Clinton's Calls Clipped; CBS Slams Brady Decision
Today's (Monday, June
30) Investor's Business Daily, the national newspaper "for people
who choose to succeed," dedicates a lengthy editorial to a list
of Clinton scandal developments not covered by one or more network
evening shows from February through April. Based upon information
provided by the MRC, it condenses in one place much of the scandal
coverage tracked in these MRC CyberAlerts.
- Clinton made
fundraising calls from the White House. But the evening shows all
ignore it as well as new evidence of John Huang's interest in CIA
briefings on China.
seemed like a logical idea," CBS reporter Jim Stewart says of
the Brady law in his his very slanted look at the court ruling.
- Dan Rather
equates making money in Hong Kong with controlling dissent. Tom
Brokaw asserts that pollution in China is the "price" of
- Theme of an
ABC story: All the money belongs to the government, which might be
"generous" and let you keep more.
1) Fundraising scandal
revelations keep coming but the networks keep passing.
-- Scandal Skipped #1:
A Thursday night AP dispatch revealed that notes from a White House
aide showed that the President made fundraising calls. The Washington
Post carried the AP story on Friday. The Wall Street Journal wrote up
its version under the headline: "Clinton Raised $500,000 by
Telephone, Notes from White House Aide Indicate." Friday's
Washington Times played the discovery on the front page, "Clinton
Implicated in Fundraising Calls: $500,000 solicited from the White
"Clinton Maintains He
Can't Remember Making Fundraising Calls," declared a follow-up
story in Saturday's Washington Post. Reporters Ann Devroy and Susan
Schmidt found: "The White House maintained yesterday that
President Clinton still cannot recall whether he telephoned potential
political donors seeking $100,000 contributions, although newly
disclosed memos suggest he personally requested the list of names and
was credited by an aide with raising $500,000."
So, how much coverage did
this non-denial of making fundraising calls from federal property, an
issue the networks did pick up when Al Gore held a press conference to
defend it, generate? After reviewing ABC's World News Tonight, CBS
Evening News and NBC Nightly News on both Friday and Saturday (June 27
and 28), plus the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows on Friday, here is
the totality of coverage:
During the 7am news on the
June 27 Good Morning America, anchor Elizabeth Vargas reported:
"Notes from a Clinton
administration aide have investigators trying to determine if the
President made fundraising phone calls from the White House. Mr.
Clinton has said he doesn't recall asking for contributions but that
he can't rule it out either. It is illegal to raise campaign money on
There you have it. One
anchor-read brief on one half hourly news update on one show. Today
and This Morning ignored the news, as did all the broadcast network
evening shows on both Friday and Saturday.
-- Scandal Skipped #2:
On Friday, June 27, Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Democrats
and Republicans agreed to offer immunity to four witnesses: two
Buddhist nuns at the Temple where Al Gore raised money, and to two
Maryland women who served as "straw donors" and donated
money on behalf of a business partner of Charles Trie. The Washington
Times played the story on page one, The New York Times and Washington
Post put it inside.
Coverage: Zilch on
Friday and Saturday's broadcast network evening shows.
-- Scandal Skipped #3:
"Huang Had Special Interest in China, CIA Officer
Testifies," announced a Saturday, June 28 Washington Times
headline over an AP story. Saturday's Washington Post offered a
headline emphasizing Huang's manners: "CIA Official Briefed 'Very
Polite' Huang 30 Times at Commerce Dept." The AP item in the
Washington Times began:
"John Huang, a central
figure in the campaign fundraising investigation, expressed a
particular interest in gathering secret intelligence about China,
according to testimony by the CIA officer who briefed Huang 37
times." The testimony was taken as part of a lawsuit filed by
Judicial Watch on whether Democratic donors were rewarded with trips
on trade missions.
Coverage: Again, not a
syllable on Friday and Saturday's ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening
News or NBC Nightly News.
2) Friday's Supreme Court
decision striking down the portion of the Brady law requiring local
officials to run background checks, brought fairly balanced stories
from ABC's Tim O'Brien and NBC's Pete Williams. But not from CBS.
In the very first sentence of
his June 27 story, reporter Jim Stewart endorsed the view of gun
"It seemed like a
logical idea. Pass a law that says before anyone can buy a handgun
they should first answer a few simple questions..."
After he read quotes from the
Antonin Scalia's majority opinion and John Stevens' minority opinion,
Stewart continued by showcasing how even those normally identified as
anti-gun control were baffled by the decision:
"Even gun dealers today
were a bit puzzled by the ruling. Don Davis of Indianapolis said the
background checks had allowed him to turn away dozens of convicted
Davis: "Oh, it's going
to increase sales. I'm going to make another million dollars. Hurray
for me, but America can't live with it, you can't live with it. All
you have to do is stand in this gun shop one day and you'll see you
that can't live with it."
(Memo to Davis: If you know
you are selling guns to people who are misusing them, then you can
stop selling them without any law.)
Stewart proceeded to note
that the White House called for states to continue the checks. Then,
three-fourths of the way into the piece, Stewart finally got around to
mentioning that sheriffs who brought case say it took too much time
and distracted from their duties. After a bite from a sheriff
suggesting that the Feds handle the checks, Stewart concluded with
what could have been lifted from the Handgun Control Inc. press
"No matter who does the
checking, supporters of the Brady law say one lesson from this is very
clear. If no background check is done anyone can walk into a gun store
and purchase a weapon, including the nearly quarter of a million
felons who tried to and were turned away the four years the Brady law
was in effect. Jim Stewart, CBS News, at the Supreme Court."
ABC and NBC portrayed the
decision as a setback for gun control and a victory for states rights,
but none of the networks approached the issue from another
conservative angle: as a victory for civil rights.
3) As Hong Kong moves from a
colony of a free country to a colony of a communist dictatorship, a
couple of interesting items from Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw.
-- Rob Geist of Craig Shirley
and Associates alerted me to what Dan Rather said in Philadelphia
Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister's June 26 column. Shister recounted
what Rather told her from Hong Kong:
"It's money that will
cause the biggest change in Hong Kong life, Rather predicts. The
Chinese government 'will do everything it can to create freedom to
make money, and that means keeping tight control on dissent.'"
That awful freedom really
doomed Hong Kong to economic disaster.
-- The June 24 CyberAlert
cited a report from China in which Dan Rather blamed a housing
shortage on too much capitalism and sympathized with the difficulties
of running such a large country. To be fair, on Friday night's Evening
News (June 27) Rather offered a tough look back at Tieneman Square. As
he stood in the square, Rather concluded:
"...The subject remains
so sensitive, to this date, government officials who monitor
everything we shoot anywhere in China have asked us not to mention
what happened here eight years ago. The square is sanitized and
patrolled today. But still when the wind comes up and makes the kites
dance over Tieneman you can't forget [video starts of soldiers
marching by] the hundreds killed and thousand imprisoned by the
government about to take over Hong Kong."
-- But on Friday night's NBC
Nightly News Tom Brokaw returned to Rather's earlier theme, blaming a
problem in China on capitalism instead of seeing as the result of
communism. Brokaw narrated a piece on the terrible pollution problem
throughout China. After showing a dirty river, Brokaw explained:
"...It's worse in the
canals. These farmers hope to make some extra money fishing, but their
nets come up empty. The water is not fit for humans or plants, even
machinery. Cancer rates are rising, the crops are withering. It's a
terrible price the Chinese people are paying for the rush to become a
modern industrial nation..."
No, it's the "terrible
price" they are paying for communist oppression. After the Berlin
Wall came down it became evident that the pollution problem was far
worse in the communist east than in the capitalist west.
Environmentalists may not be satisfied with U.S. environmental laws,
but as at least Western nations strive to balance economic growth and
environmental preservation. It's in communist nations where all the
factories are state-owned that the people have no voice in enacting
any environmental guidelines.
4) Summarizing the tax bills,
on Friday's World News Tonight ABC's John Cochran asserted: "Both
the Senate and the House would cut capital gains taxes. The difference
here is the House would be more generous by cutting taxes on
investment profits caused by inflation. Sorry investors, it probably
won't happen. Neither the Senate or the President wants to be that
money is it? Another way to look at it would be to say that the
government is so "greedy" that it refuses to stop taxing
illusionary gains caused by inflation.
Also on Friday's World News
Tonight, as viewers heard substitute anchor Aaron Brown say that the
Supreme Court will take up an affirmative action case in the fall,
viewers saw ABC's graphic with the words "Affirmitive
Action." Would it be too rude to wonder if an affirmative action
hire at ABC is in charge of spelling?
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