Kaplan's Clinton Claims; "Bravo" to Tax Hikers; Conking Connerly
1) The August 6 CyberAlert detailed the close personal and working relationship between Rick Kaplan, the new CNN President, and President Clinton. In the August 6 USA Today, TV writer Peter Johnson noted that "Kaplan has been friends with Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton for 20 years; he plays golf with the President and has stayed overnight at the White House." But, Johnson failed to tell readers anything about how Kaplan strategized with Clinton in 1992 about how the rescue his candidacy from the Gennifer Flowers revelation or how Kaplan arranged for a crucial pre-New York primary appearance on the Don Imus radio show.
Johnson relayed that Kaplan "sees no conflict between being a friend of the President's and running the country's top-rated cable news operation. 'I have 28 years of making news judgments behind me,' Kaplan said. 'And I'm not the first news executive to know a President.' He said he'd make news calls about Clinton coverage as a journalist, not a friend. 'If your job is to report, you report. Your business is your business.'"
Among Kaplan's 28 years of news judgments: his February 1992 advice to Clinton to not appear on ABC but go on a CBS show, 60 Minutes, in order to best help Clinton's campaign.
2) So, who is really responsible for leading America to a balanced budget? Those who advocated tax hikes, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider contended on last Friday's Inside Politics. Schneider cited seven people or groups he claimed made deficit reduction a priority: six of which advocated tax hikes, but just one, Phil Gramm, who argued for spending cuts. He failed to address the issue of how some of those he praised for urging a tax hike also would have (Walter Mondale) or actually did (George Bush) increase spending even faster.
Given the incredible imbalance of this piece, I'm running the whole story for you to see, as transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson since it never made it onto the CNN transcripts page.
Schneider's August 1
"Play of the Week" on Inside Politics:
"This man certainly belongs on the honor roll. Back in 1984, Walter Mondale warned Americans that the deficit carried a price."
3) If you are a liberal ABC News will give you a largely unchallenged platform to spout your views. But if you are conservative you'll get challenged and be portrayed as out of touch with your race. That's the lesson you can take from how World News Tonight presented two black men recently highlighted on its weekend "A Conversation With..." feature.
For the August 2 World News Tonight/Saturday ABC's Carole Simpson talked with, well actually argued with, Ward Connerly, leader of the effort which successfully won passage of California's Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination by eliminating racial quotas and set-asides.
Simpson opened by questioning his loyalty to his race: "May I ask you the question that all black people have wanted me to ask you, all the black people I know? Why you? Why you, leading an initiative against affirmative action?"
Next, Simpson demanded: "You've been called an Uncle Tom, an Oreo cookie. How do you respond to that?"
Connerly replied: "It concerns me that the average SAT of black students from the highest income group, $60,000 and over, is less than the average SAT of white and Asian students in the lowest income group, less than $20,000 a year. These are not kids who have been subjected to discrimination. These are not kids that are, that have been subjected to poverty. Why is this? Why is this?"
To which Simpson shot back in disgust: "You're trying to suggest to me Bell curve stuff."
Connerly: "No, I'm not."
Simpson: "That blacks are just intellectually inferior."
Connerly: "No, Miss Simpson, no one can reach that conclusion, but this is precisely why we haven't solved the problem because anytime someone throws back at you the statistics that are real, there are those who say, 'Charles Murray and the Bell curve, you're saying that we're not, that we're inferior.'"
Simpson kept up the argument: "That's what you seem to be saying. You said you don't understand it."
Simpson's next question revealed her bias: "I am an affirmative action baby. I say that proudly. Someone had to open the door for me. Are you saying that we no longer need those doors opened?"
Finally, Simpson's last question kept Connerly on the defensive: "The reality of America is there is still discrimination. How do we combat that?"
You'd never know that 40 percent of blacks in California voted for Proposition 209.
Now compare the treatment of Connerly to how ABC approached Jesse Jackson on the February 23 World News Tonight/Sunday earlier this year, a contrast tracked down thanks to the database logging of MRC analyst Gene Eliasen. ABC pegged the segment to Jackson's education "summit" in Chicago. ABC's Erin Hayes did challenge Jackson, but mildly, without the condescending attitude displayed by Simpson. And, Hayes gave Jackson at least two promotional questions that served as cues for Jackson's view. Here are all the questions posed, as transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:
"You're convinced that our crumbling schools are contributing to our overflowing prisons. Why?"
"Some people are convinced that pouring money into it [education] won't, won't help."
"It's a tremendous challenge. How do you think a three-day summit, even with some of the top educators, can turn that around?"
"I was wondering what you've seen that makes this a priority for you, I mean, what you've been seeing in the last few years."
"Some might say, 'Why you and why education?'"
-- Brent Baker