Another Blackout Week With the Pro-Clinton Press
by L. Brent Bozell III
October 3, 1996
Scandal reporting in a campaign season? Not this year. The
networks are too busy with substantive stories like JFK Jr.'s wedding, another
O.J. Simpson trial, and the perils of fat substitutes to bother. So Bill
Clinton continues to surf along on a double-digit lead, knowing he has nothing
to fear from the see-no-Democratic-evil television networks, which are showing
the same dedication to news reporting as, say, Pravda. Take a look at a
typical week of news blackouts:
On September 23, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's
inspector general concluded that Hillary Clinton had drafted a real estate
document for the sham Castle Grande deal with the intent to
"deceive" federal regulators. If he's right, Hillary's guilty of
perjury, and that's a felony. Network coverage? Nothing.
On September 24, a House committee held hearings on charges
that the Clinton administration has let criminals become citizens. The
Washington Times story the next day began: "Immigration workers yesterday
told a House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee of rampant abuses in
the Citizenship USA program that apparently let thousands of immigrants with
criminal records become citizens." Network coverage? Nada.
On September 25, Sen. Orrin Hatch revealed a six-month gap
in the log which listed who at the White House was accessing FBI background
files on Republican White House employees. The female aide who kept the log
went into hiding rather than appear before Senate investigators. How much more
guiltily could this administration behave, and how much more ridiculous can
this get? The Washington Times correctly bannered the news the next day.
Network coverage? Zilch.
Also on the 25th, the Washington Times reported that Rep.
John Mica sent a letter to Clinton's "drug czar" demanding release
of a four-month-old Institute for Defense Analysis report that concluded
Bush's interdiction policy was far more effective than Clinton's emphasis on
drug treatment. It's a huge issue in the campaign, an obvious coverup of a
policy failure. Network coverage? Zero.
On October 1, the White House claimed executive privilege to
withhold a memo to President Clinton from FBI Director Louis Freeh said to be
highly critical of federal drug policy. Network response? Still waiting.
On the September 23 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,"
Clinton held out the possibility of pardons for those involved in the
Whitewater scandal. On September 26, 170 members of Congress, including three
Democrats, sent a letter to the White House demanding Clinton promise not to
pardon anyone. The September 29 Washington Times reported that House Democrats
were prepared to shut down the government if Republicans demanded a vote on a
resolution calling for President Clinton not to pardon key Whitewater figures.
Given that the networks spent months blaming the GOP for closing down the
government over serious policy differences, what do you think was their
coverage when the Democrats threatened the same in a shameless political
maneuver? With the exception of one general question about pardons from
"CBS Evening News" Sunday anchor John Roberts to commentator Laura
Ingraham, absolutely nothing.
So what kind of hard-news stories were they covering during
this time? Well, between September 26 and 29, each of the network evening news
shows aired two major stories each about... Newt Gingrich and his dealings
with the House ethics committee. Even more amazingly, all the networks aired
the truly wacky accusation (advanced by the thoroughly -- and legally --
discredited nuts at the Christic Institute) that Ronald Reagan's CIA
helped hook black kids on crack to fund the contras in the 1980s.
At CBS, Pentagon reporter David Martin did note that several
Democratic congressional committees worked years trying to prove CIA
involvement in drug-running and couldn't do it. But that didn't stop CBS from
running a longer "Eye on America" report on October 1, with Bill
Whitaker repeating the same unproven allegations.
Those two Iran-Contra conspiracy stories are double the
number CBS has aired on Mena, Arkansas, where Bill Clinton allegedly knew
about and allowed contra drug-running. None of the other networks has touched
the Mena story.
A week of network blackouts like this underlines the two
biggest election-season lies that come from the liberal media: (a) our
only bias is in favor of a good story, and (b) our 89 percent pro-Clinton bias
is personal and not reflected in our journalism.
So ridiculous are these claims that even "Saturday
Night Live" is spoofing the media's shameless performance. Last week's
premiere began with a satire of ABC, with Tom Hanks (as Peter Jennings)
questioning Bill Clinton: "Mr. President, we here at ABC News are not in
the business of making endorsements, but everyone here is voting for Bill
Clinton and I personally cannot imagine how any decent person would not, in
fact, do the same. In light of this, which of your many achievements do you
feel important to emphasize as we head toward the election?" And they
wonder why viewers are leaving them by the millions.
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