1. U.S. News writer Kit R. Roane highlighted how a "New book says Giuliani has thuggish family ties." But she offered no labels for author Wayne Barrett of the far-left
Village Voice or radical lawyer Ron Kuby, or recognized the book’s obvious pro-Hillary political agenda. Four years ago, investigative books about Bill Clinton got a much different treatment in the magazine.
2. Newsweek balanced its earlier Bill Turque coverage of Al Gore's Vietnam-era military service -- including his contacts with Vietnam commander William Westmoreland -- with a story on the mystery of whether George W. Bush served the Air National Guard in Alabama in 1972. Plus the magazine found President Clinton is one of the "great diplomats."
3. U.S. News writer Jeff Glasser reported on a long-forgotten campaign promise -- to put 100,000 police on America's streets -- and found a smaller number of cops and a large amount of fraud.
4. Time took the unusual step of granting two-thirds of a Letters page to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and film critic Richard Schickel wondered "Who, outside the Christian right, cares anymore about anyone’s sexual orientation?"
On the covers of the July 17 news magazines: Time explored "The New Science of Alzheimer's," U.S. News & World Report advertised their annual "America's Best Hospitals" report, and Newsweek celebrated its excerpt of the new children's uber-book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Under the headline "What a…big mouth!," U.S. News stood out with a brief item on Bryant Gumbel's "f---ing idiot" gaffe. Art Samuels wrote: "It's bad enough that Gumbel won't be escaping the rap that he's arrogant anytime soon. Then the fireworks started…. Conservative groups called for Gumbel to resign."
U.S. News writer Kit R. Roane highlighted how a "New book says Giuliani has thuggish family ties." She explained: "According to a new book, Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudy Giuliani, the mayor's deceased father was a stickup artist who robbed a milkman at gunpoint, then took over as muscle for a relative's loan-sharking business once he was sprung from prison. Other news: Giuliani's cousin, Steve the Blond, was a mobster shot dead by the feds."
Roane later quotes the author, Wayne Barrett: "The greatest revelation here is that a man with so much reason to have understanding and empathy has been so intolerant of the weaknesses of others." Roane doesn't tell the reader that Barrett has long knocked Giuliani from his perch at the radical-left weekly the Village Voice, and concluded by quoting (without a label) the radical lawyer Ron Kuby knocking
Roane also seemed surprised that Giuliani would be subjected to muckraking books now, which is odd since clearly these anti-Rudy tomes were intended to frustrate his aborted Senate campaign.
The New York Post noted that "Barrett readily admits that four individuals and foundations, some with close Democratic Party ties, such as Bill Moyers, provided funding for his researchers. ‘They understood who I am, my kind of journalism." Moyers heads the Florence and John Schumann Foundation in between his omnipresent PBS merchandising opportunities.
Four years ago, investigative books about Bill Clinton got a much different treatment in the magazine. In the July 15, 1996 issue, columnist Gloria Borger claimed "some of this summer's political potboilers are problematic." Gary Aldrich’s Unlimited Access "reads like an FBI file--full of thirdhand gossip and rumors, the most notable of which depicts the president playing hide-and-seek with the Secret Service." She also ripped Roger Morris’s Partners in Power: "The next juicy attack on the Clintons comes from the left. The author, Roger Morris, is an award winner who wrote a much lauded biography of Richard Nixon. More credible, you say? Forget it. Morris serves up some damning, even indictable, charges against the Clintons. But he fails to serve up much evidence to support them."
In the same issue, David Gergen claimed politics was so much nicer during Watergate, and said of Aldrich, "no one should underestimate the damage he has done. To paraphrase an old saying, nasty rumors are like harpoons -- once they go in, they're hard to pull out."
Newsweek balanced its earlier Bill Turque coverage of Al Gore's Vietnam-era military service -- including his contacts with Vietnam commander William Westmoreland -- with a story on the mystery of whether George W. Bush served the Air National Guard in Alabama in 1972. Michael Isikoff noted that the Boston Globe could not find any record that Bush ever served with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron as he worked for a Republican Senate candidate in Alabama. "Kenneth Lott, the personnel officer who signed the orders directing Bush to report, told Newsweek: 'I don't recall ever seeing the guy.'" But Bush found old girlfriend Emily Marks, who got to know Bush in Alabama. "Marks said Bush told her he had to go back to Montgomery after the election to make up some reserve requirements." Isikoff concluded that "For the moment at least it seemed that Bush's damage-control team had gotten matters under control again."
All three magazines covered ongoing Middle East peace negotiations, but only Newsweek featured both an article by President Clinton, and high praise for his skills. Michael Hirsh and Daniel Klaidman explained that at the Wye River plantation in 1998, "Arafat was 'amazed at [Clinton's] command of the details,' says a State Department official. The Israelis were impressed too. 'Clinton's got sachel - common sense,' says Dore Gold, Israel's former ambassador to the United Nations. 'Sometimes people are great diplomats but are ignorant of politics. He's got the unusual ability to do both.'"
U.S. News writer Jeff Glasser reported on a long-forgotten campaign promise - to put 100,000 police on America's streets -- and found a smaller number of cops and a large amount of fraud.
On the smaller numbers, Glasser reported: "President Clinton in 1994 pledged to put 100,000 new police officers on the street ‘to reduce violence and prevent crime.’ (Vice President Gore echoed the call earlier this year, proposing to pad the rosters with an additional 50,000 patrols.) But six years later, the program is still at least 40,000 officers short of its goal, and former government officials are questioning whether it will ever measure up, let alone by the end of this year as promised."
Glasser began by reporting on how the hamlet of Potsdam, Ohio (population 250) had a police force of 11, or one cop for every 35 people, when the national average is one per 400 people. The police chief there asked for a $300,000 grant – and got it. He added: "Potsdam isn't the only place the feds have funneled COPS funds seemingly for the asking. Minnesota hired officers basically to tell Vietnamese immigrants how many fish they can catch in the state's lakes. Illinois sent troopers to cut cornstalks. Appleton, Wis., dispatched a full-time cop to monitor three elementary schools. And Florida sent cops to protect a coral ‘community.’ What's going on? Critics, including architects of the federal cash-for-cops program, say this is a classic case of politics trumping reality and lofty promises built on faulty premises. ‘I really felt we were wasting $1 billion,’ says Kalee Kreider, who wrote the first COPS grants briefing books but left the post disillusioned a year later. ‘I thought it was criminal.’"
Time took the unusual step of granting two-thirds of a Letters page to Joan Garry, Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, in the wake of their recent interview with Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Garry proclaimed: "Anytime someone is allowed to defame any category of people, whether by description or depiction, those people can become regarded as less than human. In studies, the objects of such discrimination tend to be viewed as less important as individuals and less deserving of a place in our society."
Garry contradicted herself within the letter. First, she proclaimed of Dr. Laura, "She not only seems unable to choose whether to espouse science or faith but also mixes an indefensible concoction of both and passes it off as truth. It is this hubris, advocating her opinion as truth, that is too much." But Garry concluded: "Laura can dry her eyes anytime she wants, just by telling the truth."
In reviewing the new film Chuck & Buck, Time film critic Richard Schickel declared: "It’s not Buck’s homosexuality that disturbs us. (Who, outside the Christian right, cares anymore about anyone’s sexual orientation?)"
But last week, Newsweek pollsters asked if the public approved of "the recent decision that the Boy Scouts of America have a constitutional right to block gay men from becoming troop leaders," and 56 percent approved, and 36 percent disapproved. Is that just the Christian right? A May poll by the Associated Press asked "In general, do you think gays and lesbians should or should not be allowed to be legally married?" The "should nots" won, 51 percent to 34.
Schickel should stop presuming the apparent unanimity of his Manhattan social circle can be extrapolated across America.
-- Tim Graham