VITAL SIGNSrnMEDIArnMyopic Mediarnby Marc MoranornThe 1996 Radio and Television CorrespondentsrnDinner in Washington,rnD.C., in March may be remembered forrnshock-jock Don hnus’s tasteless diatribe,rnbut the real discord occurred behind thernscenes, hiterviews I conducted with toprnnews plaers at the dinner revealed arnmedia sharply polarized. Network newsrntitans clashed over the present state ofrnthe media.rnThe journalists in attendance had variedrnresponses to CBS News reporterrnBernard Coldberg’s allegations of liberalrnbias in network news, hi a March editorialrnin the Wall Street journal, Mr. Goldbergrncriticized fellow CBS newsman EricrnEngberg for “setting new standards forrnbias.” Goldberg charged, “The old argumentrnthat the networks and other ‘media’rnelites have a liberal bias is so blatantlyrntrue, it’s hardly worth discussingrnanymore. . . . It comes naturally to mostrnreporters.”rnWalter Cronkite was exceedingly agitatedrnat the mere mention of Mr. Goldberg’srnname. He grumbled, “Oh Goldberg,rnfor heavens sake.” Mr. Cronkite,rnthen apparently catching himself,rnabruptly changed his tone and sarcasticallvrnstated, “Goldberg’s a marvelous fellow.rnI’m glad you quoted him.” He thenrnwent on to agree with the basic premisernof Goldberg’s allegations. Mr. Cronkiternexplained, “He’s got a point, but we’vernall made the same point before. Everybodyrnknows that there is a liberal—thatrnthere is a heavy liberal persuasion amongrncorrespondents.” He added that reportersrnare of the “liberal persuasion” becausernthev begin their careers coveringrncourts and police stations, that any reporterrn”brought up that way has to have arndegree of humanity.”rnLisa Mvcrs of NBC News also agreedrnwith Goldberg. She borrowed a pagernfrom Goldberg’s analysis when she stated,rn”There is, I think, a bias within thernmedia toward dealing with problems in arnway that involves spending more money.rn. . . I think that there is a tendencyrnamong many [in the media] to feel thatrnthe best solution is a government solution.rnYoumay call that liberal.”rnMike Wallace of CBS News sharplyrndisagreed, denying the existence of anyrnliberal bias in the news media and usingrnthe election of recent Republican Presidentsrnto prove it. According to him, thernmedia could not be all-powerful and liberalrnbecause Republicans have been sornsuccessful at winning the White House.rn”When people suggest there is a bias inrnthe media and we have all of this powerrnand then of course the bias is always supposedrnto be liberal and not conservatie.rnUnder those circumstances, how manyrnDemocratic Presidents and how manvrnRepublican Presidents have there beenrnbeginning with Richard Nixon andrnRonald Reagan twice, George Bush, It’srnjust in my estimation, it’s almost a joke.”rnMr. Wallace added, “I would defy yournto know what… [Dan] Rather’s politicsrnor Walter Cronkite’s politics [are] . . . “rnThe challenge is easily met. Dan Ratherrnat a May 27, 1993, CBS affiliates meetingrntold President Clinton, “If we couldrnbe one-hundredth as great as you andrnHillary Rodham Clinton have been inrnthe White House, we’d take it right nowrnand walk away winners. . . . Tell Mrs.rnClinton we respect her and we’re pullingrnfor her.” Walter Cronkite recently advocatedrna new political system. He told LosrnAngeles Times Magazine, “We may havernto find some marvelous middle groundrnbetween capitalism and communism.”rnOther journalists at the dinner werernnot happy with Goldberg’s critique. AndrearnMitchell of NBC News stated, “I reallyrndisagree with that and I think EricrnEngberg is a terrific correspondent.”rnJudy Woodruff of CNN cautioned that,rn”I think Mr. Goldberg went a little bitrntoo far.” Bill Plante of CBS News was inrnno mood to discuss Mr. Goldberg’srncharges. He agonized, “My feelings ofrnwhat Bernie did are too personal and toornmuch connected to CBS to have sharedrn[them].”rnAccording to John Cochran of ABCrnNews, Richard Nixon was justified in hisrndistrust of reporters and may not havernbeen the paranoid obsessed man the mediarnportrayed him to be. Mr, Cochranrnstated that there was “an anti-Nixon bias.rnLIBERAL ARTSrnDIVORCING THE RACESrnBlack nationalist and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has come up with a finalrnsolution for America’s racial problems. According to the South African Mail &rnGuardian’s February 2/8 issue, Farrakhan told Muammar Qaddafi that he dreamed ofrnestablishing an independent black homeland in Africa and populating it with the morernthan one million black convicts in American prisons. When asked if his proposalrnamounted to a call for segregation, Farrakhan remarked that “when two people are inrndisagreement in a marriage, they should first try to reconcile. When their differencesrnare irreconcilable, the judge then will grant the petitioner a decree of divorce.”rnJUNE 1996/49rnrnrn