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Monday, May 9, 2011
MRC's Lame "Profile in Bias" of Scott Pelley
Topic: Media Research Center

When CBS officially named Scott Pelley as Couric's replacement, Geoffrey Dickens declared in a May 3 NewsBusters post that "A review of the MRC's archive reveals Pelley will most likely continue the long tradition of liberal bias advanced by his anchor predecessors Couric, Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite."

The MRC's "Profile of Bias" of Pelley, however, could only come up with a dozen examples of "liberal bias" it deemed worth mentioning over nearly two decades of Pelley's work for CBS -- that's less than one example per year -- and several of those are strecthing things.

For instance, the MRC baselessly treats Pelley's statement by Pelley that "There were many people in this country who felt that the Supreme Court stole that election for President Bush" as Pelley's personal belief about the case.

Similarly, the MRC portrays Pelley's reporting on how President Clinton was, in the words of then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather, "singing his own praises" on the state of the economy as Pelley's own views. The MRC claims that Pelley wants to "Carve Bill Clinton into Mt. Rushmore" even though Pelley said no such thing.

The MRC also claimed that Pelley "cover[ed] up for Bill Clinton" by declining to air footage of interviews conducted with "Arkansas state troopers who alleged that a then Governor Bill Clinton used them to procure women for adulterous affairs." In fact, given that the troopers were never able to prove those allegations when placed under deposition, that turned out to be smart journalism.

As Joe Conason and Gene Lyons wrote in their book "The Hunting of the President," when the troopers were deposed by lawyers for Paula Jones, no two of them "appeared capable of agreeing about anything of substance in Jones v. Clinton":

Danny Ferguson and Roger Perry disliked Hillary Clinton and had their suspcions about Bill's friendships with several women, but knew nothing to confirm them. Ferguson claimed that Los Angeles Times reporter William Rempel had badgered them to say that Clinton had promised the trooper a job in return for silence, and that Rempel had put words in his mouth when he refused.

L.D. Brown claimed to have hustled babes for Clinton all over the United States and to have benefited from what he called "residuals" himself. But when it came to particulars, Brown had no names, places, or dates to offer -- only hearsay and rumors.

Buddy Young, a Clinton federal employee, testified that L.D. Brown hated Clinton for refusing him the state crime laboratory job, and had also gotten himself fired as president of the state troopers' association for spending its money partying with lobbyists and state legislators. Young also mentioned taht Larry Patterson was obsessed with getting in women's "britches," to the exclusion of all other topics. [...] Patterson said Clinton had confessed several affairs to him, and claimed to have seen the governor receiving oral endearments in parked cars. Other roopers called that a physical impossibility. The video surveillance camera through which Patterson allegedly monitored those titillating scenes hardly worked at all.

Clinton's attorney Bob Bennett grilled Patterson about Troopergate payola, about his rent-free living arrangements with Cliff Jackson and about his multistate speaking tour with Larry Nichols on The Clinton Chronicles circuit. Specifically, what did Patters, a sworn law enforcement officer, know about the president's involvement in drug smuggling and murder?

"Mr. Bennett," Patterson said, "at no time have I ever said that Bill Clinton's ever involved in any murder, nor at no time have Iever said that Bill Clinton has ever used or abused drugs. . . . I have no reason to believe that."

"Has Mr. Nichols ever said that on those trips?"

"I've heard him on occasion say things like that."

"Did you ever tell him to stop it?"

"Mr. Bennett," the trooper replied, "he's an adult."

Is the MRC still standing by these discredited troopers after all these years? It appears so.

Dickens followed up in a May 5 NewsBusters post asserting that Pelley reacted "defensively" to the MRC's shabby list, claiming that he "seemed to deny the charge of liberal bias as he huffed: 'CBS has been called liberal for a lot of years,' adding, 'It probably harkens all the way back to Edward Murrow.'"

Pelley seems to know the game the MRC is playing -- that it's the MRC's job to portray him as liberal, no matter how thin the evidence.

Posted by Terry K. at 8:59 AM EDT

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