CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Wednesday January 19, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 10) |
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Frigid Weather: Blame Global Warming; Hyping Liberal Class Warfare

1) Warm winter days earlier this month: Dan Rather blamed global warming. Record low temperatures in the Northeast this week, guess what Rather blamed.

2) Two liberal groups released a report on, as NBC put it, "a widening gap between rich and poor." ABC also pounced and Peter Jennings referred to them as "two public policy think tanks."

3) Dan Rather attributed Bill Clinton’s plan for more money for gun law enforcement to pressure from the "ammunition maker’s lobby." Peter Jennings won’t say "partial-birth abortion" but he will use the term "Star Wars."

4) MSNBC’s Greg Jarrett asked Philadelphia’s Mayor: "If a Governor Bush is elected, or any of the GOP candidates, will that strike a blow to further civil rights advances in America?"

5) Today show focused attention on complaints Bush is allowing too many to be put to death in Texas, including a mentally ill man.

6) The MRC’s Free Market Project has re-launched MediaNomics as on online publication. In the first edition, the media’s bias in favor of global warming and against tax cuts. Plus, a kudos to Today for admiring two capitalist pioneers of the century.

7) Republicans received almost the same treatment as had the Democrats from the moderator of the two debates sponsored by the Des Moines Register.

>>> MagazineWatch, about the January 24 editions, is now online thanks to the MRC’s Andy Szul. The topics explored in the issue put together by MRC analyst Mark Drake:
1. Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff portrayed George W. Bush’s unprecedented fundraising 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.
    To read these items, go to: <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)Behind unusually warm temperatures in early January Dan Rather saw global warming. With temperature plummeting to record lows in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Monday and Tuesday, guess what Dan Rather blamed? That’s right, global warming.

    Back on the January 10 CBS Evening News Rather intoned: "U.S. government climate experts tell CBS News that they now believe global warming is real and underway."

    Tuesday night, January 18, he blamed the same thing for cold weather, opening the Evening News with this announcement: "Good evening. A sudden severe and spreading cold blast in the Northeast could be a foretaste of what’s coming a lot of places in this unusual winter, namely, more frequent, more extreme rapid-fire weather shifts up and down. U.S. climate experts say global warming and a sustained La Nina may be generating all this."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)ABC and NBC jumped Tuesday night to publicize a press release jointly issued by two liberal groups about a supposed growing income gap between rich and poor. Neither network bothered to inform viewers of the ideological drive behind the "study" as ABC’s Peter Jennings referred to them as simply "two public policy think tanks," and neither aired any soundbites from a conservative expert who could have pointed out major flaws in the liberal reasoning, such as how the numbers didn’t count non-cash aid to the poor, like Medicaid, or account for taxes taken from the wealthy.

    On ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings introduced the story: "According to a new report from two public policy think tanks today, the rising economic tide has not lifted all boats." The two unlabeled think tanks: The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).

    As transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, reporter Betsy Stark began her one-sided advocacy piece: "Today’s study reveals that during the economic boom of the 1990s, the rich got a lot richer, and the middle class and poor stayed pretty much where they were."
     Jared Bernstein, Economic Policy Institute: "Even with unemployment at its lowest rate in thirty years and economic growth clearly quite strong by most indicators, the gap between those at the top and the bottom of the income scale expanded considerably over this decade."
    Stark, over an on screen identification of Economic Policy Institute and Center on Budget & Policy Priorities as the source, relayed the numbers: "From 1988 to 1998, earnings for the poorest fifth of American families rose less than one percent to just under $13,000 a year, while earnings for the richest fifth rose 15 percent to more than $137,000 a year. The reason for the pay gap lies primarily in the kinds of jobs this booming economy has created. New York, the state with the widest income gap, is a good example."
    Bernstein: "In a state like New York, we’ve created many high end jobs for bond traders, but when that trader goes home, the woman who comes in and cleans the office has a very low quality job, and we’ve created both those types of jobs in this decade."

    Stark concluded without any contrasting points of view:
    "As for the middle class, one reason it has not prospered more is that millions of American manufacturing jobs offering good pay and benefits have been lost -- lost to cheaper workers abroad. The one bit of good news in today’s study: Over the last three years of the decade, with the job market so tight, paychecks are finally growing for the poorest American families, which means the income gap is still widening, just not as fast."

    Over on the NBC Nightly News Mike Jensen gave the liberal press release less time, but just as uncritical coverage. Jensen set out to show contrasts in how people are faring in the economy. He began by outlining how reports have shown that Christmas spending was way up while credit cards are being paid off sooner as bankruptcies are way down, all signs many are doing well. Then he turned dour:
    "So all is well with the U.S. economy? Not quite. Another new study out today shows a widening gap between rich and poor. How wide? The top twenty percent of American families now earn almost $140,000 a year, but the bottom twenty percent average just one tenth of that, $13,000 a year. Why?"
    Jared Bernstein, Economic Policy Institute: "Wealthy families have been benefitting from the booming stock market while low income families have had difficulty finding decent quality jobs, primarily due to the loss of manufacturing employment."
    Jensen reaffirmed: "So the rich get much richer in this sizzling economy, while the poor make only small gains overall, actually falling in some states."

    The EPI/CBPP numbers are just regurgitated Census Bureau numbers which have serious flaws as detailed last September by Robert Rector and Rea Hederman in a Heritage Foundation report carrying the dynamic title, "Income Inequality: How Census Data Misrepresent Income Distribution."

    In the analysis of the most recent Census numbers, Rector and Hederman explained:

....The Census analysis appears lucid and straightforward. However, the Census data are marred by four problems that lead to an overstatement of the level of economic inequality. These problems are:

-- The conventional Census income figures are incomplete and omit many types of cash and non-cash income.
-- The conventional Census figures do not take into account the equalizing effects of taxation.
-- The Census quintiles actually contain unequal numbers of persons, a fact that greatly magnifies the apparent level of economic inequality.
-- Differences in income are affected substantially by large differences in the amount of work performed in each quintile, yet these differences in work effort are not acknowledged in Census publications....

Comparison of the Top and Bottom Quintiles. These adjustments make a great difference in the measure of apparent income inequality. For example, under conventional Census figures, the top "quintile" accounts for some $2.5 trillion in income in 1997, while the bottom quintile has only $181 billion. Thus, the top quintile is shown as receiving $13.86 in income for every $1.00 in the bottom. However, once incomes are more completely counted and taxes are considered, the ratio drops considerably -- to $8.05 for every $1.00 of income.

But even this lower ratio continues to reflect the fact that the Census data's top "quintile" is seriously overpopulated, while the bottom is underpopulated. Once the quintiles are adjusted to contain equal numbers of persons, the ratio of incomes of the top to the bottom quintile drops to $4.23 to $1.00.

Moreover, even this difference is due in large part to the fact that working age adults in the top quintile work twice as many hours as those in the bottom. If such adults worked the same number of hours, the income ratio would fall to around $3.07 to $1.00....

    END Excerpt

    To read the full report, which is full of charts and tables, go to:


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)On other fronts Tuesday night, ABC led with President Clinton’s plan to propose more money for gun law enforcement, an idea CBS’s Dan Rather weirdly attributed to his caving in to the heretofore under-appreciated "ammunition maker’s lobby." ABC’s Peter Jennings and Cokie Roberts refuse to employ the term "partial birth abortion," but Tuesday night Jennings had no reluctance using the derogatory liberal term for missile defense, "Star Wars."

    -- Clinton’s gun enforcement plan. Jennings opened the January 18 World News Tonight by noting: "Today President Clinton took a significant step in the direction of his most persistent critics, including his nemesis, the National Rifle Association."

    But over on the CBS Evening News Dan Rather saw evil forces behind the policy shift:
    "The President is borrowing a page from the gun and ammunition maker’s lobby. He proposed hiring hundreds more federal agents and prosecutors to enforce existing gun laws."

    -- Using terms. Introducing a Tuesday night piece, Peter Jennings declared: "The Pentagon is going to conduct a very expensive test of a national missile defense system tonight. The plan is to launch a missile, without a warhead, over the Pacific Ocean and try to shoot it down. Tonight’s test will cost about a hundred million dollars and overall system $13 billion, which means an old debate -- you remember Star Wars -- is coming back."

    As noted in the January 18 CyberAlert, Jennings refused to use the term "partial-birth abortion" last Friday. Instead, he said: "The justices are going to decide on the constitutionality of a Nebraska law banning a controversial procedure involved in late term abortions."

    Monday night ABC’s Cokie Roberts almost messed up and uttered the term before warning viewers it’s a phrase employed by abortion opponents. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noted her near-slip up from in a January 17 Nightline look at the Brown-Black debate. After George Stephanopoulos asserted that abortion is a question "that's bedeviled the Republican candidates in their debate" so "the Democrats can't wait to bring that up in the general election even though they might be more vulnerable on these other issues," Roberts piped in:
    "Particularly now that the Supreme Court has decided to agree to hear and decide par -- what's called ‘partial-birth abortion,’ right smack-dab in the middle of this campaign, it could get very hot indeed."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes)So much for the media treating a "compassionate conservative" any better than they do the previous incarnation. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught this question from MSNBC’s Greg Jarrett to Philadelphia’s Democratic Mayor John Street as Jarret filled in as anchor Monday night on The News with Brian Williams:
    "Mr. Street, since 1964 Democrats have received on average 83 percent of the vote in elections. One might reasonably conclude that is because the GOP as a party and their candidates are simply less sensitive to minority issues. So if a Governor Bush is elected, or any of the GOP candidates, will that strike a blow to further civil rights advances in America?"


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes)More Bush-bashing from the left. Tuesday morning NBC’s Today featured a story from reporter Jim Cummins on how a political scientist "believes the high rate of executions in Texas could eventually become a problem for Bush on the presidential trail." Cummins tried to fuel outrage at the policy by focusing on one condemned man who is mentally ill.

    In the piece, observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, Cummins set up the premise:
    "While Governor Bush runs for President stumping for votes in Iowa and New Hampshire it's business as usual on death row here in his home state of Texas. Beginning today the state has scheduled six executions over the next 10 days and dozens more for the rest of the year. This is the Texas execution chamber. By far the busiest in America since the Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Last year 35 men were put to death on this gurney by lethal injection. More than a third of all the executions nationwide. In five years as Governor, Bush has presided over 112 executions. The most of any governor by far. And running for President as a compassionate conservative Bush has made it clear he's not ashamed of his record on the death penalty."

    After a soundbite from Bush, Cummins warned: "But political scientist Richard Murray believes the high rate of executions in Texas could eventually become a problem for Bush on the presidential trail."
    Following a clip of Murray, Cummins emphasized: "Especially when high profile cases like Larry Robison's come up. Robison was one of eight kids raised by a couple of Sunday school teachers in a good home. But he had severe mental problems and in 1982 he savagely murdered five people in Ft Worth, Texas. Robison pleaded innocent by reason of insanity but was convicted of murder and sentenced to die. It's a case fraught with outrage. Gloria Windham's mother, sister and nephew were among Robison's victims, murdered by a man they didn't even know....
    "Robison's mother has spent the past 17 years trying to save her son's life. The board of pardons and paroles appointed by Bush has denied her appeals for clemency. So Robison has asked to be put to death this coming Friday because there will be a full moon."

    Cummins soon moved an to a more famous case: "Karla Faye Tucker, the born again Christian ax-murderer who was the first woman executed in Texas since the Civil War. Bush refused to stay her execution despite appeals from all over the world including the Pope. Later in a magazine interview Bush is quoted ridiculing Tucker. The author writes that Bush imitates Tucker in an interview saying, "Please,’ Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, ‘don't kill me.’" Murray says that kind of swagger could backfire on the Texas Governor in the general election."

    Cummins ran soundbites from Murray and Bush before concluding: "In the meantime another of the many executions scheduled in Texas will be carried out tonight."

    I’m sure we’ll hear about all of them.


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes)MediaNomics is back. The MRC’s new Director of the Free Market Project (FMP), Rich Noyes, has just completed the first edition of a new online edition of FMP’s formerly printed newsletter, MediaNomics. Rich intends to have new editions posted every other week, or more often whenever rabid bias against free enterprise breaks out.

    MRC Web workers Andy Szul and Eric Pairel set up the new page designs for the section of the MRC Web site which will relay "what the media tell Americans about free enterprise."

    Here are summaries of the three articles posted in the January 17 edition:

    -- CBS Rings Alarm Bells on Global Warming. It’s always interesting when one of the three broadcast evening news programs parts company with its competitors and champions a story that the others ignore. Among other things, this raises the nettlesome question of exactly whose news judgment is out of kilter. One case in point: even as ABC’s World News Tonight and the NBC Nightly News were taking a pass, the CBS Evening News broadcast four reports last week about what anchor Dan Rather hyped as "the strongest evidence yet that the Earth is in an accelerated phase of warming."

    -- There They Go Again -- Media's Bias Against Tax Cuts Was Much In Evidence In 1999. Throughout Campaign 2000, TV's talking heads will pass judgment on the presidential candidates' economic programs, including their positions on tax cuts. But if last year's coverage is predictive of this year's spin, journalists will once again portray tax cuts as little more than vote-getting schemes that risk renewed budget deficits and threaten the long term solvency of expensive government programs.

    -- Kudos to NBC’s Today. In recollecting the nearly-departed 20th Century, NBC’s Today show last month featured "a series of profiles, celebrating figures we believe made a special contribution during the course of the century," according to anchor Katie Couric’s introduction on December 3. Joining the likes of polio-buster Dr. Jonas Salk, tennis superstar Arthur Ashe and entertainment legend Julie Andrews were a couple of capitalists: Henry Ford and Fred Smith.

    To read these items in full, go to:


cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes)Congratulations to Des Moines Register Editor Dennis Ryerson for treating Republican presidential candidates during Saturday’s debate almost the same way he treated the Democrats the week before.

    The January 14 CyberAlert noted how with one exception he posed only issue set-up questions, which lacked an explicit hostile agenda, to the Democrats at the Des Moines Register-sponsored debate on January 8. He avoided controversies harmful to either Democrat and allowed two questions from the left which suggested they were too conservative: An audience members pressed the candidates about too much defense spending and Ryerson asked them about the gender gap in pay.

    A week later, at his paper’s January 15 Republican debate carried live nationally at 2pm ET by CNN, C-SPAN, FNC and PBS, Ryerson turned in an almost identical performance.

    Matching the student who hit the Democrats from the left, Republicans got this question from the right (implying they might be too liberal) from a college student in the audience: "I've been watching the debates. And I've been hearing some candidates talking about increasing the federal role in state-funded education. And I'm very concerned about the government over-stepping it's constitutional bounds. And I was wondering how much power do you think the federal government should have over state education, within the frame of the Constitution, of course?"

    And, while moderator Ryserson didn’t hit the Republicans at all from the right, he posed just two relatively mild liberal agenda questions to the candidates: "How do you post the Ten Commandments in schools without telling children who are not in the Judeo-Christian heritage that their form of religious expression is invalid?" And, relaying a question from a reader, he asked: "Do you think tougher laws are needed to protect our environment?"

    Not perfectly balanced, but for what we normally get on network TV he deserves at least a B for near-balance.

    +++ See actor Richard Belzer, in NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, bash Newt Gingrich in the episode, detailed in the January 18 CyberAlert, about conservative bigotry and advocacy of gay left themes. MRC Webmaster Any Szul has posted a video clip in RealPlayer format. To watch it, go to:
-- Brent Baker



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