Giuliani’s Liberalness; Celebrities Back Hillary; Hitting Reagan
1) Not since Bobby Kennedy has a candidate "so won over
the press corps," Newsweek’s Evan Thomas conceded. Eleanor Clift denied
Al Gore tells lies, attributing his tendency to "embellish" to his
being "just so damned competitive."
2) Meet the Liberal Press. The NBC show featured an
all-liberal panel. Tim Russert asked Rudy Giuliani: "Is national health
care a left-wing cause?" But both Russert and ABC’s Cokie Roberts
illustrated how Giuliani shares many of Hillary’s liberal views.
3) Celebrities have showered Hillary Clinton’s campaign with
their money while only one actor gave to Rudy Giuliani. Amongst Hillary’s
donors: Glenn Close, Tom Cruise, Michael Douglas, Nicole Kidman, Paul Newman,
Rosie O’Donnell and Steven Spielberg.
4) "Given the Mayor's nature, given the venomous bias of
some of the local papers, how ugly a race are we going to see?" Bryant
Gumbel asked. A New York Post columnist pointed out media hypocrisy in
denouncing personal inquiries about Hillary.
5) ABC worried Friday: "Is Bush sounding so conservative
in South Carolina that he may risk the support of moderates in Michigan?"
NBC actually highlighted McCain’s fundraising from lobbyists.
6) Marking Ronald Reagan’s 89th birthday, CNN’s Bruce
Morton claimed his tax cuts were what "piled up those enormous
7) That darn discriminatory bad weather: "Poor,
Minorities Feel Brunt of Bad Weather."
8) Bill Clinton told Roger Ebert of his affection for Ingrid
Bergman in Casablanca. "God I wish I’d known that woman....she’s just
riveting." Hillary: "I make a mean tossed salad."
9) CBS’s Ray Brady focused on the latest victims: Victims of
low unemployment. Because restaurants can’t find enough workers, a man
"and his family waited for over an hour at TGI Friday’s."
Correction: The February 3 CyberAlert quoted Peter Jennings opening World
News Tonight: "The presidential campaigns and the hoards of reporters
following them..." The word "hoards" should have been spelled
since Bobby Kennedy in 1968 has "so won over the press corps,"
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas conceded on Inside Washington over the weekend while
over on the McLaughlin Group his colleague Eleanor Clift denied Al Gore tells
lies, attributing his tendency to "embellish" to his being
"just so damned competitive."
-- On Inside Washington, carried on PBS stations around
the nation and on Washington DC’s CBS affiliate, WUSA-TV, Newsweek Assistant
Managing Editor Evan Thomas asserted:
"I think how well
the press is responding to John McCain here is really important. I think
McCain’s tactic of total openness to reporters has been unbelievable,
we’re going to look back on his and see how critical that is, how different
it is from the modern model of the cocoon, how well it’s served McCain and I
think it will continue to."
Later, he added: "You could argue that no candidate
since Bobby Kennedy in 1968, a long time ago, has so opened himself up to the
press corps and so won over the press corps. The Bobby Kennedy press corps,
and Jack [Germond] was on the plane, was pretty enthusiastic about Bobby
Kennedy by the end of it. The difference of course was that Bobby Kennedy was
pretty much always off the record on the airplane, you didn’t report what
was going on, whereas McCain, and this is an act of phenomenal political
courage, will spend two, three, four hours on the record with reporters."
-- The McLaughlin Group over the weekend looked at
Bradley’s attacks on Al Gore for lying. Panelist Lawrence O’Donnell
offered up his own example of a Gore lie, recalling how in Time magazine last
October Gore took credit for creating the Earned Income Tax Credit though it
was created by Senator Russell Long before Gore entered Congress. Tony
Blankley pointed out how Gore claimed he was a co-sponsor of McCain-Feingold,
but he had left the Senate before the bill was proposed.
At this point Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift jumped to
Gore’s defense, arguing: "Braggadocio is a fairly common malady among
politicians. And some of this stuff he has a perfectly adequate record, he
ought not to embellish. And on the abortion question he ought to say yes I
anguished over this. I think he is just so damned competitive that he has to
stomp out the questions. But this is such minor stuff. To call this
spectacular lies is really reaching."
the Liberal Press? NBC was apparently unable to locate a single
conservative-leaning journalist or analyst in the New York City area. The
roundtable segment at the end of Sunday’s Meet the Press, broadcast from New
York City in order to accommodate an interview with New York City Mayor Rudy
Giuliani, featured four liberal journalists/columnists: Gail Collins and Bob
Herbert of the New York Times as well as Joe Klein and David Remnick of The
New Yorker. I don’t recall any shows featuring four equally conservative
Moderator Tim Russert began the show by interviewing
Giuliani who managed a "Ginsburg," -- just like the feat pulled off
once by the Lewinsky lawyer, Giuliani appeared on all five Sunday interview
shows: ABC’s This Week, CBS’s Face the Nation, CNN’s Late Edition, Fox
News Sunday and NBC’s Meet the Press.
Russert seemed baffled by the idea someone might label
"national health care" as "left-wing," but just like
ABC’s Cokie Roberts, he outlined how Giuliani shares many of Hillary
Clinton’s left-wing views. Russert put on screen a sentence from a Giuliani
fundraising letter: "If she gets elected to the Senate, Mrs. Clinton will
immediately become the champion of every left-wing cause you can
Russert asked: "What left wing causes would Mrs.
"...the health care plan, for example, which largely would have
nationalized health care, I think would be regarded as a left-wing position.
Actually, I think I’ve listened to this show and I’ve heard you point out
that Mrs. Clinton was to the left of her husband, President Clinton, when he
was moving toward the middle in the 1996 elections."
To which Russert
demanded: "Is national health care a left-wing cause?"
Russert subsequently went through a list of issues with
Giuliani and confirmed he favors offering prescription drugs to Medicare
recipients, is for the registration of all handguns, wants to legalize gays in
the military and opposes a ban on partial-birth abortions.
On ABC’s This Week co-host Cokie Roberts offered a
fuller recitation of the same fundraising letter, though her version also
included an "ultra" before the "left-wing" label:
"She’s the darling of the Left-Wing Elite. And if she gets elected to
the Senate, Mrs. Clinton will immediately become the champion of every ultra
left-wing cause you can imagine."
Roberts told Giuliani: "I want to go through some
of the causes that some conservatives would consider her left wing on:
abortion, gun control, gay rights, the death penalty -- of course she’s for
the death penalty -- minimum wage, Family and Medical Leave Act, campaign
finance. You agree with her on every single one of those."
and movie stars have lined up overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton over
Rudy Giuliani for Senate in New York, judging by FEC contribution records
reviewed by USA Today.
On Friday the paper listed "celebrity Giuliani
supporters" and "celebrity Clinton supporters," but to list
more than one name in the Giuliani box USA Today had to stretch the definition
of "celebrity," listing donations from politicians, such as Jeanne
Kirkpatrick, Henry Kissinger, Christie Whitman, as well as William F. Buckley
Jr., Mike Ditka and Richard Mellon Scaife. The only real celebrity as
traditionally defined: Charlton Heston, who has pitched in $1,000 even though
Giuliani hardly lines up with the NRA on gun control.
Amongst the donors to Hillary Clinton listed in the
February 4 article by USA Today reporters Martha T. Moore and Kathy Kiely are
two women tied to CBS News: former CBS Morning News co-host Phyllis George and
current The Early Show regular Martha Stewart, both of whom have given $1,000.
Other $1,000 donor media figures on the list: TV talk show host Rosie
O’Donnell and Talk magazine Editor Tina Brown, who by featuring an interview
with Hillary in her premiere issue last August contributed much more to the
campaign when ABC’s Good Morning America featured segments with Brown and
colleague Lucinda Franks gushing over Hillary’s attributes.
Here are the other actors, actresses and singers listed
by USA Today as contributors to Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign according
to FEC records:
Candice Bergen, actress: $1,000
Jimmy Buffett, singer: $670
Lynda Carter, actress: $1,000
Glenn Close, actress: $1,000
Judy Collins, singer: $2,000
Sean "Puffy" Combs, rap artist: $1,000
Tom Cruise, actor: $2,000
Michael Douglas, actor: $1,000
Don Henley, singer: $1,000
Lauren Hutton, model: $1,000
Harvey Keitel, actor: $1,000
Nicole Kidman, actress: $2,000
Calvin Klein, designer: $1,000
Ralph Lauren, designer: $1,000
Paul Newman, actor: $1,000
Martin Scorsese, director: $2,000
Gail Sheehy, author: $500
Steven Spielberg, filmmaker: $2,000
Barbra Streisand, entertainer: $1,000
about any liberal bias or favoring of Hillary Clinton by the celebrity crowd,
CBS’s Bryant Gumbel is worried about "the venomous bias" against
Hillary from "some of the local papers." Presumably he meant the New
York Post, but he didn’t say.
Interviewing Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Bill
de Blasio, on Friday’s The Early Show, Gumbel repeatedly characterized Rudy
Guiliani as "volatile," worried if she’ll be able to avoid
"embarrassing questions" and warned of the "venomous bias"
in the New York press. After asking about poll numbers, Gumbel posed these
questions to de Blasio, as taken down from the February 4 show by MRC analyst
-- "Over the last month while Mrs. Clinton's
favorable numbers have remained pretty much the same, those with a favorable
opinion of New York's Mayor Rudy Giuliani have dropped considerably. Can you
take credit for that or is he doing that to himself?"
-- "Do you think that's the wildcard in the race?
His volatile nature?"
-- "Another issue, numbers show that almost half of
New Yorkers polled, same poll, have some concerns about the carpetbagger
issue. It continues to plague her, how's she get around it? I know she's got
the house in Chappaqua."
-- "Given some of the embarrassing questions she's
already been asked, pollsters were asked if they thought marriage questions of
the First Lady should be off limits. A whopping 75 percent said yes.
Nonetheless, are you, is she expecting such questions to continue?"
-- "Given Mrs. Clinton's high profile, given the
Mayor's nature, given the venomous bias of some of the local papers, how ugly
a race are we going to see?"
-- "You said tough, that's not what I'm asking. How
ugly a race are we going to see?"
Speaking of the local "venomous press," a
couple of weeks ago New York Post columnist Eric Fettman used some quotes from
the MRC’s CyberAlert and Media Reality Check to illustrate the major
media’s bias in favor of Hillary. He contrasted the lack of media
indignation over personal questions to George H. W. Bush with the outrage over
the Buffalo talk show host’s questions to Hillary Clinton.
Here are some excerpts from Eric Fettman’s January 26
column, titled "A Fine Time for Outrage."
Those Hillary supporters, led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who denounced those
"cheap personal questions" that were thrown in Mrs. Clinton's face
by an upstate radio shock jock are probably right -- albeit for all the wrong
Even within the news media, there was revulsion over Tom Bauerle's demands
that Hillary Clinton answer his questions about infidelity and past drug use.
CBS News veteran Bob Schieffer declaimed on-air that "amongst the
reporters I've talked to, they all seem to agree that it was out of bounds. I
haven't talked to a single reporter who
thinks that was a proper question."
Nor was Schieffer alone in such sentiments. "It's just out of bounds,
it really isn't necessary," said Newsweek's media writer, Jonathan Alter,
who called Bauerle's question about Hillary and the late Vince Foster "a
real, real low." NBC's Andrea Mitchell was noticeably disturbed by the
"rather rude questions from some reporters"
who followed up Bauerle's themes.
"Veteran political reporters...say the latest questions about Mrs.
Clinton are below the belt," declared CBS correspondent Diana Olick.
"In the past few days, she's been asked about the future of her marriage,
her own fidelity and if she's ever smoked pot or used cocaine. What does all
that have to do with being a senator from New York?"
(As always, I'm indebted to the Media Research Center for monitoring TV
newscasts and compiling these quotes.)
Like Maloney & Co., Olick and her colleagues aren't wrong, of course.
There is something profoundly humiliating about the political process having
been reduced to a moral inquisition.
But there's no blanket rule here, either. The fact that JFK shared a
mistress with the head of the Chicago mob can't be considered irrelevant to
his job performance as president.
But you have to wonder why Maloney and the media have erupted in righteous
indignation just now, when Hillary is on the hot seat. George W. Bush found
himself besieged by reporters last year on the question of his possible past
drug use, even though no one has presented
any evidence whatsoever.
Yet Steve Roberts of U.S. News and World Report told us that "we in
the press have an enormous obligation to help the voters understand
the...morality and the character" of candidates for high office,
"and there is only one way we can do that, and that is to explore the
judgments that they have made in the past."
OK, so maybe when it comes to alleged cocaine use, that's a legitimate
inquiry. But private, consensual sexual behavior has to be off limits, right?
Tell that to Gov. Bush's father, the former President. In 1987, he was hounded
by reporters investigating what turned out to be a fallacious rumor that he'd
had an affair with a former staff member.
CNN's Mary Tillotson asked the president flat out about the supposed affair
during a live, nationally broadcast press conference, saying she was justified
"because you've said that family values and character are likely to be
important in the presidential campaign." Despite Bush's denial, NBC's
Stone Phillips asked the same question later that day during an Oval Office
Did their colleagues tsk-tsk about rude, out-of-bounds inquiries? Of course
not -- CNN Vice President Ed Turner defended Tillotson, saying "it's the
role of the reporter to ask questions. What comes out of them determines the
And who, by the way, was pushing reporters to probe deeply into George
Bush's rumored peccadilloes? Why, none other than Hillary Clinton! Talking to
her friend Gail Sheehy for a 1992 Vanity Fair profile, Mrs. Clinton
complained: "I don't understand why nothing's ever said about a George
Bush girlfriend." As Sheehy writes in her new biography of the First
Lady, Mrs. Clinton "purposefully planted a toxic tidbit in my tape
What about the furor a few years back surrounding Mayor Giuliani's supposed
affair with a top aide? Back then, reporters were taken to task for not
pursuing the story: The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz called it "the
story that every New York reporter believes but few have dared to hint at in
On CNN, Kurtz added: "Ultimately, it seems to me that readers and
viewers in New York were being deprived of something that was common knowledge
in the journalistic community" -- although the Times' Maureen Dowd and
others did their best to repair the problem.
Where was the outrage about "cheap personal questions"? Where
were the demands to "stop that type of interviewing"?....
Yes, it's time to move the news media out of the bedroom -- but it
shouldn't be predicated on who's feeling the heat.
night on the campaign front ABC’s Dean Reynolds raised the concern that by
"sounding so conservative" George Bush might alienate moderates
while NBC’s Lisa Myers actually raised a negative about John McCain, citing
his special interest fundraising.
On Saturday night NBC Nightly News ignored the campaign
while on ABC’s World News Tonight John
Yang looked at a new anti-McCain ad from Bush and McCain’s appearance at the
Republican convention in California. CBS reporter John Blackstone focused his
Evening News story on how McCain and Steve Forbes addressed Republicans in
California while attendees complained that Bush did not address them. CBS also
featured a piece by Sharyl Attkisson on how in the Wen Ho Lee case the FBI
reversed the assessment by three poligraphers who had decided Lee was truthful
in his lie detector test.
Back to Friday night, February 4, ABC’s Dean Reynolds
outlined some questions he said are facing the Bush campaign:
"Is Bush sounding
so conservative in South Carolina that he may risk the support of moderates in
Michigan where he campaigned today? Are all those big name endorsements really
helping or do they make Bush out to be a tool of the establishment, a famous
father’s son? Is Bush working hard enough. He’s taking this weekend off
for example. And why is it that McCain’s good government message seems to
resonate more deeply with voters than anything Bush is saying? As one
Republican strategist said to us today, the Bush message has got to be more
than just ‘we can win.’"
Introducing a story about back and forth during the day
between Bush and McCain, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather rhymed:
"The McCain camp
is raising Cain and making gains, leaving the Bush people scrambling in two
fast-approaching primary battleground states."
Well in advance of a McCain fundraiser this Thursday, on
the NBC Nightly News Lisa Myers noted how McCain says he will take government
back from special interests, "But in fact an independent analysis finds
that McCain gets a higher proportion of his campaign money from Washington,
one out of every ten dollars, than any other major candidate. He’s having
another big Washington fundraiser next week, and two-thirds of those listed as
hosts are lobbyists, most with business before the powerful Senate committee
distortion by CNN in marking Ronald Reagan’s continuing impact on politics
on his 89th birthday. At the end of Sunday’s Late Edition, reporter Bruce
Morton began his "Last Word" segment:
ended more than a decade ago, but politicians, Democrat and Republican, still
talk about Ronald Reagan. Al Gore has an ad noting that in Congress he opposed
the Reagan budget cuts. He says that because Bill Bradley was one of 36
Democratic Senators who voted for the cuts. Gore doesn’t point out that
Bradley also voted against the popular Reagan tax cuts and that it was the tax
cuts that piled up those enormous deficits, a snowballing national debt."
In fact, as detailed in previous CyberAlerts, the
numbers show that tax revenue grew faster than inflation during the 1980s and
that despite supposed spending "cuts," non-Defense spending soared
old joke about the newspaper headlines leading papers would employ to announce
the end of the world? The Washington Post’s, for instance, went something
like: "World to End Tomorrow -- Poor and Minorities Hardest Hit."
Well, here’s a real headline I caught over an AP story
in suburban Washington’s February 6 Fairfax Journal: "Poor, Minorities
Feel Brunt of Bad Weather."
babe that Bill Clinton can’t bag and Hillary claimed: "I make a mean
tossed salad." Two items about the Clintons from the weekend which
don’t involve media bias, but are too delicious to pass up.
-- Appearing on the syndicated Roger Ebert & the
Movies show over the weekend, in an interview taped in late December Bill
Clinton revealed he can be turned on by a woman who’s in black and white.
Ebert pointed out how Casablanca is one of Clinton’s favorite movies, and
wondered: "What do you think is so timeless about it?"
Clinton proclaimed his
affection for actress Ingrid Bergman in replying: "First of all, it’s a
story about love and honor and courage, stuff that people care about.
Secondly, [Humphrey] Bogart is fabulous in it and Bergman brings tears to your
eyes. I mean I still can’t watch that movie without [saying], ‘God I wish
I’d known that woman.’ You just, she’s just riveting on the
Apparently the stuff about love, honor and courage
didn’t rub off.
-- In the new campaign video shown at Hillary
Clinton’s Senate announcement Sunday afternoon in Purchase, New York, she
boasts: "I make a mean tossed
I can’t think of any pithy comment that could top
Some in the
media can find a negative angle and a victim for any trend. The latest victims
in America: People who have to wait an hour to be seated at restaurants.
For Friday night’s CBS Evening News reporter Ray Brady
focused on a dire impact of America’s high employment rate: How restaurants
can’t find enough workers, a problem which inconvenienced a whiner Brady
showcased. Brady ominously opened his February 4 report:
restaurants they’re feeling those low unemployment numbers. Waiters,
waitresses, even chefs are hard to find. And there’s and added price:
consumers are feeling the shortage too. Ask Mike McConnell. He and his family
waited for over an hour at TGI Friday’s in St. Louis."
McConnell: "No one
telling us anything, you know just telling us ‘we’re going to seat you,
we’re going to seat you, we’re going to seat you’ and then-"
Brady demanded an explanation. Wallace Dooling of TGI
Friday’s conceded: "We were understaffed that night in the restaurant.
The manager, it sounds like, was overwhelmed."
Dooling runs TGI Friday’s. His company gave McConnell three free dinner
coupons, company policy when people are legitimately dissatisfied with the
But viewers soon inadvertently learned something else
about the complainer, Mike McConnell, as Brady filled in the larger picture in
an attempt to show a trend. After noting how McConnell claimed he’s
encountering more and more bad service at understaffed stores, Brady stated:
"McConnell, a book
editor, makes sure they understand. He writes letters of complaint or even
calls the heads of companies."
Brady to McConnell:
"And how many businesses do you think you’ve taken on?"
McConnell: "Oh, a
hundred, maybe a hundred and fifty."
some really big names."
CompUSA, Dillards, Holiday Inn, Mattel."
Brady went on to report that complaints to the Better
Business Bureau are up, but viewers had learned that the guy is really a
professional crank. And someone with enough free time so that a little waiting
And you wonder why so many people are attracted to John
McCain. He endured years of torture in a Vietnamese prison camp while the
media now focus this on generation’s biggest problem -- having to wait a few
extra minutes to eat Shrimp Scampi.