Hume Marvels at How Papers Buried Kerry Story, Cites ABC Quote Highlighted by NB

“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today,” Brit Hume accurately noted in his Wednesday “Grapevine” segment since, indeed, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts led with it both Tuesday and Wednesday night. But he observed, “you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said.” Hume also picked up on how ABC framed the story: “On ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'" A late Tuesday night NewsBusters posting, "ABC's Gibson: Kerry's Dumb 'Get Stuck In Iraq' Merely an 'Idle Political Remark,'" distributed in Wednesday's MRC CyberAlert, highlighted the characterization by World News anchor Charles Gibson.

And Hume relayed how ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, on the Hugh Hewitt's radio show, “says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic.”

" Tim Graham's Wednesday morning NewsBusters posting, "Major Newspaper Headlines Drain Drama Out of the 'Kerry Kalamity,'" has links to several of the newspaper articles.

Hume led the “Grapevine” segment on the November 1 Special Report with Brit Hume:
“The John Kerry flap may have been the major political story yesterday, and even today, but you might not have known that from the newspaper coverage. Not a single front-page headline in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or USA Today. The Times cast it as a chance for the President to attack Kerry. Not until the 15th paragraph, on page 18, does a reader learn what Kerry actually said. The Washington Post put the whole story on page 8. Both the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal put the Kerry flap on a par with the incident in which some of Virginia GOP Senator George Allen's supporters roughed up a heckler after an Allen event.

“And on ABC News, the Kerry flap was described as quote, 'an object lesson in how in this day and age an idle political remark gets seized upon.'”

In another “Grapevine” item, Hume noted:

“ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, by the way, says well over 70 percent of the people working on his network's political coverage are liberal, and would vote Democratic. Halperin tells radio host Hugh Hewitt that the preponderance of liberal thought in media organizations is an endemic problem and he says it is why quote, 'for 40 years conservatives have rightly felt that we did not give them a fair shake,' end quote, Mark Halperin.”
Indeed, as provided by a transcript posted on radio host Hugh Hewitt's site, Halperin again conceded the media's overwhelming tilt to the left:
Hugh Hewitt: “But the old media is overwhelmingly liberal, correct, Mark Halperin?”

Mark Halperin, referring to the book he co-authored, The Way to Win: Taking the White House in 2008: “Correct, as we say in the book.”

Hewitt: “And so everyone that you work with, or 95% of people you work with, are old liberals.”

Halperin: “I don’t know if it’s 95%, and unfortunately, they’re not all old. There are a lot of young liberals here, too. But it certainly, there are enough in the old media, not just in ABC, but in old media generally, that it tilts the coverage quite frequently, in many issues, in a liberal direction, which is completely improper. And it goes from the big and major like CBS’ outrageous story about President Bush’s draft record right before the 2004 election, to the insidious and small use of language describing Nancy Pelosi’s liberal policies and ideas different than they would Newt Gingrich’s conservative ones.”

Hewitt: “And that’s what I’m getting at. Inside of ABC News political division, how many people work with you, Mark Halperin, in that division?”

Halperin: “You know, it’s hard to quantify it, because you’ve got people involved in a political year like this one, or during a presidential race, you’ve got hundreds of people who are touching our political coverage. There aren’t very many people, just a handful of us, are full-time political reporters.”

Hewitt: “But with editorial control, a producer, an editor…”

Halperin: “It’s literally hundreds…”

Hewitt: “Okay.”

Halperin: “Because again, you’ve got people on Good Morning America, people on World News Tonight, or World News, we call it now. So literally hundreds.”

Hewitt: “Of those hundreds, what percentage do you think fairly, honestly, are liberal, and would vote Democratic if they voted?”

Halperin: “The same as in almost every old media organization I know, which is well over 70%.”

Hewitt: “Isn’t it…Thomas Edsall, in an interview that I know you read, because you wrote me about it, he said 95…”

Halperin: “I think 95’s well overstated…”

Hewitt: “He said 15-25:1 in the Washington Post, liberal to conservative. Do you think that’s fair?”

Halperin: “Absolutely. And again, I mean, look. John and I work for old media organizations. We write things in the book that most people in old media won’t admit. But we’re proud of our organizations, but I don’t want to say it’s singular to ABC. It’s in all these…it’s an endemic problem. And again, it’s the reason why for forty years, conservatives have rightly felt that we did not give them a fair shake.”
Indeed, a September 29 MRC CyberAlert itemWashPost Vet: By 25:1, Journalists 'Overwhelmingly to the Left,'” recounted Edsall's admission.

As for Halperin, an October 26 CyberAlert article (posted with video), “ABC News Political Chief Admits Media More Favorable to Liberals,” reported:
Picking up on Monday's item in "The Note," the weekday ABCNews.com political compilation, titled "How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election," FNC's Bill O'Reilly brought aboard ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, who confirmed his belief that conservatives have good reason to view the media as hostile to their views. Halperin conceded: "If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We've got to make sure we do better so conservatives don't have to be concerned about that. It's just, it's not fair." And, he amazingly admitted: "The mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted..."
An earlier NewsBusters posting by Matthew Sheffield, with video, also summarized Halperin's comments to Bill O'Reilly.
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center