January 30, 1997 - 1:00am
MRC Alert: Clinton as Victim; CBS Takes on a Grocery; Gumbel to Stay?1. ABC and CNN reporters portray Clinton as the victim of an unforgiving opposition party in the fundraising scandal.
2. One week after the Food Lion verdict CBS News takes on another grocery chain for "a type of job abuse that's rarely talked about."
3. Bryant Gumbel will be as visible on NBC as Bill Moyers is on PBS if NBC gets its way by offering him, as USA Today reported, a "laundry list of high-profile duties."
1) During his Tuesday press conference President Clinton got some pretty tough questions about his fundraising and all the networks aired evening news stories on his admission that "mistakes were made." But not from everyone took an adversarial approach. Two network reporters portrayed Clinton as the victim.
ABC News White House reporter John Donvan asked Clinton:
After the press
conference CNN anchor Judy Woodruff demanded of Senator Phil Gramm why the
Republicans were so unforgiving:
Crowley posed a couple of questions before Woodruff made this query right
out of the Democratic Party talking points booklet:
What "chilling effect"? Last week reporters worried that the
Food Lion decision would lead media bosses to pull back from hard-hitting
investigative stories on big companies. But Wednesday's (January 29) CBS
Evening News ran a piece on the supposed misdeeds of a Food Lion
competitor: the Albertsons grocery store chain. And like ABC's Food Lion
report it appeared to rely on charges promoted by the United Food and
Commercial Workers union.
As a salaried employee I'm not sure how much sympathy I should have for those not paid more for working a few extra hours. But however wrong it is to not fully pay hourly wage earners, comparing their plight to "sweat shops overseas" is just the kind of hype that's leading the public to mistrust the media.
Bryant Gumbel just may stay with NBC after all. Peter Johnson reported in
the January 29 USA Today that while Gumbel had been expected to jump to
ABC or CBS, "General Electric Chairman Jack Welch has intervened,
kept Gumbel on NBC's payroll and ordered execs to make every effort to
keep him. A couple of weeks ago Welch flew Gumbel to Seattle to meet
Microsoft's Bill Gates and tour MSNBC's Microsoft-run operation in
The next time you hear someone arguing the networks are controlled by wealthy, conservative businessmen, remember this effort by Jack Welch to maximize the visibility of arguably the most liberal network star.
4) An item in Wednesday's Washington Post "Reliable Source" gossip column, by Annie Groer and Ann Gerhart, began: "Look what Great Society warrior is speaking before the ultra-right Heritage Foundation today: Joseph Califano..."
How far left must you be to consider a conservative group like Heritage, which tried to silence critics from the right of George Bush in its ranks, an "ultra-right" group?
-- Brent Baker