CyberAlert -- 10/24/1997 -- Nanny Over Fundraising; Child Care Crisis Silent No More
Nanny Over Fundraising; Child Care Crisis Silent No More
3) ABC, CBS and NBC illustrated the child care "crisis" by showcasing families with day care problems. NBC assured viewers that Clinton made "a promise of better times ahead" and we could follow the French model where "children are a priority."
1) The Senate fundraising hearings re-convened on Wednesday and met again on Thursday. On Wednesday night two networks aired full stories on the videos shown by both parties and ABC treated it all as a big show that proves how everybody does the same thing. On Thursday night CBS and NBC gave a few seconds to how Bob Dole will testify, but the appearance of White House Communications Agency officials went unnoticed.
First, Wednesday night, October 22:
-- No fundraising story of any sort aired on either NBC Nightly News or CNN's The World Today.
On the CBS Evening News Bob Schieffer reviewed the Clinton tapes shown
by Senator Fred Thompson and the tapes of Reagan played by Senator
John Glenn. Schieffer concluded:
-- ABC's World News Tonight fell right into the Democratic game plan: make up charges against Republicans to distract attention from unprecedented fundraising schemes pursued by Clinton.
Peter Jennings, as transcribed by MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen, asserted:
"We are tempted to say, 'Guess what happened at the Senate
hearings today on campaign finance reform,' but you can probably guess
already that Republicans and Democrats were hurling charges at each
other again about breaking the law, the campaign law that is, during
the 1996 presidential campaign. And, yes, they are fighting about
tapes again and what they do or do not prove. Not just for one party
but for both. To make this clear, here's ABC's Linda Douglass."
If ABC and Douglass had been interested in informing viewers instead of confusing them she would have pointed out a major difference: The RNC may have run ads that benefited Bob Dole, but Clinton and the DNC went several steps further. He personally wrote the ads and designed an entire election strategy based upon subverting the spending limits.
-- Thursday night, October 23. Not a word about fundraising appeared on the CBS Evening News. On the NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw read a 28-second item on how Bob Dole has offered to testify voluntarily. ABC's Peter Jennings gave 19-seconds to how Thompson had invited both Dole and Clinton to testify and that while Dole was willing the White House said "no chance" on Clinton.
-- Not one second about fundraising Thursday morning on NBC's Today, ABC's Good Morning America or This Morning on CBS.
-- On Wednesday, October 22 CNN went live about 10am ET and showed the videos presented by Thompson and Glenn until a bit past 11:30am ET. MSNBC just ran a couple of updates from Joe Johns. But MSNBC did have time for a ten minute Ed Gordon interview with former Cosmopolitan Editor Helen Gurley Brown and husband David about male-female relationships.
-- On Thursday, October 23 one Au Pair outranked a pair of dueling Senators. Not even a heated argument between Thompson and Senator Carl Levin, about subpoenaing Bush tapes, interested the networks. Both CNN and MSNBC skipped the hearings featuring the WHCA officials on why the tapes were delayed and went live to Middlesex County court in Cambridge, Massachusetts at 11:20am ET when nanny Louise Woodward, accused of murdering a baby in her care, took the stand. Both networks stayed with her until the 12:30pm lunch break, picked up again at 1:30pm and kept with her until court recessed a little after 4pm ET.
3) Absent from Thursday night stories Clinton's child care confab: any conservative soundbites or views as the three networks bought, illustrated and promoted the White House line about a "silent crisis." The only criticisms came from the left, about how the Clintons were not proposing to do enough. CBS and NBC paired the White House child care story with the nanny murder. CBS actually put the murder trial before the White House. Here's a show by show rundown for Thursday, October 23:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with four stories on the stock market. In one piece reporter Aaron Brown in New York asserted that "nobody was betting that the market is going to quickly bounce back tomorrow" and reporter Deborah Wang, referring to the Hong Kong exchange, found "fears that it could fall even further." Compare these predictions to whatever has already happened in Hong Kong and does take place in New York.
After the first ad break, John Donvan took up Hillary Clinton's child
care cause. Noting that she called it a "silent crisis," he
then ran a clip of Hillary from her GMA interview earlier in the day:
"Too much of our child care is not adequate. It's not taking care
of a child's developmental needs and even worse there are too many
situations that don't even meet basic standards of safety and
"The President has promised some solutions next year in his State of the Union address. In the meantime the White House says that parents have to pressure their bosses and their communities to make child care better, more available and less expensive."
What a concept. As computer owners, let's all "pressure" computer manufacturers to make them less expensive.
Next, ABC ran a glowing piece on a model system showcased by the White House. Jennings explained: "There is a tendency when we are debating child care to focus on the inadequacies. It is certainly true that many makes some difference. If, for example, we all had as much money as the military, oh what child care we'd all have."
Michele Norris detailed how the military provides "high quality
affordable day care for 200,000 children at military bases across the
country..." Claiming only four percent of private sector centers
meet the military standard, she concluded:
-- The CBS Evening News also led with the stock market dive, though Dan Rather did point out that the Dow Jones Industrial Average is still up 1399 this year.
Getting to child care, Rather put Woodward before Clinton:
When CBS got to the White House story it was not to present an even-handed story but to prove the Clinton's correct in the need for government action. Scott Pelley began:
"In a day long conference the White House called child care the
single most important social policy in America. It was about everyone
who drops a child on the way to work, people like Nea Odem [spelling
just a guess] who walks a mile to pre-K, then another mile to the bus
stop and rides twenty minutes to day care. It's tough, but it makes
her job possible. She thinks it's a good deal because government pays
part of the cost."
-- NBC Nightly News elevated the "silent" crisis to a plain old regular crisis. In the top of the show tease, beneath video of kids, the title read "Child Care Crisis" as Tom Brokaw intoned: "President and Mrs. Clinton launch a national campaign to improve child care in America, an issue effecting more than twenty million families, more all the time. At the same time the potential perils of child care. A young nanny on trial for the murder of one of the children in her care, but on the stand she was a strong witness for her defense."
Forget the stock market, NBC started with the sudden discovery of a
child care crisis and the "promise of better times ahead."
Tom Brokaw announced:
David Bloom at the White House explained that Mrs. Clinton wanted to
start conversation "about what she called a 'silent
crisis.'" Bloom showed the Weintraub family who say that talk
doesn't pay the day care bill. Bloom aired a clip of Clinton claiming
child care problems hurt the whole economy, before continuing.
"One of the biggest problems: poor pay. The average day care
worker's wage, $7 dollars an hour. That means high turnover rates and
lower quality care...
But there is hope, if only we cared as much as do the French. Tom
Brokaw introduced an "In Their Own Words" piece:
Slayman did note that French taxes are high, but that doesn't bother them because they care more: "People here don't seem to be as upset about high taxes. For them, children are a priority."
In all the talk of crisis and affordability ABC, CBS and NBC ignored obvious points that a conservative could have raised if they had bothered to ask. Government regulations impede good child care options. Local zoning laws, for instance, often bar child care in homes and even if allowed burdensome rules about provider training and licenses deter many a potential care-giver. And concerns about church and state often prevent poorer families from being able to take advantage of church or synagogue subsidized day care centers.
I had intended to run the questions posed Thursday morning on Today,
GMA and This Morning to Hillary Clinton, but this CyberAlert is
already very long, so I'll put those in the next edition. Suffice it
to say, she wasn't grilled. Instead, other than one question, every
inquiry from Katie Couric, Lisa McRee and Jane Robelot were nice
softballs. I'll leave you with two typical questions to illustrate.
From Katie Couric:
ABC's Lisa McRee:
More of this liberal advocacy, I mean questioning, in the next CyberAlert.
-- Brent Baker