CBS Delivers Disaster Aid to Dems; Clinton a Great Father
- In typical
one-sided report, CBS insisted that everything was fine with
disaster bill until "the Republicans tacked on some other
provisions they knew the White House did not want."
- To CNN French
racists and House conservatives who "shut down" the
government are both "extremists" that voters rejected.
- Forget sexual
harassment, how well Chelsea turned out is "a better
measure" of the man, Margaret Carlson contended.
1) The networks continue to
forward the White House spin on the congressional-White House battle
over the disaster relief bill. The June 9 CyberAlert described a June
6 ABC World News Tonight diatribe. Today, an examples from CBS.
To fully comprehend the slant
of coverage provided Tuesday night by CBS you really have to see their
entire stories. So, tanks to some transcribing work by MRC intern Ian
Alexander, here's what June 10 CBS Evening News viewers learned:
Dan Rather started out
balanced, but his presentation quickly deteriorated: "President
Clinton and Republican congressional leaders are playing a political
blame game today. Each is trying to avoid blame and political disaster
over Congress's stalemate on the Federal Disaster Relief bill. For his
part, President Clinton said today that he'd vetoed the bill because
of what he sees as totally unrelated provisions Republicans tacked
President Clinton: "In
the name of the people who've had to face the floods, in the name of
the families who've suffered and need their help now, I ask the
majority to put aside the political gains, to set aside the political
wish list. We can negotiate on all this later. And instead just send
me a strait forward disaster relief bill."
Rather: "So, how did a
simple attempt to provide disaster relief for flood victims in the
upper Midwest turn into Washington's latest political gridlock
disaster? And what happens now to turn the tide? CBS News Chief
Washington Correspondent, Bob Schieffer, has been following the story.
Schieffer: "Dan, what
you're seeing here is Washington at its very worst, when good
intentions become tangled up in partisan politics. It all started 80
days ago when the President called for just over a billion dollars in
flood relief aid. Congress added another billion and a half that was
tacked on to a catch-all bill that had already been crafted to pay for
everything from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and veterans'
benefits, to American troops in Bosnia. Up to that point, no problem.
But then the Republicans tacked on some other provisions they knew the
White House did not want. One provision bars a new technique the
government wants to use to take the next census, a technique
Republicans believe will over-estimate minorities and require
congressional districts to be redrawn at Republican expense. The other
provision bars government shutdown should Congress and the White House
fail to reach future budget agreements. Republicans figured the
President would accept those provisions rather than veto a bill that
included flood aid. But the President called the Republican bluff,
vetoed the bill, and sicked the Vice President on the
Vice President Gore, speaking
in slow motion: "This is a colossal mistake. This is not
complicated. People in this nation see through this. Stop it."
Schieffer: "But after
arguing all day, and with no compromise in sight, Senate Republicans
went home as Democrats set up a Capitol war room, here they'll spend
the night calling attention to the situation by using on-line computer
chats and giving interviews to TV stations around the country.
Note the lack of any
Republican soundbites to balance Clinton and Gore. Also note how
everything was great until the Republicans "tacked on some other
provisions," as if this were a new legislative maneuver.
So, where did Rather go for
his next story? To the GOP view. Well, no. Immediately after Schieffer,
Rather continued: "Thanks, Bob. Now, Bill Plante at the White
House. What's the view tonight from there?"
Bill Plante: "Well, Dan,
putting the President in the Rose Garden to bash the Republicans may
look like a lousy way to get a compromise, but the White House is
clearly trying to make Congress feel the heat. Now the Republicans
have threatened to send back a bill, minus the things the President
objects to, but with less money for disaster relief. And if that
happens, White House spin will go into overdrive. That would be the
final insult, one official told us. 'Let the Republicans then explain
to the people who need help why they gave them less money.' The
administration loves this battle, because the polls tell them they're
Maybe they are winning
because of slanted news coverage like this provided by CBS News that
doesn't bother with giving equal weight and time to the Republican
It isn't as if flood victims
are not being helped by programs and funding already in place. Even
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says so. In a June 11
press release, FEMA announced:
"...More than 5,100
South Dakota residences have been inspected for flood damage. More
than 4,000 residents have received assistance through the Disaster
Housing program and more than $5.8 million has been distributed.
Seventy eight percent of the Individual & Family Grant Program
cases sent to the State have been closed.
"The Small Business
Administration (SBA) has approved $7,398,300 in loans to individuals
and businesses. The SBA has received nearly 2,000 applications for
assistance from homeowners, renters and businesses and has approved
more than 25 percent of them. An additional 250 applications are in
various stages of verification and processing."
(You can read the whole
Another area I've yet to see
explored in network coverage: How many South Dakota and Minnesota
flood victims bought flood insurance earlier this year when they knew
floods were sure to occur after the heavier than normal snow melted?
Communications Director for the North Dakota Republican Party, Carter
Wood, sent me a fax with an interesting comment on the June 9
CyberAlert item on ABC's disaster bill story. John Cochran had begun
his report by asserting that "Flood victims in Grand Forks do not
understand why Republican leaders refuse to pass an aid bill without
Cochran noted that even
conservatives were upset: "Doug Spray is a life-long conservative
Doug Spray: "I believed
in these guys and I voted for some of them and I'm beginning to lose
my faith in the conservative party."
Carter countered: "Not
quite. The Republican Party conducted a voter identification survey in
September 1996. Sprehe (correct spelling) identified himself as
leaning Democrat. He said he would vote for U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, a
Democrat, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lee Kaldor....North
Dakota lacks voter registration, so you can't really verify Sprehe's
politics. But calling him a lifelong conservative Republican is simply
2) Parties on the left win in
Britain, France and Canada. "Is the world moving to the
left?" CNN analyst Bill Schneider asked on the June 5 Inside
Politics. "Newt Gingrich doesn't think so. He claims the
conservatives did badly in every country because they strayed from the
conservative agenda. They raised taxes. Good spin, but it's only part
of the story. There's a larger message -- several, in fact."
Schneider's lessons were that "It's hard to sell austerity,"
"The left is not dead," "Don't threaten the safety
net," and finally: "The right has been tainted by extremism.
The strong showing of Jean Le Pen's racist, anti-immigrant and
anti-Europe party in France; the Reform party's threat to Canadian
unity; ideological hard-liners willing to isolate Britain from Europe
or shut down the federal government here in the U.S. Voters who once
rejected the left for being irresponsible are now rejecting the right
for being too extreme."
There you have it: a
"racist" French party in France that wants to fundamentally
alter the structure of society is the same as American conservatives
who wanted to slightly reduce to the soaring rate of spending in order
to lead to a balanced budget after the turn of the century.
3) Bill Clinton may be a
philandering sexual harasser, but hey, he is a great father. Just look
at Chelsea. Or so argues Time magazine's Margaret Carlson. As observed
by MRC analyst Gene Eliasen, on the June 5 Good Morning America,
Carlson marveled at Chelsea's success:
"The President's giving
the commencement address tomorrow, which by the way they're keeping
cameras out of, so that it remains a personal event. And at the very
moment that her father is in the headlines for this sexual harassment
suit by Paula Jones, and I think there's always an edge of surprise in
our voices that Chelsea has turned out so well and it's not just
because she's in the White House but because, well, look at all the
criticism of her father and the character question, but I think this
is another example that it's not the measure of a man, it's not the
total measure of a man whether he's, you know quote, caused pain in
his marriage. The children we give to the world are a better measure
of that and I think she's a great example that there's a side and
there's a goodness to Clinton as a father that we don't see except
when we see her."
Another way to look at
Chelsea: In Little Rock the Clintons hired good Nannies to raise and
care for her while Hillary was traveling the country for liberal
causes and Bill was taking advantage of her absences to visit lady
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe