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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday January 19, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 10) 
Why Is GOP "Dragging This Thing Out?"; Hating Conservatives More Than Clinton

1) NBC's David Bloom called Clinton's expected education proposal a "radical shift" and CBS's Dan Rather critically referred to Clinton's Balkans policy as a "U.S. foreign policy debacle."

2) A new Good Morning America team, but the same old liberal tilt. Charlie Gibson pressed Bob Dole five times about why Republicans push ahead: "Why is your party dragging this thing out?"

3) NBC's Jack Ford put the burden on Republicans to deny they just want witnesses so they can "embarrass" Clinton.

4) Andy Rooney's window on media thinking about Clinton and conservatives: "I do know I like the people who like him better than I like the people who hate him."

5) "The 'right-wing conspiracy' remains very much alive -- and it's still out to get Clinton," declared abcnews.com, which argued his opponents are frustrated by his success on abortion.

6) Tom Harkin called the House case "a pile of dung." On Sunday, Sam Donaldson actually demanded: "How can you be impartial if you'd already made up your mind?"


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Fighting and massacres in Kosovo topped the ABC and CBS evening shows Monday night wile the tornadoes in Tennessee led on FNC and NBC. Only CNN went first with impeachment and Clinton's upcoming State of the Union.

     Following a couple of pieces about the Serbians on the CBS Evening News, Dan Rather labeled it a U.S. "debacle" as he segued into the Senate trial: "Against that developing U.S. foreign policy debacle overseas, this is also the eve of a defining day, not only for President Clinton's future domestic agenda, whatever if anything is left of it, but also whether this President is to be banished from office."

     Scott Pelley at White House ran through the items Clinton is expected to propose and from Capitol Hill Bob Schieffer noted that Tom Daschle has conceded witnesses are inevitable. Schieffer added that people on the Hill are nervous about Clinton's speech in the middle of the trial.

     Over on ABC's World News Tonight Sam Donaldson revealed that "in a tit for tat twist to match the House Republican mangers who argued the case against the President, we're told three or four House Democratic Judiciary members will join the Clinton defense team to tell the Senate how unfair they think all this was." Donaldson added that Sammy Sosa will sit with Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton's address.

     At 8pm ET CNN led its World Today with a piece by John King in which he identified the probable House Democrats who will join Clinton's lawyers later in the week: "CNN has learned the White House is planning a dramatic addition to its defense team: three House Democrats who would attack the impeachment process as unfair to the President. Administration sources say Judiciary Committee Democrats John Conyers, Thomas Barrett and Rick Boucher are being asked to prepare presentations...."

     Anchor Moret then announced that a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll found 58 percent wish for the trial to end as soon as both sides have made their case while just 39 percent want to hear from witnesses. Next, Candy Crowley looked at past State of the Union addresses compared to the awkwardness of this one and Jonathan Karl reviewed the expected legislative agendas to be unveiled this week by congressional Democrats and Republicans.

     NBC's David Bloom characterized as "radical" Clinton's education proposal, though he also noted it will not please conservatives. From the White House he noted that Clinton may propose partially privatizing Social Security by allowing some money to go into the stock market "and he'll propose a radical shift in education policy, requiring states to improve local schools or risk the loss of billions of dollars in federal money." That "radical shift" would include cutting federal aid money unless schools stop promoting unqualified students and "certify the competency of new teachers." Of course, a real radical reform would be to go against the teacher union and propose testing of current teachers. After a soundbite from Education Secretary Richard Riley, Bloom did lead into a clip of Republican Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn by conceding: "But in the President's education plan conservatives see only a disturbing new level of federal control."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) ABC's Good Morning America offered a new co-hosting team as of Monday morning, but the same old liberal take on the day's events. In the very first interview of the show, Charlie Gibson, who is now paired with Diane Sawyer, hit Bob Dole with a series of questions from the liberal side of the debate over whether to hold Clinton accountable. Later in the interview he asked Dole about his wife running for President and whether he thinks he could have saved the country a lot of trouble if people had voted for him. But Gibson's opening series of questions, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, could have been written by Lanny Davis:

     -- "Senator, do you see any way that the Senate will get 67 votes to convict Bill Clinton and remove him from office?"
     -- "But Senator, if there's no way that this is going to turn around, if the votes aren't there, why is your party dragging this thing out?"
     -- "But what is certain is what the public sentiment is on this thing. People want it over with, and if the votes aren't there, why not, why go through all this business about witnesses? Why not just get it done?"
     -- "But if you have witnesses, it'll, it's going to add months to this thing and tie up the Senate, isn't it?"
     -- "But, you know, you bring up an interesting point, and that is this: If we're going to drag this thing out for months with witnesses, whether it's the White House line or not, it's going to take a long time to do that. It's going to be an enormous distraction to the White House and all kinds of issues that the Congress ought to be considering, and all kinds of foreign policy issues that this country needs to consider, are going to get, eventually put into a pigeonhole until all of this gets done."

     Republicans "drag this thing out?" We wouldn't be here now if Clinton had ever admitted what he did.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) On Saturday's Today co-host Jack Ford also put the burden on Republicans to defend their behavior instead of on Clinton and Democrats for resisting going forward with the constitutional process. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught these two questions from Jack Ford to House manager George Gekas on the January 16 Today:

     -- "But can you see why a number of people and not necessarily people that are supporters of the President would watch and listen to the [House] Managers saying 'you need witnesses, you need witnesses,' and say to them themselves 'you know what? This is now getting purely political and personal and these people just want Monica Lewinsky to be in there to further embarrass the President?'"

     -- "Congressman, let me ask you one last question, if I might. We don't know what the outcome of this [Senate trial] is going to be and we're not suggesting what the outcome should be but just assume for the moment, for the purpose of this question, that the Senate decides not to remove the President. How then will you and other members of the team of managers be able to work with this President and the administration for the next two years after you have so publicly and so forcefully called the President a criminal?"

     And after Clinton so publicly and forcefully lied.


rooney0119.JPG (11099 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Andy Rooney may be a humorist, but Sunday night he probably revealed the thinking of many of his media colleagues. They may not like what Clinton did but they have more disgust for his conservative opponents, so will never let them win.

     On the January 17 edition of 60 Minutes Rooney commented on reaction to his criticism of the White House Christmas card. He then went into his view of President Clinton:
     "I'm surprised at how polarized our country is in relation to President Clinton. A lot of people don't think he's done anything wrong, or if he has that it's anyone's business but his own. And then there are the people who hate Bill Clinton. They've always hated him. Nothing he can ever do will keep them from hating him for the rest of their lives. They call him Slick Willie. You can't talk to these people. I'm glad everyone else is so sure of what they think about Bill Clinton because I don't know what I think. I do know I like the people who like him better than I like the people who hate him."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) The "Summary" of an article on the abcnews.com Web page: "The 'right-wing conspiracy' remains very much alive -- and it's still out to get Clinton." The MRC's Tim Graham passed along to me the piece brought to the attention of MRC Marketing Director Bonnie Goff by a visitor to the MRC home page.

     Under the headline "Critics Watch Final Act: Clinton's Foes Find Victory in Trial -- No Matter What the Outcome," ABC national correspondent David Phinney examined the activities and attitude of Judicial Watch's Larry Klayman. Here's an excerpt from the story posted on January 15 in which Phinney contends: "Clinton fans blame the angry frustration of the President's right-wing adversaries not on thwarted investigations, but on Clinton's efforts to protect abortion and gay rights."

'Conspiracy' Alive and Kicking

Count Klayman a charter member of what Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the "vast right-wing conspiracy," out to unseat her husband. His group is just one of many that have been hounding the president for years. A handful of these anti-Clinton organizations receive hefty funding from Pittsburgh philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife. And there's no sign of them letting up, even with the impeachment trial in full swing.

It doesn't matter to these groups that after spending $45 million the independent counsel has determined that "Filegate," along with most of his investigations of Clinton, hit a dead end and is now closed. Nor does it matter that polls show Americans are sick and tired of the swamp of scandals bogging down much of Washington.

And forget about the President's soaring approval ratings. Nothing seems to unnerve the pack of snarling pit bulls nipping at Clinton's heels. Their aim is to bring the President down.

"He's a phony, a con man and the greatest liar in history," charges Klayman.

A Nation of Suckers?
This belief -- that the President has gotten away with hoodwinking an unsuspecting nation -- took control of many in Washington soon after Clinton was sworn into office.

After all, Clinton has repeatedly stared down the barrel of political oblivion, only to survive. He has been accused of draft-dodging, womanizing, carrying out inside real estate deals, wrongfully using FBI files, conducting campaign shenanigans, making deals with the Chinese...The hits just keep on coming, but the "Comeback Kid" has rolled with every punch, leaving his frustrated opponents shaking their fists in anger.

"And then he is re-elected," says Mike Lux of People for the American Way, which has been mobilizing support for Clinton. Clinton fans blame the angry frustration of the President's right-wing adversaries not on thwarted investigations, but on Clinton's efforts to protect abortion and gay rights.

Those who want Clinton's head on a platter, says Lux, "have this rigid moral view that if you don't agree with them, then you must be immoral."

The President's opponents could hit pay dirt this time, even if the charges related to the Lewinsky affair smack of "scandal lite" compared to the other allegations they have thrown at Clinton in the past."

END Excerpt

To read the entire piece, go to the "PoliticalNation" section under "U.S." on the abcnews.com Web page. The direct address: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/PoliticalNation/pn_impeachmentreact_990115.html


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Ending on a bright note, given a chance Sam Donaldson asked liberal Senator Tom Harkin about his impartiality. As noted in the January 11 CyberAlert, on the January 10 Fox News Sunday Harkin had disparaged the House case as "a pile of dung."

     Harkin appeared this past Sunday, January 17, on ABC's This Week and Donaldson brought up the dismissive attitude:
     "Senator Harkin, Senator Leahy declines to answer my specific question. Is it the facts of the case and whether he did it, or whether it's serious enough? And I would remind you sir, that a week ago, before even hearing the case from the House, you called the case against the President a pile of dung. How can you be impartial if you'd already made up your mind?"

     Sam comes through on occasion.  -- Brent Baker


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