Bush: "Pawn of the Oil Industry"; NBC Caught Up on Gore Gaffes; Pro-Gore Media Bias Admitted; Geraldo Demands Apology
-- Extra Edition
1) ABC's Terry Moran decided
Gore welcomes the debate over tapping the strategic oil reserve if only
"to point out" that Bush and Cheney "hail from the oil
industry." But Gore's plan was mostly derided Thursday night as
political and ineffective. Two CBS reporters couldn't agree whether the move
would reduce oil prices.
2) NBC Nightly News caught up with two Gore gaffes the show
had ignored when initially revealed. Claire Shipman cited the "blowup on
the issue of health care" over his made up story about drug costs as well
as his claim to have sung as a child a union jingle not created until 1975.
3) Media bias for Al Gore is so obvious that a network anchor
admitted it. MSNBC's Brian Williams noted the lack of play for Gore's
"mammogram" fumbling: "Had that happened to Bush the news media
would have used it to further the theme that the Texas Governor has a troubled
relationship with the English language."
4) On GMA, Jeffrey Toobin and Elizabeth Vargas stressed the
taxpayer cost and human toll, especially on Hillary, of the Whitewater probe.
Toobin: "Kenneth Starr made Mrs. Clinton the only First Lady in history
forced to walk the gauntlet and testify before a grand jury."
5) New York Times part of the "vast right-wing
conspiracy"? Geraldo Rivera suggested so Wednesday night in holding the
paper "as guilty" as the House Judiciary Committee. He demanded that
the paper apologize for serving as an outlet for Whitewater charges.
6) Lincoln bedroom sleepovers for donors are no big deal,
former CBS and NBC reporter Giselle Fernandez contended. Besides, Bill Clinton
"only had one kid." She'd prefer a room oozing with sex: "The
Kennedy bedroom -- now that I'd like to at least experience."
Correction: The September 21
CyberAlert noted how "a network used a heart-rendering
anecdote." That should have read "heart-rending."
ABC's Terry Moran began his story, on Al Gore announcing his
recommendation to release some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,
by relaying how Gore is "casting himself as the champion of
beleaguered consumers and Governor Bush as a pawn of the oil
industry," in an unusual event, elsewhere Gore got a tougher media
drilling Thursday night than did George W. Bush.
All the broadcast and cable networks highlighted how
Treasury Secretary Summers opposed the oil release, featured soundbites
from Bush or others denouncing it as a crass political move and, with the
exception of CBS, doubted such a small release as Gore proposed would have
any impact on prices. ABC and NBC also raised the point that the current
crisis shows the Clinton administration's energy policy has failed.
CBS couldn't agree whether tapping the oil reserve
would or would not reduce oil prices. Bob Orr declared: "If the
President gives the go-ahead to open the reserve tap, analysts say oil
prices could quickly drop." But in the very next story CBS reporter
John Roberts cited how former Energy Secretary James Schlesinger
"says compared to the American thirst for oil...Gore's proposal is
but a drop in the bucket."
Here's how the three broadcast network evening
shows on Thursday, September 21, handled Gore's energy proposal:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with Terry Moran
on how Gore was "casting himself as the champion of beleaguered
consumers and Governor Bush as a pawn of the oil industry." Moran
explained how Gore called on Clinton to tap the strategic reserve for
"several" five million barrel releases, proposed his own
policies for a new home heating oil reserve, a tax credit to oil
distributors and $400 million to help the poor pay for heating oil.
Moran showed Gore proclaiming: "I will not go
along with an agenda that is of big oil, by big oil and for big oil."
Moran moved on to Bush's reaction: "But
Governor Bush, campaigning in Cleveland, said the Clinton-Gore
administration helped cause the problem in the first place."
Bush: "Over the
last seven years America has become increasingly dependent on foreign
"Bush blasted Gore's proposal to dip into the strategic
strategic reserve's an insurance policy meant for a sudden disruption of
our energy supply or for war. It should not be used for short-term
Moran outlined how
Bush advocated a tough stance with OPEC, an increase in domestic
refining capacity "and, in his own controversial proposal,
opening up Alaska's wilderness to drilling."
Moran concluded by giving the last word to Gore:
"Now the Gore campaign was quick to point out Governor Bush's
agenda has no short-term effect to help consumers this winter and the
Gore campaign says that they welcome this debate if only to point out
to voters that both Governor Bush and Dick Cheney hail from the oil
Next, John Cochran outlined how the Clinton
decision is a fight between Treasury Secretary Larry Summers who
called an oil release a "dangerous precedent" and Energy
Secretary Bill Richardson who wants to tap the reserves. Cochran then
hit Clinton's record, or lack of one:
of what the President does, critics ask how did we get in this mess?
For much of his presidency energy did not seem to be a major
preoccupation. Although Mr. Clinton did ask Congress to approve
measures to encourage lower fuel consumption, he did not fight hard
for them. For a while the President was lucky. Production was high,
demand was low, oil prices were down to $10 a barrel and gasoline was
less than a dollar a gallon."
-- CBS Evening News. "Petro politics"
announced the on-screen graphic next to anchor Bob Schieffer's head
as the show opened with Bob Orr on how tapping the strategic reserve
"may be the only hope for lower energy prices this winter."
Orr reported how Richardson predicted home
heating oil prices will be up 75 percent this winter from two years
ago and natural gas in the Midwest will also soar, forecast to rise 43
percent from 1998.
Little can be done about natural gas prices, Orr
lamented, by "the President may be able to force down oil prices
by dipping into the nation's strategic petroleum reserve....If the
President gives the go-ahead to open the reserve tap, analysts say oil
prices could quickly drop from this week's ten year high of nearly
$38 a barrel."
energy analyst: "We believe a release of a million barrels a day
for even a month would help bring us quickly down into the upper $20s
for crude oil."
"And that may be the only hope for lower energy prices this
winter. While the United States is pressing OPEC to ramp up oil
production, the oil cartel says it won't even consider it until
But in the very next story Orr's Washington
bureau colleague, John Roberts, offered just the opposite assessment.
Roberts first pointed out Gore's flip-flop: "Eight months ago
Al Gore dismissed the idea. Today, seven weeks to the election, it's
suddenly sound policy." Roberts played clips from Gore and Bush
as well as a soundbite from left-wing Democratic Senator Charles
Schumer who claimed Bush and Cheney have "too much faith in Big
Viewers then heard from James Schlesinger:
"The timing is perhaps driven by electoral considerations."
identified him: "James Schlesinger was Energy Secretary under
Jimmy Carter. He says compared to the American thirst for oil, 20
million barrels each day, Gore's proposal is but a drop in the
suggested: "It's a gesture. It's tokenism. It may have useful
effects, it may not, but it is not much more than a gesture."
Roberts concluded with a upbeat spin for Gore's effort: "Even
Gore's closest advisers don't know if the plan would work or if
now is the right time to do it, but at the very least they say it's
worth a test shot to send a signal to the market that the government
is willing to take action."
-- NBC Nightly News led with the controversy
over Gore's proposal. After Claire Chipman looked at the politics of
Gore's idea (see item #2 below for details), Lisa Myers took on the
policy: "So is dipping into the reserves now a good idea?
Republicans say no."
After a comment
from Senator Frank Murkowski, Myers continued: "Even most of the
President's economic team has opposed it. In a memo last week,
Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summer writes that he and Fed Chairman
Alan Greenspan agree it would be quote, 'a major and substantial
policy mistake,' but today Summers tows the line, says Gore's
limited action, only five million barrels, might be appropriate. But
many experts say Gore's plan would, at best, have a small temporary
impact on prices because this country uses twenty million barrels a
the same energy analyst featured by CBS to support the idea the
release would lower prices, was used by NBC to support the opposite
contention: "Five million barrels would help ease some of the
fears that are in the market that are resulting in prices being pushed
Myers continued to stress the downside:
"Opponents also point to big potential down sides. It could
complicate efforts to get Saudi Arabia to expand production, diminish
the effectiveness of dipping into the reserves in a real emergency.
Even some who support Gore's plan say the administration is partly
responsible for the problem."
C. Fred Bergsten,
Institute for International Economics: "Well I think the
administration has been remiss in terms of energy policy or lack
Myers concluded by assessing the Clinton record:
"When Clinton took office, the U.S. was dependent on foreign
producers for 50 percent, half of our oil. Now it's 59 percent. Then
the price of oil was $16 a barrel. Today it's $35. But experts say
no one, including George W. Bush, has come up with a quick painless
solution to this crisis. So far polls show the public blames big oil
and oil producing countries. Al Gore hopes it stays that way."
Nightly News used Gore's oil release advocacy to finally catch up
with two Gore gaffes the show had ignored when initially revealed.
Claire Shipman contended that Gore is "hoping that his oil
announcement will provide a change of subject from what has been his
worst week in a month and a half." She went on to cite the
"blowup on the issue of health care" over his made up story
about drug costs for his dog versus his mother-in-law as well as his
claim to have sung as a child a union jingle not actually created
until he was well into his 20s.
Shipman began her September 21 top of the show
story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Hoping to
tap into public outrage over high oil prices, Gore today pushes the
President to make the controversial move of tapping into the
nation's oil reserves."
Al Gore: "I
support oil releases from our national strategic petroleum
"Clinton is supposed to make a decision within days, but Gore is
only proposing a test sale of five million barrels, a small percentage
of the almost six hundred million barrels the U.S. keeps on hand for
emergencies. Many experts say its's a clear attempt to protect
political analyst: "This oil issue could be an issue that costs
Gore the election in some close states."
"And the Bush campaign immediately called it an election year
George W. Bush:
"We have no comprehensive energy policy."
Shipman then got to
events NBC skipped when they happened: "Gore may be looking for
political cover, but he's also hoping that his oil announcement will
provide a change of subject from what has been his worst week in a
month and a half. First a blowup on the issue of health care.
Questions about whether Gore misstated the costs of arthritis
medication for both his mother-in-law and his dog."
Al Gore on
August 28, though NBC did not date the clip: "It costs her $108
per month. It costs $37.80 a month for a dog."
"In fact, it seems Gore did not take those numbers from personal
experience but from a congressional report on drug prices. The Gore
campaign says the general idea is right but citing privacy issues,
won't give the actual numbers."
"Well, the issue is not her. The is issue is what seniors around
the country are paying."
"Why is this important?"
Newsweek: "He has had a tendency over the years to, to take a
pretty good story and try to make it a little better by embellishing,
adding, sort of stretching it beyond where the facts would take
to something which occurred Wednesday: "And then questions about
know, I still remember the lullabies that I heard as a child,
[singing] 'Look for the union label.'"
"But that union song was written in the 1970s when Gore was in
his mid-twenties. Gore says he was obviously joking. Reporters are
also grumbling that it's been hard to get answers from Gore. He
hasn't held a full-scale news conference in two months."
Shipman concluded with an upbeat assessment:
"Gore aides admit it's been a choppy week, but they hope
today's announcement on oil reserves, including a proposal to
release four hundred million dollars to help poor families pay home
heating bills this winter, is what the public will really pay
Well it's hard to pay attention to Gore gaffes
that Shipman contended led to a "blowup" when the networks
won't tell anyone about them:
-- The dog/in-law fabrication was disclosed
Monday by the Boston Globe. Not until the fourth night after the Globe
story ran did NBC Nightly News mention it. The CBS Evening News
didn't get to it until the third night, Wednesday. And ABC's World
News Tonight has yet to touch it.
This past Monday
also brought Gore's fumbling over the words sonogram and mammogram,
a miscue yet to be shown on any broadcast network morning or evening
For a RealPlayer clip of FNC showing both
incidents, go to:
-- Gore on Wednesday this week recalled the
union jingle/lullaby he heard as a 27-year-old in a crib. All three
broadcast network evening shows ignored the claim that night and while
NBC got to it the next night neither ABC or CBS have informed their
viewers about it.
For a RealPlayer
clip of CNN showing and correcting Gore:
breakthrough? Media bias against George Bush and for Al Gore is so
great and obvious that even a network anchor, who himself is at the
helm of a show which displayed the bias, admitted it. Thursday night
MSNBC's Brian Williams opened his The News with Brian Williams by
citing Gore's inability on Monday to come up with the word
mammogram, confusing it with sonogram, and conceded: "Had that
happened to Bush the news media would have used it to further the
theme that the Texas Governor has a troubled relationship with the
Williams opened the September 21 show:
evening. We begin tonight with presidential politics and proof that
it's a cyclical business. Lately it's been George W. Bush's turn
in the barrel as Gore was having a good week last week. Now, however,
a series of small mistakes have taken their toll on the Gore campaign.
There was the campaign event where Gore forgot the word mammogram,
called it a sonogram, before asking some nurses in the audience for
help. No big deal mind you but had that happened to Bush the news
media would have used it to further the theme that the Texas Governor
has a troubled relationship with the English language. For Gore, it
was the first of a series. Today the Vice President was trying to get
out in front of a hot issue -- heating oil prices, now part of this
campaign. And there may be trouble with it for Gore for not seeing it
coming and for Bush for his ticket's ties to the industry."
Viewers then saw the same Claire Shipman piece
run on NBC Nightly News which is quoted in this CyberAlert in item #2
above. Thus, viewers of the
Williams 9pm ET hour on MSNBC (10pm and 1a ET on CNBC) got their first
peek at Gore's dog/in-law fabrication and union jingle claim.
Tuesday night Chris Matthews, acting as a reporter, told Williams
about the dog/in-law claim but MSNBC did not show it. The night before
Matthews also mentioned the mammogram gaffe, but since Shipman's
piece did not show it, MSNBC viewers still have yet to see it.
+++ Watch Williams admit the media's pro-Gore
bias. Late Friday morning ET, the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Andy
Szul will post, in RealPlayer format, a clip of Brian Williams opening
his show Thursday night. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
lamented the taxpayer cost and human toll on Hillary of the Whitewater
probe. On Thursday's Good Morning America ABC legal analyst Jeffrey
Toobin regretted how "Kenneth Starr made Mrs. Clinton the only
First Lady in history forced to walk the gauntlet and testify before a
grand jury." He complained that "the Starr and Ray
investigations alone cost more than $50 million and as it turned out,
it was much ado -- two decades worth -- about not very much." GMA
co-host Elizabeth Vargas agreed it was a big waste.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the
relevant portions of the September 21 segment about Independent
Counsel Robert Ray's decision to shut down the Whitewater probe.
Vargas set up the discussion: "The six-year
Whitewater investigation came to an emphatic resolution yesterday when
the Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced there was no evidence to
charge either the President or Mrs. Clinton with any crime. His whole
investigation has cost taxpayers $55 million....Robert Ray doesn't
actually clear the Clintons of any wrongdoing. He just says he can't
"Well, I think you've got to translate the legalese a little bit.
'Insufficient evidence' is the phrase he uses, but that's how
prosecutors talk. They don't talk in terms of innocence. But the
bottom line is there is nothing on the Clintons in this
"Nothing on the Clintons, and even though Ray's report was
lukewarm in its tone and anticlimactic, certainly, after all this time
and money, it is considered a huge victory for the President and the
"Absolutely. You know, the Clintons invested in this project in
1978, 22 years ago, and the investigation's been going on almost ever
since. And interestingly, the focus in this case was not so much on
Bill Clinton, but the toll and the focus was really on Hillary
she was pressured into holding an unprecedented news conference for a
First Lady....But the questions continued -- hearings in the House,
hearings in the Senate, a first independent counsel, a second
independent counsel....Kenneth Starr made Mrs. Clinton the only First
Lady in history forced to walk the gauntlet and testify before a grand
Of course, she chose for political and public
relations purposes to take a very public walk in and out of the front
door and through a crowd of reporters. Six years later it's still
paying off with gullible liberals like Toobin.
Toobin continued his historical review:
"Then Starr's probe grew. Once close friends went to jail [clip
of Jim and Susan McDougal]. There was Travelgate, Filegate and then
another subject entirely [clip of President Clinton and Monica
Lewinsky]. Mrs. Clinton wasn't the target of that one....But the
Lewinsky affair took its toll, nonetheless. The President was
impeached. But Starr and his successor never issued any verdict on
Hillary Clinton's conduct until now...with no charges ever filed
against Hillary Clinton....The Starr and Ray investigations alone cost
more than $50 million and as it turned out, it was much ado -- two
decades worth -- about not very much."
in: "That's incredible, when you see the toll, that, you know,
all those convictions, all those people who've spent time in prison,
and all that money."
But Vargas's implication that "all those
people who've spent time in prison" are somehow victims was too
much for even Toobin, though he soon returned to the standard liberal
spin: "Well, I think you have to remember, in fairness to Starr,
there were 14 convictions in this case, mostly of peripheral people,
although Clinton's successor as Governor, Jim Guy Tucker, was
convicted, but in terms of the Clintons themselves, and they've been
the focus, how much videotape, how much newsprint has been spent on
the subject of Whitewater, and it really doesn't seem to add up to
York Times part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy"? Geraldo
Rivera suggested so Wednesday night in holding the paper "as
guilty" as the House Judiciary Committee in hounding Bill
Clinton. He demanded that the newspaper apologize for serving as an
outlet for Whitewater charges.
Rivera argued during the September 20 Rivera
live on CNBC: "You know Joe [DiGenova] it is outrageous that
there is not, I mean The New York Times, I think The New York Times is
as guilty as the majority on the, on the, the House committee there,
Judiciary committee. They're the ones that lead the charge here.
They were going with allegations and when we investigated them they
seemed pretty shallow. But there is no I'm sorry and isn't this
six years of gross torture inflicted on pretty slim evidence?"
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that he
wrapped-up the segment by returning to the complicity of the New York
Times: "I want to ask Jonathan [Alter] a question about the
media. I don't want to harp on this too much. But it seems to me,
but, but for The New York Times the, the implicit conspiracy between
The New York Times and the people out to get Clinton this thing
would've died a long time ago."
Alter agreed: "Well that's how it started in '92. Sheffield
Nelson, Clinton's arch rival in Arkansas, excuse me, dumped a whole
lot of very damning information on Jeff Gerth, who put it in The New
York Times and was off to the races. Everything has flowed from
"I think The New York Times deserves, the Clintons deserve an
apology from The New York Times editorial writers if not from the
Republicans as well."
loving husband and wife is an "ideal" but it just isn't
"cool" and Hillary Clinton using the Lincoln bedroom as a
reward to donors isn't a big deal, former CBS and NBC reporter
Giselle Fernandez declared on ABC's Politically Incorrect Tuesday
night before proclaiming her desire to spend time in a room that had a
lot of sex: "The Kennedy bedroom -- now that I'd like to at
On the September 19 show Fernandez argued:
"I think if you define marriage as a partnership of love and
respect, where the sexes are considered equal, in a partnership, then
perhaps it can be a wonderful ideal, but obviously I think that's
the kind of self-righteous judgmentalism that causes rifts in our
society, and I think that's not cool."
Later, fellow panelist Howard Kurtz of the
Washington Post suggested that after the 1996 fundraising scandal
"to allow anybody whose given any money anywhere near the White
House to sleep over, and they say these are just friends, sure
they're friends with a lot of money, is not good politics."
Fernandez countered: "I totally disagree.
It's her home. Rick Lazio entertains-"
"It's the people's home."
of FNC: "Yeah, it's our home, Giselle. She's just
Host Bill Maher:
"Oh, it's not your home."
"Yes, it is. I'm paying the lighting bill. You're paying the
water bill and I'm paying the lighting bill. They're not paying a
"They are. They pay taxes."
"And we voted for them to be able, and it's been done before,
and besides, let me ask you a question. What's the big deal about
"It's tacky. It's tacky. That's the big deal."
"No, what's the big deal about the Lincoln Bedroom? The guy had
one kid. The Kennedy bedroom -- now that I'd like to at least
I assume "the guy" is Clinton not
Fernandez is now co-host of This Week in History
on the History Channel. To see a picture of her, go to:
Here's a reminder of the kind of
"reporting" we're now missing from her:
-- November 3, 1993 CBS This Morning from Cuba:
"Welcome to Fidel Castro's playground, Cuba's Caribbean paradise
few have seen, a Cuba the commandante is now inviting the world to
enjoy. In the last two years alone, Cuba and its sultry beaches has
become a major vacation hot spot...While tourism may be changing the
landscape of Cuba's Caribbean shores, Fidel Castro is banking on it to
save his workers' paradise from becoming a paradise lost."
-- September 4, 1994 CBS Evening News, on Cuba:
"Back then [when it received Soviet subsidies], the island may
have been a thorn in Washington's side but it was a beacon of success
for much of Latin America and the Third World. For decades, Cuba's
health care and education systems were touted as great achievements of
the revolution...Some say the trade ban has never given Cuba a chance
to see whether or not Castro's socialism might work."
-- She moved on to NBC to co-host the weekend
Today show. For a September 3, 1995 utterance she earned a runner-up
slot in the MRC's "Good Morning Morons Award" presented as
part of our annual Best of Notable Quotables: "President Clinton
will be attending more ceremonies in Hawaii marking V-J Day, Victory
over Japan. Saturday, Mr. Clinton went to a ceremony on a hill high
above Honolulu. He praised those who served in the military 50 years
ago, saying they saved the world. After today's ceremonies marking the
end of World War II, President Clinton will head back to the United
Hawaii joined the United States in 1959.
-- Brent Baker
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