"Slumlord" Al Able to Slide; Craig Pressed on Elian's Freedom; Vintage CNN Bias
1) "If this had been a
Republican, people would have been crying 'slumlord'," observed Juan
Williams on Fox News Sunday in discussing a story the networks skipped over
the weekend about Al Gore's tenant complaining about never-fixed backed up
2) On CNN's Capital Gang Mark
Shields castigated the press for labeling Robert Casey
"conservative" just because he was pro-life: "The litmus test
to be a liberal by contemporary press standards is simply to be an unqualified
supporter of legal abortion."
3) Al Hunt ridiculed conservatives
over concern for Elian: "This has brought a commie back. They've got
Castro. They feel good." But NBC's Tim Russert pressed Greg Craig about
demanding "set Elian free" when he'll go to Cuba with an
4) "Half a million mothers
and grandmothers...flooded Havana's main highway today, demanding"
Elian's "immediate return," Tom Brokaw announced as if it were a
true outpouring of feelings. ABC and CBS pointed out how Castro orchestrated
5) Marking CNN's 20th
anniversary, CNN played back some vintage 1988 bias from Bernard Shaw:
"Say if I'm a conservative Republican on the far right, where do I go
between Dole and Bush?"
6) A federal judge cleared Ken
Starr of pressuring Julie Hiatt Steele to lie. That's amongst the latest
Clinton scandal developments skipped by the networks as detailed in the
MRC's June 1 Media Reality Check.
7) Latest MediaNomics:
"Predicting Presidential Winners: Is It the Economy or the Media?"
and "Kudos to The New York Times" for advocating a flat tax -- in
Gore, Slumlord? Friday night, Nashville's CBS affiliate, WTVF-TV, ran a
story on how a family renting a house for $400 a month on Al Gore's
property in Smith County, Tennessee had been evicted by a management
company employed by Gore, after complaining about backed up toilets and
clogged sink drains that were never fixed. "If this had been a
Republican, people would have been crying 'slumlord'," observed a
liberal pundit Sunday morning.
The AP picked up on the
TV news story on Saturday and the revelation became Kate O'Beirne's
"Outrage of the Week" on CNN's Capital Gang Saturday night.
Fox News Sunday panelists discussed it Sunday morning, but otherwise the
broadcast networks ignored it: Not a word Saturday or Sunday night on the
ABC, CBS or NBC evening shows, nor on their Sunday interview shows, even
after an embarrassed Gore on Saturday satisfied the family by cancelling
the eviction order, agreeing to fix the problems and inviting them over to
his neighboring house for dinner.
[Web Update: Monday
night, June 5, FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume and Fox Report both
carried full stories by David Shuster on the condition of the Al
Gore-owned rental home occupied by a family and Gore's promise to
resolve the situation without evicting them. Monday's CNN Inside
Politics gave the subject 38 seconds.]
On the June 4 Fox News
Sunday, The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes suggested: "I think
he's going to basically get away with this. If this had been a
conservative Republican, however, who had done this -- George W. Bush say
had some farm, he does have a ranch -- and we had the same story, the
press would never let go. On this one, with Gore, they'll let go."
The liberal Juan
Williams, formerly of the Washington Post and now a National Public Radio
talk show host, agreed: "If this had been a Republican, people would
have been crying slumlord. That would be the headline -- 'Slumlord' --
and a man who doesn't take care of little people...."
Repairs to Tenant" read the headline over a Saturday night AP
dispatch from Nashville by Phil West which appeared on an inside page of
Sunday's Washington Post. He reported:
Tracy Mayberry thought Vice President Al
Gore was a slumlord, until Gore called her Saturday and promised to repair
overflowing toilets and backed-up sinks in the apartment her family rents
Mayberry and her family pay $400 a month to
rent the four-bedroom house within sight of Gore's home in Carthage, about
50 miles east of Nashville. "Before, I was really upset with him. I
considered him a slumlord," she said Saturday. "Right now, my
opinion varies. If he'll uphold his end of the bargain, that's OK."
After repeated complaints to Gore's
property managers, Mayberry said she was told her family -- including her
disabled husband, a mentally retarded daughter and another daughter with a
seizure disorder -- were being evicted. They live on $1,536 a month in
Social Security from her husband's disability.
Frustrated, Mayberry contacted a Nashville
television station, WTVF-TV, which aired a story on her situation Friday.
By Saturday afternoon, Gore was on the phone to Mayberry, promising to fix
the problems and pay for a new place for the family to stay. Republicans
were already circulating the TV story to national news organizations.
"He said he'd heard I'd called him a
slumlord, and I said I did. I said if you want to run for President, you
ought to behave like a landlord should," Mayberry said. "He
agreed with me. He said he's going to come in and do a complete
renovation...He kept apologizing. He said he's not what you'd call a
hands-on landlord. I said I understand he's got a lot of obligations being
Vice President and campaigning. But I said I've got a lot of obligations
to my family."
Spokesman Doug Hattaway said Gore was not
aware of the house's condition until his staff was contacted by WTVF.
Plumbing repairs would be so extensive the water would be turned off for
quite some time, and the family likely would need to leave while the work
was done, he said.
Since the Mayberrys are on a month-to-month
lease, the property managers had asked the family to vacate the home while
the repairs were made. "I should emphasize for the record they're not
being evicted," he said Saturday.
Gore overruled his property managers and
instructed his Carthage lawyer to find a place for the family to stay.
They will not have to pay rent while the repairs are made, Hattaway
The MRC doesn't tape
local news in Nashville, but thanks to WTVF-TV providing its news shows to
broadcast.com you can view the station's stories via RealPlayer.
To watch the station's
original story by reporter Jennifer Kraus, complete with video of an
overflowing toilet and sinks that won't drain, go to the "NewsChannel
5" video archive page:**
**And then scroll down the page to "Friday"
and click on "NewsChannel 5 at 6:00" where it's the lead
Direct address to watch
this newscast, if you already have RealPlayer installed:
follow-up story on Gore promising to make repairs, a story which
humorously featured Mayberry's ten-year-old son saying he didn't think
Gore should be President but now does, scroll down to "Saturday"
and click on "NewsChannel 5 at 10:00." Like Friday, it's the
lead story. The direct address:
The sound for both shows
sputters in and out at first, but by the time the actual Gore pieces begin
the sound is solid.
The broadcast.com site
only provides access to WTVF-TV news shows for a week, so watch them now
if you want to see them. Last Friday's story will be gone as of this
coming Friday morning.
Williams wasn't the only usually liberal pundit to make a conservative,
anti-liberal media point over the weekend. For his "Outrage of the
Week" on CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday night, liberal columnist
Mark Shields took his media colleagues to task for how they labeled the
late Robert Casey as "conservative" just because the true
liberal opposed abortion.
Bob Novak went first on
the June 3 show, noting:
"Former Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey died
this week at age 68. The son of a coal miner, he won the governorship on
his fourth try in 1986, as an old-fashioned liberal labor Democrat. Yet
while serving his second term as governor, he was refused permission to
address the 1992 Democratic National Convention, because he would have
spoken against abortion. That was an outrage. And it is an outrage that
the world's oldest political party imposes support for abortion as a
Shields then took his
shot, praising Casey's liberal achievements and rebuking the media:
"And what a record Governor Casey wrote: medical
coverage for every child in the state, increasing funding for public
schools, worker rights, more women in his cabinet than any U.S. Governor.
So then why did the major press, including CNN, call Bob Casey, an FDR,
JFK liberal, a conservative? Because the press predictably calls for the
Republican big tent to welcome pro-choices. But when pro-life Bob Casey
was silenced by Democrats, the press lost its voice. You don't have to
back economic and racial justice. The litmus test to be a liberal by
contemporary press standards is simply to be an unqualified supporter of
Indeed, as noted in the
June 1 CyberAlert, on the May 30 The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC the
host of the same name asserted: "Bob Casey has died tonight, word
just in to us. The former two-term Governor of Pennsylvania, a Democrat
but a devout Catholic and thus was ultraconservative on the topic of
abortion. In fact, his name will forever be attached to a landmark Supreme
Court decision on abortion."
An AP obituary by Peter
Jackson, carried in the May 31 Washington Post, included this sentence:
"Casey, a Catholic and conservative, berated his party and its 1992
presidential candidate, Bill Clinton, for what Casey called an
Russert raised genuine concerns about Elian Gonzalez's communist
indoctrination while Al Hunt sarcastically made fun of conservatives who
would "go to a theme park in Albania to find a communist" and
now Elian makes them feel good because it lets them bash a
"commie," Fidel Castro.
Sunday's Meet the
Press featured the first showing on an NBC News program of the photo of
Elian in the uniform of the Pioneers, Cuba's communist youth group, a
photo picked up from the Miami Herald by the Fox News Channel way back on
May 17. ABC's Good Morning America showed it the next morning, but all
the other broadcast network shows avoided it.
On the June 4 program,
moderator Tim Russert asked Greg Craig, the lawyer for Elian's father:
"Many critics have said, Mr. Craig, when you say 'set Elian free,
set him free to go back to Cuba,' the most authoritarian government in
the world? How can you use those kinds of words?"
Then, over the Pioneers
photo, Russert pressed: "He put this uniform on here in the United
States and people say 'my God, here we are fostering his
re-indoctrination into communism, his re-education into communism. How
could we allow him to do such a thing?'"
The night before on
CNN's Capital Gang Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall
Street Journal, was more interested in ridiculing conservative concerns
for freedom and opposition to communism:
"This has been like a goldie oldies reunion for
the political right. You know, a very wise man, as a matter of fact, it
was you Mark Shields, said that the problem with the political right, they
had to go to a theme park in Albania to find a communist. This has brought
a commie back. They've got Castro. They feel good. The American public
could care less about it however. They agree with [guest panelist
Democratic Senator] Chuck Robb, that a father basically ought to make a
decision for a six-year-old. I hope he stays here. If he wants to go back
to Cuba, that's his business."
a million mothers and grandmothers' spontaneously, on their own, took to
Havana's streets Friday to demand Elian's return. At least that's
how NBC's Tom Brokaw portrayed what took place, but both of his
broadcast network competitors pointed out how Fidel Castro orchestrated
Over video of a large
crowd, Brokaw intoned on the June 2 NBC Nightly News: "Just one day
after an appeals court ruled against an asylum hearing for Elian Gonzalez,
half a million mothers and grandmothers, waving Cuban flags, flooded
Havana's main highway today, demanding the boy's immediate return to
ABC's Charles Gibson,
anchoring World News Tonight, offered a bit of insight into how Cuba
really works: "In Havana, Cuba today one of the largest
demonstrations yet demanding the return of Elian Gonzalez to Cuba. The
Cuban government decided there should be 500,000 mothers and grandmothers
out in force and says there were. Fidel Castro arranged the march to
object to the length of time it's taking for the American courts to let
Elian come home."
To drive home the point,
as Gibson mentioned Castro ABC's video zoomed in for a close-up of the
dictator in the crowd.
Over on the CBS Evening
News, anchor Bob Schieffer gave full credit to Castro: "Fidel Castro
pulled out all the stops today to vent Cuba's frustration over the
latest turn in the Elian Gonzaelez case. Castro summoned hundreds of
thousands of people, most of them women, to march on Havana's main
coastal highway in Cuba's biggest Elian rally yet. They demanded the
boy's immediate return and protested yesterday's U.S. court ruling
that the boy must remain in the United States at least two more
is CNN's Liberal Bias. Plugging This is CNN: Twenty Years of Stories, a
Thursday-Friday 9-11pm ET review of CNN's history on its 20th
anniversary, CNN's Inside Politics replayed a vintage clip which
happened to display labeling bias in referring to conservatives as the
Inside Politics first
aired in January 1988 as Inside Politics '88 and so on the June 1 show
CNN picked a clip from a January 1988 edition, possibly the first one.
Viewers saw and heard Bernard Shaw report: "Mississippi, Florida, and
his home state of Tennessee, stops along the way for Democrat Albert Gore,
the man does have a Southern strategy, and CNN political analyst Frederick
Allen followed him every step of the way."
CNN then jumped to a clip of long since departed
political analyst Frederick Allen: "With a hey and a howdy,
Tennessee's Al Gore is trying to win over the South."
CNN then jumped back to
more of Shaw: "Here at Inside Politics day and night we analyze and
try to figure out what these candidates are up to and why, and so does our
respected guest, William Schneider." The playback then jumped to this
question from Shaw: "Say if I'm a conservative Republican on the far
right, where do I go between Dole and Bush?"
Schneider replied: "Well, most conservative
Republicans right now don't see a big difference, they don't really trust
either Dole or Bush, though they could go along with either nominee. A lot
of them feel -- and they feel this way privately -- that the party's
going to nominate George Bush and it will probably lose."
The two 2-hour specials
were hosted by Larry King. Amongst the guests reminiscing with him on
Friday night: Anita Hill. One of King's questions showed how he
considered her to be the victim:
"Some in the Senate came down very hard on you. Do
you bear them some anger still?"
Hill replied: "Well, you know, I try to get beyond
my anger. I tried to turn my anger at the time into something positive.
And I still try to do that. I think that there are those people in the
Senate who really don't think that they did anything wrong. For them, this
was a political battle, and what they don't understand was that there were
real lives involved."
And it wasn't
political for Hill and the liberals who pushed her forward in order to
prevent a black conservative from getting onto the Supreme Court?
'Sleaze Factor' Coverage of Clinton: Major Networks, News Magazines,
Even Newspapers Ignore Potentially Embarrassing New Stories,"
announced the headline over the MRC's June 1 Media Reality Check by Tim
Graham. The fax report ran through several developments largely, if not
totally, skipped by the media, including how a federal judge found
"absolutely no evidence" that Starr's office pushed Julie
Hiatt Steele to offer false testimony.
The text of the report
follows below, but you can also read it online in either HTML format or as
an Adobe Acrobat PDF document by going to where Webmaster Andy Szul has
Here's the text of the
June 1 Media Reality Check:
As Ronald Reagan wrapped up his second term
in 1988, there was no scandal fatigue. Each new scandal, such as
controversies over Attorney General Ed Meese, led to reporters decrying
ever_ increasing evidence of a "sleaze factor." But the media
tend to yawn past the latest Clinton scandal news.
-- Saving Reno's Job? On May 18,
Associated Press reporter John Solomon dropped a bombshell: "FBI
Director Louis Freeh wrote a memo in the earliest days of the Democratic
fund-raising investigation suggesting a top Justice Department official
was under pressure not to proceed with the probe to save Attorney General
Janet Reno's job." Coverage? Just 20 seconds on the ABC and NBC
At a Senate subcommittee hearing on May 24,
FBI Assistant Director for National Security Neal Gallagher corroborated
Freeh's recollection about top Justice Department official Lee Radek
making it clear that Reno was in peril if she named an independent
counsel. Radek told the Senators that Freeh was mistaken. Coverage? Only
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume aired a story on the hearing. All
the other networks were absent.
-- Starr's Not a Liar? On May 19,
Associated Press reported that former Kathleen Willey friend (and Geraldo
Rivera favorite) Julie Hiatt Steele, who joined a lawsuit alleging Ken
Starr pressured her to offer false testimony, was rebuffed by U.S.
District Judge John Nangle, who found "absolutely no evidence that
[Mr. Starr] ever directly or impliedly asked her to lie." Coverage?
Not only did all the networks miss it, but the Washington Post was the
only national newspaper or news magazine to come up in the Nexis database,
on May 21.
-- Tripp's Good Week. On May 24, Maryland
prosecutors dropped their attempt to indict Linda Tripp for illegal
wiretapping in the taping of Monica Lewinsky. Coverage? All the networks
were there in July of 1998, when the grand jury investigation began (and
none mentioned that the prosecutor, Stephen Montanarelli, was a Democrat).
When the probe ended, it drew anchor briefs on NBC, CNN, and a full story
on FNC, but nothing on ABC or CBS.
Tripp also received good news the next day,
when the Pentagon's Inspector General found that the release of her
personnel file to The New Yorker in 1998 "constituted a clearly
unwarranted invasion of her privacy" and a violation of the Privacy
Act. Defense Secretary William Cohen slapped the wrists of his press
people Ken Bacon and Cliff Bernath. Coverage? On ABC, Peter Jennings gave
it an anchor brief and worked in nine words on the dropped Maryland case.
CNN also carried briefs on Inside Politics and The World Today. FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume aired a brief, then a discussion the next
night. Time gave it a sentence at the front of the magazine, adding
"Now pleeeze disappear."
-- Juanita Broaddrick's Audit. On May 30,
AP reported that Clinton rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick received notice
of an audit from the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is focusing
especially on 1998, when Broaddrick first became known as a potential
Clinton accuser. "I believe it's not a coincidence. I am clearly
being targeted because I came forward," she told Fox News. Coverage?
Only AP, FNC, and The Washington Times have reported the story so far.
END Reprint of Media Reality
online from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), the latest edition of
MediaNomics, which relays "what the media tell Americans about free
enterprise." Articles in the June 2 edition, compiled FMP Director
Presidential Winners: Is It the Economy or the Media?
Citing the strong state of the U.S. economy, The
Washington Post's Robert Kaiser last week declared Al Gore the winner of
this year's presidential contest. In a front-page article, Kaiser wrote
that six political scientists who analyze economic data "are saying
Gore will win 53 to 60 percent of the [two-party] vote." But free
market economists say the current economic boom is mostly the result of an
increasingly productive private sector and Reaganomics, not the efforts of
either Bill Clinton or Al Gore.
-- Kudos...to The New
Simplifying the maddeningly-complicated, multi-layered
federal tax code is a cause long championed by free market reformers. Now,
The New York Times editorial page -- heretofore a flat-tax foe -- has
picked up the cause. On Sunday, May 28, a Times editorial pushed for a
flat tax, but not for the United States. Instead, the Times endorsed a
flat tax proposal pushed by Russian President Vladimir Putin for his
country, but used arguments that strongly echo those of flat tax
supporters here in the U.S.
To read these articles,
To receive free e-mail
notification of the latest Free Market Project articles and special
reports, send a "subscribe" message to: email@example.com
Finally, the MRC's Tim
Graham is scheduled to appear Monday night, June 5, on FNC's The Edge
with Paula Zahn to discuss Elian coverage. Normally as soon as I plug a TV
appearance for an MRCer it's cancelled, but assuming this low key plug
doesn't lead to that, I'll distribute a reminder late this afternoon.
-- Brent Baker
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