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www.TimesWatch.org


 

The 2,374th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
6:45am EDT, Thursday March 15, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 47)

 
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1. Nets Lead Again with Fired Attorneys, Paint as Political Victims
When the Clinton administration in 1993, in a then-unprecedented decision, gave all 93 U.S. Attorneys ten days to leave their offices, including Jay Stephens who was in the midst of investigating House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News didn't utter a syllable about it. But on Wednesday night, the evening newscasts on both networks led with Republican Senator John Sununu's call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as both highlighted different U.S. Attorneys who were amongst the eight replaced late last year by the Bush administration, painting both as victims of nefarious political maneuvering.

2. In Advocating Draft, Andy Rooney Smears Volunteer Soldiers
On Wednesday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney discussed the possibility of a draft with Don Imus and implied that those who volunteer to serve do so out of desperation rather than patriotism: "I think a draft produces a better army than the one we would have with all volunteers. Because I think you get average Americans if you, if you have a draft. And if it's an all volunteer army, you get people who join up because of some problem in their own lives. They don't have anything else to do, they don't have a job, or they can't find what they want to do, so they join the Army. And it doesn't produce the best army. AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

3. Poll: Overwhelming Majority See Media Bias, Mostly to the Left
The "vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well" with 83 percent seeing bias in the media and of those, "nearly two-thirds (64 percent)...said the media leans left" while only "slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28 percent) said they see a conservative bias," determined a Zogby Interactive survey of 1,757 likely voters nationwide which was released on Wednesday.

4. Richard Gere: 'We Have a President Right Now Who Lies Constantly'
Appearing on Wednesday's Late Show with David Letterman, actor Richard Gere declared: "We have a President right now who lies constantly and gets away with it apparently." Gere's comment, which drew applause from the audience in Manhattan, came in response to Letterman asking Gere, who was on the show to promote The Hoax, a movie opening in April in which he stars as Clifford Irving who wrote and sold a bogus autobiography of the reclusive Howard Hughes: "Is this the kind of thing that can happen now?" AUDIO&VIDEO See & Hear the Bias - Audio & Video Clip Archive

5. 'Top Ten Signs Your Wife Is Having an Affair With Newt Gingrich'
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Your Wife Is Having an Affair With Newt Gingrich."


 

Nets Lead Again with Fired Attorneys,
Paint as Political Victims

     When the Clinton administration in 1993, in a then-unprecedented decision, gave all 93 U.S. Attorneys ten days to leave their offices, including Jay Stephens who was in the midst of investigating House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News didn't utter a syllable about it. But on Wednesday night, the evening newscasts on both networks led with Republican Senator John Sununu's call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as both highlighted different U.S. Attorneys who were amongst the eight replaced late last year by the Bush administration, painting both as victims of nefarious political maneuvering.

     "The pressure on the Attorney General of the United States to resign is growing," ABC anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted, "for the first time, a Republican Senator has said Alberto Gonzales must go." Focusing on the fired U.S. Attorney for San Diego, Carol Lam, reporter Pierre Thomas suggested she was removed for pursuing a case against a GOP Congressman and relayed how "Democrats pointed out that most of the eight fired U.S. attorneys had excellent performance reviews." On CBS, Sandra Hughes delivered a "CBS News Exclusive" about how "John McKay was fired in December for reasons he now believes had nothing to do with the way he did his job, but very much to do with Washington politics." Hughes passed along how "it was what he didn't do that McKay believes got him fired. In the 2004 gubernatorial race in Washington state, the Democratic candidate won by just a couple of hundred votes. McKay didn't call a grand jury to investigate questions of voter fraud." But as Wall Street Journal editorial on Wednesday noted, McKay ignored very real evidence of voter fraud.

     An excerpt from the March 14 Wall Street Journal editorial:

....The supposed scandal this week is that Mr. Bush had been informed last fall that some U.S. Attorneys had been less than vigorous in pursuing voter-fraud cases and that the President had made the point to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Voter fraud strikes at the heart of democratic institutions, and it was entirely appropriate for Mr. Bush--or any President--to insist that his appointees act energetically against it.

Take sacked U.S. Attorney John McKay from Washington state. In 2004, the Governor's race was decided in favor of Democrat Christine Gregoire by 129 votes on a third recount. As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and other media outlets reported, some of the "voters" were deceased, others were registered in storage-rental facilities, and still others were convicted felons. More than 100 ballots were "discovered" in a Seattle warehouse. None of this constitutes proof that the election was stolen. But it should have been enough to prompt Mr. McKay, a Democrat, to investigate, something he declined to do, apparently on grounds that he had better things to do....

     END of Excerpt

     For the editorial in full: www.opinionjournal.com

     Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchored by Campbell Brown, didn't lead with the matter and held itself to one story which aired after pieces on the FDA demanding new warnings on sleeping pills, the survival rates for heart attack victims and a short item on the HPV vaccine controversy.

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

     The April 1993 edition of the MRC's MediaWatch newsletter reported: "Attorney General Janet Reno fired all 93 U.S. attorneys, a very unusual practice. Republicans charged the Clintonites made the move to take U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens off the House Post Office investigation of Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. The network response: ABC and CBS never mentioned it." See: www.mediaresearch.org

     For an excerpt from a March of 1993 Washington Post story on Reno's move, as well as a rundown of how the Tuesday night broadcast network newscasts all led with the controversy, check the Wednesday CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     (For a rundown of coverage on the Wednesday morning shows, see Tim Graham's Media Reality Check, which was distributed to CyberAlert e-mail subscribers: "Mass Amnesia Over Mass Clinton Firings; ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, NBC Morning Interviews With Gonzales All Skip 'March Massacre' of 1993," online at: www.mrc.org )

     Now, to the March 14 ABC and CBS evening newscast coverage:

     # ABC's World News. Anchor Charles Gibson teased: "Tonight, new calls for the Attorney General to resign over the firing of U.S. prosecutors. President Bush comes to his defense, but says he needs to explain."

     Gibson led: "Good evening. The pressure on the Attorney General of the United States to resign is growing. For the first time, a Republican Senator has said Alberto Gonzales must go. New Hampshire Senator John Sununu today told ABC News [text on screen] 'the President should fire the Attorney General. That's what's in the President's interest and the country's interest.' President Bush did come to Gonzales' defense earlier in the day, but the President also joined the chorus of criticism."

     Pierre Thomas asserted that at a press conference in Mexico President Bush "admitted he had passed along complaints about some U.S. Attorneys to the Attorney General" and Thomas showed a soundbite of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claiming the Bush administration had committed an "illegal" act, before relaying the Democratic spin that painted one U.S. Attorney as a victim of improper political consideration:
     "Democrats pointed out that most of the eight fired U.S. attorneys had excellent performance reviews. Carol Lam was the U.S. Attorney in San Diego. Her performance review noted some problems with immigration enforcement, but otherwise described her as 'an effective manager and a respected leader in her district.' Democrats say she was fired for prosecuting Republican politicians. They point to a Justice Department e-mail, dated May 11th, 2006. The Attorney General's Chief-of-Staff, D. Kyle Sampson, wrote a senior White House official, 'please call me at your convenience to discuss the real problem we have right now with Carol Lam.' Lam had prosecuted Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham for corruption. On May 11th, the Los Angeles Times published an article suggesting Lam was turning her investigation toward another Republican Congressman. Lam would be fired seven months later. The Justice Department gave no reasons."
     Carol Lam at March 6 hearing: "We were given little or no information about the reason for the requests for our resignations."
     Thomas: "David Schertler, a former federal prosecutor, says Lam's firing appears to fly in the face of Justice Department tradition."
     David Schertler: "In the past, where you've had a U.S. Attorney working on a politically sensitive case, the department has almost taken a hands-off approach so that there'd not be any appearance of impropriety."


     # CBS Evening News. Katie Couric opened: "Hello, everyone. President Bush tonight is defending the firing of eight U.S. attorneys. He says it was the right thing to do. What was wrong, he says, is the way the Justice Department told Congress about it. That would include saying the White House wasn't involved. Turns out it was. Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire today became the first Republican in Congress to call on the President to fire the Attorney General. The President is not doing that, but he is making the Attorney General clean up the mess. Here's Jim Axelrod."

     After the first story by Jim Axelrod on how Bush took Gonzales "to the woodshed" and how it "appears some [of the U.S. Attorneys] were fired for political reasons," Couric set up what was introduced in the tease as a "CBS News Exclusive" story:
     "As we've told you, the President says the firings were appropriate, but one of the U.S. attorneys who got the axe told CBS News it certainly wasn't in his case. By most accounts, he was a star prosecutor in Washington state, and he talks exclusively tonight to Sandra Hughes."

     John McKay, former U.S. attorney: "I'm disappointed in the President. I'm disappointed in the Attorney General."
     Sandra Hughes: "That's because former U.S. attorney John McKay was fired in December for reasons he now believes had nothing to do with the way he did his job, but very much to do with Washington politics."
     McKay: "I asked for the reasons that I was being asked to resign, and I was given no reasons."
     Hughes: "McKay's office won a conviction of the man who was planning to blow up the Los Angeles airport, the millennium bomber, and a conviction of James Ujaama, who was planning to build an al-Qaeda training camp in Oregon. He was also lauded for cracking down on drug smuggling from Canada. So when the Attorney General said he was fired for performance reasons, he was livid."
     McKay: "I knew that was false, and I felt obligated to speak up."
     Hughes: "CBS News obtained McKay's most recent performance review, written just three months before his firing. In it, he was described as 'effective, well-regarded, and' a 'capable leader.'"
     McKay: "I am really proud of the work that was done in my office, and the, you know, the excellent run that I had."
     Hughes: "Justice officials say they also had a problem with McKay over the way he shared information with local and federal law enforcement officials. But it was what he didn't do that McKay believes got him fired. In the 2004 gubernatorial race in Washington state, the Democratic candidate won by just a couple of hundred votes. McKay didn't call a grand jury to investigate questions of voter fraud. And he heard about it when he sought a promotion."
     McKay: "I did apply to be federal judge last fall, and at that time, questions were directed to me about the 2004 governor's election in Washington state."
     Hughes: "Shortly after, McKay's name appeared on an e-mail between the Justice Department and the White House listed as a U.S. Attorney 'being pushed out.'"
     McKay: "Any individual prosecutor is replaceable. What's not replaceable is our reputation for fairness, our reputation for independence from political influences."
     Hughes: "McKay is no longer prosecuting al-Qaeda suspects or drug smugglers for the U.S. government. He's teaching law students, who now may benefit from a crash course in Bush administration politics. Sandra Hughes, CBS News, Los Angeles."

     Following Hughes, Couric turned to CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen who declared it "absolutely extraordinary" to remove U.S. Attorneys in middle of a President's term.

 

In Advocating Draft, Andy Rooney Smears
Volunteer Soldiers

     On Wednesday's Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney discussed the possibility of a draft with Don Imus and implied that those who volunteer to serve do so out of desperation rather than patriotism: "I think a draft produces a better army than the one we would have with all volunteers. Because I think you get average Americans if you, if you have a draft. And if it's an all volunteer army,


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

you get people who join up because of some problem in their own lives. They don't have anything else to do, they don't have a job, or they can't find what they want to do, so they join the Army. And it doesn't produce the best army.

     [This item is adapted from a posting, by Justin McCarthy, on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog: newsbusters.org ]

     Rooney should have checked over his facts before making such a statement. A 2006 study by Tim Kane of the Heritage Foundation, "Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003€"2005," directly contradicts his assertions. An excerpt:

....In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004€"2005) support the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight differences are that wartime U.S. military enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on aver-age than their civilian peers.

Recruits have a higher percentage of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distribution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.

Demographic evidence discredits the argument that a draft is necessary to enforce representation from racial and socioeconomic groups....

     END of Excerpt

     For the report in full: www.heritage.org

 

Poll: Overwhelming Majority See Media
Bias, Mostly to the Left

     The "vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well" with 83 percent seeing bias in the media and of those, "nearly two-thirds (64 percent)...said the media leans left" while only "slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28 percent) said they see a conservative bias," determined a Zogby Interactive survey of 1,757 likely voters nationwide which was released on Wednesday.

     An excerpt from the posted findings for the survey conducted in conjunction with the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet (IPDI) at the George Washington University:

Zogby Poll: Voters Believe Media Bias is Very Real

Institute for Politics, Democracy, and the Internet/Zogby Poll shows American voters are skeptical political motivation may be behind blogs run by mainstream news organizations The vast majority of American voters believe media bias is alive and well -- 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn't take political sides, a recent IPDI/Zogby Interactive poll shows....

Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches....

While 97% of Republicans surveyed said the media are liberal, two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias. Democrats, while much more likely to perceive a conservative bias than other groups, were not nearly as sure the media was against them as were the Republicans. While Republicans were unified in their perception of a left-wing media, just two-thirds of Democrats were certain the media skewed right -- and 17% said the bias favored the left.

     END of Excerpt

     Zogby's summary of the poll results: www.zogby.com

     IPDI's home page: www.ipdi.org

     For many more polls on how the public perceive the media, as well as for the views held by journalists, check the MRC's "Media Bias Basics" section on the MRC's Web site. Rich Noyes updated it this month with "The Liberal Media Exposed," a PDF-formatted collection of the most-illuminating findings: Formatted, easy-to-print pages detailing the key results of nearly two dozen surveys about media bias. The report also includes quotes from top journalists denying a liberal media bias, plus comments from journalists acknowledging the problem. Go to: www.mediaresearch.org

 

Richard Gere: 'We Have a President Right
Now Who Lies Constantly'

     Appearing on Wednesday's Late Show with David Letterman, actor Richard Gere declared: "We have a President right now who lies constantly and gets away with it apparently." Gere's comment, which drew applause from the audience in Manhattan, came in response to Letterman asking Gere, who was on the show to promote The Hoax, a movie opening in April in which he stars as Clifford Irving who wrote and sold a bogus autobiography of the reclusive Howard Hughes: "Is this the kind of thing that can happen now?"


| |
More See & Hear the Bias

     Gere also contended that "the second Watergate where they got caught actually had a lot to do with the material that's in this book, in the fake autobiography, because Clifford made up a lot of things about Hughes and Richard Nixon and they ended up being true. But Nixon was the only one that knew they were true and so the break-in was actually to find out how much the Democratic Party knew."

     [This item was posted late Wednesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog. The video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but in the meantime to watch the Real or Windows Media video, as well as MP3 audio, go to: newsbusters.org ]

     IMDb's plot summary for The Hoax: "In what would cause a fantastic media frenzy, Clifford Irving (Gere) sells his bogus biography of Howard Hughes to a premiere publishing house in the early 1970s." See: www.imdb.com

     Yahoo's plot summary: "The writer Clifford Irving nearly pulled off one of the most audacious media scams in history, when his 'autobiography' of Howard Hughes was published. Irving claimed the book was based on in-person interviews with the reclusive billionaire, which were in fact completely bogus." See: movies.yahoo.com

     Wikipedia's page on Clifford Irving: en.wikipedia.org

     A transcript of the relevant portion of the interview on the March 14 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS:

     Richard Gere: "Hughes was involved with some money-laundering with Richard Nixon and Donald Nixon, which we get into in the film. But, in fact, it's pretty clear now that Watergate -- the second Watergate where they got caught -- actually had a lot to do with the material that's in this book, in the fake autobiography, because Clifford made up a lot of things about Hughes and Richard Nixon and they ended up being true. But Nixon was the only one that knew they were true and so the break-in was actually to find out how much the Democratic Party knew."
     David Letterman: "And is this the kind of thing that can happen now? Probably not."
     Gere: "We have a President right now who lies constantly and gets away with it apparently."
     [Applause]
     Letterman: "But in terms of the specific fraud of selling a biography to a publishing house, that probably couldn't happen now."
     Gere: "Of course it could..."

 

'Top Ten Signs Your Wife Is Having an
Affair With Newt Gingrich'

     From the March 14 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Your Wife Is Having an Affair With Newt Gingrich." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. When people say Newt Gingrich screwed the middle class, wife says, "Damn straight"

9. Comes home late from work smelling all Newty

8. You find a love letter signed by the "Newt-Ron Bomb"

7. She starts buying black-market Vicodin for Rush Limbaugh

6. You find a congressional gavel floating in the hot tub

5. A strange voice on the answering machine asks your wife if she wants to "'Newt' it up this weekend"

4. During sex, she screams provisions from the 1994 Contract With America

3. She's on the phone in the other room and all you can make out is "Trent Lott" and "Threesome"

2. No number 2 -- writer still stuck on grounded JetBlue flight

1. There's a photo of them on NewtGingrichIsSleepingWithYourWife.com

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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