CNN Let Clinton Avoid Chinagate; Bush "Extreme"; CBS Ignored Dingell
1) CNN's Wolf Blitzer landed
an exclusive interview with Bill Clinton, but avoided Chinagate. Instead,
he wondered: "When did you learn that the First Lady was a New York
2) Nightly News ignored it,
but Tim Russert brought Warren Rudman on Meet the Press to discuss his
report on nuclear lab security.
3) "I think Bush is in
bigger trouble when the suburban moms and women discover" he's an
"extreme" pro-lifer, insisted Eleanor Clift.
4) PBS's Liberal Week in
Review: "As we all know, one of the biggest mistakes that his father
made was to make that pledge back in 1988 that he would not raise
"outmaneuvered" the Democrats on gun control and "it's
not something that the Republicans...can be successfully attacked
on," or is it a "political bonanza" for Democrats as it
demonstrates Republican "incompetence" and
6) The CBS Evening News
ignored Democrat John Dingell's role in defeating gun control, instead
running a whole story on how Clinton said "the American people would
not stand for a Congress that gutted what he calls common sense gun
7) Katie Couric questioned the
effectiveness of posting the Ten Commandments, but Today didn't
similarly scrutinize gun control.
8) Letterman's "Top Ten
Things Kenneth Starr Has Found Out About Al Gore."
"George W. Bush's Media Litmus Tests: National Media Continue
Quadrennial Tradition of Trying to Drive Conservative Influence Out of
GOP." The latest Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham is now
up on the MRC Web site. It begins: "This week may signal the official
media kickoff of Campaign 2000 and the arrival of Bill Clinton's lame-duck
status. But it also marks the start of the national media's quadrennial
attempt to drive conservative influence out of the GOP. Compelled in part
by impressive early poll ratings, reporters have praised George W. Bush's
first outings. But will he pass the media's litmus tests?
So far, reporters suggest Bush's 'compassionate conservatism' slogan
makes him sound like the Un-Reagan, but will he go further to repudiate
his party's conservative base?" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990616.html
CNN let Bill Clinton escape any questions about China, but prompted him to
elaborate about Hillary's long history as a Yankees fan. On Sunday,
about an hour before Late Edition aired from Cologne Germany, CNN's Wolf
Blitzer interviewed Clinton for 20 minutes. The interview aired at the top
of Late Edition and again during the 10pm ET World Today.
CNN advertized how
it had landed the President's first Sunday morning interview since 1997,
meaning since before the Lewinsky scandal, but Blitzer failed to ask him
about any aspect of any controversy of the past two years. Despite the
release earlier in the week of the critical Rudman Report, Blitzer ignored
it as well as all the charges made by Johnny Chung in early May about
funneling money from the Chinese military to Clinton's campaign. He also
skipped the Cox Report and did not question Clinton about his March press
conference denial that he knew of any espionage during his term.
It was not as if
the subject had been limited to Kosovo, as was the case with the PBS
NewsHour interview conducted June 11. Blitzer did talk about the war, but
he also covered gun control, asserting the Republican victory will be a
"bonanza" for Democrats in the next election, and asking Clinton
when did he first realize Hillary was a Yankees fan and about his future:
"When you look ahead to your personal life after you leave the White
House, what do you see?"
with several questions on Kosovo, such as:
"But you have to be concerned about the
potential for the KLA, the Kosovo Liberation Army, the revenge, the
hatred. The fact that they're not going to be satisfied with autonomy.
They're going to want full independence from Serbia. The potential for
danger to those U.S. troops is very, very real."
"When you gave the order to launch the air
strikes, did you ever believe, in your wildest imagination, it would take
78 days and all the devastation that it did take to finally declare
"Some of your aides are now talking about a
'Clinton doctrine' in foreign policy in the aftermath of this war
against Yugoslavia. Is there, in your mind, a Clinton doctrine?"
Back from an ad
break, Blitzer announced: "Let's move on to some domestic issues.
Guns, a big subject this past week. Do you really believe it's realistic,
it's appropriate to register all guns in the United States, and if that
were done, would that stop the violence?"
offered up this poor assessment of conservative beliefs in the form of a
question: "But you will concede, though, that the Democrats have a
potential political bonanza from this defeat of the legislation this past
week going into the elections next year." Clinton replied:
"Well, if the public supports us, but you know, I didn't want a
political bonanza, I wanted a safer America and our party did not seek
political points on this."
Blitzer moved on
to presidential politics: "Speaking about politics, let's talk about
presidential politics. Do you think that Texas Governor George W. Bush is
qualified to be President of the United States?" After asking why he
thinks Gore is behind in the polls, Blitzer wondered: "Do you think
that he's trying this week to distance himself from you, the Vice
President by saying, almost volunteering, that your behavior last year was
'inexcusable'?" Clinton's incredible response: "Well, I
took no offense at it. He didn't say anything that I hadn't said in much
starker terms along time ago. So there was nothing inappropriate about
Blitzer began the
third and last segment: "Let's talk about the First Lady's potential
run for the Senate from New York. When did you discover, when did you
learn that the First Lady was a New York Yankee's fan?"
Clinton: "Oh, when I first, shortly after I
met her because I'm a big baseball fan."
Blitzer: "You know, a lot of people think
Clinton, cutting him off: "Yes, I know that,
but she was a, she said how it came to be. Her primary allegiance all her
life has been to the Chicago Cubs. If you go to Chicago, basically most of
the people on the North Side are for the Cubs, most people on the South
Side are the White Sox. And she said, I remember back in the 70s, we were
talking about other baseball, and she said but I like the Yankees, too. I
said well, why don't you like the White Sox? She said if you're from
Chicago, you're for the White Sox or the Cubs, and normally not both. So,
our family always liked the Yankees. You know, I learned it a long time
Blitzer: "You know, there were reports out
today in U.S. News & World Report that she's thinking of moving out of
the White House and getting a place in New York in the fall."
denied she would move out, Blitzer followed up:
"If she runs for the Senate, will you be
eligible to vote for her in New York State? In other words, would you move
your voter registration from Arkansas to New York?"
Clinton: "Well, you know, I might, because I
think every vote counts, and I'd certainly want her to win if she
Blitzer wrapped up
by inquiring about his future: "Mr. President, you've always been
someone who's looked ahead. When you look ahead to your personal life
after you leave the White House, what do you see?"
Clinton: "Well, it depends in part on what
Hillary does. I'll be going, hope I'll be going to meetings of the Senate
spouses club if she decides to run. But I want to continue to be active in
areas that I care a great deal about. And I think that through my library,
and through the public policy center, and perhaps through some other
activities, I can continue to work on some of the issues of world peace
and reconciliation of people across these racial and religious lines that
I've devoted so much of my life to. I can continue to work at home on
issues that I care a great deal about, including involving young people in
public service. And whether it's young people in AmeriCorps or young
Americans who are interested in running for public office, I've given a
lot of thought to it...."
Blitzer approvingly observed: "So what I'm
hearing, more of a Jimmy Carter model as opposed to a Gerald Ford
before Blitzer and he exchanged mutual affection: "Okay, Mr.
President, I'm told we're all out of time. I want to thank you very much
for joining us for this special Late Edition here in Cologne."
Clinton: "This is your last trip with me, so
I want to thank you for six and a half good years."
Blitzer: "Thank you very much."
Clinton: "Good luck."
Blitzer: "It's been an honor to cover
Or would that be
to "cover up for you"?
(Blitzer did not
let viewers in on the secret that Clinton revealed: Blitzer is leaving the
White House beat soon to be an anchor of a new 10pm ET CNN news show.)
+++ Watch and
listen to Blitzer's cozy last segment with Clinton. Monday morning the
MRC's Sean Henry and Jessica Anderson will post a RealPlayer clip of
this ending segment about Hillary, the Yankees and Bill Clinton's Jimmy
Carter-like future. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Sunday morning only Fox News Sunday, which separately interviewed Senator
Richard Shelby and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, and NBC's Meet the
Press dealt with the report issued Tuesday by the President's Foreign
Intelligence Advisory Board. Though NBC's Today gave the report 23
seconds on June 15 and NBC Nightly News ignored it (see the June 16
CyberAlert for details), Meet the Press host Tim Russert treated it as
important news, making board chairman Warren Rudman his lead guest.
"One month ago, Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson was on this
program and elsewhere, and this is what he said, and I'll put it on the
screen for you and our viewers: 'I can assure the American people that
their nuclear secrets are now safe at the labs.' As I read your report,
I found a different message. Let me put up a comment that you wrote in
yours: 'A nefarious employee can still download secret weapons
information to a tape, put it in his or her pocket, and walk out the
door.' Who's right?"
Rudman: "Well, I think the Secretary knows
that he's not right...."
Later, Russert got
to some specifics Today and Nightly News viewers never learned about and
which CNN's Wolf Blitzer refused to raise with Clinton: "There's
been a lot of discussion about who knew what when and who should be
accountable for what has gone on over the last few years. Sandy Berger,
the President's national security adviser, acknowledges he was briefed in
1996, did not tell the President. He was briefed again in July of '97. He
did tell the President. You write a little bit about this. Let me put it
on our board for our viewers and get your reaction. 'We are convinced,
however, that the July '97 briefing which we are persuaded was much more
comprehensive than '96 was sufficient to warrant aggressive White House
action. We believe that while the resulting presidential decision
directive was developed and issued within a customary amount of time,
these issues had such national security gravity that it should have been
handled with more dispatch.'"
raised Clinton's dissembling: "One of the more interesting comments
was made in March of this year, and this was by the president when he was
asked at a new conference about what he knew, and let me put it on the
screen for you. 'Can you assure the American people that under your
watch, no valuable nuclear secrets were lost?' President Clinton, 'Can
I tell you there has been no espionage at the labs since I've been
President? I can tell you that no one has reported to me that they suspect
such a thing has occurred.' How could that be?"
had observed: "It's hard for me to say this, but I will say it
anyway. The agenda for the body politic is often set by the media. Had it
not been for The New York Times breaking the story of Chinese espionage,
all over the front pages, I'm not sure I'd be here this morning. I'm not
sure that report would have been written. And that is not the way that
government ought to operate."
that we weren't relying on NBC News or the other networks to break this
story or we would have yet to hear about it.
Matching the theme of the MRC's Media Reality Check fax report plugged
at the top of this CyberAlert, on McLaughlin Group over the weekend
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift worked to discredit George W. Bush by trying to
show he really is pro-life, which makes him "extreme." She
"I think Bush is in bigger trouble when the
suburban moms and women discover that he is really not laizez-faire on the
particular issue. He is the most anti-choice Governor in the country in
this session in the Texas legislature. He can only finesse that for so
long. He is not as moderate as he pretended to be."
Barone pointed out how his stands against partial birth abortion and in
favor of parental notification are popular, Clift shot back: "He is
signing a bill to cut off all family planning funds to clinics that
provide abortions, which includes Planned Parenthood. I think that's
Liberal Week in Review. Friday night, June 18, PBS's Washington Week in
Review delivered liberal assessments on two major policy stories:
-- Need to work
harder for gun regulation. Moderator Paul Duke became an advocate, telling
Steve Roberts: "Isn't it also true that the proponents of gun
control are not nearly so well organized. You had this well financed, well
organized National Rifle Association group. I mean, President Clinton
noted again this week that the United States is the only Western country
without significant gun control. So doesn't the other side have to do a
much better job of getting into the ball game?"
Yes, we liberals
must do more to make the U.S. like socialist Europe.
-- Bush Senior's
mistake was promising not to raise taxes, not his decision to raise them.
Scolding George W. Bush, Duke asserted: "Well another thing he did
this week was to indicate that he would not raise taxes. And as we all
know, one of the biggest mistakes that his father made was to make that
pledge back in 1988 that he would not raise taxes and that helped to bring
about his defeat."
Michael Duffy of Time magazine agreed: "I
read an interview with George Senior recently, said that the mistake was
actually raising taxes. He hasn't yet admitted the mistake was promising
in the first place never to raise taxes."
That naif, he
hasn't "admitted the mistake" that "we all know" he
made. Not much "diversity" on this media panel.
Republicans "outmaneuvered" the Democrats on gun control and
"it's not something that the Republicans...can be successfully
attacked on," or is it a "political bonanza" for Democrats
as it demonstrates Republican "incompetence" and
"extremism"? Depends whose analysis you trust, Brit Hume's or
On the June 20 Fox
News Sunday Hume observed:
"This is the first time in a long time that
the Democrats have been outmaneuvered in the House of Representatives. And
they were badly outmaneuvered and they lost and they ended up having to
vote against the whole measure. This is a win for Tom DeLay, the House
Majority Whip. It's a win for the National Rifle association and because
of the way the votes ended up in the breakdown along party lines it's
not something that the Republicans really in my view can be successfully
"breakdown along party lines" Hume was referring to how 45
Democrats voted in favor of the amendment for a 24 hour instead of a three
day waiting period for a background check.
Over on CNN's
Late Edition Steve Roberts of U.S. News & World Report insisted:
"Well, he [Clinton] lost the legislation,
but he won the issue. And in many ways, Democrats are much happier with
this situation. I don't want to be overly cynical. I don't want to say
that the Democrats would have rejected any bill, but the fact is when he
says, when the President says he didn't, in his interview with you, that
he did not want a political bonanza out of this, Democrats are loving
this. They really don't want to give the Republicans a victory. They are
planning a fall campaign which runs on two words, Wolf, that is, the fall
of 2000. Those two words are incompetence and extremism. That's what
they're going to try to pin on the Republicans. And the defeat of this
bill plays into both of those."
It will play into
both of those because Roberts reflects the liberal interpretation of
events favored by most reporters.
Who is John Dingell? Friday night the CBS Evening News managed to air two
full stories on the House's action on gun control without uttering the
name "John Dingell," the Michigan Democrat who sponsored the
milder 24 hour instead of three day waiting period for a background check
on guns purchased at a gun show.
Both ABC and NBC
pointed out the role of the leading Democrat in undermining the liberal
bill sent over by the Senate, but not CBS. After Dingell's amendment
passed all but ten Democrats voted against the overall bill, but CBS
blamed the GOP for the loss, running a full report from Scott Pelley
accompanying Clinton to the G-8 summit on how Clinton "said the
American people would not stand for a Congress that gutted what he calls
common sense gun control." Gun advocates got no time from CBS for
CBS Evening News
anchor John Roberts declared on the June 18 show: "Gun control
legislation was left for dead today on the floor of the House. In a series
of votes, the legislation that was aimed to keep guns out of the hands of
the young went from slim to none."
Reporter Diana Olick began with soundbites from
each side of the debate before observing: "It was a hands down
victory for the NRA helped along by Democrats who thought the gun control
bill was too little and conservative Republicans who thought it was too
When the waiting period was "weakened"
from three days to 24 hours, she suggested without mentioning Dingell,
"that may have been the turning point for some Democrats to reject
the whole bill."
Dick Gephardt then asserted: "The NRA won
last night. The American people didn't."
introduced a one-sided story: "Even from thousands of miles away in
Europe President Clinton's reaction to the House vote on the gun bill
came through loud and clear and blistering."
Scott Pelley opened: "In Germany the
President excoriated the House leadership. He said the American people
would not stand for a Congress that gutted what he calls common sense gun
Clinton: "It was a great victory for the
NRA, but it was a great defeat for the safety of our children. So one more
time the Congress of the United States, with the majority in the lead,
says we don't care what's necessary to protect our children. We
can't possibly bear to make anyone in the NRA mad."
Pelley: "Here in Cologne the President was
angry about the pre-dawn vote that killed the gun show proposal. He
grabbed the phone and called Washington, rolling his domestic policy
adviser out of bed at 4:15 in the morning. They agreed that they would
quote, 'make the Republicans wear this vote around their necks.'"
Pelley noted that
Clinton still wants a three day background check at gun shows and will try
to convince House members they are risking their jobs, concluding:
"He is warning them that the massacre at Littleton Colorado has so
changed the national mood that not even the NRA will save them on election
Conservatives argue that more gun control will not prevent future
Littleton massacres since the shooters already violated many gun laws.
Liberals say that posting the Ten Commandments is not only a violation of
"separation of church and state," it's also ineffective as a
few words on a wall won't change behavior. Guess which view Today
co-host Katie Couric pressed on Friday morning?
Today has yet to
devote a whole interview to pressing a guest about the ineffectiveness of
gun control, but on June 18 Couric spent an entire segment questioning the
effectiveness of posting the Ten Commandments in schools as a House-passed
bill would allow localities to do.
MRC analyst Mark
Drake took down all of Couric's questions to Janet Parshall of the
Family Research Council and Laura Murphy of the ACLU. As you'll see,
they all came from the same direction:
"Ms. Parshall, Let me start with you. Why is this necessary in your
-- Couric to Parshall: "But do you really
think a simple posting of the Ten Commandments will prevent youth
-- Couric: "Miss Murphy, that's a lot to
chew on. What's wrong with this picture in your view?"
-- Couric: "Let me ask Ms. Parshall about a
couple of those issues. What do you think about alienating students who
may not subscribe to Judeo-Christian thought?"
-- "Whether you blame the ACLU, Ms. Parshall,
for what you term malevolent hostility. The Supreme Court did strike down
a Kentucky state law that required posting the Ten Commandments in every
public school, ruling that the posting violates the constitutionally
required separation of government and religion. So do you really think
this will hold up in courts across the land?"
-- "But would the posting, Ms. Parshall, the
posting of the Ten Commandments, do you really think that would have
stopped this individual from acting the way he acted?"
From the June 16 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things
Kenneth Starr Has Found Out About Al Gore." Copyright 1999 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Was once mistaken for dead guy on a New
York City subway
9. Stole valuable combover secrets from Rudy Giuliani
8. Often flies on Air Force One as checked baggage
7. Although he didn't invent the Internet, he did invent those annoying
bits of punctuation that look like sideways faces :-)
6. He was created by the same guys that did Jar Jar Binks
5. Voted for Perot in '96
4. Big fan of the joke, "Tipper? I didn't even kiss her!"
3. Like G.I. Joe dolls, he has molded plastic underwear that can't be
2. Had to have an aide explain to him exactly what it was Bill and Monica
1. Once had an affair with a magnolia tree
I was following along until that last one lost
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