Selective Examination of Justice
Selection. NBC News asked
law correspondent Carl Stern to compare the effect of a Bush versus a
Dukakis presidency on the Supreme Court.
Noting "three of the four liberal
justices" will "be in their eighties and unlikely to remain
through the next presidency," Stern offered this analogy to predict
the standard Bush will apply when selecting new justices: "Bush
broke a tie vote in the Senate to confirm Appeals Court Judge Daniel
Manion, an obscure conservative opposed by the deans of 44 law
As for Bush's opponent, Stern was more
assuring in his October 10 story: "Dukakis, as Governor of
Massachusetts, used a non-partisan advisory commission in naming judges,
and says he would do the same as President."
Bush League Evaluation. NBC's
Robert Bazell wasn't about to let George Bush claim the environmental
high ground. For the October 12 Nightly News Bazell reviewed
the environmental record of the two presidential candidates. Emphasizing
an endorsement Dukakis received from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV),
Bazell then went on to give the LCV's report card on the presidential
contenders. Dukakis earned a 'B', but the LCV slapped Bush with a 'D'
for his "actions as chairman of President Reagan's Task Force on
Regulatory Reform." But Bazell never identified the LCV's liberal
agenda, instead he described it as "a non-partisan political action
committee representing several environmental groups."
A quick look at the annual congressional
ratings the LCV issues shows that the Congressmen who garner perfect 100
ratings from the LCV are liberals, such as Barney Frank, Patricia
Schroeder, and Henry Waxman.
On the other hand, Jack Kemp, Orrin
Hatch, William Armstrong, Trent Lott and other conservatives who balance
economic costs with environmental benefits only get a 20 or less. Bush's
grade on the environment can't be any lower than Bazell's mark for
Preference. The Washington Post, which backed Mondale
in 1984, refused to endorse either Dukakis or Bush. But just over a week
before the election the Post's Ombudsman confirmed what any
reader already realized about the paper's reporting staff.
In his weekly column for the October 30
"Outlook" section, Richard Harwood wrote: "The huge
newsroom staff, thought (by me) to be viscerally Democratic and L------
in its sympathies, lurks in the wings as sort of a silent, nonvoting
regiment of Jiminy Crickets, peering, in a metaphorical sense, over the
shoulders of the editorial custodians of the newspapers's 'soul.' They
would, if given a vote, go like a shot, I suspect, for Dukakis."
Left-wing activist Tom Hayden, better known as Jane Fonda's husband,
decided to organize a celebrity bus caravan to register voters. The
"Star Spangled Caravan" traveled from rally to rally in
California, Oregon and Washington to sign up Democrats to vote for
TV and movie stars on the bus included:
Justine Bateman and Michael Gross of Family Ties, Goldie Hawn, Eddie
Albert, Howard Hessman of Head of the Class, Morgan Fairchild, Lloyd
Bridges, John Ratzenberger of Cheers, Moonlighting's Bruce Willis, and
"ratpackers" Ally Sheedy, Rob Lowe and Judd Nelson. Several
other stars, including Sally Field, Richard Gere and Daryl Hannah have
accompanied Dukakis during California campaign swings.
The George Bush campaign managed to find
a few celebrities willing to publicly back his candidacy. Among them:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, Telly Savalas and Cheryl Ladd. The
liberal culture that predominates Hollywood helped Dukakis out in other
ways. Burt Lancaster along with Jill Eikenberry and Michael Tucker of L.A.Law
volunteered to star in pro-ACLU ads. But the Bush campaign had to scrap
counter ads. Why? Because, as Bush entertainment liaison Rene Henry
explained in the October 17 Los Angeles Times, "some very
big names" declined, for fear of being blackballed for going after
an institution considered sacred by the Hollywood Left.
Media Issue. Politicians
from both sides of the aisle had plenty of complaints about how the
media, especially the networks, covered and influenced the presidential
campaign. Their most frequent criticisms: First, TV stories focused too
much on soundbites at the expense of probing "the issues."
Second, self created news, namely polls that became the lead story on
the network which commissioned them. Indeed, only CNN reported the
results of polls conducted by their competitors. Newsweek
realized the media had become a major issue. Five of 15 questions in a
presidential campaign poll published in the October 31 issue concerned
the media's role. One finding: More Americans blame the media than the
candidates or their managers for "negative aspects of this year's
Taking Civil Liberties.
George Bush used Michael Dukakis' status as a self-professed
"card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU)" as proof the Massachusetts Governor held liberal views. At
various times Bush pointed out that the union's policy guide asks that
the private movie rating system (PG, R etc.) be eliminated, demands a
ban on public display of nativity scenes and the menorah, urges an end
to tax exemptions for churches, and calls for the legalization of drugs.
All positions which most Americans find abhorrent.
But the same media outlets that demanded
Reagan judicial appointments repudiate affiliations with discriminatory
clubs, didn't see anything for the ACLU or Dukakis to be ashamed of; in
fact they ignored those positions and portrayed the ACLU as a
non-political group fighting for those oppressed by government action.
An October 10 Newsweek article offered this innocuous
description: "The organization is devoted to upholding the rights
of any individual -- no matter how odious his or her views."
NBC Nightly News devoted an
entire story to the ACLU. On September 27 Carl Stern gave Robert Bork a
few seconds to denounce the union, but most of the piece presented it as
a group that upsets all segments of society equally: "More than 60
years ago it sided with John Scopes when he was prosecuted for teaching
evolution. More than 40 years ago it opposed World War II internment of
Japanese Americans. Ten years ago it defended the rights of American
Nazi's to march in Illinois and currently it is defending the fair trail
rights of Oliver North."
In fact, a recent direct mail letter put
together before the campaign furor erupted and signed by Executive
Director Ira Glasner began: "If you thought the eight year struggle
against the right-wing extremists of the Reagan era was already won...
THINK AGAIN." So much for political neutrality.
Dumping on the Environment.
Is the environment getting better or worse? If you rely on ABC News you
may be confused. In a September 8 Special, "Burning Issues:
"The Poisoning of America," host Hugh Downs warned it was time
to "sound an alarm" on the problem of toxic waste.
Reporter Greg Dobbs relayed the expected
dire media line: "Victims of Love Canal in New York, stamped
forever on our memories and on our environment. Forgotten old buried
waste, toxic fumes, chromosome damage in 30 percent of the citizens
tested....And, from Times Beach, Missouri, dioxin-tainted oil to coat
the dusty roads. It spreads in a flood: a chance of cancer in a
But that completely contradicted a
segment last month on the same network's 20/20 show. Downs
introduced a report with another kind of warning. He asked: "Have
fear and hysteria replaced common sense?" Consumer reporter John
Stossel provided this answer: "Now the EPA says dioxin may be 16
times less dangerous than they thought during the Times Beach
scare....And then there's the most famous case, Love Canal....Everyone
was certain that toxic waste there had already caused birth defects and
cancer....But several years later, the Center for Disease Control did a
more scientific assessment of the dangers and said the cancer rates of
Love Canal residents were no higher than average." Dobbs told MediaWatch
he was "not familiar with Stossel's report." Nonetheless Dobbs
described his work as "accurate." Stossel also stands by his
version. Who is right? As Stossel explained to MediaWatch:
"There are plenty of stories out there that say 'isn't it awful
we're all dying.' I don't know how well researched any of them
Better World for Abortion.
TBS Chairman Ted Turner delved into politics in 1985 by forming the
Better World Society (BWS), a group whose Board of Directors includes
several well-known world communist leaders. Just last year, Turner
invited Communist China's Vice Chairman of the State Family Planning
Association, Zhou Boping, to join. So it's no wonder that Zhou Boping's
group, an official arm of the communist regime, received one of BWS'
Better World Medals this year.
The award, to be presented at a gala
event in New York City in late November, was earned for China's
"work at the grassroots level in educating and motivating
communities to adopt the government's family planning policy."
Sounds harmless enough. But what did BWS neglect to mention? The agency
oversees the one-child population control policy which has led to death
for over ten million unborn children each year through the regimes's
forced infanticide program.
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