Jonesboro Ambush: Who’s
Media blame Southern Gun Culture, Push for Gun
Two children aged 11 and 13 gunned down their classmates and a
teacher in a tragic shooting in Jonesboro, Arkansas on March 24. The
media’s reaction? Disparage the residents of the town by insulting their
Southern heritage and trampling on their right to bear arms.
ABC’s Rebecca Chase linked Jonesboro with other school shootings on
the March 25 World News Tonight: "Jonesboro, Arkansas. West Paducah,
Kentucky. Pearl, Mississippi. All cases of kids killing kids with guns,
all in the South, all in states with fewer gun control laws. In
Arkansas, a child of any age can have a rifle or shotgun. While easy
accessibility is a nationwide problem, in the South there are simply
more guns available." Though the story matched the liberal agenda to
enact gun control laws, Chase did give time to the other side,
delivering their arguments on the benefits of children learning to use a
Most network coverage went straight for the jugular of Southern
culture. On the March 25 Today, Katie Couric asked Ronald Stephens of
the National School Boards Safety Center: "I read you something before
this interview about experts saying that Southern culture may be a
factor because these incidents that have been so high profile have
happened in southern rural towns because they say there is more access
to guns. It’s a climate of people feeling strong about the right to bear
arms. They are introduced to guns early on. Do you think there is any,
any credibility in that assessment?"
Couric continued the next day, badgering Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee:
"This is a third deadly shooting to take place in the South in the last
five months, and some criminal experts have ventured a guess that
southern society, which has a more permissive attitude towards guns and
hunting, and perhaps in some circles even glamorizes those things that
might have been a factor in some, this recent spate of shootings. What’s
your view of that?" Huckabee replied: "Colin Ferguson got on a train in
Long Island, shot 39 people. That wasn’t Long Island, Arkansas."
On CNN’s Inside Politics on March 25, anchor Bernard Shaw pushed
anti-gun Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.): "Should there be a federal law
that convicts adults whose guns fall into the hands of the children
you’re referring to?"
Shaw later pleaded with CNN analyst William Schneider "In our
country, if the majority rules, why is it so hard to get gun laws
passed?...So how do you get gun control laws passed, given what you’ve
Belated Flowers. Gennifer
Flowers, the long-forgotten lover of Bill Clinton, appeared on ABC’s
Good Morning America March 16 to discuss Kathleen Willey, who
accused the President of sexual harassment. Co-host Lisa McRee asked
Flowers: "Reaction to Ms. Willey and her story stands in stark contrast
to the reaction to you and your story, why do you think that is?" McRee
also inquired: "Patricia Ireland of the National Organization of Women
said last night that she was deeply troubled by Willey’s account. Why
didn’t feminists rally behind you and Ms. Lewinsky?"
One reason: Flowers’ mid-March appearance on ABC came
six years and six weeks after her press conference claiming an affair
with Clinton. She first appeared on the Today show in January
1998, after Clinton admitted the affair. By contrast, journalists
charging George Bush with an affair in 1992 appeared within 24 hours on
Good Morning America and on CBS This Morning, which has
yet to have Flowers in for a chat.
Hillary and Jane’s Big Adventure.
Columnist Cal Thomas was the first to assess CNN’s month-long March
tribute to "A Century of Women" on the show Perspectives: "The
history of women is a good subject, but CNN’s treatment is more
ideological than documentary....it is largely one perspective that could
have been titled ‘A Century of Liberal Women.’" Thomas noted the series
included only one conservative woman (Phyllis Schlafly) while it
featured tens of feminist icons. Hillary Clinton introduced and
concluded each program, with Jane Fonda serving as narrator.
During the "Pursuit of Happiness" installment, Fonda
offered painter Georgia O’Keefe as the feminist ideal: "O’Keefe found a
champion in Alfred Stieglitz....a brilliant photographer as well as an
influential art dealer. He was also married to another woman when he
became O’Keefe’s mentor, promoter, and ultimately her lover. They defied
convention by living openly with one another.... O’Keefe and Stieglitz
finally got married, but she had no use for the traditional role of wife
and mother. Eventually, they chose to lead separate lives."
The "Pursuit of Happiness" segment also promoted the
need for abortion: "The ‘privilege’ of childbirth took the lives of
300,000 women between the years of 1910 and 1925. That’s more than all
the men who died in American wars, from the Revolution until World War
I. Women were desperate for a way out of constant pregnancies. They
found a champion in Margaret Sanger." Sanger’s opposition to letting
"inferior" races reproduce went unmentioned, but CNN rehashed old CBS
footage of Sanger attacking the Catholic Church’s opposition to
contraceptives: "Everything bears out that it’s an unnatural attitude to
take. And what do they know? I mean, after all, they’re celibates. They
don’t know love." A marriage-breaker and a Catholic-basher: just two of
CNN’s female champions.
Illinois Extremist? When
conservative Peter Fitzgerald defeated "moderate" (read: pro-abortion)
Loleta Didrickson in the Illinois GOP primary for U.S. Senate on March
17, the media predicted disaster. Associated Press reporter Mike
Robinson began: "It could be the Republican Party’s worst nightmare...
Republicans threw away their chance of winning a U.S. Senate seat two
years ago by nominating a pro-gun, anti-abortion conservative who was
crushed by a Democrat in the fall election. They may have done it
CBS anchor John Roberts sounded the same alarm:
"Conservative Peter Fitzgerald, who wants to legalize concealed weapons
and ban abortions, won the GOP nomination over moderate Loleta
Didrickson. Many Republicans say she would have had a better chance of
beating [Sen. Carol] Moseley-Braun."
On Inside Politics, CNN analyst William
Schneider suggested Didrickson "looked like the perfect candidate to
defeat Moseley-Braun, a moderate woman who supports gun control and
abortion rights." Even though they mentioned pro-life, pro-gun Democrat
Glenn Poshard’s victory in the gubernatorial primary, CNN didn’t explain
how that meshes with Didrickson’s "moderate" appeal. None mentioned the
Illinois GOP nominated a moderate woman for the Senate in 1990 — Lynn
Martin, who lost to Paul Simon, 65 to 35 percent.
The Ron and Nolanda Story Continues...
Nolanda Hill, a long-time business
associate of late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown testified that,
under the direction of Hillary Clinton, the administration sold
seats on trade missions to big donors. Instead of running with the
non-sex scandal story, ABC’s and NBC’s evening shows skipped
Hill’s charges as CBS aired one story and then dropped the
subject. But that’s still more coverage than Hill attracted last
year when she said that Brown took payoffs.
Reporting on an affidavit released March
23 and her court testimony that day, at the top of FNC’s evening
Fox Report, reporter Carl Cameron explained: "Hill said
Brown told her that the scheme was First Lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton’s idea to raise money for the 1996 campaign." On the
CBS Evening News Bob Schieffer missed the Hillary connection,
but added that "when a conservative watchdog group, Judicial
Watch, became suspicious and filed suit to get government
documents about the trips, she said Brown told her former White
House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta and presidential aide John
Podesta urged him to hold back the documents until after the 1996
elections and to devise ‘a way not to comply with the court’s
While CNN’s The World Today
squeezed in a story, Inside Politics skipped the
development. The next day ABC’s Good Morning America
devoted a 17-second item to Hill’s allegations, but that was it
for ABC: nothing on World News Tonight. NBC ignored the
tale of corruption entirely on Nightly News and Today.
Last June ABC’s Prime Time Live
featured a story by Brian Ross in which Hill told how she paid
Brown hundreds of thousands of dollars for his interest in her
businesses, for which he had paid nothing, and other shady
financial dealings. Not only did CBS, CNN and NBC fail to report
the bombshell allegations, but even ABC’s other shows refused to
pass on their own network’s exclusive.
Review: It’s Not Just About Sex, It’s About
Abuse of Power
Five Clinton Practices Ignored by TV News
Polls suggest the public believes that
the Monicagate story is simply a sordid tale of office hanky-panky that
a sex-starved media could not resist. The most serious aspects of the
story — coverups, perjury, subornation of perjury, and obstruction of
justice — have antecedents in previous White House attempts to stonewall
damaging Clinton scandals. A MediaWatch analysis of past TV
coverage suggests there are five regular Clinton administration
practices that deserve investigation that the network evening news shows
on ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC have downplayed or ignored in non-sexual
1. Hush Money for Friendly
Hillary’s former law partner and
friend Webster Hubbell was forced to resign in early 1994 as Associate
Attorney General, the Justice Department’s number-three position, for
embezzling nearly a half-million dollars from the Rose Law Firm, with
some of his false expense accounts signed by his Rose Law partner
Hillary Clinton. Last year, print reporters discovered Hubbell had been
paid more than $500,000 from dozens of Clinton-affiliated people for
"jobs" (on which little or no work was performed), more than he’d ever
made in a year in his whole life. With the bonanza arriving as he was
allegedly cooperating with Whitewater counsel Ken Starr, investigators
suspect Hubbell was paid to keep quiet.
In May 1997, USA Today
revealed Clinton pal Vernon Jordan got Hubbell a job with Revlon, the
same company he later approached to get a job for Monica Lewinsky. In
December, the Los Angeles Times reported Mickey Kantor, the
President’s 1992 campaign manager later named Commerce Secretary,
admitted he lied when he said he didn’t attempt to get Hubbell jobs.
Neither of these stories was reported by any network evening news show —
until NBC’s Lisa Myers explored Jordan’s role in a March 3, 1998
Nightly News story.
2. Destruction or Hiding of
Obstruction of justice occurred in
the destruction of or hiding of relevant documents in the Whitewater
investigation. Rose Law Firm shreddings, late-appearing billing records
in the White House residence, and White House lawyers’ meeting notes
like "Vacuum Rose Law files" underline that important evidence in the
Whitewater story may never be recovered.
Last November, Associated Press
reported that a mechanic discovered a stash of Whitewater documents,
including a check made out to Bill Clinton from Whitewater partner Jim
McDougal, in the trunk of a tornado-damaged Mercury Marquis once owned
by McDougal courier Henry Floyd. Clinton claimed he never borrowed money
from his felonious business partner, but the check matched the amount of
a Whitewater loan repayment. The bank documents included information on
the fraudulent Castle Grande transaction Mrs. Clinton worked on for
McDougal. Only NBC Nightly News broadcast a full story.
3. Violating the Privacy
Rights of Adversaries.
In June 1996, the White House
admitted aide Craig Livingstone and others had collected FBI files on
338 Republican officials from past administrations. Later, the real
number of files surpassed 900. After a brief burst of coverage, the
networks dropped the story.
On September 25, 1996, Senate
Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) revealed a six-month
gap in the log which listed who at the White House was accessing FBI
background files on Republicans. On October 4, Sen. Hatch
released the deposition of White House aide Mari Anderson. She verified
that pages of the log used to record the taking of FBI files were
missing. Anderson also asserted, contradicting White House aide Craig
Livingstone’s assurances, that Livingstone knew the Clinton White House
was procuring the FBI files of Republicans. Only CNN reported these
4. Failing to Comply with
Well after DNC Finance Director
Richard Sullivan testified in July 1997 before the Senate Governmental
Affairs Committee, the DNC belatedly released 4,000 pages of subpoenaed
documents from Sullivan’s office. Months after the subpoenas arrived,
the files supposedly were finally found by Sullivan’s successor in the
only filing cabinet in his office.
A similar example emerged on November 6,
1997, when Deputy White House Counsel Cheryl Mills admitted in testimony
before the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee that she and
former Counsel Jack Quinn decided to withhold (for a total of 15 months)
a White House staffer’s memo suggesting President Clinton wanted the
newly created White House Office Data Base (WHODB) shared with the DNC.
Neither of these stories got any TV news coverage.
5. Keeping Meetings Secret
by Filing False Statements.
Last December, Judge Royce
Lamberth fined the White House $286,000 for health czar Ira Magaziner’s
lying (at White House lawyers’ direction) about the composition of
Hillary’s health care task force in order to keep meetings closed to the
public. Lamberth issued the fine to reimburse the American Association
of Physicians and Surgeons for costs in their lawsuit against the
Clinton health planners.
The White House claimed throughout
the litigation the task force had no non-governmental employees on it.
After Lamberth’s fine, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill
Archer called on Magaziner to resign. Just as they’d ignored the AAPS
suit from the beginning, the networks aired nothing on the Lamberth
decision or Archer’s call for Magaziner to step down.
On the Bright Side
ABC on the Budget-Busting Transportation Bill
When the Democrats were in control of Congress, the
media rarely questioned pork barrel spending in their funding bills.
With Republicans now in control it’s their turn to spend, but only ABC
took on the GOP from the right, reporting that in the current,
pork-laden transportation bill many Republicans have abandoned their
promise to reign in spending.
In their nightly "A Closer Look" segment, the March 23
World News Tonight took a very critical look at the bill. Anchor
Peter Jennings opened the story: "There is no doubt that much of the
money to improve roads and bridges and tunnels is badly needed. What
causes so many people distress is that in a Congress which promised
fiscal reform and responsibility, it is pretty much business as usual."
Reporter John Cochran focused on where all the pork
starts, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee: "That’s
the biggest committee in Congress, 73 members. Everyone wants to be on a
committee eager to hand out billions, 43 percent more than the last
transportation bill six years ago when Democrats ran Congress. That kind
of spending disgusts some Republicans who say now that we’re in charge,
we’re as bad as liberal Democrats."
Cochran compared the bill to the budget plan:
"Remember the historic agreement to balance the budget? The
transportation bill busts that to the tune of $26 billion. To make up
the difference, Republicans promise to cut other programs but don’t say
which ones. It could mean less for schools, law enforcement or health.
It could also mean no tax cuts. That infuriates Republican Sue Myrick.
She always felt the transportation bill was the worst kind of pork
Myrick went on to explain how she was offered $15
million for her district, which she turned down, in exchange for her
vote on the bill. While Myrick was one of the exceptions, Cochran
concluded by pointing out GOP hypocrisy: "Much of that money comes from
your gasoline taxes. Democrats pushed through the last tax increase back
in 1993 — 4.3 cents a gallon. And every Republican voted against it.
Now, they need that money and more. So the same Republicans who screamed
back then are now saying, ‘Fill ‘er up.’"
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