"A Sop...To Buy Off the Wing Nuts"; "Dangerously Big Tax Cut"; Bush Won, So ABC's Salinger Leaves U.S.; Awards Issue Runners-Up
1) On Ashcroft, Newsweek's
Evan Thomas whined and impugned: "Why can't they buy off the
right wing with unimportant jobs? I mean, this is a sop...to buy off the
wing nuts." ABC's Linda Douglass decided that while
"Bush's rhetoric is very inclusive," the "fact is he's
proposed no federal programs for minorities."
2) Evan Thomas and Al Hunt denounced Bush for warning of
an economic downturn and suggesting a tax cut might be an antidote.
Thomas claimed "we don't really need" a tax cut which "is
a bad idea." Hunt called it a "dangerously big tax cut."
3) Dan Rather: "That ruling by the predominantly
Republican U.S. Supreme Court in effect made George Bush the
President-elect, but it does not necessarily mean he got the most votes
4) "If Bush wins, I'm going to leave the country
and spend the rest of my life in France," promised former ABC News
correspondent Pierre Salinger. The Washington Post determined he has
followed through will spend the rest of his life in France.
5) A fresh MediaNomics now online: "News Media
Advise Bush To Ditch 'Big' Tax Cut" and "Conservative
Economists Could Have Helped the Broadcast Networks Get the Story Right
6) The first runners-up quotes in the MRC's "The
Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the
Year's Worst Reporting."
>>> CyberAlert Countdown Calendar to the 1,000th edition.
Today's is the 996th numbered issue, so 4 more to go. <<<
assault. Bush's nomination of Senator John Ashcroft generated media
anger and angst over the weekend on the talk and interview shows.
Newsweek's Evan Thomas denigrated anyone pleased by the pick as a
"wing nut" as he whined that "Attorney General is actually
an important job. Why can't they buy off the right wing with unimportant
jobs? I mean, this is a sop, I assume, to buy off the wing nuts." The
Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt ruled that Ashcroft was a bad choice
because he "has been mean-spirited." Unlike Al Hunt?
Holiday weekends present an opportunity to hear the
real views of reporters who normally don't get a chance to sound off and
ABC didn't disappoint in bringing Linda Douglass aboard This Week. She
proved again that she sees the world through a liberal prism. Douglass
revealed she's afraid the Ashcroft nomination shows that Bush "is
indeed a very conservative President," and measuring Bush against a
liberal standard, she decided that while "Bush's rhetoric
is very inclusive," the "fact is he's proposed no federal
programs for minorities. He hasn't talked about using the federal
government to broaden the safety net."
Here are the quotes in full from the three liberal
reporters, with the ones from Thomas and Douglass tracked down and
transcribed on Tuesday by the MRC's holiday week on duty analyst,
-- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on
Inside Washington over the weekend: "Well, you know, Attorney General
is actually an important job. Why can't they buy off the right wing with
unimportant jobs? I mean, this is a sop, I assume, to buy off the wing
nuts, but it's like giving, I mean, the Attorney General counts, it
-- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor
Al Hunt on CNN's December 23 Capital Gang: "I would quickly say
that John Ashcroft across the board, I think, Kate [O'Beirne] -- I know
we disagree on this -- has been mean-spirited. He's a guy who led fights
against special education funds. It went well beyond Ronnie White, and I
think Frank Keating, who I would have disagreed with strongly, would have
-- ABC News reporter Linda Douglass on problems
Ashcroft might face in his confirmation by the Senate, December 24 This
Week roundtable: "There's going to be a lot of opposition, though,
and what is fascinating about this is this choice by George W. Bush to
pick a candidate for a position this sensitive which will inflame
African-Americans who are already angry at him and who already voted
against him nine to one. The African-American leaders are enraged at
Ashcroft because of the Ronnie White confirmation that we've already heard
about from Senator Leahy because of his opposition to affirmative action,
and they see this as a stick in the eye. But it does underscore the fact
that George W. Bush is indeed a very conservative President...."
"Well, and George W. Bush's rhetoric is very
inclusive. He means to be inclusive, and he's used very soft rhetoric in
trying to reach out to minorities. But the fact is he's proposed no
federal programs for minorities. He hasn't talked about using the federal
government to broaden the safety net."
cut bashed too by Evan Thomas and Al Hunt over the weekend. Both
Washington reporters denounced Bush for warning of an economic downturn
and suggesting a tax cut might be an antidote.
On Inside Washington Newsweek's Thomas argued:
"Well, that's what's pernicious here, is seizing on this as a way to
get a tax cut. I mean, he doesn't, I don't think anybody really knows
where the economy's going, but he's going to try to, he could create
something self-fulfilling, talk down the economy because he wants to use
that as a tool to get a tax cut that we don't really need and is a bad
Over on CNN's Capital Gang, in a quote I got from
the CNN transcript page and have not been able to check against the actual
videotape, Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal proclaimed: "The
economy is going south more quickly than most experts thought, and the
Bush people are going try to use this as an excuse to peddle the
dangerously big tax cut. More important, however, is cooperation with the
Federal Reserve and that's why Paul O'Neill is such a splendid choice.
He's too conservative for my tastes, but he's a man of capacity. he's a
man who understands governance and if Bush had picked one of those Wall
Street types, there would have been the inevitable unfavorable comparison
to Bob Rubin."
A tax raising advocate whom conservatives don't
consider one of their own is "too conservative" for Hunt? Where
does that place him?
Rather has added "Republican Supreme Court" to his lexicon which
had long featured the phrase "Republican prosecutor Ken Starr."
Last Friday night, December 22, Rather read an item
about how the Florida Supreme Court had ruled that the state legislature
and not judges should set recount standards. Rather noted the ruling was
in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ending the hand counts because there
were no uniform ground rules. Rather gratuitously added: "That ruling
by the predominantly Republican U.S. Supreme Court in effect made George
Bush the President-elect, but it does not necessarily mean he got the most
votes in Florida."
In the subsequent CBS Evening News story reporter
Bobbi Harley looked at how media outlets are selectively counting 60,000
of 6 million votes cast, the so-called "under-votes." After
pointing out how the Orlando Sentinel found a net gain of 130 Gore votes
in Lake County, she concluded: "The winning side seems to be more
interested in this process, with the Republican Party staffing these
reviews with observers and lawyers, while the Democrats seem to be leaving
this count to someone else."
Why wouldn't the Democrats get out of the way
since the media are furthering their partisan cause for them?
gone, how many more to go? Several celebrities promised to flee the United
States if George W. Bush won, but so far it appears only former ABC News
chief foreign correspondent Pierre Salinger, who has long spent much of
the year in France anyway, is following through. As reported in the
November 6 CyberAlert, in the November 3 Washington Post "The
Reliable Source" columnists Lloyd Grove and Beth Berselli relayed a
comment to a DC neighborhood weekly: "'I don't want any more Bush
Presidents,' the 75-year-old Salinger writes in the new Georgetowner
newspaper. 'If Bush wins, I'm going to leave the country and spend the
rest of my life in France.'"
Grove and Berselli followed up and ran this item on
Good as his word, Kennedy White House press secretary and former ABC
News correspondent Pierre Salinger has fled the country in the wake of
George W. Bush's successful campaign for the presidency. A week before the
election, the 75-year-old Salinger wrote in the Georgetowner newspaper:
"If Bush wins, I'm going to leave the country and spend the rest of
my life in France."
Yesterday we found Salinger in the southern French town of Le Thor,
where his fourth wife, Nicole, runs a bed-and- breakfast called
La Bastide Rose. "I'm going to come back to Washington in January to
dispose of my apartment in Georgetown," he told us, "but
otherwise I'll come back here to live for the rest of my life."
As for actor Alec Baldwin and director Robert Altman -- who still
haven't kept their promises to get out of Dodge if Bush took the White
House -- Salinger said: "I don't know them very well, but if they
come here they'll be very welcome. And if you want to come here, it would
be very wonderful for us to be together and talk about things." Very
online for your Christmas break reading, a fresh edition of MediaNomics by
Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project. The two new
articles posted late last week:
-- News Media Advise Bush To Ditch "Big"
Republicans, Democrats and the news media agree that George W. Bush will
be the next President of the United States. But during the first weekend
news cycle since Al Gore conceded the election, some liberal journalists
suggested Bush should discard his plan for across-the-board tax relief and
other conservative positions, and
switch to a more Democratic posture on the issues....
For the rest of the story, go to:
-- Conservative Economists Could Have Helped the
Broadcast Networks Get the Story Right in 2000.
The media applauded
last May when the Federal Reserve hiked interest rates by half a
percentage point, the sixth and final act in a campaign to stamp out
perceived inflation. "Good for the economy, good for Wall
Street," NBC's Mike Jensen cheered. But the past seven months have
offered considerable evidence that the Fed's May rate hike may have been
the straw which finally broke the economy's back, a point of view that
the networks could have offered audiences back in the spring if they had
relayed the views of free market economists such as Larry Kudlow....
To read the entire piece, go to:
the winning quotes, today the first runner-up in the MRC's "The
Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the
Year's Worst Reporting." The annual end of the year special 8-page
edition of NQ is based upon the votes of 46 judges -- radio talk show
hosts, columnists, editorial writers, magazine editors and media observers
-- who evaluated and ranked quotes in 18 award categories. See item #3 in
the December 26 CyberAlert for the list of judges: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001226.asp#3
To view all the winning quotes as well as the two or
three top runners-up and, thanks to Webmaster Andy Szul, RealPlayer video
clips for two dozen of the quotes from TV shows, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/bestofnq2000.html
To see the 8-page issue typeset as snail mail
subscribers saw the newsletter, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version. Go
Below are the first runners-up quotes. Point totals
are in brackets after each quote. First place picks by the 46 judges were
assigned three points, second place choices were given two points and
third place selections were allocated one point. Here are the results,
starting with the "Quote of the Year" runner-up which earned
just one less point than the winner in the category:
Quote of the Year, first runner-up
"But should you be using the national airwaves to promote your
-- Diane Sawyer to Fox News Channel show host Bill O'Reilly, October
10 Good Morning America. [67 points]
Aiding & Abetting in an Election Theft Award, first runner-up
"If it turns out that Al Gore wins the popular vote nationally,
there will be intense pressure in this country to have him become the
President. Most people think the guy with the most votes wins. Recounts
are as much an art as a science. You have experts, consultants, who go
around the country doing recounts. If the recount came out on behalf of
Bush and Bush had lost the popular vote nationally they would go to court,
there'd be another recount. It would become endless. And the political
pressure would mount very quickly to, to certify Al Gore as, as the
winner. Especially since you have a potential conflict of interest here
with the Governor of the state that is handling the recount being the
brother of Governor Bush."
-- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on NBC in the early morning hours after
election night, November 8. 
Kiss Me, Too, Al Award (for Gore Gushing), first runner-up
"Let's talk about what they are now calling, Mr. Vice President,
'The Kiss'. You heard about 'The Catch' in that football game,
this is 'The Kiss.' You really planted one on Mrs. Gore at the
beginning of your speech there. What were you thinking?"
"Were you trying to tell the American people that you're really
a kind of emotional guy?"
"Well, after watching that kiss I know how you survived 30 years,
Mr. Vice President. Way to go! It's nice talking to you."
-- NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer to Al Gore, August 21. 
Kosher Kiss-Up Award (for Lauding Lieberman), first runner-up
"Labor might not be happy. He is a conservative Democrat and they
probably don't agree with everything he supports, but, you know, Gore is
a pretty conservative Democrat."
-- NBC's Claire Shipman on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning, August 7.
I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham Worshiping), first runner-up
"It was hard in the summer of 1992 for a young woman to stay
objective and not become enchanted by the promise of Hillary. I had spent
my formative professional years undercover in the dark age of Reagan-Bush.
Those were the days when women were not allowed to wear pants in the White
House. Anita Hill had just been whomped. Anti-abortion judges were packing
the Supreme Court. And here was a woman who had kept her own
name!....I'll be voting for her just to make sure Trent Lott doesn't
get another foot soldier for his holy war."
-- Former Time reporter Nina Burleigh, who once said she would give
Bill Clinton oral sex for keeping abortion legal, in the February 14 New
York Observer. 
Carve Clinton into Mount Rushmore Award, first runner-up
"President Clinton, surviving impeachment and remains a colossus
on the world stage as witnessed by his prosecution of the war in Kosovo,
plus the peace accord in Northern Ireland, and peace with negotiations
in the Middle East, which wouldn't have happened without his
-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on her pick for the "Biggest Winner
of the Year," December 25, 1999 McLaughlin Group. 
Media Hero Award, first runner-up
"The Children's Defense Fund will release its annual report
today, and the figures in it are shocking and disturbing. They say one in
five American children live in poverty. 13.5 million kids in this country
are poor. Marian Wright Edelman, the incredible head of that organization,
will be here to tell us today what can be done about it. And she firmly
believes that mothers, in particular, across the country can get involved
in this fight and should get involved because everybody's children are
all of our children....It's a call to arms really for America's
mothers to get involved in the gun debate. Silence the NRA. Get involved. You say it is all of our fights!"
-- Maria Shriver plugging Children's Defense Fund President Marian
Wright Edelman's appearance, followed by one of Shriver's questions,
March 24 Today. 
The Real Reagan Legacy Award, first runner-up
"His presidency ended more than a decade ago, but politicians,
Democrat and Republican, still talk about Ronald Reagan. Al Gore has an ad
noting that in Congress he opposed the Reagan budget cuts. He says that
because Bill Bradley was one of 36 Democratic Senators who voted for the
cuts. Gore doesn't point out that Bradley also voted against the popular
Reagan tax cuts and that it was the tax cuts that piled up those enormous
deficits, a snowballing national debt."
-- Bruce Morton on CNN's Late Edition, February 6. 
Flirting with Disaster Award (for Proximity to Conservatives), first
Dan Rather: "One issue that is sure to come up in the fall
campaign that has already surfaced is Bush cozying up to the
self-described religious right, including the Reverends Pat Robertson and
Richard Schlesinger: "....Pollsters and pundits and politicians
like to describe the primary season as a search for the soul of a party.
Now the question is: Did George Bush sell his soul to the wrong
-- March 13 CBS Evening News. 
The Galloping Ghost of Gingrich Award (for Chiding Cheney), first
"This week we learned that citizen Dick Cheney didn't vote in 14
of the last 16 state elections in Texas. His excuse? He was, quote,
'focused on global concerns.' Was part of his concern Halliburton's
policy abroad of segregating bathrooms for Americans only? Halliburton's
excuse was they were providing for, quote, 'cultural needs.' Didn't
they say something like that in Mississippi in defense of whites-only
-- Time columnist Margaret Carlson's "Outrage of the Week"
on CNN's Capital Gang, September 9. 
W is for Woeful Award (for Bashing Bush), first runner-up
"When he picked a running mate, he picked a running mate who was
straight out of the red meat, right-wing part of the party. When he was
asked about who he wants, everybody's talking about how he's not
making a litmus test about abortion for Supreme Court nominees, but he
says his two favorite Supreme Court nominees are Scalia and Clarence
Thomas, hardly people that most blacks or Hispanics think are ideal
candidates for the court. There's still some kind of a disconnect
between this wonderful public face, comfortable
with Hispanics or whatever, and the decisions this guy has actually
-- Time's Jack White on Inside Washington, Aug. 5. 
If He Didn't Sink, Send Him Back to the Clink Award (for
Portraying a Cuban Paradise Awaiting Elian), first runner-up
"Elian might expect a nurturing life in Cuba, sheltered from the
crime and social breakdown that would be part of his upbringing in Miami.
Because Elian's father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, works as a cashier in a
tourist resort, the family already belonged to the nation's well-off
stratum, who has access to American dollars. The boy's relatives in
Miami can offer further support: Cuba now even has ATMs that dispense
dollars from foreign banks. The education and health-care systems, both
built since the revolution, are among
the best in the Americas, despite chronic shortages of supplies...
"The boy will nestle again in a more peaceable society that treasures
its children. But his life will oscillate to the contrary rhythms of this
central Cuban paradox. As a shining symbol of the communist state, he will
have access to the corrupting fruits of the new economy. He'll enjoy the
best Cuba has to offer, the things only dollars can buy."
-- Brook Larmer and John Leland, Apr. 17 Newsweek. 
Little Havana Banana Republic Award, first runner-up
"The 'banana republic' label sticking to Miami in the final
throes of the Elian Gonzalez crisis is a source of snide humor for most
Americans. But many younger Cuban Americans are getting tired of the
hard-line anti-Castro operatives who have helped manufacture that
stereotype -- especially the privileged, imperious elite who set
themselves up as a pueblo sufrido, a suffering people, as martyred as
black slaves and Holocaust Jews, but ever ready to jump on expensive
speedboats to reclaim huge family estates the moment
the old communist dictator stops breathing."
-- Time Miami reporter Tim Padgett, April 17 issue. 
Semper Fidel Award (for Jim Avila's Admiration of Fidel Castro),
"The one thing that most, that I've learned about Cubans in the
many times that I have visited here in the last few years, is that it is
mostly a nationalistic country, not primarily a communist country."
-- NBC News reporter Jim Avila on MSNBC's simulcast of Imus in the
Morning, April 26. 
Bring Back the Iron Curtain Award (for Admiring Communism), first
"Like these young dancers, Carlos [Acosta] benefited from Cuba's
communist system because it not only recognizes physical talent, it
nurtures it, whether it's baseball, boxing, or ballet."
-- CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Christiane Amanpour on a star of
London's Royal Ballet, May 21. 
Damn Those Conservatives Award, first runner-up
"George W. is one thing, but as long as the Republican Party --
you noted some of them -- is populated by the Pat Buchanans, the Jesse
Helmses, the Jerry Falwells, the Bob Barrs, don't blacks have a right to
-- CBS's Bryant Gumbel to a panel of black men, August 2 The Early
Show. , first runner-up
Good Morning Morons Award, first runner-up
"I ask the question because this ticket has put a premium on
what's called 'family values,' which for a long time, as you know,
was a code word for intolerance. Need people be concerned about a hard
turn to the social right in the Democratic Party?"
-- Gumbel asking Hadassah Lieberman if she agrees with her husband's
Hollywood critiques, August 16 Early Show during the Democratic
Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis), first
"I have an analogy. This came to me the night I saw this. The
death penalty is like Viagra in middle-aged men. Texas uses the death
penalty to remember what it was like in those good old cowboy days. If you
want to send me your hate mail, go ahead, 'cause that's the way I see
it. This thing is insane!"
-- Geraldo Rivera wrapping up the June 26 Rivera Live on CNBC. 
END list of first runners-up in the MRC's
"The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for
the Year's Worst Reporting."
On Thursday: The second runners-up. --
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