Three items today:
1. ABC's Jim Wooten uses some extremist
labeling to describe the Arizona electorate.
2. The Weekly Standard
discovers that President Clinton hired his speechwriter from
U.S. News & World Report because Clinton liked how the journalist
covered his 1992 campaign. That reporter now calls Clinton "the moral
leader of the Universe."
3. A study
determines that during the conventions network reporters took up 12 times
as much airtime as newsmakers and the networks approached the conventions
with a liberal-left tilt. Sounds like the MRC study, but it's not.
On Tuesday night's (September 17)
World News Tonight, ABC's Jim Wooten reported from Arizona on Bob Dole's
campaign. Wooten asserted:
"It's one measure of Senator
Dole's problems that he even feels it necessary to campaign here in
Arizona, Barry Goldwater's ultra- conservative backyard. But the race is
close here, quite close."
Not "usually safe for
Republicans," but "ultra-conservative." How
"ultra-conservative" exactly is Senator McCain? And if the state
is so "ultra-conservative" how could it possibly go for Clinton?
The September 23 Weekly Standard
includes a profile of chief White House speechwriter Donald Baer who had
been Assistant Managing Editor of U.S. News & World Report when he
jumped to the Clinton team in 1994. Writer Christopher Caldwell explained
how Baer got his job: "Clinton liked the articles Baer contributed to
U.S. News during the 1992 campaign. While other journalists -- David
Shribman of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Klein of New York, Ron Brownstein
of the Los Angeles Times -- ignored the more sensational aspects of the
campaign for enthusiastic grapplings with 'Clintonism,' Baer wrote with
extreme empathy about Clinton's background. "'I think it's a southern
thing' says one of Baer's journalistic colleagues, who also knows Clinton.
'Being of the South and still being rooted there, yet being driven and
ambitious enough to prove oneself in the larger world -- the two of them
have a lot in common.' While Baer has always been a loyal Democrat, he's
not necessarily a liberal. Like Clinton, he has an idiosyncratic,
instinctive, generally progressive politics that winds up at
beyond-left-and-rightism. This enthusiasm can appear like ideological
non-commitment or caginess. One New Democrat who met Baer at a dinner last
year described him as 'bland beyond description, a fount of cliches.
'Clinton was the moral leader of the Universe,' and all that.'"
Last week the MRC released its
study of prime time network coverage of the party conventions. We found
four times more extremist labels were applied to Republicans as Democrats,
but Democrats were tagged liberal twice as often as Republicans were
called conservative. In addition, virtually all of the questions to both
parties came from the left as the networks portrayed both the Republicans
and Democrats as too conservative. Last week the Center for Media and
Public Affairs also released its study. CMPA examined not prime time but
the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts during the two convention weeks.
Some of their findings:
- "Journalists continued to
crowd out the politicians, taking up 12 times as much airtime as the
newsmakers. Reporters' comments took up 75% of the speaking time in
convention stories, compared to only 6% for the four nominees. Other
party officials and delegates accounted for 10% of the airtime."
- Both parties' policies got
even worse press than their candidates -- three to 1 negative overall.
Five out of six sources (83%) criticized GOP policies, and two out of
three (67%) rejected the Democrats' stands."
The Washington Post's John
Carmody summarized the finding: "Comments on the two issues most
talked about -- abortion during the GOP meeting, welfare during the
Democrats' -- suggested a left-liberal bent."
Indeed, we couldn't have said it
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