Cloning Opponents Labeled; Arab/Arafat Defiance Ignored; MSNBC’s "Leftist" Producer; Jennings on Goldberg & Bias; PBS’s CBS Liberal
1) NBC’s Tom Brokaw characterized President Bush’s
position against human cloning as "hardline" while reporter
David Gregory, who failed to tag supporters as liberal, decided Bush is
"siding with anti-abortion conservatives who want an outright
2) The media are focusing nearly all of their attention
this week on Ariel Sharon’s "defiance" of President Bush’s
request that he pull troops out of the West Bank. But, as Eric Fettmann
pointed out in a New York Post column, the media are ignoring "the
real defiance shown to the President this week...from Arafat himself, and
the entire Arab world, to boot."
3) MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield, who claimed that "a
lot of the people in the world can't help but wonder how such a strong
army [Israel’s] can continue such a tough operation against such a weak
people like the Palestinians," conceded that her native Israeli
producer, who lives in the U.S., is "somewhat leftist."
4) Peter Jennings gently scolded Bernard Goldberg for
taking a "heck of a long time to make a couple of really interesting
points and he didn’t get it all right." On CNN’s Larry King Live,
Jennings conceded that the media have "been more of a liberal
persuasion for many years" and it has taken "too long" to
"have vigorous conservative voices heard." Asked about
conservative bias, Jennings immediately thought of the Fox News Channel:
"I just sense you wanting to talk about the other cable
5) In selecting a new editorial cartoonist, the Washington
Post chose another liberal. But at least Washington Post reporter Howard
Kurtz made clear the ideology of Tom Toles, who is now with the Buffalo
6) Appearing on Comedy Central’s Daily Show, CNN’s
Judy Woodruff ruminated that the GOP is split "between the right and
the more moderate and between the far-right and the right."
7) PBS is bringing Ray Brady out of retirement to host
Wall Street Week. At CBS he was a liberal, ideologically-driven economics
reporter. When the stock market fell in 1987, Brady claimed: "Wall
Street's been talking about the optimistic statements issued by President
Hoover during the 1929 stock crash and comparing them to President
Reagan's upbeat messages this week." In 1990 he highlighted
"America's hidden homeless," people living at home with their
parents. "This is not the time to be cutting taxes," he declared
President Bush had decided against supporting a law to ban all human
cloning would NBC’s David Gregory have reported that he "sided with
pro-abortion liberals who want it to remain completely legal"?
We’ll never know, but in a story on Wednesday’s NBC Nightly News,
Gregory labeled one side of the dispute as he stated
that Bush is "siding with anti-abortion conservatives who want an
Anchor Tom Brokaw set up the April 10 story by
noting how "President Bush today took a hardline, saying all forms of
human cloning, even for disease research, should be banned on moral
grounds. But some proponents of cloning, in Congress, say that could
hamper important scientific research."
Gregory provided a balanced presentation of
the views espoused by each side, including soundbites from Senators Ted
Kennedy and Sam Brownback, both of whom went unlabeled, but he couldn’t
hold back assigning an ideological tag to those opposed to human cloning: "Last
summer, during the debate over stem cell research, Bush found middle
ground, offering federal support for research using existing stem cells as
long as new embryos were not destroyed. This time, Bush has abandoned the
compromise, siding with anti-abortion conservatives who want an outright
media are focusing nearly all of their attention this week on Israeli
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s "defiance" in the face of
President Bush’s request that he pull troops out of the West Bank. But,
as New York Post editorial writer Eric Fettmann pointed out in a April 10
column in that paper, the media are ignoring "the real defiance shown
to the President this week -- not from Israel's Prime Minister, but from
Arafat himself, and the entire Arab world, to boot."
Indeed, that perspective is getting so little
air time that five words from Dan Rather last night ("Yasser Arafat
isn’t delivering either") stand out.
From Jerusalem, Rather concluded the April 10
CBS Evening News: "Tonight Israel says it has begun pulling troops
back from three small West Bank villages, saying destruction there of the
quote ‘terrorist infrastructure’ is complete. But this minor pullback
is far short of the full-scale withdrawal President Bush has repeatedly
demanded. Yasser Arafat isn’t delivering either. That leaves Secretary
of State Powell, who arrives here tomorrow, facing an even tougher
challenge than existed before he left Washington last weekend. Powell is
on a mission of peace in a place where right now neither side seems
interested in helping the peacemaker."
An excerpt from Fettmann’s April 10 New York
For the past week, press coverage of Israel's military strike at Yasser
Arafat's terror infrastructure has stressed one thing: Ariel Sharon's
continuing "defiance" of President Bush.
In fact, there are strong suggestions that, despite Washington's
increasingly tough talk, Sharon has a green light to continue forceful
action, at least until Secretary of State Colin Powell's arrival in
That certainly makes sense, if only for one reason: What Israel is
doing now is completely consistent with Bush's stated doctrine on fighting
terrorism -- one that focuses as much on its supporters and financiers as
on its actual perpetrators....
What has been completely ignored, however, is the real defiance shown
to the President this week -- not from Israel's Prime Minister, but from
Arafat himself, and the entire Arab world, to boot.
In that speech, Bush spelled out in stark detail what he expected from
Arafat: "An immediate ceasefire, immediate resumption of security
cooperation with Israel against terrorism and an immediate order to crack
down on terrorist networks."
To date, nothing.
At least Arafat can plead that he's powerless to act while his compound
remains under siege by the Israelis.
Not that he's ever taken such action before. One problem with Bush's
calls on the PLO leader to "do more" against terrorism is that
they imply he's actually done something in the past.
But other Arab leaders have no such excuse. And Bush was equally
plain-spoken about what was expected of them: "Stop terrorist
activities, disrupt terrorist financing and stop inciting violence by
glorifying terror in state-owned media or telling suicide bombers they are
To date, nothing of the sort has happened.
On the contrary: The recent Islamic conference endorsed a call for
Palestinians to continue their "legitimate resistance" against
Israel -- "legitimate resistance being the Arab world's term for
suicide bombings and other terrorist actions....
END of Excerpt
For Fettmann’s column in full:
in New York City or half way around the world, NBC News seems to have a
consistent policy when deciding what kind of producers to hire: Go left.
On Tuesday night, MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield conceded that her native
Israeli producer, who lives in the U.S., is "somewhat leftist."
Her admission, caught by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth, came as she was explaining how even someone of his political
persuasion was appalled by Israelis who refuse to serve in the military,
the subject of a story she has just shown.
After the piece by Martin Fletcher aired on
the April 9 edition of her 9pm EDT show, Region in Conflict, from Israel
Banfield informed her viewers: "And just
as an anecdote to Martin Fletcher's story, he was talking about a soldier
by the name of Yitzai (sp?). Well, there's an NBC News producer by the
name of Yitzai as well working with our crew here in Israel. He grew up
here. He served as a paratrooper in the Israeli defense forces. And he now
lives in America, very Americanized, speaks perfect English without even a
slightest hint of an accent. You might even consider him somewhat leftist
or dovish. Yet when asked about the refusniks, he is absolutely adamant.
He says there is no room in this country for refusniks. The way you speak
about this, the way you speak out about this is through your democratic
voice by elections and by voting. But if you're going to live in this
country, this country survives because of the military and you must do
your service. This from our NBC News producer Yitzai once again who was a
paratrooper here when he served about seven years ago."
A network TV news producer who has served in
the military. Now that’s unusual.
Maybe the leftist producer, however, wrote
this question which Banfield posed the night before Noa Ben-Artzi,
grandaughter of Yitzhak Rabin, as both were by a Tel Aviv beach: "We
hear helicopters approaching on a beautiful sunny day, a beach in Tel
Aviv, and it's military patrols. And a lot of the people in the world
can't help but wonder how such a strong army can continue such a tough
operation against such a weak people like the Palestinians."
anchor Peter Jennings gently scolded Bernard Goldberg for
taking a "heck of a long time to make a couple of really interesting
points and he didn’t get it all right" since he only told
"half of a story to make a point." Appearing on CNN’s Larry
King Live on Wednesday night, Jennings assured King that "responsible
journalists" like himself "leave our bias at the side of the
table," but he conceded that the media have "been more of a
liberal persuasion for many years" and it has taken "too
long" to "have vigorous conservative voices heard."
When King asked about conservative bias,
Jennings immediately thought of the Fox News Channel: "I just sense
you wanting to talk about the other cable channel."
During the pre-taped interview shown on April
10, King asked about Bernard Goldberg’s book. Jennings replied: "I think
Bernie’s a good reporter and, I’ve said this many times, and
Bernie’s a good reporter. I think CBS lost a good reporter. I think it
took him a heck of a long time to make a couple of really interesting
points and he didn’t get it all right and he, you know, unfortunately,
as we sometimes all of us do, tell half of a story to make a point and
realize subsequently that the other half of the story, you know, makes a
slightly different story."
(Goldberg’s book, Bias: A CBS Insider
Exposes How the Media Distort the News, included at least two recitations
of bias by Jennings, as I recall. One was about how Jennings reported a
story about the negative impact on children of day care. The other, about
how Jennings applied ideological labels to conservative Senators but not
to liberals ones during live coverage of the opening of the Clinton
impeachment trial in January of 1999. For a rundown of his tilted
labeling, see the January 8 CyberAlert:
Back to Wednesday’s Larry King Live,
Jennings acknowledged: "We all bring baggage to the table, depending
on where we’ve been, who we are, what color we are, how old we
Asked about any bias, Jennings replied:
"Most of the time I really think responsible journalists, of which I
hope I’m counted as one, leave our bias at the side of the table. Now it
is true, historically in the media, it has been more of a liberal
persuasion for many years. It has taken us a long time, too long in my
view, to have vigorous conservative voices heard as widely in the media as
they now are. And so I think yes, on occasion there is a liberal instinct
in the media which we need to keep our eye on, if you will." King:
"Are there some conservative instincts in the media?"
"Yes, but I think this is, I quite frankly think this-"
King cut him
off: "I mean, bias anywhere?"
clearly thinking of the Fox News Channel: "Oh, I just sense you
wanting to talk about the other cable channel."
"No, no. Talk radio. It’s 90 percent conservative."
surprise, in selecting a new editorial cartoonist to replace Herb Block,
who passed away a few months ago, the Washington Post chose another
liberal. But at least Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz made clear the
ideology of Tom Toles, who is now with the Buffalo News.
In an April 10 story, Howard Kurtz reported:
"Toles, 50, who skewers politicians and pomposity by sketching people
with misshapen heads and small bodies, is syndicated in 200 newspapers and
has drawn regularly for the New Republic and U.S. News & World
Kurtz soon acknowledged the ideological
compatibility with the Post’s editorial positions. An excerpt:
Toles is a liberal, though he says that "like all other
liberals," his views have "been tempered somewhat by
experience." Toles has made fun of President Bush (whom he draws with
pointy ears sticking up on top of his head) on such issues as his budget,
his energy plan, his war policy and his ties
to big corporations. But he also mocked a fat-looking President Bill
Clinton, particularly during the Monica
In one recent Toles cartoon, a lone protester with a "Conserve
Now" sign prompts someone in the White House to yell: "It's an
attack! Transfer power to the shadow
government!" A cluster of buildings in shadow are labeled "Oil
Indus.," "Coal Unlimited," Drill
Co." and "Burn Inc."
Another features Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld telling reporters
that the boarded-up "Office of Strategic Lying" is out of
business; in the next panel, Rumsfeld tells the person behind the door,
Hiatt said that Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co.,
told him to pick the best candidate, regardless of ideology.
"Luckily, the person I thought was the best cartoonist is pretty in
sync with where our editorials are, although not always and not on
everything," Hiatt said. Cartoonists must have independence, he
added, noting that "Herblock was often more liberal than the Post
END of Excerpt
Imagine that, the "best" cartoonist
in the country just happened to be liberal.
To read the entirety of the Kurtz story:
To see cartoons by Toles, check his
syndicate’s Web page for him:
exchange, on Tuesday’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central,
between Stewart and Judy Woodruff, anchor of CNN’s Inside Politics:
Woodruff: "I think there’s much more
division among the Republicans than we realize." Stewart:
"Between the right and the maybe more moderate?"
"Between the right and the more moderate and between the far-right
and the right."
"It looks like it’s between the far-right and the unbelievably
far-right. I haven’t heard too much moderate. I mean literally, it would
be like ‘I’m hungry today.’ ‘Oh, you know what would help that?
Drilling in ANWR.’"
One wonders if
Stewart had asked about divisions in the Democratic Party whether Woodruff
would have ruminated about battles "between the left and the more
moderate and between the far left and the left."
Can’t really imagine it.
Brady was a consistent voice for doom and gloom during the Reagan years
and a liberal, ideologically-driven economics reporter for CBS News until
his retirement in 2000. So, naturally, when PBS looked around for a
substitute host for Wall Street Week they decided he’d be perfect.
Tomorrow night, Friday April 12, he’s scheduled to host the show for the
When the stock market fell in October of 1987,
Brady dispassionately observed: "Wall Street's been talking about the
optimistic statements issued by President Hoover during the 1929 stock
crash and comparing them to President Reagan's upbeat messages this
In 1990 he highlighted "America's hidden
homeless," people living at home with their parents. "This is
not the time to be cutting taxes," he declared in 1995.
Brady always stressed the downside. When home
prices were down, he focused on the sellers: "In the past, the
American dream of owning your own home always had a sequel -- live in it,
then sell it as a huge profit....So another dream has faded." But
when home prices rose, he worried about buyers: "So they keep
looking. Thousands of young couples like the Wares, looking for that first
house, looking for what used to be called the American Dream."
(After canning Louis Rukeyser in mid-March,
who next week will launch a show in the same time slot, 8:30pm EDT/PDT, on
CNBC, Maryland Public Television, the producers of Wall Street Week,
settled on Brady and Marshall Loeb as the fill-in hosts until sometime in
June when they plan to re-format the show with Fortune magazine. Loeb has
hosted the last two Fridays.)
Some highlights from Brady’s years at CBS
News gathered from the MRC archive:
-- From the October 22, 1987 CBS Evening News,
the day the stock market plunged. Anchor Bill
Plante: "...Despite today's assurances, some in financial circles are
afraid that President Reagan will repeat his pledge of no new taxes
tonight and further upset the markets."
"Analysts say stocks won't go up until Wall Street knows which way
Washington is going. Wall Street's been talking about the optimistic
statements issued by President Hoover during the 1929 stock crash and
comparing them to President Reagan's upbeat messages this week."
Reagan: "All the business indices are up. There is nothing wrong with
economist: "He cannot walk away from this and say don't blame me.
I'll tell you what we call him in private. We call him Herbert
"One big brokerage house today told clients to sell ten percent of
their stocks and get into bonds. Advice that was taken by giant investors
and small investors who lined up at banks to buy. Bonds are what you buy
if you think there's trouble ahead and that's just what some economists
are predicting...So Wall Street finished the day relieved it will have
time to clean up all that paperwork, but worried that for the economy and
the stock market, there seems no relief in sight. Ray Brady, CBS News, New
-- Always looking at the downside, example #1.
On the December 20, 1988 CBS Evening News: "Retailers woes may not be
over: if they have a good Christmas, many stores could find themselves
short of goods to sell in the New Year."
-- Always looking at the downside, example #2.
As recounted in a 1990 MRC article on Brady:
Economic news is often good for some while bad for others. Brady almost
always manages to emphasize the losers. On October 12, 1989, home prices
were down. That's great news for the buyers, but not for the sellers, so
Brady focused on the sellers: "In the past, the American dream of
owning your own home always had a sequel -- live in it, then sell it as a
huge profit....So another dream has faded." On March 16, 1990, home
prices were rising, so the conclusion switched to the buyers: "So
they keep looking. Thousands of young couples like the Wares, looking for
that first house, looking for what used to be called the American
That’s from a review of Brady’s reporting
published in the September 1990 MediaWatch:
-- Homeless living at home. From a 1990
article in the the MRC’s old MediaWatch newsletter:
When is someone who lives in a home actually homeless? When CBS News
economics correspondent Ray Brady needs a suitably dire topic for an
Evening News story. On October 31, Brady profiled Sally Carlson,
"manager of a successful leather repair store" who has
"been forced to move in with her mother" and "keep her hope
chest in her mother's garage." But Sally's not alone: "Thousands
of other tax paying, hard working Americans of all ages must live with
family or double up, unable to afford a home of their own. They're among
America's hidden homeless."
Brady reported ominously: "To older Americans, this is
disturbingly reminiscent. In the depression of the 1930s, Americans lived
five, six and more to a room in a land of vacant houses and empty
apartments." The ludicrous comparison caught the attention of
Newsweek economics columnist Robert Samuelson, who labeled it "an
especially misleading report" on people "who live, often
comfortably, with relatives. Having invented a new category of homeless,
he then compared today's situation with the 1930s (a decade when
unemployment averaged 18 percent)."
END of Reprint
-- No time is good for a tax cut. Brady on
CBS’s Sunday Morning on May 2, 1995, arguing against the new Republican
House majority’s push for a tax cut: "This is
not the time to be cutting taxes. What you want to do is if the economy
gets in a real jam, that's when you want to cut taxes, to give people
spending power. They should let the tax cut go for now, use that money to
really get that deficit down. That would be the best thing for the
country....Given the fact that next year is an election year, I don't
think it's too likely that they will pass on that tax cut. I'm afraid we
will see it."
victims: People who have to wait an hour to be seated at restaurants. A
February 7, 2000 CyberAlert item on one of Brady’s last CBS News
For Friday night’s CBS Evening News reporter Ray Brady focused on a
dire impact of America’s high employment rate: How restaurants can’t
find enough workers, a problem which inconvenienced a whiner Brady
showcased. Brady ominously opened his February 4 report:
"At America’s restaurants they’re feeling those low
unemployment numbers. Waiters, waitresses, even chefs are hard to find.
And there’s an added price: consumers are feeling the shortage too. Ask
Mike McConnell. He and his family waited for over an hour at TGI
Friday’s in St. Louis."
McConnell: "No one telling us anything, you know just telling us
‘we’re going to seat you, we’re going to seat you, we’re going to
seat you’ and then-"
Brady: "No seats."
McConnell: "No seats."
Brady demanded an explanation. Wallace Dooling of TGI Friday’s
conceded: "We were understaffed that night in the restaurant. The
manager, it sounds like, was overwhelmed."
Brady: "Wallace Dooling runs TGI Friday’s. His company gave
McConnell three free dinner coupons, company policy when people are
legitimately dissatisfied with the service."
But viewers soon inadvertently learned something else about the
complainer, Mike McConnell, as Brady filled in the larger picture in an
attempt to show a trend. After noting how McConnell claimed he’s
encountering more and more bad service at understaffed stores, Brady
"McConnell, a book editor, makes sure they understand. He writes
letters of complaint or even calls the heads of companies."
Brady to McConnell: "And how many businesses do you think you’ve
McConnell: "Oh, a hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty."
Brady: "Including some really big names."
McConnell: "Sears, CompUSA, Dillards, Holiday Inn, Mattel."
Brady went on to report that complaints to the Better Business Bureau
are up, but viewers had learned that the guy is really a professional
crank. And someone with enough free time so that a little waiting
END of Reprint
Brady should fit in perfectly at PBS.
Brady at 8:30pm, Bill Moyers at 9pm. I can’t
wait to not tune in.
-- Brent Baker
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