Networks Afraid of Partial-Birth; Hubbell's Son; Poor Susan
Espy briefly noted.
- In addition
to arranging payments to Hubbell, the Clinton team gave his son a
job, but all four networks skip the discovery.
finally look at abortion debate. Dan Rather refers to "one
type of later-term abortions, what anti-abortion groups call,
quote 'partial-birth abortions.'"
- Poor Susan
McDougal. NBC relays her complaints about "inhuman"
conditions, such as "being served oatmeal that is cold and
- The May 20 CyberAlert listed several scandal developments and noted
that none had been picked up by a broadcast network. In fact, MRC news
analyst Gene Eliasen informed me that ABC did mention the White House
impeding the investigation of former Agriculture Secretary Espy. At
the end of a World News Tonight Saturday story on how one of Kenneth
Starr's staffers told a judge that Hillary Clinton could be indicted,
reporter Karla Davis noted:
"And the administration
is refusing to comment on another battle over subpoenas."
Mike McCurry, White House
press secretary: "I can't discuss it."
Davis: "In a 1994
statement, the White House said it would comply with a subpoena from
Donald Smaltz, the independent counsel investigating former
Agriculture Secretary Michael Espy. It was revealed just this week
that the White House, instead, is fighting in secret court proceedings
to block that subpoena, too. Karla Davis, ABC News, the White
- The May 20 CyberAlert
listed an incorrect address for the Heritage Foundation analysis of
the balanced budget deal. The correct address is:
- The May 15 CyberAlert cited
a quote from James Taylor saying that looking to the free-market for
solutions leads to "an armed camp mentality." I called
Taylor a "blues artist." I've been informed that is
incorrect. Some have told me that he's a folk singer while others
insist he's a pop singer.
-- The May 13 CyberAlert
referred to ABC anchor Rene Poissant. As my staff gleefully pointed
out, her name is spelled Renee Poussaint.
2) "Clinton Aide Kantor
OK'd U.S. Job for Hubbell's Son," announced a front page story in
the Tuesday, May 20 Los Angeles Times. David Willman discovered:
"In addition to the
employment deals in the private sector that were steered to Webster
Hubbell, a top Clinton administration official approved giving a
federal job to Hubbell's son soon after the senior Hubbell's
resignation from the Justice Department. Mickey Kantor, the top
Clinton political advisor who served four years in the President's
cabinet, signed off on a staff position for W. Walter Hubbell in the
U.S. Trade Representative's office. The hiring came in May 1994 - just
as Webster Hubbell had resigned as Associate Attorney General..."
Willman explained the
importance of the revelation: "The hiring is the first known use
by Clinton aides of the federal payroll to help the Hubbell family
after his resignation. It will compound the questions now being asked
by federal and congressional investigators about the administration's
effort to help the departing official - particularly whether it was
intended to discourage Hubbell from cooperating with the Whitewater
investigation of the Clintons."
Coverage: Not a word Tuesday
night on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN's The World
Today or NBC Nightly News. Nothing Tuesday morning either on ABC's
Good Morning America, CBS This Morning or NBC's Today.
UPDATE. CNN also
missed the stories. The May 20 CyberAlert listed several scandal
developments skipped by ABC, CBS and NBC (with the exception noted in
item #1). These were Congressman Gerald Solomon wanting an explanation
for the additional classified meetings attended by John Haung, the
White House not cooperating with the Espy probe, Senator Fred Thompson
complaining about trouble in getting documents, and more evidence that
the White House merged donor names into its database.
MRC news analyst Clay Waters
and intern Jessica Anderson have informed me that none were reported
on CNN's The World Today. CNN did report an item skipped by the other
networks: On May 13 anchor Kathleen Kennedy noted that Congressman
Solomon said MFN for China should be put on hold until the whereabouts
of Charlie Trie, thought to be in China, can be determined. Back on
April 1, however, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Trie
received $50,000 and $100,000 from a Chinese government owned bank
shortly before he donating similar amounts to the DNC, none of the
networks picked up the revelation.
3) It's a contentious issue
with passionate people on both sides. The public has made clear its
overwhelming opposition, leading a top Democrat to abandon his party's
traditional stance as his colleagues scurry for cover. But the
networks virtually ignore the developing story. The issue:
Last week the President
endorsed Senator Daschle's partial- birth abortion bill and the Senate
later defeated it. But during the week, of the evening shows, only NBC
Nightly News aired a story. And that story aired on Wednesday, May 14,
before the vote on the Daschle bill. NBC Nightly News viewers never
learned the outcome of the vote. But ABC World News Tonight, CBS
Evening News and CNN The World Today viewers didn't even hear the
Senate was debating the issue.
NBC's Today didn't mention
the issue all week. But ABC's Good Morning America aired one full
story (and a brief anchor-read item) and CBS This Morning two brief
items on May 16 from anchor Jane Robelot who referred to
"so-called partial birth abortions."
Finally, on Sunday, ABC's
World News Tonight picked up the story, offering the perspective of a
doctor who performs partial birth abortions. Anchor Carole Simpson
introduced the interview:
"The Senate votes this
week on one of the thorniest issues in the abortion battle, a bill
that would ban the procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion.
The medical name is intact dilation and extraction because a living
fetus is partially withdrawn from the womb, then the skull is vacuumed
out. It's one method used in late abortions, which occur between 20
and 24 weeks. They account for just one percent of all abortions.
Doctors point out that none of the methods for late abortions is
pretty, and most argue strongly that it's not the business of
lawmakers to tell them how to practice medicine. ABC's Aaron Brown sat
down for a conversation with a doctor, one of the few who has
performed late abortions. Dr. Richard Hausknecht."
Brown did challenge
Hausknecht ("Why should we not, as a society, say, 'Here are the
rules for this.' Why shouldn't we say that? Why should I leave the
rules to you?"), but the abortion doctor still got a platform to
argue against any restrictions.
On Monday ABC's John Cochran
reported that the AMA had endorsed Senator Rick Santorum's bill, but
neither NBC Nightly News or the CBS Evening News mentioned the
Tuesday night, all the
networks aired stories on the passage of Santorum's bill (banning
partial-birth abortion with narrow exceptions) by a less than
veto-proof majority. For NBC Nightly News it was their first story
since last Wednesday. For the CBS Evening News, the first one yet. Dan
Rather, unable to refrain from warning viewers about dangerous spin
forwarded by conservatives, intoned:
"In Washington, the
stage is set now for President Clinton's latest veto showdown with
Congress over abortion policy. The flashpoint again -- a U.S. Senate
vote today to ban one type of later-term abortions, what anti-abortion
groups call, quote 'partial-birth abortions.' The President says he
won't sign this ban unless it makes exceptions for the mother's
Reporter Bob Schieffer then
noted the AMA endorsement, aired a soundbite from Senate Minority
Leader Tom Daschle who voted for the Republican's bill and from
Senator Barbara Boxer warning about "turning back the
clock." Schieffer concluded by using a phrase favored by
"This is the closest
that the anti-abortion forces have ever come to putting limits on
abortion and of course they'll try again. But for now, abortion
remains a question to be decided only by a woman and her doctor."
CBS viewers heard nothing
about the debate over whether Daschle's bill was a real ban or a sham,
or anything about conservative arguments that the President's
"exceptions for the mother's health" must be so broad to
meet his standard that it would effectively obviate the ban.
4) Poor Susan McDougal. As
detailed in the April 24 CyberAlert, the April 23 CBS Evening News
portrayed her as a martyr and focused on her plight in a Los Angeles
jail. Prompted by her request to be released, Tuesday's Today offered
the same take.
News anchor Ann Curry stated
in the 7am news summary: "Lawyers for Whitewater figure Susan
McDougal are preparing to go to court in a bid to get her out of jail.
She has been jailed for seven months for refusing to testify before a
grand jury. More from NBC's Jim Miklaszewski."
"Susan McDougal wants out of jail. McDougal's lawyers will ask a
federal court to release her from jail, where she's being held for
contempt, for refusing to testify before a Whitewater grand jury.
Independent counsel Ken Starr says McDougal won't testify unless she's
given immunity from perjury."
Ken Starr: "In essence,
a license to lie."
Miklaszewski: "But in
her motion to the court, McDougal calls Starr 'the devil incarnate'
and says she won't do the 'bidding of the devil.' In a telephone
interview from a jail in Los Angeles County, McDougal told NBC News
Starr has threatened her family with indictments if she doesn't
Susan McDougal: "The
American people would be shocked to know the kinds of methods he's
used in his investigation to get the Clintons."
Miklaszewski: "She also
claims she's being held under conditions that are inhuman, including
solitary confinement, sexual harassment by male prisoners, and being
served oatmeal that is cold and gluey...."
Miklaszewski than ended his
story by reporting that Jim McDougal had been ordered to report to
prison. As with CBS, NBC failed to mention that McDougal was moved to
a Los Angeles jail so she could face California charges of embezzling
from a former employer.
Today didn't have time to
mention the revelation that the Clinton administration arranged a job
for Hubbell's son, but they did have time to tell us about McDougal's
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