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CyberAlert -- 04/08/1997 -- TV Reporter Offers Money to Hubbell

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1. "Monitor cooperation" a White House lawyer wrote by Hubbell's name in a Whitewater memo. That's news to network viewers.

2. A former NBC News reporter offers to give Web Hubbell more money.

3. Cronkite's Crockery of the Day: Taxpayers should pay more for day care and Head Start.

4. April 7 edition of Notable Quotables.

5. A new twist on the "almost completely unreliable" reporting of Pierre Salinger. Someone at ABC News didn't get the message.


1) The evidence mounts that the Clintons and top aides knew, when Webster Hubbell left the Justice Department in March 1994, that the independent counsel wanted him to tell what he knew about Whitewater. But TV viewers aren't hearing about it.

-- In Sunday's Los Angeles Times reporter David Willman wrote that "it is clear that Whitewater and its perils were much on the minds of senior White House aides and the Clintons at the time of Hubbell's resignation from the Justice Department. When members of the Clintons' inner circle gathered at the executive mansion on Sunday, March 13, 1994, it was to discuss a wave of unsettling Whitewater developments....Toward the end of the meeting, [Mack] McLarty informed those present that Hubbell would resign, probably the next day. Based on McLarty's recollection, he then told Hillary Clinton, out of earshot of others, that he would seek to help Hubbell financially. The First Lady, according to McLarty, nodded her approval."

But the potential smoking gun came at the end of the story, MRC analyst Clay Waters noticed. Willman reported:

"The Clintons kept tabs on how Hubbell was doing -- in the months after his resignation and his December 6, 1994, guilty plea, when he pledged to cooperate with Starr's ongoing investigation of Whitewater. An 11-page 'task list' prepared December 13, 1994, by a White House lawyer, Jane C. Sherbourne, mentioned the departed Hubbell. Sherbourne, whose job was to help manage the White House's handling of Whitewater, listed Hubbell succinctly, as item No. 11. Wrote Sherbourne below Hubbell's name: 'Monitor cooperation.'"

-- "Hillary Got Formal Warning on Hubbell" declared an April 7 headline on the front page of The Washington Times. Jerry Seper's lead:

"Documents released during the Senate Whitewater hearings last year show that two weeks before Webster Hubbell quit as Associate Attorney General, Hillary Rodham Clinton was notified formally that her former law partner was involved in a conflict-of-interest investigation and he might have lied in a sworn statement to federal regulators. The White House...has said repeatedly that President and Mrs. Clinton were not aware of his legal problems."

Seper found evidence that Hillary Clinton knew investigators considered Hubbell a source of information about the Whitewater scandal:

"Mr. Hubbell's extensive role in a conflict in the Little Rock law firm's representation of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association -- already the focus of the Whitewater probe -- and his testimony under oath to the Resolution Trust Corp. was meticulously described in a March 1, 1994, memo written by White House Associate Counsel W. Neil Eggleston and forwarded to Mrs. Clinton by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes."

Coverage? Not a word on Sunday's Today, GMA, CNN's The World Today or ABC's World News Tonight/Sunday. (NBC Nightly News and CBS Evening News didn't air in Washington, DC because of sports.) On Monday night: not a syllable on ABC, CBS or NBC about any aspect of the Clinton scandals.

The April 7 CyberAlert noted the lack of coverage for Friday's New York Times story on how Jorge Cabrera was hit up for a donation in Cuba. That was reported on Friday's Inside Politics on CNN, but not The World Today. And on Sunday's Today Tim Russert mentioned it in a clause of one sentence during a general discussion of Hubbell that failed to note the LA Times revelation.


2) In an April 14 Newsweek story on Web Hubbell, reporter Michael Isikoff finds that even after serving time for stealing money from his law partners and clients at least one colleague would loan him money:

"Affable and self-affacing, Hubbell certainly had plenty of friends. Though he is the highest-ranking Justice official to go to prison since Watergate conspirator John Mitchell, few of his former colleagues speak bitterly about him. 'If Web Hubbell walked in the door today and asked to borrow $100, I'd give it to him,' says Carl Stern, the department's former spokesman."

Newsweek didn't cite Stern's full resume. Before joining the Justice Department in early 1993 as Director of Public Affairs Stern spent 25 years as a Washington reporter for NBC News. Stern, who covered the Supreme Court and Justice Department in the 1980s, left last summer to teach at George Washington University.


3) Cronkite's Crockery of the Day. This is the last in the series of quotes identified by MRC intern Brian Schmisek in Cronkite's book, A Reporter's Life. In today's quote, found on page 295, Cronkite condemns welfare reform and advocates even more federal spending:

"Perhaps the most severe of all of our problems is the great economic divide that is condemning too many of our minority populations to the hopelessness of the ghetto and, sin of all sins, denying to their progeny the education that could give their generation some hope. One of the great inconsistencies of the welfare 'reformers' of recent years has been their insistence that welfare mothers go to work while simultaneously opposing the child care facilities that would make that possible. But their greater failing may be the inadequate funding for programs such as Head Start that give the children of the inner-city slums a chance at education."


4) The April 7 edition of Notable Quotables, the Media Research Center's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal.

April 7, 1997 (Vol. Ten; No. 7)

Newt's Infuriating Conservatives? Hey, He's Not So Bad After All

"But in fairness, what is wrong with Newt Gingrich reaching out to some other groups, extending himself? I mean, can't you catch more flies with honey? Isn't there something about that? And perhaps the rigidity of some of the conservative Republicans and their almost religious adherence to the Contract with America, didn't that ultimately backfire on them?" -- NBC's Katie Couric to Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), April 2 Today.

Sam Donaldson: "One mark of leadership is to tell people what they need to hear and I think Newt Gingrich was exactly right [to propose delaying tax cuts]."

George Will: "Oh, he'll be glad to hear this. Another endorsement."

Donaldson: "Well, happy to be of service. But Newt Gingrich learned the lesson...could I make my point? Newt Gingrich learned his lesson in shutting down the government, to the great unhappiness of the electorate and it rebounded against the Republican Party." -- Exchange on ABC's This Week, March 23.

"I have a lot of sympathy for Newt Gingrich on this one, because he doesn't have the votes for a radical right agenda, and he is trying, he's saying, the public told us, be cooperative. That's what he's trying to do, and the right wing is trashing him just like the left wing is trashing Clinton for being cooperative." -- New York Daily News reporter Steven Roberts on CNN's Late Edition, March 9.


As If Newt's Morally Better Than Chinese Butchers!

"It'll be interesting when he sits down with Jiang Zemin, the President of China, and starts lecturing him about the rule of law though, I think. I'd like to be a fly on the wall in that session." -- New York Times columnist and former reporter Thomas Friedman disdaining Gingrich on PBS's Washington Week in Review, March 21.


If We Kill Them Before They're Born, Then Conservatives Can't Hurt Them

"The right wing has lied repeatedly in an effort to move public opinion on this issue....Lie No. 1: Conservatives care about life. The renowned quipmeister, Rep. Barney Frank, Massachusetts Democrat, once said, 'Conservatives' interest in life begins at conception and ends at birth.' Truer words were never spoken. If they did care about taking care of babies and protecting the helpless, they would not be so driven to cut government programs that help the poor, nor so concerned about paying a few dollars less of their own money in taxes." -- NBC Radio/Westwood One reporter and PBS To the Contrary host Bonnie Erbe on pro-choice lies on partial-birth abortion in her syndicated column, March 29 Washington Times.


Pedophilia: Also Conservatives' Fault

"The problem has been made only worse by the passage of Proposition 187. It specifically says that no public funds can be used to provide social services to anyone who's in this country illegally. That means that even if social workers for the city or the state wanted to help the boys of Balboa Park they couldn't. It would be against the law. Proposition 187 is now being challenged in court, but its message is clear." -- John Quinones in March 19 Prime Time Live story on pedophiles preying on Mexican boys in San Diego.


Throwing Beanballs at Bunning

"Bunning says he wants to be in the Senate because that would put him in a better position to clean up the environment and educate children. He says he sees no contradiction between this aim and the fact he's voted to eliminate the Education Department and cut funding for the EPA." -- CNN anchor Bernard Shaw on Rep. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) running for Senate, March 25 Inside Politics.


Cuba Has What Lithuania Lost

"Communist Demise Causes Poverty, Starvation and Loss of Children to Poles Living in Lithuania." -- Headline over transcript of April 1 World Report story, on CNN's Web site. "Under Cuba's communist form of government, a Cuban family's basic necessities, housing, education, health care, and transportation, are provided by the state for free or at very little cost." -- CBS This Morning co-host Jane Robelot, March 24.


ABC Aired Stories from Known Wacko

"I must tell you that in the latter days of his career at ABC News he [Pierre Salinger] was not allowed on World News Tonight because of the feeling there that his reporting was almost completely unreliable. He had all kinds of wacked-out stuff about the Pan Am Flight 103 that they wouldn't let near the air. And every now and again he'd get on the morning news somehow, by sweet-talking a producer or someone and there'd always be a tremendous to-do after that about how in the world that ever happened. And I must tell you that he simply wasn't regarded in his latter years as somebody you could count on." -- Former ABC News reporter Brit Hume, March 16 Fox News Sunday.


Senate Moderates Good, House Conservatives Kooky

"There's a good Senate investigation which is serious. This is kind of a kooky investigation. We shouldn't waste eleven million dollars. That's hard-earned tax money." -- Al Hunt's Outrage of the Week on Rep. Dan Burton's investigation of Democratic fundraising practices on CNN's Capital Gang, March 22.


Reporters Wished They'd Robbed Capitalist Pig Banks

Patricia Hearst: "I had absolutely become a fantasy figure. I have had more people come up and especially, shockingly enough, journalists who grew up in the '60s who felt that they had not fulfilled part of their political obligations. That they hadn't been active enough on campus. That they kind of wish they'd done this sort of thing themselves. And they wanted to hear me say how cool it all was. And they were incredibly disappointed to find out that..."

NBC reporter Dennis Murphy: "That 'Right On Patty' was not 'Right On Patty?'"

Hearst: "Yeah. Just none of this had happened the way they thought it was." -- March 21 Dateline NBC profile in which the newspaper heiress noted the disappointment of reporters when told she did not believe in the leftist aims of the Symbionese Liberation Army when she robbed banks after her 1974 kidnapping.


Democrats Are Far-Right?

"The problem started on his watch, though, and that is the Republican Party got in disarray because they're enthralled to the far right. And yet the polls show that that's not the way the people feel so they don't know what to do." -- 20/20 host Hugh Downs on Ronald Reagan, March 31 Politically Incorrect.

vs.

"I think it might be important to point out that this country is a one-party country. Half of that party is called Republican and half is called Democrat, it really doesn't make any difference. All the really good ideas belong to the Libertarians and we're gonna wake up to that sometime." -- Downs, minutes later.


Walter Cronkite: Proving Trilateral Commission Paranoids Correct

"If we are to avoid that catastrophe [a nuclear World War III], a system of world order -- preferably a system of world government -- is mandatory. The proud nations someday will see the light and, for the common good and their own survival, yield up their precious sovereignty, just as America's thirteen colonies did two centuries ago. When we finally come to our senses and establish a world executive and parliament of nations, thanks to the Nuremburg precedent we will already have in place the fundamentals for the third branch of government, the judiciary." -- Walter Cronkite in his book A Reporter's Life.

-- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
-- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
-- Kathleen Ruff, Marketing Director; Carey Evans, Circulation Manager; Brian Schmisek, Intern


5) In the above Notable Quotables quote under the heading of "ABC Aired Stories from Known Wacko," Brit Hume observed that before Pierre Salinger left ABC in 1993 people at the network believed "that his reporting was almost completely unreliable." Hume also noted that Salinger "had all kinds of wacked-out stuff about the Pan Am Flight 103 that they wouldn't let near the air."

With that in mind, here's an item from The Washington Post that I had forgotten about but came across over the weekend while sorting through a stack of clips. From John Carmody's TV column in the September 16, 1996 Washington Post:

"ABC News's Prime Time Live has hired onetime ABC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Pierre Salinger to be a consultant on international terrorism. During his years as a Paris-based correspondent for the network, the former JFK press secretary developed many back-door contacts who proved especially valuable to the network's coverage of the Pan Am Flight 103 tragedy in 1988."

Good to see Prime Time Live has such high standards in its hiring. Maybe they can pick up an available Heaven's Gate follower with "back-door contacts" to the mother ship.

-- Brent Baker

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