Cutting "The Penny That Cures Cancer"; Bathtubs Kill More Than School Shooters
1) Sam Donaldson warned the
House GOP's proposed 1.4 percent cut may mean the loss of "the
penny that cures cancer." On the McLaughlin Group the Chicago
Tribune's James Warren declared the defeat of campaign finance
"reform" a victory for "corruption."
2) Contrasting headlines about
NH debate: "At GOP Debate, a Unified Blast at Bush" versus
"Clinton Foreign Policy Assailed."
3) It's not just Dan Rather.
ABC and CNN anchors also refused to adopt the term "partial-birth
4) Again Sunday night a
network anchor tied Christian Right "rhetoric" to the murder
last year of gay college student Matthew Shepard, but major media outlets
have not picked up on how two gay men are charged with the beating death
of a 13-year-old boy.
5) John Stossel's "Give
Me a Break!" segment on ABC's 20/20: "Lightning kills more
people, bathtubs kill more kids. But the media's obsessed with school
6) Seven days until Bryant
Gumbel returns to morning TV. In #5 of the MRC's Top Ten Gumbel
Stumbles, Gumbel argues in 1996 that Clinton's liberal policies display
his "true character."
7) Washington Post/CNN media
reporter Howard Kurtz dismissed concern about Bryant Gumbel's
liberalness by highlighting his friendliness with Richard Nixon, George
Bush and Roger Ailes.
8) Meet the Press provided an
illustration of media bias from the Reagan years. Remember the
From the weekend talk shows: On This Week ABC's Cokie Roberts argued
that a measly 1.4 percent budget cut would "threaten" drug rehab
while Sam Donaldson warned such a cut could imperil "the penny that
cures cancer"; on Fox News Sunday NPR's Mara Liasson took on the
accuracy of Republican ads which say Democrats want to spend the Social
Security surplus; and on the McLaughlin Group the Chicago Tribune's
Washington Bureau Chief, James Warren, declared the defeat of campaign
finance "reform" a victory for "corruption."
-- ABC's This
Week. During an interview with John and Cindy McCain, Cindy McCain
promoted the value of government spending on drug rehabilitation programs.
Co-host Cokie Roberts, referring to a House GOP plan to reduce spending
across the board, with some major exceptions, by 1.4 percent, retorted:
"Senator, that's one of the things that is
threatened by this across the board budget cut that is being talked about
in the House of Representatives. Where are you on 1.4 percent across the
board budget cuts?"
Even if such a
small reduction hurt the program, why is it up to taxpayers to pay for
treatment for people who can't control themselves?
Two segments later
in the show House Majority Whip Tom DeLay came aboard to defend the 1.4
percent idea, calling it a cut of a mere "penny" of every
proposed dollar in spending. Demonstrating an extreme use of the
Washington Monument syndrome, that is, the usual government maneuver to
maximize the public's outrage over a budget cut by making it
inconvenience or scare as many as possible, co-host Sam Donaldson
"If you take that penny, for instance, out
of the National Institutes of Health grants, that may be the penny that
cures cancer. Are you willing to do that?"
By that reasoning,
why don't we spend thousands of pennies more since any one of them might
lead to the cure?
(DeLay did tell
Donaldson that the NIH's budget grows every year and the agency could
cut from areas other than research grants.)
-- Fox News Sunday. For years Democrats have
demagogued about Social Security, striking fear in recipients that
Republicans will leave them on the street starving, but National Public
Radio's Mara Liasson doesn't want Republicans to get away with an
accurate ad about Clinton's plans for Social Security.
Referring to how
since the late 1960s Congress and the President have counted the Social
Security surplus as regular revenue to be spent on programs of all kinds,
she demanded of House Speaker Dennis Hastert: "Let me ask you about
some of these ads you're running against key Democrats. You're saying
that the President wants to raid the Social Security surplus? Isn't that
something that you yourself and almost every other member of Congress has
voted on in your entire careers in the House until this year?"
Liasson pressed a
second time: "Well, those ads are pretty heavy handed and they seem
to send a message to seniors that the President is going to do something
that is going to prevent them from getting their Social Security checks.
Is that what you're saying?"
In fact, the
National Republican Congressional Committee ad, which This Week played,
begins: "Take a look behind the doors of the Democrats in Washington
and you'll be in for a big surprise. That's because the Democrats see
the Social Security surplus as a source of big money they can spend on
more big government programs."
-- McLaughlin Group. Newsweek's Eleanor Clift
blamed Elizabeth Dole's poor showing on not sticking to a liberal policy
prescription: gun control. Clift contended: "Her problem is that she
didn't stick with the issue that she had which is gun control."
Later, host John
McLaughlin asked: "Question, was this rejection of campaign finance
so-called 'reform' a victory for free speech or was it a victory for
political corruption? James Warren."
The Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief gave
the liberal answer: "I go with corruption. The fact is also that a
majority of Senators still voted against it. The fact is that Mitch
McConnell's linkage of free speech with campaign fundraising is bogus,
it involves a bogus interpretation of the relevant Supreme Court decision.
If you want to see a terrific analysis of this look at a new book by
Elizabeth Drew called The Corruption of American Politics."
Saturday's editions of Washington, DC's two papers delivered
contrasting spins on Friday night's debate in New Hampshire amongst Gary
Bauer, Steve Forbes, Orrin Hatch, Alan Keyes and John McCain.
The October 23
Washington Post headline announced: "At GOP Debate, a Unified Blast
The subhead: "Rivals Attack His Absence at
New Hampshire Event and Differ on Little Else"
Times relayed: "Clinton Foreign Policy Assailed"
The subhead: "5 GOP Presidential Hopefuls
Cite Failures in N.H. Debate"
It's not just Dan Rather who refuses to accept the term
"partial-birth abortion" while gladly adopting such liberal
terms as "campaign finance reform" and "affirmative
action." As noted in the October 22 CyberAlert, on the October 21 CBS
Evening News Rather announced that "the U.S. Senate tonight approved
a measure to ban a type of late-term abortions.....Supporters of the ban
refer to these abortions as quote 'partial-births.' Opponents say
it's all really aimed at reversing a woman's legal right to choose
whether or not to have an abortion."
MRC analyst Paul
Smith noted that the same night on CNN's The World Today, anchor Wolf
"The Senate has again approved a
Republican-led effort to outlaw a late-term abortion procedure. But the
vote to ban what anti-abortion groups call partial-birth abortion fell
short of a crucial threshold."
The next day on
ABC's Good Morning America, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed,
during the 7am news update news reader Morton Dean relayed:
"For the third time, the Senate has voted to
ban the type of late-term abortion critics call partial birth. There were
not enough votes last night to suggest a promised presidential veto can be
overridden. The Senate also took its first vote on Roe vs. Wade, approving
a non-binding resolution supporting the decision that legalized abortion.
The vote on the divisive issue: 51 to 47."
Again Sunday night a network anchor tied Christian Right
"rhetoric" to the murder last year of gay college student
Matthew Shepard, but as the Washington Times reported on Friday, neither
major television nor print outlets have picked up on how two gay men are
charged with a September beating death of a 13-year-old boy in Arkansas.
October 24, on World News Tonight anchor Carole Simpson continued the
media mantra about Shepard as she introduced a story about a meeting
between Jerry Falwell and some gay leaders:
"Tomorrow in Wyoming opening arguments begin
in the trial of the second man accused of murdering a gay college student.
Some call Matthew Shepard's murder a hate crime. Gay advocates say
rhetoric from the Christian Right is partly to blame for this kind of
violence. But as ABC's Karla Davis reports, this weekend two groups got
together in an attempt to change that."
About a year ago,
on the October 13, 1998 Today, Katie Couric also made the cause and effect
link: "Then the fallout from the death of Matthew Shepard. The tragic
beating of the college student in Wyoming has some activists in this
country saying there is a climate of anti-gay hate that's been fostered
by a provocative advertising campaign by the political right in this
country. We're going to get into that debate after news and
Out Torture Death of Arkansas Boy: Homosexuals charged with rape,
murder," read the headline over an October 22 Washington Times story
by Joyce Howard Price. Here's an excerpt from the piece which quotes the
MRC's Tim Graham about the lack of media interest:
Most of the nation has not heard about two
homosexual men who face the death penalty in Arkansas, charged with raping
and torturing a 13-year-old boy to death last month.
The brutal crime against Prairie Grove,
Ark., seventh-grader Jesse Dirkhising -- who was raped repeatedly and
suffocated with his own underwear in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 26 -- was
reported by news organizations in Arkansas and also covered by newspapers
in Oklahoma and Tennessee.
But the boy's death did not receive
national media attention. Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the
Media Research Center, said he is not surprised.
"Nobody wants to say anything negative
about homosexuals. Nobody wants to be seen on the wrong side of that
issue," said Mr. Graham, who sees "political correctness"
But David Smith, spokesman for a major
homosexual lobbying group, the Human Rights Campaign, said yesterday of
the Jesse Dirkhising case: "This has nothing to do with gay
The muted press reaction to the Dirkhising
slaying starkly contrasts with coverage of the murder of Matthew Shepard,
a homosexual University of Wyoming freshman who was beaten to death last
Christopher D. Plumlee, deputy prosecuting
attorney for Benton County, Ark., who investigated Jesse's death, admits
he was a "little surprised" at the limited coverage this
"horrible crime against a child" received.
Joshua Macave Brown, 22, and Davis Don
Carpenter, 38, described as homosexual "lovers" in a police
affidavit, have both been charged with capital murder and six counts of
rape and are being held without bond in connection with Jesse's death.
The accused killers pleaded not guilty at
an arraignment earlier this month and face another court date Dec. 8. Mr.
Plumlee said their trial is scheduled for April 10, 2000.
Mr. Carpenter was a friend of Jesse's
parents, Tina Yates and Miles Yates Jr., and the boy had been staying with
the two men at their apartment in Rogers, Ark., on weekends for two months
prior to his death, Mr. Plumlee said. The prosecutor said the child's
family had been falsely told Jesse helped out at a Rogers beauty salon Mr.
According to the affidavit, Mr. Brown told
police that on the morning of Sept. 26, he sneaked up on the boy, tied his
hands behind his back, placed his pair of undershorts in the teen's mouth
and secured the briefs with a bandana and duct tape. He said he
blindfolded the youth, bound him to a bed and repeatedly sodomized him.
Mr. Brown said he went to the kitchen to
get a sandwich and that when he returned to the bedroom, Jesse was not
breathing. He alerted his roommate, who called 911.
Asked about Mr. Carpenter's role during the
crime, Mr. Brown said Mr. Carpenter stood at the bedroom door and
masturbated as he watched. Police also recovered notes they believe
implicate Mr. Carpenter in planning the crime.
Mr. Plumlee would not speculate on why this
slaying received such scant coverage. But "this was murder and rape
in an area that has a low crime rate, a particularly low rate of violent
crime. We generally don't have crimes with this degree of brutality
here," he said.
He added he sees local outrage at the
"torture" Jesse endured. "But I don't see outrage directed
at homosexuals," he said.
News stories published about the crime, to
date, have not indicated the suspects are homosexuals.
Jack Stokes, director of employee
publications for Associated Press, confirmed yesterday that AP ran stories
about the case on state and local wires but not on its national wires.
"I do not know why the story has not moved nationally, but it's a
continuing story, so that could change," he said late yesterday. AP
last covered the story Oct. 11, when the two suspects were arraigned.
By contrast, the day after Mr. Shepard's
Oct. 8, 1998, beating in Wyoming, the Associated Press national wire
carried its first 400-word story by staff writer E.N. Smith headlined:
"Openly gay student critically injured in Wyoming attack."
The next day, Oct. 10, AP produced a
700-word story with the headline: "Gay student clings to life after
savage beating." On Oct. 11, AP moved a 500-word story headlined:
"Call for tougher laws after attack on gay student." A search
through Associated Press on-line archives showed the Shepard story was
reported as a national story every day for a week following the beating.
Barbara Levinson, a spokeswoman for
"NBC Nightly News," said, "We did not cover" the
Dirkhising case. Given that the broadcast is only 30 minutes long, she
said, "There are many crime stories that don't make it on the
Another network spokeswoman said the story
of Jesse's killing has not been presented on "Today" or
"Dateline NBC" either.
A spokeswoman for CNN said, "Our
affiliate station in Atlanta was tracking the story. But the week it
happened, there was also Hurricane Floyd, the nuclear power plant
explosion in Japan, the
London train wreck, and the flare-up in
Paul McMasters, national ombudsman for the
Freedom Forum, a private media foundation, acknowledged he had not heard
about the Dirkhising murder until yesterday when a reporter called and
inquired. "I'm at a loss to explain why a story like this didn't get
more national play," he said. "We don't know how many stories
just like this one don't make it to the national news."....
"Excessive" coverage of school shootings, which distorts the
true risks to kids, earned John Stossel's "Give Me a Break!"
segment at the end of Friday's 20/20 on ABC. To supplement examples of
media hype and exaggeration from ABC News, about a week ago the MRC
provided Stossel's producer with relevant video clips from CBS and NBC
from which Stossel picked some to feature in his piece.
Countering a claim
by Bob McNamara on CBS, Stossel asserted in his October 22 report:
"But it's not 'a nightmare schools know
too well.' In truth, when kids are in school they're safer than
anyplace else. Safer than at the mall. Safer than at home. Now all the
massive coverage of school shootings might be justified if school violence
were getting worse. But it isn't. Since 1992 schoolyard killings are
down 50 percent."
added: "Lightning kills more people, bathtubs kill more kids. But the
media's obsessed with school shootings. We make it seem like this is
likely to happen in your town soon."
+++ To see a clip
of Stossel's story, in RealPlayer format, go to the MRC home page where
the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will post it by 10am ET Monday
Number 5 in the MRC's Top Ten Gumbel Stumbles, a quote countdown to
Bryant Gumbel's return to morning TV on November 1 as co-host of CBS's
The Early Show, is now up on the MRC home page in RealPlayer format.
In this latest
highlight from Gumbel's career as a liberal advocate, Gumbel argues that
Bill Clinton's liberal policies make up his true character, asking
Clinton biographer David Maraniss on the October 10, 1996 MSNBC InterNight:
"In the first two years this is a man [Clinton] who tried his best to
balance the budget, to reform health care, to fight for gay rights, to
support personal freedoms. Couldn't those be considered doing the right
things, evidence of true character?"
To watch this
quote and #4 as picked by MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey, which
will be posted Monday morning, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/gumbel/gumbelvideos.html
Despite quotes like the one above, "the private Gumbel" might
"surprise people" who think he's liberal. How? By learning of
his friendliness with Richard Nixon and that George Bush once helped him
exploring Gumbel's political agenda and how it may turn viewers away
from the new CBS Early Show, in a Saturday Style section profile of Gumbel,
Washington Post/CNN media reporter Howard Kurtz dismissed the concern. An
excerpt from the October 23 piece:
Gumbel often draws flak from the right
because he makes no secret of his liberal leanings. But here, too, the
private Gumbel might surprise people. He became friendly with Richard
Nixon during his twilight years, interviewing him at NBC and dining at his
New Jersey home. George Bush helped get him into Bethesda's exclusive
Burning Tree Club. Gumbel is also pals with Fox News President Roger Ailes,
who appeared on a weekly "Today" segment when he was a
"He does start to twitch a little when
he hears Ronald Reagan's name," Ailes says. But he adds: "People
warned me that Bryant won't agree with you politically and he'll be very
tough on you. Exactly the opposite took place. Bryant was friendly, always
fair and never took a cheap shot."
Who but liberals
consider the wage and price control-imposing, EPA-creating and
Detente-promoting Nixon to be "conservative"? And the fact that
Ailes, who rescued Geraldo Rivera's career by giving him a prime time
show on CNBC, likes the guy hardly means anything. In Kurtz's world is
it impossible for conservatives to get along with liberals?
Sunday's Meet the Press provided a reminder of media bias from the
Reagan years. The October 24 "Meet the Press Minute" featured
clips from then Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole's appearance
on December 18, 1983. Tim Russert picked a section of the show when
Business Week reporter Maria Recio proposed this liberal theory to Dole:
"President Reagan's policies seem to have
alienated some women voters and created something of a gender gap. Why do
you think this gap exists and what do you personally plan to do about
responding that Democrats had a gender gap with men, ever the
non-conservative, Dole agreed with the assessment.
I've never heard of Recio, so her Meet the
Press appearance may have been her career high point. --
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