No Worse Than Weinberger Pardon; Cokie Believes Hillary; Reporters Heard Clinton Joke About Pardons; Costas Hit Bush from the Right
1) ABC News analyst/reporter George Stephanopoulos: "How
are any of these pardons worse than President Bush in his final days in office
pardoning Cap Weinberger?"
2) Al Hunt defended Bill Clinton's record: "The idea that
somehow that there was a whole bunch of criminality that went on for eight
years and this [the pardons] just proves it, that is utter, complete
3) NBC's Saturday Night Live had Bill, Roger and Hugh burst out
laughing, along with Hillary, after she claimed: "I am very disheartened
and disappointed in you and my brothers." But ABC's Cokie Roberts
maintained: "I must say I do believe that Hugh Rodham did not tell his
stern big sister about this."
4) ABC's This Week uniquely played a minute-long excerpt of
Hugh Rodham giving a Clinton-like non-answer about how he had returned the
money -- "Absolutely, everything I had" -- before he arrogantly
dismissed concerns: "Everything that was done was done."
5) Reporters should have known how lightly Bill Clinton was
taking his pardon power. Last week's Newsweek recalled how he appeared in the
press section of Air Force One: "'You got anybody you want to pardon?' he
6) The Nation magazine's indictment of FNC as right wing just
revealed the liberalness of the other networks: "Though this producer had
worked at CBS News and at an ABC affiliate, 'I had never experienced a newsroom
that was that conservative.'"
7) President Bush was refreshingly pressed from the right by an
interviewer last week, but it wasn't a reporter. On HBO Bob Costas of NBC
Sports asked him about the propriety of his profiting from a sports stadium
built with taxpayer money.
8) Sunday night, for the fourth time, NBC aired the episode of
The West Wing with the President, played by Martin Sheen, ordering leaders of
the Religious Right to "get your fat asses out of my White House."
9) Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Bill Clinton Doesn't Give a
political analyst George Stephanopoulos, who also serves sometimes as a
reporter, is so much of sycophant for the Clinton spin machine that he made Sam
Donaldson and Cokie Roberts look tough on Clinton by comparison. Check out this
exchange from the roundtable segment on Sunday's This Week:
Sam Donaldson: "At the beginning of the
Watergate thing, except for the burglars who were caught inside, there was no
evidence of a crime. Evidence was developed."
George Stephanopoulos: "Wait a second Sam. We've
spent, listen, I do not defend these pardons, I've said they were wrong. But
we've spent now a month looking into all of this and I still haven't
Cokie Roberts: "But we keep learning stuff."
Stephanopoulos: "We keep learning things and
everything that's come out, Hugh Rodham, his involvement was wrong. But how are
any of these pardons worse than President Bush in his final days in office
pardoning Cap Weinberger only days before Weinberger's going to be a trial in a
way that would implicate Bush. He did it to save his skin."
Donaldson: "There was no suggestion of a $400,000
payment to Bush's brother."
Stephanopoulos: "Instead he was pardoning someone
to protect himself."
Roberts: "And there was not 141 people with drug
Stephanopoulos: "In fact the other Presidents
have had more pardons than Clinton overall."
Al Hunt may
now be willing to criticize Bill Clinton's pardons, but he won't concede they
are symbolic of eight years of misbehavior as he doubted the Reagan Justice
Department "was any more honest" than Clinton's under Janet Reno
whom, he insisted, named "too many" independent counsels.
On CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday night, February
24, the Wall Street Journal's Executive Washington Editor argued:
"Well, let me just say this, though I bow to no
one in my revulsion to those pardons. I think they are totally indefensible and
I share everything you guys said. But don't say this is exactly what has gone
on for eight years. There was no one in this administration that I know of,
high level, who went to the slammer for acts they did while they were there. I
mean, the idea that somehow that there was a whole bunch of criminality that
went on for eight years and this just proves it, that is utter, complete
Bob Novak jumped in: "Let me respond to that that
it was going on for eight years. Nobody went to the slammer because they had
the fix in at the Justice Department-"
Hunt: "As opposed to the Reagan, as opposed to
the Reagan Justice Department...Let me ask, as opposed to the Reagan -- think
the Reagan Justice Department was more honest?"
Novak: "I'd like to finish my sentence."
Hunt: "Can you answer that, though?"
Novak: "I'd like to finish my sentence. Because
they wouldn't go to the independent counsel. They had the fix in. They wouldn't
have, they wouldn't permit independent counsels on the Gore and Clinton
campaign finance scandals and we had a Justice Department who was totally
corrupt. Now, to answer your question, since you so rudely interrupted me, Al,
and the question is no, nothing like that in the Reagan Justice
Hunt: "I can see why you ducked it, Bob."
Novak: "I didn't duck it. I answered it."
Mark Shields: "Let me just say, Bill Clinton for
eight years made a lot of tough decisions. Republicans took the easy votes
every single time on tax cuts, on deficit reduction and everything else. He was
a brilliant steward. Your personal net worth increased three times over, for
goodness sakes. But no, let's be very blunt about this."
Hunt: "There were a lot of independent counsels
appointed by Janet Reno. Too many."
Clinton fooled Washington reporters but not the New York City-based Saturday
Night Live. On Sunday morning ABC's Cokie Roberts and George Stephanopoulos
both declared that they believed her claim that she knew nothing about how her
brother had a deal to get paid for lobbying on behalf of two men wanting
pardons, Carlos Vignali and Glenn Braswell. The night before, however, a
Saturday Night Live skit on NBC made fun of anyone gullible enough to believe
Cokie Roberts announced on the February 25 This
Week: "There's a poll today saying most New Yorkers don't believe Hillary
Clinton on all this. Now I must say I do believe that Hugh Rodham did not tell
his stern big sister about this."
George Stephanopoulos piped in: "I think you're
"Stern" big sister? She is
"stern" about ethics? About honesty?
The opening skit on NBC's Saturday Night Live
allowed the character playing Hillary to castigate her brother before she and
other Clinton family members burst out laughing at the inside joke. The skit
had Bill and Hillary sitting with Hugh standing behind Hillary and Roger
standing behind Bill. After the Bill character conceded he had misused his
office to grant improper pardons and that Hugh got a payoff, he boasted:
"I do what I likes and I likes what I do! Oh, come on folks we're the
Clintons, what do you expect? Look at us."
Then the Hillary character, in mock sternness,
lectured Bill: "They should expect more. I am very disheartened and
disappointed in you and my brothers."
Pause. Then all four burst out laughing with
Hillary poking at Bill as if to show "I got you" as Bill admitted:
"I fall for that each and every time."
Amazingly, so do more than a few journalists.
Hugh the Arrogant. Hugh Rodham lectured some reporters in front of his house on
Saturday as he failed to answer whether he had really returned all of the
$400,000. While CNN and FNC showed brief clips of it over the weekend, only
ABC's This Week fully conveyed his arrogance by playing a nearly minute-long
excerpt of his February 24 comments.
Near the start of This Week on Sunday Sam Donaldson
set up the clip, which started with a female reporter off-camera asking:
"Did you return all of the money?"
Rodham offered a non-definitive answer before
launching into a haughty lecture: "Absolutely, everything I had. You know
that that's true. You know that that's true. I don't have anything to add to
this. I keep telling you guys that, but I guess that's just not enough for you,
but I don't. Everything that was done was done. Everything you know -- rumors,
all that other stuff -- is what you have said. That is exactly what this is
about. Now, I can't talk about this. I won't talk about it and it doesn't
matter how long you guys sit out here, it's not going to make a difference. And
you know that that's true and I know that it's true and the whole world knows
Reporter: "Have you talked to your sister?"
Rodham: "It's none of your business."
Reporter: "Why aren't you talking about it?"
Rodham: "Why aren't I talking about it? Because
it's not in anybody's best interest to do so. That's why and you know that to
be true. So that's all I have to say."
Saturday night, the CBS Evening News ignored Hugh
Rodham's comments and the NBC Nightly News showed video of Rodham getting out
of his car and standing before reporters as John Palmer noted Rodham refused to
comment on whether he had returned the money.
ABC's World News Tonight/Saturday played a portion
of what This Week showed the next morning as reporter Josh Gerstein pointed out
how Rodham had not returned all the money. Viewers saw Rodham assert in answer
to the question of whether he had returned the payments: "Absolutely,
everything I had. You know that that's true. You know that that's true."
But Gerstein countered: "Sources tell ABC News that Rodham couldn't come
up with all the money on such short notice. They say he's returned most of it
and has promised to pay the rest back soon."
reporters knew before Bill Clinton granted pardons that he was taking his
presidential duty lightly, a Newsweek article last week revealed as it quoted
Clinton joking aboard Air Force One about granting pardons.
An article in the February 26 Newsweek by seven of
its reporters (Debra Rosenberg, Mark Hosenball, Eleanor Clift, Michael Isikoff,
Howard Fineman, Bill Turque and Daniel Klaidman), "Backstage at the
Finale," recounted how, as the subhead stated, "pulling all-nighters,
Bill Clinton spent his last days obsessing over details and pardons."
The Newsweek team recalled what took place on
Thursday, January 18, two days before the pardons were announced:
"Clinton took his last trip aboard Air Force One,
a quick out-and-back to Little Rock, where he gave a speech to state
politicians and soaked up applause. On the way there, he strode the length of
the plane. Unexpectedly, he appeared in the press section. 'You got anybody you
want to pardon?' he said, laughing."
And yet, despite reporters being alerted to
Clinton's attitude about granting pardons, we've had to rely on the National
Enquirer to advance the story of what really took place.
article in the March 12 edition of the far-left magazine, The Nation, purported
to prove how Fox News and the Fox News Channel are biased to the right, but
writer Daphne Eviatar, by quoting a former CBS News producer, inadvertently
demonstrated how CBS and ABC are liberal.
Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/)
alerted me to the Nation article, which set out to demonstrate:
"Although its right-wing talk-show hosts like
Bill O'Reilly have received copious press attention, the conservative slant of
Fox's regular news coverage has not. And while much has been written about
Fox's gaffe on election night involving George W. Bush's cousin (which some
think caused the public to regard Bush as the legitimate winner), there's been
far less focus on the blatant partiality of Fox's regular staff, contributors
and guests. It all combines to create a calculated mouthpiece for the right
that remains thinly veiled behind its misleading mantra, 'fair and balanced.'
And Fox could have real influence: According to Editor & Publisher
magazine, a TV monitor in the White House press briefing room that aired CNN
throughout the Clinton Administration was recently switched to the Fox News
Buried deep in the diatribe, however, was this
paragraph which does more to indict CBS News than FNC:
"'Fair and balanced? Give me a break,' says a
former Fox producer. 'During the Clinton impeachment -- which they were just
loving -- it was OK to run a Newt Gingrich soundbite by itself. But if you ran
a soundbite by a Democrat you also had to run a soundbite by a Republican.'
Though this producer had worked at CBS News and at an ABC affiliate, 'I had
never experienced a newsroom that was that conservative.'"
"Though," as if someone working at CBS
News and/or for an ABC affiliate would have experienced a workplace full of
conservatives. It just shows from how far left a position The Nation is looking
at FNC. "That conservative" could just mean being slightly to the
right of Tom Daschle.
interview last week a high-profile network star actually pressed President Bush
not from the left as usual but from the right, raising a conservative concern
about his record as a beneficiary of corporate welfare, a subject rarely, if
ever, brought up during the campaign. The question, however, came not from a
news reporter but from a sports announcer, specifically from NBC's Bob Costas
during an interview for his HBO show, On the Record with Bob Costas.
Most of the interview, taped earlier that day at
the White House, for the February 21 HBO program which aired at 11pm ET/PT,
dealt with baseball issues and Bush's time as managing partner of the Texas
Midway into the session Costas wondered: "Many
years ago you put up a little more than $600,000 to buy into the Rangers. Then
you helped convince the public to pony up $135 million as their part of the
money required to build a new ball park. After that you sold your stake for $15
million. Good deal, but a legitimate question seems to be: Since the value of
franchises always skyrocket after they get a new stadium, isn't the public
entitled to a piece of the equity if the team is sold?"
Bush answered that his other partners gave him
additional ownership shares as a reward for running the team and that using
taxpayer money is fine as long as the local people approve of it in a
referendum, as did the citizens of Arlington, Texas.
Costas soon followed up with some knowledge it's
hard to imagine many network news division staffers possess: "This is from
the 2000 Texas State Republican Party platform. It says: 'Public money or
public powers should not be used to fund or implement private projects, such as
high-speed rail systems or sports stadiums.' Your reaction?"
Bush said he disagreed and hoped the GOP leaders
would respect how citizens of Arlington had approved a half cent sales tax hike
to pay for bonds to build the stadium.
I haven't seen the Bush as beneficiary of corporate
welfare issue addressed since the June 1999 American Spectator.
Imagine how different network morning TV would have
been over the last two decades if NBC had plucked Costas instead of Bryant
Gumbel from the sports division to co-host the Today show.
your fat asses out of my White House." Sunday night, for the fourth time,
NBC broadcast the 1999 season premiere of The West Wing featuring that blast
from Marin Sheen, as "President Josiah Bartlet," to some Christian
The show originally aired in September 1999 and was
re-run later in the season as well as during the August 2000 week before the
Democratic convention. Last night NBC aired it once more at 9pm ET/PT as part
of two back-to-back "Best of" showings tied to the gimmick of having
had viewers go to the NBC Web site to pick their favorite episodes.
As recounted in the September 29, 1999 CyberAlert,
in the premiere of West Wing, viewers saw how the Hollywood Left views
conservatives as the show concocted a preposterous plot and series of scenes
which portrayed leaders of the Religious Right as anti-Semitic buffoons. The
show culminated with an angry Democratic "President Josiah Bartlet"
indignantly telling ministers: "You can all get your fat asses out of my
For details or to watch a RealPlayer clip of the
scene, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990929.html#5
February 23 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Bill
Clinton Doesn't Give a Damn." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Called Russia asking if they need a new spy
9. When people whisper, "Your fly is open," he says, "Yeah, I
8. Shoplifts at will, gives finger to security camera
7. If you asked what he had for breakfast and he actually had waffles, he'll
say "pancakes" just for the fun of lying
6. He's no longer just fat -- he's now Hugh Rodham fat
5. "Tubby" is selling a copy of the Declaration of Independence on
4. Doesn't even bother to buy high-quality cigars anymore
3. Recently introduced Playboy playmate as "my lovely wife"
2. Refers to Chappaqua mansion as "the house that dirty pardon money
1. Sits in the back of Al Gore's journalism class screaming, "Loser!"
And from the Late Show Web site, some of the
"Extra" Top Ten entries which didn't make the final cut:
-- He's thinking about sleeping with his wife
-- Last weekend nailed an XFL cheerleader right on the 50-yard line
-- Some Presidents get their face on a coin. He posted his naked ass on a
-- Not only admits he had sex with Monica, admits he had sex with Hillary
That last one is the most far-fetched. -- Brent Baker
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