Day Care Bad? Let's Have More; Bush Has "Worst Record" on the Environment; Clayson's Kyoto Advocacy; ABC's Loaded Poll Question
1) ABC, CBS and NBC focused on a study on how day care
leads to more aggressive kids, which CBS and NBC tagged as
"controversial." But instead of looking at how to reduce
dependence on day care, the networks advocated more of it subsidized by
the government. CBS and NBC featured the opinion of the "expert"
Marian Wright Edelman and Peter Jennings lamented how "the U.S. is
actually the least generous of the industrialized nations."
2) "The White House apparently got the message,"
ABC's Peter Jennings argued Thursday night after a soundbite in which an
unidentified man claimed: "In a hundred days in office, this
President has assembled one of the worst records on the environment of any
President in history."
3) CBS's Jane Clayson asserted: "Since taking
office President Bush has fashioned a somewhat shoddy environmental
image." Introducing guest Christie Whitman, The Early Show's
Clayson referred to "the latest in a series of unexpected
environmentally friendly rulings to come from the White House." She
demanded: "You say he believes there is a problem with global
warming, but he has not supported" the Kyoto Treaty "which
fights global warming."
4) An ABCNews.com poll found most people, including
Republicans, support the Kyoto Treaty, but the poll question left out some
key facts as pollsters told respondents that opponents say it "would
hurt the U.S. economy and is based on uncertain science," while
supporters maintain it "is needed to protect the environment and
could create new business opportunities."
>>> MRC on TV. MRC President L.
Brent Bozell is scheduled to appear early Friday evening, April 20, on
MSNBC's First 100 Days with Mike Barnicle to discuss media coverage of
recent events. He should appear during the second half of the one-hour 6pm
EDT show, so sometime after 6:30pm EDT, 5:30pm CDT, 4:30pm MDT and 3:30pm
PDT. No word yet on what will happen to this MSNBC show once the first
hundred days have passed. <<<
Correction: The April 18 CyberAlert recounted how
"'meritocracy' rules no where in American society outside of
sports, Bryant Gumbel snidely chortled on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant
Gumbel on Tuesday night." In fact, this month's Real Sports
originally aired on Monday night, April 16. It will be re-run several
times over the next few weeks.
and NBC found a new study on how day care leads to a higher rate of
aggressiveness and behavior problems amongst pre-schoolers when they make
it to kindergarten credible enough to justify a full story on their
evening shows on Thursday night, but instead of looking at how Americans
can reduce the use of day care, the networks used their stories to
advocate for more day care subsidized by the government.
Peter Jennings followed up ABC's story by
lamenting the lack of U.S. government spending on day care and listing how
other nations do more: "The U.S. is actually the least generous of
the industrialized nations. In Sweden, a new mother gets 18 months of
maternity and parental leave, and she gets 80 percent of her salary for
the first year..."
Immediately after CBS's piece, Dan Rather
turned to an "expert," Marian Wright Edelman of the left wing
Children's Defense Fun who got an unimpeded 50 seconds to advocate:
"Let's put in to place the kind of quality, comprehensive system
and sets of choices that many other industrialized countries
NBC's Robert Hager also highlighted her
take, asserting that "many others today praised child care, like
Marian Wright Edelman." Hager insisted: "Many say that's the
real issue, making day care as good as possible."
Confirming how reporters attach the word
"controversial" to anything with which they disagree, both
CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Robert Hager applied the term to the study
with Rather doing so twice.
None of the stories offered any specifics
about which government agency funded the study or what university
More detail on broadcast network coverage on
Thursday night, April 19:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. After a full
report in the show's "A Closer Look" segment from Michele
Norris on the study which found aggression in 17 percent of the
kindergartners who attended day care compared to just 6 percent of those
cared for at home, anchor Peter Jennings unfavorably compared the U.S.
with European nations:
"Ah, yes, more time with the children.
Federal law only requires companies with 50 or more workers to give new
mothers 12 weeks leave -- and without pay, at that. The U.S. is actually
the least generous of the industrialized nations. In Sweden, a new mother
gets 18 months of maternity and parental leave, and she gets 80 percent of
her salary for the first year. Mother or father can take the parental
leave any time until a child is eight. England gives 18 weeks maternity
leave. For the first six weeks, a mother gets 90 percent of her salary
from the government and $86 a week thereafter. German women get two months
of fully paid leave after giving birth. The government and the company
kick in. And either parent has the option of three full years in parental
leave with some of their salary paid and their jobs protected. And
finally, Canada, new parents can take up to a year of leave. And depending
on how much they make, they get from 55 to 80 percent of their
-- CBS Evening News. "A controversial
call to working parents: A new study claims child day care often leads to
behavior nightmares," teased Dan Rather at the top of the show. He
then made the study his lead item as he opened the program:
"Good evening. The millions of parents who
drop their children off at day care this morning have something important
think about tonight: A new study that makes controversial claims about the
impact of day care. This fairly extensive, government-sponsored research
indicates the more time a child spends in day care the more likely he or
she is to become aggressive, disobedient and defiant. 17 percent of
children who spent more than 30 hours a week in day care had behavior
problem when they got to kindergarten."
Cynthia Bowers concluded her report by
emphasizing the benefits of day care: "There is some good news in
this report in that aggressive kids don't generally grow up to be
violent and quality day care benefits language and cognitive thinking
skills. The problem is, Dan, there's not enough quality day care to go
Rather then used a liberal as his expert:
"Well, you've heard what the study says, so what are parents to
make of it? I put he question today to an expert, Marian Wright Edelman,
President of the national Children's Defense Fund."
Edelman called it an "opportunity to
improve day care." Rather then posed his only question to her:
"And to those who will now say, and you know there will be those who
say it, 'Look, we've been saying for a long time day care's not a
good idea and here we have, if not proof positive, at least substantial
evidence that day care just doesn't work'?"
Edelman got 50 seconds of unrebutted network
air time to spew her liberal views, including: "Well there's no
evidence from the study that day care just doesn't work." And:
"Let's put in to place the kind of quality, comprehensive system
and sets of choices that many other industrialized countries have."
-- NBC Nightly News made the day care study
its "In Depth" segment. Robert Hager noted how 45 percent of
pre-schoolers are now in childcare, 25 percent are cared for by relatives
and only 24 percent stay home with a parent. He tagged the study
"controversial" as he described its findings: "Today a
controversial new report claims a downside, says pre-schoolers sent to day
care become somewhat more aggressive than others, exhibit more behavioral
problems by the time they get to kindergarten."
Like CBS, after outlining the study's
conclusions he stressed the benefits of day care: "On the plus side,
it did find those who got high quality day care were better prepared for
school later and more social. And many others today praised child care,
like Marian Wright Edelman."
Edelman, of the Children's Defense Fund:
"Good quality Head Start and chid care has been shown over the long
run to help children be more ready for school, to stay out of special
education, to do better in school and stay at grade level. And the
question is how do we extend that set of findings to all of our
Hager: "Many say that's the real issue,
making day care as good as possible. With so many parents with pre-schoolers
working today to make ends meet and pursue careers, those are conditions
that are here to stay."
Mother: "You just do the best you can on a
Father: "Unfortunately, too often we just
don't have a lot of choice."
Hager concluded: "A balancing act with a new
study raising new concerns about the impact of just how we raise our
White House apparently got the message," ABC's Peter Jennings
argued Thursday night after a soundbite in which an unidentified man
claimed: "In a hundred days in office, this President has assembled
one of the worst records on the environment of any President in
Of the broadcast networks on Thursday night,
only ABC reported on President Bush's Rose Garden event, with Secretary
of State Colin Powell and EPA Administrator Christie Whitman, in which he
announced that he would maintain President Clinton's support for a
treaty banning certain toxic pollutants.
Jennings set up the April 19 ABC World News
Tonight story by reminding viewers of Bush's supposed anti-environmental
"At the White House today, President Bush
was talking about the environment. He's been spending a lot of time on
the environment this week. It's Earth Day this weekend, and Mr. Bush has
environmental problems -- of public relations, of politics, and of policy.
On March the 13th, Mr. Bush backed away from a campaign pledge and decided
not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. On March 21st,
the administration announced it would not implement President Clinton's
reductions of arsenic in drinking water. On March 29th, the Bush
administration rejected the Kyoto treaty to control man-made gases in the
atmosphere. Environmental organizations were furious."
Man not identified on screen: "In a hundred
days in office, this President has assembled one of the worst records on
the environment of any President in history."
Jennings: "The White House apparently got
the message. This week, the administration said it would leave in place a
Clinton order expanding wetlands protection and uphold regulations that
businesses report how much toxic lead they release into the environment.
And there was another ceremony at the White House today, also on the
environment. ABC's Terry Moran is there. They've had quite a week
flogging this, Terry."
Moran agreed, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth: "They really have, Peter, and in private, White House
officials admit they are scrambling to repair the President's image on
the environment, which was why it was 'green day' in the Rose Garden.
The President, joined by Secretary of State Powell and EPA head Christie
Whitman, announced his support for a treaty banning toxic pollutants, a
treaty championed by President Bill Clinton."
After a comment from Bush, Moran continued:
"The treaty establishes goals for the elimination of the so-called
'dirty dozen,' highly toxic chemicals, such as DDT, PCBs and dioxins,
which persist for years in the environment. And on queue this morning, the
President's loyal lieutenants sang his praises on the environment."
Following brief clips from Powell and Whitman,
Moran asserted: "The elaborately staged event was the clearest sign
yet that the White House knows the President has a problem. Outside the
EPA this afternoon, another protest."
Protester: "We need a president who will
protect the planet, not the polluters!"
Moran: "On local news programs. [clip of
local TV news reader talking about Bush's CO2 decision] On late night
Jay Leno: "-weakening his environmental
policy. And he spoke very casually today while eating a dolphin sandwich
off his new ivory desk."
Moran: "And with the general public as the
ABC News/Washington Post poll shows. Only 46 percent approve of the
President's handling of the environment, and 61 percent say he favors
large corporations over ordinary people. Those numbers have Mr. Bush's
fellow Republicans worried."
The on screen graphic credited a March 25 poll
which found fewer disapprove of his handling the environment, 41 percent.
Moran then showed Glenn Bolger, a Republican
pollster: "The White House needs to take some aggressive steps on the
environment, I think, over the next year, to give Republicans something
good to run on, on the environment."
Moran concluded: "And some Republicans,
especially those who represent suburban districts where this is a big
issue, are concerned about the impact of the President's actions on
their chances in the mid-term elections. But Peter, White House officials
say they don't think their policies are the problem, but the way
they've communicated them. They think they need to explain themselves
better and showcase whenever the President does something that can be
As CyberAlert readers know, the problem is as
much how the media have mis-communicated them. See the next item for
Jane Clayson assumed Thursday morning on The Early Show that "since
taking office President Bush has fashioned a somewhat shoddy environmental
image." But, "in a surprising about face the Bush administration
now says it wants to set new standards within nine months," Clayson
asserted in introducing an interview segment with EPA Administrator
Christie Whitman. "It's the latest in a series of unexpected
environmentally friendly rulings to come from the White House."
When Whitman maintained Bush will address
global warming, Clayson scolded: "You say he believes there is a
problem with global warming, but he has not supported the Kyoto Treatment,
Treaty, which fights global warming."
The Early Show interview took place the night
after Dan Rather told CBS Evening News viewers: "President Bush is
making a new move tonight on one of the environmental policy rollbacks
that brought a backlash of criticism. Under fire for scrapping Clinton
proposals to reduce arsenic levels in drinking water, President Bush now
says he will issue new standards within nine months. This, he says, will
follow a review by experts at the National Academy of Sciences."
MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down Clayson's
introduction and questions on the April 19 Early Show which revealed how
uninformed she is about basic facts:
"Since taking office President Bush has
fashioned a somewhat shoddy environmental image. Just last month he came
under fire for abandoning existing drinking water safety standards, but in
a surprising about face the Bush administration now says it wants to set
new standards within nine months. It's the latest in a series of
unexpected environmentally friendly rulings to come from the White House.
In Washington, Christie Todd Whitman is the President's head of the
Environmental Protection Agency. Governor Whitman, good morning. Why the
about face on drinking water standards?"
Whitman explained how there was no "about
face" since te administration is just looking at what sound science
Clayson pressed: "So nothing has changed
in the last month, because critics say this is just a big PR ploy given
all the criticism you've received?"
Whitman maintained the administration is just
doing what it said would do by having the National Academy of Sciences
study the issue.
Clayson asserted: "Your relationship, Ms.
Whitman, has been somewhat strained with the administration over the last
few weeks. Specifically over the difference of opinion on carbon dioxide
emissions. Is it somewhat difficult for you to deal with an administration
with whom you disagree?"
Whitman insisted it was never strained.
Clayson followed up: "But it was very
public. You very publicly, you know, supported plans to reduce
Clayson soon moved on: "Let's talk about
global warming for a moment. Does the President believe there is a
Whitman replied: "Absolutely," and
said there is a cabinet level review of options now underway.
Clayson argued: "You say he believes
there is a problem with global warming, but he has not supported the Kyoto
Treatment, Treaty, which fights global warming."
Whitman pointed out how the treaty was signed
by 54 nation but that only one, Romania, has ratified it and that the U.S.
Senate voted 95 to zero in a resolution to recommend against following its
in 10 Say U.S. Should Join Kyoto Treaty," announced an ABCNews.com
headline over an April 17 story about a poll by the Web site which left
out key facts when it posed its question.
Here's an excerpt of what Dalia Sussman
Six in 10 Americans say the United States should join the Kyoto treaty
on global warming, rejecting President Bush's economic arguments against
Bush, saying it "makes no economic sense," has declared that
the United States will not participate in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which
calls on the United States and other industrialized nations to reduce
emissions associated with global warming by 2012.
However, in an ABCNEWS.com poll conducted a week ahead of Earth Day, 61
percent said the United States should join the treaty, while just 26
percent opposed it.
The poll gauged opinion by summarizing the debate, noting that one side
says the accord "would hurt the U.S. economy and is based on
uncertain science," while the other says it "is needed to
protect the environment and could create new business opportunities."
Bush wasn't mentioned, in order to make the result a measure of the Kyoto
debate, not of his personal popularity....
Bush doesn't have the support of most members of his party on Kyoto: A
slight majority of Republicans supports the international treaty, joined
by two-thirds of Democrats and independents.
In other groups, support for joining the treaty is higher among
younger, higher-income and better-educated Americans."
Specifically, by 52 to 37 percent, Republicans
thought the U.S. should join the treaty.
For the ABCNews.com rundown of its poll, go
Could the results have been influenced by how
the question was posed. Indeed, the summary of the question above hinted
at the problem. Here is the question in full as reported in Hotline and
relayed to CyberAlert by Keith Appell of Creative Response Concepts:
"An international treaty calls on the U.S.
and other industrialized nations to cut back on their emissions from power
plants and cars to reduce global warming, also known as the greenhouse
effect. Some say this would hurt the U.S. economy, and is based on
uncertain science. Others say it's needed to protect the environment, and
could create new business opportunities. Think the U.S. should join this
treaty requiring less emissions from power plants and cars?"
No mention there of how only Romania has
ratified the treaty, of how the treaty will not be enforced on nations
like China or how the Senate voted 95-0 on a bi-partisan basis to urge
that the U.S. not adopt the treaty's provisions. -- 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:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to email@example.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
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe