ABC's Diane Sawyer Gushes: Can Hillary Win by Losing? --2/25/2008
2. Goldberg: NY Times Downplayed Broaddrick & Flowers Scandals
3. Neuharth Hails 'Shrewd' Castro, Recalls Meeting Him: 'Touche!'
4. FNC Highlights CNN's Memo Calling for Praise of Fidel Castro
Good Morning America host Diane Sawyer found an astoundingly gentle way to ask Hillary Clinton about the possibility of not being the Democratic nominee. On Friday's program, the ABC journalist wondered if such a victory was even necessary. She soothingly suggested: "The question is, are you in a new place about winning? Have you decided that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish, even if you don't win the presidency?"
Sawyer's question, in reference to a comment made at the debate in which Clinton claimed she would be "fine," whatever happens in the election, led to more softballs. The GMA host lauded the Democratic presidential contender for something as simple as having her daughter at the debate. "...We noticed that Chelsea came up and immediately slipped your hand into yours, last night. What was that about? What was going on between the two of you?"
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Now, although Sawyer found time to air a question about holding hands with Chelsea (the segment was pre-taped), there was no time for a query about Clinton's thoughts on Thursday's New York Times article insinuating that Senator John McCain may have had an affair. During the segment's close, Sawyer explained, "And, by the way, I did ask about Senator John McCain and the stories that ran yesterday. She wouldn't comment on the substance, but said when asked if she felt for him personally, given the somewhat shared history of news of that kind, she said he is her friend."
For some reason, that question didn't make it into the piece. Over on NBC's Today, however, co-host Meredith Vieira did feature the query in her interview with Clinton:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Senator Clinton, before I let you go, at one moment during the debate last night, you alluded to a very personal crisis in your own life involving infidelity. So I want to ask you your opinion of what Senator McCain is going through now. This New York Times article where he's been accused of a romantic relationship with a lobbyist. He's denied it, his wife, the lobbyist have all denied it. Do you think that article is fair? And is that the kind of attack that should be part of a campaign?
Vieira pressed the point and followed up by asking, "So if you become the nominee, that will be off limits?" (Clinton declined to answer.) On CBS's The Early Show, Harry Smith also skipped the subject of the New York Times piece.
A transcript of the GMA segment, which aired at 7:07am on February 22:
DIANE SAWYER: And, in fact, it is the moment we started a conversation with Hillary Clinton about. And Senator Clinton and I just spoke and she was in Austin, Texas. Senator Clinton, good morning to you.
On Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg pointed out the New York Times has historically had a double standard of reporting allegations of sex scandals by Republicans while downplaying or delaying reports of sex scandals by Bill Clinton. Before Bill O'Reilly clarified that while the Times did cover Gennifer Flowers, but "years and years and years after the fact," Goldberg complained: "The New York Times showed virtually no interest in Bill Clinton and Gennifer Flowers. It showed absolutely no front page interest in allegations by a reputable businesswoman named Juanita Broadderick, who said that, when Bill Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas, he raped her. ...But they did have interest in putting on page one a story that alleged that Nancy Reagan, while she was married to Ronald Reagan, was having an affair with Frank Sinatra." Goldberg further contended that at the Times, "they have lots and lots of biases, but they think that anybody who thinks that is the one with the biases."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
O'Reilly hosted the segment with Goldberg and, to argue the liberal side, FNC contributor Jane Hall of American University. The FNC host began by asking Goldberg what he thought of the situation. Goldberg: "Well, first, unless this lobbyist is a secret agent working for al-Qaeda, this is going to help John McCain a lot more than it's going to hurt him because nothing unites conservatives more than their visceral distrust of the New York Times. But let me put this into some kind of historical perspective. The New York Times showed virtually no interest in Bill Clinton and Jennifer Flowers. It showed absolutely no front page interest in allegations by a reputable businesswoman named Juanita Broadderick, who said that, when Bill Clinton was attorney general of Arkansas, he raped her.
After O'Reilly asked Goldberg why the Times does such things, the former CBS reporter continued: "Well, I'm not one of those people who says the New York Times gets its facts wrong. I think the New York Times has a problem that they will not admit to. And that is that they have lots and lots of biases, but they think that anybody who thinks that is the one with the biases. They think that they're pure and noble and above it all. But I just gave you some examples. If they have no interest in a story about a credible woman saying that Bill Clinton raped her when he was attorney general, but put Frank Sinatra and Nancy Reagan on page one, that shows their agenda, their biases."
Before getting to Hall, O'Reilly made the liberal argument in defense of the Times: "But the reason they do that is they say that anybody who's a Republican, or a conservative is a family values person, and anything they do is hypocritical and has to be exposed. Whereby the secular progressive, liberal arm, hey, anything goes. Their conduct should not be scrutinized."
Hall disagreed with allegations of bias at the New York Times, but she did at least agree that their McCain story is "very flimsy." Hall: "I disagree about whether the New York Times reported on Bill Clinton's affairs, but I think that this story was very flimsy. They didn't have the goods. If you read the New Republic story, and if it's correct, Bill Keller, the editor, had a lot of questions about it. They didn't ultimately have the goods."
During an exchange with Hall, O'Reilly soon clarified the Times' history of covering Clinton sex scandals:
O'REILLY: I have to correct the record. Bernie stated that Juanita Broaddrick, okay, who was out, not an anonymous source, basically you're out, okay, and Gennifer Flowers, not an anonymous source, out, told the world certain things happened. Told the world.
In his weekly Friday column, USA Today founder Al Neuharth hailed Fidel Castro for how "he outfoxed 10 consecutive U.S. Presidents" and, recalling a meeting with him 20 years ago, Neuharth wrote that he found him "brilliantly briefed" with a "quick, slick comment" after Neuharth told him that profits from Gannett's other papers subsidized losses at USA Today: "Aha, your company and my country are both socialistic!" Neuharth's reaction to the oppressive communist dictator's contention: "I paused, said "touche" and lifted a glass of Cuban rum. Then we talked capitalism and socialism and sports until 3:55 a.m." How cozy.
Neuharth argued that "our government could have captivated Castro with smart communication rather than castration."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(Screen shot, which will accompany the posted verso of this CyberAlert, is from a 2004 Smithsonian event carried by C-SPAN, MRC CyberAlert article: www.mediaresearch.org )
"USA Today Founder Al Neuharth: Limbaugh 'Idiotic,' Bloggers Full of 'Stupidity,'" read the headline over a June 19, 2007 CyberAlert item: www.mediaresearch.org
For dozens of examples of journalists hailing Castro's achievements, check the MRC's Special Report, with many video clips, "Fidel's Flatterers: The U.S. Media's Decades of Cheering Castro's Communism," online at: www.mrc.org
In his February 22 column, "Fess up: We messed up with foxy Fidel," Neuharth called for normalized relations, trade and travel with Cuba before he reminisced:
Personal insight into what a shrewd, slick guy Castro has been in outsmarting us:
Brilliantly briefed, he opened our 10 p.m. meeting with this question:
"Mr. Neuharth, I understand your new newspaper lost a lot of money. How did you pay the bills?"
My honest but naive reply: "Our Gannett company has more than 80 very profitable newspapers. They helped out financially."
Castro's quick, slick comment: "Aha, your company and my country are both socialistic!"
I paused, said "touche" and lifted a glass of Cuban rum. Then we talked capitalism and socialism and sports until 3:55 a.m.
My hunch then and now is that our government could have captivated Castro with smart communication rather than castration. It's time to talk to Cuba's new leaders.
END of Excerpt
For the column inn full: blogs.usatoday.com
Saturday's Fox News Watch featured a discussion on revelations that CNN staff were sent a memo advising them to make positive claims about Fidel Castro to balance out the regime's critics, crediting the communist dictator as a "revolutionary hero" to leftists who established "free education and universal health care." FNC's liberal contributor and NPR correspondent Juan Williams took exception: "I don't know what was going on there. ... what news man is at work and saying here is what we want to say nice about a man who was an oppressive force in his culture, in his society? A man who long ago left the heroic stance, the Che Guevara time period, and became somewhat of a hard hand that has left his people living at a low quality of life. I don't get it."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewwsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Host E.D. Hill set up the story: "Castro's resigning, it was big news around the world, as the communist dictator announced he was stepping down in a letter. Castro has been a thorn in the side of every U.S. administration dating back to Dwight Eisenhower, has been known for his brutal repression of free speech and dissidents in Cuba. But, over at CNN, staffers were told in a note to accent the positive in their coverage."
She then read two quotes from the memo:
# "Please note Fidel did bring social reforms to Cuba -- namely free education and universal health care, and racial integration -- in addition to being criticized for oppressing human rights and freedom of speech."
Hill first turned to Williams, who responded with criticism of CNN: "I don't know what was going on there. I can only, you know, I'm trying to think, you know, what news man is at work and saying here is what we want to say nice about a man who was an oppressive force in his culture, in his society? A man who long ago left the heroic stance, the Che Guevara time period, and became somewhat of a hard hand that has left his people living at a low quality of life. I don't get it.
Conservative columnist Cal Thomas joked that because CNN and much of the media have already been "singing the praises of Castro" for years, sending out a memo asking for positive coverage is a "redundancy."
Jane Hall of American University, while conceding the memo didn't "say it well," still defended CNN's actions as an effort not to appear "way too pro-American" or "xenophobic" in the eyes of international viewers: "I think that this may have been aimed at the international coverage, which they're afraid, you know, sometimes can seem way too pro-American, and, you know, xenophobic, and I'm assuming it was in the context of, 'Remember, a lot of people still think he's a hero. A lot of people still think the embargo was our fault.' That's what I thought they were trying to say. I'm not sure they said it well."
Williams still stuck to his criticism: "Picking up on what Jane said, maybe they're just trying to remind people, you know, some who might view him as this romantic revolutionary. But I think, as news people, you have to look at the realities on the ground, and I just think, long ago, we've gone past that era in Cuba. And even the Russians have bought off of Castro, at this point."
-- Brent Baker