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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Tuesday October 5, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 163)

Clinton Warned Us; "Intelligent Catholics" Like Dung; Clinton Avoided Sex

1) More Americans without health insurance. NBC's Tom Brokaw called it a "national emergency" and Jim Avila recalled that's "a flaw in the booming economy President Clinton said today he warned America about five years ago, when health care reform was killed."

2) A State Department report detailed financial improprieties by Tony Coelho, chairman of Gore's campaign. CBS gave it a full story while ABC only allocated a few seconds and NBC ignored it.

3) Months after Gore hired Carter Eskew, CBS's Bob Schieffer bit on the hypocrisy: "This year you hired as your top media advisor a man who was the chief strategist for the tobacco companies."

4) MSNBC's Brian Williams suggested that in hitting Republicans with liberal rhetoric George W. Bush made a triangulation play "right out of the Clinton playbook."

5) Steve Roberts claimed "intelligent Catholics" want to see the Brooklyn Museum show. FNC's Brit Hume exposed the skewed wording of the a poll about how most oppose Mayor Giuliani's decision.

6) When Bill Clinton saw a risque sex scene in a movie being shown in Air Force One's press area he burst out laughing: "I gotta get out of here. I don't want to be photographed watching that."

     >>> Now online, the October 4 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Quote topics, in the issue posted by the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry, include: Reagan the Airhead; Gun Down the 2nd Amendment; The Heartless Idiot Genius; We Still Despise Linda Tripp; Raisa as Jackie and Hillary; and I'm Vice President and I'm Horny. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19991004.html <<<

     >>> Also now online: the October 1 Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham, titled "Anita Hill's Army AWOL Again on Baucus: Montana Democrat's Chief of Staff Charges Him With Sexual Harassment, But Where Are the Media?" To read the issue, go to:  http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19991001.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) "Without a net, a national emergency," Tom Brokaw alarmingly announced at the top of Monday's NBC Nightly News: "No health insurance for one in six Americans." NBC reporter Jim Avila recalled how President Clinton tried to warn us all of this inevitability when his plan was rejected five years ago, concluding: "An I told you so from the President tonight, but little comfort for millions of the unprotected without insurance in prosperous America." Over on CBS reporter John Roberts asserted that while new plans will not be as bold as Clinton's, "there will be some radical surgery to remedy what many people call a national disgrace."

     By treating as a national crisis the Census Bureau report of a slight increase (less than three percent) in the number of Americans without health insurance, the networks played into the hands of liberal activists who want a "crisis" to drive a government-based solution. None of the broadcast network stories considered how current government regulations are exacerbating the problem.

     Here's how they handled the story Monday night, October 4. Only NBC led with it as ABC and CBS went first with the Illinois jury awarding $456 million to plaintiffs against State Farm for supplying imitation auto parts.

     -- ABC's World News Tonight. Rebecca Chase provided the health insurance story and avoided the dire exaggerations featured on CBS and NBC. She looked at three individuals without insurance, including a legal secretary who "makes good money" but chooses to pay for her own health care. Chase concluded by noting that when hospitals take care of the uninsured that ultimately "taxpayers foot the bill."

     -- CBS Evening News featured two stories prompted by the health insurance numbers. First, Sandra Hughes reported that many without insurance coverage hold jobs, lamenting: "This at a time of unprecedented prosperity. More Americans than ever are working, yet the study finds that nearly half of the uninsured are employed."

     Second, CBS looked at the political angle. Anchor Dan Rather intoned: "Elected officials from President Clinton on down reacted today to this latest reminder of the growing and widespread lack of health insurance. CBS News Chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports on a medical issue that's re-emerging as a political issue in campaign 2000."
     Roberts began with Bill Clinton's "I told you so" comment about what would happen if his plan were rejected. Roberts allowed Stuart Butler, formerly with the Heritage Foundation, to marvel at the problem when so many are employed. After running a soundbite of White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart blaming the problem on too many businesses not providing health coverage, Roberts took up the campaign angle:
     "The battle to provide health care for the uninsured will now be fought on the campaign trail with Democrat and Republican candidates for President all putting forward their own plans. And while none have proposed the same top to bottom overhaul the Clinton administration did, there will be some radical surgery to remedy what many people call a national disgrace."

     -- NBC Nightly News. Teasing the show, Tom Brokaw declared: "Without a net: A national emergency. No health insurance for one in six Americans. You might be surprised who's at risk."
     Brokaw then opened the program: "In the midst of the greatest wave of prosperity in American history, more people making more money than ever before, there's a ticking time bomb: Health care and how to pay for it. The percentage of Americans without health insurance went up sharply last year so now one in six is unprotected."

     From Chicago Jim Avila looked at how owners of a restaurant and a flower shop can't afford the high insurance costs for their employees. Avila then warned: "Hardest hit by the rising medical costs, minorities, women, the working poor. But the new study also reports that even those making $50,000 are no longer guaranteed health insurance."
     After a clip of a florist saying the cost prohibits him from providing it for his staff, Avila ended his story by recalling how Clinton warned us this would happen:
     "A flaw in the booming economy President Clinton said today he warned America about five years ago, when health care reform was killed."
     Clinton: "We told you in 1994 that if this were voted down the insurance companies would continue to drop people."
     Avila: "An I told you so from the President tonight, but little comfort for millions of the unprotected without insurance in prosperous America."

     On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume Monday night Robert Moffit of Heritage Foundation told Hume about two ways the government raises the cost of health insurance for individuals: First, federal tax policy means it costs individuals twice what it costs group-covered people since employees are not taxed for the cost of group health insurance and individuals must buy it with already taxed dollars. Second, mandates for things like psychological counseling and chiropractors raise prices and make people pay for coverage they don't need.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) A State Department audit questioning the financial decisions by Tony Coelho, now Chairman of Al Gore's campaign, when he ran the U.S. pavilion at the World Exposition, generated various levels of media interest. CBS led with it Sunday night while CNN and ABC gave it just a few seconds, but NBC ignored it.

     In a Sunday Washington Post story Charles R. Babcock and John Mintz explained:

As head of the U.S. pavilion at last year's World Exposition in Portugal, Vice President Gore's campaign chairman, Tony Coelho, approved "questionable payments" to contractors and oversaw an operation marked by overspending, lax management, and hiring of relatives, according to a State Department audit.

A report by the Office of Inspector General cites improper use of free airline tickets, luxury cars and apartments provided for the taxpayer-funded exposition; the hiring of Coelho's niece and of two stepsons of Ambassador to Portugal Gerald McGowan; and approval of excessive payments on contracts.

The Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit watchdog group, released both the audit and its own report on Coelho's tenure. The center said, for example, that Coelho stayed in an apartment in Portugal that cost $18,000 a month.

Coelho is not mentioned by name in the IG audit, which refers to him instead as the "commissioner general," a title that gave him rank as an ambassador. On one occasion, the audit says, the commissioner general spent $800 for a chauffeur-driven Mercedes-Benz for himself -- an "especially troublesome" expenditure, the report said, because "the U.S. pavilion had a fleet of six vans, which were underutilized."

It detailed how Coelho pressed to have a contractor reimbursed $26,000 for travel, relocation, and other expenses even though the contract didn't call for such payment and government officials found no basis for the reimbursement....

     END Excerpt

     Sunday morning Gore was the only guest on CBS's Face he Nation and host Bob Schieffer posed one question about Coelho which the CBS Evening News used as the hook for its lead story that night. Anchor John Roberts, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd, began the show:
     "Vice President Al Gore is coming to the defense of his embattled campaign chairman. Tony Coelho has been named in an Inspector General's report detailing possible financial misconduct in his previous job when he directed the U.S. pavilion at the 1998 World's Fair in Portugal. In a wide ranging interview on the campaign trail with CBS's Bob Schieffer, the Vice President said he's standing by his man."
     Bob Schieffer elaborated: "It was Al Gore the new look who came out swinging on all fronts here in Portland, Maine. No more suit and tie, it was a sweater and Jimmy Carter style work shoes as he toured a public market then lit into challenger Bill Bradley and defended his embattled campaign chairman, Tony Coelho, who State Department investigators say may have cut financial corners while he ran a U.S. trade exhibit."

     Sunday's NBC Nightly News skipped the development as did Today on Monday morning, but MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noted that ABC gave it a few seconds Sunday night and Monday morning. On World News Tonight anchor Carole Simpson took 32 seconds to relay: "A show of loyalty today from Vice President Al Gore for his embattled campaign chairman. A government report surfaced yesterdayaccusing Tony Coelho of financial improprieties while representing the United States overseas. [Clip of Gore's comments] Coelho's attorney said his client did not violate any laws in a job that did not pay him a salary."

     On Monday's Good Morning America news reader Antonio Mora read short items during his 7am and 8am news updates.

     Monday's Inside Politics on CNN ran a full report, but Sunday night the network offered only a passing reference. MRC analyst Paul Smith caught this in the midst of a piece by Beth Fouhy on the 8pm ET CNN WorldView of October 3: "Still the new Gore campaign is facing some new controversy. Campaign chairman Tony Coelho is criticized in a preliminary State Department report allegedly for misusing public money when he was in charge of the U.S. expo during the 1998 world's fair in Portugal. But Gore says Coelho is staying with the campaign."

     Until now none of the networks showed any interest in Coelho's ethics, as documented in a May 20 Media Reality Check fax report issued after Coelho's appointment by Gore to chair his campaign failed to generate media scrutiny of the activities which led him to resign from his House seat. To read "Is Tony Coelho Still Immune from Scrutiny? Gore Names Ex-Congressman Who Resigned Over Ethics To Head Campaign, But Reporters Go Soft," go to:  http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990520.html


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) He eased in softly, but on Sunday's Face the Nation Bob Schieffer became the first network reporter to press Al Gore about the hypocrisy of hiring as his ad man the same guy who produced ads to kill the Clinton-Gore-McCain cigarette tax hike plan, euphemistically called "anti-smoking legislation" by Schieffer.

     In the same interview cited in item #2 above, Schieffer inquired of Gore:
     "I was very touched when you made a speech at the Democratic convention when you talked about your sister dying of lung cancer, and you said you intended to pour your heart into stopping people from smoking, words to that affect. And then this year you hired as your top media advisor a man who was the chief strategist for the tobacco companies and designed their campaign ad, the purpose of which was to kill the anti-smoking legislation. Why did you do that."
     Al Gore: "He severed all connections with that firm, and he's moving to Nashville, and you know, again this is inside baseball."
     Schieffer: "If I may interrupt Mr. Vice President, as a matter of fact, I understand that he didn't severe all connections until last week..."
     Gore, jumping in: "No, he severed all connections."
     Schieffer: "When the New York Times asked him if he was still connected with it..."
     Gore: "No, no."
     Schieffer: "That he had been making commercials that could be used to try and dissuade the government from filing suit against the tobacco companies."
     Gore: "That was long in the past, and he severed any connection with those clients immediately when I hired him and now he's severed the last connection with the company. But see this is all inside baseball."
     Schieffer: "Well, not really. I mean that's not really. Because does that mean you might put someone from the tobacco industry in your cabinet?"
     Gore: "No, no it doesn't. You know people who are professionals in helping you with accounting or helping you with some other professional task, what clients they had in the past, I mean people don't care about that."

     Not if they don't know about it. This portion of the interview didn't make it onto the CBS Evening News and this subject didn't make network news back in July when Gore hired Eskew. Days later Gore appeared on ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's This Morning, but was not asked about Eskew, a July 14 Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham recounted. To read "Another Gore Tobacco Gaffe, Up in Smoke: Few Reports Touch on Gore's New Tobacco-Paid Consultant Carter Eskew, And Fewer Find Hypocrisy," go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990714.html


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Approaching George W. Bush from the right by pointing out that his hit on congressional Republicans "is a play, make no mistake, right out of the Clinton playbook." MRC intern Ken Shepherd noticed that last Thursday night MSNBC anchor Brian Williams suggested Bush was playing a Clinton-like triangulation game in employing Democratic rhetoric to criticize congressional Republicans.

     Near the end of the September 30 News with Brian Williams the anchor of the same name announced:
     "We're going to take our first look at the morning papers in just a moment after the break including why George W. Bush is sounding like a Democrat..."

     After the ads, Williams picked up: "Well, tomorrow morning's Washington Times has George W. Bush sounding like a liberal and being chased across the country by John McCain. This story is also prominent on the wire services tonight. Republican presidential candidate Bush of Texas criticized the Republican-led U.S. Congress today for trying to balance the budget 'on the backs of the poor' by squeezing money from a program for the working poor in order to meet budget targets. That is a play, make no mistake, right out of the Clinton playbook."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) "Intelligent Catholics" want to see the Brooklyn Museum show, with the elephant dung and vaginally sprinkled Virgin Mary, and Mayor Rudy Giuliani's decision to withdraw funding for the exhibit is "insulting to Catholics," Steve Roberts opined Sunday on CNN's Late Edition. Doing some actual reporting, Monday on FNC Brit Hume divulged the skewed wording of a much-cited poll about how by two-to-one New Yorkers oppose Giuliani's decision.

     -- Steve Roberts of U.S. News & World Report, in the roundtable portion of the October 3 Late Edition on CNN, as transcribed by MRC analyst Paul Smith:
     "And I think Giuliani is insulting to Catholics. I think this is kind of a pander to the Catholic vote. It is going to feed this notion of Catholics live by a dogma when in fact a lot of very intelligent Catholics have said I might not agree with this but I want the right to see it. I think that's the right position and I think Giuliani is taking the wrong position."

     Since Steve Roberts, who is Jewish, is married to the former Cokie Boggs, now known as Cokie Roberts, who is Catholic, could his reference to "very intelligent Catholics" be a hint as to where his wife stands?

     -- A New York Daily News poll published last Friday found that by 60 percent to 30 percent New Yorkers oppose Mayor Giuliani's decision to withdraw funding for a city-funded museum featuring a show with artworks that denigrate religious symbols, specifically a Virgin Mary plastered with elephant dung and surrounded by small pictures of vaginas.

     But on Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume the FNC host of the same name disclosed that the poll question was hardly fair and balanced. Hume said it asked those polled:
     "The Brooklyn Museum of Art is planning a show that includes a controversial portrait of the Virgin Mary that Mayor Giuliani finds offensive. The Mayor wants the city to withdraw funding for the museum if it goes through with the show. The museum says withdrawing the city funds would violate the museum's First Amendment right to exhibit works of art it finds appropriate."

      Hume noted: "No mention there of elephant dung on the Virgin Mary, female body parts displayed as part of this so-called 'portrait.'"

     Amongst the media figures promoting this poll: Tim Russert on NBC's Meet the Press. He told Giuliani: "The Daily News went out and talked to New Yorkers, interviewed them for a poll. This is what they found: that 30 percent of New Yorkers agree with you, 60 percent agree with the museum, the exhibit should be open. And even amongst Catholics, only 42 percent agree with you, 48 percent agree with the museum."


clinton1005.JPG (12041 bytes)cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Thanks to FNC we know that on Air Force One early Monday morning, when President Clinton saw a risque sex scene in a movie being shown in the press compartment, he burst out laughing, exclaiming: "I gotta get out of here. I don't want to be photographed watching that."

     Wrapping up Monday's Special Report, Brit Hume showed video of Clinton in jeans and sneakers deplaning at Andrews from his overnight flight from California where he headlined some fundraising events. Hume added that during the trip Clinton went back to the press cabin to talk about football, during which time, as Hume put it, "there appeared, from the latest Austin Powers movie, in a TV monitor over his shoulder, a woman who was, well, the picture you'll see here is a little too bright but you'll get the idea."

     In the video you could make out some sexually suggestive scenes in the movie, involving a woman and some cylindrical objects, before Clinton realized what was on screen, started laughing, said "I gotta get out of here. I don't want to be photographed watching that," turned and left.

     +++ While you won't be able to make out what is on the movie screen, so you can see Clinton's reaction. Tuesday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of Hume's video. Go to: http://www.mrc.org

     Finally, a viewing tip: MSNBC, which devotes two of its three prime time hours to clip shows, is following the same path in the daytime. This week the re-run network began re-running that morning's Today show at 1pm ET/12pm CT/11am MT/10am PT. You'll see the same interview segments as aired earlier on NBC, but with live news updates. So, if you miss Today or will get an uplift from seeing Katie Couric's face in the middle of the day, now you have that opportunity. -- Brent Baker


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