Policies "At Odds" With Uniting; CBS Suppressed Vandalism; Abortion and Greenspan Bias Highlighted; Jane Fonda Canned by CNN
1) Eleanor Clift lashed out at
Hillary Clinton, not for what she did in accepting last-minute gifts in a
manner to circumvent the Senate gift rules, but for giving fuel to
"the right wing."
2) CBS's John Roberts insisted
that Bush's backing of conservative policies "has often been at odds
with" his claim to be a "uniter." At "odds" with
uniting: "The Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion
counseling, plans for school vouchers..."
3) ABC offered a couple of
sentences Friday night about vandalism in the White House Complex while
ABC and NBC raised it Friday morning, but CBS ignored it.
4) On CNN's Capital Gang Kate
O'Beirne raised the contrast in how the networks spun the Bush executive
order on abortion this year compared to how they treated Clinton's
opposite order eight years earlier. CBS's Bob Schieffer analogized Bush's
abortion order to Clinton's gays in the military.
5) The New York Post's "MediaWatch"
column recalled how CBS had stressed Greenspan's supposed opposition to
Bush's tax cut. John Roberts declared that there is "a fundamental
difference between Bush and Greenspan over how best to spur economic
growth, from cutting interest rates or cutting taxes."
6) CNN shedding liberals in
its downsizing. Jane Fonda, and the producer who once proclaimed "I
want to be the little subversive person in television," let go.
7) Quote of the Weekend.
Time's Jack White: "Moses was in the wilderness for forty years,
Jesus was in the desert for forty days and Jesse Jackson..."
A flustered Eleanor Clift lashed out at Hillary Clinton, not for what she
did in accepting last-minute gifts at the White House in order to
circumvent the Senate gift rules, but for giving fuel to "the right
On the McLaughlin
Group over the weekend the Newsweek writer asserted: "It looks
terrible. She's about to get $8 million for a book. You know, why didn't
she wait and buy her own flatware with her money instead of handing
Michael [Barone] and the right wing all of these weapons all of the time?
You know, it's so unnecessary."
Advocating anything conservative contradicts Bush's "uniter"
message CBS's John Roberts reported as fact Friday night as he asserted
"the Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling,
plans for school vouchers" are "at odds" with being a
In a CBS Evening
News review of President Bush's first week in office, Roberts recounted
how Bush tried "to forge bi-partisan cooperation" in meetings
with 90 Members of Congress. On education, "old foes" like Ted
Kennedy "have become new allies," Roberts noted.
But then he
warned: "The Bush White House packaged in its first week an image of
the President as a uniter. But Mr. Bush's message has often been at odds
with the mission. The Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion
counseling, plans for school vouchers, an in your face attitude that has
Democrats reluctant to let down their guard."
"We are, in a sense, the only things standing between what
Republicans propose and what becomes law."
"There are a great many questions still outstanding about George W.
Bush. No question about that, but he's off to a good start."
concluded: "Mr. Bush will test the spirit of bi-partisanship again
next week when he unveils his plans to provide federal funding for
religious charities. A proposal that has already raised concerns about the
separation of church and state."
"reluctant to let down their guard"? It is just as much their
opposition to Ashcroft, the abortion order and school vouchers that
Friday night ABC gave a couple of sentences to White House Complex
vandalism, but that's a couple of sentences more than offered by CBS on
Friday morning or evening. Friday's Today ran the same Andrea Mitchell
piece which aired on Thursday's Nightly News and which was detailed in the
January 26 CyberAlert, while on ABC's Good Morning America George
Stephanopoulos was asked about the reports.
But CBS's The
Early Show, obsessed with Survivor and the Super Bowl, didn't touch the
subject, MRC analyst Brian Boyd informed me. And CBS continued to ignore
it Friday night while ABC gave it a few seconds.
Bush's first week, ABC's Terry Moran told World News Tonight anchor Kevin
are signs, substantive and symbolic, that the trench warfare that has
marked Washington in recent years remains. Take the pranks and minor
vandalism that were left behind in some offices by departing Clinton
staffers. Many computers were missing the W key and some offensive notes
and posters were found. More importantly, the President faces fierce
opposition on several fronts. His school voucher proposal, his tax cut,
his plan to steer more federal money to faith-based charities and the
promise he made today to cut off federal funding for scientific research
that uses tissue from aborted fetuses -- all this, Kevin, could end his
honeymoon very quickly."
National Review Washington Editor Kate O'Beirne alerted CNN viewers to the
contrast in how the networks spun the Bush executive order on abortion
this year, re-imposing a ban on federal funding for abortion counseling
overseas, compared to how they treated Clinton's opposite order eight
Relaying the same
point and quotes outlined in the January 23 CyberAlert about January 22
evening show coverage, on Saturday's Capital Gang O'Beirne recalled:
years ago the media broadly supported Bill Clinton, in one of his first
acts as President, 'kept a campaign promise,' by lifting the restriction
on funds. The way they played it with George W. Bush is: performed 'a very
controversial act,' when in fact, of course, he's with the vast majority
of the public in not wanting to fund exporting abortion and abortion
advocacy, and they of course they also said he was catering to his right
wing, when in fact the majority of the public agrees with him -- and no
mention of Bill Clinton catering to his left wing when he lifted this
Indeed, that is an
accurate summation of the media's biased approach. The January 23
CyberAlert reported: "Monday night ABC, CBS and NBC characterized
Bush's abortion order as a 'controversial' decision in which he 'did
something to quickly please the right flank.' But eight years ago to the
day Clinton's executive orders on abortion reflected how he had 'delivered
on his campaign promise' by taking non-ideological action which
demonstrated how he 'keeps his word.'" For the entire analysis, go
MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth came across more evidence of how reporters were upset by Bush
issuing an abortion order on his first weekday in office. Serving as
substitute host Monday night, January 22, on CNN's Larry King Live, CBS
News reporter Bob Schieffer was baffled by Bush's priorities and
analogized his abortion decision to how Clinton was sidetracked by gays in
To a panel of talk
show hosts he wondered: "It has been a busy week. And today, George
Bush, who we were told was gonna put the first emphasis on education,
signed this order putting a ban on the use of federal money that can be
used in overseas groups that promote or in any way have anything to do
with abortion. It's already stirred up a little trouble here. Is, Diane
Rehm, is what's happened here what happened to Bill Clinton in the
beginning of his administration when somehow or other he got off onto gays
in the military, and everything else kind of came to a stop?"
complained about how Bush had "started" something: "Jim
Bohannon and I -- you know, some feel one way about abortion, some people
feel another way, and that part doesn't interest me so much, as, the
political impact this is going to have; why do you suppose that right out
of the box, he started this."
Better memory about CyberAlert than even I. Friday's CyberAlert outlined
how the networks led Thursday night with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's
approval of a tax cut, but in Friday's New York Post its "MediaWatch"
column, compiled by Eric Fettmann, recalled past CyberAlert analysis to
remind readers of how CBS News had pounded away at how Greenspan opposed
Bush's tax cut plan.
Here's an excerpt
from the January 26 MediaWatch column:
You'd think that the network news types,
with their six-and seven-figure salaries, would know some economics. But
they're the ones who were most taken aback yesterday when Federal Reserve
Board Chairman Alan Greenspan said that tax cuts -- as proposed by
President Bush -- would not hurt the economy.
For more than a month now, news anchors and
correspondents have kept up a steady drumbeat of opposition to Bush's
tax-cut plan -- and most have invoked Greenspan's supposed opposition to
bolster their attacks.
Back on Dec. 5's 60 Minutes II, Scott
Pelley challenged Bush: "If in that first meeting with Mr. Greenspan,
the chairman of the Fed, he says to you, 'Mr. President, I think an
across-the-board tax cut is probably bad for the economy,' will you
A month later, CBS was still pounding the
drumbeat. As transcribed by the Media Research Center, John Roberts
declared that there is "a fundamental difference between Bush and
Greenspan over how best to spur economic growth, from cutting interest
rates or cutting taxes."
Actually, Greenspan favors both. He's
already cut interest rates, and is expected to do so again. And, he said
yesterday, "Should economic weakness spread beyond what appears
likely, having a tax cut in place may, in fact do noticeable good."
What's the matter with Greenspan -- doesn't
he listen to George Stephanopoulos? As far back as two weeks ago, the
former Clinton spinmeister was telling us that "this argument...that
because we're going into some kind of dip, even if it's not a recession,
that you need to have a huge tax cut now is completely specious..."
Of course, the network boys insist that any
talk of an economic downturn -- one begun before their hero, Bill Clinton,
left office -- is flat-out wrong.
Dan Rather led off Wednesday night's CBS
Evening News with these ominous words: "President Bush is keeping up
his drumbeat of negative talk about the health of the U.S. economy."
That talk, Rather made clear, is belied by the fact that "consumer
spending shows signs of coming back, interest rates have just been cut and
America's bankers say they don't expect a recession."....
From all misery some good shall come. Last week ended with the disclosure
that amongst those let go by CNN in the ten percent reduction of its
workforce: Jane Fonda and the entire environmental reporting unit, a
hotbed of liberal advocacy in the guise of news.
An excerpt from
Adam Buckman's January 26 The New York Post story:
....Ted Turner's estranged wife has become
the latest casualty in this week's massive layoffs at AOL/Time Warner.
Fonda hosted a show airing several times a
year on CNN, "People Count," which was produced by a unit of
Turner Broadcasting formed 20 years ago by Turner himself to spearhead
projects reflecting his environmental agenda.
Now, in a sign that Turner's influence over
the sprawling media company he founded is on the wane, the Atlanta-based
unit has been disbanded, resulting in Fonda's show getting the ax.
The unit -- called the Turner Environmental
Division, or TED -- was responsible for developing several programs, among
them "The Adventures of Captain Planet," an animated series
featuring a tree-hugging superhero, and "People Count."....
The closing of TED throws nine more
employees out of work, including longtime Turner exec Barbara Pyle,
corporate vice president of environmental policy, whom Turner hired 20
The fired TED staffers join an estimated
400 employees being laid off at CNN as AOL/Time Warner undergoes a painful
restructuring expected to eliminate more than 2,400 positions out of
Since TED was one of Turner's pet projects,
its demise is seen as representing the maverick media maven's declining
influence at the newly merged media giant....
reduced influence is good news for those hoping CNN will deliver less
liberally tilted programming.
Back in 1990 The
American Spectator quoted the now let go Barbara Pyle as declaring at an
Utne Reader symposium: "I do have an axe to grind...I want to be the
little subversive person in television."
Quote of the Weekend. Following the example set by President Bush as a
"uniter, not a divider," CyberAlert has selected a quote from a
liberal which shares common ground with conservatives. Time magazine's
Jack White on Inside Washington: "Moses was in the wilderness for
forty years, Jesus was in the desert for forty days and Jesse Jackson
couldn't stay away from the cameras for 72 hours."
I promise this
effort at finding common ground will not last.