Can Bush "Get Away With That?"; Norton an Evil "Protege" of James Watt; Newspaper Editorials & Columns on Best of NQ
1) Appalled by a Washington
Post story on how George Bush has eschewed bi-partisanship by naming
"thoroughbred conservatives" to his cabinet, CBS's Bob
Schieffer demanded: "Do you think he's going to be able to get away
with that?" ABC and NBC also raised the same story Sunday morning
while ignoring how the New York Times realized Bush has largely
2) CBS and NBC pounced Friday night on Interior pick Gale
Norton, giving environmentalists an unchallenged platform. CBS's Eric
Engberg relayed how Norton "portrayed herself today as a friend of
the environment," but, he countered, "the fact that she was a
protege of Interior chief James Watt in the Reagan administration will be
enough to draw heavy fire from environmentalists."
3) The New York Post, Denver Rocky Mountain News and Daily
Oklahoman all featured pieces on the MRC's "The Best Notable
Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst
Countdown Calendar to the 1,000th edition. Today's is the 999th numbered
issue, so one to go. <<<
George Bush "be able to get away with that?" Sunday's
Washington Post and New York Times featured conflicting front page stories
about the make-up of Bush's cabinet with the Post complaining about how
in contrast to promises of bi-partisanship, Bush is naming
"thoroughbred conservatives" as he has "delighted the
party's right wing with a string of nominations," while the Times
asserted that "Bush has shunned champions of conservative
causes" and instead "has favored can-do managers with low-key
Naturally, on the Sunday morning interview shows,
ABC's Sam Donaldson and NBC's Tim Russert demanded Republican guests
respond to the Washington Post spin while they ignored the Times angle.
CBS's Face the Nation went the furthest as Bob
Schieffer made the Post story his show's theme. He opened: "Today
on Face the Nation, George W. Bush and his Cabinet: How diverse is it? All
the President-elect has left to appoint now are the secretaries of Energy,
Labor and Transportation. A cornerstone of his campaign was his promise of
bi-partisanship. But now his advisers say he'll try to govern as if he had
a strong mandate."
An appalled Schieffer asked Democratic Senator Carl
Levin: "Do you think he's going to be able to get away with
that?" Gloria Borger followed up with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel:
"This Washington Post piece makes it sound as if George W. Bush is
going to try and cherry-pick a few Democrats here and there in order to
get his programs passed, rather than going for complete bi-partisanship.
Do you think he can get away with that in the United States Senate?"
On Meet the Press, Tim Russert pressed Republican
Senator Don Nickles: "Let me show you what The Washington Post wrote
today and, Senator Nickles, bring you in the conversation:
'President-elect Bush is defying predictions of a bi-partisan government
and instead is naming a Cabinet that is little different from one he would
have chosen if he had won a resounding victory, Bush advisers said. These
advisers said Bush has determined the best way to establish his legitimacy
despite his messy victory is to lead as if had a mandate. So he is
nominating thoroughbred conservatives to his Cabinet instead of appeasing
Democrats with moderates, and is vowing to take his campaign platform to
Capitol Hill undiluted even though his allies there are urging him to
start with chewable bites.' Is that fair?"
Over on ABC's This Week, Sam Donaldson put the
Washington Post headline on screen as he raised it with Republican Senator
Orrin Hatch, who responded by informing viewers of the contrary take in
the New York Times:
"Now, let's take a look first at a headline in this morning's
Washington Post. It says: 'Bush's choices defy talk of conciliation.
Cabinet is diverse, but not politically.' Senator Hatch, do you think
that's an accurate statement?"
Hatch: "Well, I
read the article and I thought they were wrong. I think The New York Times
got it right when they said, they're
not only diverse, they're experienced, they're prepared, they're
producers, they're people who get things done.
I thought The New York Times article was a far superior article to The
Washington Post. Washington Post seemed to say unless
you have a Democrat in the Cabinet, you're not going to get anywhere. I
know Bush has tried, Governor Bush has tried to get some Democrats into
the Cabinet. He hasn't been successful so far."
the conversation back to his concern: "Well, Senator Schumer, let's
not have a, you know, conflict between newspapers here, but what do you,
what do you think of the headline we just saw?"
Charles Schumer: "Well, I think that the issue more than having a
Democrat in the Cabinet or the positions that the Cabinet members take,
they tend to be conservative. They tend to be, mostly, mainstream
conservative with experience. The real question is what they do. Are they
willing to reach out and meet Democrats halfway and have some kind of
bi-partisan government? Or is bipartisanship simply, 'Well, you do what we
want,' which, of course, will not
Here's an excerpt of the beginning of the December
31 Washington Post front page story by Mike Allen headlined, as Sam
Donaldson quoted, "Bush's Choices Defy Talk of Conciliation: Cabinet
Is Diverse, but Not Politically."
President-elect Bush is defying predictions of a bipartisan government
and instead is naming a Cabinet that is little different from one he would
have chosen if he had won a resounding victory, Bush advisers said.
These advisers said Bush has determined that the best way to establish
his legitimacy despite his messy victory is to lead as if he had a
mandate. So he is nominating thoroughbred conservatives to his Cabinet
instead of appeasing Democrats with moderates, and is vowing to take his
campaign platform to Capitol Hill undiluted even though his allies there
are urging him to start with chewable bites.
"The feeling is that the country deserves governance and if you
don't assert the sovereignty and legitimacy of your administration from
the outset, you undermine your ability to achieve your goals later,"
an adviser said. "A touchstone of the Bush governing style is
inclusiveness, but with a very strong philosophical compass."
Bush's approach has become increasingly bold since his address on Dec.
13, the night Vice President Gore conceded. Back then, Bush
called on the nation to "rise above a house divided," and added,
"I was not elected to serve one party, but to serve one nation."
Since then, all 12 of Bush's Cabinet selections have been Republicans.
Bush delighted the party's right wing with a string of nominations that
continued Friday with his selection of Gale A. Norton, a former Colorado
attorney general and ardent advocate of property
rights, as interior secretary. The week before, he nominated defeated Sen.
John D. Ashcroft (R-Mo.), one of the most vocal
Christian conservatives in public life, to succeed Janet Reno as attorney
"The journey from Reno to Ashcroft is a journey from utter
darkness to brilliant light," said Jerry L. Falwell, the founder of
the Moral Majority.
The choices of Ashcroft and Norton stunned Democrats after Bush's
pledge that he planned a period of "reconciliation and
Two makes a "string of nominations"?
In contrast, New York Times reporter Joseph Kahn
opened his story the same day: "President-elect George W. Bush's
choices for top posts in his administration signal that he intends to run
a government by cabinet, delegating more authority than usual to seasoned
executives whose reputations were made years before Mr. Bush first ran for
As far as their ideological make-up, Kahn observed:
"With the notable exception of John Ashcroft, the former Missouri
senator and governor who is Mr. Bush's
choice for attorney general, and to an extent Gale A. Norton, the
Coloradan selected as interior secretary, Mr. Bush has shunned champions
of conservative causes. Instead, he has favored can-do managers with
coverage Friday night of Cabinet picks again illustrated how Bush can
avoid negative publicity by not picking conservatives. Exactly a week
after media ire was raised by the John Ashcroft choice, CBS and NBC again
gave prominence to liberal outrage over Bush's pick for Interior
Secretary, though the two networks never employed the word
"liberals," favoring instead "environmentalists."
(ABC's World News Tonight only ran a short item read by the anchor.)
CBS's Eric Engberg relayed how Gale Norton
"portrayed herself today as a friend of the environment," but,
Engberg countered, "the fact that she was a protege of Interior chief
James Watt in the Reagan administration will be enough to draw heavy fire
from environmentalists." CBS followed up with an entire story
dedicated just to the concerns of liberal environmentalists. NBC's Jim
Miklaszewski highlighted how "environmentalists are mounting...stiff
opposition to Norton" and he reminded viewers: "Norton worked at
Interior for the Reagan White House, where controversial James Watt was
forced to resign after trying to sell off public lands."
Engberg began his December 29 CBS Evening News story
with Norton: "It was George Bush's biggest day yet of
government-building, as he trooped in a diverse quartet of Cabinet
choices. The most controversial is likely to be his pick to head the
Interior Department, Gale Norton. She portrayed herself today as a friend
of the environment."
Norton: "The public
lands of the United States are amazing places."
the fact that she was a protege of Interior chief James Watt in the Reagan
administration will be enough to draw heavy fire from environmentalists.
As Colorado's attorney general, she defended the state's anti-gay rights
law before it was struck down by the courts. She is pro-abortion
Ah, a silver-lining at the end there for the media.
Norton is so out of bounds to CBS that the network
followed up with a whole story dedicated to the views she holds which
liberals find objectionable. Anchor Russ Mitchell warned: "As Eric
reported, of the nominations announced today, the choice for Interior
Secretary is likely to stir up the most opposition. The head of one
environmentalist group said, 'We're hoping for the best, but preparing for
the worst.' Jerry Bowen takes a look at Gale Norton and the policies she
Bowen began: "Introduced as the Interior
Secretary designate today, Gale Norton quickly expressed her love for the
public lands of the United States are amazing places."
Bowen: "But the
former Colorado attorney general signaled that one of the most amazing and
controversial places, ANWR, Alaska's 19 million acre Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge, may be opened to oil and gas exploration."
Norton: "I do
support the President in the positions that he has taken during his
the campaign, candidate Bush said the pristine home to migrating caribou
could be explored with little harm to meet America's energy needs."
Bush, October 3:
"You bet I want to open up a small part of, a part of Alaska, because
when that field is online, it will produce a million barrels a day."
President Clinton is under pressure to use his remaining days in office to
add ANWR to the long list of national monuments he's declared, wild lands
off limits to any development. Outgoing Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt,
who just last week recommended five other wilderness areas for protection,
said the move isn't needed."
incoming President cannot allow oil exploration in ANWR. Only the Congress
can do that. So it has the same level of protection as a national monument
with a Republican edge in Congress, environmental advocates are
Gail Ruderman Feuer,
Natural Resources Defense Council: "And we are very concerned that
with Ms. Norton, if she is confirmed, that we will see a big change and we
will see a lot of these public lands going to private interests."
Bowen concluded his
one-sided story: "Republicans believe recent spiking energy costs may
sway public opinion, while environmental groups vowed neither ANWR nor the
confirmation of the new Interior secretary will be a walk in the
Over on Friday's NBC Nightly News, Jim
Miklaszewski noted how "abortion rights groups" have pledged to
fight the choice of Governor Tommy Thompson for HHS Secretary, before he
are mounting equally stiff opposition to Norton for Interior. Norton says
today she fully supports opening Alaska's wildlife refuge to oil and gas
belief is that there are huge amounts of oil available in that area."
"Norton worked at Interior for the Reagan White House, where
controversial James Watt was forced to resign after trying to sell off
NBC then offered a
soundbite to Williams Meadows of the Wilderness Society: "She comes
out of the James Watt background. We are not ready for a James Watt era
Of course, like CBS, NBC didn't bother with a
positive word about the Norton pick from any conservative, though
Miklaszewski later let a Heritage Foundation official point out how
Bush's transition is ahead of where Clinton was eight years ago.
to several of our judges, in recent days the New York Post, Denver Rocky
Mountain News and Daily Oklahoman have all featured pieces on the MRC's
"The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for
the Year's Worst Reporting." In addition, the awards quotes have
also been cited in recent days in larger articles or sidebar editorial
page items in the Indianapolis Star, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Las
Vegas Review Journal.
The three full newspaper articles I've come
-- December 31: New York Post editorial titled,
"Hoist on Their Own Petard." It set up a collection of quotes:
"This year's crop tellingly reveals the media's contemporary spirit
and obsessions -- which revolve, as usual, around sycophancy for the
Clintons and contempt for all things Republican." To see the quotes
chosen by New York Post editorial writer Eric Fettmann, who served as one
of the 46 judges who completed our ballot, go to:
-- December 29: Denver Rocky Mountain News column by
Mike Rosen, a radio talk show host on KOA-AM, who also served as a judge.
Rosen announced: "Just out: the Media Research Center's 13th annual
awards for the most biased, manipulative or downright goofy quotes uttered
by liberals in the 'mainstream' news media. Once again, I'm honored to
have served on MRC's distinguished panel of conservatively biased
judges." To read the whole column, titled "Liberal media's
notable quotes," go to: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/rosen/1229rosen.shtml
-- December 27: Daily
Oklahoman column by Patrick McGuigan, the paper's editorial page editor
and one of our judges. In his column titled, "News media bias: It all
adds up," McGuigan observed: "This year America's
'mainstream' news media was about as mean-spirited in proving its
pervasive bias as in any 12-month period since the Media Research Center
began meticulously monitoring American journalism. This was the 13th
annual 'best notable quotables' -- capturing for posterity 'the
year's worst reporting.'" To read the entire column, go to:
As a reminder, to view
all the winning quotes as well as the two, three or four top runners-up in
each category and RealPlayer video clips for over two dozen of the quotes
from TV shows, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/bestofnq2000.html
To see the 8-page issue typeset as snail mail
subscribers saw the newsletter, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version. Go
If you see or have seen the Best of NQ awards issue
cited anywhere, please let me know and if it's in print, if possible,
send along a hard copy or the original. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Research Center
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able to get you a "Don't Believe the Liberal Media" magnet and
-- Brent Baker
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