Nets Finally Find Hearings Newsworthy; CBS on Clinton's
1) Two of three
Wednesday morning shows ignored fundraising but made time for multiple
segments on Cosby's paternity test.
2) For second
night in row all three networks ran full fundraising stories, but NBC
didn't bother reporting how the Clinton team delayed admitting that
Mr. Wu visited the White House ten times.
3) The CBS
Evening News reported that Paula Jones' lawyers have subpoenaed
another woman whom Bill Clinton supposedly harassed.
>>>> The MRC's
new fax reports, Media Reality Check: A Daily Report on the Media's
Coverage of the Campaign Finance Scandal Hearings, can now be read
from the MRC home page or directly from: http://mediaresearch.org/mrc/reality/faxrep.html
1) An FBI
agent's testimony about how Charlie Trie laundered foreign money that
he delivered to the Democratic Party prompted stories on all the
broadcast network evening shows Tuesday night, but by Wednesday
morning two of three didn't consider it newsworthy. Neither ABC's Good
Morning America, for the second day in a row, or This Morning on CBS
mentioned a syllable about fundraising. July 30 marked the 15th
morning that CBS failed to utter a word about the fundraising scandal:
This Morning's last story aired way back on July 9.
Only NBC's Today featured a fundraising story, its first since last
Friday. During the 7am news update NBC ran a story from Joe Johns
re-capping the FBI agent's revelations from Tuesday.
GMA couldn't find time for fundraising, but made room in the 7am news
update not only for the Jerusalem bombing and Michigan car crash that
killed nine children, but also for items on JonBenet Ramsey and Andrew
Cunanan. GMA devoted the first interview segment to Autumn Jackson's
mother and her attorney followed by a talk with Bill Cosby's attorney.
NBC raced all three across Manhattan to Rockefeller Center so they
could appear in the same order and combination on Today during the
7:30am half hour. An interview with the Mayor of Fort Collins,
Colorado about deadly flooding in her city finished off GMA's first
half hour. The next half hour featured live coverage from Spencer
Christian in Chincoteague, Virginia of the annual pony swim.
Cosby also dominated This Morning. With This Morning's mixed
local/national format in the first hour, the show's top interviews of
the day run in the 8am half hour. Wednesday featured three segments:
Dr. Howard Torman on how paternity tests work, a Jane Robelot
interview, with the head of the ABA paternity committee, on the legal
implications of Cosby taking a paternity test, and third, a Window on
America piece by Hattie Kauffman on how the Earth Conservation Corps
is trying to bring the Bald Eagle back to Washington, DC.
viewers got a taste of the hearings as CNN went live at 10:09am ET to
the opening statement of Michael Cardozo, head of the Clinton Legal
Defense Fund. At 10:26am CNN switched to Richard Jewell's statement to
the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on crime, jumping back to
the Senate hearing at 10:42. Less than ten minutes later CNN ceased
its live coverage, running hourly updates from Candy Crowley or Brooks
Jackson the rest of he day.
MSNBC did not offer any live coverage, just updates from the Hart
Building from Joe Johns, but MSNBC did go live to Jewell for about 15
evidence of illegal donations and obstructionist tactics by the White
House may have hit critical mass on Wednesday for the networks: For
the first time since the hearings began July 8, with July 30 stories
the three broadcast networks had all aired full stories for two days
in a row. Two themes emerged Wednesday: Senator Fred Thompson lashed
out in anger at the White House for waiting until after Tuesday's
hearing on Trie and Mr. Wu to release documents detailing Wu's White
House visits; and Wednesday's hearings explored how Trie funneled
funny money to Clinton's Legal Defense Fund.
ABC (as well as CNN) reported only on the Wu
angle and NBC only on the defense fund. CBS hit both. Here's a network
by network rundown made possible by some nighttime transcribing work
by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:
On ABC's World News Tonight Diane Sawyer introduced the story:
"In Washington today, tempers flashed at
the campaign finance hearings after the White House finally released
documents about the Asian businessman known as Mr. Wu."
Linda Douglass elaborated: "One
Administration official called it 'an amazing coincidence.' Just hours
after the Senate committee investigating campaign finance held
hearings focusing on a mysterious Chinese tycoon named Mr. Wu, the
White House discovered records showing Mr. Wu visited the White House
ten times. One time, he even had dinner with the President. The
documents were turned over too late to help Senate investigators, who
spent all day yesterday trying to figure out why Mr. Wu funneled tens
of thousands of dollars in illegal foreign contributions into the
Democratic Party. Today, the committee chairman charged the White
House is playing games."
Senator Fred Thompson: "They have no
credibility, as far as I'm concerned. They have not operated in good
faith, and this is just the last, most classic, most public example of
Douglass then summarized Wu's access:
"Mr. Wu is a citizen of Macau, the Portugese colony at the tip of
China. He is an advisor to the Chinese government and speaks no
English. Yet on February 16, 1995, he got to dine in the First
Family's residence in the White House, along with 80 big donors. And
last year Mr. Wu got two private tours of the White House. On one of
them, he was accompanied by another powerful Chinese businessman, Wang
Jun, head of one of China's biggest arms-trading companies.
Douglass concluded with the Clinton team's
spin: "White House officials insisted tonight they're not hiding
anything, and they claim they didn't know Mr. Wu was a priority for
the committee. Besides, they say, they just discovered the records
lying around in a box. Whatever the explanation, relations between the
committee and the White House have hit a new low."
Dan Rather announced on the July 30 CBS Evening News:
"The investigation into dirty money and
foreign cash in U.S. political campaigns moved both deeper and higher
up today, into this country's political power circle. Still at the
center of today's testimony, the wheeling and dealing by two men from
Asia." Bob Schieffer noted the White House delay in document
release and ran a soundbite from a "furious" Thompson. Then
he picked up on what the Senators heard on Wednesday, a topic skipped
"And today the committee heard how Trie,
who brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in questionable
campaign contributions, brought in thousands more to the President's
legal defense fund."
Following a q&a exchange with the Clinton Legal Defense Fund's
Michael Cardozo, Schieffer explained the concern:
"Defense fund trustees were never sure
just where the money came from, so they returned it. What interests
Senators is that at the time Trie was delivering all this money, he
was also writing to the President urging him not to provoke China by
sending U.S. warships into the Taiwan Straits. The letter was taken
seriously enough that the White House National Security Advisor,
Anthony Lake, drafted a reply, which the President signed."
ABC concluded with the White House view that
they did nothing wrong, but Schieffer ended by highlighting Thompson's
perspective that the Clinton team had obstructed: "So the
committee wants more details, and quickly. Chairman Thompson says he
is so fed up with White House foot-dragging, that he'll soon issue the
committee's first subpoenas for White House documents."
The ABC and CBS stories ran just after the first ad break, but NBC
Nightly News didn't squeeze in the piece prepared by Lisa Myers until
more than 20 minutes into the show and didn't allocate enough time to
tell NBC viewers about the Wu visits that the White House just
admitted. The Myers story appeared after stories on the Jerusalem
bombing, Medicare fraud, a big Michigan car crash, an "In
Depth" on mysterious deaths at an Indianapolis hospital, and
Richard Jewell's request for an independent investigation of how the
FBI treated him.
Brokaw intoned: "On The Money Trail tonight, imagine someone
walking into your office and dumping almost a half million dollars, in
cash, on your desk. Well, one man told Senate investigators today
that's what happened to him. NBC's Lisa Myers has more on this mound
of money story."
Lisa Myers began: "In March of last
year, this man, Charlie Trie, a friend of the President, arrived at
this Washington law firm and dumped $460,000 in checks and money
orders on a table. It was the biggest contribution ever to the
President's legal defense fund, and the man in charge knew it was
Myers explained how Cardozo realized there
was trouble when the defense fund people saw the money orders were
sequentially numbered and all featured similar handwriting. Myers
added a detail Schieffer did not mention, that the money came from the
Ching Hai Buddhist sect in Taiwan.
CNN's Prime News (8pm ET) Wednesday night featured a piece by Candy
Crowley on Thompson's anger over the White House waiting until after
the hearing to release relevant information and how Wu made ten White
Earlier, on CNN's Inside Politics, Brooks Jackson highlighted a bit of
information that contradicted White House claims from last year that
they didn't know about the foreign money and when they learned of it
they took action to correct the problem. Reviewing Wu's ten White
House visits, Jackson observed:
"Mr. Wu's most recent visit was October
21st of last year just days before the election and long after the
Asian money scandal was front page news."
None of the evening shows relayed that nugget.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News surprisingly allocated time for a brief
story on a charge from lawyers for Paula Jones that Bill Clinton
harassed a White House employee. Bill Plante reported the CBS
"CBS News has learned that Paula Corbin
Jones's lawyer has subpoenaed, issued this subpoena, to a woman who
once worked here in the White House, asking her to testify in just two
weeks. Sources say that Jones's lawyers believe that the woman was
approached in a sexual way by President Clinton, who made overtures to
her, here in the White House, back in 1993. Paula Jones's attorney
Joseph Cammarata would not discuss this subpoena with CBS News, but he
has said in the past that he would try to establish a pattern of
behavior upon the part of the President. Robert Bennett, the
President's attorney, called the subpoena an effort to embarrass the
President behind the scenes, and he notes that the woman in question
knows nothing about the Paula Corbin Jones case. Other lawyers see
this as an attempt to pressure Mr. Clinton to settle. But unless and
until this case is settled, this is only the beginning of attempts by
attorneys on both sides to damage the reputations and credibility of
everyone involved. Dan."
picked up on the charge and brought James Carville and Susan
Carpenter-McMillan onto Larry King Live to argue about the charge and
the Paula Jones case.
sounds like the woman Cammarata has identified is the same one whose
charge Newsweek was looking into, but had yet to report, according to
the Drudge Report.
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe