Democrats Always Wanted Disbarment; Hillary Not Liberal; NBC's No Elian Photo Policy
1) The networks jumped on the
Clinton disbarment case. ABC's Jackie Judd ignored the role of a federal
judge and credited only a "conservative" legal group. CBS's Bob
Schieffer: "The irony here is that disbarment is a punishment that many
Democrats favored" while the GOP "demanded impeachment or nothing
and got nothing."
2) Those opposed to Hillary are
"hard-right conservatives" who hate her, but you can't accurately
paint Hillary as a liberal. That's the mainstream media line on the New York
Senate campaign as reflected by Newsweek's Howard Fineman and NPR's Mara
3) NBC on Saturday took 18 seconds
to note how the State Department complained about Elian wearing the outfit of
Cuba's communist youth group, but Today refused to show the photo.
4) At a Capitol Hill briefing this
afternoon, MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell will release a new MRC Special Report,
"Back to the 'Peaceable' Paradise: Media Soldiers for the Seizure of
5) Latest MediaNomics:
"Networks Give One-Sided View of Social Security Debate"; "Ford
Fuels Good Press By Bad-Mouthing Own SUVs"; "Odds Are, Roller
Coaster Regulations Demanded by Dateline NBC Won't Help Anyone but
6) Letterman's "Top Ten
Features of the NRA Restaurant."
>>> MRC Web site recommended by U.S. News & World Report. The
"News You Can Use Page" in the May 29 issue lists six Web pages
under the heading of "get a window on the press with these sites that
keep an eye on the fourth estate." James Morrow of U.S. News summarized
the appeal of www.mediaresearch.org:
"The best feature of this site, devoted to exposing liberal bias, is
'Notable Quotables,' a compilation of slanted news snippets." To see
the entire list, go to:
as has happened with many other Clinton scandal developments, the networks
Monday night jumped on the news that an Arkansas panel had recommended
that President Clinton be disbarred. The news, which broke just before 5pm
ET on Monday, led the ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC evening shows. NBC, which by
coincidence, already had a live interview with Bill Clinton about the
China trade deal set for its first feed at 6:30pm ET, did not run a story
(at least in east coast edition), but Tom Brokaw did ask Clinton about the
development late in the interview.
The case was prompted by
two complaints, one from federal judge Susan Webber Wright and another
from the Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF). ABC's Jackie Judd ignored
Wright, asserting "the committee acted on a complaint filed by a
conservative group called the Southeastern Legal Foundation." CBS's
John Roberts did not mention SLF and instead recounted how Wright had
found Clinton in contempt last year. CNN's John King noted the role of
both SLF and Wright.
Dan Rather insisted
"this disbarment has long been sought by Republicans," but a few
minutes later Bob Schieffer claimed Republicans had opposed a
recommendation of disbarment and had thus missed a great opportunity:
"The irony here is that disbarment is a punishment that many
Democrats favored during the impeachment proceedings....but the Republican
leadership badly miscalculated what was happening. They saw it as a
Democratic plot to save the President from impeachment, demanded
impeachment or nothing and got nothing." Actually, they did get
Here's a rundown of
the Monday night, May 22 stories, on ABC, CBS, and NBC:
-- ABC's World News
Tonight. Jackie Judd began: "The committee took the harshest action
possible against the President. It accused him of serious misconduct by
violating rules governing lawyers in Arkansas where Mr. Clinton still has
a license to practice. The committee acted on a complaint filed by a
conservative group called the Southeastern Legal Foundation. It had
accused Mr. Clinton of lying under oath about his relationship with Monica
Lewinsky when he was deposed in the Paula Jones lawsuit and again when he
was questioned by independent counsel Kenneth Starr."
After a soundbite from
Matt Glavin of the Southeastern Legal Foundation and a quote from Clinton
lawyer David Kendall, Judd elaborated on the Clinton comeback: "A
senior White House official seemed to be laying the groundwork for the
defense when he questioned the neutrality of the committee. The official
said those members who knew the President did not vote, suggesting those
who did vote may have been biased against Mr. Clinton."
She concluded: "Now, no one expects the President
to hang out a shingle after he leaves office, so if he does lose his law
license it would not have much practical effect, but Peter, it would be a
further embarrassment to him and part of the legacy of the Lewinsky
-- CBS Evening News. Dan
Rather opened the show: "A committee of the Arkansas Supreme Court
today recommended that President Clinton's law license be taken away
because he allegedly gave false testimony about his relationship with
Monica Lewinsky. This disbarment has long been sought by Republicans and
some other Clinton critics. The process has several steps to go. The
President's lawyer made it clear tonight it will be challenged. This is
a historic case, it's also complicated."
From the White House,
John Roberts explained: "It was at a meeting last Friday that the
Arkansas Supreme Court committee on professional conduct took up a
complaint against the President. After weighing the facts, a panel of five
attorneys and one retired school teacher found the President to be guilty
of serious misconduct and recommended that he be disbarred."
Roberts recounted how the complaint revolved around
Clinton's denial, at both the Jones deposition and to the Starr grand
jury, of a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Roberts added:
"The President had argued that his statements were not false as he
understood the meaning of 'sexual relationship,' but Arkansas judge
Susan Webber Wright, who oversaw the Jones deposition, disagreed and last
year found Mr. Clinton to be in contempt of court for 'giving false,
misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial
After noting how David
Kendall claimed the recommendation is "contradicted by
precedent," Roberts concluded: "Just before it met, eight of the
committee's 14 members felt pressured to recuse themselves from the case
because of ties they had to the Democratic Party. That leaves the question
of just who was left to hear the President's case."
Well, according to
Roberts himself earlier in the story, it was "a panel of five
attorneys and one retired school teacher."
Next, Bob Schieffer
delivered "The Real Deal" segment of the day. He offered some
creative re-writing of history:
"The irony here is that disbarment is a punishment
that many Democrats favored during the impeachment proceedings. It never
got much publicity, but there was a sizable group, many of them Democrats,
some Republicans, in both the House and the Senate, who thought the
President shouldn't be impeached but ought to be censured or punished in
some way. They probably could have gotten enough votes to recommend that
he be disbarred, but the Republican leadership badly miscalculated what
was happening. They saw it as a Democratic plot to save the President from
impeachment, demanded impeachment or nothing and got nothing. I don't
suppose anyone ever really expected the President to practice law once he
leaves office, but if he is disbarred it will be one of the most
embarrassing blows ever dealt a sitting President. Just one more thing for
him to explain and in one way or another expect this to work its way into
his wife's campaign for the Senate."
Where to begin. "It
never got much publicity" that "a sizable group...in both the
House and the Senate" thought Clinton shouldn't be impeached
"but ought to be censured or punished in some way"? That's all
we heard about on TV news for a year! Geraldo Rivera built his CNBC show
around the idea and MSNBC its entire prime time schedule. Remember Keith
Olbermann? As for Clinton not being impeached, he was impeached. He just
wasn't convicted, which hardly proves miscalculation by Republican
leaders since if the proper sanction in Schieffer's mind is disbarment,
that may happen anyway despite what occurred on the impeachment/conviction
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom
Brokaw mentioned the Arkansas action at the top of the program, but then
went to an interview set-up piece by Lisa Myers about China trade. Brokaw
then interviewed Clinton, who was in the Roosevelt Room, via satellite.
After three questions on China trade and one about whether Rick Lazio is a
"worthy" opponent for his wife, he summarized the Arkansas
decision and inquired: "Will you personally take part in that appeal
and appear in Arkansas to argue your case?"
"No," Clinton replied in saying he will keep
his focus on his presidential duties and maintaining that if he were
treated like others, there would be no case.
Brokaw followed up with
a tough question: "This comes in a state where you were the Attorney
General, where you taught law. You've now been held in contempt of court
by a federal judge in that state and you've been recommended for
disbarment. With all due respect, this is a stain on your record well
outside the political arena, isn't it?"
Not sure the use of the
term "stain" is best in this story.
opposed to Hillary are "hard-right conservatives" who hate her,
but you can't accurately paint Hillary as a liberal. That's the
mainstream media line on the New York Senate campaign as reflected by
Newsweek's Howard Fineman and NPR's Mara Liasson in separate
interviews on Monday.
On Imus in the Morning
simulcast on MSNBC, Fineman, MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, used some
loaded labeling to describe from whom Rick Lazio will obtain funding:
"Lazio will be able to raise a ton of money
because Hillary is just so hated by all the hard-right conservatives all
around the country. They will all open up their wallets for him in a
Later in the day on
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, NPR White House correspondent Mara
Liasson argued it would be inaccurate to tag Hillary a Ted Kennedy
liberal. After Morton Kondracke declared of Lazio, "this guy's a
moderate," she chimed in: "I think it's equally hard to make
the argument that he's making that Mrs. Clinton is Ted Kennedy
reincarnated or Paul Wellstone reincarnated. Now granted she doesn't
have a voting record."
Brit Hume suggested: "I think that might be an
easier case to make, though."
Liasson argued: "It might easier because she
doesn't have a voting record, but look, she supports the death penalty,
she supports welfare reform. The fact is, if you talk to liberals, they
think the White House has sold out every liberal interest there is."
Does anyone really
believe she's really in favor of welfare reform? And the fact that the
White House didn't always hold the liberal line does not mean she
didn't advocate it.
story, but not the picture. NBC refused to show the photo of Elian in the
outfit of the Pioneers, Cuba's communist youth group. The May 22
CyberAlert reported: "The State Department lodged a protest and a
Democratic Congressman sent Bill Clinton a letter complaining about how
Elian is being indoctrinated at the Wye River Plantation, but of the
networks, only FNC cared Friday night."
But Saturday morning,
MRC analyst Paul Smith observed, NBC did take notice of State's
complaint, though NBC left out an important element of the story. During
the 7:30am news update on the May 20 Today, news reader Hoda Kotbe took 18
seconds to recount:
"Elian Gonzalez is at the center of a new storm of
controversy today because of some new photographs. In the pictures, he is
wearing a uniform worn by a communist youth group. The State Department
says Cuba is using him for political goals. The pictures were posted on
the Internet earlier this week."
The picture of him
wearing the Jose Marti shirt with a blue scarf was also shown Wednesday
night and Friday night by FNC and Thursday morning on ABC's Good Morning
America, but Today failed to show it. So far, other than the Thursday GMA,
none of the broadcast networks have displayed the photo and I've seen it
on CNN only on Saturday's Capital Gang.
To see the photo, go to:
For RealPlayer video of
FNC's May 19 story on complaints from Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright and Democratic Congressman Robert Menendez, go to:
briefed on Elian coverage. Attention Capitol Hill staffers: Tuesday
afternoon at 2:30pm in Rayburn HOB room 2255, MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell
will provide a briefing for a bipartisan group of lawmakers on media
coverage of the Elian case. The event, coordinated by MRC Communications
Director Liz Swasey, is open to staffers and the news media and was
plugged last week on the House floor by Florida Congresswoman Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen who urged her colleagues to attend.
At the briefing the MRC
will release a Special Report put together by Tim Graham, the MRC's
Director of Media Analysis, titled, "Back to the 'Peaceable'
Paradise: Media Soldiers for the Seizure of Elian."
Tuesday afternoon the
report will be posted on the MRC home page by Webmaster Andy Szul. After
2pm ET, go to: http://www.mrc.org
online from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), the latest edition of
MediaNomics, which relays "what the media tell Americans about free
enterprise." Articles in the May 19 edition, compiled FMP Director
-- Networks Give
One-Sided View of Social Security Debate.
Social Security reform made it to the networks'
nightly news agenda this week, but the stories were most noteworthy for
what they left out. While Texas Governor George W. Bush's plan for
private accounts was deemed "controversial" and was the focus of
almost all of the coverage, Vice President Al Gore's plan to maintain
the status quo through ever-increasing federal taxes was barely mentioned
and never criticized.
-- Ford Fuels Good Press
By Bad-Mouthing Own SUVs.
Environmentalists don't like sport utility vehicles (SUVs).
They say they get terrible gas mileage, are big polluters, and are so huge
that they're a physical danger to drivers of more Earth-friendly (i.e.,
tiny) cars such as the Chevy Metro or the Suzuki Swift. Most media types
were therefore surprised and pleased when the Ford Motor Company, maker of
SUVs, announced it agreed with its critics that SUVs were both dangerous
and dirty. But is it true?
-- Odds Are, Regulations
Demanded by Dateline NBC Won't Help Anyone but Bureaucrats.
According to the National Geographic Society, about 80
people are killed by lightning strikes each year in the United States.
According to NBC's Keith Morrison, in a report he prepared for the May
16 Dateline NBC, far fewer people (six, to be exact) died in amusement
park accidents in 1999. But that makes it the worst year in recent memory
so, says Dateline, it's time to bring on the bureaucrats.
To read these articles,
the May 22 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by the NRA's
announcement that it plans to open a themed restaurant in New York
City's Times Square, the "Top Ten Features of the NRA
Restaurant." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Freshest meat in town because they
shoot it right before your eyes.
9. Bulletproof lobster bibs.
8. Mandatory seven_day waiting period between ordering dinner and dessert.
7. Tip over 20 percent, get complimentary frisking by waitress.
6. Monday night is Ladies Night, and by ladies we man "guys too sissy
to carry loaded weapons."
5. All waiters named "Smith" or "Wesson."
4. Eric Clapton guitar they stole at gunpoint from Hard Rock Café.
3. Movie memorabilia from such stars as Charlton Heston...and Charlton
2. If cook screws up your order, put a cap in his ass!
1. Bar sells both kinds of Colt .45.
New York City is
probably not the most NRA-friendly place for a restaurant. -- Brent Baker
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