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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| June 16, 1997 (Vol. Two; No. 88) |


Racial Imbalance; Businessmen as Murders; Letterman's Top Ten

  1. Though whites will still make up over 50 percent of the population in 2050, CBS claims "there will be no majority race."
  2. Welfare reform and the balanced budget bill all impede the best way to improve the racial climate: more spending. So says Ken Bode.
  3. If test scores deny certain minorities the chance for law school, an ABC News story contended, then only Whites and Asians should be admitted based upon them.
  4. The MRC's Free Market Project releases a new study of prime time which documents how "TV businessmen commit more crimes than those in any other occupation."
  5. Letterman's "Top Ten President Clinton Summer Fun Tips."

Reminder: If you wish to receive the Parents Television Council's e-mail entertainment reports, send a message to:ent-cyber-request@list.us.net. Put "subscribe" in the BODY of the message, not in the subject line. The next PTC report will be sent on Tuesday.

1) Is CBS mathematically challenged? Following a June 14 CBS Evening News story on President Clinton's University of California at San Diego speech on race, anchor Paula Zahn asserted:

"In his speech the President reminded the nation that 50 years from now there will be no majority race. Right now whites make up more than 73 percent of the population, but next century that number will shrink to 50 percent while all minority groups will continue to grow."

Maybe in 60 years. As she spoke, viewers saw two tables. First, one for the breakdown in 1997:
Hispanic: 10.2%
Asian: 2.8%
White: 73.6%
Black: 12%

Then, a table predicting the breakdown in 2050:
Hispanic: 25.7%
Asian: 9.2%
White: 50.5%
Black: 13.8%

"No majority race"? Isn't 50.5 percent a majority? Maybe CBS is applying some sort of "math norming."

2) Too much government, as in enforcing school monopolies and discriminatory policies like affirmative action, isn't the problem that America must address. To former NBC News reporter and Morris Udall aide Ken Bode, more government and spending is solution to racial problems. Referring to the White House, on Friday's (June 13) Washington Week in Review on PBS, moderator Bode relayed:

"When you ask them what the President's really done on race they talk about the Memphis speech, they talk about the church burning speech, they talk about the 'mend it but don't end it' and what have you, but really, if you look at the welfare bill he signed and you look at the budget deal right now which gives you very little opportunity for much money for jobs in the inner-cities and things like that, or job training and what have you, it reminds me of an old Texas saying that 'it's all hat and no cattle.' You know. That there really isn't much possible that's going to be done by the government, it's all Clinton."

3) The networks appear incapable of producing a balanced story on the reduction in the number of blacks and Hispanics entering California's public university system after Prop. 209 banned racial preferences. As detailed in the May 22 CyberAlert, the May 16 CBS Evening News aired a one-sided piece on fewer minorities being admitted to medical school.

Last Thursday, June 12, ABC's World News Tonight produced an equally unbalanced look at the UCLA law school. Instead of portraying the drop as proof that many unqualified minorities were being admitted, ABC argued that if standardized tests work against minorities then only non-minorities should be admitted based on them. As with CBS, ABC included a soundbite from Ward Connerly, but countered it with many more soundbites and arguments from the pro-double standard side.

Here's what ABC viewers heard, as transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:

Forrest Sawyer: "We're going to take a closer look tonight at one of the issues Mr. Clinton will find very much on Californians' minds: affirmative action programs, which give minorities and women special consideration. For the first time in 30 years, graduate schools in the California university system may no longer use race as a factor in deciding admissions. ABC's Aaron Brown tonight on what that means at one campus."

Aaron Brown: "Without affirmative action, Paul Watford acknowledges he never would have been admitted to UCLA's law school, where he did extremely well, finishing fourth in his class. That led to a job clerking for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which led to a prestigious job as a criminal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's office."

Paul Watford: "Those kinds of opportunities would not have been available to me, even if I had been a star at a lower ranked law school."

Brown: "John McKinney, orphaned at five, didn't have the test scores either, but UCLA admitted black students who showed promise, not just admissions test performance."

John McKinney: "The LSAT, it's a standardized test, it's not well-tailored to ferreting out talent and ability. That test works to the detriment of African-American and Latino students, especially African-American students."

Brown: "McKinney, who graduated last month, is like most black law students in the United States. A New York University Law Review study shows that of the more than 3,400 African-Americans accepted to law schools in the United States in 1991, only 687, 20 percent, would have been admitted based on test scores and grades alone. But that same study shows that once admitted, there is no significant difference in how they performed. Now banned from considering race, UCLA tried giving economic disadvantage extra weight, but it didn't work. Only 21 black applicants were accepted, an 80 percent drop."

Michael Rappaport, UCLA Dean of Admissions: "There is no substitute for consideration of race if you're trying to expand the size of the minority pool."

Brown: "Without racial preferences, the nation's largest public university system is going to produce but a handful of black lawyers from its best schools. UCLA thinks it will be lucky if 10 blacks enroll in the fall. And because no one knows exactly why blacks score lower on admissions tests, no one knows exactly how to fix it. Ward Connerly, who led the movement to end racial preferences in California, hopes more blacks will now come to see that only hard work, not preferences, will get them a seat at one of life's most important tables."

Ward Connerly: "The numbers are going to go down, and we may end up sacrificing a generation of preference-beneficiaries in order to start doing it the right way."

Brown: "And by next year the numbers will be even more troubling when the ban on racial preferences, which this year applied to the law school, applies to the entire undergraduate system, as well. Aaron Brown, ABC News, Los Angeles."

If there's "no significant difference" in how those who did and did not meet test requirements fared, then why not just eliminate test scores for everyone? I'm waiting to see the first network story, prompted by Clinton's speech, that examines why blacks score worse and what can be done about it. But it's a lot harder take on illegitimacy and the NEA than to just disregard the rules for some in order to achieve an equal outcome.

4) On Monday, June 16, the MRC's Free Market Project is releasing a special report detailing how businessmen are portrayed on prime time television. In short, they are not depicted very well as they commit more crimes, including murder, than any other identifiable profession.

Researched and written by Tim Lamer and Alice Lynn O'Steen, the study titled "Businessmen Behaving Badly" will be featured in a story in the July 7 edition of Fortune magazine out this week.

Here's the cover page summary of the special report's findings:

What kind of messages about business and the American workplace does prime time television send to viewers? To find out, the Free Market Project of the Media Research Center (MRC) analyzed 17 weeks of prime time fare over 26 months -- a total of 863 sitcoms, dramas, and made-for-TV movies on ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox. The MRC found that:

-- TV businessmen commit more crimes than those in any other occupation. Of the 514 criminals on TV during the study period, 150 (29.2 percent) were business owners or executives. Only 50 (9.7 percent) were career criminals. Twenty-one doctors committed crimes (4.1 percent), followed by 20 government officials (3.9 percent) and 18 police officers (3.5 percent); lawyers were the guilty party only five times (one percent).

-- TV businessmen murder more than others, too. Business characters weren't mere petty criminals. Of the 214 murderers, 65 (30.4 percent) were business owners or executives. Career criminals were next with 21 TV murders (9.8 percent); TV doctors, government officials and police officers each murdered nine times (4.2 percent each).

-- TV businessmen are more likely to cheat than to contribute to society. Of the 731 business characters, 210 (28.7 percent) cheated to get ahead. Only 183 (25 percent) were shown meeting the needs of society through their work.

-- TV big businessmen are more contemptible than TV small businessmen. Of 65 business murderers, 47 (72.3 percent) were big businessmen; 139 of 302 (46 percent) big businessmen cheated to get ahead, while only 71 of 424 (16.7 percent) small businessmen cheated to get ahead; 28 (9.3 percent) big business characters had careers which contributed to society, compared to 155 (36.6 percent) small business characters.

-- TV is unfriendly to the American workplace in general. More characters used such means as sex, backstabbing, or knowing the right person to advance their careers (90) than relied on such means as education or hard work (68).

MRC Web manager Joe Alfonsi has put the entire report, with examples, graphs and tables, online. It can be accessed through the MRC's Web page or through the Free Market Project's page: http://www.freemarketproject.org

The direct address for the full report: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/1997/sr19970616.asp

Questions and comments about the special report can be addressed to Tim Lamer, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project: tlamer@mediaresearch.org.

5) From the June 12 Late Show with David Letterman, "Top Ten President Clinton Summer Fun Tips." Copyright 1997 by Worldwide Pants, Incorporated.

10. If you use Crisco instead of suntan lotion, you can fry burgers on your chest

9. "Accidentally" lose trunks in White House pool

8. Show slides of your camping trip on your pasty white thighs

7. Try using a cooling electric fan to shred Whitewater documents

6. Enjoy the refreshing chill when you get in bed with Hillary

5. After a day in the woods, hire a 15-man search party to check your entire body for ticks

4. Get some exercise dodging subpoenas from Paula Jones

3. Don't go swimming until half an hour after receiving illegal campaign contributions

2. Make friends at the beach by providing shade with your enormous ass

1. Leftover gravy + freezer = gravy-sicle!

Three of the ten Top Ten items, 30 percent, deal with a Clinton scandal. That's greater coverage than on the evening news.

-- Brent Baker




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