NPR Blacklists; Chronology of Media Deceit for Clinton; a Lewinsky Top Ten
1) Al Hunt denounced the
Christian Coalition and National Right to Life Committee for putting their
ability "to buy influence" ahead of "real campaign finance
2) NPR caved in and
blacklisted Steve Emerson, a terrorism expert who upsets anti-Western Arab
extremists, documented Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby.
3) "Media Apologies Owed
After Clinton Admits Lies: A Chronology of Embarrassing Error," a
MediaWatch Review details how top journalists aided in Clinton's deceit.
Now one admits his "shame."
4) Letterman's "Top Ten
Chapter Titles in Monica Lewinsky's Book."
Catching up with an item I didn't have room for earlier, back on August
22 on CNN's Capital Gang Al Hunt denounced two conservative groups for
daring to oppose co-called "campaign finance reform." Here's
the Outrage of the Week from the Executive Washington Editor of the Wall
"Washington State Congresswoman Linda Smith
is a down the line social conservative and ardently anti-abortion. Yet the
National Right to Life Committee and Christian Coalition are threatening
not to support her Senate bid this year. Why? Because she supports real
campaign finance reform, which these vested interests fear may diminish
their ability to buy influence. What this tells us is that money and power
matter more than ideals and values to the Christian Coalition and Right to
Of course, they
are standing on ideals and values, the ideals and values of the First
Only conservatives blacklist, at least according to liberal mythology. But
National Public Radio does too, as uncovered by Boston Globe columnist
Jeff Jacoby. In an August 31 column for the Globe Jacoby documented how
readily NPR caved into demands from Islamic extremists to shut out Steve
Emerson, a respected expert on terrorism who upsets those who hate Israel
by pointing out how Arab and Palestinian leaders and governments foster
terrorism against the West.
Over the last ten
years Emerson has provided the MRC with expert comment for many MediaWatch
articles, including on the players in the October Surprise theory and
those behind the Pan Am 103 bombing. You may remember him from his on-air
work on CNN in the early 1990s.
Below are some
excerpts from Jacoby's column:
On Aug. 20, NPR's popular Talk of the
Nation dealt with breaking news: the U.S. raids on Osama bin Laden's
terror facilities in Sudan and Afghanistan. One of several guests
interviewed by telephone was Steven Emerson, an investigative journalist
and a leading expert on Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Emerson has
reported in detail on Islamic extremism and has focused public attention
on the network of terror cells and front groups operating in the United
States. His 1994 television documentary Jihad in America won some of
journalism's most coveted awards, and he has repeatedly been invited to
testify before Congress on Islamic violence and US counterterrorist
In short, Emerson was an ideal guest for
NPR's show, and his brief on-air conversation with host Melinda Penkava
Unobjectionable, that is, to anyone except
the Islamic terrorists and their supporters whom Emerson has done so much
to expose. In recent years, he has been the target of a brutal campaign of
vilification and defamation.
The Council on American Islamic Relations
-- a radical group that warmly defends Hamas and other terror outfits --
has led the way in demonizing Emerson as an anti-Arab racist....
Right after his NPR interview, CAIR urged
its adherents to go on the attack.
One of the many attackers was Ali Abunimah,
a leader of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network. Judging by its
Web site, the AAAN's chief project is condemning "the genocidal
policies of the U.S. government toward the people of Iraq." But
Abunimah has a pet project of his own: Lobbying NPR to blacklist Steven
In June, he e-mailed NPR's news division to
say he was "horrified" that Emerson had been used in a story on
Mohammad Salah, a reputed Hamas fund-raiser....
He pressed his vendetta up and down the NPR
food chain: To the network's national news editor, Michael Fields; to the
general manager of the affiliate that had produced the story; to Jackie
Northam, who had reported it; to Loren Jenkins, NPR's foreign editor. The
Fields assured him that quoting Emerson had
been a "mistake" and that "it won't happen again" --
i.e., that Emerson would be blacklisted.
But on Aug. 20, Emerson appeared on Talk of
the Nation. Livid, Abunimah fired an e-mail to Ellen Silva, TOTN's
"I am shocked and disappointed,"
he wrote, "that TOTN had Steven Emerson on its call-in show today as
a guest. Mr. Emerson is a well-documented anti-Arab, anti-Muslim racist.
When he was last on NPR on June 24, in a report by Jackie Northam, there
was a public outcry....This should not have happened again....Last time, I
accepted the explanation that it had been an innocent error. But how many
errors can be innocent? This is a very serious matter and will require an
Abjectly, NPR caved again. The following
From: Ellen Silva
Thank you for your letter.
Our executive producer was in charge of that decision -- not me. I take
your point and extend an apology to you from the staff of TOTN.
Please take care,
From: Ali Abunimah
Thank you for your response. Who is the executive producer of TOTN? Have
you forwarded my concerns to him or her? Other than an apology, which we
received previously, what assurance can I have that this won't happen
From: Ellen Silva
I have forwarded your concerns to him. You have my promise he won't be
It is NPR policy.
NPR's obsequious surrender speaks for
itself. That an expert who testifies before Congress would be barred from
the airwaves of the radio network Congress subsidizes is too scandalous to
It remains to add only that, late last
week, I learned of the Abunimah-Silva correspondence and asked NPR to
explain its blacklist policy. Silva retracted everything. "I was
wrong to use the word 'policy,'" she said. "I misspoke. We
don't have a policy on Steven Emerson." I asked several times why NPR
was repudiating its words. Silva declined to answer.
END of Excerpt
Many in the media spent the months leading up to August 17 defending
Clinton and disparaging Ken Starr, but when Clinton admitted he'd been
lying all along there was a deafening silence from those in the media who
aided in Clinton's seven months of deceit about his behavior and
maligning of Ken Starr. For the August 24 MediaWatch Associate Editor Tim
Graham collected the most enthusiastic examples from media stars, such as
Bryant Gumbel, who once demanded: "Given Kenneth Starr's track
record, should we suspect that he's trying to do with innuendo that
which he has been unable to do with evidence?"
Review appears below, but after the issue went to print one rare media
figure did admit his guilt in helping Clinton perpetrate a fraud: USA
Today founder Al Neuharth. In his August 21 column Neuharth conceded:
"He now is a self-confessed liar and philanderer. He long has been a
double-talking double-dealer. Shame on him. But shame on many of you, and
on me, too." Neuharth elaborated:
"For more than a decade, I generally was a
Clinton fan. It started when I met him in the Governor's Mansion in Little
Rock, Ark., in July 1987. That year, I interviewed governors of all 50
states. Put Clinton at the top of my published list of Democrat potential
"Some of my Arkansas media associates warned
me Clinton made Gary Hart look like an amateur womanizer. Others said his
draft-dodging made Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden seem like flag-waving
"I dismissed this as political gossip. For a
decade, I focused more on Clinton's charisma than his character.
"Why my mea culpa now? 'The Speech'
Monday night. I listened and re-listened. Read and re-read. And finally, I
"When Clinton said that his under-oath lying
about his affair with Monica Lewinsky was 'legally accurate,' it was
the same old double-talk. No shame. No blush. Instead, he put the blame on
independent counsel Ken Starr for forcing him to 'fess up about his
"I apologize for failing to use my podium
these past years to point out the President's serious shortcomings. Bill
Clinton is brilliant. But he's full of baffle and B.S. He's unfit to sit
in the Oval Office."
As they say,
better late than never. But why did it take him so long?
From the August 24
MediaWatch, the Review titled "Media Apologies Owed After Clinton
Admits Lies: A Chronology of Embarrassing Error."
Faced with the prospect of a President
perjuring himself before a federal grand jury, media pundits sensed
danger, and began wondering how to get Clinton out of it, composing drafts
of a confessional speech to the country. But the President's August 17
admission that he lied for seven months only underscored the need for a
bucket of media mea culpas. From the day the Lewinsky story first broke in
The Washington Post on January 21, some in the media chose to
defend the President at all costs to their reputations for accuracy - or
reverence for the truth.
-- By 5 p.m. Eastern time on January 21, Newsweek's
Eleanor Clift had staked out the so-what defense on MSNBC: "Well,
he's been elected twice with people knowing he has had affairs. Now is
the fact that this woman is 21. I mean, she's still of age, I suppose.
You know, I think that the distaste that people may feel for this will
also be because of the fact that the probing into this person's private
life has occurred. I think past Presidents, Lyndon Johnson for one,
certainly Jack Kennedy, these things went on, you know, libido and
leadership are linked."
-- That night, Bryant Gumbel tried a bolder
attack, asking Scott Pelley on CBS's Public Eye: "Scott, as
you and I both know, a popular move these days is to make a titillating
charge and then have the media create the frenzy. Given Kenneth Starr's
track record, should we suspect that he's trying to do with innuendo
that which he has been unable to do with evidence?"
-- On January 25, weekend Today co-host
Jodi Applegate took on Gennifer Flowers just days after The Washington
Post revealed that Clinton admitted having sex with Flowers in his
Paula Jones deposition. Applegate insisted the audio tapes Flowers played
in 1992 were doctored: "Given that all of these are still only
allegations against the President, why should people believe you now, even
still?" Flowers replied: "Well, in the first place, he admits
the relationship took place, so I mean the truth is out." Applegate
snapped: "According to The Washington Post."
-- As CNN's Impact concluded that
night, Bernard Shaw warned that Clinton could be wrongly accused: "A
final thought on what you have seen and heard in this edition of Impact.
A breaking news story is never the full picture. Remember speculation that
Middle Eastern terrorists bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building? In
fact, Americans did it. Remember first reports that Princess Diana was
hounded to death by the paparazzi? In fact, we learned that the man
driving her speeding limousine was drunk. And that investigation is not
over. Remember Richard Jewell highly suspected in the Olympic park
bombing? In fact, the FBI apologized for targeting the wrong man. And now
we are in the middle of another breaking story; the President and his
accusers. All the facts are not in."
-- Morning show interviews with Hillary
Clinton hesitantly skimmed the surface of Lewinsky's allegations, but
also suggested an innocent President. On January 27, Today co-host
Matt Lauer asked: "So if what you have heard is something you can
believe, and if what the President has told the nation is the whole truth
and nothing but the truth, then you'd have to agree that this is the
worst and most damaging smear of the twentieth century." On the 28th,
ABC Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee inquired: "What is
it about your husband, Mrs. Clinton, that seems to make him a lightning
rod for these types of allegations?....You've also talked about your
husband's generosity and his warmth, and his, you know, his warmth with
people even, you know, people he hardly knows."
-- That evening, Bryant Gumbel tossed James
Carville the very definition of a softball on Public Eye:
"Where does Lewinsky fit into this conspiracy theory? Is she
victimizing the President or is she too a victim?"
-- NPR anchor and former weekend Today
co-host Scott Simon laid another pompous commentary on Today
viewers on February 1: "So over the next few weeks President
Clinton's most delicate relations may not be with an independent counsel
who stones every turn of his life or an old intern spinning astounding
stories, but with millions of Americans who've come to like and admire
Bill Clinton and don't want to feel foolish for believing in him. And to
be sure prosecutor Kenneth Starr has also put himself on trial. If after
all of the agony over these past few weeks it doesn't produce a single
plausible actual charge against President Clinton, and probably soon, it
may be the independent prosecutor who could be dismissed by the American
-- On the February 27 Dateline NBC,
Josh Mankiewicz (son of McGovern campaign manager Frank Mankiewicz)
deplored asking the Secret Service to testify: "But ever since agents
began guarding Presidents after the assassination of William McKinley, the
Secret Service has kept its secrets. Now the man investigating the
President may want to ask agents in the White House what they know about
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. And that's made a lot of current and
former agents wonder who they're supposed to protect the President from
- an assassin, or a character assassination?"
-- CBS Sunday Morning host Charles
Osgood took out his poet's pen on February 28: "The jokes, the
snickers, and the flippery/ The slope we're on is long and slippery/ And
there is something in the air which this country best beware/ for there is
danger in the dirt and lots of people could get hurt/ And what we sow, we
someday reap/ Last night as I laid down to sleep/ I dreamed an apparition
swarthy/ the unshaved ghost of Joe McCarthy."
-- On March 10, Newsweek's
Jonathan Alter declared on Today: "I do think there is some
value in [ex-conservative writer David Brock's] apology because it does
illuminate some larger facts about our times. I think when historians look
back on all this, they're gonna be less concerned about all the legal
details of who said what to whom when, and more concerned about the way we
drove this truck into the muck. And if David Brock, who helped drive the
truck into the muck, wants to help push it out now, great."
-- CNN's Bruce Morton deplored what
Monicagate was doing to the profession of politics on The World Today
April 1: "Has anybody in the history of America, any President
certainly, had his character so trashed, so publicly, for so long? I think
the answer is no and I think Mr. Clinton is probably personally damaged by
that and I think, if you were a young state representative, 28 years old,
you're sitting with your wife and kids thinking: do I want to run for
President someday? What are you going to say? You're going to say good
grief no, look what they do to them."
-- On April 11, Eleanor Clift was still
spinning for Clinton on The McLaughlin Group: "We don't live
in Salem and I think the country is sick of the witch hunt. The Paula
Jones case was the gateway to Miss Lewinsky. Now that the Jones case has
been thrown out, I think it's going to be very difficult to go after a
young woman and try to force her to answer questions about intimate
-- Bryant Gumbel took his latest shot at
the scandal on the July 1 Public Eye, waving the white flag of
European decadence: "Over five months have passed now since those
first over-hyped reports alleged a sexual relationship between President
Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Although Mr. Clinton has denied it and
nothing has been proven, the mere suspicion seems to have obsessed a good
number of media people and other Americans. What some view as high scandal
in our country, is barely cause for concern elsewhere. Richard Schlesinger
takes a look at the French connections."
Monicagate didn't even rise to the level of
a real scandal, the networks implied. On February 12, Tom Brokaw
introduced: "In Depth tonight. More on the alleged White House
scandal." On May 3, CNN Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer asked:
"What is the White House strategy right now in dealing with all of
these late breaking developments involving this so-called scandal?"
The President's admission should put any of that so-called analysis to
END of Article
From the August 31 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Chapter Titles in Monica Lewinsky's Book." Copyright 1998 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Beret Full of Bill"
9. "Hillary: That Cat's Got Claws"
8. "I'm Not Even Gonna Tell You What I Did With Alan Greenspan"
7. "Things You May Not Know About The Return Policy At The Gap"
6. "Going Down In History"
5. "Linda Tripp: So Not My Friend"
4. "My Childhood Crush On Gerald Ford"
3. "Cute Guys On The Grand Jury"
2. "Sticking To My Testimony"
1. "The Presidential Salute"
From the Late Show Web page (http://marketing.cbs.com/
lateshow/topten/), which features "the extra jokes that didn't
quite make it into the Top Ten," nine more:
-- "Oh No! Here Comes Hillary!"
-- "First Aid for Rug Burns"
-- "I Didn't Know a Beret Could Do That!"
-- "It Rhymes with Horatio"
-- "The Day I Ran Out of Wisk"
-- "The Oval Office As Seen From Three Feet High"
-- "The Swollen Missile Crisis"
-- "Madeline Albright: Now That Chick Can Party"
-- "Sucking Up To The Boss"
That's all for
my vacation-week CyberAlert, which I intended to only relay some
sidetracked material that got bumped over the past few weeks, but ended up
with a couple of new items. Don't expect to see another edition until
But, media bias
tracking continues in my absence. Check the MRC Web site (www.mrc.org)
over the next few days for the new MediaWatch and Notable Quotables as
well as this week's Media Reality Check fax report. If not today, the
Reality Check should be up Thursday with MW and NQ following soon after. -- Brent Baker
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