CyberAlert -- 07/11/2000 -- Bush's "Contrition" for GOP

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Bush's "Contrition" for GOP; Greedy Drug Companies; Mayberrys Move; Jacoby Suspended

1) ABC and NBC picked out this soundbite from George W. Bush to the NAACP: "There is no escaping the reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln." ABC's Dean Reynolds added: "Bush is associated in this community with his proposed tax cut that many see as benefitting the rich."

2) ABC's Jack Ford condemned the pharmaceutical industry for "making enormous profits" while people die from AIDS: "The terms 'greedy,' 'insensitive,' 'uncaring,' 'inhumane' have all been used by critics to describe the pharmaceutical companies."

3) Jeff Greenfield's greatest worry in life: "We are the most wealthy country like ever in the history of the universe and we have, we don't have, we don't have a decent rail system."

4) The Mad Mayberrys. Friday night only the Fox News Channel bothered to update viewers on how the Mayberrys, the family renting the run-down house from Al Gore, gave up on him and moved to Ohio after he failed to fulfill his promised repairs.

5) Even Boston liberals agree with columnist Jeff Jacoby's reaction to his suspension by the Boston Globe: "This suspension is a brutal overreaction to something that even the Globe will not call plagiarism and doesn't characterize as a willful violation."

>>> Now online for your viewing pleasure or pain: A clip of the June 28 Dateline NBC piece by Keith Morrison in which he previewed the wonderful opportunities and benefits for Elian in Cuba. A few excerpts:
"Cardenas boasts twice as many doctors as you'd expect to find in an American city the same size. Elian is more likely to become a healthy adult in Cuba than in any other Third World country. Housing? Even the government admits it's inadequate. Most apartments and houses are old and small and often crowded with whole extended families, but no one is homeless. Certainly not Elian, who will return to a house and bedroom considered swank by Cardenas standards....
"Elian will almost certainly rejoin the Pioneers as almost all Cuban children do. It's very much like the Cub Scouts, camping trips and all, but with a socialist flavor and a revolutionary spin. But besides politics, what will he learn? Cubans boast about their universal free education...."
To watch a portion of this story via RealPlayer, go to: <<<

Correction: The June 30 CyberAlert Extra twice quoted Bryant Gumbel, in an interview about the Supreme Court's partial-birth abortion decision, asking about "DNX and DNE procedures." That should have read D&X and D&E.


"Bush's speech here today was, in many ways, a political act of contrition," ABC's Dean Reynolds declared on Monday's World News Tonight in a piece on George W. Bush's speech before the NAACP convention in Baltimore. Like NBC Nightly News in a brief snippet shown by Tom Brokaw, ABC played a soundbite of Bush conceding, "For my party, there is no escaping the reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln." Reynolds piled on: "Bush is associated in this community with his proposed tax cut that many see as benefitting the rich and with a death penalty that disproportionately punishes black people." The CBS Evening News also delivered a full story, but avoided using the soundbite of Bush bashing his own party.

Anchor Peter Jennings introduced the July 10 report from Reynolds: "For many years, Republicans conceded that a majority of black Americans identify with Democrats, but Mr. Bush this week is promoting the notion that he's a 'compassionate conservative.' He's done so before."

Reynolds began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "George W. Bush came to Baltimore to get black Americans to give his candidacy a chance, to underline his insistence that he's a different kind of Republican, and to show middle-of-the-road voters, both white and black, that he is more moderate than they may have suspected. Among blacks, Bush has his work cut out for him."
Reverend Harold Carter, New Shiloh Baptist Church: "If he thought that we could turn the tide, he would more than want our votes. At this point, I think he wants to be seen as wanting our votes."
Reynolds: "Still the Reverend Harold Carter, who leads a congregation of 6,000 in Baltimore, said he would listen to Bush. And Bush's speech here today was, in many ways, a political act of contrition."
George W. Bush, in his speech: "I recognize the history of the Republican party and the NAACP has not been one of regular partnership. For my party, there is no escaping the reality that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln."
Instead of reminding viewers of how a higher percentage of Republican than Democratic Senators voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act or how the Democratic Party was the party of segregation and racism in the South for over a hundred years after the Civil War, Reynolds stressed: "Bush is associated in this community with his proposed tax cut that many see as benefitting the rich and with a death penalty that disproportionately punishes black people."

Reynolds to Jackie Cornish, a "community development activist": "Is that a big strike against him in the black community?"
Cornish: "Yes it is."
Reynolds: "Capital punishment?"
Cornish: "Oh, yes it is."
Reynolds: "In fact, protesters reminded Bush of that today before his introduction. For years, the Republican Party has pursued a Southern electoral strategy that virtually wrote off black voters and their concerns, a strategy made crystal clear four years ago when Bob Dole snubbed the NAACP convention altogether, but today Bush said he was glad to address the convention to outline his plans to improve education, expand opportunity, and broaden social services --welcome words to Reverend Carter."
Carter: "If nothing else, I sensed that the Governor was saying that the old order of reactionary politics is over."
Reynolds concluded: "It is a message the Governor hopes will resonate within the black community and beyond."

Preceding the piece by Reynolds ABC looked at the Gore campaign. Terry Moran reported: "With his campaign stalled in the polls, Al Gore ratcheted up his populist rhetoric."
Gore: "Will we stand up for the people, or will we serve the powerful?"
Moran: "The Vice President accused congressional Republicans of blocking action on several major issues....Every day this week Gore intends to whack congressional Republicans on a different issue."

After some Gore soundbites, Moran led into a clip from Dick Armey by noting how "GOP leaders in Congress mocked Gore's approach as just another example of a desperate candidate grasping for something to boost his campaign."

Moran concluded: "Gore's aides claim the new populist approach is helping to define the election around issues that favor Democrats. The risk for Gore, however, is that he will turn off the independents and Republicans he so desperately needs."

Back to Bush and the NAACP, on the CBS Evening News Phil Jones showed how Bush was heckled over the Graham death penalty case. Jones added, however, that unlike previous Republican presidential candidates, Bush did come to the NAACP. Jones characterized the address: "It was a short 20 minute speech, with few details, as Bush attempted to portray himself as a new kind of compassionate Republican."
In the soundbite picked by CBS, Bush insisted: "Discrimination is still a reality," as evidenced by "racial red lining and profiling," as so "strong civil rights enforcement will be a cornerstone of my administration."
To that, Jones found: "Today Bush received a polite but skeptical reception."

When the Jones piece ended, Rather told viewers: "For his part, Democrat Al Gore is road testing one his strategies for the fall campaign, the Vice President said today Bush is tied to, in Gore's words, 'the nothing for the people Republican controlled Congress.' Gore said Republicans are stonewalling legislation he favors to give patients the right to sue HMOs and to expand Medicare to cover prescription drugs for older Americans."


Pharmaceutical companies are greedy bastards if they dare to make a profit while people are dying of AIDS. That seemed to be the attitude, observed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, exuded by Good Morning America co-host Jack Ford Monday morning when he went after a spokesman for Merck.

In a July 10 segment on AIDS in Africa, prompted by a conference on the topic in South Africa, Ford pounced on Merck's Dr. Jeffrey Sturchio. Here are Ford's first two attacks in the guise of questions:
-- "Dr. Sturchio, the terms 'greedy,' 'insensitive,' 'uncaring,' 'inhumane' have all been used by critics to describe the pharmaceutical companies, saying that they are making enormous profits here and should be doing much more to help save the lives of the unfortunate. Why is that not true?"
-- "Let me toss some numbers at you. Estimates are that 20 million people have died as a result of AIDS. Also estimates are that some 5.4 million have contracted the disease just in the past year alone. Your company, Merck, had indicated profits for the first quarter of $1.5 billion. Many people will listen to what you're saying here this morning and say, you know what, that's far too little and it's far too late for these people."


More money from Amtrak, that's the ticket. Liberals in the media seem unable to resist the lure of the wonders of European socialism. The latest media figure to urge that the U.S. adopt European priorities is a disappointing one: Jeff Greenfield of CNN. The former long-time ABC News reporter is one of the straightest shooters in his reporting, but Monday morning his former life as a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy broke through.

On Imus in the Morning, MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, Greenfield bemoaned how not even Al Gore is fulfilling "the appetite for public works." Greenfield's recommendation for the surplus: More money for railroads since "we don't have a decent rail system."

Here's Greenfield's suggestion in full, as expressed on the July 10 MSNBC simulcast of the Imus in the Morning radio show:
"We've now got a projected surplus, and you know projections are not always reliable, though in the next 10 years, we've got about a four trillion, that's with a 't', trillion dollar surplus. That's a trillion and change more than they were even estimating and except for prescription drug benefits, there isn't anything on the table for a proposal to put that money into some major new project. It's all about tax cuts. That is what the Republicans want. The Democrats say we'll have a tax cut, we also want to pay down the debt, end it, wipe it out and we'll have a prescription drug benefit.
"And it occurred to me, and maybe it's because I was traveling in Europe for a couple of weeks, you know, we are the most wealthy country like ever in the history of the universe and we have, we don't have, we don't have a decent rail system. We are about forty years behind, thirty years behind every other industrialized country. And it's, I think the appetite for public works and the kind of stuff that we used to want to do is so lacking that even, even the Al Gores of this world, the 'Democratic progressives', except for prescription drug benefits and raising teacher salaries, they, there's nothing on the table about investing this astonishing sum of money, investing some of it in things that we might actually, that could actually make the country work better."

Just what we need, more Amcrash derailments.


Friday night only the Fox News Channel bothered to update viewers on how the Mayberrys, the family renting the run-down house from Al Gore, gave up on him after he failed to fulfill his promised repairs and moved to Ohio.

None of the broadcast network evening shows touched the subject Friday night, reported MRC analysts Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd and Ken Shepherd. CNN's Inside Politics and The World Today skipped it, noted the MRC's Brad Wilmouth. And MRC analyst Paul Smith saw nothing on Friday's The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC or on Saturday's NBC Today.

Since Republican Party officials and volunteers helped pack up the moving fan, the situation had a partisan taint, but back in early June, well before any politics were involved, the networks similarly ignored the news that a presidential candidate owned a house in which the tenants were unable to get overflowing toilets repaired. Back in early June, while FNC ran full stories, ABC and CBS never mentioned it. CNN's Inside Politics ran a brief item with video and NBC's Today gave it a few seconds without video.

On the July 7 Special Report with Brit Hume, from Carthage, Tennessee, FNC's Bret Baier showed guys carrying stuff to a moving truck: "They're not professional movers, they're staffers with the Tennessee Republican Party. She's not just an unhappy tenant moving out, she's Vice President Al Gore's unhappy tenant, who says she's fed up."
Tracy Mayberry: "I ain't putting up with it no more. I'm going to fight him. I'm going to take him to court for breaching his promise."
Baier reminded viewers, over some unpleasant interior home video: "Tracy Mayberry made national news when she called the Vice President a slum lord in early June. Mayberry and her family lease a small brick house from Gore for $400 a month just a few hundred yards from the Vice President's Carthage, Tennessee, home....When Mayberry complained publicly about overflowing toilets, stopped-up sinks, moldy walls and shoddy electrical wiring, the Vice President called personally, promising to move the Mayberrys out of the house while repairs were made and even inviting the family to dinner at the Gores' Carthage home."

Mayberry told Baier: "And I said, 'No.' I said, 'That's a bunch of bull. They're playing head games with us again.'"
Baier: "While Gore'' property manager made some improvements, Mayberry says the job was sloppy and incomplete. And the toilets?"
Mayberry: "See the brown stains on it? That's where it's overflowed. It actually splashed on the wall."
Baier: "That's when the state Republicans stepped in with volunteers to help the Mayberrys pack and money to pay for their move to Lima, Ohio."

After a soundbite from Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chip Saltsman, Baier read a comment from state Democratic Party Chairman Doug Horne: "This is the first time the Republican Party has shown any concern for working families, and it's only to play politics with this situation."

Baier hit hard in his conclusion: "The Vice President spent much of the day campaigning in Pennsylvania, a key electoral state, speaking on his Medicare proposals, and in particular, health benefits for women, while a woman claiming her family's health was threatened living in Al Gore's house packs up and moves on."

A shorter version of Baier's piece ran an hour later on the Fox Report.

+++ See the movers and the condition of the house. Watch this story via RealPlayer. Late Tuesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post it on the MRC home page:

To view Fox News Channel's unique June 5 story when this matter first broke, go to:

For an entertaining piece in The Weekly Standard by Matt Labash about the Mayberry family, go to:


Even his liberal colleagues are defending Jeff Jacoby. As you may have heard elsewhere, The Boston Globe late on Friday suspended conservative columnist Jeff Jacoby for four months without pay, effectively a push to convince him to resign, for writing a column about the same topic discussed in an anonymous e-mail circulating around the Internet, about the fate of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, without stating that many of the same stories had been written about in the e-mail.

It would be one thing if he were inspired by a column by a particular columnist or historian, but this e-mail was unauthored and therefore unreliable, leading Jacoby to check the tales before writing his piece. The four month suspension of the lone conservative voice at the very liberal paper will silence Jacoby, coincidentally, through election day.

In a statement, Globe publisher Richard Gilman claimed: "We cannot look the other way if any of our columnists, reporters, or writers borrow without attribution from the works of others, even in an attempt to improve upon it. The Globe will not equivocate in abiding by the highest journalistic standards and ethics."

By this standard, any columnist who repeats commonly circulated information is guilty of improper behavior. "They are way overreacting," asserted even liberal media critic Dan Kennedy of the Boston Phoenix, as quoted by the July 9 Boston Herald.

Over the past couple of years, the Globe had punished columnists Patricia Smith and Mike Barnicle, but those suspensions and eventual separations were prompted, respectively, by clear plagiarism and outright making up of anecdotes and events to add color to stories about human tragedies.

And what does it say about how clued-in Jacoby's editors are when they didn't realize beforehand that the stories about the signers were circulating around the Internet?

The latest: In Tuesday's Washington Post Howard Kurtz disclosed how many inside the Globe think the suspension was too tough a punishment. Below is an excerpt from that article as well as a reprint of Jacoby's reaction and links to other comments on Jacoby's situation as well as to research on the whole signers controversy.

One issue I've not seen addressed: What happens to Jacoby's syndication deal? The Globe is owned by the New York Times Company and the New York Times News Service syndicated Jacoby's column to papers around the nation which are paying for it.

-- From the July 11 story by Howard Kurtz:

The story line seems all too familiar: another Boston Globe columnist punished for borrowing someone else's work.

But this time the offender is an unabashed conservative on a famously liberal op-ed page, and the penalty so harsh -- for what many Globe staffers see as a minor infraction -- that some rushed yesterday to defend a man with whom they rarely agree....

"It strikes me as a terrible overreaction," says Globe business columnist Charles Stein. "The guy made a mistake. He wasn't trying to put anything over on anybody. It's very different from the other incidents the Globe has been involved in, where people were making stuff up. Maybe a reprimand and a week's suspension would have been appropriate."

Steve Bailey, the Globe's "Downtown" columnist, calls the suspension "way over the top. The guy's opinions were never welcomed in this building from day one. One mistake and he's gone. It's hard to imagine there wasn't some connection [with his conservative views]. The guy has created a lot of enemies over the years. I didn't agree with his point of view all the time, but I admired his work."....

Says John Fund, a Journal editorial board member who first published Jacoby's writing a dozen years ago: "It's an open secret that Jacoby was viewed at best with sneering indifference and at worst with contempt and hostility in the newsroom." He calls Jacoby's mistake a "misdemeanor."

Jacoby has been something of a lightning rod. In 1997, when he criticized Harvard activists who tried to block a discussion by a Christian group that believes homosexuality is sinful, two gay copy editors complained, and the Globe's ombudsman -- who had castigated Jacoby for "homophobic" columns -- called the piece "offensive."....

END Excerpt

To read the whole Kurtz story, go to:

-- Jacoby's letter to friends distributed on Sunday, which I feel comfortable reprinting since it was quoted by Kurtz and is posted in full on at least one conservative Web site:

The letter:

As you may know, I am undergoing some difficulty.

At 4:15 last Friday, I was suspended without pay for four months from my job at The Boston Globe, and effectively invited to resign. I was put on notice that if I do choose to return in four months, there would have to be a "serious rethink" of the kind of column I write.

The Globe is accusing me of "serious journalistic misconduct" in connection with my July 3 column on the signers of the Declaration of Independence. That theme -- the lives of the signers, and what happened to them after July 4, 1776 -- has been explored many times. One bibliography lists works on the subject dating back to 1820. When I sat down to write the column, I had before me a version written by Paul Harvey, another published by Rush Limbaugh, and a third sent to me a year ago by a reader.

Using those versions -- which all told much the same story, in much the same words -- as a starting point, I did my best to verify the information. I checked encyclopedias of American history, consulted books I own on the Revolutionary War, and visited web sites that provide biographical material on the founders. I made a special point of checking sites that debunk "urban legends" and other Internet myths, since I knew that at least some of what is said about the signers is not historically accurate.

I knew, too, that an anonymous e-mail on the signers of the Declaration had been making the rounds. In fact, when I e-mailed my column to a group of friends, fans, and family members on the evening of July 2, I noted that what I was sending was NOT a rewrite of that e-mail, which I knew to contain errors. Of course, it too told approximately the same story, using approximately the same language, as all the other versions.

Since I was relating lore that has been related over and over, and since all of the sources I relied on had relied in turn on even earlier recitations, I assumed that all the material in my column was in the public domain. It never occurred to me to include a line pointing out that I was far from the first to write about the fates of the Declaration's signers. Had I added such a line, Globe officials tell me, none of this would be happening.

On Monday, July 3, I asked if I could repair the oversight by adding a correction to my next column. Permission to do so was denied. Instead, an Editor's Note pointing out that "the structure and concept for [my] column were not entirely original" appeared on the op-ed page on Thursday, July 6. The next morning, I was given an opportunity to explain how the column had been written. A few hours later, I was suspended.

I joined the Globe as an op-ed columnist in February 1994. (The first line of my first column was: "So what's a nice conservative like me doing in a newspaper like this?") In the six and a half years since, I have produced close to 600 columns. I invite anyone to judge my integrity and my journalistic ethics on the basis of the work that I have done for the Globe. To my knowledge, the paper has never had any reason to question my work, or to doubt that I hold myself to the highest standards when writing for publication. Six years' worth of superlative evaluations of me are on file in the Globe's personnel records. I think it is fair to say that I have been a credit to The Boston Globe and have improved the paper's reputation.

What is happening now is a nightmare.

In accusing me of "serious journalistic misconduct," the Globe is poisoning the good name I have spent years building up. This suspension is a brutal overreaction to something that even the Globe will not call plagiarism and doesn't characterize as a willful violation.

No one deserves to lose his income for a third of a year because a column lacked a sentence that might have underscored how common the column's theme was. I am deeply concerned about my family's future, of course. And I am deeply concerned about my reputation.

It is a great privilege to write a column for a prominent daily newspaper. Over the past six years I often expressed my gratitude to The Boston Globe -- both publicly and privately -- for giving me such a wonderful pulpit. And I endeavored, twice each week, to make good on that gratitude by writing a column of which the Globe could be proud.

I thought my future at the paper was limitless. It has been shocking and traumatic to discover how wrong I was.

END Reprint

For the latest on all of this, go to Jim Romenesko's MediaNews:

For reaction:

For Timothy Noah's exploration of the origins of the stories and their accuracy, go to:

Oh, and the Jacoby column in question is still online at the Globe. It's been de-listed, but this direct address still worked as of Monday night: -- Brent Baker

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