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MediaWatch: June 29, 1998

Vol. Twelve No. 10

NewsBites: Kelly's Heroes

Kelly's Heroes. Spurred by alarmist predictions from environmentalists, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell demanded that Al Gore and the federal government do more to save the seas. For the June 12 Today, O'Donnell accompanied Gore and his fellow greenies to a summit on the world's oceans in Monterey, California. On the trip Gore remotely piloted an underwater vehicle to explore "a place that many believe must be rescued by government action and money."

Every one of O'Donnell's questions to Gore came from the left. "The hundreds of scientists who are gathered here know your passion for the environment but at the same time many of them feel an urgency even an anger that more hasn't been done."

Man was portrayed as evil: "And still more evidence of man's interference. Overfishing, that has depleted a third of the world's fisheries. As someone who is going to run for President in the not too distant future, are you prepared to take on those who oppose protecting the environment, those who see protecting the ocean as maybe harming the livelihoods of those who make a living here?"

O'Donnell added: "Mr. Gore unveiled the Administration's plan: $30 million to explore the oceans, track climate changes, preserve endangered coral reefs and clean up polluted waters. In addition once secret military information, that could help civilian scientists, will be declassified. Is that enough?...While he [Gore] got a warm welcome at the ocean summit, some scientists say the new commitments don't go far enough."

Liberal Book Club. For Time magazine's June 8 issue celebrating "100 Artists & Entertainers of the Century," Senior Writer Paul Gray cited ten books that "changed minds and lives," most of which sounded like college textbooks excavated from a liberal's closet.

Gray noted the importance of Anne Frank's diary and Solzhenitsyn's chronicle of Soviet labor camps The Gulag Archipelago, but the other eight came from liberal icons, like philosopher John Dewey, Dr. Benjamin Spock, Sigmund Freud, Simone DeBeauvoir and Rachel Carson. Gray wrote of Carson's Silent Spring: "Her vivid descriptions of the ensuing damage [of poisonous fertilizers] to the environment -- including animals, birds and humans -- made ecologists of her many readers.

Gray listed leftists like economist John Maynard Keynes and his most famous text, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. Gray wrote, "By positing that government spending could revive sagging economies, Keynes rewrote the rules of free-market capitalism." Time couldn't concede Keynesianism failed to rewrite the rules of capitalism.

Gray credited Michael Harrington's 1963 work The Other America for scratching the "ingrained, persistent poverty beneath the affluent surface of U.S. life...Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty was launched by Harrington's book." Harrington wrote, "There is only one institution in the society capable of acting to end poverty. That is the federal government." Time ignored right-leaning life-changing literature like Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, or even Witness C by Whittaker Chambers, a former editor of Time magazine.

Military Modesty? On June 9, a front page Washington Post headline announced: "Army Plans Modest Makeover of Combat Divisions." Post staff writer Bradley Graham explained: "The army has decided to trim troop strength in the 18,000-soldier divisions by a modest 13 percent."

But when the Republican Congress wanted to slow the rate of increase in Medicare and Medicaid spending, the Post incorrectly labeled the legislation as containing "huge," "massive," and "large" cuts. In a 1996 MediaWatch study of print media coverage of Republican Medicare proposals, the Post led all publications surveyed with 397 uses of "cuts" and its variants in 370 stories. In the June 30, 1995 Post, reporter Judith Havemann suggested: "Think of the upcoming battle for Medicaid as though it were the battle of Manila," with more than 100,000 dead Filipino civilians. "The battle received little attention despite its enormous impact. The same thing could happen to Medicaid."