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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Monday January 11, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 5) 
House Managers Similar to Klan "Night Riders"; House's "Pile of Dung" 

1) Eleanor Clift equated the "right-wing, zealous" House managers with Ku Klux Klan murderers: "All they were missing was white sheets. They're like night riders."

2) Sen. Tom Harkin abandoned impartiality, disparaging the House impeachment articles as a "pile of dung," but NBC didn't care.

3) Senate plan, good or bad for Clinton? ABC: "The President's team wasn't happy." CBS: "This agreement is not what the President hoped for." But NBC: "The White House...likes the Senate deal."

4) Margaret Carlson denounced Linda Tripp for "lying," Al Hunt condemned Ken Starr for "storm trooper tactics" and Wolf Blitzer warned of the danger in the House from the "conservative, very conservative right-wing of the Republican Party."

5) Before his vacation, Geraldo Rivera let loose his vitriol against Tom DeLay for how he "shamelessly slimed the President" and successfully pressured moderates with a "despicable slander."

6) Letterman's "Top Ten Little-Known Facts About Elizabeth Dole" and "Top Ten William Rehnquist Pickup Lines."

7) ABC's Judy Muller suggested more woman in Congress would mean more consensus, less partisanship. Ever hear of Maxine Waters?

>>> Notable Quotables now online. The January 11 edition is now up on the MRC home page thanks to Webmaster Sean Henry and research associate Kristina Sewell. Topic headings include: "A Legislative Coup d'Etat?"; "Hitting Clinton....from the Left"; "Ken Starr: Just Larry Flynt With Subpoena Power"; "Stop a Senate Trial" and "Republicans Hate Clinton Because....He Can Do Two Things at Once." To read the issue, go to the MRC home page at http://www.mediareseach.org or go to it directly by jumping to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990111.html. For back issues: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/archives.html <<<

Corrections to two items in the January 8 CyberAlert. First, it's Julie Hiatt Steele, not Hyatt as CyberAlert misspelled her name. Second, the CyberAlert quoted Dan Rather as asking Warren Rudman: "Is or is there not some concern of the public concern in some quarters, not all of them Democratic, that this is in fact a kind of effort at a quote 'coup'?" The second "concern" should have read "perception" as he actually asked: "Is or is there not some concern of the public perception in some quarters...."


clift0111.jpg (13679 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Clinton's pep rally "was totally appropriate" and as for the "right-wing, zealous" House managers, "all they were missing was white sheets. They're like night riders," declared Eleanor Clift on this past weekend's McLaughlin Group in seeming to equate Henry Hyde and Lindsey Graham with Ku Klux Klan murderers.

     In sequence, the Newsweek staffer asserted:
     -- "That so-called pep rally was designed to head off calls for his resignation which might have come. I think it was totally appropriate, unlike Richard Nixon he wanted to show he has his party with him. And the fact that he dares to do his job and the country wants him to do his job, I think is a mark of his resilience and not arrogance."

     -- On whether Clinton should appear before the Senate: "I think there are real questions about separation of powers and I don't think he should go up there. And second of all, that herd of managers from the House, I mean frankly all they were missing was white sheets. They're like night riders going over. This is bigger than Bill Clinton." (Check the MRC home page late Monday morning for a RealPlayer clip of this blast.)

     -- And piling on in denouncing the House managers: "I think they put a right-wing, zealous face on the Republican Party which does not serve the party well in the future."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Impartial jury? On Fox News Sunday one Senator made clear he's already made up his mind, but NBC News didn't notice. Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, a liberal Democrat, judged the House guilty and thus the charges against Clinton illegitimate.

     On Sunday's World News Tonight ABC reporter Mike Von Fremd picked up on the intemperate outburst, announcing: "Unlike the proceedings in the House, the Senators say they want to move forward in a bi-partisan, congenial manner. But there were strong indications today that spirit of cooperation may not last."
     Tom Harkin on Fox News Sunday: "I don't think there is any way that we can cloak with any dignity this reckless action taken by the House. All we can do is hope to cloak ourselves with some dignity in handling this pile of dung, if I might use that phrase."

     Von Fremd then showed Senator Orrin Hatch saying Harkin will regret the comment. Though World News Tonight did not show it, Hatch's answer came in response to a question from George Will on This Week which is taped at 10:30am ET, a half hour after Fox News Sunday wraps up.

     Sunday's NBC Nightly News opened with two impeachment-related stories, but neither mentioned Harkin's blast at the House. First, John Palmer used Sunday talk show soundbites to illustrate the debate over whether to call witnesses. Second, with a focus on Republican Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Joe Johns focused on how "The President's current popularity could cause several Republican Senators problems unless they allay perceptions that their party, including members in the House, has been unfair."

     (Washington's CBS affiliate did not carry the CBS Sports basketball game Sunday afternoon at 4pm which may have bumped the network feed of Evening News, but in any event the station ran a syndicated sports show at 6pm instead of the CBS Evening News.)


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) If you watched the three broadcast network shows Friday night you learned from ABC's Sam Donaldson that "the President's team wasn't happy" about the Senate plan as CBS's Scott Pelley confirmed the "agreement is not what the President hoped for." Or, is it? "The White House also likes the Senate deal," insisted NBC's David Bloom.

     Here are the spins on White House reaction to the unanimous Senate plan for a trial, as delivered Friday night, January 8:

     -- ABC's World News Tonight. Sam Donaldson at the White House, to Peter Jennings: "Well Peter, the President's team wasn't happy about the Senate decision to possibly call witnesses down the line, although the delay in making that decision could work in the President's favor. But, with Senate Democratic leader Daschle calling the agreement fair and expeditious, presidential lawyer Gregory Craig was careful not to criticize it."

     -- CBS Evening News. Scott Pelley at White House, to Dan Rather: "Dan, this agreement is not what the President hoped for. The White House had wanted to foreclose any possibility of witnesses or new evidence. Now the trial becomes all the more unpredictable..."

     -- NBC Nightly News. David Bloom with Clinton in Detroit where the President touted economic numbers, to Tom Brokaw anchoring from Los Angeles: "Tom, the President likes those strong economic numbers and make no mistake: The White House also likes the Senate deal. The House prosecutors can make no new allegations, present no new evidence, call no witnesses, at least until after the White House makes a detailed defense and even then there will first be an up or down vote on a motion to simply dismiss the trial...."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) It's like deja vu all over again, with comments on two CNN shows over the weekend that could have been lifted from any one of many 1998 show transcripts: Margaret Carlson denouncing Linda Tripp for "lying," Al Hunt condemning Ken Starr for "storm trooper tactics" and Wolf Blitzer warning of the danger in the House from the "conservative, very conservative right-wing of the Republican Party."

     -- The "Outrage of the Week" on the January 9 Capital Gang from Margaret Carlson of Time magazine:
     "Linda Tripp, who makes $90,000 a year, has just sent out a fundraising letter in which she claims that Kathleen Willey told her that the President sexually assaulted her. But before the grand jury, Linda Tripp said no such thing. Willey, in fact, was happy, flustered and, quote, 'smiling from ear to ear' after her visit. Tripp also testified that she wanted to be -- not Linda, but Kathleen Willey -- wanted to be the President's girlfriend. Is Tripp lying in her fundraising letter or was she lying under oath?"

     -- The "Outrage of the Week" from Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal:
     "Any lingering doubt that Ken Starr has turned into a partisan ended this week. With his eye apparently on affecting the Senate impeachment trial, Starr indicted a marginal figure, Julie Steele, for contradicting Kathleen Willey's charge that President Clinton harassed her. In the investigation of this irrelevant figure, Starr's aides used storm trooper tactics, once even threatening the legitimacy of Ms. Steele's 8-year-old adopted son from Romania. But to Ken Starr, nothing is too marginal or too sacred in his obsession to bring down Bill Clinton."

     As Bob Novak tried to point out in the last few seconds of the show, this charge against Starr is not proven.

     -- Dennis Hastert, puppet of the evil right. Near the end of the ponderously long two-hour Late Edition of January 10, host Wolf Blitzer warned that new House Speaker Dennis Hastert might really be a pawn of the right, an anti-conservative prejudice Steve Roberts agreed with in considering conservatives to be "a problem."
     Wolf Blitzer: "What about the argument that some people fear is that he's simply a stalking horse for Tom DeLay, who really put his candidacy out there, and he's really not his own man, he's going to be beholden to that conservative, very conservative right-wing of the Republican Party?"
     Steve Roberts, U.S. News contributing editor: "Well I think that's a real issue. I said earlier that I think Trent Lott can resist those pressures from the House conservatives. Hastert is going to have a much more difficult time resisting those pressures from his own constituency, that's going to be his biggest problem...."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Have you missed Geraldo Rivera? Other than some holiday repeats, he's been off CNBC since the day before Christmas. For those of you suffering Rivera withdrawal after two-plus weeks, here's a dose of his vitriol uttered on his last pre-vacation show on December 23 and caught by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens in catching up on holiday week programs.

     As you can see from this diatribe on CNBC's Rivera Live, Tom DeLay's efforts on behalf of impeaching Clinton really enraged Rivera, driving him to denounce the Republican for McCarthyism, for how he "shamelessly slimed the President" and thus "armed with non-existent evidence and this despicable slander, wavering Republicans were pressured into an impeachment vote that many of them, as you know, now seem to regret."

     Rivera's rant:
     "Remember when the House Majority counsel David Schippers made that intriguing allusion without a shred of supporting evidence in his summation to the House Judiciary committee? Lamenting the fact that he had to abandon the promising leads of other possible crimes. We now suspect that Schippers' oblique remarks were part of a secret ongoing campaign to discredit the President with wild and unfounded allegations. We believe there is something down and dirty going on and it involves the Texas congressman Tom DeLay. Worried that the Senate might cut short a trial and reach some sort of compromise the Republican Whip today issued a statement that I think sounded an awful lot like Senator Joe McCarthy during the bad old days. 
     "Mr. DeLay said quote, 'Before people look to cut a deal with the White House on the impeachment matter it is my hope that one would spend plenty of time in the evidence room. If this were to happen, you may realize that 67 votes in the Senate may appear out of thin air.' End quote.
     "What kind of evidence is Mr. DeLay referring to? And why would it persuade two-thirds of the Senate to vote to convict and remove President Clinton. I can tonight report that DeLay who strong armed wavering moderate Republicans to vote for impeachment in the House of Representatives is apparently now trying to pull the same stunt with the United States Senate. I'll tell you what he did and how he did it.
     "Hi everybody I'm Geraldo Rivera. My investigation reveals that Tom DeLay, assisted by Judiciary Committee members like Steve Buyer of Indiana, shamelessly slimed the President during the days before Saturday's impeachment vote. According to the committee's Democratic counsel Abbe Lowell they did it by secretly showing GOP house members inadmissable hearsay evidence that smeared Bill Clinton without ever giving him or his Democratic supporters a chance to rebut or even to view the evidence themselves. Five wavering Republicans saw the information last Wednesday. 12 more saw it on Thursday and on Friday the day before the impeachment vote fully 30 House Republicans were secretly taken to the secure room that the committee maintained in the Ford office building. What they were shown there was mainly slanderous and never admitted evidence gathered by the Paula Jones attorneys having to do with so called Clinton-women other than Monica Lewinsky.
     "The most inflammatory allegation involved a woman who supposedly claimed to some male friend that years ago Bill Clinton had quote, 'Brutally assaulted her. So violently that there was evidence of physical injury.' End quote. In other words we are expected to believe that the man who would later become President of the United States was an attempted rapist. That was just the most salacious charge among many.
     "Now here's why I accused Tom DeLay and his henchmen of the most fundamental unfairness to the President. Item: When asked about the alleged incident during her deposition in the Paula Jones case the purported rape victim denied it. Item: When asked about the alleged incident by the FBI the purported victim refused to even talk about it. Perhaps even fearing a perjury wrap. Item: The man to whom she did talk allegedly tape recorded her conversation but when this guy was asked to produce the tape he told authorities he had burned it last year to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. Yeah.
     "So armed with non-existent evidence and this despicable slander wavering Republicans were pressured into an impeachment vote that many of them as you know, now seem to regret. DeLay's office expressed anger at my report but they refused to comment on the record. For the record we have invited the Congressman on this program many times. The White House late today issued a response to Mr. DeLay's press release. Tonight the spokesman Jim Kennedy said, 'Having put the hammer to his colleagues in the House Tom DeLay is trying to do the same in the Senate and we believe that senators will reject the politics of personal destruction.'"

     For a bit more rational look at this Jane Doe charge, see the December 29, 1998 CyberAlert which details how among those spreading this story months before DeLay was....Rivera's own NBC News. To read the CyberAlert item, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981229.html#5


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Catching up with some top ten lists from last week, from the January 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Little-Known Facts About Elizabeth Dole." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. Thanks to pouches in her cheeks, can go 6 months without eating.
8. The real reason she left the Red Cross? Caught stealing gauze.
7. If elected, she would be America's first female President since Warren Harding.
6. In "Star Wars" trilogy, she was the actor inside Chewbacca suit.
5. Once took a sledgehammer to a rented minivan because it didn't have enough cup holders.
4. Remember Kool and the Gang? She was "Kool."
3. Runs on 4 D-cell batteries.
2. Under court order to remain at least 100 feet away from Pierce Brosnan at all times.
1. Is actually Bob Dole's daughter.

And from the January 7 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten William Rehnquist Pickup Lines."

10. "How 'bout we go back to my place and watch some videos Clarence Thomas lent me."
9. "You won't believe how long I can sustain a motion."
8. "Let's just say I'm part Oliver Wendell Holmes, part John Holmes."
7. "Counselor, please approach my pants."
6. "Wanna see my judicial branch?"
5. "The definition of justice: me getting to spend the night with you."
4. "I've just written a brilliantly-argued majority opinion and I don't think I should be alone tonight."
3. "You be Judge Judy, and I'll be Wapner..."
2. "He might be the leader of the free world, but I can put his ass in jail."
1. "I rule you going home by yourself unconstitutional."

     And from the Late Show Web site, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."

-- "Care to study the 69th Amendment?"
-- "Would you give me oral arguments?"
-- "May I rule that the court must buy you a drink?"
-- "You're unimpeachably hot!"
-- "When I think about you, I pound my gavel."
-- "In the case of Me vs. You, the verdict is love."


cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes) More women means more consensus? At the end of Saturday's World News Tonight ABC reporter Judy Muller talked with the five women who won Arizona's top slots last November (Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Treasurer and Superintendent of public instruction). "They all agree that women tend to persuade not through confrontation but though consensus," Muller declared before asking: "The impeachment trial is underway in Washington. Do you think it would make a difference if the Congress were made up of more than 12 percent women?"

     As if Maxine Waters and Sheila Jackson Lee served as models of consensus-building.  -- Brent Baker



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