Bush Spins; Christian Coalition = Inquisition; Anchorman Stephanopoulos
1) ABC found support in Iowa for Bush's "call for compassionate conservatism," NBC determined they are only backing "a Republican who they think is going to win," while CBS insisted "the Texas Governor is still more curiosity than candidate."
One candidate in one trip to one state on Saturday, but conflicting spins from the three broadcast networks. Saturday night, June 12, the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows all provided full stories from Iowa on George W. Bush's first presidential foray, but while ABC found support for his "compassionate conservatism," NBC attributed support to his father and hatred of Clinton while CBS asserted Iowans have yet to make up their minds about him. Specifically:
-- Leading into
two glowing assessments of Bush's policies from two Iowans, ABC's Dean
Reynolds asserted: "Bush is banking on his call for compassionate
conservatism to play well here in the cornbelt and in other contests next
In a second piece from Iowa Saturday night, NBC's Lisa Myers looked at all the other Republicans and featured this soundbite from Elizabeth Dole: "I think they want people with the courage of their convictions and that's what I call courageous conservatism and that's what I'm bringing to the table."
Here are more details on how each June 12 evening show characterized Bush's trip. (CNN's The World Today held the item to a few seconds read by the anchor and on FNC's Weekend Report Carl Cameron uniquely relayed the only real news of the day: Bush will participate in the August straw poll in Iowa.)
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. From Cedar Rapids Dean Reynolds reported:
After some bites from Bush, Reynolds concluded: "For the most part it was a successful first day on the stump for Bush befitting his position as frontrunner in the Republican Party race. But now as a candidate he occupies a perilous place in American politics: he is riding so high he has almost nowhere to go but down."
comment from David Yepsen of the Des Moines Register and a clip of Bush
before a crowd, McNamara got to what those in attendance thought and found
them less enthused than did ABC: "To most Iowans today the Texas
Governor is still more curiosity than candidate."
McNamara concluded: "His job today was to make his first impression a good one. He seemed to succeed, but the road to the White House is a long one and good days can often be few and far between."
As they walked side-by-side in one of the short one-on-one interviews granted each network, Bloom asked a question a supporter of any of the other candidates would appreciate: "Your critics, lots of Democrats, a few Republicans, say that if your last name wasn't Bush you wouldn't be the Republican frontrunner, that you're untested and not ready for the job. How do you answer that?"
answered that he's not part of the DC political scene and knows he's
ready to be President, Bloom concluded with the toughest, but probably
most on target, conclusion of the day:
Up next, Lisa Myers looked at the other Republicans in the field, starting with Elizabeth Dole who attacked Bush for not taking solid positions. Dole told Myers: "I think they want people with the courage of their convictions and that's what I call courageous conservatism and that's what I'm bringing to the table."
Memo to Dole: Before you can be "courageous" in your conservatism you have to have conservative views. (On this point, I would recommend picking up a copy of the June American Spectator to read James Bovard's piece titled, "Liddy Dole's Regulatory Ride: Her passion for big government and aversion to free-market solutions make her the perfect presidential candidate. For the Democrats.")
Myers ran though the status of Alexander, Dole, Kasich and McCain, before implicitly saying they are not conservative: "On the right, six candidates are vying for the votes of religious and social conservatives [on screen: photos of Keyes, Buchanan, Smith, Forbes, Bauer, Quayle] The most prominent: Former Vice President Dan Quayle, commentator Patrick Buchanan and publisher Steve Forbes..."
I'm sure Hunt's opposition to a tax hike won't last long.
CNN: Dukakis was really a moderate. Suggesting that Democrats will paint
George W. Bush as a "hardline conservative," CNN's Jeanne
Meserve asserted they will only be following what Republicans did to the
"moderate" Dukakis in 1988. MRC analyst Paul Smith picked up on
this bit of analysis from Meserve on the June 8 Inside Politics last week:
"Regarded by a moderate" by whom? The media?
The Christian Coalition is religious just like the Spanish Inquisition, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas declared over the weekend on Inside Washington.
In a brief
discussion about how the IRS revoked the Christian Coalition's
tax-exempt status, this exchange ensued:
You've got to go pretty far left to outrage Totenberg.
Several University of Chicago students refused to shake President Clinton's hand on Saturday, which reminded me of a commencement address from CNN/USA President Rick Kaplan shown over the Memorial Day weekend by C-SPAN. Kaplan complained that Ken Starr is "putting obsession ahead of the best interests of the nation" and while he conceded the Lewinsky affair tarred Clinton he maintained that Clinton has had "extraordinary" accomplishments.
(This past Saturday, June 12, CBS and FNC noted how, as CBS anchor John Roberts put it in a brief item about what happened to Clinton at the University of Chicago: "About a dozen graduate declined, for various reasons, to shake the hand of guest speaker President Bill Clinton. Some appeared to oppose his actions in Kosovo, others wore stickers protesting U.S. free trade policies." The NBC Nightly News included a full report from John Palmer about Clinton's Chicago commencement speech in which he called for an end to child labor around the world, but Palmer didn't bother to mention the unpleasantness.)
Now to Kaplan's
May 16 commencement address at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign transcribed by MRC analyst Paul Smith. Kaplan recalled
his early days as a liberal political operative:
Going through some
of the challenges the students will face, including how the media have
coarsened society and how Milosevic shows man's inhumanity to man as
does the Columbine shooting, Kaplan got to "hypocrisy." Kaplan
rebuked Starr, and while acknowledging Clinton misdeeds, the CNN chief
stood by his friend, Bill Clinton:
+++ See what Kaplan looks and sounds like. As the power behind CNN and the man behind the Tailwind show, as well as the Executive Producer of ABC's Prime Time Live when it produced the hit piece on Food Lion, Kaplan is a major media player -- but off-camera. Just last week he was cited in news reports about the departure of Lou Dobbs. So, to allow you to get a gander at him, on Monday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a still shot and a clip of his commencement address. To see an image of him or hear him via RealPlayer, after 10am ET, go to: http://www.mrc.org 
Geraldo Rivera also admires Clinton's "extraordinary"
achievements. Last week on Today when he appeared as the guest expert on
police brutality Rivera credited Clinton with "healing the racial
divide." MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this from Rivera on the
June 9 show:
Clinton's post-election basement liaisons revealed. Sunday's Washington Post carried the first of a three-part excerpt from Bob Woodward's new book, Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate. The first installment began by outlining the story of a woman Robert Bennett feared would be more trouble than Willey or Lewinsky:
Robert S. Bennett, leaning close to his client in the private study off the Oval Office, announced his suspicion in an aggressive baritone. "Mr. President," he said, "I find your explanation about one of the women frankly unbelievable."
"This is what impeachment is made of," said Bennett, President Clinton's lawyer in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case. "Your political enemies will eat you alive if there's anything in that deposition that isn't truthful."
There can be no fudging or finagling, Bennett said. It would be better to have to deal with the first lady if there is a problem. "If..." Bennett said, stopping for effect, making it clear there could be no evasion. He shook his head, almost feeling electricity in the air. "You are dead. You are dead!"
"I hear you," the President said.
Every case, every witness, every client has a point of greatest vulnerability -- an Achilles' heel. Locating it is a lawyer's, and ultimately the client's, insurance policy.
It was Jan. 16, 1998, the day before Clinton was to give his deposition in the Jones case, and Bennett believed he had located the real problem Clinton faced the next day. It was not Kathleen Willey, the former White House volunteer who claimed Clinton groped her in 1993, because that had never been a relationship. It was not Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern. It was totally improbable that the president had taken up with a young woman, age 23 or 24, who apparently brought pizza and mail to the Oval Office.
No, Bennett believed, he had smoked out the real liability -- Marilyn Jo Jenkins, a beautiful marketing executive whom Clinton had known for more than a decade. Jenkins was a longtime employee of the Arkansas Power and Light Co. Her name had been linked to Clinton in published reports, but only in vague references.
She had met with Clinton in his basement office in the Arkansas governor's mansion four times in the less than three months between his election in 1992 and his inauguration in 1993. Three of the meetings took place about 5:15 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. Phone records showed that from 1989 to 1991 Clinton had placed 59 calls to Jenkins's home or office. Arkansas state trooper Danny Ferguson had brought gifts from Clinton to Jenkins.
Clinton had denied to Bennett that he had a sexual relationship with Jenkins. Bennett was not buying it. He noticed that Clinton reacted differently when Jenkins's name came up. The president paused in a forlorn and wistful way. Bennett couldn't quite put his finger on it, but Clinton's manner seemed to be a definite tip-off.
Bennett reminded the President that the judge would make a final ruling the next day at the deposition about the questions relating to women. Supposedly, Clinton was going to be asked only about women who had been state or federal employees, and Jenkins had never worked for either government.
He was going to object, but the judge could rule either way, Bennett said....
At the deposition, the Jones lawyers spent the morning asking primarily about Lewinsky. After lunch, they asked the president about his relationship with Jenkins, but the judge ruled that they could not ask further questions about her -- a victory for Clinton....
END Excerpt of the excerpt
I bet many reporters knew about this pre-Inauguration behavior, so they really had no reason to doubt later charges of reckless behavior.
To read the Woodward book excerpts in full, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/shadow061399.htm 
George Stephanopoulos, anchorman. The day after Memorial Day former Clinton hack George Stephanopoulos co-hosted Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer. This week he'll spend three days anchoring ABC's overnight show, World News Now. Imagine journalistic indignation if a Reagan or Bush aide got a tryout as a network anchor while their former boss was still in office.
In the June 10 USA Today Peter Johnson revealed ABC's current plans and long term hope to make him a permanent anchor:
"....ABC has tapped Stephanopoulos to co-anchor the overnight newscast World News Now with JuJu Chang for three days next week, starting Tuesday. His answer? Sure.
"I'm easy, right?" Stephanopoulos laughed Wednesday, saying it makes him feel like Mikey in the old Life cereal ad.
In that one, two kids are challenging each other to try Life. Get Mikey to do it, one kid says to the other. Mikey ends up doing what they ask -- and liking Life.
So exactly what's going on here, Mikey?
"It's always good to learn new things," says the former White House communications chief. "I'll be there for the insomniac set." Between sitting in on GMA and doing World News Now, "I'm trying to have my sleep patterns irrevocably altered."
ABC is talking to Stephanopoulos about a new contract; his three-year deal is almost up. There's talk that anchoring is in his future, and viewers should expect to see more of him.
Before you dismiss World News Now, which airs for various lengths of time on ABC affiliate between 1 and 5am, remember that more people watch it than tune in to CNN during prime time. Amongst the World News Now vets who went on to greater network prominence: Aaron Brown (ABC reporter and fill-in WNT and Nightline anchor), Thalia Assuras (co-host of CBS's This Morning) and Lisa McRee (former co-host of GMA.)
Dan Rather's Attack of Cliches. In a 24-second introduction to a story
on the June 11 CBS Evening News, Dan Rather managed to squeeze in six
cliches, plus a gratuitous bit of hype about the reporter. Over a graphic
reading "Virus Attack," Rather announced:
"Caught with its portals down" may sound cute, but it makes no sense and probably few CBS Evening News viewers know what an Internet portal even is.
Leading into an
end of show piece on how people in the town of Livermore, California
cannot locate their buried time capsule, Rather refrained from cliches but
delivered a silly rhyme and another plug for a staff member:
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