***Media Research Center CyberAlert***
Wednesday July 18, 2001 (Vol.
Six; No. 112)
The 1,110th CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
CBS's Non-Levy Salaciousness; Crack Down on "Gas-Guzzling SUVs";
Condit and His Enemies Both "Conservative" to ABC; No ID in Time
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1) CBS and NBC pushed President Bush to hike fuel standards for
"gas-guzzling SUVs." Dan Rather rued how "it's been years since
the U.S. government last set fuel efficiency standards" but, he
hoped, "that could soon change." NBC's Brian Williams steered
Bush: "With increasing numbers of Americans telling opinion
pollsters the President needs to get tougher on environmental
protection, tonight the White House may have its chance."
2) Peter Jennings picked up on how "Henry Waxman has asked the
Justice Department to investigate the President's main political
adviser for conflict of interest."
3) ABC's Ann Compton hoped that Vice President Cheney's
defibrillator implant would have led "to a change of heart" in
his energy policy, but she regretted how he still favors a "hard
line on finding more oil" over "conservation."
4) CBS's Bob Schieffer admitted to Don Imus: "I think anti-
ballistic missile defense systems are a bad idea." Schieffer also
repeated his refrain about how the defeat of "campaign finance
reform" gives John McCain a presidential platform to "talk about
corruption in both parties."
5) The weekday CBS Evening News with Dan Rather once again ignored
the Chandra Levy/Gary Condit story on Tuesday night, but CBS can't
claim their news judgment is based upon avoiding salacious
material since a soundbite in a story on another topic included
the slang term "tit."
6) From ABC's viewpoint, Gary Condit, his district and his enemies
are all "conservative." Tuesday's World News Tonight failed to
identify Condit as a Democrat, but made sure viewers realized he's
being attacked by "conservatives" as people in his "conservative"
district "still relate to Condit's conservative politics."
7) In over 1600 words the latest Time magazine couldn't find room
to inform its readers of Gary Condit's party affiliation. U.S.
News waited until the 16th paragraph of an 18 paragraph story and
then labeled him a "conservative Democrat."
8) The New York Times painted Gary Condit as a victim "caught in
the middle," of the controversy over a missing intern, who "has
few financial resources with which to deal with the personal and
political crisis building around him."
9) "How about slamming a Republican?" Washington Post reporter
Rita Kemply suggested to actor John Cusack, who naturally
10) Not everyone is Hollywood is a left-winger. Patricia Heaton,
co-star of CBS's Everybody Loves Raymond sit-com, admitted to
Craig Kilborn that she voted for Bush, boasts to her friends about
the coming tax cut and is "pro-life." (And: FNC spinning?)
> 1) CBS and NBC pushed President Bush from the left on
Tuesday night, encouraging his consideration of hiking the fuel
efficiency standards for "gas-guzzling SUVs."
Dan Rather lamented how "it's been years since the U.S.
government last set fuel efficiency standards for American
automobiles" but, he hoped, "that could soon change." CBS reporter
John Roberts dismissed as inadequate a one mile per gallon
increase proposed by House Republicans: "A drop in the bucket say
Democrats compared to the trillions of gallons those vehicles will
burn in the same time." NBC anchor Brian Williams directed Bush to
his preferred policy of new regulation: "With increasing numbers
of Americans telling opinion pollsters the President needs to get
tougher on environmental protection, tonight the White House may
have its chance."
Rather announced on the July 17 CBS Evening News: "It's been
years since the U.S. government last set fuel efficiency standards
for American automobiles, but that could soon change. With
America's highways bumper to bumper in gas-guzzling SUVs,
President Bush is about to get a recommendation from a federal
advisory panel that cars and light trucks get more miles per
gallon of gasoline."
Roberts then outlined how a draft report from the National
Academies of Science, which called for increasing the Corporate
Average Fuel Economy (CAFï¿½) standards by several miles per gallon
(now 27.5 miles per gallon for cars and 20.7 for light trucks),
"gave proponents hope." After soundbites from the Sierra Club and
an auto industry spokeswoman, Roberts brushed aside the
effectiveness of a Republican congressional proposal:
"The new recommendations come as Congress considers its own
proposals on fuel efficiency. Tomorrow Republicans will move to
increase standards for SUVs and minivans by a mile per gallon, a
measure they say would save six billion gallons of gasoline over
five years. A drop in the bucket say Democrats compared to the
trillions of gallons those vehicles will burn in the same time."
Congressman Henry Waxman: "It pretends to be doing something
when it really is not. And in fact, we think it is riddled with
loopholes so it may even set us back rather than take a small step
Roberts concluded by ruing how the final NAS report may not be
so strong: "Supporters of tougher standards were hoping that the
national academy's recommendations would put pressure on Congress,
but late today sources told CBS News the panel is making
substantial changes to the draft report and that the final report
due out in a couple of weeks may look remarkably different than
what we learned about today."
How fortunate that someone gave CBS News the draft report so
they could campaign for its more extreme recommendations.
Over on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams
offered some cheerleading for the more liberal policy direction:
"With increasing numbers of Americans telling opinion pollsters
the President needs to get tougher on environmental protection,
tonight the White House may have its chance. The President soon
has to decide whether or not to toughen fuel milage standards for
those popular and thirsty SUVs on the road, but it may not be that
Reporter Campbell Brown began her subsequent piece: "America's
gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles are the target. President Bush
first pitches his energy plan as a way to drum up the country's
oil supply to feed the SUV frenzy, but now he's changing course.
To fight an anti-environment image, he's putting a new emphasis on
Of course, he wouldn't have "an anti-environment image" if it
were not for this kind of distorted reporting which paints
adherence to further regulation proposed by liberals as the
yardstick by which to measure concern for the environment.
> 2) A little air time for liberal Democrat Henry Waxman's
crusade against White House adviser Karl Rove. On Tuesday night
ABC picked up on a topic covered with a couple of full stories on
the CBS Evening News last week. Peter Jennings relayed on the July
17 World News Tonight:
"Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman has asked the Justice
Department to investigate the President's main political adviser
for conflict of interest. The Congressman wants to know whether
Karl Rove discussed federal policies with companies in which he
> 3) "Conservation" versus a "hard line on finding
ABC's Ann Compton hoped Tuesday morning that Vice President
Cheney's defibrillator implant would have led "to a change of
heart" with his energy policy.
On the July 17 Good Morning America Compton played a clip of
Lynne Cheney delivering a speech for her husband because he had
laryngitis: "New technologies are proving that we can save energy
without sacrificing our standard of living, and we're going to
encourage these technologies in every way possible. Conservation
is a must."
Compton followed up, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed:
"But the original Cheney mandate on energy had little tolerance
for conservation. A change of heart, two weeks after Cheney had
another coronary scare and a defibrillator implant? Apparently
not. By evening, Cheney's voice was back and so was his hard-line
on finding more oil....The Vice President insisted the U.S. will
never be completely free from its dependence on oil."
> 4) "I think anti-ballistic missile defense systems are a bad
idea and this is something I've thought for 20 years," CBS News
veteran Bob Schieffer conceded on Tuesday's Imus in the Morning
radio show simulcast on MSNBC.
MRC analyst Ken Shepherd also noticed that Schieffer repeated
his refrain from Sunday's Face the Nation, as quoted in the July
16 CyberAlert, about how the defeat of "campaign finance reform"
gives John McCain a presidential platform to "talk about
corruption in both parties."
Schieffer told Imus: "I think a lot of the Bush
administration's problems these days is sort of in the
presentation. For example, on a missile defense system, which I'll
tell you, I'll lay my cards on the table. I think anti-ballistic
missile defense systems are a bad idea and this is something I've
thought for 20 years, because they were debating this when I came
to Washington 30 years ago. But what I find somewhat surprising is
that, all of the testing -- and I think we should continue testing
and I think we should continue to develop the technology on this
system -- all of this could be done for the next year without
violating the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in any way. They just
don't need to do that. They can do this testing and not violate
the treaty. And yet you see members of the administration saying,
'we're going to bump right up against this treaty. We've got to
get rid of this treaty.' Well, you know, it's just kind of
provocative. It's being provocative when you don't need to and I
don't think that's good politics."
It's clear Schieffer is more upset with the policy than its
On McCain, he opined: "I think the House did John McCain, if
John McCain has in the back of his mind the idea of running for
president, I think the House did him an enormous favor by killing
this, in this sense that, if John McCain decides to run for
President, I'm gonna kind of revise my previous statements on
that. In the beginning, I thought that if he ran, he would have
the best chance to run as a Democrat. I'm beginning to think that
his best chance to run for President would be as an independent.
And if he does that, he's got to have an issue. And I know that
campaign finance reform is not a good enough issue to run on. But
you can take that and talk about corruption in both parties, and
both parties not having the gumption; that both parties have now
sold out to the big party interests and they can't clean up their
own mess and it's going to take somebody that comes from someplace
else to do that. I think that's the way that John McCain could run
for President. And my guess is that in the back of his mind, John
McCain has decided that if he runs for President, it would be to
get 34 percent of the vote..."
McCain starts with journalists and editorial writers as his
> 5) The weekday CBS Evening News with Dan Rather once again
ignored the Chandra Levy/Gary Condit story on Tuesday night (ABC
and NBC each ran pieces), but CBS can't claim their news judgment
is based upon avoiding salacious material since they aired a
soundbite in a story on another topic which included the slang
The July 17 CBS Evening News also found more newsworthy than
Levy questions about "gun safety," specifically a Remington rifle
which supposedly fires prematurely. That got over three minutes.
And Dan Rather ended his program with this 15 second item: "A
well-fed spirit may be another secret to longevity. Augusta Watts
loved listening to spiritual music. It turns out when she died
this month in Pensacola Florida, her family says she was 124.
Swing low, sweet chariot."
Earlier, in a story by Bob Schieffer on the passing away of
long-time Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham, he included
this 1992 soundbite from her on 60 Minutes reciting the threat
then-Attorney General John Mitchell uttered to reporters Carl
Bernstein and Bob Woodward during Watergate: "He said, 'well are
you going to run this? And if you are Katie Graham's tit is going
to get caught in a wringer.'"
> 6) Gary Condit, his district and his enemies are all
"conservative" according to ABC News. Tuesday's World News Tonight
failed to identify Condit as a Democrat, but made sure viewers
realized he's being attacked by "conservatives" as "many
constituents" in his "conservative" district "still relate to
Condit's conservative politics."
Peter Jennings set up the July 17 story: "In Washington today
Congressman Gary Condit's Chief-of-Staff issued a statement to say
that Mr. Condit will be forthcoming with his constituents about
the case of Chandra Levy in good time. But in the meantime, the
statement went on, conservative political groups should not
exploit Miss Levy's disappearance for their own purposes. Mr.
Condit may have been referring to groups in his California
district who are calling for his resignation. He has always been
enormously popular there. But the scrutiny is taking a toll."
David Wright began from Modesto: "Deep in California's
heartland the 18th congressional district is farm country --
conservative, mostly white, small town America. This region has
the highest proportion of families in all of California..."
If it's so "conservative" why did it elect liberal Democrat
Tony Coelho followed by the more moderate but not conservative
Wright outlined Condit's career without mentioning his party:
"In his 30 year career representing this community Gary Condit has
never lost an election. His most recent race, back in November, he
won by 67 percent, that's better than two out of every three
votes. His seat was thought to be one of the safest in California.
No longer. Outside his office today a protest rally. Local
Republicans see an opportunity."
That note about Republican opposition was the only hint that
Condit might be a Democrat.
After a soundbite from a local GOP leader and clips of some
constituents defending Condit from media attacks, Wright played a
soundbite from a woman not so sure she would vote again for
Condit. Wright then concluded: "Many constituents still relate to
Condit's conservative politics, just not to his family values."
His "conservative policies"? He's earned a lifetime 48
rating from the American Conservative Union, which hardly makes
him conservative. The liberal Americans for democratic Action has
approved of just over half, 52 percent, of his votes since he took
his House seat in 1989. Those ratings put him in the middle of the
spectrum, voting liberal half the time and voting conservative
half the time -- the very definition of a moderate.
Amongst his liberal votes, in Clinton's first term he opposed
welfare reform. In 2000 he favored hiking the minimum wage, voted
against spending caps, opposed an amendment to require
congressional approval for presidential designations of national
monuments and favored overturning the denial of federal funds for
abortions funded by international groups. In 1999 he voted against
requiring background checks at gun shows be completed within 24
hours, voted nay on a "sense of the House" resolution against
clemency for the Puerto Rican terrorists given by President
Clinton and opposed expanding access to Medical Savings Accounts.
For more on his votes, check this ACU page which has a link to
details on the votes they assessed:
Tuesday morning on Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens
noticed, Newsweek's Howard Fineman claimed Condit is a "strong
conservative both on economic policy and on cultural policy."
> 7) In over 1600 words the latest Time magazine couldn't find
room to inform its readers of Gary Condit's party affiliation, not
even in any one of several photo captions. (Last week, a short
item up front in the magazine also failed to identify him as a
In fact, a form the word Democrat only appeared once in the
July 23 edition piece by Karen Tumulty headlined, "Sex, Lies, And
Polygraphs: As the Chandra Levy frenzy intensifies, GARY CONDIT
fights back and submits to a lie-detector test. But does it come
too late to save his career?" The term popped up in the fourth
"Even if Condit had nothing to do with Chandra Levy's
disappearance -- police continue to insist that he's not a suspect
-- his painstakingly tended image has been shattered and his
political career declared dead. Democrats and Republicans are
already scheming how to carve his conservative district to maximum
advantage, or reapportion it out of existence. 'If he's smart, he
won't even run for re-election,' says A.G. Block, executive editor
of California Journal, a magazine on state politics."
To see for yourself how Time refused to list Condit's party,
check out the article, Time's only piece this week on the case:
This week's U.S. News & World Report waited until the 16th
paragraph of a 18 paragraph story to identify Condit's party, but
then with the caveat that he's a "conservative Democrat," the
MRC's Rich Noyes observed. In that paragraph of the story
headlined, "Chasing Chandra: A summer sex scandal has a woman
missing and a congressman on the run," Michael Schaffer of U.S.
"Condit, who took office in a 1989 special election after
scandal-plagued House Democratic Whip Tony Coehlo resigned, played
the role of provincial politician brilliantly. Though his district
supported President Bush in last fall's election, Condit -- a
conservative Democrat -- won re-election by a 2-to-1 margin."
> 8) Condit a victim "caught in the middle" of the
over a missing intern? That's how Tuesday's New York Times
portrayed him in a story about his financial situation brought to
my attention by an alert CyberAlert reader.
"Condit Facing Bills in Inquiry With Few Financial
bemoaned the July 17 story by James Risen and Raymond Bonner. They
began: "Representative Gary A. Condit, the California Democrat
caught in the middle of the controversy surrounding the
disappearance of the government intern Chandra Ann Levy, has few
financial resources with which to deal with the personal and
political crisis building around him, his congressional financial
disclosure records show.
"Mr. Condit is facing big expenses for his team of lawyers and
public relations advisers and it is unclear what resources he has
to pay them. Mr. Condit reported no outside income besides his
$145,100 Congressional salary in his most recent disclosure
statements, which are required of all House members, the records
No one made him choose a high-priced lawyer or bring aboard
pricey PR advisers.
To read the entire New York Times story, go to:
> 9) Prodding a Hollywood celebrity to bash Republicans. In a
Sunday "Arts" section profile of actor John Cusack, star of the
upcoming movie American Sweethearts, Washington Post film reviewer
Rita Kemply suggested he offer some "slamming of a Republican." He
complied, National Review's Washington Bulletin e-mail noted on
Monday, denigrating Bush's global warming policy and tax cut.
For the July 15 piece Kempley took on the role of a person in
a New York City hotel room with Cusack prompting his reactions.
Here's an excerpt:
This interview isn't really working out.
"You bear some responsibility, don't you think?" he says.
You could say something of substance.
"Hmm. What can I say that's worthy of The Washington Post?"
How about slamming a Republican?
"I've done that already. I have an honest difference of opinion
with them. I think they're dishonest," says Cusack, whose parents'
liberal politics remain an obvious influence on his life.
"'There's no conclusive science on the Kyoto accord.' That means
they paid some scientist to say there's no global warming," he
rants. "But there is no science that says the missile defense
shield can work. We can spend billions on that, but scrimp on
education and the environment."
How do you feel about the tax cut?
"My parents did get that $300. They're going to pay off the
mortgage, and all the grandchildren will be well looked after."
To read the entire profile and to see a picture of Cusack to
see if he looks familiar to you, go to:
> 10) Not everyone in Hollywood is a left-winger. On Tuesday's
Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on CBS, Patricia Heaton, co-star
of Everybody Loves Raymond sit-com, admitted she voted for Bush,
boasts to her friends about the coming tax cut and is "pro-life."
Heaton plays "Debra Barone," wife of Ray Romano's lead
character "Ray Barone" on te 9pm EDT/PDT, 8pm CDT/MDT CBS sit-com
produced by Worldwide Pants, David Letterman's production company
which also owns Kilborn's show.
During her appearance on Kilborn's July 16 late night/early
morning show this exchange occurred, as taken down by MRC analyst
Craig Kilborn: "So you're actually, I didn't know this, even
though I've interviewed you a number of times, I didn't know that
you are a Republican and you actually aren't shy about saying
Patricia Heaton: "Well, and you can all thank me for your tax
Kilborn: "That's right, we got a tax refund."
Heaton: "Yeah, and all these Democratic friends who, you know,
are like 'I can't believe you voted for Bush' and I was like, hey,
I get a tax refund, thank you very much."
Kilborn: "You're taking credit, yourself."
Heaton: "I'm taking credit myself."
Kilborn: "There aren't many celebrities, aren't many Hollywood
people who are Republicans."
Heaton: "No, I was, you know what, I hate to say I am a
Republican because there are some issues that I'm very Democratic
on and some issues, I'm against the death penalty, so that's more
of a Democratic Party thing. Pro-life so that's more Republican,
so, it's hard, but, but I'm like the only celebrity they could get
to come to this thing in Washington. Like no one else would go, it
was like me and a ventriloquist."
Kilborn: "Is that right? That's funny. There are no
Heaton: "I know, no, no one will admit to it."
Kilborn: "That's funny."
Heaton: "It's too bad that we live in a country where people
would feel ashamed to be in one party or another."
Heaton: "It's just that's what makes-"
Kilborn: "You're very carefree, you're very open with this
stuff unless you're on a plane where they're not giving you a
sandwich you're pretty easy going."
Heaton: "This is the thing, if someone, I'm the kind of person
that if someone tells me I can't do something or shouldn't be
something then I would automatically do that, because someone told
me I couldn't."
Kilborn: "Oh, one of those."
Heaton: "So it's kind of, in Hollywood it's almost like
because everybody is Democratic-"
Kilborn: "It's so irritating."
Heaton: "It's irritating. You know, I don't feel like a
Kilborn: "Right, right."
Heaton: "You know, so I will just sort of-"
Kilborn: "Well, I guess that's a good reason to be a
Okay, a less than enthusiastic endorsement of conservative
policies, but not bad for Hollywood.
For a mini-bio and a photo of Heaton, go to:
Wednesday afternoon the MRC Web team will post a RealPlayer
clip of the above-recited exchange. Go to: http://www.mrc.org