For the past week, NewsBusters has been showcasing the most egregious bias the Media Research Center has 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.” [Quotes and video below the jump.]
Almost as soon as word leaked that Mitt Romney had chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, liberal reporters stepped forward to help define the Wisconsin congressman as too conservative, a heartless budget-slasher who might repel as many votes as he might attract to the GOP ticket. Chris Matthews, for example, on Saturday derided Ryan as someone whose plan “really screws the people who desperately need Medicare and programs like that.”
The script is always a little different, but the trend is always the same. The Media Research Center has monitored campaign coverage for 25 years, including the media’s reaction to four Republican vice presidential selections: Dan Quayle (1988); Jack Kemp (1996); Dick Cheney (2000); and Sarah Palin (2008). While most of the candidates usually received initially positive introductory coverage, in each case journalists quickly pivoted to emphasizing the attack lines pushed by the Democratic campaigns. [Video evidence after the jump.]
While the liberal media, particularly Obama acolytes at MSNBC, immediately jumped down former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's throat for her use of the term "blood libel" in a video statement yesterday, it appears the network has not always thundered with righteous indignation at the use of the term.
Tthere was no reaction from MSNBC's Chris Matthews in 2000 when Jack Kemp used the term to describe a harsh radio ad the NAACP had used against then-Gov. George W. Bush (R-Texas) nor in 2006 when Mike Barnicle used the term in reference to Sen. John Kerry having been criticized by a group of Vietnam War swift boat veterans.
Kemp used the term on the December 19, 2000 edition of "Hardball," while he and Matthews were discussing why so few black Americans actually voted for Bush. In that exchange, Kemp lamented as "blood libel" a harsh ad the NAACP National Voter Fund ran that suggested Bush had blood on his hands for failing to support a hate crimes bill.
Two days after the death of G.O.P. icon Jack Kemp, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh posted a classless obituary on Monday, "The Dangers of Amateurism," calling the football player, politician, and self-taught economist Kemp an "amateur econo-cultist."
One does not want to be disrespectful of the dead, and Jack Kemp was an admirable man in many ways. If the Republican Party had only followed his advice about reaching out to the inner cities and underclass -- and ignored his happy talk about supply-side economics -- the GOP might not be in nearly the fix it is today. Unfortunately the opposite happened. Kemp, a consummate professional as a football player, was a classic case of an amateur econo-cultist whose understanding never reached quite deep enough. In mid-life, when he decided to switch from sports to politics, Kemp became enamored of simplistic free-market ideas, in particular a toxic combination of Arthur Laffer and Ayn Rand. He then sold another gifted amateur, Ronald Reagan, on the idea that drastic tax cuts would so stimulate the economy that the ensuing growth would more than make up for the loss in revenues....Kemp was such an economic purist -- i.e., amateur -- that he argued with Reagan himself a number of times when the president decided that perhaps he'd cut taxes enough.
In a brief item Monday evening about Jack Kemp's passing, the NBC Nightly News delivered an obit on Kemp's life, but while Brian Williams didn't find room in his 37-second update to mention how Kemp was behind the successful, supply-side Regan tax cuts, he decided it was newsworthy to point out how “Kemp was a conservative purist who, in a letter to his grandchildren months before his death, said the election of Barack Obama was proof that we live in a great country.”
So, was Williams just trying to make Kemp look good -- or was he trying to impugn other conservatives who weren't so excited about Obama's victory or, third option, was it a way for Williams to convey to his liberal audience and the Manhattan social circuit that Kemp really wasn't one of those awful conservatives the media so often denigrate? Or all of the above? I ask, you decide.
People who use Yahoo! or Google for Jack Kemp obituaries found Time's first headline on its Kemp obit: "Jack Kemp, GOP's Supply-Side Radical, Dies." (UPDATE: It remained "radical"on Time Mobile, but then they updated that as well. See Blogrunner.) Time's Web site now calls him a "Supply-Side Beacon" instead.
Michael Duffy's Kemp obituary was kind, never tearing into supply-side economics as the magazine did so ferociously in Reagan's time. He did refer several times to Kemp's willingness to work on the GOP's "weakness" with black voters, as in this passage:
The Associated Press's obituary on Jack Kemp continued two troubling trends found in recent AP death notices.
In July of last year, covering Tony Snow's passing (saved here; covered at NewsBusters here), AP reporters found seemingly everything negative they could think of to write about the former White House press secretary and 2008 Media Research Center Buckley Award winner (examples -- "good looks and a relentlessly bright outlook -- if not always a command of the facts"; "questioned their [reporters'] motives as if he were starring in a TV show broadcast live from the West Wing"; "[he turned] the traditionally informational daily briefing into a personality-driven media event short on facts and long on confrontation"). The wire service also saw fit to include Snow's salary when he was at the White House.
In a March story about a tragic plane crash in Montana that took 14 lives, including seven young children, the AP just had to tell us that the plane's occupants had been en route to a skiing "retreat for the ultrarich." A later report referred to their destination as the "ritzy Yellowstone Club."
Back in 1996, Bob Dole picked him as his vice presidential running mate, and some in the news media exploited the selection of Kemp to deliver backhanded insults about the “haters” who comprised the rest of the Republican Party. CNN's Bill Schneider: “He is a rare combination -- a nice conservative. These days conservatives are supposed to be mean. They're supposed to be haters.” And:
Most conservatives these days come across as mean [video of Newt Gingrich] or intolerant [video of Pat Buchanan] or grouchy [video of Bob Dole]. Kemp is tolerant and inclusive. He has an excellent relationship with minorities. He showed real courage two years ago when he came out against Proposition 187, the punitive anti-illegal immigration measure in California. Kemp is not a hater.