Abortion Distortion. As
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis campaigns around the
country he's frequently confronted by pro-life demonstrators.
On the July 24 World News Sunday,
ABC's Joe Bergantino noted the presence of anti-abortion protesters as
Dukakis attended church. Instead of portraying his pro-abortion stand as
a liability with ethnic Catholics, Bergantino declared it is: "Just
one of several positions that helps him with women voters."
Bergantino explained how Dukakis is
courting "disgruntled working class, Catholic voters" who
"he says bought the Reagan message and found it bought them little
Contra Attack? "The
Sandinistas today blame the Contras for an attack on a river boat that
killed two people and wounded 27, including an American clergyman,"
CBS' Dan Rather announced on August 3.
Reporter Juan Vasquez reviewed the
"terrifying" cruise, explaining "the Sandinistas were
quick to seize the propaganda advantage by blaming" the Contras.
Since all the other networks ignored the charge, the Sandinista ploy
worked only with CBS. Though Rather mentioned "the Contras denied
any involvement," Vasquez dismissed the Contra version, concluding:
"Since they're counting on the U.S. Congress to bail them out of an
increasingly desperate situation, the attack on civilians on Rama River
could not have come at a worse time."
Laying the Blame on the
Mujaheddin. On the July 23 NBC Nightly News reporter
Peter Kent told viewers who is at fault for the ongoing violence in
Afghanistan. The Soviets who invaded in 1979? No, the Afghan freedom
fighters struggling to liberate their nation. Reporting from Kabul, Kent
charged Mujaheddin rockets killed "at least 17 civilians" in a
week, claiming: "The problem is the Mujaheddin still want an
unconditional victory over the communist regime in Kabul when the Soviet
troop withdrawal is completed next year."
ABC's Missing Meese Piece.
On July 25 Attorney General Edwin Meese told the National Press Club
luncheon audience a criminal probe of his activities could have been
avoided had two former Justice Department officials first conducted a
competent investigation. CBS, CNN and NBC all ran stories on Meese's
The next day those two officials, the
former Deputy and Assistant Attorneys General, appeared before the
Senate Judiciary Committee and claimed the department turned into
"a world of Alice in Wonderland" under Meese, prompting them
to resign in protest. ABC, which couldn't find time for Meese's side of
the story the night before, made these charges the lead item on World
News Tonight. So much for balance.
Britannica Turns on Turner.
Encyclopedia Britannica has canceled plans to market to schools an
educational package based on "Portrait of the Soviet Union." A
glowing look at Soviet society, "Portrait" aired in March on
Ted Turner's cable superstition, WTBS, and earned the "Janet Cook
Award." Britannica planned to sell a series of videotapes and study
guides for elementary, middle and high school students based on the
The Media Research Center (MRC),
publisher of MediaWatch, mobilized nationwide
conservative opposition to the pro-Soviet propaganda. An early August
syndicated column by William F. Buckley Jr. alerted parents to the
content, prompting a Britannica official to announce the cancellation.
The reason given: "Test marketing of the 'Portrait' series
indicated there was insufficient demand." Translation: it bombed.
A Feminist Mistake.
After reciting the gains made by women since the publication of Betty
Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, NBC's Betty Rollin concluded
her July 25 Nightly News story by repeating a myth pushed by
feminists. "Women's earning are still only 70 percent of men's. And
women...may rise to the middle of a corporation, but seldom to the
top," she announced.
Researchers at Concerned Women for
America were quick to explain to MediaWatch
that women are 11 times more likely than men to leave and re-enter the
labor force, and women are much more likely to choose flexible jobs with
transferable skills. These patterns largely account for slower
promotions and lower earning. Women aged 20-24 make 89 percent of what
their male counterparts earn, and the wages of women are expected to
improve relative to men's for the rest of the century.
How could Rollin have missed this?
Perhaps it was her choice of sources. In nine minutes over two nights,
Rollin featured only one expert: radical feminist Friedan.
Apparently convinced Mikhail Gorbachev is dedicated to religious
freedom, one CBS reporter has found the real villain behind Soviet
religious repression. While Gorbachev has promised for five years to
allow free worship, still today few churches have been allowed to
reopen. The Ukranian Catholic Church was nearly obliterated under Stalin
and remains under-ground today.
To CBS' Burt Quint, however, Gorbachev is
not to be blamed. Quint absolved him, characterizing the Russian
Orthodox Church as the true obstacle. In a June 13 report on the Pope's
appeal for religious tolerance, Quint concluded: "The Russian
Orthodox Church has resisted the granting of religious freedom to other
Christians. It enjoys a near monopoly on legalized religion and would
resent losing it. That poses a problem for Gorbachev."
Bronx Wars. NBC's Bronx
Zoo, a show about life at an inner-city high school that stars
left-wing activist Ed Asner, is at it again. An episode last season
promoted birth control and abortion services. This season Asner used a
new June 22 episode to denigrate a military career.
When teacher "Sara Newhouse"
learns a student plans to enlist in the Marines, she becomes enraged.
Insisting "these kids" need "to learn from our
mistakes," she gets principal "Joe Danzig," played by
Asner, to allow her to photocopy an anti-Vietnam War book not on the
approved list. In discussing the situation with other teachers she
bemoans her student's choice of a military career since he has
"real potential and he's just going to chuck it all for the
Marines." She also regrets anti-war sentiments "just aren't
that fashionable anymore."
Head's Line on Firing
Line. ABC's situation-comedy Head of the Class has,
once again, served as a platform for liberal actor Howard Hessman to
promote his political views. An episode repeated this summer satirized a
TV talk show host described as an "intellectual, novelist,
mountain-climber" and "the king of conservatism." The
"Lawrence P. Whitney" character even impersonated the voice of
William F. Buckley Jr.
Upon hearing "Whitney" wants to
interview a member of the advanced placement class, high school student
"Dennis" calls him a "right-wing, crypto-fascist,
plutocratic sleaze bag." In a letter to the TV host,
"Dennis" writes: "Your every appearance is living proof
that the phrase conservative thinker is an oxymoron." As the
program draws to a close teacher "Mr. Moor," (Howard Hessman)
imagines what his appearance might be like. "Mr. Moore" gives
viewers a lecture on the virtues of liberalism. "Whitney"
naturally sees the light:
"How could I have been so blind. So,
I can now at last say that liberalism may, nay let me go so far as to
say does, have a profound and unequivocal value. Because of what you
have said here today, I feel compelled to re-evaluate the thinking of my
A Healthy Tilt. Just how
widespread is advocacy of the liberal agenda at The Washington Post?
Judging by some recent cover stories, it even includes the weekly
tabloid "Health" section which the newspaper uses to promote
Back in March, Karen DeYoung looked at
the popularity of Britain's National Health Services (NHS) on the 40th
birthday of "the proudest achievement of Britain's post-war social
reforms." DeYoung glossed over the well documented problems of an
inefficient government run system, including long waits just to get a
hospital bed, poor care and unlimited demand for a system without any
incentives to control costs. Instead, DeYoung attacked conservative
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for "undermining" NHS by
refusing to raise taxes to fund the system.
Concluding the article, DeYoung described
her policies as "niggardly and insulting to the citizens of a
country that claims to have Europe's highest economic growth rate."
An accompanying sidebar article by a Princeton University professor
urged the U.S. to raise taxes and further regulate medicine in order to
assure "universal entitlement to health care."
After Massachusetts Government Michael
Dukakis signed a law forcing private companies to provide health
insurance to those uninsured, a cover story asked hopefully: "As
Massachusetts Goes, So Goes the Nation?" Back in April 1987 the
"Health" section gave readers a six page tribute to Senator
Ted Kennedy and his campaign for socialized medicine, praising him for
becoming a "torch-bearer of change in domestic politics."
Moscow Meets Main Street.
If you think you see more and more communist spokesmen and Soviet
government officials on American television news, you're right. A new
Media Institute monograph, "Moscow Meets Main Street," by
Virginia Commonwealth University professor Ted Smith proves that the
American networks increasingly consider official Soviet spokesmen
credible source of information. The study of all network evening
newscasts in 1981, 1983, and 1985 showed a drastic increase in Soviet
on-camera appearance with each year. Smith found that in 1981, 291
stories used at least one Soviet source. By 1985, the Soviets gained
unprecedented access to American viewers, as the number of stories with
a Soviet appearance jumbed 64 percent to 477.
What explains this increased willingness
to put Soviets on the air? Smith suggests the blame lies with the
"intellectualization" of the elite journalists and their
"culturally neutral" outlook on reporting. All too often the
U.S. media, acting as neutral arbitrators above the East-West fray, give
equal weight and credibility to Soviet communist policy and the words of
leaders in the Free World.
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