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The 2,335th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
12:25pm EST, Monday January 8, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 5)

 
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1. CBS's Bob Schieffer Presses Speaker Pelosi to Raise Taxes
Whether the newest elected politician is a Republican or a Democrat, the primary interest of the Washington press corps is always the same: push them to increase taxes. The latest example came in a taped interview aired on Sunday's Face the Nation during which CBS's Bob Schieffer pressed new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the left to raise taxes and was appalled when she suggested Democrats may actually cut taxes for some. Schieffer proposed: "President Bush said last week that he wanted to work with the Congress to balance the budget in five years. But he also rejected any tax increases and obviously he's not in a mood to reduce spending on the war. Is it possible to balance the budget under those conditions?" Without any consideration for reduced spending in areas other than the war, Schieffer quickly followed up on how to balance the budget: "Can you do it without raising taxes?"

2. Rooney Praises Clinton, Derides Reagan, 'Hard to Dislike' Carter
Prompted by the death of President Gerald Ford, Andy Rooney, in his commentary at the end of Sunday's 60 Minutes, ruminated about all the Presidents since FDR and made clear he sees more to admire in Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton than in Ronald Reagan. Rooney praised Ford: "We were lucky to have such a good, normal American to step in to do the job." On Carter, Rooney characterized him as "smart" and contended "it was hard to dislike Jimmy Carter, even if you were a Republican." Rooney obviously wasn't a Republican in the late 1970s. "Ronald Reagan was the only movie star ever elected President," Rooney noted before snidely remarking: "A lot of people thought he was better in the movies than in the White House." Bill Clinton, however, "might have gone down in history as one of the best Presidents we ever had if it hadn't been for that one unfortunate incident that I don't want to talk about in case there are children watching."

3. CNN's Bash on Nancy Pelosi as Speaker: 'A Moment to Savor'
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper began the Thursday edition of his AC: 360 program by announcing that he intended to "keep them [the Democrats] honest." A few seconds later, reporter Dana Bash described Nancy Pelosi's elevation to Speaker as "a moment to savor." For everyone? Bash elaborated, saying that portents of Democratic power could be seen everywhere, including the appearance of Hollywood celebrities and the sight of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert sitting in the back of the chamber.

4. When Dems Lost in 1995, Nets Cast Voters as Uninformed Ingrates
Last week, the Democrats certainly got their fair share of good press as they took control of the Congress. Looking back at the evening newscasts from the first week of January 1995, it's interesting that the Republicans got fairly positive coverage on January 4, the day they ended 40 years of Democratic control of Congress. But the GOP honeymoon was not long-lasting. The very next night, ABC's World News Tonight featured an interview with President Bill Clinton where Jennings suggested that the Clinton's problem was that voters were unaware of the fantastic accomplishments of the Democratic administration. And then-ABC reporter Aaron Brown offered a lengthy report designed to rebut the very premise of the Republican platform, arguing that conservative voters don't appreciate all the wonderful services they receive for their federal tax dollars.

5. Global Warming Scare on Today, Vieira: 'Are We All Gonna Die?'
Monday's Today show opened with Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer amazed at the warm temperatures in New York City and of course it didn't take long before the specter of global warming was raised. Lauer ominously opened the show: "Meanwhile a record warm weekend in the East has people wondering what's going on?" Vieira went even further as she bluntly blurted: "So I'm running in the park on Saturday, in shorts thinking this is great but are we all gonna die? You know? I can't, I can't figure this out." But when it came to an actual scientific-based opinion WNBC weatherman Chris Cimino, filling in for Al Roker, didn't exactly jump to blame global warming...at first. Initially Cimino was non-committal about blaming global warming, instead focusing on El Nino but lest he risk the wrath of his Today show anchors he did cover his liberal bases as he asserted: "Of course the bottom line is you don't throw a lot of greenhouse gases into the air no matter what whether it affects the weather or not." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

6. NBC Points Out New Orleans Deadlier than Iraq for Americans
NBC's Martin Savidge began a Friday story, on the rising murder rate in New Orleans, by pointing out how "in the last week more Americans have died in New Orleans than in Iraq." Savidge explained in his NBC Nightly News piece: "Since December 29th, there have been eight military deaths. In the Big Easy, there have been 14 murders. Among the latest victims, Helen Hill, a 36-year-old mother shot in her home in front of her husband and two-year-old." Savidge bemoaned how the Crescent City "killers are growing more brazen, striking in broad daylight, using assault rifles, even with police just 30 yards away. And witnesses are refusing to talk."

7. Andrea Mitchell: Matthews Not Liberal, No Bias on ABC, CBS or NBC
NBC News foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell insisted to FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Friday night that Chris Matthews is not "a liberal thinker" and that "I don't feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don't think there's bias in CBS or ABC." But she wasn't so definitive about a lack of bias at FNC: "There are commentators who are biased, and I don't think that the newscasts are necessarily biased." On to promote the paperback edition of her book, Talking Back to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels, O'Reilly pressed her to name "one conservative thinker at NBC News?" Mitchell rejected the premise that ideology has any impact on journalism: "That's not the way we approach the news." O'Reilly followed up: "But you can't even tell me one conservative thinker." Mitchell held firm: "I can't tell you one liberal thinker." Asked about Matthews, Mitchell retorted: "I don't think he's a liberal thinker." Mitchell soon contended: "I have to tell you that I don't feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don't think there's bias in CBS or ABC." AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive


 

CBS's Bob Schieffer Presses Speaker Pelosi
to Raise Taxes

     Whether the newest elected politician is a Republican or a Democrat, the primary interest of the Washington press corps is always the same: push them to increase taxes. The latest example came in a taped interview aired on Sunday's Face the Nation during which CBS's Bob Schieffer pressed new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from the left to raise taxes and was appalled when she suggested Democrats may actually cut taxes for some. Schieffer proposed: "President Bush said last week that he wanted to work with the Congress to balance the budget in five years. But he also rejected any tax increases and obviously he's not in a mood to reduce spending on the war. Is it possible to balance the budget under those conditions?" Without any consideration for reduced spending in areas other than the war, Schieffer quickly followed up on how to balance the budget: "Can you do it without raising taxes?"

     When Pelosi suggested Democrats are looking at "making permanent and modernizing the research and development tax credit for small business. We're talking about helping families with higher education of their children with tax credits," an astounded Schieffer retorted: "So you're talking about more tax cuts?" Pelosi, however, soon acceded to Schieffer's preference as she explained that "we're not going to start with repealing tax cuts, but they certainly are not off the table for people making over half a million dollars a year." That seemed to please Schieffer: "So they may see their taxes go up?"

     [This item was posted Sunday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The relevant portion of the interview taped in Pelosi's Capitol office and aired on the January 7 Face the Nation:

     Bob Schieffer: "President Bush said last week that he wanted to work with the Congress to balance the budget in five years. But he also rejected any tax increases and obviously he's not in a mood to reduce spending on the war. Is it possible to balance the budget under those conditions?"
     Speaker Nancy Pelosi: "Well, the war in Iraq and the tax cuts to the highest end people in our country make it difficult and challenging to balance the budget. There's no question. But we'd like to see what the President's version of a balanced budget is. He's never sent one to the Congress."
     Schieffer: "Can you do it without raising taxes?"
     Pelosi: "I think you can put everything on the table and start by saying that there's $300 billion in taxes which are not collected in our country each year. Can you imagine that? You can probably start also with cutting waste fraud and abuse. Congressman, well now Chairman Henry Waxman, has taken the lead on that issue as the Chairman of the Government Reform Committee. Waste, fraud and abuse, collect taxes that are not collected, close corporate loopholes. You start there, you can find some money to make investments in education which brings more money back into the treasury than any initiative that you can name. The President's willing to join with us in fighting waste, fraud and abuse, collecting the taxes and closing the loopholes, we can start there."
     Schieffer: "President Bush seems to almost be daring Democrats to not fool with his tax cuts, to leave his tax cuts in place. Do you see it that way?"
     Pelosi: "Do I think his tone is a daring one?"
     Schieffer: "Daring you not to make his tax cuts permanent, for example."
     Pelosi: "Well, I would hope not. I hope that's not a dare here. What we'd like to do is come to the table, as I say, put all of our priorities on the table, join together in selecting them. The education of our children, access to health care, issues that we will have in the first 100 hours, reducing the cost of college education, et cetera. But again, we have, we are committed to pay as you go. No new deficit spending. We passed that in our rules package on Friday. And we're very proud of that. We're committed to it."
     Schieffer: "But let's go back to taxes. Are you promising no new taxes for anybody?"
     Pelosi: "No. I'm talking about tax cuts for many in the middle class. We've had tax cuts for small businesses to provide health insurance to their workers. R and D, making permanent and modernizing the research and development tax credit for small business. We're talking about helping families with higher education of their children with tax credits."
     Schieffer, astonished: "So you're talking about more tax cuts?"
     Pelosi: "We're talking about tax cuts for the middle class. And as we review what we get from again collecting our taxes and reducing waste, fraud and abuse, investing in education and in initiatives which will bring money into the treasury, it may be that tax cuts for those making over a certain amount of money, $500,000 a year, might be more important to the American people than ignoring the educational and health needs of America's children."
     Schieffer helpfully explained: "So what you're talking about is you may have to raise taxes for some people in the upper income levels in order to cut taxes for some below there?"
     Pelosi: "What we're saying is Democrats propose tax cuts for middle income families. We want to have pay-go, no new deficit spending. We're not going to start with repealing tax cuts, but they certainly are not off the table for people making over half a million dollars a year."
     Schieffer: "So they may see their taxes go up?"
     Pelosi: "They may. But as I say that's not where we'll begin. It's an option. It's not a first resort."

 

Rooney Praises Clinton, Derides Reagan,
'Hard to Dislike' Carter

     Prompted by the death of President Gerald Ford, Andy Rooney, in his commentary at the end of Sunday's 60 Minutes, ruminated about all the Presidents since FDR and made clear he sees more to admire in Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton than in Ronald Reagan. Rooney praised Ford: "We were lucky to have such a good, normal American to step in to do the job." On Carter, Rooney characterized him as "smart" and contended "it was hard to dislike Jimmy Carter, even if you were a Republican." Rooney obviously wasn't a Republican in the late 1970s. "Ronald Reagan was the only movie star ever elected President," Rooney noted before snidely remarking: "A lot of people thought he was better in the movies than in the White House." Bill Clinton, however, "might have gone down in history as one of the best Presidents we ever had if it hadn't been for that one unfortunate incident that I don't want to talk about in case there are children watching."

     [This item was posted Sunday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     CBSNews.com has posted a transcript of Rooney's commentary: www.cbsnews.com

     I corrected it in a few places against the words he delivered on the January 7 60 Minutes:
     "Being President of the United States may be the worst job there is. It's certainly the hardest. You have the whole world on your back and no matter what you do, a lot of people hate you for it. Our 38th President, Gerald Ford, was an exception. Almost no one hated Gerald Ford.
     "When I was very young, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President. He's considered one of our greatest, but he was also one of the most disliked by a lot of people. My father was a businessman and all his business friends hated FDR. Harry Truman was never considered a great President but, like Gerald Ford, not many people disliked him. Dwight Eisenhower was a war hero and a popular President, too. It wasn't so much what Ike did that made him popular. It was what he didn't do. He played a lot of golf as President.
     "John F. Kennedy was one of the most likeable Presidents we ever had, although not everyone liked him. The day he was assassinated was one of the worst days in this country's history. Lyndon Johnson inherited the job when Kennedy was murdered. He was one of the most professional politicians we ever had in the White House, although not the most popular, probably because of the war in Vietnam.
     "I forget how Richard Nixon got elected. It makes you wonder about our democratic system of government. I mean, how could we have done that? Gerald Ford fell into the White House and became our 38th President when Nixon was pushed out of it. We were lucky to have such a good, normal American to step in to do the job.
     "Jimmy Carter was the political opposite of Nixon. He was smart and it was hard to dislike Jimmy Carter, even if you were a Republican. Ronald Reagan was the only movie star ever elected President [picture of Reagan holding guns in a Western]. A lot of people thought he was better in the movies than in the White House. George Bush was an acceptable but undistinguished President who's better known now as George W. Bush's father.
     "Bill Clinton might have gone down in history as one of the best Presidents we ever had if it hadn't been for that one unfortunate incident [picture of Clinton with Lewinsky] that I don't want to talk about in case there are children watching.
     "George W. Bush is the second son of a President to be elected President himself. John Adams was our second President and his son, John Quincy Adams, was our sixth. You wonder what the fathers thought about the job their kids was doing as President. My son's a good television reporter [ABC's Brian Rooney] but I wouldn't want him as my President."

 

CNN's Bash on Nancy Pelosi as Speaker:
'A Moment to Savor'

     CNN anchor Anderson Cooper began the Thursday edition of his AC: 360 program by announcing that he intended to "keep them [the Democrats] honest." A few seconds later, reporter Dana Bash described Nancy Pelosi's elevation to Speaker as "a moment to savor." For everyone? Bash elaborated, saying that portents of Democratic power could be seen everywhere, including the appearance of Hollywood celebrities and the sight of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert sitting in the back of the chamber.

     [This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Anderson Cooper set up Bash: "Day one for lawmakers who are promising a whole host of legislation in their first 100 hours of work. We're here tonight to help keep them honest. So, throughout the hour, we will be looking at how Democrats hope to make law. First, though, CNN's Dana Bash on how they are making history."
     Dana Bash: "A moment to savor -- Nancy Pelosi seized the gavel and, with it, power for the Democrats, an ambitious agenda, but, today, history, the first female Speaker, second in line to be President."
     Nancy Pelosi: "For our daughters and our granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling."

     Now, the CNN correspondent would likely argue that she meant the first female Speaker is an occasion to appreciate. However, imagine this was 1994, would Bash describe Newt Gingrich being sworn in as the first Republican Speaker in 40 years as "a moment to savor?" It's conceivable the term would have been used, but likely only with the qualifier that such a moment would be relished by Republicans. Is CNN unaware of the fact that half the county is dreading, not gleefully anticipating, a Pelosi Speakership? Perhaps Dana Bash has less credibility on this subject, given her recent characterization of incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as being an iPod-loving, "People" magazine-reading everyman. See: www.mrc.org

     In fairness to Anderson Cooper, the Thursday AC: 360 did follow-up on its critical analysis of the Democratic ethics agenda and whether or not they will continue to allow convicted congressional felons to receive pensions.

     A transcript of the segment on Pelosi, which aired at 10:02pm EST on January 4:

     Anderson Cooper: "We're here to cover another front-page day, the first female House speaker, the first Muslim congressman, the first Buddhist, the first time Democrats have controlled both the House and Senate in the Bush administration. Day one of a Congress that you elected, because you said you wanted big changes. Day one for lawmakers, who are promising a whole host of legislation in their first 100 hours of work. We're here tonight to help keep them honest. So, throughout the hour, we will be looking at how Democrats hope to make law. First, though, CNN's Dana Bash on how they are making history."

     Dana Bash: "A moment to savor -- Nancy Pelosi seized the gavel and, with it, power for the Democrats, an ambitious agenda, but, today, history, the first female Speaker, second in line to be President."
     Nancy Pelosi: "For our daughters and our granddaughters, today we have broken the marble ceiling."
     Bash: "Symbols of a new Democratic era everywhere: Hollywood actor Richard Gere in the gallery, former Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert in the back with the rank-and-file. Bipartisanship was the buzz word, from the House-"
     Pelosi: "I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship."
     Bash: "-to the Senate, where Democratic Leader Harry Reid began the day with a get-together for senators from both parties. The Vice President swore in 33 senators, giving Democrats their razor-thin majority."
     Harry Reid: "51 to 49 -- some may look at this as a composition -- as a composition for gridlock, a recipe for gridlock. But I see this as a unique opportunity."
     Bash: "Yet, Democrats wasted no time challenging the President on the war."
     Pelosi: "Nowhere were the American more -- people more clear about the need for a new direction than in the war in Iraq."
     Bash: "But, first, the House will debate new ethics measures, like banning gifts from lobbyists. Next week, House Democrats start the clock on 100 legislative hours of campaign promises. The Senate will work at a slower pace. Passing anything there requires compromise with Republicans. By this was a day for family to come watch history unfold, the first Muslim congressman, 43 black lawmakers, 90 women, led by the new House speaker. The day ended with a traditional phone call from the House speaker to the President, informing him the new Congress is in session. Mr. Bush told Nancy Pelosi he's ready to work with her, an olive branch, but also a reminder, she may wield the speaker's gavel, but he still wields the veto pen."

 

When Dems Lost in 1995, Nets Cast Voters
as Uninformed Ingrates

     Last week, the Democrats certainly got their fair share of good press as they took control of the Congress. Looking back at the evening newscasts from the first week of January 1995, it's interesting that the Republicans got fairly positive coverage on January 4, the day they ended 40 years of Democratic control of Congress. "This was the country at its best, making a peaceful political transition while elsewhere in the world men are killing one another in the name of freedom and unity," ABC's Peter Jennings optimistically intoned that night.

     But the GOP honeymoon was not long-lasting. The very next night, ABC's World News Tonight featured an interview with President Bill Clinton where Jennings suggested that the Clinton's problem was that voters were unaware of the fantastic accomplishments of the Democratic administration. And then-ABC reporter Aaron Brown offered a lengthy report designed to rebut the very premise of the Republican platform, arguing that conservative voters don't appreciate all the wonderful services they receive for their federal tax dollars.

     Brown visited Knox County, Tennessee, home to the federal government's Oak Ridge national laboratories. After several sound bites from voters upset about higher taxes, Brown suggested they were all wrong, as he recited a list of what the county receives for its money. He concluded: "When people in Knox County talk of smaller government and less spending, they may mean it; they probably do. But do they want to lose this bus? Or this highway? Or this tunnel? Do they want to lose this lab? This cop? This teacher? Do they really want to make that choice at all?"

     I very much doubt that networks such as ABC will devote their next several newscasts to steadily debunking the grievances of liberal voters and suggesting that the voter unhappiness of the last election was because President Bush's accomplishments were being disregarded by citizens.

     [This item, by Rich Noyes, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The January 5, 1995 World News Tonight is an excellent example of how the networks worked to prop up the President and undermine the GOP Congress from nearly the very outset. Here are a couple of Jennings' questions to Clinton:

     -- "I'd like to start, if I may, with what I think you may think is a puzzlement. You've reduced the deficit. You've created jobs. Haiti hasn't been an enormous problem. You've got a crime bill with your assault weapon ban in it. You got NAFTA, you got GATT, and 50 percent of the people don't want you to run again. Where's the disconnect there?"

     -- "In our poll today, the absolute critical items for Congress to address. Number one, cutting the deficit. Number two, health care reform. The two issues which were absolute priorities for two years, and you don't get any credit for them?"

     After that, the broadcast moved on to other news (including the O.J. Simpson trial), then back to politics for Brown's piece, which is perhaps unparalleled in its snobby elitism:

     Peter Jennings: "As we mentioned, we have a new ABC News/Washington Post poll tonight. And it also looks at what priorities Americans have for those lawmakers across the street. Fifty-five percent of those we asked say that cutting the federal deficit should be Congress's most critical concern, with health care reform and a balanced federal budget close behind. But support for a balanced budget drops dramatically when you start adding conditions -- namely, cutting popular programs.
     "One of the most persistent criticisms of government during the last election campaign -- which proved very effective for those politicians who argued it -- was that government had become much too expensive. Besides which, there was too much government in our lives. We thought it might be educational to see what that really meant to people on a daily basis. ABC's Aaron Brown could have gone almost anywhere in the country to test these notions. He went to Knoxville, Tennessee."

     Aaron Brown: "Knox County, Tennessee, population 335,000. In November, it voted Republican, two to one. Then and now, it likes the message of smaller government."
     Older white male: "Less bureaucracy, less control, of every asset of life."
     Younger white male: "We're sending a message: You've forgotten that it's our money that you're spending."
     Brown: "And it's a lot of money. The residents of Knox County paid almost $1.5 billion in federal taxes in 1993 €" personal and corporate income taxes, Social Security, estate, gift and excise taxes included."
     Second younger white male: "People are tired of paying taxes and not getting anything in return."
     Brown: "That's a pretty common complaint around here; a pretty common view. It is also dead wrong. In fact, Knox County gets back much more from the federal government than its residents pay in -- nearly twice as much. They pay in a billion and a half dollars and the federal government sends Knox County back almost $3 billion. That $3 billion comes back in hundreds of places, in hundreds of ways, most of which people never think about."
     Elderly white female: "Welfare should be cut out. Put them people to work."
     Brown: "They know that welfare and food stamps and medical care for the poor takes a chunk -- about $204 million. Nearly 58,000 people get some piece of that. But that is nothing compared to the $655 million for social security and Medicare. Nearly half of what Knox County pays in taxes is paid out to 60,000 residents, most of whom are older than 65, regardless of their income. And that is seen as untouchable.
     Older black male: "Because that's ours. We worked for it, put it in, you know. I think we should have it."
     Brown: "And that's just the biggest piece of the pie. Here is a smaller piece -- a tunnel."
     Mayor Victor Ashe (at a press conference): "It will make traffic flow better and more smoothly for those people who work day in and day out in our downtown area."
     Brown: "True, but it costs $9 million federal tax dollars to build, part of the $40 million Knox County got for transportation. Money that doesn't just buy cement, it pays wages, which buys food at Ingles Grocery, clothes at Proffitt's department store and mortgages at the bank, in some cases, federally guaranteed mortgages. Outsiders may see the tunnel as pork. Here, it has a better name."
     Professor Bill Lyons, Political Scientist: "People see pork as the other guy's pork and as their valuable projects and their jobs."
     Brown: "Here's another piece of the pie. Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee and home to 49 million federal dollars last year. One example -- graduate students are working to design a robot to do work humans can't, clean up nuclear waste dumps. Cost: $100,000 a year. No $100,000, no robot."
     Professor William Hamel, Mechanical Engineering Department: "We really can't do the research. So it basically would shut us down."
     Brown: "$100,000 becomes $49 million quickly -- $5,000 to promote the opera and musical theater, $64,000 for animal disease research, $852,000 in space program research grants, $2 million for the math department, and more. The university is dependent on federal money."
     Professor Lyons: "You would have a massive impact on the budget. You would have lots of offices, lots of programs, lots of institutes that would be either shut down or have to scale back drastically."
     Brown: "And on it goes -- $13 million for Knox County's public schools. Handicapped children get teachers, hungry children get breakfast."
     Phil Clear, Food Service Coordinator: "Across the county, in Knox County, we feed close to 9,500 and 10,000 for breakfast."
     Brown: "Knoxville and Knox County government get another $12 million, which among other things will put eight to 10 police officers on Knoxville streets."
     Knoxville Police Chief Phil Keith: "They will be used in our high crime areas; areas that we're trying to re-establish control of the neighborhoods.
     Brown: "Add up all the entitlements, throw in those teachers and police officers, tack on university research and those highways, and you get roughly $1.3 billion. Then add $1.7 billion to pay for this -- the Oak Ridge National Lab -- a huge federal complex that provides more than 7,000 people here with steady work. But even without Oak Ridge, Knox County would break just about even with the federal government, the same amount going out as coming in. So in effect, Knox County gets Oak Ridge for free. It also gets the Army, National Parks, federal prisons for free.
     "When people in Knox County talk of smaller government and less spending, they may mean it; they probably do. But do they want to lose this bus? Or this highway? Or this tunnel? Do they want to lose this lab? This cop? This teacher? Do they really want to make that choice at all? Aaron Brown, ABC News, Knoxville, Tennessee."
     Jennings: "It's complicated. Back in a moment."

 

Global Warming Scare on Today, Vieira:
'Are We All Gonna Die?'

     Monday's Today show opened with Meredith Vieira and Matt Lauer amazed at the warm temperatures in New York City and of course it didn't take long before the specter of global warming was raised. Lauer ominously opened the show: "Meanwhile a record warm weekend in the East has people wondering what's going on?" Vieira went even further as she bluntly blurted: "So I'm running in the park on Saturday, in shorts thinking this is great but are we


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

all gonna die? You know? I can't, I can't figure this out." But when it came to an actual scientific-based opinion WNBC weatherman Chris Cimino, filling in for Al Roker, didn't exactly jump to blame global warming...at first. Initially Cimino was non-committal about blaming global warming, instead focusing on El Nino but lest he risk the wrath of his Today show anchors he did cover his liberal bases as he asserted: "Of course the bottom line is you don't throw a lot of greenhouse gases into the air no matter what whether it affects the weather or not."

     [This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The following is the complete transcript of the conversation as it took place during the 7am half hour of the January 8 edition of Today:

     Matt Lauer opening Today: "Good morning Southern discomfort. Severe storms rip through Georgia damaging homes and setting off possible tornadoes, meanwhile a record warm weekend in the East has people wondering what's going on?"

     ...

     Meredith Vieira: "So I'm running in the park on Saturday, in shorts thinking this is great but are we all gonna die? You know? I can't, I can't figure this out."
     Matt Lauer: "It's unbelievable. Your first reaction is, it really is, it's an amazing stretch of weather we're having-"
     Vieira: "It's so warm."
     Lauer: "-and the second reaction is something is wrong here. And by the way let's run that tape of Meredith in shorts in the park."
     Vieira: "I made sure there were no cameras around but there were record breaking temperatures across the, 72 in New York City, 69 in Boston on Saturday. A lot of people wondering is it global warming or something much simpler? We're gonna talk to Chris Cimino about it in just a minute."

     ...

     Vieira: "But first is it hot enough for you? WNBC's Chris Cimino is in for Al, he's here to explain why it has been so warm in the East? What is going on Chris?"
     Chris Cimino: "Wish I knew! No, well there are some reasons that we think this is happening but the big picture still a lot of questions have to be answered as to what goes into play in making such a significant change in the overall pattern. One of the things we think is El Nino. That is the South Pacific ocean temperatures, the sea surface temperatures are fairly high and we're in an El Nino mode right now and what that usually does is it creates very warm weather, the northern tier of the country but relatively dry weather. Also typical of El Nino, west coast gets hit pretty hard but it's usually Southern California. Even this El Nino's a little different than what typically happens. It's been the Pacific Northwest. Then those storms drop into Colorado in the Rockies and that's where they're having so much snow. Severe weather over the Gulf Coast states because the atmosphere is behaving more like spring, early fall with very warm, moist unstable air. The jet streams well to the North, so folks get to jog in Central Park, enjoy 60 and 70 plus degree temperatures. And again whether or not this is due to greenhouse gases and global warming or is it part of a larger climatological cycle that we're in? That's still a big question mark. Keep in mind we hit 70 degrees in Central Park on Saturday. It was only the third time that happened but the other two times that happened were in the '30s and 1950 as well. So were they talking about greenhouse effect and global warming then or is it just part of the normal cycle that happens in our climate?"
     Vieira: "But is that something we ever figure out?"
     Cimino: "Well again there's a lot of pieces to a puzzle. We have a hard enough time and you really think about it we have a hard enough time with tomorrow. When you really get down to it. And you think about all the variables that come into play so this is something that will be argued out for a long time. Of course the bottom line is you don't throw a lot of greenhouse gases into the air no matter what whether it affects the weather or not."
     Lauer: "Thanks though for finally admitting you really have no idea what the weather's gonna be tomorrow."'
     Cimino: "That's why I won't be in this business much longer. Wait too honest."
     Lauer: "Alright Chris, thanks."

 

NBC Points Out New Orleans Deadlier than
Iraq for Americans

     NBC's Martin Savidge began a Friday story, on the rising murder rate in New Orleans, by pointing out how "in the last week more Americans have died in New Orleans than in Iraq." Savidge explained in his NBC Nightly News piece: "Since December 29th, there have been eight military deaths. In the Big Easy, there have been 14 murders. Among the latest victims, Helen Hill, a 36-year-old mother shot in her home in front of her husband and two-year-old." Savidge bemoaned how the Crescent City "killers are growing more brazen, striking in broad daylight, using assault rifles, even with police just 30 yards away. And witnesses are refusing to talk."

     Brian Williams introduced Savidge's report by showing the headline on the front page of Friday's New Orleans Times-Picayune: "Killings bring the city to its bloodied knees." See: www.nola.com

     PDF image of the front page: www.nola.com

     [This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The MSNBC.com version of Savidge's January 5 story. www.msnbc.msn.com

 

Andrea Mitchell: Matthews Not Liberal,
No Bias on ABC, CBS or NBC

     NBC News foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell insisted to FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Friday night that Chris Matthews is not "a liberal thinker" and that "I don't feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don't think there's bias in CBS or ABC." But she wasn't so definitive about a lack of bias at FNC: "There are commentators who are biased, and I don't think that the newscasts are necessarily biased." On to promote the


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More See & Hear the Bias

paperback edition of her book, Talking Back to Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels, O'Reilly pressed her to name "one conservative thinker at NBC News?" Mitchell rejected the premise that ideology has any impact on journalism: "That's not the way we approach the news." O'Reilly followed up: "But you can't even tell me one conservative thinker." Mitchell held firm: "I can't tell you one liberal thinker." Asked about Matthews, Mitchell retorted: "I don't think he's a liberal thinker." Mitchell soon contended: "I have to tell you that I don't feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don't think there's bias in CBS or ABC."

     Mitchell's denial of reality was reminiscent of CBS's Lesley Stahl back in 2003. As recounted in CyberAlert, on FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas on January 18, 2003, CBS News veteran Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes claimed that "today you have broadcast journalists who are avowedly conservative" and that the voices being heard on the networks "are far more likely to be on the right and avowedly so." But when Thomas wondered if she could "name a conservative journalist at CBS News?", Stahl could not. Stahl insisted that CBS reporters steadfastly "cleanse our stories" of any opinion. For more, see the January 21, 2003 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     For streaming Real video of Stahl's exchange with Thomas, check the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting" in which she won the "What Liberal Media? Award." Go to: www.mrc.org

     NewsBusters contributor Mark Finkelstein first caught Mitchell's claims: newsbusters.org

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a transcript of the relevant portion of the interview segment on the January 5 O'Reilly Factor, picking up after O'Reilly played clips of Tom Brokaw and Chris Matthews that he thought showed a liberal skew:

     Bill O'Reilly: "I'll admit it. I don't like you guys. I like you. I like the Today show. But I think your management has made a conscious business decision to go to the left."
     Andrea Mitchell: "That's just not true."
     O'Reilly: "All right. That's my opinion based upon reams and reams of material. But anyway, but anyway, why would the Center [?], which is nonpartisan, doesn't have any axe to grind against NBC, come out with the study analyzing all the reportage about the Kerry-Bush race in 2006, and conclude that NBC News was by far and away the most biased."
     Mitchell: "I think those studies are invariably misleading because they're attaching a value judgement to a particular sound bite or a word or a phrase and weighting it, saying this is pro, this is con, this is subjective. I don't think that any of our reports -- yours, mine, CNN's, any, CBS, ABC -- I don't think that you can take that kind of a statistical analysis to the textual and contextual work that we do."
     O'Reilly: "But then there's no reality, see, if you can't, if you can't analyze what is actually said and written in any journalistic enterprise, there's no reality. All right. You've been 30 years at NBC. Can you tell me one conservative thinker at NBC News?"
     Mitchell: "How do you define conservative?"
     O'Reilly: "Well, traditional values, maybe supports-"
     Mitchell: "Are you talking about commentators? Or are you talking about news?"
     O'Reilly: "Anybody. Give me anybody. Is there anybody over there who's conservative in your opinion?"
     Mitchell: "Yes, I think there are a lot of people-"
     O'Reilly: "Give me one."
     Mitchell: "-who are privately conservative or privately liberal."
     O'Reilly: "Give me one."
     Mitchell: "But we don't judge ourselves by how we approach the news."
     O'Reilly: "Okay, I just look at all your on-the-air talent, and the Today show, and I love those guys, all right, they're all liberal, every one of them, all right."
     Mitchell: "I disagree."
     O'Reilly: "They'll admit they're liberal, Andrea."
     Mitchell: "I don't think so."
     O'Reilly: "If you asked Lauer and Vieira and Ann Curry, and they'll admit they're liberal. And when Katie was there, she admitted she was liberal. Come on!"
     Mitchell: "That's not the way we approach the news."
     O'Reilly: "That's who they are."
     Mitchell: "They're journalists, Bill."
     O'Reilly: "That's true. And you're entitled to your public and private beliefs. You are. And I don't have any quibble with that. But if it's all one way, if it's all of them across the board, then I'm saying, 'Where's the diversity?'"
     Mitchell: "I strongly disagree. In fact, we are attacked-"
     O'Reilly: "But you can't even tell me one conservative thinker."
     Mitchell: "I can't tell you one liberal thinker."
     O'Reilly: "You can. It's Chris Matthews. Chris Matthews."
     Mitchell: "He is on MSNBC."
     O'Reilly: "No, no, he's on the Today show and on the Nightly News. He's your main political commentator."
     Mitchell: "As an analyst."
     O'Reilly: "He's Tip O'Neill, yeah, and he's a liberal thinker."
     Mitchell: "I don't think he's a liberal thinker."
     O'Reilly: "He's not? He worked for Tip O'Neill. How much more liberal can you get?"
     Mitchell: "He worked for Tip O'Neill how many years ago?"
     O'Reilly: "I don't think he's changed his, all right, I'm giving you way too much of a hard time."
     Mitchell: "No."
     O'Reilly: "And I apologize. It's not your fault."
     Mitchell: "I don't think that it is fair to describe journalists as liberals or conservatives."
     O'Reilly: "I do because I think that it's filtered through a prism. But I want to apologize to you. I'm giving you way too hard a time. It's not your fault. And your book is excellent. And I have to tell people to buy your book because you are fair, you are balanced, and you are accurate. And you have had a window on history for the last 30 years that none of us have had. And you're going to learn a lot from reading your book. But I am distressed, and I am, about what's happening over where you work, and I'm sorry that I had to take it out on you."
     Mitchell: "Well, I appreciate your comments, but I have to tell you that I don't feel that there is bias in what we do at NBC News. And I don't think there's bias in CBS or ABC."
     O'Reilly: "How about Fox?"
     Mitchell: "I don't think, look, I think that Fox News is a terrific news organization."
     O'Reilly: "Are we biased?"
     Mitchell: "There are commentators who are biased, and I don't think that the newscasts are necessarily biased."
     O'Reilly: "Shepard Smith will be thrilled."

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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