1) Time’s Jack White claimed that George Bush had turned
Charlie Norwood "into the Patty Hearst of the House of
Representatives." A bitter White was upset that after being held
"hostage" by Bush, Norwood got "a case of political
Stockholm Syndrome" and went over to "the other side" on a
Patients’ Bill of Rights.
2) On CNN’s Capital Gang Margaret Carlson of Time
castigated CPSC chairmanship nominee Mary Sheila Gall: "She never saw
a defective product, she only saw defective parents. She could find a
reason for every injury other than the product at hand..."
3) Both ABC and CBS stressed how North Korean
"leader" Kim Jong Il denounced Bush’s missile defense plan,
but the NBC Nightly News item on his trip didn’t mention the criticism.
4) CBS’s Bob Schieffer demanded of Tom Daschle:
"Will this tax cut have to be re-visited come fall?" On PBS’s
Washington Week, after Time’s Michael Duffy lamented how since the
income tax cut the House has passed many bills "disguised as
something else" but which feature tax cuts, host Gwen Ifill worried:
"Can we afford this?"
5) In defending ABC’s decision to not report its own
poll showing an up tick in Bush’s approval rating, ABC News Washington
Bureau Chief Robin Sproul dismissed it as "statistically
insignificant," but on Sunday’s This Week Cokie Roberts raised one
of its positive findings for Bush. And the poll discovered a higher
favorable rating for Dick Cheney than for John McCain.
6) Morton Kondracke a right-winger? In rattling off for
Don Imus the names of prominent people in favor of embryonic stem cell
research, NBC’s Tom Brokaw identified Kondracke as "a conservative
political commentator in Washington."
7) Bob Schieffer on Sunday and Gloria Borger last week
urged Bush to move forward on embryonic stem cell research as both
dismissed the concerns of opponents as unenlightened. Equating opponents
with those "who refused to look through Galileo's telescope,"
Schieffer lectured Bush: "If he reads history, he will know that
history remembers those who climbed the mountain, not those who stayed
home in fear of the unknown."
8) Some Fox News-NBC News bi-partisanship as Brian Wilson
rescued Tim Russert in a "fashion emergency."
9) Letterman’s "Top Ten New York City Tourist
George Bush, kidnapper? On Inside Washington over the weekend Time
national correspondent Jack White claimed that in talking to Congressman
Charlie Norwood at the White House on Wednesday, a meeting which resulted
in an agreement between the two on a Patients’ Bill of Rights, Bush had
turned Norwood "into the Patty Hearst of the House of
Representatives." A bitter White was upset that after being held
"hostage" Norwood got "a case of political Stockholm
Syndrome" went over to "the other side."
Asked about his prediction a week earlier that
Bush would "cave" on the subject, White announced: "I was
wrong when I said last week he was going to cave on this issue, but I
didn’t know he was going to take, to turn Charlie Norwood into the Patty
Hearst of the House of Representatives -- take him up to the White House,
hold him hostage long enough for him to start getting a case of political
Stockholm Syndrome and go with the other side."
CNN’s Capital Gang White’s Time magazine colleague, Margaret Carlson,
applauded a Senate committee’s rejection of Bush’s nominee for chair
of the Consumer Product Safety Commission as she mimicked the liberal
demagoguery about her record, spin which National Review’s Kate
Carlson argued on the August 4 CNN show, in
reference to Mary Sheila Gall: "It was that she never saw a defective
product, she only saw defective parents. She could find a reason for every
injury other than the product at hand. Now, if McCain wanted to vote for
her for under secretary of Commerce, where you defend the manufacturer
come what may, you know, the president should get his nominee. But this,
the very purpose of this organization is to look at products that are
dangerous to children and to either recall them or give them standards.
She just wanted, you know, manufacturers to -- ‘oh, well, if we feel
like it, we'll do it, otherwise we won't.’"
National Review Washington Bureau Chief Kate
O’Beirne immediately pointed out: "I'm sorry to say that Margaret's
reflecting the phony talking points of Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton.
She was defeated, I think, for two reasons, part petty politics, a friend
of Hillary Clinton's is currently chairman, and she'd like her to remain
chairman, and part proxy, as a proxy way to fight against what might be
less of a regulatory agenda from the Bush administration. Mary Gall was on
that commission for over 10 years. Over 90 percent of the time, the
commission's unanimous. In a couple of cases she took a common-sense
approach, saying parents are equally responsible or responsible for the
use of these products. She also favored voluntary standards, which are
much faster to put in place and have a higher rate of compliance than
North Korean dictator as the surrogate voice for the U.S. news media? On
Saturday night both ABC and CBS stressed how during a visit to Moscow Kim
Jong Il denounced Bush’s missile defense plan, but the NBC Nightly News
item on his trip didn’t mention the criticism.
CBS Evening News anchor Thalia Assuras
declared on the August 4 show: "Also in Moscow today, President
Bush’s proposed missile defense system came under a two-pronged attack.
In his first visit to Moscow, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il joined
Russian President Vladimir Putin in denouncing the plan. The two leaders
also denied the charge that North Korea is a rogue state whose missiles
pose a threat to other countries."
Over on ABC’s World News Tonight, anchor
Michelle Norris introduced a full report: "In Moscow today Russian
President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Il signed a
joint declaration promising to work together to try to block President
Bush’s controversial plans for a missile defense shield."
Mike Lee began the subsequent report: "It
was an elaborately-staged show of solidarity between two old Cold War
allies. Along with signing the joint declaration, both leaders promised to
work together to try to keep the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty which
the U.S. wants to scrap...."
But NBC Nightly News views heard none of that
as anchor John Seigenthaler reported: "In Moscow today it seemed like
old times, Soviet style. Visiting North Korean leader Kim Jong Il met
Russian President Vladimir Putin, then signed a declaration pledging close
cooperation on security and economic issues. Kim repeated his plan to
continue missile development, but vowed to continue a moratorium on
testing until 2003. Kim also became the first world leader since the
Soviet era to visit Lenin’s tomb."
All three network anchors were consistent,
however, in innocuously identifying Kim Jong Il as North Korea’s
Washington press corps isn’t interested in how new and higher federal
spending will eat away at the surplus, just how to "pay" for tax
cuts and whether "we" can "afford" them.
Latest examples: Bob Schieffer opened his Face
the Nation interview with Tom Daschle by wondering: "Will this tax
cut have to be re-visited come fall?" And on PBS’s Washington Week
on Friday, after Time’s Michael Duffy lamented how since the income tax
cut passed, "pretty much every week that’s gone by since then the
House of Representatives has passed some bill which is disguised as
something else but actually has tax cuts in it." His list prompted
host Gwen Ifill to worry: "Can we afford this?" Was that a
Freudian slip in using "we," as if the Washington press corps
and the federal government are the same entity?
-- CBS’s Face the Nation, August 5. Bob
Schieffer’s first question to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle:
"As you know, the checks went out this week to taxpayers around the
country with refunds, the result of the President's tax cut. But the
downturn in the economy seems to be shrinking the surplus now, and now the
Treasury Department is saying it may have to borrow $51 billion, some of
which must be used to pay for this tax cut. Will this tax cut have to be
re-visited come fall?"
Daschle declined Schieffer’s invitation.
-- PBS’s Washington Week, August 3. Time
Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy rued: "Once upon a time we
thought that the tax cut fever in Washington sort of hit a peak with the
passage of the big bill in May which cut taxes by $1.3 or $1.8 trillion,
depending on how you count. But really, if you look closer, every week
that’s gone by, pretty much every week that’s gone by since then the
House of Representatives has passed some bill which is disguised as
something else but actually has tax cuts in it.
"We take them in order of appearance. You
know, the faith based bill, you know, of last month which basically
realigned the way we think governments relate to churches and religious
institutions, included about $14 billion worth of tax cuts, mostly to
small donors, but there was a tax piece in there. There was another tax
bill came along, we didn’t call it a tax bill in the form of the energy
bill. It had $34 to $36 billion worth of tax cuts, mostly for oil and gas
exploration companies, but people who make home appliances and Coke
machines. Now the Patients’ Bill of Rights is a tax bill, but no one
actually talks about it that way. It has about, I think, 16 billion worth
of tax preferences for people, small businesses and for people who can
afford to create medical savings accounts. There are two other pieces that
have passed that are more complicated than anyone can explain in a 30
minute television show, but which amount to another $18 billion. So
that’s $80 billion in the last two months."
Host Gwen Ifill’s concern: "But can we
Duffy alerted the panel to the strange views
"We’ve got to remember that,
particularly in the House of Representatives where these start, there is a
group of people, particularly in the leadership, that believe that one of
the reasons they came to Washington was to de-fund the government.
‘De-fund it.’ That’s the way they talk about it and if you can’t
do it by cutting spending their plan is to do it by cutting taxes and just
cutting them and keep cutting them and cutting them."
defending ABC’s decision to not report on World News Tonight or GMA its
own poll showing a jump in President Bush’s approval rating, ABC News
Washington Bureau Chief Robin Sproul dismissed it as "statistically
insignificant," but on Sunday’s This Week the poll was not
"insignificant" enough for Cokie Roberts who, during an
interview with Senator Joseph Lieberman, raised one of its positive
findings for Bush.
Picking up on a point highlighted in the
August 3 CyberAlert, in Monday’s Washington Post, media reporter Howard
Kurtz included this item in his August 6 "Media Notes" column:
"A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed Bush
with a 59 percent approval rating last week -- up from 55 percent two
months ago -- but ABC’s morning and evening news shows didn’t mention
it. ‘It seemed odd that the President’s poll numbers went up and it
wasn’t covered,’ says White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. Says
Washington Bureau Chief Robin Sproul: ‘A far better story out of the
White House was a deal on the patients’ bill of rights rather than a
statistically insignificant increase in poll ratings.’"
For details about the poll and a comparison to
how ABC’s World News Tonight and Good Morning America treated Bush’s
early June drop in approval as the most important story of the day, refer
back to the August 3 CyberAlert:
With a three point margin of error, a four
point change is just beyond it. But let’s test Sproul’s new news
standard. If any future ABC News/Washington Post poll discovers a four
point or less drop in Bush’s approval, if Sproul’s standard is
followed, it will not make it onto ABC’s airwaves.
Sproul’s Washington bureau colleague Cokie
Roberts apparently didn’t get Sproul’s message about ignoring this
latest ABC News/Washington Post poll. While she didn’t mention the
overall Bush approval number, on This Week she pointed out to Senator
Joseph Lieberman how on energy policy Bush’s approval level had
increased six points since early June, from 37 to 43 percent while
disapproval had fallen from 58 to 53 percent.
One other fun fact from the poll you
shouldn’t expect the media to publicize, though last Thursday’s
Washington Post noted it deep in their story: oil industry-tied Vice
President Dick Cheney has a higher favorable rating than does media hero
The poll asked: "Do you have a favorable
or unfavorable impression of:" For Dick Cheney, 60 percent answered
favorable. John McCain prompted a favorable reply from 57 percent. But I
guess that difference is statistically insignificant.
Ronald Reagan earned a 69 percent favorable
rating, which shows it is possible to overcome media hostility if enough
Brokaw’s skewed prism. In rattling off for Don Imus on Friday morning
the names of prominent people in favor of embryonic stem cell research,
Brokaw identified Morton Kondracke as "a conservative political
commentator in Washington."
That’s correct, from Brokaw’s perspective
Kondracke is a "conservative." Just one more bit of evidence of
how, as former CBS Newsman Bernard Goldberg suggested in the Wall Street
Journal in May, many New York City-based journalists think they are in the
middle and see everyone to their right as conservative when, in fact, they
themselves are well to the left of center so to them centrists appear
conservative. Kondracke, the Executive Editor of Roll Call who is a
regular panelists on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, is the very
definition of a moderate or a centrist. If anything, he leans a bit to the
Brokaw called in to Imus from his ranch in
Montana, as he takes the summer off, ostensibly to plug that night’s
Dateline special he hosted on the Chinese who arrived in the U.S. by boat
and have been held in a prison ever since. MRC analyst Ken Shepherd caught
this bit of labeling as Brokaw listed the names of prominent people, who
support embryonic stem cell research, though he dropped the word
"embryonic." After listing Mary Tyler Moore and Pat O’Brien,
"...Mort Kondracke, who is a conservative political commentator in
Washington is for stem cell research because of his wife Millie’s
condition with Parkinson’s disease. There’s a wide range of interests
that are represented here because it could be the key to any number of
these genetically-inclined diseases."
Schieffer on Sunday and Gloria Borger last week urged Bush to move forward
on embryonic stem cell research as both dismissed the concerns of
opponents as unenlightened.
Schieffer concluded Sunday’s Face the Nation
by contrasting two types of people, those who want to cross mountains and
those who are afraid of what is on the other side -- the type "who
refused to look through Galileo's telescope." Schieffer lectured
Bush: "If he reads history, he will know that history remembers those
who climbed the mountain, not those who stayed home in fear of the
Schieffer seemed particularly ill-informed,
however, as he repeatedly referred to Bush’s decision as involving
"stem cell research" -- that’s research virtually no one
opposes and which is not facing any presidential decision. What is up for
a presidential decision is research on embryonic stem cells.
Reminding readers of how "Bill Clinton
took on rapper Sister Souljah on lyrics," in U.S. News Borger argued
Bush should use the debate "as an opportunity to lead," not
"to cement Catholic conservatives for the GOP but to encourage
science." She concluded: "The Pope, shaking from a disease that
could benefit from embryonic-stem-cell research, rejected the idea. No one
can question his heart. Ideally, Bush will disagree with him because he
has questioned his own."
-- Bob Schieffer at the end of the August 5
Face the Nation:
"Finally today, some thoughts as the
President decides whether or not the government should back stem cell
research. History's longest argument has been over what to do about the
mountain. One group has always wanted to cross the mountain, to explore
and see what is on the other side. The other group, no less sincere, has
always been willing to let well enough alone. That group worries there
might be things on the other side of the mountain we didn't want to know.
They were the ones who refused to look through Galileo's telescope. They
already knew all they needed to know about the moon and the sun and the
"Some will argue that the debate over stem
cell research is more complicated than that, and perhaps it is. But there
is no argument about what history teaches: The store of knowledge
increases when one generation is free to explore and build on what the
previous generation has learned. The ancient Chinese invented gunpowder
and set it afire to ward off evil spirits, but the next generation
harnessed the explosive power of gunpowder in a container and created the
cannon. Later generations built on that knowledge and produced the
internal combustion engine.
"Science tells us the next step in stem cell
research may yield cures for crippling diseases and ease the pain and
suffering of millions. Are we not obligated to see what is on the other
side of this mountain? History argues yes. The President says it is the
hardest decision he will ever make, but if he reads history, he will know
that history remembers those who climbed the mountain, not those who
stayed home in fear of the unknown."
-- Schieffer’s Face the Nation co-host
Gloria Borger in he August 6 issue of U.S. News & World Report, in a
column caught by MRC analyst Ken Shepherd. An excerpt:
...[T]he clerical hierarchy is out of touch with most Catholics, 72
percent of whom support stem-cell research. In fact, even those more
conservative, regular churchgoers (about one quarter of all Catholics) are
split evenly on the issue. "The politics of this decision just isn't
that compelling," says pollster Andrew Kohut. "Conservative
Catholics aren't going to go dashing off because of one opinion."
And what if they did? "The fallout would not be good,"
predicts Deal Hudson, an informal White House adviser who edits Crisis, a
Catholic magazine. But where would these Catholics go? To a pro-choice
Democrat? Hardly. And if politics is a consideration here, what's wrong
with Bush expressing a heartfelt disagreement with a key constituency?
Bill Clinton took on rapper Sister Souljah on lyrics and organized labor
on trade, and it helped him with moderate voters. Hudson calls the
stem-cell decision "an authentic struggle" inside the White
House. If Bush decides against the church hierarchy on a matter over which
he has agonized, they can't challenge his motives.
How about looking at this as an opportunity to lead? Not to cement
Catholic conservatives for the GOP but to encourage science --while
making sure the legitimate "slippery slope" arguments are
addressed. To wit: Bush can call for the criminalization of human cloning.
He can propose to outlaw the creation of embryos solely for science. He
can set guidelines–for public and private research. Who can growl at
The Pope, shaking from a disease that could benefit from
embryonic-stem-cell research, rejected the idea. No one can question his
heart. Ideally, Bush will disagree with him because he has questioned his
To read the entire column, go to:
On the NBC’s Meet the Press, Tim Russert
pressed White House chief-of-staff from the right on embryonic stem cell
research, an approach you don’t see or read very often in the mainstream
media. Russert asked Card on the August 5 show: "The President said
yesterday on his way to Texas that he is going to make a decision on stem
cell research before, probably, Labor Day. This is what the President said
during the campaign: ‘I oppose federal funding for stem-cell research
that involves destroying living human embryos.’ Straight up. ‘I oppose
federal funding.’ The President said, ‘A promise made will be a
promise kept.’ Will the President keep his word?"
Russert followed-up: "Supporters of the
president who took him at his word during the campaign have now taken out
a full-page ad in The Washington Times. I'll put it on the screen: ‘The
Bush Family Secret For One-Term Presidencies.’ The former President:
‘Read my lips, no new taxes.’ The current President: ‘Read my lips,
I oppose federal funding for stem cell research that destroys human
embryos.’ This is the American Life League by Judy Brown, president. Do
you believe the President politically could break his campaign promise if
he could articulate the reasons why to the public?"
inter-network cooperation. Speaking of Tim Russert, Saturday’s
"Names & Faces" column in the Washington Post revealed how
FNC’s Brian Wilson came to Russert’s rescue on Friday with some
wardrobe help. The August 4 item, in full:
Tim Russert was in a jam. He'd forgotten his blazer at NBC's bureau
office on Nebraska Avenue, and here he was at the CNBC studio on North
Capitol Street, jacketless and with mere minutes before he had to tape the
"Tim Russert" show.
The only person Russert could think of with enough girth to have a
jacket that would fit him was from the competition -- Fox News
correspondent Brian Wilson.
"I said, 'Mr. Russert, of course, may borrow one of my
jackets,'" Wilson said. "We're arch rivals. If it comes to
sharing information, there's a bright white line beyond which we will not
step. But if it's a fashion emergency, we here at Fox are happy to help in
Look for Wilson's navy blue Burberry blazer on Russert's show tonight
and tomorrow at 10pm.
Indeed, Wilson’s jacket was on Russert as he
interviewed Tom Daschle for his weekend show on CNBC.
Because of the views it offers of the U.S.
Capitol, C-SPAN, Fox News and MSNBC all have studio space in the same
building at 400 North Capitol St. Russert normally works out of the NBC
News/WRC-TV facility way out on Nebraska Ave., where he tapes Meet the
Press, but that’s a long (45 minute plus) trek in traffic from downtown
and Capitol Hill.
August 3 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten New York City
Tourist Questions." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc. All the
entries were read on the show by tourists.
10. "Does it always smell like this?"
9. "Did that rat just knock over a parking meter?"
8. "$23 for a pretzel!?"
7. "Why is your hand on my ass?"
6. "Are there really 2 'L's in 'Rolex'?"
5. "Who knew the diamond district had so many Amish?"
4. "What do you mean the guy carrying my bags doesn't work for the
3. "Do I have to come back to New York to testify?"
2. "Where the hell are all the strip joints?"
1. "No, I'm not looking for a good time -- hey, aren't you President
That last one was read, of course, by a woman.