From San Diego***
Women Scared by GOP
Policies | Reporters claim GOP members are "Extemists"
| Bias from Byrant Gumbel | The GOP
and Taxes | Response to Kay Bailey Hutchison
| Who they didn't Cover | GOP
accused of insensitivity on the rape issue
Quote of the Day
"It was grand TV, well-
scripted, well-staged, craftily designed for a broadcast image of
tolerance and diversity that's starkly at odds with reality."
ABC News reporter Jim Wooten
talking about Colin Powell's speech, August 13 World News Tonight.
This daily analysis of television
network coverage of the party conventions is part of the Media Research
Center's Media Reality Check '96 project. Our goal is to document and
counter the media's liberal bias during the campaign.
Each day of the two political
conventions the MRC will produce this newsletter documenting any bias in
network coverage, specifically in the use of labels and the agenda of
questions and topics raised. Much of our Media Reality Check '96
material, including this daily newsletter and newsletters from our news
division, entertainment division, and Free Market Project, is available at
the MRC Web site. Go to: http://www. mediaresearch.org. Other Media
Reality Check '96 projects:
- Fax Reports: Two-page
updates documenting biased reporting and detailing study results
proving bias will be sent periodically via fax to a list of over 1,500
journalists, talk show hosts, columnists, magazine writers and
- CyberAlerts: Several
times each week the MRC is delivering e-mail alerts on the latest
biased quotes and trends. To sign up, send your e-mail address to:
- Booth: Please visit our
booth in the exhibition hall in the upper level of the San Diego
Convention Center. The booth has complimentary copies of our
newsletters, "I Don't Believe the Liberal Media" pens,
bumper stickers and magnets, as well as:
- T-shirts: Pick up a
"Team Clinton ¾ The Starting Line-Up of the Pro-Clinton Press
Corps" T-shirt with a drawing of Peter Jennings, Dan Rather and
Bryant Gumbel on the front.
- Quote book: Get a
complimentary copy of our just published Team Clinton booklet, with
quotes displaying liberal bias from 28 television media stars. Plus,
polls showing liberal views of reporters.
- Clinton book: For a
detailed analysis of how the media have promoted and protected Bill
Clinton, get a copy of Pattern of Deception.
Naturally Scared by Republican Policies
Supposed GOP intolerance and how
Republican policies scare women dominated interviews on Tuesday's Today
and Good Morning America.
Talking to Susan Molinari,
Christine Todd Whittman and Kay Bailey Hutchison, GMA's Charlie Gibson
laid out why women are turned off by Republicans: "It was the
Republican Party that did take the lead on ending federal welfare payments
as they have been traditionally paid over the last 50 to 60 years and the
prime beneficiaries of that are women. It is the Republican Party that
took the lead on reducing the rate of growth in Medicare and Medicaid. It
is the Republican Party now that is trying to make an issue of denying
education and benefits to the children of illegal immigrants. It is the
Republican Party that has rejected in the last week or so, tolerance
language on abortion in the platform."
Then he asked: "There was an
attempt by some in the platform hearings to get language included in the
platform that simply asked for toleration of dissenting views particularly
on abortion. It was language that Bob Dole wanted in the platform. The
party rejected him, it rejected your views, all three of you in this, is
this a tolerant party, do you feel comfortable in it with its position on
Quizzing Colin Powell on Today,
Katie Couric queried: "Does the party platform trouble you? Does the
fact that that some of these governors opted not to speak because they
were told they could not discuss their views on abortion, do all those
things make you basically doubt that this is a big tent here?"
Tom Brokaw wondered: "Gen.
Powell, the difference between having a position in your heart and
campaigning on something as Jack Kemp now is going to be forced to do, is
going to say to a lot of black Americans and a lot of people who feel that
they are denied full access to the privilege of being a citizen in this
country, `that's just utter hypocrisy.' What is there in this platform
or in this party tonight that says to the rest of the African- Americans
out there, come on in, there's a place for you?"
Stick to "Extremist" Labels on Republicans
Media Echoes of
Using the description
"extreme" to tar the Republican party did not begin in the convention
aisles of San Diego, but in the sullen liberal reaction to the
Republicans' electoral sweep in 1994. Clinton consultant Dick Morris
advised his White House clients to tag their opponents as "extremist"
while at the same time stealing many of their positions. The media echoed
the Morris strategy. MediaWatch analysts used the Nexis news data
retrieval system to search for the word "extreme" within 25 words of
"Republican" or "Democrat" in the three news magazines
(Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News & World Report) and USA Today from
January 1, 1993 to May 31, 1996.
Analysts discovered reporters did
not use many extremist labels in 1993 and 1994 ¾ 41 ¾ but 26 of those
were applied to Republicans, compared to ten mentions of dual extremes and
only five for the Democrats who ruled both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
Liberal moves to insure abortion on demand, gays in the military,
nationalized health care, and massive tax increases weren't beyond the
But in the first 17 months of GOP
control, Republicans were described as "extreme" in 123 stories,
while only 15 found "extremes" on both sides. Just two mentioned
"extreme" Democrats. In total, these six print outlets employed
149 extreme labels for Republicans to just seven for the Democrats.
USA Today's Richard Benedetto
exemplified reporting on Republican extremism on June 16, 1995:
"Democrats are trying to keep a stiff upper lip as they continue to
oppose `extreme' GOP cuts." Many of these were attributed to
Democrats, but more than 20 came directly from reporters, such as Gloria
Borger's March 11, 1996 U.S. News suggestion that "taking on
Buchananism would be good for Gingrich. Recall that until Buchanan surged,
Gingrich was Washington's resident extremist."
U.S. News & World Report
reporter Kenneth Walsh claimed on March 25, 1996: "Clinton's feuds
with some allies will make it harder to label him a liberal extremist,
George Bush in 1988 caricatured Michael Dukakis." On October 27,
1995, Walsh happily noted: "President Clinton, playing Horatius at
the bridge against the Republican hordes, is finally winning some
favorable reviews. Democrats are rallying to his side as he defends the
poor and elderly against GOP `extremism.'"
The "extreme" pattern
also occurred in television coverage of the 1996 presidential primaries.
MediaWatch analysts studied the application of labels in primary stories
from a week before the New Hampshire primary (February 13) to the South
Carolina primary (March 2). Republicans and their supporters were labeled
on 73 occasions ¾ 45 of those extreme labels, almost all applied to Pat
Buchanan. On February 25, 1996, CBS weekend anchor John Roberts asked
consultant Joe Klein: "Some call Buchanan an extremist. Others call
him American as apple pie. What is this fellow's appeal?" Answered
Klein: "He is both. He is an extremist and as American as apple
pie." Using the same research parameters for a similar three-week
period during the 1992 Democratic primaries, featuring ultraliberals like
Tom Harkin and Jerry Brown, reporters used no extremist labels and only
four applications of "liberal," all in the first two days of the
In 1995, the networks introduced
GOP presidential candidates by noting their "extremism." In 40
network stories introducing potential Republican challengers to Clinton,
network reporters used 54 labels, 49 of which were
"conservative" or more extreme. In fact, 19 labels, or 35
percent of the total, were labels such as "right," "far
right," "hard right," "hard-line,"
"extremist," 'Republican fringe," and
"ultraconservative fringe." On the February 24, 1995 CBS Evening
News, reporter Linda Douglass alleged: "For years, critics have
called [Sen. Phil] Gramm an extremist. But he argues these days his ideas
are in the mainstream." In 27 stories introducing the Democratic
candidates in 1991, none ever used an extreme term like "far
left" or "ultraliberal."
Gumbel Scolds Delegates for Lack of Inclusion But NBC Calls GOP-TV Unfair
To keep "out what officials
call the biased liberal media," NBC's Bob Faw reported Tuesday morning
the RNC launched GOP-TV to provide complete convention coverage. Faw
asserted: "What GOP TV calls unfiltered, doesn't even begin to pay
lip service to balance or fairness." NBC should know.
Here's how Bryant Gumbel opened
the Tuesday Today: "Good morning. Retired general Colin Powell, a new
recruit to the GOP cause, addressed the delegates in San Diego last night,
drawing cheers with accounts of why he became a Republican and why he'll
vote for Bob Dole. But although his speech was generally well- received,
the reception was restrained, and there were boos whenever Powell steered
away from the right. Though they booed and also heckled dissent,
Republicans claimed the mantle of inclusion throughout the first night of
their convention. We can expect more of the same today, Tuesday, August
13, 1996." Guess which network scares journalists? Faw reported that
"Jonathan Alter of Newsweek thinks GOP TV has started something
deceptive and unwholesome." Alter explained: "It is political
propaganda, masquarading as news, and that's a problem."
Political propaganda masquerading
as news? Sounds like Bryant Gumbel.
Officials Grilled by Network Reporters A Tax
The credibility of Bob Dole's
tax cut proposal arose as a topic for skeptical questions Tuesday night.
On PBS, referring to a Concord
Coalition official, Margaret Warner inquired of Dole economist John
Taylor: "Does Martha Phillips have a point that it's hard to
credibly make the case that you can both cut taxes and balance the
NBC's Maria Shriver asked New
Jersey Governor Christie Todd Whitman: "Bill Clinton has said that
Bob Dole's proposal for the economy would end up crippling the economy,
balloon the deficit. Why is he wrong?"
Early in the evening, Tom Brokaw
demanded of Virginia's George Allen: "Governor, are you not at all
concerned about what happens to the federal deficit, which is a major,
major concern for most of the delegates at this convention, based on the
polling that we've done, if Bob Dole is able to put into effect his 15
percent tax cut?"
And: "But if you say to your
constituents in the state of Virginia, Listen, we're going to cut it by
15 percent, taxes, but I can't touch 60 percent of the budget that
we're dealing with here, and that's the reality that's facing Bob
Dole because of Medicare and defense spending and other things, do you
think that we can get home-free here in seven years and balance the
Speech Tagged "Dangerous" by NBC: Republicans Pummeled from the
"Tonight they're ready to
take on the Clinton record and try to convince a lot of undecided voters
that this party is more inclusive than its reputation," Peter
Jennings announced at the start of ABC's convention coverage Tuesday
night. But the networks wouldn't let the Republicans succeed. NBC Nightly
News on Tuesday night devoted its "In Depth" segment to "a
major problem for the GOP, the gender gap, moderate women feeling left
A few hours later NBC's Tim
Russert relayed as accurate the Democratic analysis of the address by
Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. He charged: "Key words:
Mean-spirited and extremist. They want to avoid those labels. They have
thus far after two days and that's why you're not going to see Newt
Gingrich in prime time tonight. I think the speech by Senator Hutchison of
Texas is dangerous, Tom, because she uses words that could be interpreted
by some people as mean."
Before the speech, Dan Rather
offered a classic Ratherism: "Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has now
come out to the podium. She's expected to hit President Clinton,
rhetorically, with everything short of a tire tube." But for the
second night in a row Republicans were bombarded with questions and
analysis that portrayed them as extreme and intolerant of anything outside
their "rigid" views.
The networks peppered the
Republicans with questions from the liberal agenda. While the majority of
questions dwelled on poll numbers and tactical gambits, interviews in the
first two nights of prime-time network coverage featured 35 questions and
statements from the left, to only four from the right. The evening
newscasts contained eight liberal questions to zero conservative
inquiries. One observation from the right last night: CNN's Judy Woodruff
noting that "as a pro-life delegate said to me this morning..'I was
interested in what Colin Powell had to say last night but I'm wondering
when we're going to hear from a pro-liife point of view at the
podium?'" For liberal questions, see pages 2 and 3.
on gender gap and intolerance on abortion as reporters suggested it's
rational for women to not back the GOP.
In their "coverage" of
the convention last night, none of the three broadcast networks gave any
live airtime to prime time speeches by Reps. John Kasich and J.C. Watts
and Gov. Christie Whitman. While ABC and CBS did show Sen. Kay Bailey
Hutchison's speech in its entirety, NBC aired less than 2.5 minutes of
it. While Hutchison was still speaking, NBC cut to Tim Russert, who gave
the Democratic "rapid response" to it ¾ even before it was
Russert quoted the Democrats'
press release: "Once again the Republicans have showed the face of
Bob Dole and Newt Gingrich's Republican Party through Sen. Hutchison's
speech. It is nasty, gratuitous attacks against the President of the
United States and mean-spirited." According to Russert, Hutchison
gave the Democrats "what they wanted in order to respond in this
way." Viewers just had to take his word for it.
Summary or Pillory?
Tuesday's New York Times
"convention summary" trashed the GOP platform: "The one
adopted yesterday is extremely conservative, careening to the right on
social issues like immigration, welfare, and homosexual rights, and
omitting the word 'tolerance' in an unbending abortion plank that fueled
weeks of bitter intraparty debate."
Two CBS Spins on Powell
Monday night Dan Rather said:
"General Colin Powell was generally applauded by most of the
delegates. There was a point, however, when he was clearly booed by many
of the delegates in this hall. It wasn't just a case of scattered boos
when Colin Powell said `I support a woman's right to choose' on
abortion, and `I'm a supporter of affirmative action.' That's the
point when the boos came."
On Tuesday's CBS This Morning
co-host Jose Diaz-Balart delivered a different take: "General Colin
Powell was the four-star hero of the evening, moving the crowd to numerous
standing ovations and even cheers for his most controversial
Attention Bill Paxon
Keynote speaker Susan Molinari
isn't married? During Tuesday's World News Tonight anchor Peter
Jennings posed this question to an ABC reporter: "I want to go down
to the floor for a moment to ask a fairly important question of Michel
McQueen. Susan Molinari: single, white professional woman is going to be
up there. You could argue that she's going to look out of place in some
respects at this convention, couldn't you?" A few minutes later
Jennings admitted he had `goofed.'
A Bit of Media Intolerance?
As three MRC employees were
leaving the Horton Grand Hotel in San Diego on Tuesday, they were
approached by a woman wearing a Dateline NBC hat, traveling with three
credentialed NBC cameramen. She inquired if their `Team Clinton' T-shirts
were pro-Clinton, to which one MRC employee replied, "No, you have to
read the whole thing." After she read the `pro-Clinton press corps'
caption on the shirt featuring a drawing of three TV anchors, she quipped,
"Oh, they're anti-media. I guess the term `extremist' still fits,
Called Unconcerned About Rape
Victims: Another Round of Media Intolerance
Prime time and the evening news
shows again emphasized how the Republican Party is shutting out pro-choicers
and on how women are turned off by the party's stands. See page one for a
tally on the agenda of questions.
Keynoter Susan Molinari got
grilled from the left by Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News: After asking
about how women can relate to a platform that's "pretty rigid in its
language on abortion," he posed this question: "In the
convention hall itself tonight, as you try to reach out to American women
across all spectrums of American life, you have here a delegates [sic] by
a factor of two to one, white males, many of whom are making more than
$100,000 a year. Doesn't that make it difficult for a lot of American
women to identify with...."
Just after rape victim Jan
Licence's speech on victim's rights last night, NBC's Maria Shriver
seemed baffled: "But why [speak out] at a Republican convention? So
many people have said that they don't think this ticket, or perhaps this
party, is supportive of women's issues. Why make this stand here?"
Tom Brokaw interviewed Licence later and asked: "Do you think -- this
is a party that is dominated by men and this convention is dominated by
men as well...Do you think before tonight they thought very much about
what happens in America with rape?"
ABC's Peter Jennings endorsed the
"rights" spin of women who oppose the GOP's abortion plank:
"Polls commissioned by the Republican party show they have lost
nearly ten percent of women since they have voted the Republican majority
into the 104th Congress in 1994. The right to abortion has never been an
over- whelming issue for women at election time. But this fight within the
Republican party has many Republican women questioning how far this party
is willing to go to limit their rights."
Michel McQueen of ABC found the
Democratic quota system to be better: "When you go to the Democratic
convention in Chicago in two weeks you'll see that half the delegates on
the floor are women. And that's a powerful message when half the voters
are women. But dramatically it's also true that women have not responded
well to a message that at times been considered too harsh, too mean." --
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