Russert Hit Gore Contradiction; "Abysmal" on NAACP; Only CBS Touched Memo on Real Gas Hike Causes
1) Best Question of the Weekend:
Tim Russert to Al Gore on Meet the Press and Oddest Question of the Weekend:
Cokie Roberts to George W. Bush on This Week. Plus, Roberts spent nearly six
minutes demanding that Bush concede mistakes in the death penalty.
2) An anti-Hillary direct mail
letter displayed "sexism" and proved her opponents "don't
like powerful women," Washington media veteran Steve Roberts asserted on
CNN's Late Edition.
3) His "party's record's
been abysmal," Washington Post reporter Michael Fletcher declared of
Republicans and George W. Bush after he addressed the NAACP, a group Fletcher
4) An Energy memo showed the
Clinton administration knew clean air rules and not gouging caused high gas
prices in he Midwest, but only CBS picked up on the Washington Times
revelation, though Dan Rather spun it: "Republicans today sided with the
oil companies." Another MediaNomics article: Gore Darts Further to the
Left but Networks Tag Him as "Populist," not "Liberal"
5) Bill Moyers had his foundation
fund the book which dug up dirt on Rudy Giuliani, a fact U.S. News ignored in
relaying the book's claims. But four years ago the same magazine condemned
books with derogatory anecdotes about the Clintons.
6) The woman who suspended Jeff
Jacoby, in a 1992 book review: "Sometimes his statements are revisionist
howlers: 'The Reagan Administration left the American welfare state pretty
the July 16 appearances of Al Gore for the entire hour on NBC's Meet the
Press from the Navy Observatory and of George W. Bush for three-fourths of
ABC's This Week from the Governor's Mansion in Austin:
-- Best Question of the
Weekend: Tim Russert to Al Gore on Meet the Press: "You have for the
first twenty minutes said we're going to have a robust economy, you're
going to keep it going, and in order to have a robust economy the stock
market keeps have to growing, and so now you're suggesting, because
Governor Bush suggests a plan involving the stock market, 'oh no,
that's risky' when you based your entire premise of your economic
program on a robust stock market and economy. You can't have it both
repeated anti-Bush mantra that he's "for the people, my opponent is
for the powerful," Russert disappointingly failed to ask Gore about
his slumlord housing.
-- Oddest Question of
the Weekend: Cokie Roberts to George W. Bush on This Week: "Your
convention's coming up. Scared?"
Earlier in the interview
Roberts spent a lengthy 5:45 pressing Bush about the death penalty and
evidence some guy named Odell Barnes was really innocent. Bush refused to
concede that anyone innocent has been put to death, leading an exasperated
Roberts to proclaim: "Well, we'll move on. But the question is how
can you be sure?"
not just out of line, it's sexist. On Sunday's Late Edition on CNN
Steve Roberts of U.S. News & World Report claimed an anti-Hillary
fundraising letter showed "sexism" and proved her opponents
"don't like powerful women."
During the July 16
roundtable segment substitute host Judy Woodruff read an excerpt from a
direct mail letter signed by William Powers, Chairman of the New York
State Republican Party: "In her ruthless quest for power, she claims
to be a 'New Democrat,' but she's a fraud, a phony, and a
pretender...She's hard-core, hardline, hard-nosed ultra-liberal who uses
people and hates Republicans." [ellipses on screen in what Woodruff
Steve Roberts, a
Washington media veteran who once toiled for the New York Times, insisted:
"I think a lot of women will read that and see an underlying sexism
to that, to that tone."
Woodruff agreed: "That's what I wondered
Roberts: "And I think this serves Hillary Clinton
well. That say 'see, these guys don't want a, don't like powerful
women. They don't like to see someone like me who challenges their
What's really sexist
is to assume that any criticism of a woman running for office is in itself
"party's record's been abysmal," Washington Post reporter
Michael Fletcher declared of Republicans and George W. Bush after he
addressed the NAACP, a group Fletcher labeled "mid-steam."
Fletcher appeared on
Friday's Washington Week in Review to discuss the Bush and Gore
appearances before the liberal group. On Bush, Fletcher declared:
"Bush, I think, benefitted simply by coming. I mean his party's
record's been abysmal. It's an amazing fact, but he's the first
Republican presidential candidate to address the NAACP -- the mid-stream,
middle class NAACP, we're not talking about the Nation of Islam here --
since 1988 and his father did that."
When was the last time a
media figure complained about the "abysmal" record of a Democrat
in addressing the concerns of the Christian Coalition? By Fletcher's
reasoning, they are "mis-stream" and "middle class" as
"we're not talking about a militia group here."
administration officials knew all along that EPA reformulated gasoline
rules and supply problems were behind the gas price run-up in the Midwest,
yet they continued to blame oil company price gouging, Washington Times
reporter Patrice Hill disclosed in a July 14 front page story on an Energy
Department analysis. But only the CBS Evening News picked up on it Friday
night. All three broadcast networks skipped it Friday morning and CNN
ignored it too on Friday night as did ABC and NBC on Saturday and Sunday
Rich Noyes, Director of
the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), outlined in the latest issue of
MediaNomics the relevance of what the Washington Times first reported.
Here's an excerpt from an article in the July 17 MediaNomics:
The last issue of MediaNomics reported that
independent experts believed that the EPA's clean air rules were a major
factor in pushing gas prices to record levels in Chicago and Milwaukee in
June, but that ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC failed to aggressively pursue that
angle and instead repeated the Clinton administration's assertions that
industry "price gouging" was to blame. (See "Networks Let
Government Slide Off the Hook in Gas Price Run-Up," June 30:
Now the Washington Times's Patrice Hill
has uncovered an Energy Department memo showing that the administration
was fully aware that its rules were a problem, despite contrary public
assertions by President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Energy Secretary
Bill Richardson, EPA chief Carol Browner and other top-ranking officials.
In a front-page story in the July 14
Washington Times, Hill revealed that the memo from the Energy
Department's acting policy director, Melanie Kenderdine, informed
officials that the EPA's requirement that some cities use reformulated
gasoline to conform with clean air rules, was a "major reason"
for the price increases. That memo was sent on June 5, a full week before
public statements by EPA officials prompted the broadcast networks to
promote the notion that oil industry profiteering was behind the record
price hikes. "The White House has now put the oil industry on
notice," CBS's Bob Orr stated on the June 12 Evening News. "If
any evidence of price gouging surfaces, regulators will come down
At the time, most outside experts believed
that regulators were at least as responsible as the oil companies. Now,
thanks to Hill's reporting, it's apparent that the regulators
themselves knew they were at fault, and were deliberately trying to focus
the public's anger on oil companies, despite the absence of evidence
that oil companies had done anything wrong.
"It is clear from the June 5th memo
that the DOE, whose primary responsibility is oversight of our nation's
energy supply, believed that a lack of gasoline inventories in the
Midwest, as well as EPA regulations, were not only 'factors' which led
to higher gasoline prices, but in fact the primary causes," Speaker
of the House Dennis Hastert wrote in a letter to the EPA's Browner.
"Nowhere does this document indicate,
or imply, that price gouging was a factor; nor has any other federal study
or investigation," Hastert wrote, as reported by Hill. The Speaker
also wrote that public statements targeting oil companies appeared part of
a "coordinated strategy" by White House officials and others to
From June 12, when EPA officials publicly
stated that their regulations could not have been responsible for the
steep rise in prices, through June 26, the four network evening newscasts
ran 16 stories about the idea that the oil companies were gouging
consumers. Now that additional facts have come to light, it remains to be
seen whether the networks will start challenging the EPA's version of
Friday night, July 14,
CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather still couldn't resist opening with
this jab at the side which was vindicated as he buried the real news of
Clinton team duplicity: "Republicans today sided with the oil
companies against the Clinton-Gore administration on the question of who
and what is to blame for higher gasoline prices. CBS's Bill Plante is at
the White House. Bill, what's all this about?"
"Well, Dan, House Speaker Hastert today angrily accused the
administration of misleading Congress and the public on the cause of
higher gas prices, and of scapegoating the oil companies when, in his
view, the real reason is low inventories and federal pollution
regulations. On June 15th, members of Congress from the hardest hit states
--Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri -- met with Environmental Protection
Agency head Carol Browner. In a letter today, Hastert tells Browner, 'At
that meeting, you said that this situation was not a supply issue.'
"But Hastert charges that this June 5th memo from
the Department of Energy shows that lack of gasoline and the EPA
regulations were, in fact, the primary causes of higher gas prices, and
adds 'nowhere does this document indicate or imply that price gouging was
a factor, yet you continue to point the finger.' The memo says supplies of
reformulated gas in the Milwaukee-Chicago area appear to be tight but
adequate, but notes that any problems could cause shortages, and that
there is little margin for error. The administration has always insisted
there was no good explanation for the price hikes. The Vice President had
read the Department of Energy memo, but still delivered this blast at the
Al Gore, June 21:
"Why have their profits gone up 500 percent in the first part of this
year? I think it's outrageous, and I think that big oil may have gotten
Plante concluded: "The Federal Trade Commission is
investigating the run-up in gas prices. The administration shrugs off the
speaker's charges saying that he's playing gas-price politics. But the
Speaker continues to ask the EPA to waive some of those regulations for
reformulated gas in the Midwest, which it has so far refused to do,
pointing out that they have resulted in much cleaner air."
Instead of covering this
evidence Friday night of liberal duplicity, ABC ran a piece on a true
organic farmer in Virginia, CNN and NBC featured stories on how drivers
are distracted by using their cell phones, and NBC ended with a piece on
ten-year-olds who race mini-cars.
Other articles in the
-- Gore Darts Further to
the Left but Networks Tag Him as "Populist," not
A few months ago, network news correspondents announced
they had caught George W. Bush "veering to the right" in his
presidential campaign rhetoric and loudly predicted that such a strategy
would alienate moderate voters in November. Over the past few weeks, Al
Gore has obviously and clumsily lurched toward the left, but he has
heretofore eluded the liberal label. Rather, the networks have awarded
Gore the more favorable "populist" label for his Naderesque
attacks on the oil and pharmaceutical industry profits.
-- How to Spend the
"America's piggy bank is full to
overflowing," CBS's John Roberts enthused on the June 26 Evening
News as he reported on new projections of $1.9 trillion in federal budget
surpluses over the next decade. "That's over $1 trillion more than
what was forecast just four months ago," David Gregory reported on
the same evening's NBC Nightly News.
All three broadcast evening news programs correctly
reported that the enhanced surplus estimates had provoked political
maneuverings in Washington, but correspondents failed to distinguish
between the "costs" of spending the yet-to-be-received money on
additional government programs or returning the excess dollars to
To read these items in
full, go to:
Moyers, the former CBS News analyst turned PBS omnipresence until he had
some health problems, helped fund, through a foundation he controls, the
book which dug up dirt on Rudy Giuliani. But, as the MRC's Tim Graham
noted in last week's MagazineWatch about the July 17 editions, U.S. News
failed to link the book to liberal efforts to discredit Giuliani, who they
expected to be her opponent.
An excerpt from the July
U.S. News writer Kit R. Roane highlighted
how a "New book says Giuliani has thuggish family ties." She
explained: "According to a new book, Rudy! An Investigative Biography
of Rudy Giuliani, the mayor's deceased father was a stickup artist who
robbed a milkman at gunpoint, then took over as muscle for a relative's
loan-sharking business once he was sprung from prison. Other news:
Giuliani's cousin, Steve the Blond, was a mobster shot dead by the
Roane later quoted the author, Wayne
Barrett: "The greatest revelation here is that a man with so much
reason to have understanding and empathy has been so intolerant of the
weaknesses of others." Roane doesn't tell the reader that Barrett has
long knocked Giuliani from his perch at the radical-left weekly the
Village Voice, and concluded by quoting (without a label) the radical
lawyer Ron Kuby knocking Giuliani.
Roane also seemed surprised that Giuliani
would be subjected to muckraking books now, which is odd since clearly
these anti-Rudy tomes were intended to frustrate his aborted Senate
The New York Post noted that "Barrett
readily admits that four individuals and foundations, some with close
Democratic Party ties, such as Bill Moyers, provided funding for his
researchers. 'They understood who I am, my kind of journalism."
Moyers heads the Florence and John Schumann Foundation in between his
omnipresent PBS merchandising opportunities.
Four years ago, investigative books about
Bill Clinton got a much different treatment in the magazine. In the July
15, 1996 issue, columnist Gloria Borger claimed "some of this
summer's political potboilers are problematic." Gary Aldrich's
Unlimited Access "reads like an FBI file -- full of thirdhand gossip
and rumors, the most notable of which depicts the President playing
hide-and-seek with the Secret Service." She also ripped Roger
Morris's Partners in Power: "The next juicy attack on the Clintons
comes from the left. The author, Roger Morris, is an award winner who
wrote a much lauded biography of Richard Nixon. More credible, you say?
Forget it. Morris serves up some damning, even indictable, charges against
the Clintons. But he fails to serve up much evidence to support
Other items in
-- Newsweek balanced its
earlier Bill Turque coverage of Al Gore's Vietnam-era military service --
including his contacts with Vietnam commander William Westmoreland -- with
a story on the mystery of whether George W. Bush served the Air National
Guard in Alabama in 1972. Plus the magazine found President Clinton is one
of the "great diplomats."
-- U.S. News writer Jeff Glasser reported on a
long-forgotten campaign promise -- to put 100,000 police on America's
streets -- and found a smaller number of cops and a large amount of fraud.
-- Time took the unusual step of granting two-thirds of
a Letters page to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and
film critic Richard Schickel wondered "Who, outside the Christian
right, cares anymore about anyone's sexual orientation?"
To read these items, go
MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell's latest syndicated column is about the
Jeff Jacoby situation: "Jeff Jacoby's Patriotic Problem." For
the column the MRC's Tim Graham dug out from the Notable Quotables
archives a classic quote from Renee Loth, the Boston Globe's editorial
page editor who suspended Jacoby for four months without pay.
Back in 1992 when she
was still a reporter she reviewed R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.'s book, The
Conservative Crack-Up. She asserted: "Sometimes his statements are
revisionist howlers: 'The Reagan Administration left the American
welfare state pretty much untouched.'"
Only a liberal would
disagree with Tyrrell.
To read Bozell's
column, go to:
-- Brent Baker
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