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Only NBC's Mitchell Unaware of Brownback's Criticism of Miers --10/5/2005


1. Only NBC's Mitchell Unaware of Brownback's Criticism of Miers
Concluding her Tuesday NBC Nightly News story on conservative resistance to the nomination of Harriet Miers, Andrea Mitchell asserted that while "critics on the right say" that it "leaves them depressed and disappointed," their "opposition may not matter for Miers' confirmation. So far, no Republican Senator has joined the chorus of critics." But those who watched ABC or CBS heard something very different. On World News Tonight, ABC's Terry Moran reported that "in a sign of potential trouble ahead, Republican Senator San Brownback, a leading conservative on the Judiciary Committee, released a statement today saying: 'I am not yet confident that Ms. Miers has a proven track record and I look forward to having these questions answered.'" Over on the CBS Evening News, John Roberts related how "many members of the President's own party remain perplexed by his choice for this critical swing seat." Viewers then heard a regretful soundbite from the Kansas Republican Senator.

2. Keith Olbermann Connects Harriet Miers to Pre-9/11 Memo
Leave it to Keith Olbermann to link the topics of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and the 9/11 attacks. On his Countdown show on Tuesday night, the MSNBC anchor suggested that Miers was the person who handed President Bush a memo in August 2001 that warned of Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the U.S. This was the same memo that some on the left have used to justify their criticisms that the President should have foreseen and prevented the 9/11 attacks based on the memo's general warnings about bin Laden's intentions. Olbermann teased his Tuesday night show with a photograph of Miers handing the President a memo. He dated the photograph as "August 6, 2001, the day [President Bush] got the PDB titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.'"

3. Nets Turn Daycare Study Into Push for European-Style Paid Leave
ABC and NBC turned a study, on how children are better off cared for by mothers at home instead of in daycare, into a chance to promote European socialistic paid leave benefits. Four times in plugging the story ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas described the study findings as "controversial." ABC reporter Barbara Pinto tried to dismiss the study: "When it comes to intellectual growth, there was little consistent difference between children cared for exclusively by their mothers and those cared for by others. Psychologist Margaret Burchinal says mothers who work need not feel guilty." Pinto argued that "the bigger issue for so many is that staying home is not an option. And federal law only gives new mothers 12 weeks' leave -- without pay. In Sweden, new parents get 18 months paid leave." On NBC's Today, Katie Couric prompted a guest to agree with how "this country is pretty far behind in providing really superior childcare for working parents, right?" The guest admired how "every mother in Europe is guaranteed 14 weeks paid maternity leave."

4. Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Bush Is Drinking Again"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Bush Is Drinking Again."


Only NBC's Mitchell Unaware of Brownback's
Criticism of Miers

Concluding her Tuesday NBC Nightly News story on conservative resistance to the nomination of Harriet Miers, Andrea Mitchell asserted that while "critics on the right say" that it "leaves them depressed and disappointed," their "opposition may not matter for Miers' confirmation. So far, no Republican Senator has joined the chorus of critics."

But those who watched ABC or CBS heard something very different. On World News Tonight, ABC's Terry Moran reported that "in a sign of potential trouble ahead, Republican Senator San Brownback, a leading conservative on the Judiciary Committee, released a statement today saying: 'I am not yet confident that Ms. Miers has a proven track record and I look forward to having these questions answered.'" Over on the CBS Evening News, John Roberts related how "many members of the President's own party remain perplexed by his choice for this critical swing seat." Viewers then heard this soundbite from the Kansas Republican Senator: "You had a number of outstanding potential nominees who had been or were, or are, sitting judges. And so you look at this one and you say, well, why did you go here when you had so many other opportunities?"

[This item was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To share your comments, go to: newsbusters.org ]

The October 4 Mitchell piece squeezed in a conservative soundbite in her conclusion:

Mitchell: "The Miers nomination, critics on the right say, leaves them depressed and disappointed."
Richard Viguerie, conservative activist: "We spent our entire life waiting for this moment and the President ran from the fight."
Mitchell: "But their opposition may not matter for Miers' confirmation. So far, no Republican Senator has joined the chorus of critics."

Keith Olbermann Connects Harriet Miers
to Pre-9/11 Memo

Leave it to Keith Olbermann to link the topics of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and the 9/11 attacks. On his Countdown show on Tuesday night, the MSNBC anchor suggested that Miers was the person who handed President Bush a memo in August 2001 that warned of Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the U.S. This was the same memo that some on the left have used to justify their criticisms that the President should have foreseen and prevented the 9/11 attacks based on the memo's general warnings about bin Laden's intentions. Olbermann teased his Tuesday night show with a photograph of Miers handing the President a memo. He dated the photograph as "August 6, 2001, the day [President Bush] got the PDB titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.'"

Olbermann led his show with the Miers nomination, and, after noting that the President planned not to release Miers' internal White House documents, he returned to the topic of the bin Laden memo, revealing that "there's another document being speculated about tonight," and described the document as the "infamous memo warning [President Bush] that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike in the United States."

[This item was posted Tuesday night, by Brad Wilmouth, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. To see the picture Olbermann showed: newsbusters.org ]

Olbermann, in his opening teaser: "Which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? The President meets the press. The Senator whose quote may have inspired the nomination of Harriet Miers turns out to have been a Democrat [Patrick Leahy]. And then there's this photo of Ms. Miers handing the President a document, handing it to him on August 6, 2001, the day he got the PDB titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.'"

Olbermann, at about 8:04pm EDT, over a photo of Miers leaning over Bush with a piece of paper in hand: "And there's another document being speculated about tonight: This one. Ms. Miers and President Bush in a photograph going over a briefing paper at his Crawford ranch in 2001. We don't know which briefing paper that is in the photo, but we do know that on that very same day, August 6th, a little over one month before the 9/11 attacks, Ms. Miers handed the President the now-famous or infamous memo warning him that Osama bin Laden was determined to strike in the United States."

Nets Turn Daycare Study Into Push for
European-Style Paid Leave

ABC and NBC turned a study, on how children are better off cared for by mothers at home instead of in daycare, into a chance to promote European socialistic paid leave benefits. Four times in plugging the story ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas described the study findings as "controversial." ABC reporter Barbara Pinto tried to dismiss the study: "When it comes to intellectual growth, there was little consistent difference between children cared for exclusively by their mothers and those cared for by others. Psychologist Margaret Burchinal says mothers who work need not feel guilty." Pinto argued that "the bigger issue for so many is that staying home is not an option. And federal law only gives new mothers 12 weeks' leave -- without pay. In Sweden, new parents get 18 months paid leave." On NBC's Today, Katie Couric prompted a guest to agree with how "this country is pretty far behind in providing really superior childcare for working parents, right?" The guest admired how "every mother in Europe is guaranteed 14 weeks paid maternity leave."

London's Independent reported on Monday: "Toddlers who are looked after by their mothers do significantly better in developmental tests than those cared for by nurseries, childminders or relatives, according to a study to be published today. The findings will show that those given nursery care fared worst." See: news.independent.co.uk

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas' tease and plugs.

She teased the October 4 newscast: "A controversial new study says kids lose out when mom doesn't stay at home. What's a working parent to do? We take 'A Closer Look.'"

Her plugs for the upcoming story:

-- "Stay-at-home versus working moms: New controversy about an old debate. What's best for the kids? We'll take 'A Closer Look.'"

-- "When we come back, young children who stay at home with mom: Do they really do better? We'll take 'A Closer Look' at a controversial new study."

Vargas then introduced the eventual piece: "Tonight, we examine a very emotional issue millions of families struggle with every day: What's best for babies and toddlers when both parents work? A controversial new British study suggests that children up to 18 months cared for by stay-at-home moms do better. In the U.S., 30 percent of children under three are in child care. Tonight, we take 'A Closer Look' at some of the latest research and what it means for both parents and children. Here's ABC's Barbara Pinto."

Pinto began: "For working mom Christina Headley, this latest study is one more dose of guilt."
Christina Headley: "When these studies come out, you start to second-guess yourself. Are you really doing what's right for your child?"
Pinto: "Over the years, millions of women have decided to trade career for motherhood, subscribing to the notion that mother's care is best."
Ellie Wackerman, working mother: "I had a natural desire to really help them, to really be there to help them grow up."
Evelina Teglia, stay-at-home mother: "I like being home. I enjoy it. It's good for me, and I think it's good for my kids."
Pinto: "So what is best for young children? The most comprehensive U.S. government study to date shows that the more time young children spend with outside care givers, the more they are to be considered aggressive and disobedient. But some researchers caution that for the vast majority of children, those levels of behavior are still within normal range. And when it comes to intellectual growth, there was little consistent difference between children cared for exclusively by their mothers and those cared for by others. Psychologist Margaret Burchinal says mothers who work need not feel guilty."
Margaret Burchinal, University of North Carolina: "Whether the child goes to child care or stays home exclusively with the mother is not very related to how well the child does."
Pinto: "What matters most, researchers say, is the quality of time parents do spend with their children, and that the child care they find is stimulating and engaging. That brings some relief to investment banker Wendy Lomar."
Wendy Lomar: "I know it's sort of an old standby, but I still think that, you know, quality more than quantity."
Pinto: "The bigger issue for so many is that staying home is not an option. And federal law only gives new mothers 12 weeks' leave -- without pay. In Sweden, new parents get 18 months paid leave. Mother and father can take that leave until the child is eight. Here, some companies like Christina Headley's offer on-site child care."
Headley: "Not everybody has the opportunities or the choices that I was able to make."
Pinto: "Working parents we spoke with agree they'd all like more quality options and less guilt. Barbara Pinto, ABC News, Chicago."
Vargas added: "A tough issue for so many working parents."


Earlier in the day, on NBC's Today, the MRC's Geoff Dickens caught how Couric approached the subject. She set up a 7:30am half hour segment:
"It's a struggle for moms everywhere, whether to work or stay at home with their young children. Now a new study from Great Britain reports young children cared for by their mothers develop better than those looked after in day care by relatives or by nannies."

Following a series of soundbites from stay-at-home mothers and those who dump their kids in daycare, Couric brought aboard Diane Debrovner of Parents magazine.

Couric son displayed her Euro-envy: "I know that Penelope Leach who's a noted childcare expert who was the author of the study said the study doesn't suggest that more working mothers necessarily stay at home. Instead the study highlights a demand for 'developmentally appropriate high quality childcare.' The study doesn't mean that every child in a large daycare center will become a monster. These, this is quoted from the study. So it does highlight the fact that for many women and many of them have to work and they do have no choice as one of our mothers mentioned. This country is pretty far behind in providing really superior childcare for working parents, right?"
Debrovner agreed and took a shot at conservatives: "For a country that says that we believe in family values there's a lot that we can do that will make it easier for women, to, you know work or stay home. For example maternity leave. I mean every mother in Europe is guaranteed 14 weeks paid maternity leave. Women in this country get 12 weeks of unpaid leave only if they work for a company that has more than 50 employees and there's no question that being home with a young infant is, is the best choice. So that's one thing that we should be demanding that our representatives do and in addition, in terms of, supporting quality childcare. All of the research has shown that high quality childcare is better for children and that children with good quality childcare have better social skills, better language skills, better problem solving skills. And they're really easy things that we can do to encourage women and men to become childcare providers and not leave the profession because it's not well paid enough and to help them become better trained."
Couric then rued that lack of federal regulations: "Well there, there are no national standards like for the ratio of children to caregiver, right? And it varies dramatically from state to state. No national standards in terms of the kind of training you need to have."
Debrovner: "Most states require no childcare training. Your manicurist probably has to have more hours of training in order to get a license than someone in a childcare center. And there are certainly states that have been leading the way. North Carolina, for example, has been creative in terms of finding incentives and scholarships for caregivers to help them learn more because people who have some training in early childhood development are understandably better at taking care of a group of children."

Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Bush Is Drinking
Again"

From the October 4 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Bush Is Drinking Again." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "Begins every speech with, 'Dude, I'm so hungover'"

9. "Welcomed John Roberts with awkward, lingering hug"

8. "During recent speech, coughed up a swizzle stick"

7. "Now spells his name 'B-U-S-C-H'"

6. "Appointed Michael Brown head of Zima"

5. "He's been pronouncing words correctly"

4. "Next Supreme Court nominee: Johnny Walker Black"

3. "He's been asking Clinton for 'That hefty girl's telephone number'"

2. "Even the twins are urging him to slow down"

1. "Called a cabinet meeting to discuss 'Laura's dynamite ass'"

-- Brent Baker