Bush Issued "Extreme Conservative" Warning; Bush Put "Tax Cuts Before Tots"; Lehrer Follows Liberal Pack and Helped CDF
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) George Bush needs to "make
sure he doesn't get cornered as too much of an extreme conservative on issues
like a woman's right to choose or gun control," George Stephanopoulos
lectured on today's GMA. On Nightline Jackie Judd saw abortion cutting for
2) Time magazine blasted Bush's Texas record: "Tax Cuts
Before Tots." On the day of the debate a front page headline in the Los
Angeles Times declared: "Felons Get Concealed Gun Licenses Under Bush's
3) Media Reality Check: "Debate Moderator Is Not Bryant
Gumbel, But His Journalism Has Historically Followed the Liberal Pack."
In 1989 he attended a fundraiser for the liberal Children's Defense Fund,
then-chaired by Hillary Rodham Clinton.
morning on ABC's Good Morning America, ex-Clintonista turned ABC News
analyst George Stephanopoulos warned that George W. Bush might turn off voters
if he takes what Stephanopoulos considers "extreme conservative"
positions, but Stephanopoulos did not see any danger of "extreme
liberal" positions for Al Gore.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this exchange from
the October 3 show:
"George Bush, who has he got to imagine on the other side of the screen?
Is it women?"
"Yeah, it's those same people that were watching Oprah and Regis a couple
weeks ago, Diane. He's still got a big problem with women voters, 18 points
behind Al Gore. So what does he have to do? Be his warm, engaging -- show his
warm, engaging personality, but also make sure he doesn't get cornered as too
much of an extreme conservative on issues like a woman's right to choose or
gun control, and that's what Al Gore will be trying to do to him."
Last night on Nightline, though most actually oppose
partial-birth abortion, Jackie Judd asserted Gore is in "in sync"
with most voters on abortion. Referring to the new Supreme Court term, she
"Which party most
benefits from the Court as a political issue in this election? Abortion is the
subject most closely identified with the Supreme Court. Bush's position
appeals to already faithful conservative Republicans. According to polls,
Gore's views are in sync with the majority of Americans. So for voters who
care more about the Court than anything else, Gore may be helped more than
Just in time
for the first debate Time magazine and the Los Angeles Times delivered stories
castigating Bush's record in Texas.
-- "Tax Cuts Before Tots" announced the
headline over an October 9 Time story by Michael Weisskopf. The subhead:
"Candidate Bush is pushing his compassion, but poor kids in Texas have
not seen much of it."
In a sidebar box under the heading "Bush and Poor
Kids," Time asserted: "He helped secure tax cuts by underfunding
Medicaid, causing a $400 million shortfall in the program."
The story is not on Time's Web site but you can read
it on pages 57-58 of the actual magazine.
-- "Felons Get Concealed Gun Licenses Under
Bush's 'Tough' Law," declared a front page headline in today's
Los Angeles Times to which MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey alerted me.
The subhead over the story by reporters William C. Rempel and Richard A.
Serrano: "Texas governor vowed a system of 'rigorous background checks.'
A Times study finds that the screening process has shortcomings.
Bush advisor calls the program a success."
The story began:
AUSTIN, Texas -- In 1995, four months into his first term as governor,
George W. Bush signed a bill ending a 125-year ban on concealed
handguns in Texas. The new law, he vowed, would make the
state "a safer place," and he promised Texans that license applicants
would undergo rigorous background checks.
But since the law took effect, the state has licensed hundreds of people
with prior criminal convictions--including rape and armed robbery
-- and histories of violence, psychological disorders and drug or alcohol
problems, a Times investigation has found.
James W. Washington got a license to carry a concealed weapon despite
having done prison time in Texas for armed robbery. So did Terry
Ross Gist, who left a trail of threats and violence in court records
from North Carolina to California. A license also went to an elderly Dallas
man with Alzheimer's disease.
Still others committed crimes, ranging from
double murder to drunk driving, after they
were licensed. A frustrated commuter, Paul W. Lueders, shot and severely
wounded a Houston bus driver. Audi Phong Nguyen ran with a Houston home
invasion ring. Diane Brown James helped her husband kidnap a San Antonio woman
to be their sex slave.
To read the lengthy article in full, go to:
The latest Campaign
2000 Media Reality Check, distributed via fax this afternoon and titled,
"Stop the Church of Saint James Lehrer: Debate Moderator Is Not Bryant
Gumbel, But His Journalism Has Historically Followed the Liberal Pack."
Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis at the MRC,
recalled what Lehrer was up to in 1989. The Media Reality Check pull-out box
is headlined: "Jim Lehrer's Not a Political Monk." The proof:
"Lehrer claimed he
hasn't voted since 1964. But on November 30, 1989, Lehrer joined CBS's Ed
Bradley, NBC's Jane Pauley, and NPR's Susan Stamberg at a $300-a-ticket
fundraiser for the liberal Children's Defense Fund, chaired at the time by
Hillary Rodham Clinton."
Now to the text of the October 3 Media Reality Check:
Jim Lehrer's regular post as moderator of presidential debates is
spurring a round of hosannas over his objectivity. "I really don't have
any politics...I never take a stand," Lehrer claimed to the Boston Globe.
This morning on Today, NBC's Bob Kur cooed: "Low-key, but above all,
considered fair and impartial, his style since he started at a Dallas public
TV station more than 30 years ago." Lehrer does have a "quiet,
self-effacing style," as NBC reported. He is not Bryant Gumbel. But his
journalism has historically followed the liberal pack.
-- Watergate, for PBS, was a war against Richard Nixon, who threatened
their funding. As Robert MacNeil explained, "It reached a point where I
felt obliged to throw off my own objectivity and resist. It became my personal
corner of Watergate." PBS aired the Watergate hearings during the day,
and then repeated them at night. Lehrer later rejoiced in how the hearings
were "a terrific hit" for PBS, and "as justice, it was pure
delicious. We were being bailed out by the sins of a President who was trying
to do us in. He and his minions were so distracted with the crumbling of his
presidency that the plan to crumble us was abandoned and forgotten."
Lehrer thanked Watergate for leading to the MacNeil-Lehrer Report, later
the NewsHour: "Thank you, Nixon. Thank you, Liddy and Hunt, Dean and
Colson, Haldeman and Ehrlichman. We could not have done it without you."
-- Monica Madness. On January 29, 1998, Lehrer devoted most of his NewsHour
to the media's "rush to judgment" on the Lewinsky story. Anchor
Elizabeth Farnsworth asked a focus group, "Have the media gone overboard
or have they done a fairly good job?" Most said overdone. Then anchor
Phil Ponce talked to media insiders: Newsweek's Richard Smith, CNN's Frank
Sesno, former CBS reporter Marvin Kalb, and academic Kathleen Hall Jamieson.
All agreed with Kalb that "This is a very sorry chapter in American
journalism." That didn't mean journalists were sorry they had never
cared about Clinton's lying; it meant they were sorry this story arrived.
-- Anita vs. Juanita. On October 7, 1991, just hours after NPR's Nina
Totenberg leaked Anita Hill's unsubstantiated charges against Clarence
Thomas, Lehrer began without a hint of distaste or revulsion: "Our lead
story is the sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas. We have
excerpts from the press conference by his accuser, Anita Hill." In case
giving that unedited platform to Hill wasn't enough, Lehrer's show also
aired two debate segments.
But on February 19, 1999, Lehrer announced he would touch the allegations
of Juanita Broaddrick that she'd been raped by Bill Clinton, but only as a
media story: "We are part of this process, we made the very clean
editorial decision not to do this story, but we are talking about it tonight
in a media context, because it is media news."
At a March 19, 1999 press conference, ABC's Sam Donaldson and reporter
Jan Smith asked Clinton about Broaddrick and his tendency to lie. Lehrer
complained: "Most of those questions, we were just listening to them
again in our excerpt, they all began with a lecture before they got to the
question. And that seems to be, you have to do it, right?" Reporter
Terence Smith agreed: "Jan Smith even citing George Washington and
swearing to tell the truth. Sure, reporters show off in situations like
this." Despite his boasts, Lehrer (and by extension, PBS) are not the
very definition of objectivity, and neither are Lehrer's media promoters.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
If I don't fall asleep first, I'll be back in the
early morning hours with a post-debate CyberAlert report.
-- Brent Baker
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