Drugs for Elian?; Clift Stands By "Better" in Havana; Nostalgic for Clinton
1) ABC and CBS ran stories Tuesday
night highlighting the White House's conference on teens and relaying
Clinton's big government solutions of mandated parental leave and a government
2) The broadcast networks ignored
Charles LaBella's appearance before a Senate subcommittee while CNN gave him a
few seconds and FNC offered a full story.
3) FNC's Brit Hume picked up a
Miami Herald story on how a Cuban pediatrician on his way to see Elian was
caught by Customs agents with "phenobarbital, a sedative, and Miltown, a
4) Pressed by FNC's Bill O'Reilly,
Eleanor Clift stood by her assertion that "to be a poor child in Cuba may
in many instances be better than being a poor child in Miami." It's
"rational" to opt for Havana with its "access to free medical
5) "Some Americans,"
CBS's Richard Schlesinger insisted Monday night, "say they're starting to
feel nostalgic about the Clinton years." But the same night FNC relayed
how a new poll determined more think impeachment was the right thing to do
6) Hillary Clinton was the divorce
lawyer in 1988 for GMA's Nancy Snyderman, the medical reporter revealed
Monday. Charles Gibson wondered: "What did she say to you about a
7) Bryant Gumbel: "As the
former head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev was widely hailed as the
man who brought an end to the Cold War....These days he is...trying to find
solutions to the world's environmental problems."
8) After some dialogue backing
school vouchers, NBC's West Wing went left wing on campaign finance and gays
in the military.
9) Reaction to ABC being taken off
some cable systems: One guy called not being able to watch Who Wants To Be a
Millionaire? "complete devastation." A flustered woman: "People
are gonna miss the second part of the Arabian Nights!"
ABC and CBS delivered full stories
Tuesday night highlighting the White House's conference on teenagers. Both
relayed Clinton's big government solutions as ABC gave a sentence to those
decrying the "nanny state" while CBS didn't allow a dissenting word.
On ABC's World
News Tonight John Cochran began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth: "A White House aide did tell ABC News that we had to do
something for parents who were scared by the recent rash of violent
incidents involving teenagers, and this conference was that something, but
instead of a dramatic change in policies, what parents got was advice from
a panel of experts and other parents who were worried themselves and most
of the advice sounded very familiar."
Cochran showed panelist Danny DeVito, the actor,
saying teens get in trouble if they have too much free time. "The
President pointed to a new White House report that again offered what
sounded like just plain common sense," Cochran noted before Clinton
suggested teens who have dinner with their parents are less likely to
smoke, use drugs or be violent.
Cochran puffed up
the Hillary campaign as he stressed how she "was here today to
address a problem of concern to parents everywhere, including New York
state." Cochran outlined her latest federal government spending plan:
"Mrs. Clinton said the government is starting two new Internet
portals where teens can find inoffensive material and where parents can
find advice on raising teens."
"To many conservatives, today's conference was another example of the
'nanny state,' the government interfering in private lives. The White
House's response: no one is forced to follow our recommendations."
Just as long as
Janet Reno doesn't think you're violating "the rule of law."
Over on the May 2
CBS Evening News, John Roberts graciously relayed: "In convening this
first ever summit on raising teens, the President and Mrs. Clinton spoke
about an issue with which they are intimately familiar." Following a
clip of Hillary joking about surviving Chelsea's teenage years, Roberts
noted: "The conference was called as part of the administration's
ongoing response to the Columbine tragedy, the main message supported by a
lengthy White House study: Parents need to spend more time with their
from Bill Clinton and a man successfully raised by a dedicated single
parent, Roberts concluded by passing along Clinton's big government
solution: "With a quarter of the nation's teens at risk of heading in
the wrong direction, the President today urged Congress to expand the
Family and Medical Leave Act to allow parents more time to meet their
family responsibilities, but with American parents working longer hours
than any other parents in the world, it will take more than an act of
Congress to tip the balance."
Charles LaBella's Tuesday appearance before the Senate Judiciary
Committee's subcommittee on administrative oversight and courts, generated
27 seconds on CNN's The World Today and full story on FNC's Special Report
with Brit Hume as the broadcast networks and CNN's Inside Politics ignored
FNC's Brit Hume
set up his network's May 2 report: "It has been known for some time
that the man Janet Reno brought in to lead the campaign finance
investigation wanted her to name an independent counsel, but the Justice
Department refused to make public the memo the man wrote on the issue. Now
though, some of its contents tumble into public view on Capitol Hill, and
Brian Wilson has the story."
Wilson began: "Fact: In 1996 the Loral
Corporation gave $1.5 million to the Democratic National Committee. Fact:
A short time later, the Loral Corporation was granted government waivers
allowing the company to do satellite business with China. Coincidence,
quid pro quo? We now know that former Justice Department prosecutor
Charles LaBella felt there was enough evidence on that question to warrant
the appointment of an independent counsel to investigate both Loral and
LaBella before the Senate subcommittee: "If
hypothetically you're going to investigate the person who gave the
contribution because you think something was wrong with that, because they
were seeking a quid pro quo, then it seems to me that part of the area of
investigation would be the person who received the contribution."
Wilson later noted
how "Senator Arlen Specter was finally allowed to review the document
on Monday night and, for the first time, actually quoted from it during a
Specter: "You raised the issue of further
investigation, quote, 'the Vice President may have given false
statements,' closed quote."
Wilson: "That refers specifically to Vice
President Gore's claim that he had an incomplete memory about White House
efforts to collect hard and soft money campaign contributions in 1996.
LaBella said after reviewing the evidence:"
LaBella: "It was inconceivable to me to rule
out that it was an issue that he knew nothing about."
Castro's agents tried to sneak drugs into Elian's current Wye River home.
Monday night on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume the host of the same
name picked up on a Friday print report:
"It turns out that Customs officials at
Dulles airport caught those doctors sent from Cuba to be with Elian
Gonzalez with drugs, which they seized. The Miami Herald reports the drugs
included phenobarbital, a sedative, and Miltown, a tranquilizer. It was
not clear whether the drugs were intended to be given to Elian."
Herald had related a complaint from the Cuban regime: "The statement
also complained that Customs officials at Dulles International Airport in
Washington on Thursday seized several medications carried by Elian's
pediatrician, Dr. Caridad Ponce de Leon, citing 'a last-minute demand'
that no foreign 'medical personnel may practice their profession in
"The confiscated medicines were listed as
amikacin sulfate, used for treatment of bacterial and staph infections;
aminophyllin, a bronchodilator for treatment of asthma, bronchitis and
emphysema; cefazoline, for treatment of respiratory, urinary, skin and
other infections; meprobamate, better known by the trade name Miltown, for
treatment of anxiety; and phenobarbital, a barbiturate used as a
You can read this
and many other Elian stories via the Miami Herald's index of Elian
Washington Times played the drug seizure on page one.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift Monday night stood by her assertion that "to
be a poor child in Cuba may in many instances be better than being a poor
child in Miami and I'm not going to condemn their lifestyle so
The quote, uttered
on the McLaughlin Group of the April 7-9 weekend, was first put into play
through its citation in the April 10 CyberAlert and has been picked up
repeatedly since by many conservatives, including at the top of a Wall
Street Journal editorial on Friday. Prompted by that quotation, Monday
night, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed, FNC's Bill O'Reilly invited
Clift aboard his O'Reilly Factor show to explain herself. Clift, who is
also a Fox News analyst, defended it, arguing: "I can understand why
a rational, loving father can believe that his child will be protected in
a state were he doesn't have to worry about going to school and being shot
at...where he has access to free medical care." She insisted Elian
had "a pretty good life in Cuba" with an air conditioned
On the May 1 The
O'Reilly Factor O'Reilly read Clift's quote to her and gave her a chance
to back off: "So Eleanor, is this right, is this accurate, is it out
of context, what is it?"
Clift didn't feel
embarrassed, responding, as transcribed by MRC analyst Ted King:
"It's absolutely my words. I uttered the sentences several weeks ago
on the McLaughlin Group in the midst of the controversy over whether Elian
should be returned to Cuba. And I said that in the context of emphasizing
that first the father deserved custody of his child. And second the notion
that sending Elian back to his childhood in Cuba was so horrific that we
should violate the natural laws in this country of family bonds in order
to save him from this horrendous experience and I pointed out that to be
poor in Cuba was probably a better existence than to be poor in
O'Reilly replied: "You can't believe that Eleanor. Now come on,
you're just trying to be provocative. You're just playing into that
Clift: "No I believe it Bill."
"Would you cede that Cuba is a police state?"
Clift: "I would cede that Cuba has a
repressive political system that I do not agree with. However, if I were
the father of this boy I can understand why a rational, loving father can
believe that his child will be protected in a state were he doesn't have
to worry about going to school and being shot at, where drugs are not a
big problem, where he has access to free medical care and where the
literacy rate I believe is higher than this country's."
O'Reilly: "So that is more important?"
Clift: "I think there are some conditions
that are worthy of bringing up a child-"
O'Reilly fired back with a historical analogy:
"Alright Eleanor look, in Nazi Germany there were many favorable
conditions on many social fronts under Hitler. There was no crime in the
streets. The trains ran on time, people had jobs in the Weimar Republic.
So you're making the same argument in a totalitarian regime that a boy is
better off losing all freedom and all hope for the future. Because as you
know Eleanor the annual per capita income in Cuba is 1,500 bucks. These
people are living in abject poverty. So you are saying to the American
people it is better be there and not have to undergo the temptations of
Miami in a free society?"
Clift avoided the point: "I am talking about
a father entitled to custody of his son. And also a father who happens to
work in the tourist industry and who is a dedicated Fidelista and probably
has a pretty good life in Cuba. I have read about Elian's existence that
he had an air conditioned bedroom, that he had lots of toys this is
obviously, I think, a well adjusted child to have charmed all of us and to
have withstood what he did."
"Some Americans," CBS's Richard Schlesinger insisted Monday
night, "say they're starting to feel nostalgic about the Clinton
years even though he's not gone yet." But the same night FNC relayed
how a new poll determined more think impeachment was the right thing to do
than not and those who believe the Senate should have convicted him top
those who agree with the acquittal.
The May 1 CBS
Evening News ended with a piece by Schlesinger on Clinton's well-received
video at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner which
illustrated how he has nothing to do all day, a point inadvertently made
by the fact he had the time to make the video. The video showed him doing
laundry, washing a car, mowing the lawn and shopping online for a smoked
ham. CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume both
played the five-minute plus video in full Monday night.
piece, Schlesinger contended, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
"The tape was done for a tough audience, a group of White House
reporters, who have been writing a lot lately about how little the
President has to do in his last months in office. Remember the kid from
the online brokerage ad? He makes an appearance with the leader of the
free world teaching him how to shop online in the Oval Office. The
President can afford to laugh; some Americans looking at his two possible
replacements say they're starting to feel nostalgic about the Clinton
years even though he's not gone yet. Once an actor became President, with
this performance Mr. Clinton could do the reverse, maybe. And the
performance shows one side of the President most commanders in chief lack
[clip from the video showing Clinton riding his bike in an OEOB hallway].
I mean could you see Richard Nixon doing this?"
Dan Rather added: "Or for that matter Jimmy
no evidence for his claim that anyone other than journalists are
"starting to feel nostalgic about the Clinton years," but FNC's
Brit Hume had numbers to show more think impeachment was proper than not.
On Special Report with Brit Hume he summarized findings from a new Fox
News/Opinion Dynamics poll:
"Public attitudes toward President Clinton's
impeachment seem to have shifted. 49 percent of those asked in a Fox News
poll now say it was the right thing to do, 44 percent say it was wrong.
And by a single point, 47 to 46 percent, those responding said Mr. Clinton
should have been convicted" by the Senate.
A small world. Hillary Clinton handled the 1988 divorce for ABC's Nancy
Snyderman, the ABC News medical correspondent and frequent fill-in host
for Good Morning America revealed Monday morning on the show in an
interview about her new book, Necessary Journeys.
Jessica Anderson caught the revelation on the May 1 Good Morning America.
After talking about her discovery in 1988 that her second husband had
squandered their money and that he was cheating on her, this exchange
occurred between Dr. Nancy Snyderman and Charles Gibson:
Snyderman "So I spent a very restless night
and then I did what I think lot of young women do the next morning: I
Charles Gibson: "Who said?"
Snyderman: "Who said...go down to bank and
get safe deposit box. If there are things you need to know, they're always
in safe deposit boxes."
Gibson: "And you found a string of unpaid
bills, tax liens, everything else."
Snyderman: "Former lives. I dumped that safe
deposit box into a cardboard box and called a very good friend of mine,
Connie Failles [sp?] in Little Rock and said, 'I'm in trouble and I think
need an attorney and I don't know what to do.'"
Gibson: "Who was your divorce lawyer?"
Snyderman: "Hillary Clinton."
Gibson: "What did she say to you about a
Snyderman avoided the implication: "Well,
that's a great question. Life was so complicated at that time. One of the
funniest things was Connie called Hillary and said, 'Nancy's in trouble.
We need to find the best divorce attorney in town. Who is that?' And
Hillary said, 'I am.' [laughs] And you know what? She's a great attorney.
And she said bring down everything. She sat me down with one of her
partners who did tax law and this man, as I walked in with this box of
stuff from the IRS and unpaid bills and accounts I didn't know existed, he
sort of developed this very sweet smile and I said, 'Are you smiling at me
because I'm stupid?' He said, 'No, I'm smiling at you because if I had a
dime for every woman who's walked into my office in circumstances like
this, I'd be a millionaire.' And with that, the legality of dealing with
the IRS and unpaid bills and Hillary helping me start to separate myself
from this, it wasn't just a husband with another life, it was a series of
layers of things."
As noted in the
February 27, 1997 CyberAlert, Snyderman was amongst the 831 people the
Clinton administration listed as overnight White House guests during its
Bryant Gumbel spent most of his Monday interview of Mikhail Gorbachev
asking about Russian President Putin's policies, but he opened with
tributes to Gorbachev for ending the Cold War and for trying to solve
environmental problems. He closed by claiming "Americans have fond
memories" of Raisa.
Gorbachev on the May 1 The Early Show on CBS, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
observed, by asserting: "As the former head of the Soviet Union,
Mikhail Gorbachev was widely hailed as the man who brought an end to the
Cold War. He won a Nobel peace prize for those efforts, but he has since
moved from politics. These days he is involved with Green Cross
International, trying to find solutions to the world's environmental
question, in the form of a tribute: "Your late wife, Raisa, was the
first glamorous First Lady we had seen in the Soviet Union. Americans have
fond memories of her, she passed away. How difficult has it been for you,
personally, to replace the void she left?"
NBC's West Wing went a little right wing, but now it's back to going left
wing. As detailed in the March 22 CyberAlert, an episode early this season
featured a candid admission of how liberals don't trust people to spend
their money correctly. In an early April episode, the character played by
Rob Lowe argued for school vouchers, but in the first of a five-week run
of fresh episodes for the May sweeps, on the April 26 edition characters
advocated allowing gays to serve openly in the military and supported
liberal campaign finance reform.
The episode ended
with a re-energized "President Josiah Bartlet," played by Martin
Sheen, telling his staff he's tired of compromise and wants to fight for
West Wing airs
Wednesdays at 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT/MT, so another new episode will air
tonight and should pick up where last week's show, titled "Let
Bartlet Be Bartlet," left off.
-- On the April 5
episode "Sam Seaborn," the George Stephanopolous character
played by Rob Lowe, gets into an argument with "Mallory," a
public school teacher and twenty-something daughter of the Chief-of-Staff.
Here's some of the dialogue as taken down by MRC intern Ken Shepherd:
Mallory: "School vouchers provide help for
only a few students."
Sam: "We're offering a solution for
Mallory: "You're offering a lifeboat to the
select few for whom vouchers will make any kind of difference."
Sam: "Mallory, everything you're saying
makes sense. I just think that the state of urban schools is such that if
you can save even one kid."
Mallory: "You can save more than one
Sam: "Tell me how."
Mallory: "By asking Congress to approve not
just a little but a lot more money for public education."
Sam: "Public education has been a public
policy disaster for forty years, having spent around $4 trillion on public
schools since 1965 the result has been a steady and inexorable decline in
every measurable standard of student performance to say nothing of health
and safety. But, don't worry about it cause the U.S. House of
Representatives is on the case. I feel better already!"
Sam even hit the
stand of Clinton and Gore: "Liberals have no problem with rich kids
going to expensive private schools, that doesn't undermine public
education, and liberals have no problem with middle-class kids going to
parochial schools that doesn't undermine public education....But the idea
that letting poor public school students choose private alternatives would
destroy public education is simply contrary to our experience. Boston
Latin, the oldest public school in America is still the best secondary
school in New England."
her father tells Mallory Sam doesn't really believe what he said:
"It's opposition prep. When we're gearing up for a debate we have the
smart guys take the other side."
Sam butters her up: "Schools should be
palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They
should be making six figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly
expensive to government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens just
like national defense. That's my position."
-- April 26
episode. Upon learning that two FEC commissioners had resigned,
"President Bartlet" demands: "Two candidates who back
aggressive campaign finance reform." Later, Deputy Chief-of Staff
"Josh" tells his boss he's come up with two names, including
"Patty Calhoun" who "is the Director of the Roe Institute
for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. She worked in the
White House OMB under two Republican Presidents." Josh insists she
favors "aggressive overhaul" of campaign finance, a position
only Hollywood could think someone at the Heritage Foundation would take.
Senate aides, Josh makes clear they want liberal overhaul as he lectures:
"Soft money contributions render the 1974 Campaign Reform Act
toothless. Soft money contributions which were ostensibly designed for
party building, whatever that might mean, do nothing but eviscerate any
meaningful election controls. We are by definition corrupt."
Senate aide: "I wouldn't say that."
Josh: "I know you wouldn't, Steve, but this
money isn't coming in fives and tens and twenties it's coming in
denominations of 100, 200, 500,000 dollars. It's coming from special
interests. It's coming from special interests whose interests aren't the
same as those who don't have a half a million bucks lying around. And it's
not going to party building, it's going to issue ads it's going to
Another aide: "Yeah, it's called free
Josh: "If the insurance industry wants to
buy ad time in 64 major markets, they are free to do so. If the airplane
manufacturing industry wants to back a candidate, they are free to shout
from the rooftops. If Big Tobacco wants to wave a sign or put a bumper
sticker on their car, they're free to do so. That's free speech. Money
In another subplot
transcribed by MRC intern Michael Ferguson, "Sam Seaborn" has a
meeting with some military officers to denounce "don't ask, don't
tell." In the midst of this argument in walks the Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, a black [race relevant as you'll soon see] Admiral
played by John Amos. He summarizes their position on gays serving, telling
the Major: "You just don't want to see them serving in the armed
Major: "No sir, I don't."
JCS Chairman: "Because they pose a threat to
unit discipline and cohesion?"
Major: "Yes sir."
JCS Chairman: "That's what I think, too. I
also think the military wasn't designed to be an instrument of social
Major: "Yes sir."
Taking the opposite position of the real-life
Colin Powell, the JCS Chairman argues: "Problem with that is that's
what they were saying about me fifty years ago. Blacks shouldn't serve
with whites. It would disrupt the unit. You know what? It did disrupt the
unit. The unit got over it. The unit changed. I'm an Admiral in the U.S.
Navy and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Beat that with a
Ever hear of an antenna? Monday night all the networks led with the since
settled, at least temporarily, dispute between Disney and Time-Warner
which led to Time-Warner taking ABC stations off their cable systems in
several major cities -- or from the Time-Warner perspective, led to their
inability to show ABC because the network withheld retransmission consent.
The May 1 NBC
Nightly News, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, featured "man on
the street" reaction from some pretty pathetic people unable to cope
with the concept of not being able to see ABC shows on cable, something
the third of Americans who don't pay for cable manage to do every day. NBC
reporter Mike Jensen rued: "Caught in the middle, viewers angry at
Time-Warner, at ABC and at its parent Disney."
An older white woman screeched: "Makes me
not want to buy any Disney products, not bother go to Disneyland! Anything
that has to do with Disney!"
A twenty-something white guy: "In not being
able to watch Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? is going to be almost a
A thirty-something black woman, shaking her hear
head: "And tonight people are gonna miss the second part of the
+++ Late Wednesday
morning MRC Web man Eric Pairel will post, on the MRC home page, a
RealPlayer clip of these soundbites.
How do these
people manage to get through the day? How do these people think you got a
TV picture before cable? Thank God there was a settlement Tuesday before
these people had to figure out how to use an antenna.
Or an A/B switch.
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News Lisa Myers ran a soundbite from a
twenty-something guy reacting to the news ABC stations had been restored
to the cable systems: "That makes me very happy that I don't have to
go in there and spend the money that I was going to spend on the A/B
Nothing worse in
life than having to shell out four bucks at Radio Shack. --