1) The March 25
CyberAlert noted that NBC News had not yet reported how the White House
coffees had specific fundraising targets, a disclosure made in Sunday's
New York Times. On Monday's CBS Evening News, Rita Braver pointed out the
significance of the discovery: "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."
The illusion has
not yet shattered for NBC viewers. Neither Nightly News on Tuesday,
Wednesday or Thursday night nor Today on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday
morning uttered a syllable about the revelation.
night (March 26) NBC was the only one of the three broadcast evening shows
to report anything about Warren Meddoff's grand jury testimony. On NBC
Nightly News Jim Miklaszewski explained that a federal grand jury looking
at fundraising in White House is focusing on the activities of Harold
Back in early
February, ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News, but not NBC
Nightly News, reported that just before the election Harold Ickes had
misused his White House office to fax a memo to Warren Meddoff instructing
him on how to contribute $5 million. (See the February 4 and February 7
CyberAlerts for details.) Now, seven weeks later, NBC is catching up.
however, added an angle skipped by ABC, CBS and CNN's The World Today.
wanted most of the donations to go to tax-exempt groups, like $250,000 to
Vote Now '96 in Miami. The five million was never donated, but at least
one congressional committee, and now the grand jury, wants to know if
Ickes' attempt to divert political donations to tax-exempt groups violated
federal election laws. In his own hand-written memo Ickes appears to make
a distinct connection between the intended donation to Vote Now and the
money meant for the DNC. The DNC says it was all perfectly legal."
After a soundbite
from DNC National Chairman Steven Grossman, Miklaszewski led into a
comment from Bill Hogan of the Center for Public Integrity by intoning:
"But campaign watchdogs call it an elaborate and illegal
The alleged use
of a non-profit entity for partisan purposes is what got Newt Gingrich in
angle is old news to Los Angeles Times readers. "Democrats Steered
Gifts to Favored Tax-Exempt Group," read a front page Los Angeles
Times headline back on Sunday, February 9 (it may have been Saturday,
February 8). The Times reported that "Democratic officials regularly
steered would be campaign contributors to a tax-exempt and supposedly
non-partisan voter registration group that in reality has close ties to
the Democratic Party." The story detailed Ickes' role in directing
contributions to Vote Now '96 and a few other similar groups.
None of the
networks at the time picked up on the revelation in the Los Angeles Times.
(See the page one article in the February MediaWatch, "Two Standards
on Nonprofits," for details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/mediawatch/1997/febpg1.html)
2) Media stars
approve of Newt Gingrich....when he's seen as making conservatives mad.
Back on March 9 on CNN's Late Edition host Frank Sesno asked Steve Roberts
about Ralph Reed's complaint that Gingrich was offering
"muddle-headed moderation." MRC news analyst Clay Waters caught
the liberal response from Roberts, now with the New York Daily News, but
formerly a reporter for U.S. News & World Report and the New York
Times. He declared:
"I have a
lot of sympathy for Newt Gingrich on this one, because he doesn't have the
votes for a radical right agenda, and he is trying, he's saying, the
public told us, be cooperative, that's what he's trying to do. And the
right wing is trashing him just like the left wing is trashing Clinton for
What exactly is
"radical right" in the agenda advocated by conservatives? A
small tax cut? The elimination of the NEA, a puny agency?
later, after Gingrich announced that he was willing to forgo a tax cut,
ABC's Sam Donaldson came to his defense. From the March 23 This Week, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Gene Eliasen:
"One mark of leadership is to tell people what they need to hear and
I think Newt Gingrich was exactly right."
"Oh, he'll be glad to hear this. Another endorsement."
"Well, happy to be of service but Newt Gingrich learned the
lesson...could I make my point? Newt Gingrich learned his lesson in
shutting down the government, to the great unhappiness of the electorate
and it rebounded against the Republican Party. He said, 'Folks, let's not
do it this year. Let's do the balanced budget first and then we'll get our
tax cuts, let's not put that on the table and let Bill Clinton once again
say, 'Ooh, you're going to destroy Medicare! Ooh, you're going to destroy
the elderly!' And for this he's pilloried by the Republican Party?"
Of course, by
declaring as fact that the Republicans shut down the government, when
Clinton had at least an equal role, Donaldson demonstrated the problem
encountered by Gingrich. And the public only believed the Republicans were
cutting Medicare because that's how the media falsely reported their plan
to hike spending.
3) Earlier this
week conservative Republican Virginia Governor George Allen vetoed a bill
that would have allowed Fairfax County, a suburb of Washington, DC, to ban
guns in community centers. While a local issue, the headlines in the two
Washington newspapers display their contrasting political perspectives.
Both headlines appeared over March 26 stories.
Gun Ban Veto Decried: Community Centers Vulnerable Under Current Law, Some
Say." -- Washington Post
Praise for Gun-Bill Vetoes." -- Washington Times
Crockery of the Day. Today's quote comes from pages 196 to 197 of his
book, A Reporter's Life. Discussing the 1992 campaign, Cronkite argues
that the public has not rejected liberalism:
Cuomo was a rare combination: an intellectual and a spellbinding orator. I
would have bet that he could have won the Democratic nomination and been
elected to the presidency. He had electrified the 1984 Democratic
convention with his keynote speech, and I never saw him fail to excite
those who shared his liberal vision of America's future.
pollsters and political operators' contrary opinions, I remain convinced
that the public was ready for a leader who could restore that vision after
the selfish eighties. I don't believe the public has rejected liberalism;
it simply has not heard a candidate persuasively advocate its humane and
deeply democratic principles.
to me that Michael Dukakis blew any chance he had of defeating George Bush
in 1988 when he ran away from the 'L-word,' even to the extent of letting
Bush get away with accusing him of being a card-carrying member of the
American Civil Liberties Union. Dukakis ducked that, too, although Bush
handed him on a silver platter a chance to defend the sort of Americanism
that believes that the Constitution protects all of the country's citizens
regardless of their appearance or the popularity of their cause or the
ugliness of the crimes of which they are accused."
There you have
it: Dukakis would have won if he had been more liberal.