ABC Admired Clinton’s Racial Efforts; Prime Time Newt Bashing
1) All three broadcast network evening shows led Monday night
with the South Carolina protest against flying the Confederate flag. Dan
Rather declared America still has "a long way to go for the dream of
2) "President Clinton, who has spent more time in the
inner cities of America than any other President, was there again, helping
black youngsters," gushed ABC’s John Cochran in assessing Clinton’s
legacy on race. All was fine until the GOP won in 1994.
3) John Cochran’s dinner invitation to the Gore’s,
portrayed at the time by ABC News as perfectly appropriate, may have cost
Cochran the assignment of covering Al Gore, USA Today reported.
4) Can’t bring themselves to say "partial-birth
abortion." Dan Rather’s convolution: "The Court says it will hear
arguments in a case involving a particular kind of late-term abortion."
5) Bill and Hillary Clinton’s "disdain" for the
press, Steve Roberts argued, proves liberal bias is "a conservative
canard." Meanwhile, a USA Today reporter said she’d be a good date.
6) NBC’s Law & Order: SVU delivered liberal gay rights
rhetoric and assaulted Newt Gingrich for "being a pedantic megalomaniac
who espouses family values while serving his cancer-stricken wife with divorce
7) Letterman’s last Top Ten list for a while, the "Top
Ten Headlines on a Slow News Day."
>>> "The Media's Anti-Gun Bias," a column by Jeff
Jacoby, appeared in the January 17 Boston Globe. Jacoby recounted two studies,
one by a scholar at the University of Michigan followed by the MRC study
released a couple of weeks ago. The Boston-based Jacoby concluded his
syndicated column: "This bigotry against guns is irrational. It convinces
millions of Americans that the media cannot be trusted. Someday the networks
may figure out that in a land where almost one household in two owns a gun,
demonizing gun owners makes no sense. But by then, who will be tuned in?"
To read Jacoby’s column, go to:
For the MRC’s study by Geoffrey Dickens, "Outgunned:
How the Network News Media Are Spinning the Gun Control Debate," go to: http://archive.mrc.org/specialreports/news/sr20000105.html
protest rally in Columbia, South Carolina against that state flying the
Confederate flag above the state capitol building, topped the three broadcast
network evening news shows Monday night, Martin Luther King Day.
All highlighted how Republican presidential candidates
George Bush and John McCain "have refused to take a stand," as
ABC’s Barry Serafin put it, but none reminded viewers of who was Governor in
1962 when the flag went up to show defiance against desegregation: Democrat
Ernest Hollings, currently a U.S. Senator. Only CBS’s Cynthia Bowers
explained how the Republicans are reluctant to take on the issue because they
"cannot afford to alienate their core of conservative white voters."
Dan Rather opened the January 17 CBS Evening News:
"As America paid tribute today to Doctor Martin Luther King Junior and
his crusade for freedom and racial equality, there was a battle going on over
what some see as a continuing symbol of racial oppression."
Following Bill Whitaker’s story from South Carlina,
Cynthia Bowers checked in from Des Moines: "It’s safe to say the
Republicans have been blind-sided by this Confederate flag controversy. For
the Republican candidates the problem is that they cannot afford to alienate
their core of conservative white voters, but they also want to appear open and
more tolerant. That’s why they’re taking a benign states rights stance and
hoping this issue fades away."
At the end of the newscast, after a story on a
successful black woman who runs a soul food business, Rather opined:
"Progress, but still a long way to go for the dream of equal
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw began the show:
"In South Carolina the Confederate flag has become a divisive symbol,
reaching all the way to the presidential campaign." Reporter Fredrica
Whitfield in South Carolina noted how Gore and Bradley want the flag taken
down while Bush and McCain call it a state matter.
Up next, Claire Shipman looked at how Gore and Bradley
are appealing to the black vote. After noting how Gore’s ties to Clinton are
an asset in appealing to blacks, Shipman observed: "But Bradley’s
trying to change that, traveling to Harlem to meet with controversial black
leader Al Sharpton, stressing his days in the multi-ethnic NBA...."
Nice how Bradley earns no media rebuke for meeting with
a race-baiting demagogue like Sharpton.
Clinton, racial healer who failed only because the Republicans took over
Congress in 1994. Monday night ABC’s John Cochran looked at Clinton’s
legacy on race. While he insisted "No President has spoken more often or
more bluntly about the need for racial harmony than Bill Clinton,"
Cochran evaluated him from the left, suggesting he fell short because he
compromised on welfare reform after Republicans won in 1994. Cochran failed to
remind viewers of how Clinton has often tried to divide Americans on racial
lines in his attacks on conservative policies.
Cochran gushed with praise in beginning his January 17
World News Tonight piece: "President Clinton, who has spent more time in
the inner cities of America than any other President, was there again, helping
black youngsters paint their club. And reminding us that Martin Luther King
once said all Americans are tied together inescapably."
Following a clip of Clinton, Cochran continued his
praise: "No President has spoken more often or more bluntly about the
need for racial harmony than Bill Clinton, even a prominent black Republican
gives him credit for that."
Cochran showed Republican House Conference Chairman J.C.
Watts saying Clinton deserves high marks for talking about race. Then viewers
saw a soundbite of Oprah Winfrey asserting that things have improved on racial
issues during Clinton’s years.
Cochran delivered more admiration for how Clinton
persevered, despite the VRWC:
"Even during the worst days of his administration, the
President focused on his own commission’s recommendations to reduce racial
tension. Still, many African-Americans feel that the promise he offered seven
years ago has not been fulfilled."
Democratic Congressman John Lewis remarked how Clinton had
been unable to engage the public. But that wasn’t Clinton’s fault, as
Cochran took aim:
"The turning point, many believe, was the election of
1994 which gave Republicans full control of Congress. Many African Americans
believe the President then compromised too much on issues such as welfare
reform, crime legislation and affirmative action."
Martin Luther King III explained how Clinton tried to be
inclusive, but politics got in way, before Cochran concluded:
"Another goal, not yet accomplished, is a book the
President wants to publish with his thoughts on race in America. He and his
aides have had trouble writing it. The President wants to finish it this year
while he is still in office and while the country might still pay attention to
Cochran and ABC News certainly will pay attention.
(Monday night ABC portrayed another Clinton legacy as a
model for George W. Bush. Recalling the hopes of Democrats for re-taking the
White House in 1992, ABC’s Jim Wooten ended a story on how Bush is staying
to middle as he looks ahead to the fall campaign: "Remember, they’d
lost three straight. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton wasn’t everybody’s cup
of tea, but he did look like he might win and he did by staying in the middle.
Beginning here in Iowa, Governor Bush aims to repeat that history.")
of Cochran being nice in his reporting on Bill Clinton, USA Today on Monday
reported that Cochran’s early December dinner invitation to Al and Tipper
Gore may have cost him the assignment of covering the Gore campaign.
As you may recall, back in early December a small
controversy erupted when ABC White House reporter John Cochran extended a
personal invitation for Al and Tipper Gore to have dinner at his house.
Seemingly by way of cover, ABC quickly had reporters from other outlets, as
well as Peter Jennings, join the fest as Cochran insisted it was a
For what USA Today reported at the time, Cochran’s
defense as recounted to CNSNews.com and issued by Fred Barnes as well as a
rundown of Cochran’s liberal reporting, go to the December 3 CyberAlert: http://archive.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19991203.html#1
Now, for the latest development, USA Today reporter
Peter Johnson’s "Inside TV" item for January 17, which MRC Free
Market Project Director Rich Noyes brought to my attention:
....Inside ABC News, it was widely assumed before the Dec. 2 dinner that
Cochran would be dispatched from his White House duties to cover the Gore
Now, ABC News is expected to announce this week that the assignment will go
to Cochran's colleague at the White House, Terry Moran. Unlike Cochran, a
seasoned political reporter who has covered both the White House and Capitol
Hill, Moran's background is primarily on legal issues. Moran got his start on
Cochran isn't being cut out of the 2000 race. He'll continue to cover
President Clinton and join ABC's Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts and Jim Wooten,
along with political analysts George Will and George Stephanopoulos, to
provide in-depth analysis of the races....
Questions were raised when Cochran hosted the dinner at his Washington,
D.C., home because it gave the appearance of coziness between Cochran and the
candidate -- a no-no in the news business.
ABC News, which footed the bill and invited other news organizations,
called it a "working dinner" and said it planned other such
functions. But no others have taken place. ABC News President David Westin
said Friday that the network has asked other "major candidates" to
dinners, but nothing has been set up. He wouldn't rule out having ABC
correspondents host candidates in their homes.
Westin and Cochran said Cochran's covering the Gore campaign was never a
done deal. "I was never assigned to be the Gore correspondent. We talked
about my sharing Gore coverage at one point with another correspondent, but
what we found was I cannot cover the White House and cover a candidate full
time or even part time," Cochran said.
So covering a lame-duck President is more important than covering a
would-be one? "Bill Clinton refuses to act like a lame-duck
President," Cochran said. "There's still a White House story."
Of the dinner, Gore said he didn't know what all the fuss was about, and he
called Cochran a friend. Friday, Cochran said he is "not a friend"
of Gore's. "I'm not an enemy; I don't consider myself to be a friend of
any politician. I think he (Gore) was trying to be gracious in some way. And I
believe, since he is a former journalist himself, that he knows it is
impossible for a reporter to ever be a friend to a politician."
At least not to any conservative one.
stars have no hesitation about using loaded liberal terms like
"affirmative action," "Star Wars" and
"pro-choice," but they go through contortions to avoid a term like
"partial-birth abortion." Just check out the convoluted wording the
networks employed Friday night, January 14, in a stories on how the Supreme
Court will review a Nebraska law restricting, well restricting something
-- Peter Jennings on ABC’s World News Tonight:
"The justices are going to decide on the constitutionality of a Nebraska
law banning a controversial procedure involved in late term abortions."
-- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News: "The United
States Supreme Court agreed today to revisit one of the most controversial
issues of our time: a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion.
The Court says it will hear arguments in a case involving a particular kind of
Reporter Jim Stewart wouldn’t use the short-hand
label, but MRC analyst Brian Boyd noted that he did at least describe it:
"...This Spring they will hear a case to decide whether states may ban a
practice its opponents call a ‘partial-birth abortion.’ Under the surgical
procedure usually done in the mid to late trimester of pregnancy, a doctor
withdraws the feet and lower body of a fetus out of the mother then punctures
the skull so the head will collapse and the rest of the fetus can be pulled
out. Advocates of the procedure say sometimes the health of the fetus or the
mother allow no other choice."
-- CNN’s The World Today. MRC analyst Paul Smith found
that anchor Joie Chen referred to "a certain late-term abortion
procedure." Reporter Pierre Thomas cited "certain types of late-term
abortions" and how "states have adopted laws banning what supporters
call ‘partial-birth abortions,’ known medically as dilation and
-- Jim Lehrer on PBS’s NewsHour, as noted by MRC
intern Ken Shepherd: "The Court agreed to hear a case on whether states
may ban the procedure that opponents call ‘partial-birth
-- Tom Brokaw on the NBC Nightly News:
"...They’ll review a Nebraska law that made it illegal for doctors to
perform a late term procedure that its opponents call ‘partial-birth
-- Lisa Carberg on FNC’s Fox Report came closest to
using the term without qualifiers, noticed MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "It
could be the most important ruling on abortion in recent years, the Supreme
Court agreeing to look at a Nebraska law banning late-term, or partial birth,
media’s supposed tough treatment of Hillary Clinton proves the argument that
the media are full of liberals is just a "conservative canard," U.S.
News & World Report’s Steven Roberts contended on Sunday’s Late
In the roundtable portion on the CNN show on January 17,
"One of the things I always find interesting about the
Clintons, and not just Hillary, but the President, in their visceral disdain
and distaste for the press, here the press is all supposed to be liberal, so
you know, go in the tank for Democrats. This has been a conservative canard
for years and years and years. You know, ‘you're all liberals, and you don't
give conservatives an even shake.’ The two people in Washington who hate the
political press the most are Bill and Hillary Clinton, which is a reflection
of the fact that the coverage has been pretty tough on them over the last
eight years, and certainly doesn't fulfill the conservative image or
stereotype that we're always easy on Democrats."
No one doubts there has been negative press, but just
because the Clintons are indignant about anything less than adulation for them
doesn’t mean the press is not biased. Just ask Ken Starr who was the victim
of a media which made him and the House managers out to be the bad guys. And
remember all the media praise for Hillary after her "pretty in pink"
evasive press conference?
Let’s take a look at some of the tough press for
Hillary. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this exchange on the January 13
Hardball on MSNBC/CNBC about Hillary Clinton’s Letterman appearance:
Tom Squiteri of USA Today: "I’ll tell you something,
Chris. That appearance last night is why there is a lot of guys out there who
secretly think Hillary Rodham Clinton would be a great date."
Chris Matthews: "Date?"
Squiteri: "Date, D-A-T-E. A woman you go out to dinner
with, take her to the show, talk and have a great time. Because there was a
great allure to it. She came into New York..."
Matthews: "Is there any woman you think wouldn’t be
a great date Tom?"
explicit liberal advocacy Friday night on NBC in the Dick Wolf-produced NBC
show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT/MT drama
about New York City police detectives who investigate sex crimes.
The January 14 show pushed the liberal gay agenda by
denigrating the simplified views of a conservative group’s leader, stating
as fact such unsupported assertions as "one out of every ten men is
gay" and then allowing actor Richard Belzer to go on a diatribe about
Newt Gingrich "being a pedantic megalomaniac who espouses family values
while serving his cancer-stricken wife with divorce papers."
The plot for the show revolved around the death of the
twentysomething "Seth Langdon" on a Manhattan rooftop of a building
where a gay party had been held the night before. Making sure viewers knew
what he was doing before his head was smashed against a solid object, a cop
pointed out "seminal fluids on the face."
The detectives delight in the discovery that "Seth
Langdon" is the son of "William Langdon," head of the imaginary
Jerry Falwell-like "Moral Coalition," which has swank offices in
Sending his detectives out to talk to the elder
"Langdon," Dann Florek as "Captain Donald Cragen,"
declares: "One out of every ten men is gay. Let’s see how Mr. Langdon
felt about that statistic hitting home."
At his office "William Langdon" tells the
detectives: "Seth was merely going through a rebellious phase. All
children do. We had it under control."
"Detective Olivia Benson," played by Mariska
Hargitay, counters: "Just how do you control a person’s natural sexual
Langdon: "Homosexuality is not natural. It is a crime
"Detective Elliot Stabler," played by Chris
Meloni, fires back: "And AIDS is divine retribution."
As the story progresses, Stabler and Benson learn that
an aide to William Langdon was seen at the party. Assuming he was the son’s
gay lover, they bring "Steven Hale" in for questioning.
As the two detectives and a third, "John
Munch" played by Richard Belzer, stand around the coffee machine, this
conversation ensues in which the characters who are so upset by anti-gay
bigotry display some stereotyping themselves about how gay men know how to
Munch: "Why would a gay man work for Langdon, one of
the most conservative bigots in the country?"
Benson: "Hale’s not exactly open about his
Munch: "Do you think Hale’s wife and kid think he
has an uncanny ability to accessorize?"
Benson: "Have you seen him? He doesn’t accessorize
all that well."
Munch: "Well maybe Hale’s not gay."
Munch: "Well how do you prove it?"
Stabler: "One very tried and true way: jealousy.
Witnesses said Hale was jealous when Seth started hitting on other guys."
Munch: "Ah, the old green-eyed monster."
Benson: "Maybe Hale thought that by working for
Langdon he’d be cured."
Stabler, referring to how the elder "Langdon"
sent his son to a camp to help him overcome homosexuality: "Like Langdon
thought Camp Wildbunch cured his own son."
Benson: "Daddy knows best."
Stabler: "He’s damned sure everyone else knows it. I
tell you, I don’t know how people, smart people, educated people, think that
Benson: "I mean, think that you can actually change
the way someone’s wired."
Stabler: "Do you know anyone who would actually choose
to be gay, risk family rejection, discrimination?"
Benson: "Choose all that heartache?"
Munch: "Heartache is not unique to being gay but I
know what you mean. In those camps one of the treatments is electro-shock
therapy to the groin. Sound familiar?"
Benson: "Yeah, Avenal’s tried it on sex
Munch: "Yeah, much the same success."
Since "Hale" is mad at "Benson" and
"Stabler" they decide that "Munch" should interview him.
But instead of "Munch," viewers got liberal activist Richard Belzer
as himself as he interacted with "Hale," who had an obsession with
Newt Gingrich’s sister that Hollywood liberal must think turned
conservatives against Gingrich.
As soon as Munch/Belzer walks into the interview room,
Hale announces: "I am not a homosexual."
Hale: "Part of my job was to keep an eye on Seth. Mr.
Langdon is seriously eyeing a run for a congressional seat, but the scandal of
an openly homosexual son. Well, look at the damage the lesbian sister caused
Newt." [Like a guy with these views would run in metro-New York!]
Munch: "Actually, she was a half sister."
Hale: "She may have been a half sister, but
unfortunately for Newt she was all lesbian."
Munch, exhales loudly, voice rising with indignant anger:
"You don’t think Newt’s problems had anything to do with his ethics
violations or him being a pedantic megalomaniac who espouses family values
while serving his cancer-stricken wife with divorce papers while she’s on
her hospital death bed? Did that ever occur to you?"
End of scene and conservative-bashing for the hour. Oh,
and it turns out Hale isn’t gay and didn’t commit the murder.
As part of Wolf’s deal with NBC, his show repeats nine
days later on the USA cable network. So, this episode will run again on USA on
Sunday night, January 23, at 11pm ET, 10pm CT.
the January 14 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Headlines on
a Slow News Day." Since Letterman had heart surgery on Friday, the day
after this show was taped on Thursday night and less than two days after his
interview with Hillary Clinton taped at 5:30pm Wednesday, this is the last Top
Ten list for at least several weeks. It’s not the most exciting, but it is
on a media-related topic, so here goes:
10. "Comb Usage Up 1%"
9. "Pope Does Not Lead Cops on High-Speed Chase"
8. "Hitting Head With Hammer Hurts"
7. "Small Jump In Interest Rates Fails to Impress Pre-Schoolers"
6. "Vast Majority of Senior Citizens Intimidated by Japanese Food"
5. "Uninterrupted Flow of Electric Power Pleases Appliance Users"
4. "Headline Writer to Wife: 'Have You Seen My Car Keys?'"
3. "Psychic Predicts Kurt Russell to Star in Disappointing Movie"
2. "'Star Trek' Fan Fails in Sex Bid"
1. "Man Buys Hat"
And, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top
-- "Man Wins $2 In a Scratch-Off Windfall"
-- "Sun Rises! Exclusive Photos!"
-- "Man Complains Number He Almost Picked Is Lotto Winner"
-- "Majority of Former U.S. Presidents Dead"
-- "Man Loses Wallet -- Finds It In His Couch"
-- "Scattered Reports of Dizziness As Earth Continues To Rotate"
-- "Car Owners Rate Wheels, Engine Among Most Important Features"
-- "Sex Between Insurance Salesmen and Supermodels Judged
Unfortunately, we’ll have to go through the primary
season without any Late Show Top Ten lists.