Clinton Just Like Jefferson; "Nastiest" Campaign Ever; Hero Feingold
1) CNN's dream: "Could
a new genetic study suggesting Thomas Jefferson fathered a child with a
slave be a boost for President Clinton in fighting impeachment?"
2) CBS denounced "one of
the shortest, nastiest mid-term election campaigns ever," as it gave
Clinton time to show his healing with blacks. Tom Brokaw applied biased
labeling to Jeb Bush.
3) Howard Kurtz contrasted how
the networks blame conservatives but not liberals for terrorism and
murder. NBC's VP says it's because they just report what liberals say
4) During the Lewinsky affair
Clinton fired an envoy for sexual misconduct, the Washington Times
disclosed. Networks: zilch.
5) Russ Feingold, you're my
hero. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman grumbled that if liberal
anti-First Amendment champion Feingold loses, "that's really
depressing to me."
Pro-Clinton Spinning Stretch of the Weekend. While passing out candy to
the neighborhood tykes on Halloween night I caught this from anchor Marina
Kolbe on CNN's 8pm ET The World Today:
"Could a new genetic study suggesting Thomas
Jefferson fathered a child with a slave be a boost for President Clinton
in fighting impeachment? The study in next week's edition of the journal
Nature concludes that new genetic work, coupled with old circumstantial
evidence, proves Jefferson fathered at least one child by his slave, Sally
Hemings. One of the study's authors says it suggests, according to
history, presidential indiscretions are long-standing."
buddy/CNN President Rick Kaplan working the news writing desk Saturday
"One of the shortest, nastiest mid-term election campaigns
ever," Dan Rather preposterously proclaimed Friday night in what may
be a preview of the coverage we'll see Tuesday night. Bob Schieffer
piled on, claiming "it's already been one of the nastiest campaign
seasons ever," which he illustrated by showing a Republican ad and a
Democrat calling a Republican a liar.
the CBS Evening News in the East on Sunday night, but ABC's World News
Tonight led on Sunday with the storm damage in Nicaragua and Honduras.
Mike von Fremd focused on Clinton's trip to a black church in Baltimore
and how the Christian Coalition distributed voter guides. Later, ABC ran
"Point of View" piece with Mike Murphy, who produced the new
Republican ads, explaining how negative ads work. The November 1 NBC
Nightly News began with Iraq not allowing in the UN inspectors. Joe Johns
provided an overview of the last weekend of campaigning, including
Clinton's church trip and how negative ads are on he increase because
they work. Next, Dan Lothian looked in on Washington's woman versus
woman Senate race.
Now back to Friday
night where in addition to CBS's jihad about nastiness, the network also
gave airtime to a lengthy plea from Clinton to black voters without
running anything from a Republican candidate. FNC's Fox Report and NBC
Nightly News delivered the only full stories on the judge appointing a
special master to investigate leaks from Starr's office. NBC's Tom
Brokaw profiled Jeb Bush, Republican candidate for Governor of Florida,
and offered this unequal choice of labels for him and his Democratic
opponent: "MacKay is pro-choice, Bush anti-abortion."
FNC's Carl Cameron picked up on Democratic attacks on Gingrich for being
involved in the new GOP ads, but Cameron uniquely raised the hypocrisy of
Dick Gephardt since he also worked on Democratic ads.
Here are some
highlights from the Friday, October 30, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight led with Glenn's first full day in space followed by Jackie
Judd on Abe Hirschfeld renewing his offer to pay Paula Jones $1 million if
she settles with Clinton.
For the A Closer
Look segment John Cochran examined the "McConnell factor," how
Senator Mitch McConnell as head of the National Republican Senatorial
Committee controls $86 million. Cochran explained how he's been generous
with Jim Bunning in Kentucky, but not so with Linda Smith in Washington
because she supports campaign finance reform.
-- CBS Evening News led with the impending
election. Dan Rather opened: "Good evening. One of the shortest,
nastiest mid-term election campaigns ever is heading into the final
weekend knee-deep in money and mud. Attack ads are wall-to-wall as races
tighten and both sides try to rally voters to the polls."
began by noting how the GOP launched an ad campaign to revise Lewinsky
even though a week earlier the head of the National Republican
Congressional Committee said Republicans wouldn't talk about
impeachment. Why the change in tactics? Schieffer pointed to a CBS
News/New York Times poll which determined that "by large margins
Democrats have been winning over voters" on issues like improving
health care and education and saving Social Security. Schieffer then
"Whether or not the scandal becomes an issue
it's already been one of the nastiest campaign seasons ever. In New
York, Senator Al D'Amato accused opponent Chuck Schumer of liking
foreigners more than New Yorkers."
D'Amato ad: "If you live in Mongolia,
Schumer's your man."
Schieffer: "In Illinois, as elsewhere,
substance gave way to invective."
Senator Carol Moseley-Braun on radio show with
her Republican challenger Peter Fitzgerald: "That is not true Peter,
you know I'll stop telling the truth about your record if you stop
telling lies about mine."
Schieffer: "But for all the noise and more
than a half billion dollars in campaign spending, polls suggest the
overriding question is turnout. Are voters already so turned off they'll
sit out the election."
After a soundbite from a woman complaining about
how people are being turned of, Schieffer concluded with an assertion we
can measure against reality in a few hours: "Expectation now:
Republicans will make modest gains, fairly typical for the party out of
power in an off election year, not really much of a mandate for either
side on anything."
an Al D'Amato ad to illustrate negative campaigning, but on Fox News
Sunday on November 1 host Tony Snow played one from Democrats that the
rest of the media have ignored. Here's what a Missouri Democratic Party
radio ad, targeted at black voters, asserts:
"When you don't vote, you let another
church explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn.
When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister.
When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school
lunches and Head Start."
Unfazed by such
divisive campaigning, immediately after Schieffer's story Rather went to
the White House where Scott Pelley showed Bill Clinton in
"healer" mode. Pelley stated:
"With no strong issues propelling voters to
the polls Democrats are now raising impeachment as a threat to the
nation's well-being. Late today Mr. Clinton carried that theme to
African-American ministers in a classic of Clinton campaigning."
Clinton: "If you believe in your heart that
you have been a part of my presidency, and I tell you you have, I
wouldn't be here without you, then I ask you this one thing: Realize
that this too is an important election. That it is not an ordinary time,
it is therefore not an ordinary election."
long soundbite for Clinton, but no time for a Republican response.
-- CNN's The World Today led with co-anchor
Joie Chen showing Bill Clinton in New York with Chuck Schumer and Hillary
Clinton in California with Barbara Boxer. CNN then ran two campaign
stories. First, John King on the White House attacking Newt Gingrich:
"The White House is attacking a familiar foe as it tries to turn
attention way from the President in the final days of campaign
'98." Second, Garrick Utley on how a negative ad is made and why
they work. Later in the show CNN noted the Hirschfeld offer and the
appointment of the special master. Plus, CNN played a report from Candy
Crowley on the Boxer/Fong Senate race in California.
-- FNC's Fox Report led with the Dow's best
month this year.
David Shuster looked at Judge Norma Holloway
Johnson's decision to probe leaks, but noted the threshold of evidence
against Starr is low as in one instance cited by the judge ABC's Jackie
Judd just referred to "law enforcement sources."
handled the attack on the attack ads, observing:
"To hear Democrats and the Vice President you'd think scandal is an
election year issue not because of what the President admits doing but
because of Newt Gingrich."
Gore: "This entire partisan plot was
personally masterminded by Speaker Newt Gingrich."
After soundbites from RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson
and Executive Director Cliff May about how Gingrich only saw the ads after
they were finished, and a clip of Gore calling them a smokescreen to avoid
real issues, Cameron asserted:
"Though Democratic leader Dick Gephardt took
part in crafting the Democrat's response ads, he blasted any role the
Speaker may have taken in GOP commercials."
-- NBC Nightly News led with John Glenn. Lisa
Myers provided a full report on Hirschfeld renewing his offer to end this
Leading into a
full story from Pete Williams, Tom Brokaw asked: "Did Ken Starr's
office leak secret grand jury material to the news media. Was that a
violation of federal law? According to the judge looking at that question,
the evidence is beginning to pile up against Starr."
the In Depth segment on Jeb Bush in Florida, who Brokaw discovered is
"running as a kinder, gentler Republican" compared to four years
ago when he lost the race for Governor. Referring to Democrat Buddy
MacKay, Brokaw employed this uneven use of labeling, relaying the
preferred tag of just the liberal side: "MacKay is pro-choice, Bush
anti-abortion." After explaining how Bush favors private school
vouchers and running a soundbite of MacKay saying they would destroy
public schools, Brokaw challenged Bush:
"When you leave behind the kids that
invariably will be left behind, don't you then have an underclass of
Jeb Bush: "We have it now and that's what
we need to fight against."
"When a Crime Occurs, the Media Often Cast Their Gaze to the
Right," reads the headline over the jump page for Monday's Media
Notes column by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post. Picking up on a theme
detailed last week by CyberAlert Kurtz compared how the networks blamed
the wider pro-life movement for the Barnett Slepian murder "but when
a left-wing environmental group claimed credit for burning down a ski
resort in Vail, Colorado, there was little suggestion that environmental
activists might have contributed to such violence."
Kurtz spoke with
Dan Rather and a NBC official, who both defended their coverage: "The
anchor called CBS's coverage 'fair and accurate,' saying the network
'gave voice' to people blaming the anti-gay and anti-abortion
movements, 'and also gave voice to those who said, 'Don't paint us all
with this brush.' The circumstances surrounding the Vail fire, says
Rather, were less clear. Bill Wheatley, NBC's vice president for news,
says the press is just doing its job. 'It's fair to report there are
charges being made by, in this case, gay rights groups, and to ask for
reaction to such charges,' he said. As for linking violence to
conservative activists, he said: 'We ought not suggest it on our own,
but when others are suggesting it, we at least ought to pursue it. You
tend to seek reaction when a party involved in the news makes such a
charge.' By contrast, said Wheatley, he knows of no charges that
environmental groups somehow encouraged the burning of Vail."
conservatives: To ensure balanced coverage conservatives must be as
irresponsible as liberals and blame liberals for things they had nothing
to do with because the media sure won't discern between a legitimate
connection and a reckless effort to impugn a political opponent.
To read Kurtz's
November 2 story, go to www.washingtonpost.com
and select print edition, then "Style," then scan down to
"Style columns." The direct address, which should work on
To read the
CyberAlert articles, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/1998/cyb19981023.html#2
"During Affair, Clinton Fired Envoy for Sex Misconduct,"
announced a front page Washington Times headline on Friday, October 30.
But none of the network morning or evening shows on Friday touched the
So, to let you
know what Washington Times readers have learned but network viewers never
will, here's an excerpt from reporter Jerry Seper's story:
President Clinton fired the ambassador to
Eritrea last year for sexual misconduct with two U.S. Embassy employees,
according to a confidential report obtained by The Washington Times.
At a time when Mr. Clinton was involved in
an "inappropriate" sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and
had been accused by two other women of making crude sexual advances, he
recalled Ambassador John F. Hicks.
The reasons for Mr. Hicks' recall from his
post in Asmara, Eritrea --located on the Red Sea between Sudan and
Ethiopia -- have not previously been made public. The firing followed
complaints to the State Department from two embassy secretaries that he
repeatedly groped, kissed, fondled, touched and called them at their homes
despite numerous requests that he leave them alone.
Mr. Hicks, a Clinton appointee, reportedly
told one of his accusers, who is white, that she rejected him because he
was black. State Department spokeswoman Linda Topping Thursday declined
comment, citing federal privacy concerns. White House spokesman James
Kennedy also declined comment on Mr. Hicks' recall. He had been named by
Mr. Clinton to the ambassadorship in May 1996....
Investigators concluded the accusations
were valid and Mr. Hicks had created "an intimidating, hostile and
offensive work environment which had the effect of unreasonably
interfering with both of these women's work performance."....
The report said Mr. Hicks:
-- Fondled one of the secretaries by
rubbing her back and buttocks, embraced her with his arms and tried to
kiss her on the mouth during a meeting in his office. He then became
emotional, saying, "Baby, baby, oh baby." The secretary pushed
him away and left.
-- Grabbed the same secretary during
another office encounter, rubbing her buttocks and inviting her to sit on
his lap. When she declined and tried to leave, he put his arms around her
from behind and she could feel "he was in an excited state with an
erect penis." He then kissed her, saying, "baby, baby,"
moved his hand under her skirt and underwear and touched her vagina with
his fingers. At that point, she told investigators she was "frozen
with fear" and it took "all of her strength" to push him
-- Called the second secretary numerous
times at her home in Asmara to ask her to come to his office late at night
or to tell her, "Good night, my love, sleep tight."....
Sounds like an
excellent candidate for Director of Intern Operations at the White House.
Russ Feingold, you're my hero. On Friday's Washington Week in Review
on PBS, former New York Times reporter and now foreign policy
columnist/conservative basher Thomas Friedman, grumbled:
"If someone like Russ Feingold, who is
trying to really promote campaign finance reform, and trying to run
basically as clean a campaign finance campaign as one can run, gets wiped
out in Wisconsin that's really depressing to me. If you can't win that
kind of campaign in Wisconsin, I find that really disappointing."
Expect more of that Tuesday night and Wednesday morning if the media's
hero of liberal campaign finance reform, aka confining unlimited free
speech to the news media, loses.
-- Brent Baker
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