6/02: NBC Suggests Bill O'Reilly Fueled Murder of Dr. George Tiller
  6/01: NBC's Williams Cues Up Obama: 'That's One She'd Rather Have Back'
  5/29: Nets Push 'Abortion Rights' Advocates' Concerns on Sotomayor
  5/28: CBS on Sotomayor: 'Can't Be Easily Defined by Political Labels'

  Notable Quotables
  Media Reality Check
  Press Releases
  Media Bias Videos
  Special Reports
  30-Day Archive
  Take Action
  Gala and DisHonors
  Best of NQ Archive
  The Watchdog
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
MRC Resources
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
  Contact MRC
  MRC Bookstore
  Job Openings
  News Division
  NewsBusters Blog
  Business & Media Institute

Support the MRC



 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Monday January 29, 2001 (Vol. Six; No. 16)

Printer Friendly Version

Policies "At Odds" With Uniting; CBS Suppressed Vandalism; Abortion and Greenspan Bias Highlighted; Jane Fonda Canned by CNN

1) Eleanor Clift lashed out at Hillary Clinton, not for what she did in accepting last-minute gifts in a manner to circumvent the Senate gift rules, but for giving fuel to "the right wing."

2) CBS's John Roberts insisted that Bush's backing of conservative policies "has often been at odds with" his claim to be a "uniter." At "odds" with uniting: "The Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers..."

3) ABC offered a couple of sentences Friday night about vandalism in the White House Complex while ABC and NBC raised it Friday morning, but CBS ignored it.

4) On CNN's Capital Gang Kate O'Beirne raised the contrast in how the networks spun the Bush executive order on abortion this year compared to how they treated Clinton's opposite order eight years earlier. CBS's Bob Schieffer analogized Bush's abortion order to Clinton's gays in the military.

5) The New York Post's "MediaWatch" column recalled how CBS had stressed Greenspan's supposed opposition to Bush's tax cut. John Roberts declared that there is "a fundamental difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur economic growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."

6) CNN shedding liberals in its downsizing. Jane Fonda, and the producer who once proclaimed "I want to be the little subversive person in television," let go.

7) Quote of the Weekend. Time's Jack White: "Moses was in the wilderness for forty years, Jesus was in the desert for forty days and Jesse Jackson..."


A flustered Eleanor Clift lashed out at Hillary Clinton, not for what she did in accepting last-minute gifts at the White House in order to circumvent the Senate gift rules, but for giving fuel to "the right wing."

     On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend the Newsweek writer asserted: "It looks terrible. She's about to get $8 million for a book. You know, why didn't she wait and buy her own flatware with her money instead of handing Michael [Barone] and the right wing all of these weapons all of the time? You know, it's so unnecessary."


Advocating anything conservative contradicts Bush's "uniter" message CBS's John Roberts reported as fact Friday night as he asserted "the Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers" are "at odds" with being a "uniter."

     In a CBS Evening News review of President Bush's first week in office, Roberts recounted how Bush tried "to forge bi-partisan cooperation" in meetings with 90 Members of Congress. On education, "old foes" like Ted Kennedy "have become new allies," Roberts noted.

     But then he warned: "The Bush White House packaged in its first week an image of the President as a uniter. But Mr. Bush's message has often been at odds with the mission. The Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers, an in your face attitude that has Democrats reluctant to let down their guard."
     Tom Daschle: "We are, in a sense, the only things standing between what Republicans propose and what becomes law."
     Bob Strauss: "There are a great many questions still outstanding about George W. Bush. No question about that, but he's off to a good start."
     Roberts concluded: "Mr. Bush will test the spirit of bi-partisanship again next week when he unveils his plans to provide federal funding for religious charities. A proposal that has already raised concerns about the separation of church and state."

     Democrats "reluctant to let down their guard"? It is just as much their opposition to Ashcroft, the abortion order and school vouchers that prevents uniting.


Friday night ABC gave a couple of sentences to White House Complex vandalism, but that's a couple of sentences more than offered by CBS on Friday morning or evening. Friday's Today ran the same Andrea Mitchell piece which aired on Thursday's Nightly News and which was detailed in the January 26 CyberAlert, while on ABC's Good Morning America George Stephanopoulos was asked about the reports.

     But CBS's The Early Show, obsessed with Survivor and the Super Bowl, didn't touch the subject, MRC analyst Brian Boyd informed me. And CBS continued to ignore it Friday night while ABC gave it a few seconds.

     In reviewing Bush's first week, ABC's Terry Moran told World News Tonight anchor Kevin Newman:
     "There are signs, substantive and symbolic, that the trench warfare that has marked Washington in recent years remains. Take the pranks and minor vandalism that were left behind in some offices by departing Clinton staffers. Many computers were missing the W key and some offensive notes and posters were found. More importantly, the President faces fierce opposition on several fronts. His school voucher proposal, his tax cut, his plan to steer more federal money to faith-based charities and the promise he made today to cut off federal funding for scientific research that uses tissue from aborted fetuses -- all this, Kevin, could end his honeymoon very quickly."


National Review Washington Editor Kate O'Beirne alerted CNN viewers to the contrast in how the networks spun the Bush executive order on abortion this year, re-imposing a ban on federal funding for abortion counseling overseas, compared to how they treated Clinton's opposite order eight years earlier.

     Relaying the same point and quotes outlined in the January 23 CyberAlert about January 22 evening show coverage, on Saturday's Capital Gang O'Beirne recalled:
     "Eight years ago the media broadly supported Bill Clinton, in one of his first acts as President, 'kept a campaign promise,' by lifting the restriction on funds. The way they played it with George W. Bush is: performed 'a very controversial act,' when in fact, of course, he's with the vast majority of the public in not wanting to fund exporting abortion and abortion advocacy, and they of course they also said he was catering to his right wing, when in fact the majority of the public agrees with him -- and no mention of Bill Clinton catering to his left wing when he lifted this longstanding policy."

     Indeed, that is an accurate summation of the media's biased approach. The January 23 CyberAlert reported: "Monday night ABC, CBS and NBC characterized Bush's abortion order as a 'controversial' decision in which he 'did something to quickly please the right flank.' But eight years ago to the day Clinton's executive orders on abortion reflected how he had 'delivered on his campaign promise' by taking non-ideological action which demonstrated how he 'keeps his word.'" For the entire analysis, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010123.asp#1

     MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth came across more evidence of how reporters were upset by Bush issuing an abortion order on his first weekday in office. Serving as substitute host Monday night, January 22, on CNN's Larry King Live, CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer was baffled by Bush's priorities and analogized his abortion decision to how Clinton was sidetracked by gays in the military.

     To a panel of talk show hosts he wondered: "It has been a busy week. And today, George Bush, who we were told was gonna put the first emphasis on education, signed this order putting a ban on the use of federal money that can be used in overseas groups that promote or in any way have anything to do with abortion. It's already stirred up a little trouble here. Is, Diane Rehm, is what's happened here what happened to Bill Clinton in the beginning of his administration when somehow or other he got off onto gays in the military, and everything else kind of came to a stop?"

     Later, Schieffer complained about how Bush had "started" something: "Jim Bohannon and I -- you know, some feel one way about abortion, some people feel another way, and that part doesn't interest me so much, as, the political impact this is going to have; why do you suppose that right out of the box, he started this."


Better memory about CyberAlert than even I. Friday's CyberAlert outlined how the networks led Thursday night with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's approval of a tax cut, but in Friday's New York Post its "MediaWatch" column, compiled by Eric Fettmann, recalled past CyberAlert analysis to remind readers of how CBS News had pounded away at how Greenspan opposed Bush's tax cut plan.

     Here's an excerpt from the January 26 MediaWatch column:

You'd think that the network news types, with their six-and seven-figure salaries, would know some economics. But they're the ones who were most taken aback yesterday when Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said that tax cuts -- as proposed by President Bush -- would not hurt the economy.

For more than a month now, news anchors and correspondents have kept up a steady drumbeat of opposition to Bush's tax-cut plan -- and most have invoked Greenspan's supposed opposition to bolster their attacks.

Back on Dec. 5's 60 Minutes II, Scott Pelley challenged Bush: "If in that first meeting with Mr. Greenspan, the chairman of the Fed, he says to you, 'Mr. President, I think an across-the-board tax cut is probably bad for the economy,' will you listen?"

A month later, CBS was still pounding the drumbeat. As transcribed by the Media Research Center, John Roberts declared that there is "a fundamental difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur economic growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."

Actually, Greenspan favors both. He's already cut interest rates, and is expected to do so again. And, he said yesterday, "Should economic weakness spread beyond what appears likely, having a tax cut in place may, in fact do noticeable good."

What's the matter with Greenspan -- doesn't he listen to George Stephanopoulos? As far back as two weeks ago, the former Clinton spinmeister was telling us that "this argument...that because we're going into some kind of dip, even if it's not a recession, that you need to have a huge tax cut now is completely specious..."

Of course, the network boys insist that any talk of an economic downturn -- one begun before their hero, Bill Clinton, left office -- is flat-out wrong.

Dan Rather led off Wednesday night's CBS Evening News with these ominous words: "President Bush is keeping up his drumbeat of negative talk about the health of the U.S. economy." That talk, Rather made clear, is belied by the fact that "consumer spending shows signs of coming back, interest rates have just been cut and America's bankers say they don't expect a recession."....

     END Excerpt


From all misery some good shall come. Last week ended with the disclosure that amongst those let go by CNN in the ten percent reduction of its workforce: Jane Fonda and the entire environmental reporting unit, a hotbed of liberal advocacy in the guise of news.

     An excerpt from Adam Buckman's January 26 The New York Post story:

....Ted Turner's estranged wife has become the latest casualty in this week's massive layoffs at AOL/Time Warner.

Fonda hosted a show airing several times a year on CNN, "People Count," which was produced by a unit of Turner Broadcasting formed 20 years ago by Turner himself to spearhead projects reflecting his environmental agenda.

Now, in a sign that Turner's influence over the sprawling media company he founded is on the wane, the Atlanta-based unit has been disbanded, resulting in Fonda's show getting the ax.

The unit -- called the Turner Environmental Division, or TED -- was responsible for developing several programs, among them "The Adventures of Captain Planet," an animated series featuring a tree-hugging superhero, and "People Count."....

The closing of TED throws nine more employees out of work, including longtime Turner exec Barbara Pyle, corporate vice president of environmental policy, whom Turner hired 20 years ago.

The fired TED staffers join an estimated 400 employees being laid off at CNN as AOL/Time Warner undergoes a painful restructuring expected to eliminate more than 2,400 positions out of 85,000 employees.

Since TED was one of Turner's pet projects, its demise is seen as representing the maverick media maven's declining influence at the newly merged media giant....

     END Excerpt

     Ted Turner's reduced influence is good news for those hoping CNN will deliver less liberally tilted programming.

     Back in 1990 The American Spectator quoted the now let go Barbara Pyle as declaring at an Utne Reader symposium: "I do have an axe to grind...I want to be the little subversive person in television."


Quote of the Weekend. Following the example set by President Bush as a "uniter, not a divider," CyberAlert has selected a quote from a liberal which shares common ground with conservatives. Time magazine's Jack White on Inside Washington: "Moses was in the wilderness for forty years, Jesus was in the desert for forty days and Jesse Jackson couldn't stay away from the cameras for 72 hours."

     I promise this effort at finding common ground will not last.  -- Brent Baker

     >>> Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert readers and subscribers:

     >>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a blank e-mail to: mrccyberalert-subscribe
. Or, you can go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters. Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to mrccyberalert@topica.com." After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to CyberAlert.
     To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to: cybercomment@mrc.org.
     Send problems and comments to: cybercomment@mrc.org.

     >>>You can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: cybercomment@mrc.org. Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<


Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314