Tax Cut Blamed for Shortfall; CNN: Bill "Elvis" Clinton "The First Rock Star President"; "Conservatives Use Floggings..."
1) The Bush White House re-allocating money from Social
Security to general revenue? ABC anchor Charles Gibson immediately blamed
the tax cut: "They need it...because they're strapped because of
the tax cut." CBS's John Roberts referred to how Democrats will
blame the "huge tax cut" for "jeopardizing the
2) The "mid-August convergence" of Bill
Clinton's birthday and the anniversary of when Elvis died prompted
CNN's Bill Schneider to gush: "Elvis, the first rock star. Clinton,
the first rock star President. It's no secret that Bill Clinton drew on
Elvis for inspiration. You might say Elvis won the 1992 election for
Clinton." And it grew more fawning.
3) Monday's New York Times also conveyed the same
analogy: "Mr. Clinton's Southern_style charisma evokes comparisons
with Elvis." The same story also praised Clinton's life story:
"From humble origins in an Arkansas town called Hope to his
hairsbreadth escapes from a long series of scandals culminating in
impeachment, Mr. Clinton is an outsized protagonist with commensurate
flaws. His story has the makings of a classic..."
4) Newsweek's Eleanor Clift held up a liberal
Congressman with a solid pro-abortion voting record as "an unlikely
champion for expanded stem-cell research." Clift marveled at how in
California "only Gary Condit has a more conservative voting
record," but her hero earned a mere 16 percent rating from the ACU.
5) The New York Times blamed "a Republican-backed
law" for making it too easy for the INS to deport illegal immigrants,
even those in fear for their life back home. But the law in question
passed with overwhelming bi-partisan majorities in the House and Senate
and was signed by President Clinton.
6) Headline in Thursday's Washington Post:
"Conservatives Use Floggings as Way to Beat Back Reforms."
Corrections: The August 15 CyberAlert quoted Smith County, Texas
District Attorney Jack Skeen, in recounting the crime committed by death
row inmate Napoleon Beazley, as saying on CBS's The Early Show that he
"then came back around and shot Mr. Luttig at point black
range." Black should have read blank.
The same item on several occasions misstated Skeen's last name. It is
Skeen, not Skane.
>>> Tax cut favoring and pro-life
comments from an actress repeated. On Thursday night CBS re-ran the July
16 edition of the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on which Patricia
Heaton, co-star of CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond sit-com, admitted that
she voted for Bush, boasts to her friends about the then-coming tax rebate
and is "pro-life." To read what she said or to watch a
RealPlayer clip of her political comments during her appearance, refer
back to the July 18 CyberAlert:
White House announcement that it planned to re-configure revenue
allocations from previous years, in order to shift $4.3 billion into
general revenues so as to ensure that surplus Social Security tax revenue
will not be spent, prompted ABC anchor Charles Gibson to immediately blame
the tax cut for the reduced general revenue: "They need it...because
they're strapped because of the tax cut."
On Thursday night CBS also jumped on fears
about dipping into the imaginary Social Security "trust fund,"
but it's hard to fault the networks for making such a big deal about the
sacrosanct "trust fund" when both parties play the game of
pretending it exists and promising to protect it. Gibson, however, went a
bit far in describing the administration's discovery of a relatively
piddling $4.3 billion as "a budget bombshell."
CBS's John Roberts recalled Bush's promise
to not spend Social Security money, then let Ari Fleischer defend the new
allocation before he referred to the "huge tax cut" as he passed
along the Democratic spin: "But Democrats, who had hammered the
President for jeopardizing the surplus with his huge tax cut, today
denounced the change as an unprecedented accounting gimmick meant to
rescue Mr. Bush from a political embarrassment."
In relaying the liberal spin blaming the tax
cut, neither ABC or CBS, nor CNN's Major Garrett on Inside Politics,
pointed out, as did FNC's Jim Angle, that the majority of the income tax
revenue reduction this year was caused by the rebate checks -- an idea
championed by Democrats such as Tom Daschle. And neither ABC or CBS raised
the point that the tax cut is helping the economy rebound so there will be
increased revenue next year.
The NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's The News
with Brian Williams didn't touch the subject on Thursday night.
More about the August 16 stories on the ABC
and CBS evening shows:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Charles
Gibson announced: "In Washington today there was something of a
budget bombshell and it's of interest to everyone in the country who
pays taxes. The Bush administration says it has found $4.3 billion of your
money in the federal budget that wasn't there before. The administration
says it comes from using a different accounting system. ABC's John
Cochran is with the President in Crawford, Texas and John the Democrats
are screaming that it's not new accounting, that the Republicans have
dipped into the Social Security money."
Cochran provided the Bush team's retort:
"Well Charlie, the counter-argument from the Bush White House is that
past Presidents, including Republican Presidents, have used the wrong
accounting system, that under their system the money would have been
credited erroneously to the Social Security trust fund. Instead the money
can now be used for tax cuts and spending and Charlie, it's money the
Bush administration really needs."
Gibson asserted as fact: "Well, they need
it, John, because they're strapped because of the tax cut."
Cochran offered a more complete explanation:
"Not just tax cuts but tax revenue, which is down because the economy
is down. And next week the White House will predict that economic growth
will rise to 3.2 percent from the present 1.7 percent. If the White House
is right tax revenue will go up. If the White House is wrong, big trouble,
-- CBS Evening News. Anchor Bob Schieffer set
up the story by emphasizing the impact of the economic slowdown:
"The slow economy has reduced dramatically
the size of the federal budget surplus, but today the White House said
that, in a change in accounting procedures, they have been able to turn up
some new money that turned up on the Social Security side of the federal
ledger, and Democrats are crying foul already. John Roberts is with the
President in Crawford, Texas."
Roberts explained, as transcribed by MRC
analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Not six months ago, Congress was rolling in
record revenues wondering what to do with all that money. The question
now: Where did it all go? In January, the surplus, excluding extra monies
from Social Security, was pegged at $125 billion. Since then, $74 billion
went to the tax cut, the economic slowdown took out $40 billion more.
What's left is precious little to meet spending priorities without
busting the budget and plunging into the Social Security surplus for the
first time in three years."
George W. Bush: "I want the members of
Congress to hear that once we set a budget, we're gonna stick by it. And
if not, I'm gonna use the veto pen of the President of the United States
to keep fiscal sanity in Washington, D.C."
Roberts reminded viewers: "President Bush
has pledged to leave the Social Security surplus untouched for the next
decade and is scrambling for every budgetary dollar he can find. The White
House today announced that by simply changing an accounting procedure, it
had found an unexpected $4.3 billion that otherwise would have been off
limits in Social Security. Officials denied the move was to give the
President a fiscal and political cushion."
Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary, back
on the job in Crawford: "This is a more accurate way of accounting.
This is the way it should be done if you want accuracy to be your guide,
and this is what any good business would do."
Roberts countered: "But Democrats, who had
hammered the President for jeopardizing the surplus with his huge tax cut,
today denounced the change as an unprecedented accounting gimmick meant to
rescue Mr. Bush from a political embarrassment."
Gene Sperling, former Clinton Economic Advisor:
"They're changing a rule that everyone has lived by for 65 years at
the last moment solely to cover up a very serious political problem."
Roberts concluded: "Now, the White House
today shot back that there would be a small budget surplus this year
despite the Democrats' best efforts to spend it all. None of this will
have any effect on the monthly Social Security check that seniors receive,
but it does make great political capital and ammunition for next year's
Ammunition the networks will be pleased to
fire if the Democratic spin blames the tax cut.
CNN CEO Walter Isaacson is still wondering why conservatives think CNN is
biased to the left, he should cue up a tape of Thursday's Inside
Politics in which Bill Schneider fawned over Bill "Elvis"
Clinton. With the anniversary of the death of Elvis and Bill Clinton's
birthday just three days apart, CNN's John King offered a bit of a
stretch as the network celebrated the "mid-August convergence"
of the two dates.
"Elvis, the first rock star. Clinton, the
first rock star President," Bill Schneider gushed as he began his
piece. Schneider soon outlined other parallels: "Clinton had a talent
for convincing anyone listening to him that he was speaking only to them,
just as Elvis convinced someone in the 100th row that he was singing only
to them. Presley drew on black culture for inspiration. Clinton draws on
black culture for solace."
Schneider fondly recalled how in 1992 Clinton
"used Elvis to demonstrate that he had the common touch, and Bush
didn't." He concluded that like Elvis, Clinton "has found life
after political death" as he's "trying to do good: Fight AIDS
and racism. Clinton is now a free man, a pure celebrity, being paid record
amounts of money to tell his story. At long last, Clinton can be
Fill-in Inside Politics anchor John King set
up the slow news day report with a reach for a connection between two
anniversaries: "Now, the story you've all been waiting for, the
Elvis Presley-Bill Clinton connection. Today is the 24th anniversary of
the death of the King of Rock and Roll. And three days from now, the
former President of the United States celebrates his 55th birthday. That
mid-August convergence was enough to get our Bill Schneider all shook
Schneider began: "John, Bill Clinton,
Elvis Presley: brothers under the skin. Elvis, the first rock star.
Clinton, the first rock star President. It's no secret that Bill Clinton
drew on Elvis for inspiration. You might say Elvis won the 1992 election
Al Gore at the 1992 Democratic convention:
"I have to tell you, I have been dreaming of this moment since I was
a kid growing up in Tennessee; that one day, I'd have the chance to come
here to Madison Square Garden and be the warm-up act for Elvis."
Schneider, as the taped portion of his story
kicked in: "Elvis was everywhere in the '92 campaign."
Bill Clinton, singing as Elvis: "You know I
can be found."
Clinton in normal voice in same interview:
"That's all that I can do."
Clinton singing some more: "Sit home all
Schneider: "President George Bush made fun
of Clinton's Elvis fixation."
President George H.W. Bush at the 1992 Republican
convention: "I guess you'd say his plan really is Elvis economics.
America will be checking in to the 'Heartbreak Hotel.'"
Schneider: "But Clinton knew what to do with
that. He used Elvis to demonstrate that he had the common touch, and Bush
Clinton in 1992: "You know, Bush is always
comparing me to Elvis in sort of unflattering ways. I don't think Bush
would have liked Elvis very much."
Schneider: "How much did Clinton and Elvis
have in common? Rock critic Greil Marcus wrote, quote: 'As white male
Southerners without family money, hillbillies, no-counts, white trash --
Presley and Clinton always had to prove themselves.' And they did, by
connecting with people. As Marcus says: Clinton had a talent for
convincing anyone listening to him that he was speaking only to them, just
as Elvis convinced someone in the 100th row that he was singing only to
them. Presley drew on black culture for inspiration. Clinton draws on
black culture for solace. They were both culturally polarizing figures.
Censors tried to shield Elvis' gyrating hips from public view to protect
the country's morals. Elvis brought in the culture of the '60s.
Clinton came out of it. Conservatives believe the '60s corrupted
American culture with an ethic of self-indulgence. Well, these are two
self-indulgent men, both famous for their appetites."
Clinton on Elvis: "In his later years, he
did a lot of good work, but his life was a lot sadder and it is not the
memory I think he would want us to have."
Schneider: "When told of Elvis' death in
1977, a Hollywood cynic remarked, 'good career move.' And it was. In
death, Elvis became bigger than life, a cultural martyr. Graceland is his
shrine. His memorabilia are cherished. He is imitated. He is loved.
America loves bad boys who try to do good. Elvis once asked President
Nixon to make him a narcotics agent."
Schneider, back on live with King on the DC
roof from which Inside Politics broadcast: "Clinton, too, has found
life after political death. And he's trying to do good: Fight AIDS and
racism. Clinton is now a free man, a pure celebrity, being paid record
amounts of money to tell his story. At long last, Clinton can be Elvis.
[imitating Elvis] Thank you, thank you very much.
"And you know, John, just like Elvis, you
are the King."
King: "Not quite."
And no one else could quite be inspired like
CNN's Schneider to pay such tribute to Bill Clinton based upon such a
flimsy link to Elvis.
not no one else but Schneider. How about no one else but the liberal media
in general as Schneider may have been inspired by a Monday New York Times
story which proclaimed: "Mr. Clinton's Southern-style charisma evokes
comparisons with Elvis."
That line appeared in an August 13 Times
profile of Robert Gottlieb, the editor who will handle Bill Clinton's
book. Reporter David D. Kirkpatrick admired Clinton's life story,
"Presidential memoirs are typically
self-serving attempts to recast history, settle scores and pose for
posterity. But Mr. Clinton's life has unusual potential. From humble
origins in an Arkansas town called Hope to his hairsbreadth escapes from a
long series of scandals culminating in impeachment, Mr. Clinton is an
outsized protagonist with commensurate flaws. His story has the makings of
a classic, if Mr. Gottlieb can extract it."
Kirkpatrick used the Elvis analogy in
contrasting Gottlieb with Clinton:
"Mr. Gottlieb himself is a character of a
very different sort, and the prospect of their collaboration was an
amusing picture to some of his friends. Mr. Gottlieb has long cultivated a
reputation for a highly-refined and eccentric Bohemianism. He is known for
his dual passions for classical ballet on the one hand and collecting
kitsch like plastic women's handbags on the other. It is an image very
different from the former president's. Mr. Clinton's Southern-style
charisma evokes comparisons with Elvis. Mr. Gottlieb keeps an Elvis lamp
among his collection and listens to Beethoven at home."
If you are registered with the online version
of the New York Times, you can read the entire story by going to:
Clift held up a California Democratic Congressman with a solid
pro-abortion voting record as "an unlikely champion for expanded
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that in her
latest "Capitol Letter" column for Newsweek's Web site, Clift
baldly asserted that the liberal is an "unlikely champion" of
full federal funding for stem cell research that would destroy human
embryos. But, as the MRC's Rich Noyes discovered, the California
Congressman's voting record shows his support for taxpayer-funded
abortions and even late-term abortions.
Here's how Clift started her column posted
this week: "Cal Dooley is an unlikely champion for expanded stem-cell
research. But Representative Dooley is a Democrat who represents a heavily
Hispanic and Catholic district in California's Central Valley. Among
California Democrats, only Gary Condit has a more conservative voting
record. Yet Dooley was one of the first members of Congress to react
strongly against President Bush's decision on limited federal funding
for embryonic stem-cell research. Dooley pointed out the missing link in
Bush's decision, and that is the fate of the estimated 150,000 embryos
currently languishing in fertility-clinic storage tanks around the
Nearly as conservative as Condit? According
the American Conservative Union, Condit is indeed the least liberal
Democrat in California's delegation, with a 48 percent lifetime rating.
But runner-up Dooley only scored a 16 percent positive rating from the ACU,
making him a pretty orthodox Democrat. And on the two votes that mattered
to pro-lifers in the last Congress -- on partial birth abortion and
taxpayer funded abortions, Dooley voted a straight-NARAL ticket.
Indeed, in 2000 Dooley earned a perfect 100
percent score from the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action
League (NARAL) and a zero from the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).
So much for Clift's pretense that he's
"an unlikely champion for expanded stem-cell research."
To read the remainder of what Clift had to
say, go to: http://www.msnbc.com/news/614997.asp
To check Dooley's vote ratings:
For the ACU:
For the NRLC, which only offers them in a PDF
Each has a link to a page describing the
specific votes the group evaluated.
York Times on Wednesday blamed "a Republican-backed law" for
making it too easy for the INS to deport illegal immigrants, even those in
fear for their life back home. But as Andrew Sullivan pointed out on his
Web site, the law in question passed with overwhelming bipartisan
majorities in the House and Senate and was signed by President Clinton.
On Special Report with Brit Hume on Thursday
night FNC's Hume picked up on Sullivan's item. Sullivan, the former
Editor of the New Republic, recounted in an August 15 posting:
"UNCONSCIOUS MEDIA BIAS: Nice sentence in
the New York Times today about the 1996 Immigration Act, one of the most
disgraceful pieces of legislation in recent years: 'Before passage of a
Republican-backed law five years ago, only an immigration judge could
order the deportation of someone who arrived without valid travel
documents. Now an immigration officer can exercise that power, called
expedited removal, on the spot, a move intended to cut down on fraud.'
Of course, this is accurate. But it is also accurate to point out that
president Clinton signed the law and that it passed the Senate 97-3 and
the House by 333 votes to 87. That looks pretty bipartisan to me. So why
the completely arbitrary nailing of Republicans?"
The Times story by Eric Schmitt, headlined,
"When Asylum Requests Are Overlooked," began from Texas:
"When Libardo Yepes, a soft-spoken Colombian
cattle farmer, arrived at Miami International Airport last November with
an invalid visa, seeking asylum, he told immigration officials that he
feared for his life if he was returned to a country where rival factions
had killed or kidnapped at least six of his relatives. But immigration
officers deported him in less than 24 hours.
Mr. Yepes fled Colombia again and, after a
three-month journey by land and sea, he was seized by Border Patrol agents
in Texas after he crossed the Rio Grande in an inner tube in May. For more
than two months, Mr. Yepes was held at a federal detention center here as
immigration officials sought to eject him for good.
"Immigrant advocacy groups say that Mr.
Yepes's story offers a troubling glimpse into how low-level immigration
enforcement officers summarily deport tens of thousands of immigrants
without proper papers every year. Among them, the advocates say, are many
asylum seekers who are returned to dangerous situations without the
hearings to which they are legally entitled for review of their claims of
"'I asked for protection because I was
very afraid of going back to my country,' Mr. Yepes said in an interview
here in Spanish, translated by his lawyer, Ilyce Shugall, of the South
Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project.
"Immigration officials in Miami dispute that
assertion and say Mr. Yepes (pronounced yeh-pess) came to this country to
find work. But in early August, Mr. Yepes was finally allowed to tell his
story to a specially trained asylum officer here, who found his account
credible, and his case has been referred to an immigration judge who will
decide his fate in the next few weeks. On Aug. 13, he was released pending
that hearing from the bleak high-security compound here that houses more
than 600 detainees, many of them criminals, to a refugee shelter nearby.
"Before passage of a Republican-backed law
five years ago, only an immigration judge could order the deportation of
someone who arrived without valid travel documents. Now, an immigration
officer can exercise that power, called expedited removal, on the spot, a
move intended to cut down on fraud...."
To read the rest of the New York Times story,
go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/08/15/national/15IMMI.html
For Sullivan's Web page:
Use Floggings As Way to Beat Back Reforms" declared a Thursday
Washington Post headline. FNC's Brit Hume concluded his August 16
program by showing a shot of the headline, which he introduced by noting:
"You've no doubt heard the accusations that big eastern newspapers,
such as the Washington Post, have a liberal bias. And what better example
than this headline in Thursday's editions of the Washington Post."
Alas, as Hume added, that was the jump page
headline. The story wasn't about Tom DeLay. The Post's front page
headline announced: "Iran's Cultural Backlash." The subhead:
"Public Floggings Used as Tool Against Reform."
Interesting how no matter what the particular
situation or nation, to the U.S. news media the bad guys are always
labeled "conservative."-- Brent Baker
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