CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Wednesday January 12, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 6) |
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Clinton Saving "America's Treasures"; ABC's Toobin Backs Hillary's VRWC

1) "An ambitious plan to save America's treasures," exclaimed Tom Brokaw on Clinton making some Western areas National Monuments. ABC led with the end-run around Congress. Jackie Judd spelled out the bad implications of a court ruling limiting federal power.

2) Dan Rather readily relayed how John McCain "criticizes George W. Bush's tax cut plan as a giveaway to the rich." But CBS's numbers on the impact of each plan didn't match that rhetoric.

3) ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is out with a book claiming conservatives used the Lewinsky matter to abuse the legal system. Asked about Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy" claim, Toobin said she "was more right than wrong." He also learned that Bob Bennett asked Paula Jones to draw a picture of Clinton's penis.

4) Letterman's "Top Ten Donald Trump Tips For a Healthy, Loving Relationship."

5) Hillary Clinton to appear on Wednesday night's Late Show with David Letterman.

Correction: The January 10 CyberAlert quoted a question from NBC's Brian Williams as he moderated the GOP debate on January 7: "Governor Bush, a few blocks from here on top of the State Capitol building, the confederate flag flies with the state flag and the U.S. flag. [Boos.] It is, as you can here from the reaction of tonight's [boos], as you can here from the reaction of tonight's crowd of 3,000 people from South Carolina, a hot button issue here..." The Friday night timing of the debate gave me the luxury of using, for the Monday CyberAlert, a transcript I got off Nexis instead of transcribing it myself. But though I corrected several errors in the transcript by comparing it to the videotape, I missed the use of the word "here" in place of the proper "hear."


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Bill Clinton's "powerful gesture for land conservation" topped ABC's World News Tonight on Tuesday. CBS didn't touch Clinton's decision to issue an executive order designating four Western areas as National Monuments and went first with the flu in the U.S. and Europe. NBC devoted its In-Depth segment to the land move after it led with the battle over Elian Gonzalez.

     ABC portrayed Clinton's land maneuver as part of an effort to "secure a better legacy," and while NBC eventually gave a few seconds to Westerners upset by the land grab, Tom Brokaw characterized Clinton as a second Teddy Roosevelt who is "safeguarding America's natural beauty for future generations."

     All three broadcast evening shows ran full stories on McCain's new tax plan with both CBS and NBC describing it as "modest" compared to George Bush's proposal. See item #2 for details. Looking at a Supreme Court ruling, ABC's Jackie Judd portrayed as an ominous trend the court's decision that state employees cannot sue in federal court over age discrimination.

    Judd explained how the justices found that Congress went to far in allowing such lawsuit since unlike blacks and woman older people have not been subjected to a history of unequal treatment. Judd spelled out the dire implications, relying on one liberal lobbyist as her only expert:
     "For the nearly five million state employees who choose to sue in state court, their level of protection now depends on where they live."
     Laurie McCann, AARP: "Some of the state laws are very good, like California and the DC Human Rights Act, but then there's other state statutes like Alabama which is merely words on paper."
     Judd concluded: "This is the latest in a series of decisions favoring states over intrusion from Washington. Those who lost today worry that the court may eventually extend that philosophy to other laws, including the Family Medical Leave Act and the law protecting the disabled."

     Now back to Clinton's land grab. Peter Jennings opened the January 11 World News Tonight:
     "We're going to begin tonight watching a lame duck President govern his way around the Congress. The President was in the West today for one of those very dramatic photo-ops that Presidents love. Mr. President had to relish this one. He's trying to secure a better legacy than the country permits him so far. In this case, a powerful gesture for land conservation or, as many Republicans particularly see it, an abuse of power."

     John Cochran explained how Clinton issued an executive order which puts about one million acres of land in Arizona, Nevada and California into one of three National Monuments, thus severely limiting use of the land. Cochran allowed Arizona Senator John Kyl to express his displeasure with the end run around Congress which leaves locals to deal with how to handle the inevitable influx of tourists to the preserved areas.

     At the top of NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw's tease reflected seeming bafflement at to why anyone would oppose Clinton's move: "NBC News In-Depth: An ambitious plan to save America's treasures before time runs out for the President. Why so many critics?"

     Getting to the story, Brokaw's set up stuck to a approving assessment of Clinton's prescience:
     "NBC News In-Depth tonight: Safeguarding America's natural beauty for future generations. President Clinton says that is exactly what he was doing today when he declared more than a million acres of Western land as National Monuments. Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the greatest number of national monuments, 18, including the Grand Canyon. Jimmy Carter was next with 15 monuments, all of them pristine territory in the state of Alaska. Well now three new monuments and a new debate: Is this about preservation of the land or preserving a presidential legacy?"

     Reporter Roger O'Neil asserted that Clinton was just "doing what he was afraid Congress wouldn't do." Explaining how Clinton wanted to stop suburban sprawl, O'Neil aired clips of Clinton and Interior Secretary Babbitt before getting to the other side. O'Neil relayed how ranchers point out that the Interior Department already controls one quarter of U.S. land and aired a soundbite from Kyl. He then concluded by suggesting Clinton might do more than Teddy Roosevelt:
     "There's more acreage on the President's wish list, enough that if he continues to set aside more land this 21st century President could surpass Teddy Roosevelt, who began the nation's effort to preserve land a century ago."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) McCain's tax cut earned full stories Tuesday night on all three broadcast network evening shows. Though CBS's Dan Rather relayed McCain's claim that Bush's plan is "a giveaway to the rich," the numbers listed by CBS showed the wealthy getting a bigger tax cut from McCain.

     On World News Tonight ABC's Linda Douglass outlined McCain's plan and how he is gambling that voters want to put money away for the future by shoring up Social Security.

     Dan Rather gladly highlighted McCain's class warfare, announcing on the CBS Evening News: "John McCain, who criticizes George W. Bush's tax cut plan as a giveaway to the rich, has now weighed in with a tax cut agenda of his own." From New Hampshire, Bill Whitaker began his CBS Evening News story:
     "When it comes to taxes, the Republican stance is pretty predictable: cut 'em. So who could have predicted the tax warfare between the GOP frontrunners? Between a huge $483 billion cut proposed by Texas Governor George W. Bush and a more modest one, about half as much, laid out today by Arizona Senator John McCain."

     Whitaker's numbers did not match McCain's rhetoric: "Under the McCain plan, a family of four earning $35,000 would see their taxes cut by $1,200; earning $75,000 they'd get a $1,700 tax cut; at $150,000, McCain would slash their taxes by $4,500. Bush, by comparison, would cut $1,500 from the lower-wage taxes, $2,100 from the middle-income family and $4,300 from the higher-wage bracket." On screen viewers saw a table credited to Deloitte & Touche.

     After battling soundbites from McCain and Bush, Whitaker suggested: "This close race will likely be determined by independent voters." A woman asserted: "There are a lot more issues that are more important to me, especially the character of the person running."

     Whitaker then concluded: "So running on tax cuts may not work the same magic here it once did."

     Over on the NBC Nightly News David Bloom got barely a minute to handle the story. He began by relaying how "McCain says he's being conservative, responsible." Compared to Bush's plan, Bloom said McCain "unveiled a modest" tax cut plan.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) ABC News legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is out with a new book this week on the Lewinsky scandal. Though he maintained on Tuesday's Imus in the Morning radio show that "I think you can't underestimate just how appalling the President's behavior was," the book isn't about how the Clintons and their operatives used unethical methods to discredit investigative authorities but about how ideologically-motivated conservatives misused the legal process for political ends.

     Indeed, he told Imus: "If you look at how I think the legal system was manipulated by Clinton's enemies, you know, practically from Day One of his presidency, yes, I think it's fair to say there was a conspiracy to try to force Clinton out of office, but one in which the President, you know, gave his enemies tremendous ammunition." Asked about Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy" claim, Toobin labeled her "more right than wrong."

     Ted Koppel devoted the entire Nightline Tuesday night to Toobin's book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Toobin told Koppel about couple of items he uncovered which are unflattering toward Clinton's team, including how Hillary proclaimed that she accused the conservatives of conspiring in order to teach them "not to F with us" and that Clinton's lawyer abused Paula Jones during her deposition. It will be interesting to see over the next few days whether media outlets pick up of these topics or concentrate only on how Toobin impugned conservatives.

     More on Nightline below, but first a rundown of what Toobin told Imus, including how he agreed that "right wing nuts" took advantage of the Lewinsky matter in an effort to destroy Clinton, followed by the text of the MRC's Tuesday fax report on Toobin's background and how even a New York Times book review by Michiko Kakutani found:
     "Toobin spends the better part of this book railing against Clinton's adversaries, who he says 'appeared literally consumed with hatred for him...They were willing to trample all standards of fairness -- not to mention the Constitution -- in their effort to drive him from office.'"

     -- Highlights from the January 11 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast by MSNBC, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake:

     Don Imus: "Was the First Lady right when she went on the Today show and described this attempt to get her husband a vast right wing conspiracy? Was there any kind of conspiracy?"
     Jeffrey Toobin: "I think she was more right than wrong. I think obviously she and everybody around the Clintons vastly understated the President's own responsibility for getting himself involved in this mess but if you step back and look at the whole story, as I try to do in this book, you recognize that this was really practically from the day Bill Clinton took office, and remember the American Spectator story that mentioned Paula and set off the Paula Jones case was set off in December of 1993. He hadn't even been President for a year. Cliff Jackson, the Arkansas, you know, anti-Clinton activist, takes Paula Jones under his wing at a time when Clinton hasn't even been President for a year. And if you look at how I think the legal system was manipulated by Clinton's enemies, you know, practically from day one of his presidency, yes, I think it's fair to say there was a conspiracy to try to force Clinton out of office, but one in which the President, you know, gave his enemies tremendous ammunition."

     Imus followed up: "So was she right, was it just a conspiracy or was it just entirely comprised of right wing people?"
     Toobin: "Yeah, you know, that's one of things that you know, that I think it's important to recognize as we step back a bit. You know there was no one in the anti-Clinton forces who wasn't already a dedicated enemy of the President. Sure, there were people who were unhappy with the President, Joe Lieberman, you know has been mentioned but if you look at the people who were trying to drive him from office it was all conservative Republicans and I think, you know, that tells you a lot."

     Toobin later opined: "You know one of the great examples of hubris I think on the part of Clinton's enemies was this feeling was 'It's always just out there. It's just out there.' It's not gonna be Filegate. Then it will be Travelgate. Then it will be you know Whitewater and Lewinsky came along and people said, 'Finally. Okay, we got him' but interestingly, as the Lewinsky story went along, and the public started to say you know, 'We don't care about this,' it started again, this idea that you know, 'It's gonna be Juanita Broaddrick. That's gonna be the straw that breaks the camel's back.'"

     Imus wondered at another point: "Here is my basic question: is what the public thinks happened actually did happen? The President had sex with Monica Lewinsky and lied about it and got caught and then these right wing nuts who we talked about, who were trying to get him over Whitewater and the Paula Corbin Jones mess, then saw this is an opportunity to finally succeed. Is that essentially what happened?"
     Toobin: "I think that's right and you know, I think you can't underestimate just how appalling the President's behavior was."

     Toobin added: "You know it's funny, as I said before we went on the air, I said I thought that that [New York Times] review read like it was written by one of the House managers. You know, it's, you know, a recapitulation of all the arguments that have been made against Clinton. I don't you know, you've read the book- you see I don't spare any invective on Clinton's behavior, how awful it was, but I do think, you know, the constitutional structure that was set up was not designed to throw elected Presidents out of office because of misbehavior, however awful, that's really personal in nature and not having anything to do with the execution of his duties. I mean none of this stuff has to do with his duties."

     Imus: "Do you think he broke the law?"
     Toobin, sounding like Geraldo Rivera, replied: "You know, broke the law -- he didn't break the law in the sense that any real criminal prosecutor would have brought a criminal case against him. I mean people break the law on a daily basis in a million ways and cases aren't prosecuted. A reasonable prosecutor in a civil case that had been thrown out on a peripheral matter would never brought a perjury case against him."

     Finally, Toobin echoed another liberal complaint: "One of the real outrages of the Starr Report, I think, is by describing these sex acts in you know, in the detail that they did, four of five times in the footnotes, in the text, in the grounds, any sex act described in that kind of detail, I think would seem perverse, and insane and ludicrous to you know, get into the mechanics like that."

     -- January 11 Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham:

Jeffrey Toobin vs. The Right-Wing Cabal
ABC Fires Zelnick and Kristol, But Its "Objective" Legal Expert Has New "Highly Partisan" Liberal Book

ABC's ongoing tilt to the left seems to be outdoing the Gore and Bradley campaigns. After firing reporter Bob Zelnick for writing a book on Al Gore and scrapping conservative pundit Bill Kristol's contract, their legal expert Jeffrey Toobin has authored a new book coming out today titled A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of a Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.

Toobin's liberal slant is no surprise. He is the child of two network news veterans, the late producer Jerry Toobin and anchorwoman Marlene Sanders. In his 1991 book Opening Arguments, about his service as a lawyer for Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, Toobin fondly remembered Watergate: "The aftermath of this bungled burglary attempt constituted the dominant political event of my childhood. I developed the disdain for Richard Nixon that was all but obligatory on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- I recall my first taste of champagne on the night he resigned, August 9, 1974, but the stories that captured my attention were of the young lawyers working for Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who seemed, through the prism of television, like they were changing the world."

Toobin added, "The Mets (as well as others) had taught me that the good guys didn't always win, but Watergate seemed a happy exception to that rule...To my eyes, it looked less like a job than a crusade -- and I wanted to join the next one."

When he landed a job with Walsh's office, Toobin recalled playing an Elvis Costello song, "A raucous tune about the fall of a decrepit empire. Sure, I thought, we would prosecute some crimes and put some people away. But that would only be the start. The Walsh office would take on Reagan and all the President's men, with their contempt for the Constitution, disdain for the Congress, and hostility to the truth, the qualities epitomized by the diversion scheme. We had nothing less than a blank check to uncover and rectify the misdeeds of a corrupt and dishonorable administration. We wouldn't stop until we reached the top."

Toobin relished his role attempting to bring down the Reagan White House: "I spent most of my frantic first weeks in office trying to pretend I was having less fun than I was. Fencing with Ed Meese's minions? Playing chicken with the White House? Battling Ollie North? I was having the time of my life."

Toobin's still crusading in what today's New York Times review called a "highly partisan" and "willfully subjective" book. It noted Toobin presents the President as "A victim of 'extremists of the political right who tried to use the legal system to undo elections -- in particular the two that put Bill Clinton in the White House.'"

The review added: "Toobin spends the better part of this book railing against Clinton's adversaries, who he says 'appeared literally consumed with hatred for him...They were willing to trample all standards of fairness -- not to mention the Constitution -- in their effort to drive him from office,' he says. 'They ranged from one-case-only zealots in the cause of sexual harassment to one-defendant-only federal prosecutors, and they shared only a willingness to misuse the law and the courts in their effort to destroy Bill Clinton."

"Highly partisan" is an apt description of Toobin, who changes his views of who's "manipulating" the legal system based on who's in charge. But he's a perfect match for the accelerating liberalism at ABC.

END Reprint of fax report

     -- Toobin on the January 11 Nightline.

     Toobin told Ted Koppel that after charging on NBC's Today that Bill Clinton was the victim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," Hillary returned to the White House and triumphantly proclaimed: "I guess that ought to teach them not to F with us."

     Recalling how Ken Starr rejected an immunity deal early on with Lewinsky because he didn't trust Bill Ginsberg, Toobin judged: "It was, in many respects, the misjudgment that was the worst thing Starr did and may have saved the Clinton presidency." The delay, Toobin argued, enabled Clinton to win the PR war and convince the public it was a private matter. Of course, the media helped promote that view.

     On his reading of the full text of the Paula Jones deposition, which his book is the first to detail:
     "What I saw was the most extraordinary act of character assassination that I had ever seen by Bob Bennett, the President's lawyer, and Danny Ferguson's lawyer, who was the co-defendant in the Paula Jones case. These supposed defenders of women's rights and the people who were so outraged by the way Anita Hill was treated by the Senate Judiciary Committee, raked over Paula Jones about her sex life, in excruciating detail, and even to the point where Bob Bennett asked Paula Jones to draw a picture of the President's genitals. I mean that was the kind of degrading treatment they subjected this woman to."

     Let's see if that point is picked up by much of the media this week.

     Sneaking in a plug, Toobin highlighted how Random House has posted many never before seen Paula Jones deposition documents at a new Web site tied to the book:

     Koppel ended the show with this question: "When, Jeff, all is said and done, was there a vast conspiracy?"
     Toobin offered a gentler reproach of conservatives than he had earlier in the day on the Imus show: "There has been a vast conspiracy in the country. Not the one that Hillary Clinton talked about so much, but as the legal system has taken over the political system. That instead of fighting political battles in elections, in legislatures, we have civil lawsuits like Paula Jones case, we have criminal prosecutions like the Starr investigation that are politics by other means and I think that has been a vast conspiracy and I think that is a poison that I hope is eradicated from the system."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) From the January 11 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Donald Trump Tips For a Healthy, Loving Relationship." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. No pick-up line better than "have sex with me or you're evicted."
9. Look at her lovingly as you would gaze at yourself in a mirror.
8. She touches the hair, she's out the door.
7. Loving, healthy relationships should last no longer than 3 months.
6. Don't brag "Had her, had her, had her" when watching Miss USA Pageant with wife.
5. Take her to your casino, give her roll of quarters, say, "Go nuts."
4. Tell her "Of all the women I've slept with, you're somewhere in the 90-95th percentile."
3. Nothing says "I love you" like 2 tickets to: "Taj Mahal Presents An Evening With John Davidson."
2. Make up your own "Trump Tower" joke here.
1. Rule #1 -- Become a billionaire.

     And from the Late Show Web site, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."

-- To cut down on the risk of germs, only have sex in a hot tub full of anti-bacterial hand gel.
-- Surprise her with little perfumed notes containing phrases from your prenuptial agreement.
-- There isn't any disagreement that can't be smoothed over with a stack of hundred-dollar casino chips.
-- Promise her that, if things don't work out, she can have back her job as a casino showgirl.
-- Yacht's are a perfect way of telling your wife, "Sorry for nailing the sitter."
-- One hour a day, let her cuddle with your hairpiece.
-- Date non-Americans, so when they accuse you of cheating, you can pretend not to understand.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Hillary Clinton will finally face the "Big Man" on Wednesday night. As David Letterman viewers know, as part of a running gag since mid-December, Late Show Executive Producer Rob Burnett has been updating Letterman each night about his talks that day with Hillary's staff about getting Hillary to agree to appear on the show. Burnett's Tuesday update: She'll be a guest on the show Wednesday night, January 12.

     Last Spring the Late Show audience booed James Carville. Tune into CBS tonight to see how they greet Hillary Clinton. -- Brent Baker



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