Pouncing on Bush's Guard Preference; CAFé More Deadly Than SUVs
1) ABC and NBC hopped on a Los
Angeles Times story about how George W. Bush got preferential treatment to
join the National Guard, but the same networks ignored the Times piece on
2) ABC conceded "most
people don't seem to care that much about campaign finance reform,"
but that didn't stop the network from promoting "Granny D's"
gimmick to push liberal "reform."
3) ABC claimed "SUVs are
dangerous to smaller passenger cars" and CBS tagged them
"killers of the road," but USA Today documented how CAFé rules
have killed 46,000 while "just one percent of small car
deaths...involved collisions with midsize and large SUVs."
4) The T&A Network (MSNBC)
adds more T&A to prime time. Despite poor ratings for Equal Time and
Hockenberry, MSNBC beats FNC.
5) Letterman's "Top Ten
Skeletons in George W. Bush's Closet."
6) Clueless in America. NBC
News highlighted a poll which found that more know who Bill Gates and
Martha Stewart are than Alexander Hamilton and Martha Washington.
Rather singing and tooting. See and hear a goofy Dan Rather sing a train
song, The Wreck of the Old Ninety-Seven, on the Late Show with David
Letterman back on June 22, 1994. He really did try to sing and even
imitated the sound of a train whistle. Rather has not been nearly so wacky
in his appearances since this one five years ago. The RealPlayer video
clip was posted last Thursday and will remain up on our home page through
Wednesday morning, so you have one more day to see it before it moves to
our Media Bias Videos archives page. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Not all Sunday Los Angeles Times exclusives are equally network
newsworthy, or how the media have an evolving standard on Vietnam service
and the National Guard.
ABC and NBC hopped
on a Sunday Los Angeles Times story about how George W. Bush supposedly
got preferential treatment to join the Air National Guard, with NBC's
Meet the Press bringing on the LA Times reporter and Today running a full
story, but the same networks ignored for over a month a Sunday, April 4
front page story in the same paper about how "The chief of China's
military intelligence secretly directed funds from Beijing to help reelect
President Clinton in 1996, former Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung has
told federal investigators."
And while the
networks were unforgiving with Dan Quayle in 1988, on Sunday Washington
media veteran Steve Roberts decided it's not an important issue anymore.
-- How the
networks reacted to the two LA Times stories. The April piece did generate
a brief mention on Fox News Sunday and NBC's Meet the Press that
morning: NPR's Mara Liasson asked guest Pat Buchanan about it on Fox and
NBC's Tim Russert raised the story in his last question to Secretary of
State Madeleine Albright. On Sunday night as well as Monday morning and
evening, however, the three broadcast networks skipped it, though CNN gave
it a few seconds on The World Today.
On Sunday, July 4,
Times reporter Richard Serrano wrote:
On a Texas spring day during the height of
the Vietnam War, a fresh-faced young man about to graduate from Yale
University walked into the office of the commander of the Texas Air
Col. Walter B. "Buck" Staudt
listened to the 21-year-old, who had no military or aviation experience
but seemed polite and presentable.
"He said he wanted to fly just like
his daddy," Staudt recalled. The young man's "daddy,"
Staudt knew, was George Bush, then a Republican Congressman from Houston
and a former World War II bomber pilot.
Although getting into the state units was
difficult for most others, Bush was soon in the Guard. He was sent to
basic training and awarded a special commission making him an instant
An examination of nearly 200 pages of his
service record obtained by The Times, plus interviews with Guard
officials, veterans and military experts, show that Bush, now 52 and
Governor of Texas, received favorable treatment and uncommon attention in
his time in the Guard.
While there is no evidence of illegality or
regulations broken to accommodate Bush's entry and rise in the service,
the documents do show that doors were opened and good fortune flowed to
him at opportune times.
Officials in Bush's presidential campaign
denied last week that he was treated differently from other recruits. When
Bush was admitted into the Guard in 1968, 100,000 other men were on
waiting lists around the country, hoping to win admission to similar
units. The Guard was popular because those units were rarely sent to
To read the whole
story, go to:
More than a couple of questions. While the CBS and NBC evening shows
skipped it on Sunday night, ABC's World News Tonight gave it 35 seconds
and Candy Crowley included Bush's reaction in a World Today story. The
next morning ABC's Good Morning America gave it a few seconds in the
7:30am news update and NBC Today featured a story at 7am from David Bloom
who began: "For Governor Bush the Fourth of July parade through
Amherst New Hampshire began with reporters questioning whether he received
preferential treatment after joining the Texas Air National Guard at the
height of the Vietnam War...."
That may not be a
tremendous amount of coverage, but it's more than the LA Times story on
On Sunday morning
This Week co-host Sam Donaldson asked John Kasich to react to the story
and on Fox News Sunday Brit Hume raised the report with guest Steve Forbes
and the panel discussed the subject at the end of the show.
Meet the Press
moderator Tim Russert invited LA Times reporter Richard Serrano aboard to
discuss his exclusive along with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne and
Wall Street Journal columnist Paul Gigot.
Russert dug up old
video from the 1988 Republican convention when the networks were hounding
Republicans about the Quayle record: "Irony of all ironies, in 1988
George Bush selected Dan Quayle to be his Vice President. Allegations were
raised about Dan Quayle and his National Guard service in Indiana. In
August of '88, George W. Bush was on the floor of the Republican
Convention and was asked about Dan Quayle. Let's roll that tape:"
Viewers then saw
this exchange from NBC's live convention coverage on August 17, 1988:
Connie Chung: "The problem, though, would be
is if, indeed, he made several phone calls or some people made phone calls
on his behalf to get him into the National Guard. I mean, did that happen
to you? Were you..."
George W. Bush cut her off: "No. I don't
think so. But in those days, people were going into the service all
different branches. And if you want to go into the National Guard, I guess
sometimes people make calls. I don't see anything wrong with, a matter
of fact I'm glad he served his country. And serving in the National
Guard is serving in the military. They probably should have called the
National Guard up in those days. Maybe we'd have done better in
-- 1988 vs 1992
and 1999. On CNN's Late Edition Wolf Blitzer asked former New York Times
reporter Steve Roberts about Bush's military record. Roberts revealed a
bit about himself in replying:
"Of course he got favorable treatment, his
father was a Congressman, I don't think there's any doubt about that. On
the other hand a lot of other people got favorable treatment too, a lot of
other people did not do nearly as much as he did. I got favorable
treatment. I had a friend who ran my draft board, who told me exactly what
I needed to do to stay out. A lot of people of my generation did exactly
that. And I think that he did something honorable, at least he actually
joined the military, and I don't think this is a problem for him."
"You know, and you can't compare, the so-called controversy if there
is any controversy, from the L.A. Times story to what happened eight years
ago when the President before New Hampshire, the current President, the
then Governor of Arkansas, who disclosed that he evaded the draft and then
lied about it. And that still didn't stop him from getting the nomination
and becoming President."
out: "You've got to remember something else which is that a couple of
generations or two ago, military service was almost an absolute
requirement for a national politician. And, but that is different now,
well less than half of the members of Congress are veterans themselves.
You have a whole generation, not only who didn't serve but whose children
are not serving, re-enlistment rates in the military are way down. I think
it is far less important and I think a lot of Americans, as I say, like
me, got out of the draft and are not going to hold it against George
I bet Dan Quayle
wishes he could have benefitted from such media understanding, or shall we
But contrary to
Blitzer's suggestion that the media pounced on Clinton in 1992, they
went quite easy on him compared to how they treated Quayle. As outlined in
the March 1992 MediaWatch Study:
MediaWatch analysts compared the coverage
of four evening news shows (ABC's World News Tonight, CBS
Evening News, and NBC Nightly News, as well as CNN's Prime
News from 1988 and World News from 1992,) during times when
Clinton and Quayle were under scrutiny over possible draft evasion and
other personal issues.
In the ten days following revelations about
the two candidates, 1988 Quayle stories outnumbered 1992 Clinton stories
by a margin of almost four to one. In the first ten days of Quayle's
National Guard controversy (August 18-27, 1988), the four networks did 51
news stories solely on Quayle's National Guard service. (This counts only
evening news, not any of the 158 times the networks raised questions about
Quayle's controversies during the prime time coverage of the Republican
Convention.) By contrast, in the first ten days of Clinton's draft flap
(February 6-15), the four networks aired only 13 stories.
When the February 6 Wall Street Journal
broke a story questioning Bill Clinton's draft record, how did the
networks react? ABC made it story number five. CBS and NBC completely
ignored the story. Two days later on the CBS Evening News, reporter
Bruce Morton declared: "When attacks are made on character, the press
ought to report them and then let the voters decide who's right and who's
wrong." (Memo to Morton: watch your own newscast.) By contrast, on
August 18, 1988, the four networks aired 15 stories on Quayle. ABC did
three stories, and CBS and NBC each broadcast five. The Quayle news led
all four evening newscasts....
To read the entire
study, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1992/mw19920301stud.html
ABC's campaign for campaign finance "reform." Sunday night and
Monday morning ABC News promoted the cause of Doris Haddock, aka
"Granny D," the "walking granny" walking across the
country as a gimmick to promote more regulation of campaigns and
restrictions on free speech.
on this 4th of July," World News Tonight anchor Carole Simpson
observed in introducing a Point of View piece, "a woman putting one
foot in front of the other for a cause polls show most people don't seem
to care that much about: campaign finance reform."
The public does
not care, but the media definitely do as Haddock herself boasted the next
morning on Good Morning America. She appeared from Ft. Worth Texas. Gibson
asked: "How have people been responding to you?" She noted how
she's been treated well by media: "I would say very well, including
Gibson then tied in Bush's fundraising and by
showing such concern for the amount raised he revealed that it is the
spending not the source of the money which so concerns liberal activists:
"I can't help but note you're smack in
the middle of Texas Granny D and that's George Bush country and he's
raised $36 million already in running for President and Al Gore's raised
$18 and Bill Bradley's raised millions and millions and millions. I
don't know if much is happening in campaign finance reform."
The broadcast networks have called sport utility vehicles (SUVs) a
"threat" to safety as "SUVs are dangerous to smaller
passenger cars" and "can be killers of the road." But a USA
Today special report published on Friday by reporter James Healey
acknowledged how that's really a myth as government mandates which have
reduced car size have killed many more than any SUVs. Under the headline
of "Death by the Gallon," the July 2 USA Today subhead
announced: "A USA Today analysis of previously unpublished fatality
statistics discovers that 46,000 people have died because of a 1970s-era
push for greater fuel efficiency that has led to smaller cars."
demolished a liberal mantra that the media have been eager to promote,
listing this as one of the "myths about small cars": "Small
cars have a high death rate because they get hit by those big
sport-utility vehicles all over the roads."
"Fact: In 1997, latest-available government
data, 56% of small-car fatalities involved only small cars: 46% from
single-car crashes, 10% from small cars running into each other. Just 1%
of small-car deaths in 1997 involved collisions with midsize and large
SUVs -- 136 out of 12,144 total small-car deaths that year."
conservatives have been saying for years, so it's nice a major media
outlet has caught on, but will the networks ever correct their misleading
The April 22, 1998
CyberAlert detailed how ABC and CBS portrayed SUVs as dangerous killing
machines. Peter Jennings opened the April 21, 1998 World News Tonight (key
phrases in ALL CAPS):
"Good evening. Tonight we begin at the
crossroads of physics and safety and government responsibility. In
Washington today government is grappling with what to do about the THREAT
that sport utility vehicles represent to lesser vehicles in accidents.
It's an obvious concern now. Sport utility vehicles have become the latest
driver's passion and because they are bigger and heavier they have the
potential to do UNUSUAL DAMAGE."
John Cochran began: "The government is
having difficulty coming to grips with the DANGER from sport utility
vehicles, partly because they make the people in them feel safer....So
what to do about evidence that SUVs are DANGEROUS to smaller passenger
cars? One suggestion is that the government require SUVs be made lighter
and less DESTRUCTIVE, but that would also mean less protection for those
inside and a lot of Americans like their SUVs just as they are:
Over on the CBS
Evening News in 1998 Dan Rather intoned:
"There were high-level talks today about
knocking a very different giant down to size: the sport utility vehicle.
SUVs. Extremely popular with some but considered a KILLER on the road to
Reporter Sharyl Attkisson distressingly noted:
"Buyers are attracted by all the recent research showing sport
utility vehicles can be KILLERS ON THE ROAD."
But as USA Today
detailed, the real killers are government bureaucrats and Congress.
Here's an excerpt of the opening of the July 2 Money section story:
....Hundreds of people are killed in
small-car wrecks each year who would survive in just slightly bigger,
heavier vehicles, government and insurance industry research shows.
More broadly, in the 24 years since a
landmark law to conserve fuel, big cars have shrunk to less-safe sizes and
small cars have poured onto roads. As a result, 46,000 people have died in
crashes they would have survived in bigger, heavier cars, according to USA
TODAY's analysis of crash data since 1975, when the Energy Policy and
Conservation Act was passed.
The law and the corporate average fuel
economy (CAFé) standards it imposed have improved fuel efficiency. The
average of passenger vehicles on U.S. roads is 20 miles per gallon vs. 14
mpg in 1975.
But the cost has been roughly 7,700 deaths
for every mile per gallon gained, the analysis shows.
Small cars -- those no bigger or heavier
than Chevrolet Cavalier or Dodge Neon -- comprise 18% of all vehicles on
the road, according to an analysis of R.L. Polk registration data. Yet
they accounted for 37% of vehicle deaths in 1997 -- 12,144 people --
according to latest available government figures. That's about twice the
death rate in big cars, such as Dodge Intrepid, Chevrolet Impala, Ford
Little cars have big disadvantages in
crashes. They have less space to absorb crash forces. The less the car
absorbs, the more the people inside have to.
And small cars don't have the weight to
protect themselves in crashes with other vehicles. When a small car and a
larger one collide, the bigger car stops abruptly; that's bad enough. But
the little one slams to a stop, then instantly and violently accelerates
backward as the heavier car's momentum powers into it. People inside the
lighter car experience body-smashing levels of force in two directions,
first as their car stops moving forward, then as it reverses. In the
heavier car, bodies are subjected to less-destructive deceleration and no
The regulations don't mandate small cars.
But small, lightweight vehicles that can perform satisfactorily using
low-power, fuel-efficient engines are the only affordable way automakers
have found to meet the CAFé (pronounced ka-FE) standards....
Tellingly, most small-car crash deaths
involve only small cars -- 56% in 1997, from the latest government data.
They run into something else, such as a tree, or into one another.
In contrast, just 1% of small-car deaths --
136 people -- occurred in crashes with midsize or big sport-utility
vehicles in '97, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, the agency that enforces safety and fuel-efficiency
rules. NHTSA does not routinely publish that information. It performed
special data calculations at USA TODAY's request....
To read the entire
Cover Story and a package of other sidebar pieces spread over pages 2 and
3 of the Money section, go to: http://www.usatoday.com/money/bcovfri.htm
The T&A Network, aka MSNBC, is bumping Equal Time out of prime time in
order to accommodate another hour of Time & Again. Starting Tuesday,
July 6 Equal Time with Oliver North and Paul Begala shifts from 8pm to
6:30pm ET. In its place MSNBC is expanding the 8:30pm ET Time & Again
to run for an hour at 8pm.
Equal Time is
MSNBC's second least watched prime time show, the Washington Post's
Lisa de Moraes noted on Friday. It captures 154,000 viewers. De Moraes
added: "Only Hockenberry scores a smaller prime time audience for
MSNBC with an average of 149,000 viewers." That explains why MSNBC
dropped the 10pm PT repeat of Hockenberry's 10pm ET show a few weeks ago
and replaced it with....Time & Again. Time & Again will now air
daily at 2pm ET, 8pm ET, 11pm ET and 1am ET, plus at least one additional
overnight appearance and maybe a half hour at 6pm ET.
problems, MSNBC still attracts more prime time viewers than the Fox News
Channel. In the July 2 Washington Post de Moraes provided a run down of
cable news numbers for prime time in the second quarter (April to June):
CNN: 812,000 viewers, up 16 percent from the same quarter in 1998
CNBC: 403,000, down 11 percent
MSNBC: 285,000, up 102 percent
FNC: 254,000, up 206 percent
Headline News: 245,000, up 37 percent
Time & Again
and the News with Brian Williams must do really well to bump up MSNBC's
average. It would be interesting to know what part of FNC's 200 percent
plus growth is attributable to cable systems picking up the channel and
how much is from people who have had CNN, MSNBC and FNC choosing FNC over
the others. And, since more cable homes have MSNBC than FNC does MSNBC
beat FNC in homes with both or does FNC actually attract more people in
homes with a choice of either?
My prediction: So
CNBC can accommodate business news through the evening hours when NASDAQ
extends its trading hours, CNBC's Hardball and Rivera Live will soon
first air in prime time on MSNBC and then be repeated later on CNBC.
From the July 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Skeletons in George W. Bush's Closet." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide
10. Fathered half the players at this
9. Once killed a LensCrafter's clerk when his glasses weren't ready in
about an hour.
8. The W stands for "Winky."
7. In 1988 told dad "I think Quayle would make a great Vice
6. He's also married to Barbara Bush.
5. On April 9, 1968 actually had an opinion.
4. Calls brother Jeb "the one with the hick name"
3. Recovering Opraholic.
2. From 1986 to 1991 nothing but Nintendo and hookers.
1. Borrowed a skeleton from a local museum, put it in his closet, never
Fewer Americans can identify Alexander Hamilton than Bill Gates and many
more recognize the Nike slogan than the most famous phrase from the
Declaration of Independence.
For the last story
on Monday's NBC Nightly News reporter Bob Faw relayed how a survey
commissioned by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation discovered Americans
are not up on basic facts about U.S. history:
-- Bill Gates is
twice as well known as Alexander Hamilton whose face appear on the $10.
-- Eight of ten could identify Martha Stewart but
only two in three could pick out Martha Washington.
-- 79 percent recognize "Just do it" as
the Nike slogan, but only 47 percent know "Life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness" appears in the Declaration of Independence.
Sometimes it is impossible to underestimate the
ignorance of much of the American public.
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