CyberAlert -- 10/17/2000 -- Media Suppressed Bush Errors?

Media Suppressed Bush Errors?; Bush and Gore Too Frugal; Public Realizes Journalists Favor Gore; ABC's Prime Time Gore Aid -- Back to today's CyberAlert

1) Media Reality Check. "Media Malpractice on Texas Health Care: State Comptroller Not Allowed To Respond, Even Though She Was Cited As Source By Gore Backers."

2) A second Media Reality Check. "Holy Squish! Lieberman Goes Soft: Veep Pick Hailed for Orthodox Morals Ignored By Networks When He Becomes Farrakhan-Praising Pol."

3) The latest edition of Notable Quotables includes a diatribe from a New York Times TV critic who complained about the "huge streaks of lingering Cold War mentality" in TV coverage of the Olympics as she made fun of the term "Iron Curtain."

Corrections. A bad day this morning for CyberAlert. The October 17 CyberAlert stated that ABC's The Practice is "from the same man who writes NBC's The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin." In fact, as the MRC's Tom Johnson pointed out, The Practice is produced and written by David Kelley, not Sorkin. The same issue also reported that both ABC and CBS last night did not mention the Million Family March. In fact, the MRC's Tim Graham noticed that Dan Rather read a 12-second item in which he dubbed it "a pro-family values event." And Farrakhan's name was misspelled with just one R.


This morning on NBC's Today reporter Claire Shipman relayed: "On Monday, the Gore campaign flew a trio of Texas Democratic lawmakers to St. Louis to say that Bush misstated by $3.5 billion the amount of money his administration puts toward uninsured children."

Like other stories yesterday, Shipman did not allow any time for a response to the Democratic claim that it's improper to include, as did Bush in the last debate, the amount spent by private charities on children's health care.

A Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check fax report today by Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, addressed this kind of misleading media coverage of child health spending in Texas.

To view the report as fax recipients saw it, go to the Adobe Acrobat PDF document posted on the MRC Web site:

The pull-out quote came from Naomi Lopez Bauman and Devon M. Herrick in "Uninsured in the Lone Star State," an August 29 report from National Center for Policy Analysis:
"There are more than 40 federal health care service programs that fund health services for the uninsured in Texas. The largest single program -- spending more than $1.5 billion dollars a year -- is the disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payment program, designed to compensate hospitals that serve a larger than average number of indigent patients. There are also programs for public housing residents, seasonal farm workers, legal immigrants and even undocumented immigrants. A 1985 federal law made it illegal to turn away hospital emergency patients in every state."

Now the text of the October 17 Media Reality Check:

Media Malpractice on Texas Health Care
State Comptroller Not Allowed To Respond, Even Though She Was Cited As Source By Gore Backers.

Are the networks really trying to help George W. Bush? That was the preposterous concern on last night's CBS Evening News, as correspondent Bill Whitaker fretted that heavy international news coverage has aided the GOP. "Bush has already benefitted from the foreign flare up," Whitaker stated. "Last Thursday, the day after the second joint appearance, all eyes were on the Middle East, not on the candidates' mistakes."

What mistakes? Whitaker only related the claim of a trio of Texas Democrats that Bush was wrong when he stated last Wednesday night that "we spend $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas."

"These are the most misleading statements in the campaign to date," steamed state Rep. Elliot Naishtat. CBS offered no chance for the Bush campaign or other Texas officials to rebut the partisan Naishtat.

The same attack was relayed in briefer form on ABC's World News Tonight and the NBC Nightly News. On CNN's Inside Politics correspondent Tony Clark quoted four critics and zero supporters in his review of Bush's Texas record. After showing the clip of Bush saying that $4.7 billion was spent on health care for the uninsured, Clark interrupted: "Yet the Texas comptroller reports three-fourths of that is from charity care provided by doctors and hospitals and paid for by local governments and charitable institutions, not the state."

Democrat Naishtat also cited the 1999 comptroller's report, and watching CNN and CBS, you'd never know that the Texas state Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander declared yesterday that the critics are wrong and Bush is "absolutely correct when he says in the state of Texas we spent $4.7 billion a year for uninsured people."

Let's go to the videotape: Bush never claimed that all the spending was state controlled, only that uninsured Texans received necessary medical attention. He was trying to knock down the false image that's been conjured by Democrats that the uninsured don't receive health care. According to Ms. Rylander, "the point is that the uninsured are being treated and taken care of in the state of Texas. That's the bottom line."

Neither CNN nor CBS even hinted at Rylander's rebuttal, and Whitaker made it plain in his story that he agreed with the Gore campaign complaint that Bush had gotten a freebie from the TV networks. "All of this is especially frustrating to the Gore camp, because after the first debate Gore was deemed the winner, but dropped in the polls after opponents and pundits pointed out his mistakes and exaggerations," Whitaker empathized.

It's pretty obvious that the Democrats are going to try and paint Bush as at least as gaffe-prone as Gore, and that they plan to discredit the Texas health care system in the process. That's politics, of course. But fair journalists would show, not censor, the state official who's a source for the critics, especially when she disagrees with their criticism. Absent such basic fairness, it's silly to argue that the networks are suffering from a pro-Bush bias.

END Reprint of Media Reality Check


This morning on The Early Show CBS's Jane Clayson interviewed Joe Lieberman, but following the standard media pattern, did not ask him about his "respect" for Louis Farrakhan or past-stated desire to meet with him, though Jack Kemp's comments about Farrakhan generated media interest in 1996.

In a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check distributed by fax yesterday, the MRC's Tim Graham explored several examples of how the networks have refused to make an issue of Lieberman's conflicts with religious groups and members of his own faith caused by his liberal pronouncements.

To view the report as fax recipients saw it, go to the Adobe Acrobat PDF document posted on the MRC Web site:

The pull-out quote in the fax report was headlined "The Fascinating Story We Ignore." Beneath, this quote from NBC's Tim Russert on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on Friday:
"I think based upon Mr. Farrakhan's comments about Jewish Americans, and Mr. Lieberman's role as vice presidential nominee and observant Jew, it is fascinating as to why he suggested he might be willing to meet with Mr. Farrakhan. I think it's a very legitimate form of inquiry...and we'll continue to pursue it."

Russert interviewed Farrakhan on Sunday's Meet the Press, but like the other networks, NBC's morning and evening shows have yet to raise the issue of Lieberman reaching out to Farrakhan.

Now the text of the October 16 Media Reality Check:

Holy Squish! Lieberman Goes Soft
Veep Pick Hailed for Orthodox Morals Ignored By Networks When He Becomes Farrakhan-Praising Pol

Will the networks take the opportunity today on the occasion of Louis Farrakhan's "Million Family March" to explore vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman's declaration that he "respects" and would meet with Farrakhan, who's called Judaism a "gutter religion"? Nearly every Lieberman conflict with Jewish groups and religious figures has been ignored.

August 7: Lieberman's first problem with fellow Jews came on CNN's Larry King Live. King asked: "Wouldn't most Orthodox Jews be pro-life?" Lieberman dodged: "And like everything else in Judaism, ultimately, it's up to each of us to decide what we think is right." Network coverage? Zero.

August 29: The Anti-Defamation League criticized Lieberman for mixing religion with politics. Network coverage? All the networks covered this. CBS made the complaint its lead story, as Phil Jones turned to the 'conservative Bill Bennett' to vouch for Lieberman.

September 15: Lieberman drew heavy fire from traditionalist Jews for an appearance on the Imus in the Morning radio show, simulcast on MSNBC. When Imus asked if there's a ban on "interracial or interreligious marriage," Lieberman said "No. There is no ban whatsoever. Certainly not on interracial. And not on interreligious." Dr. Mandrell Ganchrow, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Lieberman's on the group's Board of Directors) was flabbergasted, telling the Jerusalem Post: "Given that intermarriage is probably the number one problem affecting the Jews today, I don't know what went through Lieberman's mind when he said that." He said interviewers "should stop asking him about it, and he should stop talking about it." Network coverage? Zero.

September 18: At a $4.2 million Hollywood fundraiser, Lieberman went soft on DNC donors: "We will nudge you, but will never become censors." Longtime ally Bill Bennett broke ranks with Lieberman, publicly scolding him in the Wall Street Journal. Network coverage? Zero.

September 21: Bennett was outraged at a joke told at the fundraiser by comedy writer Larry David: "And like Bush, I too found Christ in my 40s. He came into my room one night. And I said, 'What, no call? You just pop in?'" Lieberman said, "I winced when I heard it. And on the other hand, that's freedom of expression." Network coverage? Zero.

October 7: Despite the protests of rabbinical groups about attending a gay-agenda fundraiser on the eve of Yom Kippur, Lieberman spoke at the annual Human Rights Campaign fundraising dinner. AP reported Lieberman "promised that a Gore administration would give gay men and lesbians federal civil rights protections for the first time." Network coverage? Zero.

While all the networks have ignored the Lieberman-Farrakhan controversy, NBC's Tim Russert put Farrakhan on Meet the Press yesterday. Russert asked, "Could you not help unify the country if you stood up tomorrow at the Million Family March and say, 'I regret suggesting that Jews control blacks and control black athletes and control black sports figures and black politicians'?" Farrakhan said: "I cannot, Mr. Russert." The networks should ask: can Lieberman "respect" that?

END Reprint of second Media Reality Check


Disdain at the New York Times for the pain of communism. The latest edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, features many campaign quotes already run in CyberAlert. But, it also includes an Olympic week diatribe, caught by the MRC's Tom Johnson, from a New York Times TV critic who complained about the "huge streaks of lingering Cold War mentality and sexism" in TV coverage as she made fun of a profile which recalled the term "Iron Curtain."

In the September 27 review, New York Times television critic Caryn James spewed: "Yet the star-making machinery is oddly out of touch, with huge streaks of lingering Cold War mentality and sexism. The American swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg is one of the most appealing personalities, low-key and modest. One of the many features about him -- born in Odessa, moved to California -- began, 'He's known life behind the Iron Curtain and in the land of opportunity.' When is the last time you heard the term Iron Curtain used with a straight face?"

Other quote headings in the October 16 NQ: "Excusing Gore Whoppers"; "Bush Bombed on Character?"; "Stephanopoulos: Still Al's Ally"; "Cheney: 'Against Education'": "Tax Cuts Trash Tots" and "Winnie Skinner, Media Heroine."

Thanks to the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul you can read the issue online:

For a life-like Adobe Acrobat PDF version, go to: -- Brent Baker

>>> Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert readers and subscribers:

>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a blank e-mail to: mrccyberalert-subscribe
. Or, you can go to: Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to" After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to CyberAlert.
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to:

>>>You can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: Or, go to:<<<