CyberAlert -- 11/25/1997 -- Turner Hires a Liberal
Turner Hires a Liberal;
Whitewater Check Not Checked
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The November 24 CyberAlert reported that one 18 second item on
Friday's Good Morning America was the totality of broadcast network
attention to the Arlington Cemetery allegation "through Friday
night." In fact, as MRC analyst Clay Waters informed me on
Monday, the CBS Evening News carried a short item Friday night. I just
fast-forwarded through it since CBS did not put up a graphic for it.
Between a story on skinheads in Denver and video of a malfunctioning
satellite, Dan Rather took 17 seconds to announce:
The point remains though, as outlined in the last CyberAlert, that in the 48 hour news cycle for the allegation, from release of the Insight article on Wednesday afternoon through Army Secretary Togo West's effective defusing of it Friday afternoon, with one small exception, the broadcast networks did not publicize the charge. From Wednesday's evening shows through Friday's morning shows the one 18 second GMA item was the only broadcast network coverage. Just something to keep in mind if you hear complaints about how the "mainstream" media spread a false charge unleashed by a right-wing outlet. See the November 21 CyberAlert on how Mike McCurry denounced the mainstream press.
Even after Togo West's Friday afternoon press conference the story didn't generate much network interest. Friday night neither ABC's World News Tonight or NBC Nightly News mentioned the subject. (And my fast-forwarding did not fail me as MRC analysts Gene Eliasen and Geoffrey Dickens have confirmed the lack of ABC and NBC coverage.) The flap did get a bit of attention on some of the weekend shows: a short segment on CBS's Saturday Morning, a brief discussion amongst Robert Novak, William Safire and Tim Russert on Meet the Press, a topic raised on the Fox News Sunday roundtable; plus the three items cited in the last CyberAlert: Margaret Carlson's Outrage of the Week on CNN's Capital Gang, a roundtable topic on CNN's Late Edition and the end of show comment from Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts on ABC's This Week.
Last week Ted Turner chose a liberal Democrat to run the foundation he created to oversee distribution of his $1 billion gift to the United Nations. By the end of December Tim Wirth, now Undersecretary of State, will assume the position of President of Turner's just-created United Nations Foundation. Before joining the Clinton team Wirth had served as a Congressman and Senator from Colorado, earning a very liberal reputation.
At the State Department Wirth has been in charge of the administration's environmental efforts, including plans for next month's Kyoto summit. His departure, the Los Angeles Times reported on November 20, is "leaving his colleagues angry and confused." The Times explained: "Wirth had been widely seen as likely to head the U.S. delegation to the global warming talks in Kyoto, Japan, which begin Dec. 1. His departure, hastily disclosed by Turner, clearly dismayed other Clinton administration aides and sent them scurrying to find another candidate to lead the U.S. team."
Wirth told the LA Times that "he still expects 'to be an enthusiastic member' of the U.S. delegation. 'I don't see what going to Turner has to do with being on this team,' Wirth said. But other administration officials questioned whether Wirth would have a role in Kyoto."
same day The Washington Times noted how Wirth had pushed the
administration from the left and tried to shut down any conservative
Not much of a believer in "diversity."
ABC, CBS and CNN have yet to tell their evening show viewers anything about the discovery of the Whitewater check in the trunk of an abandoned car. The 1982 Madison check for $27,000 payable to Bill Clinton contradicts his assertion that he never borrowed any money from the S&L.
When the story broke back on November 6 CNN's Inside Politics carried a story and that morning NBC's Today aired a 17-second item. The next week, on November 10, NBC Nightly News featured the only evening show story yet on the discovery. (See the November 12 CyberAlert.)
Here's how the other networks have handled the topic:
Nothing on the discovery on either Good Morning America or World News
Tonight, reported MRC analyst Gene Eliasen.
To put the prominence CBS News gave the story in some perspective, the Saturday morning CBS show gets lower ratings than cartoons on the WB network, a network without an affiliate in many major markets.
Finally, CNN has let go of another on-air personality: Susan Rook, host of TalkBack Live. As noted by John Carmody in the November 24 Washington Post, she's the sixth on-air anchor or reporter dropped by new CNN President Rick Kaplan. Last week CNN announced the departure of Kitty Pilgrim, Kathleen Kennedy, Linden Soles, Jeff Levine and Mark Feldstein.
-- Brent Baker