CyberAlert -- 06/11/1996 -- Tax Attack; Cranky Cronkite & Liberal Bias Admitted

Tax Attack; Cranky Cronkite & Liberal Bias Admitted

Four items today:

1) Gumbel takes one-sided potshot at MSA's.

2) One of those wealthy, white and "conservative" media owners that liberals claim control the media launches an attack on "voodoo economics."

3) Walter Cronkite denounces GOP Congress for their "ridiculous" welfare reform plan as he calls for a return to "Rooseveltian" policies.

4) A USA Today reporter finds liberal bias.


Monday morning (June 10) on NBC's Today, Bryant Gumbel announced:
"On Close up this morning the health care impasse. President Clinton is urging Bob Dole to help Congress reach a compromise on health care reform before he quits the Senate tomorrow. Senators have already unanimously passed to a bill to allow people to carry their health insurance from one job to the next. But House Republican now want to include Medical Savings Accounts in the final bill, a move Democrats see as a new tax dodge for the wealthy."
In the course of the subsequent interview with Senator Ted Kennedy Gumbel never bothered to explain why Republicans like MSA's.


Another media figure has weighed in against any Dole tax cut. From U.S. News & World Report Editor-in-Chief Mortimer Zuckerman's back page editorial in the June 17 issue:
"The drums of voodoo economics are being heard once again. They have beguiled advisers to Bob Dole because in a world in which 'It's the economy, stupid,' they think supply-side economics is an answer to Bill Clinton's 20-point lead in the polls. Cut taxes 10 percent or 15 percent. People will work more, earn more and thus pay more in taxes. Simple, isn't it? It also happens to be bad politics and terrible economics.
"It is bad politics because Dole would have to reverse a lifetime of fiscal propriety by adopting a program that would blow a huge new hole in the federal budget. This would make Clinton look principled and steadfast by comparison..."


On Saturday night CNBC replayed the May 22 edition of the Charles Grodin show with Walter Cronkite as the guest. Here are a few of his comments as transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:
Walter Cronkite: "We have this increasing chasm between the haves and the have nots and the have nots are particularly represented by the inner cities, although we've got rural have nots to a very large degree, Appalachia particularly, of course, and that sort of thing. But the inner cities have to be given a great deal more attention, the have nots have to be given more attention....
"We've got a major problem right now, and just one small example, and that's computers. How can those kids in the inner city ever expect to compete in the future when they've got a computer in the schoolroom that they're given five minutes a day or class time, with everybody gathered around one computer wanting to punch a button. Where on the rich side, middle class side, lower-middle class today, even, they've got a computer in almost every home. Some homes have two or three computers so that the kids always have a shot at one or another, they've got their own computers. They're totally computer literate. Those kids in the inner-cities don't have a shot at the future in life unless they have the same opportunity, but that's just a small side light of the inequality of treatment. This ridiculous idea that this Congress has had that you should both cut the aid to fatherless families, that the mother should have to take care of the child and work
--"Grodin: "And go to work."
Cronkite: "-- has to work, and then they cut the day care so that she can't work. I mean, come on. Who, what's the problem here thinking through this problem?"
Cronkite goes on to note that "Gingrich gets kind of a bum rap because he is a thoughtful man and he throws out ideas without development of them. When he threw out the idea of orphanages, it was a crazy word to use -- orphanages, for heaven's sake -- and a bad one, terribly bad one to use, but we should be thinking of a way to take children out of the home environment."
But then he returned to his liberal thinking: "The Rand Institute came out three or four years ago with a study that showed that our learning capabilities begin to slide at the age of two. Now that doesn't mean at 18 you can't then learn a lot of things, of course, but the capability of the mind begins to slip at that age. We've got to bring children out of the environment in which they're getting no educational stimulus, into an environment where they get some, and that is not an orphanage by any means, but I have a hunch that that was in the back of Gingrich's mind in making this suggestion. I think that idea ought to be promoted. We certainly ought to give a lot more help to Head Start, which does that, that's it's basic formula, and we're instead cutting it. We've got to get back onto a social welfare pattern that is far more akin to the Rooseveltian years. The, perhaps he did a little too much in federalizing everything, maybe we do have to return more authority to local government groups that are closer to the people, but that does not mean we should drop the social welfare that he brought to us for the first time, an attempt to lift our underprivileged."


In Monday's USA Today reporter Richard Benedetto devoted his "Politics" column on page 2A to media coverage of the controversy over Clarence Thomas speaking to an 8th grade graduation in Prince George's County, Maryland. (Thomas did go and address the students Monday night and the 11pm newscasts reported a protest was led by a school board member).
Benedetto: "Remarkably absent from the debate were the free-speech groups that usually rush to the defense of those being prevented from legitimately expressing their views, no matter how controversial. Black and civil rights groups also took a pass. And the national news media largely ignored or played down the story. It's the kind of thing that provides ammunition to anyone who believes the media are in the clutches of liberals. In this case, the complaint wouldn't be hat a liberal bias crept into how the story was reported, but that it influenced how the story was played -- or not played.
"Why hasn't more attention been paid? Maybe it's because Thomas doesn't hold the 'right' opinions."

It's one more sign that we're winning the bias debate, one reporter at a time.

-- Brent Baker