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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Monday, March 9, 1998 (Vol. Three; No. 40)

Crediting Clinton for Economy; Starr's Perjury; Latest NQ

1) Dan Rather declared: "President Clinton was singing his own praises, this time with the facts and figures to back him up."

2) CNN highlighted: "While Starr argues that [Lewinsky attorney] Carter is using the attorney-client privilege to conceal what would be perjury, Starr is being accused of the same thing."

3) March 9 edition of Notable Quotables: Blame GOP for Democratic illegalities, stinging Starr, Clift's blackmail threat, and "Please Spank Me."

A Loss to the Conservative Journalistic Community. Eric Breindel, Senior Vice President of the News Corporation and host of FNC's Fox News Watch, passed away on Saturday at age 42. The Sunday New York Post reported only that "he died at New York Hospital after a sudden illness. He was admitted to the hospital last Sunday." From 1986 until last year Breindel served as editorial page editor of the New York Post where he did more than anyone else to expose the New York media establishment to the MRC's documentation of liberal bias. At the end of each year he devoted the entire Post editorial column to highlighting his favorite quotes from the MRC's annual Best of Notable Quotables issue and he ran the syndicated column by MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell.

cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)Sunday night ABC's World News Tonight and CNN's The World Today featured full stories on the passing of James McDougal, recounting his role in Whitewater and tie to the Clintons. (The NCAA basketball picks on CBS and the NBA on NBC bumped those network's newscasts.) Saturday night, the three broadcast networks all ran pieces on Senator Trent Lott's suggestion that Ken Starr should wrap up his case as soon as possible.

Friday night ABC and CBS led with the good economic news, but while ABC didn't mention Clinton's name CBS gave him credit. NBC found a downside -- too few workers. All showed William Ginsburg's outburst at the media, but only ABC highlighted that he may have messed up the proffer so that Starr could use it against Lewinsky. Only CNN mentioned the news that Johnny Chung will say the money he donated came from Chinese government-run business interests.

Some quick notes on the Friday, March 6 evening shows:

-- ABC's World News Tonight led with the fall in unemployment to 4.6 percent by having Betsy Stark look at the picture around country. ABC didn't show any video of or mention Clinton.

Next, Jackie Judd showed Lewinsky attorney William Ginsburg shouting "I want some space goddammit" at cameramen near his car as it arrived at Dulles Airport. Judd suggested Ginsburg could be more sensitive because the judge reprimanded him, insisting he end his media appearances. Judd added:

"What Ginsburg has said to prosecutors may cause him even bigger problems. A source close to the investigation believes the information he's offered in exchange for immunity for Lewinsky could still be used, even Lewinsky does not get immunity. The proffer, as it is called, contains damning information about the President. Sources have told ABC News in it Lewinsky claims she did have a sexual relationship with Mr. Clinton...."


-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather excitedly opened the show by announcing how the economy is "cranking out jobs by the thousands" as unemployment has plummeted to just 4.6 percent. "With the economy humming, CBS's White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports, President Clinton was singing his own praises, this time with the facts and figures to back him up."

Pelley began: "The recovery began before Mr. Clinton took office. The fact that it's run so long is credited to what some call the great odd couple -- Mr. Clinton and Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Chairman. Simply put, when Mr. Clinton made deficit reduction his top priority, Greenspan felt confident driving interest rates down. America did the rest. If the recovery continues to December, it will be the longest peacetime recovery in history. Mr. Clinton was happy to talk about that, but when the questions started today he vanished..."

Pelley went on to demonstrate how Clinton now always "makes for the door double-time" in order to avoid Lewinsky questions.


-- NBC Nightly News opened with UN inspectors getting access in Iraq, followed by a quick rundown of the economic figures. After a soundbite of Clinton, anchor Brian Williams went to Mike Jensen for a story on "the downside of a booming economy," how there are not enough workers.

-- CNN's The World Today at 8pm ET. Eileen O'Connor contributed a story on Starr's recall of Betty Currie to appear again before the grand jury. Anchor Joie Chen showed the soundbite of Lott from CNN's Evans and Novak show before going to a story from Charles Bierbauer explaining Clinton's legal status and how Lewinsky got into the case and how Jordan also found job for Hubbell. Then Chen briefly summarized the news broken by CNN reporter Pierre Thomas on Inside Politics, that Johnny Chung will say Chinese businessmen provided his money.

cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)Catching up with coverage from last week, on Wednesday night CNN featured a lengthy report on a charge by a lawyer beaten by Starr that he once covered up perjury. Following a story on how Lewinsky's first attorney, Francis Carter, is fighting a subpoena from Starr who thinks Carter knows about perjury by Lewinsky, CNN anchor Martin Savidge provided a link to Starr's past:

"And while Starr argues that Carter is using the attorney- client privilege to conceal what would be perjury, Starr is being accused of the same thing. It dates back to 1994, when Starr was representing General Motors in a civil matter."

Reporter Ed Garsten asserted: "In 1994, Kenneth Starr and his law firm, Kirkland and Ellis, represented General Motors in a suit brought by victims of a fuel tank fire. Now, a South Carolina lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in another case against GM, charges Starr knew one of the key witnesses perjured himself and helped hide the documents that could prove it. Now, he's asked for a Justice Department investigation."

J. Kendall Few: "It was his clear obligation under the law at the time to, first of all, attempt to persuade General Motors to disclose their fraud and perjury to the court and to the adverse party, and if they were unsuccessful in doing so, that it was the obligation of Mr. Starr and the other attorneys involved to disclose that fraud and perjury to the court or to the adverse party."

Garsten: "Kendall Few is referring to this memo, written by

former GM engineer, Edward Ivey (sp?), in 1973. It calculated cost of litigation versus cost of safety improvements to GM vehicles. The document concluded, unless GM could lower the cost of improvements to $2.20 per vehicle, it would cost less to pay off crash victims' families. Ivey testified, he'd never passed the document on to anyone, including GM management."

Few claimed the memo had been circulated but, Garsten contended, "Kenneth Starr and his law firm asserted they were privileged and therefore exempt from disclosure. Several legal expert CNN spoke with agree. The documents would not be privileged, since they were not communications between GM and its attorneys. Plus, if a witness perjured himself and one of those documents could help prove it, it's an attorney's duty to bring those documents to light, not help hide them...."

This is the same matter which inspired the now infamous Dateline NBC story on exploding pick ups. It is a small world.

cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) The March 9 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Most of the quotes have already appeared in CyberAlerts, but the bias is really striking when these quotes are put together, especially the most colorful hits on Ken Starr. Among the fresh quotes: Tom Brokaw in the very first quote, Brokaw again under "The 'Alleged' Scandal We're 'Allegedly' Covering Fairly," and the second quote under "PBS: Reaganomics Still Stinks." The NQ issue follows. -- Brent Baker

March 9, 1998 (Vol. Eleven; No. 5)

Law-Breaking By Liberals? Pass More
Liberal Laws to Be Ignored

"The Republicans were outraged by the fundraising practices of the President and the Democratic National Committee - but not so outraged that they felt the need for campaign finance reform." - NBC anchor Tom Brokaw in a New York Times column, February 7.

"Republicans kill the bill to clean up sleazy political fundraising. The business of dirty campaign money will stay business as usual....Good evening. Legislation to reform shady big money campaign fundraising is dead in Congress. Republican opponents in the Senate killed it today. It was the latest in a long-running attempt to toughen loose laws that shield hidden donors with loose wallets and deep pockets. As CBS's Bob Schieffer reports, when it came to the crunch today on campaign finance reform, it was all talk and no action." - Dan Rather, February 26 CBS Evening News.

"For all those promises of bipartisan cooperation to clean up the system, for all the investigations into White House coffees, Buddhist temple fundraisers, stories about top Republicans chasing campaign money in Hong Kong, and slick operator Roger Tamraz bragging about buying appointments with the President, for all of that, Senators took a deep breath and killed campaign finance reform for another year." - Reporter Bob Schieffer opening the subsequent CBS Evening News story.

"The Senate has effectively killed political campaign finance reform for the foreseeable future, which means that even though a majority of Senators declared themselves in favor of trying to change the way politicians raise and spend money, there were not enough votes to end a Republican filibuster. Together the Senate and the House of Representatives spent more than $9 million dollars to hold more than 30 days of hearings on how to change the rules, and even though so many Americans believe that money is more important to the process than their vote - which is not a pretty picture - and though many, many politicians believe the system is flawed, they will not be fixing it, just yet." - ABC's Peter Jennings, February 26 World News Tonight.


Starr: One Out of Bounds, Self-Serving, Illegal, Ominous Guy

"Starr justified the subpoenas of Lenzner and Blumenthal by saying a smear campaign could amount to obstruction of justice, but even some current and former federal prosecutors say that Starr is out of bounds and he should get on with the issues that really matter in the Lewinsky case." - ABC's Jackie Judd in a Feb. 24 World News Tonight story on reaction to the subpoenaing of the private investigator and the Clinton aide.

"Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr has increased the pressure even further on President Clinton today in what some call the nastiest and most personal clash yet. The Clintons have accused Starr of illegal, false and self-serving leaks of grand jury testimony in a campaign to get the Clintons at all costs, as they see it. Tonight, as CBS News White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports, Starr is boring in bigger, harder." - Dan Rather, February 24 CBS Evening News.

"We want to take a closer look at the legal tactics Ken Starr is employing. Joining us for that, CNN justice correspondent Pierre Thomas. By calling before the grand jury people such as Sidney Blumenthal, is Ken Starr acting illegally?" - CNN's Bernard Shaw, February 24 Inside Politics.

"It is now the one invitation in Washington no one wants, a call to testify before Ken Starr's grand jury. It left some [video of Lewinsky's mother Marcia Lewis] near emotional collapse, others [video of Sidney Blumenthal] raging about police state tactics. And nearly all the witnesses, it is safe to say, felt the ominous chill that comes with the arrival of a grand jury subpoena." - CBS reporter Eric Engberg, opening a March 2 Evening News story on how prosecutors use the grand jury system.


Media to Starr: Please Pack Your Bags

"Now let's discuss the question: Should Ken Starr resign? Former federal prosecutor Henry Hudson joins us on Inside Politics along with Stuart Taylor, a senior writer for the National Journal and a contributing editor for Newsweek. First to you, Stuart. Should Starr pack his bags?" - Bernard Shaw on CNN's Inside Politics, Feb. 26.

"New indications in a CBS News poll out tonight of how the public perceives Republican special prosecutor Ken Starr's investigation. Our poll suggests only 27 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial probe. And 55 percent think it's time for Starr to drop his investigation." - Dan Rather, March 2 CBS Evening News.


Poor Little Girl, Blackmailed by Starr

"She could be charged with lying on an affidavit in the Paula Jones case, whether or not she testifies before the grand jury. She could also be charged with telling Linda Tripp to lie, according to the tapes. What sort of punishment would she face if, in fact, Kenneth Starr spends taxpayer's money to put this girl on trial? ....We'll talk about the leaks in a second, but if Kenneth Starr is withholding full immunity because Monica's 'truth' [McRee uses fingers to imply truth is in quotes] doesn't go far enough, is that legal blackmail?" - Two questions from Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Lewinsky lawyer William Ginsburg, Feb. 25.


Dare Hold a Hearing? We'll Embarrass You for Clinton

"If in fact the House committee investigates the President's private life after Ken Starr has investigated the President's private life, the news media will then investigate the people who are investigating the private life the same way they investigated the campaign funding donations of people who inquired into the campaign funding habits of the Democrats. It's how the game is played. The White House isn't going to have to do that. We're gonna do that and it's called doing our job." - Eleanor Clift on CNBC's Equal Time, February 12.


The "Alleged" Scandal We're "Allegedly" Covering Fairly

"In Depth tonight. More on the alleged White House scandal." - Tom Brokaw, February 12 Nightly News.


PBS: Reaganomics Still Stinks

"The stock market crashed in October 1987, another setback for Reagan. Black Monday raised doubts about the soundness of Reagan's economic policies. On Reagan's watch tax revenues would double, but they never kept up with spending. The national debt nearly tripled. Although most Americans benefited, the gap between the richest and poorest became a chasm. Donald Trump and the new billionaires of the 1980s recalled the extravagance of the captains of industry in the 1880s. There were losers. Cuts in social programs created a homeless population that grew to exceed that of Atlanta. AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980s, nearly 50,000 died. Reagan largely ignored it." - Narrator of PBS American Experience profile of Ronald Reagan, February 24.

"If there is any President who does not deserve credit for our current economic prosperity it is Ronald Reagan. The latter part of the 1980s will go down as one of the most poorly-managed, economically reckless fiscal periods in American history." - PBS To the Contrary host Bonnie Erbe, Feb. 28 Washington Times column.


Please Spank Me

"Based on your dreams for the information age, can you give me your reaction to the type of information we are hearing in the current situation between the President and Monica Lewinsky? Is that the way you envision the information age turning out?"

"But in this particular case do you think it's gotten to the point where possibly there is a chance that there is too much information on this particular subject?"

"As our partner I'm sure you watch our programming, you're probably a news junkie like the rest of us. Do you think though that we as journalists have gone overboard on this story?" - NBC Today co-host Matt Lauer pressing Microsoft chief Bill Gates, February 24.

L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher
Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Steve Kaminski,
Clay Waters; Media Analysts
Kristina Sewell, Research Associate
Sherri Pascale, Circulation Manager
Rebecca Hinnershitz, Karen Sanjines, Interns

  -- Brent Baker

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