Sam on Clinton's "Credibility"; CNN Dug Out Gore Video; Kazan = Tripp
1) ABC's Sam Donaldson
highlighted how Bill Clinton said his "credibility" was at risk
over Kosovo. Only NBC devoted a story to presenting the arguments for and
against the Clinton policy.
2) NBC Nightly News refused to
mention how Clinton was asked about Juanita Broaddrick, but Today gave her
a few seconds.
3) ABC committed a gaffe on
Gore's Internet boast, but is only broadcast network to mention it. CNN
dug out classic video of Gore boasting in 1988 about tobacco: "I've
put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've suckered
it. I've sprayed it."
4) Chris Rock said that by
staying seated Steven Spielberg vindicated him on his "rat" joke
about Elian Kazan. The LA Times reported "an almost equal
number" did not applaud as clapped.
5) An ABC reporter's
favorite Oscar moment: "A lone protester holding a sign that said,
'Kazan: the Linda Tripp of the '50s.'"
Correction: The March 20
CyberAlert item on press conference questions listed UPI reporter Helen
Thomas as "Helen Hunt." My excuse: I was consumed by Oscar
It's a real war: Tuesday night the CBS Evening News featured a new
"Crisis Over Kosovo" graphic. Dan Rather later recommended to
viewers: "As President Clinton suggested, it may be time for you and
the family to find Kosovo on a map and think through what the fighting is
about..." But I soon felt better as Rather reassured me and other
viewers: "When news breaks out, we'll break in."
noteworthy items on Kosovo from the Tuesday, March 23 evening shows which
all began with multiple stories on plans to bomb Serbians: ABC's Sam
Donaldson highlighted how Bill Clinton said his "credibility"
was at risk and while CBS gave one soundbite to a Republican questioning
the wisdom of Clinton's plans, only the NBC Nightly News devoted a story
to presenting the arguments for and against the Clinton policy.
-- Sam Donaldson,
on ABC's World News Tonight in a story relaying Clinton's points made
during a Tuesday speech: "...There is yet another important reason to
act, said the President: preserving NATO's and his credibility."
Clinton: "If we don't do anything after
all the to and fro that's been said here, it will be interpreted by Mr.
Milosevic as a license to continue to kill. That would discredit NATO
because we didn't keep our word."
-- After showing
Republican Senators Warner and Hutchison (ABC showed only Hutchison)
outside the White House saying that the armed forces have the Senate's
full support, Scott Pelley added on the CBS Evening News: "Still,
there are questions. Don Nickles is number two in the Republican Senate
Don Nickles: "No, I don't see an end game.
I see us getting stuck there, it's a quagmire, we're going to be there
a long, long time."
Bloom also showed a soundbite of Nickles on the Senate floor and of Warner
conceding support now that action is imminent, but only NBC Nightly News
provided a rundown of arguments for and against the intervention.
Andrea Mitchell opened her piece: "Tonight,
U.S. policymakers struggle to explain why Kosovo and why now. Why risk
lives in a place most Amricans cannot even pronounce?"
Clinton: "Let me say one more time, if you
go home and look at a map you ought to get down and look at it, this is a
conflict with no natural boundaries."
Mitchell: "That is exactly what worries
Senator Larry Craig: "Kosovo is a place that
most Americans couldn't find on a map."
Mitchell: "So what is at stake? First,
officials say, U.S. credibility...."
Mitchell proceeded to go through the arguments
that the U.S., as the only remaining superpower, cannot afford to be
outmaneuvered, and that without action the violence and instability will
spread. Her two soundbites for these points: Republicans Bob Dole and
Henry Kissinger. She concluded by returning to doubts, allowing Republican
Senator John McCain to express concern about an exit strategy and how this
could become "another permanent garrison."
Last Friday NBC Nightly News again refused to mention Juanita Broaddrick,
even after Bill Clinton was asked at that day's press conference about
her allegation made on Dateline NBC. (See the March 20 CyberAlert for
But on Saturday
morning, March 21, Broaddrick got a few seconds on Today. MRC analyst Mark
Drake passed along this transcript of what reporter John Palmer told
viewers in his summary of the press conference:
"Mr. Clinton turned away a question about
his relationship with an old acquaintance, Juanita Broaddrick, who has
accused Mr. Clinton of sexually attacking her twenty years ago in
Arkansas. The President said he was referring all such question to his
sentences more coverage than she's received on NBC Nightly News in the
four weeks since her February 24 Dateline appearance.
ABC commits a gaffe on a Gore gaffe and CNN digs out the video of Gore
boasting in 1988 about tobacco that "with my own hands, all my life,
I've put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've
suckered it. I've sprayed it." And that was four years after his
sister died, a passing he exploited at the 1996 Democratic convention for
an emotional speech about why he's so committed to stopping kids from
CNN's March 19
story also highlighted Gore's comments to the March 16 Des Moines
Register about how his father "taught me how to clean out hog waste
with a shovel and a hoe. He taught me how to clear land with a
double-blade ax; how to plow a steep hillside with a team of mules."
At Friday's press conference NPR's Mara Liasson raised the boast in a
question to Clinton, but the broadcast networks have yet to mention it.
-- The Saturday,
March 20 World News Tonight delivered the first broadcast network news
show mention of Gore's "creating the Internet" claim, but ABC
allowed Gore to put the best spin on it. Anchor Aaron Brown announced:
"The Vice President was trying out some new
material today as well. Mr. Gore has been the butt of jokes all week since
he told a political gathering that he had taken the initiative in creating
the Internet. Then Trent Lott said he invented the paper clip and on it
went. Today, Mr. Gore explained:"
Al Gore: "The truth is I was very tired when
I made that comment because I had been up very late the night before
inventing the camcorder. And anyway, nobody questioned Strom Thurmond when
he said he invented the wheel."
Brown: "The Vice President was at a meeting
of the Democratic National Committee in Washington."
In fact, as
CyberAlert readers know, Gore made the boast not at a political gathering
but in an interview aired on the March 9 edition of CNN's Late
Edition/Prime Time, 11 days before ABC got around to citing it, though
still 11 days before CBS or NBC which have yet to touch it on either their
morning or evening shows.
To refresh your
memory, Gore told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "I've traveled to every part
of this country during the last six years. During my service in the United
States Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet. I took the
initiative in moving forward a whole range of initiatives that have proven
to be important to our country's economic growth, environmental
protection, improvements in our educational system...."
To watch this
portion of the interview, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
-- The night before ABC made Gore look good,
CNN's The World Today featured a story running through a bunch of
Gore's misstatements. The story even included a rare bit of vintage
video of Gore from 1988, video not seen on television since Crossfire
played it in 1996.
Morton began his March 19 story by showing Gore's Internet bragging and
Bill Clinton's answer at that day's press conference that "he has
been for 20 years one of the major architects of America's progress in
technology, and he deserves a lot of appreciation for that."
Morton moved on to
Gore's farming claims which have yet to be highlighted by the broadcast
"Then there were Gore's comments to the Des
Moines Register: My father 'taught me how to clean out hog waste with a
shovel and a hoe. He taught me how to clear land with a double-blade ax;
how to plow a steep hillside with a team of mules.'
"Well, Gore is a city kid -- father a
Senator, he grew up in Washington, went to St. Alban's, a well-known
private school here, and then to Harvard. Summers at the family farm, yes,
but mules and double-bladed axes? What he meant, a spokesman said, was
'the fact that he spent his summers working on the family farm.'"
Morton played a
clip of Clinton defending Gore, arguing "he is from east Tennessee,
and he did learn to do all of those things he did on the farm. I've been
on the, I've been there."
Morton went to
another example: "Then there was Love Story. Gore once claimed the
two characters in the movie Love Story were based on his wife, Tipper, and
himself. The author said, news to me, and Gore backed off. Then there was
his emotional account, at the 1996 convention, of his sister's death from
lung cancer in 1984."
Gore at 1996 Democratic convention: "Three
thousand young people in America will start smoking tomorrow. One thousand
of them will die a death not unlike my sister's, and that is why, until I
draw my last breath, I will pour my heart and soul into the cause of
protecting our children from the dangers of smoking."
Morton countered: "But the Gores farmed
tobacco after the death, and Gore bragged about farming tobacco as a
presidential candidate in 1988, four years after his sister's death."
Gore outside, before tobacco farmers, on February
23, 1988: "I want you to know that with my own hands, all my life,
I've put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've
suckered it. I've sprayed it."
Tucker Carlson of
the Weekly Standard then suggested, "I think Gore is just liable to
say anything if he thinks it's politically advantageous," before
Morton played another clip of Clinton praising Gore.
Morton ended by
asking: "Does Gore misstate? Does he just exaggerate? Those things
can hurt you, if you're running for President."
didn't in 1996 when he was running for Vice President. Back then his
1988 bragging about tobacco was known, but the networks refused to mention
it in the hours and days after his 1996 convention speech. As the MRC
reported in a September 1996 MediaWatch newsbite:
After Al Gore's emotional August 28 speech
recalled the 1984 death of his sister Nancy and how it motivated him to
fight the tobacco industry, ABC, NBC, and CNN did suggest hypocrisy.
Jennings noted that "tobacco companies are here in Chicago wining and
dining the hierarchy of the Democratic Party." NBC's Tom Brokaw
recalled that "the Gore family were tobacco farmers." On CNN,
Judy Woodruff suggested that Gore "was responding to what was said in
San Diego," where his tobacco roots were highlighted.
But all the networks ignored the July 3 New
York Times report that in 1988, Al Gore told an audience of tobacco
farmers during his presidential campaign: "Throughout most of my
life, I raised tobacco. I want you to know that with my own hands, all of
my life, I put it in the plant beds and transferred it. I've hoed it. I've
dug in it. I've sprayed it, I've chopped it, I've shredded it, spiked it,
put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it." Dan Quayle can only
dream of getting away with something like that.
At the time, only
CNN's Crossfire showed the 1988 video, playing it the night after
Gore's speech, but it never made it onto CNN's convention coverage or
a regular news story. Not until last Friday.
To see this
vintage footage dug out by CNN, go to the MRC's home page where
Webmaster Sean Henry has put up a chunk of Morton's story in RealPlayer
format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Catching up on some Kazan/Oscar items: Chris Rock said Spielberg
vindicated him on his "rat" joke, the Los Angeles Times reported
"an almost equal number" did not applaud as clapped, the names
of a couple more of those seen clapping and a reason why Annette Bening
may not have been.
-- Well before
Elia Kazan received his award, comedian Chris Rock of Saturday Night Live
fame who had a show on HBO, came out to present a sound effects award. He
joked: "It's a big controversial night, the Kazan thing. I saw
DeNiro back stage. You better get Kazan away from DeNiro because you know
he hates rats."
Of course, Robert
DeNiro, along with Martin Scorsese, later presented the Lifetime
Achievement Award to Kazan.
things they heard at the post-Oscar parties, in the March 23 Washington
Post reporters William Booth and Sharon Waxman recalled Rock's rat joke
and then quoted and commented upon what they overheard him boasting:
"'All I know is that Spielberg didn't
stand up, so I know I did the right thing,' Rock is shouting, a grin
plastered on his face. 'I'm right by him.' It's situational ethics
like this that make this town great!"
-- So just how
many were clapping versus remaining silent?
In a March 22 Los Angles Times story Patrick Goldstein reported:
"According to eyewitnesses at the ceremony, many in the audience
stood and applauded, but an almost equal number stayed seated and did not
Otherwise, Goldstein's report read just like
the March 22 CyberAlert Update: "Television cameras caught Warren
Beatty, Helen Hunt and Meryl Streep standing and applauding. Steven
Spielberg remained seated, although he applauded; actors Nick Nolte, Ed
Harris and Amy Madigan made a point of staying in their seats and not
-- Also among
those seen clapping as ABC's cameras focused more on them than the rude
ones: Jim Carrey, Lynn Redgrave and Ian McKellan (star of Gods and
Monsters). The March 22 CyberAlert pointed out that Annette Bening was
notably not standing and clapping beside her husband, Warren Beatty. Well,
Conservative News Service Managing Editor Dorothea Cooke suggested to me
that may have been because she'd already gone backstage to prepare for
an appearance. Indeed, 17 minutes after Kazan came out on stage she came
out to introduce a retrospective tape of those in the industry who had
The video of
Kazan accepting his award, and the reaction of the audience including the
folded or clasped hands of Nick Nolte, Vickie Lewis, Ed Harris and Amy
Madigan, can still be viewed in RealPlayer format on the MRC web site. Go
Trashing Linda Tripp: An ABC reporter's favorite part of the Oscar night
ambiance. At the very end of Monday's Good Morning America, MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson caught this answer from reporter Cynthia McFadden as
ABC's Oscar coverage team sat around a table recalling their favorite
"It had to be at the party, Monica Lewinsky
and Madonna on the couch. My other favorite moment was in the car driving
up to the red carpet, a lone protester holding a sign that said, 'Kazan:
the Linda Tripp of the '50s.'"
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