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 Magazine Watch

Tuesday January 18, 2000 (Vol. 2; No. 3)

Vast White Conspiracy; Confederate Flag Football; Hillary’s Hush-Kit Money

1. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff portrayed George W. Bush’s unprecedented fund-raising success as somehow sinister by implying that the Texas governor was a pawn of big business and "successful middle-aged white men."

2. In Time, James Carney found Bush to be sometimes "scripted, or just bored" with the rigors of a presidential campaign, and hypocritical on media questions about the South Carolina flag.

3. U.S. News & World Report found something new about the First Lady running for the Senate. Are big donors shoveling soft-money dollars her way to influence the President on their business?

4. To observe Martin Luther King’s birthday, Newsweek invited radical black professor Michael Eric Dyson to complain about how King’s views have been watered down. As for today’s alleged racial healers, Newsweek columnist George Will thought someone should correct Bill Bradley.


Newsweek's Michael Isikoff dismissed the notion that Texas Governor George W. Bush was the beneficiary of grass-roots support and posited the idea the Bush was a tool for a handful of powerful businessmen: "Bush credits grass-roots enthusiasm for his fund-raising triumph. Look again: at the heart of his operation are a handful of GOP kingmakers who placed their bets early."

Isikoff described Bush's decision to run for president and relationship with a wealthy auto executive named Heinz Prechter: "Bush himself was coy about running. At the dedication of the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M in November '97, the moneymen were disappointed by the younger Bush's reluctance to give them a sign to start gathering checks in earnest. The governor said that he was worried about exposing his teenage daughters to the rigors of a presidential campaign, and he still had to get re-elected in Texas in November '98. Still, Bush did not say no. In February '98, Prechter invited a dozen or so of the heaviest hitters in the GOP to his 10,000-acre cattle ranch outside tiny Wheeler, Texas. The event became known as ‘the Hunt,' and in retrospect, it was a turning point. Donning 10-gallon hats and cowboy boots, the moneymen watched Bush address some Eagle Scouts and their parents in a local high-school auditorium. They sat around Prechter's fireplace and peppered Bush with questions, then everyone donned camouflage and went bird hunting. The fat cats were sold. Bush's teasing, masculine manner was comforting to the business tycoons, all of them successful, middle-aged white men."


In "Bush Bears Down," Time's James Carney looked at the state of the Bush campaign and found the GOP frontrunner to appear "scripted, or just bored" at times. Carney opined: But if Bush has all the artillery, he has yet to show he can consistently handle the incoming fire of the campaign trail. When he is faced with issues that fall outside the Bush Campaign Message -- like when voters at two back-to-back meetings in New Hampshire last week stood up to ask him about health care -- he can still sound scripted, or just bored. And when the issues are hot, he can be evasive. On a number of recent controversies -- whether the Confederate flag should fly over the South Carolina capitol, what to do about the racial profiling of black motorists, whether to let McCain on the New York ballot -- the candidate argues that it is up to the states to decide. But on subjects less touchy for Republicans, Bush has been willing to criticize a Cleveland judge's decision on vouchers, an assisted suicide initiative in Oregon and an anti-gay initiative in California." Carney did not note that the last prominent GOP convert to bringing down the flag is known as ex-Governor David Beasley. As for consistency, Time had no room to brag, since it didn't devote any space to the Democrats' racial spat: Bill Bradley harping on Al Gore's 1988 role in publicizing the Massachusetts furlough program that made Willie Horton famous.


U.S. News & World Report found something new about the First Lady running for the Senate. Are big donors shoveling soft-money dollars her way to influence the President on their business? Investigative reporters Sheila Kaplan and Gary Cohen began by noting the President's October 27 meeting with the President of the European Commission to sell him on airplane noise-reduction technology. "Just before Clinton's intervention, an officer of a large hush-kit manufacturer, ABS Partnership Inc., and a business partner wrote checks totaling $160,000 to a campaign fund intended for Hillary Rodham Clinton. At the time, that was the largest contribution the campaign had received. ‘The campaign has no involvement in any governmental decision,' says Howard Wolfson, a spokesman."

They added: "But that wasn't all the partners gave. The contributors, Sandra Wagenfeld and Francine Goldstein, of Westport, Conn., kicked in an additional $301,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 1999, placing them among the top 10 donors of so-called soft money to Democrats last year. The donations are part of a trend: In her race for the New York Senate seat against Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, the first lady has tapped White House connections time and again for contributions and support...The first lady, in a word, is finding lots of ways to employ the advantages of incumbency without ever having held political office." Kaplan and Cohen also noted a recent guest at the White House Millennium Dinner was none other than Loral boss Bernard Schwartz, still a major DNC donor and still atop a company that helped Chinese scientists steal American nuclear secrets. "Schwartz gave more than $1 million to the Democratic Party in the last election cycle."


To observe Martin Luther King's birthday, Newsweek invited radical black professor Michael Eric Dyson to complain about how King's views have been watered down: "King's hunger for his children to live in a world where character counts more than color has led some conservatives to conclude that he opposed race-conscious remedies to discrimination. In truth, King advocated an aggressive campaign of racial compensation that acknowledged the injustice done to blacks. Since the nation had done ‘something special against the Negro for hundreds of years,' it must ‘do something special for him now, in order to balance the equation and equip him now to compete on a just and equal basis.' He also privately promoted what he termed ‘democratic socialism.' He publicly called for ‘a redistribution of economic power.' Add to the mix King's principled criticism of the Vietnam War -- for which he was bitterly attacked but later vindicated -- and one gets a sense of just how profound King's radicalism was."

As for today's alleged racial healers, Newsweek columnist George Will thought someone should correct Bill Bradley: "Race is Bradley's passion. ‘I remember,' he says, ‘the exact moment that I became a Democrat.' He was a Capitol Hill intern in the summer of 1964, before his senior year at Princeton. After watching the Senate vote on that year's Civil Rights Act, ‘I became a Democrat because it was the party of justice.' Well. Eighty-two percent of Senate Republicans (27 of 33) voted for the act, whereas just 69 percent of Senate Democrats (46 of 67) did. That is, 21 Senate Democrats opposed the act. Only six Republicans did. As an epiphany story, Bradley's needs work."

-- Mark H. Drake





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