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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday December 14, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 187)

Ted to "Save the Human Race"; Brokaw Hit GOP from Left; W's "Intellect"

1) Relax, Ted Turner is here to save us and your pet dog. Monday night Turner promised to dedicate himself "to trying to save the human race and make things better for human beings and the other creatures." He argued Clinton has "been a real good President."

2) Co-hosting a debate in Iowa Monday night NBC's Tom Brokaw hit the Republicans from the left, advocating more Medicare spending and labeling as "graphic language" platform positions calling for the elimination of the minimum wage, EPA and women in combat.

3) Women support a Republican. An alien idea to the news media."For the first time in a long while a Republican frontrunner appeals to women," marveled Tom Brokaw. Reporter David Bloom referred to "Bush's surprising support from women."

4) A broadcast network evening show finally touched the GOP debates. ABC's Dean Reynolds looked at how "Bush has seemed stiff, uninformed, programmed," while McCain "has appeared confident."

5) Ratings for CBS's The Early Show starring Bryant Gumbel are disappointing. CBS's answer: Fire three producers and a writer.

6) Now online: Video highlights of the humorous awards presentations and acceptances in jest at the MRC's "Dishonor Awards for the Decade's Most Outrageous Liberal Media Bias."

    >>> Just two days left to vote. What was the most biased reporting in 1999? You make the call. Cast your vote by using our "Special Web User Ballot" for the "Best Notable Quotables of 1999: The Twelfth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." At the end of every year since the late '80s a panel of about 50 leading media observers have served as judges to select the MRC's year-end awards. Again this year they are voting in 14 categories, but now you too can participate thanks to MRC Web manager Andy Szul.
    Web voting is open until 9am ET on Thursday, December 16. The next day we'll post both the winners and top runners-up as picked by Web-voters as well as our judging panel. To make your picks, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/nqbest/nq1999bestballot.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)Don't worry about anything, Ted Turner will take care of all our problems. And he'll make sure all the wild animals are safe. And pets too. Monday night on CNN's Larry King Live, the founder of CNN and current Vice Chairman of Time-Warner, promised that he'll work toward "saving the human race" and to making "things better for human beings and other creatures." He also warned that he thought about running for President and said he thinks Clinton has "been a real good President."

    Here are three of Turner's comments to King that I culled from the live December 13 interview:

    -- "I'm going to dedicate part of my efforts towards joining with those who want to get it to the top of the agenda to rid the world of nuclear weapons as soon as we possibly can, not sit around and let them pile up. They're too dangerous. They pose a danger to humanity. I'm spending most of my senior years, most of my time and effort now is going to trying to save the human race and make things better for human beings and the other creatures that live on this planet."

    -- King: "You going to run for President?"
    Turner: "I've thought about it."
    King: "How recently?"
    Turner: "Last time, this time."
    King: "This time thinking about it?"
    Turner: "I thought about it but very briefly. I don't really have the energy for it."


    -- Turner on President Clinton: "I think overall he's been a real good President and you know his administration was marred by this Lewinsky thing but, you know, I'm, it doesn't bother me that much."
    King: "Didn't bother you when it was happening?"
    Turner: "Well I, you know, I followed it you know."
    King: "Had to follow it."
    Turner: "Felt sorry for him. In a bad spot, everybody was but I think the news media gave it an awful lot of play. You know I don't think it was that big a deal. In Europe it's not, that kind of behavior is pretty well accepted. It's not here, of course."

    Isn't that just awful that we don't accept it. Well, actually we did as a nation.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)You'd think that the purpose of a Republican debate would be to draw out the differences on policy amongst the Republican candidates so that Republican voters could make a better-informed choice. That's how CNN and FNC moderators and questioners approached the two debates earlier this month. But not NBC star Tom Brokaw Monday night at the debate which aired live Monday night from Des Moines on MSNBC from 7 to 8:30pm CT, 8 to 9:30pm ET. Instead, Brokaw frequently hit the Republicans from the left with points Gore and Bradley partisans would offer. (Brokaw co-moderated with an anchor from the local NBC affiliate, WHO-TV.)

    After the local WHO-TV anchor repeatedly pressed gun control and demanded the candidates explain why they don't favor it, Brokaw made this liberal argument in the guise of a question:
    "Senator Hatch, why not have means testing for Medicare. Why should someone who earns my kind of income, for example, pay and get the same kind of coverage as a school teacher or someone who works on a farm here in Iowa. Pick an investment banker and put him up against a cop. Why can't people who earn more money help make it possible for older Americans, who have real need, to get prescription drugs under their coverage?"

    Soon after Brokaw marveled at a strange document that someone gave him: "I've been reading the Iowa Republican Party platform, we're here in the state of Iowa, and I have for each of you some questions that arise out of the very graphic language in that platform. If I could begin with you Mr. Forbes: It calls for the elimination of the minimum wage, the Iowa Republican Party platform. You think that's a good idea?"

    Where's the "very graphic language"?

    Next, he went to Senator McCain: "In the Iowa Republican Party platform they call for prohibition of women in any combat role. No one on this stage or almost in America has more combat experience than you do. Do you think that's a good idea, prohibit women from combat?"

    Where's the "very graphic language"?

    Plugging along, Brokaw moved to Gary Bauer: "It says that Creationism is a science and evolution is a theory and they ought to be taught equitably in the schools. Do you agree with the entire premise in that statement in the Iowa Republican Party platform?"

    Where's the "very graphic language"?

    Bauer provided the best retort: "If you want to read a wacko platform, you ought to try reading the Iowa Democratic Party platform."

    Going to Senator Hatch, Brokaw extended his mantra: "Continuing with the Iowa GOP platform, they call for the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency. You think that's a good idea?"

    Where's the "very graphic language"?

    Then Brokaw went to George W. Bush: "The platform also calls for the elimination and the phasing out of Medicare and Medicaid and privatize those programs entirely. Bad idea?"

    Time prevented Brokaw from pressing his theme more, but I'm still waiting to hear the "very graphic language." Maybe that's NBC News code for solid ideological principles.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)MSNBC's showing of the debate Monday night prompted NBC Nightly News to run a couple of campaign-related stories Monday night, but not a word about the campaign aired on the December 13 ABC or CBS evening shows. NBC looked at George W. Bush's support among women, which surprised the network, and the decline in influence in Iowa of the Christian Coalition.

    (Nightly News also ran a full story by Jim Miklaszewski on concerns about the upcoming Panama Canal turnover, such as whether Panama can handle the responsibility, fear of Panama's inability to prevent terrorism since it has no standing army and the temptation of corruption. Not mentioned by Miklaszewski: Concern expressed by conservatives that a Chinese-affiliated company will run the ports at both ends of the canal.)

    On Monday's Nightly News Tom Brokaw marveled: "For the first time in a long while a Republican frontrunner appeals to women. What's different about George W. Bush?"
    David Bloom answered that "when it comes to Bush the so-called gender gap may be dead." Citing a survey by the women-oriented iVillage.com Web site, Bloom explained how it found Republican women support Bush over McCain by 54 percent to 8 percent. Bush beats Al Gore 35 percent to 28 percent and versus Bill Bradley he's ahead 36 percent to 21 percent.

    Not wanting to miss a chance to castigate conservatives, Bloom asserted: "A top Republican strategist, a woman, says too many Republicans come across as, quote, 'dour, scolding, intolerant.' Not Bush, she says, and other Republicans agree."
    Anita Blair, Independent Women's Forum: "I think women believe him when he says I want to be compassionate. George loves his wife obviously and loves his mother. I think that those are things that resonate, especially with women voters as a change from Bill Clinton."
    Bloom: "Now alarmed Democrats and especially abortion-rights groups are trying to undercut Bush's support among women with television ads, such as this."
    NARAL ad: "Get the picture? George W. Bush is anti-choice."
    Kate Michelman of NARAL: "They just don't know enough about him yet and when they do he will lose support."
    Bloom concluded with some circular analysis followed by an admission that he's surprised by female support of a Republican: "The gender gap could reappear if undecided women, many of them independents and Democrats, break sharply for Gore or Bradley. But tonight Bush's surprising support from women is among his greatest strengths."

    Next, Brokaw checked in on the declining power of the Christian Coalition in Iowa, but found it still has its followers, such as David and Becky Struthers in Collins who are farmers:
    "The Struthers are members of the Christian Coalition. Their agenda: A candidate compassionate to farming and conservative family values."

    Brokaw asked: "The coalition was once a political powerhouse but can it still influence decisions?"
    Mark Rozell of Catholic University answered: "I think it's more difficult for the Christian right to be influential in this election cycle because they don't have a single standard bearer."

    After noting how members volunteer and vote in higher proportions than other groups and letting one of its leaders point out that many members are now working in several campaigns, Brokaw added: "This time the coalition is looking for a winner. But to win, experts feel the Coalition needs to be less confrontational, more compromising." David Yepsin of the Des Moines Register explained: "They've compromised some of their views. They've decided they want to win some elections."

    Brokaw concluded with a plug for reality: "For Coalition members, like the Struthers, abortion and affairs of the church remain important, but they know that in order to improve their lives they must vote for a candidate who can win in November."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes)After ignoring the December 2 and December 6 Republican presidential debates, ABC's World News Tonight finally showed viewers some clips from them in a Sunday night, December 12, story on questions about George W. Bush's intellect. "In the debates, Bush has seemed stiff, uninformed, programmed, or all three," Dean Reynolds maintained, while John McCain "has appeared confident."

    As noted in the December 6 and 9 CyberAlerts, none of the three broadcast network evening shows aired stories about what happened at the two debates the nights after they took place, so ABC's December 12 piece was the first broadcast network evening show story on a debate this month.

    Under the guise of previewing the Monday Iowa debate, Dean Reynolds took up a subject explored last week by the cable networks, but for the first time by a broadcast network evening show:
    "Two relatively flat performances at recent debates have made some Republican Party officials worry publicly about Bush's potential as a candidate and as a President."
    Orrin Hatch at the December 6 debate: "And frankly I really believe that you need more experience before you become President of the United States. That's why I'm thinking of you as a vice presidential candidate."
    Reynolds: "It all fits hand in glove with not-so-subtle suggestions about his intellect."
    FNC's Brit Hume at December 2 debate that ABC News bagged, leaving FNC to show it: "Can you tell us sir what do you read everyday. What do you read for information?"
    Bush: "Well I read the newspaper."
    Hume: "Which?"
    Bush: "I read the Dallas Morning News. I read the New York Times. I read the Wall Street Journal and I read the Austin American Statesman."
    Reynolds: "By contrast, McCain has appeared confident and has been able to brush off questions about his temper."
    McCain, December 2: "You know a comment like that really makes me mad."
    Reynolds: "In the debates, Bush has seemed stiff, uninformed, programmed, or all three. And that's what his friends are saying. This is not good."
    After analyst Stuart Rothenberg said Bush has a problem that will be hard to overcome, Reynolds continued: "Despite the criticism, Bush doesn't sound all that worried."
    Bush: "I've been underestimated before, and Governor Richards regrets it."
    Reynolds ominously concluded: "In the comparisons that are sure to be drawn between the Governor and McCain tomorrow night, Bush's supporters clearly hope he will wind up on top. They'd rather not talk about what happens if he doesn't."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes)Bryant Gumbel has proven he can't attract an audience as the new The Early Show is being watched by fewer than tuned into the previous This Morning program. So what is CBS's solution? Deal with Gumbel? No, hurt the little guys behind the scenes. The New York Post reported Friday that CBS News fired three producers and a writer for the show.

    Here's an excerpt of the December 10 story by the New York Post's Michael Starr which MRC research associate Kristina Sewell passed along to me:

CBS has canned four news veterans from "The Early Show," its struggling, $30 million morning program co-hosted by Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson.

"This is no bloodletting," executive producer Steve Friedman said of the firings, which occurred late Wednesday. "There are staff changes all the time -- that's how these shows evolve....

Yet the shake-up comes as "Early Show" continues to do poorly in the ratings. Since its debut on Nov. 1, the third-place show has often scored lower ratings than its predecessor, "CBS News This Morning." And it has failed to make any inroads against its nearest competitor, ABC's "Good Morning America."

"We're closer to 'GMA' now than [any time] since our premiere week," Friedman said. "We're closer to them than they are to the 'Today' show."....

CBS pumped $30 million into "The Early Show's" new street-level studios in the GM Building on 59th Street.

Producers Bryna Levin, Craig Frisina and Pat Olsen and writer Allen Honigberg were given their walking papers Wednesday.

"Early Show" executive producer Al Berman left at the end of last month to develop programming for CBS News. He was replaced by Lyne Pitts. Friedman stressed that the firings had nothing to do with

Pitts. "I told Lyne I was going to do this when she took the job," he said. "I felt, as a fairness thing, I would take a look at people from scratch, as we did the show."

He added: "There are always going to be phases when you're developing a show. Phase One is getting on the air, and Phase Two is making the show great. "We've not [yet] got a full-fledged, major-league program."

    END Excerpt

    I thought that according to Gumbel only conservatives and Reagan hurt the little guy.


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes)If you missed the MRC's "Dishonor Awards for the Decade's Most Outrageous Liberal Media Bias," now you can watch a television news story about them, view video excerpts of the humorous awards presentations as shown by C-SPAN and read a newspaper account of last Thursday's events. All thanks to the MRC's Andy Szul, who with some help from Eric Pairel, posted a bunch of new stuff Monday night on the MRC Web site.

    Go to http://archive.mrc.org and click on the photo of Justice Clarence Thomas at the dinner accepting an award in jest and in addition to being able to see the text and videos of all the award nominees and winners, you'll have access to:

    -- Video of the December 10 Fox News Channel story on the Fox Report by reporter Eric Burns.

    -- Highlights of the awards banquet, as shown by C-SPAN:
    Michael Reagan presents the nominees for the "How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award." Award accepted by Ed Meese.
    Cal Thomas presents the nominees for the "Presidential Kneepad Award for the Best Journalistic Lewinsky." Award accepted by John Fund.
    Ed Capano presents the nominees for "I'm a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were Dead Award (for media hatred of conservatives)." Award accepted by Justice Clarence Thomas on behalf of Julianne Malveaux.

    -- Text of a December 13 Washington Times story on the awards banquet by Clarence Williams, which you can read here in full:

Paybacks are hell -- and the most liberal members of the media took their turns getting paid back last Thursday night.

A chance to gang up on the liberal media elite was a clarion call for the 500 supporters of the Media Research Center who gathered at the Washington Monarch Hotel to recognize the most biased coverage by reporters of the '90s, and to "honor" the decade's worst reporting.

"I would not have missed this for all the campaign contributions in China," said M. Stanton Evans, president of the National Journalism Center and the master of ceremonies for the evening's "Dishonors Awards."

"No liberals," he noted, "were actually injured in the production of this program."

Conservatives got the chance to slap their knees, yuck it up and let their hair down -- all at their liberal colleagues' expense.

Among them Oliver North, Justice Clarence Thomas, pundit William F. Buckley Jr. and Michael Reagan, former President Ronald Reagan's eldest son, who said he was only "trying to change the world" by converting "one liberal at a time."

For $125 a plate, guests got the chance to digest a host of quotes -- displayed on large projection screens -- along with their mixed salad greens.

The event played out like a celebrity roast -- only the celebrities weren't around to have their feet held to the fire. As the award winners weren't invited to personally accept their prizes, certain high-profile conservatives were called to the podium to accept the glass awards for them.

Awards were given out in bizarre categories such as "The Presidential Kneepad Award (For the Best Journalistic Lewinksy Impression)" which the Wall Street Journal's John Fund accepted for Time magazine's Nina Burleigh (who coined the "kneepad" allusion to presidential peccadillos in a piece in the New York Observer).

"This is the lowest form of satire -- quoting a journalist with his own work," quipped R. Emmett Tyrrell, editor of the American Spectator. "As a journalist, a serious journalist, I'm embarrassed to be here," Mr. Tyrrell joked, before picking up the "The Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (For Impugning The Character of President Clinton's Adversaries)" on behalf of Newsweek's Evan Thomas.

"Indeed this award is appropriate -- I can see through it," said former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese, who claimed "The How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award," for TV critic John Leonard.

"The media can't seem to get over Ronald Reagan - I hope they never do," Michael Reagan said.

Several journalists found themselves nominated in multiple categories, notably "Today" show host Bryant Gumbel, who shared honors for the "Most Biased Quote of the Decade Award" after a live vote by the audience.

President Bill Clinton ended up being the butt of much of the humor, although Geraldo Rivera also got more than his share of ribbing.

"Geraldo Rivera is to journalism, what Bill Clinton is to statesmanship," said Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and TV talk show host.

Organizers proclaimed the Dishonors a huge success. They want to host the event on an annual basis, to continue to cast light on the "egregious offenses" of the media. "Clearly it's a target-rich environment," Mr. Evans said.

    END Reprint

    The direct address to allow you to experience what you missed on Thursday: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/dishonors.html. -- Brent Baker


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