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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Monday November 15, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 179)

Gore-FALN Pardon Link Suppressed; ABC Discovered Boys & Girls "Different" 

1) ABC's This Week delivered the first ABC television showing of Clinton's remarks on impeachment that the network had spiked a week earlier. Sam Donaldson called his take "really remarkable."

2) The Washington Post's ombudsman took on the MRC: "Those who are inclined to believe the David Dukes, Joseph Farahs and Tim Grahams of the world," who say the Jesse Dirkhising murder "has been suppressed so that homosexuals won't be portrayed negatively."

3) Ending a piece on corporate jets used by candidates, CBS's Bob Schieffer carped that it proves campaign finance laws are a "mess" since no matter "how bad it looks, it's all perfectly legal."

4) A White House memo noted how release of the FALN terrorists would help Gore, a disclosure reported by the New York Times, Washington Post and Washington Times, but ignored by the networks.

5) Two years ago Bill Clinton asked the U.S. embassy in Oslo to hook him up again with a Norwegian woman with whom he'd had "international relations" in 1969, but she spurned his advances.

6) Insight from ABC's Cokie Roberts: "They really are different, boys and girls." That surprised Tipper Gore because "I was also a feminist and I still am, so I'm really confused." Indeed.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Calling Clinton's claim "remarkable," on Sunday's This Week ABC's Sam Donaldson played a clip, which ABC spiked from World News Tonight seven days before, of Bill Clinton maintaining that in the Lewinsky scandal he was fighting "for my country and my Constitution and its principles."

     As noted in the November 11 CyberAlert, Carole Simpson's egomania squeezed out Clinton's angry claim that the charges against him in the impeachment process were "totally false and bogus, made up," and that "people were persecuted because they wouldn't commit perjury against me." The November 7 World News Tonight featured a taped interview segment with Bill Clinton in which ABC anchor Carole Simpson made the story about herself, asking Clinton: "I am an African-American woman, grew up working class on the south side of Chicago, and this is a pretty special moment for me to be here talking to you. How does it feel talking to me?" For more on what ABC showed, go to:

     And for what ABC News suppressed at the time and how last Tuesday FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume showed a soundbite from ABC's Web site of what the TV network did not show, go to:

     On this past Sunday's roundtable segment on This Week, Donaldson gave one Clinton comment about impeachment and Lewinsky the first ABC air time.

     Sam Donaldson: "President Clinton gave an interview a few days ago in which he once again tried to explain what was going on there with the Monica Lewinsky business, an enterprise which may take up the rest of his life. But his latest version is really remarkable. Here is some of what he told ABC News's Carole Simpson."
     Clinton, in the Simpson interview taped November 5: "They will say I made a bad personal mistake. I will pay a personal price for it, but I was right to stand and fight for my country and my Constitution and its principles."

     Even George Stephanopoulos found news in what Simpson had skipped, remarking that Clinton's claim shows he's "still in somewhat of a delusional state."

     The spiked comments also arose on the November 14 Fox News Sunday. Host Tony Snow introduced Ken Starr:
     "President Clinton recently told ABC News that he was acting to protect the Constitution during the impeachment ordeal and he predicted history would congratulate him for accomplishing so much while under, quote, 'the most severe bitter partisan onslaught.' Our next guest may have a different take, he's former independent counsel Kenneth Starr....So, was it the Constitution the President was trying to save?"
     Starr replied: No. The President, Tony, was wrong. With all respect to him, I think he's just failed to come to grips with the findings, not of an independent counsel, not of the views of a member of Congress, but the chief judge of his home district in Arkansas. Chief Judge Susan Webber Wright said -- and she found this twice -- these are her words, that he had given false, evasive, and misleading answers designed to obstruct the judicial process. That is very serious. And it is so serious that were he a federal judge, he would have been removed from office."

     Carole Simpson didn't get into any of that, of course, since it would have taken time away from talking about herself.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Citing an MRC staffer by name, but without mentioning his MRC affiliation, Washington Post ombudsman E.R. Shipp wrote on Sunday:
     "There is an explanation for the absence of coverage of the brutal rape and asphyxiation death of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising, but those who are inclined to believe the David Dukes, Joseph Farahs and Tim Grahams of the world -- who have asserted that the story has been suppressed so that homosexuals won't be portrayed negatively -- will not be satisfied."

     The reference to Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, came in a November 14 column defending the Post for having run dozens of stories on the Matthew Shepard murder as a "hate crime" but virtually ignoring the case in which a gay man killed Dirkhising during a sexual assault. Here's an except from her column which revealed that the AP acknowledges that it "blew it by failing to get the story on the national wires for more than a month." Shipp wrote:

By the time Matthew Shepard died on Oct. 12, 1998 -- nearly a week after he was savagely beaten and left "tied to a fence like a dead coyote," as The Post reported on Oct. 10, 1998 -- his story had spread around the world, and he had become a symbol for those who urged Congress to adopt a stronger federal hate crimes law. From Capitol Hill to Hollywood to college campuses across the nation, the assault on an openly gay man was denounced at rallies and candlelight vigils. And in editorial pages, including The Post's.

Since the first front-page story, "Gay Man Near Death After Beating, Burning," this newspaper has carried about 80 items -- including news briefs, editorials and columns -- that have referred to Shepard.

I recount this because some readers, prodded by commentators who are hostile to homosexuals and to what they view as a "liberal" press, have inquired why the Shepard case garnered so much attention while another case involving homosexuals -- as possible predators rather than as victims -- has been all but ignored. There is an explanation for the absence of coverage of the brutal rape and asphyxiation death of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising, but those who are inclined to believe the David Dukes, Joseph Farahs and Tim Grahams of the world -- who have asserted that the story has been suppressed so that homosexuals won't be portrayed negatively -- will not be satisfied.

Start with how The Post handles crime news. "Our policy is not to cover murders from out of the Washington area at all unless it's a case of mass murder or has caused a large local sensation or has raised a larger social issue," said Jackson Diehl, the assistant managing editor for national news.

The Shepard story was news, he said, because it "prompted debate on hate crimes and the degree to which there is still intolerance of gay people in this country. It was much more than a murder story for us." More "routine" crimes may be ignored or limited to news briefs culled from wire services.

The story of the Sept. 26 death of Jesse Dirkhising in Rogers, Ark., and the arrest of two male suspects, wasn't transmitted on the Associated Press's national news wires until Oct. 29. The Post, considering this a "routine" story, carried a news brief on Oct. 30....

The AP's deputy managing editor for national news, Mike Silverman, acknowledges that the AP blew it by failing to get the story on the national wires for more than a month. Silverman, who is based in New York, said he did not know about it until the Washington Times called last month for an Oct. 22 story: "Media tune out torture death of Arkansas boy." He then assigned his Little Rock staff to do a story for the national wires because this "wasn't a routinely awful crime; it was out of the ordinary."

For a variety of reasons, some people insist upon depicting the Shepard and Dirkhising slayings as equivalent. Here at The Post, however, the two are seen as quite different. A hate crime homicide such as Shepard's and, four months before that, James Byrd's in Jasper, Tex., is, "a special kind of killing," The Post has editorialized. "It tells a segment of American society that its physical safety is at risk." Arkansas authorities have not characterized the Dirkhising death as a hate crime. Matthew Shepard's death sparked public expressions of outrage that themselves became news. That Jesse Dirkhising's death has not done so to date is hardly the fault of The Washington Post.

     END Excerpt

     I doubt many would be "satisfied" by this circular logic that leaves out the role of the media in deciding which "public expressions of outrage" to highlight. The media at large decided that outrage from liberal groups over Shepard's brutal murder was news. The same media establishment decided the "public expressions of outrage" at Dirkhising's death were not news.

     The circumstances of Shepard's death may indeed have justified more coverage than warranted for Dirkhising's murder, but by 80-to-1? You don't have to be "hostile to homosexuals" to see a media bias in that.

    Shipp knew of Tim Graham's name since he was quoted in an October 22 Washington Times story. To read an excerpt, go to:

     In his October 29 syndicated column MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell suggested:
     "In this modern media age, when lurid murders, especially of children, dance in the dreams of ratings-obsessed network producers (can you say JonBenet?), why would this story go untold? Had Jesse Dirkhising been shot inside his Arkansas school, he would have been an immediate national news story. Had he been openly gay and his attackers heterosexual, the crime would have led all the networks. But no liberal media outlet would dare be the first to tell a grisly murder story which has as its villains two gay men."

To read the entire column, go to:


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Last Thursday night, November 11, CBS and NBC ran full stories on how the presidential candidates use jets provided by "special interests." CBS's Bob Schieffer concluded his story by delivering his opinion of how it "underlines" the "mess campaign finance laws have become" since "no matter...how bad it looks, it's all perfectly legal."

     Tom Brokaw opened the November 11 NBC Nightly News by falsely asserting: "This is the last Veterans day of the 20th century, a century that cost hundreds of thousands of young Americans their lives in four major wars..." This was the next to last, of course, as the century does not end until December 31, 2000.

     On the jet use story, NBC's Lisa Myers began with how John McCain has flown on planes provided by companies regulated by the Senate committee he chairs, yet his payments for the service do not cover what it really costs. She also cited Bill Bradley's use of corporate jets before concluding: "Critics warn that candidates who fly the friendly skies of special interests risk having their credibility highjacked."

     Over on the CBS Evening News Bob Schieffer listed not only McCain and Bradley but also Orrin Hatch and how Pat Buchanan admitted no company has offered him a jet ride. Bob Schieffer concluded with this bit of denouncing, noted by the MRC's Brian Boyd, of the current rules which allow what Schieffer clearly thinks should be illegal:
     "What all of it underlines, though, is the mess campaign finance laws have become, because no matter how it looks, how bad it looks, it's all perfectly legal."

     Neither Myers or Schieffer bothered to credit the Washington Post, which played the story on its front page that morning.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) "The VP's Puerto Rican position would be helped" by clemency for the FALN terrorists wrote a Clinton staffer in a memo last March to White House counsel Charles Ruff, who ultimately recommended the release of the Puerto Ricans. The memo uncovered by the House Committee on Government Reform was first reported by the New York Times and New York Post last Tuesday and picked up on Wednesday by the Washington Post and Washington Times, which headlined its November 10 front page story: "Clemency for FALN Helps Gore, Memo Said."

     Yet, no network has reported the revelation, not even the CNN or FNC political and evening news shows -- at least through Thursday night.

      Dan Rather featured Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton in a November 11 Evening News story about drug violence in Colombia aimed at government officials, but Rather did not use the camera-time with Burton to mention the latest about Gore and the FALN.

     As recounted in a November 10 Washington Post story by Charles Babington and Ceci Connolly, here's what newspaper readers learned last week:

A House committee has concluded that the Clinton administration weighed political considerations -- including those affecting Vice President Gore -- when it decided to grant clemency to a group of imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalists, a move that spurred widespread criticism.

The report includes e-mail memos from two White House aides that seem to suggest a clemency offer could help Gore, who is running for President in 2000. White House officials, however, said yesterday that the memos simply stated that any resolution -- either granting or denying clemency -- would help Gore by taking the volatile issue off the table.

Jeffrey L. Farrow, co-chairman of the White House's interagency working group on Puerto Rico, sent a March 6 e-mail to several colleagues saying, "The issue should be resolved soon -- the petitions have been before us for a long time. The VP's Puerto Rican position would be helped." The memo -- first reported in yesterday's New York Times and New York Post -- noted that clemency was a priority for three congressional Democrats with large Puerto Rican constituencies.

White House deputy chief of staff Maria Echaveste, a recipient of Farrow's memo, forwarded a copy the next day to Charles F.C. Ruff, then the White House counsel.

"Chuck -- Jeff's right about this -- very hot issue," Echaveste said in her e-mail message to Ruff. Ruff eventually recommended that President Clinton grant clemency, which he did on Aug. 11 for 16 of the prisoners. Most had spent many years behind bars for activities on behalf of a Puerto Rican nationalist group called FALN....

     END Excerpt


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Before a visit to Oslo in 1997 Bill Clinton requested the U.S. embassy act as his dating service and hook him up again with a Norwegian woman with whom he'd had "international relations" in 1969, the Israeli press reported the week before last. The Washington Post's Al Kamen relayed the disclosure last Wednesday, adding that the woman spurned Clinton's advances. As noted in the November 9 CyberAlert, in the November 3 Washington Post T.R. Reid described how in covering Clinton's trip to Oslo this month the Norwegian press highlighted Clinton's encounter with a "Monica Lewinsky look-alike."

     Apparently, she wasn't the only Scandinavian babe who has turned Bill on. In his "In the Loop" column for November 10, the Washington Post's Al Kamen passed along some news from the Israeli press that did not generate any great media interest:

President Clinton's visit last week to Norway went well, even though he never did get reunited with Ellen Andenaes, a Norwegian woman who must have made quite an impression on him the last time they met, when Rhodes scholar Clinton went through Oslo in 1969 en route to Moscow.

The Israeli press reported last week that Clinton told Shimon Peres, now Israeli minister of regional cooperation, that there had been "international relations" between them and he had asked the embassy in Oslo to track her down so they could meet again. They found her, Clinton recounted to Peres (who told others in the delegation), and they told her of Clinton's interest, but she replied: "Clinton? I don't remember meeting someone of that name," reported Yedioth Ahronoth.

Actually, the search was done in 1997, when Clinton planned to revisit the country as part of an eight-day swing through Europe. The embassy talked to her mother, according to brother Ulf Andenaes, a leading reporter in Norway. Ellen is a linguistics researcher at the university in Tronheim, some 300 miles north of Oslo.

Now a married mother of two, in 1969 she was an 18-year-old secretary at the Norwegian Institute for Peace, a gathering spot for Americans heading through town. Hundreds of young Americans "with not too short hair," came through, Ulf said, and, on occasion, his sister would give them brief tours around Oslo. She is said to be a classic Scandinavian beauty.

But the bottom line of the story is the same: When asked recently about Clinton, she told a Norwegian reporter she couldn't remember meeting him, Ulf Andenaes said. Then, when told Clinton had stopped in Oslo on his way to Moscow, she remembered getting a postcard from Moscow from one of the young Americans.

Ulf Andenaes, as it turns out, was posted in Washington last year as a correspondent for Aftenposten and lived in a condo just across the way from -- who else? -- Monica S. Lewinsky.

Clinton apparently didn't try to see his old tour guide on this trip.

     END Excerpt

     Are women anywhere safe from Clinton?


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) News flash from ABC: Boys and girls are different according to Cokie Roberts -- and Tipper Gore agrees. As part of its week-long series on "America's Sons," Sunday's This Week featured a pre-taped interview by Cokie Roberts of Tipper Gore, identified on-screen as "Mental Health Adviser to the President."

      Toward the end of the interview an exchange took place which revealed how reality intruded upon the feminist ideology believed by the two women:
     Cokie Roberts: "They really are different, boys and girls. You know for a long time there was this theory that we're really all the same and it's just the way we're socialized. But the minute you have, you had three girls."
     Tipper Gore: "Right."
     Roberts: "And then a boy. It was different?"
     Gore: "I can tell you then. I also did graduate classes in child psychology and I was also a feminist and I still am, so I'm really confused. I threw all the theories out the window and I went 'there are innate differences.'"
     Roberts: "Right."
     Gore: "There just are."
     Roberts: "He was suddenly tearing around the house."
     Gore: "I remember coming into the room after finding, you know, his sisters all in the middle playing when they were the same age and looking around, 'where is he?' Well he's at the top of the closet."
     Roberts: "Right."
     Gore, as she raises her arm: "He's climbed up this high."
     Roberts: "And it's terrifying. I was lucky that I had a boy first so the girl was a real treat."
     Gore: "Oh, exactly. But child development theorists who have studied this have told us the same thing, that boys are just more action oriented from the get go."
     Roberts: "Less capable...." [trails off as she brings her fingers together to suggest girls better at intricate things]
     Gore, laughing: "I think women are smarter."
     Roberts, laughing: "Yeah."

     You wouldn't know it from this conversation. "Smarter," yet still "confused" by how boys and girls might actually be "different." -- Brent Baker


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