ABC Ignored Fowler; Gumbel: Conservatives Don't Care
- All three
networks figured out angles for multiple Diana stories, but none
ran a full report on Mother Teresa.
- New documents
detail Don Fowler's effort to circumvent the system in order to
give access to a donor and Fowler just can't recall any of it, but
ABC skipped the Democratic misdeed.
- Bryant Gumbel
asserted: "It's hard to be defined as a conservative if
you're a black man and care about black people."
Teresa almost completely disappeared from the broadcast networks
Tuesday night, but the tenth night after her death Diana got more time
than any other topic as all three networks led with multiple
ABC's World News Tonight led
with two stories lasting 4:30. The first updated the crash
investigation, the second looked at money pouring into her memorial
fund. Mother Teresa got one-ninth as much time as Peter Jennings took
30 seconds to report that the deteriorating condition of Mother
Teresa's body led officials to make Tuesday the last day for viewing
and that the Pope may move up the timetable for making her a saint.
Diana topped the September 9
CBS Evening News, giving the same amount of time as ABC, four and a
half minutes. CBS viewers saw stories on the crash investigation and
continuing mourning in London. About twenty minutes later the show
ended with a 2:30 story on the PR battle between Prince Charles and
the Earl Spencer. In between viewers heard about Mother Teresa for 20
seconds as Dan Rather highlighted how the Senate has made Saturday a
National Day of Recognition for her.
NBC Nightly News began with a
2:25 story on Diana matters, followed later by a 2:20 In Depth report
on a surge of contributions into her memorial fund. A second story in
NBC's In Depth segment took three minutes to highlight the charities
visited by Diana on her trips to the U.S. While NBC aired no update on
Mother Teresa, about a third of this story looked at a couple of the
charities set up by the nun.
2) Former DNC
Chairman Don Fowler's appearance Tuesday before the Senate fundraising
hearings generated full stories on CBS and NBC, but not ABC which
instead highlighted how Fred Thompson supposedly pulled back from his
Chinese connection claim.
On the September 9 NBC
Nightly News reporter Lisa Myers opened the toughest piece of the
night: "Don Fowler's biggest problem today was not Republicans,
but his own memory." Then, as viewers saw video boxes showing
Fowler roll across their screen they heard these comments from him:
- "I have no memory
- "It does not
refresh my memory."
- "I do not recall
- "And I have no
Myers explained that donor
Roger Tamraz wanted help on a pipeline project he hoped to build in
Turkey, but the man accused of embezzlement in Lebanon ran into a
"He first went to the
President's national security advisers, and got nowhere. So, in July
1995 he turned to Fowler, checkbook in hand. Today Fowler insisted he
does not recall this staff memo, which warned of Tamraz's 'significant
financial and ethical troubles' and urged Fowler to reject a $300,000
contribution. Nor did Fowler remember twice calling the CIA to help
get Tamraz into the White House, calls detailed in newly released CIA
Myers showed an exchange
between Thompson and Fowler, then noted that the NSC had placed Tamraz
on a list of people that should not be allowed into the White House.
But, Myers informed viewers, he got in six times, twice to meet with
Myers concluded her story by
telling how that happened: "So, how did Tamraz get into the White
House when the President's national security team thought they had him
banned. Well, believe it or not, the White House says anyone
Democratic fundraisers put on the list to see the President got in. No
On the CBS Evening News Dan
Rather introduced Bob Schieffer's report by declaring:
"In Washington, on
Capitol Hill, the campaign fundraising investigation zeroed in today
on a former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. On the
stand and under heavy fire Don Fowler said he just couldn't recall,
even when confronted with memos and other evidence."
Bob Schieffer explained how
Fowler could not remember memos, even from own staff warning about
Tamraz. After Fowler denied that he enlisted the CIA to get Tamraz
cleared into the White House, Schieffer showed a clip of Thompson
holding up a memo from the CIA which said just the opposite. Schieffer
"Democrats offered no
real defense of Fowler's action, but did manage to show that even
after all the bad publicity Tamraz got a written invitation from
Republican Senator Trent Lott inviting him to join a Republican
fundraising group. Lott called it a mix up and was trying to figure
out how it happened."
Schieffer made the invitation
appear to be a serious matter, a rare personal invitation from Lott to
an important person. Not quite. As CNN's Brooks Jackson explained on
Inside Politics, the "written invitation" was just a direct
mail letter sent to over 100,000 people. As any conservative knows,
it's hardly unusual to get a fundraising appeal signed by Lott or any
other GOP leader.
ABC's World News Tonight. The
top Democratic official has a sudden case of amnesia about every
critical detail about how a donor bought access and the investigating
committee releases documents showing the official's efforts, but ABC
skipped it all Tuesday night. Instead, anchor Peter Jennings intoned:
"At the Senate hearings
into campaign fundraising today what appears to be a change of heart
by the committee's Republican Chairman Fred Thompson."
ABC showed a soundbite from
the opening day in which Thompson raised the China-connection issue
followed by a clip from Tuesday in which Thompson said he didn't mean
to blame just one party.
Jennings then turned to Linda
Douglass, asking her what prompted Thompson's remarks. Douglass
explained that he just got "tired of taking a beating from the
Democrats who every single day point out the fact that he's failed to
prove there's any Chinese plot."
"Today one Democratic Senator held out an olive branch to Senator
Thompson. He said, 'look, forget the Chinese plot, the hearings are
important because they're exposing the evil influence of money in
politics.' At that moment Senator Thompson's face relaxed, he said
then he was sorry if he left the wrong impression. And it's clear that
many of the Senators now want to diffuse the partisan warfare and get
this whole messy issue behind them."
Jennings agreed: "That
will be a relief to the public."
And to ABC which seems to
avoid covering the actual content of the hearings. During the first
round, ABC aired the fewest stories of the Big Three. As for
"exposing the evil influence of money in politics," ABC
didn't Tuesday night since the network ignored Fowler's actions on
behalf of a donor.
This isn't the first time ABC
has tried to discredit the Chinese influence claim. As detailed in the
July 21 CyberAlert, Linda Douglass opened a July 18 World News Tonight
piece: "At the very outset Republican Chairman Fred Thompson
announced dramatically what he hoped to expose, a Chinese plot to
subvert American elections with illegal contributions." Douglass
countered: "But after of hours of testimony, a parade of charts
and a blizzard of documents there has been no evidence so far of such
Along the same lines, on the
Sunday, July 13 World News Tonight ABC ran a story on how Democrats on
the committee disagreed with Thompson's charges about China. But on
July 15 when the committee Democrats changed their mind, ABC skipped
the development. As reported in the July 16 Washington Post, the day
before Senators Joseph Lieberman and John Glenn issued a joint written
statement saying "the information shown us strongly suggests the
existence of a plan by the Chinese government -- containing components
that are both legal and illegal -- designed to influence U.S.
3) As if we
needed any more proof, Bryant Gumbel has again shown hostility toward
conservatism and deliberately distorted its policy positions. In an
interview in the September 5-7 edition of USA Weekend Gumbel told
interviewer Jill Nelson:
"It's hard to be defined
as a conservative if you're a black man and care about black people. I
think it's very difficult. Basically...'conservative' says the status
quo is good. I mean, how can you look out there at the vast majority
of people of color and say, 'Oh, yes. This is something I can applaud.
It's a situation I'd like to keep. This is obviously working.' I don't
see that. There are some conservatives of great character and some
conservatives with great caring who would argue that proper
conservatism says, 'Oh, no, do want to change the status quo, but we
want to do it in a different fashion than liberals want to do it'; ie:,
Jack Kemp. I don't have a problem with that."
Very reassuring that Gumbel
does not have a "problem" with "some
conservatives." In the modern world charging that
"conservative says the status quo is good" can only be
characterized as a deliberate distortion. The entire range of
conservative thought, from paleo-conservatives to libertarian
conservatives, advocates major changes to the status quo: cutting
taxes, shutting down government agencies, eliminating regulations,
reforming welfare, de-monopolizing education etc. The entire Contract
with America promised to cause change.
ideological soulmates have been the defenders of the status quo
welfare state, fighting any effort to give one less dollar to a
bureaucrat or implement any reform opposed by a union.
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