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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| March 25, 1997 (Vol. Two; No. 37) |


Copy of: MRC Alert: Pedophilia: Blame Conservatives; Cronkite's Dream

1.  NBC News fails report a word about how newly released documents show the White House coffees were designed to raise a specific amount.

2.  NBC's Gwen Ifill offers some hyperbole about Hillary Clinton's Africa trip: "Just by setting foot here..."

3.  Pedophilia in San Diego: ABC blames Proposition 187.

4.  Cronkite's Crockery of the Day: "A system of world government is mandatory."

1) If you watched NBC Nightly News and Today aired since Sunday's New York Times headlined "White House Kept Close Tab on Cash Raised at Coffees," you would not yet have heard a word about it. Sunday's Today didn't mention it and as reported in the March 24 CyberAlert, neither did the March 23 Nightly News though the show found time for video of President Clinton on crutches (instead of in a wheelchair) as he left church.
Monday's Today ran a two and a half minute taped piece from Jim Miklaszewski on how Democrats are distancing themselves from Clinton. Miklaszewski reported that many Democrats think Clinton went too far in how he used the White House to raise money, but the piece, apparently put together the week before, didn't mention the New York Times disclosure.
NBC Nightly News on Monday night (March 24) didn't utter a word about the revelation of how Clinton and Gore were notified of how much each coffee was expected to raise and had raised so far. The closest NBC came to mentioning fundraising came a brief item from Tom Brokaw describing Al Gore's trip to China. Brokaw stuck to a bi-partisan theme:
"...The official agenda includes human rights and trade issues but there is no doubt the Vice President's trip will be dogged by recent allegations about China's attempt to buy political influence in the U.S."
ABC's World News Tonight also ignored the coffee discovery. Only the CBS Evening News provided a full report. CBS reporter Rita Braver noted that a memo revealed a plan to have the President make fundraising calls and that the coffees "had specific targets for the amount of money they were supposed to raise. Sometimes it was hundreds of thousands of dollars. And the documents also show that the White House kept very, very careful details on how much was brought in at each one of these events, Dan."
Dan Rather asked: "Rita, why is this important?"
Braver responded: "Well, it's important because it absolutely shatters this illusion that the President has been trying to create that this was all an informal process, that people were just invited in here -- if they felt like giving they could. It shows how calculated it was. And the White House kept promising to release these documents, wouldn't do it. As you said, they finally came from Capitol Hill."
An illusion not yet shattered for NBC viewers.

2) Hillary Clinton's trip to Africa has generated very little network coverage, but that didn't stop NBC reporter Gwen Ifill from magnifying its importance. In the Today show's first full report on the First Lady's excursion with Chelsea, Ifill asserted on the March 24 Today:
"Hillary Clinton's trip to Africa is designed to convince America that this vast continent is about more than just war, disease and famine. Just by setting foot here she's given Africa a higher profile than it's had for decades..."

3) Conservatives not only want the elderly, homeless and children to die, ABC suggested another evil result of conservative policy: They've helped allow child sexual abuse. In a March 19 Prime Time Live story last Wednesday ABC reporter John Quinones looked at how pedophiles in San Diego prey on Mexican boys.
At one point, as picked up by MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen, he blamed the anti-quota proposition in California that voters backed last year:
"In California, the problem has been made only worse by the passage of Proposition 187. It specifically says that no public funds can be used to provide social services to anyone who's in this country illegally. That means that even if social workers for the city or the state wanted to help the boys of Balboa Park they couldn't. It would be against the law. Proposition 187 is now being challenged in court, but it's message is clear."
Another example of symbolism over substance. If, as Quinones notes, the law is being challenged and therefore has not gone into effect, what impact can it really have? And if "it's message is clear," does that mean there wasn't any problem until election day 1996?

4) The advantage of employing interns is that you can make them do whatever dreadful duties everyone else in the office wants to avoid, like reading a boring book. So, last week I inflicted on the MRC's news intern, Brian Schmisek, the duty of scanning through Walter Cronkite's book, A Reporter's Life, to find anything wacky and/or liberal. Brian not only survived the experience, but in a matter of hours he found a bunch of quotes that must be read to be appreciated. So, starting today I'll be including in each CyberAlert a "Cronkite Crockery of the Day."
Today's offering comes from page 128 where Cronkite writes about the importance of the Nuremburg trials in "establishing a judicial precedent" necessary for international law because "the world is unlikely to survive a third world war, which would almost certainly bring universal nuclear devastation." The former CBS News anchor then expressed this hope:
"If we are to avoid that catastrophe, a system of world order -- preferably a system of world government -- is mandatory. The proud nations someday will see the light and, for the common good and their own survival, yield up their precious sovereignty, just as America's thirteen colonies did two centuries ago.
"When we finally come to our senses and establish a world executive and parliament of nations, thanks to the Nurenburg precedent we will already have in place the fundamentals for the third branch of government, the judiciary. This, to my mind, was the meaning of -- and the justification for -- Nuremburg."
And I always thought all those C-SPAN callers worrying about a one-world government were paranoid.

  -- Brent Baker





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