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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday May 5, 1998 (Vol. Three; No.72)

Inappropriate to Ask Clinton Cooperation; Hillary Makes Us "Nicer"

1) Burton's behavior of most concern to the networks. ABC and CBS say Starr made "inappropriate" request of White House, but NBC revealed Starr accused Clinton of encouraging McDougal to stay silent.

2) America's true heroes: U.S. News salutes William "Paul Revere" Ginsburg while Hillary Clinton makes "people be nicer."

3) The May 4 edition of Notable Quotables: Our Almost All Peter Jennings issue with five quotes from the crusading liberal anchor.

4)Notable Quotables

cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)Monday night ABC, CBS, FNC and NBC led with progress on cancer gained by using anti-angiogenesis drugs. CNN failed to air a prime time newscast as a "Battle Against Cancer: Hopeful Signs" special replaced the 8pm ET The World Today and CNN ran a repeat of Impact at 10pm ET.

      Instead of pursuing the meaning of statements from Web Hubbell in the prison tapes, such as how he would have to "roll over again," for the second night in a row ABC and CBS focused on Democratic and White House complaints about how Dan Burton released the tapes. FNC ran a story on the subject, but FNC's piece, unlike ABC and CBS, at least featured Trent Lott urging attention be focused on Hubbell instead of Burton. CBS and FNC also delivered full stories on the new indictments of Susan McDougal while NBC featured a piece on McDougal but barely touched the Burton controversy.

      Starr's office asked Clinton to encourage McDougal to end her silence, an "inappropriate" request suggested the ABC and CBS stories. But NBC's Lisa Myers rejected the White House spin, reporting that the independent counsel's office had "accused the President of making public statements that indirectly encouraged his former business partner not to cooperate" and asked the White House to cease such efforts.

      Some highlights from the Monday, May 4 evening shows:

      -- ABC's World News Tonight. Highlighting the tape controversy Peter Jennings explained that to quell complaints Burton released more tapes: "It is the second time in a week that Chairman Burton has released such tapes, but it is what he didn't give out the first time that has won Mr. Burton more than his share of criticism."
      Jackie Judd began: "The war over the Hubbell prison tapes got even nastier today with Republican Congressman Dan Burton, who released them, in the line of fire."
      After a soundbite from Henry Waxman about how Burton falsified evidence, Judd ran a clip of a favorite Democratic exchange in which Hubbell says Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with padding bills at the Rose law firm.

      Jennings then asked about the McDougal indictment and Judd gave the basics. Jennings added: "Now the independent counsel's office also talked to the White House about her?"
      Judd relayed the anti-Starr White House spin: "Right, they revealed today that they had asked the President to encourage McDougal to cooperate and that the White House turned them down. The White House said that would have been entirely inappropriate for the President to do and it is reckless of Starr to suggest otherwise."

      -- CBS Evening News. Scott Pelley checked in with a piece on how the Little Rock grand jury, which will close down Thursday, will not indict Hillary Clinton, but she's not out of jeopardy as Starr is moving to the DC grand jury a probe of her work in the Castle Grande land deal. Pelley also reported the indictment of McDougal, adding: "Starr's office said today that it even asked Mr. Clinton to encourage McDougal to testify." Following a clip of Starr spokesman Charles Bakaly saying the White House rejected the request, Pelley concluded by relaying the White House line that suggested Starr did something wrong:
      "This evening the White House released a statement saying the President has always encouraged everyone to tell the truth but it wouldn't be appropriate for him the intervene."

      Next, Dan Rather got to Burton: "All weekend long and again today House Republicans were being accused of misleading and highly selective leaks of those tapes that originally appeared damaging to the Clintons, and may still actually be. So today Republicans promised all the Hubbell tapes. CBS's Phil Jones reports what they actually delivered."
      Jones opened with the "chaotic" scene as tapes were passed out to the media. Jones aired two segments Republicans supposedly distorted: In one the full tape shows Hubbell and his attorney were discussing immunity issued by the OIC, not a presidential pardon; in the other Hubbell makes clear Hillary Clinton did not know anything about over billing. Concluded Jones:         "Republican Chairman Burton is accusing Democrats of squealing like a bunch of pigs, but Democrats say Burton is out of control and trying to fulfill his promise of two weeks ago to get the President."

      -- NBC Nightly News. Lisa Myers began with good news for the White House, predicting Hillary Clinton will not be indicted. But in Little Rock, she added, Susan McDougal was hit with more charges of criminal contempt and obstruction of justice. Putting the burden on Clinton not Starr, Myers offered a different picture than ABC and CBS:
      "And Starr's spokesman accused the President of making public statements that indirectly encouraged his former business partner not to cooperate. Starr repeatedly asked Clinton to get his friend to talk."
      Myers concluded: "McDougal insists that no amount of jail time will make her talk. Tonight, Starr is calling her bluff and at the same time suggesting that the President himself may be encouraging her silence."

      Tom Brokaw then noted how Burton released more tapes since "Burton's earlier versions did not include the portions helpful to Mrs. Clinton." Brokaw posed one question to Tim Russert: "Tim, a fair amount of good news for the Clintons tonight."
      Russert replied, in full: "Tom, some Democrats were saying if they indict Hillary Clinton it will be a great political backlash. But the White House is relieved. They did not want that footnote in history and the rigors of a trial and they think this is a very important chapter that's been closed. They are now focusing on something else Tom. Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich and Dan Burton. The message from the White House is we are blessed by our enemies."

      -- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET. From Little Rock reporter David Shuster predicted no indictment for Hillary Clinton but that McDougal had been indicted. Like NBC's Myers, but unlike ABC and CBS, Shuster noted a bit of new evidence: a check written by McDougal that said "payoff Clinton."

      Up next, Carl Cameron picked up on the Burton controversy, explaining how Democrats claimed the original tapes released omitted parts exonerating people and that the transcripts were doctored. After a clip of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle jokingly suggesting an independent counsel for Burton, Cameron ran a soundbite from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott skipped by the other networks:
      "Aides say Burton's editing is not the point. The point they say is that Hubbell does seem to incriminate himself on the tapes and his proclamations of innocence are bogus, Republicans add, because Hubbell knew he was being taped."
       Lott: "Why don't you focus on what the tapes show. Once again you're picking up the White House spin."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)Two headlines from the May 11 U.S. News & World Report.
On page 18: "The Survivalist." The subhead beneath: "How does Hillary Clinton cope with the barrage of sex scandal charges? By launching a national campaign to make people be nicer."

      How nice.

      On page 24: "Feeling 'like Paul Revere.'" The subhead beneath: "William Ginsburg: defending liberty, a client -- and himself."

      What a great guy.

      If it weren't for this awful scandal poking into the private sex life of a President who is doing such a swell job we wouldn't have the opportunity to have these wonderful people do such great things for us.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)The May 4 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Due to a printing fiasco, the mailing of this issue was a delayed but it should now be on the way to subscribers.

      (Those of you who are not yet subscribers can help support the MRC's efforts by signing up. For just $48 annually you can receive 25 combined issues of MediaWatch and Notable Quotables, 12 monthly issues of MediaNomics and the year-end Best of NQ awards issue. The $48 "re-deign" offer, to celebrate our new MW/NQ combo package, ends May 22. To subscribe by credit card, call MRC Circulation Manager Michelle Baetz at 800-MRC-1423. That's 800-672-1423. Call between 9 and 5:30pm ET weekdays. For a sample issue and an order form, send your mailing address to her at: mbaetz@mediaresearch.org. See our newsletters the old-fashioned way, in their more colorful hard copy form.)

      Amongst the quotes fresh to CyberAlert readers: a quote noticed by MRC analyst Clay Waters under "Solution to Mean-Spirited Politics: Campaign Finance Regulation." Clay also caught a Los Angeles Times quote listed under "Scaife's Rabid Bribing Campaign" and the CBS This Morning tip under "Adultery: A Benefit of Feminism." The last quote, "Strategically Sucking Up," features an exchange on CNBC's Hardball about Time magazine observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.

      The NQ issue appears below. -- Brent Baker


Notable Quotables                           
May 4, 1998 (Vol. Eleven; No. 10)

Jennings: I Want to See Poverty

"I was thinking about what Jane Fonda said the other night about North Georgia and how she thought North Georgia was not unlike parts of the developing world and some politicians in Georgia jumped all over her....And the truth of the matter is there are parts of America which are just as bad as some of the worst parts in the rest of the world and that's desperately sad." -- ABC News anchor Peter Jennings on Jane Fonda's charge that children are "starving to death" in Georgia, April 23 CBS Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.

"What you really don't see, when I first started volunteering for the Coalition [for the Homeless] -- by the way there are a lot of people who volunteer a lot more diligently and more seriously than I do -- in the feeding program we used to feed under the Brooklyn Bridge, under the Manhattan Bridge. And this is only seven or eight years ago there were communities of homeless there, of men primarily who did not want to be in the shelter system. There are none of those little shanty towns anymore, they've all been pushed away. Some people may think that's a good thing but I always thought it was sad that we hide the homeless because, because it's a fact of life and I also think it's incumbent upon the rest of us to recognize the homeless and see the homeless and look the homeless in the eye because there's no lower status in life than to be without a place to live." -- Jennings, same show.

Pour More Into Rotten Schools

Cokie Roberts: "In the Catholic schools in the District of Columbia the majority of the students aren't Catholic because these are poor families that are trying to get their kids out of rotten public schools."

Sam Donaldson: "Well, we should maintain the rotten public schools better then. We should pour money into those rotten schools and make them better." -- Exchange between co-hosts on ABC's This Week, April 26.

CBS: No NOW Hypocrisy

"Paula Jones's lawsuit was rejected by a federal court judge. And today the National Organization for Women said it will not support Jones's appeal. The organization says it's not a good test case and its members don't want to work with quote, 'disreputable right-wing organizations and individuals,' unquote." -- Entirety of news item read by Dan Rather on the April 22 CBS Evening News.

Solution to Mean-Spirited Politics: Campaign Finance Regulation

"They get elected in very partisan campaigns, very nasty, burn-and-destroy campaigns. And they're bringing the same habits now to Washington. That used to not happen. But it's happening now. And until something I think is done to reform the whole campaign finance system and how we get people to Washington, I think you'll see a continuing partisan atmosphere here." -- Bob Schieffer to Charles Osgood, April 26 Sunday Morning.

Millionaire or Billionaire, But Always a Conspiratorial Hater

"Starr attempted to leave for Pepperdine in Malibu, California last year, but was so ridiculed he agreed to see the investigation through to the finish. Still, critics continued linking Starr to Richard Mellon Scaife, the conservative millionaire and Clinton basher who helped finance the Pepperdine post." -- Jackie Judd, April 16 World News Tonight.


"In cutting ties to Pepperdine Starr also bowed to critics who claimed the job was a serious conflict of interest because the school is funded, in part, by billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, financial godfather of the alleged right-wing conspiracy against the President. Starr insists he has absolutely no ties to Scaife, who is alleged to have given indirect financial aid to a key Whitewater witness against the President." -- Lisa Myers, April 16 NBC Nightly News.

Scaife's Rabid Bribing Campaign

"If there is a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' at work in America, the man at its center likely is Richard Mellon Scaife, the 65-year-old reclusive Pittsburgh billionaire whose money has funded both mainstream conservative think tanks and underground attack campaigns against President Clinton.... Scaife's money also has poured into the rabidly anti-Clinton American Spectator magazine. Editor R. Emmett Tyrell [sic] Jr. relentlessly derided the new President in 1993, a vilification campaign that won Scaife's support." -- Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage, April 17.

"Subsidizing probes, underwriting witnesses, chipping in for a deanship at a Malibu school, the omnipresent megamillionaire Richard Mellon Scaife owns the cashbox of the anti-Clinton crusade." -- Caption for April 27 Time caricature of Scaife.

Who Offended Who First?

"Tonight, if we ever get out of here, the White House correspondents hold their annual dinner where the press hosts the President, journalists invite sources and the occasional celebrity like Robert DeNiro. This year, Insight magazine, whose parent is the Moonie paper, The Washington Times, decided on an in-your-face guest, Paula Jones, in order to insult the guest of honor. That demeans not just the President but the presidency. Too bad the President didn't insult the press corps by staying home." -- Time columnist Margaret Carlson, April 25 CNN Capital Gang.

"But a lot of people say that it was inappropriate for her to be there with the President and the First Lady." -- Wolf Blitzer to Tony Blankley on CNN's Late Edition, April 26.

Reality Check:
"She is the aggrieved party. I don't understand the argument that here's a person who may have been wronged and she can't appear in public, but the person who may have done the wronging is free to stride the streets in pride. I don't think so. I think she had every right to be there." -- Former Gingrich press secretary and CNN panelist Tony Blankley, April 26 Late Edition.

He'd See Her If She Was Homeless

"I certainly won't go out of my way to say hi to her." -- Peter Jennings on avoiding Paula Jones at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, April 27 Washington Post story by Michael Colton.

Ken Starr, Overcharging Nazi

"Clearly worried that it might look as if he were taking a payoff from the right wing, he announced last week that once he finishes his investigation he won't, repeat won't be taking that cushy job at Pepperdine University after all. Well, of course he won't. By the time he finishes his investigation he'll be too old." -- CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, April 19.

"The long-running, wide-ranging and multi-million dollar Ken Starr investigation of the Clintons is far from over, possibly running now beyond 1998. That's on top of the nearly four years and $30 to $40 million it's already taken." -- Dan Rather opening the CBS Evening News, April 22.

"Starr is regarded as an occupying army in Little Rock. It's sort of like....like the French talk about the Germans." -- Newsweek's Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, April 25.

Killer Sport Utility Vehicles

"Tonight we begin at the crossroads of physics and safety and government responsibility. In Washington today government is grappling with what to do about the threat that sport utility vehicles represent to lesser vehicles in accidents. It's an obvious concern now. Sport utility vehicles have become the latest driver's passion and because they are bigger and heavier they have the potential to do unusual damage." -- Peter Jennings opening the April 21 World News Tonight.

"There were high-level talks today about knocking a very different giant down to size: the sport utility vehicle. SUVs. Extremely popular with some but considered a killer on the road to others..." -- Dan Rather introducing a story after a report on Microsoft, April 21 CBS Evening News.

Trashing an "Age of Deregulation"

"We begin tonight with something to think about later this evening. You're at home or in the office or the car, and you go to make a phone call. What do you think the chances are that when you do, you're going to be ripped off by the phone company? There are millions of complaints in this age of deregulation, millions. And it's a big enough problem for Congress to take up tomorrow."
-- ABC anchor Peter Jennings opening World News Tonight, April 22.

Adultery: A Benefit of Feminism

"The women's movement brought change and power to millions of American females. Virginal brides surrendered to the sexual revolution. Modern fashions exposed body parts previously reserved for the bedroom. Entering the work force meant the old ways that women met men were ancient history [video clip of a milkman]. And a new breed of superwoman said 'I can have it all'...The search for pleasure leads some women to shop [video of sex toys] and some to stray...And experts say many husbands and wives can become stronger individuals, and on rare occasions, might even find that cheating recharges their marriage." -- CBS This Morning co-host Jane Robelot, April 23.

Strategically Sucking Up

CNBC host Chris Matthews: "Puff interview with the President! Walter Isaacson, your Managing Editor, just out of nowhere gets this great interview with the President after Newsweek has been hosing this guy for two months."
Karen Tumulty, Time: "We were strategically positioning." -- CNBC's Hardball, April 6.

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

  -- Brent Baker

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