"
Mitchell went on a rant against the lack of adequate suppression of free speech: "Well, I think the bottom line may be that the real impact of this ad may still be felt, and they have a book as well which is doing very well in advance sales on Amazon.com. So they think that they're going to be able to undercut a central theme of John Kerry's campaign. This is the kind of negative advertising which comes without a label. No, you know, 'I'm John Kerry, I paid for this ad,' or, 'I'm George Bush and I paid for this ad,' which is the ID that was put into the McCain-Feingold law specifically so that campaigns would have to embrace attack ads if they wanted to take the risk of making them. So they may get away with it and, you know, Keith, this could have a big impact for people who are not really closely following the campaign, or they may see it as that, hey, John Kerry wasn't really a war hero after all, and that may be the lasting impact."
Olbermann then went loony: "The book you mentioned, and we mentioned it here before, it is, in essence, a book-length version of this commercial coming out next week, and just to ratchet up the stakes, it's from Regnery Press, which is supported in some way by Richard Mellon Scaife of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, and you now bring in the whole mystical right-wing conspiracy jazz. Though the ad is officially not funded by the Republican Party, that would seem to be as much of a technicality as is the idea that the MoveOn.org stuff isn't supported by or influenced by the Democrats. Is there any hint, in the light of the discovery of this loophole, of possibly tightening up McCain-Feingold to regulate these kinds of ads?"

Olbermann was referring to Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry, by John O'Neill, the veteran who debated Kerry on ABC's Dick Cavett Show in 1971.

Check the Web site of Eagle Publishing to see if you can find Scaife's fingerprints: www.eaglepub.com

The home page for Regnery Publishing, which as of August 7 doesn't even mention the O'Neill book: www.regnery.com

For the August 6 Boston Globe story, "Veteran retracts criticism of Kerry," see: www.boston.com

Human Events (note to Keith Olbermann: HE is owned by Eagle Publishing and so is in the same corporate family as Regnery, and thus is most likely somehow "supported" by Richard Scaife), on Friday posted a statement from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in response to the Globe article:
"Captain George Elliott describes an article appearing in today's edition of the Boston Globe by Mike Kranish as extremely inaccurate and highly misstating his actual views. He reaffirms his statement in the current advertisement paid for by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Captain Elliott reaffirms his affidavit in support of that advertisement, and he reaffirms his request that the ad be played.
"Additional documentation will follow. The article by Mr. Kranish is particularly surprising given page 102 of Mr. Kranish's own book quoting John Kerry as acknowledging that he killed a single, wounded, fleeing Viet Cong soldier whom he was afraid would turn around.
"Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has more than 250 supporters who are revealing first hand, eyewitness accounts of numerous incidents concerning John Kerry's military service record. The organization will continue to discuss much of what John Kerry has reported as fact concerning his four-month tour of duty in Vietnam."

That's online at: humaneventsonline.com.edgesuite.net

Saturday's Boston Globe followed up with a story headlined: "Veteran claims misquote on Kerry; Globe stands by its story." www.boston.com

Earlier CyberAlert items on coverage, or lack thereof, for the anti-Kerry Vietnam veterans:

-- August 6 CyberAlert. CBS, CNN and MSNBC on Thursday night decried a new anti-Kerry TV ad produced by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. CBS anchor John Roberts stressed criticism of it: "A harsh new television ad that attacks John Kerry is being denounced as quote, 'dishonest and dishonorable' by a Bush supporter, Republican Senator John McCain." (Just last week on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather trumpeted "John Kerry's band of brothers from Vietnam on one last mission.") CNN's NewsNight didn't inform viewers of the views of the veterans in the ad, just as the show on May 4 ignored, along with ABC and NBC, the press conference held by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But NewsNight, and ABC, had time on Thursday night for how John Kerry mocked President Bush for the seven minutes in the Florida classroom highlighted by Michael Moore in Fahrenheit 9/11. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann repeatedly mis-identified the group as "Swift Boat Veterans for Bush." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- August 6 CyberAlert. Friday morning newspapers and TV treated Senator John McCain's condemnation of the anti-Kerry ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as more newsworthy than the substance of the charges the network morning shows have ignored until now. "McCain Criticizes Ad Attacking Kerry on Vietnam War Record," declared a front page Washington Post headline over a story that in nearly 1,200 words didn't quote a word from the ad. "It's getting ugly out there," Today co-host Campbell Brown fretted before she asked Tim Russert: "Republican Senator John McCain, a Vietnam vet, has come out and said that, that ad is quote, 'dishonest and dishonorable.' Should the White House be doing the same thing or the Bush campaign, rather, be doing the same thing?" ABC and CBS also stressed McCain's condemnation. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- July 30 AM convention edition. Despite the airing Thursday night by all the cable networks of the John Kerry biography film narrated by actor Morgan Freeman, only CNN gave any time to Kerry's swift boat colleagues who oppose his candidacy, though they got only a fraction of the air time of the Kerry backers and reporter Kelly Wallace then allowed a Kerry supporter to denounce his critics. Earlier, on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather trumpeted "John Kerry's band of brothers from Vietnam on one last mission." Rather made only a fleeting reference to Kerry's incendiary 1971 remarks accusing his fellow soldiers of war crimes: "Today John Kerry says he regrets some of his words but not his choices." ABC's World News Tonight featured an interview of Kerry by Peter Jennings about Kerry's Vietnam experience, but Jennings acknowledged that "there are a few who served with him who dispute his record and question his leadership" and promised that "we'll hear from them in the weeks ahead." www.mediaresearch.org

-- July 29 PM convention edition. In a glowing profile, Byron Pitts showed Kerry as an anti-Vietnam war protester in 1971 dramatically asking Senators, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," but he gave no hint how Kerry alienated a great many Vietnam veterans by making unfounded charges of war crimes. CBS's entirely positive review of Kerry's life ended with some of the Kerry campaign's preferred "Band of Brothers" imagery:
"The day before his speech, Kerry crossed Boston Harbor with some of his crew mates from Vietnam. His band of brothers. They have one battle left. But tonight the loner will stand alone here in his hometown one more time and look to do what John F. Kerry has nearly always done -- find a way to win." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- July 23 CyberAlert. On July 22 Dan Rather prompted John Kerry to expound on how he's angry at President Bush for criticizing his Vietnam service while Bush avoided the war. Rather asked Kerry: "Have you ever had any anger about President Bush, who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard, running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam?" Kerry replied, "Yup, I have been," and went on to confirm it "grates a little bit" and is "irritating." See: www.mrc.org

-- May 5 CyberAlert. CBS on Tuesday night tried to discredit some Vietnam veterans critical of John Kerry by impugning them as partisan activists tied to the Bush campaign, though the only link seems to be a public relations firm involved in the 2000 campaign, and tarring all of them with the supposed dirty work for Richard Nixon of one. Very McCarthyistic. FNC's Carl Cameron, however, managed to avoid innuendo as he undermined the credibility of specific vets by showing how in the past they had praised Kerry. CBS's Byron Pitts went back to 1971 as he recalled how John O'Neill, who debated Kerry about Vietnam on ABC's Dick Cavett Show, "was handpicked by the Nixon administration to discredit Kerry." Pitts added, without any explanation, that "the press conference was set up by the same people who," in 2000, "tried to discredit John McCain's reputation in Vietnam service." Then Pitts connected the anti-Kerry veterans to a presumed nefarious "strategy" they had nothing to do with implementing: "It's the same strategy used to go after Georgia Senator Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam." See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- April 23 CyberAlert: CBS on Thursday night caught up with the Kerry campaign's release of his Vietnam military service records, but reporter Jim Stewart avoided the very allegation from Kerry's former commander -- that he really didn't suffer a combat wound for which he was awarded his first Purple Heart -- the charge that fueled the document release. Instead, anchor Dan Rather stressed how the records "show glowing evaluations of him during combat in the Vietnam War." Stewart reminded viewers of Kerry's Senate testimony 30 years ago and noted how "a lot of veterans got mad at Kerry," but avoided citing Kerry's most incendiary claims which so angered his comrades, that Americans regularly committed atrocities in Vietnam, as he asserted that Kerry is "still trying to explain the path that led him from war hero to anti-war activist." Stewart even painted Kerry as a victim, recalling how "Kerry suspected there would be a price" to pay for his anti-war activism. See: www.mediaresearch.org

-- April 22 CyberAlert: A lot more skeptical of Bush than Kerry on Vietnam-era service. Back on February 10 when the White House released George W. Bush's National Guard records, the networks stressed how they only "raise more questions." But with Kerry, the networks ignored for a week questions raised last week in the Boston Globe about whether he deserved one of his Purple Hearts, and then prompted by Kerry's release of his records finally got to the story on Wednesday, but were satisfied with the records despite the lack of documentation for his first Purple Heart. "We'll take 'A Closer Look' tonight at John Kerry's distinguished war record," ABC anchor Charles Gibson promised Wednesday night in stating as fact a claim that is in dispute. Gibson then shifted the burden to Kerry's critics: "His opponents are trying hard to use it against him." CBS didn't even consider Kerry newsworthy, but NBC and CNN ran stories. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Time Warner CEO: CNN Not Liberal, Bias
for "Revealing the Truth"

CNN is dedicated to "revealing the truth," and you just think that's liberal bias. During a Friday session at the UNITY: Journalists of Color conference in Washington, DC, Richard Parsons, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner, ridiculed the Fox News Channel as a place where "crazy people exchange views" and contended that CNN "is viewed as liberal" because journalists "tend to want to look under the covers and reveal the things that the establishment doesn't want to be revealed, and so they get put in the category of being liberal for that reason." Plus, the "bias towards both discovery and revealing the truth that is inherent in journalism comes through in CNN, and they get characterized as being a liberal network."

The DrudgeReport.com on Friday highlighted a Broadcasting&Cable magazine posting about Parsons' comments at the forum, but on Friday night the MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down in full the relevant Parsons remarks as shown by C-SPAN.

UNITY: Journalists of Color, is an every-fifth-year combined convention made up of four groups of journalists: Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association. Its home page: www.unityjournalists.org

In the August 6 session, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos elicited Parsons' views. One of his questions: "Many people have the perception that CNN is a liberal network and Fox News is a conservative one. First, why is CNN losing the [ratings] battle with Fox News?"
Dick Parsons, Time Warner Chairman/CEO: "Well, that's a more complicated question than you might think, and I don't know that I would say we're losing the battle because, to some extent, they're almost different products. I mean, Fox News is what I call talk radio brought to television. It's talk TV. And what they get, we still, CNN still gets far more viewers, but they tune in, they want to get the news, they spend 15, 20 minutes, they get a dab of news and they move on. Fox News has a different format. They're a sort of chat place where people kind of come and sit down for an hour or two to listen to crazy people, you know, exchange views."

The "crazy people" line caused an eruption of applause from the assembled journalists, prompting Ramos to predict: "And that's the quote you'll see tomorrow in the papers."

Parsons continued: "So the way ratings are worked out is number of viewers multiplied by length of time viewing, so they get fewer viewers but who view much longer, and their ratings are better. CNN, I think, is viewed as liberal because, I think, this is my own personal perspective, I think journalists are generally viewed as being liberal. Journalists, as a group, tend to be, tend to want to challenge the establishment. They tend to want to look under the covers and reveal the things that the establishment doesn't want to be revealed, and so they get put in the category of being liberal for that reason. And because we basically subscribe to the notion of church and state in our company, we do not tell our journalists what to report, how to report it, you know, we don't give a slant, we don't give a corporate slant to the journalism, that bias towards both discovery and revealing the truth that is inherent in journalism comes through in CNN, and they get characterized as being a liberal network. I don't think they're a liberal network. I think they're a network that calls it like they see it, that tries for accuracy and balance, but that doesn't back away from things that are controversial or anti-establishment."

For a picture and bio of Parsons: www.timewarner.com

Reporters: Journalist Crowd Cool to Bush,
Enthusiastic for Kerry

How John Kerry was enthusiastically greeted by those at the UNITY: Journalists of Color convention while President George W. Bush received a much more tepid reception, was noted by several major news outlets, including USA Today, CNN and the Washington Post.

Kerry spoke before the group on Thursday at the Washington, DC Convention Center and Bush appeared on Friday, but they sure weren't treated the same by the audience of those attending the every-fifth-year conference which brings together the Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

Their Web page makes clear they have an agenda, with these two lines up top:
"A Powerful Alliance
"A Force for Change"

See: www.unityjournalists.org

"Democrat's speech draws hearty cheers at journalists' convention," announced an August 6 USA Today headline.

On CNN's Inside Politics on Friday, anchor Candy Crowley noted that "Senator Kerry's appearance on Thursday was greeted with enthusiastic applause. The audience also applauded many of his answers. The President's reception this morning was polite but noticeably cooler."

Later, on CNN's Friday night Paula Zahn Now, fill-in host Heidi Collins asserted that Bush "was addressing a very unfriendly crowd." CNN reporter Maria Hinojosa, who attended the convention, conceded that Bush received "oftentimes aggressive questioning from reporters of color," that the applause "was kind of tepid for President George W. Bush" and that "there was clearly more cheering for the Democrat." Hinojosa recalled: "I can tell you that for me, when Senator Kerry walked into the room yesterday, just as he walked in, to see, I don't know, probably half of the room stand up and applaud, for me as a journalist, was uncomfortable."

In Saturday's Washington Post, reporter Amy Goldstein related how "the journalists' reaction to Bush was tepid compared with their enthusiastic reception for Kerry, who spoke at the same convention Thursday. Breaking with journalists' custom of neutrality, the audience gave Kerry a standing ovation even before he began speaking and interrupted his remarks with applause nearly 50 times."

That "custom" has become quaint.

Fuller presentations of the quotes above:

-- An excerpt from the May 6 USA Today article by Mark Memmott, brought to my attention by the MRC's Rich Noyes:

....Sen. John Kerry got an enthusiastic response Thursday from delegates to the Unity 2004 convention for minority journalists.

There was applause nearly 50 times during his address. There was laughter when he took a shot at the Bush administration by noting that "just saying there are weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq) doesn't make it so." He got a standing ovation at the end.

President Bush speaks to the conference today. "I expect there will be much less cheering," said Brian Tong, a Brisbane, Calif., TV host, though he and others interviewed said Bush would get a respectful reception....

The crowd's reaction made some Unity delegates uncomfortable. "It was a little awkward for me," said Akilah Johnson, a "night cops" reporter at the Sun-Sentinel in Delray Beach, Fla. "I guess a lot of people were acting like citizens, not reporters."...

END of Excerpt

For the USA Today item in full: www.usatoday.com

-- CNN's Inside Politics, May 6. Fill-in anchor Candy Crowley: "Also, in the name of minority outreach, both Senator Kerry and President Bush spoke to a convention of minority journalists this week in Washington. Senator Kerry's appearance on Thursday was greeted with enthusiastic applause. The audience also applauded many of his answers. The President's reception this morning was polite but noticeably cooler. The journalists applauded harder for the questions and questioners than they did for many of the President's answers. He did make some news, though, telling a questioner that colleges should abandon legacy admissions and admit students on merit. George W. Bush followed his father to Yale and acknowledged today quote, 'I had to knock on a lot of doors to follow the old man's footsteps.'"

In a subsequent story, Jill Dougherty noted: "President Bush began the day in Washington, D.C., at the Unity Conference, bringing together minority journalists. It was the same venue that Senator John Kerry spoke at yesterday. The reception with Kerry, a bit more positive, a bit more warm, today, more standoffish. In fact, there was even one heckler for the President."

-- CNN's Paula Zahn Now, May 6, with Heidi Collins as host. In a taped piece, Maria Hinojosa boasted that "President Bush addressed the crowd Friday morning. He faced unusual and oftentimes aggressive questioning from reporters of color, who are rarely seen in the White House pool."
Panelist to Bush: "Are you going to order Attorney General John Ashcroft to send federal election monitors to Florida and other Southern states?"
Hinojosa: "On Thursday, it was Democratic candidate John Kerry facing these journalists. They asked him to compare his actions as a president to George Bush. One asked, what would Senator Kerry have done if he were reading to children the day the September 11 attacks took place?"
Kerry: "I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something that he needed to attend to." [loud applause, which CNN immediately cut off]
Hinojosa: "Everything about these exchanges was different. This crowd of predominantly racial minorities, journalists, but also people in human resources, public relations and corporate media recruiters, clapped for both candidates. There was clearly more cheering for the Democrat."

Collins brought aboard Hinojosa and Roland Martin, a columnist who as a panelist had pressed Bush about how blacks were supposedly disenfranchised in Florida. Collins went first to Hinojosa: "Maria, I want to begin with you, if I could. It looks like from what we saw on TV and what I watched this morning, the President was addressing a very unfriendly crowd."
Hinojosa: "Oh, I don't know if you would say that it was entirely unfriendly. I think it's -- it's a critical group of journalists here who have a lot of questions to ask. When he walked in, he got the applause and a standing ovation. Senator Kerry, when he walked in, got applause and a standing ovation that was probably much warmer than what we saw for the President.
"And I think that what the president did when he was giving his speech, it was interesting, because there were times when you would see he was kind of pausing to wait for applause from the crowd like he might be giving this speech as a campaign speech. That didn't happen. When the applause came, it was kind of tepid for President George W. Bush. There was more applause for Senator Kerry, though, clearly and it was interesting to see what issues that they were pointing out. But both of them were asked difficult questions, tough questions. I would say a little more argumentative, certainly, for President Bush today."

For a bio and picture of Collins: www.cnn.com

For a bio and picture of Hinojosa: www.cnn.com

For a bio and picture of Crowley: www.cnn.com

-- Excerpt from an August 7 Washington Post news story by Amy Goldstein, which was mostly about Bush's comments at the convention, about affirmative action, and his visit to New Hampshire:

The journalists' reaction to Bush was tepid compared with their enthusiastic reception for Kerry, who spoke at the same convention Thursday. Breaking with journalists' custom of neutrality, the audience gave Kerry a standing ovation even before he began speaking and interrupted his remarks with applause nearly 50 times.

In contrast, Bush drew a smattering of polite applause and a standing ovation at the end of his appearance. At one point, his speech was interrupted by a heckler who cried out "Shame on you for lying to the media, misleading the public" before being evicted from the room.

Ernest Sotomayer, a Newsday Web journalist who is president of Unity '04, echoed the views of many audience members when he said of Bush, "I wish he would have been able to give us much more detail on things like affirmative action and commitments to get more [minority] hiring in the media industry."

Kerry drew loud applause Thursday when he said the government should take steps to ensure that every vote is counted in the November elections because more than 1 million African Americans had been disenfranchised in 2000 "in one of the most tainted elections in history."

END of Excerpt

For the August 7 Post article in full: www.washingtonpost.com

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, a past UNITY convention attendee, came up with an entertaining test to measure ideological diversity amongst those pushing for ethic and racial diversity. An excerpt from her latest column:

Media Diversity Test [for] the multi-cultural masses at UNITY. Test-takers get five points for every statement they mark "YES."

1. I have never voted for a Democrat in my life.

2. I think my taxes are too high.

3. I supported Bill Clinton's impeachment.

4. I voted for President Bush in 2000.

5. I am a gun owner.

6. I support school voucher programs.

7. I oppose condom distribution in public schools.

8. I oppose bilingual education.

9. I oppose gay marriage.

10. I want Social Security privatized.

11. I believe racial profiling at airports is common sense.

12. I shop at Wal-Mart.

13. I enjoy talk radio.

14. I am annoyed when news editors substitute the phrase "undocumented person" for "illegal alien."

15. I do not believe the phrase "a chink in the armor" is offensive.

16. I eat meat.

17. I believe O.J. Simpson was guilty.

18. I cheered when I learned that Saddam Hussein had been captured.

19. I cry when I hear "Proud To Be an American" by Lee Greenwood.

20. I don't believe The New York Times.

I'm sure a large number of my culturally and ideologically diverse readers would earn a perfect score, as I did. What is the average score among UNITY attendees? Take the test, my fellow journalists of "diversity," and show us your true colors.

END of Excerpt

For Malkin's column in full: www.townhall.com

-- Brent Baker