Media Ignore Politicized Clinton Justice Department
Democratic "Land of Hackdom"?
In the last 12 years, reporters
criticized the Justice Department for its partisan service to the White
House. Both Time and Newsweek recently maligned GOP
Justice Departments. Newsweek's David Kaplan wrote:
"[Attorney General Ed] Meese ran a Justice Department that was the
Land of Hackdom -- little more than an agency to service the needs of
President Reagan, and occasionally, the A.G. himself. His four-year
reign was the archetype of politics over conscience, ideology over
Now that Clinton's Justice Department has
served the White House's partisan interests, did the networks and
newsweeklies cry "hack"? No. In fact, the Democrats'
machinations aren't much of a story:
On March 10, Judge Royce Lamberth ruled
Hillary Clinton's task force violated the Federal Advisory Committee Act
(FACA), which requires open meetings for task forces that include
non-federal employees. Only ABC did a story before the judge ruled. All
four networks reported the ruling, but CBS only did a brief anchor- read
story. Time called it a "victory" for the Clintons.
The Washington Times scooped the
yawning competition on March 26 by pointing out many task force members
Clinton claimed as federal employees were not, violating the FACA. When
the White House released a list of 511 names that day, the Times
noted the list "did not meet the [General Accounting Office]
request for dates of employment, salaries, and detailed
backgrounds." The network reaction? None.
Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.), on trial for
bank fraud, lobbied the Clinton Justice Department to demand the seated
jury be rejected and replaced by one selected by race. The Justice
Department caved, prompting the prosecuting U.S. Attorney to resign in
protest. CNN did a story on Inside Politics. The other three?
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.
CNN's World News and NBC Nightly News provided brief
mentions, with only NBC noting the Rosty angle. Only NBC's Garrick Utley
kept the old outrage, declaring in a March 27 "Final Thoughts"
comment: "Every new President likes to say `Under me, it's not
going to be politics as usual.' At the Justice Department, it looks as
if it still is."
Applying the same standards to coverage
of Clinton's administration as they applied to Reagan and Bush is a
major test of the media's fairness. So far they're failing.
Brokaw Balks at Babbitt
In turning down an offer from Secretary
of Interior Bruce Babbitt to run the National Park Service, NBC
Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw endorsed the
Clinton Administration's environmental policies. Brokaw told Washington
Post reporter John Carmody that he considered the offer "very
seriously," but decided to reject it because of the turmoil at NBC.
"We need more parkland....I have a lot of friends in the
environmental movement. I'm not an Earth Firster but I feel strongly,
given my Western roots, in a reasonable dialogue on the issues; I think
I'd be reasonably good at that," Brokaw asserted.
In the March 20 article Carmody explained
that "Brokaw is among those who believe the park system faces a
crisis, as mining, oil, lumber and ranching activity crowds to the very
edge of such wilderness areas as Yellowstone National Park, threatening
their ecosystems even as development and maintenance of the parks is
hampered by budget cuts and increasingly large visitor counts."
But a 30 Rock veteran still might take
over the agency. Among those under consideration: Roger Kennedy,
Director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
During the 1950s he was a reporter for NBC News.
The last time a Democrat controlled the
White House Douglas Bennet served as Assistant
Secretary of State for congressional relations and then as Director of
the Agency for International Development, a State Department agency.
With a Democrat back on Pennsylvania Avenue, Bennet will soon be back at
State. President Clinton has nominated him for the position of Assistant
Secretary of State for intergovernmental organizations.
So what did the Democratic partisan do
when the Republicans were in power? Bennet ran National Public Radio
(NPR) as its President from 1983 until Clinton chose him. Before working
for Carter, Bennet served as top aide to two Democratic Senators:
Abraham Ribicoff and Tom Eagleton.
NBC's Defensive Move
During the Persian Gulf War Pete
Williams' daily televised briefings from the Pentagon made him
famous. Now he'll be a regular fixture on NBC News. Assistant Secretary
of Defense for public affairs during the Bush Administration, Williams
became a national correspondent in early April, working out of the
Williams is not new to television
reporting. From 1976 to 1985 he was an anchor and reporter for KTWO-TV
in Casper, Wyoming. After four years as Press Secretary and Legislative
Assistant to U.S. Representative Richard Cheney, he followed the
Republican to the Pentagon.
David Beckwith, a Time
Washington correspondent for eight years before becoming Press Secretary
to Vice President Dan Quayle, has landed a temporary job. He's Press
Secretary to Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican candidate to fill the
Texas Senate seat vacated by Lloyd Bentsen. No matter what the outcome
of the May 1 election (and possible subsequent run-off), Beckwith told The
Washington Post he plans to return to journalism when the campaign
ABC Reports on Bias
Viewers Decry Slant
Breaking out of the old formula, ABC's Prime
Time Live explored a rare topic: the media's own biases. After
calling for viewer examples of bias in November, ABC aired the results
on March 11: 8,000 people flooded the network with examples, and nine of
ten letter writers thought election coverage was slanted against the
"We found no grand conspiracy, but
we did find some surprising examples of what seemed to be some less than
objective journalism," declared reporter Judd Rose. He embarrassed Chicago
Tribune editor George Langford, who defended a front-page photo
from Associated Press showing President Bush with his back to the
camera, standing next to a sign that read "Danger -- Keep
Away." When Langford said it was the best they had, Rose showed him
four very positive AP photos of Bush that were available the same day.
Rose pointed out that George
Stephanopoulos' "random" call to George Bush on Larry King
Live right before the election went to the CNN control room, and
producers made sure it got on. Hardly random.
Rose even critiqued Prime Time
itself. In interviews with candidates the week before the election, Sam
Donaldson told viewers to watch for Bush backing off a tax pledge, then
concluded a segment on Clinton: "They're talking about a whirlwind
trip around the country. That's commitment." According to Rose,
"Sam says he added that remark after our Executive Producer
expressed concern that the tone of the Clinton interview was too
This suggests one theory about the real
reason for ABC's story: It's penance for Prime Time Executive
Producer Rick Kaplan, who would not deny a Spy magazine report
that he attended Clinton campaign staff meetings and boasted of setting
up the Clinton press office during the primaries. In a recent issue of The
Washington Post Magazine, reporter David Finkel quoted Kaplan as he
watched Donaldson's interview with Clinton. "I'd just like to do
this one over again...I'm getting angry watching this...You're making
fun of him ....You didn't treat Bush this way."
Ed Bradley Ignores
Critics In Tribute to New York Times Reporter
Still Fighting the Salvadoran War
The war in El Salvador may be over, but
Ed Bradley and CBS are still fighting it. On 60 Minutes March
14, Bradley revisited the 1981 massacre at El Mozote, and used it as a
forum to attack Reagan Administration officials and media critics who
questioned the quality of reporting from El Salvador. For attacking
media critics without giving them any time to respond, CBS earns the
Janet Cooke Award.
60 Minutes timed the story to
air the day before the release of the United Nations "Truth
Commission" report. It claimed the Salvadoran government was
responsible for a majority of the deaths in the grisly ten-year civil
war, including El Mozote. Bradley used the new charges to vindicate two
reporters, Raymond Bonner of The New York Times and Alma
Guillermoprieto of The Washington Post, who first wrote the El
Bradley focused his complaint on
critiques of Raymond Bonner's story from El Mozote: "An ultra-right
wing media newsletter [Accuracy In Media's AIM Report] said he
was worth a division to the communists in Central America. Time
magazine also attacked Bonner, as did a Wall Street Journal
editorial which called him overly credulous." Bradley revealed his
bias when he called AIM "ultra-right" but labeled El
Salvador's Cuban-inspired communist guerrillas simply
Bradley then turned to Bonner, who
charged: "That [Wall Street Journal] editorial and the
attacks that followed turned around the press...I think it made people
more reluctant to report on human rights abuses by the government."
Bradley left the completely false impression that media critics and
Reagan officials were cynically criticizing his reporting because it was
too painfully accurate. Bradley excluded anything that might suggest
Bonner wasn't perfectly accurate.
Had Bradley aired a spokesman from AIM,
they might have explained that their "worth a division" quote
was based on 51 of Bonner's reports from El Salvador, not just the
Mozote story. Wall Street Journal editorial writers could have
told viewers that they praised the more measured stories of
Washington Post reporter Alma Guillermoprieto, also featured in
Time critic William A. Henry
III, who is no conservative, might have explained the context of his
brief comments about Bonner in a 1735-word article. Henry called Bonner
"probably the most energetic and most controversial reporter on the
scene. Some peers vigorously defend him; others say he is readier to
believe the guerrillas than the government." But Bradley allowed no
trace of nuance, and left important questions unanswered:
1. How qualified was Bonner as a
reporter? Bradley didn't tell viewers, for example, that Bonner
started his entire journalistic career with The New York Times
in El Salvador, despite the Times' usual practice of hiring
only experienced reporters. This was not so in the case of Bonner, an
amateur journalist fresh from lawyering for Ralph Nader. Bonner was so
green that the Times officially posted him on their
metropolitan desk, and sent him into El Salvador only when the news
2. What about Bonner's feelings
about the communists? Was Bonner too supportive or willing to
accept guerrilla claims? Bradley didn't explore, for example, Bonner's
reluctance to label the FMLN. Bonner said at one symposium: "I have
always stayed away from calling groups `Marxist-led,' because I don't
know exactly what that means...[even] calling them `guerrillas' has
negative connotations...calling them leftists has negative
connotations." Why did Bonner worry about negative U.S. public
relations for the FMLN?
3. What about Bonner's
credibility? All of Bonner's
critics attacked a story Bradley didn't mention, an untrue story Bonner
had to renounce. Bonner and the Times reported a gruesome story
about teenagers tortured by Salvadoran soldiers on the basis of an
unreliable Salvadoran army deserter named Antonio Gomez. Bonner misled
the public with harrowing stories about torturing children based on one
dubious source, the worst kind of yellow journalism. Bradley also left
out that Bonner forwarded without challenge FMLN assertions that they
got no weapons or training from Cuba or Nicaragua, despite plenty of
evidence to the contrary.
4. How many people were murdered
at El Mozote? None of the media critics claimed there was no
massacre at El Mozote; but the size of the actual death toll is crucial
to determining the credibility of Bonner's reporting. In his story from
El Salvador, Bradley reported that forensic anthropologists found 146
bodies in one grave at El Mozote, but began by claiming "more than
700" were killed. Until the anthropologists can verify 700
skeletons, what proof does Bradley have of his estimate?
To this day, media reports vary from 200
to "almost 1,000," Bonner's favorite estimate, and one he used
in his book Weakness and Deceit. The New York Times itself
varied in its 1990s reports: on October 30, 1990, the Times
cited "about 1,000"; on January 2, 1992, "at least
794"; "almost 1,000" again on November 1, 1992;
"more than 200" in a caption on March 21, 1993. Bonner's
reporting should not be hailed as "vindicated" if he doubled
or tripled the actual death toll; it only underlines his credibility
tried to contact Bradley's producer, David Gelber, for comment. Gelber
replied: "Actually, I'm not in a position to do that right now. Can
you call me tomorrow?" Despite repeated calls over the next week,
Gelber failed to call back.
Bonner complained to Bradley:
"Washington didn't want reports coming out of Central America that
showed massacres by the Salvadoran government soldiers. And when the
facts didn't fit, when the facts didn't fit the policy, when the facts
that reporters, we in the field were sending back to our newspapers,
television, then they engage in smear campaigns by charging people with
having a leftist bias, a political agenda."
Instead of telling the whole story about
the bulk of Bonner's reporting, Bradley seemed to be practicing the
method Bonner attributed to conservatives: when the facts didn't fit, he
engaged in smear campaigns by charging people with having an
"ultra-right" bias, a political agenda.
Both sides in this journalistic tiff are
biased, but the question isn't simply bias, it's evidence: How can you
prove what you report? If Bradley had been interested in solid, balanced
reporting, whether it came from CBS or The New York Times, he
would have allowed Bonner's critics time to respond. But Bradley's
report wasn't about setting the record straight; it was about getting
Gumbel's Blame Game.
Bryant Gumbel doesn't miss a beat blaming Ronald Reagan for anything. On
the March 26 Today, co-host Gumbel talked with Tom Brokaw about
illegal immigration, asking: "Is the problem that the laws are
basically ineffective, or the laws can't be carried out because this
bureau, like every other, is understaffed, underfunded, a victim of the
Reagan cutbacks?" Less than a week later, on March 31, Gumbel asked
Dr. Richard Corlin of the American Medical Association: "In the
greedy excesses of the Reagan years, the mean income of the average
physician nearly doubled, from $88,000 to $170,000. Was that
Zahn's Zinger a Zero. CBS
This Morning anchor Paula Zahn showed a surprising lack of
understanding about the plight of the minority party in Congress. In a
March 19 interview with Rep. Richard Armey (R-TX) about debate in the
House of Representatives on the Clinton budget, Zahn asked "Were
you silenced in this debate?" Armey replied "We had one or two
members that went to the Rules Committee and were denied access to the
process. This is routine, it happens on every bill that comes to the
floor." Zahn jumped on that statement: "The Democrats would
say, would argue that happens for them as well. That they can't offer
the amendments they want to offer."
As every congressional observer knows,
the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives controls the
House Rules Committee, which sets the rules about debate and amendments
for every bill that comes to the House floor. The Republicans have no
RFK Revamped. The
media's Kennedy worship continues. On the March 9 CBS This Morning
Paula Zahn listed several of Robert Kennedy's many political
accomplishments: RFK's career moved "like a meteor...serving as a
Senate lawyer in the '50s, Bobby was at his brother's side running JFK's
presidential campaign in 1960... Robert Kennedy served a Attorney
General and fought several hard fights over civil rights in the early
'60s." She neglected to mention that as a "Senate lawyer"
he worked for one of the liberals' favorite demons, Sen. Joseph
McCarthy. Later, when extolling his civil rights record as Attorney
General, she neglected to mention that he also ordered Martin Luther
King's phone lines tapped.
The piece coincided with the kick-off of
a series of conferences commemorating Kennedy's life. Zahn interviewed
Robert Kennedy's oldest child, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, and asked her such
tough questions as: "One of the things that people who have long
admired your father often talk about is....his great compassion and
sensitivity towards people who had less. Your father had a privileged
upbringing. Where did that sensitivity come from?"
Simon Split. Scott Simon's weekly
commentaries on the Saturday Today continue to hew to the
left-wing line. On March 20, Simon opined on Reagan's El Salvador
policy: "How could American officials not know about the army to
which they gave such expensive weapons, weapons that were turned on
Salvadoran civilians?" He accepted the controversial results of the
recent United Nations report blaming government soldiers for almost all
the killing without question, and concluded: "The army we supported
tried to win the hearts of its nation with cruelty and steel. But each
life taken by torture, by murder, or massacre gave the rebels new life
for their cause."
But Simon grilled liberal Calif. Assembly
Speaker Willie Brown in a March 13 interview on the impact of military
base closings. He noted, "Many Representatives and Senators who
have called for reductions in the defense budget over the years are now
saying `not in my backyard.'" He asked the self-proclaimed `peace
activist': "While you and other political progressives spent all
those years saying that the U.S. military budget must be cut, did you
really think it could be done without costing jobs in your state?"
Stimulus Support. U.S.
News & World Report Senior Writer Susan Dentzer extolled the
virtues of the Clinton stimulus package in her March 15 "On the
Economy" column: "Amid a broader economic plan that has its
share of flaws, Clinton's well-crafted stimulus is a piece worth
keeping." Her reasoning? "The reason to pass a stimulus
package is to chart a smoother course for the economy, boosting it
toward full employment that much faster." To any skeptics, she
scoffed "It's no Depression-style program of hiring workers to
paint murals at the post office" and stated "The sorts of
spending the President has picked -- for example on education or on
long-planned highway projects -- tend to create lots of jobs, many of
which carry high wages and benefits."
In contrast to Dentzer's ebullience,
Donald Lambro of The Washington Times observed that jobs
created "would cost an average of $89,013 per job. Compare that
with the 365,000 jobs the private sector created in February alone
without any spending stimulus." As for "high wages and
benefits," Detroit News columnist Tony Snow noted:
"As part of his `Summer of Opportunity' proposals...the President
seeks $4 billion in additional unemployment insurance" and
"wants another $1.5 billion, more `summer money' to cover
delinquent student loans." At least post office murals are more
visible than the $28 million allocated to reduce the District of
Credible King? On March
9, Rodney King admitted under cross- examination that he didn't really
remember whether the police had used racial slurs while beating him. If
he couldn't remember this widely reported allegation, what about the
credibility of the rest of his testimony? CBS This Morning
co-host Harry Smith asked lawyer F. Lee Bailey on March 10: "Sounds
like [King's] first day went with a certain degree of credibility. What
is your fear for him now as cross-examination really gets under
way?" In the same interview Smith underlined this point, asking
"You've got the videotape. You've got a seemingly credible victim
on the stand in Rodney King. What do you have left to fight this if
you're representing the policemen?"
The next day, co-host Paula Zahn also
downplayed the discrepancy in King's testimony. Zahn asked defense
attorney Ira Salzman: "Mr. King also testified that the officers
had used racial slurs. I know under cross-examination that story changed
a bit, but don't you think the jurors will have some sort of empathy
with Mr. King's statements?" Changed a bit?
White Men Can't Edit. Newsweek's
March 29 cover story on "White Male Paranoia" wasn't
"news," but a rambling liberal editorial chock full of
cobwebbed cliches. Newsweek's David Gates wrote: "White
guys should have realized things were starting to slip at the time of
the Clarence Thomas hearings, when Anita Hill testified about being
sexually harassed and the white male senators looked like a bunch of
oinkers who just didn't get it."
Gates made overgeneralizations about
white men: "He hates the word womyn, and anything with the
suffix-centrist. He worries that he's becoming a fascist. He has been
thinking about buying a gun." Gates concluded: "Generations of
white males judged women and minorities not by what they did but by what
they were. Turnabout is fair play. White men are now beginning to say:
only fair play is fair play. It figures that they'd think of that
Name That Budget Cut.
Network reporters regularly blame woes on budget cuts, but can they back
up their assertions with facts? On March 13, CNN's Jim Hill reported on
California-based churches increasing their efforts to assist the needy.
Hill praised the efforts of churches to assist the "poverty
stricken," with programs such as free condom distribution. Hill
cited the need of expanding church based social service projects to
"make up for governmet cutbacks."
Hill added: "As problems like gang
violence continue to rise and government budgets continue to fall
churches of all faiths continue to try and fill the void." Hill
failed to cite any figures. Maybe that's because, according to a Cato
Institute report, during the Reagan years, "aid to poor people
living in cities increased."
False Start. Apparently
$2.5 trillion is not enough for CBS News reporter Terence Smith. That's
how much the government has spent on the "War on Poverty"
since the late 1960s. Yet, on the February 28 Sunday Morning,
Smith advocated more spending as the only solution for America's inner
cities. Promoting a Milton Eisenhower Foundation follow-up to the 1968
Kerner Commission, Smith suggested we should spend another $300 billion
on urban programs over the next ten years.
"Funding is the key, the report
says. And funding on a scale to the dimension of the problem,"
Smith said. As an example of success, he noted: "The report cites
Head Start as a model, as the nation's most successful program to help
the inner cities." However, "Head Start has never been fully
funded, and only a quarter of all the eligible lower income children are
enrolled," he complained. Despite increases in crime, welfare
dependency and other signs of social decay in inner cities, Smith failed
to mention any solution other than more money, asserting: "Head
Start is not enough. The report stresses that to be effective, similar
support systems need to be extended to schoolchildren, teenagers, and
Flattering Fidel. Diane
Sawyer traveled to Cuba to interview Fidel Castro for the March 4 Prime
Time Live, but only once did Sawyer raise the issue of human rights
abuses and political prisoners. Upon the dictator's denial, she dropped
the matter completely. The remainder of the interview had the coziness
of a People profile: "He grew up a first-rate baseball
player. Married once. Divorce once. But was mainly driven by his burning
desire to crush Cuba's American-supported dictator Fulgencio Batista. It
began with a daredevil attack on the military barracks. Jail. His exile.
Then a death-defying two-year fight in the mountains of the Sierra
Maestre. He and his small band of soldiers endured and won only because
of Castro's invincible certainty of their destiny."
Sawyer even praised Castro's leadership:
"Even critics praise Cuba's health care, education, scientific
research....Cubans say privately he is still a hero, even as a lot of
his people dream of a free economy and country....And what about those
recent elections? A lot of new young faces were brought into the
How I Learned to Love Taxes.
On the March 14 Good Morning America Sunday, Newsweek
Senior Editor Jonathan Alter displayed his liberal attitudes in a
satirical commentary: "Every time the Democrats get ready to defend
President Clinton's budget, they always start by saying `Of course, no
one likes taxes.' Even when they're about to raise them again, it's
always `Of course, no one actually likes taxes.' Well, I'm a little
different, I guess. I like taxes. That's right, I like them.
"This tax on millionaires? I say
soaking them isn't enough. Dunk them! Energy tax? Great idea! Cuts
consumption and we all have more to live on. The cigarette tax is the
best one of all. It's like taxing death! But millionaires, smokers and
gas guzzlers aren't the only ones who should get slapped around a
little. There are a lot of other highly taxable Americans. They tax our
patience. Let's tax their income." He proceeded to urge tax hikes
on these irritating people and things: lawyers, bad husbands,
infomercials, hotels that overcharge for phone calls and models who
don't gain weight, among others.
We nominate a certain Newsweek
media critic who likes tax hikes.
Dan Rather's Greatest Liberal Hits
In 1988, Dan Rather repeatedly hammered
then-Vice President George Bush about his role in the Iran-Contra
affair. How did Rather treat Clinton in his first interview with him as
President? During the special March 24 White House tour and interview on
48 Hours, Rather never questioned Clinton about false statements
he has made: claiming that Republicans, not he, made gays in the
military an issue during his first week in office; that he never asked
Kimba Wood to be Attorney General; and that his stimulus package did not
contain any pork-barrel projects.
Instead, he asked: "Mr. President,
it's my unfortunate duty now to ask the tough questions you don't want
to hear. Number one: do you have a favorite in the Oscar race for the
A review of Rather's opinions both on and
off the air over the past few years suggests a reason for the disparity
-- He agrees with Clinton: the 1980s were a decade of greed, Reagan's
tax cuts were unfair, Soviet citizens weren't opposed to communism. He's
been on the liberal frequency for a long time.
COMMUNISM. Rather embarrassingly misread the aspirations of the
Soviet people: "Despite what many Americans think, most Soviets do
not yearn for capitalism or Western-style democracy," he pronounced
on the June 17, 1987 CBS Evening News. On May 27, 1988, Rather
insisted: "The reality is that even if the communist state were to
protect individual rights aggressively, many of its people are not
prepared to tolerate diversity...It points to a basic problem within
society: schooled in intolerance for so long, many Soviets equate
non-conformity with treason."
Like many in the Western media, Rather
never blamed the abysmal economic conditions in communist countries on
communism. On the May 16, 1989 Evening News Rather said, "It
is the size of China that's such a barrier for economic reform. That,
and cultural traditions bred through the centuries." The next
night, he cited "one big problem that underlies everything else
here in China [is] a population of more than a billion...Today's
communist rulers know there's no way to meet the rising expectations of
a billion Chinese until and unless the population time bomb is somehow
HEROES. Rather had a long-distance
love affair with Gorbachev. He gave this glowing assessment of the last
Soviet dictator in a speech quoted in the May 10, 1990 Seattle Times:
"He has, as many great leaders have, impressive eyes...There's a
kind of laser- beam stare, a forced quality, you get from Gorbachev that
does not come across as something peaceful within himself. It's the look
of a kind of human volcano, or he'd probably like to describe it as a
human nuclear energy plant."
When Gorbachev met Pope John Paul II in
1989, Rather seemed confused as to which one was the holy man. On
November 29 he mused: "This week's meeting of Pope John Paul and
Mikhail Gorbachev brings together two traditional enemies, both of whom
have shown, time and again, that they can rise above the hatreds of
history...The meeting, said one priest in Rome, is like the lion lying
down with the lamb, but in this case, he said, it's hard to tell who's
the lion and who's the lamb."
Rather's crush on Gorby was dwarfed by
his worship of Nelson Mandela. His name, Rather said upon Mandela's
release from jail in February 1990, "has an almost mystical
quality." On the June 27 Arsenio Hall Show, Rather lapsed
into revolutionary rapture while paying tribute to the man who embraced
"The power of Nelson Mandela is the
power of the idea and the ideal. Nelson Mandela knows what he's
literally willing to die for, and that carries with it tremendous power,
and it radiates from him as it did from Martin Luther King, as it does
from Mother Teresa, as it did from Golda Meir. There's tremendous power
in that, and when we say accurately I think, that Nelson Mandela is a
worldwide hero -- people of all races and nationalities look up to him
-- think that's why."
Rather lapsed into slang, continuing:
"You talk about a bad boy. Nelson Mandela had a reputation all of
his life of being a bad boy. A lot of people tried to get the world to
believe that this man was a radical, terrorist, killer, psychological
killer -- all bullbleep, because they feared him. Because he knew what
he believed in and was prepared to die for."
As the Democrats' convention began last
July 13, Rather joined the Jesse Jackson fan club. "Jesse Jackson
is one American politician who consistently speaks for the poor and
downtrodden. One of the few national leaders openly advocating aid to
TAXES. When Rather mentions a
capital gains tax cut, rest assured the words "for the
wealthy" aren't far behind. On September 28, 1989, Rather hit a
triple by using the phrase "for the wealthy" as a suffix for
the capital gains cut three times: "A political showdown vote in
the U.S. House of Representatives today on economics. A vote to support
President Bush's idea to cut the capital gains tax for the wealthy.
Sixty-four Democrats bucked their own House leaders, abandoned them, and
joined the Republicans to support the measure. Mr. Bush says that
cutting the capital gains tax for the wealthy will boost the economy and
create jobs. Opponents don't believe that, and they call it simply a tax
giveaway for the wealthy."
Rather's not only against tax cuts just
for the wealthy, but for everybody. He reported the rejection of new
taxes as a defeat for Louisiana on the May 2, 1989 Evening News.
"A new jolt today to the Louisiana state economy...Saturday, voters
of Louisiana rejected Governor Roemer's tax-overhaul package. Today, as
CBS News correspondent Peter Van Sant reports, the people of Louisiana
found out what that could cost them."
REAGAN LEGACY. Whenever a liberal
"study" was released that made the Reagan years look bad, it
made Dan Rather's broadcasts. On March 1, 1989, Rather introduced a
Susan Spencer story on health threats posed to poor kids by asserting
"children are already suffering from cutbacks during the Reagan
Liberal reports were spun to make the
facts look worse even than the activist group claimed. When the
little-known left-wing Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) released a
"study" on child hunger CBS made the FRAC study the number one
story on the March 26, 1991 Evening News. Rather began: "A
startling number of American children are in danger of starving...Good
evening. One out of eight American children is going hungry
tonight." Starving? Not only did FRAC not claim their
"hungry" children were hungry every night -- just at least
once a year -- the study didn't even focus on starvation or clinical
malnutrition. Rather exaggerated.
the Bright Side
On the March 12 20/20, ABC
correspondent John Stossel illustrated how big government and liberal
groups can prevent private enterprise from solving a problem. Stossel
focused on the attempt by a French company to install pay toilets on New
York City sidewalks: "After New York City was sued by a homeless
organization, it did try to bring these to America. But then it ran into
American rules. First, city lawyers said `You can't bring pay toilets
here. They're illegal in New York State. They discriminate against
women.' Why? Because women have to use stalls and men don't. In
addition, thirteen separate city agencies must grant approval before
anything can be built."
More controversy followed: "Several
organizations for the disabled say they will sue because there won't be
enough wheel- chair accessible toilets." He added: "New York
wants many more of these toilets installed. But to get legal permission
may take years....No one knows if they will ever return to the city. The
disability issue is only one of the many hurdles. The Transportation
Department has a 100-page contract that must be worked out. The Art
Commission must approve the toilets' `aesthetic merits.' Endless mazes
of rules exist everywhere."
Stossel concluded with a personal
experience: "Everywhere there are these crazy rules. Not far from
my house there's a high school that built a very expensive swimming
pool. They can't use it because the word `feet' is abbreviated....I
think we've gone beyond NIMBY [Not In My Back Yard] to BANANA -- Build
Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody. Individually, it's funny.
Collectively, it cripples the economy."
Myers Finds Pork
Unlike many of her colleagues, NBC's Lisa
Myers has questioned the congressional and presidential commitment to
real budget cuts. In a March 3 story she allowed Scott Hodge of the
Heritage Foundation to point out some wasteful spending not even touched
by the President's budget. Her March 19 Nightly News analysis
of the stimulus package found: "The Fish and Wildlife Service gets
money to compile fish atlases, and study sicklefin chub. The National
Science Foundation gets money for projects killed by Congress last year,
including one on mating behavior of swordfish." She reported GOP
claims that grants to cities were wasteful, pegged "for everything
from a golf course to a parking garage on the beach."
Myers concluded a March 25 story on
Senate "budget-cutting" by cautioning: "For all the
rhetoric about cutting spending, an independent analysis of the
President's plan indicates that most money for deficit reduction is to
come from tax increases. The Senate plan calls for spending cuts
totaling $111 billion and tax increases of $295.7 billion...that amounts
to $2.66 in tax increases for every dollar in spending cuts."
Gumbel Wants It Both
Too Much, But Not Enough
Today co-host Bryant Gumbel tries
to have it both ways: blaming Reagan for underfunded programs while
criticizing Reagan for deficit spending. On March 17, he discussed
presidential budget deficit performance with the author of Bankruptcy
1995. Gumbel asserted: "I'm not sure there's a grade low enough
for...Ronald Reagan. He spoke regularly of balancing the budget, but he
broke the bank. In return for his own personal popularity, he spent
eight years in office, and ran up $1.34 trillion in deficits."
The day after, Gumbel declared:
"Faced with declining levels of assistance from Washington over the
last twelve years, long- standing urban problems have been aggravated,
leading to increases in decay, business failures, and crime, and
shortages of housing, school funds, and self-help programs." Just
which way is it?
In "The Myth of America's
Underfunded Cities," Stephen Moore and Dean Stansel of the Cato
Institute pointed out "Cities have a multitude of problems, but too
little money is not one of them." Moore and Stansel stated:
"While direct federal aid to cities was cut in the Reagan years,
aid to poor people living in cities increased. Federal social welfare
spending -- on education, training, social services, employment,
low-income assistance, community development, and transportation -- rose
from $255 billion to $285 billion in real dollars from 1980 to 1992.
These figures exclude Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid --
programs that have exploded in cost and significantly benefitted
inner-city residents as well."
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe