MRC Alert: Nets
Play Catch-Up; Broder from the Left; Clinton the Forgiver?
night ABC and CBS aired Democratic fundraising stories highlighting
information reported in newspapers weeks or months earlier.
Post reporter David Broder's plea to the Governor of NH: "Are the
kids not worth having a sales tax or an income tax?"
Today suggests that Bill Clinton is popular because he "forgives and
accepts" the public's excesses and frailties.
The networks keep playing catch-up on Clinton scandals reported weeks or
months ago in the print media. World News Tonight, which still hasn't
uttered a syllable on the White House database story, Monday night devoted
two pieces to Democratic fundraising. First, Linda Douglass reported how
top Clinton aide Harold Ickes sent a memo to a potential donor suggesting
how he direct his promised $5 million donation.
Donvan took viewers through the developing coffee meetings story. He
noted: "Now there are questions about how some of the guests at these
and other functions ever got through the White House gates. The Clinton
administration appears to have dropped screening procedures used by the
Reagan and Bush White Houses to keep the wrong sorts of people from
getting in. People like Eric Wynn, a stock promoter reported this weekend
to be linked to the Bonanno crime family and who served two years in
prison for securities fraud. Others include, Wang Jun, one of China's
leading arms merchants, Gregory Loutchansky, head of a company said to be
tied to the Russian mafia. And Jorge Cabrera who was convicted of drug
charges after contributing $20,00 to the Democratic Party..."
groundbreaking revelations, except to ABC viewers. While World News
Tonight did air a story on Cabrera last October, they ignored the others
when uncovered by other outlets:
-- Eric Wynn's role was revealed in the February 1 Washington Post, but
not reported by ABC that night.
-- Wang Jun's attendance became known on December 20 and Bill Clinton was
asked about it at a press conference that day. World News Tonight: no
story. On January 29 The Washington Times discovered that on the day Wang
Jun visited the White House the man who helped him get a U.S. visa donated
$50,000 to the DNC. World News Tonight: no story.
-- Gregory Loutchansky's attendance was uncovered by the Associated Press
on November 3. World News Tonight: no mention.
On the CBS
Evening News Monday night (February 3), Phil Jones offered a lengthy piece
on John Huang's possible involvement in economic espionage as he got
numerous top secret briefings and maintained his security clearance months
after he left the Commerce Department. Of course, these charges weren't
reported by CBS when raised in the January 16 Los Angeles Times and
January 30 Washington Times.
policy of shying away from Democratic scandal stories, Monday's NBC
Nightly News didn't include a fundraising story.
Sunday's Meet the Press (February 2) featured the nation's two female
Governors. Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Republican
Christie Todd Whitman of New Jersey are from different parties, but
Washington Post reporter David Broder pressed them both from the same
platform -- a liberal one.
Broder's first question: "Governor Shaheen, you've said that you want
kindergarten available for every child in your state. And you're proposing
to finance it with higher cigarette taxes and more gambling in the state.
I guess you have to do that because you've locked yourself away from
calling for any sales tax or income tax in New Hampshire. Are the kids not
worth having a sales tax or an income tax?"
Broder's second question: "Governor Whitman, welfare, big issue for
Governors and you've won the big battle because you now are in control of
it. I noticed in one of the news stories about your new budget that you're
proposing to cut county welfare authorities by ten million dollars. Those
are the folks who actually deal face to face with welfare clients. Now
they are supposed to be the ones who help move those people off welfare,
into jobs. Why in the world would you be cutting their money?"
"their" money, not the taxpayer's.
question went again to Whitman: "I read in the paper this morning
that you had backed off now on asking Congress to re-open the welfare bill
to take care of legal immigrants, who they are now cutting off. Why would
you back off of that?"
You get the idea.
But Broder isn't the only Post staffer upset by welfare reform. E.J.
Dionne, a former New York Times and Washington Post reporter who now pens
a column for the Post, asserted in his January 31 offering:
"Mary Jo Bane, an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services
until she quit, rightly thought the President was wrong in signing the
welfare 'reform' bill. She described the problem well in an interview with
Post reporters Judith Havemann and Barbara Vobejda: 'Poor people tend to
be concentrated in certain areas of states that don't have the resources
to take care of them.'"
Dionne's answer: "If we were serious about welfare reform," he
argued, "we'd have the federal government put up the money required
to support our poorest families and to create jobs," and "we'd
funnel some money" to voluntary and church groups.
Tuesday night President Clinton will deliver his State of the Union
address. As you observe how the television network commentators analyze
his speech, see if any top a bit of network veneration noticed by MRC news
analyst Geoffrey Dickens. The day before the Inauguration, on the January
19 Today show, NPR's Scott Simon explained Clinton's popularity:
"It might fit better to see President Clinton as a 1950's American
car salesmen. Selling image as much as engines. Saying, 'If you don't like
blue I can sell you tan. And if you don't like tan I'll call it Aztec
Gold.' And like all great salesmen a man who believes that the torch can
be passed in a handshake. [video of young Clinton meeting John F. Kennedy]
Now just two years ago the public wasn't buying Bill Clinton's product
line. But then the new Speaker committed the classic mistake of success.
He expanded too fast. Declaring a revolution instead of a simple victory.
Capturing control of the government only to shut it down. Whatever you
feel about Newt Gingrich or Bill Clinton as political leaders which man
would most Americans choose to sit next to on the long bus trip? The man
who prattles on about putting a supercomputer in every lap or the one who
can talk about both Helmut Kohl and Heartbreak Hotel..."
Simon picked up a minute later: "As he begins his second term you may
lament that President Clinton leaves little eloquence. But in an age of
focus groups and consultants saying, 'Keep it short. Don't take sides,'
few politicians do. He faces personal charges about his conduct in a motel
bedroom. And ethical allegations about opening the Lincoln bedroom to the
highest contributor. But you come back to the fact that if Bill Clinton
isn't always trusted he has twice been entrusted by the largest
responsibility we have to bestow by voters who can have few illusions.
Instead they seem to trust that as President Clinton displays his own
excesses and frailties he forgives and accepts ours too. This is Scott
I'm trying to
choke back my tears now that I know he feels my pain. And forgives it.