Bush's Threat to "Abortion Rights"; Risky SS Plan; Anti-Bush Educational Achievement Study Touted
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Jesse Jackson claimed
conservatives opposed ending slavery, but all Today's Matt Lauer cared about
was abortion: "Would abortion rights be overturned...if George Bush gets
the chance to appoint two, three or four justices?"
2) Diane Sawyer this morning saw Bush's Social Security plan
as riskier than Gore's, demanding assurances of former Senator Alan Simpson:
"Is it a risk-free idea, or is there an element of the casino in
3) Media Reality Check: This morning "ABC & NBC
Ignored July RAND Study Touting Texas, But Promoted Critical RAND Election-Eve
Report." Katie Couric touted the "explosive new report from....a
Today this morning brought aboard Jesse Jackson and Gary Bauer to predict the
impact Bush or Gore would have on the Supreme Court, but all Matt Lauer seemed
to care about was whether a Bush win would mean the end of "abortion
Lauer opened the October 24 session by asking each for
their forecasts for what will happen if Bush or Gore are able to appoint new
justices. Jackson answered by impugning the morality of conservatives of past
era as if they are the same as conservatives of the present:
activist judges never made slavery illegal, never determined woman had the
right to vote and now don't think women have the right to choose. They were
for the 1896 decision that separated America by race. They were against the
1954 Supreme Court decision that brought down the barrier, they would be
against consumer class action lawsuits-"
Despite Jackson's linking of prospective appointments
of conservative justices to slavery, Lauer jumped in and demanded an answer
about abortion: "Do you think abortion would be banned under a Bush
administration if he were to have the chance to appoint two, three or possibly
even four justices?"
Jackson agreed it would mean the end to abortion. Lauer
wanted Bauer to address the same concern: "Mr. Bauer, bluntly put, let me
just ask you the blunt question. Would abortion rights be overturned, would
abortion become banned in this country if George Bush gets the chance to
appoint two, three or four justices?"
Lauer then did move on, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens
noticed. He wondered: "Guys, let me jump in here and let me move on for
one second. Reverend Jackson under a Bush administration it's possible that
Clarence Thomas could be named the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. How
would that be greeted in the African American community?"
"Not with great favor," Jackson argued.
this morning saw Bush's Social Security plan as posing a greater risk than
the trust the government completely approach favored by Al Gore, MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson noticed.
On the October 24 Good Morning America Sawyer
interviewed former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former Republican
Senator Alan Simpson about the competing Social Security plans, but her
questions betrayed her preference as she only posed one counterpoint to Reich
but on three occasions demanded Simpson respond to liberal talking points. Her
-- "Senator Simpson, is it a risk-free idea, or is
there an element of the casino in it?"
-- "But I want to try my question again, Senator
Simpson. Is it risk-free? If people make bad choices and lose that money, is
-- "Secretary Reich, what about this great
opportunity for great gain?"
-- "But Senator Simpson, what is wrong with Al
Gore's plan where he says you take the current surplus, you pay down the debt
and you save all that interest money, and you can put $200 billion a year back
into the system?"
-- "Is either candidate doing the brave thing in
addressing the crux of the issue, which is about raising taxes, cutting
benefits, raising retirement age?"
explosive new report from the Rand Corporation, a non-partisan group, is out
today, raising questions about George W. Bush's education record in
Texas," NBC's Katie Couric touted in the first half hour of this
morning's Today. But while NBC ran a full story on the study and ABC's
Good Morning America briefly summarized it during two news updates, both
networks had skipped another RAND study in July which quantified
"achievement gains" by Texas compared to other states.
Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project,
noticed the contrast and put together a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check
distributed by fax this afternoon.
The pull-out quote cited the findings of the July RAND
"Although the two
states are close demographic cousins, Texas students, on average, scored 11
percentile points higher on NAEP math and reading tests than their California
counterparts. In fact, the Texans performed well with respect to most states.
On the 4th-grade NAEP math tests in 1996, Texas non-Hispanic white students
and black students ranked first compared to their counterparts in other
states, while Hispanic students ranked fifth. On the same test, California
non-Hispanic white students ranked third from the bottom, black students last,
and Hispanic students fourth from the bottom among states."
Now the text of the October 24 Media Reality Check:
An Educational Example of Anti-Bush Bias
ABC & NBC Ignored July RAND Study Touting Texas, But Promoted Critical
RAND Election-Eve Report
Everyone knows Election Day is only two weeks away, so it's dubious a
politically inflammatory research study would simply appear on the media
landscape by happenstance. This morning, ABC's Good Morning America and
NBC's Today each put their spotlight on a new RAND Corporation study which
criticized the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills test for school-age
children (the TAAS test).
The study didn't mention Bush or the presidential campaign, but NBC's
David Gregory spun it as a crippling blow to the Republican's White House
"His record on improving education is what Governor Bush points to as
the Texas success story, and the proof, Bush has argued throughout the
campaign, is in the numbers," Gregory slammed on Today. "But a new
study from the nonpartisan RAND organization claims that TAAS scores are an
unreliable measure of student achievement, and that Bush's boast of closing
the achievement gap between white and minority students is suspect."
Good Morning America put the story at the top of their 7:00 am news
segment: "The report found that while scores climbed dramatically on
state tests, the same students showed little improvement in scores on national
tests," ABC's Antonio Mora related, adding, "An author of the
study described the results saying 'I think the 'Texas Miracle' is a
myth...with few exceptions. Notably, fourth grade math, gains in Texas in
recent years were about the same as in the United States.'"
The author quoted by ABC was Stephen Klein, a senior researcher at RAND and
the study's lead author. He assured a reporter for Reuters that, "We
started this project in April and it has nothing to do with the
election." Bush had locked up his nomination by mid-March. Had word of
the upcoming election not trickled down to RAND by April?
The RAND researchers measured the Texas state tests by comparing their
results with the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests,
which the authors presumed "are not subject to the same external pressure
to boost scores as there are on the TAAS." In other words, any
variability between the Texas test and the federal test was scored by the
authors as a flaw in the Texas test.
But a different research group at RAND used the national test results to
praise Texas in a study released a few months ago. "Some states are doing
far better than others in making achievement gains and in elevating their
students' performance," RAND reported in July. "Texas and Indiana
are high performers on both these counts."
RAND put out press releases touting both studies, but NBC never found the
pro-Texas report newsworthy. Neither did ABC, although in two separate
interviews at the time of the Republican National Convention, former House
Speaker Newt Gingrich told ABC viewers about the study. But with just two
weeks left in Campaign 2000, the morning shows found this report to be just
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
Rich passed along these Web links to the two studies.
For the new RAND report hyped this morning, go to:
For the July report the networks didn't find so
important, go to: http://www.rand.org/publications/MR/MR924/
Finally, on an unrelated matter: Washington, DC area
readers who want a good laugh should check out the full page ad on page A24
(the page before the "Federal Page") of today's Washington Post.
Talk about a delusional guy with an enormous ego. -- Brent Baker
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