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Dan Rather believes that today's Republican party is "hard to the Right." He frequently employs the term "hard-Right" against many different groups and individuals. He considers conservatives "reactionaries" and hates talk radio. During the 2000 presidential primaries, Rather talked of George W. Bush as a man who has "punched" and "lurched" to the Right. See also Religious Right.
Who's Extreme? An Analysis of CBS Evening News Labeling
RatherBiased.com researched the number of times Dan Rather and the reporters for the CBS Evening News used the words "right-wing" vs. "left-wing" and "far right" vs. "far left." We only counted items involving domestic American politics. None involving foreign politics, such as Rather speaking of "left-wing Colombian guerrillas" or "right-wing hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu," were included.
Searching from January of 1990 until March 8, 2001, "right-wing" or "right wing" was used by Evening News journalists 58 times. "Left-wing" or "left wing" was used six times.
"Far right" was spoken 32 times and "far left" was spoken once.
"The surge to the Right on Capitol Hill is making waves all over the country on
openly politically partisan and sometimes racist radio."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 4, 1995.
"Goldwater was born 89 years ago in Arizona, before it was a state. CBS's Richard Schlesinger remembers the man who turned the GOP hard to the Right.
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, reporting on the death of Barry Goldwater, June 29, 1998.
"Bush has moved the image of himself pretty far to the Right, giving up, at least temporarily, some of the middle ground he will need to win in November, if he's the nominee."
"[B]y any reasonable analysis, Gore has not moved as far to the left as Bush has to the Right." "An example is Bush's appearance at South Carolina's Bob Jones University. Rightly or wrongly, justly or unjustly, that school is widely viewed as having not only anti-black, but also anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic roots. By going there and not clearly disassociating himself from the worst of the school's image and reputation, Bush helped himself with the hard-Right necessary to win the South Carolina primary."
--Dan Rather in "Rather's Notebook" at the CBS News Web site, February 22, 2000.
After retiring from CBS News, former longtime correspondent Bernard Goldberg wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, speaking of media bias and a discussion he had with Dan Rather:
"The problem is that Mr. Rather and the other evening stars think that liberal bias means just one thing: going hard on Republicans and easy on Democrats. But real media bias comes not so much from what party they attack. Liberal bias is the result of how they see the world.
"Consider this: In 1996 after I wrote about liberal bias on this very page, Dan was furious and during a phone conversation he indicated that picking The Wall Street Journal to air my views was especially appalling given the conservative views of the paper's editorial page. 'What do you consider the New York Times?' I asked him, since he had written op-eds for that paper. 'Middle of the road,' he said.
"I couldn't believe he was serious. The Times is a newspaper that has taken the liberal side of every important social issue of our time, which is fine with me. But if you see the New York Times editorial page as middle of the road, one thing is clear: You don't have a clue.
"And it is this inability to see liberal views as liberal
that is at the heart of the entire problem. This is why Phyllis Schlafly is
the conservative woman who heads that conservative organization but Patricia
Ireland is merely the head of NOW. No liberal labels necessary. Robert Bork
is the conservative judge. Laurence Tribe is the noted Harvard law
professor. Rush Limbaugh is the conservative talk show host. Rosie O'Donnell
is simply Rosie O'Donnell, no matter how many liberal opinions she shares
with her audience."
--Bernard Goldberg in the Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2001.
See also Who's Extreme? and Florida Labeling.
"Senate Democrats today called on Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania to resign as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference. The Democrats cited a remark Santorum made in an interview about homosexuality that, quote, "If the Supreme Court says that you have a right to consensual sex within your home, then you have a right to anything," unquote. Forced to play defense, Santorum said his remark was taken out of context, that he was discussing legal implications of a case now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, April 23, 2003.
Note: While Santorum's words did, indeed, cause some uproar among liberals, the Pennsylvania senator never said the wide-ranging comment that Rather attributed to him.
The statement read by Rather actually is two sentences stitched together to create an entirely new one, never uttered by Santorum. See the original for yourself, with the words Rather chopped off in bold: "If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything,"
After he was hired as a football commentator by ESPN, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh was attacked for saying that the media had hyped up Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is black. Reporting the controversy, Dan Rather and reporter Byron Pitts did not run any clips from Limbaugh defending his statement. Pitts also featured a prominent liberal sportswriter who had previously denounced Limbaugh's hiring to criticize the talker, but did tell viewers of the sportswriter's past remarks about Limbaugh.
RATHER: Still ahead on the CBS Evening News. Were or were not Rush Limbaugh's comments about an NFL player racist, a ratings grab, or both? The inside story next. [commercials]
Radio star Rush Limbaugh's comments about Philadelphia Eagle Donovan McNabb brought calls today for ESPN to fire the self-described conservative commentator. Limbaugh today denied any racist intent when he claimed the quarterback has been overrated and generally favored by the media because he's black. L's denial has caused questions among many people as Byron Pitts reports in tonight's Inside Story.
BYRON PITTS: With its hard hits and high-fives, football is America's game. Just as race is still a problem.
RUSH LIMBAUGH (ESPN football commentator): Donovan McNabb is regressing.
PITTS: Sunday, the two collided when conservative radio talk show host turned cable TV sports commentator Rush Limbaugh took on NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb.
LIMBAUGH: I don't think that he's been that good from the get-go. I think that what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. I think the media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well.
PITTS: McNabb all but laughed it off.
McNABB: What was said was said. You guys make the decision if you feel it was racist.
PITTS: But sportswriters across the country, black and white, weighed in, with both disbelief and disgust.
ROY JOHNSON: To say that there's a social concern and a belief to want black quarterbacks to do well is ludicrous.
PITTS: Statistically, McNabb has performed better in his first four seasons than future Hall of Famers John Elway or Brett Favre. Today, none of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL are African-Americans.
The debate over black quarterbacks isn't new. For decades, from little league to college, black ballplayers were discouraged from playing the position. The thinking was they weren't smart enough to succeed. It was a stereotype perpetuated by the likes of one-time CBS sportscaster Jimmy the Greek.
JIMMY 'THE GREEK' SNYDER: The black is a better athlete to begin with because he's been bred to be that way.
McNABB: I'm a football player. I will continue to play football, with my skin color. And my dream was to play football, play in the NFL and I'm gonna continue to fulfill my dream.
PITTS: When it hired Limbaugh, ESPN said it was looking for controversy and higher ratings. With viewership now up 10 percent, they got both. And tonight in statements released by the network, they stand by their man.
--Dan Rather and Byron Pitts on the CBS Evening News, October 1, 2003.
"Even after Oklahoma City, you can turn on your radio in any city and still dial up hate talk: extremist, racist, and violent rhetoric from the hosts and those who call in. President Clinton, among others, suggests that all this violent talk risks encouraging violent action. But is there any law to stop them from pumping out that venom?"
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, April 25, 1995.
Several Republicans were vying for their party's nomination in 1996:
"While others in the GOP pack are running as Mr. Right or Mr. Far Right, Senator Lugar is stressing his foreign policy expertise."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, March 3, 1995.
"Eric Engberg will have a report for us on [. . .] George Bush's attempt to reclaim the political Center after his lurch to the Right."
--Dan Rather in an online preview of that night's Evening News, February 24, 2000.
"Does it matter what is said and talked about on talk radio, given that there's a school of thought that says, 'Listen, you're basically talking with people in the upper tier of the economic system as opposed to those at the lower bottom.'"
--Dan Rather to talk show hosts during a CBS O.J. Simpson special, July 5, 1994.
"Now to Bill Whitaker, covering George W. Bush's talking the right talk--as in Republican hard Right--to try to take out Steve Forbes in Iowa and focus on eliminating John McCain in New Hampshire. Bill."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 23, 2000
The Republican delegates are "mostly male, overwhelmingly white, mostly well to the Right politically, and almost one in five of these delegates is a millionaire."
--Dan Rather during coverage of the Republican National Convention, August 1996.
Note: Rather made $7 million a year in 1999.
Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright was the subject of a House ethics committee investigation:
In the investigation, "hard Right lobbyists are trying to influence the vote."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 26, 1989.
Note: Jim Wright resigned before having to face charges of violating 69 House rules.
George W. Bush had nominated former Missouri senator John Ashcroft to be his attorney general:
RATHER: Bush's nominee for attorney general appears headed now for a tough confirmation battle in the Senate. CBS's Jim Stewart looks tonight at one reason why he's opposed by so many African-Americans.
STEWART: Attorney General nominee John Ashcroft posed for the cameras on Capitol Hill today. But he didn't say much, preferring to let others to address the issue that is on everyone's mind.
ORRIN HATCH: I think he treated Judge White with fairness. I mean, I could see why people could be on either side of that issue.
STEWART: The "Judge White issue" refers to this man, Ronnie White, the first African-American on the Missouri Supreme Court who would likely be a federal judge today if it hadn't been for Ashcroft's opposition.
ASHCROFT (on Senate floor): We don't need judges with a tremendous bent toward . . . criminal, uh, activity.
STEWART: White was defeated in the Senate along party lines and ever since, black leaders have vowed revenge for what they considered a racially biased vote.
FREEMAN BOSLEY (Fmr. St. Louis mayor): We are here today to stand united in expressing our disgust.
STEWART: Their first payback was last November when African-Americans surged to the polls to help defeat Ashcroft for reelection. [. . .]
Ashcroft had opposed White because of his actions in a case regarding this man, Vietnam veteran Jimmy Johnson, who was sentenced to die for a string of cop killings.
On appeal, White was the lone vote against the death penalty even though he had upheld 70 percent of all death sentences he reviewed, a fact that Ashcroft chose to overlook.
--Dan Rather and Jim Stewart on the CBS Evening News, January 3, 2001.
Note: While Jim Stewart relays the important Democratic claim that White approved 70 percent of death sentences, it does not mention what the Republicans claim, that Ashcroft had approved 26 of the 28 African-Americans nominated by Bill Clinton.
"Rita, how worried are the Democrats about protests from some here that the party is running too far to the Right, particularly on welfare reform?"
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News to Rita Braver, August 25, 1996.
"I want to read you a quote, a party official here said that the role of the prime-time speakers, that would include you, is to confuse voters about the real influence of your party's most conservative wing and the, quote, 'Christian Right.' Are you part of that effort?"
--Dan Rather to then-Congresswoman Susan Molinari before her speech during CBS's live coverage of the Republican National Convention, August 1996.
To: Senior Vice Presidents, News, Documentaries
From: Richard Salant
Date: November 11, 1975
In his lead-in to his interview with Reagan last night, Cronkite said, "Where does Reagan stand on the issues? In a nutshell, on the far right."
This bothers me a great deal--on two grounds.
First, since we are about to hear Reagan's positions on the major issues, Cronkite's characterization is both superfluous and presumptuous. Why not let the viewer make up his own mind after listening to Reagan?
Second, the "far right" reference is debatable indeed--at least on the basis of the Reagan statements which we included in the broadcast. When we say "far left," there is an implication of something pretty close to communism, the SDS [Students for a Democratic Society], the Weathermen. The term "far right" similarly has the implication of great extremism--the KKK, the Billy Hargis type, the Falangist, the American Nazi Party, and military right-wing juntas.
To me, Reagan is no more "far right" than McGovern is "far left." Cronkite's sentence which followed that "Reagan preaches the gospel of fundamental conservatism" is more accurate. I do not think that "fundamental conservatism" can be equated with "far right."
--Memorandum cited in Salant, CBS, and the Battle for the Soul of Broadcast Journalism, 1999.
"Bush is pushing for the [vote of the] party establishment, the self-described Religious Right and anti-abortion voters."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 18, 2000.
"A CBS News exclusive tonight, first word on what federal investigators have found out so far about the recent rash of black congregation church fires. Who set them, and why?"
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 14, 1997.
Note: There was no "recent rash" of church burnings, only media hype. After the hype had ended, the AP reported that church burnings were statistically at their lowest in forty years.
"Eric Engberg will have a report for us on...George Bush's attempt to reclaim the political Center after his lurch to the Right."
--Dan Rather in an online preview of that night's Evening News, February 24, 2000.
"The hottest thing on the radio these days is the call-in talk show. Most of the hosts are self-described conservatives, what their opponents call reactionaries."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 18, 1995.
"[T]he terms 'black'--or 'African-American'--and 'conservative'--or 'reactionary'--are not mutually exclusive."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, July 12, 1991.
"Gays are not, of course, the only target of the Christian Right's values jihad. But the recent legislative and judicial struggles of the gay rights movement--gays in the military, gay marriage, bias laws--and even the mainstream emergence of gay culture (Ellen, et al.) have put them repeatedly in the far-right's crosshairs on an issue-by-issue basis.
"The compassionate conservative's stand on homosexuals seems to be this: I'm OK, you're OK -- so long as you don't want to serve in my military, marry my son, or get 'special protection' from civil rights laws.
"To those old enough to remember or with an ear for history, this will all ring familiar. And the conundrum the Republicans are facing now echoes the one with which segregationists of both parties were confronted as the black civil rights movement matured: once bigotry falls out of mainstream fashion, it's hard to talk the accepted talk without walking the walk. When the prevailing political winds force a party to abandon prejudicial rhetoric, how can it continue to advocate prejudicial policy without wrapping itself in the cloak of hypocrisy?"
--Dan Rather in "Rather's Notebook" at the CBS News Web site, April 18, 2000.
The House impeached Clinton and the Senate had just voted against removal:
RATHER: Beyond reconciliation, the issue for Republicans now is repair and repositioning. As CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports, party leaders have to deal with an impeachment legacy all their own.
ATTKISSON: Republicans are desperately regrouping after a difficult year pursuing the president's impeachment. Many worry they're now at serious risk of losing their congressional majority. [. . .] The party's Right wing will continue to apply pressure on social issues like abortion. They may be in the minority, but they're powerful fund-raisers, and that gives them the influence to shape policy and dominate the Republican agenda."
--Dan Rather and Sharyl Attkisson on the CBS Evening News, February 16, 1999.
"There is a perception that Buchanan has around him people with extremist views on race. Do you agree?"
--Dan Rather to Phil Gramm on the CBS Evening News, February 18, 1996.
President George Bush's selection for Chief-of-Staff is a "champion of the hard Right."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, December 1988.
"Arab leaders who've made peace with Israel held an emergency summit today. They're trying to close ranks and preserve the peace process now that Israelis have voted out the government that made peace with the PLO and voted in Right-winger Benjamin Netanyahu."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, June 5, 1996.
"Adding petrol to the partisan fires on Capitol Hill this week, the political agenda of the movement known as the Religious Right. The group calling itself the Christian Coalition is aligned with hard-Right stands on issues ranging from gay rights to school prayer, and it's demanding its due for its help in getting Republicans elected."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, May 15, 1995.
RATHER: On the Republican side, George W. Bush punched to the Right with more anti-abortion talk, trying to position himself as the anti-abortion candidate." "Now Bill Whitaker, covering Bush's sudden rush to the Right.
WHITAKER: George W. Bush today ratcheted up the rhetoric on a tried-and-true Right-wing issue: abortion.
--Dan Rather and Bill Whitaker on the CBS Evening News, January 21, 2000.
"The European allies took a stand today against a feared revival of fascist politics. In an unprecedented move, the European Union threatened political sanctions against a member state if it allows a far-Right leader to join a new coalition government. This also has possible ramifications in the expected New York Senate race between Republican Rudolph Giuliani and First Lady Hillary Clinton because the Austrian man in question once appeared on the same New York platform with Mayor Giuliani, and -- fairly or unfairly --Democrats are pointing this out."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 31, 2000.
Note: No other network relayed this Giuliani accusation. Jesse Jackson was also on the same platform as Austrian politician Jorge Haider.
"The context includes Bush's push for more support from the Reverends Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others on what his opponents consider to be the Republican hard Right."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, February 15, 2000.
RATHER: [Reagan nominee Douglas Ginsburg is] Bork's ideological soul mate.
PLANTE: President Reagan nominated another arch-conservative...to the Supreme Court.
--Dan Rather and Bill Plante on the CBS Evening News, October 29, 1988.
"But even as [Matthew Shepherd of Wyoming] was laid to rest, it was clear the hatred that killed him lives on."
--Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, October 16, 1998.
"The moderate wing of the Republican Party still has bad dreams about Pat Buchanan's 1992 declaration of "cultural war" in the Houston convention hall. Though any number of things brought George Bush senior down that year -- and though Pat Buchanan was not the only Republican to take a hard line on so-called 'family values' in that year or those that followed -- the 'harsh GOP convention of 1992' has found its place in the conventional wisdom of campaigning: how NOT to run a Republican nominating convention."
--Dan Rather in "Rather's Notebook" at the CBS News Web site, April 18, 2000.
"Before the rightward lurches of the primary campaign, George W. Bush..."
--Dan Rather in "Rather's Notebook" at the CBS News Web site, April 18, 2000 print_file('footer'); ?>