Al the Inventor?
For four years every sentence
or idea that then-Vice President Dan Quayle fumbled was highlighted by
nearly every media outlet and news program. Quayleís successor, Al Gore,
has filled the former VPís shoes and occasionally stuck one in his
mouth, but Gore gaffes have never been popular with the press.
On March 9, Gore appeared on
CNNís Late Edition/Prime Time for an interview with Wolf Blitzer.
At one point Gore proclaimed: "During my service in the United States
Congress I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Unfazed by the
claim, Blitzer moved on to an unrelated question. Days later,
Republicans drew attention to the quote with jokes about creating the
paper clip, but none of the network morning or evening shows covered
Goreís Internet gaffe.
Five days later on Sundayís
Late Edition, Blitzer defended Gore: "He was involved in supporting
legislation that promoted the Internet. I think thatís probably what he
meant to say." Panelists on several weekend talk shows discussed Goreís
boast without Blitzeresque rationalizations. On CNNís Capital Gang,
Timeís Margaret Carlson made it her Outrage of the Week,
wondering:"Is being a heartbeat away from the Whopper-in-Chief rubbing
off on Gore?"
Hemp beer served on Air Force One?
Matt Drudge first reported the incident on his Web site on February 16:
"Late Monday evening aboard Air Force One [as President Clinton was
returning from his trip to Mexico], stewards passed out ĎHemp Golden
Beerí to the President, members of Congress and the press!"
Could that be true? No one in
the press touched the story until the March 15 issue of U.S. News &
World Report. In her article about U.S. farmers fighting the ban on
growing hemp, Elise Ackerman noted hemp is on the Drug Enforcement
Administrationís controlled-substance list, then made a passing mention
of the episode: "President Clinton has yet to state his official
position on the plant, but Hempen Gold, a cream ale brewed from hemp
seeds, was recently served on Air Force One."
Not only did the entire media
ignore Drudgeís embarrassing scoop, but ABCís Connie Chung passed up an
ideal opportunity to bring it up. On the March 8 Good Morning America,
Chung talked to Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, allowing him plenty of air
time to promote the latest technological advances in the War on Drugs.
Not once did she press him on the topic, even though he traveled to
Kentucky three days later to denounce hemp advocates for "a thinly
disguised attempt to legalize the production of pot." Instead, Chung
asked press-release questions such as: "I wanted to ask you about an
announcement youíre making today concerning an artificial enzyme that
will help fight cocaine addiction. What can you tell us about it?"
Auditing the IRS.
Three and a half weeks after the IRS cleared Newt Gingrich and the
Progress & Freedom Foundation (PFF) of any violations in accepting
tax-deductible donations to fund his college course, the Los Angeles
Times got around to informing its readers.
But the thrust of the February
27 Times story was not the vindication of the former Speaker.
Instead, reporters Art Pine and Alan Miller warned: "Critics fear that
the decision could break down the barriers that have prohibited
tax-exempt charitable organizations from getting involved in politics,
paving the way for politicians to set up such groups to finance their
Not until the tenth paragraph,
after quotes from two liberals, did the Times get to a Gingrich
ally, Jeff Eisenach of PFF. But then the paper tried to counter any idea
of exoneration by focusing on how the IRS reached its February 3
conclusion without seeing transcripts of testimony before the House
ethics committee, though the Times did allow Eisenach to argue
that if there had been anything incriminating, the House would have
provided it to the IRS.
But then Pine and Miller
suggested the IRS went soft: "There also have been debates over whether
IRS supervisors really examined the evidence fully or simply took a bow
in hopes of heading off a clash with a powerful figure."
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe