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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday January 5, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 2)
Elizabeth Dole, "Social Conservative" and "Darling" of the Right

1) Elizabeth Dole, right-winger? Monday night ABC called her "a social conservative" and MSNBC tagged her "a darling of some on the right." That should be news to conservatives.

2) The fourth runner-up quotes in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

>>> A welcome to our newest readers/Backlog of e-mail. The CyberAlert subscriber list has jumped by over 300 in the past two weeks, thanks I suspect to the many who visited the MRC site to view the Alec Baldwin video. It can still be viewed via RealPlayer at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981215.html#5. Since just before Christmas I've received about 60 e-mailed comments from readers. I've read them all but have fallen a bit behind in responding. <<<


edole.jpg (11210 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Elizabeth Dole, "a social conservative" and "darling" of the right? That's how ABC and MSNBC described her Monday night.

     The January 4 evening shows displayed a great diversity in what they considered most newsworthy. ABC opened with Elizabeth Dole, CBS started with Iraq, CNN began with Senate machinations over impeachment while both NBC and FNC led with the winter storms. All ran pieces looking at the debate amongst Senators about how to proceed. On the CBS Evening News Bob Schieffer began by lamenting: "The hopes of Senate leaders that the impeachment trial could be wrapped up next week are fading fast tonight...." Only CNN and FNC mentioned the presidential run announcement from New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith.

     Dole's resignation from the Red Cross and speculation about a presidential effort generated full stories on ABC, CBS, FNC and MSNBC with both ABC and MSNBC stressing her conservatism. On the January 4 edition of ABC's World News Tonight reporter John Cochran asserted:
     "She could be a strong contender -- a social conservative who can appeal to the party's core voters, but one who might also attract women turned off by the Republican Party in recent years."

     Cochran did not explain his seeming contradiction as the usual media mantra is that women are turned off by the GOP's social conservatism.

     Later, on MSNBC's and CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, the anchor of the same name posed this as his first question to New York Times reporter Rick Berke:
     "Rick, she is, after all, a Harvard law graduate, a Duke University graduate, a formidable woman, a darling of some on the right. Why should Elizabeth Dole not mix it up at this early stage and get in the race?"

     "Darling" of whom? Can you recall a single conservative thing Dole ever did as Secretary of Transportation under Reagan or at Labor under President Bush? As Cal Thomas noted on FNC's Fox Report, "nobody knows what she really believes" and "she does have a liberal streak. She has been all over the place on the abortion issue, for example, which is a litmus test as it is for liberals. It certainly is for conservatives."

     CBS reporter Phil Jones was able to identify an accomplishment. Over on the CBS Evening News he cited a regulatory expansion: "Dole already has her own record. She was Secretary of Labor under President Bush. And that stoplight in the middle of your back car window, that's known as the 'Dole light,' one of her safety legacies as President Reagan's Transportation Secretary."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Here are the fourth runner-up quotes in the 9 of the 14 award categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting" which had fifth place quotes. (The December 28 CyberAlert ran the winning quotes, the December 30 edition the first runners-up, the December 31 issue the second runners-up and the January 4 the third runners-up.) To pick the winners and runners-up the MRC sent ballots to 50 media observers who picked a first, second and third best quote in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices got two points and third place picks were assigned one point. Point totals are listed after each quote. For the list of judges, see the December 28 CyberAlert or go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html

     To read all the quotes and see and hear the broadcast television ones via RealPlayer as compiled by MRC research associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean Henry, go to the same address: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html
To check which quotes visitors to the MRC Web page picked and to see the entire ballot, go to: http://www.mrc.org/bestofnq1998.html and click on "Special Web Edition."

     Below is the fourth runner-up in the "Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression)" through the "Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award" with the "Damn Those Conservatives Award" amongst those in between. Plus, four quotes aired after we distributed the ballot which were run in the hard copy edition under the heading of "Too Late For Our Judging, But Year-End 'Best of NQ' Worthy."

Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression) -- Fourth runner-up

"In the gaudy mansion of Clinton's mind there are many rooms with heavy doors, workrooms and playrooms, rooms stuffed with trophies, rooms to stash scandals and regrets. He walks lightly amid the ironies of his talents and behavior, just by consigning them to different cubbies of his brain. It's an almost scary mind, that of a multitasking wizard who plays hearts while he talks on the phone with a head of state, who sits through a dense briefing on chemical weapons intently doing a crossword puzzle, only to take reporters' questions hours later and repeat whole sections of the briefing word for word."
-- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs opening a news story in the March 2 issue. [40 points]

Hallucinating Hillary Award (for Promoting the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy) -- Fourth runner-up

"If there is a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' at work in America, the man at its center likely is Richard Mellon Scaife, the 65-year-old reclusive Pittsburgh billionaire whose money has funded both mainstream conservative think tanks and underground attack campaigns against President Clinton.... Scaife's money also has poured into the rabidly anti-Clinton American Spectator magazine. Editor R. Emmett Tyrell [sic] Jr. relentlessly derided the new President in 1993, a vilification campaign that won Scaife's support."
-- Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage, April 17. [38 points]

Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr) -- Fourth runner-up

"Already, some of the more thoughtful members of the House and Senate have admitted, yes, they expect to be overwhelmed. There's very little they can do about this, when someone drives, as one House Judiciary Committee member put this some weeks ago, a truck bomb up to the steps of the Capitol and just dumps it on them. Now this is probably not the most advisable comparison when you consider what happened on these very steps not so many weeks ago, but it is in some ways, politically, a very violent action for Ken Starr to leave this on them weeks before an election when they're trying to decide how to deal with it."
-- NBC's Gwen Ifill during live MSNBC coverage of the report being unloaded from the vans, September 9. [31 points]

Starr Behind Bars Award -- Fourth runner-up

"Starr's is a shameful story -- as shameful as the conduct of almost all television news programs and some of the press.... Starr's leaks, whose purpose is to condition the public to believe in the President's guilt, are of a piece with other practices that reek of abuse....The real spinning is taking place in the graves of our Founding Fathers. When they wrote the First Amendment, they imagined a press corps as a curb on power. They did not anticipate an independent counsel free from checks and balances. They had no role for a chief inquisitor. Nor should we."
-- U.S. News & World Report's Zuckerman in his editorial titled, "Starr Has Hit a New Low," June 29 issue. [36 points]

Good Morning Morons Award (for Foolishness in the Morning) -- Fourth runner-up

"Couldn't this be just a witch hunt, couldn't the Democrats and President Clinton's people who've been defending him all these months be right, that even though he screwed up there's some political motivation there. Couldn't that be right?"
-- Lisa McRee to humorist P.J. O'Rourke, September 10 Good Morning America. [40 points]

Move Over Buddy Award (for Geraldo Rivera's Pro-Clinton Lapdoggery) - Fourth runner-up

"They [Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg] wanted to make money on a book but once push came to shove they were perfectly willing to sacrifice the young former White House intern on the altar of greed, on the altar of hatred for Bill Clinton and his administration and I think they're going to accomplish that at least in the short term. But if it comes to trial Linda Tripp will be facing some severe questioning by Monica Lewinsky's very capable counsel. And my God, a first year law student hearing those tapes will be able to make her look like exactly what she is, a treacherous, back-stabbing, good-for-nothing enemy of the truth."
-- Rivera from China where he was covering Clinton's visit, on CNBC's Rivera Live, June 26. [32 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award -- Fourth runner-up

"Bill Bennett, Mr. Virtues, has said basically that Clinton is morally unfit to hold office. I'm sure Bill believes that, but this is the same Bill Bennett who has a close friend and goes on trips with Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House who's been accused of some of the same sort of moral turpitude that the President's been accused of....Gingrich gave his wife her walking papers a day out of cancer surgery. Now that's character and as long as we play political games, and we view character in a ideological sense, I don't think the American public is going to be anything but cynical."
-- Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, February 1. [42 points]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis) -- Fourth & Fifth runners-up

"I was thinking about what Jane Fonda said the other night about North Georgia and how she thought North Georgia was not unlike parts of the developing world and some politicians in Georgia jumped all over her....And the truth of the matter is there are parts of America which are just as bad as some of the worst parts in the rest of the world and that's desperately sad."
-- ABC News anchor Peter Jennings on Jane Fonda's charge that children are "starving to death" in Georgia, April 23 CBS Late Late Show with Tom Snyder. [40 points]

"The women's movement brought change and power to millions of American females. Virginal brides surrendered to the sexual revolution. Modern fashions exposed body parts previously reserved for the bedroom. Entering the work force meant the old ways that women met men were ancient history [video clip of a milkman]. And a new breed of superwoman said 'I can have it all'...The search for pleasure leads some women to shop [video of sex toys] and some to stray...And experts say many husbands and wives can become stronger individuals, and on rare occasions, might even find that cheating recharges their marriage."
-- CBS This Morning co-host Jane Robelot, April 23. [39 points]

Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award -- Fourth runner-up

"Medicare, the health care program that has been a godsend to the elderly in this country, even with all its financial difficulties. Tonight the President wants to dramatically expand its coverage to millions more."
-- NBC's Tom Brokaw introducing a January 6 Nightly News story. [30 points]

Too Late For Our Judging, But Year-End "Best of NQ" Worthy

"I would not be astonished to see Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee in 2000....Hillary Clinton, as far as I'm concerned, she's the Person of the Year, if Time magazine doesn't put her on the cover, they may put Mike, Mark McGwire, or Alan Greenspan, or somebody, but Hillary Clinton is the Person of the Year in that, you talk about a comeback kid - she makes her husband look like Ned in knee pants in terms of comeback from where she was early in the Clinton administration. You know, you add it all up, and you can make a case that Hillary Clinton might, might -- mark the word -- be the strongest candidate for the Democrats."
-- CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather on CNN's Larry King Live, December 3.

Dan Rather: "If you're Al Gore -- listen he's been a loyal Vice President. He is the odds-on favorite for the nomination. If you were Al Gore, what would you do?"
Larry King: "Make her, ask her to be Vice President. Is that what you think? Is that where you're leading me?"
Rather: "No, I think maybe I would say, 'You know, we want the goals of the Clinton administration to be achieved and to go forward. I need your help, First Lady, friend of mine, Hillary Clinton, and if I'm elected President, I will make you the next Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.' That's what I'd do, but Al Gore is a better man than I am and I doubt that he'd do it."
-- CNN's Larry King Live, December 3.

Announcer: "Did Kenneth Starr go too far?"
Diane Sawyer to Starr: "I think there were 62 mentions of the word 'breast,' 23 of 'cigar,' 19 of 'semen.' This has been called demented pornography, pornography for Puritans. Were there mistakes made in including some of this?"
Announcer: "The tables are turned. Now it's the prosecutor's turn to be grilled, when 20/20 Wednesday continues after this from our ABC stations."
-- Plug during 20/20 interview with Ken Starr, November 25.

Sawyer: "Which brings us to Linda Tripp, the woman people love to hate, and the accusation that Ken Starr was not what he had seemed. Are you part of a right-wing conspiracy?"
Starr: "No. I don't know that there is one."
Sawyer: "His key witness, Linda Tripp, is now a recognized soldier in the army of Clinton haters -- among them Tripp's friend and svengali, Lucianne Goldberg. Among them, the lawyers for Paula Jones. Before he became independent counsel, Starr gave them advice. And among them, millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, who hired people to dig up dirt on Bill Clinton and funded a chair at Pepperdine University for Ken Starr...."

"Driving to the White House that day, for what was -- for all intents and purposes -- a lot of people think your trial, the only trial you were going to get. Did you think to yourself, here is a man who has to deal with Saddam Hussein and bin Laden and what's going on in Russia, and we're putting him through this?"
-- Some of Diane Sawyer's questions to Starr, November 25.

     That's the fifth and last set of quotes from the Best of NQ for 1998. -- Brent Baker



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