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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday October 22, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 170) 

"Partial-Birth" Avoidance; Another Car Bomber; Reno Warned of FALN

1) "A measure to ban a type of late-term abortions," Dan Rather remarked in refusing to accept the term "partial-birth." NBC's Robert Hager promoted dire global warming fears.

2) The author of a book fueling George W. Bush drug charges is a convicted felon who once arranged for a car bombing, the Dallas Morning News disclosed in a story picked up by Fox News Channel.

3) Janet Reno asserted that the FALN is "an ongoing threat" exacerbated by the release from prison of its members, but only FNC bothered to report her assessment.

4) Diane Sawyer: "Yesterday we asked Elizabeth Dole if she felt the system had let her down by making it impossible to raise the kind of money she needed to compete."

5) Ten days until Gumbel returns to morning TV. In #6 of the MRC's Top Ten Gumbel Stumbles, on the January 7, 1994 Today show Gumbel lavishes praise on Bill Clinton's policies.

6) "I never" turned "my back on food programs for starving kids. I never vetoed a gun control bill. All my guns are fakes Senator," a Fox sit-com character lectured a Senator upset by movie content.

     >>> "No Exposure for Gore's Dueling Poseurs: RNC Discovers Gore Arms Control Flip-Flop, But Media's 'Ad Watch' Hounds Remain Silent." The latest MRC Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham is now up on the MRC home page thanks to Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry. To read several quotes from Al Gore back in the 1980s contrasted with his current posture, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19991021.html <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Thursday night ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News led with the 19 percent fall in IBM's stock price. "CBS's Anthony Mason reports on the day big blue bled," quipped Dan Rather who later refused to accept the term "partial-birth" abortion. ABC's second story: How the FDA will now allow ads making a connection between soy and a healthy heart so soy, reporter Bill Redeker trumpeted, is now "poised to become the food of the next millennium."

     NBC Nightly News began with the Jet Propulsion Lab's forecast of a bad winter followed by a one sided panic piece from Robert Hager about how "many scientists believe" extreme weather is driven by "gradual global warming and that's what exaggerates the weather, makes the hot hotter but also makes the storms more violent."

     -- Rather/Abortion. Dan Rather danced all round in taking 24 seconds to read this item: "For the third time in four years the U.S. Senate tonight approved a measure to ban a type of late-term abortions. President Clinton says he will veto it, just like the others, if and when it gets to his desk. Supporters of the ban refer to these abortions as quote 'partial-births.' Opponents say it's all really aimed at reversing a woman's legal right to choose whether or not to have an abortion."

     Of course, when championing "campaign finance reform" on Wednesday night Rather didn't hesitate to use that term and did not add anything about how "opponents say it's all really aimed at shutting down many group's legal right to convey their views to voters before an election."

     (Good Morning America news reader Morton Dean showed similar reluctance to use the "partial-birth" term on Thursday morning, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed: "More emotional debate is expected in the U.S. Senate today. Under consideration is a bill to ban a late-term abortion procedure, which opponents call partial birth abortion. The White House says if it passes, President Clinton will veto it for the third time.")

     -- Global warming panic. Picking up on the forecast of a winter with more bad weather, NBC's Robert Hager recounted how there have been record floods and droughts recently and asserted we're in for more.
     "Why? Many scientists believe it's because of the big picture. These scientists say all this comes against the backdrop of gradual global warming and that's what exaggerates the weather, makes the hot hotter but also makes the storms more violent. Easy to understand how global warming makes heat waves or droughts, not as easy to understand that it also causes more moisture to evaporate into the air so when it does rain the rain may be heavier, even snowstorms may be heavier. All affecting our lives. For instance, this winter in the Northwest."
     Ants Leetmaa, Weather Service: "People should be prepared to pay more for fuel oil, there'll probably be more airline delays, more storminess as you go through there. Probably looking at more snow removal costs."
     Hager: "Climate change affecting animal and plant life as well."
     Dan Becker, Sierra Club: "You see birds dying off, you see species shifting. The Edith Speckershot [phonetic] butterfly in California is no longer able to live in the southern end of its range and at lower altitudes because of the heat."
     Hager: "Fish, like salmon and trout, slowly declining. Some say that's the weather. Ninety percent loss of one kind of West Coast waterfowl. The Pew Foundation's Eileen Clawson."
     Clawson: "We are going to have to get used to it and then we're going to have to figure out to deal with it in a way that makes it better for people."
     Hager: "An extreme forecast for extreme weather, not just for a longer La Nina, but extreme for years to come."

     Plenty of time for panic, but none for viewers to hear from any one of many scientists who don't share the liberal political agenda promoting global warming fears.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)Car Bomber The author of a book alleging George W. Bush was once arrested on a drug charge, J.W. Hatfield, is a felon who once paid for a car bombing, the Dallas Morning News reported Thursday in a story picked up by FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume and the Fox Report.

     As noted in the October 20 CyberAlert, on October 19 FNC's Carl Cameron briefly noted the revival of the Bush drug story via the book, Fortunate Son: The Making of an American President, which was first promoted by Salon.com back in August. Back then all the networks ran stories, but this time only FNC even mentioned it as the MRC analysts have seen nothing on any of the ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC or NBC morning or evening news shows.

     For a rundown of the August coverage, read my August 23 Washington Times op-ed, "Bush Talks, Clinton Walks." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/oped/news/washtimes19990823.html

     On the October 21 Special Report with Brit Hume reporter Mike Emmanuel summarized the Dallas Morning News discovery about how J.H. Hatfield served five years of a 15 year sentence for paying for a car bomb to kill his boss. He was paroled in 1993. Emmanuel added:
     "St. Martin's press, the book's publisher, located in this New York office building, is suddenly refusing to take calls from the media. Messages left by Fox News were not returned. The author, in the midst of a publicity tour, has suddenly disappeared. Court records uncovered by the newspaper show in July 1988 Hatfield pleaded guilty to paying $5,000 for a car bombing. The bomb blew up in February 1987, but the two people in the car weren't injured."

     ++ To see a picture of the bombed car and video of this FNC story in RealPlayer format, go to the MRC's home page where MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post it Friday morning. Go to: http://www.mrc.org.

     For more details, here's an excerpt from the October 21 exclusive from Dallas Morning News reporter Pete Slover:

AUSTIN -- The author of a book alleging that Gov. George W. Bush covered up a 1972 cocaine arrest is himself a felon on parole, convicted in Dallas of hiring a hit man for a failed attempt to kill his employer with a car bomb in 1987, records show.

James Howard Hatfield, 41, was convicted of solicitation of capital murder, served five years of a 15-year sentence in a Texas prison and was paroled in 1993, state and Dallas County criminal records show.

Author J.H. Hatfield flatly denied in an interview that he is the same man. But a parole officer in Arkansas confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Hatfield the author is Mr. Hatfield the ex-convict, who is on parole from Texas through April 2003.

In his new book, Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President, Mr. Hatfield quotes three anonymous sources saying that Mr. Bush was arrested for cocaine possession but that Mr. Bush's father arranged for the charges to be dropped and expunged.

The Bushes and Houston courthouse officials from that era have denounced the account as false. The Bush campaign had no comment on the revelations about Mr. Hatfield's past, said spokeswoman Mindy Tucker....

The biographical materials released with Mr. Hatfield's books and his earlier works reveal many similarities between the author's background and that of the convicted man, as revealed in his criminal and parole records.

Both Hatfields share the same month and year of birth, lived in Dallas at the same times, and both now reside in the same region of Arkansas.

When questioned about those similarities, Mr. Hatfield declined to give his Social Security number, address or any other information to distinguish him from the convicted man.

And the author, who would not disclose his date of birth, also refused to fill in gaps in his employment record corresponding to years that James Howard Hatfield was in prison.

Told of Mr. Hatfield's background, an attorney for the book's publisher said Wednesday that the company had no knowledge of the criminal history.

"If it's true, we're going to be shocked," said David Kaye, general counsel for St. Martin's Press. He declined to comment further.

Dallas court records show that in July 1988, Mr. Hatfield pleaded guilty to paying Charles Ray Crawford $5,000 to bomb the car of a manager at a financial firm for which he had recently quit working.

The bomb exploded in the parking lot of the Cotton Exchange Building in Dallas in February 1987, but the two people in the car were not injured.

Sentenced to 15 years in prison, Mr. Hatfield earned extra credit for time served and was released in April 1993. State records show that he was briefly sent to a federal penitentiary in Oklahoma to serve time for a charge related to the 1987 bombing, but details were not available....

     END Excerpt

     To read the whole article, go to: http://www.dallasnews.com/specials/bush_campaign/

     Given that Hatfield is still on parole for a sentence that does not end until 2003, and recalling how those in the FALN who were pardoned were involved in car bombs, there's still time for Clinton to pardon this guy.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) "The Puerto Rican nationalist group FALN, 16 of whose members were pardoned by President Clinton in August, poses an 'ongoing threat' to national security, according to a September report by Attorney General Janet Reno released yesterday during a combative Senate hearing on the clemency decision," Washington Post reporters David A. Vise and Lorraine Adams opened an October 21 story.

     But not a word on any morning or evening show on ABC, CBS or NBC, nor on CNN's The World Today or Inside Politics. Only FNC found it newsworthy.

     In an October 20 piece on Special Report with Brit Hume reporter David Shuster told viewers:
     "Declaring that the grant of clemency by President Clinton was bizarre and disturbing, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee pointed to a report on counterterrorism from Attorney General Janet Reno. Last month she wrote, 'Puerto Rican terrorist groups, such as the FALN, represent an ongoing threat. Factors which increase the present threat include,' said Reno, 'include the impending release from prison of members of these groups jailed for prior violence.' Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and pardon attorney Roger Adams were scolded for allowing the clemency decision to go forward."

     Shuster added: "When the eleven Puerto Rican terrorists were freed, documents revealed that the FBI, police departments and other law enforcement agencies had all urged President Clinton not to let this happen. But now it appears the Justice Department was also against it. By mistake, a letter covered by executive privilege was turned over to the committee saying the Justice Department recommended a denial of clemency in 1996. Republican Orrin Hatch of Utah wanted to know about 1999. The witnesses repeatedly refused to answer."
     U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT): "You're not even willing to say whether or not you sent a recommendation without even saying what it was. Yes or no!"
     Roger Adams, Justice Department attorney: " I'm -- I have..."
     Hatch: "The American people are entitled to that."
     Adams: "No, Senator, I'm sorry. Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry. I have to respect the president's assertion of privilege, and I'm not allowed to discuss that."
     Hatch: "Why -- why can't this White House just be open and just tell the truth? I mean, my gosh, this isn't something that's that tough."

     The Fox Report, an hour later, ran a short item on this topic, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noted.

     Thursday night, October 21, Shuster followed up by reporting that Holder claimed the Reno report reference to an increased threat was not referring to those given clemency but to those finishing their sentences. Shuster, however, observed that Holder and his staff "couldn't identify the names of any Puerto Rican prisoners the report was supposed to be referring to. Some Puerto Rican nationalists have been released for time served, but that's because they were convicted of non-violent crimes. Republicans said that Justice Department explanations don't make any sense and charged that Holder had his opportunity earlier this week in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Elizabeth Dole, victim of "the system," not of her bad campaigning or views to the left of most GOP primary voters. Male candidates John Kasich and Dan Quayle were also unable to raise enough money to stay in the race, but Thursday morning Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer used Dole's departure as a chance to rail against the fundraising rules. Check out these statements and question posed in the taped interview shown on the October 21 show as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:

     -- "Elizabeth Dole. How do you decide after all that passionate campaigning, all those chicken dinners, that it's time to hang it up? Well, one way you decide is when George W. Bush has vacuumed up all the money. So yesterday we asked Elizabeth Dole if she felt the system had let her down by making it impossible to raise the kind of money she needed to compete."
     -- "Do you blame George W. Bush for monopolizing the money?"
     -- "But is that an abuse of the system, or is the system so deeply flawed that it allows something that you think distorts the democratic process?"
     -- "It's been a central tenet of democracy that the best ideas will garner the most support. Are you saying George W. Bush did not have the best ideas, you did, but he got the most support?"
     -- "I'm thinking back to, what was it now, three, three and a half years ago, when we saw you at the convention, walking out and talking about, and electrifying everybody. I just wonder, looking back, if there's one thing you wish you had known then that you know now from these years and these months on the campaign trail, what would it be?"
     -- "And so Elizabeth Dole's campaign for President is over, but she was considered a formidable and serious candidate, which is a benchmark for women running for the presidency. We thought it might be a good time just to stop and take quick stock of women in public office. Here are the figures: In Congress, 12 percent are now women. Among governors and lieutenant governors, 28 percent are women. and of the top 100 cities, 16 mayors are women. Some ways to go yet."

     I just wish ABC would stop monopolizing all the news money so there would be some left for an unbiased network.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Number 6 in the MRC's Top Ten Gumbel Stumbles, a quote countdown to Bryant Gumbel's return to morning TV on November 1 as co-host of CBS's The Early Show, is now up on the MRC home page in RealPlayer format.

     In this latest highlight from Gumbel's career as a liberal advocate, back in a January 7, 1994 Today interview with Mother Jones magazine editor Jeffrey Klein he lavished praised for Bill Clinton's policies:
     "Do you give Bill Clinton credit for addressing serious issues that went untouched for 12 years -- deficit reduction, gun control, world trade, health care. He has certainly taken on tough issues, and made them not a question of if, but how much."

     To watch this quote and #5 as picked by MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey, which will be posted Friday morning, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/gumbel/gumbelvideos.html


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes)Jay Mohr You can't avoid liberal political advocacy by just avoiding network TV news. Thursday night Fox's new, racy sit-com, Action, delivered a liberal lecture. The 9pm ET/PT half hour show, best known for being laced with vulgarities that are bleeped out, revolves around actor Jay Mohr as Hollywood film producer "Peter Dragon."

     In Thursday night's episode he appeared before a Senate committee to defend the sex and violence in his movies. Reacting to grilling by a big, white Senator with a Southern drawl, "Dragon" shot back:
     "I never voted to subsidize the growing of tobacco while turning my back on food programs for starving kids. I never vetoed a gun control bill. All my guns are fakes, Senator. I've never rushed to the defense of Kuwaiti oil fields while ignoring genocide in Africa because big oil companies that line your fat pockets aren't concerned with black Africa. Those are all productions of your company, Senator."

     To see a still shot of actor Jay Mohr, who will probably be familiar, go to this CyberAlert item on the MRC Web site where Webmaster Sean Henry will post a picture. -- Brent Baker


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