Bush's "Contrition" for GOP; Greedy Drug Companies; Mayberrys Move; Jacoby Suspended
1) ABC and NBC picked out this
soundbite from George W. Bush to the NAACP: "There is no escaping the
reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of
Lincoln." ABC's Dean Reynolds added: "Bush is associated in this
community with his proposed tax cut that many see as benefitting the
2) ABC's Jack Ford condemned the
pharmaceutical industry for "making enormous profits" while people
die from AIDS: "The terms 'greedy,' 'insensitive,' 'uncaring,' 'inhumane'
have all been used by critics to describe the pharmaceutical companies."
3) Jeff Greenfield's greatest
worry in life: "We are the most wealthy country like ever in the history
of the universe and we have, we don't have, we don't have a decent rail
4) The Mad Mayberrys. Friday night
only the Fox News Channel bothered to update viewers on how the Mayberrys, the
family renting the run-down house from Al Gore, gave up on him and moved to
Ohio after he failed to fulfill his promised repairs.
5) Even Boston liberals agree with
columnist Jeff Jacoby's reaction to his suspension by the Boston Globe:
"This suspension is a brutal overreaction to something that even the
Globe will not call plagiarism and doesn't characterize as a willful
online for your viewing pleasure or pain: A clip of the June 28 Dateline
NBC piece by Keith Morrison in which he previewed the wonderful
opportunities and benefits for Elian in Cuba. A few excerpts:
"Cardenas boasts twice as many doctors as you'd
expect to find in an American city the same size. Elian is more likely to
become a healthy adult in Cuba than in any other Third World country.
Housing? Even the government admits it's inadequate. Most apartments and
houses are old and small and often crowded with whole extended families,
but no one is homeless. Certainly not Elian, who will return to a house
and bedroom considered swank by Cardenas standards....
"Elian will almost certainly rejoin the Pioneers
as almost all Cuban children do. It's very much like the Cub Scouts,
camping trips and all, but with a socialist flavor and a revolutionary
spin. But besides politics, what will he learn? Cubans boast about their
universal free education...."
To watch a portion of this story via RealPlayer, go to:
Correction: The June 30 CyberAlert Extra
twice quoted Bryant Gumbel, in an interview about the Supreme Court's
partial-birth abortion decision, asking about "DNX and DNE
procedures." That should have read D&X and D&E.
speech here today was, in many ways, a political act of contrition,"
ABC's Dean Reynolds declared on Monday's World News Tonight in a piece
on George W. Bush's speech before the NAACP convention in Baltimore.
Like NBC Nightly News in a brief snippet shown by Tom Brokaw, ABC played a
soundbite of Bush conceding, "For my party, there is no escaping the
reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of
Lincoln." Reynolds piled on: "Bush is associated in this
community with his proposed tax cut that many see as benefitting the rich
and with a death penalty that disproportionately punishes black
people." The CBS Evening News also delivered a full story, but
avoided using the soundbite of Bush bashing his own party.
Anchor Peter Jennings
introduced the July 10 report from Reynolds: "For many years,
Republicans conceded that a majority of black Americans identify with
Democrats, but Mr. Bush this week is promoting the notion that he's a
'compassionate conservative.' He's done so before."
Reynolds began, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "George W. Bush came to
Baltimore to get black Americans to give his candidacy a chance, to
underline his insistence that he's a different kind of Republican, and
to show middle-of-the-road voters, both white and black, that he is more
moderate than they may have suspected. Among blacks, Bush has his work cut
out for him."
Reverend Harold Carter, New Shiloh Baptist Church:
"If he thought that we could turn the tide, he would more than want
our votes. At this point, I think he wants to be seen as wanting our
Reynolds: "Still the Reverend Harold Carter, who
leads a congregation of 6,000 in Baltimore, said he would listen to Bush.
And Bush's speech here today was, in many ways, a political act of
George W. Bush, in his speech: "I recognize the
history of the Republican party and the NAACP has not been one of regular
partnership. For my party, there is no escaping the reality that the party
of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln."
Instead of reminding viewers of how a higher percentage
of Republican than Democratic Senators voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act
or how the Democratic Party was the party of segregation and racism in the
South for over a hundred years after the Civil War, Reynolds stressed:
"Bush is associated in this community with his proposed tax cut that
many see as benefitting the rich and with a death penalty that
disproportionately punishes black people."
Reynolds to Jackie
Cornish, a "community development activist": "Is that a big
strike against him in the black community?"
Cornish: "Yes it is."
Reynolds: "Capital punishment?"
Cornish: "Oh, yes it is."
Reynolds: "In fact, protesters reminded Bush of
that today before his introduction. For years, the Republican Party has
pursued a Southern electoral strategy that virtually wrote off black
voters and their concerns, a strategy made crystal clear four years ago
when Bob Dole snubbed the NAACP convention altogether, but today Bush said
he was glad to address the convention to outline his plans to improve
education, expand opportunity, and broaden social services --welcome words
to Reverend Carter."
Carter: "If nothing else, I sensed that the
Governor was saying that the old order of reactionary politics is
Reynolds concluded: "It is a message the Governor
hopes will resonate within the black community and beyond."
Preceding the piece by
Reynolds ABC looked at the Gore campaign. Terry Moran reported: "With
his campaign stalled in the polls, Al Gore ratcheted up his populist
Gore: "Will we stand up for the people, or will we
serve the powerful?"
Moran: "The Vice President accused congressional
Republicans of blocking action on several major issues....Every day this
week Gore intends to whack congressional Republicans on a different
After some Gore
soundbites, Moran led into a clip from Dick Armey by noting how "GOP
leaders in Congress mocked Gore's approach as just another example of a
desperate candidate grasping for something to boost his campaign."
"Gore's aides claim the new populist approach is helping to define
the election around issues that favor Democrats. The risk for Gore,
however, is that he will turn off the independents and Republicans he so
Back to Bush and the
NAACP, on the CBS Evening News Phil Jones showed how Bush was heckled over
the Graham death penalty case. Jones added, however, that unlike previous
Republican presidential candidates, Bush did come to the NAACP. Jones
characterized the address: "It was a short 20 minute speech, with few
details, as Bush attempted to portray himself as a new kind of
In the soundbite picked by CBS, Bush insisted:
"Discrimination is still a reality," as evidenced by
"racial red lining and profiling," as so "strong civil
rights enforcement will be a cornerstone of my administration."
To that, Jones found: "Today Bush received a
polite but skeptical reception."
When the Jones piece
ended, Rather told viewers: "For his part, Democrat Al Gore is road
testing one his strategies for the fall campaign, the Vice President said
today Bush is tied to, in Gore's words, 'the nothing for the people
Republican controlled Congress.' Gore said Republicans are stonewalling
legislation he favors to give patients the right to sue HMOs and to expand
Medicare to cover prescription drugs for older Americans."
companies are greedy bastards if they dare to make a profit while people
are dying of AIDS. That seemed to be the attitude, observed by MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson, exuded by Good Morning America co-host Jack Ford Monday
morning when he went after a spokesman for Merck.
In a July 10 segment on
AIDS in Africa, prompted by a conference on the topic in South Africa,
Ford pounced on Merck's Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio. Here are Ford's first
two attacks in the guise of questions:
-- "Dr. Sturchio, the terms 'greedy,'
'insensitive,' 'uncaring,' 'inhumane' have all been used by critics to
describe the pharmaceutical companies, saying that they are making
enormous profits here and should be doing much more to help save the lives
of the unfortunate. Why is that not true?"
-- "Let me toss some numbers at you. Estimates are
that 20 million people have died as a result of AIDS. Also estimates are
that some 5.4 million have contracted the disease just in the past year
alone. Your company, Merck, had indicated profits for the first quarter of
$1.5 billion. Many people will listen to what you're saying here this
morning and say, you know what, that's far too little and it's far too
late for these people."
money from Amtrak, that's the ticket. Liberals in the media seem unable
to resist the lure of the wonders of European socialism. The latest media
figure to urge that the U.S. adopt European priorities is a disappointing
one: Jeff Greenfield of CNN. The former long-time ABC News reporter is one
of the straightest shooters in his reporting, but Monday morning his
former life as a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy broke through.
On Imus in the Morning,
MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, Greenfield bemoaned how not even Al Gore
is fulfilling "the appetite for public works." Greenfield's
recommendation for the surplus: More money for railroads since "we
don't have a decent rail system."
suggestion in full, as expressed on the July 10 MSNBC simulcast of the
Imus in the Morning radio show:
"We've now got a projected surplus, and you know
projections are not always reliable, though in the next 10 years, we've
got about a four trillion, that's with a 't', trillion dollar
surplus. That's a trillion and change more than they were even
estimating and except for prescription drug benefits, there isn't
anything on the table for a proposal to put that money into some major new
project. It's all about tax cuts. That is what the Republicans want. The
Democrats say we'll have a tax cut, we also want to pay down the debt,
end it, wipe it out and we'll have a prescription drug benefit.
"And it occurred to me, and maybe it's because I
was traveling in Europe for a couple of weeks, you know, we are the most
wealthy country like ever in the history of the universe and we have, we
don't have, we don't have a decent rail system. We are about forty
years behind, thirty years behind every other industrialized country. And
it's, I think the appetite for public works and the kind of stuff that
we used to want to do is so lacking that even, even the Al Gores of this
world, the 'Democratic progressives', except for prescription drug
benefits and raising teacher salaries, they, there's nothing on the
table about investing this astonishing sum of money, investing some of it
in things that we might actually, that could actually make the country
Just what we need, more
night only the Fox News Channel bothered to update viewers on how the
Mayberrys, the family renting the run-down house from Al Gore, gave up on
him after he failed to fulfill his promised repairs and moved to Ohio.
None of the broadcast
network evening shows touched the subject Friday night, reported MRC
analysts Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd and Ken Shepherd. CNN's Inside
Politics and The World Today skipped it, noted the MRC's Brad Wilmouth.
And MRC analyst Paul Smith saw nothing on Friday's The News with Brian
Williams on MSNBC or on Saturday's NBC Today.
Since Republican Party
officials and volunteers helped pack up the moving fan, the situation had
a partisan taint, but back in early June, well before any politics were
involved, the networks similarly ignored the news that a presidential
candidate owned a house in which the tenants were unable to get
overflowing toilets repaired. Back in early June, while FNC ran full
stories, ABC and CBS never mentioned it. CNN's Inside Politics ran a
brief item with video and NBC's Today gave it a few seconds without
On the July 7 Special
Report with Brit Hume, from Carthage, Tennessee, FNC's Bret Baier showed
guys carrying stuff to a moving truck: "They're not professional
movers, they're staffers with the Tennessee Republican Party. She's
not just an unhappy tenant moving out, she's Vice President Al Gore's
unhappy tenant, who says she's fed up."
Tracy Mayberry: "I ain't putting up with it no
more. I'm going to fight him. I'm going to take him to court for
breaching his promise."
Baier reminded viewers, over some unpleasant interior
home video: "Tracy Mayberry made national news when she called the
Vice President a slum lord in early June. Mayberry and her family lease a
small brick house from Gore for $400 a month just a few hundred yards from
the Vice President's Carthage, Tennessee, home....When Mayberry
complained publicly about overflowing toilets, stopped-up sinks, moldy
walls and shoddy electrical wiring, the Vice President called personally,
promising to move the Mayberrys out of the house while repairs were made
and even inviting the family to dinner at the Gores' Carthage
Mayberry told Baier:
"And I said, 'No.' I said, 'That's a bunch of bull. They're
playing head games with us again.'"
Baier: "While Gore'' property manager made some
improvements, Mayberry says the job was sloppy and incomplete. And the
Mayberry: "See the brown stains on it? That's
where it's overflowed. It actually splashed on the wall."
Baier: "That's when the state Republicans
stepped in with volunteers to help the Mayberrys pack and money to pay for
their move to Lima, Ohio."
After a soundbite from
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman, Baier read a comment
from state Democratic Party Chairman Doug Horne: "This is the first
time the Republican Party has shown any concern for working families, and
it's only to play politics with this situation."
Baier hit hard in his
conclusion: "The Vice President spent much of the day campaigning in
Pennsylvania, a key electoral state, speaking on his Medicare proposals,
and in particular, health benefits for women, while a woman claiming her
family's health was threatened living in Al Gore's house packs up and
A shorter version of
Baier's piece ran an hour later on the Fox Report.
+++ See the movers and
the condition of the house. Watch this story via RealPlayer. Late Tuesday
morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post it on the MRC home page: http://www.mrc.org
To view Fox News
Channel's unique June 5 story when this matter first broke, go to:
For an entertaining
piece in The Weekly Standard by Matt Labash about the Mayberry family, go
his liberal colleagues are defending Jeff Jacoby. As you may have heard
elsewhere, The Boston Globe late on Friday suspended conservative
columnist Jeff Jacoby for four months without pay, effectively a push to
convince him to resign, for writing a column about the same topic
discussed in an anonymous e-mail circulating around the Internet, about
the fate of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, without
stating that many of the same stories had been written about in the
It would be one thing if
he were inspired by a column by a particular columnist or historian, but
this e-mail was unauthored and therefore unreliable, leading Jacoby to
check the tales before writing his piece. The four month suspension of the
lone conservative voice at the very liberal paper will silence Jacoby,
coincidentally, through election day.
In a statement, Globe
publisher Richard Gilman claimed: "We cannot look the other way if
any of our columnists, reporters, or writers borrow without attribution
from the works of others, even in an attempt to improve upon it. The Globe
will not equivocate in abiding by the highest journalistic standards and
By this standard, any
columnist who repeats commonly circulated information is guilty of
improper behavior. "They are way overreacting," asserted even
liberal media critic Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix, as quoted by the
July 9 Boston Herald.
Over the past couple of
years, the Globe had punished columnists Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle,
but those suspensions and eventual separations were prompted,
respectively, by clear plagiarism and outright making up of anecdotes and
events to add color to stories about human tragedies.
And what does it say
about how clued-in Jacoby's editors are when they didn't realize
beforehand that the stories about the signers were circulating around the
The latest: In
Tuesday's Washington Post Howard Kurtz disclosed how many inside the
Globe think the suspension was too tough a punishment. Below is an excerpt
from that article as well as a reprint of Jacoby's reaction and links to
other comments on Jacoby's situation as well as to research on the whole
One issue I've not
seen addressed: What happens to Jacoby's syndication deal? The Globe is
owned by the New York Times Company and the New York Times News Service
syndicated Jacoby's column to papers around the nation which are paying
-- From the July 11
story by Howard Kurtz:
The story line seems all too familiar:
another Boston Globe columnist punished for borrowing someone else's work.
But this time the offender is an unabashed
conservative on a famously liberal op-ed page, and the penalty so harsh --
for what many Globe staffers see as a minor infraction -- that some rushed
yesterday to defend a man with whom they rarely agree....
"It strikes me as a terrible
overreaction," says Globe business columnist Charles Stein. "The
guy made a mistake. He wasn't trying to put anything over on anybody. It's
very different from the other incidents the Globe has been involved in,
where people were making stuff up. Maybe a reprimand and a week's
suspension would have been appropriate."
Steve Bailey, the Globe's
"Downtown" columnist, calls the suspension "way over the
top. The guy's opinions were never welcomed in this building from day one.
One mistake and he's gone. It's hard to imagine there wasn't some
connection [with his conservative views]. The guy has created a lot of
enemies over the years. I didn't agree with his point of view all the
time, but I admired his work."....
Says John Fund, a Journal editorial board
member who first published Jacoby's writing a dozen years ago: "It's
an open secret that Jacoby was viewed at best with sneering indifference
and at worst with contempt and hostility in the newsroom." He calls
Jacoby's mistake a "misdemeanor."
Jacoby has been something of a lightning
rod. In 1997, when he criticized Harvard activists who tried to block a
discussion by a Christian group that believes homosexuality is sinful, two
gay copy editors complained, and the Globe's ombudsman -- who had
castigated Jacoby for "homophobic" columns -- called the piece
To read the whole Kurtz
story, go to:
-- Jacoby's letter to
friends distributed on Sunday, which I feel comfortable reprinting since
it was quoted by Kurtz and is posted in full on at least one conservative
As you may know, I am undergoing some
At 4:15 last Friday, I was suspended
without pay for four months from my job at The Boston Globe, and
effectively invited to resign. I was put on notice that if I do choose to
return in four months, there would have to be a "serious
rethink" of the kind of column I write.
The Globe is accusing me of "serious
journalistic misconduct" in connection with my July 3 column on the
signers of the Declaration of Independence. That theme -- the lives of the
signers, and what happened to them after July 4, 1776 -- has been explored
many times. One bibliography lists works on the subject dating back to
1820. When I sat down to write the column, I had before me a version
written by Paul Harvey, another published by Rush Limbaugh, and a third
sent to me a year ago by a reader.
Using those versions -- which all told much
the same story, in much the same words -- as a starting point, I did my
best to verify the information. I checked encyclopedias of American
history, consulted books I own on the Revolutionary War, and visited web
sites that provide biographical material on the founders. I made a special
point of checking sites that debunk "urban legends" and other
Internet myths, since I knew that at least some of what is said about the
signers is not historically accurate.
I knew, too, that an anonymous e-mail on
the signers of the Declaration had been making the rounds. In fact, when I
e-mailed my column to a group of friends, fans, and family members on the
evening of July 2, I noted that what I was sending was NOT a rewrite of
that e-mail, which I knew to contain errors. Of course, it too told
approximately the same story, using approximately the same language, as
all the other versions.
Since I was relating lore that has been
related over and over, and since all of the sources I relied on had relied
in turn on even earlier recitations, I assumed that all the material in my
column was in the public domain. It never occurred to me to include a line
pointing out that I was far from the first to write about the fates of the
Declaration's signers. Had I added such a line, Globe officials tell me,
none of this would be happening.
On Monday, July 3, I asked if I could
repair the oversight by adding a correction to my next column. Permission
to do so was denied. Instead, an Editor's Note pointing out that "the
structure and concept for [my] column were not entirely original"
appeared on the op-ed page on Thursday, July 6. The next morning, I was
given an opportunity to explain how the column had been written. A few
hours later, I was suspended.
I joined the Globe as an op-ed columnist in
February 1994. (The first line of my first column was: "So what's a
nice conservative like me doing in a newspaper like this?") In the
six and a half years since, I have produced close to 600 columns. I invite
anyone to judge my integrity and my journalistic ethics on the basis of
the work that I have done for the Globe. To my knowledge, the paper has
never had any reason to question my work, or to doubt that I hold myself
to the highest standards when writing for publication. Six years' worth of
superlative evaluations of me are on file in the Globe's personnel
records. I think it is fair to say that I have been a credit to The Boston
Globe and have improved the paper's reputation.
What is happening now is a nightmare.
In accusing me of "serious
journalistic misconduct," the Globe is poisoning the good name I have
spent years building up. This suspension is a brutal overreaction to
something that even the Globe will not call plagiarism and doesn't
characterize as a willful violation.
No one deserves to lose his income for a
third of a year because a column lacked a sentence that might have
underscored how common the column's theme was. I am deeply concerned about
my family's future, of course. And I am deeply concerned about my
It is a great privilege to write a column
for a prominent daily newspaper. Over the past six years I often expressed
my gratitude to The Boston Globe -- both publicly and privately -- for
giving me such a wonderful pulpit. And I endeavored, twice each week, to
make good on that gratitude by writing a column of which the Globe could
I thought my future at the paper was
limitless. It has been shocking and traumatic to discover how wrong I was.
For the latest on all of
this, go to Jim Romenesko's MediaNews: http://www.poynter.org/medianews/
For reaction: http://www.poynter.org/medianews/extra6.htm
For Timothy Noah's
exploration of the origins of the stories and their accuracy, go to:
Oh, and the Jacoby
column in question is still online at the Globe. It's been de-listed,
but this direct address still worked as of Monday night:
-- Brent Baker
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