CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Thursday March 8, 2001 (Vol. Six; No. 40) |
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SPECIAL EDITION: On Dan Rather’s 20th Anniversary as Anchor, His Most Obnoxious Liberal Advocacy. Plus: "Ratherisms"

1) "20 Years of Liberal Spin from Gunga Dan." A collection of 21 examples of Dan Rather’s liberal advocacy as distributed today in a two-page "Media Reality Check" fax report. Five years ago Rather promised, "you can sooner expect a tall talking broccoli stick to offer to mow your lawn for free" than expect to find him still in the anchor chair after the year 2000.

2) BONUS for CyberAlert readers: Another set of quotes from Rather culled from the MRC’s bias library.

3) Another bonus for CyberAlert readers: The wackiest "Ratherisms" from the past decade.

Friday marks Dan Rather's 20th year as anchor of the CBS Evening News, a post he assumed in March of 1981. So today the text of a special two-page Media Reality Check distributed by fax titled, "20 Years of Liberal Spin From Gunga Dan; Rather in ‘99: ‘I Remained an Independent Reporter Who Would Not Report From the Left or the Right.’"

    The MRC’s Rich Noyes compiled the quotes and collated them into the printed issue which you can see online as fax recipients saw it by accessing the Adobe Acrobat PDF version:

    Thanks to MRC Webmaster Andy Szul, the HTML online version of the Media Reality Check includes RealPlayer video of six of Rather’s quotes. To watch them, go to:

    In the reprint of the text below I’ve added, in [brackets], links to lengthier excerpts of some of the listed Rather quotes.

    Rich opened the Media Reality Check by explaining: "Five years ago, Dan Rather told the Los Angeles Times ‘you can sooner expect a tall talking broccoli stick to offer to mow your lawn for free’ than expect to find him still in the anchor chair after the year 2000. But he’s still there, and on Friday, two full decades will have passed since the idiosyncratic Rather succeeded Walter Cronkite as anchor of the CBS Evening News, now the nation’s third-rated evening newscast. To mark the occasion, this special 2-page Media Reality Check documents a few of the many liberal outbursts that have animated Rather’s tenure."

    Before we get to the rest of the text, the pull-out quotes from Rather featured on the first and second pages of the fax. On the front page:
    "The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor." -- CBS Evening News, March 16, 1995

    And on the second page, a contrast showing how Rather greeted both parties with liberal spin:
    "In the presidential campaign, the official announce-ment and first photo-op today of Republican George Bush and his running mate Richard Cheney. Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as quote ‘two Texas oilmen’ because Cheney was chief of a big Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate. They also blast Cheney’s voting record in Congress as again, quote, ‘outside the American mainstream’ because of Cheney’s votes against the Equal Rights for Women Amendment, against a woman’s right to choose abortion -- against abortion as Cheney prefers to put it -- and Cheney’s votes against gun control. Republicans see it all differently, most of them hailing Bush’s choice and Cheney’s experience." -- CBS Evening News, July 25, 2000
    "Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore officially introduced his history-making running mate today, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. History-making because Lieberman is of Jewish heritage and faith. The two started running right away. In their first joint appearance they gave a preview of the Gore-Lieberman fight-back, come-back strategy. Their message: They represent the future, not the past, and they are the ticket of high moral standards most in tune with real mainstream America." -- CBS Evening News, August 8, 2000

    Go to the online version of the Media Reality Check (address above) to view these videos side-by-side:
    Now the text of the March 8 Media Reality Check:

-- Republicans favor sleazy fundraising. "Republicans kill the bill to clean up sleazy political fundraising. The business of dirty campaign money will stay business as usual....Good evening. Legislation to reform shady big money campaign fundraising is dead in Congress. Republican opponents in the Senate killed it today." (CBS Evening News, February 26, 1998)

-- Hillary Clinton is a genius. "I hear you talking and, as I have before on this subject, I don’t know of anybody, friend or foe, who isn’t impressed by your grasp of the details of this [health care] plan. I’m not surprised, because you have been working on it so long and listened to so many people." (Interview with Hillary Clinton, 48 Hours, September 22, 1993)

-- Justice Souter is a right-wing woman-hater. "Senator Simon, is there any doubt in your mind that [Souter’s] views pretty well parallel those of John Sununu’s, which means he’s anti-abortion or anti-women’s rights, whichever way you want to put it?" (CBS Evening News interview with Democratic Sen. Paul Simon, July 23, 1990)

-- The Clintons are terrific! "If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we’d take it right now and walk away winners....Tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we’re pulling for her." (To President Clinton, via satellite, at a CBS affiliates meeting, referencing new co-anchor Connie Chung to the Evening News, May 27, 1993)

-- No need for proof before alleging GOP dirty tricks. "Al Gore must stand and deliver here tonight as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, and now Gore must do so against the backdrop of a potentially damaging, carefully orchestrated story leak about President Clinton. The story is that the Republican-backed special prosecutor, Robert Ray, Ken Starr’s successor, has a new grand jury looking into possible criminal charges against the President growing out of Mr. Clinton’s sex life." (CBS Evening News, August 17, 2000, the final day of the Democratic convention. The next day, a Carter-appointed federal judge revealed he had inadvertently leaked the news)
    [For more detail about Rather’s bad reporting and a video clip:]

-- Competitors to CBS News are morally inferior. "It is not just Congress that is taking a sharp turn to the right. The surge to the right on Capitol Hill is making waves all over the country on openly politically partisan, and sometimes racist, radio." (CBS Evening News, January 4, 1995)

-- Hillary Clinton should run for President someday. "I would not be astonished to see Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee in 2000....Hillary Clinton is the Person of the Year in that, you talk about a comeback kid -- she makes her husband look like Ned in kneepants in terms of comeback from where she was early in the Clinton administration. You know, you add it all up, and you can make the case that Hillary Clinton might, might -- mark the word -- be the strongest candidate for the Democrats." (Interview with CNN’s Larry King, December 3, 1998)

-- Castro really cares about the Cuban people. "While Fidel Castro, and certainly justified on his record, is widely criticized for a lot of things, there is no question that Castro feels a very deep and abiding connection to those Cubans who are still in Cuba and, I recognize this might be controversial, but there’s little doubt in my mind that Fidel Castro was sincere when he said, ‘Listen, we really want this child back here.’" (CBS News live coverage of the Elian raid, April 22, 2000)

-- George W. Bush didn’t really win the election. "Good evening. Texas Governor George Bush tonight will assume the mantle and the honor of President-elect. This comes 24 hours after a sharply split and, some say, politically and ideologically motivated Supreme Court ended Vice President Gore’s contest of the Florida election and, in effect, handed the presidency to Bush." (CBS Evening News, Dec. 13, 2000)
    [For more on Rather’s coverage that night and a video clip:]

-- Democrats are uncaring if they back conservative policies. "You said this morning that the party’s message will focus on the needs and cares of the people. Now, how do you reconcile that with a President who has just signed a, quote, ‘welfare reform bill’ which by general agreement is going to put a lot of poor children on the street?" (Question to Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, CBS Evening News, August 25, 1996)

-- Republicans are radicals and extremists. "Some of your staff members, not by name, have been saying, ‘Yes, the President thinks Bob Dole is a nice person and has been a pretty good leader in some ways but,’ they say, ‘he’s been captured by extremists in the Republican Party, the radical part of the Republican Party, including Newt Gingrich. Is that what you think?" (60 Minutes interview with Bill Clinton, Aug. 18, 1996)

-- Hillary Clinton is fantastic. "Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning. A crowd pleaser and first-class fundraiser, a person under enormous pressure to step into the arena, this time on her own." (60 Minutes II, May 26, 1999)
    [For lengthy quotations of Rather fawning over Hillary in this interview and to watch a RealPlayer video clip, go to:]

-- The Reagan years were unfair. "Everyone knows the rich got richer in the 1980s. Now, a new study shows how dramatic the change was." (Reporting on a study by the Economic Policy Institute, a group founded by Dukakis and Clinton advisors, CBS Evening News, Oct. 29, 1992)

-- The impeachment case against Clinton amounted to a coup d’etat. "Is or is there not some concern of the public, concern in some quarters, not all of them Democratic, that this is, in fact, a kind of effort at a quote, ‘coup,’ that is you have a twice elected, popularly elected President of the United States and so those that you mention in the Republican Party who dislike him and what he stands for, have been unable to beat him at the polls, have found another way to get him out of office?" (Interview with former Republican Sen. Warren Rudman, CBS coverage of the start of the impeachment trial, January 7, 1999)

-- Criticizing gays is as bad as fighting communism. "Gays and lesbians are beaten to death in the streets with increasing frequency — in part due to irrational fear of AIDS but also because hatemongers, from comedians to the worst of the Christian right, send the message that homosexuals have no value in our society....In the post-cold-war era, gays have been drafted to replace communists as the new menace to the American Way: We’re told gays corrupt youth and commandeer art and entertainment to win converts." (Writing in The Nation, April 11, 1994)

-- I am not biased. "I’m all news, all the time. Full power, tall tower. I want to break in when news breaks out. That’s my agenda. Now, respectfully, when you start talking about a liberal agenda and all the, quote, ‘liberal bias’ in the media, I quite frankly, and I say this respectfully but candidly to you, I don’t know what you’re talking about." (Interview with Denver radio station KOA’s Mike Rosen, November 28, 1995)


    END Reprint of Media Reality Check


Space precludes running more than a few additional policy bias quotes from Rather (meaning non-"Ratherisms"), but as a CyberAlert bonus here are a few more of my favorites. On Friday I’ll probably distribute some more.

    ++ Rather’s infamous interview with 41. "You've made us hypocrites in the face of the world."
-- Dan Rather, to Vice President George Bush, in reference to the Iran-Contra scandal during an interview on the CBS Evening News, January 25, 1988.
    To view a RealPlayer excerpt from this 1988 interview as well as a contrast with how Rather approached Bill Clinton in 1999, go to:

    ++ Gorbachev’s great eyes. "He has, as many great leaders have, impressive eyes...There's a kind of laser-beam stare, a forced quality, you get from Gorbachev that does not come across as something peaceful within himself. It's the look of a kind of human volcano, or he'd probably like to describe it as a human nuclear energy plant."
-- Dan Rather on Mikhail Gorbachev, quoted in the May 10, 1990 Seattle Times.

    ++ Clinton and Bush abortion executive order contrasts. "On the anniversary of Roe versus Wade President Clinton fulfills a promise, supporting abortion rights....It was 20 years ago today, the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark abortion rights ruling, and the controversy hasn’t stopped since. Today, with the stroke of a pen, President Clinton delivered on his campaign promise to cancel several anti-abortion regulations of the Reagan-Bush years."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Jan. 22, 1993.
   "This was President Bush’s first day at the office and he did something to quickly please the right flank in his party: He re-instituted an anti-abortion policy that had been in place during his father’s term and the Reagan presidency but was lifted during the Clinton years."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Jan. 22, 2001

    ++ Conservatives can’t use their own name. "The head of the Republican political lobbying group that calls itself, quote, 'the Christian Coalition' said today he's leaving to start a political consulting business. Ralph Reed's group took a beating on some of its hard-right agenda in the last election."
-- Dan Rather, April 23, 1997 CBS Evening News.

    ++ Ending affirmative action like spreading syphilis. "Earlier tonight, we reported the President's apology for medical experiments that allowed black Americans to die of syphilis. The President noted how badly this hurt public trust in government, especially among minorities. The same criticism is being made today on another score. As CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, it's the fallout from California's voter-approved ban on state affirmative action programs."
-- Dan Rather introducing May 16, 1997 CBS Evening News story on drop in minority admissions.

    ++ Republican haters from the far right. "On another front, there could be trouble for the Ken Starr Whitewater investigation. Reports continue to surface that this key witness for the prosecution, David Hale, may have been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely regarded as Clinton opponents, people that Clinton supporters call Republican haters from the far right."
-- Dan Rather, April 2 1998 CBS Evening News.

    ++ "On one bit of campaign meanness and nastiness in particular, George Bush now says he’s sorry his gutter language and personal attack was picked up by a microphone at a campaign stop yesterday, but he refuses to apologize for the substance of his comment. Bush’s remark was about Adam Clymer, a New York Times reporter whose coverage he doesn’t like."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, Sept. 5, 2000.

    ++ "You may want to note that Cheney is referring to Clinton Gore, not Clinton and Gore, in effect making Clinton Al Gore’s first name: Clinton Gore."

-- Dan Rather during Dick Cheney’s acceptance speech after Cheney said "We’re all a little weary of the Clinton-Gore is time for them to go," August 2, 2000 CBS News Republican convention coverage.

    ++ Florida’s Secretary of State has no legal authority?
    "Florida’s Republican Secretary of State is about to announce the winner -- as she sees it and she decrees it -- of the state’s potentially decisive 25 electoral votes."
    "The believed certification -- as the Republican Secretary of State sees it."
    "She will certify -- as she sees it -- who gets Florida’s 25 electoral votes."
    "The certification -- as the Florida Secretary of State sees it and decrees it -- is being signed."
    -- Dan Rather live on CBS News, November 26 2000.

    To view a video of these comments as shown by the Fox News Channel, go to:

    For more quotes from Rather that night, go to:

    Wow. So little space. I still have at least another two dozen outrageous Rather quotes. So, look for more in the next CyberAlert.


"Ratherisms," or as those inside CBS News call them, "Danisms," collected by the MRC over the years. Enjoy:

    ++ "Let's go down to Texas and let me show you actual votes in and tabulated. This was a race considered so nasty it would gag a buzzard....This race is so close that everybody's having a 4,000-calorie attack down there."
-- CBS News election night coverage, November 6, 1990.

    ++ "I wouldn't touch that line with a 12-foot pole, which as you know is a pole I reserve for those things that I certainly wouldn't touch with an 11-foot pole."
-- Rather's response to whether he had a favorite candidate for President, election night 1990.

    ++ "Now, walking down the red-carpeted staircase, President Bush, President Gorbachev, with Gorbachev's interpreter in between. You can just see at the top of your picture that huge chandelier, almost 4,000 pounds. It's the older sister of all chandeliers."
-- Dan Rather before START treaty signing ceremony, July 31, 1991.

    ++ "Stay with CBS now for more news, including: Is there a pall over the mall as holiday shoppers think small?"
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, December 2, 1991.

    ++ "It will be so exciting as to make the wax pop out of your ears."
"There's material here that will make their fingernails sweat."
"Texas...another of the so-called big enchiladas, or if not an enchilada, at least a huge taco."
"This woman has gotten a very bad rap, Hillary Clinton. It is true that she's smart. She didn't go to school just to eat her lunch."
"While the Clinton-Gore campaign was as unstoppable as say, a Beethoven symphony..."
-- Dan Rather during 1992 election night coverage.

    ++ "I'd like to leave you with the words of that popular, secular, patriotic hymn: ‘Long may our land be bright with freedom's holy light.'"
-- Rather, approaching tears at 2am EST on election night 1992.

    ++ "Mr. Clinton was about as relaxed as a pound of liver."
-- Referring to his earlier interview with Clinton, January 20, 1993 CBS This Morning.

    ++ "If an American inauguration can't bring a lump to your throat and a tear to your eye, if you don't feel as corny as Kansas in August, maybe you need a jump-start and some vitamins."
-- Dan Rather during inauguration coverage, January 20, 1993.

    ++ "Well, in Texas they have a saying: ‘That's a good way for Momma to drive a Cadillac,' which is a way of saying that if you play with one of these things, particularly if you are in a low-water area. I would say, Harry, this morning there must be lot of people who are in that let's-have-another-cup-of-coffee-and-not-worry-about-it stage. And I agree with that. That's the stage to be in."
-- Dan Rather with CBS This Morning co-host Harry Smith, as Hurricane Emily approached on August 30, 1993.

    ++ "Double T trouble. T is for Thelma, T is for Tennessee, and T is for big trouble tonight."
    "A lot of tight Senate races out there. Let's hit those chips with another dash of salsa, Ed Bradley."
-- Dan Rather during CBS News 1994 election night coverage.

    "In New Hampshire, closest Senate race in the country, this race between Dick Swett and Bob Smith is hot and tight as a too small bathing suit on a too long car ride back from the beach."
-- Dan Rather during CBS News 1996 election night coverage.

    ++ "I think you're more likely to see the Pope ride through this room on a giraffe."
-- Dan Rather, on the possibility of a CBS News cable channel, to Philadelphia Inquirer TV writer Gail Shister, February 18, 1997

    ++ "Ken Starr and his people have been working for three to four years, spent more than $30 million, they’ve used dozens if not a hundred or so FBI agents. They may have turned this up, whether you had the Paula Jones case or not. But again maybe not, but again that’s like if a frog had side pockets he’d probably wear a handgun. It didn’t happen that way."
-- Dan Rather, February 5, 1998 Late Show with David Letterman.

    ++ "Democrats and Republicans are nervous as pigs in a packing plant over these returns because the polls have closed and we don’t know the results....Now, if you’re in those states where the polls are open, let me encourage you to vote. And of course, if you’re in a state where the polls are closed, let me encourage you not to vote. It’s illegal."
-- Dan Rather ending the November 3, 1998 Evening News.

   ++ "Charles Schumer is one of the stunners of the night. This race was as hot and squalid as a New York elevator in August."
   "The call is just in for the South Carolina Senate race. This was one of the cardiac arrest time races. This thing was nasty enough to gag a buzzard. But it turns out that Fritz Hollings, the veteran Democratic Senator, has held on to win."
-- Rather during CBS News’s election night 1998 coverage.

    ++ "Now Florida, that race, that race, the heat from it is hot enough to peel house paint."
    "I can hear some people at home saying, ‘Whooh! If the electoral vote count is now what Dan Rather and CBS News says it is, 121 for Bush, 119 for Gore, it seems to me just a few minutes ago Bush had a long lead.’ His lead has evaporated and been melted faster than ice cream in a microwave, what’s happening here?"
    "Now remember Florida is the state where Jeb Bush, the brother of George Bush is the Governor, and you can bet that Governor Bush will be madder than a rained on rooster that his brother the Governor wasn’t able to carry this state for him."
    "Bush has had a lead since the very start, but his lead is now shakier than cafeteria Jell-O."
    "Then in Tennessee, now Al Gore may be as cross as a snapping turtle about this Tennessee situation because it’s his home state."
    "Bush is sweeping through the South like a tornado through a trailer park."
    "Pennsylvania drops for Gore, 23 electoral votes, and for the first time tonight, mark it, if you’re in the kitchen, Mabel, come back in the front room, 145 for Gore, 130 for Bush, 270 needed win."
    "His [Gore’s] chance are slim right now, and if he doesn’t carry Florida, slim will have left town."
    "The presidential race still hotter than a Laredo parking lot."
    "I have to say, though, and I don’t mean to be flip about it, that I think you are more likely to see a hippopotamus coming running through this room than you are to see Governor Bush appoint Nader to the Cabinet."
    "Sip it, savor it, cup it, photostat it, underline it in red, put it in the album, hang it on the wall, George Bush is the next President of the United States."
-- CBS News coverage of election night 2000.

    That’s all for the wackiest "Ratherisms." So much bias, so little space. -- Brent Baker



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