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May 8, 1998

Print Media Study On Labeling Out Today:

Conservatives Consistently Depicted as Anti-Clinton "Haters" and "Bashers"
Bias Exposed In Clear Contrast: No Such Media Labels For Liberals Existed During Reagan Presidency

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ALEXANDRIA, Va. --- The labels and terms the media use to couch their stories are some of the clearest indicators of bias. In the new issue of MediaWatch, out today, a Media Research Center study exposes the national print media's obsession with what they call "Clinton-haters," "Clinton-bashers," and "anti-Clinton" conservatives, whereas virtually no such media labeling of liberals occurred during Ronald Reagan's presidency.

"Our findings confirm the media feel compelled to perpetuate the myth that conservatives are 'haters,' a fact that, once again, demonstrates the anti-conservative bias of the 89 percent pro-Clinton press. Terms and labels such as 'haters' and 'bashers' were virtually never used to characterize liberals who regularly attacked Ronald Reagan when he was in office. The striking contrast reveals a liberal media working as virtual extensions of the White House spin machine," said MRC Chairman Brent Bozell.

MediaWatch analysts contrasted print coverage of the Reagan Administration (1981 through 1988) with that of the Clinton Administration (1992 through mid-April 1998) in Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

The Hate Gap

"Clinton-hater" 63 "Clinton-basher" 106 "Anti-Clinton" 55
"Reagan-hater" 1 "Reagan-basher" 17 "Anti-Reagan" 2

The Hate Label Breakdown

Time: Time magazine had the most hate labels, 28 designations of "Clinton-haters" with 13 of them (almost half) in the last four months. Time also carried 11 mentions of "Clinton-bashing" and 14 mentions of "anti-Clinton" activists and activities. Time often added incendiary modifiers to the "anti-Clinton" term such as "obsessive," "fiercely," "right-wing," or "virulent." During the Reagan years, Time had only three mentions of "Reagan-bashing."

Newsweek: Newsweek carried 14 references to "Clinton-haters," 19 mentions of "Clinton-bashing," and 19 "anti-Clinton" terms. A typically biased excerpt of Mark Hosenball's story in the April 27, 1998 issue pretends to read the minds of people the magazine has never interviewed on the subject of Bill Clinton: "The evidence linking Starr to conservative Clinton-haters traces back to a single figure: Richard Mellon Scaife. ... Scaife is also a fervent Clinton-hater who has spent millions to undermine the President." During the Reagan years, Newsweek mentioned "Reagan-bashing" four times and used the term "Reagan-hater" only once.

U.S. News: U.S. News carried 16 designations of "Clinton-haters," nine mentions of "Clinton-bashing," and 21 uses of the "anti-Clinton" term. One loaded sentence appeared in the magazine's November 7, 1994 election preview: "The most virulent Clinton-haters charge that Hillary Rodham Clinton holds the real power and blackmails her husband." During the Reagan years, only one U.S. News story used the term "Reagan-bashing."

New York Times: In all eight years of Reagan's presidency, not once did the New York Times ever label anyone a "Reagan-hater," twice the newspaper used the term "Reagan-bashing" and only one story carried the word "anti-Reagan." By comparison the Times has used the term "Clinton-hater" once and variants of "Clinton-bashing" 17 times.

Washington Post: The Post has used variants of the term "Clinton-bashing" 52 times, whereas it did the same for Reagan only seven times. The contrast in how the Post used the terms is quite revealing:

Reporter Peter Behr on Reagan in 1985: "Reagan is inviting the bashing by continuing to avoid the trade dilemma."

Reporter Ruth Marcus on the 1992 GOP convention: "The Republican gathering here was expected to be a festival of Clinton-bashing."


Media Interviews
To schedule an interview with Mr. Graham, and to receive a copy of his analysis contact Keith Appell at (703)-683-5004.



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