McCain "Mobbed by the Media"; Brokaw Distorted Ashcroft on Robert E. Lee; Two Women a Year for
Gumbel; FNC Beat CNN Head-to-Head
1) Who else but Dan Rather
could deliver this sentence about Bush’s "big tax cut"? Rather
relayed: "Democrats continue to view" the tax cut as "a
giveaway to the wealthy that spends the budget surplus and leaves no money
for such things as seniors to pay for prescription drugs." Rather
warned it’s all part of Bush’s "Republican-right agenda for
2) John McCain left the White House meeting with President
Bush "like a rock star, just mobbed by the media as he walked down
the driveway towards his car," ABC’s Terry Moran announced as he
conceded the continued media adoration of McCain.
3) Dan Rather highlighted liberal complaints: "The
divisions over the Bush nomination of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General
grew sharper today, mostly around the issues of civil rights, race
relations and women’s issues."
4) Last week Tom Brokaw claimed "Ashcroft defended
the Confederate agenda of Robert E. Lee in an interview with the Southern
Partisan." In fact, as The Weekly Standard showed, Ashcroft defended
"not the pro-slavery views of Civil War-era Confederate leaders but
the anti-slavery views of the nation’s Revolutionary War-era
5) NBC’s Andrea Mitchell picked up on how Senator
Clinton had people give her gifts and money in a manner to avoid Senate
gift rules and Mitchell tied in Denise Rich, ex-wife of Marc Rich, the
fugitive pardoned by President Clinton.
6) Bryant Gumbel took on Secretary of Education Rod Paige
from the left on Wednesday morning, arguing vouchers will make bad schools
worse and that national, not state, testing is necessary.
7) New York Post: "TV host Bryant Gumbel, who finally
admitted to adultery yesterday, slept with more than 50 women during his
27 years of marriage, his estranged wife's lawyer claimed."
8) "Fox News Trounces the Cable Competition on
Inauguration Saturday," announced an Inside.com story.
9) FNC’s Brit Hume summarized the Tuesday CyberAlert
item on the contrasts between how ABC, CBS and NBC characterized
Clinton’s abortion orders in 1993 versus Bush’s on Monday.
Corrections: Two errors in the January 23
CyberAlert caught by the MRC’s Tom Johnson: It quoted George
Stephanopoulos as saying: "Instead of facing trial he went on the
lamb...." He didn’t go on an eating spree, so lamb should have read
"lam." Another item quoting George Clooney at the Golden Globe
Awards joking "I am actually the illegitimate love child of John
Ashcroft," misspelled the last name of the brothers who produced his
movie, Oh Brother Where Art Thou? They are the "Coen" brothers,
Rather’s campaign to discredit Bush’s "big tax cut"
continued Wednesday night. Rather opened the CBS Evening News by asserting
President Bush is "keeping up his drumbeat of negative talk about the
health of the U.S. economy and using that in his efforts to sell Congress
on a big tax cut." Rather maintained there are really "mixed
signals" on the economy. Later, after referring to Bush’s
"Republican-right agenda in Congress," Rather eagerly relayed
how "Democrats continue to view" the tax cut as "a giveaway
to the wealthy that spends the budget surplus and leaves no money for such
things as seniors to pay for prescription drugs."
Rather opened his January 24 broadcast: "Good
evening. President Bush is keeping up his drumbeat of negative talk about
the health of the U.S. economy and using that in his efforts to sell
Congress on a big tax cut. By most independent assessments the economy is
sending mixed signals. Four major corporations are cutting 20,000 jobs,
but the Federal Reserve says laid off workers should find new jobs
quickly. A new survey of business people says their confidence in the
economy is at a 20-year low, but consumer spending shows signs of coming
back, interest rates have just been cut and America’s bankers say they
don’t expect a recession."
Later, Rather summarized only the view of those
against the tax cut as he reviewed Bush’s day: "Power politics was
part of the drill today at the White House as President Bush invited top
Democrats over to take each other’s measure and talk about prospects for
his Republican-right agenda in Congress. Beyond the pleasantries and
pledges of cooperation afterward, Democrats made it clear that they will
cooperate up to a point. One of those points, the Bush tax cut plan.
Democrats continue to view it as, among others things, a giveaway to the
wealthy that spends the budget surplus and leaves no money for such things
as seniors to pay for prescription drugs."
Without even checking, I think with a high degree of
certainty I can say that in 1993 Dan Rather never reported how President
Clinton talked to congressional leaders "about prospects for his
Democratic-left agenda in Congress."
McCain was here and he left the building like a rock star, just mobbed by
the media as he walked down the driveway towards his car," ABC’s
Terry Moran announced on Wednesday’s World News Tonight as he exposed
the continued media adoration of McCain.
Both CBS and NBC also ran full stories on McCain’s
late afternoon visit with Bush and Cheney to push them to join his liberal
increased regulation "campaign finance reform" bill to limit
Tom Brokaw introduced the NBC Nightly News story by
adopting McCain’s negative description of soft money: "In
Washington, D.C., tonight, a reunion of sorts for the new President.
George W. Bush met at the White House today with his chief rival for the
Republican presidential nomination, Senator John McCain, and the issue was
McCain’s crusade for campaign finance reform, especially for the
so-called ‘soft money.’ Legal but unregulated and almost always not
David Gregory began the subsequent story:
"Well, Tom, Senator McCain, his aides say, carried low expectations
into this one-on-one meeting with the President, and he leaves tonight
apparently right where he started, sharing little common ground with Bush
on campaign finance reform."
CBS Evening News on Wednesday night noted the Senate Judiciary
Committee’s delay of a vote on John Ashcroft as Dan
Rather highlighted liberal complaints: "The divisions over the Bush
nomination of John Ashcroft to be Attorney General grew sharper today,
mostly around the issues of civil rights, race relations and women’s
issues. Senate Democrats put off a confirmation vote for at least a
Without really explaining the problems on those
issues, Bob Schieffer outlined how Senate Democrats are under pressure
from their interest groups and so are "hoping something may turn up
to disqualify" Aschcroft. Meanwhile, in addition to pressure from
"civil and women’s rights groups against him," Republicans are
now bringing pressure on Senators from states Bush won. Schieffer listed
Baucus of Montana, Johnson of South Dakota, Cleland of Georgia,
Rockefeller of West Virginia and Landrieu of Louisiana.
of liberal smears of John Ashcroft compliantly endorsed by the news media,
this week’s Weekly Standard excerpted, in context, Ashcroft’s now
infamous interview with Southern Partisan magazine.
A full reading shows how many journalists, most
prominently Tom Brokaw, deliberately distorted the interview in order to
suggest Ashcroft is a racist who favored the South’s agenda to preserve
As quoted in the January 15 CyberAlert, on the
Sunday, January 14 Dateline NBC Brokaw demanded of George W. Bush:
"Already people are saying: Look, your nomination of John Ashcroft as
the Attorney General is a divisive gesture within the African-American
community. Here’s a man who enthusiastically embraced an honorary degree
from a university with racist policies, Bob Jones. And a man who said
he’s got to speak out on behalf of the agenda of Robert E. Lee."
The next night, January 15, Brokaw opened the NBC
Nightly News: "Good evening on this Martin Luther King holiday, a
prelude to what begins tomorrow in Washington -- the confirmation hearings
for John Ashcroft, the former Missouri Senator who is George W. Bush’s
choice to be Attorney General. Race will be a major issue in the
contentious hearings, especially since Ashcroft defended the Confederate
agenda of Robert E. Lee in an interview with the Southern Partisan, a
magazine promoting the culture of the Old South."
No he didn’t, as the January 29 Weekly Standard
demonstrated. Here’s their "Scrapbook" item as posted on their
Web site last week: http://www.weeklystandard.com/election2000/index.html#story3
Are Liberals Illiterate?
No, John Ashcroft Didn't Defend the Confederacy
Liberal organizations lobbying the Senate against John Ashcroft’s confirmation as attorney general have fixed on
an interview the nominee gave in 1998 to Southern Partisan. Southern
Partisan is the kind of publication for which the phrase "more
commented upon than read" was invented: a magazine of unabashed
Confederate irredentism, given to venting indignantly about how the Old
South has gotten a bum rap. Whichever of his staff assistants recommended
that Ashcroft sit for an interview with that journal did the man no favor.
That said, however, we thought it worth reading Ashcroft’s Southern
Partisan interview in the unabridged original, just to make sure the
quotations from it cited by People for the American Way -- and routinely
reprinted in the mainstream media -- are fair and accurate. Ashcroft is
supposed to have praised Southern Partisan for "defending Southern
patriots like Lee, Jackson, and Davis" against the "malicious
attacks" of "revisionists" who claim that slavery was a
"perverted agenda." Can this really be true?
Nope. Here’s the actual passage in which the above-quoted words appear:
Ashcroft: "Revisionism is a threat to the respect that Americans
have for their freedoms and the liberty that was at the core of those who
founded this country, and when we see George Washington, the founder of
our country, called a racist, that is just total revisionist nonsense, a
diatribe against the values of America. Have you read Thomas West’s
book, Vindicating the Founders?"
Interviewer: "I’ve met Professor West, and I read one of his
earlier books, but not that one."
Ashcroft: "I wish I had another copy: I’d send it to you. I gave it away to a newspaper editor. West virtually
disassembles all of these malicious
attacks the revisionists have brought against our Founders. Your magazine
also helps set the record straight. You’ve got a heritage of doing that,
of defending Southern patriots like Lee, Jackson, and Davis.
Traditionalists must do more. I’ve got to do more. We’ve all got to
stand up and speak in this respect, or else we’ll be taught that these
people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and
their honor to some perverted agenda."
So in Southern Partisan, it turns out, we have John Ashcroft defending
not the pro-slavery views of Civil War-era Confederate leaders but the
anti-slavery views of the nation’s Revolutionary War-era Founders. In
proper context, Ashcroft’s "controversial" mention of Lee,
Jackson, and Davis seems simply a polite aside to his interviewer. And an
insincere one, to boot. For three sentences later, Ashcroft makes clear
that he, too, believes slavery a "perverted agenda" from which
the honor of the American founding can
and must be rescued. "These people," Ashcroft insists, most
definitely weren’t "giving their lives, subscribing their sacred
fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda." There can’t be
any serious question about it: "These people" are the Founders,
which is why Ashcroft explicitly refers to the Declaration’s final
words. And slavery, in the view of our next attorney general, is indeed a
We find a sliver of comedy in the fact that John Ashcroft should now be
smeared as a crypto-racist on the basis of his conversation about Thomas
West’s fine book Vindicating the Founders (reviewed by James Ceaser in
the November 10, 1997, issue of The Weekly Standard). There’s nothing at
all funny about the smear itself, however.
Yes, liberals proved themselves illiterate in this
case and Tom Brokaw should be ashamed of giving credibility to such a
bright side, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday night picked up on how
Senator Clinton had people give her gifts and money in a manner to avoid
Senate gift rules and Mitchell tied in Denise Rich, ex-wife of Marc Rich,
the fugitive pardoned by President Clinton.
On the January 24 NBC Nightly News Andrea Mitchell,
as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, reported that Hillary Clinton
is "ducking questions about what even friends are calling ‘the
Clintons’ loot.’ More than $190,000 in luxurious gifts" she
received last year, including china, silver, artwork and a dining room
Mitchell explained: "Gifts donated by friends
and Democratic Party contributors just before Mrs. Clinton is sworn in,
donors say to avoid violating Senate ethics rules, disturbing to some
Senators." After a soundbite from Richard Shelby, Mitchell
elaborated: "Mrs. Clinton registered her choices last November just
like a new bride, a spokesman said because friends wanted to give her
special farewell presents. But donors tell NBC News a very different
story. They say they were solicited by Clinton Beverly Hills contributor
Rita Pynoos, told to send a $5,000 check to the store quickly before the
Senate ethics deadline. The donors also say they have no idea what their
Charles Lewis of the
Center for Public Integrity asserted: "This is excessive by any
measure, and it’s another example of poor taste, bad taste."
Mitchell raised the situation of Denise Rich, who
donated $7,300 for two chairs and two coffee tables while "at the
same time on December 6, she sends this personal appeal to the President,
pleading for a pardon for her ex-husband fugitive Marc Rich."
Mitchell concluded: "The Clintons’ gift
registry is not illegal. Her office says the gifts were consistent with
Senate ethics rules and obligations. Still, some of Senator Clinton’s
own supporters say that her buying spree shows terrible political
Maybe Hillary Clinton assumed a lack of media
interest, a judgment that will be confirmed if neither ABC or CBS pick up
Gumbel took on Secretary of Education Rod Paige from the left on Wednesday
morning, arguing vouchers will make bad schools worse and that national,
not state, testing is necessary. Most of Bush’s plan envisions a greater
federal role in education, traditionally considered by conservatives to be
a local concern, but Gumbel did not make Paige defend the expansion of
federal control over local schools.
Gumbel started by asking "how committed is the
President to vouchers?" and: "The President avoided using the
'v' word. You tell me what viable alternatives to vouchers would the
President be willing to consider, willing to accept?"
"What is the argument for continuing to put money into schools that
are not working?"
Gumbel became an
advocate: "Well I would counter to that, the question would be, how
would you compensate those already strapped schools with a loss of more
funding, they’re only going to get worse."
Gumbel soon moved on to testing: "The
President’s proposal calls for annual testing but no national testing.
When Paige said tests are best administered by each
state, Gumbel countered: "But the President puts a premium on who's
failing. Without national testing how can you possibly tell whether or not
children in a particular state are falling behind the others?"
Finally, Gumbel seemed to suggest that maybe
Bush’s black cabinet secretary didn’t have much influence: "How
much input into this program did you have, Mr. Secretary?" Paige
assured Gumbel that he’s been working for years with Bush in Texas on
Gumbel’s ex-wife, the New York Post reported Wednesday, claims that
"he slept with more than 50 women during his 27 years of
An excerpt from the January 24 New York Post story
by Andy Geller and Neil Graves which was plugged on Jim Romenesko’s
MediaNews page: http://www.poynter.org/medianews
TV host Bryant Gumbel, who finally admitted to adultery yesterday,
slept with more than 50 women during his 27 years of marriage, his
estranged wife's lawyer claimed.
The lawyer for the host of CBS's "Early Show" dismissed the
bombshell allegation as "notorious and stupid gossip."
The charges flew after a Westchester Supreme Court hearing at which
Gumbel -- after a year of wrangling -- agreed to his wife June's demand
that adultery be grounds for their divorce.
A bitter June had accused Gumbel of being a "serial
The TV host also agreed to give June $15,000 in court-ordered payments,
including $6,500 for a new water system and $5,000 for her personal
June's lawyer, Barry Slotnick, said that if Gumbel had not agreed to
his wife's demands, he could have produced evidence Gumbel slept with over
50 women in the 27 years of his marriage, "starting from Day 1."
"We had enough proof if we had to go to trial -- 50 times
over," he said.
Gumbel's lawyer, Stanley Arkin, said the TV host, who is living with
his blonde girlfriend Hilary Quinlan, "has acknowledged he is living
with a woman he loves."
He called Slotnick's claim "notorious and stupid gossip."
Slotnick said that as a result of Gumbel's admission, both sides will
be able to proceed rapidly to a divorce and "move on in their
The next phase is the financial settlement. Slotnick said June wants
$10 million -- half of what he estimates as Gumbel's net worth of $20
million -- and annual payments of $1.5 million. Gumbel
is now making support payments of $18,000 a month. Slotnick
said Gumbel earns $7 million a year from hosting the "Early
For the complete story, go to:
50 women in 27 years? That’s not even quite two
per year on average. Bill Clinton long ago left Gumbel in the dust.
people watched inauguration coverage on CNN than FNC because many homes
don’t get FNC, but in 8 households with the a choice of both CNN and FNC,
the Brit Hume-anchored FNC team won the head-to-head competition, Inside.com
reported earlier this week. MSNBC trailed both. "Fox News Trounces
the Cable Competition on Inauguration Saturday" announced the
headline over the story plugged by drudgereport.com.
In his Tuesday afternoon-posted story,
Inside.com’s Tom Bierbaum reported:
Cable viewers flocked to Fox News Channel to see George W. Bush sworn
in as President, boosting that channel past CNN in inauguration Nielsens
and giving Fox News its third-highest-rated day ever.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Fox News averaged a 2.5 rating in homes that receive the service, to beat CNN's
2.0 and MSNBC's 1.6. CNN won in total
households, with 1.6 million to Fox News' 1.42 million, but that's with
CNN available in 80 million homes while Fox News currently reaches just 57
million. MSNBC's household average Saturday was 954,000.
The big Bush numbers for Fox News reinforce the perception that conservatives
and Republicans favor Fox News while liberals and Democrats
prefer the cable-news competition. Last summer, Fox News challenged
CNN's ratings during the Republic National Convention (1.3 for CNN, 1.1
for Fox News, 0.6 for MSNBC), but fell to third during the Democratic
event (1.6 for CNN, 0.9 for MSNBC, 0.7 for Fox News)....
Fox News averaged a 1.3 rating for the entire day Saturday, making it
the channel's third-highest-rated day ever, behind only results for Dec.
12 and Dec. 8, key junctures during the post-election dispute.
Despite trailing Fox News' rating, CNN enjoyed a 54 percent increase
over its household total during the 1997 Clinton inaugural (when numbers
were held down because that event took place on a Monday morning). In
1997, CNN averaged 1.04 million homes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with its
Monday coverage, while this past Saturday, CNN rose to a 1.60 million in
10 a.m.-3 p.m. averages. Fox News and MSNBC weren't regularly measured by
Nielsen in 1997....
For the entire story, go to:
This is great news for admirers of FNC’s "we
report, you decide" approach since it shows that when given a choice
cable viewers pick FNC over CNN and MSNBC. If FNC can get into as many
homes as CNN and MSNBC it probably will become the most watched of the
rise also means more people will hear about the MRC’s documentation of
bias at the older networks. Wednesday night Brit Hume summarized a Tuesday
CyberAlert item during the "Grapevine" segment of his show,
Special Report with Brit Hume:
"Eight years ago, when Bill Clinton issued an
executive order to allow U.S. taxpayer money once again to be used to
support abortions overseas, Dan Rather said he had quote, ‘delivered on
a campaign promise,’ unquote. Peter Jennings said Mr. Clinton had quote,
‘kept his word,’ and Tom Brokaw said he had quote, ‘kept a campaign
President Bush reversed that order this week Rather said quote, ‘he did
something to please the right flank in his party.’ Jennings called it
quote, ‘designed to appeal to conservatives’ and Brokaw said Mr. Bush
had quote, ‘started on a controversial note.’ Thanks to the Media
Research Center for those quotes."
And we thank Hume and FNC for the news judgment to
pick up the item and give credit to the MRC.