Bush "Exacerbated" China Showdown; ABC’s Tribute to Hillary on Her 100th Day; Columnist Believed MRC’s April Fools Rather Quotes
1) The Bush campaign’s "tough" line on China
caused "some people" to think that "exacerbated this
particular incident, from the Chinese point of view," ABC’s Peter
Jennings scolded just after Bush’s Rose Garden remarks.
2) On Thursday’s Today Katie Couric pressed Condoleezza
Rice about moving the surveillance flights over China "further
away" from their coast and Matt Lauer asked the parent of one of the
detained airmen: "As a father, did you ever just wish we would say,
'We are sorry. We apologize.' So your son could come home?"
3) Geraldo Rivera thinks President Bush "did a
magnificent job" with the China showdown. But he couldn’t resist
taking a shot at conservatives: "I wonder what Tom DeLay and Dick
Armey and the others on the far right in the Republican Party would have
done if Bill Clinton was still in the White House..."
4) ABC’s Linda Douglass paid tribute to Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton on her 100th day: "Her critics never give up and she
never gives in." Douglass insisted on GMA: "All agree, Clinton
has thrown herself into work, often putting in 16- to 18-hour days."
Douglass treated her as a victim: "Then she learned her own brother
Hugh was paid $400,000 to win pardons....Her friends tell ABC News Mrs.
Clinton was devastated."
5) Did a poll find that Bush’s faith-based initiative
plan faces "hurdles" as support for it "is hedged"?
Or, does the plan have the "public’s blessing" as 75 percent
"favor [the] concept"? It depends on which headline you believe.
6) Media Reality Check. "Dan Rather’s Donation to
Liberal Tax Lovers: During Bush’s First 10 Weeks, the CBS Evening News
Was Most Hostile to Tax Cuts."
7) Letterman’s "Top Ten Things the Chinese Have
Learned by Examining Our Spy Plane."
8) Oops. From Jim Romenesko’s MediaNews: "Scripps
Howard columnist Dan K. Thomasson picked up the Media Research Center's
April 1 Dan Rather quotes....Thomasson notes that the Rather quote is from
April 1 -- but he doesn't figure out it's an MRC joke."
America’s fault. Bush’s tough line on China "exacerbated"
the China plane incident. Just after President Bush concluded his remarks
in the Rose Garden on Thursday afternoon about China, ABC News anchor
Peter Jennings reminded viewers that the "administration had been
very tough during the political campaign about China. Some people think
that, in fact, exacerbated this particular incident, from the Chinese
point of view."
Last week, as reported in the April 3
CyberAlert, Jennings had warned about a "backlash" from China
since "before this incident the Bush administration had been very
militant rhetorically with the Chinese government."
The latest comments from Jennings came during
an ABC News special covering Bush’s remarks at about 3:45pm EDT.
Following Bush, reporter Terry Moran noted how he took a strong stance
against China, concluding: "Remember, this is an administration that
came into office with a more skeptical line on China, and just as the
officials in Beijing are saying, ‘This is not over,’ that’s what
you’re hearing from the President."
Jennings then asserted: "Thanks, Terry.
Terry Moran, from whom we will have more during World News Tonight.
Indeed, the Clinton administration had been very tough during the
political campaign about China. Some people think that, in fact,
exacerbated this particular incident, from the Chinese point of
Yes, Jennings said "Clinton
administration" when he obviously meant "Bush." Letting go
is so hard for some.
Thursday’s Today Katie Couric pressed Condoleezza Rice about moving the
surveillance flights over China "further away" from their coast
and Matt Lauer asked the parent of one of the detained airmen: "As a
father did you ever just wish we would say, 'We are sorry. We apologize.'
So your son could come home?"
-- Katie Couric’s last question on the April
12 Today to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens noticed, pushed her to accede to a Chinese demand:
"And about that meeting, in closing, Ms.
Rice, or Dr. Rice actually, do you think that the, the Chinese are truly
interested in finding out what actually happened during that incident and
secondly do you think that the United States would be willing to, if not,
stop US surveillance missions over China at least, at least move them
further away from the coast of China?"
-- A bit later on the program Matt Lauer
interviewed Robert Blocher, father of then about to be released hostage
Matt Blocher. Lauer labeled the debate about an apology
"semantics" as he inquired:
"As you know Mr. Blocher a lot of this
boiled down to semantics. For 11 days your son was held and, and we were
unwilling to issue a formal apology to the Chinese. As a father, did you
ever just wish we would say, 'We are sorry. We apologize.' So your son
could come home?"
Robert Blocher shot down Lauer’s suggestion:
"Actually Matt I was afraid that we would apologize because I didn't
know how the Chinese would use that apology. They could have easily then
declared them criminals and said that they were going to put them on
trial. I was very happy that we did not apologize."
Lauer: "So you're happy with the way the
Bush administration handled this."
Blocher: "Absolutely, and delighted with the
Lauer’s assumptions show how out of touch he
is with the patriotic commitment of those with relatives in the military.
Rivera announced Wednesday night that he thinks President Bush "did a
magnificent job" with the China showdown. But Geraldo couldn’t
resist taking a shot at conservatives as he castigated two on "the
far right" by name: "I wonder what Tom DeLay and Dick Armey and
the others on the far right in the Republican Party would have done if
Bill Clinton was still in the White House and the thing went down exactly
as it went down in this case."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down
Geraldo’s words on the April 11 Rivera Live on CNBC:
"I think George Bush, the President of the
United States did a magnificent job. He really, he was patient. He held
off the, the hardliners in his own party. He seemed balanced, he seemed
temperate. He seemed smart enough to know exactly what the score was.
Smart enough to understand that diplomacy requires linguistics and
patience. The only caveat I, I, inject here is, I wonder what Tom DeLay
and Dick Armey and the others on the far right in the Republican party
would have done if Bill Clinton was still in the White House and the thing
went down exactly as it went down in this case, 11 days. What would, would
we have had Tom DeLay and these others keeping as silent, you haven’t
heard a peep from these guys, if there were a Democrat in the White House?
I fear not. And I think that to pretend that there is some kind of
bilateral foreign policy in this country is, is to be naive."
Later, he asked Jesse Jackson: "Do you
think that President Clinton would have been cut the same slack from the
right wing that President Bush was in this negotiation these last 11
No more slack than the left wing has cut Jesse
critics never give up and she never gives in," gushed ABC’s Linda
Douglass in a tribute to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on her 100th day
in office. "All agree," declared Douglass in her piece aired on
Thursday’s Good Morning America, that "Clinton has thrown herself
into work, often putting in 16- to 18-hour days." Douglass insisted
that "in the Capitol, she is mobbed like a rock star" and that
she is trying hard to earn friends: "She has joined a mostly
Republican private prayer group in the Capitol. She is trying to blend
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that
Douglass treated Senator Clinton as a victim of the pardon scandal:
"Then she learned her own brother Hugh was paid $400,000 to win
pardons." Douglass sympathized: "Her friends tell ABC News Mrs.
Clinton was devastated, angry at Hugh, yet frustrated that she could not
protect him. They say she felt cut off from her family."
Diane Sawyer set up the April 12 tribute:
"Well, it's the first hundred days, and not of a President. We're
going to talk about a Senator, of course, Senator Hillary Clinton. It's
time for an early report card. How's she doing?"
Douglass began: "There has never been a
story like it, the first 100 days of a former First Lady turned freshman
Senator. Elected by a landslide, she learned new Senators are low on the
totem pole. Though you can't see it from the official Senate camera, her
maiden speech -- on health care -- was delivered to a mostly empty Senate
After a clip of that speech, Douglass
continued: "But as she tried to assume a new identity, she was
dragged down by an old one, the First Lady always on the brink of scandal.
There was outrage over the Clintons' attempt to take $190,000 worth of
gifts as they left the White House. It became her first press
conference....Clinton was the new kid on the block while her colleagues
were howling about her husband's last-minute pardons of questionable
criminals. Then she learned her own brother Hugh was paid $400,000 to win
pardons for a drug dealer and a swindler."
Douglass played a third Hillary soundbite
before continuing the Harry as ill-informed victim portrayal: "Her
friends tell ABC News Mrs. Clinton was devastated, angry at Hugh, yet
frustrated that she could not protect him. They say she felt cut off from
her family. She is rarely seen with Mr. Clinton, though sources say he
often sneaks into Washington to stay with her. Back home in New York, the
tabloids have raked her over the coals. Her husband dealt with the flap
over his expensive office space, now it was her turn. Her critics never
give up and she never gives in."
The support for that inspirational message? A
soundbite from James Carville. Douglass resumed: "She has been
needled in public about her hair. Was the new Senator dressing down,
de-glamorizing the First Lady for Capitol Hill?"
Following another Hillary soundbite, Douglass
praised her work ethic: "All agree, Clinton has thrown herself into
work, often putting in 16- to 18-hour days, immersing herself in details
of legislation, almost never missing a committee hearing. She has been a
sponsor on 20 pieces of legislation, twice that of other freshmen Senators
-- on education, job programs, consumer protection, health care, and
ironically, tighter scrutiny of presidential pardons."
Finally getting to a downside, Douglass led
into a clip from Michael Tomasky of New York magazine: "On the
weekends, Clinton races back to New York where her popularity has plunged.
Forty-eight percent of the voters now rate her unfavorably. She is still a
But, Douglass reassured viewers, over video of
gawkers, "in the Capitol, she is mobbed like a rock star. She remains
the only Senator with Secret Service protection. Sources say there have
been threats, but some of the other Senators resent her special treatment.
She's working hard to win over her colleagues, even cozying up to
conservatives who tried to remove her husband from office. She has joined
a mostly Republican private prayer group in the Capitol. She is trying to
After a praising soundbite from Time’s
Margaret Carlson, Douglass concluded: "One hundred days, 2,090 to
Another 2,090 days to go of Hillary having the
media playing into her scam of pretending to be a victim.
poll find that Bush’s faith-based initiative plan faces
"hurdles" as support for it "is hedged"? Or, does the
plan have the "public’s blessing" as 75 percent
"favor" the concept? It depends on which headline you believe.
These April 11 headlines were over stories on
the same survey conducted by the Pew Research Center:
-- Washington Post:
"Survey Exposes ‘Faith-Based’ Plan Hurdles" subhead:
"Respondents Back Bush Proposal in Theory but Balk When Asked About
-- New York Times:
"Support for Religion-Based Plan Is Hedged"
-- Washington Times:
"Bush’s faith-based initiative has public’s blessing"
subhead: "75 percent in new poll favor concept"
-- USA Today:
"Poll mixed on faith groups"
To borrow from President Bush’s analogy for
his tax cut, the Washington Post and New York Times were a bit too cold,
the Washington Times was a bit too warm and USA Today got it just right.
The Pew Web site’s description of what the
"As religion plays a more prominent role in
public life, sharp divisions of opinion about the mixing of church and
state are apparent. Most notably, while the public expresses strong
support for the idea of faith-based groups receiving government funding to
provide social services, in practice, it has many reservations. Most
Americans would not extend that right to non-Judeo-Christian religious
groups including: Muslim Americans, Buddhist Americans, Nation of Islam
and the Church of Scientology. Many also have reservations about allowing
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- the Mormons -- to apply
for federal funding to offer social services."
For all the details on the poll findings, go
of a Media Reality Check distributed by fax on Thursday culled from the
new MRC Special Report which documented the hostility toward Bush’s tax
cut plan from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows. For the April 12 Media
Reality Check, the MRC’s Rich Noyes focused on CBS’s especially
antagonistic approach in a report titled, "Dan Rather’s Donation to
Liberal Tax Lovers: New FMP Study: During Bush’s First 10 Weeks, the CBS
Evening News Was Most Hostile to Tax Cuts."
To view this Media Reality Check online as
posted by MRC Webmaster Andy Szul, go to:
To view it as fax recipients saw it, access
the Adobe Acrobat PDF: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/pdf/fax0412.pdf
The pull-out box in the middle of the faxed
Dan Rather referred to Bush’s program as "a tax cut gamble" in
his introduction to the February 27 Evening News. Later in the same show,
he dismissively referred to it as Bush’s
"cut-federal-programs-to-get-a-tax-cut plan." The next night, he
told viewers "some independent economists believe the Bush push is
risky business" -- but he didn’t offer a clue as to the identity of
these "independent" experts, nor did they show up in the story
Now the text of the Media Reality Check:
The next time Democrats invite CBS’s Dan Rather to star at a partisan
fundraiser, as he obligingly did in Texas on March 21, he could remind
them just how generously he gives at the office. A new study by MRC’s
Free Market Project (FMP) documents that, while all three evening
newscasts aided liberals’ fight against President Bush’s tax program,
Rather’s CBS Evening News was by far the most hostile to the concept of
The FMP study looked at 93 tax stories from the ABC, CBS and NBC
evening newscasts, January 20 to March 31. For complete results, including
details on the other networks, visit www.mrc.org.
[Specifically, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/specialreports/fmp/2001/bushtaxexec.html]
-- Big is Bad: CBS skewed this debate by showing liberals like Tom
Daschle saying the Bush tax cut was dangerously big 29 times, compared
with only 4 instances when any source was quoted saying the tax cut was
right-sized or even small. A National Taxpayers Union report found
Bush’s full cut is only about half the size of JFK’s 1963 tax cut, and
one-third of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cut -- but CBS never mentioned that
study or its findings.
The bigness battle was plenty partisan, but CBS’s on-air
correspondents took sides, personally asserting that Bush’s proposed cut
was "big" or "massive" 14 times. Anchorman Rather
accounted for 11 of these instances when CBS’s own reporters echoed this
argument against the tax cut.
-- Skewing the Fairness Debate: The second key liberal argument was
that the benefits of Bush’s cut were unfairly skewed to the rich. CBS
displayed liberal partisans making this point 10 times, but showed only
one source, Bush’s Chief of Staff Andy Card on January 21, making the
point that "this is a tax plan for America. It’s going to be
across-the-board so that every American can benefit."
Only CBS completely excluded data that both ABC and NBC gave viewers,
indicating that lower- and middle-income households would get a larger
percentage tax cut from the Bush plan than wealthier households. Liberals
like Daschle preferred emphasizing the big raw dollar totals that the rich
would receive, so that’s exactly what CBS did, too.
"One analysis calculated the average giveback for the top one
percent of earners at $46,000," CBS reporter John Roberts lectured
viewers on January 25, never even hinting that the source of the
"analysis," Citizens for Tax Justice, is a liberal anti-tax cut
-- Dreading Tax Cuts: Bush argued that the tax cuts would help the
economy, and both ABC and NBC fairly provided this point of view as well
as liberal critics. But not CBS, which by a two-to-one margin, showed
sources claiming the tax cut would do no good, or could cause economic
harm. For instance, on February 27 Rather called the tax cut "a
gamble" (see box), while on February 5, reporter Roberts gave airtime
to an unlabeled liberal activist who cited Reagan’s cuts as proof that
too much tax cutting was a terrible thing: "Bob McIntyre of Citizens
for Tax Justice can’t forget the last time Congress went on a tax cut
spree in 1981; America is still paying the bill." Once again, Roberts
failed to mention the liberal credentials of McIntyre and his group.
While the FMP study found all three networks tilted their coverage in
favor of liberal tax cut opponents, the CBS Evening News displayed a
unique antagonism toward the tax cuts. Small wonder, then, that Texas
Democrats roll out the red carpet when Dan Rather comes to town.
END Reprint of April 12 Media Reality Check
April 11 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things the
Chinese Have Learned by Examining Our Spy Plane." Copyright 2001 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. American codes can be broken by anyone with a basic understanding
of Pig Latin
9. On-board computers were mainly used for Internet casino video poker
8. According to plaque, "When Bush gives order, nod politely, wait to
hear what Cheney says"
7. Cockpit full of Colt 45 bottles
6. Mission was to determine if Chinese people can fly like in
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
5. "Cloaking device" button only there because pilot's a
"Star Trek" fan
4. Maybe not the best idea to write "Spy plane" on wings
3. The plane's sole security feature: an angry kitty
2. Plane is so high-tech lavatories feature futuristic blue water!
1. Americans smell like Doritos and Aqua Velva
nationally syndicated columnist believed some of the Dan Rather quotes in
the MRC’s April Fools edition of Notable Quotables, Jim Romenesko's
MediaNews disclosed on Wednesday.
Here’s Romenesko’s April 11 item, in full:
Columnist falls for bogus April Fool's Dan Rather quotes Scripps Howard
columnist Dan K. Thomasson picked up the Media Research Center's April 1
Dan Rather quotes, including this one: "An editor's note: You may
have noticed correspondents on this broadcast refer to 'President Bush.'
That should not be interpreted in any way as an endorsement of the Supreme
Court decision last December that effectively selected George W. Bush as
the winner of last year's election." An outraged Thomasson wrote:
"No self-respecting anchor or news editor would permit this kind of
unabashed bias..." Thomasson notes that the Rather quote is from
April 1 -- but he doesn't figure out it's an MRC joke.
END Reprint of Romenesko item
To read it online and to access his link to
the column, go to: http://www.poynter.org/medianews/
and then scroll down to the items posted under Wednesday, April 11.
Actually, that made up Rather quote cited by
Romenesko was created by the MRC’s Rich Noyes.
If you check the Web version of the April 1
Notable Quotables as well as what hard copy snail mail recipients saw,
which you can view via an Adobe Acrobat PDF version, I think you’ll
agree that we couldn’t have made it much more obvious that the quotes
were made up -- from having "April Fools" clearly marked on the
front and back page, to having every single quote in the issue dated April
1, to the made up titles and media names in the staff box. And that’s
not to mention how the issue was postmarked and mailed on March 31 -- and
e-mailed at 3am EDT on April 1.
To view the HTML version:
For the life-like PDF:
That a veteran Washington reporter like
Thomasson would believe our made up Rather quotes shows just how biased
even fellow journalists view Rather.