ABC Has Anti-Paula Policy; Jennings Reverses on Mother Teresa
- Tom Brokaw
called Wednesday's testimony "the most compelling evidence so
far," but neither ABC or CBS carried a story.
- Bill Plante
insisted that most of the revelations at the hearings were
reported long ago, so are not news. But CBS ignored a Tuesday
revelation they also ignored when first reported months ago.
- Kitty Kelley
has now written books about the Royal family and about Nancy
Reagan. Guess which one CBS denounced.
1) Making up
for Tuesday night, when NBC Nightly News delivered just a 40-second
item on the hearings while ABC and CBS provided full stories,
Wednesday night NBC was the only broadcast network to air a
NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw
announced just after the first ad break:
- "Back on the Money
Trail tonight, the most compelling evidence so far of just how
far the Clinton administration would go to raise money for its
campaign. In the spotlight at the Senate campaign fundraising
hearings today, a White House witness with the credentials and
the knowledge to offer damaging testimony."
Reporter Lisa Myers began her
review of the day's testimony:
- "It is the most
dramatic testimony so far, a former White House staffer
describing how she was pressured to give a shady businessman a
personal meeting with President Clinton in exchange for a
$400,000 contribution to the Democratic Party. Sheila Heslin
fought for months to keep oilman Roger Tamraz, wanted for
embezzlement in Lebanon, out of the White House. Then in April
of last year she got a call from an Energy Department official
about an offer from Tamraz."
Viewers then saw a soundbite
of Sheila Heslin explaining how she was told Tamraz would contribute
another $400,000 in exchange for a meeting with the President about
his Turkish pipeline plans.
"The Energy official said he was calling at the request of
senior presidential adviser Mack McLarty."
Following another Heslin
clip Myers noted: "Today, Mack McLarty denied all, but
documents show that he and the President had spoken with Tamraz at
two White House fundraisers during that period..."
Myers pointed out that Tamraz
never got his meeting, leading Maine Senator Susan Collins to label
Heslin a hero. "Still," Myers concluded, "Heslin said
she was troubled that someone as shady as Tamraz could use $300,000 in
campaign contributions to attend six White House events and get access
to the highest levels of the U.S. government."
ABC's World News Tonight and
CBS Evening News. "The most compelling evidence so far" and
the "most dramatic testimony so far" according to NBC, but
neither ABC or CBS bothered reporting anything about it. Here's a
rundown of what the two shows covered instead. (Both NBC and CBS ran
updates on Trevor Rees-Jones, but not ABC, making the September 17
World News Tonight the first edition since Diana's death without a
September 17 World News
- Clinton rejects tobacco
- How higher cigarette
prices in Canada reduced teen smoking
- Helicopter crash on Bosnia
- Another military plane
crash/DOD decision to review safety decisions
- U.S. will not sign land
- Land mine ban treaty
adopted in Norway.
- Video of Saddam Hussein
- Hearing on TV industry use
of frequencies given them for HDTV
- Positive side of HMOs --
coverage for unconventional treatments like acupuncture
- Tribute to Red Skelton
September 17 CBS Evening
- Clinton rejects tobacco
- Tobacco industry view
- Helicopter crash in Bosnia
- Defense Dept. review of
aircraft safety procedures
- Trevor Rees-Jones update.
Police communicating through parents
- Clinton says US won't sign
land mine treaty
- Video of Saddam Hussein
- New tobacco/cigarette ad
- Fight over ownership of
9,300 year old skeleton found in Washington, fight between Native
Americans and scientists
- Tribute to Red Skelton
Daytime. On neither Tuesday
or Wednesday did CNN or MSNBC offer any live coverage of the hearings,
though CNN promised to go live when Tamraz appeared Wednesday but his
testimony was delayed until today (Thursday).
Other than one brief item on
one show, the Wednesday morning shows skipped the fundraising scandal.
During the 7:30am news update on Good Morning America, MRC analyst
Eric Darbe observed, ABC's Kevin Newman read a brief item on how
Attorney General Janet Reno had replaced the leader of the Justice
Department's team looking into fundraising. NBC's Today and This
Morning on CBS failed to utter a word about Reno's shake-up or
anything about Tuesday's testimony about how John Huang made a
fundraising pitch in front of President Clinton at a White House
coffee. Nor did they preview the expected Wednesday testimony from and
about Roger Tamraz.
To learn if any of the
morning shows mentioned fundraising on Thursday morning, check the MRC
Web site Thursday afternoon for the latest Media Reality Check daily
fax report. The latest issue is featured each day on our Web site:
2) CBS News
White House reporter Bill Plante asserted Tuesday that the hearings
don't get covered many nights because the revelations are not really
revelations since they were disclosed earlier in another forum and
reported. Plante appeared on Tuesday's TalkBack Live on CNN (in the
same September 16 show cited in the September 17 CyberAlert). Here's
the relevant exchange from the show:
Frank Sesno: "It
seems like an appropriate moment to go to one of the faxes that
we've got here from California and change the subject slightly: 'Why
aren't the revelations from the hearings on campaign contributions
to the DNC and the links to China getting more coverage on the
national news?,' not to say that Paula Jones is the only case here
that is causing concern and raising eyebrows."
"Because in most cases, they are no longer revelations. In
other words, they don't fit the definition of news. They are not,
for the most part, new. It is true that because these hearings are
being held, more people are learning of them, but this has all been
covered. It tends to be dry and technical and a little bit
complicated to plow through, but it has all been covered before or
very little, I would say is news."
Okay, let's test his
All the networks Tuesday
night ignored one witness who recounted how John Huang asked him to
launder money through his business group in exchange for a 15 percent
cut. As recounted in the September 17 Washington Post, Rawlein
Soberano, VP of the Asian-American Business Round Table, "said
that during a 1996 lunch with Huang, who was then at the DNC, he told
Huang that his organization did not even have a budget. He said Huang
responded by suggesting that 'we can give you $300,000, you can give
it back later and you can keep 15 percent.'"
Old news, reported long ago.
Well, yes and no. The story broke in the February 20 Washington Post.
As noted in the February 21 CyberAlert, it got a story on Good Morning
America and a brief anchor-read mention from Peter Jennings on World
News Tonight. On March 3, as noted in the March 5 CyberAlert, NBC
Nightly News delivered a full story on Soberano's claim.
But CBS? Zilch on this
revelation. "Very little" of what is discussed during the
Senate hearings may be new, but for CBS viewers this item still is.
3) What a
difference the target makes. Kitty Kelley has been featured all this
week on Today and Dateline and is now making the rounds of other shows
to talk about her new book on the Royal family. It's full of
unsubstantiated allegations about everything from who slept with who
to who was artificially inseminated. One reporter who is not pleased
with her work: Mark Phillips, now based in London for CBS News.
On the September 17 This
Morning he reported:
says it hasn't seen the book and anyway, it says, it doesn't comment
on what it calls tittle-tattle. But just about everyone else
mentioned in it seems to have and they've all called it junk....The
book certainly will not help the already tarnished Royal
reputations, but it isn't being published here because British libel
laws are stricter than American. So however much in bad taste the
book seems now in light of recent events, Kelley won't have to worry
about lawsuits. Instead, she'll merely be embarrassed all the way to
the bank. Mark Phillips, CBS News, London."
But back in 1991 when he was
in the U.S. Phillips showed a bit less hostility to Kelley's 1991
unauthorized biography of Nancy Reagan which claimed that the former
First Lady had an affair with Frank Sinatra. As recalled by the MRC's
Tim Graham and tracked down by Steve Kaminski, here's how Phillips
concluded an April 8, 1991 CBS Evening News story:
"So the world, it
seems, must know. Did Nancy Reagan really recycle gifts to her own
grandchildren? Is the stuff in the book true or just vindictive
tales? Who knows? Who cares?"
While on Kelley, did she find
anything good about the Royals? On Wednesday's Today Katie Couric
"Does she [Queen
Elizabeth] have any redeeming qualities?"
"Indeed she does. In fact I think one of the most outstanding
was when she felt that the economic policies of Margaret Thatcher
were so harsh to the poor that she really did say something."
Well, there's the problem.
Nancy Reagan is more out of touch with the common folk than the Queen.
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