Fewer Conservative Journalists; Disney Appeases Liberals
- More budget
balderdash about imaginary "cuts."
- An ABC e-mail
suggests likely future GMA host Elizabeth Vargas has quite an ego,
demanding an on-scene hair stylist and expecting everyone to
accommodate her late arrivals.
- The number of
conservatives in newsrooms fell by a third between 1986 and 1996
according to a national poll of journalists.
- Disney may
resist conservative calls for programming changes, but they fired
a conservative talk host so as to appease liberals.
1) Misleading Headline of the
Week, caught by MRC news analyst Clay Waters -- from a June 24 AP
story featured on the Chicago Tribune Web site:
"Senate Beginning Votes on Huge Budget-Cutting Bill"
2) Prima Donna Watch. Better
watch what you say in e-mail. It can cause some embarrassment. Two
a) Good Morning America news
reader Elizabeth Vargas, the June 14 TV Guide noted, "is high on
the list of possible successors to outgoing Good Morning America
co-host Joan Lunden." But it doesn't look like the off-camera
staff is pulling for her to be picked to fill the opening. TV Guide
relayed the highlights of "an internal GMA e-mail memo"
about Vargas. "According to the 'high priority' February 21 memo
that went out to GMA associate producers, the following are things to
keep in mind when working with Vargas:"
-- "Two-camera shoots
whenever it involves her interviewing somebody." TV Guide
explained that "multi-camera shoots are reserved for news stars
to make them more a part of the story."
-- "Hair and makeup at
-- "Use [Vargas]
only...where it is vital to the piece that she be there. In other
words...she doesn't want to be there if you're shooting B-roll."
TV Guide elaborated "that means Vargas has better things to do
while background footage is being shot."
-- Always anticipate that she
will be running a little late (15-20 minutes)."
b) Meanwhile, MRC news
analyst Steve Kaminski noticed that the June 9 Newsweek ran a
correction to a Newsweek item on a NBC e-mail message that was
highlighted in the April 24 CyberAlert. The April 28 Newsweek reported
that Dateline NBC co-host Stone Phillips was none too pleased with an
e-mail message he received. Newsweek reported in April:
"Love your butt, that
was the gist of the intra office e-mail that flashed across the
computer screen of Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips...Phillips...was
not amused, especially since the identification tag at the end of the
note belonged to a young (fairly low-level) female staffer with whom
he had little contact. So the upright anchor confronted her and
demanded an explanation. The bewildered desk assistant protested her
innocence -- she barely knew Phillips, much less his buns. So who was
the real source of the naughty note? None other than that chipper
prankster Katie Couric, co-host of the Today show."
"In fact, Phillips knew all along that Couric was the author of
the note, and did not confront the staffer. Newsweek obtained
erroneous confirmation of the incident from NBC. Newsweek regrets the
3) With the constant flow of
daily bias, I never reported in April the results of a new poll of
journalists that, surprise, surprise, proved they are more liberal
than ever. So here's an excerpt from a May MediaWatch article which
highlighted the key findings:
Liberals Rule Newsrooms
Newspaper staffs have become
even less conservative over the past eight years, a poll for the
American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) found. Last fall, ASNE
polled 1,037 journalists at 61 papers of all sizes. Released in April,
The Newspaper Journalists of the 90s report discovered:
-- "In 1996 only 15
percent of the newsroom labeled itself conservative/Republican or
leaning in that direction, down from 22 percent in 1988" when the
ASNE last conducted a comprehensive survey. Those identifying
themselves as independent jumped from 17 to 24 percent while the
percent calling themselves "liberal/Democrat" or
"lean" that way held steady, down one point to 61 percent.
-- The bigger the paper, the
more liberal the staff: "On papers of at least 50,000
circulation, 65 percent of the staffs are liberal/Democrat or lean
that way. The split at papers of less than 50,000 is less pronounced:
still predominantly liberal, but 51-23 percent."
-- "Women are more
likely than men to fall into one of the liberal/Democrat
categories," as just 11 percent said they were conservative or
leaned that way. Minorities "tend to be more
liberal/Democrat," with a piddling 3 percent of blacks and 8
percent of Asians and Hispanics putting themselves on the right. The
least liberal: 20 percent of those 50-plus in age were conservative or
leaned that way.
Ideological imbalance isn't a
concern, however, to ASNE which believes skin color and sex has the
most impact on reporting. The poll plugged in three groups as
responders were asked "How would you describe your newspaper's
commitment to...." The three: "ethnic and race
diversity," "gender diversity," and "fairness on
So how did the media
establishment react to this latest evidence that reporters
overwhelming view the world through a liberal prism? The poll numbers
led a media think tank leader to pen an article titled, "The Myth
of the Liberal Slant." To learn more about that, read the entire
article from MediaWatch. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/mediawatch/1997/mw0597p8.html
You can read all of the January through May MediaWatch articles at:
4) Disney is willing to
sacrifice profit if content offends those at the top of the corporate
structure, at least if the content is conservative and disturbs
A little background: The
Southern Baptist Convention voted last week to launch a boycott of
Disney because of the company's liberal social messages, such as the
famous Ellen episode. In a speech in Washington last Friday, Michael
Medved, a conservative movie critic and KVI in Seattle talk show host,
called the boycott "a profound mistake." Medved contended
that the move only re-enforces the image of conservatives as
intolerant and targets one of the few entertainment companies that
produces family-friendly entertainment. Whether you agree or not, an
item I came across about Disney's WABC Radio should give some
ammunition to the Southern Baptists who say Disney could alter content
if it really wished.
Disney of course argues that
it just follows the market and produces what people want to see and
read. Indeed, Ellen was a ratings bonanza. But does Disney always put
profit ahead of judging the appropriateness of its products or
resisting pressure from outside groups?
In April, 1996 WABC Radio in
New York City fired afternoon talk show host Bob Grant after he made a
distasteful joke about the plane-crash death of Commerce Secretary Ron
Brown. Over the years he had uttered numerous comments that upset
liberals who labeled him a racist. In the June 19 New York Post
Michael Starr documented the disastrous result of Disney's decision:
"The station's ratings
fell below WOR's almost as soon as Grant switched stations, and WABC
has been trying to catch up ever since." Competitor WOR picked up
Grant and gave him the same time slot he had owned at ABC -- 3 to 7pm.
Starr noted that WABC recently adjusted its 3 to 7pm schedule, but
"so far the move hasn't made much of a difference for WABC"
with the new host "averaging a 2.7 share to Grant's 4.1,
according to the Winter 1997 Arbitron ratings report."
Starr observed: "WABC
scored one of its highest shares -- a 4.5 in the fall 1995 Arbitron
report -- just months before Grant's exit. Those were the days when
WABC could accurately promote itself as the nation's highest-rated
talk radio station. But those days are over."
Sounds like Disney is willing
to appease complaints from outside groups -- if they are liberal.
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