CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Monday February 12, 2001 (Vol. Six; No. 24) |
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The Homeless Are Back; Angry at Clinton for Giving Conservatives a Reason to "Pontificate"; Early Clinton Furniture Shipping Ignored

1) The homeless are back! On Sunday night ABC News won the race to be the first network to re-discover homelessness after eight years of avoiding them. ABC’s Bob Jamieson: "In New York City the number of homeless in the shelter system has risen above 25,000 a night for the first time since the late 1980s."

2) Best Quotes of the Weekend: Brit Hume asked Joe Biden: "If you had the Clintons over to dinner would you use your best silver?" And George Will was is awe of liberals who tolerated eight years of misdeeds in office by Clinton, but then "he steals the toaster and they say, ‘that’s it, we’ve had it.’"

3) Time’s Jack White revealed that media liberals are most angry at Bill Clinton not for what he did during his last days in office, but for giving conservatives "another excuse to get up in front of the public and pontificate endlessly about these problems."

4) The Washington Post revealed that against the advice of the White House’s chief usher, more than a year ago the Clintons shipped government-owned furniture to Chappaqua. NBC mentioned it briefly while ABC and CBS skipped the disclosure.

5) World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson: "ABC News has learned that some of the Republican outrage about the pardon may be misplaced" because Denise’s Rich’s donations to the Clinton library occurred before the pardon request.

6) The liberal mantra about tax cuts for the rich adopted by reporters on the weekend gabfests. Eleanor Clift dubbed it an "outrageous" giveaway to the rich. Al Hunt called it a "reverse Robin Hood bill." Margaret Carlson complained about how little goes to "we" in the "working class."

7) After a soundbite of Tom Daschle reciting his Lexus versus a muffler spin, ABC’s Charles Gibson insisted to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill: "In essence, he's correct, isn't he?"

8) Why are journalists liberal? On FNC, American University journalism professor Jane Hall revealed how she teaches her students to assess the tax cut: "If the poorer people are getting a big percentage, and they’re still not getting as much, you need to talk to people about that."

The homeless are back! The homeless are back! On Sunday night, just three weeks after George W. Bush assumed office, ABC News won the race to be the first network to re-discover homelessness.  

     World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Carole Simpson intoned:
     "After one of the longest periods of prosperity in U.S. history, America’s robust economy is slowing. Layoffs and the high cost of housing are creating hardships. Homelessness, which is estimated to effect from two and a half to three and a half million people, is again on the rise."

    Bob Jamieson began his story by showing people at the Hesed House homeless shelter in Aurora, Illinois. He claimed: "The 175 bed shelter in the city of 130,000 has recorded a steady increase in homeless for the last year, particularly families with children."
    Diane Nilan, Director of Hesed House: "It’s been mind-boggling. We don’t even have time to think about how many folks we’re serving and more come in. So it’s numbers have increased in ways we could never even imagine."
     Jamieson extrapolated: "What’s happening in Aurora reflects a national trend. The U.S. Conference of Mayors reports a 17 percent increase in the number of families asking for help because of homelessness. In part, the long economic boom is blamed for causing rents to skyrocket. Since 1994 housing costs have increased at a rate 40 percent greater than inflation every year. In New York City the number of homeless in the shelter system has risen above 25,000 a night for the first time since the late 1980s. More than three quarters of the homeless are families or single women."

    The most since the late 1980s. What a coincidence. And wow, Bush’s policies sure do work fast. It took just three weeks to return us to Reagan-era misery.

    Liberal advocate Barbara Duffield of the National Coalition for the Homeless asserted: "In many shelters over half of the residents are working but they can’t afford housing. And in fact there’s no state in this entire country where a minimum wage job would allow a person to rent a two bedroom apartment."

    Ever think of working more than 40 hours a week?

    Jamieson continued: "Federal funding for shelters has more than doubled to a billion dollars in the last eight years, but there’s only money to provide housing assistance for one in four low income families that qualifies."

    Another unlabeled liberal not balanced with a conservative voice got a chance to sound off. Dennis Culhane, identified on screen as with "Social Welfare Policy" at the University of Pennsylvania, argued: "More emergency shelters means we have more homeless people. We don’t have more housing. And the solution, obviously, is to increase the supply of subsidies so housing is more affordable to people who need it."

    The solution is not so "obviously" more spending but eliminating rent control in big cities so more housing can be made available.

    Jamieson concluded: "Elise Baker-Harrington wants to leave the shelter in Aurora as soon as she can, but with affordable housing in such short supply she, like other homeless in other parts of the country, may be in a shelter for months."

    Even worse, the homeless will get nothing out of Bush’s tax cut.

    The media’s lack of interest in homelessness since January 20, 1993, except to occasionally illustrate the evils of welfare reform, was confirmed in a 1996 study in the MRC’s MediaWatch newsletter. The February 1996 study, compiled by Tim Graham, began:

The poor may have always been with us, but the network news has often presented homelessness as a problem created by the Reagan administration.

"In the 1980s, the Reagan years, the amount of government money spent to build low-income housing was cut drastically. Then the homeless began to appear on streets and in doorsteps and housing became a visible human problem," proclaimed then-NBC anchor Garrick Utley on November 3, 1990. ABC's John Martin told the same tale in reporting a 1989 homelessness march: "They staged the biggest rally on behalf of the homeless since the Reagan revolution forced severe cutbacks in government housing programs."

It mattered little that budget experts John Cogan and Timothy Muris noted in The American Enterprise in 1990 that "while budget authority for subsidized housing programs declined 77 percent (from 1981-89), the number of subsidized units and the number of families living in those units increased by one-third."...

So now that Bill Clinton has been in office for three years, has the ever-growing problem of homelessness continued to burden the White House? Or did the problem recede from the media's agenda? MediaWatch analysts used the MRC Media Tracking System to count the number of network evening news segments on homelessness in America on the four evening newscasts (ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and CNN's Prime News or World News). Analysts found the problem faded from the list of priorities. In the Bush years (1989-1992), the number of homeless stories per year averaged 52.5, but in the first three years of the Clinton administration, the average dropped to 25.3 stories a year.

During the Bush administration, the story count grew from 44 in 1989 to a peak of 71 in 1990, followed by 54 stories in 1991 and 43 in 1992. By contrast, stories on America's homeless dipped slightly to 35 stories in 1993, and 32 in 1994. In 1995, the number fell dramatically to just nine. When the count is broken down by network, CNN had the widest gap in reporting during the Bush years and Clinton years (90-30), closely followed by ABC (45-16), CBS (41-15), and NBC (36-15).

    END Excerpt

    Now that a Republican is back in the White House you can be sure that ABC’s story is not an aberration but the first of many network looks at a problem they somehow managed to overlook during the Clinton years.


Best Quotes of the Weekend: Brit Hume asked Joe Biden "if you had the Clintons over to dinner would you use your best silver?" And George Will was is awe of liberals who tolerated eight years of misdeeds in office by Clinton, but then "he steals the toaster and they say, ‘that’s it, we’ve had it.’"

    -- Brit Hume interviewing Senator Joe Biden on Fox News Sunday:
    Hume: "Knowing what you now know about furniture and other items that left the White House, if you had the Clintons over to dinner would you use your best silver?"
    Biden: "Only if I were in the home that Ronald Reagan was given for $2.6 million. I would do it there."
    Hume: "Didn’t he pay that money back, sir?"
    Biden: "Well, not that I’m aware of but maybe you’re right, maybe he did. But let me assume he paid it back. Would you all be satisfied if the Clintons paid it back? I doubt whether you’d let it go."
    Hume: "Well Senator I still haven’t gotten the answer about the silver."
    Biden: "Well, I don’t know about the silver. I’d be happy to have them both at my home."

    -- George Will during the roundtable segment on ABC’s This Week: "I love liberals. They put up with this guy through perjury, suborning perjury, obstruction of justice, use of the military to cloud discussion of his problems. He steals the toaster and they say, ‘that’s it, we’ve had it.’ Is my memory deceiving me or did we in 1992 hear the Clintons say ‘what we’re going to do is get over the moral squalor of the decade of greed, the Reagan decade of greed.’ I don’t think we made it."


Time’s Jack White revealed that media liberals like himself are most angry at Bill Clinton not for what he did during his last days in office in taking furniture and issuing baseless pardons, but for giving conservatives "another excuse to get up in front of the public and pontificate endlessly about these problems."

    On Inside Washington over the weekend White, Time’s national correspondent, rued:
    "Well Clinton really stunk up the joint didn’t he? I mean Eric Holder’s a friend of mine and he’s a decent man and an honorable public servant. But like so many other people who have come close to Bill Clinton, he has been caught up in the trail of slime that Clinton has left behind him like a slug making its way through a garden, but what I really have against Clinton in this case though is he’s giving these people like Bob Barr another excuse to get up in front of the public and pontificate endlessly about these problems."


Even after being questioned by the chief usher at the White House who believed the furniture belonged to the mansion, not the Clintons personally, Bill and Hillary Clinton began shipping furniture from the White House to their New Castle (Chappaqua), New York home in January 2000, the Washington Post revealed in a front page story on Saturday. But the broadcast networks all ignored the disclosure on Saturday night after NBC gave it a sentence on Friday night.

    ABC skipped the early removal of furniture on Saturday’s World News Tonight, but had time for a full story on Eminem’s popularity in Britain and a piece of rising interest in toy pianos. The Saturday CBS Evening News ignored the Washington Post front page piece on the furniture, but aired a full story on another development on the Post’s front page: The EEOC suing to stop Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad from performing genetic tests on its employees. NBC Nightly News ran a piece by John Palmer on how the investigating congressional committees plan to subpoena Clinton library donor records and ask the Justice Department to grant immunity to Denise Rich.

    Lisa Myers, on Friday’s NBC Nightly News, noted how amongst the gifts the Clinton were returning were six not on any list and which the Washington Post had learned were shipped out a year earlier: a gaming table with presidential seal, a television armoire, two prints and two tables.

    "Clintons Shipped Furniture Year Ago" announced the headline over the top of the fold front page story in the February 10 Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt of the report by George Lardner Jr., who appeared on Friday’s News with Brian Williams on MSNBC to discuss his piece:

President Bill Clinton and his wife started shipping furniture from the White House to the Clintons' newly purchased home in New York more than a year ago, despite questions at the time by the chief usher about whether they were entitled to remove the items.

The day before the items were shipped out, White House chief usher Gary J. Walters said he asked whether the Clintons should be taking the furnishings because he believed they were government property donated as part of a White House redecoration project in 1993, during Clinton's first year in office.

But Walters was told by the White House counsel's office that the items he asked about -- which included an iron and glass coffee table, a painted TV armoire, a custom wood gaming table, and a wicker center table with wood top -- were "personal gifts received by the Clintons prior to President Clinton's assuming office."

Personal property brought to the White House by an incoming President does not have to be disclosed on financial reports. As a result of the counsel's determination, the furnishings were sent on to the Clintons' new home in Chappaqua. They were not listed among the controversial gifts Clinton revealed, the day before he left office this year, that he and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), had taken with them.

However, government records show that the gifts that concerned Walters did not arrive at the White House until after the Clintons moved in. At least one of the items, a Ficks-Reed wicker table, was logged in at the White House on Feb. 8, 1993. Joy Ficks, the widow of the manufacturer, told The Washington Post last week it was meant for the White House, not the Clintons, and she thought it would stay there.

The Clintons' interior decorator, Khaki Hockersmith, had been soliciting gifts for the White House redecoration project even before the 1993 inauguration, according to some of those she approached. Walters said he understood she was telling donors that the furnishings were for the executive mansion rather than the Clintons personally....

The armoire, the coffee table and the wicker center table were trucked to New York on Jan. 4, 2000, just before the Clintons moved into the $1.7 million home in suburban New York, Walters said yesterday....

Walters said he accepted without a fuss the determination of the counsel's office, in a memo dated Jan. 3, 2000, that the gifts were personal Clinton property. In the memo, White House associate counsel Meredith Cabe said the reason the four items "arrived after the Clintons" was each item "was given a special finish" under Hockersmith's direction "to match the design decor selected by the Clintons for individual rooms in their personal space in the Residence." Cabe said she was relying on information from Hockersmith.

"I'm not a lawyer," Walters said. "I didn't feel I was in a position to argue with the counsel's office."....

    END Excerpt

    To read the whole story, go to:


CBS and NBC treated the revelation that Denise Rich donated over $400,000 to the Clinton library as another bit of evidence suggesting Bill Clinton’s pardon of her ex-husband was done in exchange for financial support, but ABC emphasized how "some of the Republican outrage about the pardon may be misplaced" since her donations were given supposedly before a pardon was requested.

    Dan Rather announced on Friday’s CBS Evening News: "There are new questions tonight about President Clinton’s last-minute pardon of Marc Rich, the fugitive financier. CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante reports Rich’s former wife, Denise, contributed about $400,000 to the Clinton presidential library. President Clinton has insisted repeatedly that the pardon was based on the facts of the case and nothing else."

    But over on ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor Charles Gibson asserted: "The furor surrounding President Clinton’s pardon of Marc Rich is unabated, but ABC News has learned that some of the Republican outrage about the pardon may be misplaced. They claim Rich’s former wife made a huge gift to the Clinton library and perhaps bought the pardon. That may not be the case."

    Reporter Jackie Judd outlined the spin: "ABC News has been told by Democratic sources that the ex-wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich gave $450,000 to the Clinton library. The sources say the contribution was made in three separate payments, with the final check May going out last May. That would mean it was paid before there was any known discussion of a pardon."


Another weekend of tax cut bashing on the gabfest shows by reporters who endorsed the liberal class warfare mantra. Eleanor Clift dubbed it an "outrageous" cut which is a "raid on the treasury." Al Hunt called it a "reverse Robin Hood bill." Margaret Carlson declared that "we" in the "working class" have about as much chance of "getting help under this we do winning the sweepstakes."

    -- Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group:
    "This is a raid on the treasury that the Democrats don’t have the votes or the spine to stop. The top one percent of wage earners pay 20 percent of taxes, they’ll get 42 percent of this tax cut. It’s outrageous."

    -- Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, on CNN’s Capital Gang:
    "They have succeeded so far in this patently false claim that this a tax cut that's tilted to the middle and working class. It's not, Mark. The top one percent of income earners in the U.S. today pay about 20 percent of all federal taxes. They get 36 percent of the benefits in this bill. Conversely, the working poor. The working poor, now, I'm talking about, get virtually nothing from this bill.
    "They're people who pay payroll taxes but they get nothing because first of all, it does nothing about payroll taxes, even though 74 percent of Americans pay more payroll taxes than income taxes. It does nothing about the earned income tax credit for working Americans, and on the refundable -- or on the tax credit, the child tax credit, it gives it to people making $150 to $200,000 a year for the first time. But because it doesn't make it refundable, if you make 15 to 20 grand you get nothing. This is a reverse Robin Hood bill."

    Fellow panelist Bob Novak correctly observed: "I'm glad I got that lesson in Marxist dialectics."

    -- Margaret Carlson of Time magazine on the same Capital Gang, referring to Bush’s photo-op appearances with families to illustrate how they will benefit from his tax cut plan:
    "I thought the Publisher's Clearing House, Ed McMahon was going come out because I think the working class has about as much chance as getting help under this bill without the payroll tax cut as we do winning the sweepstakes."

    "We"? I think it’s a fair assumption that Margaret’s income is well above "working class."


ABC’s Charles Gibson set up a Friday morning interview with Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill by outlining the numbers used for and against the Bush tax cut, but then asked him to agree with the class warfare spin forwarded by Tom Daschle about buying a Luxus versus buying a muffler.

    Gibson introduced the February 9 Good Morning America segment, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
    "Well, now we're going to turn to the President's tax plan. Under the plan, a family of four or five earning $60,000 a year, would save $1,600. A family earning a million dollars would save $46,000. That's the dollar amounts, but look at it on a percentage basis. That's a 40 percent tax cut for the family earning $60,000, just a 15 percent reduction for the wealthier family, and there's the divide. How do you talk about it? Critics talk of the large dollar savings for the rich, and supporters talk about the larger percentage savings for lower earners. Just a few moments ago we talked with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and a family that's not quite convinced the plan works for them. Mr. Secretary, no sooner was your proposal up on Capitol Hill than, as might be expected, Democrats reacting. I just want to play a quick bite from the Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle."
    Sen. Daschle: "If you're a millionaire, under the Bush tax cut, you'd get a $46,000 tax cut, more than enough to pay for this Lexus. But if you're a typical working person, you get $227 dollars, and that's enough to buy this muffler."
    Gibson: "Now Mr. Secretary, you may dispute the exact numbers, but in essence, he's correct, isn't he?"

    Of course, if you don’t even earn $46,000 it’s hard to get a tax cut of more than $46,000.

    Gibson soon proposed to O’Neill: "But, and administration people keep saying 'proportionately middle income people will save more,' but the savings for taxpayers who are in million dollar-plus brackets are enormous compared to the absolute numbers that middle income people will save."

    Again, if you earn less than the rich pay in taxes it’s hard to get a tax cut as large as a rich person would.


So why do journalists evaluate tax cuts on class warfare "fairness" terms advocated by liberals and not by measuring them against the percentage cut taxpayers in different brackets will receive? Maybe it’s because they are taught that way.

    At least that is what one journalism professor revealed over the weekend on FNC’s Fox NewsWatch. Panelist Jane Hall, a former Los Angles Times reporter in the paper’s Washington bureau who now runs the journalism program at American University in Washington, DC, divulged how she trains her students to apply a liberal test when assessing tax cuts:
    "I think there’s a deeper issue. I think the question is, whom is this going to benefit? You quoted editorials. I think there should be straight news reporting that talks about -- not having Tom Daschle say it -- who is this going to benefit? It’s as simple as saying, let me finish, I teach a reporting class and I talk to them about how you evaluate a percentage? If the poorer people are getting a big percentage, and they’re still not getting as much, you need to talk to people about that."

    As panelist Cal Thomas futilely tried to explain to her, the rich pay more in taxes so naturally they will cut a bigger numerical cut.

    Hall demonstrated one reason why journalists are so liberal. Former journalists teach them to be that way. -- Brent Baker



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