CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Monday July 17, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 117) |
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Russert Hit Gore Contradiction; "Abysmal" on NAACP; Only CBS Touched Memo on Real Gas Hike Causes

1) Best Question of the Weekend: Tim Russert to Al Gore on Meet the Press and Oddest Question of the Weekend: Cokie Roberts to George W. Bush on This Week. Plus, Roberts spent nearly six minutes demanding that Bush concede mistakes in the death penalty.

2) An anti-Hillary direct mail letter displayed "sexism" and proved her opponents "don’t like powerful women," Washington media veteran Steve Roberts asserted on CNN’s Late Edition.

3) His "party’s record’s been abysmal," Washington Post reporter Michael Fletcher declared of Republicans and George W. Bush after he addressed the NAACP, a group Fletcher labeled "mid-steam."

4) An Energy memo showed the Clinton administration knew clean air rules and not gouging caused high gas prices in he Midwest, but only CBS picked up on the Washington Times revelation, though Dan Rather spun it: "Republicans today sided with the oil companies." Another MediaNomics article: Gore Darts Further to the Left but Networks Tag Him as "Populist," not "Liberal"

5) Bill Moyers had his foundation fund the book which dug up dirt on Rudy Giuliani, a fact U.S. News ignored in relaying the book’s claims. But four years ago the same magazine condemned books with derogatory anecdotes about the Clintons.

6) The woman who suspended Jeff Jacoby, in a 1992 book review: "Sometimes his statements are revisionist howlers: ‘The Reagan Administration left the American welfare state pretty much untouched.’"


From the July 16 appearances of Al Gore for the entire hour on NBC’s Meet the Press from the Navy Observatory and of George W. Bush for three-fourths of ABC’s This Week from the Governor’s Mansion in Austin:

    -- Best Question of the Weekend: Tim Russert to Al Gore on Meet the Press: "You have for the first twenty minutes said we’re going to have a robust economy, you’re going to keep it going, and in order to have a robust economy the stock market keeps have to growing, and so now you’re suggesting, because Governor Bush suggests a plan involving the stock market, ‘oh no, that’s risky’ when you based your entire premise of your economic program on a robust stock market and economy. You can’t have it both ways."

    Despite Gore’s repeated anti-Bush mantra that he’s "for the people, my opponent is for the powerful," Russert disappointingly failed to ask Gore about his slumlord housing.

    -- Oddest Question of the Weekend: Cokie Roberts to George W. Bush on This Week: "Your convention’s coming up. Scared?"

    Earlier in the interview Roberts spent a lengthy 5:45 pressing Bush about the death penalty and evidence some guy named Odell Barnes was really innocent. Bush refused to concede that anyone innocent has been put to death, leading an exasperated Roberts to proclaim: "Well, we’ll move on. But the question is how can you be sure?"


It’s not just out of line, it’s sexist. On Sunday’s Late Edition on CNN Steve Roberts of U.S. News & World Report claimed an anti-Hillary fundraising letter showed "sexism" and proved her opponents "don’t like powerful women."

    During the July 16 roundtable segment substitute host Judy Woodruff read an excerpt from a direct mail letter signed by William Powers, Chairman of the New York State Republican Party: "In her ruthless quest for power, she claims to be a ‘New Democrat,’ but she’s a fraud, a phony, and a pretender...She’s hard-core, hardline, hard-nosed ultra-liberal who uses people and hates Republicans." [ellipses on screen in what Woodruff read]

    Steve Roberts, a Washington media veteran who once toiled for the New York Times, insisted: "I think a lot of women will read that and see an underlying sexism to that, to that tone."
    Woodruff agreed: "That’s what I wondered about."
    Roberts: "And I think this serves Hillary Clinton well. That say ‘see, these guys don’t want a, don’t like powerful women. They don’t like to see someone like me who challenges their power.’"

    What’s really sexist is to assume that any criticism of a woman running for office is in itself sexist.


His "party’s record’s been abysmal," Washington Post reporter Michael Fletcher declared of Republicans and George W. Bush after he addressed the NAACP, a group Fletcher labeled "mid-steam."

    Fletcher appeared on Friday’s Washington Week in Review to discuss the Bush and Gore appearances before the liberal group. On Bush, Fletcher declared: "Bush, I think, benefitted simply by coming. I mean his party’s record’s been abysmal. It’s an amazing fact, but he’s the first Republican presidential candidate to address the NAACP -- the mid-stream, middle class NAACP, we’re not talking about the Nation of Islam here -- since 1988 and his father did that."

    When was the last time a media figure complained about the "abysmal" record of a Democrat in addressing the concerns of the Christian Coalition? By Fletcher’s reasoning, they are "mis-stream" and "middle class" as "we’re not talking about a militia group here."


Clinton administration officials knew all along that EPA reformulated gasoline rules and supply problems were behind the gas price run-up in the Midwest, yet they continued to blame oil company price gouging, Washington Times reporter Patrice Hill disclosed in a July 14 front page story on an Energy Department analysis. But only the CBS Evening News picked up on it Friday night. All three broadcast networks skipped it Friday morning and CNN ignored it too on Friday night as did ABC and NBC on Saturday and Sunday night.

    Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC’s Free Market Project (FMP), outlined in the latest issue of MediaNomics the relevance of what the Washington Times first reported. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the July 17 MediaNomics:

The last issue of MediaNomics reported that independent experts believed that the EPA’s clean air rules were a major factor in pushing gas prices to record levels in Chicago and Milwaukee in June, but that ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC failed to aggressively pursue that angle and instead repeated the Clinton administration’s assertions that industry "price gouging" was to blame. (See "Networks Let Government Slide Off the Hook in Gas Price Run-Up," June 30:

Now the Washington Times’s Patrice Hill has uncovered an Energy Department memo showing that the administration was fully aware that its rules were a problem, despite contrary public assertions by President Clinton, Vice President Gore, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, EPA chief Carol Browner and other top-ranking officials.

In a front-page story in the July 14 Washington Times, Hill revealed that the memo from the Energy Department’s acting policy director, Melanie Kenderdine, informed officials that the EPA’s requirement that some cities use reformulated gasoline to conform with clean air rules, was a "major reason" for the price increases. That memo was sent on June 5, a full week before public statements by EPA officials prompted the broadcast networks to promote the notion that oil industry profiteering was behind the record price hikes. "The White House has now put the oil industry on notice," CBS’s Bob Orr stated on the June 12 Evening News. "If any evidence of price gouging surfaces, regulators will come down hard."

At the time, most outside experts believed that regulators were at least as responsible as the oil companies. Now, thanks to Hill’s reporting, it’s apparent that the regulators themselves knew they were at fault, and were deliberately trying to focus the public’s anger on oil companies, despite the absence of evidence that oil companies had done anything wrong.

"It is clear from the June 5th memo that the DOE, whose primary responsibility is oversight of our nation’s energy supply, believed that a lack of gasoline inventories in the Midwest, as well as EPA regulations, were not only ‘factors’ which led to higher gasoline prices, but in fact the primary causes," Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert wrote in a letter to the EPA’s Browner.

"Nowhere does this document indicate, or imply, that price gouging was a factor; nor has any other federal study or investigation," Hastert wrote, as reported by Hill. The Speaker also wrote that public statements targeting oil companies appeared part of a "coordinated strategy" by White House officials and others to escape responsibility.

From June 12, when EPA officials publicly stated that their regulations could not have been responsible for the steep rise in prices, through June 26, the four network evening newscasts ran 16 stories about the idea that the oil companies were gouging consumers. Now that additional facts have come to light, it remains to be seen whether the networks will start challenging the EPA’s version of the facts....

    END Excerpt

    Friday night, July 14, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather still couldn’t resist opening with this jab at the side which was vindicated as he buried the real news of Clinton team duplicity: "Republicans today sided with the oil companies against the Clinton-Gore administration on the question of who and what is to blame for higher gasoline prices. CBS's Bill Plante is at the White House. Bill, what's all this about?"

    Plante explained: "Well, Dan, House Speaker Hastert today angrily accused the administration of misleading Congress and the public on the cause of higher gas prices, and of scapegoating the oil companies when, in his view, the real reason is low inventories and federal pollution regulations. On June 15th, members of Congress from the hardest hit states --Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri -- met with Environmental Protection Agency head Carol Browner. In a letter today, Hastert tells Browner, 'At that meeting, you said that this situation was not a supply issue.'
    "But Hastert charges that this June 5th memo from the Department of Energy shows that lack of gasoline and the EPA regulations were, in fact, the primary causes of higher gas prices, and adds 'nowhere does this document indicate or imply that price gouging was a factor, yet you continue to point the finger.' The memo says supplies of reformulated gas in the Milwaukee-Chicago area appear to be tight but adequate, but notes that any problems could cause shortages, and that there is little margin for error. The administration has always insisted there was no good explanation for the price hikes. The Vice President had read the Department of Energy memo, but still delivered this blast at the oil companies."

    Al Gore, June 21: "Why have their profits gone up 500 percent in the first part of this year? I think it's outrageous, and I think that big oil may have gotten too big."
    Plante concluded: "The Federal Trade Commission is investigating the run-up in gas prices. The administration shrugs off the speaker's charges saying that he's playing gas-price politics. But the Speaker continues to ask the EPA to waive some of those regulations for reformulated gas in the Midwest, which it has so far refused to do, pointing out that they have resulted in much cleaner air."

    Instead of covering this evidence Friday night of liberal duplicity, ABC ran a piece on a true organic farmer in Virginia, CNN and NBC featured stories on how drivers are distracted by using their cell phones, and NBC ended with a piece on ten-year-olds who race mini-cars.

    Other articles in the latest MediaNomics:

    -- Gore Darts Further to the Left but Networks Tag Him as "Populist," not "Liberal"
    A few months ago, network news correspondents announced they had caught George W. Bush "veering to the right" in his presidential campaign rhetoric and loudly predicted that such a strategy would alienate moderate voters in November. Over the past few weeks, Al Gore has obviously and clumsily lurched toward the left, but he has heretofore eluded the liberal label. Rather, the networks have awarded Gore the more favorable "populist" label for his Naderesque attacks on the oil and pharmaceutical industry profits.

    -- How to Spend the Surplus
    "America’s piggy bank is full to overflowing," CBS’s John Roberts enthused on the June 26 Evening News as he reported on new projections of $1.9 trillion in federal budget surpluses over the next decade. "That’s over $1 trillion more than what was forecast just four months ago," David Gregory reported on the same evening’s NBC Nightly News.
    All three broadcast evening news programs correctly reported that the enhanced surplus estimates had provoked political maneuverings in Washington, but correspondents failed to distinguish between the "costs" of spending the yet-to-be-received money on additional government programs or returning the excess dollars to taxpayers.

    To read these items in full, go to:


Bill Moyers, the former CBS News analyst turned PBS omnipresence until he had some health problems, helped fund, through a foundation he controls, the book which dug up dirt on Rudy Giuliani. But, as the MRC’s Tim Graham noted in last week’s MagazineWatch about the July 17 editions, U.S. News failed to link the book to liberal efforts to discredit Giuliani, who they expected to be her opponent.

    An excerpt from the July 11 MagazineWatch:

U.S. News writer Kit R. Roane highlighted how a "New book says Giuliani has thuggish family ties." She explained: "According to a new book, Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudy Giuliani, the mayor's deceased father was a stickup artist who robbed a milkman at gunpoint, then took over as muscle for a relative's loan-sharking business once he was sprung from prison. Other news: Giuliani's cousin, Steve the Blond, was a mobster shot dead by the feds."

Roane later quoted the author, Wayne Barrett: "The greatest revelation here is that a man with so much reason to have understanding and empathy has been so intolerant of the weaknesses of others." Roane doesn't tell the reader that Barrett has long knocked Giuliani from his perch at the radical-left weekly the Village Voice, and concluded by quoting (without a label) the radical lawyer Ron Kuby knocking Giuliani.

Roane also seemed surprised that Giuliani would be subjected to muckraking books now, which is odd since clearly these anti-Rudy tomes were intended to frustrate his aborted Senate campaign.

The New York Post noted that "Barrett readily admits that four individuals and foundations, some with close Democratic Party ties, such as Bill Moyers, provided funding for his researchers. ‘They understood who I am, my kind of journalism." Moyers heads the Florence and John Schumann Foundation in between his omnipresent PBS merchandising opportunities.

Four years ago, investigative books about Bill Clinton got a much different treatment in the magazine. In the July 15, 1996 issue, columnist Gloria Borger claimed "some of this summer's political potboilers are problematic." Gary Aldrich’s Unlimited Access "reads like an FBI file -- full of thirdhand gossip and rumors, the most notable of which depicts the President playing hide-and-seek with the Secret Service." She also ripped Roger Morris’s Partners in Power: "The next juicy attack on the Clintons comes from the left. The author, Roger Morris, is an award winner who wrote a much lauded biography of Richard Nixon. More credible, you say? Forget it. Morris serves up some damning, even indictable, charges against the Clintons. But he fails to serve up much evidence to support them."....

    END Excerpt

    Other items in MagazineWatch:

    -- Newsweek balanced its earlier Bill Turque coverage of Al Gore's Vietnam-era military service -- including his contacts with Vietnam commander William Westmoreland -- with a story on the mystery of whether George W. Bush served the Air National Guard in Alabama in 1972. Plus the magazine found President Clinton is one of the "great diplomats."
    -- U.S. News writer Jeff Glasser reported on a long-forgotten campaign promise -- to put 100,000 police on America's streets -- and found a smaller number of cops and a large amount of fraud.
    -- Time took the unusual step of granting two-thirds of a Letters page to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and film critic Richard Schickel wondered "Who, outside the Christian right, cares anymore about anyone’s sexual orientation?"

    To read these items, go to:


Finally, MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell’s latest syndicated column is about the Jeff Jacoby situation: "Jeff Jacoby's Patriotic Problem." For the column the MRC’s Tim Graham dug out from the Notable Quotables archives a classic quote from Renee Loth, the Boston Globe’s editorial page editor who suspended Jacoby for four months without pay.

    Back in 1992 when she was still a reporter she reviewed R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.’s book, The Conservative Crack-Up. She asserted: "Sometimes his statements are revisionist howlers: ‘The Reagan Administration left the American welfare state pretty much untouched.’"

    Only a liberal would disagree with Tyrrell.

    To read Bozell’s column, go to: -- Brent Baker



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