Three items today:
1) Another media
star concedes liberal bias.
2) But NBC News
correspondent Gwen Ifill denies any campaign bias as she and Tom Brokaw
denounce the free TV air time idea.
3) FOB Rick Kaplan
pulls in a favor for ABC from Bill Clinton.
On CNBC's "Politics with Chris Matthews" Tuesday night (May 21),
a caller asked ABC Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson about
liberal bias and how it might impact Dole. MRC intern Jessica Anderson
transcribed Gibson's response:
"I don't deny for a minute that I think that
the basic political bent of most reporters is probably to the liberal
side. Do, you know, do people try, David Brinkley always says there's no
such thing as objectivity, there are just lesser degrees of subjectivity.
Reporters try to get around that. I think, I don't think that's a
particular problem for Bob Dole, I really don't. I mean if, you know, if
it was, if it was so overwhelming, the press's influence, you know, why
did we have the results we had in 1994? But, but is the press
intrinsically liberal? Yeah, probably."
In Wednesday's (May 22) Philadelphia Inquirer, TV Talk reporter Gail
Shister quotes a few network leaders denouncing the idea of giving
presidential candidates some free air time. "'Flavor of the month,'
sniffs NBC anchor Tom Brokaw....In Brokaw's view, candidates already get
much exposure on networks news shows."
I recall a Center for Media and Public Affairs
study earlier this year found candidate soundbites averaging eight
Shister continued: "ABC World News Tonight
chief Kathryn Christensen agrees with her NBC competitor. 'Generally, I'm
not comfortable with unfiltered air time on the networks'....Like Brokaw,
Christensen says that giving candidates an open forum, minus journalists,
could cause the so-called forums to degenerate into the same kind of
'attack ads' reformers are trying to abolish."
And network news is so positive!
But not to worry, the networks aren't biased, so
the public will get the full story. NBC's Gwen Ifill told Shister:
"I don't think journalists get in the way of
a story. Five minutes of somebody just talking is fine, but I'm not
sure it will accomplish what it sets out to accomplish. My problem is that
the premise out there is thatcoverage has been unbelievably biased or
Rick Kaplan is back and using his Clinton connection to help ABC. As you
may remember, during the 1992 campaign, Rick Kaplan, a FOB and at that
time the Executive Producer of ABC's Prime Time Live, advised Clinton on
how to handle the Gennifer Flowers story. As we wrote in MediaWatch:
"'Clinton called Kaplan for advice' Los Angeles Times reporter Tom
Rosenstiel recounted in his campaign book Strange Bedfellows. On the way
to the airport, Clinton made another call to Kaplan and the 'night ended
for Kaplan at 4am, when Clinton called one last time.'" It was also
reported that Kaplan arranged Clinton's pre-New York primary appearance on
the Don Imus Show. In 1994 Kaplan became Executive Producer of World News
Tonight, but he left that slot a few months ago.
USA Today's Peter Johnson reported May 22:
"President Clinton taped a video gag for the fall schedule show ABC
made to advertisers Monday. Hubba, hubba, getting Bubba, so to speak.
Actually, Clinton did it all at the request of ABC's Rick Kaplan, a pal
who produced the show."
the two-hour CBS special "Cronkite Remembers" airs Thursday
night May 23.
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