Gore & China Connection Ignored; Trashing Mother Teresa
- Two big
disclosures Friday -- about Gore's more active than known
fundraising and an allegation that a huge donor was an agent for
China -- went unnoticed by all the networks.
- NBC's Lisa
Myers tagged Bill Weld as "moderate" but described Jesse
Helms with an extreme label: "ultraconservative."
- In the middle
of Mother Teresa's funeral ABC highlighted how she spent time with
"the sleaziest of the sleazy."
Molinari's first day: Gushing to an actress and making a liberal
point. Not the conservative politician that liberals feared.
biggest names so far testified last week at the fundraising hearings,
but neither This Morning on CBS or NBC's Today uttered a word all week
about any aspect of fundraising. Total time on Good Morning America:
one 30-second item on Thursday.
Not even two Friday morning
disclosures spurred the networks. Not in the morning or evening.
"Memo Appears to Reveal
Gore in Active Role as Fundraiser: Statements Contradict Portrait
Drawn by Aides," read a top of the fold front page headline in
Friday's New York Times. Reporter Don Van Natta Jr. explained in his
September 12 story:
"Vice President Al
Gore's top aide wrote a memorandum of 'talking points' for Mr. Gore to
use at a 1996 White House fundraising meeting to outline a strategy,
which included telephone solicitations, for achieving the lofty
financial goals of the Democratic Party."
enthusiastic statements written for Mr. Gore appear to show him
actively involved in not just the strategy but also the execution of
an all-consuming fundraising effort. The statements contradict the
portrait of a Vice President detached from the fine print of
fundraising that his aides have drawn in recent weeks to try to
distance him from the spreading Democratic scandal of the 1996
A front page Washington Post
headline on Friday declared "Senate Panel is Briefed on China
Probe Figure: Officials Say Evidence May Link L.A. Businessman to
Election Plan." A page one Los Angeles Times headline announced:
"Donor a China Agent, Panel Reportedly Told." LA Times
Washington reporter Marc Lacey began his September 12 piece:
"Top U.S. legal and
intelligence officials told the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
Thursday that an executive of a Chinese-language newspaper in Southern
California who has had close contact with President Clinton and Vice
President Al Gore attempted to influence U.S. elections on behalf of
the Chinese government, sources said.
"Ted Sioeng, an
Indonesian entrepreneur whose family owns the International Daily News
in Monterey Park, as well as other businesses, has emerged as a key
player in a covert scheme to expand China's influence in the U.S.
political process, according to intelligence data. But the evidence
remains in dispute and has not proven that Sioeng acted on behalf of
Beijing, said a committee source.
looking at contributions by Sioeng's daughter, Jessica Elnitiarta, and
family companies to both political parties -- including a $250,000
contribution to the Democratic National Committee in 1996 and $50,000
to the National Policy Forum, a GOP-linked think tank, in 1995. The
Senate committee received the information, first outlined by The Times
in May, in a closed-door briefing by Atty. Gen. Janet Reno, FBI
Director Louis J. Freeh, CIA Director George J. Tenet and National
Security Agency Director Kenneth A. Minihan, according to committee
"....Gore sat at the
same table as Sioeng at the ill-fated Buddhist temple fund-raiser in
Hacienda Heights in April 1996."
Coverage: Zilch on any
of the morning shows the MRC analyst staff informed me and not a word
Friday night on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News or NBC
Nightly News. (With the three anchors in Calcutta, for the first time
since Mother Teresa died she got more time than Princes Diana.) Last
Tuesday, September 9, ABC's World News Tonight skipped Don Fowler's
testimony to highlight how Senator Fred Thompson supposedly pulled
back from his opening day claims about Chinese influence. On Friday,
ABC refused to inform its viewers about the latest charges of Chinese
CNN's The World Today gave a
few seconds to fundraising Friday night, sort of. Anchor Joie Chen
told viewers: "Is anyone out there paying attention to the
campaign finance controversy? Al Gore knows that the answer is yes.
His approval rating is down. It is at 51 percent in a new CNN/Time
magazine poll. That was opposed to 58 percent in April."
Hard to know how the
non-newspaper reading public is learning anything negative about Gore
when the networks are avoiding developments. Not even Friday's World
Today mentioned either disclosure in Friday's papers.
2) The ABC
and CBS stories Friday night on the "meeting" chaired by
Senator Helms avoided any ideological labeling. But not NBC Nightly
News. Introducing the story from Lisa Myers, in which she tagged Helms
with an extreme label, anchor Brian Williams derided the Helms/Weld
Washington today one of the most important committees of the world's
greatest deliberative body, the U.S. Senate, looked more like high
noon at the OK Corral, or a debate at a high school student council
meeting. NBC's Lisa Myers tonight with the latest chapter in the
story of Weld versus Helms."
Myers: "It was high
political drama. Former Governor Bill Weld -- Harvard educated,
patrician, moderate -- against a lion of the Old South, Jesse Helms,
courtly and ultraconservative. Today, with Weld looking on, Helms
made it clear it will be a cold day in Cancun before Weld becomes
ambassador to Mexico..."
live coverage of the funeral of Princess Diana the networks avoided
airing any critical comments about her life and certainly did not
bring on a commentator specifically to trash her. Mother Teresa did
not get such reverential treatment from ABC News. The networks all
relied on Indian Television for coverage, but since the Indians were
not quite able to master the concept of live television, there were
several periods without audio or video or without both. ABC filled
time with six commentators. Amongst them, the world's chief Mother
Teresa basher, Christopher Hitchens.
Friday night/Saturday morning
at about 2am ET, in the middle of the funeral mass, anchor Peter
Jennings asked the left-wing writer: "Do you think that history
is going to judge her more harshly than we have in the week of her
Hitchens provided this
two-minute diatribe, which included attacks on Princess Diana that ABC
didn't dare broadcast during her funeral:
Jennings then acted
sorry that he asked:
hearing your point of view here and as [Times of India Senior
Editor] Bachi Karkaria said earlier in the broadcast it is a point
of view which has been dealt with quite seriously in the Indian
press and in the Western press as well in recent days. I was just
going to make the point that I wasn't sure that this was the right
occasion for us to continue having a debate about Mother Teresa. I
may be wrong, but that's the decision for now."
- "....I'm sure that
the re-examination of Mother Teresa that began in the Bengali
press this week will continue, as indeed the Church invites it
to do in the consideration of sainthood. It will be recalled,
for example, that when she got the Nobel Prize for peace, never
having done anything for peace or claimed to have done anything
for peace, that she said the greatest threat to peace in the
world was abortion and she said that contraception was morally
equivalent to the murder of abortion.
- "It will be
recalled as to how much time she spent with the richest of the
rich and the sleaziest of the sleazy with people like the
Duvalier family in Haiti whom she went to praise and from whom
she received a medal and to whom she said they were lovers of
the poor and not only that, even more blasphemously, that the
poor loved them, the Duvaliers.
- "It will be
remembered that she took stolen money from Charles Keating of
the Lincoln Savings and Loan and other Catholic fundamentalists
who was giving her money that didn't belong to him and she
wouldn't give it back when asked. That she spent her time with
other people, of the idle rich, like Princess Diana to whom she
gave congratulations on her divorce having campaigned against
the right of divorce in Ireland, in Spain, in other countries
where referenda were held on it but gave it as a right of
indulgence to the rich and her rich friends like Princess Diana.
- "Much of this will
now have to be entered into the record and considered
objectively and scrutinized because the church has invited us to
consider whether or not this was sainthood. Very obviously, it
seems to me, it was a political intervention an ideological
intervention, an intervention within the church. After all,
Mother Teresa also violently attacked the Second Vatican council
and Pope John the Twenty-Third, at the time desperately against
Vatican II, it was a conservative within the councils of the
church, cloaked all this in a pseudo-humility that was actually
very ostentatious, a kind of mock-modesty, and claimed an
immunity from criticism which she's had, in fact, for far too
long. That's the short answer to your question."
Memo to Hitchens: Hey,
the people of Calcutta seemed to like her.
Memo to Jennings: If
this wasn't "the right occasion" then why'd you bring
Hitchens on and then pose a set up question?
ABC signed off at 2:35am ET,
25 minutes earlier than either CBS or NBC, by getting "final
thoughts" from all the commentators but Hitchens: Mother Teresa
biographer Kathryn Spink, ABC's Bill Blakemore, Times of India Senior
Editor Bachi Karkaria, Jesuit priest Vincent O'Keefe (who countered
Hitchens), and Harvard Divinity School Dean Ron Thiemann.
Maybe during the future
funeral for Jennings ABC can bring on a commentator to point out how
he was an overpaid foreigner first hired for his looks, not ability,
and that he was an embarrassingly bad speller who never made it
through high school.
In her debut Saturday new CBS co-host Susan Molinari disproved the
fears of liberals upset that she would somehow ruin journalism and
insert right-wing views into her CBS show.
(For examples of media
outrage at her appointment in late May, see the Revolving Door column
in the June MediaWatch: http://www.mediaresearch.org/archive/
On the new CBS show Saturday
Morning on September 13 Molinari relayed only one political opinion,
and it was definitely not conservative. Co-host Russ Mitchell read all
the news stories on the hour and half hour, leaving the weather to
Molinari. Mitchell also handled a talk with Dan Rather in Calcutta.
Molinari was allowed to pose her first interview questions to
Christine Lahti, star of Chicago Hope. Following a clip from the show
of Lahti reacting to her father's death, Molinari asked:
Next, Molinari wondered: "So,
let's go on to something that's really important then. Can you
tell us what you're going to wear?"
- "So how do you
feel. The Emmy's are tomorrow night, you look like, with an
award winning performance like that we just saw you give week
after week. How do you feel coming up for the Emmy nominations,
the show being nominated five times?"
After Mitchell finished a
later news update with an item on how the Army will boost fitness
standards for women, Molinari opined:
"We've got to go a
long way til there's some fairness. Now, you know, the men are
saying that the fitness standards aren't equal and that may be a
legitimate complaint, but if we're going to get to equal fitness
standards then I think we also have to say that women who qualify
physically, mentally and emotionally should be allowed in the
artillery, in the infantry, which they currently are not. Fair is
fair across the board."
Not exactly standard issue
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