Tax Cut Deepened Recession; Salute to Engberg’s Sleuthing;
Shales: Goldberg a "No-Talent Hack"; CNN’s Greenfield Cited MRC on Gumbel
1) CBS’s John Roberts only allowed a Democrat to counter
Bush’s warning that they wish to raise taxes, but did not let any
Bush-backer counter Tom Daschle’s claim that the tax cut made the
recession worse. Without pointing out how only a small fraction of the tax
cut has occurred, NBC’s David Gregory passed along how Democrats blame
the deficit "on Bush’s trillion dollar plus tax cut." He also
personally pleaded with Bush to delay it.
2) In a good-bye salute to Eric Engberg, Dick Meyer, his
long-time producer, boasted: "His reporting led to the only criminal
conviction the government made stick on Oliver North. Engberg connected
the infamous Willie Horton ads used against Michael Dukakis in 1988 to the
Bush campaign, after years of obsessed sleuthing (and he’s taking the
files with him to Florida)." His departure means a loss of
3) In a vicious screed against Bernard Goldberg,
Washington Post TV reviewer Tom Shales described the former CBS News
correspondent at a "full-time addlepated windbag." Shales
complained about how Goldberg has hauled "out the old canard about
the media being ‘liberal’ and the news being slanted leftward,"
calling it "the first refuge of a no-talent hack."
4) CNN’s Jeff Greenfield to Bernard Goldberg: "One
person who never shows up in this book, Bernie, and it surprised me,
Bryant Gumbel, who has been accused more often of liberal media bias than
anybody else in the news if you look at the Media Research Center, which
you often quote."
5) You read it here first: Fox News Channel, the
Washington Times and Mobile Register all picked up on findings and
analysis reported by CyberAlert.
6) Thursday’s Investor’s Business Daily featured an
editorial showcasing the MRC’s "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The
Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting."
>>> NQ now
online. The January 7 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC’s bi-weekly
compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the
liberal media, is now online thanks to the MRC’s Mez Djouadi and
Kristina Sewell. Amongst the topic headings: "Impossible for Feds to
Make Do On Less than $2 Trillion a Year"; "Scolding Bush for
‘Breaking’ a Treaty By Following Its Provisions"; "George W.
Bush, War Criminal"; "‘Caught Up’ in Terrorism";
"ABC News Stars Think ‘Insular’ Americans Need
Enlightening"; "Castigating the ‘Vendetta’ Against the
Clintons"; "What NYT Columnist Learned in 50 Years: Ashcroft =
Bin Laden" and "Correcting Lopsided Labeling."
For the all the quotes, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/notablequotables/2002/nq20020107.asp
To view a likeness of the hard copy seen by
snail mail recipients, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version: http://archive.mrc.org/notablequotables/2002/pdf/Jan72002nq.pdf
Tom Daschle claims the tax cut made the recession worse while President
Bush warned that Democrats want to raise taxes, but in a CBS Evening News
story on Monday night, John Roberts only provided time to a Democrat to
dismiss Bush’s claim. Without pointing out how only a small fraction of
the tax cut has occurred, NBC’s David Gregory passed along how
"Democrats blame" the deficit "on Bush’s trillion dollar
plus tax cut."
Earlier in the day Gregory had pleaded with
Bush delay the tax cut. MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed that during a
Cabinet room appearance, after Bush reiterated his opposition to
rescinding the tax cut roll out, Gregory asked: "Why does everything
have to be so black and white? Is there not room to maybe phase in the tax
cut in the out years more slowly to protect the government’s bottom
Yes, that’s more important than the bottom
line of any taxpayer.
Roberts reported in his January 7 story, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "President Bush returned
from two weeks on his Texas ranch today, summoning his economic team for a
meeting with Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. The photo-op was meant to show a
President fully engaged with the business of rescuing the economy." George W.
Bush: "We’re making good progress winning the war in Afghanistan,
and we’ve got to make good progress about helping people find
"Our new CBS News poll found the sagging economy is still the number
one concern of Americans, beating out the war on terrorism. And in this
election year, Democrats have wasted no time tying the recession to the
President’s tax cut."
Majority Leader Tom Daschle: "So not only did the tax cut fail to
prevent a recession as its supporters said it would. It probably made the
"Those charges of fiscal mismanagement brought a sharp rebuke from
the President who accused Democrats of promoting a tax increase."
Bush in a
Saturday speech: "Not over my dead body will they raise your
allowed a Democrat to counter Bush: "Democrats today fired back,
‘What is the President talking about?’"
Leader Richard Gephardt: "I know of no Democrat, I know of no
Democrat who is saying let’s raise taxes. That would be the wrong thing
to do in the middle of a recession."
rationalized the Democratic attack strategy: "It would also be the
wrong thing to do in an election year, but with the President’s approval
rating sky high and control of Congress hinging on a handful of seats,
Democrats need to do all they can to make the tax cut at least look like a
of the Cook Political Report explained: "I think Democrats think
it’s do or die. I mean, that if they don’t win control of the House
back, Gephardt probably leaves, be big turn over in the leadership. You
know, Democrats, their backs are against the wall. They really need to win
the House back this time."
concluded: "President Bush continues to press the idea that to fund
the war, protect the homeland, and stimulate the economy, it’s right to
cut taxes, even plunge back into deficit spending. And for the moment, at
least, almost two out of three Americans still trust him to do the right
Over on the NBC Nightly News, David Gregory
began: "The President came back to town swinging today. At the start
of this congressional election year, he is urging Democrats to, in his
words, stop playing politics on the economy. Back from a Texas vacation
today, the President immediately huddles with his economic team and
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for a new year’s assessment of
the recession. Declaring an official end to the era of budget surpluses,
Mr. Bush warned Americans that in this year’s budget at least, the
deficit is back." George W.
Bush: "It makes sense to spend money necessary to win the war. It
makes sense to spend money necessary to protect the homeland, and we’re
in a recession."
the total tax cut number: "While the White House blames the deficit
on the September 11th attacks, Democrats blame it on Bush’s trillion
dollar plus tax cut. Over the weekend, the President declared that any
attempt to increase taxes by rolling back the later stages of the tax cut,
would happen, quote, ‘over his dead body.’ Today another warning.
‘Such a move,’ he said, ‘would spell economic disaster because it
would send the wrong message."
"They’d say we weren’t real about it, we weren’t serious about
tax relief. Tax relief is a part of the economic recovery plan."
"Some Democrats countered by accusing the President of needlessly
pumping up the political volume."
Dorgan (D-ND): "But no one that I’m aware of suggests we should
raise taxes. By the same token, we want a fiscal policy and a stimulus
package that doesn’t blow up the federal deficit in the long term as
Since barely $35 billion worth of cuts
occurred in 2001, Gregory’s use of the phrase "trillion dollar plus
tax cut" offered misleading corroboration for the liberal rhetoric.
CBSNews.com good-bye salute to Eric Engberg, who retired from CBS News as
of last week, Dick Meyer, his long-time producer, boasted: "His
reporting led to the only criminal conviction the government made stick on
Oliver North. Engberg connected the infamous Willie Horton ads used
against Michael Dukakis in 1988 to the Bush campaign, after years of
obsessed sleuthing (and he’s taking the files with him to
I’m not sure such "obsessed"
sleuthing over a matter which only animated a few conspiratorial liberals
is anything of which to be proud. As the MRC’s MediaWatch newsletter
observed at the time, Engberg’s October 14, 1992 story provided little
more than "silly innuendo." An excerpt from the November 1992
Engberg told how Candace Strother, a "shadowy political
intelligence operative," coordinated anti-Dukakis research at the
Republican National Committee, and how she may have broken federal
election law by contacting Elizabeth Fediay, the head of National Security
PAC. Claimed Engberg: "When the Federal Election Commission conducted
a limited investigation into that ad last year, Fediay's TV producer said
a key source he used to write the ad was newspaper clippings he believed
were obtained at the Library of Congress. But a check by CBS News revealed
that one of the principal sources he listed, a newspaper from
Massachusetts, was not available at the Library of Congress. There was one
place in Washington where the clippings from that newspaper were readily
available: the Bush campaign files."
How on earth could Engberg suggest that the only place the Horton story
could be found in 1988 was the Bush campaign? Al Gore first raised the
furlough issue in April. Then the largest-circulation magazine in the
world, Reader's Digest, did its own Horton story in July. In fact,
conservatives were distributing the Pulitzer-Prize winning Lawrence
Eagle-Tribune series on Horton all over the country.
Engberg's "investigation" devolved into gossip: "Was
there any connection? Someone thought so. A memo from the FEC's General
Counsel, Lawrence M. Noble, details a tip he received from an anonymous
caller claiming to be a GOP insider. The caller said: 'Candace Strother
gave the material and information gathered on Willie Horton to Lily Fediay
so the Bush campaign would not be connected to a racist ad.'" CBS has
skewered the Bush campaign for raising questions about unsubstantiated
charges, so why did Engberg report this anonymous tip without any proof?
Near the end of the story, Engberg asserted: "The committee is
reportedly investigating charges Strother has received preferential
treatment in a $100,000 a year job that didn't exist before she got it.
The FEC never followed up on the report of the secret link between the
Horton ad makers and the Bush campaign. The congressional investigators,
with a second chance, appear to have a troubling new question on their
agenda: Did the administration use a high-paying job on the federal
payroll to make sure that the true story of Willie Horton would never be
END of Excerpt
When called by the MRC in 1992 to discuss his
report, Engberg asked: "Why should I spend one minute with a
political, propagandistic rag like yours?"
For the rest of the MRC story excerpted above,
For more examples of Engberg’s biased
reported aided by Meyer, refer back to the January 7 CyberAlert: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020107.asp#5
Meyer’s admiration for Engberg’s work came
in a CBSNews.com article posted on January 3 in which Myer, now Editorial
Director of the CBSNews.com Web site, noted he was Engberg’s producer
from 1993 to 1999. That means Meyer was the producer of the infamous 1996
polemic against the flat tax which motivated Bernard Goldberg to publicly
castigate CBS News for its liberal bias.
In his online tribute, to which the MRC’s
Rich Noyes alerted me, Meyer gushed: "2002 opens with a goodbye for
CBS News. Eric Engberg, who spent two decades covering and uncovering
Washington for CBS, is retiring. When he leaves, a giant slice of this
storied bureau’s character, humor and collective wisdom will walk out
Make that "collective liberal
Meyer concluded: "Our bureau isn’t
going to see a guy like Eric again. I’ll never have a partnership like I
had with him again. Except maybe in a boat, someday."
Let’s hope CBS News never again has a
Washington-based on air reporter as biased as Engberg.
For Meyer’s piece in full, go to: http://www.cbsnews.com/now/story/0,1597,323066-412,00.shtml
By the way, thanks to Engberg’s retirement
to Florida (as Meyer noted, "he’s taking the files with him to
Florida"), Engberg may end up quite close to Goldberg who lives in
the Miami area.
Post TV reviewer Tom Shales, best known for his fawning reviews of CBS
News shows and, especially, of anything involving Dan Rather, has penned a
vicious screed against Bernard Goldberg in which Shales described the
former CBS News correspondent at a "full-time addlepated
In his weekly column for Electronic Media, a
Crain trade publication, Shales complained about how Goldberg has hauled
"out the old canard about the media being ‘liberal’ and the news
being slanted leftward," calling it "the first refuge of a
In fact, there’s evidence Goldberg’s
professional colleagues had high regard for his work since he earned six
Emmy Awards for his stories on CBS’s 48 Hours.
An excerpt from the Shales piece in the
January 7 Electronic Media, which does not use a week-ahead dating and so
was delivered to subscribers just yesterday, that was caught by the
MRC’s Liz Swasey:
Disgruntled has-beens everywhere have a new hero and role model:
Bernard Goldberg, the one-time CBS News correspondent and full-time
addlepated windbag who is trying to make a second career out of trashing
his former employer. Goldberg has picked this moment in time to haul out
the old canard about the media being "liberal" and the news
being slanted leftward.
It's the first refuge of a no-talent hack, that argument, and about as
old as the printing press; in fact, wasn't poor old Gutenberg denounced in
some circles as a heretic and a radical? Mr. Goldberg would have been
leading the charge, especially if he'd earlier attempted to work in Mr.
Gutenberg's shop and had made a spectacular botch of it.
Obviously hoping to follow in the footsteps of Rush Limbaugh and Bill
O'Reilly, two intellectual giants by comparison, Goldberg has fashioned
his rantings into a book succinctly titled "Bias," which,
appropriately enough, won the dubious honor of a commendatory editorial
from The Wall Street Journal. And we all know how unbiased those Journal
editorials are. Gosh it is soooo hard to figure out where they're coming
Goldberg's laughably inept hate campaign began in the Journal in 1996
when it published his tirade, "Networks Need a Reality Check."
Goldberg's specialty is conjuring vast, sweeping generalizations that fit
in with his own very obvious bias and are based on the tiniest of
specifics rather than well-researched evidence.
In his poorly written (and poorly edited) WSJ piece, Goldberg lambasted
network news divisions for flagrant leftiness on the basis of one single
piece that Eric Engberg had done for "CBS Evening News."...
Goldberg was not only a flop as a network correspondent, he's a lousy
Quoting Engberg as having referred to one aspect of the Forbes plan as
being its "wackiest," Goldberg then asked in rhetorical high
dudgeon, "Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a network news
reporter calling Hillary Clinton's health care plan 'wacky?' Can you
imagine any editor allowing it?" Well, frankly, yes. But Hillary
Clinton and Steve Forbes were not on an equal plane. She was first lady of
the land and he was a national non-entity trying desperately to draw
attention to his failing bid for a presidential nomination.
Does Goldberg think that the press was particularly loving and
deferential to Hillary Clinton? Has there been in modern times a first
lady who suffered worse press and worse relations with the press than poor
Hill? His arguments were drivel....
In his book, Goldberg bases his allegations of liberal slant not only
on what he perceived as bias in pieces that aired, but also by jotting
down small talk that he heard bandied about in the workplace -- or that we
must take on faith that he heard bandied about -- and using these alleged
remarks of individuals to paint the whole profession with his broad, broad
Goldberg was, let's face it, not a bright shining star in the firmament
of CBS News. He usually looked disheveled and bleary-eyed on the air, and
appearance does count in a visual medium. I remember a piece he did in the
aftermath of a hurricane that could have ended eloquently on a shot of
some household item sitting amid the horrible wasteland of debris. Instead
the piece ended with Goldberg's sallow face and his own lame attempts at
If things didn't go his way at CBS News, it may have been less a
communist conspiracy against him than the fact that the place is to some
degree a meritocracy....
END of Excerpt
To read the Shales tirade in full, go to:
Remember Shales’ attitude the next time you
see one of his syndicated reviews in your local newspaper.
Monday night’s Greenfield At Large on CNN, Jeff Greenfield cited the MRC
as he came up with a fresh angle from which to prod Bernard Goldberg,
author of "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the
Referring to how Goldberg is now a
correspondent on HBO’s Real Sports, which Bryant Gumbel anchors,
Greenfield wondered on the January 7 show: "One person who never
shows up in this book, Bernie, and it surprised me, Bryant Gumbel, who has
been accused more often of liberal media bias than anybody else in the
news if you look at the Media Research Center, which you often quote. Let
me ask you, if it’s fair to ask, that’s because you now are a
correspondent on a show he anchors?"
Goldberg replied: "Because, if you read
the book, Jeff, you’ll see that I almost, I have almost nothing to say
about any of the morning shows. I don’t think that they’re hard news
shows. I mention Katie Couric once. I don’t mention Diane Sawyer, I
don’t mention Gibson, I don’t mention Gumbel. I stick mainly with the
Of course, if Goldberg had attempted to recite
Gumbel’s liberal bias he wouldn’t have had room left in the book for
it here first. Some recent examples of the media picking up on findings
and analysis presented in a CyberAlert:
-- Brit Hume on the January 2 edition of
FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume: "Four
years ago, when Chief Justice William Rehnquist criticized the U.S.
Senate, then under Republican control, for its failure to act on judicial
nominations, the New York Times put the story on its front page. At the
time, the were 82 vacancies, as Rehnquist noted in his yearly report. Now,
four years later with the Senate in Democratic hands, there are 94
judicial vacancies, and Rehnquist has renewed the criticism. But on
Tuesday, as a Media Research Center noted, the New York Times put the
story inside the paper, with no mention of the Senate until the 10th
-- Greg Pierce in his Washington Times
"Inside Politics" column for January 3: "The
Media Research Center points to ‘a pretty flagrant New Year's 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
Rehnquist's complaint just two paragraphs -- the 10th and 11th ones. The
headline: 'Rehnquist Says Courts Risk Losing Private-Sector Nominees.'
both cases, Rehnquist's comments came in his annual year-end report, on
the state of the judiciary, issued every December 31,’ the Media
Research Center's Brent Baker noted."
For Pierces’s daily "Inside
-- A January 4 editorial in the Mobile
Register: "In his
annual year-end report, Chief Justice William Rehnquist chastised the
Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate for its slow pace in confirming President
George W. Bush's nominees for federal judgeships. But The New York Times
buried the story on page 14, and buried the criticism itself in paragraphs
10 and 11 of the article.
was noted by the Media Research Center (a conservative watchdog group),
the Times treated as front-page, first-paragraph news a similar criticism
from Mr. Rehnquist four years ago about the then-Republican-controlled
Senate's treatment of President Bill Clinton's nominees. Back then, the
story also was predicated on Justice Rehnquist's year-end report."
-- In a story on Greta van Susteren headlined,
"New hire seen softening Fox," Jennifer Harper reported in the
January 4 Washington Times: "Perhaps
the clear division is fading: Fox is not a purely conservative bastion,
the brass say. ‘We are not a conservative network,’ said Kevin Magee,
vice president of Fox news programming. ‘But we do know and acknowledge
that there's a conservative view out there. We are fair and balanced, for
real. If the audience only wants to watch a single point of view, they can
tune in to CNN.’
"Some don't buy it.
snagging Greta Van Susteren from CNN less than two months after Geraldo
Rivera came aboard from CNBC, the Fox News Channel has added a second
high-profile cable news defender of Bill Clinton who also denigrated Ken
Starr's law enforcement efforts,’ Brent Baker of the Media Research
the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, Van Susteren used her CNN perch to urge
President Clinton to defy independent counsel Starr's subpoena, impugning
Starr by asserting it's 'improper for a prosecutor to set a perjury
trap,’ Mr. Baker observed."
For the entire story: http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20020104-6586384.htm
Investor’s Business Daily featured an editorial
showcasing the MRC’s "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The
Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting."
Under the headline of "Dogma At
Eleven," the January 3 editorial
carried this subhead: "Media Bias: Perhaps no institution needs a New
Year’s resolution more than the elite press. Last year was again marked
by its leftward bias."
The lead sentence of the editorial: "The
Media Research Center, the watchdog of the dominant media, has published
its 14th annual ‘Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting.’ It is a
useful and humorous reminder of the media’s insularity and ideological
Investor Business Daily editorials are not
online, so to read the entire editorial
you’ll have to refer to a hard copy of the newspaper. The awards quotes
themselves are, however, online:
-- Brent Baker
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