No Interest in Clinton Calls; Helms a Bigot; Nets Gun It for Guns
The July issue of MediaWatch
is now online and can be accessed from the MRC home page, or more
presidential press conference reporters ignored Clinton- Gore
calls and the hearings, but worried about harm of the tax cut.
- In a change
from the 1991 media attitude, a female reporter doesn't think it's
a big deal for a man to drop his pants, at least if the
perpetrator is Clinton.
- Jesse Helms
is a bigot because....he opposes the NEA and criticizes union
abuses, argued the Chicago Tribune's James Warren.
- New study
released by the MRC: "Gun Rights Forces Outgunned on TV"
proves networks don't even try to be balanced on gun control.
1) Except for one question
from ABC's Ann Compton about whether he would ask Charlie Trie and
John Huang to tell what they know, the four weeks of fundraising
hearings were not raised by reporters during President Clinton's
Wednesday press conference. Nothing about how well he knew either, how
he might have helped Huang get a job or how and why he met the foreign
donors they arranged to visit the White House. Nothing about the China
connection or anything about the coincidence of Huang making calls and
sending faxes just after he got a CIA briefing.
More amazingly, and in a true
sign of how little interest White House reporters have in pursuing
illegal and/or improper fundraising, of the 19 reporters who posed
questions, not one asked about recent revelations that both Clinton
and Gore had misled them about their personally placed fundraising
calls. Tuesday's New York Daily News disclosed that Gore made more
than he admitted and the July 24 New York Times reported on a memo
showing that Clinton requested names be sent him who he could call.
Two other questions worth
-- "Mr. President, on
this deficit reduction that you've just mentioned, that it's now
fallen to $37 billion, doesn't it raise the question that in fact the
budget could be balanced a lot sooner if you and Congress hadn't
enacted $95 billion in tax cuts?"
Unfortunately, the MRC's
cable was out on Wednesday so we missed who posed that question. But I
put the MRC's chief investigative correspondent on the case, our
intern Jessica Anderson, and she tracked down the pontificator of this
typical liberal reasoning: Larry McQuillan of the Reuter news service.
So, the measly tax cuts which
equal one percent of planned spending are the problem? In Monday's USA
Today editorial writer David Mastio pointed out that 1998 to 2002
federal spending will total $8,987 billion. Compared to $94 billion in
tax cuts, Mastio suggested, "that's roughly the difference in
weight between a cat and a racehorse."
-- Later, John Donvan very
reluctantly approached the Kathleen Willey story, though he avoided
her name, what case she is involved with and made sure Clinton knew he
really didn't want to:
"In a civil suit filed
against you, attorneys for the plaintiff have issued a subpoena for an
individual who may or may not have worked in the White House. Your
staff, when asked to clarify the status of that individual in the
past, refuses to answer the question and refers it to an outside
attorney. Even for those of us who don't have much appetite for this
entire subject, this particular answer in this particular category
seems needlessly evasive. My question to you is: Is it your wish that
it be answered this way, and is it consistent with your intention to
run an open White House? That's the principle I'm asking about
Indeed, Donvan and ABC don't
have much appetite for the topic since the network has yet to inform
its viewers of the subpoena going to Kathleen Willey from Paula
Jones's lawyers. Not even the Newsweek story, released on Monday,
which detailed what supposedly occurred between Willey and Clinton,
interested ABC. (See the August 5 CyberAlert.) So far, a one minute
story on the July 30 CBS Evening News followed by brief items the next
day on CBS and the NBC Nightly News noting Willey's intention to
challenge the subpoena, is the totality of broadcast network coverage.
2) Speaking of the Kathleen
Willey situation, MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski caught an
illuminating explanation of why the media are so reticent about the
Paula Jones case and are not pursuing the Willey story. On Inside
Washington over the weekend, Deborah Mathis of Gannett dismissed the
importance of Jones and then complained about how she had implicated
"I have to profess
complete confusion over this [Jones] entire case, why this is even a
case. If any man, I don't care who he is, invites me to a room and
pulls his pants down and asks me to do something, he's going to have a
decided limp from that day on and I go on with my life. I don't need
to sue anyone, it doesn't traumatize me, I don't understand why this
is even a case to begin with. But, along with what Jack [Germond]
said, it is rather McCarthyesque to implicate someone who in fact may
have never been under the same roof."
Not quite the attitude
reflected by female reporters toward Anita Hill's case.
3) James Warren, Washington
Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune, has an expansive definition of
bigotry: it's shown by anyone who opposes more funding for the
National Endowment for the Arts. MRC news analyst Clay Waters picked
up on this exchange, about the Helms/Weld battle, on the August 3
James Warren, Chicago
Tribune: "I also find interesting this revisionism about
Senator Helms. We've sort of turned his dogmatism and bigotry into
now, the iron-willed principle of a man of the right."
Warren: "Oh, his
gay-baiting, his union-bashing. His hatred of any fundings for the
arts. His isolationism."
"That's not bigotry!"
Warren: "We mix
in his courtly manners, and we have the iron- willed statesmen from
arguably shows bigotry. But a foreign policy view? Opposing NEA
funding? Supporting the right to work without being forced to join a
union? All bigotry? I guess we're all bigots. Excepting Mr. Warren, of
4) Network television news is
overwhelmingly biased in favor of gun control advocates and against
the arguments forwarded by gun rights proponents, a new study from the
MRC has documented. "Gun
Rights Forces Outgunned on TV: Networks Use First Amendment Rights to
Promote Opponents of Second Amendment Rights," was researched
by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens and appears in the July issue of
MediaWatch, now available on the MRC Web site.
Here's an excerpt from the
study to give you an overview of the findings:
reviewed every gun control policy story on four evening shows
(ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN's The World
Today, and NBC Nightly News) and three morning broadcasts (ABC's
Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and NBC's Today) from
July 1, 1995 through June 30, 1997.
In 244 gun policy stories, those favoring gun control
outnumbered stories opposing gun control by 157 to 10, or a
ratio of almost 16 to 1 (77 were neutral). Talking heads were
slightly more balanced: gun control advocates outnumbered
gun-rights spokesmen 165 to 110 (40 were neutral). Analysts counted the
number of pro- and anti- gun control statements by reporters in
each story. Pieces with a disparity of greater than 1.5 to 1
were categorized as either for or against gun control. Stories
closer than the ratio were deemed neutral.... Gun rights advocates
were treated like clay pigeons in a skeet-shooting contest. Out
of 103 evening news segments, pro-gun control stories
outnumbered anti-gun control stories by 70 to 6, along with 27
neutral reports.... Pro-gun control talking
heads were televised 99 times on evening shows, to just 67
anti-gun control spokesmen and 24 neutral soundbites.... The morning shows were
also far more likely to invite gun control spokesmen like Sarah
Brady than 2nd Amendment defenders like the NRA's Tanya Metaksa.
Pro-gun control spokesmen were able to advocate their side three
times more than the anti-gun control speakers: 37 to just 12
opponents, and four neutral spokesmen.
To read the complete
study, with quotes and network by network breakdowns, go to the
MRC home page. The July MediaWatch is highlighted on the top of
the page thanks to MRC online manager Joe Alfonsi who just got the
issue up, or go directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/mediawatch/1997/mw0797st.html If you are with the media
and would like more information about the study or would like to
interview the study author, you can contact Geoffrey Dickens at:
Gdickens@mediaresearch.org As the study proves, the
Second Amendment is one civil right for which the networks favor a
very narrow interpretation.
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