"Conservatives" Against "Affirmative Action"
The broadcast network on Wednesday night adopted the liberal definition of "affirmative action" as each insisted Bush had come out against it. ABC's Peter Jennings announced, "the President joins a lawsuit against affirmative action." Both CBS and NBC stressed how "conservatives" argued for opposing the Michigan scheme while "others" defended it. NBC's David Gregory raised the possibility that the Bush White House does not practice what it preaches in hiring. Tom Brokaw decided it was relevant to point out how, "coincidentally, the President's statement came on the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior."
CBS Hypes "A Growing Anti-War Backlash"
On Wednesday night the CBS Evening News saw a world it wanted to see as Wyatt Andrews hyped how there's "a growing anti-war backlash that's about to get a lot more vocal" via new TV ads which are modeled after the infamous 1964 anti-Goldwater "daisy" ad. Though the ads suggest President Bush's policies will cause nuclear annihilation, Andrews did not offer a syllable of condemnation for such a noxious attack. Instead, grasping at slight poll movements, Andrews insisted "there is some evidence that support" for opposing Iraq militarily "is slipping."
NBC's Economist a Democratic Donor Too
Can the networks find an expert to assess the Bush tax cut plan who is not so partisan as to have donated money to a Democratic candidate? An accountant used by CBS had given $2,000 to the DNC and GMA's financial personal finance expert has contributed over $40,000 to Democrats. And now it turns out that the economist NBC cited Monday night, who asserted that "the reality is that 72 percent of income tax payers would get less than the tax cut the administration is touting," financially supported a Democratic congressional candidate last year.
ABC's Gibson Thinks Lieberman Should Be More Bitter About 2000
ABC's Charlie Gibson seemed more upset by the Gore/Lieberman loss than Lieberman himself. In a Wednesday interview on Good Morning America, Gibson demanded: "Do you think the campaign was stolen from you by the Supreme Court?" And when Lieberman said he wasn't bitter despite getting more votes, Gibson was befuddled: "But when you win by 500,000 votes in the popular vote, how can you not be a little bitter?"
Comedy Central Channels CyberAlert
Comedy Central's Jon Stewart channels a CyberAlert point. A CyberAlert item on Arianna Huffington's anti-SUV campaign noted how the media failed to point out that if buying gas equal supporting terrorism, then even hybrid car drivers do so. Stewart: "You could make the argument that all cars consume gas, so even if you're driving a smaller car you're still supporting terrorism -- only less so....hybrid gas-electric cars...only support terrorism when you're going up a hill."
6. "Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His Approval Rating"
Letterman's "Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His Approval Rating."
"Top Ten Ways the Army is Different in 2003"
As read by ten Army soldiers at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, Letterman's "Top Ten Ways the Army is Different in 2003."
Correction and Clarification: The January 15 CyberAlert quoted Jessica Lange as praising Jimmy Carter for "untireringly focusing on injustice and suffering." While she said "untireringly," that should have been spelled "untiringly."
The January 9 CyberAlert referred to how the new Bush tax cut plan would increase the "child care deduction." To allay any possible confusion, that is a deduction for having a person 17 or younger as a dependent, not for outside of the home daycare.
"Conservatives" Against "Affirmative Action"
Though President Bush decided only to oppose a particularly egregious policy of automatically awarding points to applicants at the University of Michigan if they belonged to one of a select list of racial or ethnic classifications, the broadcast network on Wednesday night adopted the liberal definition of "affirmative action" as each insisted Bush had come out against it. "On World News Tonight," ABC's Peter Jennings announced, "the President joins a lawsuit against affirmative action."
Conservatives would define "affirmative action" as giving the nod to a minority if all else was equal or recruiting candidate from majority minority high schools who might not otherwise consider your college.
Both CBS and NBC stressed how "conservatives" argued for opposing the Michigan scheme while "others" in the White House and elsewhere defended it. CBS's Bill Plante asserted: "The President's conservative base strongly opposes racial preferences, but others in the Republican Party fear that position hurts efforts to reach out to middle class black and Hispanic voters."
ABC's Peter Jennings suggested "this is being taken tonight at least, by both liberals and conservatives, as more a political gesture than an attempt to change the law." Terry Moran agreed as ABC made more clear than CBS or NBC that Bush was "punting" on the basic issue of racial preference by only opposing this one particular system.
Only NBC's David Gregory raised the possibility that President Bush does not practice what he now preaches: "One potential inconsistency, the President's own hiring practices at the White House. While the issue of whether the President supports using race at all in college admissions remains unclear tonight, Mr. Bush's personnel director said two years ago race was a factor in White House appointments." But does he award extra points just for being black?
Tom Brokaw decided it was relevant to point out how, "coincidentally, the President's statement came on the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior."
Overall, however, viewers heard the views of both sides of the debate as CBS gave the least time and NBC, with two whole stories, the most time to the subject.
Peter Jennings opened the January 15 World News Tonight:
"Good evening everyone. We begin tonight with a question of race that has divided America for almost forty years. Today President Bush got into the debate about affirmative action, which was first designed to rectify racial discrimination that persisted in spite of civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. It has been praised and condemned as an answer to racial inequality ever since. Today Mr. Bush said he will urge the Supreme Court to declare that the University of Michigan's admissions policies, which the President said amounted to racial quotas, were unconstitutional. Terry Moran is at the White House. Terry, tonight this is being taken tonight at least, by both liberals and conservatives, as more a political gesture than an attempt to change the law."
Moran agreed: "In many ways it is Peter, because on the big legal question in this case, are racial preferences, affirmative action, always unconstitutional in school admissions, the President is punting, he's not taking a position. Instead, the administration's brief will take a narrow position arguing only that the University of Michigan went too far..."
On the CBS Evening News, anchor John Roberts announced: "President Bush weighed in today on another deeply divisive issue in this country: affirmative action. The issue is going to the United States Supreme Court. Bill Plante tonight reports on the President's stand and its impact -- legal and political."
Plante began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Stepping into the minefield of racial politics, President Bush took the side of white students challenging the University of Michigan's affirmative action policies in a major Supreme Court case, calling them unconstitutional."
George W. Bush: "At their core, the Michigan policies amount to a quota system that unfairly rewards or penalizes prospective students based solely on their race."
Plante outlined the scheme: "In the case now before the court, three white students sued the University of Michigan, charging they were denied admission because of the school's policies which give special preference to minorities. Michigan uses a 150-point scale to grade applicants. While the biggest factor is a student's grade point average, a perfect SAT score is worth 12 points, but being a minority is worth 20 points. The White House decision to speak out followed a major internal debate. The President's conservative base strongly opposes racial preferences, but others in the Republican Party fear that position hurts efforts to reach out to middle class black and Hispanic voters. Minorities are already wary. Mr. Bush re-nominated Judge Charles Pickering, whose civil rights record Democrats questioned, even though Mr. Bush spoke out against the segregationist sentiments which cost Trent Lott his job as Majority Leader."
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD): "Actions speak louder than words, Mr. President. That is our message to you today."
Plante concluded: "The administration says it is not arguing against ending all forms of affirmative action. That's because it wants, above all, to appeal to the moderate white voters, particularly women, who are likely to be decisive in 2004."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Tom Brokaw led his broadcast: "Good evening. President Bush tonight took on a high profile and highly controversial affirmative action case and his strong words are expected to have a major effect on the political and legal debate over the place of race in higher education. The case here involves the University of Michigan plan which will be challenged in the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. Tonight the President proclaimed it unconstitutional."
Pete Williams outlined the case and policies in question and ran soundbites from Bush, the former President of the university and a NAACP representative and, leading into a soundbite from a supporter of Bush's position, noted the view that it is "wrong to assume racial diversity means diversity of ideas."
In a second story, David Gregory contended: "Today the President tried to walk a fine line through a political minefield. On one hand, the President opposed the Michigan's affirmative action policy, but he refused to take a stand on whether race could ever be a factor in college admissions."
Gregory proceeded to argue that Bush was torn between Solicitor General Ted Olson "and other conservatives" and White House legal counsel Gonzales, Karl Rove and Karen Hughes "who advocated a more moderate position which would not alienate black and Latino voters, groups the Republican Party is actively trying to court."
Following a soundbite of Democratic Congressman Harold Ford labeling Bush's policies on racial matters "inconsistent," Gregory suggested: "One potential inconsistency, the President's own hiring practices at the White House. While the issue of whether the President supports using race at all in college admissions remains unclear tonight, Mr. Bush's personnel director said two years ago race was a factor in White House appointments. Clay Johnson told the Washington Post quote: 'The President is very committed to diversity of thought, of professional background or geography, ethnicity and gender...It's a constant challenge.'"
Whether Bush is being inconsistent depends on what his personnel people are doing. If they are simply trying to reach out to find qualified black candidates to fill jobs that is not being inconsistent, but if they are putting being black ahead of other considerations, then they are being inconsistent.
Gregory then concluded: "In the end, the President apparently tried to steer a safe political course. But for now he's only opened himself up to more criticism from many African-Americans and left unanswered some critical questions about the future of affirmative action."
Immediately following Gregory's piece, Brokaw for some reason decided it was relevant to add this observation: "Coincidentally, the President's statement came on the birth date of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, who was born 74 years ago today."
CBS Hypes "A Growing Anti-War Backlash"
The overwhelming majority of Americans support President Bush's Iraq policy and only a very small minority have participated in any protests, but on Wednesday night that did not discourage the CBS Evening News from seeing a world it wanted to see as Wyatt Andrews hyped how there's "a growing anti-war backlash that's about to get a lot more vocal" via new TV ads which are modeled after the infamous 1964 anti-Goldwater "daisy" ad.
Just as disgustingly as the 1964 ads which slimily suggested that electing Barry Goldwater would lead to nuclear annihilation, the new ads imply Bush's foreign policy will lead to nuclear war. Yet Andrews did not offer a syllable of condemnation for such a deleterious attack.
Grasping at slight poll movements, Andrews insisted "there is some evidence that support" for opposing Iraq militarily "is slipping."
The CBS story came three days after ABC anchor Carole Simpson contended that "protests against the war have been lightly attended, but that may change soon."
It's almost as if ABC and CBS are trying to create their own reality so they can report on it.
In that January 12 World News Tonight story, ABC's Judy Muller argued that "more and more, these crowds are filled with middle-class Americans who have never demonstrated before." Muller hoped: "As more and more troops head overseas, more and more Americans may head for the streets." For more on that ABC story:
John Roberts set up the January 15 CBS Evening News report:
"The Bush administration and Saddam Hussein are not the only ones cranking up the talk about war. So are American opponents of war with Iraq. Wyatt Andrews reports on the new anti-war movement."
Andrews asserted: "Behind the growing buildup to war, there's also a growing anti-war backlash that's about to get a lot more vocal."
Over fleeting glimpses of a new TV ad from MoveOn.org with a little girl plucking pedals from a daisy as she says "one, two," Andrews maintained: "This anti-war TV ad, modeled after the 1964 'daisy ad' run by then-President Johnson, is set to air Thursday in 13 cities."
As viewers saw side-by-side shots of the old and new ads, Andrews dispassionately explained: "And like before, it raises fears of nuclear escalation." As the sound came up on the new ad, CBS viewers could hear an announcer, over video of the girl, counting down, "two, one, zero" and then a big explosion.
Andrews moved on from moveon.org's ad: "Overwhelmingly, most Americans responding to the latest CBS poll favor military action to remove Saddam Hussein, but there is some evidence that support is slipping. In that poll, those who disapprove of military action rose from 23 percent of respondents in November to 30 percent in January. Respondents in favor dropped from 70 to 64 percent. Anti-war activists planning a protest march in Washington this weekend say there's growing concern the President wants war no matter what happens with inspections."
Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Partnership for Civil Justice: "The Bush administration's rhetoric and their statements about why they go to the war, why they have to go to war, are increasingly appearing to be false."
Andrews: "Within the anti-war movement, opinion ranges from those who want no war ever to those who just want the allies to join up first. But the theme in this ad suggests what's uniting all the factions."
Clip of ad: "Let the inspections work."
Andrews concluded: "An appeal to the President to slow down. Wyatt Andrews, CBS News, Washington."
You can certainly count on plenty of network coverage of Saturday's protest march in Washington, DC.
NBC's Economist a Democratic Donor Too
Can the networks find a supposedly independent expert to discredit the Bush tax cut plan who is not so partisan as to have donated at least $250 in one year to a Democrat and thus be listed on FEC records? Add NBC Nightly News to the list of shows which have used Democratic donors to assess the Bush plan.
As disclosed in the January 8 CyberAlert, a CBS Evening News story supported the liberal premise that Bush's tax cut helps the rich while abandoning the poor by featuring expert comment from a CPA who declared that "when you go to the lower brackets, there is no savings," and: "If you went to summarize this tax proposal as we see it today, the winners are the wealthy." But that accountant, Avery Neumark, has a personal political agenda of his own which CBS failed to note. The MRC's Rich Noyes went to OpenSecrets.org and discovered that Neumark has made large contributions to the Democratic National Committee and liberal Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler. For details:
The January 10 CyberAlert revealed how Mellody Hobson, the personal finance expert for ABC's Good Morning America who offered a critical assessment of Bush's tax cut plan, including how "critics of the President's plan say it favors the rich" and how "even wealthy investors like Bill Bartholomay, Chairman of the Atlanta Braves, are uneasy," has contributed over $40,000 to Democrats in recent years, but a piddling $1,250 to Republicans.
Amongst those she has supported: Ted Kennedy, Charles Schumer, Tom Harkin, Bill Bradley and the DNC. For details:
Now to NBC's Democratic supporter. As recounted in the January 15 CyberAlert, in a January 13 NBC Nightly News piece Lisa Myers looked at on how Bush's claim, that "92 million Americans will keep an average of $1,083 more of their own money" under his plan, "is true, experts say, but misleading."
Her story featured this soundbite from Brookings Institute economist Peter Orszag: "The reality is that 72 percent of income tax payers would get less than the tax cut the administration is touting. And most of those would get less than $500."
That sent the MRC's Rich Noyes to opensecrets.org, the Web site of the Center for Responsive Politics which organizes FEC data, and he discovered that one "Orszag, Peter" of Washington, DC, who listed his occupation as "Brookings Institute/economist," donated $250 in September of 2002 to Dan Wofford, an unsuccessful Democratic congressional candidate for Pennsylvania's 6th district seat.
Don't network producers know any accountants or economists who are not active Democratic supporters?
ABC's Gibson Thinks Lieberman Should Be
More Bitter About 2000
ABC's Charlie Gibson seemed more upset by the Gore/Lieberman loss than Lieberman himself. In a Wednesday interview on Good Morning America with the latest 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Gibson demanded: "Do you think the campaign was stolen from you by the Supreme Court?" And when Lieberman said he wasn't bitter despite getting more votes, Gibson revealed he still holds a grudge as he expressed befuddlement: "But when you win by 500,000 votes in the popular vote, how can you not be a little bitter?"
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed how Lieberman demurred from agreeing with Gibson, but he pressed on anyway with his personal agenda about how Lieberman ought to feel resentful.
Gibson's questions to Lieberman, on the January 15 Good Morning America, about the 2000 campaign:
-- "Some quick questions about the 2000 election. You think you won it?"
-- "You think the Supreme Court had any business stepping in?"
-- "And therefore, do you think the campaign was stolen from you by the Supreme Court?"
-- "Are you bitter about it?"
-- "But when you win by 500,000 votes in the popular vote, how can you not be a little bitter?"
-- Gibson finally got to how the Gore/Lieberman team may only have themselves to blame: "Did you make a mistake in Florida by asking for a recount in only three counties? No one ever understood the logic of that. If you'd asked for a statewide recount, would that have been better?"
Comedy Central Channels
Great minds think alike/You read it here first. In a January 9 CyberAlert item on the latest network story promoting Arianna Huffington's efforts to convince people through TV ads, modeled after anti-drug use ads, that driving SUVs supports terrorism, because of how SUVs use more Saudi oil than regular cars, I observed:
"A key point overlooked by the media: The argument of the anti-drug ads is that even casual drug users support terrorism, that it isn't how much you support terrorism through drug use but that you do. By that logic, driving a 50 mpg car using gas imported from the Middle East is no less bad than driving a 15 mpg truck, to say nothing of how an SUV owner who only drives 15 miles per day uses less gas than a hybrid owner who drives 70 miles per day."
Fast forward to Wednesday's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central. Stewart observed on his January 15 program:
"You could make the argument that all cars consume gas, so even if you're driving a smaller car you're still supporting terrorism -- only less so. But I would say that we need more Americans to drive hybrid gas-electric cars because those only support terrorism when you're going up a hill."
Same point, just put in a more humorous way. That's why he gets the big bucks.
For more on the Huffington ads and media coverage of them:
"Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His
From the January 15 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His Approval Rating." Late Show Web site:
10) End controversial "tax cuts for jerks" program
9) Build a giant Saddam Hussein doll, take it out to the White House lawn and beat it up
8) Make film about his wild days hosting "The Gong Show"
7) Presidential pardon for Diana Ross
6) Use more adorable mispronunciations like "aminal" and "pasghetti"
5) Pressure the FDA to make salty snack chips the main food group
4) Develop catch phrase, like "What you talkin' about, Kim Jong Il?"
3) Find Osama bin Laden
2) Let America know White House has the loosest slots in town
1) Find Dick Cheney
"Top Ten Ways the Army is Different in 2003"
A "Top Ten" backlog today of lists with a current political events theme, so here's another one. From the January 9 Late Show with David Letterman, as read on videotape by ten soldiers with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, the "Top Ten Ways the Army is Different in 2003." Late Show Web site:
10. "Commanding officers may now be addressed as 'Sir' or 'Dude'"
(Specialist Maronni Nelson)
9. "Protective vests now made with Kevlar and Old Navy performance fleece"
(Private First Class Amanda Adams)
8. "Helmets with built-in Rogaine dispensers for soldiers with male-pattern baldness"
(Specialist Alan Terrill)
7. "Every armored personnel carrier is equipped with a salad bar"
(Private First Class Michael Grant)
6. "One of us is secretly a humble $19,000 a year construction worker"
(Corporal Brad O'Rourke)
5. "We now possess a high-performance, technologically advanced triple-blade shaving system"
(Sergeant Steven Overton)
4. "We're bringing back catapults"
(Captain Ciro Stephano)
3. "Night-vision goggles come in eight new exciting colors"
(Sergeant First Class Raheem Batts)
2. "I have a robot that makes my bed"
(Specialist Justin Case)
1. "A year ago, I thought Bagram was a tasty Indian chicken casserole"
(Specialist Robert Meredith)
-- Brent Baker
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