Welfare Reform; Clinton's Temper Ignored
Two topics today:
1) The campaign of
fear continues as the networks keep attacking from the left the welfare
reform bill. On Nightline, Donna Shalala was pressed with six liberal
agenda questions. Thursday night Tom Brokaw charged that it "could be
devastating;" on CBS Paula Zahn ominously intoned: "There is
already is a great deal of fear and anxiety all over the country over the
impact it will have."
2) Bill Clinton's
angry outburst to a reporter asking why he now opposes paying the legal
bills of fired travel office director Billy Dale was covered by ABC and
CNN, but ignored by CBS and NBC.
The welfare bill passed by the Senate Thursday is a far cry from the
original ideas proposed by conservatives, but the media aren't quizzing
guests about whether it goes far enough to do any good. Instead, the
networks continue to help Bill Clinton's effort to convince voters that
he's no liberal by portraying him as caving in to right wingers. Check out
these questions from Chris Wallace to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala on
Wednesday night's Nightline (July 31). Here's every question he asked, as
transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:
"Secretary Shalala, as Chris Bury noted, a
number of Democrats and some independent studies say that this bill will
hurt people, that a lot of children are going to be thrown into poverty,
that some people will be thrown off food stamps. Will that happen?"
"Let's talk about that. The emphasis is on jobs, getting people off
welfare and into work. Where are all these millions of jobs going to come
from, and also the millions, billions of dollars for job training?"
"Secretary Shalala, you've made a point, as
the President did, about how unfair this bill is to legal immigrants who
are not citizens. If the bill is so unfair, why not veto it, refuse to
sign it, at least, and demand some changes?"
"Would the President have signed this bill,
without the changes that he wants, if it weren't an election year?"
"Secretary, you find yourself now in the
position of being praised by Newt Gingrich, at the same time that Senator
Pat Moynihan calls this the most brutal piece of social policy since the
Reconstruction. Doesn't that make you the slightest bit nervous?"
"You know far better than I do that you are
rewriting the social policy of this country that has stood for the last 61
years, albeit with a lot of problems. Do you worry at all about the
consequences, do you worry at all that with a change this enormous, people
are going to get hurt?"
a couple of Los Angeles County supervisors whined about the bill, and two
networks made it a story. On the August 1 NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw
declared: "So, who will be effected by all of this? There were more
than 13 million, six hundred thousand people receiving assistance from the
government's main welfare program last year. That included five million
families, two-thirds of those families, of course, made up of children.
When federal assistance for these people runs out under the new rules,
states are going to have to pick up the tab. And there's another kind of
immediate impact in states like California that could be
Mike Boettcher began: "Welfare reform could
leave Los Angeles County as penniless as the poor who line up each day for
public assistance. County officials were out early today warning that Los
Angeles County itself could become a welfare case" because
"California law requires its counties to pay for welfare programs not
covered by the state and federal governments."
the CBS Evening News, Paula Zahn announced: "The new, landmark
welfare overhaul President Clinton promised to sign won't be law for
awhile yet, but there is already is a great deal of fear and anxiety all
over the country over the impact it will have. Correspondent Bill Whitaker
has our report." Whitaker intoned: "In Los Angeles, America's
dream factory, many local politicians are calling the welfare reform bill
The May 2 Washington Times reported that a Senator had put a private hold
on a bill to pay Billy Dale's legal expenses. No network reported the
news. At a Thursday press conference to announce a 4.2 percent GDP rate,
Bill Clinton's temper flared as he lashed out at a reporter wanting to
know why he's not backing the Dale bill. CNN aired a full story by Claire
Shipman on the incident on Inside Politics and The World Today.
In a World News Tonight story on the GDP, ABC's
Brit Hume noted: "The President's mood darkened when reporters
pressed him about an issue that just won't go away, the firing in 1993 of
the White House travel office. Specifically, he was asked about the
legislation the White House has said he supports to reimburse those fired
employee's legal expenses, a bill presently blocked by Senate
Democrats." Hume then showed a clip of Mike McCurry in January saying
Clinton would sign the bill. Hume concluded: "The President later
told one reporter he was sorry for his show of anger, and no doubt he was.
The last thing he needed amid today's good news about on the politically
crucial issue of the economy was anything that took the spotlight away
worry, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News didn't air a thing about
Dale's compensation or Clinton's outburst. --
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