MediaWatch: November 1988

Vol. Two No. 10

Revolving Door: Reason for Frontline's Liberal Line

Reason for Frontline's Liberal Line? The October 23 Washington Post TV Week profile of Sherry Jones, Senior Producer of Frontline on PBS, contained a telling revelation about her background. Her first job in Washington: press aide to then Senator Fred Harris, an Oklahoma Democrat, back in 1971. She's worked on numerous PBS productions with Bill Moyers. Her Frontline shows include the 1987 anti-Contra diatribe "War on Nicaragua."

Jones also just finished producing a program for Ted Turner's Better World Society (BWS). A co-production with the far-left Union of Concerned Scientists, "Mandate from Main Street: Americans Advise the Next President" aired twice before the election on cable's Superstation TBS. The purpose of the show? According a BWS newsletter: recognize "that the next President must treat deep, far-reaching arms reductions as his highest priority."

The Post's Duke. Christopher Edley Jr., Issues Director for the Dukakis campaign, helped formulate the positions of The Washington Post as an editorial page writer in 1983-84. A Harvard University law professor since, he worked for Carter's re-election team and as an assistant to HHS Secretary Patricia Harris.

On the Conservative Side. Robert Bork Jr., son of the Supreme Court nominee and a former U.S. News & World Report Associate Editor for economic news, has landed a new job in politics. He's begun writing speeches for Senator Gordon Humphrey, a New Hampshire Republican. For the past year Bork's been a Visiting Fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

Hunt for Capital Gang. When Bob Novak left McLaughlin Group to start CNN's Capital Gang he called upon two journalists to hold down the liberal side of the Saturday evening talkshow: Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief Al Hunt and Washington Post columnist Mark Shields, once a speechwriter for Robert Kennedy. Helping him out on the right: Pat Buchanan, co-host of Crossfire. MediaWatch commends CNN for creating another opportunity for viewers to hear both conservative and liberal analysis of political events. Maybe the other networks should consider following CNN's lead. Initial ratings show a more than 30 percent jump for the timeslot.

Rosenblatt Responds. The September MediaWatch Revolving Door item, "Reagan-Basher for Editor," reported how Roger Rosenblatt, new U.S. News & World Report Editor, called the Reagan Administration "a dangerous failure." In a letter to MediaWatch Rosenblatt argued that a look at "several essays in Time of the past eight years" would "discover as many instances of my admiration for the President as examples of my displeasure." He concluded: "My point is not to complain about your phrase, which is based on a complete quotation, accurately reported. I merely wanted to assure your readers that U.S. News is in the hands of someone who intends to take an even-handed approach on all issues, political and otherwise." MediaWatch will keep reading.