Three items today:
1. On Thursday the
and Clinton campaigns released new TV ads. Guess which one NBC's Brian
Williams labeled "nasty."
2. In front of cameras in the Senate
press conference facility on Friday, Senator Orrin Hatch released
the deposition of a former aide to Craig Livingstone. She said the FBI
files were not obtained by mistake and that there are pages missing from
the log tracking who looked at the files. Network coverage: Zilch.
3. The Wall Street Journal's Al
Hunt spews some mean-spirited venom, tagging a former Republican
presidential candidate a "hatemonger" (and it's not Pat
Buchanan), calls one current U.S. Senate candidate an
"extremist" while saying another symbolizes "hate."
Special bonus: he trashes Kenneth Starr.
1) On Friday night's (October
4) CBS Evening News, reporter Phil Jones explained what Dole has to do in
the debate: "He's got to explain how his campaign centerpiece, the 15
percent tax cut, can be paid for without draconian cuts in social
programs. He wants to talk about the character issue, but he can't get
personal or look mean-spirited doing it."
Avoiding a media tag of
being mean-spirited will be pretty tough. Just look at Thursday night's
(October 3) The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC.
"We're going to take a look at the new political ads that are out
tonight. There are two of them. We're going to begin with the latest ad
from the Dole campaign which takes the campaign into a bit of nasty
territory. Here it is now in its entirety."
And here's the
Dole ad narrator:
"How to speak liberal."
Clinton video: "I can tell you this. I will not raise taxes on the
middle class to pay for these programs."
Narrator: "That's liberal for I raised taxes right on the middle
class. How to speak more liberal."
Clinton: "People in this room still mad at me for that budget
because you think I raised your taxes too much."
Narrator: "That's liberal for I raised taxes even on Social
Clinton: "It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them
too much too."
Narrator: "That's liberal for I raised your taxes and got
Disjointed maybe, but
nasty? Williams continued: "President Clinton is firing back with a
new ad touting his achievements in office and once again tying Bob Dole to
House Speaker Newt Gingrich."
MSNBC showed the non-nasty
ad which is all in color, except for the video of Dole and Gingrich which
is in black and white:
Clinton ad narrator over
video of scenes matching the text: "Imagine. It's 11pm and you know
where your kids are. At home. President Clinton supports curfews so
children are home and safe. School uniforms to instill discipline. Ban
cigarette ads aimed at our children. Require teenage mothers to stay in
school or lose welfare.
[black and white video
of Dole next to Gingrich]: Dole and Gingrich tried to slash school
anti-drug programs. They'd take us back.
[video in color of
Clinton strolling under trees]: President Clinton is looking forward.
Helping parents to teach children responsibility, protecting our
2) The front page headline in the Saturday, October
5 Washington Times declared: "Livingstone Lied on 'Filegate,' Ex-Aide
Implies." The Washington Post also made the news its lead story:
"White House Contradicted on FBI Files: Ex-Aide Tells Panel Staff
Knew of Checks on GOP Officials." The Los Angeles Times ran a story
inside, but Saturday's New York Times had not a word.
Having watched all three
broadcast network evening shows Friday night, this was news to me. ABC's
World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and the NBC Nightly News did not
mention the development.(CNN's The World Today co-anchor Linden Soles did
do a brief item on it with a soundbite from Hatch.) What did TV viewers
Here's the opening of Post
reporter George Lardner's story:
"A former executive
assistant in the White House security office, contradicting accounts by
her old boss and co-workers, told Senate investigators this week that
'everybody in the office knew' in the fall of 1993 that they were
obtaining FBI files on 'people who were no longer working there.'
"The aide, Mari Anderson, an ex-Clinton-Gore campaign worker, said
they even joked about some prominent Republicans still listed as current
White House pass holders."
Later in the story:
"Asked about a
six-month gap in the security office log maintained to show who checked
out files, Anderson said she was confident some pages were missing from
the copy the White House provided the committee. She said she distinctly
remembered making checkout notations in the loose-leaf log during that
six month period, from March 29, 1994, to September 21, 1994."
Nixon only "accidently
erased" 18 minutes.
So, did the front page
treatment in both of Washington's newspapers prompt network interest? No.
NBC's Today on Saturday didn't mention the news, but did find time to
report that the maker of M&Ms is test marketing 18 new colors.
Saturday night, ABC and CBS evening shows were bumped by college football
in DC, but NBC Nightly News aired nothing.
Minutes later on CNN's
Capital Gang National Review's Kate O'Beirne made the revelations her
Outrage of the Week, observing: "It remains to be seen if this
prompts the outrage from the people in the press is so richly
Not so far. Sunday morning
Sam Donaldson at least did ask This Week with David Brinkley guest Leon
Panetta a question about it.
UPDATE 1: Last week I reported that none of the broadcast networks
reported the September 25 revelation of the six month gap in the log. MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens has let me know that CNN's The World Today (10pm
ET) did air a whole piece that night by Bob Franken.
UPDATE 2: Last week I also
reported that the networks failed to note the FDIC report on how Hillary
Clinton had deceived them. Well, Friday night, a week and a half after the
report made The Washington Post's front page, it made NBC Nightly News,
but only through the hook of a chance to disparage Kenneth Starr for
speaking Friday at Regent University.
NBC's Jim Miklaszewski
reported: "Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr was invited to appear
by outspoken Clinton critic Pat Robertson and the audience was very
conservative. The White House claims that's proof Starr is out to get
Clinton for political reasons, but Starr says he'll stay the course."
Miklaszewski went on to
summarize the status of Starr's inquiry into the First Lady. Miklaszewski
described the FDIC report and aired the White House rebuttal.
3) On Saturday's Capital Gang (October 5) on CNN,
Al Hunt, Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor, was full of
- "I think North
Carolina is a test in the great divide in the Republican conservative
movement. There's the politics of hope personified by Jack Kemp and
there's the politics of hate personified by Jesse Helms."
- On Louisiana where
Democrat Landrieu faces Republican Jenkins: "In Louisiana, I think,
Mary Landrieu is a bad candidate, but she's going to win for three
reasons. Woody Jenkins is an extremist, Bill Clinton's going to carry
Louisiana and Newt Gingrich has scared those African-Americans. There'll
be a big black turnout."
- His Outrage of the
Week: "Kenneth Starr, the supposedly non-partisan independent
counsel investigating the Clintons, was the featured speaker yesterday
at a luncheon sponsored by right wing hatemonger Pat Robertson, *whose
Christian Broadcasting Network and Regent Law School*. By pandering to
Clinton-haters, Mr. Starr appears to be abandoning all pretenses of
impartiality. He went into this job with a reputation as a fair-minded
conservative. He now looks more like a political hit man desperately
eager for a future Supreme Court appointment." [* There is a word
missing, but that's what he said.]
And the media say conservatives are divisive.