CNN Blamed GOP for Media's Bush Focus; Hypocrisy Over Broaddrick
1) On Bush, now Steve Roberts
has decided "we in the press have an enormous obligation to help the
voters understand the...morality" of presidential candidates. CNN's
Chris Black insisted "the Republican Party helped create the climate
2) To the consternation of
Judy Woodruff, on CNN on Friday Bill Bennett suggested the media's
interest in Bush/drugs but not Broaddrick "is pointing up the
hypocrisy of a lot of the press."
3) Imus in the Morning's
Bernard McGuirk demanded that NBC's David Bloom explain why reporters
are not pushing Clinton about Broaddrick and drugs. Incredibly, Bloom
scolded McGuirk for raising "completely unsubstantiated" drug
charges about Clinton.
4) Howard Kurtz zoomed in on
how ABC is using George Stephanopoulos as a reporter. ABC News President
David Westin hailed his "increasing strength and maturity."
5) "Reforms to Welfare
Hurt Poor, Study Says" read the headline but not until the sixth
paragraph did the Washington Post misleadingly credit "a nonpartisan
research and policy institute."
Three noteworthy comments on the Bush/drug front from Sunday's interview
shows: Now Steve Roberts has decided that "we in the press have an
enormous obligation to help the voters understand the...morality and the
character of the people who want to be President"; Chris Black
insisted it isn't the media's fault but the GOP's: "The irony
is that the Republican Party helped create the climate for this"; and
Susan Feeney maintained that "the press doesn't look at the polls
when it decides what questions to ask."
The pursuit of
George W. Bush on the drug issue dominated the Sunday interview shows. It
was the sole topic on CBS's Face the Nation, ABC's This Week opened
with it and Fox News Sunday devoted two segments to the controversy. The
latter two shows also talked about it during their panel discussions.
It consumed all of
NBC's Meet the Press hosted by Brian Williams, save an eight minute
interview with Alan Keyes about his campaign as part of the show's look
at each candidate. After opening with Orrin Hatch, Geraldine Ferraro, John
Kasich and New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, Williams moderated a look at
media coverage with a panel that featured two Clintonites but no
conservative who might have raised the contrast with media interest in
Juanita Broaddrick or rumors about Clinton and cocaine: NBC's David
Bloom, The Washington Post's Dan Balz, Time's John Stacks as well as
Clintonites Paul Begala and David Gergen (okay, Gergen's really more of
a hired whore.)
I'm out in
Aspen, Colorado for a few days for the Progress & Freedom
Foundation's "Cyberspace and the American Dream" conference,
but managed to catch portions of the Sunday shows, which without a VCR
required quite an effort at channel switching since the Denver stations
carry all four broadcast network interview shows at the same time, 9am.
Thanks to Nexis and a Web site I was able to find transcripts for the
items that I noticed.
-- On CNN's Late
Edition panel discussion, after an appearance by Jesse Jackson and Jerry
Falwell, Steve Roberts of U.S. News & World Report asserted:
"Reverend Falwell was saying only
present-day action should be judged by the press. I just think that's
wrong. I think that we in the press have an enormous obligation to help
the voters understand the judgment and the temperament, and the morality
and the character of the people who want to be President and I think
there's only one way we can do that, and that is to explore the judgments
that they have made in the past."
Where was Roberts
Bashing Dan Quayle
for advocating morality and the character to abstain from parenthood until
you can provide a two parent home. On the May 22, 1992 Washington Week in
Review on PBS Roberts denounced Quayle's Murphy Brown speech:
"This was not an accident. This was not a
casual speech. This was a speech very much a part of the White House game
plan, a very deliberate attempt to use these family values, which are an
amorphous collection of ideas, but to use them as a wedge issue to drive
divisions in this country along cultural lines, along social lines, and to
some extent along racial lines."
-- Forget media hypocrisy, CNN's Chris Black
blamed Republicans for how they beat up on Bill Clinton. On the August 222
Late Edition segment with Roberts, Black argued:
"Well, the irony is that the Republican
Party helped create the climate for this. They're the ones, as Gary Bauer
said this morning on another one of the talk shows, that went nuts when
Bill Clinton said he didn't inhale, asking well, what does that mean? So,
in a way, the Republican Party has set a certain standard. And now George
Bush is being held to it."
I don't know
what Bauer said on Fox News Sunday, but I do know that Clinton's answer
was so odd that it naturally prompted ridicule. More relevant, in 1992 the
media did not pursue questions about Clinton's past drug use beyond that
one marijuana claim. As noted in the August 20 CyberAlert, rumors about
Clinton and cocaine have been around for years and last week Gennifer
Flowers gave a first-hand account. To see a clip of Flowers recalling what
Clinton did when he was high on cocaine, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990820.html#3
(Friday morning on
ABC's Good Morning America Karla Davis, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
noticed, concluded a story on Bush with this odd bit of historical
analysis: "Ultimately voters decided that questions about whether
President Clinton used drugs were not important enough to keep him out of
office." As noted above, the media hardly pursued the issue.)
-- Over on Face the Nation, Dallas Morning News
Washington bureau reporter Susan Feeney assured viewers:
"I actually don't think it's going to go
away. I agree with the Governor when he says that, he looks at the polls
and says that people do not care about past drug use, but I don't think he
realizes that the press doesn't look at the polls when it decides what
questions to ask and when. I think it's inevitable that reporters will
push until there's an answer."
doesn't look at the polls"? I seem to recall reporters incessantly
highlighting how the public was tired of the Lewinsky scandal and citing
this "scandal fatigue" as the reason they were not pursuing a
particular new revelation.
As outlined in the August 20 CyberAlert, reporters will not raise the
issue of their own hypocrisy in pursuing Bush on the drug issue, even
though no one has made a charge, while ignoring an actual charge of rape
against Bill Clinton more recent than the time of Bush's supposed drug
use. But, Bill Bennett did on CNN Friday, much to Judy Woodruff's
on the August 20 Inside Politics: "This is pointing up the hypocrisy
of a lot of the press. There are no allegations that he's used illegal
drugs, no witness has come forward. In the case of Bill Clinton you had
the situation with Juanita Broaddrick who accused Bill Clinton of rape
twenty one years ago, which is more recent than these allegations of drug
use by George Bush. You had five contemporaneous eyewitnesses and the
press said it had scandal fatigue. That's a very serious charge, a much
more serious charge, but the press decided to abandon that. Now George
Bush, Republican blood is out there, so they're pursuing it...."
Woodruff countered: "By the way, on the
Juanita Broaddrick question I think that some members of the press did
pursue that, but we don't really don't have time to get into
Bennett: "Very few, very few. I'm mean
you've got an army pursuing this."
Very few indeed.
Two days after Broaddrick's Dateline interview in February, CNN's
Inside Politics did run a story about feminist reaction followed by a
related interview segment. That and a mention earlier in the week by
Howard Kurtz were all the show did then on Broaddrick. The night Clinton
was asked at a press conference about Broaddrick, on March 19, CNN's The
World Today gave the issue a piddling 13 seconds.
David Gregory shut down references to Juanita Broaddrick on a second
network last Thursday, but he couldn't stop the sports news guy for Imus
in the Morning, Bernard McGuirk, from demanding that NBC's David Bloom
explain why reporters are not pushing Clinton about Broaddrick. When
McGuirk noted how "there have been rumors that the President has done
drugs in the White House in the past seven years or so," Bloom
incredibly castigated him: "With all due respect, Bernard, you're
saying, you're repeating those rumors completely unsubstantiated on a
program like this."
-- On CNBC's
Rivera Live on August 19 guest Grover Norquist asserted: "I think
there is a double standard here. There are people who have testified that
Bill Clinton has used cocaine and the press has not hounded him on the
question. There's a woman who said he raped her and the press hasn't
asked him repeatedly the question."
Substitute host David Gregory shot back:
"That's not accurate! That's not accurate!"
Of course, it is
accurate. See comments after the Imus item below for more details as well
as the August 20 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990820.html#1
Gregory's second time in a few hours to shut down talk of Broaddrick. As
noted in the August 20 CyberAlert, Thursday afternoon on MSNBC he cut off
the RNC's Cliff May the second he raised her name in an attempt to
illustrate the media's double standard.
-- Friday morning, August 20, NBC's David Bloom
appeared on the Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC. Tipped
off by CyberAlert Massachusetts correspondent Eric Darbe, MRC intern Ken
Shepherd located when the show's Bernard McGuirk pressed the NBC
reporter who the day before demanded Bush explain his drug history back to
his 18th birthday.
"Well, what's good enough for the presidential candidate is good
enough for the President. And there have been rumors that the President
has done drugs in the White House in the past seven years or so. How come
no one is going to ask him about those rumors? 'And are they true? Did
you do drugs?'"
Bloom replied: "First of all, I think that,
I mean, with all due respect, Bernard, you're saying, you're repeating
those rumors completely unsubstantiated on a program like this, I think
proves the point about why you don't want to go down this path. And why
we as journalists, at least I count myself in that number, ought to not
talk about things that we don't know whether or not they're true or at
least there's some basis for believing they're true."
Amazing. There is
no allegation on the table against Bush, but that didn't stop Bloom, who
applied this reasoning: "Again, my point is, I don't think we have
a right to ask questions when we don't have a shred of evidence other
than a candidate's refusal to answer the question that something is
true. But as I say, the Governor put this into play by saying, okay, those
kind of questions are legitimate. I don't think we should ask questions
of the President, of Gov. Bush, of any other Republican candidate, of the
Vice President unless we have some solid basis."
ahead: "With all due respect, how about the Juanita Broaddrick rape
Bloom got agitated: "No, no, no, I think
that's, as you well know, NBC News took a long, hard time looking at
that question and when there was some basis for believing that her
allegations might be true, we then did the story and we asked the
President about it."
McGuirk: "And he never answered the
Bloom: "That's true."
McGuirk: "And then he got a pass on
Bloom: "Well, no, you don't get a pass.
What happens is, we can't stand up, I mean, it's not right to stand up
at every single news conference month after month after month after month
and get the same no comment answer."
McGuirk: "Unless you're junior Bush."
Then Imus got into it: "Wait, shut up
Bernard. David, we are well aware of that, I don't think Bernard is
entirely serious so we were just trying to jerk your chain a little
Check: Despite the fact NBC got a network exclusive with its
February 24 Dateline interview with Broaddrick, NBC Nightly News has yet
to air a single story on her charge. At a March 19 press conference one
reporter, Sam Donaldson, asked Clinton about her allegation. Bloom handled
the news conference story for the March 19 NBC Nightly News but refused to
mention Broaddrick. Clinton has held several press conferences since, but
not one reporter has bothered to utter the name Juanita Broaddrick.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz focused Monday on how ABC News
used George Stephanopoulos as a reporter for the Republican Iowa straw
vote. Sound familiar? The August 17 CyberAlert relayed:
"All weekend he [George Stephanopoulos]
served as ABC's lone analyst of the Iowa straw poll. MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson noticed that he appeared solo, without Bill Kristol, on both the
Friday and Monday Good Morning America as well as live from Iowa on
Saturday's World News Tonight. In addition, Sunday's This Week opened
with a live report from him..."
Kurtz began his
August 23 item:
"During the Iowa straw poll, ABC News had an
aggressive reporter on the scene who covered the event for Good Morning
America, World News Saturday and This Week. His name: George
"That's right, the same guy who helped run
Bill Clinton's campaign against George W. Bush's father in 1992, and who
plotted White House strategy against Elizabeth Dole's husband in 1996.
Stephanopoulos declared Bush, Dole and Gary Bauer to be the big winners in
Kurtz did add some
fresh information about how the President of ABC News praises the
"increasing strength and maturity" displayed by Stephanopoulos:
"After 3 1/2 years of limiting
Stephanopoulos to political commentary, ABC has decided to give the former
White House aide a larger on-air role -- and cast him as more of a
"'We're all conscious of the sensitivity
with him having been part of the news in Washington,' says ABC News
President David Westin. 'Are his past and his connections likely to
affect his reporting, or likely to be perceived as affecting his
reporting? You have to take it case by case.'
"For instance, says Westin, 'we wouldn't
have him be the beat reporter on the Gore campaign.' (Whew.) Hailing
Stephanopoulos's 'increasing strength and maturity,' he adds: 'There
has been a history of people not growing up in journalism becoming
journalists.' Westin cites NBC's Tim Russert, a onetime Democratic
operative, as an example."
Imagine the outrage if ABC News had George Will or Bill Kristol serve as a
reporter for a big Democratic party event between Clinton and Bradley.
Or, as the MRC's
Tim Graham contended in an August 18 AP piece on Stephanopoulos by David
Bauder: "'I think conservatives look at this administration like
the Nixon administration,' Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, a
conservative watchdog group, said. 'I don't think the liberals would
have abided by the idea of an ABC News correspondent being (Nixon aide)
A Washington Post reporter misleading described a left-wing group as
"a nonpartisan policy and research institute."
Welfare Hurt Poor, Study Says," announced a front page headline in
Sunday's Denver Post. But good luck figuring out who conducted the study
and where they are coming from politically. The Denver Post headline
appeared over a Washington Post story by Kathy Sawyer. In the Washington
Post it ran on page 7 and carried this headline: "Poorest Families
Are Losing Ground: Female-Headed Households' Gains Erode as Welfare Reform
Starts, Study Says."
Now, notice how
she buried the basic who and why facts.
"Welfare reform has depressed the income of some of the nation's
poorest families in recent years despite a robust U.S. economy, according
to a new study."
"The report released yesterday cautioned against 'pronouncing
welfare reform an unqualified success' even though there have been
dramatic declines in the welfare rolls and an overall increase in
employment and earnings among poor families. It concluded that 'too much
emphasis has been placed on caseload reduction and insufficient attention
paid to income and poverty outcomes.'"
"One of the main problems, many analysts have said, is that some
families eligible for food stamps are not getting them after they leave
the welfare rolls, although it is not clear why. In 1995, 88 percent of
poor children received food stamps, compared with 70 percent last
"'I think we need a midcourse correction,' said Wendell Primus,
lead author of the study, which he called the most comprehensive look to
date at family income and child poverty under the reforms."
"A former official in the Department of Health and Human Services,
Primus resigned to protest President Clinton's signing of the welfare bill
three years ago today."
paragraph 6 we learn who issued the study: "The study was released by
the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and
Conservative groups can only dream of such
unchallenging news stories with such generic labeling that avoids
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