Looking to Government for Help; Bush’s "Controversial" & "Gaffe" Prone Trip; Wallace Voted for Nader & Bush Stole the Election
1) NBC’s Campbell Brown did not mention how no NATO
nation had ratified it as she focused on Bush’s
"controversial" decision "to throw out the Kyoto
protocol." Bush’s "gaffe" of mispronouncing a name
"only bolstered" concern "about Bush’s lack of foreign
policy experience." CBS’s John Roberts repeated the canard about
how "top scientists" decided global warming "was real and
growing worse" as environmentalists "dismissed the need for more
2) "We start tonight with a court decision that could
be a great advance in women’s rights," ABC anchor Charles Gibson
celebrated. CBS and NBC also ran full stories on a ruling about making a
health insurance plan cover prescription contraceptives for women. Instead
of noting how such a requirement could hike insurance costs, CBS and NBC
painted it as a savings for women.
3) Is there anything the networks won’t portray as the
province of the federal government? CBS looked to FEMA for training money
to teach local fire departments about flood water rescues; NBC rued how
gridlock may hinder Washington from controlling prescription drug prices.
4) Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes voted for Green Party
presidential candidate Ralph Nader, TV Guide revealed. Wallace’s
admission came just four days after Don Hewitt, the Executive Producer of
the show, charged that George W. Bush "may have stolen the
election," but he didn’t mind until Bush governed as a
5) Former CBS News Political Director Martin Plissner
urged President Bush to adopt Nixon’s health care plan which matches
"liberal heaven." Plissner argued: "Bush does not have to
turn to obscure gurus for lessons in compassionate conservatism. His own
party laid it all out for him three decades ago."
6) Letterman’s "Top Ten Things You Don't Want To
Hear From Your Weather Forecaster."
Correction: The June 12 CyberAlert quoted Bernard Goldberg as saying
about reaction by top CBS Evening News producers to a biased 1996 story:
"It didn’t phase anybody." As more than one reader has pointed
out, "phase" should have read "faze."
Nightly News on Tuesday night caught up with CBS from the night before and
stressed, without bothering to mention how most are left of center, how
President Bush is out of step with European leaders. In the morning, CBS
had followed up with another one-sided piece from John Roberts.
NBC’s Campbell Brown did not mention how no
NATO nation had ratified Kyoto as she focused on how Bush’s
"controversial" decision "to throw out the Kyoto
protocol" put him "on the defensive." Like ABC’s Peter
Jennings the night before, she tried to draw a larger meaning from the
"President’s gaffe" of mispronouncing the Spanish Prime
Minister’s name, which she argued "only bolstered" European
"concern...about Bush’s lack of foreign policy experience."
On CBS’s The Early Show on Tuesday morning
John Roberts relayed the view of one expert who claimed Bush is "seen
as basically an ignoramus" by Europeans. Roberts repeated the canard
about how on global warming Bush’s own "top scientists last week
announced it was real and growing worse." Without offering any
contrary view, Roberts passed along how environmentalists "dismissed
the need for more studies." On missile defense, Roberts complained
that "the lack of specifics from the administration has done nothing
to allay" fears of a new arms race.
More details about those two stories:
-- NBC Nightly News, June 12. Tom Brokaw
introduced his show’s story: "And overseas tonight, where President
Bush is getting a rough reception on his first trip to Europe, even as he
was telling allies that there is more that unites us than divides us. He
was getting a strong challenge on a wide range of issues. NBC’s Campbell
Brown is traveling with the President."
Brown began, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth: "In Madrid, two very different welcomes for the new
American President. A warm embrace from the king and queen of Spain, a
relaxed meeting at the Spanish prime minister’s ranch, but outside the
U.S. embassy, hundreds of protesters denounced Bush for supporting the
death penalty, waving signs that read, ‘Bush Killer,’ while across
Europe newspaper headlines and editorials accuse Bush, who promised a
humble foreign policy, of arrogance, and disregard for the concerns of
William Wallace, London School of Economics and
Political Science: "The Bush administration has made a number of
decisions in its first two or three months that look as if they don’t
take foreigners into account."
Brown: "The most controversial, Bush’s
decision to throw out the Kyoto protocol, an international global warming
treaty, and instead call for voluntary steps to reduce car and plant
emissions that contribute to warming. At a news conference, Spain’s
prime minister endorses Kyoto. Bush is on the defensive.
Bush: "I believe the Kyoto treaty is a
flawed treaty. It think that it sets unscientific goals."
Brown: "The President also defends his push
to build a missile defense shield, what allies fear could set off a new
arms race and destabilize relations with Russia by abandoning the
Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty....Tensions are heightened, some say, by
concern in Europe about Bush’s lack of foreign policy experience, only
bolstered by the President’s own gaffes. Just before departing for
Spain, mispronouncing the Spanish prime minister’s name."
After a two second clip of Bush apparently
mispronouncing the name, Brown offered faint praise: "And while
Europe has been quick to praise Bush’s surrogates, especially Secretary
of State Colin Powell, here it’s the President who’s still a question
Dominique Moisi, French Institute of
International Relations: "Right now there’s a feeling that the team
is very strong and the leader of the team is potentially weak."
Brown concluded: "A perception Bush is
trying to overcome this trip with tough talk, not backing down on global
warming and on missile defense, letting allies know he’s ready to move
forward with or without their support."
-- CBS’s The Early Show, June 12. From
Madrid, John Roberts checked in as taken down by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
"This really is a watershed moment for
President Bush. He could either reinforce the perception here in Europe
that he is a go-it-alone gunslinger or he can turn on that personal charm
that he is so famous for and with the right words really make this trip a
success. George Bush touched down on European soil for the first time as
President this morning facing a healthy dose of skepticism about his
intentions toward this part of the world."
Ivo Daalder, Brookings Institution: "He's
seen as basically an ignoramus, somebody who doesn't really care about
what other people think and is willing to do what it takes for America to
get its way."
Roberts: "Today's stop in Spain is largely
ceremonial, a visit with King Juan Carlos then lunch with the Spanish
president. The heavy lifting begins later this week when President Bush
will face the 15 leaders of the European Union and questions about his
commitment to battle global warming."
Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security
Adviser: "President Bush has said we're not going to proceed along
the course of the Kyoto Protocol, but I think he therefore has a heavy
burden to put something on the table which really will convince our allies
that we are serious about this."
Roberts: "Yesterday, Mr. Bush announced
plans for more research into the causes of global warming even though his
top scientists last week announced it was real and growing worse.
Environmentalists who claim massive protests at Thursday's EU summit
dismissed the need for more studies."
David Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council:
"We wonder why the President is stalling, the science is clear, we
know what to do, we know what the causes of the problem are."
Roberts: "The President also faces protest
over his plans to deploy a ballistic missile shield. European allies fear
it will ignite a new arms race. The lack of specifics from the
administration has done nothing to allay those fears."
Berger: "There are more questions than
answers and I think if he can start providing to the Europeans some of the
answers I think that will, that will move the dialogue along."
Roberts concluded: "The President may
provide some of those answers when he meets with NATO leaders in Brussels
tomorrow. He will also seek to assure our allies that the United States is
committed to peacekeeping duties in Europe. Though some Republican
military strategists have advised the President that the situation in the
Balkans has stabilized to the point that the United States could turn
those duties over to the Europeans."
start tonight with a court decision that could be a great advance in
women’s rights," ABC anchor Charles Gibson celebrated at the top of
Tuesday’s World News Tonight. All three broadcast network evening shows
decided a federal judge’s ruling, in one state about how one company
must have its health insurance cover prescription contraceptives for
women, justified full stories.
But in trumpeting the victory for a
Seattle-area pharmacist who sued her employer, Bartell Drug, a retail
chain, none of the three networks raised the issue of what business it is
of a federal court to decide the content of a health care plan no one is
required to join. And, unlike CNN in a piece on CNN Tonight a few hours
later, none made the point that prescription drugs for contraception can
reasonably be viewed as not a remedy to a disease or unhealthy condition.
After ABC’s Lisa Stark finished trumpeting
the decision, Gibson did ask about how the ruling could increase health
insurance costs for all, but CBS’s Sandra Hughes didn’t even consider
that downside after Dan Rather portrayed it as a cost cut. NBC’s Tom
Brokaw similarly hailed how the decision "could mean big savings for
women in the workplace." Pete Williams then insisted that
"adding contraceptive coverage actually winds up costing very
-- ABC’s World News Tonight. Betsy Stark
announced: "Today’s decision requires just one company to cover the
cost of prescription contraceptives in its employee health plan, but a
lawyer for Planned Parenthood called it an historic step forward for
working women....Women’s groups hailed the decision as important and
Only after Stark’s taped piece did Gibson
ask her about how it "could cost business." Stark acknowledged
the potential downside: "Businesses don’t like decisions like this.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today called this a case of judicial
activism. And already today they’re saying if you force us to cover
prescription contraceptives it’s going to add so much to our costs we
may not be able to cover other health care benefits."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather set up the CBS
story: "Many women may soon have to pay less out of their own pockets
for birth control prescriptions. As CBS’s Sandra Hughes reports, it’s
a federal first: A court ruling today about health insurance coverage for
-- NBC Nightly News placed the news in its
second story slot as Tom Brokaw proclaimed: "A federal court ruling
that could mean big savings for women in the workplace. A drug company was
ordered to include the cost of birth control for women in health care
Pete Williams ran through the basics of the
story about "a big victory today for a Seattle pharmacist" based
on a federal law outlawing discrimination based on pregnancy. Williams did
allow Ann Reesman of the Equal Employment Advisory Council to contend that
the judge went beyond the law by "trying to create social
policy," but he dismissed the concern as he concluded: "Even so,
many business lawyers acknowledge that adding contraceptive coverage
actually winds up costing very little and, if today’s ruling stands, may
head off lawsuits."
anything the networks won’t portray as the responsibility of the federal
government to resolve for helpless citizens? CBS and NBC aired stories
Tuesday night on two very different issues -- fire department personnel
undertrained in rapid/high water rescues during floods and how
prescription drug prices rose faster than inflation last year -- but in
both cases the reporter lamented how the federal government won’t do
anything about the problems.
The news that FEMA will not fund local rescue
training is "a disturbing thought" to one firefighter, CBS’s
Jim Axelrod rued. "So what is Washington going to do about all
this?" demanded NBC’s Lisa Myers about rising drug prices. Nothing,
she regretted as partisan differences may result in "gridlock."
On the June 12 CBS Evening News Jim Axelrod
looked at how many die needlessly each year because fire departments are
untrained for rapid water rescues they are called upon to perform during
flooding when people are swept into the water or trapped inside vehicles
in rising water. "Many of the inland high water rescues are made by
volunteers, undertrained and underfunded," Axelrod bemoaned before
asking George Lewis, a trainer with the Fairfax County, Virginia Fire
Department: "The volunteer fire departments around this country. Are
Lewis: "Most of them no, they are not. And
what they’re counting on is outside resources."
Axelrod rued: "If by outside they mean the
federal government, guess again. FEMA says it will help develop national
standards, but provide no money to implement them."
Bruce Baughman, FEMA: "It’s not that we
wouldn’t like to help more in his particular area, but you know dealing
with local flooding is right now a state and local responsibility to deal
Axelrod concluded: "A disturbing thought to
rescue experts like George Lewis, watching what the first 12 days of
hurricane season has brought and knowing many more months lie ahead."
Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News led with a story
by Lisa Myers about a report from the left-wing activist group Families
USA about how the prices for 50 popular prescription drugs rose 6.1
percent last year, which Myers labeled only by relaying how the
"pro-consumer group sponsoring the study calls the increases
After pointing out how the prices of some
specific ones were up over 20 percent, Myers concluded by looking to the
federal government to intervene: "So what is Washington going to do
about all this? Both Republicans and Democrats promised to pass plans this
year to help seniors pay for prescription drugs, but their approaches are
so different the end result could still be gridlock."
For the sake of taxpayers, let’s hope so.
Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace voted for the most left-wing candidate
on the ballot nationally for President last year, Ralph Nader, TV Guide
revealed this week.
Wallace’s admission came just four days
after the Executive Producer of the show charged that George W. Bush
"may have stolen the election," but he didn’t mind until Bush
governed as a conservative. Don Hewitt disclosed his fundamental lack of
basic knowledge about conservative ideology as he complained to National
Public Radio talk show host Diane Rehm: "I don’t understand why
conservatives are against conservation."
Washington State CyberAlert reader Scott
Peterson first alerted me to the Wallace news as highlighted in Sunday’s
New York Post in its Page Six column. Since the sidebar item in "The
Robins Report" column by Max Robins is not included in the online
version of TV Guide, I tracked down the June 16-22 issue and learned
Robins reported that Wallace’s comment came during a "Future of
Journalism" forum, sponsored by Mediachannel.org, held May 25 at New
York’s First Amendment Center.
I typed in Robins’ recounting of an exchange
between Wallace and Rutgers University professor Benjamin Barber:
"Barber charged that Wallace and his network
news colleagues were little more than establishment spokesmen for grand
entertainment empires, corporations that are easily co-oped by the powers
that be. Wallace countered that 60 Minutes had done several pieces over
the years that had caused advertisers to boycott the network. ‘We
don’t cave in to commercial pressures,’ he said. Later, perhaps
needing to prove to the assembled that he was no establishment stooge, he
revealed that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader got his vote in the 2000
election. ‘I’m basically an independent,’ Wallace says to TV Guide.
Another example of how to journalists
"independent" is really just a code word for liberal.
A few weeks ago Tim Graham, the White House
correspondent for World magazine (http://www.worldmag.com),
alerted me to Hewitt’s comments during a May 21 appearance on the Diane
Rehm Show to plug his new book, Tell Me a Story: Fifty Years and 60
Minutes in Television. Rehm’s morning radio talk show is produced at
Washington, DC’s WAMU-FM and is carried by many NPR affiliates around
Thanks to WAMU’s online RealAudio library of past shows, I was able to
listen to Hewitt’s appearance.
MRC intern Lindsay Welter took down the
relevant portion, starting with Hewitt’s assertion that "I didn’t
learn very much about Al Gore or George Bush" during the
debates." He warned: "And if you thought you learned something
about George Bush during the campaign, oh are you in for a shock."
Diane Rehm asked: "What do you mean?"
Hewitt: "‘Cause I don’t think he’s
turned out to be the guy that was campaigning."
Rehm: "What do you mean?"
Hewitt: "They’re different guys."
Rehm: "What do you mean?"
Hewitt: "I think he’s, I think he had an
agenda that, ah, look, first of all you’ve got to realize, I’m not a
liberal or a conservative, I don’t cotton to either side. And I don’t
hold in disdain the people I disagree with, I just disagree with them. And
I think one of the big disappointments to me is, I thought that George
Bush may have stolen the election, but it didn’t worry me because I
figured there wasn’t much of a choice anyway. So, what are the other,
what’s the difference? The only good thing that came out of the election
for me was that Pat Buchanan got one half of one percent of the vote. But,
it didn’t disturb me. I’m beginning to wonder if the guy who
campaigned is the same guy who’s in the White House. There are things
that I don’t understand. I don’t understand why conservatives are
against conservation. That seems, not to make any sense to me, that’s
what conservatism is all about, conservation. I, thought, I, as I expunge
the words liberal and conservatism from my lexicon, ‘cause I don’t
know what they mean anymore and I kind of come down to sense and nonsense
is all I can really make it. It makes perfect sense to me that hunters
have guns. It makes no sense to me that there are 200 million handguns in
the streets of America."
Rehm: "And you don’t see that as either a
liberal or conservative?"
Hewitt: "No, no, I think that if they’ve
got the NRA out of the picture, reasonable Americans would figure out a
way to respect the 2nd Amendment and get rid of all those handguns in
America. And people say to me, ‘you’re a liberal.’ I say, no, no
I’m not a liberal. I don’t want to get shot, that’s all. I don’t
give a damn whether it’s liberal or conservative. I don’t want to walk
out of my house and have some guy hold me up and shoot me. And, it
doesn’t make any sense to me. It makes no sense that a country that can
send a man to the moon cannot figure out how to get rid of the guns on its
"I don’t hold in disdain the people I
disagree with." Except the NRA.
As for not understanding "why
conservatives are against conservation," maybe it’s that they want
to "conserve" individual property rights against the power of
the state to control what they can do.
To listen to Hewitt yourself via RealAudio, go
To hear the portion quoted above, fast forward
your RealPlayer to 23:50 into the show.
a roll about the liberal political views of CBS News personnel, another
example brought to my attention by former MRCer Tim Graham. In a slate.com
"Chatterbox" piece last week Martin Plissner, the CBS News
Political Director for about two decades ending a couple of years ago,
recalled how President Nixon had proposed a "comprehensive"
health care plan 30 years ago which matches anything Senators Clinton and
Kennedy could achieve in "liberal heaven." Plissner urged Bush
to adopt the ideas: "George W. Bush does not have to turn to obscure
gurus for lessons in compassionate conservatism. His own party laid it all
out for him three decades ago."
An excerpt from Plissner’s June 5 Slate
If Sens. Hillary Clinton and Edward Kennedy ascended to liberal heaven
and Saint Peter told them they could write up any health-care bill that
they wanted, what would they ask for? Well, they might require businesses
to pay three-quarters of the cost of health insurance for their workers.
They might require the policies to cover not only doctor and hospital
bills but lab work, mental health treatment, birth control, nursing home
care -- pretty much you name it. The federal government could fund the
same health-care benefits to those not covered by employers or Medicare.
Medicare recipients could get a prescription drug benefit, just as
Congress is trying to provide today -- and so could everybody else....
Best of all, the two senators wouldn't have to draft this fantasy bill
themselves! That's because the plan I just described was already drafted
and sent to Capitol Hill by a Republican administration whose members
included someone named Dick Cheney, someone named Donald Rumsfeld, and
someone named Paul O'Neill; and the Republican Party chairman was someone
named George Bush. Not recently, of course: The bill was submitted to
Congress a quarter-century ago, during the waning days of the Nixon
administration....In transmitting the proposal to Congress, Nixon,
arguably the most liberal Republican president since Theodore Roosevelt,
declared, "Comprehensive health insurance is an idea whose time has
come in America."
It came fairly close. There were at least six health insurance plans in
the hopper that year....On an unofficial show of hands at Ways and Means
in the spring of 1974, Nixon's Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan of 1974
(CHIP) actually prevailed. Before the deal could be sealed, though, the
political careers of both Nixon and [Ways and Means Chairman] Mills
collapsed in political scandal....
Four Republican administrations have now succeeded the one which
declared comprehensive health insurance an idea whose time has come, and
still it has not. Aside from prescription drugs for the elderly, no part
of CHIP appears to be even at the bottom of the current administration's
list of priorities. This past week, to be sure, the Bush administration
did authorize New York Gov. George Pataki, to whom Dubya is more than a
little beholden, to extend the state's Medicaid program to the working
poor. How much of a breakthrough this represents remains to be seen.
What's already clear is that, on this particular issue, George W. Bush
does not have to turn to obscure gurus for lessons in compassionate
conservatism. His own party laid it all out for him three decades ago.
To read Plissner’s polemic in its entirety,
go to: http://slate.msn.com/code/chatterbox/chatterbox.asp?Show=6/5/2001&idMessage=7796
June 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things You Don't
Want To Hear From Your Weather Forecaster." Copyright 2001 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "It looks like there's about a 70% chance of rain and about a
100% chance I'm going to get blind, stinkin' drunk tonight"
(From KOAM in Joplin, Missouri/Pittsburgh,
Kansas, Tyler Daniel)
9. "It's going to be a hot one today, so use this as an
opportunity to make fun of a fat guy in a tank top"
(From WDTV in Clarksburg, West Virginia, Brandon
8. "I hope the heavy rains don't uncover the bodies I buried"
(From WCAX in Burlington, Vermont, Sharon Meyer)
7. "Today I am feeling unseasonably sexy"
(From KTVL in Medford, Oregon, Jon Galfano)
6. "Rain, sun, snow, sleet -- what's the difference? We're all
gonna die someday"
(From KRTV in Great Falls, Montana, Fred
5. "I have no idea what any of this means, I should probably take
a class or something"
(From KELO in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Shawn
4. "There's a light trickle going on right now, which reminds me
-- Sheila, would you get an appointment with Dr. Fisch for me"
(From KIMA in Yakima, Washington, Stu Seibel)
3. "Enough with the weather, let's take a look at my recent oral
(From WCBS in New York, New York, Tony Pann)
2. "After all this talk about rain, I gotta take a wicked
(From WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia, Dave Parker)
1. "Die, you millions of tiny, pathetic people, die!"
(From KHSL in Chico, California, Anthony Watts)
My favorite: #8.