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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| July 26, 1996 (Vol. One; No. 53) |

Clinton Tears; Talk Radio Lies & Filegate Ignored

Three items today:

1) President Clinton got the spin he wanted from ABC out of his visit to the families of the TWA 800 victims. ABC's Jim Wooten concluded his story: "When he left them in the hotel and entered his car he buried his head on Mrs. Clinton's shoulder."

2) A media critic says talk show hosts don't tell the truth, so they shouldn't be considered part of the news media.

3) Another major development arose in Filegate on Thursday as Bill Clinger offered evidence contradicting the First Lady, but you'd never know it if you watched CBS or NBC.


Back on April 10, Bob Faw did a story for NBC's Today in which he showed President Clinton laughing, but then switching to wiping phantom tears from his eyes the second he saw a camera as he left a memorial service for Ron Brown. Rush Limbaugh regularly runs the video on his TV show. At the time, no  other major media outlet picked up on the Clinton act and the panel on CNN's Reliable Sources condemned Faw for daring to suggest the tears may not have been genuine. Martin Schram called it "worse" than camera in your face journalism, "this is in your head journalism." Ellen Hume claimed Faw went "overboard" because "he has no idea what was genuine and what wasn't." Bernard Kalb declared it "clearly unacceptable."

     Now check out how ABC's World News Tonight covered Clinton's July 25 trip to the Ramada at JFK Airport. After reviewing Clinton's new airport security proposals, reporter Jim Wooten decided what was genuine, employing psychological analysis that put Clinton in a positive light. 

     Wooten: "Mr. Clinton was braced for an angry reception from some of the grieving families he saw at this airport hotel today, but there was none. After a visit of nearly three hours, some of the families were clearly pleased."
Man: "It was a good feeling. It shows that the President cares about us."
2nd man: "It was just very reassuring as a human being."
Wooten: "Mr. Clinton is clearly more and more comfortable now in the role these times have forced on our Presidents -- first mourner and chaplain-in-chief. But his moments with the families must have struck him as especially poignant today, for when he left them in the hotel and entered his car he buried his head on Mrs. Clinton's shoulder. Jim Wooten, ABC News, New York."

     I await Reliable Source's round of condemnation.


The July 29 edition of Notable Quotables will go into the mail on July 26. Here's one quote from the issue caught by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens from the June 23 Reliable Sources on CNN. The show looked at talk radio with guests Neal Boortz of Atlanta's WSB and Judy Jarvis of Hartford's WPOP. Scripps-Howard columnist Martin Schram, who once was a Washington Post reporter, declared:
     "Let me talk about something that has always troubled me every time I listen to talk radio as I travel. Democratic or Republican talker, it doesn't seem to matter, there just doesn't seem to be a standard of truth. I mean, it's like you're not really news media.
You're media, but not news."

     This from the man who condemned Bob Faw for breaking from the media pack in order to get at the truth.


On Thursday (July 25) Congressman Bill Clinger, chairman of the House committee looking at the FBI files, took to the House floor to quote from notes of an agent who interviewed then White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum in 1993. The agent's notes, Clinger asserted, showed that Nussbaum said Hillary Clinton asked that Craig Livingstone be hired.
     On Inside Politics, CNN's Bernard Shaw asked White House lawyer Mark Fabiani about the charge which contradicts Hillary Clinton's statements. Of the broadcast networks only ABC's World News Tonight mentioned the development. Jackie Judd reported that "According to Clinger, Nussbaum told the agent that First Lady Hillary Clinton was instrumental in bringing Craig Livingstone into the White House." Following a clip of Clinger on the floor and a soundbite of denial from Mrs. Clinton, Judd noted that House Democrats accused Clinger of "smearing the First Lady" on the floor where speech is protected from lawsuits.
     Then Judd concluded her piece: "The controversy over the FBI files, to the frustration of Republicans, had stalled out. They believe with this new piece of information it may be revived."

     Not if CBS or NBC have anything to do with it. -- Brent Baker



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