CyberAlert -- 07/23/1996 -- More Moyers

More Moyers; Liberal Editor for U.S. News

Two items today:

1) MSNBC again shows that instead of offering an alternative it's just providing more of the same, specifically another platform for Bill Moyers. Just four day after Tom Brokaw came at President Clinton from the left on welfare reform, on Friday night Moyers hosted InterNight and posed questions from the left to Steve Forbes, Gary Franks and Kay Bailey Hutchison.

2) U.S. News & World Report owner Mort Zuckerman has selected a new Editor: former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and liberal media critic James Fallows. In his recent book Fallows urged the media to be more liberal. Excerpts below from a book review.


On Friday night (July 19) Bill Moyers took his turn as host of MSNBC's InterNight, the cable channel's 8-9pm ET/PT interview show. But he offered more liberal arguments than straight forward questions. Here are some of his questions as transcribed by MRC intern Jonathan Stuart.
To Steve Forbes:
-- "I was thinking about you driving in this morning from New Jersey. I don't live too far from you out there. The traffic was very heavy, and I was thinking of a piece that an economist from Stanford University, Paul Krugman, wrote recently in which he said, why don't these Republicans talk more about doing something to eliminate traffic jams than they do talking about tax reform, because traffic jams, he said, cost us 80 billion hours a year and 80 billion dollars, and there are inventive ways to create market systems to deal with traffic. But I never hear Republicans talking about these very practical issues, why is that?"

-- "I don't know anything about your religious preferences, but you strike me as a very modern Republican and a very tolerant fellow. And I'm wondering, are you comfortable with your party being so driven these days by the Christian Coalition and the Christian Right?"

-- "I was just looking at draft platforms, Republican platforms, from South Carolina, Kansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Michigan, Kentucky, Texas, and Mississippi, and all of them are uncompromising, all of them written by the religious Right, all of them uncompromising on this and other issues. Are you really comfortable in a party where there are a lot of theological imperatives being imposed upon a political platform?"

-- "If Republicans are the party of opportunity for most Americans, the fact of the matter is that you Republicans have occupied the White House for 20 out of the last 24 years and the economic inequalities in this country have grown. There seems to be a failure of correspondence there."

To Republican Congressman Gary Franks of Connecticut:
-- "You're a Baptist, and I'm a Baptist, and my people have been historically uncomfortable with close intertwining of church and state. Are you comfortable in a Republican Party where there are so many people who are trying to press upon the platform their own theological and Christian interpretations of social policies?"

To Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas:
-- "But if that platform in San Diego contains the very strong anti-abortion plank that it presently contains, aren't women still going to feel, despite all you've just said, that there's a not for welcome sign out?"

Sounds like a good preview of the angle the media will take during the San Diego convention.


On Saturday (July 20) The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported that Mort Zuckerman had chosen James Fallows to be Editor of U.S. News, replacing current co-editors Michael Ruby and Merrill McLoughlin who had decided to step down. In an October 3, 1994 back page editorial, Ruby dismissed the Contract with America, calling it "A cheap-trick wish list written by Republican members of the House."
Fallows was chief speechwriter to President Carter and earlier this year President Clinton appointed him to the Commission on United States-Pacific Trade and Investment Policy. Fallows generated some publicity a few months ago for his book, "Breaking News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy." The April American Spectator ran a review by Robert Novak. Here are a few choice quotes from Novak:
"Breaking the News has been celebrated by liberal politicians and, oddly, by many journalists for launching an assault on the news media from the left....
"Fallows spends a long chapter blaming the news media for killing the Clinton health plan 'What [the Clintons] lost legislatively,' he writes, 'was trivial compared to the damage to public life.' If a working definition of a 1996 liberal is somebody who still believes that government is the solution rather than the problem, then Fallows surely qualifies. The desire to drum his conviction into the hearts and minds of Americans explains his enthusiasm for 'public journalism' -- a relatively new phenomenon that calls for newspaper editors to collaborate with citizens in deciding what news is fit to print....
"He would have a reporter say 'whether a Medicare proposal makes sense or not,' heedless that doing so would engage the reporter in opinion, not fact. Thus he clumsily confuses good journalism with a liberal agenda....
"On those rare occasions when Fallows expresses admiration for a fellow journalist, it is always for an unabashed liberal. When it comes to 'helping readers understand what current trends mean,' Garry Wills 'is well-suited to this challenge. Michael Kinsley 'is by most accounts the most talented policy writer of his generation.' It's not surprising, then, that Fallows never deigns to even consider the following proposition: the reason so many people hate the news media is that journalists like Fallows are outrageously biased in the liberal direction, and never bother to identify their true position on the political spectrum in the first place."

One more example of one of those "conservative" media owners in action. -- Brent Baker