CyberAlert -- 06/21/1996 -- Poor Poorer But It's Not Clinton's Fault; GOP Despicable on Race

Poor Poorer But It's Not Clinton's Fault; GOP Despicable on Race

Three items today:

1) A front page New York Times story focuses on growing income disparity under Clintonomics. CBS ignores it. NBC blames corporate America. But when The New York Times ran a story in 1992 on the rich getting richer thanks to Reagan, the networks were more interested.

2) Newsweek's Joe Klein asserts that "Republicans have been truly despicable on race" and really hope for "a tacit relapse into segregation."

3) CBS taps the Office of the First Lady for some PR help.


"Income Disparity Between Poorest and Richest Rises: New Report by Census Bureau Shows Gap Is at Its Widest Since World War II," declares the front page of the June 20 New York Times. In the third paragraph, reporter Steven Holmes writes: "During the first two years of the Clinton Administration the report indicated that the share of national income earned by the top 5 percent of households grew at a faster rate than during the eight years of the Reagan Administration, which was often characterized as favoring the rich."
Indeed. Neither the June 19 or June 20 CBS Evening News even mentioned the Census analysis. But when the March 5, 1992 New York Times ran a story headlined "Even Among the Well Off, the Richest Get Richer," CBS ran a big story that very night. The Times reported that the top one percent of earners garnered 60 percent of the income gains in what it called "the 80s," from 1977 to 1989. Announced anchor Dan Rather: "In America in the 1980s, what former President Reagan and those who support him call the Reagan revolution put more money in the pockets of the rich. We already knew that. But a new study indicates that those who did best of all by far were the very richest of the rich."

A month before, on the February 7, 1992 NBC Nightly News, reporter Keith Morrison reviewed the 1980s:
"Oh, there was a party alright. One of the biggest, most avaristic displays of ostentation in a hundred years. But who threw it?"
[Kevin Phillips, political analyst: "The party in the '80s was thrown for and by people in the top one or two or three percent."]
[Ronald Reagan, 1980: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"]
Morrison: "The amazing thing is most people seem content to believe that almost everybody had a good time in the '80s, a real shot at the dream. But the fact is, they didn't. Did we wear blinders? Did we think the '80s left behind just the homeless? The fact is that almost nine in ten Americans actually saw their lifestyle decline...
[Phillips: "What you had in the 1980s was the top one percent were really making out and opening up a gap, but the average person didn't realize how much of the gap was there yet."]...
Morrison: "Here's an eerie echo. Sixty years ago the Secretary of Commerce wrote about the '20s, 'It was a decade of easy wealth for a few, inadequate income for the majority and a mountain of debt that crushed the economy.' Sound familiar? And if the pattern holds, the '90s will be defined the way the other eras were, a backlash by the middle class against the rich."
Fast forward to the Thursday night, June 20, 1996 NBC Nightly News. Substitute anchor Brian Williams briefly summarized the Census statistics, then identified the culprit, but it wasn't Clinton: "Much of the blame for the income gap has been laid on vast changes in the job market, a job market that keeps shrinking. A while back corporate America decided less was more, fewer employees meant better business. But NBC's chief financial correspondent Mike Jensen reports tonight it's a strategy that in some cases has backfired in a big way."


In a column in the June 24 Newsweek chastising Colin Powell for writing in his book that he opposes racial preferences, but now says he's for them, Joe Klein criticizes President Clinton for publicly defending affirmative action while allowing it "to evaporate because he hasn't proposed an aggressive, nonpreferential 'compensatory' program to replace it."
Then Klein took this shot at Republicans: "Traditionally - at least since Nixon's 'Southern strategy' -- Republicans have been truly despicable on race, and there are more than a few stalwarts who continue to bloviate disingenuously in support of a 'colorblind' society, by which they mean a tacit relapse into segregation. Bob Dole flirted with this last year, proposing legislation that would end racial preferences."


The new Vice President for corporate communications for CBS Inc. is Lisa Caputo, the Press Secretary to Hillary Clinton since the 1992 campaign. The June 20 Washington Post reported that Caputo, who had previously toiled for Dukakis-Bentsen and former Senator Harris Wofford's (D-PA) re-election campaign, starts her new position on August 12. Hillary Clinton, The Washington Times reported, released a statement praising Caputo: "She has been a tireless voice for the issues that this administration has championed."

She should fit right in at CBS.

-- Brent Baker