Bush Not Vindicated By Rate Cut; Hillary the "Most Admired"; CBS's Hit on Ashcroft as Racist; Gumbel: Reagan "The Worst" ex-President
1) Two weeks ago the networks
stressed how Gene Sperling blamed Bush for creating a recession through
downbeat talk. But on Wednesday, after the Fed rate cut, ABC, CBS and NBC
failed to call it vindication. CBS's John Roberts highlighted "the
fundamental difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur
economic growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."
2) NBC's Andrea Mitchell gushed: "From the health
care fiasco to the Monica humiliation to the campaign many said she would
never win, Hillary Clinton is now the most admired woman in America,
beating Oprah by a landslide in the latest Gallup poll."
3) CBS's Jim Stewart delivered a one-sided look at how
"black leaders have vowed revenge" against John Ashcroft
"for what they consider a racially biased vote." Stewart
didn't bother to point out, as did FNC, that Ashcroft voted to
"confirm 23 of the 26 African-American federal court nominees. As
Missouri Governor he appointed eight African-American judges."
4) GMA's Charles Gibson falsely stated that "Bill
Clinton won a majority" while he complained that "Bush did not
win a majority of the popular vote and this is hardly a fusion Cabinet
that reaches out to Democrats." Margaret Carlson rued "a very
conservative cabinet, not one that represents a broad spectrum."
5) Margaret Carlson complained how the Attorney General
"post should be the secretary of uniting, not dividing" and she
claimed: "Ashcroft is way to the right....we have a history in this
country of appointing moderates to that job."
6) Bryant Gumbel complained about how Bush has not met his
promise for a "bi-partisan, coalition cabinet" and described
Jimmy Carter as exemplifying "the model of best behavior for a former
President" as he asked a guest to confirm that Ronald Reagan is
"the model for the worst."
7) Great mind in the morning. Frito-Lay now puts fewer
Doritos in the bag, a nefarious move which prompted CBS's Julie Chen to
demand: "I'm getting less chips, paying the same amount of money. Is
that legal for them to do this?"
8) FNC's Brit Hume highlighted how the political views
of Helen Thomas "are no less visible than they've ever been."
She took a shot at Bush's spokesman: "He said he got 42,000
resumes. He could count them but he can't count the ballots?"
on December 21 all the networks highlighted how Gene Sperling and other
Clinton operatives were blaming George Bush for creating a recession
through their downbeat forecasts. But on Wednesday, after the Fed cut its
rate by a half percent, ABC, CBS and NBC failed to call it vindication of
Bush's warning. While CBS and NBC at least acknowledged how Bush had
warned of a downturn, ABC's World News Tonight didn't utter a syllable
about Bush's prescient expressions of concern.
CBS's John Roberts used the Fed action to undercut
Bush's push for a tax cut: "The measure highlights the fundamental
difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur economic
growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."
As usual, the broadcast network reporters who never
seem to call any spending program "big" or "huge," all
described Bush's tax cut as either "big" or "huge."
I've put these terms in CAPS in the quotes below so they stand out.
On ABC's World News Tonight, Terry Moran only
noted how "the President-elect actually joined the participants in
his economic forum in raising a toast to Alan Greenspan" as "Mr.
Bush made clear he will now push even harder for his BIG tax cut."
Anchor Brian Williams, on the January 3 NBC Nightly
News, acknowledged: "Bush has warned of a recession on the way and
still wants to see his BIG tax cut enacted." From Bush's economic
summit David Gregory noted how they "toasted" the interest rate
cut, adding: "Bush and his corporate allies, eager to see his HUGE
tax cut enacted, argued strenuously today that much more is needed to save
the economy from a free fall."
Over on the CBS Evening News, Anthony Mason
concluded the lead story: "So why now and not at a regular meeting?
Well, new retail sales numbers come out tomorrow, unemployment numbers
Friday. Many analysts suspect that the Fed has already seen those
statistics and that they show the economy is in even worse shape than we
Dan Rather then noted how Bush "believes the
Fed just gave him some new ammunition for his battle to get a BIG tax cut
John Roberts began his story on Bush's reaction:
"The interest rate cut was like a New Year's gift to the incoming
President who is aggressively seeking to avoid a recession on his
Bush: "It was a
strong statement that measures must be taken to make sure our economy does
not go into a tailspin."
"But the measure highlights the fundamental difference between Bush
and Greenspan over how best to spur economic growth, from cutting interest
rates or cutting taxes. The President-elect today attempted to put his
best spin on that distinction."
Alan Greenspan was mindful of the warning signs by taking a bold step.
When I get sworn in as President I intend to take another bold step and
that is to ask the Congress to work with us to enact tax reform and tax
broadcast networks on Wednesday night all featured stories on Hillary
Clinton being sworn in as a Senator, but Andrea Mitchell gushed the most
on the NBC Nightly News:
"For this political wife, friends say, a dream come true. Today he
holds the Bible for her, trading places from when they first came to
Washington eight years ago. From the health care fiasco to the Monica
humiliation to the campaign many said she would never win, Hillary Clinton
is now the most admired woman in America, beating Oprah by a landslide in
the latest Gallup poll."
delivered a one-sided hit piece Wednesday night on John Ashcroft as Jim
Stewart simply repeated the race-mongering charges made against him over
his opposition to the Ronnie White nomination without bothering to point
out, as Steve Centanni did on the Fox News Channel, that Ashcroft voted to
"confirm 23 of the 26 African-American federal court nominees. As
Missouri Governor he appointed eight African-American judges, including
the first black appeals court judge."
CBS's Stewart snidely commented that though White
opposed the death penalty in one case, "he had upheld 70 percent of
all the other death sentences he reviewed, a fact that Ashcroft chose to
overlook." Stewart highlighted a professor's assumption that
Ashcroft only opposed White because "he needed an issue to appeal to
mainstream conservative rural Missouri voters."
Did people in rural Missouri really think Ashcroft
was not conservative enough?
Dan Rather set up the January 3 CBS Evening News
story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Bush's nominee
for Attorney General appears headed now for a tough confirmation battle in
the Senate. CBS's Jim Stewart tonight looks at one reason he's opposed
by so many African-Americans."
"Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft posed for the cameras on
Capitol Hill today, but he didn't say much, preferring to let others
address the issue that is on everyone's mind."
Orrin Hatch: "I
think he treated Judge White with fairness. I mean I can see why people
could be on either side of that issue."
Judge White issue refers to this man: Ronnie White, the first
African-American on the Missouri Supreme Court, who would likely be a
federal judge today if it hadn't been for Ashcroft's opposition."
John Ashcroft on the
Senate floor: "We don't need judges with a tremendous bent toward
was defeated in the Senate along party lines, and ever since, black
leaders have vowed revenge for what they consider a racially biased
Former St. Louis Mayor: "We're here today to stand united in
expressing our disgust."
first payback was last November when African-Americans surged to the polls
to help defeat Ashcroft for reelection."
Washington University in St. Louis: "This is a huge increase, about
140 percent, and a lot of people attribute it to the inflammatory
circumstances surrounding the White nomination."
had opposed White because of his actions in a case involving this man,
Vietnam veteran Jimmy Johnson, who was sentenced to die for a string of
cop killings. On appeal, White was the lone vote against the death penalty
even though he had upheld 70 percent of all the other death sentences he
reviewed, a fact that Ashcroft chose to overlook."
needed an issue to appeal to mainstream conservative rural Missouri
voters, and the White nomination came along at a pretty good time for
"And it almost worked. Ashcroft did take the conservative vote last
November but not enough to overcome the black turnout. The big question
now is whether the White nomination fiasco could be enough to derail
Ashcroft's chances for office again."
Fox News Channel viewers Wednesday night, however,
received a more complete picture. On Special Report with Brit Hume,
reporter Steve Centanni pointed out: "Ashcroft's record in the
Senate shows that he voted to confirm 23 of the 26 African-American
federal court nominees. As Missouri Governor he appointed eight
African-American judges, including the first black appeals court judge. He
also named Jerry Hunter to be Secretary of Labor. Hunter says Ashcroft is
anything but a racist."
Hunter, who is
black, asserted: "Unfortunately it's character assassination. I can
tell you based on my experience with Governor Ashcroft, and years since
he's left the Governorship, he was certainly concerned about issues
concerning the minority community."
"The record also shows that as Governor of Missouri Ashcroft created
the first historic site honoring a black by preserving the home of ragtime
composer Scott Joplin and he signed a bill designating Martin Luther
King's birthday as an official state holiday."
continue to complain about how Bush did not name enough liberals to his
too conservative cabinet. Wednesday morning on ABC's Good Morning
America, co-host Charles Gibson complained "this is hardly a Cabinet
that reaches out to Democrats" as he falsely stated that "Bill
Clinton won a majority" while "George Bush did not win a
majority of the popular vote and this is hardly a fusion Cabinet that
reaches out to Democrats."
In fact, in both 1992 and 1996 Clinton won the
plurality of votes cast but never a majority. This year both Bush and Gore
garnered more votes than Clinton ever received.
Guest Margaret Carlson of Time magazine echoed
Gibson's regret: "Nobody thought there'd be a fusion cabinet, but
it seems to be a very Bush cabinet, a very conservative cabinet, not one
that represents a broad spectrum of opinion."
Gibson set up the January 3 complaint session,
caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, by listing the offensive positions
of Bush's conservative cabinet picks:
President-elect George W. Bush has finished selecting the 14 members of
his Cabinet, just after a month after he was declared the winner of this
contested election. Even the President-elect's critics agree he's made
good on his promise to draft a team of heavy hitters....Most of
President-elect Bush's choices seem tailor-made for quick confirmation,
but liberals say they will strongly oppose the nomination of former
Senator John Ashcroft for Attorney General, especially for his hard-line
stand against abortion....Environmental groups are concerned about Gale
Norton, Bush's pick for Interior Secretary....Too soft on big oil, the
critics say....Then there's Labor Secretary pick Linda Chavez, a favorite
of conservatives, who also faces opposition for her opposition to
affirmative action. Interestingly, in terms of gender and ethnic
diversity, the Bush Cabinet is roughly comparable to the original Clinton
Cabinet, both with 11 men, three women; the Bush Cabinet with five members
of minority groups and Clinton's with six....Ralph [Reed], let me start
with you. There is diversity in this cabinet -- I mentioned the numbers --
but in the critical positions, conservatives, pro-business nominees very
Gibson asserted: "But a pro-choice candidate in
the Interior Department may not mean much on that issue, but this is
hardly a Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats. I mean, you mentioned Bill
Clinton trying to attract a Republican, but Bill Clinton won a majority.
George Bush did not win a majority of the popular vote and this is hardly
a fusion Cabinet that reaches out to Democrats."
Gibson turned to Margaret Carlson: "Let me ask
you, it is not atypical that the opposition party will go after one target
of opportunity, in effect, during the confirmation hearings. Is this going
to be Ashcroft at Justice? Will it be Norton or will it be Chavez?"
think we know the target. I think the target is Senator Ashcroft because
he is the one that is furthest to the right, and Norton has some problems
in that she much favors property rights over conservation. But Ashcroft is
the one that will, you know, generate the most fire. He's not vulnerable
because he's a senator, but his views and his history, in particular going
after a black judicial nominee, make him, I think, the one that's most
Gibson: "Well, but
you do point out that he's a former senator, and former senators and
members of Congress normally get an easier ride in confirmation hearings
than someone from the outside."
Carlson: "It may be
that Bush decided to choose a senator as the furthest right for that very
reason. I mean, the rest of the Cabinet looks mild by comparison, and
they're very competent, as Bill [Kristol] says. They even look like
America. They don't necessarily think like America, but they might grow
into that as they come to govern and because, you know, Bush did not get a
majority of the popular vote. Nobody thought there'd be a fusion cabinet,
but it seems to be a very Bush cabinet, a very conservative cabinet, not
one that represents a broad spectrum of opinion."
Where was Carlson in 1992 when Clinton was a appointing a
"very Clinton cabinet, a very liberal cabinet"?
Carlson has had a busy week bashing Ashcroft. On Saturday's Capital Gang
on CNN she complained how the Attorney General "post should be the
secretary of uniting, not dividing." Carlson claimed: "Ashcroft
is way to the right. He's not in the middle. And we have a history in this
country of appointing moderates to that job."
On the December 30 Capital Gang Time's Carlson
"What Bush has
done is to take the most sensitive Cabinet appointment and make an
appointment that thrills the right, in particular the religious right. And
this is in many ways the Justice Department means just that, and it
addresses our most sensitive concerns,
and it should be, that post should be the secretary of uniting, not
dividing. And on those questions of race and immigration and the death
penalty and violence against women and abortion clinics, Senator Ashcroft
is way to the right. He's not in the middle. And we have a history in this
country of appointing moderates to that job. And I think there will be a
discussion, and I think it, I hope it isn't led by the Bork and Thomas
brigade, but that there is a discussion about the concerns there. And
maybe it will move Ashcroft back to the, a little bit closer to the
A few minutes later Bob Novak brought some
rationality to Carlson's historic revisionism: "Margaret, I don't
think Ed Meese was middle of the road. He was Attorney General. I don't
think Ramsey Clark, the Democrat, was in the middle of the road. He was
Attorney General. That's a lot of nonsense that only, you know, moderates
should be Attorney General."
In about a half hour on Wednesday morning, Bryant Gumbel managed to
complain about how Bush has not met his promise for a "bi-partisan,
coalition cabinet," suggested "we're looking at a Cheney
co-presidency" and described Jimmy Carter as exemplifying "the
model of best behavior for a former President" as he asked a guest to
confirm how Ronald Reagan is "the model for the worst."
During the 7am half hour interview with Leon Panetta
and David Gergen on the January 3 The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
observed, Gumbel asked Panetta: "Bush promised a bipartisan,
coalition cabinet, is the make-up of this anything even close to
Turning to Gergen, he suggested: "Does the
make-up of this cabinet suggest that we're looking at a Cheney
At the top of the 7:30am half hour he acknowledged
Bill Clinton may have received some favors on his house purchase, asking
William Green of Money magazine: "Because he's President, he got some
sweet deals on his homes, in terms of how much he had to put down, in
terms of the points he had to pay, in terms of the interest rates. How
much do you figure he wound up saving because he's President and is that a
pattern he's going to be able to carry through?"
Gumbel then turned to presidential historian Douglas
Brinkley, picking up on Reagan's big money for speeches in Japan:
"If Jimmy Carter was the model of best behavior for a former
President in terms of finances, is Ronald Reagan the model for the
worst?" Gumbel followed up by expressing empathy for Clinton's
plight: "But have any ex-Presidents left the office facing the kind
of legal debts that the Clintons face?"
Better question: Have any ex-Presidents left office
with the same record of serial misbehavior for which lawyers were needed?
question of the day, is it "legal" for a company to raise the
price for a product it makes?
Tuesday night, as if by coincidence, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows
all ran stories on the nefarious plot by food manufacturers to charge the
same price for a package of a product, but with a smaller quantity. Rich
Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, figured out all the
stories were prompted by a press release from the Consumer Federation of
America, though none offered a source. All three stories showcased the
same examples of Doritos, Cracker Jack and how Pampers has gone from 44 to
38 diapers in a package. Rich will be writing a thorough analysis for
MediaNomics next week, but in the meantime, check out this question on
Wednesday's The Early Show from CBS's Julie Chen to Carol Foreman
Tucker of the Consumer Federation of America:
getting less chips, paying the same amount of money. Is that legal for
them to do this?"
Three days into the new year and we already have a
winner for our 2001 "Good Morning Morons Award."
Thomas quit UPI, but she hasn't gone away. She's now a columnist for
Hearst Newspapers and she's still looking at the world from the left.
Tuesday night on his FNC show Brit Hume suggested
"her political views are no less visible than they've ever
been." As evidence he then played a clip of her taking a shot at the
Bush team during the January 2 White House news briefing. Referring to how
many resumes Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer said, at an earlier briefing,
the Bush transition office has received, Thomas told White House Pres
Secretary Jake Siewart: "He said he got 42,000 resumes. He could
count them but he can't count the ballots?"
Editor's note: Some sort of very painful knee
injury, which I hope to have diagnosed and resolved in the next few days,
has hobbled me, so don't count on daily CyberAlerts for a while, though
I'll try to break in if major bias breaks out.
-- Brent Baker
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