60 Minutes Blames GOP for Loutchansky; Nets Ignore Judges's Pro- Starr Ruling
1) 60 Minutes highlighted a
Russian Mob figure invited to meet Clinton at a fundraiser, but Mike
Wallace blamed conservatives who "have consistently torpedoed efforts
in the Senate to pass any meaningful campaign reform."
2) CNN and MSNBC jumped on a
Los Angeles Times article on how Henry Hyde is a hypocrite for excusing
Oliver North's lying.
3) Networks highlighted Judge
Johnson's probe of Starr leaks, but last Friday all but FNC ignored her
ruling that Lewinsky was not mistreated at the hotel and was allowed to
call her lawyer.
4) Time Daily urged reader
activism to shut down the impeachment process: "The next two weeks
are your last chance to save the Spring."
5) Keith Olbermann's last
words on MSNBC: "Wake me when it's over." His replacement,
John Hockenberry, is well to the left: "I think that capitalism is
>>> What were the most
outrageously biased quotes of 1998? You be the judge. This year
we're producing a special Web edition of the Best Notable Quotables of
1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting -- and
you can help pick the winners. Just go to our home page to cast your
ballot. And just for sharing your assessments, you'll get a free
"Don't Believe the Liberal Media" magnet. We're still
producing the printed edition selected by our regular panel of judges, but
your vote will decide which quotes make it into the special Web edition.
The ballot page will be activated at noon ET on
Monday. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/nqbest/nq1998signup.html
to get to the ballot form created by MRC Webmaster Sean Henry. Or, go to
the MRC home page and click on the big button created by MRC Marketing
Director Bonnie Goff.
Voting opens at noon and will remain open until
9am ET on December 15. Results will be posted December 18. Go to the
address above to cast your vote for the awards, including the
Hallucinating Hillary Award for promoting the vast right-wing conspiracy,
Presidential Kneepad Award for best Lewinsky impression, Corporal Cueball
Carville Cadet Award for hating Ken Starr and Move Over Buddy Award for
Geraldo's Clinton lapdoggery. (The ballot page features an image of the
free magnet, but I've noticed that it will be a blur to AOL users
employing the default juniorfied version of Explorer. I hadn't realized
until now how bad AOL's browser really is (at least AOL 3.0) with poor
image production on Web pages. Note to AOL users: The Web isn't nearly
as blurry as AOL makes it.) <<<
A potshot at conservatives from 60 Minutes on campaign finance reform.
On Sunday night's 60 Minutes Mike Wallace
examined the case of Grigori Loutchansky, a Russian
"businessman" who was invited to an October 1993 Democratic
fundraiser where he met President Clinton, even though Western
intelligence and police agencies consider him a Russian Mob figure active
in money laundering, narcotics smuggling and nuclear materials trading.
Wallace interviewed Loutchansky, who denied all, including charges he has
enemies killed, as well as Republican U.S. Representative Gerry Solomon
and Senator Fred Thompson.
Wallace established that Loutchansky was already
on CIA and State Department watch lists before he got his visa to travel
to the U.S. for his photo-op with Clinton. In fact, the CIA was following
Despite how the
Democratic fundraisers ignored all the red flags and invited the unsavory
man, representative of how they violated many of the current fundraising
rules and norms, how did Wallace conclude his piece? By blaming
Republicans! Wallace intoned:
"In closing, we should point out that
despite their self-righteousness about Grigori Loutchansky and the
Democrats' fundraising abuses, the Republicans have consistently
torpedoed efforts in the Senate to pass any meaningful campaign
Every network but FNC led Friday night December 4 with stories contrasting
the dropping unemployment rate with the recent layoff announcements. CNN
and MSNBC picked up on a Los Angeles Times story on how Henry Hyde is a
hypocrite for condemning lying now while he excused it in Oliver North's
case. CNN at least let North explain how the two cases are different, but
both stories focused on just Hyde while the same point in reverse could be
made about any number of Democrats.
-- CNN's The
World Today anchor Joie Chen noted how Hyde's words are "coming
back to haunt him." CNN's Frank Sesno played a lengthy clip from
Hyde in 1987 on he Iran-Contra committee:
"Why did you have to lie to Congress? Why
was this different from other covert actions? Well, you know, it's very
simple when you have a covert action that everybody agrees with, isn't
that correct? But when you get a controversial one, then you have a whole
different problem. [soundbite jumps to another clip] Let me give you a
quotation that you might carry with you, and I quote, 'A strict
observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a
good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of
self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger are of higher
obligation.' And that same person said, quote, 'On great occasions,
every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the
strict line of law when the public preservation requires it.' Now the
person who said those things had a little bit to do with the founding of
this country. We have a monument to him called the Jefferson
"Oliver North and Bill Clinton. Are the cases that different? Have
the rules changed? Or is Henry Hyde a hypocrite? Today's Los Angeles Times
raises that question in an article headlined 'Hyde's View On Lying Is
Back Haunting Him.' Congressman Hyde would not comment on the story for
CNN, but Oliver North, the central character in those hearings 11 years
ago, now a radio talk show host, says there's no comparison and no
"Henry Hyde is commenting on the fact that the Reagan administration
was accused of the following things: of not revealing everything that they
were doing to save the lives of Americans being tortured to death in
dungeons in Beirut, and trying to keep a freedom fighter army alive in
Central America that the Congress had sent into combat. Now 1998.
Fast-forward 11 years: Henry Hyde is commenting on the fact that the chief
executive officer of the United States of America, the President, has
raised his right hand, promised to take an oath to tell the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth, and then lied after he raised his
hand -- a major difference."
-- On MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams Gwen
Ifill didn't bother with any more than a clause to Hyde's side as she
failed to offer the context Sesno added and instead let a Clinton spinner
denounce him, though she conceded up front that Clinton operatives made
sure reporters knew about the story:
"At the White House officials alerted
reporters today to a Los Angeles Times article that appeared to
demonstrate how Henry Hyde's opinion of lying and perjury have shifted
through the years. When Hyde was a member of the 1987 Iran-Contra
committee he said lies should be judged quote 'in the murkier grayness
of the real world.' And he quoted Thomas Jefferson."
Hyde, 1987: "A strict observance of the
written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it
is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving
our country when in danger are of higher obligation."
Ifill: "Hyde this week as Chairman of the
Hyde: "We still believe this is a country
and a nation governed by laws and not men and we're exploring whether
there are different consequences."
Joe Lockhart, Clinton Press Secretary: "I
think the Chairman shows remarkable dexterity in applying standards when
it comes to the subject at hand."
Ifill: "A spokesman for Hyde said the
President's alleged lies were not in the interest of national security
like Oliver North's."
Back on August 7 when a federal appeals court ruled against Starr's
office and allowed Judge Norma Holloway Johnson to proceed with an
investigation of whether the independent counsel's office illegally
leaked information, every network ran a story that evening. Fast forward
to last Friday, December 4. A New York Times headline announced:
"Judge Finds Starr's Aides Did Not Abuse Lewinsky." Network
coverage: Zilch Friday morning and evening on the broadcast networks and
CNN. Not even CNN's Inside Politics mentioned the revelation of the
previously sealed ruling which invalidated one of the Clintonista's
favorite anti-Starr angles. While FNC's Fox Report also ignored the
news, FNC ran a full story by Rita Cosby on its 6pm ET Special Report with
Brit Hume hosted by Tony Snow. That one FNC piece is the totality of
television coverage I've seen.
On Friday Don Van
Natta Jr. of the New York Times reported what others papers picked up on
Saturday, but not even that widespread print coverage generated a syllable
on the weekend broadcast network shows. Here's an excerpt of Van
Natta's December 4 piece:
Kenneth Starr's prosecutors did not forbid
Monica Lewinsky to call her lawyer when they first confronted her at the
Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Jan. 16, and in fact they gave her several
opportunities to call anyone she chose, a federal district judge concluded
in a finding unsealed this week.
Contrary to that finding, issued last April
but kept sealed until now, President Clinton's lawyers and House Democrats
have argued that prosecutors mistreated Ms. Lewinsky by repeatedly
refusing her the opportunity to call her lawyer, Francis Carter. They
maintain that the incident illustrates Starr's overzealousness, perhaps
The ruling, by Judge Norma Holloway
Johnson, part of a ream of documents ordered released this week by a
federal appeals court, sheds further light on the controversial episode at
the Ritz-Carlton, which occurred five days before the Clinton-Lewinsky
scandal became public.
The independent counsel's prosecutors
approached Ms. Lewinsky there to try to win her cooperation in an
investigation of whether President Clinton or others had lied under oath
to cover up his affair with her. But Ms. Lewinsky's subsequent accusation
that the prosecutors' efforts amounted to bullying led the White House and
congressional Democrats to mine the incident for material they believed
embarrassing to Starr.
On Wednesday, White House lawyers demanded
of Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., who as chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee heads the Clinton impeachment inquiry, that they be permitted to
look at all decisions by Judge Johnson "addressing the question of
whether Ms. Lewinsky was denied access to her counsel, Frank Carter, on
But in her decision, issued on April 28,
Judge Johnson said lawyers and agents from Starr's office had not barred
Ms. Lewinsky from calling her lawyer and had "acted within the
ethical rules in questioning Ms. Lewinsky without her attorney
Starr's spokesman, Charles Bakaly III,
said: "This is an example where our prosecutors did not discuss
rulings that would have helped us to respond to attacks against the
office. We were prohibited from discussing it, because it was under seal,
and we adhered to that."
Of course, if
Starr's office did leak we'd have learned about this long ago.
Time magazine urged readers to act now to shut down the impeachment
process. Major media figures have often castigated radio talk show hosts
for urging listeners to call their Congressman to sway a vote on a
particular issue, but last week Time did just that. Before he abandoned
the MRC last week for the rough and tumble of Manhattan, media analyst
Clay Waters caught this plea from Time's Frank Pellegrini in a December
4 Time Daily news story.
Pellegrini concluded his www.time.com
"If the House forwards articles of
impeachment, there are only two ways the Senate can get out of it -- a
two-thirds vote to suspend the rules, or a motion-to-end-trial by a Senate
juror, decided by simple majority. Both are considered too proactive -- or
too craven, depending on your point of view -- to be viable options. So
attention jaded American public: Write a letter. Take a poll. The next two
weeks are your last chance to save the Spring."
Friday night Keith Olbermann hosted his last Big Show for MSNBC, but he
didn't leave without taking one last opportunity to show his disgust
with the Lewinsky scandal. His last words on MSNBC: "I will say only
this: If you need me I'll be hiding in sports. Wake me when it's over,
if it's over."
will join Fox Sports next week, may have displayed his annoyance and lack
of interest in the Lewinsky scandal, and even uttered more liberal than
conservative comments over his 14 months (recall his comparing Starr to a
Nazi), but he was not the dedicated leftist that his replacement is, at
least judging by some candid comments the new guy made a few years ago.
Monday night the
8pm ET/PT hours on MSNBC become "Hockenberry," a show hosted by
John Hockenberry, once of NPR. The MRC's Tim Graham reminded me of
Hockenberry's comments made during a March 2, 1995 session on America
Online when he was with ABC News:
-- "I think
that capitalism is inherently amoral and it is folly to expect that a
system run on greed will be able to adopt some virtuous precepts to
prevent the violations of human rights."
-- On Clinton's
re-election chances: "Faced with a choice of a crowd-pleasing fanatic
trying to look like a Republican and about a hundred real Repubs it looks
tough to me."
-- On whether the
public is well informed: "I think American politics thrives on
ignorance today. I think American policy works without a backup plan as
long as people are so unrepentantly uninformed."
-- When asked if
the Contract with America will work: "Yes. I'm moving to
Another bit of evidence that MSNBC should stand
for More Slanted NBC as the cable network is just NBC News with more
liberal bias. -- Brent Baker
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