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Poll Finds Twice as Many Blame Culture as Guns, But ABC Spikes It --4/24/2007


1. Poll Finds Twice as Many Blame Culture as Guns, But ABC Spikes It
ABC News polling chief Gary Langer, in a posting buried on ABCNews.com, revealed that a poll taken Sunday discovered that when "asked the primary cause of gun violence, far more Americans blamed the effects of popular culture (40 percent) or the way parents raise their children (35 percent) than the availability of guns (18 percent)." ABC's World News on Monday devoted nearly two minutes to results of ABC's survey, but didn't get to that finding which shows the public does not share the media assumption that gun availability is to blame for the murders at Virginia Tech. Although George Stephanopoulos did point out how "a strong majority of Americans, 52 to 29, prefer enforcing existing laws to passing new laws," anchor Charles Gibson led with a widely-held view, how "a new ABC News poll finds 83 percent of Americans say states should do more to report mentally ill people to the federal gun sales registry." He went how to highlight that "61 percent of the people in this country say they favor stronger gun control laws, although people are split right down the middle as to whether stricter gun control laws would actually curb any kind of violence..."

2. Fineman to Democrats on Guns: 'You Gonna Do Something Now?!'
Newsweek's Howard Fineman's first instinct when he heard about the Virgina Tech shootings was to call up the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill and ask for gun control legislation. On this past weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the Newsweek political reporter admitted "the first thing he did" was call the Democrats to demand: "Okay, you gonna do something now?!" AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

3. Unsure Soaring Stocks Good: 'Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?'
On Monday's Good Morning America, an ABC graphic about soaring stock prices proved, yet again, that there's no positive economic story the media can't spin downward: "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?" The graphic ran underneath co-host Diane Sawyer and GMA financial contributor Mellody Hobson's discussion over whether or not the Dow, which has been breaking records recently, is headed for a downturn.

4. Liberal Media Favored Communist 'Reformer' Gorbachev Over Yeltsin
Undoubtedly, Boris Yeltsin's finest moment was the courageous defiance he showed in the face of an old guard communist coup in August 1991. Yeltsin, whose death was announced Monday, was the focal point of those who rallied to defeat the coup, triggering the chain of events that led to dissolution of the Soviet Union just a few months later. Yet the establishment media in this country tended to sniff at Yeltsin as an unpolished buffoon. U.S. journalists could not conceal their lack of regard for the man who helped bury Soviet communism, favoring Mikhail Gorbachev, the failed leader who futilely attempted to reform communism. A few quotes from the Media Research Center's Notable Quotable archive, illustrating the media's preference of the communist Gorbachev over the rebel Yeltsin.

5. Rosie Proud Her 5-Year-Old Son Realized Bush 'Cheated' in 2000
On Monday's The View, the co-hosts discussed whether their families talk about politics at the dinner table, prompting Rosie O'Donnell to proudly recall how her adopted son Parker, when he was just five-years-old in 2000, realized "the truth" of how "President Bush was not the real President because he cheated."


Poll Finds Twice as Many Blame Culture
as Guns, But ABC Spikes It

ABC News polling chief Gary Langer, in a posting buried on ABCNews.com, revealed that a poll taken Sunday discovered that when "asked the primary cause of gun violence, far more Americans blamed the effects of popular culture (40 percent) or the way parents raise their children (35 percent) than the availability of guns (18 percent)." ABC's World News on Monday devoted nearly two minutes to results of ABC's survey, but didn't get to that finding which shows the public does not share the media assumption that gun availability is to blame for the murders at Virginia Tech.

Although George Stephanopoulos did point out how "a strong majority of Americans, 52 to 29, prefer enforcing existing laws to passing new laws," anchor Charles Gibson led with a widely-held view, how "a new ABC News poll finds 83 percent of Americans say states should do more to report mentally ill people to the federal gun sales registry." He went how to highlight that "61 percent of the people in this country say they favor stronger gun control laws, although people are split right down the middle as to whether stricter gun control laws would actually curb any kind of violence, 49 percent saying yes, 50 percent saying no."

The full text of the question, as listed in the PDF of the poll results, a PDF linked at the end of Langer's summary report:
"7. Which of the following do you think is the primary cause of gun violence in America -- (the availability of guns), (the way parents raise their children), or (the influence of popular culture such as movies, television, and the Internet)?"

For the PDF: abcnews.go.com

You have to do some sleuthing, however, to even learn about how twice as many blame popular culture as gun availability and, when you add in poor parenting, four times as many blame something other than access to guns. To get to Langer's posting, headlined "Mental Health Measures Broadly Backed, but Culture Gets More Blame Than Guns," which as of 8pm EDT Monday night was not on the ABCNews.com home page or the World News page, you must click on "Politics" on the sidebar and then scroll to the very bottom of the lengthy page to see the headline in the "Polling" box. The lead headline at the top of ABCNews.com? What ABC considers a controversy: "Limbaugh Says Virginia Tech Killer 'Had to Be a Liberal.'" That links to a blog posting by Jake Tapper: blogs.abcnews.com

For Langer's summary article: abcnews.go.com

For the ABCNews.com "Politics" page: abcnews.go.com

[This item was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

ABC has been pushing for more gun control, well beyond toughening up standards on sharing mental health information, since hours after the Virginia Tech shooting. Previous CyberAlert items:

# April 23, "ABC Rues: 'Politicians & Gun Control: Why Aren't They Outraged?'", online at: www.mrc.org

# April 23, "Despite Rise in Gun Crime in Britain, ABC Trumpets UK's Gun Ban," online at: www.mrc.org

# April 18, "Nets Blame Virginia's 'Lax' Gun Laws, Press Bush on Gun Control," online at: www.mrc.org

# April 17, "ABCNews.com Pushes Gun Control; On TV Tapper Offers More Balance," online at: www.mrc.org

That item recounted how, just hours after the shooting, ABCNews.com posted this leading poll question: "Do you think this incident is a reason to pass stricter gun control legislation?"

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the close-captioning against the video for the April 23 World News story. Anchor Charles Gibson reported:
"Well, the Virginia Tech shooting stunned the nation and seemed to shift public opinion on some topics. A new ABC News poll finds 83 percent of Americans say states should do more to report mentally ill people to the federal gun sales registry, something that might have prevented Seung-Hui Cho from purchasing a weapon. The poll was taken after the Virginia Tech killings, and it looked at guns and mental health in general. ABC's chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos joins me now. George, so people want more information given to the states on people who are mentally ill and perhaps shouldn't have guns. Will something happen because of this?"
George Stephanopoulos: "Very likely, Charlie. Even the National Rifle Association has supported measures like this in the past. And they're currently negotiating with members of Congress for a new law that would do this. The White House has no objection. So I would guess that something like this would pass, but no new laws beyond this."
Gibson: "That would probably be it because there's some other interesting numbers in the poll that I want to quote: 61 percent of the people in this country say they favor stronger gun control laws, although people are split right down the middle as to whether stricter gun control laws would actually curb any kind of violence, 49 percent saying yes, 50 percent saying no. Interesting thing, those numbers haven't changed really at all as a result of what happened in Virginia Tech."
Stephanopoulos: "Not at all, Charlie. And a strong majority of Americans, 52 to 29, prefer enforcing existing laws to passing new laws. The other thing going on here, those who are against new gun laws care a lot about it a lot more than people who are for new gun laws. And it's become conventional wisdom among Democrats that this gun issue cost them control of Congress in 1994, cost them the White House in 2000 and 2004. The majority in Congress right now has no appetite to make this a top priority."

Fineman to Democrats on Guns: 'You Gonna
Do Something Now?!'

Newsweek's Howard Fineman's first instinct when he heard about the Virginia Tech shootings was to call up the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill and ask for gun control legislation. On this past weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the Newsweek political reporter admitted "the first thing he did" was call the Democrats to demand: "Okay, you gonna do something now?!"


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More See & Hear the Bias

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following conversation occurred on the April 22nd edition of The Chris Matthews Show:

Chris Matthews: "Let's go to a more familiar terrain for us all: policy and politics. Just a week ago, the NRA held its national convention. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned the members of the NRA that the Democratic Congress will threaten gun freedoms. Quote, this is Wayne LaPierre: 'Today, there is not one firearm owner whose freedom is secure.' Polls do show a majority of Americans now want gun access restricted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week is working on a bill that would prevent gun access by the mentally ill. Congressman John Dingell of Michigan is negotiating with the NRA right now on this, to try to tighten up the laws, give states enough money so they can find people like Cho, who've been through this system, been identified, and make sure they don't buy guns. Is that gonna work?"
Howard Fineman: "I think it might. As a political reporter, of course, the first thing I did was call the Hill and find out from the Democratic leadership, 'Okay, you gonna do something now?!' And the answer I was told, bluntly by Democratic leaders on the Hill, is 'We are not going to touch it in the macro sense, but this question-"
Matthews: "What do they mean by that? They're not going to address the Second Amendment issue?"
Fineman: "They're not, they're not going to go straight at the Second Amendment issue. If you look at the Electoral College map, you see Ohio, you see West Virginia, you see Pennsylvania, you see Wisconsin, they're not going to do it. Their whole modern mentality is built on avoiding that issue. But John Dingell, who is smart, as a Democrat and an NRA guy, is trying to draw the NRA into at least this one small incremental thing about making sure that mental health records and other state police records-"
Matthews: "Yeah."
Fineman: "-get into the Insta-Check system. What happened in Virginia is, they have Insta-Check, this guy had no criminal record. He had a mental record, which they knew nothing about. By law, they should've known about that. They should've known about it."
Matthews: "Will the Democrats pay a price for the, and I've heard this, that Hillary Clinton has made it, has assured that Dingell's, especially, John Dingell, that there's not going to be any Second Amendment issue in this upcoming campaign. They do not want this to be the fight."
Fineman: "Now, there was a dignified conversation."

Unsure Soaring Stocks Good: 'Is Unstoppable
Market Good or Bad?'

On Monday's Good Morning America, an ABC graphic about soaring stock prices proved, yet again, that there's no positive economic story the media can't spin downward: "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?" The graphic ran underneath co-host Diane Sawyer and GMA financial contributor Mellody Hobson's discussion over whether or not the Dow, which has been breaking records recently, is headed for a downturn.

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Sawyer certainly seemed to think so. She began the program with this pessimistic tease: "This morning, your stocks are soaring higher than ever before in history. A new record today? But is this the thrill before the meltdown? What should you do this morning to protect your money?"

In the segment, which aired at 7:02am on April 23, Sawyer and Hobson continued to predict that the good times will soon be ending. In fact, the GMA co-host closed the report by instructing Americans to not "get greedy. It can't last forever."

Liberal Media Favored Communist 'Reformer'
Gorbachev Over Yeltsin

Undoubtedly, Boris Yeltsin's finest moment was the courageous defiance he showed in the face of an old guard communist coup in August 1991. Yeltsin, whose death was announced Monday, was the focal point of those who rallied to defeat the coup, triggering the chain of events that led to dissolution of the Soviet Union just a few months later.

Yet the establishment media in this country tended to sniff at Yeltsin as an unpolished buffoon. U.S. journalists could not conceal their lack of regard for the man who helped bury Soviet communism, favoring Mikhail Gorbachev, the failed leader who futilely attempted to reform communism.

[This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Here are just a few quotes from the Media Research Center's Notable Quotable archive, illustrating the media's preference of the communist Gorbachev over the rebel Yeltsin, beginning with the defeat of the August 1991 coup attempt:

# Still Pining for Gorby:
"It seems that Gorbachev, although he's played a role, can't leave the stage quite yet. This country is going under too rapid a change for him to simply disappear right now. Although he's politically weakened, he has to stay on as President. To have a national election now would be to throw the country into a chaos that it doesn't need." -- CBS Moscow reporter Jonathan Sanders, August 23, 1991 Evening News.


# Boris Yeltsin, So-Called Democrat:
"Yeah, one thing I don't like is he's shut down Pravda. Not that I'm any big fan of Pravda, but I think that is flirting with censorship." -- Newsweek reporter Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, August 24, 1991.

"A purge is a purge, and even if it's Boris Yeltsin conducting the purge and the coup plotters who are purged, I think that's a setback for the Soviet Union because in a country where people can't walk out of office and into their own homes and expect not to be shot or arrested, that's not a country that's really free." -- National Public Radio news anchor Linda Wertheimer on CNN's Capital Gang, August 24, 1991.


# Fearing the End:
"There is a danger that the forces of democracy, as they are called, will now go too far. There is a spirit of revenge in the air....They may get into witch hunts where they're actually having kangaroo courts. If you saw that scene last Friday when Gorbachev was called before the Russian Parliament, the way he was heckled, even Yeltsin...saying 'read these notes of the Cabinet out,' I mean he was really embarrassing Gorbachev." -- Former New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith, August 26, 1991 Good Morning America.

"There is discussion that this is the last chance to prevent the crime of the Soviet Union breaking apart." -- CBS reporter Jonathan Sanders, August 28, 1991 CBS This Morning.


# Nostalgic for Good Old Days:
"Inefficient as the old communist economy was, it did provide jobs of a sort for everybody and a steady, if meager, supply of basic goods at low, subsidized prices; Soviet citizens for more than 70 years were conditioned to expect that from their government. Says a Moscow worker: 'We had everything during [Leonid] Brezhnev's times. There was sausage in the stores. We could buy vodka. Things were normal.'" -- Time Associate Editor George J. Church, September 23, 1991.


# Last Gasping Gorbasms:
"Well let me say how I hope history will judge him. Perhaps in time with help and work, people here will improve their everyday lives and remember Gorbachev's accomplishments and that would seem to me fair. I remember not only the end but the beginning of the Cold War and the forty years of fear Gorbachev more than anyone else ended. He seems to me to have done more good in the world than any other national leader of my lifetime." -- NBC News Moscow reporter Bob Abernethy, December 24, 1991 Nightly News.

"The Nobel Prize he received for ending the Cold War was well deserved. Every man, woman and child in this country should be eternally grateful. His statue should stand in the center of every east European capital....No Russian has done more to free his people from bondage since Alexander II who freed the serfs." -- Boston Globe Senior Associate Editor H.D.S. Greenway, December 27, 1991 column.


# Who's More Authoritarian?
"Boris Yeltsin had unconstitutionally dissolved the parliament and he used a tank assault to enforce his decree....what Yeltsin has been doing is quickly moving his own people into the White House as a way of consolidating his now much more authoritarian power." -- Dan Rather, January 13, 1994 CBS Evening News.

vs.

"In five years, Mikhail Gorbachev has transformed the Soviet Union from a rigid police state to what he describes as a freewheeling infant democracy." -- Rather's introduction to a story on making criticism of Gorbachev illegal, May 15, 1990 Evening News.


# Gorbachev, Impeccable Overachiever:
"It mystifies Westerners that Mikhail Gorbachev is loathed and ridiculed in his own country. This is the man who pulled the world several steps back from the nuclear brink and lifted a crushing fear from his countrymen, who ended bloody foreign adventures, liberated Eastern Europe and won for the Soviet Union at least provisional membership in the club of civilized nations. By the standards of the West (and by comparison with the incumbent, Boris Yeltsin), Mr. Gorbachev is a man of impeccable character." -- New York Times foreign editor Bill Keller reviewing Gorbachev's memoirs, October 20, 1996.

Rosie Proud Her 5-Year-Old Son Realized
Bush 'Cheated' in 2000

On Monday's The View, the co-hosts discussed whether their families talk about politics at the dinner table, prompting Rosie O'Donnell to proudly recall how her adopted son Parker, when he was just five-years-old in 2000, realized "the truth" of how "President Bush was not the real President because he cheated."

O'Donnell recounted: "It's funny when because when he was in public school in first grade and Bush won, supposedly [laughter], and he went in to school that day and he gets home. I said how was school? He goes fine. He was like five-years-old. The teacher calls me: 'Oh hi, Ms. O'Donnell. I just wanted to let you know that today in class Parker announced that President Bush was not the real President because he cheated.' [laughter] And I said: 'Well that's known as truth in our house.'"

O'Donnell quickly defended her statement, noting what she teaches her children: "Well, I don't know. You teach a kid every vote counts and their voice matters and you should stand up and participate in the government. That's a good thing from the time your young."

Back in 2006 on The View, as reported in the October 20 CyberAlert, O'Donnell claimed Bush won in 2004 by "cheating," a claim she no doubt passed along to a then-nine-year-old Parker. See: www.mrc.org

[This item was based upon a NewsBusters posting by Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]

-- Brent Baker