The MRC@25: The Worst Media Bias of 1996

For the past week, the MRC has been showcasing the most egregious bias we've uncovered over the years — four quotes for each of the 25 years of the MRC, 100 quotes total — all leading up to our big 25th Anniversary Gala September 27. (Click here for details, including ticket information.)

If you’ve missed our recounting of the worst quotes from 1988 through 1995, you can find those here). Today, the worst bias of 1996: Implicating Republicans in the burning of black churches; seeking prayers for children in the wake of welfare reform; and admiration for the environmental terrorist dubbed “the Unabomber.”


“He [Jack Kemp] is a rare combination — a nice conservative. These days conservatives are supposed to be mean. They’re supposed to be haters.”
— CNN analyst Bill Schneider, August 9, 1996 Inside Politics.

“The torching of black churches throughout the South punctuates the ugly rhetoric of the Buchanan campaign....In fact, all the conservative Republicans, from Newt Gingrich to Pete Wilson, who have sought political advantage by exploiting white resentment should come and stand in the charred ruins of the New Liberty Baptist Church in Tyler [Alabama]...and wonder if their coded phrases encouraged the arsonists. Over the past 18 months, while Republicans fulminated about welfare and affirmative action, more than 20 churches in Alabama and six other Southern and Border states have been torched....there is already enough evidence to indict the cynical conservatives who build their political careers, George Wallace-style, on a foundation of race-baiting. They may not start fires, but they fan the flames.”
Time national correspondent Jack E. White, March 18, 1996 issue.

“In light of the new welfare reform bill, do you think the children need more prayers than ever before?”
— Bryant Gumbel to Children’s Defense Fund leader Marian Wright Edelman, September 23, 1996 Today.

“He [Ted Kaczynski] wasn’t a hypocrite. He lived as he wrote. His manifesto, and there are a lot of things in it that I would agree with and a lot of other people would, that industrialization and pollution all are terrible things, but he carried it to an extreme, and obviously murder is something that is far beyond any political philosophy, but he had a bike. He didn’t have any plumbing, he didn’t have any electricity.”
Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon talking about the Unabomber, April 7, 1996 C-SPAN Sunday Journal.

Check back each morning for more classic bias quotes, or visit our “25th Anniversary” section for the entire collection.