Media Suppressed Bush Errors?; Bush and Gore Too Frugal; Public Realizes Journalists Favor Gore; ABC's Prime Time Gore Aid
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Media Reality Check.
"Media Malpractice on Texas Health Care: State
Comptroller Not Allowed To Respond, Even Though She Was Cited As Source By
2) A second Media Reality Check. "Holy Squish! Lieberman
Goes Soft: Veep Pick Hailed for Orthodox Morals Ignored By Networks When He
Becomes Farrakhan-Praising Pol."
3) The latest edition of Notable Quotables includes a diatribe
from a New York Times TV critic who complained about the "huge streaks of
lingering Cold War mentality" in TV coverage of the Olympics as she made
fun of the term "Iron Curtain."
Corrections. A bad day this morning for
CyberAlert. The October 17 CyberAlert stated that ABC's The Practice is
"from the same man who writes NBC's The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin."
In fact, as the MRC's Tom Johnson pointed out, The Practice is produced and
written by David Kelley, not Sorkin. The same issue also reported that both
ABC and CBS last night did not mention the Million Family March. In fact, the
MRC's Tim Graham noticed that Dan Rather read a 12-second item in which he
dubbed it "a pro-family values event." And Farrakhan's name was
misspelled with just one R.
morning on NBC's Today reporter Claire Shipman relayed: "On Monday, the
Gore campaign flew a trio of Texas Democratic lawmakers to St. Louis to say
that Bush misstated by $3.5 billion the amount of money his administration
puts toward uninsured children."
Like other stories yesterday, Shipman did not allow any
time for a response to the Democratic claim that it's improper to include,
as did Bush in the last debate, the amount spent by private charities on
children's health care.
A Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check fax report today by
Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, addressed this kind
of misleading media coverage of child health spending in Texas.
To view the report as fax recipients saw it, go to the
Adobe Acrobat PDF document posted on the MRC Web site:
The pull-out quote came from Naomi Lopez Bauman and
Devon M. Herrick in "Uninsured in the Lone Star State," an August 29
report from National Center for Policy Analysis:
"There are more
than 40 federal health care service programs that fund health services for the
uninsured in Texas. The largest single program -- spending more than $1.5
billion dollars a year -- is the disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment
program, designed to compensate hospitals that serve a larger than average
number of indigent patients. There are also programs for public housing
residents, seasonal farm workers, legal immigrants and even undocumented
immigrants. A 1985 federal law made it illegal to turn away hospital emergency
patients in every state."
Now the text of the October 17 Media Reality Check:
Media Malpractice on Texas Health Care
State Comptroller Not Allowed To Respond, Even Though She Was Cited As Source
By Gore Backers.
Are the networks really trying to help George W. Bush? That was the
preposterous concern on last night's CBS Evening News, as correspondent Bill
Whitaker fretted that heavy international news coverage has aided the GOP.
"Bush has already benefitted from the foreign flare up," Whitaker
stated. "Last Thursday, the day after the second joint appearance, all
eyes were on the Middle East, not on the candidates' mistakes."
What mistakes? Whitaker only related the claim of a trio of Texas Democrats
that Bush was wrong when he stated last Wednesday night that "we spend
$4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas."
"These are the most misleading statements in the campaign to
date," steamed state Rep. Elliot Naishtat. CBS offered no chance for the
Bush campaign or other Texas officials to rebut the partisan Naishtat.
The same attack was relayed in briefer form on ABC's World News Tonight
and the NBC Nightly News. On CNN's Inside Politics correspondent Tony Clark
quoted four critics and zero supporters in his review of Bush's Texas
record. After showing the clip of Bush saying that $4.7 billion was spent on
health care for the uninsured, Clark interrupted: "Yet the Texas
comptroller reports three-fourths of that is from charity care provided by
doctors and hospitals and paid for by local governments and charitable
institutions, not the state."
Democrat Naishtat also cited the 1999 comptroller's report, and watching
CNN and CBS, you'd never know that the Texas state Comptroller Carole Keeton
Rylander declared yesterday that the critics are wrong and Bush is
"absolutely correct when he says in the state of Texas we spent $4.7
billion a year for uninsured people."
Let's go to the videotape: Bush never claimed that all the spending was
state controlled, only that uninsured Texans received necessary medical
attention. He was trying to knock down the false image that's been conjured
by Democrats that the uninsured don't receive health care. According to Ms.
Rylander, "the point is that the uninsured are being treated and taken
care of in the state of Texas. That's the bottom line."
Neither CNN nor CBS even hinted at Rylander's rebuttal, and Whitaker made
it plain in his story that he agreed with the Gore campaign complaint that
Bush had gotten a freebie from the TV networks. "All of this is
especially frustrating to the Gore camp, because after the first debate Gore
was deemed the winner, but dropped in the polls after opponents and pundits
pointed out his mistakes and exaggerations," Whitaker empathized.
It's pretty obvious that the Democrats are going to try and paint Bush as
at least as gaffe-prone as Gore, and that they plan to discredit the Texas
health care system in the process. That's politics, of course. But fair
journalists would show, not censor, the state official who's a source for
the critics, especially when she disagrees with their criticism. Absent such
basic fairness, it's silly to argue that the networks are suffering from a
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
on The Early Show CBS's Jane Clayson interviewed Joe Lieberman, but
following the standard media pattern, did not ask him about his
"respect" for Louis Farrakhan or past-stated desire to meet with
him, though Jack Kemp's comments about Farrakhan generated media interest in
In a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check distributed by
fax yesterday, the MRC's Tim Graham explored several examples of how the
networks have refused to make an issue of Lieberman's conflicts with
religious groups and members of his own faith caused by his liberal
To view the report as fax recipients saw it, go to the
Adobe Acrobat PDF document posted on the MRC Web site:
The pull-out quote in the fax report was headlined
"The Fascinating Story We Ignore." Beneath, this quote from NBC's
Tim Russert on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on Friday:
"I think based upon
Mr. Farrakhan's comments about Jewish Americans, and Mr. Lieberman's role
as vice presidential nominee and observant Jew, it is fascinating as to why he
suggested he might be willing to meet with Mr. Farrakhan. I think it's a
very legitimate form of inquiry...and we'll continue to pursue it."
Russert interviewed Farrakhan on Sunday's Meet the
Press, but like the other networks, NBC's morning and evening shows have yet
to raise the issue of Lieberman reaching out to Farrakhan.
Now the text of the October 16 Media Reality Check:
Holy Squish! Lieberman Goes Soft
Veep Pick Hailed for Orthodox Morals Ignored By Networks When He Becomes
Will the networks take the opportunity today on the occasion of Louis
Farrakhan's "Million Family March" to explore vice presidential
nominee Joe Lieberman's declaration that he "respects" and would
meet with Farrakhan, who's called Judaism a "gutter religion"?
Nearly every Lieberman conflict with Jewish groups and religious figures has
August 7: Lieberman's first problem with fellow Jews came on CNN's
Larry King Live. King asked: "Wouldn't most Orthodox Jews be
pro-life?" Lieberman dodged: "And like everything else in Judaism,
ultimately, it's up to each of us to decide what we think is right."
Network coverage? Zero.
August 29: The Anti-Defamation League criticized Lieberman for mixing
religion with politics. Network coverage? All the networks covered this. CBS
made the complaint its lead story, as Phil Jones turned to the 'conservative
Bill Bennett' to vouch for Lieberman.
September 15: Lieberman drew heavy fire from traditionalist Jews for an
appearance on the Imus in the Morning radio show, simulcast on MSNBC. When
Imus asked if there's a ban on "interracial or interreligious
marriage," Lieberman said "No. There is no ban whatsoever. Certainly
not on interracial. And not on interreligious." Dr. Mandrell Ganchrow,
president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
(Lieberman's on the group's Board of Directors) was flabbergasted, telling
the Jerusalem Post: "Given that intermarriage is probably the number one
problem affecting the Jews today, I don't know what went through
Lieberman's mind when he said that." He said interviewers "should
stop asking him about it, and he should stop talking about it." Network
September 18: At a $4.2 million Hollywood fundraiser, Lieberman went soft
on DNC donors: "We will nudge you, but will never become censors."
Longtime ally Bill Bennett broke ranks with Lieberman, publicly scolding him
in the Wall Street Journal. Network coverage? Zero.
September 21: Bennett was outraged at a joke told at the fundraiser by
comedy writer Larry David: "And like Bush, I too found Christ in my 40s.
He came into my room one night. And I said, 'What, no call? You just pop
in?'" Lieberman said, "I winced when I heard it. And on the other
hand, that's freedom of expression." Network coverage? Zero.
October 7: Despite the protests of rabbinical groups about attending a
gay-agenda fundraiser on the eve of Yom Kippur, Lieberman spoke at the annual
Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner. AP reported Lieberman "promised
that a Gore administration would give gay men and lesbians federal civil
rights protections for the first time." Network coverage? Zero.
While all the networks have ignored the Lieberman-Farrakhan controversy,
NBC's Tim Russert put Farrakhan on Meet the Press yesterday. Russert
asked, "Could you not help unify the country if you stood up tomorrow at
the Million Family March and say, 'I regret suggesting that Jews control
blacks and control black athletes and control black sports figures and black
politicians'?" Farrakhan said: "I cannot, Mr. Russert." The
networks should ask: can Lieberman "respect" that?
END Reprint of second Media Reality Check
the New York Times for the pain of communism. The latest edition of Notable
Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous,
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, features many campaign quotes
already run in CyberAlert. But, it also includes an Olympic week diatribe,
caught by the MRC's Tom Johnson, from a New York Times TV critic who
complained about the "huge streaks of lingering Cold War mentality and
sexism" in TV coverage as she made fun of a profile which recalled the
term "Iron Curtain."
In the September 27 review, New York Times television
critic Caryn James spewed: "Yet the star-making machinery is oddly out of
touch, with huge streaks of lingering Cold War mentality and sexism. The
American swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg is one of the most appealing personalities,
low-key and modest. One of the many features about him -- born in Odessa,
moved to California -- began, 'He's known life behind the Iron Curtain and
in the land of opportunity.' When is the last time you heard the term Iron
Curtain used with a straight face?"
Other quote headings in the October 16 NQ:
"Excusing Gore Whoppers"; "Bush Bombed on Character?";
"Stephanopoulos: Still Al's Ally"; "Cheney: 'Against
Education'": "Tax Cuts Trash Tots" and "Winnie Skinner,
Thanks to the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul you
can read the issue online:
For a life-like Adobe Acrobat PDF version, go to:
-- Brent Baker
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