Baptist Women Submitting Recalls Slavery;
AP Errors; "Neanderthal" MRC
1) No scandal news on
ABC, CBS or NBC, but all highlighted the vote to make Baptist women
"submit" to their husbands. "Baptists used the same
scripture to justify slavery," charged NBC.
2) CNN and FNC, but not the
broadcast networks, reported on a shut out scandal: How were Linda Tripp's
personnel files released.
3) Instead of blaming a
mistaken AP story, ABC & NBC scolded House members for announcing Bob
Hope's death. NBC's Brian Williams reveled in how those who "love to
hit the media" are "eating on crow."
4) A poll found Elizabeth Dole
would beat Hillary Clinton, but AP's headline claimed the opposite.
5) CNN's Newsstand host once
castigated the "squeaky-clean watchdogs" at the MRC as
"narrow," "neanderthal" and "slanted."
>>> New MRC article in National
Review now available online. "Network Failure: Are the major media
frivolous or biased? Some of each, find our reporters in the field,"
by Brent Baker and Tim Graham appears in the June 22 National Review. It's
all you need to know about the networks and bias, in just 2,000 words. You
can find the piece on NR's Web site: http://www.nationalreview.com.
A more direct address: http://www.nationalreview.com/nationalreview/contentspage/contents.html.
MRC Web manager Sean Henry has also set up a link from the MRC home page:
None of the broadcast networks uttered a word Wednesday night about any
aspect of any Clinton scandal, but both CNN and FNC ran stories noting the
appearance by Harold Ickes before the grand jury looking into the improper
release of Linda Tripp's personnel files (see item #2) and reporting that
Monica Lewinsky spent the day with her lawyers.
In addition, CNN's
The World Today aired a Wolf Blitzer piece on how Clinton plans to go on
the offensive to defend his trip to China. He'll deliver a speech at 11am
ET Thursday. Clinton is getting pressure from both the left and right,
Blitzer observed, leading into soundbites from Kerry Kennedy Cuomo and
Catching up with
ABC's Tuesday story, Jonathan Carl then showed some of the testimony
before a House subcommittee by Gao Xiao Duan about forced abortions in
China. CBS and NBC have yet to touch Gao though she even smuggled out some
telling video which Karl showed.
All but FNC ran
full reports on the Southern Baptist Convention voting in favor of a
statement that wives should "submit" to their husbands, but only
ABC's Peggy Wehmeyer quoted the portion of the statement of beliefs
spelling out the duty husband's must fulfill. NBC's George Lewis
emphasized that in "the 19th century the Southern Baptists used the
same scripture to justify slavery."
ABC led with what
Peter Jennings dubbed a "landmark case," a victory for a Florida
family who had sued Brown & Williamson. The tobacco suit also led
CNN's The World Today at 8pm ET and NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw declared
it "a big defeat for big tobacco" and exclaimed: "It may be
the most significant tobacco decision of the '90s." CBS and FNC
topped their shows with stories on Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's
contention the economy is the best in fifty years.
mentions on the broadcast networks, but Peter Jennings did take a few
seconds to report that Clinton will be able to speak on TV and radio while
in China and, Jennings relayed: "The Chinese have also done something
the President might wish that he could do, they have banned sales of a
book called 'The Sensual [could be Sexual] President,' which is a
translated collection of U.S. news articles.")
Here's a flavor of
how the June 10 network evening shows approached the Southern Baptist
story. (All included soundbites from at least one woman in favor of the
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings declared:
"In Salt Lake City this week the nation's
largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, has been
debating one of the most controversial statements on family life put
forward by any religious group in a long time and now the convention has
amended its basic statement of beliefs. The amendment is designed to
nurture the family. But it spells out very different roles for a husband
and a wife."
Unlike her competitors, reporter Peggy Wehmeyer
also highlighted the husband's responsibility: "The amendment reads
'The husband and wife are of equal worth before God' but it also says
'a husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church' and 'a wife
is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her
-- CBS Evening
News. After a stock market update, Dan Rather pronounced:
"As for a woman's stock in the nation's
multi-million member Southern Baptist denomination, new changes in the
church's official formal statement of beliefs are sparking big debate
today across religious boundaries. Southern Baptist leadership now takes
the view that quote 'a wife is to submit graciously to her husband's
leadership.' CBS's Bob McNamara has chapter and verse on this
controversial interpretation of a woman's place."
-- NBC Nightly
News. Tom Brokaw explained:
"NBC News In Depth tonight. One of this
country's largest and most influential religious group says tonight that
women should submit, graciously, to their husband's leadership. It's the
first change in the formal outline of beliefs in 35 years of the Southern
Baptist Convention, which has almost 16 million members in this country,
among them President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Speaker Newt Gingrich
and the Senate Majority Leader, Trent Lott of Mississippi. For the
faithful gathered at their annual convention in Salt Lake City, the new
stand on family values is a big hit. But, it's also causing
George Lewis aired a favorable soundbite from a
Baptist official and ended by showing video of Mike McCurry being asked if
Bill Clinton expects Hillary to submit, but in between he relayed a
nefarious interpretation of the decision. Leading into a clip from the
Dean of the Wake Forest Divinity School, Lewis charged:
"The Southern Baptists quote the Bible, the
Book of Ephesians, to back up their contention that women should follow
men, but other theologians point out that in the 19th century the Southern
Baptists used the same scripture to justify slavery."
Questions about who decided to improperly show Linda Tripp's personnel
file to Jane Mayer of the New Yorker, so she could impugn Tripp's
integrity by claiming she lied about an arrest 30 years ago, got a bit of
cable attention Wednesday night.
On the FNC's 7pm
ET Fox Report David Shuster looked at the "other grand jury"
meeting in Alexandria, Virginia: "Harold Ickes is at the heart of an
investigation into the release of confidential personnel files on Linda
Tripp" who was "the subject of a damaging story in a magazine
story which received her Pentagon records. Ickes, an aggressive Clinton
defender with experience in political hardball, has admitted discussing
Tripp with Ken Bacon, the Pentagon spokesman...."
NBC's Lisa Myers disclosed Tuesday, Shuster reported that in the matter of
Francis Carter, the lawyer who handled the Lewinsky affidavit in which she
denied a sexual relationship with Clinton, "two courts have now
rejected his claims against testifying because they have found there is
evidence Lewinsky used him to lie.")
CNN's Bob Franken
provided a World Today report on he Ickes appearance and how he denies
knowing anything about the release of confidential information about
A sentence in a
May 27 Inside politics story by Franken and another piece on FNC by
Shuster is all the coverage I've seen of the Bacon/Tripp controversy, a
lack of coverage noted in a June 1 MediaWatch review of media-related
ethics controversies the media are ignoring. Here's that portion of the
article written by Associate Editor Tim Graham:
KENNETH BACON LAYS AN EGG.
The news media jumped on the story that
Linda Tripp, who taped Monica Lewinsky, failed to disclose to the Defense
Department an arrest on her public record, according to New Yorker writer
Jane Mayer. The Weekly Standard's Tucker Carlson first questioned the
propriety of the Pentagon's release of Tripp's federal security-clearance
form in the March 30 issue ("Linda Tripp's Pentagon Papers"),
followed up in the May 18 issue by Jay Nordlinger ("Bacon Tripps
Up"). The New York Post's new columnist, former Clinton adviser Dick
Morris, also pushed the story.
The scandal centers on Pentagon spokesman
Kenneth Bacon, who joined the Clinton administration after spending
decades as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal (where Jane Mayer was a
colleague). Pentagon aide Clifford Bernath told investigators for Judicial
Watch, the conservative legal foundation, that Bacon ordered the leaking
of the Tripp file to Mayer.
On May 21, Washington Times reporter Bill
Sammon noted not only had Bacon admitted to Judicial Watch that he
orchestrated the Tripp release -- a violation of the Privacy Act -- but
that Bill Clinton promised in 1992, when the Bush State Department
investigated Clinton's passport file, that "If I catch anyone using
the State Department like that when I'm President, I'll fire them the next
day." TV coverage? Zero.
To read the other
examples cited in the MediaWatch story, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/news/mediawatch/1998/0601rev.html
networks are not just not pursuing the privacy violation, they are
refusing to even raise it during easy opportunities, such as Defense
Secretary William Cohen's most recent interviews. MRC analysts Geoffrey
Dickens and Jessica Anderson observed that neither Katie Couric on the May
25 Today nor Bob Schieffer and David Martin on the May 31 Face the Nation
raised the matter with Cohen.
Last Friday ABC and NBC blamed Republican House members for spreading the
false news that Bob Hope had died, instead of the AP which had accidently
posted a pre-written obituary for the aging comedian.
The AP's Web site
last Friday featured a story headlined "Bob Hope, Tireless Master of
the One-Liner, Dead at XX." The first paragraph read: "LOS
ANGELES (AP) -- Bob Hope, the master of the one-liner and tireless
morale-booster for servicemen from World War II to the Gulf War,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx He was xx. (born May 29, 1903)."
appearance of the xx's should have tipped off Congressmen Dick Armey and
Bob Stump and their staffs that it was a pre-fab story, if the item had
not been posted on the AP Web page the false story never would have been
picked up. But the networks put the burden on the House members, not their
announced on the June 5 World News Tonight:
"There is an embarrassed Congressman in
Washington tonight. Congressman Stump of Arizona announced on the floor of
the House today that the great comedian, Bob Hope, had died."
Jennings showed video of Stump followed by
Democrat David Bonior, who called Hope "a great American,"
before noting that the floor announcement occurred after the death news
"appeared on a news wire by accident."
Jennings forgot to
mention that ABC News put out a live radio bulletin on the news which they
had to quickly correct.
NBC Nightly News
anchor Brian Williams gloated over how politicians so happy to criticize
reporters made a mistake:
"For a time today news organizations around
the country, including this one, were preparing to go on the air and to go
to press with sad news that beloved American entertainer Bob Hope had
died. In fact though he is very much alive. Imagine his surprise upon
learning this news. The false report came from a place where they love to
hit the media. Now certain members of Congress are eating on crow tonight
after making a big mistake."
NBC devoted an entire story to the mix up. Gwen
Ifill showed clips of Bob Stump and David Bonior, finally getting around
to how House Majority Leader Dick Armey saw the AP Web site story and
handed a printed copy to Hope friend Stump so he could notify those on the
The AP at least
didn't blame others for its mistake. Late in the day Friday it moved this
AP Site Error Source of Hope Report
An Associated Press article being prepared
in the event of the death of Bob Hope was inadvertently displayed on the
news service's Web site Friday, prompting a Congressman to erroneously
announce his death on the floor of the House.
House Majority Leader Dick Armey saw a copy
of the AP Internet story, handed it to Rep. Bob Stump of Arizona and asked
him to announce Hope's death on the House floor.
Stump's announcement, broadcast live on
C-SPAN, became the basis for other news organizations reporting that Hope
The AP removed the article from its Web
site after a staff person noticed it. However, Stump had already made his
announcement. Ruth Gersh, editor of AP Multimedia Services, said the
preparedness was miscoded by human error so that instead of showing up
only on an internal display where an editor could work on it, the
preparedness was posted to AP's Web site, The WIRE.
Speaking of AP errors, Tom Hazlett of California alerted me to this
mismatch between a headline and the facts. Here's the headline and first
two graphs of a June 9 AP story sent at 5:14am ET:
Would Top Dole in Election
Va. (AP) -- Elizabeth Dole would soundly defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton if
the two were running against each other for President today, according to
a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll.
published in today's editions of the newspaper found 55 percent favoring
Mrs. Dole to 40 percent for Mrs. Clinton."
Two hours later,
at 8:30am ET, AP sent the same story but provided a more accurate
headline: "Poll: Mrs. Dole Tops Mrs. Clinton."
A network correspondent who once denounced the MRC as "narrow,
neanderthal," makes his debut Thursday night as co-host of CNN
Newsstand/Entertainment Weekly at 10pm ET/PT. It will be co-hosted by two
of Kaplan's Krew, those CNN President Rick Kaplan, who came from ABC, has
brought aboard CNN from ABC: Willow Bay and Judd Rose. Back in 1988 the
MRC upset Rose by detailing the liberal slant in his Nightline hit on then
just-named GOP VP candidate Dan Quayle.
excerpts from the September, 1988 MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award earned by
Rose. Second, his angry response.
-- From the
September, 1988 MediaWatch, back when we were a bit more opinionated in
Ted Koppel launched the August 18 Nightline
with more than just a factual account of the day's events: "Why did a
hardline conservative and Vietnam hawk choose the National Guard over
service in Vietnam? And did family connections make that choice
possible?" Rose then dismissed Bush's masterful acceptance speech,
declaring: "The convention and nomination were his, but it didn't
matter. Once again George Bush was being overshadowed by someone
else." A short time later, he reported -- erroneously -- that an
ex-National Guardsman called the Guard on behalf of Quayle to get him
"ahead of the waiting list."
Next, Rose allowed liberal Washington Post
columnist Haynes Johnson to deliver the final blow to Quayle: "He's a
person who presents himself as an ardent anti-communist, strong on
defense, an expert in all these areas, strong defender of the Vietnam War
who it appears got out of service in the war by favoritism, power,
privilege, and political advantage." Rose gave time to Senators Bob
Dole and John McCain to defend Quayle, but not to rebut Johnson's powerful
image of an elitist draft-dodger.
In his conclusion Rose was already spelling
doom for the two day old Republican ticket: "George Bush leaves New
Orleans to the sounds of cheering, but it may have a hollow ring soon
enough. History's shown when a candidate becomes an issue it can be
damaging and even fatal to a campaign. Well Dan Quayle has become an issue
and he's made Bush an issue too. This, after all, was Bush's first and
biggest decision on his own. And the way it turned out has hardly enhanced
his image as a leader."
Both Koppel and Jeff Greenfield continued
the rampage. Greenfield characterized the debate over Quayle as one of
"elitism." Koppel added: "Jeff Greenfield used the term
elitism, let me use another term, how about 'hypocrisy.'"
Less than one week later, conclusive proof
showed that the Indiana Guard was not operating at full force at the time
and that Quayle in fact used no special privilege to enter the National
Guard. But Judd Rose, in a conversation with MediaWatch defended his
segment, claiming: "I don't think the facts have borne out yet. But
that's a political judgment...There was a frenzied atmosphere that
day. In that atmosphere sometimes things go into extremes. In
my case, though, I don't think that was the case."
Asked whether the Quayle focus might be
created by a media unsympathetic to the conservative cause, Rose excused
himself but indicted some of his colleagues: "You say a lot of
reporters are trying to crucify George Bush and conservatives. That may be
true. But that's not this reporter."
After Quayle was vindicated on all counts,
most media outlets called it quits. ABC's Richard Threlkeld even delivered
a half hearted apology for the media's over-indulgence. On August 24, he
admitted that reporting had been "inconsistent" and that
"there were in fact vacancies in Quayle's National Guard unit when he
joined and no waiting list, suggesting favoritism played no crucial part
in Quayle's enlistment."
hammered out an angry response on a typewriter (yes, this was before
computers were so common), which we summarized in the November, 1988
In a letter to MediaWatch, Nightline
correspondent Judd Rose agreed "the depiction of what I said and who
I spoke with was, by and large, accurate," but complained "the
comments that I made to [MediaWatch] on the phone were out of context and
certainly not faithful to the spirit of what I was saying."
Rose cited several examples before
concluding with this colorful rebuke: "Taking a quote out of context
is something that has happened before, and no doubt, will happen again.
But since you squeaky-clean watch-dogs at MediaWatch are so concerned
about our conduct, I wonder why you aren't more conscious of your own...
Again I'm flattered that your publication would honor me with this dubious
award. But forgive me, gentlemen. Having only been in Washington for a bit
under one year, I'm not as accustomed as some of my colleagues to your
narrow, neanderthal, and slanted perception of what you see in the news
media. Consider me educated."
We're always glad to be of service. -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
readers and subscribers:
>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a
blank e-mail to:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to firstname.lastname@example.org."
After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply
hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been
added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page
link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO
NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: email@example.com.
can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by
subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday
afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe