"Race-Baiting" Helms; And He Fought "Help for AIDS Patients"; Gumbel: Helms Quitting Good News for All But "Hard Right"
1) Bryant Gumbel on the expected announcement from Senator
Jesse Helms that he will not run for re-election: "Helms is, let me
pick my words here, an unapologetic right-wing conservative....Is his
departure good news for all but hard-right Republicans?"
2) Broadcast network viewers heard negative caricatures on
Tuesday night of Jesse Helms. CBS’s Bob Orr stressed how he "has
opposed abortion rights, AIDS funding, and even the Martin Luther King
holiday" and "opponents have accused him of using race to win
elections." NBC’s Lisa Myers highlighted his
"race-baiting" and insisted his willingness to
"fight...help for AIDS patients" made "him a hero to many
conservatives." ABC’s Claire Shipman called him "unrepentant
about his support for American segregation."
3) CBS’s Bill Plante noted that the 2001 budget surplus
will be $158 billion, but before highlighting a Democratic ad campaign, he
declared that since most of it comes from Social Security, "only $2
billion is available for other spending."
4) The text of the August 20 edition of Notable Quotables,
the MRC’s bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes
humorous, quotes in the liberal media.
surprisingly, Bryant Gumbel is pleased to see Senator Jesse Helms retire
from the Senate, assuming his departure is "good news for all but
During an interview with the Hotline’s Craig
Crawford at the top of the 8am hour on this morning’s Early Show on CBS,
Gumbel wondered if this is Elizabeth’s Dole’s "green light to
run?" and "how prepared are Democrats to oppose him?" When
Crawford replied "not well prepared," a disappointed Gumbel
demanded: "Why not?" Crawford explained that strong candidates
like ex-Clintonista Erskine Bowles and former Governor Jim Hunt had taken
themselves out of the race.
Gumbel then let loose on the August 22 CBS
show with his disgust for Helms: "Helms is, let me pick my words
here, an unapologetic right-wing conservative, I guess we could say. Is
his departure good news for all but hard-right Republicans?" (Between
saying "right-wing" and "conservative" Gumbel
hesitated for a second as he frowned.)
Crawford dampened Gumbel’s enthusiasm as he
argued it’s bad news for Democrats since Helms was a "poster
boy" for their direct mail fundraising.
nearly 30-year Senate career of Jesse Helms as summarized by Bob Orr on
Tuesday’s CBS Evening: "He fought the Panama Canal treaties and has
opposed abortion rights, AIDS funding, and even the Martin Luther King
holiday. His opponents have accused him of using race to win
In reviewing the political career of Senator
Helms of North Carolina, the broadcast networks saw him through a liberal
prism, raising charges of "race-baiting" or support for
"segregation" and emphasizing the issues which upset liberal the
most instead of highlighting any good that he’s done which made him a
hero to conservatives.
Just check out how NBC’s Lisa Myers
encapsulated his work: "He’s been known as ‘Senator No’ because
of his willingness to fight everything -- from civil rights bills to help
for AIDS patients. That makes him a hero to many conservatives and a
favorite boogeyman of liberals with whom he so loves to do battle."
Yup, that’s right, conservatives like him because he fought any
"help" for AIDS sufferers. That issue could just as easily have
been summarized as how he fought to "help" those suffering from
heart disease or cancer by making sure their disease received a
proportionate slice of federal medical research dollars.
ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas tagged Helms as
"a magnet for controversy" before Claire Shipman argued:
"On racial issues, he was a lightning rod, unrepentant about his
support for American segregation, firmly opposed a Martin Luther King Day
as a national holiday." But, he showed signs of good sense, she
contended, when after holding up UN dues "he softened...allowing
himself to be wooed and charmed by former Secretary of State Madeleine
Not one word on ABC, CBS or NBC about his
championing of a balanced budget, his efforts to improve lives by letting
people keep more of their own money or his battles to support policies to
free people from the tyranny of communism, to name just a few of the
things which made conservatives proud of him.
(On Tuesday some colleagues an I traveled to
Paramount’s Kings Dominion in Hanover, Virginia to investigate the
accuracy of ABC reporter Elizabeth Vargas’s insistence that federal
regulation is needed of amusement parks to prevent roller coaster
accidents. See the August 1 CyberAlert for a rundown of her liberal
We rode seven roller and/or "blast"
coasters, some of them twice, and are still alive to talk about it despite
the lack of federal oversight for the rides.
All this is to get to this credit line: In my
absence, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth pitched in and reviewed the August 21
network evening shows and provided the transcripts recited below.)
-- ABC’s World News Tonight. Speaking of
Vargas, as anchor she announced: "Also in Washington today, news that
will change the face of American politics. Senator Jesse Helms of North
Carolina is expected to announce tomorrow that he is retiring. During his
five terms in the Senate, Senator Helms has been a magnet for controversy.
He is one of the country’s foremost conservative leaders, a towering
figure. Rumors of his retirement have been swirling for months, even
years. ABC’s Claire Shipman is in Washington. Claire, why retire
Shipman answered: "Well, Elizabeth, he is
79, and in recent years, he’s had a number of health problems, including
prostate cancer, but political experts are also noting that his
re-election might not have been easy. North Carolina is a politically
divided state, and remember, while Helms is a conservative icon, he’s
long been a nemesis to liberals. One of the most powerful conservative
voices in the nation, Jesse Helms’ politics were his convictions, and
they were always plain."
Helms on the Senate floor: "There’s a
great big odor rising from the manner in which Congress is falling all
over itself to do what the homosexual lobby is almost hysterically
demanding that Congress do."
Shipman: "Democrat John Edwards now takes
over as the state’s senior Senator."
Senator John Edwards: "Senator Helms has
played an important role in the history of North Carolina, but North
Carolina and the South, in general, have changed, and it’s time for a
new generation of leadership in North Carolina and the South."
Shipman ran through his bad views: "Helms
was first elected in 1972 from a small North Carolina town. Early on, he
crusaded fervently for what he considered traditional family and religious
values and against abortion. On racial issues, he was a lightning rod,
unrepentant about his support for American segregation, firmly opposed a
Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. Dubbed ‘Senator No’ by
his colleagues, the combative politician reached the height of his
political power as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He
taunted the Clinton administration, warning the President not to set foot
in North Carolina, and locking horns on foreign policy. He was once asked
if he thought Clinton was fit to be Commander-in-Chief."
Helms on CNN’s Evans & Novak: "I, you
know, you ask an honest question, I give you an honest answer. No, I do
not, and neither do the people in the armed forces."
Shipman saw an upside: "And Helms was an
unrepentant U.N. basher, holding up U.S. dues to the international
organization for years, but he softened recently, allowing himself to be
wooed and charmed by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Just
last year, the long-standing enemy of world government was welcomed as a
guest of honor at the U.N. Security Council."
Shipman concluded by noting how "the
Democrats have a number of strong contenders" to replace Helms and
"Republicans are hoping to counter with a big name, Elizabeth
-- CBS Evening News. Bob Orr started his piece
with seeming balance: "He is one of the most polarizing forces in
American politics -- reviled by the left-"
Helms at a re-election celebration: "If the
liberal politicians think I’ve been a thorn in their sides in the past,
they haven’t seen anything yet."
Orr: "And revered by the Christian
Helms: "Trying to be on God’s side."
Orr explained how Helms decided to retire at
age 79, a decision he hinted at it in an April interview on CBS’s Sunday
Morning in which he said leaving Senate would not be easy.
But then Orr looked at Helms only from the
left: "Over three decades, Helms has championed his own unbending
agenda, earning the nickname ‘Senator No.’ He fought the Panama Canal
treaties and has opposed abortion rights, AIDS funding, and even the
Martin Luther King holiday. His opponents have accused him of using race
to win elections."
Clip of 1990 campaign ad with white hands
crumpling up a piece of paper: "For racial quotas, Harvey
Orr: "Helms, who reached the height of his
power as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, could be
brusque, but Helms has always seen himself as a true conservative."
Helms in the April interview: "He’s a
fellow who believes, as we always say, in limited government, but the
conservative I admire also respects the moral and spiritual principles on
which this country was founded in the first place."
Orr concluded the relatively short story:
"Love him or hate him, Helms has been a giant here on Capitol Hill,
and now, as speculation turns to possible candidates to replace him, Helms
supporters and opponents can finally agree the next Senator from North
Carolina won’t be quite as big."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams
noted: "From Capitol Hill tonight, Senator Jesse Helms, one of the
country’s most powerful and best known conservatives has decided to
bring down the curtain on his legendary career."
Lisa Myers began the subsequent report:
"Now 79 and slowed by a nerve disease that forces him to use a
scooter, news that Helms won’t run again marks the end of an era. For
almost 30 years, he’s been known as ‘Senator No’ because of his
willingness to fight everything -- from civil rights bills to help for
AIDS patients. That makes him a hero to many conservatives and a favorite
boogeyman of liberals with whom he so loves to do battle."
Jesse Helms: "The radical feminists, the
homosexual crowd all participated in the attacks."
Myers conceded his success in one area, but soon
added a caveat: "Through sheer doggedness, Helms has at times
conducted his own foreign policy, kept the U.S. from paying its U.N. dues
for years, and terrorized many administrations."
Helms in a hearing: "When in the hell, Mr.
Myers: "Waging a cultural war against what
he saw as immorality in this country."
Helms on Senate floor: "Now, if artists want
to go in a men’s room and write dirty words on the wall, let’em
furnish their own crayons."
NBC did allow some general praise of Helms for
his character, as former Charlotte Mayor Richard Vinroot asserted:
"Come hell or high water, you can count on that man to stand up for
the truth as he sees it. That, to my mind, is the true meaning of a
But Myers countered: "Others saw Helms as
mean-spirited and accused him in close elections of race-baiting."
Clip of 1990 campaign ad: "You needed that
job, and you were the best qualified, but they had to give it to a
minority because of a racial quota."
Myers concluded with hope for a less conservative
replacement: "Helms’ retirement clears the way for another
Republican star, former Cabinet secretary Elizabeth Dole, encouraged by
the White House to return to her home state and run for the Senate.
Tonight, those close to Mrs. Dole say there’s a much better than even
chance she’ll run, but as a moderate unifying figure, a sharp departure
from the legendary Jesse Helms."
As if that’s a good thing.
decades, as the federal government ran an overall deficit, any money
collected for Social Security in excess of the amount paid out that year
was spent on other programs. But now, with the federal government running
an overall surplus, the media are matching the bizarre bi-partisan mantra
that the money received from the FICA tax cannot be spent on anything but
Social Security, even though if it is not spent on other things it will
not be spent on Social Security.
The latest example: Bill Plante on Tuesday’s
CBS Evening News, the only one of the broadcast network evening shows to
run a story on President Bush’s Tuesday speech in which he warned
Congress to avoid excessive spending.
After a soundbite from Bush, Plante noted that
on Wednesday the White House will predict the 2001 budget surplus will be
about $158 billion, the second highest ever. But, Plante cautioned as he
launched into a look at the liberal spin: "Most of that surplus,
however, covers Social Security. Only $2 billion is available for other
spending. Democrats dispute that forecast and say the surplus has all but
evaporated. Today they attacked on the airwaves with a political
commercial accusing Mr. Bush of tapping Social Security and Medicare
Clip of ad: "The Bush budget raids the
Medicare trust fund. Now he’s using gimmicks to hide a raid on Social
Plante added: "The Democrats’ leader in
the House said Mr. Bush should start from scratch with a new budget."
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt: "The
President said we could do everything, we could have it all. Now we find
out we can’t, so it’s up to him to get us out of the mess that we’re
of the August 20 edition of Notable
Quotables, the MRC’s bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous,
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.
All of the quotes have appeared in previous
CyberAlerts, but Notable Quotables provides a compact collection of the
most egregious bias from the previous two weeks.
For the Adobe Acrobat PDF version, which
because of a printing error is actually better than the hard copy version
snail mail recipients saw, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2001/pdf/aug202001nq.pdf
Now, to the text of the August 20 NQ (Vol.
Fourteen; No. 17), put together by Rich Noyes, the MRC’s Director of
Sick and Dying vs. Abortion Foes
"In just a few hours, the nation will hear President Bush’s
decision on an issue that’s pitted Republicans against Republicans and
the sick and dying against abortion opponents."
-- MSNBC news reader Monica Novotny, previewing Bush’s speech on federal
funding of embryonic stem-cell research, during a 3pm EDT news update on
Be Brave, Destroy Embryos
"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 stars....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."
-- Bob Schieffer’s closing commentary on CBS’s Face the Nation,
Dubya’s Disappointing Decision
"Any decision that leaves Jerry Falwell feeling pleased and happy
is a decision that you need to be skeptical about, and he was very happy
with this decision."
-- Time magazine national correspondent Jack White on Inside
Washington, August 11.
"We keep forgetting this guy is a conservative. I thought he was
going to go further than this."
-- Newsweek’s Howard Fineman commenting on MSNBC following
Bush’s speech on August 9.
"To understand the potential for stem cells, you can visit the lab
of Dr. Evan Snyder at Children’s Hospital in Boston. The cures so far
with mice only, but amazing nonetheless....These results indicate stem
cells might cure many nerve diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
What effect will President Bush’s new regulations have on the effort to
translate these and similar animal results to humans? Dr. John Gearhart, a
pioneer in the field, fears they will be severe."
-- NBC’s Robert Bazell, August 10 Nightly News.
Bush’s "Clintonian" Speech
"When I heard he was giving his first national prime time address
on this, that perhaps this was going to be the bold, defining moment of
his presidency -- Nixon goes to China -- I have to say I came away from
it, and after also re-reading the transcript, feeling more Clintonian in
its nature. There was so much compromise and ‘on one hand’ and ‘the
-- Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly on PBS’s Washington
Week, August 10.
"Fascinated" By Dazzling Clinton
Charles Gibson: "Good evening. He’s been out of office six
months now, but Bill Clinton is just as fascinating as ever. At least
that’s what the book industry is betting. The former President has
struck what is said to be the largest non-fiction book deal in the history
of publishing to write his memoirs...."
Jackie Judd: "Charlie, we’re also being told Mr. Clinton will write
this himself -- no help from a ghostwriter, and the book will be in
bookstores in 2003. I’'s a good time, probably the best of Mr.
Clinton’s post-presidency. Last week he dazzled Harlem, today Park
Avenue publisher [Alfred] Knopf."
-- ABC’s World News Tonight, August 6.
"I remember the great thing on Saturday Night Live where
the fellow who does President Clinton said, ‘You’re going to miss
me.’ And indeed people miss him, he’s still a fascinating man even six
months out of the White House."
-- Gibson, the next day on Good Morning America.
Eager For Socialist Good Life
Keith Miller: "Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French
are calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is
changing the French way of life. Two years ago, in an effort to create
more jobs, the government imposed a shorter work week on large companies,
forcing them to hire more workers....Sixty percent of those on the job say
their lives have improved. These American women, all working in France,
have time for lunch and a life."
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox: "More Americans should be more aware that an
economy as successful as the French one managed to be successful without
giving up everything else in life."
Katie Couric, following the end of Miller’s taped piece: "So great
that young mother being able to come home at three every day and spend
that time with her child. Isn’t that nice? The French, they’ve got it
right, don’t they?"
-- NBC’s Today, August 1.
Another Opportunity to Promote a Liberal Agenda Item Wasted
"Well, certainly the weather has been the headline, but what’s
troubled me is that the press hasn’t gone beyond the headline very much.
This was such a great opportunity to talk about global warming and climate
change. I mean, it couldn’t have been on our minds more as we were
perspiring through the heat....That would have been the starting point to
talk about why we are in this place, why do we have 100 degree
temperatures and what can we do about it?"
-- PBS President and CEO Pat Mitchell, on CNN’s Greenfield at Large
on August 10, after being asked to name the most under-covered news story
of the week.
"Centrist" -- Like Barbara Boxer
"It’s not just a media love fest, though. Important party
operatives and contributors are getting aboard Edwards
‘04....[Democratic Senator John] Edwards’s slight drawl, his centrism,
his humble origins as the son of textile workers, his populist ideals
(slogan: ‘The People’s Senator’), his skill at simplifying things
without seeming patronizing -- all this stirs memories of Clinton without
the seamy side."
-- Washington Post reporter Richard Leiby in an August 14
Style-section profile of Edwards, who last year earned an 85 percent
rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, the same rating
as Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
Brokaw’s Been Off Since June
Katie Couric: "Howard, I know by the time President Bush returns
to the White House he’ll have spent 54 days at his ranch. This is since
his inauguration. Four days in Kennebunkport, 38 full or partial days at
Camp David. According to The Washington Post, that’s 42 percent
of his presidency either at vacation spots or en route. Does that sound
excessive compared to other Presidents in the past or not?"
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: "Well, when you add it all up, it
-- Exchange on NBC’s Today, August 8.
...But Bush Was Warned
"President Bush may have made a major political mistake by
deciding to spend August on his ranch in broiling, parched Crawford,
Texas. The press corps likes a cool ocean breeze and maybe even a cold
beer. Presidents Reagan, Kennedy, and Clinton all vacationed near the sea,
and thus spared themselves a churlish press corps. But Jimmy Carter and
LBJ punished the press with Dixie summers and were denied second terms. A
full month of Texas dust, heat, and alcohol-free meals could spell big
trouble for George W."
-- Mark Shields on CNN’s Capital Gang, August 4.
Not Enough American Liberals?
"[President Bush’s vacation is] four weeks to forget the mess
he’s left behind right ‘round the world: his abandonment of the Kyoto
agreement that’s bequeathed our children another decade of dangerous
greenhouse gases; his unilateral rejection of the chemical weapons treaty
which the rest of the world was ready to sign up to; his obsession with
the so-called Son of Star Wars, despite the fact that his untested
proposals break a raft of international agreements and threaten to launch
a new arms race in space....He’s down on the ranch, thousands of miles
from the devastating effects of his disastrous presidency, talking to his
-- British radio host Simon Bates in his weekly commentary for the
overnight CBS News show, Up to the Minute, August 7.
"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."
-- Time national correspondent Jack White on the Aug. 4 Inside
Washington, referring to the deal on a Patients’ Bill of Rights Bush
made with the Georgia Republican.
If Chandra’s Dead, Blame Starr
Bill Maher, host of ABC’s Politically Incorrect: "I do
think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I think,
and he [Condit] is responsible in some way, you have to look to Ken Starr
for a little bit of guilt."
Larry King: "Why?"
Maher: "Because, you know, Ken Starr made it so that you, in the old
days, you had an affair with somebody, and you know, okay, you had an
affair. The press didn’t report it. They didn’t make a political
criminal case of it. Now, it’s almost like you have to get rid of
-- Exchange on CNN’s Larry King Live, July 27.
Experience, CBS News -- Not!
"Obviously, this is a very complicated subject. It’s the kind of
subject that, frankly, radio and television have some difficulty with
because it requires such depth into the complexities of it. So we can
with, I think, impunity recommend that if you’re really interested in
this you’ll want to read in detail one of the better newspapers
tomorrow. This has been a CBS News Special Report."
-- Dan Rather concluding CBS’s coverage of President Bush’s August 9
stem cell speech after only 53 seconds of analysis right before his
network aired Big Brother 2.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd, Brad
Wilmouth, Ken Shepherd, Patrick Gregory
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Kristina Sewell
COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Liz Swasey
INTERNS: Lindsay Welter, Clinton Bonelli
END Reprint of Notable Quotables