Richardson Skipped; Limbaugh Lambasted, Countered With Bias Proof
1) The broadcast networks
Tuesday night all ignored Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's appearance
before a Senate committee to discuss Los Alamos. CNN and FNC gave it a few
2) Hillary Clinton's denial
of any knowledge about Whitewater generated short items on ABC, CBS and
FNC; a full report on CNN.
3) Rush Limbaugh hit by Wolf
Blitzer with the contention that the media were tough on Clinton and Joe
Lockhart's charge that Limbaugh puts "on the air gossip, rumor, and
it comes across as fact." (And some PPD from Paul Begala about Steve
4) Clinton is quite rationally
avoiding a regular press conference because "the first question is
going to be about Broaddrick," MSNBC's John Hockenberry contended.
But in nine questions posed at three press conferences the name Broaddrick
has not been uttered.
>>> "Which Beret to Wear
During Incineration? Potential Chinese Warhead Threat Gets Less Morning
and Evening Coverage Than the Monica Book." The latest Media Reality
Check fax report released to coincide with Wednesday's scheduled Senate
Intelligence Committee hearing, written by the MRC's Tim Graham and
distributed by Kristina Sewell, will be posted Wednesday morning on the
MRC home page by Webmaster Sean Henry. Go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990317.html
A key figure in the Chinese espionage scandal testified on Capitol Hill on
Tuesday, but instead of using his appearance as a hook for a story, the
ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows once again avoided the scandal. CNN and FNC
gave it a few seconds. (The Tuesday morning shows also skipped it.)
As the MRC's Tim
Graham wrote in the Media Reality Check cited above, from the day the
story broke in the March 6 New York Times through Monday, March 15:
"The Big Three aired only 11 full evening stories. The morning shows
were worse, airing only six full news reports and one interview."
After Tuesday those numbers remain unchanged. (CBS is responsible for over
half the evening pieces. ABC's World News Tonight has run three pieces
and just two full stories have appeared on the NBC Nightly News.)
On Tuesday, March
16, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared before the Senate Armed
Services Committee, in a closed session followed by an open one. FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume featured a full story, but Fox Report
viewers heard only this 19-second item read by anchor Paula Zahn on the
network's main evening newscast aired at 7pm ET:
"Energy Secretary Bill Richardson is
defending the White House in the China crisis. Richardson told Congress
today security has been dramatically tightened in light of secrets being
leaked from the Los Alamos national lab. But Republicans are still
blasting the White House for not acting sooner on reports that China was
stealing our nuclear secrets."
Politics overlooked Richardson's appearance, but The World Today gave
him 24 seconds. Co-anchor Joie Chen announced:
"Energy Secretary Bill Richardson says that
by next month we should know how badly the United States was hurt on
China's alleged theft of nuclear secrets. Richardson testified today at
a Senate hearing into how the government handled the investigation. A
scientist at the Los Alamos national laboratory was fired last week for
not cooperating. The FBI has been looking into the matter since 1996.
Richardson says he doesn't know whether anyone will be charged."
The playing at Susan McDougal's trial of Hillary Clinton's videotaped
testimony from last year in which she claimed to know nothing about
Whitewater transactions, generated short, anchor-read items Tuesday night
on ABC, CBS and FNC. Only CNN provided a full story with Bob Franken
informing viewers that since McDougal's 1996 trial "investigators
have turned up a check for more than $27,000 made out to 'Bill
All led on March
16 with the deadly Amtrak train-truck crash in Illinois followed by a look
at how the Dow briefly topped 10,000. ABC, CBS, FNC and CNN ran short
items on the presidential announcement by Steve Forbes. NBC Nightly News
ignored Forbes just as they skipped Al Gore's Monday announcement.
On ABC's World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson took 16 seconds to
"In Little Rock Arkansas today, videotaped
testimony taken from the First Lady at the White House last year was
played in court at the trial of Susan McDougal. The testimony had been
secret until now. The First Lady said that she knew nothing about the
financial transactions in the failed Whitewater land deal."
CBS Evening News
anchor John Roberts consumed 29 seconds in relaying:
"Portions of First Lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton's never before seen videotaped testimony to the Ken Starr
Whitewater grand jury were played in open court today in Arkansas. The
tape itself was not made available but in one excerpt the First Lady
testified, quote: 'I never spent any significant time at all looking at
the books and records of Whitewater.' Mrs. Clinton's year-old
testimony surfaced as part of Starr's current prosecution of Susan
McDougal, the Clinton's former business partner in Whitewater."
CNN's The World
Today made time for a full report from Bob Franken, who noted Hillary
Clinton's denial of any knowledge, before explaining the reason for the
Susan McDougal trial:
"McDougal, who spent a year-and-a-half in
prison for refusing to answer grand jury questions, is once again facing
charges for not cooperating. She and her late husband, Jim, were the
Clinton's partners during the late '70s and '80s in the failed
Whitewater real estate venture. The independent counsel is trying to
determine whether President Clinton committed perjury when he denied under
oath in 1996 he had ever received a loan for the McDougal's failed
S&L. Since then, investigators have turned up a check for more than
$27,000 made out to 'Bill Clinton.' They believe it was a loan. The
question is: Did President Clinton even know about this loan? He never
endorsed the check."
Franken led into a
soundbite from McDougal's lawyer by saying he "charges the
independent counsel is on a wild-goose-chase." But Franken also
explained: "Prosecutors insist they need to pin down whether the loan
was a fabrication by Jim McDougal trying to juggle funds in an effort to
confuse regulators, and that the First Lady's testimony proves they need
answers from Susan McDougal."
The mainstream media "were pretty tough on the Democrats, on Bill
Clinton during this past year," Wolf Blitzer argued to guest Rush
Limbaugh on Tuesday's Late Edition/PrimeTime on CNN. Blitzer later
showed a clip of White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart denouncing
Limbaugh and demanded the talk show host respond: "But what about the
substance of what Joe Lockhart says? You put on the air gossip, rumor, and
it comes across as fact?"
back: "Wolf, I'm not the guy who committed perjury, I'm not the guy
who lied to the American people wagging my finger in their face, I'm not
the guy who repeatedly tells falsehoods..." And, he took advantage of
his CNN time to recite how the media willingly passed along Clinton's
false claims about Medicare and school lunch cuts.
interviewing Limbaugh live and showing a taped interview with Lockhart,
Blitzer brought aboard Tony Blankley and long-time Clinton flack Paul
Begala, who apparently forgot his leader's admonition against the
politics of personal destruction (PPD), commenting about Steve Forbes:
"He'll take on Bush for that all-important geek vote. I have got
nothing against the guy, but I was looking at the tape of him announcing
and he looked like he was the college President of the University of Mars
The 10pm ET/PT CNN
show opened with Blitzer's live interview with Limbaugh. The discussion
soon got to Al Gore's "I took the initiative in creating the
Internet" claim, prompting Blitzer to observe: "They've never
been able to make that kind of stuff stick against Al Gore the way the
Democrats made the gaffes made by then-Vice President Dan Quayle stick
against him." Limbaugh pointed out: "Well, that's because
they've never had the help of the mainstream press. I mean, the mainstream
press helped the gaffes stick on Quayle, and we'll see if the press helps
the gaffes stick on Gore. I think, I noted that Bill Kristol, in The
Weekly Standard, wrote recently that he thinks this Internet thing is
going to stick to Gore. We'll have to see."
After an ad break
CNN played a clip of Limbaugh at the Radio & Records magazine
convention asserting: "I think, for the most part, what we would call
the mainstream media is a disgrace, and it is why we have the opportunity
we have." [Check the end of this item for details about how a video
excerpt of this portion of the show will be posted on the MRC home page.]
Limbaugh's assertion, Blitzer maintained: "Rush, is the mainstream
news media as bad as you say it is? It seems to me, sitting right in the
middle of the mainstream news media, that all of us, we were pretty tough
on the Democrats, on Bill Clinton during this past year."
"I think there's a, one fundamental difference in the press of
today and the press of yesteryear," explaining:
"It used to be that the press would simply
take the news, put it out there and here it is. That's not happening
today. The press today is looking to the news and determining what the
American people should know, and what they shouldn't know. It's sort of an
elitist approach to it. I think it's bad. I'll give you further
Before he could,
Blitzer jumped in and played a tape of a discussion about Limbaugh he had
earlier in the day with Lockhart.
Lockhart: "He's done a great job. He's lost
a lot of weight. I can look up to that, and probably learn something from
him. I think."
Blitzer: "He's been a role model?"
Lockhart: "He's been a role model. I think,
if anyone would have told me a while ago I'd say that, I'd say they were
crazy. Let me answer the question seriously. He's got every right to
express his opinion. When that starts influencing, and when pieces of
information that he knows as gossip, or things he's heard that he puts out
-- when reporters start treating that as fact, then I think we have a
Back to the live
interview with Limbaugh, Blitzer agreed that Limbaugh has lost weight, but
then got serious: "What about the substance of what Joe Lockhart
says? You put on the air gossip, rumor, and it comes across as fact?"
advantage of the opportunity, delivering this lengthy retort about how it
is Clinton who lies and it was the mainstream media which promoted his
lies about Medicare and school lunch cuts:
"This has been the White House line on me
for the past five or six years, that I don't get my fact straight. Wolf
I'm not the guy who committed perjury, I'm not the guy who lied to the
American people wagging my finger in their face, I'm not the guy who
repeatedly tells falsehoods and lies on the radio. I make every effort in
the world to make sure that what I am saying is factually correct and when
I make a mistake, I open my show with the correction. I don't bury it. I
don't hide it. I am not interested in being wrong. It doesn't advance what
I'm trying to do. It doesn't serve any purpose whatsoever of mine to be
takes me right back to what I was going to say about the mainstream press.
I will go back to the campaign in 1992 and the campaign, '94, '95, '96. It
was not the worst economy in the last 50 years as Bill Clinton and Al Gore
said in '92. It wasn't. There were no Medicare cuts. There was no school
lunch crisis. There wasn't any cut or any planned cut in the school lunch
program. Medicare was going to grow and I think everybody in the press
knew it. I think everybody in the mainstream press knew the recession of
'91 was not the worse economy in the last 50 years.
"They knew there weren't any Medicare cuts.
They knew the school lunch program wasn't going to be cut. All the
Democrats had to say was, 'The Republicans are cutting Medicare,' and
you guys would run to the Republicans, 'Why are you cutting
Medicare?,' knowing full well there weren't any cuts. It was a six
Up next on the
show, Blitzer's taped interview with Lockhart. Blitzer asked when
Clinton will hold a regular press conference, "What's your assessment
of the White House press corps?" and whether he is in or out of
"the loop." Blitzer never pressed Lockhart about why he refuses
to get an answer to Juanita Broaddrick's charge or about how he and
McCurry have misled the press corps any number of matters, but he was
worried about the impact of Stephanopoulos on Clinton's dealings with
"Have you sensed any change in how the
President is dealing with his staff since the George Stephanopoulos book
came out? Some of your colleagues thinking he went too far, in effect,
betraying confidence and loyalty. Is the President less open now, in some
of these meetings, than he was before, fearing that one of you guys might
write another book?"
+++ See Limbaugh
present the evidence of liberal bias. You can hear him on the radio
everyday. Now you can see and hear him on the MRC Web site. Wednesday
morning by 10am ET or so the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will
post a RealPlayer clip of Limbaugh responding to Blitzer and Lockhart. Go
The video clips posted by the MRC are available for 30 days at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
President Clinton is quite rationally avoiding a regular press conference
because the Washington media have revealed themselves to be "attack
dogs," MSNBC's John Hockenberry suggested before predicting:
"The first question is going to be about Broaddrick."
has taken questions at some joint press conferences with foreign leaders
and the questions have hardly been tough.
MRC analyst Mark
Drake caught Hockenberry's assertions. Hockenberry ruminated, on his
March 15 show, to Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund:
"Is it possible that Bill Clinton is not
having news conferences because it's the press that have revealed
themselves to be, you know, attack dogs and that he basically just wants
to avoid them? He's not lonely. He's not O.J. He's just responding
to the media."
offered his theory to Fund on why Clinton avoids the press: "But he
knows, you know, the first question is gonna be about Broaddrick. It's
gonna be about when he's gonna dump Hillary or whether Hillary's gonna
REALITY CHECK: From the
March 8 CyberAlert:
White House correspondents punted again.
Friday afternoon Bill Clinton held a joint press conference with the
Italian Prime Minister, but as they did the last two times Clinton took
questions, the same three wire service reporters avoided posing any tough
questions or uttering the name Juanita Broaddrick. In fact, Helen Thomas
hit him from the left on a missile defense and Larry McQuillan portrayed
Clinton as a victim of Lewinsky and yearned for him to "bring
closure" to the whole scandal.
Here are the three questions posed on March
5 as Clinton avoided any of the big name network reporters:
-- Terence Hunt of AP asked what he had to say to Italians who say justice
has not been done in the gondola accident.
-- Helen Thomas, UPI: "Do you expect a
breakthrough on Kosovo and especially in view of the policy seems to be
attacking or threatening Serbia and then retreating, it's constant. And
my other question is how can you justify chipping away at the ABM treaty
which helped keep the peace during the Cold War and pour billions and
billions into a Star Wars defense against the possibility that starving
North Korea may fire a missile at us?"
-- Larry McQuillan, Reuters: "Mr.
President, more than 70 million Americans watched Monica Lewinsky's
recent television interview and a number of people are buying a book that
she's put out. I'm just wondering, do you have any thoughts on it that
you can share with us that perhaps might bring closure to this and do you
have any problem with the idea that she's actually making money off that
From the February
22 CyberAlert about the February 19 event with the French premier:
Three U.S. reporters were called upon.
First, Terence Hunt of AP asked about extending the Kosovo deadline,
though Kosovo is all the French reporters asked about. Second, Helen
Thomas of UPI wondered: "What lessons have you learned from your 13
month ordeal? Do you think the office of the presidency has been harmed?
And what advice do you give future Presidents?" Third, Larry
McQuillan of Reuters inquired: "I wonder if you could share with us
some your thoughts about the pros and cons of Hillary running for the
Senate seat in New York?"
From the February
25 CyberAlert on the February 24 joint press conference:
UPI's Helen Thomas obliquely raised the
Broaddrick matter to Clinton at a joint press conference at 2:30pm ET
Wednesday with the President of Ghana, but only FNC bothered to mention
Clinton's refusal to respond. Thomas inquired: "What is your reaction
to recent allegations by an Arkansas woman, apparently something she
claims happened many years ago?" Thomas then asked about the
Independent Counsel law before Clinton replied: "My counsel has made
a statement about the first issue and I have nothing to add to it."
At a regular press conference no doubt the TV
network reporters would pose tougher questions, but so far the wire
services have demonstrated a distinct lack of interest among the the White
House press corps in demanding answers to tough questions. --
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