CyberAlert -- 05/08/2000 -- Bush "Voodoo" or "Far Right"?

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Bush "Voodoo" or "Far Right"?; "We're Tired" of Gore Probes; Clinton Hit from Left

1) Barbara Walters asked George W. Bush if his tax cut plan is reminiscent of Reagan's which his father denounced as "voodoo," and wondered "which is the real George W," the "man who spoke at the very far-right Bob Jones University" or who met with gays.

2) Friday night ABC caught up with CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC and ran a piece on the Handgun Control attack ad on Bush. ABC also aired a positive profile of a woman who lobbied to allow concealed weapons, but failed to point out that Bush signed the new law.

3) "We're tired" too of investigations into Gore's fundraising and have no "taste" for any more, Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief David Shribman assured a journalism student upset by too many investigations of the Clinton administration.

4) Unlike the broadcast networks the night before or Friday's Today and The Early Show, ABC's GMA ran a story on the appearance by Charles Ruff before a House committee probing missing e-mail.

5) Thirteen days after the Elian raid NBC's Tom Brokaw finally got around to mentioning how an NBC video crew were roughed up.

6) Dan Rather pushed from the left: "The Clinton White House is being accused of siding with big business on an issue that could have wide implications for consumers." But NBC's Robert Hager decided: "Today's rule means air bags of the future must be made safer for children, small women and the frail elderly."

7) MediaNomics: "ABC News Sends Leonardo DiCaprio to High School" by distributing the left-wing environmental special, in which he starred, to 12,000 middle and high schools. Plus: "CBS's Ray Brady, Always the Bear."

>>> Now online, actually online for the past week, the May 1 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the quote headings: "Principled Reno, Paranoid Family"; "Heartwarming Gun Photo"; "Rather's Raid Rants"; "Bryant vs. Cuban-Americans"; "Only the Brainwashed Prefer U.S"; "Elian's Awaiting Cuban Mansion"; "Can Bush Care Like a Democrat?"; "Cuba: Not a Simple Tyranny" and "Dictatorship is Safer for Kids." Go to: <<<


Once "far right," always "far right." The interview by Barbara Walters of George W. Bush shown on Friday's 20/20 demonstrated how network stars just won't let go of the myth they built about how Bush went "far right" in the primaries.

During the interview which topped the May 5 edition of ABC's prime time news magazine, Walters suggested his economic plan is as awful of the one proposed by Ronald Reagan which his father denounced as "voodoo," asked him if it were a mistake for his father to promise no new taxes, a question which Bush answered by saying the mistake was not in raising taxes but in making the promise, and wondered "which is the real George W," the "man who spoke at the very far-right Bob Jones University, or the George W. who met with homosexuals?"

Here's the matching excerpt from the interview:

Walters: "You have proposed $86 billion in new spending and $483 billion in tax cuts. In 1980, your father derided Ronald Reagan's plan to cut taxes and increase spending and balance the budget. Remember what he called it? 'Voodoo economics.' Could someone say that about your plan?"
Bush: "No."
Walters: "Why not?"
Bush: "Because it is a well-thought out plan that's necessary to serve as a stimulus to the economy."
Walters: "To increase spending and still have a tax cut of that magnitude?"
Bush: "Of course. We've got a surplus of $4 trillion over a 10-year period of time. That's, and, you know, if we want a President who wants to spend it all, I'm the wrong person. I want to share some of it with the people who pay the bills."
Walters: "Do you think that your father made a mistake in raising taxes after pledging not to?"
Bush: "Yeah, I think the mistake was to say 'Read my lips,' and then raise the taxes. I think, I think it undermined some of his credibility, particularly with Republicans and fiscal conservatives."
Walters: "You know, it's been said and you hear it all the time, that in order for you to have won the primaries you had to move to the far right. And now to win the general election you must move to the center. So which is the real George W.? The man who spoke at the very far-right, Bob Jones University, or the George W. who met with homosexuals and said, 'I'm a better man for it'?"
Bush: "Let me talk about Bob Jones University. You know, had I to do it over again, I would have said, 'We're all God's children.' I missed an opportunity, yeah."
Walters: "You would have still gone, but you would have said something about integration and relationships?"
Bush: "Absolutely, I would have said that -- well, I would said that -- I would have said that, you know, the Catholic religion is a great religion, Judaism is a great religion. We're all God's children. That's all I would have had to have said. I missed a golden opportunity to have done that."
Walters: "When you met recently with a group of gay Republicans and pronounced yourself to be a better man for the meeting, in what sense are you now a better man?"
Bush: "I think you can always be a better person if you sit and listen. And I spend a lot of my time talking. But when I listen, I learn."


Friday night ABC's World News Tonight caught up with CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC, which had all run stories Thursday night, and featured a piece on the Handgun Control Inc. attack ad on Bush featuring a video clip of a top NRA official boasting about working out of Bush's office if he were to win. (For details about the May 4 CBS and NBC stories, see the May 5 CyberAlert.)

Later in Friday's show, ABC featured a positive profile piece on Suzanna Hupp, the Texas woman who crusaded to allow concealed weapons after she was unable to defend herself or others during the 1991 Luby's massacre. But after running a story portraying Bush as out of touch on the gun issue, ABC failed to point out that it was Bush, as Governor of Texas, who signed the concealed weapons law that Hupp thinks makes people safer.

Before getting to Friday's ABC's story, a little catch up on something reported Thursday night by CNN after a piece on the liberal group's ad. World Today anchor Wolf Blitzer uniquely pointed out: "Handgun Control says the new ad will air in seven states over the next week. The Associated Press reports a tracking of the ad buy shows the group is spending less than $100,000 and is limited mostly to Washington." In other words, there really is no ad campaign, just an ad produced to generate news coverage on the networks. And all obliged.

Reynolds gave a fresh opening to his day-old news: "In Michigan today, the Vice President stoked the gun control debate, pledging to support the right of cities to sue gunmakers for gun violence and challenging Governor Bush to take a stand. Mr. Bush did take a stand in Texas. He barred those kind of lawsuits in his state."
Al Gore: "I'm calling upon Governor Bush to make his position known. Would he do the same thing nationally?"
Reynolds: "Campaigning in California, Bush suggested his answer is yes, he would do the same."
Bush: "You can get a feel for my position by looking at what I've done in office, and what I did in office was sign a bill that made it -- made it very difficult for local municipalities to sue manufacturers of a legal product."
Reynolds: "Some 31 cities and counties nationwide are currently suing the gunmakers, but the industry broke off settlement talks earlier this year, clearly hoping for a less hostile Bush presidency. This video of a February National Rifle Association meeting shows the group yearns for a President Bush and a less-hostile legal climate."
Kayne Robinson in video shown in the Handgun Control ad: "If we win, we will have a president where we will work out of their office. Unbelievably friendly relations. If we win, we'll have a Supreme Court that will back us to the hilt."
Reynolds bolstered the attack on Bush: "Bush has no interest in being seen as a lapdog for the gun lobby, but the current occupant of the White House said today the NRA has it just right."
Clinton: "They will have unprecedented influence here if the American people should decide that that's what they want."
Reynolds concluded: "With polls showing six out of ten Americans want tougher gun laws, the Rifle Association is embarking on a $30 million media campaign to change their minds. It stars NRA President Charlton Heston, and it promises the group's opponents the fight of their political lives."

Actually, as noted by CNN's Candy Crowley on May 4: "As recently as Monday a poll showed when asked who is best able to handle the gun issue, Americans favored George Bush over Al Gore by six percentage points."

ABC wrapped up Friday's show by inaugurating a new feature, "A 21st Century Life." Keying off the upcoming "Million Mom March," Peter Jennings profiled Suzanna Hupp, who got the first words of the story: "I don't have any affinity for guns. It's a tool that can be used to kill a family. It's a tool that can be used to protect a family. But it's merely a tool."

Over video of her walking with a horse, Jennings observed: "It is difficult to imagine violence in such a peaceful place. Suzanna Hupp has no trouble doing so."
Hupp: "I can't begin to get across to you what it's like to sit there and simply have to wait for it to be your turn."
Jennings explained: "Suzanna Hupp's passions are her family and her horses. It was the violence in her life which changed her. On October the 16th, 1991, Suzanna Hupp was having lunch with her parents at Luby's Restaurant in Killeen, Texas. A deranged man drove a truck right through the front window, running over diners at their tables. Then he pulled out a gun and started shooting people. Suzanna's father intervened."

Hupp: "The guy had complete control of the situation. He saw my father coming, the guy turned and shot him in the chest."
Jennings: "Suzanna Hupp had a gun that day, but it wasn't in her purse. In Texas in 1991, a concealed weapon was against the law. It was in her car, 100 feet away."
Hupp: "I was mad as hell at my legislators, because they had legislated me out of the right to protect myself and my family."

Without informing viewers of how changing this situation is one of the Bush decisions Handgun Control and Gore cited in attacking Bush as an extremist on gun laws, Jennings moved ahead: "Suzanna Hupp's mother was also killed. Twenty-three people died before the man killed himself. On that day in Killeen, Mrs. Hupp decided that Texas' gun laws needed changing, and she worked to change them. In Texas today, if you take a 15-hour course about the law and about conflict resolution, and if you have a permit, you can carry a concealed firearm. There are similar laws in 28 other states."

As if it signed itself into law without any action by a Governor now running for President.

Jennings continued: "Suzanna Hupp is a state representative now. Next weekend, when something called the Million Mothers March [sic] for even tougher gun laws descends on Washington, Suzanna Hupp will also be there to see that another point of view is represented."
Hupp: "To let the world at large know that these, bless their hearts, well-intentioned but completely misguided women do not represent American women."

Jennings concluded: "Today Representative Hupp carries a gun with her all the time. Can we see it? No. She says she doesn't want to look like some kind of gun nut. She and her husband Greg, who is a professor, teach their children that guns are for adults. They have a child safety lock on every one they own, and owning one, she says, is still her right."
Hupp: "It's a hunk of metal. And I will say again, it merely depends on who is behind it."

Probably not a viewpoint we'll hear a lot of as the media hype builds for this Sunday's Million Mom March.


Future journalists are just as uninterested in doing their job as are current ones, at least when it comes to exploring Gore's past fundraising activities. So revealed a telling question and answer exchange on Friday's Washington Week in Review. The May 5 edition of the PBS show originated from an auditorium at Northeastern University in Boston.

The second half of the show was devoted to questions from the audience. A woman stood up and asked: "I'm Anna Crowley. I'm studying broadcast journalism. The Clinton administration may have been one of the most investigated administration's in our history, costing the taxpayers millions of dollars. If Gore is elected will his alleged involvement in fundraising scandals play out in lengthy and costly investigations?"
David Shribman, Washington Bureau Chief for the Boston Globe, reassured her: "I think the answer will depend upon what kind of Congress is elected. If Gore is elected with a Democratic Congress it's exceedingly unlikely there will be a lot of investigations. With a Republican Congress, far more likely. But I want to assure you, you may have no taste for that, if you think we do we don't either. We're tired of it and I think the public's tired of it, so I think the momentum is against that sort of thing."

Most reporters avoided the subject before enough time had passed when they could employ the "tired of it" excuse.


Speaking of lack of media interest in a Clinton scandal, Friday morning only ABC's Good Morning America mentioned the Thursday testimony of Charles Ruff, the highest ranking official yet to appear before a House committee to discuss missing e-mail. As detailed in the May 5 CyberAlert, on Thursday night ABC, CNN, CBS and NBC all skipped the hearing which led the May 4 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC.

Nothing appeared on Friday's Today on NBC or The Early Show on CBS, but ABC's GMA surprisingly picked up on the hearing. ABC's John Cochran reported during the 7am news update: "While it's true that much of the country has been roaring about the new Love Bug virus, this House committee on Capitol Hill was investigating the disappearance of White House e-mails from years past, e-mails the committee had subpoenaed. Testifying, two former White House counsels who defended President Clinton during the impeachment crisis."
Charles Ruff, former White House counsel: "Never, not once did anyone on my staff seek to conceal, delay production of, or otherwise cover up any document production, whether it be electronic or paper."
Cochran: "His former deputy Cheryl Mills said she did not remember much about the e-mails and accused the committee of wasting time."
Cheryl Mills, former White House lawyer: "Nothing you discover today will feed one person, give shelter to someone who is homeless, educate one child, provide health care for one family, or justice to an African-American or Hispanic juvenile."
Cochran: "Committee Chairman Dan Burton was unimpressed."
Representative Dan Burton: "I hope whoever is paying attention to this realizes we have a lot of people in the White House that simply don't remember anything."
Cochran concluded: "Another Republican said that although he voted against impeaching the President two years ago, he might have voted differently if he'd been able to see those missing White House e-mails."


Thirteen days after it happened, Tom Brokaw finally got around to telling viewers, vaguely, about how an NBC video team was prevented from capturing on tape the April 22 Elian raid. Just before the last ad break on the Friday, May 5 Nightly News, Brokaw announced:
"Another note tonight. The Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Doris Meissner, has told NBC News she's now ordered an independent review of how INS agents treated an NBC News camera crew during the Elian Gonzalez raid. The NBC crew, making its way into the Miami house as agents burst in, reported being struck and threatened by the agents and prevented from doing their work. The agents deny that, thus there will be an independent review."

Doesn't Brokaw believe his own guys? Given the nearly two weeks it took him to report it he and NBC aren't acting very upset by how their employees were denied the ability to cover a live news event. Through Friday morning the plight of NBC camera man Tony Zumbado and sound man Gustavo Moller had not yet been mentioned on Today.

In fact, the assault on Zumbado and Moller has received little media attention. CBS did run a soundbite from Zumbado, but only about what he saw of the raid, not what occurred to him. He was interviewed live on MSNBC the day of the raid about what INS agents did to him and he got a few seconds that night on a special News with Brian Williams as well as on Dateline NBC the next night. As detailed by Deroy Murdock in an April 28 piece for National Review Online:
"'We got Maced, we got kicked, we got roughed up,' Cuban-born Zumbado told MSNBC. He said that as the incursion began, federal agents kicked him in the stomach and yelled, 'Don't move or we'll shoot.' Zumbado added on NBC's Dateline: 'My sound man got hit with a shotgun butt on the head, dragged outside -- he was halfway in -- and he was dragged out to the fence and left there and they told him if he moved they'd shoot.'"

To read Murdock's piece, go to:


For the second night in a row, the CBS Evening News bemoaned Thursday night how "for the second time this week," the Clinton administration "is being accused of siding with big business" by not going far enough in advocating more regulation. (Wednesday night, as noted in the May 4 CyberAlert, Dan Rather complained about how new FDA rules "still do not call for mandatory labels on gene-altered foods.")

Friday night Dan Rather again stressed how "the U.S. Transportation Department went ahead today with new standards for airbags, allowing them to be less powerful. This reduces the risk to children and small adults. Critics say the new airbags may off less protection to other people and they accuse the Clinton White House of caving in to the automobile industry on consumer safety." But the same night NBC's Robert Hager led with how "Today's rule means air bags of the future must be made safer for children, small women and the frail elderly."

Thursday night, May 4, Rather hit the Clinton team from the left, highlighting an attack by liberals, but he naturally did not accurately label them: "For the second time this week, the Clinton White House is being accused of siding with big business on an issue that could have wide implications for consumers. CBS News Chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports the decision and whether it's a trend."

Roberts explained how a department of Transportation (DOT) decision to impose a 25 mph instead of a 30 mph air bag crash standard, has "some consumer group's claiming the administration is caving to industry." After soundbites from a woman at Consumer's Union and a DOT official, Roberts focused on the liberal view:
"To consumer advocates, this is just the latest example of what they say is a pattern of White House capitulation to industry on issues from new rules on genetically modified foods to less strict fuel efficiency standards to oil development in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico."
Jane Claybrook, President, Public Citizen: "The special interests and the lobbyists are in full bloom in Bill Clinton's Washington and in his White House."
Roberts: "No administration is immune to special interests, but the disappointment with the Clinton White House is that the President said from the beginning that he would evict them."
After a clip of Larry Makinson of the Center for Responsive Politics, who recalled how Clinton promised to remove the stranglehold of lobbyists, Roberts concluded:
"The White House is being extremely defensive about tomorrow's air bag announcement. The President's Chief of Staff told me today that while plenty of decisions are made with political considerations in mind, this was not one of them. However, the Department of Transport [sic] has not ruled out making the standard more strict in the future if accident data proves that it would save more lives."

The next night, Friday May 5, the NBC Nightly News stressed instead how the new rules would add to safety, but just like CBS had the previous night, misleadingly labeled a liberal proponent of regulation as just an "auto safety advocate."

Tom Brokaw set up the story: "Air bags, which were designed to save lives in cars are going back to the drawing board after a series of fatalities. There are new rules tonight the government says will make the cars of the future safer for you and your family."

Robert Hager explained: "Today's rule means air bags of the future must be made safer for children, small women and the frail elderly. Why, if they've saved about 5,500 lives in the decade they've been used? Because 158 others have been killed by the force of the bags themselves, 92 of those children. While they could be protected by sensors that would slow or stop a bag's deployment in front of a small person. So now air bags of the future will be tested using not only the traditional dummy representing an average-sized male, but also, for the first time, a dummy representing a very small female as well as dummies representing children age six, three and one to make sure the bags don't do more harm than good. And some crash tests will be slowed to 25 miles an hour, instead of the normal 30, so less powerful air bags can pass."

After running a soundbite from a pleased mother, Hager countered: "But not everyone agrees slowing down the crash test is wise. Auto safety advocate Joan Claybrook."
Joan Claybrook: "Fifty-five percent of the lives saved by airbags to date have been in crashes over 25 miles an hour. So, that's where the air bag is needed the most."


The May 5 edition of MediaNomics, from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), is now online. The articles written by FMP Director Rich Noyes:

-- ABC News Sends Leonardo DiCaprio to High School.
Despite all of the controversy that preceded it, Planet Earth 2000 -- the ABC News special that dispatched actor-turned- activist-turned-TV reporter Leonardo DiCaprio to interview President Clinton -- was a ratings flop with teens only a minuscule 168,000 tuned in. No matter. Since most kids wouldn't watch it on their own, ABC made it available to teachers via Channel One, a classroom news service, on May 1. According to the New York Times, 12,000 high school and middle schools would receive the program. Here's a summary of what the program will teach teens.

-- Risky Business.
Texas Governor George W. Bush has yet to formally announced his plan to reform the Social Security system, but journalists are already voicing skepticism. Their argument that Bush plans to recklessly gamble with citizens' retirement money was, perhaps coincidentally, also the theme of Gore's attacks on the not-yet-released plan. "Risky ideas that look good in good times don't look so good when times change," Gore told NBC's Claire Shipman on May 1.

-- CBS's Ray Brady, Always the Bear.
Longtime Economics Correspondent Ray Brady retired Wednesday after 23 years at the CBS Evening News. During that time, inflation has been tamed, unemployment has been reduced to record low levels, growth has been robust and the stock market has soared. Yet as Americans' incomes, wealth and standard of living steadily rose, Brady consistently tried to turn a good economy into bad news.

To read these articles, go to:

For a free e-mail notification of the latest Free Market Project articles and special reports, send a message to Just type "subscribe" as the subject. Rich has surpassed 175 subscribers and if he can hit 200 this week he'll earn a CyberAlert decoder ring.

-- Finally, the MRC Web department was a bit shorthanded Friday and Eric Pairel did not get to the posting of the Chevy Chase video in RealPlayer format as promised in Friday's CyberAlert. He should get to it Monday morning. Check the MRC home page to see and hear Chase declare that "sometimes socialism works" to get people out of poverty. On Earth Day he also insisted that free markets and socialism can work together and "I think Cuba might prove that." -- Brent Baker

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