One item in this MRC Alert:
> John Chancellor is being
praised for his fairness, but a review of his commentaries show he used his
position to promote liberal ideas and attack conservatives.
As you may know, NBC News veteran
John Chancellor passed away at age 68 on Friday evening. From 1970 to 1982
he anchored the NBC Nightly News, then provided commentary through 1993.
During the Johnson Administration he presided over the Voice of America.
His passing has generated a series of tributes to his fairness and
impartiality from his media colleagues. On the July 13 NBC Nightly News,
for instance, anchor Brian Williams observed: "He was a role model
for all who care about truth, justice and fairness. John Chancellor died
last night of cancer, two days short of his 69th birthday. He helped
define what TV news should be."
Let's take a look at the views
expressed in some of his Nightly News commentaries in the late 1980s and
-- April 17, 1990: "The
overall tax burden for Americans, federal, state, and local, is actually
quite low....The fact is Americans could pay more taxes and the country
wouldn't go down the tube. Taxpayers don't believe this because they are
being conned by the politicians...The truth is that the United States
needs higher taxes and can afford them. Some political leaders are now
starting to say that, but until more say it, the country will remain in
-- August 21, 1991, on the Soviet
Union: "It's short of soap, so there are lice in hospitals. It's
short of pantyhose, so women's legs go bare. It's short snowsuits, so
babies stay home in winter....The problem isn't communism; nobody even
talked about communism this week. The problem is shortages."
-- March 12, 1992: "Greenpeace,
the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll,
civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as
198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The
disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing. And that's commentary for
this evening, Tom."
-- Election night, 1992, looking
back at the Republican convention: "I think that the convention --
and certainly all the polling data indicates this -- offended a lot of
women, offended a lot of people in the country who thought it was too
religious and too hard-edged."
-- February 16, 1993: "There
is no mystery in how [the deficit] can be brought down...the U.S. simply
has to choose from a menu of unpalatable options that include deeper cuts
in defense spending, tougher controls on medical services, higher taxes on
federal pensions, and a broad-based tax on energy or consumption,
preferably both. We know how to do this. Impose measures already
commonplace in other industrialized countries. The weapons are there. It's
the will to use them that's the problem."
-- April 30, 1992, after the Los
Angeles riots: "It's not a big surprise that the jury in suburban
Simi Valley sided with the white policemen. Just as it's no surprise that
the blacks in downtown Los Angeles rioted and people died....Politicians
have fanned these flames with code words about `welfare queens,' `equal
opportunity,' and `quotas.' Language designed to turn whites against
blacks. With two-party politics that favored the rich and hurt everyone
-- November 20, 1990: "Some
say Ronald Reagan won the Cold War by spending so much on defense that the
Kremlin went bankrupt trying to keep up. That won't wash. During Reagan's
presidency the United States itself became a bankrupt country."
-- November 7, 1990: "The
fact is that most government spending cannot be cut. The way out of the
mess is for the government to raise some money through taxes and at last
that's being done. And there's encouraging news in the returns from
yesterday's elections. Six states from Massachusetts to California
rejected measures designed to limit taxation. Can it be that the great tax
revolt of the 1980s is coming to an end? If true, maybe the country can
get on with the business of balancing its books in a sensible and logical
-- June 20, 1989: "Thousands
may have been gunned down in Beijing, but what about the millions of
American kids whose lives are being ruined by an enormous failure of the
country's educational system...We can and we should agonize about the dead
students in Beijing, but we've got a much bigger problem here at
-- Finally, here's the July 1990
MediaWatch newsbite on Chancellor's 1990 book. He's no fan of Ronald
Once anchor of NBC Nightly News,
John Chancellor now offers his opinions thrice weekly. His commentaries
have recently been distilled into a book on what's wrong with America,
Peril and Promise.
So what's wrong? The deficit,
which he attributed to a Reagan recipe of "big tax cuts, big
increases in defense spending, and a hair curling recession."
Pardoned from blame: congressional mismanagement. And though federal
revenues went up swiftly in the '80s, Chancellor remembered only that
"cuts in taxes and domestic spending resulted in the first
redistribution of income in favor of the affluent since the 1920s and a
reduction of the federal government's obligation to the poor."
Another Reagan error was the Grenada liberation which Chancellor called
"a sham triumph," a "tragicomedy," which "might
not have been necessary."
Chancellor harped on America's
faults for 130 pages, but dedicated fewer than 40 pages to suggesting
solutions. He called his remedies to America's woes neither conservative
nor liberal, yet higher taxes remained the pillar of his plan. Another
major objective: mobilization of a national corps of volunteers because
"The poor and disadvantaged need help, especially after the cutbacks
in social services during the Reagan years."
I'll be sending another e-mail
late tonight with some more recent bias from Sam Donaldson and coverage of
Dole and the NAACP.
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe