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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday March 9, 2001 (Vol. Six; No. 42)

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Linda Douglass: Only GOP Guilty; More of Dan Rather's Liberal Blather on His 20th Anniversary as Anchor

1) Only Republicans ruin bi-partisanship. "So much for bi-partisanship," complained ABC's Linda Douglass about how "Republicans rammed through" Bush's tax cut. But on CBS back in 1993, Douglass did not castigate Democrats for ramming through Clinton's economic bill without GOP support.

2) Today, March 9, marks Dan Rather's 20th anniversary as anchor of the CBS Evening News. His bias has been too prolific to all fit into yesterday's CyberAlert, so here are some more examples of his liberal advocacy over the years.

    >>> MRC President L. Brent Bozell is scheduled to appear on the Fox News Channel's Fox News Live on Saturday at 5pm EST with host John Gibson. <<<

Correction: The March 9 CyberAlert table of contents promised 25 Rather quotes and 15 "Ratherisms." While the issue included a bunch of both, the numbers did not match the actual number of quotes featured.


ABC News reporter Linda Douglass may have changed networks since 1993, but one thing hasn't changed about her: When a President's economic bill passes on a party line vote it's always Republicans who are guilty of violating the spirit of bi-partisanship.

    In 1993 they were guilty of partisanship for opposing Bill Clinton's plan, but yesterday instead of calling Democrats partisan for opposing Bush's tax cut bill, Douglass complained about how Republicans had abandoned promises of bi-partisanship when they "rammed through" Bush's tax cut.

    Here's how Douglass began her story on Thursday's World News Tonight: "So much for bi-partisanship, Charlie [Gibson]. The Republicans rammed through this tax cut, and all but ten Democrats voted against it, and the Democrats are accusing President Bush of reneging on his promise to change the tone in Washington."

    Now rewind to August 7, 1993 after the Senate passed Bill Clinton's economic bill. Rich Noyes, the MRC's Director of News Analysis, noticed this is how then-CBS News reporter Douglass described it on the CBS Evening News:
    "The vote on the budget plan was the closest and most partisan in 50 years. Not a single Republican supported it, and there was not a vote to spare in either house. Last night, to his jubilant staff, the President suggested things may move ahead more smoothly now."
    President Bill Clinton: "What we heard tonight at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue was the sound of gridlock breaking."
    Douglass: "But Republicans did not offer an olive branch, and party leaders scoffed at suggestions that the President had won a big victory."
    Senator Bob Dole: "Well, he, you know, he won, so I guess he can claim whatever he wants."

    For more on how the networks covered the passage of Bush's tax cut, see the CyberAlert from earlier today:


Picking up where we left off yesterday, below are some more of my favorite examples of Dan Rather's liberal bias from over the years. Coinciding with his 20th anniversary today as anchor of the CBS Evening News, that's several months longer than Walter Cronkite sat in the chair, on March 8 the MRC published a special Media Reality Check and a special CyberAlert devoted to his years of liberal spin.

    To read those quotes, refer back to the March 8 CyberAlert which included a reprint of the Media Reality Check as well as additional quotes and many "Ratherisms." Go to:

    Two of the quotes in the March 8 CyberAlert feature matching RealPlayer video clips. The Media Reality Check includes five more video clips. To view those, go to:

    And now to some additional noteworthy quotes culled from the Notable Quotables archive, in date order from oldest to newest:

    ++ Soviet citizens liked communism. "Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, June 17, 1987.

    ++ Keeping military secrets.
    "Allied military units are on the move. Their positions, movements, and plans must be carefully safeguarded. We must assume that the enemy is confused about what is happening on the battlefield and it is absolutely essential that we not do anything inadvertently ourselves to clarify the picture for him."
-- Defense Secretary Dick Cheney in a press conference at the start of the Gulf War ground operation, February 23, 1991.
    "As part of our CBS News live coverage of the beginning of the ground war offensive, we're talking to Bob McKeown, a CBS News reporter who's one mile from the Kuwaiti border. Bob, any indication of how far up you the think the Allies are now?"
-- Dan Rather, 21 minutes later.

    ++ Non-liberal blacks are "reactionaries"? "Black conservatives or reactionaries are getting a lot of attention since the Thomas nomination...It has been a common misconception that Americans who happen to be black also happen to be liberal or progressive. True, perhaps most are, but as Bruce Morton reports in tonight's Eye On America, the terms black or African-American and conservative or reactionary are not mutually exclusive."
-- Dan Rather on the July 12, 1991 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Like Dan does? "Take an election year, add a budget crunch, and one sure result is an assault on the welfare system, help for the poor. Still, most of the people who attack welfare have little or no contact with the people who depend on it."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 5, 1992

    ++ Greedy '80s. "And, Eye On America -- a town fighting back against greed, corporate raiders, and the hangover of the go-go '80s."
-- Dan Rather, March 19, 1992 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Centrist Clinton-Gore ticket. "Delegates approved the Clinton-Gore center-of-the-road Democratic Party platform, trying to move the party closer to voters around the malls in America's suburbs."
-- Dan Rather's first convention update during the All-Star Game, July 14, 1992.
    "Assembled delegates here approved a center-of-the-road Democratic Party platform to help the Clinton-Gore ticket go shopping for votes in the fall in America's malls and suburbs."
-- Rather's second update.
    "Earlier, the Democratic Party approved the Clinton-Gore middle-of-the-road platform calling for law and order, work for welfare recipients, and a strong U.S. military."
-- Rather's third update.

    ++ Rather gettin' down. Rather: "Some days I say 'Why is he [Clinton] doing that?' or 'Gosh, can he do it a little better?' But it may be time to, sort of as you say, chill. We know when it comes to politics and governing, whatever you think of this President, whether you voted for him or not, he can hang -- which is to say he can do it-"
    Arsenio Hall: "See! See! Dan is deep, ain't he? Dan in the Hood!....I thank you for being here. You're a special guy. And I hope whatever you have is contagious."
-- Exchange from The Arsenio Hall Show, January 28, 1993.

    ++ Brilliant Clinton. "[Clinton] pointed out the Andrew Jackson magnolia tree. He's a very good historian. Harry, I think if you had been in the room, any viewer-listener who had been in that room, would have been impressed with the breadth of his knowledge. I mean he talked about the Oscars. He talked very knowingly about Clint Eastwood and his new movie Unforgiven, Jack Nicholson's role in A Few Good Men, and then switched very quickly to a knowledgeable analysis of Arkansas's chances against North Carolina in the big basketball game tomorrow night."
-- Dan Rather to CBS This Morning's Harry Smith, after March 25, 1993 Clinton interview.

    ++ "Republican" Ken Starr I. "There is growing controversy tonight, about whether the newly named independent counsel in the Whitewater case is independent or a Republican partisan allied with a get-Clinton movement. Among the questions about Kenneth Starr are these: the involvement of anti-Clinton activists in pushing for Starr's appointment to replace Robert Fiske. Also, Starr's public stand actively supporting a woman's current lawsuit against the President. This is a potentially important and explosive story, correspondent Rita Braver has the latest."
-- Dan Rather on the August 8, 1994 CBS Evening News

    ++ Poor threatened by Republican takeover of Congress. "Soup kitchens around the country are reporting demand for their services is up this Thanksgiving -- unfortunately, donations are down. And now with the coming shift of power and agendas in Washington, many charitable groups are worried about how they -- and the people they help -- can make it."
-- Dan Rather, November 23, 1994 CBS Evening News.

    ++ GOP makes it harder to survive. "There was no doubt Republicans in the House had enough votes tonight to pass another key item in their agenda to rip up or rewrite government programs going back to the Franklin Roosevelt era. It is a bill making it harder, much harder, to protect health, safety, and the environment. For example: the benefit of any new regulation would be required to outweigh the financial cost."
-- Dan Rather, February 28, 1995 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Of course. "President Clinton will outline his version of a plan he says will balance the federal budget in ten years without what Mr. Clinton sees as a radical and extremist Republican plan to gut programs that help the old, the young, and the poor in order to bankroll tax giveaways to the rich. Republicans, of course, see it a different way."
-- Dan Rather before CBS News coverage of President Clinton's budget address, June 13, 1995

    ++ Carpet bombing health and safety. "This is just for starters on a tough week ahead for President Clinton and his agenda. From another offensive wave on Whitewater to a sweeping rollback of federal regulations on health, safety, and the environment, it's a political carpet-bombing attack, wall to wall, House to Senate."
-- Dan Rather, July 17, 1995 Evening News.

    ++ "Republican Ken Starr II. "The Republican Whitewater offensive is taking an unprecedented turn: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton has been subpoenaed and now must testify before a Whitewater federal grand jury. That grand jury is led by a Republican prosecutor, Kenneth Starr."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22, 1996

    ++ "Republican" Ken Starr III. "New indications in a CBS News poll out tonight of how the public perceives Republican special prosecutor Ken Starr's investigation. Our poll suggests only 27 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial probe. And 55 percent think it's time for Starr to drop his investigation."
-- Dan Rather, March 2, 1998 CBS Evening News.

    ++ "Republican" Ken Starr IV. "Ken Starr drops another load on President Clinton....Good evening. Just as President Clinton was enjoying a day talking up the economy, officially announcing the first U.S. budget surplus in three decades, Ken Starr hit him again. The Republican independent counsel and special prosecutor decided late in the day to announce his decision to press his subpoena for samples of Monica Lewinsky's handwriting, fingerprints and her voice."
-- Dan Rather at the top of the May 26, 1998 CBS Evening News.

    ++ What could have been if not for Lewinsky. "It began with so much promise. Bill Clinton became the first Democratic President since Franklin Roosevelt to be reelected to a second term. This was the term he'd make his mark on history and determine how he'd be remembered. CBS's Wyatt Andrews looks tonight at the state of the Clinton legacy."
-- Dan Rather, August 18, 1998 CBS Evening News.

    ++ "Hard Right" Clinton. "Bill Clinton's been running pretty hard to the right, so far that some Democrats now call him a 'Republicrat.' Do you go that far?"
-- Dan Rather to Jesse Jackson, August 26, 1996 CBS convention coverage.

    ++ Just about sex. "On Capitol Hill, the Republican-dominated House now plans to vote Thursday to approve an official impeachment investigation into President Clinton, his sex life, and lies he told to hide it."
-- Dan Rather, October 6, 1998 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Impeachment trial distracting from what's important. "The Republican leadership has decided, and spoken....They want the calling of witnesses and the lengthening out of the process. This is where the matter now stands. Questions such as what to do about Social Security, improving the nation's schools, and the drug menace among America's youth basically are on hold. So is what to do about threats to health of the U.S. economy by what is happening in Asia and Brazil; the threats to U.S. security posed by Iraq, Iran, and North Korea; and the peril represented by a collapsing Russia and an emerging China -- all important parts of the people's business -- all remain pretty much on hold, while the trial drags on."
-- January 25, 1999 "Dan Rather's Notebook" radio commentary posted on the CBS News Web page.

    ++ Admiring the Kennedys. "We Americans, even those among us who have never liked the Kennedys' politics, have long been fascinated by the Kennedy mystique. Or as some call it, the Kennedy myth. The dictionary defines mystique as 'an aura of heightened meaning surrounding something to which special power or mystery is given.' A myth is 'a traditional story dealing with ancestors or heroes,' a story that 'shapes the world view of a people or delineates the customs or ideals of a society.' By those definitions, like it or not, there is a Kennedy mystique and their history is mythic....
    "What we do know is that some of the aching grief the family feels tonight we feel because the mystique and the myth are deep within us. That's 48 Hours for tonight, an American Tragedy."
-- Dan Rather concluding 48 Hours, July 19, 1999, after the death of John Kennedy, Jr.

    ++ Bush "Hard Right" Too. "Now to Bill Whitaker covering George W. Bush's talking the right talk, as in Republican hard right, to try to take out Steve Forbes in Iowa and focus on eliminating John McCain in New Hampshire."
-- Dan Rather, January 23, 2000 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Pushing gun control. "President Clinton met today with congressional leaders, pushing them for new gun control laws in response to more shocking gun violence. It's been a week since a six-year-old Michigan girl was shot dead by another six-year-old. As CBS's Diana Olick reports, the little girl's death has many wondering what, if anything, more can be done and asking why Congress hasn't done anything for months."
-- Dan Rather opening a story on the CBS Evening News, March 7, 2000.

    ++ Mean and nasty George W. Bush. "On one bit of campaign meanness and nastiness in particular, George Bush now says he's sorry his gutter language and personal attack was picked up by a microphone at a campaign stop yesterday, but he refuses to apologize for the substance of his comment. Bush's remark was about Adam Clymer, a New York Times reporter whose coverage he doesn't like."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Sept. 5, 2000.

    ++ Gore a victim. "You've been part of an administration that one can argue has presided over the greatest economic, sustained economic boom in the history of the country. But here you are in the last week of the presidential campaign, in which even by your own estimate you're locked neck and neck with the other guy. Why is that?....But surely sometime at night the two of you talking, you must have said, maybe one to the other, 'Why is this happening to us?'"
-- Dan Rather to Al and Tipper Gore in taped interview shown on the November 1, 2000 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Bush's anti-uniter cabinet. "When you nominate someone to be Attorney General... who you know is going to raise questions, rightly or wrongly, justifiably or otherwise about race relations, quote 'a hardline stance on a woman's right to choose' on abortion; when you appoint somebody, nominate someone, to be head of the Interior Department who says, 'Listen, it's alright for people who own private land to pollute,' I'm not saying that's right or wrong. I am saying that a lot are going to say, 'Wait a minute, this is not uniter-divider country.'"
-- Dan Rather, Jan. 15, 2001 Late Show with David Letterman.

    ++ Treating Liberal spin as fact. "President Bush tonight outlines his cut-federal-programs-to-get-a-tax-cut plan to Congress and the nation. Democrats will then deliver their televised response, which basically says Mr. Bush's ideas are risky business, endangering among other things, Social Security and Medicare."
-- Dan Rather, February 27, 2001 CBS Evening News.

    -- And some of his denials of any bias on his part or in the media in general:

    ++ Who, me biased I? "It's one of the great political myths, about press bias. Most reporters are interested in a story. Most reporters don't know whether they're Republican or Democrat, and vote every which way. Now, a lot of politicians would like you to believe otherwise, but that's the truth of the matter. I've worked around journalism all of my life, Tom Snyder has as well, and I think he'll agree with this, that most reporters, when you get to know them, would fall in the general category of kind of common-sense moderates. And also, let me say that I don't think that 'liberal' or 'conservative' means very much any more, except to those kind of inside-the-Beltway people who want to use it for their own partisan political advantage. I don't think it holds up."
-- Dan Rather answering a caller about liberal bias, February 8, 1995 CBS's Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.

    ++ Who, me biased II? "The test is not the names people call you or accusations by political activists inside or outside your own organization. The test is what goes up on the screen and what comes out of the speaker. I think the public understands that those people are trying to create such a perception because they're trying to force you to report the news the way they want you to report it. I am not going to do it. I will put up billboard space on 42nd Street. I will wear a sandwich board. I will do whatever is necessary to say I am not going to be cowed by anybody's special political agenda, inside, outside, upside, downside."
-- Dan Rather reacting to CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg's charge that the networks have a liberal bias, March 6, 1996 New York Post.

    ++ Who, me biased III? "Well, my answer to that is basically a good Texas phrase, which is bullfeathers....I think the fact that if someone survives for four or five years at or near the top in network television, you can just about bet they are pretty good at keeping independence in their reporting. What happens is a lot of people don't want independence. They want the news reported the way they want it for their own special political agendas or ideological reasons."
-- Rather on CNN's Larry King Live, March 11, 1996.

    ++ Who, me biased IV? "I do believe in what's become an archaic word for journalists, objectivity. You know my job is to be accurate, be fair, and in so far as it's humanly possible, to keep my feelings out of every story...I do agree that one test of a reporter is how often he or she is able to keep their emotions out of what they are doing and keep their own biases and agendas out of it."
-- Dan Rather on the CNBC show Tim Russert, September 20, 1997.

    ++ Who, me biased V? Co-host Bill Press: "Why is it that you are the epitome of the left-wing liberal media in the mind of every conservative I've ever talked to? What did you do to get that reputation?"
Rather: "I remained an independent reporter who would not report the news the way they wanted it or -- from the left or the right. I'm a lifetime reporter. All I ever dreamed of was being a journalist, and the definition of journalist to me was the guy who's an honest broker of information....I do subscribe to the idea of: 'Play no favorites and pull no punches.'"
-- Exchange on CNN's Crossfire, June 24, 1999.

    Somehow, I'm not convinced. --Brent Baker

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