ABC & CBS Skip Waivers; Clinton Gets Better Press Than Starr; Latest NQ
1) Clinton delivers a speech
defending his China policy, but ABC and CBS didn't mention the China
connection. Only CNN relayed fresh news contradicting Clinton on the
waivers. The tobacco bill, CBS implied, will be sullied by "election
year tax cuts."
2) So far this year Bill
Clinton has benefitted from more positive evaluation on the network news
than has Ken Starr. CMPA determined that 89 percent of sources offered a
negative comment about Starr.
3) Sylvester Stallone, the
assault-weapon toting Rambo, denounces guns and demands they be
confiscated house by house.
4) June 15 edition of Notable
Quotables: Intelligent Subversion of the Law; Starr Appeal Threatens
America; Deadly Easter Egg Rolls.
>>> "Where Are Nightline's
Investigative Resources Now That Clinton's Charged with Dangerous
Exports? Will Koppel Let Clinton Get Away With It?" The latest MRC
Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham contrasts Koppel's pursuit
of Iraqgate with his less aggressive approach to the China connection. It
will be posted Friday morning by the MRC Web team of Sean Henry and Kenny
Lemay. They've already posted the just completed June 15 edition of
MediaWatch. Just click on the MediaWatch link on the MRC home page:
Clarification: The June 11
CyberAlert spelled a CNN reporter's last name correctly once and wrong
once. It's Jonathan Karl, not Carl.
Thursday night all the networks ran stories on Clinton's speech, in
which he defended his China policy, including his satellite waivers, but
neither ABC or CBS mentioned the controversy over the satellite waivers.
While NBC's Claire Shipman alluded to the controversy, only CNN's Wolf
Blitzer told viewers about information in a Washington Post story about
how the National Security Council had opposed one major waiver and later
determined China sold missiles parts to Pakistan.
In the June 11
Washington Post John Mintz reported:
"Months after denouncing President George
Bush in 1992 for coddling 'familiar tyrants' in Beijing, newly
inaugurated President Clinton endorsed his predecessor's policy in 1993 by
approving deals with China to launch U.S.-made satellites. Clinton took
the action, the first of many favored by U.S. companies, despite evidence
that China had sold ballistic missile parts to Pakistan, declassified
White House documents show.
"Clinton said Tuesday that his now
controversial approval in February of a satellite deal with China by Loral
Space & Communications Ltd. was 'pretty routine,' and the National
Security Council papers released this week suggest that is true. The
president has waved through every satellite export to China that was ever
presented to him after aides laid out the national security risks and
explained the number of U.S. jobs the deals would help create, the
The three mornings
shows skipped the Post disclosure, despite Clinton's claim that China is
helping with preventing the spread of nuclear technology.
Every network led
with a different topic on Thursday evening. ABC began with NATO efforts to
suppress violence in Kosovo, the impact of La Nina topped CBS, CNN went
first with the Mitsubishi sexual harassment settlement as FNC led with
congressional hearings into unruly airline passengers and NBC started with
the potential strike at GM.
ABC featured a
piece on a bill that would bar adults from transporting, without parental
knowledge, minors from a state with a parental consent law for an abortion
to a state without one. The Republicans are ruining the tobacco bill, CBS
suggested, by using it to "bankroll election year tax cuts."
Here are some
highlights from the Thursday, June 11 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings introduced Sam Donaldson's report on
Clinton's China speech by observing: "He has been under attack by
those who say he's abandoned the issue of human rights with the Chinese,
something he promised never to do when he ran against George Bush in
Donaldson explained that Clinton insisted that
getting tough on human rights as his critics want "would be like
cutting of your nose despite your face." Donaldson relayed how
"The President said engagement is paying dividends in cooperation on
nuclear non-proliferation," but failed to point out how, according to
the Washington Post, the NSC determined China had sold missile parts to
Two critics did make it into Donaldson's piece.
Two liberal Democrats: Paul Wellstone, who criticized Clinton on the
Tiananmen Square ceremony, and Nancy Pelosi who denounced businesses for
putting profit first.
Douglass illustrated a new bill by looking at the experience of
Pennsylvania resident Joyce Farley. Without her knowledge Rosa Hartford,
the mother of the 18-year-old who impregnated her 13-year-old daughter,
took her daughter to New York, which does not require parental consent,
for an abortion. Douglass's summary made the proposed law seem less than
rationale since abortion is legal:
"Under legislation proposed by anti-abortion
forces in Congress, Rosa Hartford would be treated almost as if she had
kidnaped Farley's daughter even though the girl was going anyway for a
legal abortion. The proposed law would make it a crime to transport a
young girl from a state that requires consent to one that does not."
-- CBS Evening
News. Tax cuts will ruin the wonderful spending plan. Dan Rather intoned:
"On Capitol Hill today lobbyists swarmed and
the big tobacco settlement bill is changing right before your eyes. It was
originally supposed to earmark a broad new tax on cigarettes to bankroll
anti-smoking efforts, especially those aimed at the young. All of a sudden
this bill now has a Republican provision to bankroll election year tax
cuts, especially the so-called marriage tax. CBS's Bob Schieffer is
watching as big money buys a new tobacco bill."
Rather set up the China story: "President Clinton today sought to
defend himself against accusations he's about to kowtow to the Chinese
in Tiananmen Square when he visits China later this month. As CBS News
White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports, the President coupled his
defense with some criticism of China."
Pelley began: "Dan, the Chinese will hate
this speech. It was hastily arranged to confront the critics of Mr.
Clinton's China policy. In it he admonished Beijing for a long list of
abuses, but then said his trip to China is right for America."
Pelley reported that Clinton offered criticism on
human rights and forced abortions. Pelley aired no soundbites from any
critic and failed to mention the satellite deals.
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET. Wolf Blitzer said Clinton "sharply defended
his policy of so-called constructive engagement." After a clip of
Harry Wu characterizing Clinton's approach as "appeasement
policy," Blitzer raised a subject the other networks skipped:
"Mr. Clinton also justified his
authorization of US satellite launchings on Chinese missiles, a policy
that is now under investigation in Congress. Mr. Clinton says he was
simply following the policy of George Bush and Ronald Reagan. But critics
don't buy that and in fact just declassified documents show the National
Security Council was initially opposed to these satellite authorizations.
'We may have sufficient evidence to sanction China,' one May 1993
memorandum concluded citing intelligence reports that China had
transferred missiles to Pakistan."
-- NBC Nightly
News. Claire Shipman explained that Clinton asserted "that a
practical approach often counts as much as principle." Shipman failed
to pick up on the Post story, but did at least highlight the China
connection controversy: "The President's trip has been at the
center of a firestorm lately over allegations that China illegally tried
to funnel money into the 1996 campaign over a presidential decision the
allow a Chinese satellite on a U.S. rocket, a move that helped generous
campaign donors despite an ongoing Justice Department investigation."
"firestorm" that burned right by ABC and CBS.
"Bill Clinton gets better press than his accusers," discovered a
four month analysis of broadcast network evening news scandal stories
completed by the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA). The
just-published May/June edition of the CMPA's newsletter, Media Monitor,
details the group's analysis of Clinton scandal stories from January 1
to April 30 aired by ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC
each statement in the network stories, whether from the reporter or those
in soundbites. Each comment is judged positive, negative or neutral. Here
are some illuminating findings lifted from their newsletter:
-- "Of nearly
1,300 soundbites containing judgments of him, the President was supported
by 44 percent of news sources and criticized by 56 percent. Among the
comments that specifically referenced scandal allegations or Mr.
Clinton's ethics in general, however, only 35 percent were positive and
65 percent were negative. By contrast, among judgments that focused on
other issues (such as his job performance, handling of specific policy
issues, etc.), more than four-fifths (81 percent) were positive."
contrast, Kenneth Starr lacked defenders but not critics. Excluding his
own comments and those of his staff (which were 97 percent positive), Mr.
Starr was criticized by 89 percent of sources. The independent counsel
received mostly bad press from all types of sources, including
congressional Republicans (61 percent negative). Leading the charge
against the prosecutor were various representatives of the President (96
percent negative), who accused Mr. Starr of partisan motives and
President's other accusers all shared negative media profiles. Paula
Jones fared worst, with 78 percent bad press, with most of the criticism
originating from the Clinton camp."
featured a graph comparing the network evaluations of Starr and Clinton. I
can't re-create that in e-mail, but I've taken the numbers and tried
to devise two tables so the contrast is easy to see.
That's a gap of
18 percentage points
This latest edition of Media Monitor is not
yet up on the CMPA Web site, but the address is: http://www.cmpa.com
The only way to make America safe: go house to house and confiscate every
gun. Reacting to the shooting death of Phil Hartman, actor Sylvester
Stallone who is best known for glamorizing in his Rambo films military
weapons not even the NRA wants legal, urged the repeal of the 2nd
analyst Tom Johnson transcribed his ranting from a June 8 segment on
Access Hollywood, the show carried by NBC-owned stations and syndicated to
"I know we use guns in films," but insisted the time has come
"to be a little more accountable and realize that this is an
escalating problem that's eventually going to lead to, I think, urban
then showed a clip from a comment he made in London a few weeks ago:
"Until America, door to door, takes every handgun, this is what
you're gonna have. It's pathetic. It really is pathetic. It's sad.
We're living in the Dark Ages over there."
there"? Yes, the man who wants to control what Americans have in
their homes is now living in England. Back to Stallone's interview with
the show, he demanded that the 2nd amendment be abandoned: "It has to
be stopped, and someone really has to go on the line, a certain dauntless
political figure, and say, 'It's ending, it's over, all bets are
off. It's not 200 years ago, we don't need this anymore, and the rest
of the world doesn't have it. Why should we?"
The June 15 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's
bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes
in the liberal media.
Quotes fresh to CyberAlert readers include
a U.S. News reporter praising the public's "intelligence" for
not condemning Clinton, a quote caught by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens. It
appears in the first category. Also, under "Monica's New Lawyer:
Exhibit A for Why Starr Should Quit," a quote picked out by the
MRC's Tim Graham in which a Time reporter fails to consider the
possibility the independent counsel for Ed Meese lasted just six months
because Meese didn't obfuscate.
The issue follows below. -- Brent
June 15, 1998
(Vol. Eleven; No. 13)
Intelligent Subversion of the Law
"Stonewalling happens to be good
lawyering and I'm glad the President and Monica Lewinsky have good
lawyers." -- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on FNC's Hannity & Colmes,
"I think if a married man commits
adultery, lying sort of goes with it, and committing perjury in a civil
case that's been thrown out of court, I think you'd have to look long and
hard to find anybody in this country who has suffered a penalty because of
that....Now Sean, I've been around Washington long enough that I've heard
lots of politicians tell lots of lies. And I don't know that I put lies
about sex in a higher category than lies about public policy that might
affect my life." -- Clift, same show.
Matthew Miller, U.S. News &
World Report: "He [Clinton] either has to say the truth or
decide to lie about adultery, or an affair...I don't think that the
American people will actually care about that."
Suzy DeFrancis, GOP consultant: "He [Miller] thinks
American people are the most lawless people..."
Miller: "Not lawless. Intelligent."
-- Exchange on CNBC's Hardball, June 9.
Put On Blinders, Not Binoculars
Ted Koppel: "It has
the potential of being a terrific conspiracy story. Several members of
Congress, including Speaker Gingrich, have called on President Clinton not
to go to China this month as planned until he answers to Congress. But the
story may not have the additional advantage of being true."
Chris Bury: "For all the sound and fury here in
Washington, no concrete evidence has yet emerged to support the two most
damaging allegations. It is not certain any classified missile technology
was transferred to China. And no one has produced any proof that President
Clinton changed policy because of campaign contributions." -- ABC's
Nightline, June 3.
Unserious, Imbalanced Borger
"Translation [of GOP policy]: We can't
get Bill Clinton to tell the truth about Monica Lewinsky, so let's get him
to fess up to cavorting with the Chinese. Please. Through their
blunderbuss tactics, Republicans are undermining their own pledges to
conduct serious and balanced inquiries." -- U.S. News & World
Report columnist Gloria Borger in a June 8 article titled "Commies!
Rather's Prosecutorial Attack
"Good evening. There is new
information tonight about President Clinton's response to Ken Starr's hard
press in his investigation of the President's personal life. As CBS News
White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports, the President has declined
Starr's unprecedented request for his testimony." -- Dan Rather, May
27 CBS Evening News.
"Good evening. There are these
important developments tonight in Ken Starr's prosecutorial attack against
President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky." -- Dan Rather, June 2 CBS
Monica's New Lawyer: Exhibit A for
Why Starr Should Quit
"He is a walking, talking precedent
for prosecutorial forebearance. It took [Jacob] Stein just six months and
$312,000 to wrap up his investigation and decide not to bring any
indictments against [then-Attorney General Ed] Meese. So when he finally
sits down with Starr, Stein won't be just Lewinsky's defender. He'll be
Exhibit A in the argument that it may be time for Starr's nearly four-year
odyssey to come to an end." -- Time reporter Adam Cohen ending June
15 Stein profile.
Starr Appeal Threatens America
"You've always thought when you talked
to your lawyer it was confidential, even after you die. But not if the
independent counsel has his way....Once you die, whatever you told your
attorney in absolute confidence suddenly becomes fair game. What you said
may hurt your reputation, or implicate your child in drug abuse or
embarrass your family, it doesn't matter. A prosecutor should, Starr
argues, be able to make your lawyer talk. Whatever the Supreme Court's
ruling may mean to Starr's investigation of the White House, it could
profoundly affect how you deal with your attorney from now on." --
ABC's Forrest Sawyer, June 8 Nightline.
"For many terminally ill people, it is
one of life's final acts: talking to a lawyer and feeling safe that their
secrets are protected, even in death, by the attorney-client
privilege....Now the attorney-client privilege is facing its biggest
challenge yet here at the Supreme Court. The case has set off alarm bells
among lawyers and clients, the worry that what they discuss in the
strictest confidence may one day be revealed." -- CBS reporter
Stephanie Lambidakis, June 7 CBS Evening News.
We'd Sooner Forget Public Eye
"The idea of a national apology for
slavery has been floated regularly over the past year, but always shot
down, often by Americans who would sooner forget it ever existed." --
Bryant Gumbel at beginning of a June 3 story about Ed Ball, a wealthy
Southerner who wrote a book about coming to terms with the fact his family
owned slaves, June 3 Public Eye.
Goldwater, the Great Ex-Senator
"Goldwater was always honest, even
when honesty didn't pay. My appreciation of Goldwater came in his and my
later years when he called on Nixon to resign and when he said that Reagan
was either a liar or incompetent for not knowing about Iran-Contra. He
told the party to let abortion alone and to quote 'boot Jerry Falwell in
the ass,' closed quote. He summed up gays in the military brilliantly.
'You don't have to be straight to shoot straight.' You don't get more
honest than that." -- Time's Margaret Carlson, May 30 CNN Capital
"He was also a dangerous
extremist...It [the "Daisy" ad] was a gross exaggeration and it
was demagogic and it was an effective ad, but there was some truth to it.
Goldwater was a guy who was in favor of unleashing the Strategic Air
Command." -- Newsweek reporter (and former Washington Bureau Chief)
Evan Thomas, May 30 Inside Washington.
Moderator Ken Bode:
"Fast, quick trigger-finger, yes, quick to shoot."
Robert Greenberger, The Wall Street Journal:
"But don't you think as Barry Goldwater aged, now maybe this is a
reflection on the country, maybe the country moved center or Barry
Goldwater moved left. But he seems, in his later years he seemed a lot
less unreasonable than some of the rhetoric you hear coming out of
contemporaries on Capitol Hill." -- Exchange on PBS's Washington Week
in Review, May 29.
"In 1992, Barry Goldwater came out in
favor of lifting the ban on gays in the military -- on the exquisitely
conservative grounds that sexuality was none of the government's business.
The tongue-clucking from the right was deafening. Gary Bauer, the
President of the Family Research Council and now a kingmaker of the GOP's
religious right, lamented publicly that 'it's sad...Sen. Goldwater was
once the authentic voice of American conservatism.' Ah, but Goldwater
didn't change his stripes, the GOP did. Bauer is the "authentic
voice" of something else entirely: a radical faction that is fast
taking over the party -- and trampling the philosophy -- to which
Goldwater dedicated his political life." -- Time Daily online writer
Frank Pellegrini, May 29.
Good Morning, Gun Nut
"Speaking of gun safety and children,
Mr. Heston, as you well know and in fact as everyone in this country knows
there has been a spate of school shootings recently that have been quite
disturbing to all Americans. Given the fact that these seem to be
happening with greater frequency has it caused you to rethink your
philosophy about children and guns and the accessibility of guns for
children?" -- Katie Couric to the NRA's new President, June 8 Today.
"Getting back to kids and guns, if you will indulge me for a moment.
You cannot think of any other position the NRA could take in terms of
trying to decrease the number of school shootings? You feel like this is
not your bailiwick, this is not your problem?"
Charlton Heston: "Not at all. As I told you the NRA
spends more money, more time..."
Couric, cutting him off: "Other than
Heston: "Well what would you suppose? What would you
Couric: "I don't know, perhaps greater
-- Exchange on the June 8 Today.
"The Bill of Rights was written over
200 years ago. There weren't semi-automatic weapons out there. There
weren't AK-47s out there. There were people who had one-shot rifles,
one-shot revolvers. What do you say to people who say, 'We're in a
different time right now and we are awash in guns'?" -- CBS host Mark
McEwen to Heston, June 8 This Morning.
"Mr. Heston, is there no room for some
limited gun control laws in this country?" -- ABC host Lisa McRee,
June 8 Good Morning America.
I Always Think the Worst of Newt
"I assume the worst when Newt opens
his mouth but I have no idea on this issue whether Newt was wrong."
-- Newsweek's Evan Thomas on Speaker Gingrich saying Jerusalem should be
the capital of Israel.
Site of Deadly Easter Egg Rolls
"Let's make it clear, though, that is
the official welcoming spot in Beijing. It's a little bit like the South
Lawn of the White House in Washington. That's where world leaders come for
state visits." -- Today host Matt Lauer responding to Sen. Tim
Hutchinson's claim that Clinton visiting Tiananmen Square "demeans
the lives of those who were killed" in democracy protests, June 9.
Schieffer concluding June 2 CBS Evening News story on congressional
investigations of technology transfers to China. -- Brent Baker
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