The 1,405th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Friday December 27, 2002 (Vol. Seven; No. 204) |
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1. Republicans Pine for Segregation & NBC Recaps GOP Race-Baiting
Newsweek's Evan Thomas and Eleanor Clift defamed conservatives: “Bill Clinton acidly, but not inaccurately, observed that Lott had just made the mistake of saying what too many Republicans still feel.” On Monday night, NBC and CNBC both ran a story which offered the old canards about how the Willie Horton ad and the Jesse Helms “hands” ad prove how the GOP uses race to win. Soledad O’Brien assumed Republicans now embrace racial intolerance and reject non-white voters: “Still unclear tonight is whether Senator Lott’s demotion represents a new era for the Republican Party, one in which racial intolerance really won’t be tolerated and voters of all colors are welcomed into the fold.”

2. First Runners-Up Quotes in the MRC's Annual Awards
The first runners-up quotes in the MRC's “Best Notable Quotables of 2002: The Fifteenth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting.”


Republicans Pine for Segregation & NBC
Recaps GOP Race-Baiting

      Newsweek and NBC News were so enamored of Bill Clinton's charge that Trent Lott just took the mask off of what many Republicans believe that Newsweek declared that Clinton did “not inaccurately” describe how Republicans wish for a return to segregation. Monday's NBC Nightly News and CNBC's The News with Brian Williams both ran a story which offered the old canards about how the Willie Horton ad and the Jesse Helms “hands” ad prove how the GOP uses race to win.

     Naturally, not a word about how Democrats have played the race card.

     But as Mona Charen pointed out in a recent column, when the Horton case “was first raised against Dukakis, there were no cries of racism, because the candidate who brought it to national attention was none other than Al Gore....It was called 'playing the race card' only when supporters of George H.W. Bush used it against Dukakis.” And on Helms' anti-quota ad, Charen sensibly suggested: “You cannot institute policies calling for reverse discrimination and then denounce any complaints as racism.”

     -- Newsweek. In a story in the December 30/January 6 issue, “Race to the Exit: Politics 2002 ends with two retreats -- Lott’s and Gore’s,” Evan Thomas and Eleanor Clift defamed conservatives by declaring that “too many” Republicans pine for the days of segregation:
     “Republican elders and activists were eager to put distance between the party and Lott’s apparent nostalgia for the days of Jim Crow. Former President Bill Clinton acidly, but not inaccurately, observed that Lott had just made the mistake of saying what too many Republicans still feel. Like his father before him, George W. Bush stooped to win the GOP nomination by appealing to the Southern redneck vote in 2000 (by, for instance, declining to stand against state capitols’ flying the Confederate flag).”

     That story is online at:

     -- NBC/CNBC. Introducing the December 23 piece by David Gregory on CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, substitute anchor Soledad O’Brien assumed Republicans embraced racial intolerance and rejected non-white voters. Just after a story on Bill Frist winning the election to become the new Senate Majority Leader, O'Brien intoned: “Still unclear tonight is whether Senator Lott’s demotion represents a new era for the Republican Party, one in which racial intolerance really won’t be tolerated and voters of all colors are welcomed into the fold.”

     The aforementioned Brian Williams showed up Monday night as anchor of the NBC Nightly News and he offered this choice for how to view Republicans: “Job one, as we mentioned, for this new majority leader and the rest of the GOP may be undoing the damage of the past few weeks. Some say it has set the party back several decades. Others, however, say some Republicans have been speaking in a kind of code to Southern white voters for years. A strategy, they say, the party can no longer afford. NBC's David Gregory has more on that.”

     In my absence, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth checked the transcript of the story against the tape. Gregory began: 
     “Since the days of Nixon, it's been known as the 'Southern strategy,’ an appeal to frustrated Southern whites opposed to civil rights gains. That strategy, perceived by some to be subtly racist, has been a big reason why the GOP enjoys a political lock on the South.”

     Gregory ran down the list of supposed offenses, starting 12 years ago: “There was Senator Jesse Helms' 1990 television ad called 'White Hands,’ appealing to whites angry about affirmative action. Ronald Reagan pointedly embraced states' rights during a 1980 stop to a town in Mississippi where three civil rights workers were murdered 16 years earlier. President Bush, the father, featured a black rapist, Willie Horton, in a controversial campaign ad against Michael Dukakis. This President Bush had to apologize two years ago after speaking at Bob Jones University which bans interracial dating on its campus. And during this year's mid-term election, a debate over the official display of the Confederate flag in Georgia helped the Republicans retake the governor's mansion.”

     Let me interject two little points here. First, Gregory's claim that “President Bush, the father, featured a black rapist, Willie Horton, in a controversial campaign ad,” is just plain false. The ad, which few ever saw and fewer would have if not for the media obsession with it, was produced and run by an outside group. Second, as for Republicans “re-taking” the Governor's mansion in Georgia thanks to the Confederate flag issue, how can you “re-take” something you've never had? Democrats held the Governorship in Georgia since federal troops pulled out in the 1870s. Democrats incorporated the Confederate design into the state flag and kept it there for decades, as even the media's hero, Jimmy Carter, did nothing to remove it.

     Gregory continued: “Former Virginia Governor Linwood Holton says the Southern strategy, though successful with white voters, has come at a cost.”
     Linwood Holton, fformer Virginia Governor: “Blacks have been driven away, and they've been driven away from a Republican Party that really was their sponsor from the very beginning. Abraham Lincoln started it.”
     Gregory: “The question now is whether Lott's ouster marks a turning point for a party that knows it must change if it's going to attract a growing number of minority voters. The President used the Lott episode as an opportunity for outreach.”
     George W. Bush: “Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals.”
     Charlie Cook, political analyst: “The proportion of white voters is going down, so very simply, Republicans have to do better among African-Americans and Hispanics if they're going to win.”
     Gregory: “Some Democrats, who have accused Republicans of playing the race card to stimulate white voter turnout, say Lott's resignation is not enough.”
     Eleanor Holmes Norton, (D-D.C.): “We are looking for more moderation in the Republican Party. We are looking to see if the party will put some meat on the bones of compassionate conservatism.”
     Gregory concluded his one-sided piece: “The first test of whether Republicans will leave the Southern strategy to history. David Gregory, NBC News, the White House.”

     In other words, the measure of racial tolerance will be how fast they abandon principle, as Lott did, and adopt liberal positions.

     In a column this week, Mona Charen took on the premises NBC assumed. An excerpt:

Have Republicans slyly used race to win elections? When pressed, Democrats usually bring up only two examples from the past two decades: the Willie Horton ad and the Jesse Helms "white hands" ad.

The Horton ad was about a black criminal released by liberal Gov. Mike Dukakis who raped and murdered a couple in Maryland. When the issue was first raised against Dukakis, there were no cries of racism, because the candidate who brought it to national attention was none other than Al Gore, a competitor for the Democratic nomination in 1988. It was called "playing the race card" only when supporters of George H.W. Bush used it against Dukakis. The point of the ad, anyway, was that Dukakis was such a starry-eyed liberal that he permitted violent felons to leave prison on work-release programs.

The Helms ad showed white hands tearing up a rejection letter. The voice over said, "You needed that job, but it had to go to a minority." It was hard-hitting, to be sure. And it certainly drew upon white resentment of affirmative action policies, but that is not racism. You cannot institute policies calling for reverse discrimination and then denounce any complaints as racism.

As Thomas Sowell has demonstrated in his wide scholarship on the subject, preferential policies create strife and conflict all over the globe, from Southeast Asia, to Sri Lanka, to Africa, to Australia, to the United States.

This is not to say that race is no longer used as a bloody shirt in American politics. The Democrats use it incessantly. Remember the radio ads during the 1998 elections that basically urged black voters to believe that a vote for a Republican was a vote for burning black churches? The NAACP ads "linking" George W. Bush to a lynching in Texas were even worse. Or just consider that when the post-election of 2000 came down to the wire, the Gore forces attempted (quite successfully) to gin up racial fears and animosities by arguing that blacks had been kept from the polling places by police-imposed roadblocks, and that Gov. Jeb Bush had orchestrated a campaign to ensure that black votes would not be counted....

     END of Excerpt

     For Charen's column in full:


First Runners-Up Quotes in the
MRC's Annual Awards

     Thursday's CyberAlert featured the winners, and so today the first runners-up quotes in the MRC's “Best Notable Quotables of 2002: The Fifteenth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting.”

     For the winners, see item #1 in the December 26 CyberAlert:

     And for the names of the 52 judges, see item #2 in the same CyberAlert:

     Or, you can find it all on the MRC Web site in the special section devoted to the awards issue. For the full results, with RealPlayer clips of many of the television quotes, go to:

     For an Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version:

     For the list of judges, with links to Web pages for each judge, whether his or her own page or page about their show or work created by their employer, check:

     As explained in the December 26 CyberAlert, to determine this year’s winners, a panel of 52 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. Each received a paper ballot in late November and returned it within two weeks.

     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. Each judge was also asked to choose a “Quote of the Year” denoting the most outrageous quote of 2002.

     Now, the first runners-up in 17 award categories:

Media Hero Award [first runner-up]:

“[Senator] Jim Jeffords is the personification of one man, one vote, and his story a classic of American politics. What Jim Jeffords did simply was turn Washington on its ear. In the months following President Bush’s inauguration in January, the 67-year-old Jeffords found himself increasingly at odds with the GOP on Capitol Hill and the White House over issues ranging from education, to the environment, to the size of the tax cut, all of which forced him to examine his core beliefs....Jeffords knew and agonized that a political switch at this time in his career would affect not only him, but Republican colleagues, and his staff and family....But flying to Vermont in May, Jeffords knew he’d made the right decision....Today, Jeffords is a man at peace with himself, enjoying work on his Vermont farm, splitting logs, saving a few pennies with some inventive repair work on a wheelbarrow.”
-- NBC’s Katie Couric introducing a December 17, 2001 Today show interview with Jeffords. [53 points]

General Phil “Cheap Shot” Donahue Award (for Swipes at the War on Terrorism) [first runner-up]:

“We begin with the news from the White House that President Bush knew that al Qaeda was planning to hijack a U.S. airliner and he knew it before September the 11th.”
-- Judy Woodruff on CNN’s NewsNight, May 15. [74 points]

Fourth Reich Award (for Portraying John Ashcroft as a Fascist)
[first runner-up]:

“We have an Attorney General that is, I don’t know, how would you describe him, demented? We have an Attorney General who doesn’t seem to understand the law.”
-- New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh to the Chicago Headliner Club, as quoted by Steve Rhodes in Chicago, May 2. [81 points]

Ashamed of the Red, White & Blue Award [first runner-up]:

“It’s an obscene comparison, and I’m not sure I like it, but there was a time, in South Africa, where people would put flaming tires around peoples’ necks if they dissented. And in some ways, the fear is that you’ll be necklaced here [in the U.S.], you’ll have the flaming tire of lack of patriotism put around your neck. Now it’s that fear that keeps journalists from asking the toughest of the tough questions and to continue to bore in on the tough questions so often. And again, I’m humbled to say, I do not except myself from this criticism.”
-- Dan Rather on BBC’s Newsnight, May 16. [80 points]

Give Appeasement a Chance Award [first runner-up]:

“Can you assure the American people that this elevated [terrorism] threat alert is not part of the administration’s effort to convince people that the danger is such that military action against Iraq is necessary?”
-- ABC’s Terry Moran to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer at a September 10 briefing. [59 points] 

Begala & Carville War Room Award for Bush Bashing [first runner-up]:

“What also struck me, aside from how frightening much in this speech was, were the things that were missing. Very little with respect to minorities, the uninsured, the homeless, the elderly, Enron workers who have lost their life savings.”
-- Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly during Fox’s broadcast coverage of President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address on January 29. [59 points]

Media Millionaires for Smaller Paychecks Award (for Demanding the Tax Cut Be Repealed) [first runner-up]:

A compilation of questions from NBC Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert:

“Can we afford an invasion of Iraq and also maintain the Bush tax cut?”
-- Russert’s question to Democratic Senator Joe Biden, who voted against the Bush tax cut, August 4.

“Should the Democrats be in favor of freezing the Bush tax cut?...Would it be better to freeze, postpone, the Bush tax cut?...Why not freeze the tax cut rather than spend the Social Security surplus?...Democrats are reluctant to say, 'We have to freeze the tax cut,’ because you’re afraid it’s politically unpopular....As part of a budget summit, would you be in favor of freezing the Bush tax cut?...But, Congressman Davis, you did come to office with a $5.6 trillion surplus, and it’s gone, and a third of that can be directly attributed to the tax cut.”
-- Russert’s questions to Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Tom Davis ®-VA), September 1.

“Can we afford a war in Afghanistan or in Iraq and the Bush tax cut? Back in 2001 on this program you said we should repeal the Bush tax cut. Do you believe that is now necessary in order to have the money to fight wars?”
-- Russert to Senator Hillary Clinton, September 15.

“Since Inauguration Day, the Dow Jones is down 26 percent. The unemployment rate is up 33 percent. The budget had a $281 billion surplus. We now have a $157 billion deficit and there’s been a net loss of two million jobs. You were prescient, prophetic about the Bush tax cut. Why did you change your view and vote for it?”
-- Russert to Senate candidate Lindsey Graham ®-SC), reminding him how in 2000 he’d sided with John McCain against Bush’s tax cut, on October 13. [66 points]

Blame America First Award [first runner-up]:

     Tom Brokaw: “That brings us to America’s growing Arab and Muslim communities. For many, this has been the year -- as one observer put it -- that the American dream for them descended into nightmares.”
     Jim Avila: “This is Jenin Ahman, an American of Palestinian descent, born 42 years ago in suburban Chicago, now worried everything she learned as an American about justice and civil rights collapsed along with New York’s Twin Towers.”
-- NBC Nightly News, September 11. [30 points]

Bill Moyers (Subsidized) Sanctimony Award [first runner-up]:

“It concerns me more that Kenneth Lay is meeting secretly with the Vice President than it concerned me that President Clinton was meeting secretly with Monica Lewinsky.”
-- Bill Moyers’ comment to feminist author Katie Roiphe on PBS’s Now, February 8. [49 points]

Carve Clinton into Mount Rushmore Award [first runner-up]:

     Charlie Rose: “What will be the judgment of history about him [former President Bill Clinton]?”
     New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines: “Huge political talent. Huge political vision and I suspect -- none of us, I can’t predict who’s going to win the next election, much less what history is going to say about anyone. But I think President Clinton’s role in modernizing the Democratic Party around a set of economic ideas and also holding onto the principles of social justice, and presiding over the greatest prosperity in human history. Those would seem to me to have to be central to his legacy.”
-- Exchange on PBS’s Charlie Rose, August 6. [70 points]

Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Pontificating [first runner-up]:

“It was 1993...a time of hope...of new possibilities. We believed that our children and grandchildren would live in an age of extraordinary opportunity. We had a Democratic Congress that put the country on the road to prosperity... passed the Family and Medical Leave Act...legislation to increase funds for anti-crime bill that banned assault weapons and violence against women... safe water and clean air acts.

“Unprecedented Growth in the Economy/The Dow Was Up, the Deficit Was Down/As Long as Democrats Were the Majority/I Could Sleep Nights, Not Weep Nights.

“I find George Bush and Dick Cheney frightening...Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft frightening.

“Global Warming? Don’t Believe a Word of It/And What’s a Drop of Arsenic or Two?/Saving Medicare? They Never Heard of It/To Them, Health Care Is Wealth Care

“Now we have tax cuts for the rich, but no raise in the minimum wage for the poor... poison in the water, salmonella in the food, carbon dioxide in the air and toxic waste in the ground that polluters no longer have to pay to clean up - the taxpayers do.

“So on next Election Day I Pray/That the Country Will Deliver, a House Without Tom Delay!/We Need a Team Change/A Definite Regime Change/Oh, That Would Be a Dream Change/From the Way We Are.”
-- Barbra Streisand interspersing comments with singing of customized lyrics to “The Way We Were,” at a Sept. 29 fundraiser for Democratic congressional candidates and later posted on her Web site, (Ellipses are speaking pauses as in original.) [68 points]

Mount St. Helen Award for Helen Thomas Eruptions [first runner-up]:

“Reagan turned the country to the right. There was a Reagan revolution, a very conservative revolution, and it was social Darwinism. If you can’t make it, tough. I mean, he did not believe in social welfare and, but at the same time, he did build up our military. He had a secret plan to spend one trillion dollars on new arms when he came in....”
“Clinton, I think his heart was in the right place. He certainly built up a great prosperity and surplus, balanced the budget, I think that he had great ideals, but, of course, he tarnished the White House with his liaisons and, but eventually, you know, every President, time is the great healer, and every President looks better in retrospect, so I think that he has a legacy that will be worthwhile.”
-- Thomas speaking at a March 3 Newseum session shown by C-SPAN on March 4. [49 points]

Good Morning Morons Award [first runner-up]:

     Charles Gibson: “My wife has a sign on her office wall and it says, 'Won’t it be a great day when the Air Force has to hold bake sales to get a new bomber and the schools have all the money they need?’”
     Diane Sawyer: “I love your wife! I love her for many reasons. Love that sign.”
-- Exchange on the October 2 Good Morning America. Gibson’s wife, Arlene, runs an all-girls private school in New York City. [67 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award [first runner-up]:

“The meanest [song], by far, is 'Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue,’ which unabashedly glorifies the bombing of Afghanistan. The song traffics in vivid, simple shades of black and white, good and evil.”
-- Washington Post Style-section reporter David Segal writing about country singer Toby Keith’s new album, Vanished, July 25. [55 points]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis [first runner-up]:

“Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead or Alive.”
-- On-screen graphic during a story about Osama bin Laden’s fate on CNN’s 2pm Live From...on Sept. 3. [42 points]

See No Liberal Media Bias Award [first runner-up]:

“I have yet to see a body of evidence that suggests the reporting that gets on the air reflects any political bias.”
-- Former CBS and CNN correspondent Deborah Potter, who is currently the Executive Director of NewsLab, when asked for a comment on her former colleague Bernard Goldberg’s new book Bias by the Boston Globe’s Mark Jurkowitz for a January 17 article. Potter had not read the book. [61 points]

Quote of the Year [first runner-up]:

“The reason that the World Trade Center got hit is because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there who don’t have any hope for a better life....I think they [the 19 hijackers] were brave at the very least.”
-- AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman and CNN founder Ted Turner in February 11 remarks at Brown University, as reported by Gerald Carbone in the February 12 Providence Journal. The next day, Turner issued a statement: “The attacks of Sept. 11 were despicable acts. I in no way meant to convey otherwise.”

     END Rundown of first runners-up quotes

     After firsthand investigation, completed while shoveling, I'll have to revise upward the snowfall in Eastern Massachusetts, estimated in yesterday's CyberAlert at barely five inches, to a healthy seven inches, though that's still not much compared to the 18 inches plus in some nearby areas. But it was nice to have a white Christmas. -- Brent Baker


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