Puerto Rican "Dreams"; Bias Conceded in Lack of Home Deal Outrage
1) John McLaughlin asked if
Bill Clinton is "a fighting cock."
2) An NBC anchor referred to
"the dreams" of the released Puerto Ricans as NBC's Stan
Bernard insisted that on Meet the Press one pledged non-violence. In fact,
the FALNer did so reluctantly, ranting about his cause and equating
himself to George Washington.
3) "If that were a
Republican we'd all be screaming," conceded Jack Germond in
acknowledging media bias in not questioning the $1.3 million for the new
Clinton house. Instead, This Morning's Thalia Assuras wondered if they
will take part in town bake sales.
4) Contrary to PBS's
assurances, they did use only Democratic lists for fundraising, but the
Washington Post didn't find that newsworthy; ABC failed to correct its
now shown wrong July story.
Most questionable terminology selection of the weekend. Here's how, on
the version of the McLaughlin Group with ad breaks carried by commercial
TV stations, John McLaughlin plugged an upcoming segment:
"When we come back, is William Clinton a
lame duck or a fighting cock?"
The Puerto Rican "nationalists" were released from various
prison on Friday, but that generated little network interest as ABC's
Peter Jennings again repeated the canard about how the decision
"pitted" Hillary Clinton against her husband.
Picking up on the
appearance by one terrorist on Meet the Press, on Sunday night NBC's
Stan Bernard claimed "the way to liberty was a pledge of non-violence
restated this morning." In fact, Ricardo Jimenez eventually mouthed
the words but when asked if he had any regrets he complained about his
sentence and then spent most of the interview rationalizing the FALN by
ranting about the colonization of Puerto Rico and accusing the U.S.
government of terrorism. He proclaimed: "I'm pretty sure you're
proud of George Washington. I'm definitely in that line in Puerto Rico,
as they called me a freedom fighter for our country."
September 10, CNN's The World Today and FNC's Fox Report, aired full
reports on the release of the Puerto Ricans. But ABC's World News
Tonight, NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams only
allocated a few seconds. ABC's Peter Jennings gave it 17 seconds:
"At prisons around the country today the
Puerto Rican nationalists granted clemency by President Clinton were set
free. Their release has been quite controversial, pitting Mrs. Clinton,
who is running for the Senate, against her husband. All but two of the
nationalists are expected to return to Puerto Rico."
(U.S. Open tennis
ran past 8pm ET, thus bumping the CBS Evening News in the ET and CT time
zones Friday night. Tennis also bumped the show in the east on Saturday
and Sunday nights.)
Sunday's Nightly News with a story on the joyous welcome the
"nationalists" received in San Juan and Chicago. Anchor John
Siegenthaler introduced the September 12 report: "NBC's Stan
Bernard on the promises they've made and the dreams they've held
Bernard relayed: "They were treated by their
supporters like martyrs to the cause of Puerto Rican independence. In San
Juan they shouted 'liberty, liberty.' And the way to liberty was a
pledge of non-violence re-stated this morning."
Ricardo Jimenez on Meet the Press: "I
definitely will not be using any violence whatsoever or the acts of
violence to further any goals of the independence of Puerto Rico."
Anyone who had
watched Meet the Press earlier in the day would know how hard Bernard and
his producer had to look to pluck out that quote. It hardly reflected the
attitude displayed by Jimenez, the only Puerto Rican to appear on a Sunday
morning interview show, released after serving 19 years of a 90 year
sentence. Just check out his answers from Chicago to moderator Tim
Russert began by
listing the convictions: "Let me put on the screen for you and our
viewers exactly what those charges were: armed robbery, seditious
conspiracy, possession of unregistered firearm, carrying firearms during
commission of seditious conspiracy, interference with interstate commerce
of violence, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, interference
with interstate commerce by threats of violence. This morning, Mr. Jiminez,
do you have any regret or remorse for the commission of those
Jimenez expressed not regret but bitterness:
"I think basically we have to know that what we were charged with, if
it was anybody else, would have served much, much less time. Those
sentences would have not been run consecutive the way they were. The
number 90 would have never appeared, and I probably would have been home
many, many years ago."
Russert: "Why did you commit those
Jimenez: "We believed in Puerto Rican
independence. We believed that Puerto Rican independence is a human right
that has to be addressed. It is an international crime that United States
has maintained Puerto Rico in its colonial status, and it refuses to
recognize that conditions that Puerto Rico is in. It is now to 1997 that
the United States Congress has said that Puerto Rico is a colony. United
Nations has said Puerto Rico is a colony and, hopefully in 1997, when we
also said that we were participating in the democratic process, we see an
initiative by the United States to say that they will start dealing with
the process of decolonizing Puerto Rico."
Russert: "You were a member of the FALN,
which is an acronym in Spanish for the Armed Forces of National
Liberation. Do you regret having been a member of FALN?"
Jimenez: "I think at no time has we
officially have said that we were members of the FALN, but I have no doubt
to sustain that I was part of a membership of the FALN. And if it's at
the cost against colonialism, then it's a rightfully just stage, just
like the United States to decolonize itself in the 1700s. And I'm pretty
sure you're proud of George Washington. I'm definitely in that line in
Puerto Rico, as they called me a freedom fighter for our country."
Russert gave him another chance: "The FALN,
the terrorist group, took credit, responsibility in the '70s and '80s
for 130 bombings, which maimed dozens of people, killed six. This morning,
are you willing to express some regret, remorse, contrition for those
injuries, those deaths, those bombings?"
Jimenez: "I think that we've always had in
anything that has happened, the precaution that we've always taken is
the preservation of human life. You know, we're deeply sorry that other
things have happened contrary to that. Just as it happened, the repression
that has happened in Puerto Rico throughout the years, the bombings that
have happened in Puerto Rico, the assassinations that have happened in
Puerto Rico by an agency that now is discredited completely, as you will
see later on in your own show with the Waco situation, has been doing this
in Puerto Rico for decades and decades, keeping secret surveillance of
many, many, many people. And those things are very, very awful. I think
both sides has to come to a recognition that that has to stop. Definitely
it has to stop."
Russert went on to
press him about apologizing to the family of a police offer killed. When
Jimenez again insisted they had "no intentions of ever having cost
human life directly to somebody," Russert countered: "If you, in
fact, are part of an organization, support of an organization that sets
off 130 bombs, isn't there a pretty strong possibility that innocent
people are going to be hurt and killed?"
+++ See and hear
Jimenez rationalize his past actions and crusade for his cause. Monday
morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a RealPlayer
clip of a portion of the Meet the Press interview. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org
The $300,000 loan by Bob Dole to Newt Gingrich upset the media, but a loan
four times larger given to the Clintons by a political operative deep in
fundraising scandals has yet to arouse media concern. Instead of exploring
the ethics and propriety of Terry McAuliffe's loan to Bill and Hillary
for $1.3 million so they could buy a campaign address, CBS This Morning
co-host Thalia Assuras wondered if the Clintons will participate in town
bake sales and ABC's George Stephanopoulos rejoiced at how Hillary will
finally get the swimming pool she has long wanted.
liberal media figures acknowledged the bias of the media on this issue,
but didn't suggest doing anything to correct it. On Inside Washington
over the past weekend columnist Jack Germond asserted:
"She's going to start to get a little
static from the Republicans on the Terry McAuliffe putting up the $1.3
million for their house. No other Senate candidate could do that and get
away with it. If that were a Republican we'd all be screaming at the
press. If one of Charlie's [Krauthammer] yahoo [conservative] friends
were getting that kind of money we'd all be saying that's
NPR's Nina Totenberg corrected him, but agreed
with the premise: "Well that's not illegal. We'd all be saying it
On September 2 and
3 many network shows ran items on the Clintons buying a house in
Chappaqua, New York and how former DNC fundraiser Terry McAuliffe would
give them a loan, but none followed up after the Washington Post on
September 4 raised ethical questions about the deal.
In a front page
story on September 4, Post reporter Ruth Marcus wrote:
In a move that enables the Clintons to buy
the house -- and Hillary Rodham Clinton to have a base for her New York
Senate run -- the 42-year-old real estate developer and dealmaker pledged
to put up $1.35 million in cash to secure a mortgage for the Clintons.
Otherwise, swamped by more than $5 million in legal debts, the Clintons
might have had difficulty obtaining the loan for the five-bedroom,
Ethics law experts said yesterday that
there is no legal difficulty with the Clintons' accepting McAuliffe's
help, but some questioned the propriety of the President's accepting such
a benefit from a private citizen.
"It's just plain wrong. It's
dangerous. It's inappropriate," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21.
"This is a financial favor worth over a million dollars to the
McAuliffe is not actually giving any money
to the Clintons. Rather, he will deposit $1.35 million in cash -- the full
amount of their mortgage -- with Bankers Trust; the only risk to
McAuliffe's money is in the unlikely event that the Clintons default.
The Clintons will put up $350,000 and pay
an adjustable-rate mortgage set at one point over the London Interbank
Offered Rate, a bank lending rate that is now 5.52 percent. The loan is
"interest-only," meaning the Clintons pay only interest on the
loan but do not reduce the principal during the five-year term.
Some mortgage bankers said McAuliffe's
intervention either allowed the Clintons to obtain what might appear to be
an otherwise risky loan or to secure a lower interest rate because the
mortgage is fully backed by collateral. "They would definitely be in
a better position to get a better rate with that deal," said Crestar
Mortgage Corp. senior vice president Patrick Casey, incoming President of
the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington....
Last Friday both
the Washington Times and Wall Street Journal, the MRC's Tim Graham
alerted me, ran editorials questioning the propriety of the deal. What
could Bill Clinton do as a favor to McAuliffe? The Journal suggested:
"For starters, he could make it tough for the U.S. Attorney's
office to get to the bottom of Mr. McAuliffe's oft-denied role in the
sleazy 1996 'contributions swap' between the Democratic National
Committee and the Teamsters union."
The September 13
Newsweek didn't portray anything wrong with the deal. As Tim Graham
recounted in last week's MagazineWatch on the MRC Web site, Debra
Rosenberg and Evan Thomas breezed through the financial details:
"Real-estate and financial mogul Terry McAuliffe stepped in and
supplied the bank with $1.35 million in collateral, to be paid off or
refinanced in five years. McAuliffe has bailed out the Clintons before: he
was the Democrats' chief fundraiser who built a surprisingly large $42
million war chest for Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign. An amiable
Clinton golfing buddy who, perhaps as much as any friend, stood by the
President during the Lewinsky scandal, McAuliffe is also raising money for
Hillary's Senate campaign. While unorthodox, McAuliffe's sugar-daddy role
on the Clinton house appears to be perfectly legal."
For more, go to:
Instead of jumping
on criticism of the deal as they did in April, 1997 with Dole and
Gingrich, the network stars acted like hosts of real estate firm paid for
On September 3
ABC's Good Morning America brought aboard George Stephanopoulos as its
sole guest to discuss the matter. Co-host Elizabeth Vargas asked
Stephanopoulos: "Why do you think the Clintons picked this
house?" He replied: "Oh, I think it fits on a lot of different
levels. It fits their personal taste, it's a nice traditional house, it's
private, near a lot of golf courses for the President, and finally they've
got a swimming pool."
Vargas: "That's a big deal for Hillary
Stephanopoulos: "Hillary has wanted a
swimming pool for a long time. She thought about trying to build one at
the Governor's mansion in Little Rock and was advised that if you spent
taxpayers' dollars on that, it would be a problem. Also in the White
House. We had a brief moment very early on -- there used to be a pool
underneath the White House press room. And they thought about restoring
it. Again, there would have been a riot if that happened. Didn't happen.
But she gets her pool now."
Three days after the Washington Post story raised
questions about the deal, CBS's This Morning dedicated a segment to the
house purchase, but ignored McAuliffe's role. On the September 7 show
co-host Thalia Assuras introduced the segment:
"The President of the United States and his
wife have done something they have never done before: they have bought a
house. President and Mrs. Clinton have put the peaceful town of Chappaqua,
New York, in the national spotlight. But how is such a small place dealing
with all this new attention? The town supervisor just happens to be named
Clinton Smith. He joins us from Chappaqua this morning."
After talking about working with the Secret
Service and asking Smith questions like "Do you think it's going to
change your lives, though?" and "Do you expect that real estate
values may change because of the Clintons moving in?," Assuras bore
in, wondering: "Do you expect them to participate in, oh, let's say,
stoop sales and bake sales?"
(Smith did point
out to Assuras that he's the town manager of New Castle, which includes
Chappaqua as Chappaqua is not a town.)
Contrary to earlier claims by PBS officials, PBS stations only rented or
bought lists from Democratic groups for direct mail fundraising, but you
wouldn't know that from the Washington Post story which ignored that
conclusion nor would you have learned that from ABC's World News Tonight
which had relayed PBS's bi-partisan spin back in July.
reporter Barbara Saffir opened a September 10 front page story on Friday:
An audit that shows WETA and 52 other
federally funded TV stations swapped their donor lists exclusively with
Democratic organizations is inflaming a debate over federal funding for
A six-week long audit by the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting's inspector general found that:
-- "Virtually all of the exchange or
rental transactions of station membership/donor names were to apparently
-- Public broadcasting officials
incorrectly told Congress that stations also rented from several
Republican groups but the "organizations" typically turned out
to be names of donor lists dubbed by the list brokers who compiled them.
The same day the Boston Globe's Anne E.
Kornblut similarly reported that "an inspector general's report
concluded that stations had officially shared donor lists almost entirely
with Democrats. When the practice of list-swapping was disclosed earlier
this year, many station officials claimed the effort was bipartisan, with
lists being shared with both political parties to find new donors.
"And in fact, some stations did share their
donors' names with groups that sounded like Republican organizations,
according to an investigation by the inspector general of the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting. But the investigator found that the vast majority
of those groups were not connected to the Republican Party, and that it
now appears the Democratic Party was mostly involved."
The same day
CPB released the report CPB President Ervin Duggan resigned. In her
Washington Post story on that development reporter Lisa deMoraes included
a few paragraphs on the fundraising lists but decided the determination
that PBS did not use Republican lists was not newsworthy:
"Duggan's resignation came the same day that
the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's inspector general's office put
out the final version of its report on the political donor-list flap.
"The report found 'no evidence that public
broadcasting stations intended to benefit any political organization' by
trading donor lists, CPB President and CEO Robert T. Coonrod said in a
statement yesterday. The inspector general also reported that the
exchanges occurred at 9 percent of the stations 'and were therefore not
a widespread practice,' Coonrod said.
"Though PBS did not come under fire for the
list swapping, Duggan and other PBS officers were called before the House
telecommunications subcommittee to explain why 30 stations -- including
WGBH, WNET and WETA -- shared their membership lists with political
groups. Some of the public TV stations involved had said that the swaps
were a nonpartisan fund-raising tool, but conservative critics blasted the
practice as further evidence of public broadcasting's liberal
controversy erupted in July, of the broadcast evening shows only ABC's
World News Tonight aired a story. On July 16 reporter Bob Woodruff began
by explaining how the issue came to light after a Massachusetts mother
complained that a donation to Boston's WGBH in the name of her young
son, Sam, prompted a fundraising letter to him from the DNC. Woodruff got
to the big picture:
"For years PBS and its member stations have
been arguing they are not the liberal broadcasters that conservatives have
long charged. That effort was dealt a setback with the news that WGBH
swapped Sam's name, and 32,000 others, with the Democrats over six
years. A congressional committee had been considering increasing PBS's
federal funding. Now that is in doubt."
Woodruff later added: "Other public
television stations, including New York and Washington, now say they also
shared lists, some with both Democrats and Republicans."
We now know that
is not accurate, but no correction aired Thursday or Friday night on ABC.
For the September 10 Media Reality Check fax
report the MRC's Tim Graham recalled some of the assurances by PBS and
CPB officials that they used lists from groups affiliated with both
parties, and how some media outlets bought the claims. The fax report,
"Misleading Congress: A New Habit for PBS? CPB Inspector General
Revealed That Public Broadcasters' July Congressional Testimony Was
False," is now online. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990910.html. --
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