Copy of: MRC
Alert: Quayle Did It Too; Good that BBA Lost
problems strike again.
fundraising generate multiple days of coverage, but major revelations,
such as a quid pro quo, are ignored by most.
networks discover Republicans and Quayle did it too. But stories equate
illegal and legal activities.
calls Senators to ask them to block an independent counsel, but the
networks don't see any obstructionism.
liberal Democrat abandons his BBA promise, but ABC blames the GOP and USA
Today praises him for "courageously" resisting popular will.
Brokaw calls "partial birth abortion" a "provocative and
mostly inaccurate description," but NBC uses it.
you can read this then there's no need for you to read this item. If you
can't read this then you need to. Which is the dilemma. For reasons I
don't comprehend, about one in ten recipients of CyberAlerts since
February 24 have only received the title and header information.
CompuServe is going through the same cycle of denial and indifference
displayed during the December blind copying problem: First, deny there's
any problem; second, claim to look into it but do nothing; third,
"discover" that there "might" be a problem. We are in
Needless to say,
moving to a competent internet provider is a top priority and is something
I hope we can do within a week or two. It's a matter of getting a
listserve set up.
All three broadcast network evening shows carried Clinton fundraising
stories from Tuesday through Friday night, the first time this year the
scandals have generated stories for more than two days in a row. But, TV
viewers are still missing major developments. And, two of the three
dropped the scandal over the weekend.
(February 27) World News Tonight led with two exclusive stories that the
other networks failed to pick up. First, ABC's Brian Ross described the
potential trouble involving Clinton attending a September 1996 Chicago
"Most of the
money came from of bankruptcy lawyers and bankers who paid $10,000 to eat
not only with the President, but with this man, Brady Williamson who the
President had recently appointed as chairman of the bipartisan National
Bankruptcy Review Commission. Under federal law it is illegal for any
non-elected federal official to use his or her government title for
political fundraising. And Williamson says he only went to the dinner as a
private citizen. But one bank lobbyist who was invited to the dinner, Phil
Corwin of the American bankers Association, told ABC News today that a
Democratic fundraiser described Williamson as the guest of honor."
was attempting to suggest a quid pro quo between participation in the
fundraiser and the administrations future position on bankruptcy law
that Corwin decided not to go and was told that Harold Ickes said banks
haven't given enough, that the industry cannot achieve goals just by
working with Republicans. Ross concluded: "But of the dozens of
Democratic fundraising events that have raised so many questions, this is
the first in which there is an allegation of a direct quid pro quo --
influence over policy in exchange for campaign cash."
Douglass told viewers: "ABC News has learned that one of the central
figures in the campaign fundraising investigation, Thai businesswoman
Pauline Kanchanalak is now being investigated for possible obstruction of
justice. Sources tell ABC News that when U.S. Marshalls came to her
downtown office to serve subpoenas for her records they were told some
documents were being destroyed..."
from Ross made the front page of the March 1 New York Times. The Saturday
headline announced: "A Fundraiser Tied Policy to Gifts, His Accusers
Say." But the discovery of a connection between donations and policy
didn't garner a mention that night on CBS or NBC. NBC Nightly News (and
ABC's World News Saturday) didn't even air a fundraising story of any
kind, and the CBS Evening News story didn't raise this angle.
Friday and Monday night the networks found a new angle to fuel the scandal
coverage: Republicans do it too. But in so doing the networks mixed
allegations of illegal activity with recollections of legal fundraising.
28) brought news of the Democratic National Committee returning $1.5
million, a fact noted by all the networks, and the release of a memo
showing fundraisers wanted to use as rewards to donors seats on Air Force
One, appointments to boards, seats in the President's Kennedy Center box
and access to the White House mess.
Here's how three
networks concluded Friday night's stories:
-- World News
Tonight (the only network which didn't mention the rewards memo):
"The Democratic Party is taking most of the heat right now, but
sources tell ABC News the FBI is also investigating whether the Chinese
gave illegal money to both parties in Congress. Some Republicans are
worried their calls for an investigation may have opened a Pandora's box.
Linda Douglass, ABC News, Washington."
-- CBS Evening
News: "Democrats say they've now tightened their fundraising rules.
And a CBS check of campaign records shows that some people the Democrats
returned money to also contributed to Republican candidates. Rita Braver,
CBS News, at the White House."
-- CNN's The
World Today: "Among the contributions Democrats returned, $50,000
from the Empire Sanitary Landfill of Scranton Pennsylvania. An Empire
official pleaded guilty last year to a tax charge. And by the way, Empire
officials also gave $50,000 to Bob Dole's campaign. Brooks Jackson, CNN,
earlier, ABC didn't air a scandal story on Saturday. Nor did World News
Sunday utter a syllable about the Washington Post story that day that Al
Gore personally made fundraising phone calls, possibly in violation of
laws against using public facilities to raise political money. (Both NBC
and CBS Sunday night did report the Gore news).
And on Monday
morning, GMA didn't mention Gore until the 8am news in the second hour.
But that's more thorough than NBC: Today didn't mention Gore at all in two
hours. So it's plausible to believe that the Gore angle wouldn't have been
highlighted Monday night if the VP hadn't held a late afternoon press
But like Friday
night, the networks had a spread the blame spin on Monday night (March 3):
-- ABC's World
News Tonight: "Meanwhile, Democrats have unearthed a Republican
fundraising letter -- dated 1990 -- offering big donors a reception at the
official home of another Vice President, Gore predecessor Dan Quayle.
Raising that letter now seems to be the Democrats' way of saying that
everybody does it, which is not quite the same note the Vice President was
trying to hit today when he said he'd done nothing wrong. John Donvan, ABC
News, the White House."
-- On the CBS
Evening News Rita Braver reported: "The latest fundraising flap comes
with the Vice President already under fire for first denying, then later
admitting, that he knew an event he attended at a California Buddhist
temple was a fundraiser. Democratic National Committee documents show that
Mr. Gore's appearances at dozens of fundraisers brought millions into
Democratic party coffers. But White House aides point out that Vice
President Dan Quayle was also a super-active fundraiser during the Bush
While I wouldn't
be presumptuous enough to assume that Republicans haven't violated
fundraising laws, Braver's reporting matches the liberal game plan: equate
the Buddhist temple money laundering, which is clearly illegal if true,
with the "super-active" fundraising of Quayle.
"Irate Clinton Blasts Moves for Counsel: Late-Night Phoning of
Democrats Comes Amid Fund Scandal," declared a February 28 Wall
Street Journal headline. The story recounted how Clinton had made angry
calls at 1am to Democratic leaders to urge them to fight against the
naming of an independent counsel. Is Clinton trying to obstruct the
inquiry? A sign of a coverup? Not to the networks.
mention it. Here's the entire relevant portion of Gwen Ifill's February 28
NBC Nightly News story:
President wasn't talking about the fundraising flap in public today, but
privately he has been described as upset that members of his own party
have called for an outside investigation. Democratic Senate leader Tom
Daschle got a late Sunday night call from the President, but he wouldn't
divulge the details."
don't think it's important what came up."
Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska was more forthcoming. He said the President
complained that Congress was showing its willingness to be quote 'governed
not by the law, but by the mob.' Gwen Ifill, NBC News, the White
In a story the
next night on the March 1 CBS Evening News Paula Zahn reviewed the week's
developments, noting: "And there was a report of an extraordinary
phone call by the President to the Senate's top Democrat, irate over calls
for a special prosecutor to investigate party fundraising." That was
A liberal Democratic Senator who in the words of The Washington Post,
"campaigned on the balanced budget amendment and voted for it three
times during his 14 years in the House," announces he's now opposed.
His decision leaves the amendment one vote short of the necessary 67
votes. Does ABC News focus on how the Senator lied to voters? No, ABC
painted a picture of a Republican failure.
On the February
26 World News Tonight reporter John Cochran told viewers:
knew from the start they needed the votes of at least three of the four
freshman Democrats who during the election campaign said they supported a
constitutional amendment to outlaw budget deficits. They got two [on
screen photos of Max Cleland of Georgia and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana],
but Johnson of South Dakota decided to vote against it, citing concerns
about the threat to the Social Security trust fund. That left Torricelli.
And to keep him from joining the Republicans, President Clinton promised
last night to establish a special commission to study his budget
Of course, there
is no Social Security Trust Fund to protect. It only exists in the
imaginations of liberals and reporters.
Cochran aired a
soundbite from Torricelli citing his concern about the ability to override
spending limits during a military threat. But Cochran failed to note that
the amendment allowed exemptions with just a 60 percent vote. After a clip
from Orrin Hatch, Cochran concluded:
decision leaves Republican still unable to produce on two of the big
promises of their almost forgotten Contract with America. Two weeks ago
the House rejected term limits, and now the balanced budget amendment
seems doomed. Republicans may not get their constitutional amendment, but
they still give themselves credit for forcing Bill Clinton to work for a
balanced budget without changing the Constitution."
a promise to constituents a crass political move that fuels public
cynicism? Not to USA Today "Politics" columnist Walter Shapiro,
a former Time magazine reporter. In the February 28 USA Today Shapiro
argued that in moving to block the amendment Torricelli and Senator Tim
Johnson were heroes. "Two Senators, Two Votes, One Blow Against
Cynicism" read the headline.
that Torricelli has been portrayed as a "poll-directed,
publicity-driven modern politician," but "Here was Torricelli
defying such facile media labels with an unpopular vote against a gaudily
wrapped package of constitutional mischief." Shapiro asked: "Why
do political weather vanes sometimes point true north? What prompts a
pragmatic legislator to courageously resist, at the last moment, the siren
song of expediency?" Torricelli claimed "I'd simply decided I'd
do the right thing,"
concluded: "Two freshman Senators, so different in style and
temperament, deserve plaudits for sticking their necks out to block a
constitutional calamity. Despite my cynical doubts, sometimes the system
Tom Brokaw's words don't match his graphics. The February 26 NBC Nightly
News carried a story on the fall out from the admission by Ron Fitzsimmons
of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers that he lied during the
partial birth abortion debate. Tom Brokaw announced:
abortions. What anti-abortionists call partial birth abortions. That's a
provocative and mostly inaccurate description. When President Clinton
vetoed a bill banning late term abortions he relied heavily on an advocate
who said they were rare and used mainly to save the life of a mother or to
terminate a malformed fetus. Now that advocate says he lied. Some of what
you're about to hear is very graphic. Fair warning."
"He says in most cases the fetus is not hopelessly deformed, but
healthy, which is why opponents called this gruesome procedure performed
in the last months of pregnancy infanticide."
Next, just a
minute and 18 seconds after Brokaw declared "partial birth
abortion" an "inaccurate" description, viewers saw the
"Partial Birth Abortion" title above drawings that Myers
described: "It works this way. The fetus is pulled partially out of
the birth canal feet first, then the skull is punctured and the brain
should watch the stories before they air so his personal opinion isn't
contradicted by them.
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