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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| April 9, 1997 (Vol. Two; No. 46) |


MRC Alert: Advocating for Arafat; Gartner's Pulitzer for Liberalism

One year anniversary week. Serving America's liberal media bias needs
via the Internet since April 8, 1996

1.  CyberAlert now distributed via a listserve.

2.  The Clinton administration improperly gave secret intelligence information to the DNC. Only one network reported it Tuesday night.

3.  Arafat and the Palestinians violate the Oslo accords and incite violence, but the networks portray Israel as the bully.

4.  Michael Gartner wins a Pulitzer Prize. He once wrote: "When a nation gets two leaders for the price of one -- a Franklin and Eleanor, a Bill and Hillary -- it can tackle twice as many problems..."

1) Starting with today's edition, MRC's CyberAlert is being distributed by a US Net listserve. CompuServe subscribers will notice that they now see the header information since the e-mail is coming from outside of CompuServe, but I believe others should notice little if any difference.

Subscribing and unsubscribing should now be a lot easier since it is automated. To subscribe or unsubscribe, send a message to: mrc-cyber-request@list.us.net. Put either "subscribe" or "unsubscribe" in the BODY of the message text, not in the subject line. If you have any problems or comments, the reply-to address is: cybercomment@mrc.org. Or, you can still use MediaResearchCenter@compuserve.com

2) "White House Gave DNC Top-Secret Intelligence: Information Used to Rescind Dinner Invitation," announced an April 8 Washington Post headline. Reporter Bob Woodward began Tuesday's front page story:

"The White House supplied top-secret intelligence information to the Democratic National Committee to block a Latvian businessman with alleged ties to organized crime from attending a $250,000-a-person fundraising dinner with President Clinton, according to government officials and other sources.

"The effort was successful, and the businessman, Grigori Loutchansky, who had been formally invited to attend the DNC fundraising dinner in 1995, was abruptly disinvited.

"In the course of the episode, political operatives in the White House and the DNC gained access to and disseminated information gathered by some of the nation's most sensitive intelligence-gathering methods. Many did not have the required high-security clearances to receive such information."

TV network Coverage? Virtually none Tuesday morning or night. CNN's Inside Politics aired a full story from Wolf Blitzer, but otherwise:

-- NBC's Today: Nothing, not even during Matt Lauer's Close-up segment interview with Tim Russert about "The do-nothing Congress."

-- ABC's Good Morning America: a brief mention from news anchor Elizabeth Vargas during just the 7:30am news update.

-- NBC Nightly News: Not a syllable.

-- ABC's World News Tonight: Not a word on the Post story, but Peter Jennings took about 20 seconds to report that a House committee issued subpoenas for Mack McLarty, Erskine Bowles, Bruce Lindsey, and George Stephanopoulos.

-- CBS Evening News: Dan Rather read a brief item on the Post discovery: "President Clinton has denied a published report that White House officials turned over secret intelligence information to the Democratic Party organization..." Rather ended by noting that "late today, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Republican Porter Goss, accused the President of in effect stonewalling repeated questions about this until the story hit the headlines today."

3) The press blames Israel's violation of the Oslo accords for the current spate of violence, but as syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer noted in the April 4 Washington Post, it's the PLO which has failed to follow the agreement:

"Oslo clearly requires the renunciation of violence. Oslo II, Article XV: 'Both sides shall take measures necessary in order to prevent acts of terrorism, crime and hostilities directed against each other.' Yet Arafat's aides admit that his own Fatah faction organized the anti-Israel rioting of the last 14 days. Oslo is equally unequivocal that the PLO must change its charter, which calls for the destruction of Israel. In 3 and a half years, Arafat has not done that."

But the networks portray the Palestinians as the victims, specifically in how Israel is building housing in "Arab East Jerusalem." As Krauthammer observed, Oslo does not bar the housing. Three recent examples of the network spin:

-- MRC news analyst Clay Waters noticed the "Palestinians are justified" twist to Walter Rodgers' March 30 World Today story on CNN:

"The agenda at the White House may have been restarting the Middle East peace process. But in the Middle East there was no spirit of reconciliation. Only cries for revenge. This as Palestinians paraded through the streets, shouting, 'We were not born to lead lives of humiliation.' This humiliation is felt deeply here. Witness these Israeli-Arabs marching in solidarity with Palestinians, both commemorating Land Day, marking decades of Israeli confiscation of Arab lands. Walter Rodgers, CNN, Jerusalem."

-- On Monday's (April 7) World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings painted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, fresh from a visit to the White House, as the impediment to peace:

"The final status of Jerusalem is the most difficult and the most controversial issue that divides the Israelis and the Palestinians, but Mr. Netanyahu was unyielding in remarks he made earlier today."

Netanyahu: "I want to assure you today we will never allow Jerusalem to be re-divided again, ever, never."

ABC reporter Jim Wooten then presented a one-sided story on Israel's Jerusalem housing policy. Wooten's story began:

"Since 1967, a succession of Israeli governments has settled 170,000 Jews in East Jerusalem, most of them on land taken from Palestinians. Now, 150,000 Palestinians are crowded onto constantly shrinking acreage and badly needed new housing for Palestinians has long been discouraged by Israeli bureaucracy or bulldozers. One more large Jewish settlement on this green hill would produce a decisive Jewish majority in East Jerusalem which is why the Israeli's decision to build there has so enraged the Palestinians..."

-- On Tuesday's (April 8) CBS Evening News Bob Simon filed from Hebron, site of violent clashes. He suggested Arafat is not connected to the violence:

"Netanyahu's words in Washington were all about Palestinian terror. The trouble is, he can't control his extremists any more than Arafat can control his. It's all a question of creating the right atmosphere, and right now the atmosphere is ripe for murder..."

After showing video of battles on the streets, Simon continued:

"The casualties were overwhelmingly Palestinian. Three dead by days end, more than a hundred hospitalized. Shabrile Rajuv [OK, I have no idea how to spell his name. This is what it sounded like], the head of Palestinian security forces, is getting tired of going to funerals. When he heard that Netanyahu vowed again today to continue building that Jewish housing project in Arab East Jerusalem, he called it a declaration of war."

What do you call the PLO's call for the destruction of Israel?

As for Arafat's inability to control violence, the April 14 New Republic noted that the U.S. "Reproached Arafat for modulating his crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad. By the end of February, American officials had grown alarmed by Arafat's release from jail of what they called 'really bad guys.' And then Arafat set free Ibrahim Maqadmeh, the architect of last year's suicide bombings."

Krauthammer also observed that unlike the intifada of ten years ago, now 98 percent of Palestinians in the Gaza and West Bank live under the Palestinian Authority, so the rioters are protesting policies outside of where they live. And, on the housing front, these three network stories failed to point out that 75 percent of the land was Jewish-owned.

4) Among the Pulitzer Prize winners announced on Monday: the award for editorial writing went to Michael Gartner, Editor of the Daily Tribune in Ames Iowa. Gartner served on the Pulitzer Prize board from 1982 to 1992 and was President of NBC News during the Dateline NBC/GM truck explosion fiasco. Tuesday's Los Angeles Times reported that he won for his "common sense editorials about issues deeply affecting the lives of people in his community."

I don't know about his writing about local issues, but Gartner's columns which ran in USA Today until late last year provided plenty of liberal pontificating for the MRC's Notable Quotables newsletter. Here's some of Gartner's "common sense" dispensed in USA Today over the past few years:

-- From September 27, 1994: "Hillary Clinton, like Eleanor Roosevelt, had already done a great service. Unlike Barbara Bush, she got involved. She has taken stands. She has been a leader. It's too bad, of course, that there is not health care legislation this year, but that is Congress's failure, not Hillary Clinton's. Her role has been a success. She awakened the nation. She educated the nation. She enlightened the nation....For when a nation gets two leaders for the price of one -- a Franklin and Eleanor, a Bill and Hillary -- it can tackle twice as many problems, find twice as many solutions, make twice as much progress."

-- From August 15, 1995: "The Republicans say they are for the poor as well as the rich. So how come they want to offer no aid and comfort -- and care -- when the poor are put upon? How come they want to eliminate federal welfare programs and leave the poor and the sick and the unlucky at the mercy of the states -- some of which don't have a great record of caring for people who don't make political contributions. Why do they want to let states take away aid to provide for abortions in case of rape and incest? So only the rich won't have to bear children of violent strangers or crazed uncles? Do the Republicans perhaps have a double standard -- not of men and women, but of rich and poor?"

-- From October 17, 1995: "It's nice, of course, if we have a President we like. But there's more to governing than likability. We learned that from the likable Ronald Reagan, who charmed us with stories as he amassed huge deficits and spent billions on goofy defense plans. No, the record is more important. And Bill Clinton's record is just short of terrific."

-- From June 11, 1996: "How can anyone argue that Bill Clinton has not been a good President? Business should love him. The country has been in a controlled boom since he bludgeoned through by one vote his first economic package....Workers should love him. There are more jobs than ever....Minorities should love him. He has a terrific record of appointing women and minorities to judgeships and high federal posts. He has put civil rights back on the table after 12 years of Republican neglect....

"No, it makes you wonder what the President and his wife could have accomplished these four years if they had not been consumed by these scandals, these lawsuits and these clippings. By almost any measure, the past four years have been spectacular for many Americans. Still, if Bill Clinton had been a full-time President, if Hillary Clinton had been a full-time First Lady...

"Would the poor be a little richer? Would the old be a little healthier? Would the young be a little smarter? Would the nation be a little more prosperous? Would the world be a little less troubled? You wonder. And you wonder if he wonders."

-- From September 17, 1996: "For most people in this country, life is awfully good. So Clinton doesn't need to raise any issues. He just needs to point to his record and promise more of the same. The people who don't have a great life right now -- the 39 million people below the poverty level, the 40 million people with no health insurance, the 6.2 million people earning at or below the minimum wage -- are the people who really do have the issues. But Dole isn't about to reach out to them, and they aren't about to vote for Dole or the Republicans. That would make their plight worse, if that's possible."

I forgot how much colorful material Gartner used to provide. Too bad USA Today dropped his column.

  -- Brent Baker





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