"Mockery" of McCain's Reforms; Old Women Not Raped; President Helps Prostitute
1) The CNN and FNC political shows
picked up on how last year Gore favored putting Social Security money into the
stock market, but the broadcast networks skipped the contradiction. Dan Rather
trumpeted how 87 percent give Clinton credit for the good economy.
2) Dan Rather lamented "a
campaign finance law loophole that makes a mockery of reforms advocated by the
McCain campaign." Eric Engberg complained the post-Watergate
"regulatory structure is now near collapse, thanks to clever exploitation
3) Bush's lead over Gore in a
poll prompted Dan Rather to caution that "polls this early in campaigns
raise a lot of questions about reliability," but CBS offered no such
admonition in 1996 about a poll showing Bill Clinton ahead of Bob Dole.
4) FNC's Brit Hume noticed the
New York Times finally reported Million Mom March organizer Donna Dees-Thomases
is a CBS flak and "sister-in-law of Hillary Clinton intimate...Susan
Thomases," but didn't mention her "contributions to Hillary's
5) Post-menopausal women don't
get raped, insisted Bonnie Erbe on PBS's To the Contrary. She told National
Review: "Women buying guns for their self protection have gone completely
6) NBC's drama, The West Wing,
took a bizarre twist into very tolerant social liberalism with "President
Bartlet" promising to help a prostitute gain admittance to the bar. Yet
in the same episode he fired an ambassador for having an affair.
7) Letterman's "Top Ten
Ways NBC is Planning on Cutting Back."
>>> Now online,
the May 15 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of
the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Among
the quote headings: "Play Time or Re-education Time?"; "World
Yearns for Rule of Reno"; "Future and Current Journalists Embrace
Ignorance and Apathy"; "Another Gumbel Gorbasm"; "Reno
Should Have Acted Sooner"; "Clift: Better Off in Havana,
Really"; "Lashing Dr. Laura"; "Jesse Helms = Fidel
Castro" and "Socialist-Capitalist Ideal in Cuba." Go to:
Bush campaign found video of Al Gore backing the idea of Social Security
money going into the stock market, showing Gore had once trumpeted how
"returns on equities" beat government financial instruments.
CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume both
reported the contradiction with Gore's Monday denouncement of Bush's
private investment proposal, as well as Al Gore's counter-point that a
Bush adviser urged people to take their money out of the stock market, but
the broadcast network evening shows skipped the disclosures as did CNN's
prime time hour of news, The World Today.
ABC, CBS and NBC all led
Tuesday with the Federal Reserve's decision to raise its lending rate by
half a point and only CBS featured a campaign story, one tied to Fed
Chairman's Alan Greenspan's decision. CBS anchor Dan Rather introduced
a story, on how the fortunes of the presidential candidates are tied to
Greenspan, by announcing that a CBS poll found that 87 percent give credit
the Clinton administration for the booming economy. John Roberts suggested
that if he economy tanks, "Gore could use it as ammunition to paint
George Bush's proposals to privatize Social Security and cut taxes as
On the Gore
contradiction front, CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special Report
with Brit Hume played this soundbite from Gore at a January 27, 1999 White
House conference on Social Security: "During this whole national
discussion, one of the single most important salient facts that jumped out
at everybody, is that over any ten year period in American history,
returns on equities are just significantly higher than these other
FNC's Jim Angle
relayed how Gore now says he learned from former Treasury Secretary Robert
Rubin that there have been "quite a number of periods" longer
than ten years in which equities did not outperform government securities.
FNC and CNN also noted
how Gore played "gotcha" with a tape of Bush economic adviser
Lawrence Lindsey. But only CNN actually played a clip from CNN's
Moneyline in December, during which Lindsey said he feared a downturn and
urged people to pull their money out of the stock market.
Dan Rather linked the
Fed's interest rate hike to the campaign, announcing on the May 16 CBS
"The record U.S. economic expansion is now in its
110th month, and in a CBS News/New York Times poll, most Americans -- 87
percent -- say the Clinton administration deserves some of the credit. Of
course, credit could quickly change to blame if the economy gives even a
hint of beginning to go south."
The on-screen graphic
did not include the word "some." It read: "Credit Clinton
administration for the economy? Yes: 87 percent; No: 9 percent."
Given the numbers I'd assume the question did include the qualifier
John Roberts began the
subsequent piece: "Gore's political future could well rest on
whether Greenspan slows economic growth or stalls it." Roberts talked
to Ross Baker of Rutgers, who argued Bush wants downturn, before Roberts
reviewed Greenspan's history. In the New Yorker recently, Roberts
pointed out, Gerald Ford blamed Greenspan, who was with the Council of
Economic Advisers in the mid-70s, for hurting his campaign by refusing to
support a tax cut. President Bush, Roberts recalled, blamed Greenspan for
not lowering interest rates enough.
Roberts concluded by
helpfully suggesting: "If the economy does slow down Gore could use
it as ammunition to paint George Bush's proposals to privatize Social
Security and cut taxes as too risky. And because his proposals rely in
part on a robust economy Bush must walk a fine line between planting seeds
of doubt in the economy and prophecizing doom."
a "campaign finance law loophole that makes a mockery of reforms
advocated by the McCain campaign," bemoaned CBS anchor Dan Rather.
Apparently spurred by a Monday Washington Post story headlined,
"Flood of Secret Money Erodes Election Limits," Tuesday's CBS
Evening News looked at the same subject: The rise of section 527 political
groups which can produce issue ads but don't have to disclose their
Instead of portraying
them as the natural outgrowth of an outdated regulatory scheme that never
indexed contribution limits for inflation, thus leaving campaigns short of
adequate funding, CBS's Eric Engberg focused on a Republican-linked
group as he complained about the return of "secret funds" to
politics "thanks to clever exploitation of loopholes by political
Rather set up
Engberg's piece: "Tonight CBS is reporting to you in depth on a
campaign finance law loophole that makes a mockery of reforms advocated by
the McCain campaign, let alone laws passed in the wake of the Nixon
Watergate crimes. CBS's Eric Engberg reports tonight from the Watergate
for this 'Follow The Dollar' investigation."
Standing across the
street from the Watergate complex on Virginia Ave. NW, Engberg began, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"It was here at the Watergate building 28 years
ago where the country learned just how dangerous secret money in politics
had gotten. Much of the dirty business discovered in Watergate had been
financed by secret funds, and the public demanded a cleanup. The key was
creation of a Federal Election Commission, set up by Congress to prevent
the kind of abuses uncovered by Watergate. The commission would enforce
laws limiting the size of contributions and requiring the names of givers
be made public. The rules also covered non-party groups working for or
against a candidate. That regulatory structure is now near collapse,
thanks to clever exploitation of loopholes by political operators. The
Republican Majority Issues Committee has been in business a few months. It
plans to pump $25 million into close House races to keep the GOP majority.
In charge, Karl Gallant, longtime aide to Congressman Tom DeLay. DeLay
will help raise that money."
Karl Gallant: "We're going to identify, educate
conservative voters and motivate them to turn out."
Engberg: "Gallant is operating under section 527
of the tax code. The IRS has in recent years given such groups wide
political leeway. They can organize, buy advertising, denounce or praise a
candidate. They don't even have to register with the Federal Election
Commission. Contributors can give without limit and in secret. It's all
legal as long as the group doesn't coordinate its actions with candidates
Engberg to Gallant: "Do you really expect people
to believe that you're not gonna be coordinating any of this with Tom
Gallant: "I will not be coordinating my activities
with Tom DeLay."
Engberg then gave a few seconds to a liberal group:
"And it's not just the conservatives who are going secret. The Sierra
Club is using a 527 group to slam Republicans."
Carl Pope of the Sierra Club: "We've got some
donors who want privacy, and as long as everybody else's donors have
privacy, we're gonna give it to them. But we actually think it should all
Engberg concluded, ruefully: "Tomorrow Senator
Joseph Lieberman will begin a drive to get Congress to close the 527
loophole. Its chances are considered slim. The fact is that many
politicians like doing campaign fundraising pre-Watergate style."
How awful to desire
freedom from archaic regulations that hinder campaigns and free speech.
lead over Gore in a poll prompted Dan Rather to caution that "polls
this early in campaigns raise a lot of questions about reliability,"
but CBS offered no such admonition in 1996 about a poll showing Bill
Clinton ahead of Bob Dole.
As recounted in the May
16 CyberAlert, on the May 15 CBS Evening News Dan Rather announced:
"A CBS News/New York Times poll came out tonight suggesting Bush's
lead over Al Gore may have grown since April. Polls this early in
campaigns raise a lot of questions about reliability, but our poll does
indicate a possible shift in Bush's favor among white male voters, a
block that usually helps Republicans."
Rich Noyes, Director of
the MRC's Free Market Project, did a little investigation and found a
contrast, in CBS's trust in polls, from almost exactly four years
earlier. The May 16, 1996 CBS Evening News aired a piece by Phil Jones on
Bob Dole's first day of campaigning after he resigned from the Senate.
Jones concluded by relaying, without any admonitory notes, the downbeat
poll news for Dole:
"According to a new CBS News poll, 60 percent of
those interviewed agreed with Dole's decision to resign from the Senate
and spend full time campaigning for President. It's going to take full
time. Among registered voters in the poll, Dole trails President Clinton
by 15 points."
Brit Hume ever loses his FNC job he can become a media analyst for the MRC
-- for a lot less pay. On Monday's Special Report with Brit Hume he
picked up on some media bias:
"The New York Times
has finally noted that Donna Dees-Thomases, the supposedly average mom who
organized the Million Mom March, is a public relations specialist for CBS
and sister-in-law of Hillary Clinton intimate and political adviser, Susan
Thomases. No mention in the Times or the Washington Post though of Mrs.
Thomases's contributions to Hillary's Senate campaign and her previous
work on Capitol Hill for two Democratic Senators."
Indeed, in the May 15
New York Times story on the march, reporter Robin Toner passed along:
"The Million Mom March was the brainchild of Donna
Rees-Thomases, a part-time publicist for CBS, the sister-in-law of Susan
Thomases, a close friend of Hillary Clinton, and a New Jersey mother who
said her maternal instincts kicked in after the shooting last August at a
Jewish community center in Los Angeles."
Last Thursday, May 11,
Hume filled in Thomases's resume: "More information you haven't
heard from the rest of the media on Donna Dees-Thomases, organizer of that
women's march for gun control here this weekend. NBC News says she's
quote, 'a mother who's never been politically active,' but, in fact,
she once worked for retired Louisiana Democratic Senators Russell Long and
Bennett Johnston. And the Media Research Center says she's been giving
to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign since last year."
For more about Dees-Thomases's
background, as documented in the May 11 CyberAlert, go to:
And, for Thomases's
claims of political naivete, go to the May 12 Media Reality Check:
the PBS public-affairs show To the Contrary over the weekend, host Bonnie
Erbe told panelist Linda Chavez that a woman of her age doesn't need to
worry about being raped." So National Review's John J. Miller and
Ramesh Ponnuru revealed in their Washington Bulletin e-mail on Monday.
To the Contrary bills
itself as "a discussion of issues from a variety of women's
perspectives," though Erbe's comment is one sure to have had
generated condemnation on the show if uttered by a man. Her comment came
at the very end of a discussion about gun control and the Million Mom
March with the conservative Linda Chavez, a Virginia resident who
disclosed that a month ago she bought a gun at a gun show.
Here's the transcript
of the relevant portion of the show as provided by National Review, with
some slight corrections and added words I got off the MRC's taped copy
of the program:
Linda Chavez, Center for
Equal Opportunity: "If you're someone like me, who lives out in a
rural area -- if someone breaks into my house and wants to murder or rape
me or steal all of my property, it'll take half an hour for a policeman to
get to me."
DC Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton jumped and a brief
back and forth ensued about how Chavez has dogs who will alert her to an
Chavez continued: "Thousands of lives are saved by
people being able to protect themselves."
Norton: "And there are more suicides and more
accidents because there was a gun in the home than they'll ever be lives
saved because somebody happened to get the jump on a burglar."
Bonnie Erbe: "And if you look at the statistics, I
would bet that you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning,
Linda, than living where you live, and at your age, being raped.
Before anyone could
react, Erbe moved the discussion to a new topic: The New York Senate race.
NR's Miller and
Ponnuru learned that Erbe stands by her assessment of rape risk and thinks
women who buy guns are "bonkers." They reported in their May 15
"Contacted on Monday, Erbe refused to back down.
'A woman living in a rural area and at a post-menopausal age
statistically is not likely to be a rape target,' she said. 'Women
buying guns for their self protection have gone completely bonkers.'
Asked if she knew Chavez's age, Erbe replied, 'Somewhere over 55 and
somewhere under 60.' Chavez is 52. Cari W. Stein, the executive producer
of To the Contrary, said, 'Bonnie certainly is not insensitive to sexual
assault. Her commitment to women's issues should be apparent from the
Erbe, now a columnist
for Scripps-Howard, is the former legal affairs correspondent for the
Mutual/NBC Radio Network. While still in that job, she took this stab at
conservatives on the August 16, 1996 To the Contrary, just after the
"TV viewers saw a well-orchestrated image of a
moderated Republican Party, portraying itself as pro-woman,
pro-minorities, and pro-tolerance. This is in sharp contrast to the
delegates on the floor, sixty percent of whom self-identified as
In a June 1997 column,
she complained: "What liberals can't understand is why can't
Republicans be honest about their discomfort with the advancement of women
and minorities...The ideological pulse of the party, the Conservative
Action Team, is backing its own candidate for the Republican
Conference's vice chair. And nary a woman was ever in the running. The
message from the crowd is clear: only anti-abortion, right-wing males need
And remember, it was on
Erbe's To the Contrary that a panelist wished Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas would die. On the November 4, 1994 edition, then-USA Today
columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux, spewed:
"The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of
eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart
disease. Well, that's how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible
To see a clip of
Malveaux's wish, via RealPlayer, go to:
For more about To the
Contrary, which is produced by Maryland Public Television, go to:
Washington area viewers
with a lot of free time can watch the show four times each weekend:
Saturdays at 12pm on WETA-TV; Sundays at 10:30am on WMPT-TV; and Fridays
at 7:30pm and Sundays at 5:30pm on WHUT-TV.
+++ Watch Erbe make her
comment on To the Contrary about how older women have more to fear from
lightning than rape. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a
RealPlayer clip in the posted version of this CyberAlert item. After 11am
ET, go to:
journey left of NBC's drama, The West Wing, took a bizarre twist into
very tolerant social liberalism last Wednesday night with "President
Bartlet," played by Martin Sheen, offering to order the Attorney
General to help a prostitute, who just earned a law degree, gain
admittance to the bar.
photographed by a newspaper with one of his aides, instead of angrily
rebuking the aide, Bartlet stands by him and tells him to apologize to her
for the White House for the intrusion on her life and suggests she sue the
newspaper for invading her privacy. The scene ends with this serious
comment from Bartlet: "It's nice when we can do something for
prostitutes once in a while, isn't it?"
Here's the background:
At the beginning of the season "Deputy Communications Director Sam
Seaborn," the George Stephanopoulos character played by Rob Lowe,
"inadvertently" goes on a date with a woman, "Laurie,"
he learns is a prostitute. He continued to date her, providing subplots
all season long about him trying to keep her profession secret.
Fast forward to the May
10 episode of the 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT/MT series: An evil staffer for a
Republican Senator opposed to campaign finance reform has learned of the
relationship. Fearful of blackmail, "Communications Director Toby
Ziegler" bars Seaborn from attending Laurie's graduation from The
George Washington University Law School. (As a GWU undergrad alum myself
this was a proud moment.)
waitress friend arranges for Sam and Laurie to meet afterward at her home.
Talking to Laurie on the sidewalk outside the waitress's very swank
Georgetown-like home, Sam gives Laurie his gift, a briefcase. As they
embrace, photos are taken and a car speeds off.
The White House
Press Secretary learns the waitress friend set up Laurie for $50,000 and
the "London Daily Mirror" is about the publish the photo. This
leads Toby and Sam to come clean with the President in this scene,
transcribed by MRC intern Michael Ferguson, which starts as all three walk
into the Oval Office from outside:
President Josiah Bartlet:
"You never paid this girl to have sex?"
Sam: "No sir."
Toby: "They didn't have that kind of a
relationship, sir. Except once, and that time he didn't know what was
Bartlet: "Well, that makes two of us."
Toby: "Mr. President, Sam has always been
completely above board about his relationship with Laurie, he-"
Bartlet: "Laurie's the girl?"
Sam: "Yes sir."
Toby: "He told us about it right after his first
contact with her nine months ago. The fact that she was putting herself
through law school under circumstances that were less than good has to
mean something, as does the fact that Sam's word is unimpeachable."
Bartlet: "Toby, are you in here sticking up for
Toby: "I know, it's strange, sir. But I'm
feeling a certain big brotherly connection right now. You know, obviously
I'd like that feeling to go away as soon as possible. But for the moment
I think there's no danger in the White House standing by Sam and
aggressively going after the people who set him up."
Bartlet: "Sam, you're going to spend the morning
in the White House counsel's office finding out if you broke any
Sam: "Yes sir."
Bartlet: "You should also call the girl. What's
Sam and Toby simultaneously: "Laurie."
Bartlet: "You should call her and tell her the
White House deeply regrets the phenomenal inconvenience she's about to
Sam: "Yes sir."
Bartlet: "You might also want to point out to her
that she probably has a cause of action against the paper."
Sam: "Yes sir."
Bartlet: "You should tell her that if she passes
her bar exam, the U.S. Attorney General will personally see to it that
she's admitted to the bar."
Sam: "Yes sir."
Bartlet: "Tell her the President of the United
States says congratulations on getting her degree."
Sam: "Yes sir."
Bartlet: "That's all."
Sam: "Thank you, Mr. President."
Bartlet to Toby: "It's nice when we can do
something for prostitutes once in a while, isn't it?"
Toby: "Yes sir."
+++ View this scene via
RealPlayer. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post it on the
MRC home page. After 11am ET go to http://www.mrc.org
or directly to:
The May 10 episode also
continued President Bartlet's quest for a ban on soft money, a pursuit
which led him, in the same episode in which he excused prostitution, to
fire an ambassador for having an affair. In order to get enough votes on
the FEC for a ban on soft money, Bartlet names an uncooperative current
commissioner as the new ambassador to Micronesia. To make that an open
spot he bumps the current ambassador to the island nation up to ambassador
to Paraguay. And the present envoy to Paraguay gets bumped up to Bulgaria,
a slot Bartlet opens by firing the current ambassador because he's
having an affair with the daughter of the Prime Minister.
So, having an affair is
condemned. But carrying on a relationship with a prostitute is not and the
prostitute is treated as a struggling victim who must be helped.
I guess The West Wing
really is inspired by the Clinton White House -- half the time.
Tonight's (May 17)
episode is the season finale. For those in the Washington area who read
about the cast filming in Rosslyn a few weeks ago some sort of an attack
on a motorcade, this is the episode which will use that footage. I'm
betting on an attack on Bartlet's college-age daughter by white
supremacists upset by her dating a black guy.
For a rundown on the May
3 episode and links to previous CyberAlert items on The West Wing, go to:
I would guess, by NBC's decision to cough up $750,000 per episode for
the six stars of Friends, from the May 15 Late Show with David Letterman:
The "Top Ten Ways NBC is Planning on Cutting Back." Copyright
2000 by World Wide Pants, Inc.
10. Stop paying for entire news division --
let Tom Brokaw make stuff up
9. "Law and Order" -- same amount of Law, 30% less Order
8. Instead of videotape, Olympic coverage all Polaroids
7. Al Roker must downgrade from Doppler 4000 to Doppler 3950
6. Only sending Jerry Seinfeld 5 BMWs a day begging him to come back
5. Instead of real bodies, "E.R." doctors huddle over board game
4. Goodbye NBA -- hello live coverage of old chicks playing Canasta
3. New game show: "Who Wants To Watch ABC's 'Who Wants To Be A
2. "Dateline" now only on 43 times a week
1. From now on, NBC equals Nothing But Commercials
And from the Late Show
Web page, some of the "also rans" that didn't make the final
cut because Letterman's writers produce "more brilliant jokes than
can fit in a Top Ten List."
-- All "Where In the World Is Matt
Lauer?" destinations must be within reach of the studio camera cable
-- In "The West Wing," highly-paid actor portraying the
President will be replaced by Gerald Ford
-- Tom Brokaw's back-breaking hour-a-day work schedule reduced
-- In addition to the "Nightly News," Tom Brokaw must now play
"Phoebe" on "Friends"
-- Once a week, "NBC Nightly News" will be a rerun
From comedy to a related
reality: NBC actually plans to re-run NBC Nightly News later each
weeknight on Pax-TV. -- Brent Baker
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