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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday March 16, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 48)  
Communists Agree: GOP on "Witch Hunt"; Yearning for Senator Hillary

1) Only CBS Monday night and ABC on Monday morning mentioned China, passing along the China premier's lashing out at "partisan politics" and the Chinese media's denouncement of "witch hunts."

2) An ABC News reporter was baffled by the simultaneous rising prison population and falling crime rate, calling the trends "a seeming contradiction."

3) Initially the "Clintons were livid at" FNC's report "about their marital spat," but FNC learned Hillary's friends think "the publicity may be helpful" in her Senate quest.

4) Diane Sawyer yearns for Senator Hillary Clinton, referring to her "political mastery, every bit as dazzling as his" and how "her friends say she has really earned this campaign, this moment...by standing, not by her man, but by herself."

5) Time magazine asked Lewinsky: "Some people dream about being naked, and you dream about being...?"


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Monday night of the broadcast networks only CBS touched China and Monday morning only ABC mentioned the subject. The shows passed along the China premier's denial of spying at Los Alamos and lashing out at "witch hunts" and "partisan politics" in the U.S., comments that sound remarkably similar to Democratic and media attacks on Republicans from over the weekend.

     Monday night no two shows began alike. ABC led with how car accidents are the biggest killer of those age 5 to 16, CBS opened with the snowstorm in the Northeast, CNN's The World Today went first with Kosovo, FNC's Fox Report led with the controversy over the Holyfield/Lewis boxing match and NBC topped Nightly News with the deadlock by the Medicare commission.

     Only CNN ran a full story on Gore's presidential announcements in New Hampshire and Iowa. ABC, CBS and FNC gave it a few seconds while NBC ignored it. World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson highlighted how an ABC News/Washington Post poll found 39 percent are enthusiastic about Gore compared to 55 percent who are enthusiastic about George W. Bush while 56 percent say Al Gore is boring.

     On China, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts delivered this 18-second item:
     "China's premier today denied that his country stole U.S. nuclear weapons secrets and he said U.S.-China relations were being sacrificed to partisan U.S. politics. Premier Zhu Rongji said an anti-China wave has emerged in the United States which makes him feel uneasy about his trip here next month."

     Monday morning, March 15, Jim Laurie concluded a 7am news update story from Beijing, about Zhu Rongji's speech denying China stole secrets or needed to and how China is disappointed by how relations are deteriorating, by noting:
     "...While Chinese officials expressed disappointment, the media here is less diplomatic. One official commentary accuses the U.S. Congress of an anti-China witch hunt."

     Does the communist Chinese reasoning sound familiar? Maybe they picked it up by satellite from the U.S. media. As reported in the March 15 CyberAlert, on Inside Washington over the weekend Newsweek's Evan Thomas charged: "I'm suspicious of the Republicans here. I think they're trying to make some political hay. It feels like 'who lost China?' and a lot of witch hunts of the past where they see a chance to make some political capital by us not being tough enough. I don't think that's true."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Put more people in prison and the crime rate goes down. Sounds logical, but MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that it baffled a ABC News reporter who called the simultaneous trends of a rising prison population and falling crime rate "a seeming contradiction."

     Picking up a study publicized by the liberal Sentencing Project, on Monday's Good Morning America news reader Antonio Mora announced: "Despite a drop in crime rates, a new study says the nation's prison population is still growing rapidly. Only Russia has a higher percentage of its people behind bars."

     In the subsequent story Jim Sciutto outlined the findings and asserted how he found them contradictory:
     "According to a new study by the Justice Department, the number of U.S. residents behind bars has doubled in just a dozen years. Last year it increased more than four percent. As of mid-1998, one in every 150 Americans was incarcerated. All this while crime rates have fallen. The reason for the seeming contradiction is that prisons are feeling the effects of get-tough-on-crime policies, like truth-in-sentencing initiatives designed to make inmates serve more of their terms."

     Leading into a soundbite from a Sentencing Project staffer, Sciutto declared: "The result is a bill for taxpayers of about $20,000 per year per inmate, roughly the same as a year's tuition at a private university. Some groups critical of the trend towards incarceration say that money would be better spent on prevention, like drug treatment programs."

     Sciutto concluded by reflecting the view of the Sentencing Project that so many in prison is a failure not a success: "Still, getting tough on crime is so popular with voters these days that some say mustering the political will to change the trend towards imprisonment will not be easy."

     Maybe it's popular because it works.


cosby0316.jpg (9533 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) FNC: From Hillary Clinton enemy to ally? Last week the White House condemned Rita Cosby's FNC's exclusive about how the Clintons fought during their ski weekend and how Hillary did not accompany her husband to Central America because, a source quoted Hillary as saying, "I don't want to be in the same room with him, let alone the same bed."

     What a difference a Senate race makes. Monday night Cosby was back with news about how Hillary and her friends realize such stories may benefit her. Cosby opened her Fox Report story by showing Hillary Clinton's warm welcome Monday at a womens equality summit and allowing Eleanor Smeal to praise her.

     Cosby then reported: "As she focuses on her own political aspirations, friends close the First Lady tell Fox News she is purposely distancing herself from the President and his scandals." After Hotline Editor Craig Crawford observed that "Hillary Clinton has put more distance between herself and Bill Clinton than Al Gore has and she's married to him," Cosby recalled her disclosure about the fight and noted how Joe Lockhart refused to comment about it or Hillary's political plans.

     Cosby concluded with this new twist on her disclosure about the Clintons:
     "Friends of the Clintons who've spoken to both of them tell Fox News that at first the Clintons were livid at our report about their marital spat and the First Lady's sense of estrangement toward her husband. But now they tell friends that the publicity may be helpful in Mrs. Clinton's quest to develop her credibility among women voters."

     To read about Cosby's initial March 10 FNC story, go to:  http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990311.html#2

     Check out what Cosby looks and sounds like. Since most cable subscribers still can't watch FNC, as a public service the MRC has posted on our Web site a RealPlayer clip of this story so you can see a FNC story and hear the reporter who first broke the story about how the Clintons are not getting along. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Promoting Hillary for Senate. Last Friday, March 12, Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer delivered a lengthy puff piece on how wonderful it would be if Hillary Clinton would run for the Senate in New York since she deserves the personal victory. Sawyer concluded her tribute in the guise of a news report:
     "So her friends say she has really earned this campaign, this moment, if she chooses, earned it by changing herself, searching, stumbling, and at the end, by standing, not by her man, but by herself."

     MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down much of Sawyer's gleeful advocacy for Hillary Clinton:
     "Well, the momentum is really building for Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for the Senate in New York. She has apparently said that she's thinking about forming an exploratory committee, and friends who previously expressed doubt are now saying they think she just might do it. But you have to keep in mind that it would be the first time in decades that she's campaigned for anyone but her husband; in fact, since they married. And he talked about the proposal once in a campaign video."
     Bill Clinton, from the 1992 campaign video: "And I drove her back, and I said, 'You know, I bought that house you liked.' She said, 'What?' I said, 'That house you liked, I bought it, so you'd better marry me 'cause I can't live in this big house by myself.'"
     Sawyer: "She said yes, and a year later, they celebrated their first political victory: Bill Clinton, state Attorney General. She was only 31 years old when he was elected Governor, and thought that she could keep her fierce independence. She called herself Hillary Rodham, she practiced law, and defied anyone to make her glamorize to get votes. This is when a pattern emerged that would haunt her for the next 20 years. 1980, he lost the election, some of the blame fell on her, so she transformed herself into Mrs. Clinton and sought to satisfy the public insistence on style.... And that's what would happen in the presidential primary of 1992. He the charming campaigner, she the single-minded strategist. Her bravery helped him weather the scandal, but her boldness made voters pull back....It was as if she had to be two Hillary Rodham Clintons: the one with the big laugh and the girlish impulses, and the tough-as-nails strategist, the first candidate's wife ever to be openly attacked by the opposition at their convention."
     Pat Buchanan, 1992 Republican convention: "Hillary has compared marriage and the family, as institutions, to slavery and life on an Indian reservation." [crowd boos in response]
     Sawyer: "As in Arkansas, once again she pulled back, toned down, seemed to be just a woman at her husband's side, and in the White House, she had to do the same thing all over again. She emerged on health care, only to beat a very bruised retreat. She clearly hated being thought of as just Bill Clinton's wife. But ironically, it would take his scandals, finally, to free her. Finally, last November 1998, Hillary Clinton showed the world what she could do on the campaign trail without him. Political mastery, every bit as dazzling as his, the thoughtful speech, unapologetically strong, emboldening Democrats, electing senators. So her friends say she has really earned this campaign, this moment, if she chooses, earned it by changing herself, searching, stumbling, and at the end, by standing, not by her man, but by herself."

     Hillary's Senate campaign won't have to produce a promotional video. They can just borrow Sawyer's.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Time's goofy puffballs to Monica Lewinsky. Catching up on an item from last week, as the MRC's Tim Graham noted in a Media Reality Check fax report last week, the March 15 Time cover story interview with Lewinsky included some truly goofy questions. Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy, who conducted the interview, at one point queried in reference to Bill Clinton: "What do you think his sadness is?"

     And check out this exchange between Duffy and Lewinsky:
     Time: "You're probably the most famous woman in the world right now.
     Lewinsky: "Unfortunately."
     Time: "What is that like to wake up with?"
     Lewinsky: "I don't think people can imagine what it feels like to have nightmares and in your dreams -- or your nightmare -- you've left a house without a hat..."
     Time: "Some people dream about being naked, and you dream about being...?"
     Lewinsky: "Without my hat. Without sunglasses, without some sort of protection. It's having to plan not only where I'm going [but] when I'm going, with whom I'm going. Who will be there? How close can I get my car to where I'm going? Can I get a taxi easily?"

     I dream about Time being a serious news magazine. -- Brent Baker


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