Lazio’s "Nasty" Campaign; Baffling Lack of Hillary Backing; Evil Eastwood
1) ABC’s Cokie Roberts to Rick
Lazio: "If you get the Conservative Party nomination can you describe
yourself as a moderate?"
2) Rick Lazio and his allies
scolded by ABC News for being "nasty" and employing "political
hardball" in criticizing Hillary. CBS lectured: "Lazio claimed he
would not run a negative campaign."
3) Friday night, the networks
avoided adopting the liberal spin of Lazio as an extremist, though George
Stephanopoulos volunteered on ABC that Hillary’s camp will "move hard
and fast to define Lazio as a Gingrich clone." Instead, they focused on
how he’s "pro-choice." ABC and CBS tagged him "tougher"
to beat than Rudy.
4) Nina Totenberg baffled by why
more New York women don’t support Hillary and Eleanor Clift resurrected an
old distortion to prove Rock Lazio is no moderate: "He voted with the
Gingrich Congress to shut down the government."
5) Bryant Gumbel tried to
discredit the NRA’s jump in membership and demanded the NRA’s Wayne
LaPierre respond to the Million Mom March. But, a week earlier before that
march, Gumbel pressed organizers from the left about not going far enough.
6) On the McLaughlin Group,
Eleanor Clift, James Warren and Mort Zuckerman sided with the pro-gun control
marchers. Time conceded that Donna Dees-Thomases got "perfect, puffy
press for protest."
7) The State Dept. lodged a
protest and a Democratic Congressman sent Bill Clinton a letter complaining
about how Elian is being indoctrinated on U.S. soil, but only FNC cared Friday
8) Friday night only FNC aired a
story on the revelation that FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote a memo in 1996 on
how Justice was under outside pressure to not pursue fundraising.
9) Dan Rather on Clint
Eastwood’s complaint about unscrupulous lawyers filing lawsuits: "A man
who made a name for himself pretending to punch out opponents" is
"taking on the disabled."
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Correction: The May 18 CyberAlert quoted Fred
Barnes as saying on FNC that if Elian’s Miami relatives had dressed him up
in a certain way "the American press corps would have been in high
dungeon." The MRC’s Tim Graham pointed out the last word should have
Question of the Weekend. Cokie Roberts on ABC’s This Week to New York
Republican Senate candidate Rick Lazio:
"If you get the Conservative Party nomination can
you describe yourself as a moderate?"
Of course, the
Conservative Party was willing to accept Giuliani’s many liberal views
and only wanted him to oppose partial-birth abortion in order to be their
candidate, a position he refused to take. In Lazio’s case, he’s
anti-partial-birth abortion, but otherwise he wants abortion to remain
legal, supports gun control, backed mandated family leave and favors many
liberal environmental initiatives, so is hardly a traditional
Rick Lazio for being "nasty" and employing "political
hardball." The Hillary Clinton campaign team hit Lazio for being a
"Gingrich Republican," clearly meant as a negative attack, but
the networks focused their ire over the weekend on Lazio and his allies
for daring to say anything negative about Hillary.
-- CBS’s Face the
Nation, May 21. Hillary operative Harold Ickes blasted away at Lazio as an
extremist, but Face the Nation hosts Bob Schieffer and Gloria Borger
didn’t question the appropriateness of his tone. Then, while
interviewing New York Governor George Pataki, Schieffer demanded:
"Have we seen the tenor of what this campaign is
going to be, because he [Lazio] came out with all barrels firing yesterday
when he accused her, he said she's no more a New Democrat than she is a
New Yorker. Is this what this campaign's going to be about?"
-- ABC’s This Week,
May 21. Following Cokie Roberts’s taped interview with Lazio, in which
she ran through several issues raised by the Hillary camp to show Lazio as
right-wing extremist, she asked Pataki: "The Daily News today has a
quotation from one of yours, here it is, a fundraising letter of yours:
‘We cannot allow Hillary Clinton and her friends to destroy everything
we worked so hard for.’ Is this going to be a nasty campaign against
-- ABC’s World News
Tonight, May 20. Terry Moran began his piece on Lazio’s Senate bid
announcement: "On day one of the post-Rudy Giuliani Senate race, the
understudy took center stage."
Lazio at announcement: "Well this is fun."
Moran pounced: "And right away, as Congressman
Rick Lazio jumped into the race against First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,
he made clear that his idea of fun is political hardball."
Lazio: "My opponent is a liberal and a proud one
and I respect her for that. But make no mistake about this, she is no more
a New Democrat than a New Yorker."
Moran: "Lazio is a 42-year-old native New Yorker,
a former prosecutor and practicing local attorney who is married with two
young daughters. He is also considered a moderate Republican, opposing
those in his party who call for a ban on all abortions and supporting some
gun control, affirmative action and environmental protection measures. He
also supported much of the GOP’s Contract with America and voted to
impeach President. Clinton...."
-- CBS Evening News,
March 20. Diana Olick acknowledged: "His pro-choice stand and clean
cut character make him tough to attack, but Hillary insiders say they’ve
got something on him."
Craig Crawford, Hotline: "Their argument is going
to be that he was a foot soldier for Newt Gingrich when Gingrich was
Speaker of the House."
Olick: "And is Lazio ready to attack back?"
Lazio at announcement: "I can’t call on Air
Force One whenever I need a ride. But New Yorkers and count on me and call
on me whenever they need something to get done."
Olick then tried to show how he went against his
promise: "In an interview with CBS News in February, Lazio claimed he
would not run a negative campaign."
Lazio in February: "I think you have to be decent
and being decent doesn’t mean you’re a pansy. It doesn’t mean that
you can’t point up the shortcomings of your opponent."
Olick concluded: "Lazio said today he would set a
new tone for this race, but he needs to invent himself first and he’ll
likely have plenty of help with that. Republicans may have been on hold
for the last few weeks, but they’re not going to give up easily. For
them a Hilary Clinton victory would validate her husband’s legacy and
they’ll do anything to avoid that."
and popularity defined by view of abortion. ABC, CBS and NBC on Friday
night, May 19, avoided adopting the liberal spin of Rick Lazio as a
conservative Gingrich extremist, but they did introduce him to their
audiences by focusing on how he’s pro-choice, as if that’s the only
issue which matters. CBS’s Diana Olick suggested Lazio could be the
"most dangerous opponent of all" for Hillary and NBC’s Andrea
Mitchell tagged him "tougher" that Giuliani.
On ABC, George
Stephanopoulos did volunteer how Hillary’s camp is "going to move
hard and fast to define Lazio as a Gingrich clone," a spin
Stephanopoulos called "a tough sell." CNN’s John King supplied
evidence to support the attack on Lazio as a "radical," but also
gave equal time to Lazio’s contention he’s a "mainstream
-- ABC’s World News
Tonight. Terry Moran introduced Lazio: "The likely GOP candidate who
will replace Giuliani, four-term Congressman Rick Lazio, who supports some
abortion rights and gun control measures and voted to impeach President
Anchor Charles Gibson
asked George Stephanopoulos: "Some are saying, however, that this
could make the race even tougher for Mrs. Clinton, why?"
Stephanopoulos: "Lazio is untested, but as one
Democrat said, this could be Hillary’s worst nightmare. He doesn’t
have Giuliani’s baggage. He’s likeable, he’s from the suburbs,
he’s got a moderate voting record, an attractive family. He’s a more
natural fit with upstate voters. And he doesn’t enrage African-American
voters in the city the way Giuliani did."
Gibson: "So how does she run against him?"
Stephanopoulos: "No surprise, Charlie. They’ve
already done the polling, they’ve already done the research. And one
told me they’re going to move hard and fast to define Lazio as a
Gingrich clone. One Hillary strategist pointed out he voted 83 percent of
the time in 1995 with Newt Gingrich, voted against the Department of
Education. They’re going to try to make him a stereotypical conservative
Republican, but it’s a tough sell."
-- CBS Evening News.
Diana Olick filled viewers in about Lazio: "Even before the Mayor’s
announcement, four term Congressman Rick Lazio was rushing from his
Capitol Hill office to New York. The pro-choice Republican is expected to
be Governor Pataki’s pick..."
She concluded with an upbeat spin for Republican
prospects: "And so this Senate race, once a heavy-weight bout, will
now be fought by one relative unknown. But some Republicans aren’t as
worried as one might think. Rick Lazio carries a lot of support and little
personal baggage. For a First Lady who still suffers very high negatives,
the Congressman could be the most dangerous opponent of all."
But CBS’s Bob
Schieffer was more impressed with Hillary’s electablility, declaring
seconds later: "After all this recent turmoil, I think Giuliani
recognized the obvious: It was going to be very hard to beat Mrs.
-- NBC Nightly News.
Andrea Mitchell acquainted viewers: "Whom will she face? The most
likely, an even tougher opponent, Long Island Republican Congressman Rick
Lazio. He is 42-years-old, elected in 1992, Catholic. Says he favors
abortion rights, but opposes late-term abortions and has none of
Giuliani's personal baggage."
-- CNN’s The World
Today. John King highlighted the spin forwarded by both sides: "Her
[Hillary] staff is already hard at work, and hopes to label Lazio a
radical by noting he supported Newt Gingrich for House Speaker, signed the
GOP's conservative 1994 Contract with America, voted to eliminate the
Department of Education, opposes federal funding of abortion in most
cases, and voted to impeach the president in 1998....Lazio, on the other
hand, will present himself as a mainstream moderate in the mold of
Governor George Pataki. The Congressman's overall record is fairly middle
of the road, and includes votes for the Brady handgun control law,
supporting a ban on assault-style weapons, and in favor of the federal
family leave law."
Nina Totenberg baffled by why more New York women don’t support Hillary
and Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift resurrected an old lie to prove Rick Lazio
is no moderate: "He voted with the Gingrich Congress to shut down the
Three quotes from the
weekend talk shows:
-- On Inside Washington
NPR’s Nina Totenberg ruminated: "What’s overpowering to me when
you go to New York and you talk to people, many of whom should be her
natural allies, is this enormous intestinal animus toward her."
Moderator Gordon Peterson: "Why? Where’s it come
Totenberg: "I don’t really understand it. It has
nothing to do with carpetbagging. It has to do with the idea of the
chutzpah of her walking in-"
Jack Germond: "That is carpetbagging."
Totenberg: "Well it is partly carpetbagging, but
it’s much more, it’s the wife shtick."
-- McLaughlin Group. A
giddy Eleanor Clift suggested: "The Republicans ought to reconcile
themselves to the fact that Hillary Clinton is most likely going to be the
next Senator from New York and they ought to use her as a fundraising
tool. With Ted Kennedy getting on in years, who better to rally the
Republican faithful around than Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton?"
Later, she asserted:
"Mr. Lazio presents himself as a moderate and he has that reputation
chiefly because he’s pro-choice, but he voted with the Gingrich Congress
to shut down the government. He voted, I believe, to abolish the
Department of Education. So she could tie him to the Republicans in
Washington in a way that she couldn’t tie Rudy Giuliani."
of two Fridays with Bryant Gumbel. Interviewing the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre
on May 19 before the group opened its convention, Gumbel argued that the
NRA’s increase in membership does not show concern for infringement on
gun rights and demanded LaPierre respond to the concerns of those in the
Million Mom March. But, a week earlier before that march, Gumbel pressed
organizers from the left, asking one woman why they weren’t pushing
"for a total ban."
Gumbel set up the May 19
interview on The Early Show, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
"Despite increased public cries for stricter gun control, the
National Rifle Association claims to be gaining strength, boasting more
members today than ever, 200,000 new members in the last six weeks alone.
Wayne LaPierre is the Vice President of the NRA. He's in Charlotte, North
Carolina, for his group's annual convention. Mr. LaPierre, good morning.
Just how much of a membership increase are you seeing and to what do you
After LaPierre answered
that they are up a million in the last year to 3.6 million because the NRA
is standing for "fundamental American values," safety and
enforcement, Gumbel discounted LaPierre’s reasons: "Don't you
regularly see an increase in your membership roles prior to
Gumbel followed up: "Would you allow, Mr. LaPierre,
the possibility the increased debate over gun control has hardened
positions on both sides and encouraged activists on both sides?"
Gumbel soon asserted: "Your critics see your
membership drive in a wholly different light. They attribute much of it to
your $30 million new media campaign and say that your new memberships
haven't even come close to offsetting that figure. Have they a
Gumbel eventually moved
on: "Let me talk to you about Sunday's Million Mom March. It brought
a lot of mothers together as you well know in the name of stricter gun
control. As you sit there this morning, how concerned are you about the
influence that mothers might yet exercise if they remain united and
committed as they seemed on Sunday?"
LaPierre: "You know, Bryant, we all have moms. I
mean we all know moms. I mean, I asked my mom what she thought. She said
the answer is parents need to love their children more. I mean, I don't
see moms around the country saying 'hey the most important thing is
register every firearm.'"
Gumbel: "That's what these moms were saying."
LaPierre: "Well, but that's the point. That's what
the organizers of the marchers are saying. That's their agenda, no doubt.
But I think moms around the country, they trust their husbands, they trust
their sons, they trust themselves. They're not saying 'hey, boy in order
to stop crime let's register every gun in our house with Al Gore and the
Gumbel: "Is all this to say you're unconcerned
about those moms on Sunday?"
LaPierre: "Well, I think moms are on our side. We
have a million moms."
Gumbel: "Those moms on Sunday certainly weren't on
And Gumbel’s not on
the gun rights side either. As detailed in the May 15 CyberAlert, on the
May 12 Early Show pushed a Million Mom March representative: "Why are
you only focusing on licensing and registration, why aren't you going for
more than that, why aren't you going, for example, for a total ban?"
Next, Gumbel interviewed
a woman whose daughter was killed in the Dunblane, Scotland shooting. He
wanted to know: "Following the tragedy in your country, you were able
to get a total ban on all handguns. How’d you do it?"
Million Mom Marchers went three-for-three over the NRA with reporters on
the McLaughlin Group and Time conceded march organizer Donna Dees-Thomases
got "perfect, puffy press for protest."
Wrapping a segment on
the march, on this past weekend’s McLaughlin Group, John McLaughlin
asked: "Which side has the more defensible position on guns, the NRA
or Handgun Control Inc.?"
Lawrence Kudlow answered the NRA, but the other three
panelists, all reporters, picked the anti-gun group:
-- Newsweek’s Eleanor
Clift: "Handgun Control Inc. with some pretty powerful spokesmen like
James Brady, Sarah Brady."
-- James Warren, Chicago
Tribune Washington Bureau Chief: "Handgun Control. There are 200
million guns in this country and common sense leads you down to the path
irrevocably of deciding that more guns, more violence."
-- Mort Zuckerman,
publisher of the New York Daily News and U.S. News: "I’m in favor
of the million moms on this one. I gotta tell ya I think that licensing
and registering guns is not the biggest deterrent in the world, it’s
something that I think would provide much more protection for the country
and is something we could all live with. We do it with cars...."
Indeed, even Time
magazine realized the media’s tilt. As recounted in the MRC’s latest
MagazineWatch: "Basking in the afterglow of the so-called ‘Million
Mom March,’ Time’s ‘Winners & Losers’ feature found a winner
in march organizer Donna Dees-Thomases: ‘Million Mom March founder gets
perfect, puffy press for protest. John McCain advising you?’"
Other items in the May
16 MagazineWatch compiled by the MRC’s Paul Smith and Tim Graham:
1. The previously infidelity-phobic magazines reveled in the unfolding
marriage of Rudy Giuliani. Newsweek tabbed Rudy as "cruel" and a
"benevolent dictator." U.S. News drags out the hoary old line
about the Clintons being "blessed by their enemies."
2. Time essayist Roger Rosenblatt equated the NRA with the KKK. Newsweek
hit Bush’s funding support from the NRA, which "could make more
than a few moms his enemy." U.S. News owner Mortimer Zuckerman
complained "if water pistols can be regulated by the federal
government, so, too, can real pistols."
3. Time took on George W. Bush, including a Michael Weisskopf
investigation of how planned Texas sales restrictions on dietary
supplements with the herb ephedrine were weakened in "a case study of
politics, policy and money in George W. Bush’s Texas."
4. Author Francis Fukuyama explored the future of socialism and suggested
in Time that "Karl Marx's exhortation ‘Workers of the world,
unite!’ has never seemed more apt."
To read these items, go
State Department lodged a protest and a Democratic Congressman sent Bill
Clinton a letter complaining about how Elian is being indoctrinated at the
Wye River Plantation, but of the networks, only FNC cared Friday night.
On Saturday’s Capital
Gang CNN viewers finally got to see the photo of Elian in the outfit of
the Pioneers, Cuba’s communist youth group, as CNN displayed it during
Kate O’Beirne’s Outrage of the Week. On Fox News Sunday Brit Hume
raised the issue of the Elian photo, but the other Sunday shows ignored
it, even Sam Donaldson in an interview with Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright. He asked her about China, Israel, Putin and Sierre Leone.
Friday night, in a piece
FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, Rita Cosby disclosed:
"This communist youth league uniform worn by Elian
and his four classmates and their schooling at the Wye Plantation in
Maryland are sparking more tensions between the U.S. State Department and
Cuban diplomats. State Department officials say they personally told Cuban
officials that they have concerns about a communist curriculum being
taught on U.S. soil and question if Elian's Cuban teacher, who's here on a
tourist visa and not licensed to teach in the U.S., should be instructing
him. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright made only brief comments about
Albright: "Everyone is obviously concerned about
Elian's welfare, and the case of Elian is in the courts, where it belongs.
You asked about Cuban -- we have called in the head of the Cuban interests
Cosby: "But the State Department's position is at
odds with the INS and Justice Department, who say no one should expect
Elian to remain in the U.S. for a prolonged period of time without
receiving an education, and it's up to the father's discretion. They say
their job is to enforce the law, and so far no laws have been broken, and
attribute the difference of opinion with the State Department as a case of
different jobs, different perspectives."
"Democratic Congressman Robert Menendez, a Cuban-American, wrote a
letter to President Clinton demanding the administration review the
current schooling conditions, saying, quote, ‘I urge you to immediately
intervene to end Castro’s attempt to carry out his maligned social
experiment on U.S. soil and to ensure that Elian and the Gonzalez family
are not further manipulated by the Castro regime.’"
In the roundtable
segment on Fox News Sunday, Fox News Washington Managing Editor Brit Hume
argued: "What appears to have happened is that the Castro government
has succeeded in creating within the United States, under the Justice
Department’s supposed supervision, a little mini Cuban school with mini
Cuba indoctrination and all that would go on down there. Now this is the
same Justice Department that found it necessary to seize this boy at
gunpoint because it alleged that psychological damage was being done to
him by his Cuban-American Miami relatives. Now they’re saying gee,
there’s nothing we can do about this, it’s all up to his father. This
is a citizen of a nation, his father, is the citizen of a nation where the
parents do not have ultimate control and this is once again the Clinton
Justice Department denying the obvious truth."
To see the photo and for
more information on coverage, go to:
on the May 19 CyberAlert report on how FBI Director Louis Freeh wrote a
memo in December 1996 recounting how he learned that Justice Department
public integrity chief Lee Radek was under White House pressure to not
pursue a fundraising because it could cost Janet Reno her job. As noted in
the May 19 CyberAlert, the AP story breaking the news late Thursday, May
18 earned some time on that night’s The News with Brian Williams on
MSNBC as well as 20 seconds each on Friday’s Today and Good Morning
Now to Friday night:
Zilch on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly
News or CNN’s Inside Politics and The World Today. ABC made room for a
UCLA study on how women handle stress better than men and NBC looked at
how Disney created the dinosaurs for its new movie.
Only FNC bothered to
tell viewers about the development, running a full report by David Shuster,
pegged to Reno’s denial of the charge, on both Special Report with Brit
Hume and the Fox Report.
For an excerpt of the AP
story, go to:
Clint Eastwood, owner of a hotel in California, testified before a House
committee on Thursday about how lawyers sue under the Americans with
Disabilities Act before owners have a chance to fix any alleged building
problems, but CBS portrayed it as a case of Eastwood "taking sides
against people in wheelchairs."
CBS Evening News anchor
Dan Rather introduced the May 18 story: "On the face of it, it might
not seem very fair, a mismatch to say the least: a man who made a name for
himself pretending to punch out opponents taking on the disabled. What is
this about? Let's get the real deal from CBS's Bob Schieffer. Go ahead,
Bob, make my day."
Schieffer continued the
same snide tone: "Well, Dan, you had to wonder why rich, popular
movie star Clint Eastwood would be at the Capitol today taking sides
against people in wheelchairs. But there he was, in a hearing room crowded
with the disabled."
Schieffer did eventually
get around to relaying Eastwood’s point of view: "Eastwood says he
speaks for many business owners who believe a loophole in the law is
making victims of them. Congress passed the act 10 years ago after a
moving lobbying campaign by disabled people, and it's been universally
praised for giving the disabled access to public places. But business
owners say unscrupulous lawyers cruise shopping malls looking for
violations, then sue before owners can correct them."
The ADA may have done
many good things, but its license to lawyers to drag people into costly
lawsuits means it has not been "universally praised" as
Schieffer contended. --