"Best" for Elian; Equating Bush & Gore Fundraising; Knocking Noonan
1) Peter Jennings suggested going back to Cuba is what's
"best" for Elian Gonzalez, lamenting how the relatives have failed
to cooperate to "allow the case of this young boy to end in a civilized
manner that is best for him."
2) CBS News compensated for its Tuesday night piece on charges
of illegal fundraising by Gore by highlighting on Wednesday liberal complaints
about Bush, though there are no charges of illegality: "Critics say big
Bush contributors often win big favors."
3) This week Dan Rather jumped on a Zogby poll showing Hillary
beating Giuliani, but last fall CBS didn't report its own poll which found
Hillary falling further behind Giuliani.
4) Peggy Noonan's new book, The Case Against Hillary
Clinton, disturbed two network stars. To Noonan's point that the press has
gone easy on Hillary, CNN's Bernard Shaw said "it really riles
me." He scolded her for writing "'She is too cynical for the place
that gave birth to Tammany Hall.' Now, really, Peggy!" CBS's Jane
Clayson suggested: "Democrat bashing? Is that...all this book is?"
>>> Nothing on the e-mail in
Newsweek. The latest MagazineWatch about the April 3 issues is now up on
the MRC home page. The topics explored by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens and
1. Only Time gave any space to Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of
taxpayer-funded military planes in her Senate race. But all three news
magazines published articles focusing on opponent Rudy Giuliani's
comments on a New York police shooting.
2. New allegations and investigations of White House e-mails hidden from
congressional subpoenas inspired only two paragraphs in U.S. News, and one
in Time. As for the criminal investigation of Gore campaign boss Tony
Coelho's Portugal dealings, U.S. News managed
two paragraphs, as did Time.
3. Instead of covering scandals, Newsweek celebrated Clinton's trip to
India and Pakistan, as Michael Hirsh explained "the President has
become known...as a leader with 'a healing touch.'"
4. U.S. News graded Al Gore and George Bush in a story headlined
"Who's the Dimmest Dim Bulb? A Tale of Two Mediocre Collegiate
Careers." A contemptuous Gore nearly spewed soda in laughter when
asked if Bush was "too dumb" to be President.
To read these
items, go to:
those darn relatives of Elian Gonzalez who are holding him in the U.S.
would get out of the way the Justice Department could end the wrangling
"in a civilized manner that is best for him" -- and send him,
unimpeded, back to Cuba.
That seemed to be the sentiment behind how Peter Jennings
opened Tuesday's World News Tonight in setting up a story on how the
relatives wouldn't agree to an INS demand that they say they'll abide
by the next court decision in the matter:
In Miami today immigration officials met with the Miami relatives of Elian
Gonzalez again and once again the government has failed to get the kind of
cooperation from the relatives that might allow the case of this young boy
to end in a civilized manner that is best for him."
of illegal fundraising by Al Gore were diffused by CBS News the next night
by giving equal time to complaints about Bush's fundraising, though
there are no charges or investigations ongoing about any improprieties.
As reported in the March 28 CyberAlert, the March 27
CBS Evening News featured a "Follow the Dollar" story by Eric
Engberg about how Gore admits "mistakes" in 1996, like "the
now-famous visit he made to a Los Angeles Buddhist temple, where nuns and
monks were used as cover for collecting about $100,000 in illegal
contributions." Engberg also raised the LaBella memo, without naming
it, asking: "Did Gore mislead Justice Department investigators
looking into the fundraising improprieties? They found a memo indicating
Gore attended a meeting where it was decided 35 percent of the money he
raised would go directly to the Clinton-Gore campaign. It's illegal for a
public official to use his government
office to solicit campaign contributions."
So, the next night, without any admitted illegality
or criminal investigations to cite, CBS gave equal time to complaints
about Bush from liberal campaign finance "reform" backers. Dan
Rather introduced the March 28 CBS Evening News story:
reported to you last night, the Bush campaign is focusing some of its
negative campaign attacks on Al Gore's past problems over campaign
fundraising practices. Tonight CBS is reporting on questions raised about
Bush's record high fundraising and spending. CBS's Bill Whitaker has
the facts and figures in this 'Follow the Dollar' report."
Whitaker began: "He's raised and spent more
money on the primaries than any candidate ever -- a record $74 million
hauled in, more than $63 million expended. And Election Day is still seven
Whitaker to Bush: "Is it troubling to you that
it cost so much money just to get to this position, this point in the
"It's expensive, this is a huge country and it's important to get my
Whitaker moved to Bush's detractors, failing to
point out that the "fat cats" he was about to demean for raising
$100,000 had to do it in $1,000 increments by convincing others to donate:
"Some say with Bush, the money is the message. He's blazing new
trails in fundraising with his 'Pioneers,' a who's who of GOP fat
cats, each raising at least $100,000 for Bush. Critics say big Bush
contributors often win big favors. In his two runs for Governor Bush got
more than $4 million from business people seeking to limit lawsuit
liability, so-called 'tort reform.' Bush now boasts tort reform as one
of his major accomplishments. He got even more money from Texas energy
Andrew Wheat, Texans for Public Justice: "The
Governor also in the last session of the legislature declared an emergency
issue, a tax break for the oil and gas industry in Texas. I can't say
necessarily that it was those large contributions that caused the favors
he gave, but we do know that it creates disturbing appearances of
Whitaker picked up the argument: "Remember Sam
Wyly, the Texas billionaire who weighed in on Super Tuesday with this
environmental ad trashing John McCain?"
After a brief clip of the ad, Whitaker elaborated:
"Wyly, a major Bush contributor, had recently won a lucrative
contract investing University of Texas funds. His clean renewable energy
firm, GreenMountain.com, could benefit from a Bush clamp down on old,
dirty utilities. Both the billionaire and the Governor say there's no
connection, but campaign watchdogs say it looks like big money politics as
Scott Harshbarger, President of Common Cause:
"The message it sends is that you cannot participate in our democracy
if you can't pay."
Karen Hughes, Bush
Communications Director, got a chance to make a point: "Almost
200,000 individual Americans cared enough about electing Gov. Bush the
next President to send in checks of $5 or $10 or $20 or $50 or $500, an
average of $300, to help elect him. And that's a sign of great grassroots
support across the country."
Whitaker concluded by countering: "Still, it's
the most money-soaked campaign ever, and if, as Bush insists, the money
doesn't influence him, he's clearly banking it'll have a big influence on
Talk about leading with innuendo. And reporters
complain about conservatives falsely impugning Clinton without evidence.
If "the money doesn't influence him" then CBS wouldn't have
had a story.
Given how the networks try to equate Gore's
illegal fundraising with Bush's legal fundraising that reporters just
don't like and how, as detailed in many past CyberAlerts, the networks
have largely avoided reporting on developments on the Gore front (Hsia
conviction, LaBella memo), it's no wonder more think Gore did nothing
wrong in 1996 than feel he did do something wrong. Check out this
paragraph from a CBS News poll conducted March 19-21 and posted on the CBS
News Web page:
attacks on Gore for campaign fundraising improprieties in 1996 don't seem
to be having the desired effect. Asked about his 1996 fundraising
activities, 38 percent think Gore did nothing wrong -- 29 percent say he
did, but they are as likely to say it was unethical as illegal."
You can read the full poll results at:
Evening News, it seems, doesn't bother reporting polls it doesn't
like, at least in the New York Senate race. Monday night Dan Rather
announced on the CBS Evening News the results of not a CBS News poll, but
of a survey from another firm:
Clinton's U.S. Senate bid may have gotten a boost from New York Mayor Rudy
Giuliani's handling of the city's latest police shooting incident. The
Zogby polling bureau finds Mrs. Clinton now leads Giuliani by 3 points
after trailing by 7 at the beginning of March. This is if you believe the
polls. The shift, in some analysis, is a reaction to Giuliani's hard-nosed
response to the recent police killing of an unarmed black man, New York's
third such incident in a year."
But when the news wasn't so good for Hillary last
fall, Rather and CBS didn't bother passing along their own CBS News/New
York Times poll results, as the MRC's Tim Graham recalled in forwarding
this excerpt from MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell's column from November
On November 1, The New York Times placed its latest joint poll with CBS
News on the front page, but look what it found to be news. "Poll
Finds Few Undecided," the ho-hum headline read. Voter certainty in
this early stage of the race may be interesting, but was it the poll's
most newsworthy finding?
Check out the poll results submerged down in paragraphs five and ten.
Since the last New York Times-CBS poll in March, Hillary went from a
nine-point lead among likely voters (50 to 41 percent) to a five-point
disadvantage (44 to 49 percent). That's a fourteen-point slide, and if
most voters consider themselves decided on this race, those numbers are
The buried shockers didn't end there, though. In paragraph 21, the
Times revealed that Hillary's approval rating had dropped from 52 percent
to 37, and her disapproval numbers jumped from 22 to 38 percent. In other
words, she's regressed from a 30-point chasm between lovers and haters,
where more than half of the polling sample approved, to where more voters
now disapprove of her than approve. That's not good news, especially
--again -- if the voters are decided on the matter. (Giuliani's favorables
and unfavorables both increased slightly.)
So where were the TV anchors furrowing their brows and wondering out
loud what went wrong? CBS News may have created and paid for the poll, but
they weren't reporting the results, and neither was hardly anyone else.
Dan Rather must have been straining for another hurricane to cover.
stars sure don't like the points made by Peggy Noonan in her new book,
The Case Against Hillary Clinton. Tuesday afternoon Bernard Shaw
interviewed her on CNN's Inside Politics and rebuked her writing, asking
at one point: "Did you write that sentence with the idea of fairness
in mind?" Later he scolded: "This quote. Quote: 'She is too
corrupt for New York. She is too cynical for the place that gave birth to
Tammany Hall.' Now, really, Peggy!" Shaw also asked her in
disbelief: "Are you saying the journalists covering her are patsies?
They're not professional?"
Last Friday Noonan, a former speechwriter for
President Reagan, received a gentler but just as negative reception from
Jane Clayson on CBS's The Early Show. She wanted to know: "Why so
critical of Hillary Clinton?" And wondered: "But what's so wrong
with her ambition? I mean, what is so wrong with her wanting to come and
be a Senator from New York?"
Shaw set up the March 28 live CNN interview by
reporting how"city public advocate Mark Green today asked the state
Supreme Court to investigate Mayor Giuliani's release" of the
criminal record of a man recently shot by police. Shaw then observed:
Giuliani's latest troubles, the New York state GOP has tried to help rally
Republicans behind him by raising questions about Hillary Clinton's
aspirations. On its Web site, the state party uses a mock newspaper
headline to accuse Mrs. Clinton of blind ambition. It goes on to contend
that her true goal is to become president. Author Peggy Noonan makes the
same case in her book, The Case Against Hillary Clinton."
Shaw's first question came with a loaded term:
"I checked Webster's Ninth and it said that polemic is 'an
aggressive attack on or refutation of the opinions or principles of
another.' What do you fear most about Mrs. Clinton?"
"Well, I don't fear her, but I disagree with her on so much. And I
must tell you, when I finally realized that she was going to run in New
York, that it was not a joke and not merely a rumor, I strongly felt that
this was the beginning of something very big in our national life, and
that is the continuance of Clintonism in American history...."
Noonan proceeded to argue that "it does not
seem to me at all to be doubted that in the year 2004, if Mr. Gore does
not win the presidency or 2008 if he does, that Mrs. Clinton as the
Senator from New York will be able -- will really be perfectly positioned
to move on the presidency, which people around her have said in the past
was certainly part of her plan -- they don't say it anymore. They've kind
of dummied up. But in the past in less discreet moments, they have talked
To the idea of presidential candidate Hillary
Rodham, Shaw responded: "If this scenario were to unfold, as you just
ticked it off, would that be a crime?"
it be a crime? Well, I think there are a lot of crimes we ought to be
talking about here actually. I think that the continuance of Clintonism in
American national life is not a good thing at all."
At Shaw's prompting, in the only non-challenging
question of the interview, Noonan defined "Clintonism" as
"missed opportunities because of a lack of seriousness and an almost
compulsive cynicism on the part of the Clintons about what can be attained
in terms of public policy" and "scandal, corruption, the
disheartening sense that anybody who has $50,000 can walk into the White
House, give it to the Clintons, and get waivers on their technology to
sell to China to be used in the China military, which might be used
ultimately against our children only a few years from now."
Shaw went back on the attack, doubting Noonan's
reasoning: "I quote to you these words that you wrote: 'I think
Mrs. Clinton should not be given any more power, because somehow she never
helps anybody with it but herself.'"
I do think that."
Shaw: "Did you
write that sentence with the idea of fairness in mind?"
Noonan reminded Shaw that "I wrote a
polemic" and her goal was to write a book people "opposed to
Hillary could hold in their hands and say, 'this is why I feel as I
do,'" and from which her backers could learn why her opponents
Shaw demanded to know of the book: "Is it
accurate?" He scolded her: "This quote. Quote: 'She is too
corrupt for New York. She is too cynical for the place that gave birth to
Tammany Hall.' Now, really, Peggy!"
"Oh, Bernie, don't you think that's true after eight years of
watching these folks? If you go all the way back to Travelgate, which was
really an astonishing and painful event in which seven guys who worked in
the White House who you probably know well for decades were
unceremoniously removed from their offices, had the IRS and the FBI sicced
on them, were smeared in the press, were abused -- and the answer, as
always, was, we had nothing to do with it."
Shaw then castigated her for daring to criticize
reporting on Hillary: "I've got to ask you about this, because it
really riles me. Quote: 'Few in the elite media, the networks and big
stations and national magazines and big newspapers will press Mrs. Clinton
on the allegations of scandal that have marked her time in the White
House' -- unquote."
Noonan: "Oh, I
think that is so true."
An astonished Shaw,
becoming angry: "Are you saying the journalists covering her are
patsies? They're not professional?"
voice rising: "Is that what you're really saying?"
I'll tell you, Bernie, I didn't say patsy. I don't call names. There are
reasons for that. But let me tell you-"
but you imply-"
me tell you-"
Shaw: "But you
imply that everybody covering this woman, who is a candidate for the
United States Senate from New York, is a lackey."
know what I am saying-"
should think some men and women in the press corps would take umbrage to
Noonan: "I am
saying, well, you know, they haven't yet. Perhaps they will. Let me tell
you what I'm saying: Mrs. Clinton comes into my great state and my great
city surrounded with a Secret Service cordon that is 12-feet wide.
Reporters cannot get to her. They
cannot interview her, as you well know. She will not do a live interview
probably on your show unless she knows the stuff in advance and she knows
that you're very friendly. This is a very controlled environment, a very
unusual one. If you want to ask any other politician a question, you can
more or less get it to them. But with Mrs. Clinton you know that that is
not so. That is only the first
structural problem. After that I think there are problems of
With that, Shaw ended the interview, though despite
his distaste for Noonan's viewpoints he gave the book another plug:
"This has been very interesting. Just a few seconds to tell our
viewers, the book is The Case Against Hillary Clinton, author Peggy
Next, CNN balanced Noonan with.....a working
mainstream journalist: "Now for another perspective on Mrs. Clinton,
we're joined now by Jodie Allen of U.S. News & World Report. You sat
there. You heard. You saw. I couldn't see your facial expressions, but
what do you think?"
"I think that the author is a brilliant writer, is well-advised to
acknowledge upfront that this is a polemic. This is a screed. It's an
impassioned pitch to people who already share her viewpoint. And she
acknowledges that, that she's not likely to change many minds with this
book that really isn't a book. It's 181 pages of emotional outpouring, and
only as clever a writer as Peggy Noonan could have gotten away with it at
++ See Shaw's heated exchange with Noonan. By noon
ET Wednesday MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip from
Tuesday's Inside Politics. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Last Friday, March 24,
CBS's Jane Clayson wasn't as hostile as Shaw but she still hit Noonan
mostly with challenging questions and suggested Noonan is just a
Republican partisan out to do some "Democrat bashing." Here are
all of her inquiries:
-- "You are really tough on the First Lady in
this book. Why so critical of Hillary Clinton?"
-- "But what's
so wrong with her ambition? I mean, what is so wrong with her wanting to
come and be a Senator from New York?"
-- "In fact,
in your book you say that this is just the beginning. You predict she'll
run for president in 2004, 2008 if she doesn't win in 2004."
-- Clayson: "You portray her as manipulative,
deceptive, disingenuous, and there are several fictional passages in your
book where you portray her -- one where she hangs up on her husband after
he calls to wish her well after winning the Senate seat."
Yeah. That's the whole beginning of the book."
book is so well researched in so many ways, why delve into that -- into
that arena, into that area, into fiction?"
-- "You are a former Reagan speechwriter and
many would say you are very biased. You are a Republican partisan. Is
this, was this considered to be a Democrat bashing? Is that, is that all
this book is?"
The Early Show Web site features a short excerpt
from Noonan's book in which she offers an insightful take on Clintonism
and cable news shows:
learned to absorb the Clintons and their many shocks; they have taught us
to absorb the brazen, to factor it in and in time discount it. And I
suspect they are fully aware of this, that they have learned a number of
things in their life in politics, but one of the biggest is this: They can
do anything. They are used to the tumbling rhythms of public acceptance:
the gasps of shock, followed by the edgy discussion on Hardball followed
by the earnest discussion on Wolf Blitzer followed by the enthusiastic
discussion on Geraldo."
You can read the book
excerpt by going to:
Yes, Geraldo is always enthusiastic about anything
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