Bush's Unpopular Tax Cut; FOB Kaplan Forced Out By CNN; Mayor Rivera?; Letterman Caught NY Times Bias
1) CBS focused
Wednesday night on how Bush's "$1.3 trillion tax... hasn't caught
fire like the campaign expected." CBS failed to note how the rich get
the smallest cut, passing along the usual canard about how most of the
benefit goes to high income households.
2) Rick Kaplan
forced out of CNN. He had a history of helping Clinton and liberals. This
year he stayed overnight at the White House, last year he denounced Ken
Starr's "obsession." He produced a special on fundraising that
never mentioned "Clinton scandal."
preposterously claimed 42 million watch The News with Brian Williams. More
like barely 200,000 as it finishes behind CNN, CNBC and FNC in its time
4) Mayor Rivera?
Geraldo might run next year for Mayor of New York City, the New York Post
"Top Ten Signs The New York Times is Slipping." A Top Ten list
prompted by liberal bias in environmental reporting. North Pole ice
melting! Santa Claus will drown! Oh, never mind.
recent efforts to explain his $1.3 trillion tax cut, it hasn't caught
fire like the campaign expected," declared Bill Whitaker about George
Bush on Wednesday's CBS Evening News before passing along the usual
liberal spin about how "more than half his across-the-board cuts
would go to households earning more than $90,000." Whitaker found
little support among New Hampshirites for a tax cut as he featured a
McCain backer who asserted: "The adult thing to do is to accept that
we spent other people's money for fifteen years, and now you pay it
Nightly News skipped the campaign Thursday night as Tom Brokaw
anchored from in front of fire trucks in Red Lodge, Montana. ABC's
World News Tonight ran a canned piece providing an overview of the
Bush and Gore education plans. Bill Blakemore began with the obvious:
"The main difference between Gore and Bush on education is a
classic Democrat-Republican difference: The extent to which federal
government should get involved."
the August 30 CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts announced:
"With 69 days now until America elects a new President, the
strong U.S. economy is making it difficult for George W. Bush to sell
one of his two major campaign themes."
New Hampshire, Bill Whitaker started his piece, as transcribed by MRC
analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Education and taxes, two of the main
engines of the Bush campaign. Despite recent efforts to explain his
$1.3 trillion tax cut, it hasn't caught fire like the campaign
George W. Bush: "We have got a surplus. I
wanna share some of that surplus with the people who pay the
Whitaker blamed the miscue on a misguided fear of
Steve Forbes: "Bush proposed massive cuts last winter when
tax-bashing billionaire Steve Forbes seemed his main opponent. Not
even tax-averse New Hampshire warmed to them. Bush lost the primary,
remember. On his first return trip tax cuts still don't spark much
support, just debate. Are tax cuts a big issue for you?"
First man in barber shop: "Oh definitely,
yeah, I've got a family. I could use the tax money."
Second man in barber shop: "That's for the
rich, that's what that is I think. I'd rather to take the deficit
down so our kids don't have to pay for it."
Whitaker then delivered the usual liberal spin, though he did add a
Bush campaign point: "More than half his across-the-board cuts
would go to households earning more than $90,000, but Bush argues
everyone would pay less. A two-income family of four earning some
$47,000 would enjoy almost a $2,000 cut."
usual, by coming at the Bush tax cut from the left Whitaker ignored
points a conservative would make, including how Bush's plan is
actually quite "progressive" since it reduces the marginal
rate for those at the bottom who now pay 15 percent to 10 percent, a
one-third reduction, while those in the middle bracket would get a
one-fourth rate cut and those paying the top rate only a one-fifth cut
of their marginal rate. And of course those who pay the most taxes get
a bigger tax cut in raw dollars since those earning $75,000 to
$200,000 now pay 79 percent of income taxes collected by the federal
government while those in the $20,000 to $30,000 range pay a mere one
percent of taxes collected.
Whitaker picked up: "Still, polls show tax cuts aren't the
voter magnets they once were here or across the country."
Andrew Smith, University of New Hampshire:
"It's difficult to sell a plan when you have the economy going
good, and there's nothing for people to get mad about."
Whitaker: "An especially hard sell to
independent voters like Adam and Madeline Fishman, whom we first spoke
to before the New Hampshire primary. They voted for John McCain. Now
Adam says he still won't for Bush, partly because of taxes."
Adam Fishman: "The adult thing to do is to
accept that we spent other people's money for fifteen years, and now
you pay it back. You know, it didn't wash with me back in February,
and it still doesn't wash with me."
Whitaker concluded: "The Bush folks insist this tax plan is a
winner, and though they admit it hasn't caught fire so far, they
remain confident it will as the campaign heats up these last two
a reshuffling at CNN announced Wednesday as the boys from AOL plan
their takeover, FOB Rick Kaplan was forced out as President of CNN/USA
and so he left Time Warner. As the AP's David Bauder noted in a
Wednesday night dispatch about Kaplan's time at CNN, his
"friendship with President Clinton made conservative activists
and with good reason. Kaplan has a history of liberal activism and
Clinton friendship which have impacted his news judgment, a subject
CyberAlert last addressed this past April 11 in reporting how Kaplan
and his daughter spent a night at the White House after the Radio and
Television Correspondents' Association dinner.
departed after CNN's ratings fell 35 percent last quarter from their
level of a year earlier. The AP's Bauder elaborated: "CNN's
average daily viewership sank from 463,000 people during the third
quarter of 1997, when Kaplan started, to 288,000 during the second
three months of this year, according to Nielsen Media Research. The
prime-time dropoff was even steeper, at 47 percent. The network's
second-quarter ratings were the lowest since 1988."
Obviously, the creation of MSNBC and FNC and their gaining of cable
carriage by the day, as well as growing public interest in stock
coverage provided by CNBC, has split the cable news audience. And
before getting to the bashing of Kaplan, it should be acknowledged
that while he did do things which hurt CNN's credibility (NewsStand
on Tailwind) and ratings (forcing out Moneyline anchor Lou Dobbs and
creating the viewer-starved daily prime time NewsStand), during his
tenure with CNN Chairman Tom Johnson CNN did not take the lowbrow road
followed by MSNBC.
still offers expensive-to-produce live newscasts on weekend days and
nights, not repeats of repeats of clips of repeats of Dateline NBC
segments on Jon Benet. And two of three of their ET prime time hours
are devoted to serious news shows sandwiched around a usually serious
Larry King Live. Compare that to MSNBC's prime time dominated by
Crime Files and Headliners & Legends pre-taped clip shows about
sensational crimes and celebrity lives.
some highlights of Kaplan's liberal career.
April 11 CyberAlert this year reported:
CNN President Rick Kaplan,
who stayed overnight in Clinton's White House while at ABC News,
spent another night there with his daughter last Thursday night after
the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner, USA
Today disclosed. But Kaplan doesn't see anything wrong with it.
In his "Inside
TV" column for April 10, USA Today's Peter Johnson revealed:
CNN president Rick Kaplan,
who took some heat when he worked at ABC News for staying overnight at
the White House during President Clinton's first term, spent another
night there Thursday -- after Clinton roasted ABC News over "Leogate."
"No, I do not feel
embarrassed, ashamed or compromised in any way, shape or form,"
Kaplan said Friday, after sleeping in the Queen's Room while daughter
Alexis, 21, slept in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Generally speaking, it's
an ethical no-no for journalists to get too cozy with people they
cover. But Kaplan, a former Nightline, PrimeTime Live and World News
Tonight producer, said Clinton's gesture won't affect CNN's coverage
of him. "Everyone has relationships," Kaplan said. "We
met each other before either of us knew we'd amount to anything. He
doesn't expect anything from me, and I don't expect anything from
Kaplan, a Clinton friend
for 30 years, said the president gave Alexis an "amazing" 2
½-hour White House tour. "It was extremely nice of him to do it.
In the waning months of his presidency, I felt, 'What the heck?'"
Reprint of previous CyberAlert item
the October 9, 1997 CyberAlert:
An October 6 CyberAlert
item on the then upcoming two-hour CNN special on campaign finance
noted that it was to be produced by CNN President Rick Kaplan, who
U.S. News reported had demanded that CNN staffers "limit the use
of the word 'scandal' in reporting on Clinton's campaign fundraising
I wondered: "Can you
do a two-hour show on Clinton's 1996 fundraising and not use the word
'scandal'?" A rhetoric question, or so I thought. But incredibly
enough the answer is -- yes!
The October 7 show titled
"Democracy for Sale" wandered well beyond Clinton to examine
Republicans and to argue for campaign finance reform, but summarizing
charges against Clinton took up a significant portion of the show.
Nonetheless, the phrase "Clinton scandal" was never uttered.
MRC news analyst Clay
Waters reviewed the show and then ran the transcript from the CNN Web
page through WordPerfect's "find" feature. The words
"scandal" or "scandals" appeared just four times.
Twice in the Crossfire
segment of the special liberal Bill Press claimed that Republicans are
trying to use scandal to bring down Clinton since they can't win on
the issues. At another point, Moneyline anchor Lou Dobbs made this
generic reference: "The campaign funding scandal hasn't slowed
the parties' lust for soft money."
And the fourth
"scandal" mention? Here it is, from Brooks Jackson:
"So, you want to be a Washington player, get next to the
powerful, lobby for a tax break or a nice ambassador's job? If you've
got money, I can help. First, you've got to get around that law they
enacted back in '74 after the Watergate scandal...."
Yes, having an FOB, who
stayed overnight in the Lincoln bedroom, as President of CNN is
reflected in the network's coverage.
Reprint of another previous CyberAlert item
his book on the 1992 campaign, "Strange Bedfellows," Tom
Rosenstiel quoted this from Kaplan about Bill Clinton: "I know he
wasn't Slick Willie, and not a scourge, a really terrific, terrific
year during a commencement address at the University of Illinois at
Champaign-Urbana, Kaplan complained that Ken Starr is "putting
obsession ahead of the best interests of the nation" while Bill
Clinton has delivered "extraordinary" achievements.
Thursday morning, MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post on the MRC home
page a RealPlayer clip of Kaplan's assessments of Starr and Clinton.
You can see a picture of Kaplan from that speech at: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/1999/cyb19990614.asp#4
meantime, here's the text of a portion of Kaplan's May 16, 1999
"In the past eighteen months, we have seen a
Congress damage itself in the shameless partisanship of the House. We
have seen a Senate run from the light to debate the future of a
President in secret. The independent counsel law seems destined to die
but Ken Starr is still around and many believe still putting obsession
ahead of the best interests of the nation. And then there is the
President, who if not guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, well, it
may have been because our Founding Fathers never thought a President
would get caught acting in such a manner.
"Is there a lesson here? We have learned more
about perjury and fidelity in the presidency of Andrew Johnson than I
ever thought imaginable. Our young children learned more about sex
than I may know right now. But if in the wake of this national
tragedy, how many of you now believe that with the right connections,
you can get away with anything. The President got impeached but he
didn't lose his job so did he get away with it? I'm here to tell
you that there is always a price to be paid. Not always paid on demand
but paid in the end, always.
"As many of you may know, I've been
privileged to be a friend of Bill Clinton's for more than twenty
years and like many, I had high expectations for his presidency. His
intellect and his heart and his drive to help people should have
guaranteed his success, his greatness. But as it stands now, when
history writes this President's story, his accomplishments, while
noteworthy, even extraordinary at times, will be listed after an
explanation of who Monica Lewinsky was. He kept his office, but at a
very high price and I'm only talking about his public life. Well,
before it's all over others will pay, I trust, as well. But remember
there is always a price. You are not going to be perfect. We all make
more on Kaplan's efforts to help Bill Clinton and his political
activism, check out these additional CyberAlert items:
details on how in February 1992, while at ABC News, he advised Clinton
on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers story:
extensive and illuminating excerpts from a January 1998 Vanity Fair
profile which detailed how Kaplan once hired Hillary Clinton; how he
not only advised Clinton about how to counter Gennifer Flowers, but
had earlier counseled Clinton on how to recover from his too-long 1988
convention speech; how he had been a political operative for a liberal
presidential candidate before jumping to journalism; how he made calls
to console Hillary Clinton after Vince Foster's death and to Web
Hubbell after he resigned; how he killed a Whitewater piece from
ABC's World News Tonight, discouraged reporters and producers from
pursuing the topic and only ran an in-depth look one night in 1994
because Nightline was about to grab it; and how he slurred
conservative media critics who see liberal bias, specifically Reed
Irvine and MRC Chairman Brent Bozell, as "liars." Go to:
record, in CNN's re-shuffling Philip Kent, President of TBS
International, will become President and COO of the CNN News Group and
Jim Walton, who has been President of CNN/Sports Illustrated, will run
CNN's domestic news networks and Web sites. Former Lyndon Johnson aide
Tom Johnson, Chairman and CEO of the CNN News Group, will now only
oversee editorial decisions as Steven Heyer, President and COO of TBS
Inc., will direct CNN's business affairs.
least CNN is willing admit and address its ratings woes, unlike MSNBC
which just makes up a number about its viewership. On Monday the New
York Times picked up on how a Manhattan billboard advertising The News
with Brian Williams makes this preposterous claim: "Find Out Why
42 Million People are Watching." That's more people than
watched most of the Survivor episodes. Adding up all its repeat
airings, it's really watched by well under one million.
York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg explored the claim:
....In the second quarter
of this year -- the most recent full quarter for which cable ratings
are available -- the 9 p.m. showing of "The News With Brian
Williams" was actually watched by an average 203,000 people,
according to Nielsen figures. It was in fourth place in its time
period among the cable news networks behind CNN's "Larry King
Live," with 936,000 people watching each night; CNBC's
"Rivera Live," with 374,000; and the Fox News Channel's
"Hannity & Colmes," with about 308,000.
So, how can MSNBC say the
program is being watched by 42 million people when its nightly
audience is about one-20,500th of that? Thanks to some statistical
ingenuity and vague language, the MSNBC number is basically correct,
according to MSNBC executives.
Here is the calculus: Mr.
Williams's program, which runs Monday through Friday, is repeated four
times a night after its initial 9 p.m. showing -- twice on MSNBC and
twice on CNBC, NBC's financial network. MSNBC executives said they
arrived at the figure by taking the total number of people who watched
at least one minute of the program in any of its runs in April.
In other words, if while
clicking through the channels in April, a viewer happened to pause for
60 seconds on Mr. Williams's program, she became one of the 42
Executives at MSNBC said
they thought their method for the billboard would better represent the
real audience for Mr. Williams in the course of a night since, they
contend, many of his viewers tune in briefly for information and then
you assume the 10pm ET CNBC repeat captures a fresh 200,000 and then
each of the second showings on CNBC and MSNBC garner another half as
many more, you get about 600,000 actual unique viewers.
MSNBC's rationale, CyberAlert doesn't have 5,900 subscribers, but
118,000 readers (5,900 x an average of 20 editions a month).
Honorable Geraldo Rivera? As noted by Tony Snow on Wednesday's
Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, the New York Post reported that
Geraldo Rivera might run in 2001 for Mayor of New York City.
August 30 "Page Six" item by Jared Paul Stern with Paula
Froelich and Chris Wilson, revealed:
Rivera is threatening to run for mayor. The other night at Elaine's
the macho newsman was overheard telling pals that he's gunning for
Rudy Giuliani's seat in 2001, and isn't worried that his womanizing
past will haunt him on the campaign trail.
"He said he's already
told everyone all about his sex life in his book ['Exposing
Myself'], so he really doesn't have any skeletons in his closet,"
our spy reports.
"Many people over the
years have urged him to run, and he has thought about it, but as far
as some imminent decision to run, no," Rivera's spokesman Jim
Griffin tells us. "I think what he meant was that maybe he was
the daily "Page Six" column, go to: http://www.pagesix.com
might be an effective way to depopulate the liberal media of its top
left wing crusaders so they only burden residents of one city,
district or state. Now, what office could we get Bryant Gumbel run
Top Ten list Wednesday night, the "Top Ten Signs The New York
Times is Slipping," brought attention to some environmental
scaremongering bias at the paper that David Letterman noticed. This is
the first time a Top Ten list has justified a lengthy set up to
outline the media bias which prompted it.
"Ages-Old Polar Icecap Is Melting, Scientists Find,"
announced a front page headline on August 19. The story by John Noble
"The North Pole is melting.
"The thick ice that has for ages covered the
Arctic Ocean at the pole has turned to water, recent visitors there
reported yesterday. At least for the time being, an ice-free patch of
ocean about a mile wide has opened at the very top of the world,
something that has presumably never before been seen by humans and is
more evidence that global warming may be real and already affecting
"The last time scientists can be certain the
pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago.
"'It was totally unexpected,' said Dr.
James J. McCarthy, an oceanographer, director of the Museum of
Comparative Zoology at Harvard University and the co-leader of a group
working for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is
sponsored by the United Nations...."
dire story prompted Letterman to complain on the air about how The
Weather Channel was ignoring this catastrophe while instead, in the
face of impending doom, offering summer beach forecasts.
then on Tuesday night this week Letterman had to apologize to The
Weather Channel after he saw that the New York Times retracted its
story. An August 29 article by the same reporter carried this
headline: "Open Water at Pole Is Not Surprising, Experts
Say." Reporter Wilford acknowledged:
"Recent eyewitness reports of open water from
melting ice at the North Pole have prompted climatologists and other
scientists to make a closer study of satellite imagery and other
observations of northern sea ice, past and present. Although striking
and unusual, those reports are not as surprising as suggested in a
news article on Aug. 19 in The New York Times, which was based on the
descriptions and interpretations of two scientists who had just
News promoted the original New York Times story on August 19, but
decided to skip the correction this week. World News Tonight anchor
Antonio Mora warned on August 19: "Part of the ice cap at the top
of the world has melted. The New York Times reports that some
scientists are calling it dramatic proof that global warming has
started to alter our climate."
Reporter Dan Harris asserted: "On a recent expedition from Norway
to the North Pole, Malcolm McKenna, along with a group of scientists
and tourists, found open water, about a mile of it right on the
Earth's crown. McKenna, a paleontologist who has studied global
warming, immediately started taking pictures to record what he said
should be a serious wake-up call....What McKenna and the others saw,
however, may have been just an aberration. Experts say strong winds
likely broke the ice apart. What is truly remarkable is that the
expedition saw thinning ice all over the polar region. Climatologist
Doug Martinson says the area has been warming at an alarming
that you can put it in context, let's return to where we began. From
the August 30 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs
The New York Times is Slipping." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide
10. Instead of "All
The News That's Fit To Print," slogan is "Stuff We Heard
From a Guy Who Says His Friend Heard About It"
9. President does something on the TV show "West Wing," next
day it's on front page
8. It's 108 pages, and there's not one single vowel
7. For every story, accompanying photo is Tony Danza
6. Obituary has become list of people editors wish would die
5. Dick Cheney consistently referred to as "the dude from those
4. Notice on sports page: "All scores are approximate"
3. Only ad in job classifieds: "Wanted -- someone who knows how
to put together a damn newspaper"
2. For last two weeks, edited by a disoriented Anne Heche
1. They're endorsing George W. Bush
that last one would truly be a sign that something is different at the
New York Times.-- Brent Baker
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