CyberAlert -- 05/02/1997 -- Clinton's Balanced Budget Legacy; Latest NQ

Clinton's Balanced Budget Legacy; Latest NQ

1. A budget deal will bestow Bill Clinton with the "legacy he wants," a balanced budget, contends CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

2. A member of a prominent political family is allegedly involved with a 14-year-old, but it's a Kennedy so it's not news.

3. CBS commentator John Leonard warns that when the Martians arrive "we turn into either Republicans or lock-step zombie worker drones."

1) Thursday night the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News led with multiple stories on JonBenet Ramsey's parents interview with some Denver media. At least CBS, as did ABC, aired a full story on the impending budget deal.

Earlier, on CNN's Inside Politics, Wolf Blitzer told Judy Woodruff why Clinton is backing the budget deal:

"So what does the President get from all of this? In exchange for the deeper tax cuts, he gets a commitment from the Republicans to support increased spending for his high priority education, environmental, and jobs-creation programs. He also gets a piece of the historic legacy he wants, becoming the President who finally balanced the budget."

When did Clinton decide on this legacy? After his massive health care spending plan failed, after his "stimulus package" lost, or when Republican control of Congress and public opinion made it impossible to oppose the concept of a balanced budget?

2) A member of a prominent political family, who is the son of a presidential candidate and the brother of a rising Congressman, is accused of being involved with a girl half his age, a 14-year-old. If it were someone related to Gingrich or any other leading conservative you'd surely know all about it. But the name in this case is Kennedy.

The April 25 Boston Globe reported that Michael Kennedy, son of Robert and brother of Congressman Joe, "became involved with the young woman, now a 19-year-old college freshman, when she was 14. If the relationship were sexual before the girl turned 16, it would constitute statutory rape under Massachusetts law." Two years ago Michael's wife "discovered her husband in bed with the girl" who had been the family's babysitter. The week before the Globe story ran the Kennedy's announced "that they had separated after 16 years of marriage and three children." The Globe noted that Michael ran Uncle Ted's 1994 Senate campaign.

Network coverage: As far as I've seen only NBC has picked up the story, and then barely. On the April 29 NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw introduced a story on how "a series of revelations about the two Kennedy brothers has threatened to derail both of their careers."

Lisa Myers concentrated on the "charismatic, popular" Joe Kennedy facing setbacks in his plan to run for Governor of Massachusetts in 1998. Myers observed that his first wife is protesting their annulment and is now in the midst of a book tour promoting her book critical of the annulment process. After noting that Joe Kennedy had to apologize for how he treated his wife and how some women are realizing that Kennedy men don't respect women, she gave one sentence to the news of Michael's affair with the 14-year-old babysitter.

The next morning Today ran a re-edited version of the same story. Rehema Ellis did the Today version and also gave just one sentence to Michael Kennedy.

3) As you decide what to watch on TV Sunday night, here's an interesting preview of what NBC is offering. MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski caught this bit of analysis in which John Leonard warns that an alien invasion will force an ominous choice upon us. From the April 27 CBS Sunday Morning:

"Next Sunday, you'll have to wear a radiation suit for Robin Cook's Invasion. NBC has refused to let us use a single image from this sci-fi mini-series. But I can tell you that a weird green meteor shower drops black stones all over Arizona. Like cybernetic bumblebees, these stones sting people. What happens next is the flu, then euphoria, followed by a cold-hearted fecklessness, after which we turn into either Republicans or lock-step zombie worker drones, except for Luke Perry, who first bubbles, then scales, and finally rots, til he looks exactly like an X-Files alien, a sort of fetal froggy Casper the unfriendly ghost. What on this earth can CBS possibly do to compete with killer croquet and alien pollywogs?"

-- Brent Baker