60M Skipped Clinton's Enron Tie; Stephanopoulos This Week's Solo Host; Gumbel Chided "Far Right" on Powell; Saudi Suicide Aid Noted
1) Despite the Clinton administration's active role in
promoting Enron's since-failed electric power plant project in India, in
a 13-minute story on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, CBS's Bob Simon
didn't mention the word "Clinton." But, Simon linked the Bush
administration to nefarious efforts in 2001 to get India to pay Enron what
it owed the company.
2) A number of firsts on Sunday morning for ABC's This
Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, but without either: Clintonista
George Stephanopoulos served as the sole host and conducted all the
interviews; Bill Kristol returned; and Stephanopoulos interviewed the
husband of a Clinton White House colleague, Todd Purdum who is married to
Dee Dee Myers.
3) Bryant Gumbel charged that the "far right"
has "been pretty much savaging Powell for the last week." Gumbel
wanted to know: "Is he being set up to take the fall for the failures
of this administration's foreign policy?"
4) Like ABC's Peter Jennings, Dan Rather whitewashed the
beneficiaries of a telethon in Saudi Arabia. But on the NBC Nightly News,
Tom Brokaw allowed for a vile goal: "Some are asking, is this really
a way to bankroll terror?" Reporter Kelly O'Donnell suggested so:
"A senior U.S. government official tells NBC News Saudis give
financial help to the families of all Palestinians killed, drawing no
distinction between suicide bombers and others killed."
5) Barely a month after ABC devoted a special two-hour
edition of Prime Time Thursday to Rosie O'Donnell announcing that
she's a lesbian, and to promoting her pet cause of overturning
Florida's ban on adoptions by gay couples, a show fawningly titled,
"Rosie's Story: For the Sake of the Children," ABC is
dedicating a program to O'Donnell's "secret obsession."
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how the Clinton administration promoted Enron's since-shut down electric
power plant project in India, a plant which went online in 1999, in a
13-minute story on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, CBS's Bob Simon didn't
mention the name "Clinton" or the term "Clinton
administration." But, Simon linked the Bush administration to
nefarious efforts in 2001 to get India to pay Enron what it owed the
story described the non-competitive Enron bid of $60 billion over
20 years for the power plant as a bad deal for India and a good
one for Enron since it would be fueled by liquified natural gas
bought from an Enron subsidiary and promised that India would pay
Enron every year even if they didn't need the electricity. Simon
derisively noted, "Deregulation: That was Enron's favorite
A 60 Minutes
story on Enron's India power plant didn't mention Clinton, but did
cite Bush and Cheney
Simon recounted how in the mid-1990s a local
politician, who promised to end construction of the plant, won election
after claiming officials who approved the plant, which would produce more
electricity than needed at a high price, were bribed. Simon then got to a
Clinton administration action, but he didn't mention Clinton: "The
American Ambassador, Frank Wisner, pitched in. His role, as he saw
[spelling a guess]: "Was to try to convince the central government to
back a resumption of the project..."
Simon went on to note that in 1997, after
India was convinced to re-start the building of the plant, Wisner took job
with an Enron subsidiary.
In 1999 the plant finally went on line, Simon
reported, and charged India four times the going rate for its power. In
2001, India stopped paying for the power it didn't really need anyway,
and the plant was shut down.
Simon then implied a Clinton role, but again
failed to raise Clinton's name as he specifically cited the role of Vice
President Cheney: "[Ken] Lay had always found solid support from
Washington and it was no different now. The Bush administration set up an
Enron task force. Objective: Make those Indians pay their bill. Vice
President Cheney did his part last June, as recorded in this task force
e-mail. 'Good news,' it reads, 'the Veep mentioned Enron in his
meeting with Sonia Gandhi,' the Indian opposition leader. But then, a
few months later, Enron lay bankrupt and disgraced...."
Despite Enron's collapse and September 11,
Simon was appalled that just two months ago, U.S. Ambassador to India
Robert Blackwell had the gall to lecture India about how the
"sanctity of contract here may be in doubt" due to India not
making payments to Enron.
The Clinton administration's role in
promoting Enron's India power plant is hardly unknown. Back on the
January 18 Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC's Wendell Goler disclosed:
though Enron head Ken Lay has been Mr. Bush's most generous financial
supporter, and nearly three dozen administration officials have held Enron
stock, the Clinton administration appears to have provided a bigger bang
for the much smaller bucks Enron executives have contributed to Democrats.
The late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and his successors, Mickey Cantor
and William Daley, all reportedly hosted Enron executives on trade junkets
that led to projects in half a dozen countries, including the Indian power
plant, and several billion dollars in government loans and risk
On February 25, Lisa Myers reported on the NBC
Nightly News: "Documents obtained
by NBC News show the Clinton administration billed three Enron projects in
India and Turkey as success stories, personally pushed by the late
Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. About that time, Enron made its first
$100,000 contribution to the Democrats."
of firsts on Sunday morning for ABC's This Week with Sam Donaldson and
Cokie Roberts, but without either:
-- Clintonista George Stephanopoulos served as
the sole host and conducted all the interviews.
-- Amongst those Stephanopoulos interviewed,
the husband of a colleague with whom he worked in the Clinton White House:
New York Times State Department correspondent Todd Purdum, who is
accompanying Secretary of State Powell on his trip. Purdum is married to
Dee Dee Myers. One of Stephanopoulos's questions to Purdum: "Any
frustrations about the White House? You hear a lot of grumblings that the
White House is taking a harder line and maybe not giving Secretary Powell
al of the maximum flexibility he needs." Purdum confirmed that the
White House is complicating matters my using the term "homicide
bomber," which is "a provocative Israeli phrase."
-- The return of Bill Kristol. In what I'm
fairly confident was Kristol's first appearance on the show since he was
dropped from the roundtable in 2000, Kristol appeared alongside
Clinton's Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk.
-- Liberal journalist Michael Kinsley took
part in the roundtable segment.
This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Get used
to the sound of that.
yet to announce what day will be Bryant Gumbel's last as co-host of The
Early Show, but he's showing no sign of going away quietly as he keeps
using his morning perch to take shots at conservatives.
On Friday, Gumbel blamed the current round of
terrorist attacks on Israel not on the Palestinian leadership but on where
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon walked a year-and-a-half ago. And
he charged that the "far right" has "been pretty much
savaging Powell for the last week," before asking: "Is he being
set up to take the fall for the failures of this administration's foreign
MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught Gumbel's April
12 questions to Democratic former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell,
who was involved in Middle East talks during the Clinton years:
-- "People forget that both sides were at
relative peace and fairly close to an agreement up until September of 2000
when Ariel Sharon decided to basically sabotage the peace agreement that
was in the works. How do they get back to that point? Effectively what do
you do, what can Powell do, what can he say, what can he offer, what can
-- "You've seen it as I have and you know
how Washington works in leaks, columns, comments. Those on the far right,
inside and outside this administration, have been pretty much savaging
Powell for the last week. Is he being set up to take the fall for the
failures of this administration's foreign policy?"
ABC's Peter Jennings on Thursday night, on Friday night Dan Rather
whitewashed the beneficiaries of a telethon in Saudi Arabia. But on the
NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw allowed for a vile goal: "The Saudi
Arabians say this telethon is to help the Palestinian victims of the
violence. But some are asking, is this really a way to bankroll
Reporter Kelly O'Donnell suggested the
Saudis are encouraging suicide murderers by paying their families: "A
senior U.S. government official tells NBC News Saudis give financial help
to the families of all Palestinians killed, drawing no distinction between
suicide bombers and others killed."
Dan Rather simply announced on the April 12
CBS Evening News: "Arab governments are raising money for the
Palestinians uses a distinctly Western method: The telethon. In Saudi
Arabia today, phone-in pledges totaled more than $85 million. The biggest
pledge, $27 million, was from the same Saudi prince whose offer of $10
million for September 11 victims was rejected by New York City."
The night before, ABC's Peter Jennings noted
on World News Tonight: "You saw from Dean Reynolds' report how much
damage there is in the West Bank. In Saudi Arabia today there was a
nationwide telethon to raise money for Palestinians in the occupied
territories who the Saudis are referring to as 'martyrs.' The Saudi
royal family has donated several million dollars, and it is one of many
fund-raising campaigns currently under way in the Arab world."
For more about FNC's story on how the money
is targeted to the families of suicide bombers, and for excerpts from UPI
and Weekly Standard stories about the matter, go to the April 12
On Friday night, Brokaw set up a much more
through Nightly News story than yet provided by ABC or CBS:
"Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Arab world, the phones are ringing off
the hook for an unusual around-the-clock fund-raiser airing on Saudi
television. The Saudi Arabians say this telethon is to help the
Palestinian victims of the violence. But some are asking, is this really a
way to bankroll terror? More on that from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell
Kelly O'Donnell: "Operators standing by,
tens of millions pouring in, cash stacked high."
donation from Prince Abdullah, 100,000 reals."
"Tonight, Saudi TV borrowing a fund-raising tool from the West, a
caller to telethon: "Ask Allah to accept all this and bless all the
Muslims and victory for Muslims."
"The government-sponsored event, a huge money maker, claiming $100
million and counting. The question, will donations support victims or more
violence? A Saudi princess donated her Rolls Royce. Schoolchildren emptied
their piggy banks. A billionaire prince gave $27 million, the same man
whose $10 million gift was accepted, later rejected by then-Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani when the donor criticized U.S. support of Israel. The charity
here, spelled out on that banner: 'The Palestinian people's campaign.'
Help for Palestinians and their families harmed in the violent conflict
with Israel. Help some call suspicious, criticized as bankrolling suicide
Charles Schumer: "What they said was that if you blow yourself up and
kill a lot of civilians, we're going to take care of your family."
"Today, the White House did not question where the money will
"So we have received assurances from the Saudi Arabian government
that the money is going to the Palestinian people and not to support
"Much of the controversy over the word 'martyr,' a term Palestinians
use to describe all their casualties in the Israeli fighting, a term
recognized by Saudis. A senior U.S. government official tells NBC News
Saudis give financial help to the families of all Palestinians killed,
drawing no distinction between suicide bombers and others killed."
Council on American-Islamic Relations: "It is only controversial in
the United States because people do not see the magnitude of the
concluded: "Images of the dead and injured in what is described by
officials as an attempt to channel anger into giving and away from the
streets. The telethon continuing this weekend on Saudi TV, a vivid show of
support for the Palestinian cause, a display of rhetoric and riches."
Our friends the Saudis.
Primetime Rosie? Barely a month after ABC devoted a special two-hour
edition of Prime Time Thursday to Rosie O'Donnell announcing what
everyone already knew, that she's a lesbian, and to promoting her pet
cause of overturning Florida's ban on adoptions by gay and lesbian
couples, ABC is dedicating another show to O'Donnell.
ABC fawningly titled its March 14 program,
"Rosie's Story: For the Sake of the Children." For more about
Sunday's This Week featured this promo spot:
Announcer: "Thursday: Rosie
O'Donnell's back. And what she reveals this time will have you talking
all over again."
O'Donnell: "It's going to make people think I'm absolutely out
of my mind."
"The mystery that led to a secret obsession."
"You were in the grip of something."
"Thursday: Rosie's startling truth revealed. A Diane Sawyer
exclusive on Primetime Thursday."
What does she mean, people are
"going" to think she's out of her mind?
I can't wait to learn about Rosie's
"secret obsession." Maybe it involves how to use your celebrity
to get a major network to set its news agenda around your personal issues. --
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