Spending Equals Commitment to Education; CBS Back to Global Warming; Chomsky Accurately Tagged as “Left Wing”; NBC: Maybe Quayle Was Right About
Murphy Brown; 1992 Blasts at Quayle
1) Spending equals commitment to an issue, Washington Post reporter Mike Allen assumed in framing his May 9 story: “President Bush wants to campaign for the next six months as a champion of education, but he has a problem: He has proposed a budget that cuts, freezes and eliminates scores of school programs.”
2) A week-and-a-half after the CBS Evening News warned of global cooling, Dan Rather was back to affixing blame on global warming for the breaking off of part of an Antarctic ice shelf.
3) Profiling far-left activist Noam Chomsky on Sunday, Washington Post reporter Michael Powell quoted Chomsky’s description of himself as “quite conservative.” But FNC’s Alisyn Camerota and USA Today’s Walter Shapiro have since correctly identified Chomsky as “left wing.”
4) Ten years after Dan Quayle sparked a media firestorm by citing the TV sit-com Murphy Brown, NBC’s Today discovered wisdom in his words. Katie Couric questioned a Friends producer about the message being sent by a character having a baby out of wedlock.
Couric also suggested: “As the debate subsided and Murphy Brown took on the challenges of single-parenting some people began to wonder if Dan Quayle was right.”
5) Biased blasts from the past: Journalists on Quayle/Murphy Brown in 1992. Steve Roberts called it “a wedge issue to drive divisions in this country along cultural lines, along social lines, and to some extent along racial lines." In Time, Lance Morrow rued how a George Bush victory would “have given a two-victory presidential validation (1988 and 1992) to hot-button, mad-dog politics -- campaigning on irrelevant or inflammatory issues (Willie Horton, the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, Murphy Brown’s out-of-wedlock nonexistent child)...”
6) Back in 1992 Bernard Goldberg took on the media’s bias in coverage of Dan Quayle’s Murphy Brown remarks.
7) E-mail problems: Yahoo! delivered CyberAlert to “bulk mail” folders on Thursday and CompuServe didn’t deliver any e-mail on Wednesday.
>>> “Megaphone for a Dictator: CNN’s Coverage of Castro’s Cuba, 1997-2002.” This MRC Special Report, released at a press conference on Thursday afternoon, is available online.
For the Executive Summary:
For the statement read at the press conference by MRC President L. Brent Bozell III:
For the full report by Rich Noyes, with videos and graphs:
Correction: For those keeping score at home, the May 9 CyberAlert was misnumbered. It was the 1,276th edition.
Spending equals commitment to an issue, Washington Post reporter Mike Allen assumed in framing his story about Bush administration education policy. Allen opened a May 9 story from La Crosse, Wisconsin:
“President Bush wants to campaign for the next six months as a champion of education, but he has a problem: He has proposed a budget that cuts, freezes and eliminates scores of school programs.”
Not until the 12 paragraph of the story, brought to my attention by MRC analyst Ken Shepherd, did Allen get to the view that spending does not equate with better educated students.
Before that, however, Allen relayed how Democrats have cited programs “that could be victims of Bush's budget.” Allen also made the case for how the administration is being stingy in the face of great need, even though it has proposed a spending hike:
“White House figures show Bush's education budget is 2.8 percent higher than the current one, barely keeping pace with inflation. At the same time, states are facing deficits and schools are trying to juggle record enrollments, crumbling buildings, and rising numbers of pupils who have disabilities and difficulty speaking English. The proposal represents the smallest increase in education funds in seven years.”
Or, since the early Clinton years.
An excerpt from Allen’s May 9 story:
President Bush wants to campaign for the next six months as a champion of education, but he has a problem: He has proposed a budget that cuts, freezes and eliminates scores of school programs.
That has provided an inviting opening for Democrats, who have adopted the battle cry of "rhetoric versus resources" and are seizing on the discrepancy to try to win back voters in this fall's congressional elections.
For the second time this week, Bush flew today to high-achieving schools in a Midwestern battleground state to promote the "No Child Left Behind" education law he advocated during his campaign and signed into law in January with the promise of "a new and hopeful era for American education."...
As Air Force One landed in Milwaukee and later in La Crosse, Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said Bush has proposed eliminating an arts in education program that brings Milwaukee more than $300,000 and freezing an after-school program that brought La Crosse $322,000. A list released by Obey included a dozen other programs in the two cities that could be victims of Bush's budget.
David Sirota, Democratic spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, previewed his party's planned tack for the weeks ahead by saying Bush "cynically believes that by simply doing photo-ops at schools, he can trick Americans into overlooking the serious cuts to education programs."
Bush's aggressive marketing of his plans for schools and the Democrats' blistering rebuttal are aimed at swing voters,
notably suburban women, who must be courted afresh every election as the parties try to tip an electorate that is nearly evenly split....
Democrats contend that the education budget Bush sent Congress falls $7.2 billion short of the new law's targets. A White House official said Congress routinely authorizes higher funding levels than it later actually spends. The House Appropriations Committee's Democratic staff released a tally showing that Bush's budget cuts 57 education programs totaling $1.8 billion. Of the 57 reductions and eliminations, the White House disputed only one, concerning the teaching of American history.
White House figures show Bush's education budget is 2.8 percent higher than the current one, barely keeping pace with inflation. At the same time, states are facing deficits and schools are trying to juggle record enrollments, crumbling buildings, and rising numbers of pupils who have disabilities and difficulty speaking English. The proposal represents the smallest increase in education funds in seven years....
Administration officials say the Democrats' criticism misses the point of the new law, which is designed to improve the quality of teachers, increase parental involvement, strengthen reading programs and make schools more accountable through testing. The officials also note that their budget is being compared to historic increases passed under President Bill Clinton and continued at the start of Bush's term. Despite the spending, test scores were stagnant. Bush points in his speeches to parts of his new budget that rose significantly -- 24 percent for elementary and secondary schools and 35 percent for improving teacher recruitment, retention and pay....
END of Excerpt
For the story in full:
A week-and-a-half after the CBS Evening News warned of global cooling, the show was back to raising fears of global warming.
The April 28 CBS Evening News devoted a whole story to one man’s theory about global cooling. Reporter Randal Pinkston ominously cautioned: “Terry Joyce, a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, studies the effects of global warming. He and other researchers are increasingly sounding a new alarm, a paradox, that global warming could produce an abrupt climate change and cooler temperatures, very soon.”
For more, refer back to the April 29
But on Thursday night, May 9, anchor Dan Rather was still affixing blame on global warming for an unexplained event: “Whether the cause is global warming or something else, new satellite images of the bottom of the world show another huge iceberg has broken off the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica. This one is more than 40 miles long and more than four miles wide.”
“Bottom of the world”? Since the Earth is in space there really is no top or bottom, just how we perceive it.
FNC’s Alisyn Camerota and USA Today’s Walter Shapiro realize Noam Chomsky is a left-winger.
As noted in the May 6 CyberAlert, in a May 5 Washington Post profile reporter Michael Powell quoted Chomsky’s description of himself as “quite conservative.” Only nine paragraphs later did Powell tie Chomsky to the Left, and then only indirectly as Powell bemoaned the lack of publicity for Chomsky’s book: “His book has garnered just a single review in a major newspaper. It's as though the professor inhabits Dimension Left, the alternative celebrity universe.” For more:
But not all reporters are oblivious to Chomsky’s far-left agenda. In a story aired on the May 9 Special Reporter with Brit Hume and Fox Report, FNC’s Alisyn Camerota examined how some professors at Harvard, MIT and Princeton have signed a petition urging the universities to divest in companies which do business in Israel. She identified one of the advocates: “Left-wing activist Noam Chomsky, an MIT professor who signed the petitions, says Israel and America are just as responsible for Mideast violence as the Palestinians.”
In his May 8 USA Today column, Walter Shapiro looked at Chomsky’s book which is made up of a collection of e-mails he wrote last fall. Shapiro described Chomsky:
“The 73-year-old MIT professor, who became an intellectual icon in the 1950s with his landmark theories of linguistics, has devoted the last 30 years to increasingly strident attacks on American foreign policy. Whether he was questioning accounts of Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia, fulminating against the Gulf War or berating America for the 1999 bombing of Serbia, Chomsky has come to personify the outer extremes of left-wing thinking.”
Shapiro concluded with a tougher tag: “The best response to the frenzied e-mailed dispatches from this left-wing crank remains public disclosure and ridicule.”
For the entirety of Shapiro’s column:
Ten years after Dan Quayle sparked a media firestorm by citing the TV sit-com Murphy Brown, in which the star character was having a baby without the benefit of a father present or of marriage, as representative a decline in values, NBC’s Today discovered wisdom in his words. Maybe that’s because Dan Quayle is no longer an electoral threat.
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed Today’s fresh approach to the subject which took place during the 7:30am half hour on May 9.
Talking with the producers of Friends, in which a character is having a baby out of wedlock, Katie Couric on Thursday morning worried: “There are some kids watching this, though, and their parents might feel slightly uncomfortable that Rachel is serving as a role model. That ideally that if you do have a baby you should be married. What would you say to those parents who might say, 'Gosh I love this show but I'm not sure I'm so happy with the message it's sending to my kids’?"
Recalling the firestorm over Quayle’s 1992 soundbite, Couric suggested: “As the debate subsided and Murphy Brown took on the challenges of single-parenting some people began to wonder if Dan Quayle was right.”
Quayle himself came aboard the May 9 Today to mark the tenth anniversary of his speech before a planned address later in the day at the National Press Club -- an address which took place across the atrium from the MRC’s press conference which occurred at the same time.
Couric gently prodded Quayle: “What's wrong with a successful career woman who finds herself pregnant, who opts not to have an abortion, and decides to have the child and raise the child particularly if she has the financial wherewithal to do that?"
Couric opened the segment with a look at NBC’s Friends:
"She's single and pregnant and much of America doesn't seem to have a problem with that. 31 million people watched as Jennifer Aniston's character Rachel tested positive for motherhood without marriage. But unlike the furor caused by another sitcom pregnancy 10 years ago [Murphy Brown clip] This storyline on Friends has been welcomed, even embraced by a huge audience."
In the taped piece, Couric asked three Friends producers: “There are some kids watching this, though, and their parents might feel slightly uncomfortable that Rachel is serving as a role model. That ideally that if you do have a baby you should be married. What would you say to those parents who might say, 'Gosh I love this show but I'm not sure I'm so happy with the message it's sending to my kids’?"
Couric then recalled: "Flashback 10 years ago to May 1992, that year the Cold War ended, L.A. exploded in violent race riots. Unforgettable by Natalie Cole swept the Grammy’s, Lethal Weapon 3 was top at the box office. And another unwed mother named Murphy Brown gave birth to a baby and a national debate on single mothers. [Murphy Brown clip] The charge was led by then Vice President Dan Quayle who blasted the blessed event for undermining traditional family values."
Dan Quayle, May 19, 1992: “It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly-paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice.”
Couric: "Reaction to the speech was fast and furious."
Following a montage of media clips, Couric noted: "No one was caught off-guard more than Murphy Brown creator Diane English.” Couric asked English: “What was it like being at the center of the storm?" English said it was “surreal” and “unexpected.”
Couric added: "Despite the firestorm of criticism Dan Quayle held firm." But Couric highlighted anger at Quayle: "Like many single mothers at the time, Virginia Gardenetti said she was puzzled by the Vice President's take on Murphy Brown's decision."
Virginia Gardenetti: "She decided to raise the child on her own, not give it up for adoption and also not to have an abortion. And to me that is something that I feel that the family values people should've applauded, not ridiculed."
Getting back to Murphy Brown, Couric remembered: "When the series returned that fall Murphy's lifestyle choice was still a hot topic. And in the battle of Brown vs. Quayle the Vice President was taking it on the chin."
Murphy Brown clip of Candice Bergen as Murphy: “Glamorize single motherhood? What planet is he on?”
Couric, however, pointed out: "But hidden in all the commotion was the very real fact that in the early nineties there were more than 7 million single-mothers in the United States. And as the debate subsided and Murphy Brown took on the challenges of single-parenting some people began to wonder if Dan Quayle was right.
Did he have a point, you think, in retrospect?"
Diane English acknowledged: "In the bigger context of his speech he did have a point. He was trying to draw some focus toward all the unwanted pregnancies in this country which is a very serious problem. And I think he trivialized what he was trying to say by bringing so much of the focus onto a fictional character."
Couric: "But the fictional characters we see each week on TV often do reflect reality. Today there are 3 million more single mothers in this country, many by choice. And if it's happening in America it's happening on TV. [Friends clip] And this time around the public's greater acceptance of single-motherhood on Friends may reflect a change in attitude. A change propelled by that other TV character a decade ago."
Murphy Brown clip: “Murph, it’s Dan Quayle. Just forget about it!”
Couric: "Now ten years later, Rachel on Friends is having a baby, she's not married and nobody has said boo.”
Back on live, Couric introduced Quayle: "Ten years after making his comments about Murphy Brown, former Vice President Dan Quayle is scheduled to give a speech addressing the issue of family values later today in Washington. Vice President Quayle, good morning. Thanks so much for joining us. Can you give us a preview of your speech today at the National Press Club?"
Couric wondered: "Looking back ten years ago, Mr. Vice President, in retrospect were you shocked at all the attention and the brouhaha you created with the speech. The Murphy Brown portion was only one segment of a larger speech dealing with family values. But how did it feel for you, personally and politically, frankly to be at the center of this firestorm?"
But Couric also pressed: "Let me just ask you a question, what's wrong with a successful career woman who finds herself pregnant, who opts not to have an abortion, and decides to have the child and raise the child particularly if she has the financial wherewithal to do that?"
Quayle suggested we’ve “won half the battle’ since the father is involved on Friends.
Couric followed up: "Right. And is that why, is that why Mr. Vice President more social conservatives aren't finding this troubling? After all Rachel, the character, we talk as if she's a real person, is having a baby out-of-wedlock."
Couric pushed for a looser definition of family: "Let me ask you Mr. Vice President, because we only, unfortunately have a few seconds left. But even if a loving nuclear family is the ideal how do you respond to those who say, 'Listen the definition of family, needs to be broadened. And single-parents and other family configurations need to be embraced, even celebrated’?"
Quayle recalled how his grandmother was divorced and her kids did fine, but it wasn’t an ideal situation.
Biased blasts from the past. From the MRC’s archives, how journalists in 1992 used Dan Quayle’s Murphy Brown soundbite to hammer him and the Bush campaign as insensitive, derisive, out of touch with reality and deriding it as a Willie Horton-like wedge issue.
Steve Roberts saw the Murphy Brown comments as “a wedge issue to drive divisions in this country along cultural lines, along social lines, and to some extent along racial lines." CBS’s Bruce Morton lectured Quayle about how single moms “might have been helped by a good sex education course, by readily available condoms, maybe even an abortion. Your administration disapproves of those." In Time magazine, Lance Morrow rued how a George Bush victory would “have given a two-victory presidential validation (1988 and 1992) to hot-button, mad-dog politics -- campaigning on irrelevant or inflammatory issues (Willie Horton, the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, Murphy Brown’s out-of-wedlock nonexistent child)...”
From the MRC archive:
-- Newsweek Washington reporter Eleanor Clift, June 1, 1992 edition: "There they go again. Only this time, instead of Willie Horton, the GOP is making Murphy Brown the symbol of what’s wrong with the liberal elites."
-- Time Senior Writer Lance Morrow, June 1, 1992: "The racial dimension flows naturally into the political, where the uglier side of Quayle’s mission begins to become apparent. One of Quayle’s amazing but unlikable feats last week was metaphorically to transform old Willie Horton into a beautiful blond fortyish WASP has-it-all knockout."
-- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Steven Roberts on PBS’s Washington Week in Review, May 22: “This was not an accident. This was not a casual speech. This was a speech very much a part of the White House game plan, a very deliberate attempt to use these family values, which are an amorphous collection of ideas, but to use them as a wedge issue to drive divisions in this country along cultural lines, along social lines, and to some extent along racial lines."
-- CBS political reporter Bruce Morton lecturing Quayle in a CBS Evening News commentary, June 13, 1992: "If you want to see the problem, visit a housing project called Clifton Terrace. It’s only about a ten-minute drive from your house. You could talk to, say, a 15-year-old mother of two who doesn’t want her kids; wants instead to be a child herself, and play with a doll. She might have been helped by a good sex education course, by readily available condoms, maybe even an abortion. Your administration disapproves of those."
Morton is now with CNN.
-- CNN's Candy Crowley to Republican Senator Nancy Kassebaum at the 1992 GOP convention:
"I heard Marilyn Quayle...say 'Boy, if only Murphy Brown could meet Major Dad.' I'm wondering what that says to the many families out there that do have single mothers?"
"It is perceived that the Democrats are actually fighting for middle America, the family. I'm wondering if you think, that with the various permutations that families have nowadays, if the Republicans are actually shoving away those who don't have mother, father, kids and don't do it 'the right way?'"
-- Time Senior Writer Lance Morrow in the “Man of the Year” cover story, January 4, 1993 issue: "Clinton’s campaign, conducted with dignity, with earnest attention to issues and with an impressive display of self-possession under fire, served to rehabilitate and restore the legitimacy of American politics and thus, prospectively, of government itself. He vindicated (at least for a while) the honor of a system that has been sinking fast. A victory by George Bush would, among other things, have given a two-victory presidential validation (1988 and 1992) to hot-button, mad-dog politics -- campaigning on irrelevant or inflammatory issues (Willie Horton, the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, Murphy Brown’s out-of-wedlock nonexistent child) or dirty tricks and innuendo (searching pass-port files, implying that Clinton was tied up with the KGB as a student)."
Bernard Goldberg was taking on media bias back in 1992, four years before his famous 1996 Wall Street Journal op-ed which took on CBS’s one-sided attack on the flat tax. In looking for Dan Quayle/Murphy Brown quotes in the MRC archive, I came across this from Goldberg in the June 13, 1992 TV Guide:
"Over and over the anchors made the point that Murphy Brown’s a fictional character -- as if that’s really an issue. Do you think for a moment that if some TV character started saying vicious, ugly things about blacks, would anyone say, 'Hey, it’s only fiction?’....We in the press like to say we’re honest brokers of information, and it’s just not true. The press does have an agenda."
Yahoo! and CompuServe e-mail problems.
-- Yahoo! Assuming this e-mail was not sidetracked by Yahoo! into your “bulk mail” folder, this is to let you know that the May 9 CyberAlert Special was placed there, at least for some recipients. This seems to be a random problem in which Yahoo! treats the CyberAlert as spam mail, probably because of the advertising mail which is also sent from the topica.email-publisher.com service, or maybe it occurs whenever several lists using that service all coincidentally hit Yahoo! at the same moment and the excessive volume from a single originator triggers the anti-spam software.
To let Yahoo! know that you’d like to get CyberAlert in your “in box,” go to your “bulk mail” folder, open the CyberAlert and click on “If you feel this message might be better delivered to your Inbox, click on Send to Yahoo! for review.”
On the page you will go to, you can also click on “personal filter” to instruct Yahoo to deliver e-mail from a particular source to your “in box.” I’d suggest entering “MRC” or “Media Research Center” under the “header” category, but Yahoo! veterans may have better ideas. If so, let me know:
-- CompuServe seems to be having problems with e-mail deliveries, at least judging by my account. For the past 48 hours e-mail has taken an additional three to seven hours to be delivered on CompuServe and for about 24 hours around May 8 I received no e-mail. That means CompuServe users probably never received the May 8 CyberAlert. This problem has no affected AOL Time Warner’s AOL or Netscape.net e-mail services. I do not know if there are any problems with CompuServe’s “cs.com” e-mail or if it’s just with the older, text-based CompuServe.com e-mail system.
All the CyberAlerts can be found online at:
-- Brent Baker
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