CNN Jumps on Giuliani But Drops Willey; Ray Brady's Bad Bias
With hearings over the MRC
has ceased creating the daily fax reports on coverage of the hearings,
but MRC Web manager Joe Alfonsi has put them on the MRC Web site. All
nine issues of Media Reality Check: A Daily Report on the Media's
Coverage of the Campaign Finance Scandal Hearings, can now be read at:
- CNN's Inside
Politics, which gave just two minutes to Kathleen Willey, devoted
half the show to Giuliani. Howard Kurtz complained the media are
too quick to jump on Clinton and painted a grand conspiracy by
Murdoch to explain why Giuliani's story was suppressed.
- NBC reported
that unemployment fell and wages grew. But to CBS that's bad news.
"Top Ten Other Changes President Clinton Has Made at the
White House" in addition to installing a hot tub.
1) The revelation that
lawyers for Paula Jones had issued a subpoena for a former White House
staffer supposedly harassed by President Clinton generated some
coverage from CNN and The Washington Post. But nothing like the
priority the two outlets put on the news that an upcoming Vanity Fair
article charges that New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is having an
affair with his Communications Director, Cristyne Lategano.
The new edition of another
magazine, the August 11 Newsweek, offers several details on the
incident involving Clinton in the Oval Office, but neither CNN or the
Washington Post picked up on the disclosures on Monday though they
moved on the AP wire Sunday night.
Thursday's (July 31) Inside
Politics squeezed in as the last story of the show a two minute and
twenty second report from Wolf Blitzer on the Jones subpoena request
and the White House refusal to comment on it. Friday's Washington Post
carried a story on page A15 on the subpoena and how lawyers for
Kathleen Willey would oppose it.
Now, jump to Monday, August
4. The front page of the Post "Style" section featured a
story by Howard Kurtz on how Vanity Fair was about to publish an
article on Giuliani's supposed affair, "the story that every New
York reporter believes but few have dared to hint at in print."
And CNN's Inside Politics,
which gave just about two minutes to Clinton on July 31, devoted more
than half the show -- 13 minutes -- to a story and two interview
segments about Giuliani. One topic: How the media do too much on
Clinton-related sex stories! Here's a rundown of the show. Up first, a
look by Jonathan Karl at how the story played in New York and will
impact the campaign.
Next, Judy Woodruff
interviewed Jennet Conant, author of the Vanity Fair article. Woodruff
noted that "you write in this article about efforts on the part
of publishers in New York to keep this out of print."
Later in the show, Bernard
Shaw got his turn and interviewed Howard Kurtz and Newsday columnist
Leonard Levitt. Shaw asked: "Do either of you suspect that there
might be in this instance a case of media ownership intimidation of
reporters and editors?"
Kurtz didn't know, but that
didn't stop him from offering the kind of speculation that he condemns
when offered by talk show hosts:
"Bernie, I don't have
any evidence of that but it is worth pointing out that the New York
Post, which in its first edition today didn't carry a word of this
Vanity Fair report but found room for another story on President
Clinton and the latest sex allegation there, is owned by Rupert
Murdoch who is the owner of the Fox Network which employs the Mayor's
wife Donna Hanover as an anchor and also he has been allied
politically with Rudy Giuliani and in fact sought his help to get the
Fox News Channel on the cable systems up in New York."
Conspiracy theories anyone?
Newsday's Levitt agreed with
Kurtz, insisting that "The publishers of those papers have cozy
relationships with the Mayor and you can bet if Mayor Giuliani were a
liberal Democrat that Mr. Murdoch would be all over this story."
Shaw jumped in: "Which
leads to my next question. President Clinton's private life versus
Mayor Giuliani's private life. Double standard on the part of the
"Absolutely, there's no question about that, certainly in terms
of Mr. Murdoch. The Post is reporting every possible peccadillo with
the President and is not aggressive on this business with the Mayor.
Mr. Kurtz is absolutely right about that."
Kurtz added: "There have
been so many stories about Bill Clinton's private life it's hard to
get anybody's attention for it anymore..."
Especially CNN's or The
Washington Post's. Amazing how reporters who cannot imagine any
liberal bias manage to find conservative bias so easily in the New
York Post. Kurtz complained that the New York Post "found room
for another story on President Clinton and the latest sex allegation
there." So did the Washington Times and USA Today which both ran
summaries of Newsweek's story. But neither CNN's Inside Politics or
the Washington Post on Monday mentioned a word about the revelations
in the Newsweek story by Michael Isikoff, the story promoted as coming
soon by the Drudge Report for the last couple of weeks.
Kathleen Willey was a
fundraiser for Clinton married to a prominent Richmond lawyer. She
became a White House volunteer, but when her husband was accused of
embezzlement she went to Clinton to ask about a paying position.
Isikoff revealed that "Linda Tripp, then an executive assistant
in the White House counsel's office, recalls bumping into Willey in
the West Wing after Willey had allegedly left the Oval Office. Willey
was 'disheveled. Her face was red and her lipstick was off. She was
flustered, happy and joyful,' Tripp told Newsweek....According to
Tripp, Willey said the President had taken her from the Oval Office to
his private office, a small adjoining hideaway, and kissed and fondled
her. She was not in any way 'appalled,' Tripp told Newsweek."
Willey's husband committed
suicide around the same time. Clinton lawyer Bon Bennett "says
that Clinton may have consoled her around the time of her husband's
death, but it is 'preposterous' to suggest that Clinton might have
made a sexual advance." But Isikoff discovered a problem with
that spin: "According to police reports, Ed Willey's body was not
found until the day after the alleged encounter."
Monday night on CNBC's
Hardball in a discussion about Giuliani, Tucker Carlson of the Weekly
Standard pointed out: "There's no evidence he's having an affair
with her. The core of this does not exist. That Vanity Fair article,
as far as I can tell, offers no concrete 'I saw them in the sack
together' kind of evidence."
Howard Kurtz shot back:
"Where is that standard, Tucker, being applied, for example, to
the President of the United States who every three minutes somebody is
coming forth and saying he was sleeping with..." [drowned out]
Every three minutes? Boy,
there must be a lot of allegations the media are covering up! But the
larger point is that the media hardly jumped on Paula Jones' case and
ABC News has yet to utter a word about the Willey situation.
2) How is the economy
performing? What you think may depend on which network newscast you
watched Friday night. The unemployment rate for July fell from 5 to
4.8 percent in July, prompting an upbeat review from NBC. But CBS
ominously warned of impending doom.
Here's an excerpt from the
August 1 NBC Nightly News story by reporter Mike Jensen, as
transcribed by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:
"Today's numbers mean
there's a job for almost everyone who wants one, all over the country.
In Texas, where the drilling rigs are humming and the high-tech labs
are hiring. In Florida, where there are more jobs than
Asha Bangalore, Chicago
economist: "If you can read, write, and show up on time, you have
a job today."
Jensen: "In Houston, Tom
Baer is paying new hires, like Richard Stevens, $600 a week."
Baer, Ground Hog Drilling:
"I think the biggest deterrent to my expanding is finding the
people that I need to be able to operate the equipment."
Jensen: "Across town,
Apache, an energy company, is offering a bounty to people who find
Dan Schaeffer, Apache
Corporation: "Two thousand dollars for finding a good
geophysicist, who stays with us six months."
Jensen: "Not only were
today's job numbers spectacular, but three other new indicators were
very strong: a surge in consumer confidence, a jump in factory
production, and an increase in the average paycheck, the biggest in
The CBS Evening News
portrayed that wage growth as very "bad" news:
Dan Rather: "In news
about the U.S. economy, the government reported today that
unemployment has fallen below five percent to the lowest level in a
quarter century. This is indeed encouraging news, but as with most
stories, one should allow for light and shade. CBS News economics
correspondent Ray Brady gives us some about this story. Ray."
Ray Brady: "Dan, we've
gotten so used to good news that some folks are likening our economy
to Goldilocks's porridge: not to hot, not to cold, but just right....
"But look at today's
figures more closely. The good news? Sure, stores are hiring, helping
to add a whopping 316,000 jobs last month. The bad news? Hourly wages
aren't keeping up. Last year wages rose 3.8 cents a month. This year,
up just 2.9 cents a month. What's happening? With the booming economy,
a million new workers have flooded the job market. Mostly they're very
young, like Alexi Amador, 18 years old and happy to sell jeans for
$6.50 an hour. Also on the job, older workers, once retired but now
"And there's more good
news-bad news today: Factory orders are way up, good news, and
Americans are still spending money, but that's leading to fears that
our economy, like Goldilocks's porridge, may be getting too hot,
bringing with it the danger of inflation. Dan."
Always count on Ray Brady to
emphasize the shady side of any economic story. Brady's had a long
history of always coming at stories negatively even if it means he
contradicts himself. A few years ago MediaWatch documented a great
On October 12, 1989, home
prices were down. That's great news for the buyers, but not for the
sellers, so Brady focused on the sellers: "In the past, the
American dream of owning your own home always had a sequel -- live in
it, then sell it at a huge profit....So another dream has faded."
On March 16, 1990, home
prices were rising, so the conclusion switched to the buyers: "So
they keep looking. Thousands of young couples like the Wares, looking
for that first house, looking for what used to be called the American
3) Inspired by the addition
of a hot tub on White House grounds for Bill Clinton, the "Top
Ten Other Changes President Clinton Has Made at the White House,"
from the August 1 Late Show with David Letterman. Copyright 1997 by
Worldwide Pants Inc.
10. Alarm outside bedroom
sounds when Hillary is approaching
9. Pillars on front porch
replaced by Golden Arches
8. On front lawn, enormous
marble statue of Clinton with his pants around his ankles
7. White House tour now
6. New state of the art gym
in case Tubby ever gets off his fat ass
5. Sound-proofing to block
noise of George Washington spinning in his grave
4. New passcode: One knock
for hookers, two knocks for pizza
3. All furniture now
stuffed with shredded Whitewater documents
2. New sign: "If this
Oval Office is rockin', don't come knockin'"
1. Hot and cold running
With all the fundraising
coverage to track over the past few weeks I never sent the last two
editions of Notable Quotables and we're doing another at the end of
this week. So I hope to find a quiet day soon on which to send
those. In the meantime, the recent NQs can be read at: http://mediaresearch.org/archive/realitycheck/archive1997.asp
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