CyberAlert -- 06/21/1999 -- CNN Let Clinton Avoid Chinagate; Bush "Extreme"; CBS Ignored Dingell
CNN Let Clinton Avoid Chinagate; Bush "Extreme"; CBS Ignored Dingell
5) Republicans "outmaneuvered" the Democrats on gun control and "it's not something that the Republicans...can be successfully attacked on," or is it a "political bonanza" for Democrats as it demonstrates Republican "incompetence" and "extremism"?
6) The CBS Evening News ignored Democrat John Dingell's role in defeating gun control, instead running a whole story on how Clinton said "the American people would not stand for a Congress that gutted what he calls common sense gun control."
"George W. Bush's Media Litmus Tests: National Media Continue
Quadrennial Tradition of Trying to Drive Conservative Influence Out of
GOP." The latest Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham is now
up on the MRC Web site. It begins: "This week may signal the official
media kickoff of Campaign 2000 and the arrival of Bill Clinton's lame-duck
status. But it also marks the start of the national media's quadrennial
attempt to drive conservative influence out of the GOP. Compelled in part
by impressive early poll ratings, reporters have praised George W. Bush's
first outings. But will he pass the media's litmus tests?
CNN let Bill Clinton escape any questions about China, but prompted him to elaborate about Hillary's long history as a Yankees fan. On Sunday, about an hour before Late Edition aired from Cologne Germany, CNN's Wolf Blitzer interviewed Clinton for 20 minutes. The interview aired at the top of Late Edition and again during the 10pm ET World Today.
CNN advertized how it had landed the President's first Sunday morning interview since 1997, meaning since before the Lewinsky scandal, but Blitzer failed to ask him about any aspect of any controversy of the past two years. Despite the release earlier in the week of the critical Rudman Report, Blitzer ignored it as well as all the charges made by Johnny Chung in early May about funneling money from the Chinese military to Clinton's campaign. He also skipped the Cox Report and did not question Clinton about his March press conference denial that he knew of any espionage during his term.
It was not as if the subject had been limited to Kosovo, as was the case with the PBS NewsHour interview conducted June 11. Blitzer did talk about the war, but he also covered gun control, asserting the Republican victory will be a "bonanza" for Democrats in the next election, and asking Clinton when did he first realize Hillary was a Yankees fan and about his future: "When you look ahead to your personal life after you leave the White House, what do you see?"
with several questions on Kosovo, such as:
Back from an ad break, Blitzer announced: "Let's move on to some domestic issues. Guns, a big subject this past week. Do you really believe it's realistic, it's appropriate to register all guns in the United States, and if that were done, would that stop the violence?"
Blitzer also offered up this poor assessment of conservative beliefs in the form of a question: "But you will concede, though, that the Democrats have a potential political bonanza from this defeat of the legislation this past week going into the elections next year." Clinton replied: "Well, if the public supports us, but you know, I didn't want a political bonanza, I wanted a safer America and our party did not seek political points on this."
Blitzer moved on to presidential politics: "Speaking about politics, let's talk about presidential politics. Do you think that Texas Governor George W. Bush is qualified to be President of the United States?" After asking why he thinks Gore is behind in the polls, Blitzer wondered: "Do you think that he's trying this week to distance himself from you, the Vice President by saying, almost volunteering, that your behavior last year was 'inexcusable'?" Clinton's incredible response: "Well, I took no offense at it. He didn't say anything that I hadn't said in much starker terms along time ago. So there was nothing inappropriate about it."
Blitzer began the
third and last segment: "Let's talk about the First Lady's potential
run for the Senate from New York. When did you discover, when did you
learn that the First Lady was a New York Yankee's fan?"
denied she would move out, Blitzer followed up:
Blitzer wrapped up
by inquiring about his future: "Mr. President, you've always been
someone who's looked ahead. When you look ahead to your personal life
after you leave the White House, what do you see?"
before Blitzer and he exchanged mutual affection: "Okay, Mr.
President, I'm told we're all out of time. I want to thank you very much
for joining us for this special Late Edition here in Cologne."
Or would that be to "cover up for you"?
(Blitzer did not let viewers in on the secret that Clinton revealed: Blitzer is leaving the White House beat soon to be an anchor of a new 10pm ET CNN news show.)
+++ Watch and listen to Blitzer's cozy last segment with Clinton. Monday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Jessica Anderson will post a RealPlayer clip of this ending segment about Hillary, the Yankees and Bill Clinton's Jimmy Carter-like future. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Sunday morning only Fox News Sunday, which separately interviewed Senator Richard Shelby and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and NBC's Meet the Press dealt with the report issued Tuesday by the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. Though NBC's Today gave the report 23 seconds on June 15 and NBC Nightly News ignored it (see the June 16 CyberAlert for details), Meet the Press host Tim Russert treated it as important news, making board chairman Warren Rudman his lead guest.
"One month ago, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson was on this
program and elsewhere, and this is what he said, and I'll put it on the
screen for you and our viewers: 'I can assure the American people that
their nuclear secrets are now safe at the labs.' As I read your report,
I found a different message. Let me put up a comment that you wrote in
yours: 'A nefarious employee can still download secret weapons
information to a tape, put it in his or her pocket, and walk out the
door.' Who's right?"
Later, Russert got to some specifics Today and Nightly News viewers never learned about and which CNN's Wolf Blitzer refused to raise with Clinton: "There's been a lot of discussion about who knew what when and who should be accountable for what has gone on over the last few years. Sandy Berger, the President's national security adviser, acknowledges he was briefed in 1996, did not tell the President. He was briefed again in July of '97. He did tell the President. You write a little bit about this. Let me put it on our board for our viewers and get your reaction. 'We are convinced, however, that the July '97 briefing which we are persuaded was much more comprehensive than '96 was sufficient to warrant aggressive White House action. We believe that while the resulting presidential decision directive was developed and issued within a customary amount of time, these issues had such national security gravity that it should have been handled with more dispatch.'"
Russert also raised Clinton's dissembling: "One of the more interesting comments was made in March of this year, and this was by the president when he was asked at a new conference about what he knew, and let me put it on the screen for you. 'Can you assure the American people that under your watch, no valuable nuclear secrets were lost?' President Clinton, 'Can I tell you there has been no espionage at the labs since I've been President? I can tell you that no one has reported to me that they suspect such a thing has occurred.' How could that be?"
Earlier, Rudman had observed: "It's hard for me to say this, but I will say it anyway. The agenda for the body politic is often set by the media. Had it not been for The New York Times breaking the story of Chinese espionage, all over the front pages, I'm not sure I'd be here this morning. I'm not sure that report would have been written. And that is not the way that government ought to operate."
It's fortunate that we weren't relying on NBC News or the other networks to break this story or we would have yet to hear about it.
Matching the theme of the MRC's Media Reality Check fax report plugged
at the top of this CyberAlert, on McLaughlin Group over the weekend
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift worked to discredit George W. Bush by trying to
show he really is pro-life, which makes him "extreme." She
After Michael Barone pointed out how his stands against partial birth abortion and in favor of parental notification are popular, Clift shot back: "He is signing a bill to cut off all family planning funds to clinics that provide abortions, which includes Planned Parenthood. I think that's pretty extreme."
Liberal Week in Review. Friday night, June 18, PBS's Washington Week in Review delivered liberal assessments on two major policy stories:
-- Need to work harder for gun regulation. Moderator Paul Duke became an advocate, telling Steve Roberts: "Isn't it also true that the proponents of gun control are not nearly so well organized. You had this well financed, well organized National Rifle Association group. I mean, President Clinton noted again this week that the United States is the only Western country without significant gun control. So doesn't the other side have to do a much better job of getting into the ball game?"
Yes, we liberals must do more to make the U.S. like socialist Europe.
-- Bush Senior's
mistake was promising not to raise taxes, not his decision to raise them.
Scolding George W. Bush, Duke asserted: "Well another thing he did
this week was to indicate that he would not raise taxes. And as we all
know, one of the biggest mistakes that his father made was to make that
pledge back in 1988 that he would not raise taxes and that helped to bring
about his defeat."
That naif, he hasn't "admitted the mistake" that "we all know" he made. Not much "diversity" on this media panel.
Republicans "outmaneuvered" the Democrats on gun control and "it's not something that the Republicans...can be successfully attacked on," or is it a "political bonanza" for Democrats as it demonstrates Republican "incompetence" and "extremism"? Depends whose analysis you trust, Brit Hume's or Steve Roberts's.
On the June 20 Fox
News Sunday Hume observed:
By vote "breakdown along party lines" Hume was referring to how 45 Democrats voted in favor of the amendment for a 24 hour instead of a three day waiting period for a background check.
Over on CNN's
Late Edition Steve Roberts of U.S. News & World Report insisted:
It will play into both of those because Roberts reflects the liberal interpretation of events favored by most reporters.
Who is John Dingell? Friday night the CBS Evening News managed to air two full stories on the House's action on gun control without uttering the name "John Dingell," the Michigan Democrat who sponsored the milder 24 hour instead of three day waiting period for a background check on guns purchased at a gun show.
Both ABC and NBC pointed out the role of the leading Democrat in undermining the liberal bill sent over by the Senate, but not CBS. After Dingell's amendment passed all but ten Democrats voted against the overall bill, but CBS blamed the GOP for the loss, running a full report from Scott Pelley accompanying Clinton to the G-8 summit on how Clinton "said the American people would not stand for a Congress that gutted what he calls common sense gun control." Gun advocates got no time from CBS for rebuttal.
CBS Evening News
anchor John Roberts declared on the June 18 show: "Gun control
legislation was left for dead today on the floor of the House. In a series
of votes, the legislation that was aimed to keep guns out of the hands of
the young went from slim to none."
introduced a one-sided story: "Even from thousands of miles away in
Europe President Clinton's reaction to the House vote on the gun bill
came through loud and clear and blistering."
Pelley noted that Clinton still wants a three day background check at gun shows and will try to convince House members they are risking their jobs, concluding: "He is warning them that the massacre at Littleton Colorado has so changed the national mood that not even the NRA will save them on election day."
Conservatives argue that more gun control will not prevent future Littleton massacres since the shooters already violated many gun laws. Liberals say that posting the Ten Commandments is not only a violation of "separation of church and state," it's also ineffective as a few words on a wall won't change behavior. Guess which view Today co-host Katie Couric pressed on Friday morning?
Today has yet to devote a whole interview to pressing a guest about the ineffectiveness of gun control, but on June 18 Couric spent an entire segment questioning the effectiveness of posting the Ten Commandments in schools as a House-passed bill would allow localities to do.
MRC analyst Mark Drake took down all of Couric's questions to Janet Parshall of the Family Research Council and Laura Murphy of the ACLU. As you'll see, they all came from the same direction:
"Ms. Parshall, Let me start with you. Why is this necessary in your
From the June 16 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Kenneth Starr Has Found Out About Al Gore." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Was once mistaken for dead guy on a New
York City subway
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