Hyde's Letter Is "War"; ABC: Go Left to Replace Newt; No Dems on ABC
1) Dan Rather gloated:
"The incredible shrinking impeachment inquiry." Hyde's
announcement topped ABC, CBS and FNC. Moves against Gingrich highlighted
by all but ABC.
2) "This letter is a
declaration of legal war," Geraldo Rivera alleged in denouncing
Hyde's effort as "a perjury trap."
3) ABC's Aaron Brown argued
Republicans should move left if they replace Gingrich: "You need
someone who is more inclusive."
4) No liberal Democrats on ABC
News: They won't appear while NABET in a labor dispute. GMA cancels
trip. World News Now leaves USA.
5) They're back: Left-wing
crusaders Donald Barlett and James Steele have moved up the media
hierarchy to Time magazine.
6) Letterman's "Top Ten
Famous Politician Wrestling Nicknames."
7) One more Ratherism:
"...if Fidel Castro came looping through on a hippopotamus."
>>> "Networks Promote
'Pragmatic Centrist' Republican Governors Who Used to Be Media
Targets: 'Cold-Hearted' Governors Now 'Moderates.'" The
November 6 MRC Media Reality Check fax report has been posted on the MRC
home page by Webmaster Sean Henry. In the fax report the MRC's Tim
Graham contrasts media pronouncements since the election about
"pragmatic" and "moderate" GOP Governors with how the
networks vilified Michigan Governor John Engler, as a hard-right
conservative, after he was elected in 1990. Go to the MRC home page at http://www.mrc.org
Henry Hyde's announcement about impeachment hearings with Ken Starr as
the only witness and that he asked President Clinton to admit or deny 81
items in the Starr report, topped the ABC, CBS and FNC evening shows
Thursday night. Dan Rather's top of the CBS Evening News tease:
"The incredible shrinking impeachment inquiry. Republicans backtrack,
now call hearings with only one main witness: Ken Starr."
CNN and NBC went
first with the devastation in Central America from Hurricane Mitch. CBS,
FNC and CNN also focused on the perilous situation facing Speaking Newt
Gingrich. CNN and NBC ran separate stories on how Republicans are talking
about dumping him while ABC gave it just a sentence. CBS, CNN and FNC
aired pieces on how the lawyers for Paula Jones will soon leave her, but
only FNC's Rita Cosby reported that "President Clinton is no longer
interested in settling the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit" and
has even withdrawn his $700,000 offer.
Here are some
highlights from the Thursday, November 5, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings delivered the oddest of openings, tying
together Hyde and Hurricane Mitch:
"Good evening. Our first two major stories
tonight are about priorities. And we begin in Washington where Republican
politicians understand now all too clearly how strongly much of the public
feels about impeachment hearings involving President Clinton."
Jennings went first to Linda Douglass:
"Members of the House Judiciary Committee are gritting their teeth at
the thought of beginning the unpopular task of impeachment hearings."
Douglass explained how Hyde will call only Starr
and sent 81 questions to Clinton, noting: "They do not focus on sex
but on things like whether Mr. Clinton tried to keep Monica Lewinsky quiet
by buying her gifts."
After a soundbite from Clinton on how voters want
their business handled, she concluded: "Many congressional
Republicans think they are under more pressure from a public fed up with
impeachment because GOP leaders have failed to focus attention on anything
else. Some members blame Newt Gingrich for that and want him to pay by
forfeiting his job as Speaker."
introduced the second story: "The other priority tonight is Central
America. It is must clearer to individual Americans today and the Clinton
administration what a blow Tropical Storm Mitch has been..."
-- CBS Evening News. Following the tease from
Rather quoted above, Bob Schieffer summarized Hyde's points and plans
before jumping to Gingrich's troubles:
"The White House hasn't decided how to
respond to that, but the best news for the President is that all of this
is coming to a head just as Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich
suddenly finds himself dealing with his own crisis, a growing number of
Republicans are blaming Gingrich for the pasting they took on election
night and want to dump him."
Schieffer named four who are being asked to run
for leadership posts: Bob Livingston, Steve Largent, David McIntosh and
From the White
House Scott Pelley reported that Clinton was non-committal on cooperating
as the 81 questions "go to the heart of allegations of perjury and
obstruction of justice."
Later in the show
Phil Jones provided a story on how Clinton had rejected a $950,000 offer
from the Jones team. As for why her lawyers are quitting after the current
appeal, Phil Jones relayed:
"CBS News had learned her lawyers are fed-up
with Jones's friend and public relations adviser Susan Carpenter
McMillan who they say has convinced Jones she can get millions of dollars.
This circus last Saturday was the final straw for the lawyers. Paula Jones
and McMillan flew to Washington to literally kiss real estate tycoon Abe
Phil Jones concluded: "If Jones does change
her mind Mr. Clinton has offered to settle out of court for $700,000.
Remember, when this began, all it would have cost the President to settle
was an apology."
-- CNN's The World Today. John King looked at
Hyde and White House reaction to the 81 questions, Bob Franken at the
rejection of the $950,000 offer and how Jones's lawyers are quitting and
Gene Randall at how Bob Livingston told Gingrich he should consider
-- FNC's Fox Report led with Carl Cameron on
Hyde making an appeal for Clinton's cooperation and how Livingston may
challenge Gingrich and Largent may face off against Armey. Jim Angle
relayed White House reaction to the 81 questions before Rita Cosby focused
"Buoyed by Democratic election victories,
President Clinton is no longer interested in settling the Paula Jones
sexual harassment suit, according to sources close to the case....Sources
tell Fox News that Jones's lead attorney called the President's
lawyer, Bob Bennett, Thursday morning saying she'd accept $950,000 to
settle the case. But Bennett said the White House is not interested in
settling anymore. He withdrew his previous offer of $700,000...."
-- NBC Nightly News. Claire Shipman went through
what Hyde said and how the White House won't admit to perjury or
obstruction of justice.
Tom Brokaw then
turned to how "results of this election have thrown congressional
Republicans into turmoil." Gwen Ifill reported that Gingrich spent
the day on the phone shoring up support, adding: "Also vulnerable in
Capitol Hill's current vengeful mood, sources say, Gingrich deputies
Dick Armey of Texas and John Boehner of Ohio." Ifill named four
possible challengers: Livingston, Largent, McIntosh and Jennifer Dunn
before running a soundbite from U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough on how Gingrich
should go. Ifill concluded:
"This time the Speaker's fight for
survival will be hand to hand combat as he fends off attacks not only from
his liberal enemies but also from his conservative friends."
Geraldo Rivera is not pleased with Henry Hyde's plan to move things
along by getting President Clinton to either admit or deny 81 items in
Starr's report. To Rivera, it's "war" meant to land Clinton
in "a perjury trap."
Rivera opened the
November 5 Upfront Tonight on CNBC:
"This letter is a declaration of legal war.
Hi everybody and welcome back to the impeachment debate. Earlier today
Chairman Hyde said he wanted streamlined hearings, with just one major
witness: Ken Starr. And a New Year's deadline on the impeachment vote.
He also said the catch was White House cooperation, but he's not just
asking for cooperation. Answering these questions could be legal suicide
for the President. Listen to what they call a perjury trap. Question 20:
'Do you admit or deny that you gave false and misleading testimony when
you stated during your deposition in January that you did not know if
Monica Lewinsky had been subpoenaed to testify in that case.' Question
21: 'Do you admit or deny that you gave false and misleading testimony
before the grand jury that you did know that Monica Lewinsky had been
subpoenaed to testify.' He either knew she had been subpoenaed or he
didn't know. If he knew he lied in the deposition. If he didn't know,
then he lied to the grand jury. A perjury trap."
In other words, he
did commit perjury.
If Republicans decide to replace Newt Gingrich the new Speaker should be
"more inclusive, not less inclusive" like a social conservative.
So argued Good Morning America substitute co-host Aaron Brown on Thursday
in another example of how the media culture assign the GOP setback to
being too conservative, not to failing to espouse a clear set of
conservative principles. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down these two
questions posed to Randy Tate, Executive Director of Christian Coalition:
"Randy, in listening to the Speaker
yesterday, I thought maybe he was talking about you, at least indirectly,
when he said this criticism is coming from people who want to make the
party narrower-based with fewer members. That, in fact what it sounds like
the Speaker is saying is the party needs to be more moderate, not more
there are people, I think lots of people today, who are looking, for
example, at California, even the Carolinas, and saying that this kind of
strident, conservative, social conservative position is not a winning
position, and if you're going to replace the Speaker, you need someone who
is more inclusive, not less inclusive."
"Strident" conservative positions? North Carolina's Lauch
Faircloth ran TV ads about how he got a postage stamp to highlight breast
cancer and in California Matt Fong didn't exactly take the Christian
Coalition line when he endorsed the Log Cabin Republican's policy goals.
ABC News this week has displayed all the technical smoothness of a local
cable access show. Ted Koppel spent more time on Tuesday's Nightline
trying to find the right camera and figuring out which guest had both
sound and picture, and could hear Koppel without an echo, than conducting
It's all because
NABET, the National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians,
staged a walkout on Monday. Angered by the unannounced labor action, since
Tuesday ABC has locked out the technicians. This has led Good Morning
America to cancel a West Coast trip, move World News Now to London
and.....interview no liberals since top Democratic politicians have
decided to support the people who refused to do their jobs on Monday.
In the November 5
Washington Post reporter Lisa de Moraes described some of the impact on
ABC. Here's an excerpt:
....ABC crews were asked to leave the
headquarters of California Democratic gubernatorial winner Gray Davis
Tuesday afternoon and police removed ABC crews from the Fairmont Hotel in
San Francisco where Sen. Barbara Boxer was celebrating her reelection
Tuesday night. Both Davis and Boxer won with strong backing from organized
In both cases, ABC got injunctions that
permitted their news crews to return to the Democratic gatherings. The
network argued that the Democrats were violating ABC's First Amendment
In addition to technical glitches that
resulted from the use of fill-in staff, ABC's election reports were
noticeably missing interviews with Democratic politicians, who heeded
NABET's boycott. That included Davis and Boxer in California.
But they weren't the only Democrats to
cold-shoulder ABC News. The day before the elections, Gore canceled an
interview for Good Morning America. Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, head of the
Democratic National Committee, also backed out of an appearance on the
morning news show....
But politicians weren't the only people
giving ABC the brushoff. Sandler, whose movie "The Waterboy"
opens tomorrow, canceled a Good Morning America appearance yesterday.
The NABET battle also drove the network's
World News Now 2-5 a.m. program out of the country and over to London.
"Given the circumstances, it makes sense to use all available
London is certainly an equipped and
available facility," ABC News spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said....
With so much bad karma coming out of
California, ABC yesterday decided to scrap its plans to take "Good
Morning America" on the road to California next week. Anchors Lisa
McRee and Kevin Newman were to have hosted the show from San Francisco,
Carmel, Los Angeles and San Diego. Instead, they're staying in New York.
That's a big blow to the ratings-starved morning show....
afford to boycott ABC News since they know their views will be well
represented by the sympathetic news staff. (One Democrat didn't follow
the marching orders: North Carolina Senator-elect John Edwards appeared on
Wednesday's GMA, but otherwise no Democratic officials appeared
Wednesday or Thursday morning, MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson
The evils of corporate welfare is the November 9 Time magazine cover
story. I haven't had a chance to read the 13-page piece, the first of a
weekly series, but the byline jolted me by reminding me of some of the
most tendentious left-wing bias ever documented by the MRC. The byline:
Donald Barlett and James Steele, most infamous for a 1991 series in the
Philadelphia Inquirer and other Knight-Ridder newspapers called
"America: What Went Wrong." The series became a book with the
Of course what
went wrong for Barlett and Steele was Ronald Reagan and Democrats giving
in to business interests. To give you a flavor of their liberal crusading
spiced up with exaggerated hype about the dire conditions of the country,
here's a quote from a 1991 installment on deregulation:
"For you, the American taxpayer and
consumer, deregulation has meant fewer airlines and higher air fares, more
unsafe trucks on the highways, and your tax money diverted to pay for the
S&L debacle....The results: There are more rich people than ever
before. There are more poor people than ever before. And the ranks of
those in between are shrinking, their standard of living falling."
For an idea of how
loose they are with basic facts, here's an excerpt from the December
1991 MediaWatch article on the series:
Assertion: A dramatic front page chart
showed a 13-inch high stack of dollar bills labeled "Increase in the
salaries of people earning more than $1 million: 2,184 percent." In
contrast, a quarter-inch high stack reflected the 44 percent growth in
salaries of those making $20,000 to $40,000.
Reality: Barlett and Steele's numbers
reflected the total, non- inflation adjusted, dollars earned by everyone
reporting an income over $1 million, not the "increase of salaries of
people earning more than $1 million." Translated: In 1983, 10,800
households reported an income of over $1 million, for a total of $24
billion. By 1988, millionaires reported $172 billion in income. But that's
because the number of households reporting a $1 million-plus income soared
six-fold to 65,300. As Joint Economic Committee economist Chris Frenze
explained to MediaWatch, the 1986 tax reform cut the
marginal rate from 50 to 31 percent, leading the wealthiest to take money
out of shelters and report it as income.
To read the MediaWatch Janet Cooke Award on
the series, go to:
A few months
later, far from being embarrassed by its shameless manipulation of
emotions through misleading generalities in the "America: What Went
Wrong" series, Barlett and Steele wrote a front page story on the
unfairness of a capital gains tax cut. They charged that a cut would
"encourage another round of corporate takeovers, such as the ones in
the 1980s that led to the closing of plants and the elimination of
jobs." They also preposterously asserted: "An Inquirer analysis
of the 70-year history of the capital gains preference shows no evidence
linking the tax to the creation of jobs."
To read a
MediaWatch article about this story, go to:
After their book
was published in the spring of 1992, MediaWatch asked: "So who in the
media have cared enough to check Barlett and Steele's wild assertions?
Just Philadelphia magazine Senior Editor Paul Keegan. In April he found:
'Their series is so fundamentally flawed, its intellectual underpinnings
so weak, that it actually says little about what went wrong with America,
and everything about what went wrong with Barlett and Steele.'"
considered them a great addition to the staff. In a "To Our
Readers" letter in the November 9 edition, Time Editor-in-Chief
Norman Pearlstine, crowed: "Barlett and Steele came to Time, Inc. 18
months ago from the Philadelphia Inquirer, where, over 26 years, they
earned their reputations as America's finest investigative
America's finest transformers of liberal polemics into a news story
format. Liberals and conservatives oppose corporate welfare, but I bet the
series approaches the subject from the left. Next week Time promises
"Life with America's Biggest Sugar Daddy."
the November 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Famous
Politician Wrestling Nicknames." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants,
10. "Sneak Attacki" Pataki.
9. "Attitude Fixin'" Richard Nixon
8. Strom "The Vi-Aggravator" Thurmond
7. John Quincy Badass
6. Ted "The Plastered Bastard" Kennedy
5. Barbara "Don't Be Fooled By The Name -- She's Actually a
4. Eleanor "Macho Man" Roosevelt
3. Al "Da Loser" D'Amato
2. Bill "The Internator" Clinton
1. Chairman Pow
And from the Late
Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it
into the Top Ten."
-- Margaret "The Iron Girdle"
-- Hillary "Nutcracker" Clinton
-- Bill "Homewrecker" Clinton
-- Al "Bore 'n' Snore" Gore
-- Jimmy "J.J." Carter
-- Gerald "Built Like A "Ford
-- Bill "Openfly" Clinton
more Ratherism on top of the "this race was as hot and squalid as a
New York elevator in August" cited in the November 4 CyberAlert and
the "nasty enough to gag a buzzard" quip quoted in the November
FNC Fox Report, in an item on how Dan Rather will be part of the upcoming
60 Minutes II, co-anchor Jon Scott highlighted another election night
Ratherism: "He said when folks heard a former wrestler won the
Minnesota Governorship they couldn't have been more surprised than
quote, 'if Fidel Castro came looping through on a hippopotamus.'"
News. What drugs has Rather been experiencing?
-- Brent Baker
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