- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 28, 2002

No liberals here

“Only one reporter, NBC's Lisa Myers, used liberal' to describe Democratic candidate Bill Bradley (Sept. 25, 1999), and no network reporter labeled Vice President Al Gore as liberal during the entire 1999-2000 election cycle,” the Media Research Center reports in a new study.

“In contrast, then-Governor George W. Bush was called a conservative 19 times. On August 14, 1999, for example, NBC's David Bloom defined Bush as a tax-cutting, anti-abortion, pro-business, pro-school vouchers conservative.' Reporters included Bush's compassionate' modifier on six of those 19 labels, but CBS' Bill Whitaker tried to discredit that concept on August 3, 2000: The compassion often obscures the conservative, but it's there.'

“GOP Vice Presidential nominee Dick Cheney's conservatism was portrayed as scandalous during the week before the 2000 GOP convention. Dan Rather referred to Cheney's hard-line conservative congressional voting record' (July 26, 2000) while NBC's Andrea Mitchell castigated Cheney's votes as mainstream, perhaps, for a conservative Republican in 1980, but not for this day and age' (July 30, 2000).

“Cheney's Democratic counterpart Joe Lieberman was called a centrist or moderate eight times but never liberal, despite having been awarded a 95 percent approval rating from the liberal [Americans for Democratic Action] in 1999,” the MRC's Rich Noyes wrote at the organization's Web site (www.mediaresearch.org).

Off their axis

The environmental group Friends of the Earth International called the United States, Canada and Australia the “axis of environmental evil” for their failure to support international environmental agreements, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

The green group made the comments on the opening day of the international Earth summit (formally known as the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development), Mr. Morano said in his report from Johannesburg.

“Instead of using the Earth summit to respond to global concerns over deregulation and liberalization, governments are pushing the World Trade Organization's agenda and re-branding it as sustainable development,'” said the group's spokesman, Daniel Mittler.

Friends of the Earth, angry that the three governments are promoting free markets and free trade, is placing banners with the slogan “Don't Let Big Businesses Rule the World” at the summit.

But a critic of the green movement, Danish author Bjorn Lomborg, believes that the Earths's ecological problems are “best cured, not by restricting economic growth but by accelerating it.”

Recycled slogans

“John Edwards's presidential PAC is calling itself New American Optimists' a fact which, so far from being itself a sign of optimism, is running neck and neck with Bob Dole's slogan in which he claimed to be the most optimistic man in America' as the most amusingly cynical thing any politician has said in an election campaign in a decade. One trusts that Edwards' optimism will enjoy the same fate as Dole's,” James Bowman writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“All this rubbish about optimism' stems from the watershed election of 1980 in which the optimist, Ronald Reagan, beat Jimmy Malaise' Carter, and the conventional wisdom ever since has been that you can't win election as alderman without a fake grin on your face and frequent assurances of your optimism. But it is optimism out of context. Optimism when everybody is optimistic on principle means nothing. Or means only that the alleged optimist is yet another politician who has consented to become the creature of his handlers and pollsters, which is hardly anything to be optimistic about.

“The letter I received asking for money similarly uses only focus-group-tested buzzwords, assuring me that people like myself were tired of their elected officials putting special-interest profits ahead of the public interest' (like certain unnamed presidents) and that he, Sen. Edwards, could be relied upon to know exactly how these hard-working Americans feel. Growing up around the textile mills where my father worked for 36 years I saw good people who played by the rules, victimized by those who didn't.' And so on, blah, blah, blah.

“You'd think that those good people who played by the rules' who have appeared in (at a rough guess) three-quarters of the political speeches made since Bill Clinton introduced them in 1992 would be ready for a rest by now. Likewise the special interests' and uncaring corporations' and armies of lobbyists' all of whom have been round the course more times than anybody can count since first some spin doctor identified them as entities that people react to in the right ways,” Mr. Bowman said.

“I wonder if Edwards is relying on new focus groups or just repackaging the campaign material that everyone else has used for a decade. One sincerely hopes it is the latter and that, the next time a pollster tries to ensure that these phrases retain their resonance with voters by testing them on a new focus group, they rise up in a body and lynch him.”

Times balance

“The Weddings' section of the New York Times is about to be renamed. It will be called Weddings/Celebrations,' and it will announce the happy unions not only of boy and girl, but of boy and boy, and girl and girl, too,” John Corry writes at www.americanprowler.org.

“Traditionalists will be alarmed, but apparently they should not be. According to executive editor Howell Raines, the new Times policy has a sound journalistic reason: the newsworthiness of a growing and visible trend in society toward public celebrations of commitment by gay and lesbian couples.'

“Well, perhaps, but the more likely reason is that the new policy keeps publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. happy. As assistant publisher, he promised the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association that the Times would one day offer health insurance and other benefits to same-sex couples. In 1994, two years later, he fulfilled his promise. He negotiated a contract with the Newspaper Guild that provided domestic partner' benefits to Times employees. Arthur Jr., however, did not tell his father, Punch Sulzberger, about this and when Punch heard about it he was highly displeased.

“But then Arthur Jr. became publisher, and time marched on. An Arnold and Lisa must now compete with a Brian and Tad for space on the weddings page. Meanwhile, when Raines announced the change he also said, We recognize that the society remains divided about the legal and religious definition of marriage, and our news columns will remain impartial in that debate.'

“Yes, Raines really did say that, and for all you know he believed it, even though the Times has not been impartial in debates like that for years. Liberal orthodoxy is mandatory almost everywhere at the Times now. Editors have to stay on their toes.”

Richardson sued

Stockholders of a computer software company under investigation for its accounting practices have sued current and former board members, including New Mexico Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill Richardson, for failing to oversee its financial affairs.

Mr. Richardson resigned in June from Peregrine Systems Inc.'s board and has distanced himself from the financial problems of the company, which had been run by his brother-in-law, the Associated Press reports.

At least five lawsuits have been filed against Mr. Richardson and other board members of the San Diego company, which has said it may have overstated as much as $100 million in revenue and may have to restate three years of earnings.

The former New Mexico congressman and energy secretary under President Clinton says he was unaware of the accounting irregularities, which have triggered investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and a congressional committee.

Peregrine's stock plummeted after the company's accounting troubles became public in the spring. It closed Monday at 49 cents, less than 2 percent of its 52-week high of $27.50.

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