Tamraz Tanked; Molinari Complaints; Top Ten on Clinton
- Four stories
detail how the Clinton administration rewarded donors with
government deals, but all the networks look the other way. CNN
picks up a Huang disclosure from a week earlier.
indignant over Molinari, but they fail to acknowledge large number
of liberals in more influential posts.
"Top Ten Other Things President Clinton Won't Apologize
1) Four Clinton scandal
revelations suggesting the Clinton team rewarded donors with big
government deals have broken in print outlets since Saturday, but the
networks haven't bothered to report any of them.
-- "Commerce Kept List
of DNC Donors: Aide Backtracks on Department's Denial," read a
front page Washington Times story on May 31. Reporter Jerry Seper
discovered: "The Commerce Department, accused of selling seats to
Democratic campaign contributors for potentially lucrative foreign
trade missions, kept a list of confidential donors to the Democratic
National Committee, despite earlier denials that the documents
-- An Associated Press story
carried by newspapers on Saturday, May 31, began: "Lobbyist Peter
Knight, who served as President Clinton's 1996 campaign manager,
arranged numerous private meetings and dinners with a top Energy
Department official for clients who won millions of dollars in
government contracts, documents show....On more than one occasion, Mr.
Knight's clients made large donations to the Democratic Party or to
Mr. Clinton around the time the department made decisions favorable to
-- In the June 9 Time
magazine, out on Monday, Michael Weisskopf uncovered how DNC donor
Bill Haney has been taken care of by Al Gore. Weisskopf explained:
"Since the Vice President took office, the Energy Department's
cleanup division, headed until recently by a Gore protege, has awarded
Haney's Molten Metal Technology $33 million to test its process on the
poisoned remains of nuclear weapons proving grounds -- more money than
17 other companies have received collectively to do the same job. More
startling is that the department kept lavishing dollars on the firm
until this March, despite the advice of the government's own experts
who, according to documents obtained by Time, repeatedly challenged
the effectiveness of Molten Metal's technology."
-- Remember Roger Tamraz, the
Lebanese-American interested in building an oil pipeline from the
Caspian Sea to Turkey and who the NSC opposed letting attend a White
House event? He made the front page of Wednesday's Washington Post and
Los Angeles Times as the White House admitted it helped him more than
previously conceded. The June 4 Los Angeles Times reported:
"President Clinton asked a senior White House official to look
into whether the United States should support an international
business venture of a major Democratic campaign contributor after the
donor approached him about it at a White House reception last year,
administration officials said Tuesday."
Coverage? Not a word from the
networks on any of the four stories, not even CNN. MRC analysts Clay
Waters, Geoffrey Dickens, Steve Kaminski and Gene Eliasen have
reviewed network shows and not seen any mention, since May 30, on:
ABC's Good Morning America and World News Tonight, CBS This Morning
and CBS Evening News, CNN's The World Today and Inside Politics, and
NBC's Today and Nightly News.
UPDATE: CNN covered a
story skipped by the other networks. The May 29 CyberAlert reported
that while CNN's World Today noted on May 23 that the Republican Party
received a large and legal donation from the founder of Amway, CNN
ignored a May 25 Los Angeles Times story on how John Huang raised
money while a Commerce Department employee. To hide the illegal
activity the DNC listed Huang's wife, Jane, as the
CNN viewers just had to wait
nine days. On the June 3 World Today CNN anchor Joie Chen offered a
brief item, MRC analyst Clay Water informed me, on how the Senate had
subpoenaed Jane Huang's financial records because the DNC listed her
as the donation solicitor while her husband worked at Commerce.
It may have taken CNN nine
days, but at least they eventually reported the intriguing revelation.
That's more than you can say for ABC, CBS and NBC.
2) The MRC's op-ed piece that
appeared in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal, "Media Revolving
Door Spins Faster for Liberals," is now up on our Web site. It's
hard to get every point into an 800 word article, so here are some
additional illustrations of media indignation and hypocrisy as well as
the failure of some reporters to reveal their own political histories
when discussing Susan Molinari's jump to CBS News.
(See the May 29 CyberAlert
for a Revolving Door count and some talking points.)
THEME #1: A politician
like Molinari will tar CBS News for the first time with partisan bias.
-- "The GOP News from
CBS," read the headline over a May 29 New York Times editorial
which argued: "With the hiring of Representative Susan Molinari
to move directly from Congress to the anchor desk, CBS has reduced the
wall [between news and politics] to dust. In fact, having already
hired Laura Ingraham, CBS News now employs more famous Republican
women than the Republican National Committee does."
REALITY CHECK: I don't
recall the Times complaining about the man Ingraham replaced: liberal
Joe Klein. CBS will have to air Ingraham's Sunday Evening News pieces
for a couple of more years in order to equal the number of Klein
stories they ran.
-- Washington Post media
reporter Howard Kurtz reported on June 2 that "Many CBS staffers
are riled about Molinari's hiring, noting that she's married to New
York Rep. Bill Paxon, a member of the GOP leadership. 'How many
stories is she going to have to recuse herself from?' one
REALITY CHECK: If
Molinari's Saturday show follows the lead of NBC's Saturday Today,
there won't be any politics to recuse herself from. As determined by
the MRC's Tim Graham in providing material to Brent Bozell for his
syndicated column, in the midst of the Clinton scandal stories that
broke on Saturday (see item #1 above), the May 31 Today ignored them
all. Instead, interview segments explored a book by an actress on
dating, wolves in Yellowstone Park, a science fair, how children
relate to their friends, a Road & Track magazine classic auto
show, bathing suit fashions, a review of two new movies, and finally,
a cooking segment.
THEME #2: Denounce the
CBS decision to hire a politician without mentioning that CBS has
already put liberal political operatives in more powerful positions.
-- A representative question
from the hostile reporters to Molinari during the May 28 CBS press
conference announcing her move: "What about the barricade that is
supposed to exist in journalism between the political people and the
officials on the one hand, and the reporters on the other? Aren't you
tearing that barricade down?"
REALITY CHECK: As
noted in more detail the Wall Street Journal piece, CBS News Senior
Political Editor Dotty Lynch "directed polling for George
McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, The Democratic National Committee
and the 1984 Mondale campaign, all before joining CBS in 1985."
-- The Washington Post's
Howard Kurtz on last weekend's Inside Washington, as transcribed by
MRC intern Jessica Anderson: "Well, it really just obliterates
the line that used to separate the two professions. And it's kind of
an insult to journalism, Gordon [Peterson], because, you know,
according to this star-maker mentality, what matters is not reporting
experience -- standing in the rain, as you put it -- or experience or
fairness, but celebrity, and to take a partisan member of Congress and
just magically transform him, or her, with the wave of a wand, into an
anchor who can sit behind that CBS logo with a statue of Dan Rather,
just is not what I consider journalism."
Molinari's not he first politician to join CBS. And while she only
influences one show, Dotty Lynch and David Burke, who served from 1965
to 1971 David Burke as chief of staff to Senator Ted Kennedy, oversee
the entire network. In 1969 he coordinated Kennedy's spin on
Chappaquiddick. Burke went to work for New York Governor Hugh Carey
and then went right to ABC News as a VP in 1977. In 1988 he jumped to
CBS News as President until 1990.
THEME #3: Act appalled
by the CBS selection without mentioning the political operatives
running your outlet.
-- On the June 1 Fox News
Sunday, in a quote transcribed by MRC intern Ian Alexander, National
Public Radio's Mara Liasson complained: "Well, I think it's
disturbing. I mean, she's is not going to be a commentator or a part
of a show where she's clearly identified with her partisan point of
view -- she's going to be an anchor. And I think it means, it sends
the message that there's no such thing as journalism anymore. It's all
just about celebrity-hood and name recognition and I think it's, I
think it's disturbing."
REALITY CHECK: See the
Wall Street Journal piece for more detail, but every President of NPR
has come from Democratic politics. Current President Delano Lewis
raised money for DC Mayor Marion Barry; previous President Douglas
Bennet headed AID for President Carter and left NPR for an Assistant
Secretary of State slot under Clinton; and he had replaced at NPR an
operative for George McGovern.
THEME #4: Discuss
Molinari without mentioning your own political background or the
political past of who you cite.
-- Time columnist and former
Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Margaret Carlson appeared on both
Saturday's Capital Gang and Sunday's Late Edition.
REALITY CHECK: In
neither CNN appearance did she inform viewers about an item on her
resume: top policy aide and speechwriter to the Chairman of the
Consumer Product Safety Commission from 1977 to 1981, the Carter
-- In a May 30 story on the
front page of the Los Angeles Times, reporter Jane Hall observed that
"TV news executives argue that former politicians can provide
viewers with valuable insights into the way government and politics
really work." She then offered the recollection of CNN President
Tom Johnson: "As Lyndon Johnson once said," about the group
of Ivy League academics in his Cabinet, "'It would help if one of
you had been elected sheriff.'" Shaw proceded to her next point
without bothering to mention Johnson's background.
REALITY CHECK: When
viewers and readers know someone's background, as is clearly the case
with Molinari, they can factor that in to how they evaluate that media
personality's presentation. The problem is that those with the most
influence are the ones the public knows the least about. The LA Times
story failed to note that Tom Johnson, who oversees CNN 24 hours a
day, knows what President Johnson said because he once toiled as a
Special Assistant to President Johnson.
-- MSNBC's The News with
Brian Williams on May 28 brought on Marvin Kalb to talk about Molinari.
Williams opened the segment: "Full disclosure from the newsroom
here, when the story broke last night, a lot of us thought it was
either a misprint or a hoax.... Today Molinari got some tough
questions from the New York press corps. Reporters, who wondered aloud
whether she could go from being a very partisan Republican to a
fair-minded journalist, which should be redundant."
Philadelphia Inquirer TV
columnist Gail Shister found Williams less than pleased with
Molinari's jump. She reported June 2: "'The first rule for a
journalist should be smarts, an awareness of the world,' Williams
says. 'We all kind of cringe when this happens. You want to say, Then
why am I up till 2am reading everything I have to read every night of
my life? Why am I honing journalistic skills when that's not
REALITY CHECK: Full
disclosure from Williams? Not quite. He only went into journalism when
his first career in the Carter White House came to an abrupt end with
Reagan's victory. Picking up a May 7, 1995 Los Angeles Times profile
at the point where Williams leaves George Washington University early,
the Times revealed: "Through a friend of a friend he got an
internship at the White House, then occupied by President Jimmy
Carter. Eventually it became a paying job and Williams put college on
hold....When Carter lost his bid for re-election in 1980, Williams
found an entry-level job at the National Assn. Of Broadcasters."
THEME #5: Pretend
journalists who have not worked for a politician are free of any bias.
-- Plugging the Inside
Washington discussion, host Gordon Peterson asked: "When we come
back, Congresswoman becomes an news anchor on the network of Morrow,
Sevareid, and Cronkite. Does that disturb anyone here? We'll discuss
it when we come back."
REALITY CHECK: Here's
an example of the analysis provided by the politically untainted Eric
Sevareid: Referring to Jesse Jackson during CBS News coverage of the
1988 Democratic convention, Sevareid insisted: "He has become
here, a kind of new, he's acquired a new status. He's almost like
Hubert Humphrey was, sort of conscience of the country."
The bottom line: Molinari
can't be any more partisan than Bryant Gumbel was for 15 years on
3) From the June 3 Late Show
with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Other Things President Clinton
Won't Apologize For." Copyright 1997 by Worldwide Pants
10. That clumsy pass he
made at Mrs. Yeltsin
"Casa de Tubby" on the side of the White House
8. Trying to impress his
dates by wearing underpants that read, "The buck stops
7. Spreading rumor that Bob
Dole is old when, in fact, he's only
6. Playing the "Bubbasaurus"
in "Ghost Dinosaur 97"
5. His short-lived sitcom,
"Everybody Loves Fatboy"
4. Requiring all female
White House staffers to wear Hooters uniforms
3. Being such a handsome
2. His five-year affair
with Frank Gifford
Okay, so not one of
Letterman's better lists, but a sign that the late-night comedians
feel the public knows enough about the Paula Jones case to
understand jokes about it.
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