Whistleblower's Punished; Rather Not Biased; Co-host Stephanopoulos
1) A DOD analyst said he was
forced to delete a warning about a transfer to China, but only FNC cared.
CBS's Bob Schieffer didn't cite gun control in noting how
"Congress has been busy with symbolic things." He named the Ten
Commandments and flag burning.
2) On CNN's Crossfire Dan
Rather claimed that conservatives see liberal bias in him only because
he's "an independent reporter." The "on the right"
co-host concluded that CBS News is not biased.
3) George Stephanopoulos again
co-hosted Good Morning America this week and conducted political
interviews, but generated no indignant media outrage. Two years when CBS
hired Susan Molinari reporters called it an "insult to
journalism" and "disturbing."
4) On Nightline Joe Klein
claimed it is Giuliani's "Natural impulse" to treat Hillary
"the way he Serbs treated he Kosovars." Party for Hillary and
Tina and Diana Sawyer's pad?
Clarification: The June 23
CyberAlert referred to how Dan Rather brought a "Horned Toed
Frog" onto NBC's The Tonight Show. As more than one reader pointed
out, that's a "Horned Toad" and it's really a lizard.
A House committee heard testimony Thursday from five Energy and Defense
Department employees about how their efforts to limit China's
acquisition of dangerous technology was thwarted and they were victims of
retribution for their efforts. Fox News Channel ran a full story on
Special Report with Brit Hume and a briefer summary of the Fox Report but
all the other networks ignored the session -- even CNN which didn't have
a word about it on either Inside Politics or The World Today.
viewers instead saw stories on an auction of Eric Clapton guitars, a
barbecue competition in Des Moines and a two-year-old who tests computer
software for toddlers. CBS's Bob Schieffer was pleased that now that
Congress is done with "symbolic things, voting to post the Ten
Commandments in schools last week, voting on the flag today," they
can get on to important matters. Of course, he did not consider gun
control bills to be "symbolic."
The June 24
Special Report with Brit Hume aired at 6pm ET and 9pm PT, actually
anchored by Tony Snow, opened with a piece from Julie Kirtz. She began:
"The five employees of the Departments of
Defense and Energy told the House Government Reform Committee their
careers are in jeopardy because they have pushed internally for tighter
controls on U.S. military and nuclear secrets and because they've gone
public....Jonathan Fox, an arms control specialist for the Defense
Department, testified for the first time that he was ordered to re-write a
critical memo on the eve of a 1997 state visit by China's President.
According to his copy of the memo, Fox was told to delete his conclusion
that a nuclear technology transfer to China should be rejected because it
posed a 'real and substantial risk to the common defense and security of
the United States and allied countries.'"
recounted his experience, Kirtz went on to review the case of senior
Defense analyst Peter Leitner who said he's been harassed, before she
aired competing clips of Congressmen Dan Burton and Henry Waxman on the
relevance of the testimony.
The next hour Fox
Report anchor Paula Zahn ran a 35-second item on the whistle-blowers and
played a soundbite from Edward McCallum of the Energy Department.
What were the
other networks finding more newsworthy? ABC's World News Tonight led
with the hunt for serial killer Ramirez and ran full stories on how hunger
is supposedly increasing, a Closer Look at children and anxiety and ended
with a look at how Eric Clapton raised $5 million to fight alcohol and
drugs by auctioning off many of his guitars.
The CBS Evening
News also began with Ramirez and ended with a piece on a barbecue
competition in Des Moines. CBS featured a full report on how the CPSC has
recalled dive sticks, even though they've been around for 20 years.
Nothing in the report about how many actual injuries they have caused,
just that they lead to "rectal impalements." Now that should
cause anxiety among children.
Martin provided the toughest wording of the night about how a CIA
analyst's warning was ignored during the war: "From almost the
moment it happened administration officials have portrayed the bombing of
the Chinese embassy in Belgrade as a stupid but honest mistake. However, a
still secret report by the CIA suggests the bombing was a result of
carelessness if not outright negligence..."
Schieffer checked in on how the House passed a flag desecration amendment
for the Constitution, but the votes are not there in the Senate. So,
"It's the same old news, literally. Still,
there is happy news for both sides in this vote today. Until now Congress
has been busy with symbolic things, voting to post the Ten Commandments in
schools last week, voting on the flag today. Now with those things out of
the way it can finally turn to matters like passing the appropriations
bills which will be necessary, of course, to keep the government
They were also
busy with "symbolic" gun control measures, but liberals and
Schieffer don't dismiss bills in that area so quickly.
NBC Nightly News
was topped by the U.S. reward for Milosevic and other war criminals. NBC
combined its In Depth and Fleecing of America features into one unit for a
couple of stories on a FTC report about deceptive claims on Web medical
advice pages. The show ended with a look at a two-year-old whom a computer
software company hired to react to its software games for toddlers.
+++ Speaking of Chinese espionage-related subjects uniquely covered by the
Fox News Channel, that's the topic of the latest Media Reality Check fax
report compiled by the MRC's Tim Graham: "There's No One But Fox to
Follow Up Cox: While the Other Networks Air Almost Nothing, FNC's Carl
Cameron is Developing Chinagate Scoops." The report begins: "Fox
News Channel airs the slogan 'We report, you decide.' On the Chinese
spy scandal, FNC has been doing the reporting, while the other networks
have offered almost nothing to help people make a decision. FNC's Carl
Cameron is all alone on the TV China beat." To read the whole fax
report, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/FAX19990624.html
Thursday night on CNN's Crossfire Dan Rather maintained that
conservatives see him a the epitome of liberal media bias only because he
has "remained an independent reporter who would not report the news
the way they wanted it." After Rather asserted: "I believe in
clean water, strong defense and tight money, whatever that makes me,
that's what I am," the supposedly "on the right" co-host,
Mike Murphy, said he is "coming around" to the view that CBS is
not liberal as "I thought the CBS coverage was very even-handed on
the Lewinsky scandal."
So much for a
conservative side opposite the liberal Bill Press.
Bill Press raised the bias issue on the pre-taped June 24 show: "Dan,
I make no bones about it, I'm a liberal, unreconstructed, you know,
old-fashioned, proud of it liberal. Are you?"
Rather insisted: "No. If I were I would say
so and I would be proud of it, but I'm not."
Press: "Why is it that you are the epitome
of the left-wing liberal media in the mind of every conservative I've ever
talked to? What did you do to get that reputation?"
Rather asserted: "I remained an independent
reporter who would not report the news the way they wanted it or -- from
the left or the right. I'm a lifetime reporter. All I ever dreamed of was
being a journalist, and the definition of journalist to me was the guy
who's an honest broker of information. Now, what happens so often in
politics -- and he [co-host Mike Murphy] knows it better than most -- if
someone doesn't do what you want them to do, then what you try do is hang
a sign around their neck that'd be hurtful to them. I do subscribe to the
idea of: 'Play no favorites and pull no punches.' I will not report
the news the way anybody says to me, 'You better do it this way or pay
the price.' Now, when the Democrats in the 1960s were in the -- if not
the ascendancy, when they had the power, I had my problems with Lyndon
Press: "Fellow Texan."
Rather: "I had my problems with President
Carter when he was in office. If you're committed to being an independent
journalist, you're going to pay the price that you're going to catch it
from all sides, and the side that's in power, or the side that has the
strongest voice, will call you the worst names. If, you know, I have my
beliefs. I believe in clean water, strong defense and tight money;
whatever that makes me, that's what I am."
fill-in co-host Mike Murphy, a campaign consultant to Republicans,
including Bob Dole in 1996: "I got to confess: in the '80s I had one
of those 'Rather Biased' stickers but I thought the CBS coverage was
very even-handed on the Lewinsky scandal, when a lot of it wasn't, so it's
back in the drawer and I'm coming around."
Press and Murphy
returned to the bias subject in their end of show comments. Press
remarked: "Mike, I am glad we had a chance to talk to Dan Rather.
First of all, for the insights that are in the book. But secondly, just to
destroy once and for all this myth of the liberal media. I mean, you want
to see the liberal media in this country, you're looking at him, me. It's
not Dan Rather, it's nobody else. This is baloney."
Murphy joked: "You are the Trotsky of
television, my friend."
Press: "And proud of it."
Murphy: "The truth is the media is pretty
liberal, but having flipped through this book and having watched Dan
Rather lately, I am coming around. I think he's for hard news; I am for
hard news. I am pretty impressed. I thought it was a good interview."
So, hard news
equals non-biased news and fluff equals liberal bias?
"Look at the editorial pages. There's no liberal media. But let me
just tell you something: In this book, he calls Ken Starr 'a dangerous
man.' I like it. From the left, I am Bill Press. Good night from
Murphy: "Sitting in on the right, I'm Mike
"sitting in" but not being on the right. Wouldn't calling Ken
Starr a "dangerous man" put Dan Rather on the left and
wouldn't such matching reporting, which did occur, reflect a liberal
bias? Oh, I forgot, that would be a "hard news" subject area so
it disproves any liberal bias.
What a difference the political affiliation makes. CBS hiring Susan
Molinari symbolized the breakdown of the wall between partisan politics
and journalism, but have you heard or seen a peep of protest over ABC News
making George Stephanopoulos a news anchor and co-host of Good Morning
Two years ago
leading journalism figures indignantly denounced CBS's decision to hire
Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari to co-host a new Saturday morning
show which would have little if any political content. "It's kind
of an insult to journalism," huffed Washington Post media reporter
Howard Kurtz. "I think it's disturbing," declared NPR's Mara
Liasson's while Nina Totenberg of NPR and ABC raged: "This really
makes me want to puke." The New York Times headlined an editorial:
"The GOP News from CBS."
Molinari was off
the show within a year, but if her presence was so upsetting why aren't
the same journalism purists concerned about Stephanopoulos? Molinari's
Saturday CBS show avoided politics, so she spent most mornings talking
about movies and toys and vacation ideas. Thursday morning Stephanopoulos,
who co-hosted GMA one day a few weeks ago and co-anchored World News Now
for three days last week, conducted a very political interview with two
pollsters about the 2000 presidential election. He also co-hosted for a
third day this morning, Friday, June 25.
On Thursday, June
24, Stephanopoulos handled the first big interview segment of the 7am half
hour, a discussion with Republicans pollster Ed Goeas and Democratic
pollster Celinda Lake about their joint poll on the 2000 election. He
began by asking why with a good economy 51 percent think the country is
going the wrong way. Goeas cited declining moral values, which
Stephanopoulos acknowledged was bad news for Democrats and Lake agreed
they must shift attention to their issues, like health care and education.
Stephanopoulos then asked:
"Right now, Celinda, there's not a lot of
good news for Al Gore in this is there? If I were sitting in the Al Gore
war room today I think I'd be going ugh, we're behind by 15 points.
Even a generic Democrat loses to a Republican by about eight points and
Vice President Gore's favorability/unfavorability is quite high. What do
you make of this and what can he do about it?"
Of course a couple
of years ago he was in that war room.
Stephanopoulos co-host GMA. Friday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will
post a RealPlayer clip of this interview. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
The current media
silence about Stephanopoulos is quite a contrast to what greeted Molinari
in May, 1997. Back then CNN's Inside Politics ran a story, Crossfire
devoted a show to the outrage and it was a topic on both Capital Gang and
Late Edition. MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams conducted an interview
segment. Kurtz wrote a big piece in the Washington Post, the New York
Times delivered an angry editorial and both Fox News Sunday and Inside
Washington devoted a segment to the subject. None of that has happened
with the elevation of Clinton's former aide from analyst/commentator to
anchor/co-host of news shows even though he's now reporting on his
former boss who is still in power.
reaction even now if ABC were to give similar roles to Bill Kristol who
worked in the Bush years for Dan Quayle who is a current candidate.
The June 6, 1997
CyberAlert ran through much of the reaction to Molinari's hiring:
-- "The GOP
News from CBS," read the headline over a May 29 New York Times
editorial which argued: "With the hiring of Representative Susan
Molinari to move directly from Congress to the anchor desk, CBS has
reduced the wall [between news and politics] to dust. In fact, having
already hired Laura Ingraham, CBS News now employs more famous Republican
women than the Republican National Committee does."
-- Washington Post
media reporter Howard Kurtz reported on June 2 that "Many CBS
staffers are riled about Molinari's hiring, noting that she's married to
New York Rep. Bill Paxon, a member of the GOP leadership. 'How many
stories is she going to have to recuse herself from?' one correspondent
-- Kurtz on the
May 31 Inside Washington: "Well, it really just obliterates the line
that used to separate the two professions. And it's kind of an insult to
journalism, Gordon [Peterson], because, you know, according to this
star-maker mentality, what matters is not reporting experience -- standing
in the rain, as you put it -- or experience or fairness, but celebrity,
and to take a partisan member of Congress and just magically transform
him, or her, with the wave of a wand, into an anchor who can sit behind
that CBS logo with a statue of Dan Rather, just is not what I consider
-- On the June 1
Fox News Sunday National Public Radio's Mara Liasson complained:
"Well, I think it's disturbing. I mean, she's is not going to be a
commentator or a part of a show where she's clearly identified with her
partisan point of view -- she's going to be an anchor. And I think it
means, it sends the message that there's no such thing as journalism
anymore. It's all just about celebrity-hood and name recognition and I
think it's, I think it's disturbing."
Inquirer TV columnist Gail Shister found NBC's Brian Williams less than
pleased with Molinari's jump. She reported June 2: "'The first rule
for a journalist should be smarts, an awareness of the world,' Williams
says. 'We all kind of cringe when this happens. You want to say, Then why
am I up till 2am reading everything I have to read every night of my life?
Why am I honing journalistic skills when that's not required?'"
To read this
complete CyberAlert item, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1997/cyb19970606.html#2
A June, 1997
MediaWatch Revolving Door article detailed how "many more liberals
than conservatives revolve between media and political slots. The MRC's
Revolving Door count now stands at 323 liberals/Democrats versus just 83
"Molinari is hardly the first political
operative to join CBS News. While Molinari's influence would be limited
to one show, Senior Political Editor Dotty Lynch oversees the entire
network. Lynch directed polling for George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Ted
Kennedy, the Democratic National Committee and the 1984 Mondale campaign,
all before joining CBS in 1985. David Burke, President of CBS News from
1988 to 1990, served as Chief of Staff to Senator Ted Kennedy from 1965 to
1971. In 1995 President Clinton brought him along to California to, as the
Wall Street Journal described, "provide political and communications
tips." Last year Clinton named Burke to a board overseeing
international broadcasting, but none of this raised a peep of
To read this story
in full, go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1997/mw19970601rvd.html
You can also check
out a June 4, 1997 op-ed piece I co-wrote for the Wall Street Journal in
reaction to the Molinari controversy: "Media 'Revolving Door' Spins
Faster for Liberals." Go to: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/oped/news/wsj19970604.html
Giuliani may murder Hillary Clinton? A party at Diane Sawyer's house to
celebrate the launch of a magazine with Hillary on the cover?
Jessica Anderson picked up on two interesting comments made on ABC News
shows Wednesday night and Thursday morning about Hillary Clinton's
Senate run from New York.
-- An exchange on
the June 23 Nightline.
Host Chris Wallace: "What I'm wondering
about is there a danger of a backlash? If [Rudolph Giuliani] really treats
[Hillary Clinton] like another candidate, are there some people, are there
a lot of people who are going to be offended by that?"
Joe Klein, formerly of Newsweek: "If he
treats her like another candidate, that'll be okay. If he treats her the
way the Serbs treated the Kosovars, which are, which is kind of his
natural impulse, he might be in some trouble."
-- June 24 Good
Morning America. Interviewing Talk magazine Editor Tina Brown about the
city's cancellation of her party to honor the magazine's launch and
Hillary Clinton at the Navy Yard property in Brooklyn, a decision
supposedly made by Giuliani, Diane Sawyer asked: "So where are you
going to have the party now?"
Brown: "Well, I'm told that the Statue of
Liberty is a federal site."
Sawyer then offered her place, before catching
herself and thinking better of it: "So it's a contender. Well, I
guess my backyard -- I don't have a backyard, for one thing. You may be,
you may be knocking on doors and searching for a site, right?"
I'm still waiting to see some of that tough
treatment journalists claim Hillary will get from the media. --
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