Scoop on Ron Brown; Today's Double Standard on David Brock
- Ron Brown
intimate Nolanda Hill tells ABC that Brown did cocaine, only fear
of arrest by FBI prevented him from accepting payoff by Vietnam,
and she paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars from company
earnings for which he put up no investment.
- Today gives
David Brock a platform to blast conservatives, a forum he didn't
get when Anita Hill and liberals were his target.
- ABC and NBC
offer viewers hormone studies and UFO sightings, not politics.
1) Wednesday night's Prime
Time Live featured a story from Brian Ross, really the only true
political investigative reporter employed by a broadcast network. He
relayed some explosive charges from Nolanda Hill, long-time business
partner of the late Ron Brown. The question is, will this spur some
media interest in his nefarious dealings, or will the networks drop
the story, as they did when some of the charges Hill now confirms were
first raised in early 1995.
In brief, on Prime Time Live,
-- Asserted that while Secretary of Commerce, Ron Brown regularly went
to her apartment after work and smoked marijuana with her. She also
claimed he once did a line of cocaine in her apartment.
-- Confirmed the charge that
she paid him hundreds of thousands of dollars for his interest in her
businesses for which he had paid nothing to acquire.
-- Elaborated on allegations
that Vietnam was set to payoff Brown for advocating normal trade
relations with the country by informing Ross that the payoff never
occurred because Brown was tipped that the FBI was tracking the
scheme. Ross pegged the missed payola at $700,000.
-- Reported that the Lums
paid Brown $60,000 while he was Commerce Secretary and that they hired
Brown's son, Michael, in order to quietly funnel money to Ron Brown.
(See the May 22 CyberAlert for a summary of a Frontline story on the
Lums and Ron Brown)
-- Told Ross how Brown
believed Hillary Clinton placed John Huang in his Commerce slot.
-- Reported that the White
House sent Ron Brown to China in 1994 to urge officials to approve a
billion dollar power project involving the Lippo Bank.
At about midnight tonight I
was unable to find a wire story on this anywhere on the Internet and
the ABC News Web site (abcnews.com) didn't have a word about it, so I
put together the above list by playing back the PTL story. Therefore,
I'm not too confident any of this will get much play. If that's true,
it wouldn't be the first time the media backed off the story:
-- The February 1995
MediaWatch noted that on January 14 the Washington Post reported that
Brown failed to report income from a business bailed out by taxpayers,
a deal involving Nolanda Hill. "Despite numerous follow-up
stories and congressional demands he resign, ABC, CBS and NBC aired
only one story, the first 13 days later on January 27.
-- The March 1995 MediaWatch
reported that all the network evening shows ran a piece on the
February 16 decision by the Justice Department to open an
investigation of Brown. "But curiosity quickly ebbed. NBC
followed up with two stories, CBS and CNN World News with a story
each. In all, the networks devoted eight stories to Brown in February.
Even the revelation in the February 25 Washington Post that NBC had
forgiven a $10 million loan defaulted on by a partnership including
Brown failed to pique their curiosity, although questions about
federal regulation of Fox drove the Gingrich book story."
2) NBC's Today invited on The
American Spectator's David Brock to discuss his piece in the July
Esquire magazine in which he condemns conservatives for supposedly
turning on him when they found his book on Hillary Clinton too
Matt Lauer introduced the
June 18 interview:
"Journalist David Brock was the darling of Washington
conservatives with his attacks on Anita Hill and his reports about
Bill Clinton's alleged infidelities, but last summer he published The
Seduction of Hillary Rodham, a biography some conservatives thought
too sympathetic to the First Lady. Now Brock details his fall from
grace in the conservative community in the current issue of Esquire
Lauer, as transcribed by MRC
intern Jessica Anderson, first asked: "You really were the
darling of the conservatives. If there were a conservative cause, you
wrote about it. If there was a liberal cause, you skewered it. What
was it, though, that you put into this book about Hillary Rodham
Clinton that upset your friends so much, or what didn't you put in the
book that upset them?"
Brock replied: "Well, I
think that the expectation was, based on my reputation, that this book
would be a hit piece, and what I found is, in the reporting, that it
was a much more mixed picture of Hillary Clinton. There was grounds
for criticizing Hillary Clinton, but that she also had some very
admirable traits, and I think what happened is the conservatives just
didn't want to concede that there were any admirable traits. They
wanted a caricature that I didn't give them, and the result of that,
as I detail in this Esquire piece, and also of my earlier criticism of
the Gary Aldrich book, which put out a false story about the
President, and I had some information about that. I came forward and
said, 'Hey, that's wrong.' That made them mad, the Hillary book made
them mad, and the result was, you know, dis-invitation to parties,
denounced as a turncoat, my motives were questioned. In the Aldrich
case, I'm gay and my sexuality was even used to discredit what I was
saying about Gary Aldrich. So I was thrown away, in some sorts."
Some of Lauer's other
-- Lauer: "And not being
invited to parties is, alright, but that's no big deal, socially. But
basically the problem is, you're saying, they looked at you not as a
journalist, who would tell a fair story, they looked at you as someone
who would be a hit man for their cause."
-- Lauer: "But even
though, some people think this sounds a little disingenuous because
when you wrote your Troopergate article talking about Bill Clinton's
alleged infidelities as governor of Arkansas, you even say in the
Esquire piece that you saw it as an eye for an eye, a way to get back
at the Bork problems, about the liberal attacks on Clarence Thomas. An
eye for an eye doesn't sound like journalism."
"...What I'm saying now is, 'I can't be on that team anymore,'
because I found out that my own side wasn't honest."
-- Lauer: "Alright, when
you say 'the team,' give me names of the players....Like who?"
Brock explained: "The
people who tell them [conservatives] what to think. The Wall Street
Journal editorial page, which really backed this Aldrich book on day
one, and all through the following months, even after they knew that
it was knowingly false."
-- Lauer: "Give me some
other names that people will recognize."
Brock: "Well, look, all
of the conservative talk radio: Gordon Liddy, Ollie North. These guys
had me on when I was useful. When I had my Hillary book out, they
wouldn't have me on, and I have a problem with that. It wasn't
open-minded. Look, have me on and disagree with me. Say, 'You're wrong
about Hillary because of this and this and this.' No, they shut it
down and what I'm trying to say is that that's not the function of
journalism. Even within the conservative movement, we've got to look
at ourselves, we've got to be self-critical."
-- Lauer: "This may be
the spin from those conservatives you're talking about -- But some of
them claim that when you wrote the Hillary book, you were looking for
publicity, and now the hurt-puppy routine that you're going through
right now, is more of a quest for publicity."
Lauer ended with a
challenging question, but up to then he prompted Brock through a
series of attacks on conservatives. As MediaWatch Associate Editor Tim
Graham reminded me, that isn't the treatment conservatives and Brock
got when he appeared on Today to discuss his book on Anita Hill. As
recounted in the May 1993 MediaWatch:
"On May 3, 1993, Today
co-host Katie Couric interviewed David Brock, who has picked Hill's
case apart in a new book, The Real Anita Hill. But instead of having
him on alone Today forced Brock to share the ten-minute segment with
Hill defender Charles Ogletree, who trashed the book: 'It's a great
piece of fiction, but he doesn't deal with fact. He makes countless
errors of fact, he tells outright lies, he refers to statements that
have been proven false. And it's a dupe. I think the most important
thing is that journalists should take a look at David Brock's book and
find out about the real David Brock.'
"Today co-host Katie
Couric also questioned Brock's bias: 'You do, though, Mr. Brock, have
some innate biases, don't you? I mean The American Spectator [where
Brock's revelations first appeared] is an ultraconservative magazine,
and it seems as if you are an advocate for Justice Thomas in the book.
Is it really fair to call yourself an objective journalist?'"
The NBC standard: Attack a
liberal icon and you must be balanced by a liberal and your
ideological bias will be highlighted. Attack conservatives for lacking
integrity and honesty and you get an unchallenged platform.
Three personal comments.
1) I'd note that while the
credibility of Aldrich's book was foolishly compromised by the
decision to include a couple of uncorroborated allegations, that
doesn't mean the rest of the book isn't accurate. Brock should have
some sympathy for Aldrich's plight given how Brock's Anita Hill book
was nit-picked by liberals.
2) Speaking as a Washington
conservative, I think it's accurate to say that DC conservatives had
little to do with pushing Aldrich's book -- conservatives across the
country made Aldrich's book a top seller.
3) The source of much of the
most irresponsible allegations about Clinton -- the baseless charges
that distract from more serious ethics matters -- come from people who
are not part of the conservative leadership in DC and New York that
Brock disparaged. One example: The tape distributed by Jerry Falwell
that implicates Bill Clinton in several murders.
3) News you can use.
Wednesday night's network shows provided a nice illustration of how
the networks avoid political news as much as possible. The House
committee looking at campaign finance met as did a senate committee
writing a tax bill, but ABC and NBC ignored both. The CBS Evening News
led with the Southern Baptist boycott of Disney (owner of rival ABC),
ran a brief story on the tax bill and a pretty hard-hitting story on
how the White House should handle the Paula Jones case, but ABC and
NBC avoided politics altogether. Both ran stories on estrogen, and for
a reason I do not comprehend, both decided that on June 18 a March 13
UFO sighting in Arizona deserved a full report.
Here's a run down of the June
18 shows. (Anchor means just a brief item read by the anchor)
ABC's World News Tonight:
- Study of estrogen hormone
replacement and impact on Alzheimers
- Effectiveness of various
- Tobacco talks with AGs
- Southern Baptists voting
to boycott Disney (anchor)
- Washington voter approval
for new Seahawks stadium (anchor)
- Pol Pot captured
- How CIA shooter Kansi
- Prime Minister of Turkey
- Senate voted to keep
McVeigh out of military cemetery (anchor)
- New Post Office computer
can read hand-addressed envelopes
- Availability of voice
- UFO sighting in Arizona
back on March 13
NBC Nightly News:
- Tobacco talks
- Estrogen study/hormone
replacement for women
- Pol Pot captured
- Senate voted to deny
McVeigh military cemetery (anchor)
- OJ's Heisman Trophy found
- How CIA shooter found
- Southern Baptist boycott
of Disney (anchor)
- Senate committee raising
Medicare deductibles (anchor)
- Mississippi attracting
retires from North
- Dallas bank is building
new branch around house of 90 year old man who won't move (anchor)
- UFO sighting in Arizona
If only Charlie Trie, John
Huang and Webster Hubbell would claim to have seen a UFO. Then they'd
get on the network news.
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