The 1,202nd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Wednesday January 2, 2002 (Vol. Seven; No. 1) |
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NY Times Flip on Rehnquist Rebuke; Washington Postís Euro-Envy; Another Complaint about "Patriotism" from Jennings; 3rd Runners-Up

1) When Chief Justice Rehnquist chastised the GOP-controlled Senate for holding up judicial confirmations, the New York Times showcased it on page one: "Senate Imperils Judicial System, Rehnquist Says." But this year, when he made the same complaint about Senate Democrats, the Times put the story inside and didnít get to his complaint until the tenth paragraph.

2) Many Europeans oppose replacing their currency with the Euro, but the Washington Post on Tuesday showed itís enthralled with the idea, running two celebratory stories. "Common Currency Builds on Common Culture" read the jubilant front page headline. A second story announced: "Europe Welcomes New Year, New Money."

3) On Monday nightís ABC 2002 special, Peter Jennings worried "that patriotism and nationalism sometimes get mixed up," that "itís not just that I love the place, but the place has got to be number one too, sometimes to other peopleís detriment." George Stephanopoulos regretted how "one of the things thatís been lacking" is a debate "about why some people in the world do hate us and the effect of our policies on them."

4) The third runners-up quotes in the MRCís "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

5) More editorials listing quotes from the Best of NQ awards issue: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch and a second appearance in the Daily Oklahoman.


A pretty flagrant New Yearís Day double standard at the New York Times. Four years ago when Chief Justice William Rehnquist chastised the Republican-controlled Senate for holding up judicial nominees, the New York Times showcased the complaint on its front page under the scolding headline: "Senate Imperils Judicial System, Rehnquist Says." But this year, when he issued the same complaint about the Democratic-controlled Senate, the Times put the story inside and gave Rehnquistís complaint just two paragraphs -- the tenth and eleventh ones. The headline: "Rehnquist Says Courts Risk Losing Private-Sector Nominees."

     In both cases, Rehnquistís comments came in his annual year-end report, on the state of the judiciary, issued every December 31.

     Four years ago, when 82 federal judgeships stood unfilled, Rehnquist asserted: "The Senate is surely under no obligation to confirm any particular nominee, but after the necessary time for inquiry, it should vote him up or vote him down." On December 31, 2001, with 94 judgeships vacant, Rehnquist employed similar language as he implored: "On behalf of the judiciary, I ask Congress to raise the salaries of federal judges, and I ask the Senate to schedule up or down votes on judicial nominees within a reasonable time after receiving the nomination....The Senate is not, of course, obliged to confirm any particular nominee....but I urge prompt attention to the challenge of bringing the federal judicial branch closer to full staffing."

     Rehnquist has remained consistent in chiding the Senate, no matter which party is in control, but not the New York Times.

     Under the front page headline, "Senate Imperils Judicial System, Rehnquist Says," reporter John H. Cushman Jr. wrote the January 1, 1998 story. An excerpt:

In an unusual rebuke, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist today criticized the Senate for failing to move more quickly on judicial appointments, saying that the "vacancies cannot remain at such high levels indefinitely without eroding the quality of justice."

The Chief Justice made the statement in his annual year-end report of the state of the judiciary -- a 19-page document in which he also praised Congress for responding to other judicial concerns, like increasing judges' salaries and providing more money for operations of the courts. But he said that the major problem facing the judiciary was "too few judges and too much work" and that continuing inaction on nominees was imperiling the court system.

Chief Justice Rehnquist said delays by President Clinton in sending nominations to the Senate had contributed to the problem, but his main criticism fell on the Senate itself, which is responsible for approving or rejecting nominees to the Federal judiciary.

"The Senate is surely under no obligation to confirm any particular nominee, but after the necessary time for inquiry, it should vote him up or vote him down," the Chief Justice said.

Chief Justice Rehnquist and other judges have complained before about the problem of vacancies, but the Chief Justice's remarks today were especially pointed....

Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said he hoped the Chief Justice's report would "help shame the Senate into clearing the backlog." Mr. Leahy said more than 40 judicial nominees were kept on hold in 1997, some of them in limbo since 1995....

     END of Excerpt

     But with Leahy now the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the New York Times avoided criticism of him and focused its story on another aspect of Rehnquistís latest annual report. An excerpt from the January 1, 2002 story by Linda Greenhouse, headlined "Rehnquist Says Courts Risk Losing Private-Sector Nominees." The first four paragraphs followed by the tenth and eleventh ones:

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist warned today that a combination of relatively low salaries and a tortuous confirmation process was making the federal judiciary increasingly unappealing as a career move for lawyers in private practice.

The result, he said in his annual year-end report, is that federal judges are increasingly being recruited from among lawyers already in public service, working as public prosecutors or defenders, federal magistrate or bankruptcy judges, or serving on state courts.

"For them the pay is a modest improvement and the confirmation process at least does not damage their current income," the chief justice said.

He said the risk was that the judiciary would lose the perspective of lawyers who had spent their careers in the private sector, and would come to resemble European systems in which young lawyers choose to become judges in what is in effect a civil service system....

On the pace of confirmation for judicial nominees, Chief Justice Rehnquist noted that in past years, he had criticized a Republican-controlled Senate for delays in considering President Bill Clinton's nominees. "Now the political situation is exactly the reverse, but the same situation obtains," he said, noting that the Senate confirmed 28 judges during 2001 and adjourned without acting on 37 nominations.

"The Senate is not, of course, obliged to confirm any particular nominee," he said. "But it ought to act on each nominee and to do so within a reasonable time."...

     END of Excerpt

     For the entire article, go to:


Euro-envy? Though most Europeans oppose replacing their currency with the Euro, the Washington Post on Tuesday seemed positively enthralled with the idea. The January 1 paper featured not one, but two stories celebrating how, as of New Yearís Day, the Euro became the currency in 12 of the European Unionís 15 nations. (Britain, Denmark and Sweden are abstaining.)

     "Common Currency Builds on Common Culture" proclaimed the jubilant front page headline. The subhead: "For Many Europeans, Euro's Arrival Strengthens Ties That Bind Continent."

     Inside, on page A8, the Post offered another celebratory headline: "Europe Welcomes New Year, New Money." The triumphant subhead: "Music, Fireworks and a Little Wistfulness Mark Changeover to Unified Currency."

     The Washington Times, however, noted in a December 30 story: "A recent Wall Street Journal Europe survey showed that 52 percent of respondents would rather stick with local currency. The French were most reluctant (62 percent), followed by the Germans (57 percent) and the Spanish (53 percent)."

     But that wasnít the theme pursued by the Washington Post on Tuesday. Its front page story by T.R. Reid, datelined Koivu, Finland, opened:
     "A search for the soul of Europe began on Juhani Persola's snow-covered farm here on the Arctic Circle, where the only hint of daylight this time of year is a smudge of pink that moves across the southern sky around midday. The trek ended 2,400 miles away in Jose Luis Silva's taxicab on the palmy southern tip of Portugal, where the sun is so dazzling that the tourism office hands out skin-cancer warnings even in the depths of December.
     "Yet despite the vast differences of light and latitude, a sense of identity emerged that spanned the continent. ĎI am Finn, in Lapland, but now feeling European,í Persola said, the words coming out in a cloud of vapor that circled the furry earflaps of her Russian hat.
     ĎI am a European who lives in Portugal,í Silva echoed, looking out from behind his Italian designer shades. ĎThere is a mentality now that rivalry is disappearing, and we are all part of the same Europe.í
     "Today, that sense of attachment to a single home called Europe takes a great leap forward as more than 300 million people in 12 countries adopt the continent's new common currency, the euro."

     END of Excerpt

     For the entire article, go to:

     In the story inside Tuesdayís paper, T.R. Reid and Peter Finn enthused: "At an elaborate sound-and-light show here in Brussels, the administrative capital of the EU, the narrator told a cheering crowd that the arrival of the euro is Ďthe most important event of mankind's monetary history.í
     "At Willy-Brandt-Platz in Frankfurt, headquarters of the European Central Bank, which administers the currency, a 50-foot replica of the euro symbol was unveiled and a pop group offered the world premiere of a jaunty number called ĎThe EuroWorldSong.í"

     The Post did not provide any of the lyrics for the "jaunty number." For the rest of the Post story, go to:


Repeating a concern he expressed a week-and-a-half earlier on CBSís Late Show, on Mondayís ABC 2002 special Peter Jennings worried "that patriotism and nationalism sometimes get mixed up," that "itís not just that I love the place, but the place has got to be number one too, sometimes to other peopleís detriment." George Stephanopoulos regretted how "one of the things thatís been lacking" is a debate "about why some people in the world do hate us and the effect of our policies on them."

     During a segment at about 8:45pm EST during the live 6:30 to 10pm EST December 31 broadcast, Jennings talked with Atlanta Constitution editorial page editor Cynthia Tucker, U.S. News columnist John Leo and ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos.

     Leo suggested: "Mayor Giulianiís incredible speech, his farewell speech, was entirely conducted in the language of national purpose of Americaís civil religion, and that is patriotism. And there are signs that goes rather deeper than the flag waving and jingoism."

     That prompted Jennings to assert: "Some people, John, think that patriotism and nationalism sometimes get mixed up. Itís not just that I love the place, but the place has got to be number one too, sometimes to other peopleís detriment."
     Leo replied: "Thatís like cheering for a football team, but I think whatís breaking down is this family of man idea, that people are pretty much the same the world over and if they arenít the Internet will make them all the same. I think thatís now gone, we know that there are peoples out there not like us, who will never be like us, and itís made us look inward for the values we are going to carry together as a group."

     A bit later, saying he disagreed with Leo, Stephanopoulos contended we need to hear more about why weíre hated: "One of the things thatís been lacking here in the States is a real open debate about the effect of our policies in the world, about why some people in the world do hate us and the effect of our policies on them. I think we need a little bit more of that in the coming year."

     (As documented in the December 26 CyberAlert, Jennings exhibited hints of leftist concerns on the December 21 Late Show as he twice fretted about the difference between "nationalism" and "patriotism," asserted that "campaigning against terrorism" means recognizing the "root causes for dissatisfaction around the world," maintained that global leadership is not just "selling American culture," and bemoaned how "Americans are pretty insular people for the most part." Go to:


The third runners-up quotes in the MRCís "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Yearís Worst Reporting," a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2001 -- actually December 2000 through November 2001.

     The December 27 CyberAlert featured the winning quotes, the December 28 edition listed the first runners-up and the December 31 issue carried the second runners-up. To view all of the award winners and the top runners-up, as well as RealPlayer video clips for many of the broadcast quotes, go to:

     To view the special year-end 8-page issue as snail mail recipients saw it, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version:

     To determine this yearís winners, a panel of 41 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of six to nine quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. Point totals are listed in the brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote.

     A list of the judges appeared in the December 27 and December 31 CyberAlerts. Or, go to:

     Now, the third runners-up quotes in 14 award categories as presented in the December 24 edition of Notable Quotables:

Swiss Press Corps Award for Remaining Neutral in War Coverage

Reporter Dan Harris: "According to al-Jazeera, U.S. attacks on a village near Kandahar killed 93 civilians on Tuesday, including 18 members of one family. There has been no independent confirmation. Across the border in the Pakistani town of Quetta, five people arrived today at a hospital with injuries they say they suffered in another U.S. attack....This boy is one of the injured. His uncle says he had heard American radio broadcasts promising civilians wouldnít be targeted, but he says his village was nowhere near any Taliban positions. Abdul Jabar is the doctor in charge."
Harris to Jabar: "How do you feel when you see these kids?"
Jabar: "I feel very sad."
Harris: "Angry?"
Jabar: "Yes. My sympathies are with the Afghanis."
Harris: "Angry at the United States?"
Jabar: "Yes."
Harris: "Everyone we spoke with at this tiny hospital said the ongoing raids have made the population here and across the border angry at the U.S. and supportive of the Taliban."
-- ABCís World News Tonight, October 23. [28 points]

Media Hero Award

"Today is the day the Senate may pass that patientsí bill of rights, which would guarantee your right to sue your HMO. When that happens, one big winner out of Washington will be one of the billís key Democratic backers, North Carolinaís newcomer John Edwards. He is said to have the combined political skills -- are you ready for this? -- of Clinton and Kennedy, Kennedy and Clinton together, and also to have a very good shot at the White House."
-- Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, June 29. [24]

Pushing Bush to the Left Award (a tie for third runner-up)

"The Bush White House packaged in its first week an image of the President as a uniter. But Mr. Bushís message has often been at odds with the mission: The Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers, an in-your-face attitude that has Democrats reluctant to let down their guard."
-- Reporter John Roberts on the CBS Evening News, January 26. [33]

"George W. Bushís rhetoric is very inclusive. He means to be inclusive, and heís used very soft rhetoric in trying to reach out to minorities. But the fact is heís proposed no federal programs for minorities. He hasnít talked about using the federal government to broaden the safety net."
-- ABC News reporter Linda Douglass during the roundtable on This Week, December 24, 2000. [33]

Poisoning the Planet Award for Portraying Bush as Destroyer of the Earth

"President Bush insisted today that he was not caving in to big money contributors, big-time lobbyists, and overall industry pressure when he broke a campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But the air was thick today with accusations from people who believe thatís exactly what happened."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 14. [29]

Picking the Lockbox Award for Denouncing Bushís Tax Cut

"President Bush tonight outlines his cut-federal-programs-to-get-a-tax-cut plan to Congress and the nation. Democrats will then deliver their televised response, which basically says Mr. Bushís ideas are risky business, endangering among other things, Social Security and Medicare."
-- Dan Rather, February 27 CBS Evening News. [33]

Carve Clinton Into Mount Rushmore Award

"In every family there are people and situations you would just as soon keep from others. So, when you express shock and outrage at Bill and Hillaryís brothersí involvement in the pardon controversy, consider what your own relatives might do if you possessed the power of the presidency."
-- Carole Simpson, anchor of ABCís World News Tonight/Sunday, in her "On My Mind" commentary, February 24. [29]

Good Morning Morons Award

"You and I are fortunate enough to be basically laughing about this right now, about pennies right now, but isnít it somewhat elitist to claim pennies have out-lived their usefulness when so many are struggling to make ends meet and we argue about pennies on the minimum wage?"
-- The Early Showís Bryant Gumbel to Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, who wants to eliminate the penny, July 17. [32]

Damn Those Conservatives Award

"The squeamishness of much of the press in characterizing Helms for what he is suggests an unwillingness to confront the reality of race in our national life....What is unique about Helms -- and from my viewpoint, unforgivable -- is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African Americans."
-- Washington Post reporter David Broder, in an August 29 op-ed headlined, "Jesse Helms, White Racist." [34]

Selected Not Elected Award for Claiming Bush Is an Illegitimate President

"As everyone knows, George Bush was ahead by only a few hundred votes. At the request of Al Gore, some counties were launching hand recounts which were gaining votes for him. So what did she do? Well, from Day One she seemed completely inflexible, insisting on the narrow letter of the law. She enforced strict deadlines even when one county asked for just two hours more, and she tried to block the hand recount of those punched but disputed ballots. The Bush team was thrilled, the Gore team was outraged."
-- ABCís Diane Sawyer in a January 11 Prime Time Thursday interview with Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. [27]

Department of Injustice Award for Denigrating John Ashcroft

"Good evening on this Martin Luther King holiday, a prelude to what begins tomorrow in Washington: The confirmation hearings for John Ashcroft, the former Missouri Senator who is George W. Bushís choice to be Attorney General. Race will be a major issue in the contentious hearings, especially since Ashcroft defended the Confederate agenda of Robert E. Lee in an interview with the Southern Partisan, a magazine promoting the culture of the Old South."
-- Tom Brokaw, January 15 NBC Nightly News. [36]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis

"People send me e-mails full of dopey attacks -- ĎI bet youíve never written anything positive about a Republican in your whole lifeí -- obviously never having read any of the columns I wrote praising John McCain during the campaign."
-- Newsweekís Jonathan Alter, quoted by Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz, June 4. [25]

Euro-Envy Award for Advocating More Government Spending

"More trouble at the nationís amusement parks, two dozen people injured. Why wonít Congress let the government regulate those parks?"
-- ABCís Elizabeth Vargas, previewing an upcoming story on the July 31 World News Tonight. [44]

Nobody Here But Us Apolitical Observers Award for Denying Liberal Bias

"I think there is a mainstream media. CNN is mainstream media, and the main, ABC, CBS, NBC are mainstream media. And I think itís just essentially to make the point that we are largely in the center without particular axes to grind, without ideologies which are represented in our daily coverage, at least certainly not on purpose."
-- Peter Jennings, CNNís Larry King Live, May 15. [40]

Blame America First Award

"I do not believe the memory of the 7,000 plus people who were killed in these most horrendous acts of terrorism are honored by going out and killing other civilians. We went alone, we went alone when we bombed Tripoli at night, a crowded city where old people and children were sleeping. 1986, Reagan. We killed Qaddafiís kid, and lots of other children. One person said, well, several people, Ďwell, heís adoptedí they said of the kid. And we got Pan Am 103, Lockerbie. Tell those loved ones, it was December 21, my birthday."
-- Phil Donahue on FNCís The OíReilly Factor, Sept. 25. [37]

     END Reprint of the third runners-up quotes in the MRCís awards for the yearís worst reporting.


Best of NQ in the news: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Columbus Dispatch and a second appearance in the Daily Oklahoman.

     The December 31 CyberAlert noted editorials and columns in the New York Post, Daily Oklahoman, Denver Rocky Mountain News and World magazine, plus a mention on FNCís Fox Newswatch, about the MRCís "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

     Three more editorials:

     -- "Media Liberalism Proved Again," an editorial in the December 29 Chattanooga Times Free Press. Go to: (Link requires registration)

     -- "Awards With Teeth: Media Watchdog Sinks into 'Year's Worst,'" an editorial in the December 31 Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch:

     -- "Under God, for Revival," an editorial in the December 31 Daily Oklahoman focusing on the quotes in the "Glimpses of Patriotism" category. Patrick McGuigan, an awards issue judge, is the Editor of the Daily Oklahomanís editorial page. Go to:

     -- And a correction to a link listed in the December 31 CyberAlert which noted how Marvin Olasky, an awards issue judge who is Editor of World magazine, was first out of the box with a back page essay about the quotes in the December 22 edition of his magazine. In fact, his "Closing Thoughts" essay appeared even earlier, in the December 8 edition. The correct link:

     > If you see or hear any other citations of the MRCís "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," please let me know by e-mailing: -- Brent Baker



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