How Moral Are the Media Elite?

Liberal Democrats are in positions of major influence throughout the media’s political units. Begin with the networks. ABC’s political coverage is run by Jeff Grainick, George McGovern’s press secretary in 1971. He rose from an associate producer position in 1972 to executive producer of “World News Tonight” by 1979. He’s been in charge of ABC’s election coverage since 1982. Jeff Greenfield, a ringside convention analyst, wrote speeches for Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

At CBS News, political editor Dotty Lynch toiled as deputy pollster for George McGovern in 1972, as polling director for the Democratic National Committee in 1981-82, and as a pollster for Gar Hart and Mondale-Ferraro in 1984. Look at CNN and find that President Tom Johnson was appointed deputy press secretary and later special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson. Veteran political reporter Ken Bode was an aide to liberal Morris Udall’s 1976 presidential campaign and authored the 1972 McGovern Commission Democratic delegate reform rules.

NBC’s squad of Democrats begins with Tim Russert, a network vice president and Washington bureau chief, host of “Meet the Press” and “roving analyst” for the convention. Mr. Russert first made his mark as Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s chief of staff and then as counselor to New York Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1983 and 1984. John Chancellor, a co-anchor of convention coverage, directed the Voice of America in the Johnson administration.

Maria Shriver, NBC’s podium reporter, volunteered as a campaign aide for the 1972 McGovern-Shriver ticket and the 1980 Ted Kennedy presidential effort.

National Public Radio (NPR) President Douglas Bennet directed the Agency for International Development for Jimmy Carter and also served as administrative assistant to liberal Sens. Tom Eagleton and Abraham Ribicoff. Bob Ferrante, executive producer of NPR’s morning news, helped handle Democratic National Committee public relations from 1986 to 1988. Before directing 1984 campaign coverage for CBS, Mr. Ferrante was executive producer of two programs, the now-defunct “Nightwatch” and the “CBS Morning News.” Anne Edwards, now a senior editor at NPR, worked as the assignment editor in the CBS Washington bureau until she found a position in 1984 as campaign scheduler for Mondale-Ferraro. At PBS, “MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour” and convention reporter Kwame Holman joined Washington Mayor Marion Barry’s 1980 re-election campaign as press secretary.

The prevalence of liberals who have moved from politics to the press goes beyond the electronic media. Time Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson started as a special assistant to the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission during the Carter administration. Senior writer Walter Shapiro gained his campaign experience by writing speeches for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and was rewarded with a job under Mr. Carter’s labor secretary, Ray Marshall. At U.S. News & World Report, Kathryn Bushkin, director of editorial administration, handled the press for Gary Hart’s 1984 campaign. Harrison Rainie, an assistant managing editor now covering the campaign, warmed Tim Russert’s spot as Mr. Moynihan’s top aide in 1987.