Two Nets Skip China Report; Out of Water?; No Corrections for Hale Tale
1) A bipartisan Senate
committee report documented how the Clinton administration botched the
Chinese espionage investigation, but ABC and NBC ignored it Thursday
2) FNC's Carl Cameron picked
up Tom Daschle's complaint that the media should press George W. Bush
about cocaine use.
3) CBS panicked Thursday night
over the drought, asking: "Could America run out of water?" Yes,
because of our lawns and pools.
4) GMA and CBS's This
Morning failed to bring anyone aboard to argue against the court ruling
saying the Boy Scouts must admit gay kids. Both featured just a gay
ex-scout and his lawyer.
5) Correction: Brian Williams
called the Clintons, not a book, "gross." The next day he
forwarded the view that Hillary is trying to "spin an ending to a
gross chapter in the history of the White House."
6) Not one word in this
week's Time about the $90,000 fine on Clinton for lying. Newsweek buried
it in its "Conventional Wisdom" box.
7) Geraldo, CNN, Dan Rather
and Time last year touted charges of how David Hale's Whitewater
testimony was tainted by payments he received from the American Spectator.
Not true, a veteran Justice investigator found, but so far no media
8) Letterman's "Top Ten
Rejected Names for the New CBS Morning Show."
9) Bye-bye. More scintillating
CyberAlerts in a week.
Thursday night ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News skipped the
bipartisan Senate Government Affairs Committee report issued by Republican
Senator Fred Thompson and Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman documenting how
the Clinton administration bungled the investigation of Chinese espionage.
CNN's The World Today, FNC's Fox Report and the CBS Evening News all
ran full stories.
touching on the latest development on the China-front critical of
Clinton's team, ABC led with a CDC report on increased life expectancy
and followed with full pieces on how many vacation destinations have just
as much air pollution as big cities, post-vacation stress, controversy
over dredging the Delaware River around Philadelphia and a look at a spa
in France which uses grape seeds as a skin conditioner which supposedly
slows the aging process.
Like CBS, the
August 5 NBC Nightly News opened led with the office shooting in Pelham,
Alabama that killed three, but instead of touching on Chinese espionage
NBC ran multiple stories on the heat and drought and wrapped up with a
story on new discoveries about how the brain controls sleep.
On the CBS Evening
News Bill Plante outlined the basic findings but avoided naming names,
such as Janet Reno:
"The bi-partisan report paints a scathing
picture of incompetence in the FBI and Department of Energy, an
investigation flawed from the outset by one blunder after another."
After a soundbite of Fred Thompson citing how
there were communications failures among key officials and poor judgment,
Plante introduced Lieberman: "The committee's top Democrat was
Joe Lieberman: "There was what was to me a
shocking lack of thoroughness, competency and urgency in the
government's investigation of this very important and critical
Plante: "Among the findings, for four years
investigators overlooked the fact that suspect Wen Ho Lee had signed a
waiver which would have allowed his computer to be searched; The
Department of Justice, for the first time in a case like this, refused an
FBI request for a special surveillance warrant against Lee; investigators
had multiple suspects but only two, Wen Ho Lee and his wife, were actually
Of course, any
watcher of Carl Cameron on the Fox News Channel or reader of CyberAlert
learned all that months ago.
Plante then showed
Wen Ho Lee telling Mike Wallace of his innocence and allowed Bill
Richardson to concede the investigation was botched but maintain that Lee
is the right suspect.
On CNN's The
World Today reporter Gene Randall pointed out how "Janet Reno was a
special target" of the report and Julie Kirtz, in her Fox Report
piece, ran a clip of Reno defending herself at her daily media briefing.
FNC picked up on Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's demand that the
media press George W. Bush about cocaine use, an issue the media never
pushed about Bill Clinton in 1991-92 despite Daschle's claim that the
media were tougher on Clinton than they are on Bush.
In a piece which
ran on both Special Report with Brit Hume and the Fox Report, Carl Cameron
outlined Daschle's complaint before allowing Cliff May of the RNC to
suggest Daschle is a surrogate doing Al Gore's dirty work. After running
a soundbite of Bush saying he will not play the media game of
"gotcha," Cameron concluded:
"Game or not, several of Bushes Republican
rivals appear eager to play. Aides to Lamar Alexander, Steve Forbes and
Gary Bauer all called Fox to say their candidate had never used cocaine
and Bush should answer the question. Now all the candidates in both
parties, except Bush, have said they never have." 3
Talk about media panic and overreaction. Thursday night CBS asked:
"Could America run out of water?"
In an August 5 CBS
Evening News piece on the drought, as he floated around a
lower-than-normal Baltimore reservoir, Jeffrey Kofman ominously intoned:
"The worst drought to hit the east in 70
years is forcing people here to confront a question that's going to have
to be asked across the country: Could America run out of water?"
Sandra Postel: "Water's becoming
increasingly scarce in many parts of the country."
Kofman: "Author and researcher Sandra Postel
has been studying water usage for twenty years."
Postel, now identified on-screen as
"Director" of the very liberal sounding "Global Water
Policy Project," insisted: "We have one of the highest rates of
water use per person of any country in the world and part of this is due
to our extravagant use of water outdoors, the green lawns, the swimming
pools and so on."
ABC and CBS too lazy to produce a balanced discussion? Thursday morning
both ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's This Morning featured
interview segments about the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that the Boy
Scouts cannot exclude gay boys.
that a network news operation would bring on one person to support the
decision and another to argue why it was wrong. Well, professional
journalists who care about balance would, but not the ABC and CBS
producers. Both August 5 shows featured two guests: James Dale, the
assistant scoutmaster kicked out nine years ago, which prompted the
lawsuit, and his attorney from the Lamda Legal Defense Fund, Evan Wolfson.
Here's how GMA
co-host Diane Sawyer defended the one-sided guest selection: "Well,
the Boy Scouts of America took it on the chin yesterday in a fiery,
precedent-setting ruling. Here is the issue, whether the Boy Scouts have
the right to expel a scout for being gay. The organization has insisted
that its members must be, quote, 'morally straight' and that
homosexuality is inconsistent with that. They have also argued that as a
private group, they can expel whomever they want. Well, today one man's
nine year battle to fight back has succeeded. Joining us, former Eagle
Scout James Dale and his attorney Evan Wolfson of the Lambda Legal Defense
Fund. We should say, by the way, that the representatives of the Boy
Scouts of America declined our invitation to appear this morning."
ABC's obligation is to provide a balanced presentation to their viewers.
By declining a chance to appear, the Boy Scouts missed an opportunity to
present the specifics of their case, but that does not mean ABC is excused
from finding someone else to explain their perspective to viewers,
especially when wider issues of freedom of association and the definition
of a private vs. public group are involved. There are plenty of
conservative legal scholars whom I'm sure would have eagerly accepted
GMA's (or CBS's) invitation.
Correction: Brian Williams referred to events in the life of the Clintons
as "gross," not to the book reporting them. The August 5
CyberAlert accurately related what Brian Williams, anchor of MSNBC's
News with Brian Williams, stated on his show on Tuesday night, but as MRC
analyst Mark Drake pointed out to me later, I missed the meaning of a
In fact, on
two other occasions this week Williams has offered analysis that's
contrary to the usual media thinking -- on both the Talk magazine
interview and gun control.
correction. The August 5 CyberAlert asserted that Williams
"denounced" the book and later stated:
-- Tuesday night, August 3, on The News
with Brian Williams the host of the same name, the MRC's Ken Shepherd
noticed, bemoaned: "In the morning headlines, welcome to your
presidency America, now it's getting close to gross. There's a new book
out by Christopher Andersen: Bill and Hillary: The Marriage. It says
Hillary was deeply in love with White House lawyer Vince Foster, their
long rumored love affair well-known for two decades while Bill Clinton
cheated on her quote 'with hundreds of women in Arkansas.' She had a hot
affair with Vincent Foster at the law firm evidently. Also, allegations of
some sort of relationship between Clinton and Sharon Stone and with
Streisand who reporters once did see, identity covered up, in a hotel
going upstairs on a visit by him."
I missed the
meaning of the "welcome to your presidency" clause, but any
confusion I had as to whom Williams was calling "gross" ended
when Mark Drake alerted me to how Williams on Wednesday night presented
the damage control comments from Bill and Hillary over her Talk magazine
interview. He first gave the Clinton spin, which this week has been about
the only one allowed by the networks, and then refreshingly added a more
"What you are about to see will be seen
differently by different Americans. The Clintons are dealing with
statements by the First Lady that have squarely and violently blown up in
both of their faces. Some will see sadness in all this, a couple that is
already [in a] far too public marriage trying desperately to put an end to
the questions and get rid of all the talk. Others will see a disingenuous
attempt to create excuses, a First Lady who is cynical and smug and with
her husband calculating, trying to run for Senate and spin an ending to a
gross chapter in the history of the White House. It does appear the
Clintons have decided on a story and are sticking with it."
On Monday evening,
he sounded like a conservative media critic as he reviewed the latest news
"In Time, under the headline 'Get Rid of the
Damned Things,' what may be proof that it can be dangerous to spend all
your time on the East Coast. Roger Rosenblatt writes: 'Marshall McLuhan
said that by the time one notices a cultural phenomenon, it has already
happened. I think the country has long been ready to restrict the use of
guns, except for hunting rifles and shotguns, and now I think we're
prepared to get rid of the damned things entirely -- the handguns, the
semis, and the automatics.' Send the mail to Time."
Speaking of Time, not one syllable appeared in the latest edition about
the $90,000 fine imposed upon Bill Clinton last Thursday by federal Judge
Susan Webber Wright for dissembling in the Paula Jones case. The August 9
Newsweek ignored it except for an even arrow in the Conventional Wisdom
box: "Clinton: Hit with $90K fine for Monica fibs. But polls show
he's still Our Bill."
Only U.S. News put
it in an article, as the magazine devoted half of a six paragraph story
about Linda Tripp to the judge's ruling. But as the MRC's
MagazineWatch noted, while reporter Franklin Foer did note Clinton may
face disbarment in Arkansas, he concluded: "And while lawyers busied
themselves preparing briefs, Judge Wright reflected the zeitgeist. She
declared that '[t]he court...no doubt like many others, grows weary of
For details on how
ABC's World News Tonight gave the ruling just 22 seconds, go to the July
30 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990730.html#1
To see how ABC's Good Morning America and
CBS's This Morning skipped it while NBC's Today allocated a piddling
15 seconds, check out the August 2 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990802.html#2
covered in the latest MRC MagazineWatch compiled by Mark Drake about the
August 9 editions, includes the Time essay advocating the elimination of
guns which was cited by Brian Williams above (see item #5), as well as:
-- Campaign 2000 Roundup: Time advised Bush to
keep tax cuts focused on the poor; U.S. News contrasted strait-laced young
Al Gore to young drunk George W.; and Newsweek found Gore and Bradley
fighting over the Democrats' left-wing base.
-- Newsweek puffed House Speaker Denny Hastert --
revealing he "still has coffee with buddies at the auto-body shop and
slurps strawberry shakes after dinner" -- and suspected nuclear spy
Wen Ho Lee, who "spends his days listening to Mozart and reading
19th-century French novels."
To read the August
3 MagazineWatch where Webmaster Sean Henry has posted it, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/magwatch/mag19990803.html
Geraldo Rivera, CNN, CBS's Dan Rather, Time and Newsweek last year all
touted charges, to illustrate the right-wing conspiracy, of how David
Hale's Whitewater testimony was tainted by payments he received from the
American Spectator's "Arkansas Project." Well, last week
newspapers reported that the Justice Department's veteran ethics
watchdog investigated and found no basis for the theory. Yet, so far, no
update or correction from the outlets which so eagerly promoted the
anti-Ken Starr charge.
Critics Cleared In Special Investigation," announced the headline
over a July 29 Washington Post story. (The Washington Times also featured
a piece.) Post reporter Robert G. Kaiser began:
A special investigation into whether
conservative critics of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton gave support or
cash payments to witness David Hale to influence his testimony has
concluded that many of the allegations of such payments were
"unsubstantiated" and "in some cases, untrue," and
that no criminal prosecution should be brought.
These conclusions -- brief excerpts from a
168-page report -- were released yesterday by independent counsel Kenneth
W. Starr, effectively closing a case that some Clinton supporters had
hoped would offer proof of a "right-wing conspiracy" against the
first couple. A spokesman for Starr, Elizabeth Ray, said the full report
would not be released because it contained confidential grand jury
The report was written by Michael J.
Shaheen, former director of the Justice Department's office of
professional responsibility, who was retained as an independent
investigator to examine allegations that Hale -- a witness used
extensively by Starr -- had been improperly tainted by Clinton enemies who
gave him financial support....
Indeed, the news
must have disappointed Geraldo Rivera, though he has yet to share it with
his viewers. Back on the October 6, 1998 Rivera Live on CNBC, as he stood
in front of the Arkansas bait shop of the supposed paymaster, Parker
Dozhier, Rivera declared:
"The grand jury is investigating whether
David Hale's testimony was bought and paid for by a clique of right-wing
Clinton haters. One strong piece of evidence comes from this unlikely
setting: a modest fishing resort located just outside of Hot Springs
Arkansas. While he was a protected witness under the watchful eye of FBI
agents working for Ken Starr, David Hale often stayed here, free of
charge, even got use of an automobile.
Here's the connection: this place is owned by Parker Dozhier, the same
Parker Dozhier who worked for the American Spectator magazine and who was
being paid to dig up dirt on Bill Clinton. Did Dozhier pay off Hale? The
grand jury also wants to know whether Ken Starr knew or should have known
that his star witness, David Hale, was in the hip pocket of a group of
hardline right-wingers determined to take down the President by any means
Earlier in the
year, Dan Rather introduced a story by saying there are reports that
"Hale may have been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely
regarded as political opponents, people that Clinton supporters call
Republican haters from the far right."
On Thursday Tim
Graham, the MRC's Director of Media of Media Analysis, gathered these
two now disproved media allegations and found similar reporting in Time
and Newsweek for our weekly Media Reality Check fax report headlined,
"Geraldo Finds Another Empty Vault: Media Outlets That Covered
Allegations of Conservative Bribes Skipped Covering the Official
To read this fax
report online, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990806.html
Otherwise, here it
is in full:
Geraldo Rivera laid an egg on national TV
on April 27, 1986 by headlining a two-hour syndicated special on the
opening of gangster Al Capone's (empty) vault live. Rivera hyped a story
that wasn't there.
Now Geraldo's done it again. Rivera
repeatedly promoted the story (originated by pro-Clinton journalists at
the New York Observer and the Web site Salon.com) that Whitewater witness
David Hale was paid off by Parker Dozhier, an Arkansas consultant to The
American Spectator magazine.
On July 29, The Washington Post reported
that the investigation by former Justice Department official Michael
Shaheen found "many of the allegations of such payments were
'unsubstantiated' and 'in some cases, untrue,' and that no criminal
prosecution should be brought." But Rivera ignored it. He's not
alone. Here are other outlets that promoted the charges, but skipped
Time in 1998: The April 13 issue asked:
"Did the king of the Clinton haters funnel cash to Kenneth Starr's
chief Whitewater witness?" Richard Lacayo wrote: "FBI officials
have been interviewing an Arkansas woman who says that after Hale became a
Whitewater witness, he began receiving cash payments from men who were
connected with Richard Mellon Scaife, the rabidly anti-Clinton
billionaire, and The American Spectator, the gleefully anti-Clinton
magazine that Scaife has supported." The April 27 issue carried a
caricature of Scaife with the caption: "Subsidizing probes,
underwriting witnesses, chipping in for a deanship at a Malibu school, the
omnipresent megamillionaire Richard Mellon Scaife owns the cashbox of the
Time in 1999: Zero.
Newsweek in 1998: In the April 13 issue,
they first covered the allegations (calling them "thinly
supported") in a story subheadlined: "The White House loves this
tale of right-wing payoffs." In the April 20 issue, Jonathan Alter's
"Conventional Wisdom Watch" touted the allegations of David Hale
being paid off by Spectator staffers. Alter gave Starr a down arrow:
"Good news: First big break in Whitewater. Bad: It may show your key
witness was tainted." Newsweek mentioned the charge again in a May 18
article on Scaife.
Newsweek in 1999: Zero.
U.S. News in 1998: The April 13 issue
mentioned the charges (and Salon.com) in a paragraph. U.S. News in 1999:
CNN in 1998: On The World Today on April 9,
Pierre Thomas reported that Starr would investigate the allegations, but
noted the Department of Justice "questioned whether Starr would have
a conflict of interest in investigating a witness so important to his
case...Critics also point out another possible conflict of interest. The
money allegedly funneled to Hale came from The American Spectator
magazine. The magazine receives financial support from Richard Scaife, a
millionaire associated with anti-Clinton efforts. Scaife is also a major
donor to Pepperdine University where Starr has accepted a deanship."
CNN in 1999: Zero on The World Today.
CBS in 1998: On April 3, Dan Rather said:
"Reports continue to surface that this key witness for the
prosecution, David Hale, may have been secretly bankrolled by political
activists widely regarded as political opponents, people that Clinton
supporters call Republican haters from the far right."
CBS in 1999: Zero.
For more on the
CNN story, go to the April 10 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19980410.html#1
For more on
Geraldo's October 6 diatribe and to see a picture of him in front of the
bait shop, go to the October 7 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981007.html#2
To see Geraldo
standing in front of what he considers the headquarters for the VRWC,
check out the October 26 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981026.html#3
This item details
Rivera's October 23 rant in front of the American Spectator's
"That nondescript building behind me here in
Arlington, Virginia just across the Potomac River from Washington, houses
the American Spectator magazine. The magazine is staunchly conservative
and wickedly partisan, which is all well and good. This is a free country.
But many of the Spectator's critics feel that the magazine lost its
journalistic soul when it entered into a secret alliance with the
reclusive Pittsburgh billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Their common goal:
to destroy Bill Clinton. Between 1993 and 1997 Mr. Scaife funneled at
least $2.3 million dollars through the American Spectator to fund a
variety of anti-Clinton activities. They dubbed this nefarious scheme of
character assassination, the Arkansas Project."
From the August 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Rejected Names for the New CBS Morning Show." Copyright 1999 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Let's Get Ready To Gumbel!"
9. "Live With Regis and Bryant Lee"
8. "Wake Up and Go Back To Sleep"
7. "The Roker-Free Zone"
6. "Everyone Barely Tolerates Bryant"
5. "Diagnosis Bryant"
4. "The CBS Morning Show with Bryant And Some Woman Who Can't Stand
3. "Turn That Frown Upside Down With Your Rise 'N' Shine Pal
2. "Good Morning The Six People In America Watching Us"
1. "Get Outta Bed, Losers"
The real name of
the show debuting November 1 will be the "CBS Morning Show" and
they have yet to find a woman willing to co-host it with Bryant Gumbel.
Bye-bye. I'm off for a week or so to Seattle and other parts of the
Northwest. In my absence, the MRC's Sean Henry and Tim Graham should
e-mail next week to this list some regular MRC publications to keep you
informed and entertained, such as MagazineWatch and the Media Reality fax
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