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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| January  17, 1997 (Vol. Two; No. 4) |


DNC Revelations Ignored; Clymer the Democratic Adviser

1.  Three major newspapers feature front page stories with revelations on the Huang/DNC fundraising front. But none of the network evening shows report any of it.

2.  USA Today's Tony Mauro offers a gushing tribute to no "mere mortal" -- liberal law professor Laurence Tribe.

3.  One reporter says Newt worse than McDermott while another argues that Democrats have not been aggressive enough at using media- provided ammunition.

4.  The January 13 edition of Notable Quotables.

1) Three big newspapers on Thursday, January 16 uncovered different new aspects in the John Huang/Democratic fundraising saga:

Miller explained: "The issue is a sensitive one because of looming questions over whether Asian donors of large amounts of money later solicited by Huang were given insights into U.S. policy or other favors in return for their contributions." Further, Miller discovered that Huang retained his top secret clearance "for a year while he was raising money because Commerce officials failed to have it lifted."
Offering an answer as to what influence Huang may have exerted, The Boston Globe's page one headline declared: "Clinton Policy Shift Followed Asian-American Fundraiser."
Reporter Michael Kranish began: "President Clinton made a last-minute about-face last year on his immigration policy, a reversal that brought the White House in line with the top priority of Asian-Americans who had paid $12,500 each a month earlier to attend a fundraising dinner with Clinton that generated $1.1 million. Clinton made his reversal after the Democratic National Committee Vice Chairman, John Huang, waged an intensive effort to influence Clinton's immigration policy, according to documents reviewed by the Globe." Huang wanted to make sure the foreign born brothers and sisters of naturalized citizens could immigrate.
Three big stories. How were they covered Thursday night? Let's go show by show:
  • ABC's World News Tonight: Nothing
  • CBS Evening News: Nothing
  • NBC Nightly News: Zilch
  • CNN's The World Today (10-11pm ET): Not a word.
But CNN found time for a piece by Claire Shipman on how the White House handles 10,000 letters a day and who can reach Clinton through his personal Zip code. Plus, at about 10:45 ET, a live report from Bob Franken on the status of the still-to-be released special counsel report on Newt Gingrich.
It should be noted that CNN's Inside Politics did run a full report by Brooks Jackson examining the immigration story broken by the Boston Globe.

2) USA Today's Supreme Court reporter, Tony Mauro, is in love not with the law but with Laurence Tribe, the liberal Harvard law professor always on the Democratic list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Just try to make it through Mauro's assessment of Tribe's January 8 performance as advocate for assisted suicide in oral argument before the Court. MRC media analyst, and aspiring personal injury lawyer, Steve Kaminski came across Mauro's oozings in the January 13 edition of Legal Times. Gushed Mauro:

"Tribe's detractors think his arrogance is finally catching up with him. 'He was his usual glib self,' one veteran practitioner sniffed after the argument. But Tribe has a lot to be arrogant and glib about. There is still no one better on his feet, no one better able to respond to questions from the justices with a fully developed and usually persuasive response.
"But sometimes he seems too nimble, too cerebral, too able to see contradiction and ironies and nuances light-years before the justices and other mere mortals are able to. Especially coming in the last quarter of a two-hour argument, he seemed to make the justices' heads hurt.
"Baryshnikov probably has had the same effect on dance aficionados -- too much dazzle to take all at once. Maybe Tribe needs to slow down and simplify his routine the next time out -- and dance the macarena instead of Swan Lake."

3) MRC media analyst Clay Waters caught two examples of reporters explaining away the offenses of Congressman Jim McDermott, the Democrat accused of giving to the New York Times the tape of the Newt Gingrich cellular call.

First, on Thursday's CNN & Company Chicago Tribune reporter Ellen Warren insisted: "I'm not trying to minimize the offense here, though I would have to suggest that the ones of Speaker Gingrich look considerably more severe than Mr. McDermott's."
Second, the January 16 New York Times included a news analysis piece from Adam Clymer, the reporter who wrote the January 10 story revealing the Gingrich phone conversation. Clymer lamented how the Gingrich ethics probe has been sidetracked. But instead of condemning McDermott or his own role in the process, Clymer said the Republicans were wrong on the substance. And he actually criticized Democrats for not being aggressive enough.
Clymer argued: "The case is also playing out on a more substantive level, emerging as a test of the House's ability to perform its constitutional duty to judge and discipline its own members....
"As a political matter, the Republicans managed brilliantly on the last two weekends of television talk shows to keep the focus where they wanted. First, they emphasized how trivial the charges against the Speaker were -- the phrase 'jaywalking ticket' was used to describe breaches of tax law and furnishing untrue information to the committee. The next weekend they stressed how bad it was for a Democrat to make a taped telephone conversation public.
"Of course, they could not have done it without the Democrats' giving them a clear field. The first weekend the Democrats had available a Time magazine article suggesting that the leadership, possibly waving campaign money, put pressure on two ethics committee members to write an extraordinary letter telling colleagues to vote for Mr. Gingrich for Speaker. The Democrats hardly brought it up.
"Then last weekend the Democrats effectively failed to make their case that the taped conversation, whatever its ancestory, showed that Mr. Gingrich had broken his promises to the ethics committee."
Allow me to interpret: Hey, Democrats, we in the media are doing all we can to provide you with the ammunition to blast Newt out of the Speaker's chair, but you guys keep blowing it.

-- Brent Baker

4) The January 13, 1997 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. To get an order form for subscribing to the black on blue printed version via snail mail ($19 per year), send a message to Carey Evans: cevans@mediaresearch.org.
January 13, 1997 (Vol. Ten; No. 1)

Gumbel's Parting Shocker: I'm Not Conservative!

"I don't know if I have a liberal bent...But it is fair to say it's very difficult for a black man in this country to be of a conservative bent. That's a fair statement. It's very difficult to be an African- American male, and have an African-American son who is going to be 18 years of age, and hear things like cops want to crack down and send more to prison, to hear calls for tougher statutes, less welfare, less programs for the poor, and less things for people of color. If that says I'm not conservative, so be it."
-- Bryant Gumbel in the January 2 USA Today, the day before his last morning as co-host of NBC's Today.

Gingrich the Assassin

"Newt Gingrich's problem, I've always thought, he's like Lenin. They both made a revolution by shooting people -- Newt shot Democrats, Lenin shot everybody -- and then they didn't have enough sense to stop shooting once they won. So, I mean, once you win, you say, 'Okay, now I've shot all your relatives, but you're a good guy, let's work together.' Instead, Newt shut down the government and kept on trying to shoot Democrats." -- ABC's Sam Donaldson on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, January 8.
Margaret Carlson, Time: "If we didn't have Newt Gingrich having brought down Jim Wright on, on, I think, picayune, as picayune as this, then I think there would be less hostility towards him at this moment."
Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard: "Jim Wright was trying to line his own pockets in the most sordid, squalid sort of way...." Carlson: "But he [Gingrich] was lining his own personal power pockets, which is just as bad."
-- December 28 Capital Gang on CNN.
"Not just maybe from a technical point of view, but you had the Speaker, somebody who led the assault on Jim Wright, he never ended up getting prosecuted, he never broke the law. Doesn't the Speaker's credibility kind of get diminished by this and doesn't he become a symbol of somebody who broke the rules as opposed to somebody who followed the rules? Doesn't this give you a credibility problem?"
-- CBS reporter Rita Braver to U.S. Rep Chris Shays (R-Conn.), December 29 Face the Nation.

Cronkite the Censor

"It's [the Internet] at the moment highly dangerous; I hope that we pacify it in the near future. A three-page, very slickly done presentation alleged that I was drunk in an Orlando restaurant and spit in a man's soup. And no way to trace it whatsoever. It seems to me that these sources of so called information should have to identify themselves. There should be a sense of responsibility placed upon them to stand behind what they report. I just abhor any form of censorship, but I do not think there's anything wrong at all with banning anonymous information."
-- Walter Cronkite in the December 28 TV Guide.

Eleanor's Year-End Elucidations
Biggest Winner: "Loretta Sanchez who toppled Bob Dornan, the scourge of all thinking people. And also awakened us to the power of the Hispanic vote, even in Republican stronghold Orange County."
Most Decisive Campaign Moment: "Sadly, the flap over the Indonesian campaign contributions. The only thing that moved the polls all year. Probably cost the Democrats control of the House."
Turncoat of the Year: "Sherrie Rowlands, the lady of the night who ratted on Dick Morris and tarnished what would otherwise have been a big win for him."
Fairest Rap: "My fairest rap is like Clarence's [Page], that Ken Starr is a partisan Republican. True, true, true."
-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, December 21 McLaughlin Group.

Alter's Tumescent Analysis

"Overlaying this structure was a national politics heavily conditioned by nearly half a century of cold war. Strength and toughness trumped everything else. At one military briefing during the 1980s, Reagan was shown models of American missiles. The American power phalluses were long and white; the Soviets', shorter and black. We were still safely ahead, but only by the margin of our machismo."
-- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter reviewing the 1996 political landscape,
December 30, 1996/January 6, 1997 issue.

Inside Washington's Liberal Insights

"There's an ethnic undertone to this. If these were Greeks, or American Jews, or Irish-Americans rather than Asian, some of this wouldn't have the same undertones."
-- Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus on Indogate/Donorgate,
January 4 Inside Washington.

"I'll take Phil Gramm. Buchanan was always a sideshow and a cartoon. But Gramm was serious, but a serious divider. He was a classic wedge-issue politician that would have driven us apart."
-- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on who he was most pleased left the presidential race, Dec. 28.

Criminal Welfare Reform Will Bring Starvation

"The most shameful act of '96 was welfare reform....welfare reform became a political football in '96, an easy way to kick around the poor and especially poor children and immigrants, even legal immigrants. Bill Clinton thought the GOP had a hot issue, so he closed his eyes and signed a bill that punishes children and people who want to work, but can't find a job in a tough market for entry level employment. This was a criminal act, further dividing us as haves and have nots. It was shameful."
-- Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on CNN's Capital Gang, December 29.

"Welfare Ends. Acknowledging that the new law was 'seriously flawed,' President Clinton signed it anyway, ending welfare as we know it....Supporters said the new law would get people on their feet, but criticism came from many quarters: from states that said they couldn't meet the deadlines, from social workers who said the new system will plunge more people into poverty, from three top federal officials who resigned in protest. 'I think a lot of people will start starving,' said Shawn Cornett, a 22-year-old welfare recipient in Kentucky."
-- AP reporter Helen O'Neill in year-end story summarizing the top ten stories of 1996.

Bombing Bob Dornan

"Robert Dornan. B-1 Bob went ballistic after narrowly losing his House seat in Orange County, California, to Hispanic financial analyst Loretta Sanchez. Threatening to sue her for election fraud, Dornan called Sanchez a 'liar' and said 'the whole thing stinks to high heaven.' Of course, sour grapes were to be expected from the former fighter pilot who once grabbed a fellow Congressman by the collar and called him a 'draft-dodging wimp.' Sanchez's campaign manager, John Sullivan, spoke for many when he said of Dornan, 'He's been, and continues to be, a national disgrace. All we can say is Adios.' The bad news is that Dornan will now have more time for his second job as Rush Limbaugh's substitute host."
-- Time on "Worst Public Performances of 1996," December 23.

"Growing" Left

"[Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu was a possibility because his election was quite a surprise. He had a lot of people hoping that he would in fact grow in the job and become a peacemaker and so far that hasn't happened."
-- Time Deputy Managing Editor James Kelley, CNN's Time "Man of the Year" special, Dec. 23.

Media Bias: A Ditsy Notion

"The latter [Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes] has made his fervent mantra the ditsy notion of the media having perverted the United States by being a cesspool of lefty ideologues. Sure, as in ABC's David Brinkley publicly calling President Clinton a bore."
-- Los Angeles Times TV writer Howard Rosenberg, December 18.

-- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
-- Geoffrey Dickens, Eugene Eliasen, Jim Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
-- Kathy Ruff, Marketing Director; Joe Alfonsi, Jessica Anderson; Interns

  -- Brent Baker





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