top


CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Monday May 21, 2001 (Vol. Six; No. 80) |
Back to Today's CyberAlert | Free Subscription

 

Liberal Hit on Olson Advanced; "Drastically" Reduced Government?; "F" for Bush’s Energy Plan; Should be "More" Solar and Wind Power

1) Howler of the Weekend. Margaret Carlson on CNN’s Capital Gang ludicrously claimed that because of the tax cut "government is going to end as we know it....Government will be drastically reduced."

2) ABC gave George Stephanopoulos his own segment to make the case that Ted Olson should be disqualified because he’s employed "the kind of legalistic parsing" which Olson had "criticized Clinton administration officials for" during the Lewinsky and Whitewater scandals. Stephanopoulos insisted to Ken Starr: "Isn’t this record of failing to be forthcoming with the Congress evidence that Mr. Olson might not be forthcoming with the Supreme Court?"

3) Geraldo Rivera launched a jihad against Ted Olson. He revealed his bitterness about the Clinton years as he predicted the Senate vote "could be payback for the grossly out-of-proportion impeachment of Bill Clinton." He added: "Viewers of this program know my personal views of this noxious scheme of character assassination and about the man who funded it, the right wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife."

4) Al Hunt took a cheap shot at Richard Scaife for funding the American Spectator, calling him, on Saturday’s CNN Capital Gang, "a right wing nut."

5) NBC’s Matt Lauer hit Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham from the left on Friday morning over energy. Lauer cited how Jimmy Carter "accused President Bush of using quote, ‘scare tactics to promote drilling on federal lands and other environmental atrocities.’" Lauer also became an advocate, arguing "there has to be more though" on wind and solar power.

6) An "F on substance" for Bush’s energy plan from Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift.

7) Kelsey Grammer, star of the NBC sit-com Frasier, admitted on CBS’s Late Show that he attended President Bush’s inauguration and that he’s "a little bit right of center."

8) Letterman’s "Top Ten Reasons Mayor Giuliani Loves Spring New York."


    >>> Watch and hear Dan "Woo-Woo" Rather. MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted a RealPlayer video clip of Rather imitating a train whistle as he reported on why one was a runaway, as quoted in the May 17 CyberAlert: "So it was woo-woo and good-bye train." Go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010517.asp#7 <<<

1

Howler of the Weekend. Time reporter and columnist Margaret Carlson on Capital Gang, lamenting how Democrats have lost the fight on taxation, made the ludicrous claim that under the new budget plan "government will be drastically reduced."

     She asserted on the May 19 CNN show: "The Democrats have not fought back as effectively. The Lexus and the muffler, the wealth argument didn’t work as well. I think what might have worked is look, government is going to end as we know it. If the spending cuts get passed that are going to have to to fund this tax cut, Republicans will get their wish. Bob [Novak] will get his wish. Government will be drastically reduced."

     We wish. The argument is not over cutting federal spending but by how much above inflation it will increase, as it has every year since FDR.

2

Thanks to ABC News, a former Clinton operative who helped him deceive the public about Gennifer Flowers and Whitewater in 1992, got air time on Sunday to make the case that Bush’s Solicitor General-nominee, Ted Olson, is unqualified for the position because he’s employed "the kind of legalistic parsing" which Olson had "criticized Clinton administration officials for" during the Lewinsky and Whitewater scandals.

     Sunday’s This Week gave George Stephanopoulos a whole segment dedicated to the Democratic spin, as outlined by Stephanopoulos:
     "At issue: Did Olson tell the whole truth about his ties to an anti-Clinton project of the right wing American Spectator." Not once did Stephanopoulos raise the possibility that Senate Democrats are just using the issue as a screen for payback over Olson’s role in the Florida recount court fights or as a warning shot about how they will fight conservative judicial nominee. Instead, he stated as fact: "Democrats voted against Olson because they’re not sure he’s been a straight-shooter." He also painted their motives as noble: "Isn’t this record of failing to be forthcoming with the Congress evidence that Mr. Olson might not be forthcoming with the Supreme Court?"

     Not exactly a concern for truth Stephanopoulos displayed during his White House years.

     Stephanopoulos also suggested "that perhaps Mr. Olson, because of his long record as a partisan, is simply too partisan for this appointment and maybe that’s what Democrats are upset about."

     Stephanopoulos set up the May 20 This Week segment by explaining how the Senate Judiciary Committee had tied 9-9 last week on Olson but the White House had made a deal with Democrats to share documents about the case before a full Senate vote. Launching a taped piece, Stephanopoulos used disgruntled for Spectator writer David Brock as an authority. Stephanopoulos asserted:
     "Tensions are still high though on the Judiciary Committee where the spotlight has been on Olson’s credibility. Democrats voted against Olson because they’re not sure he’s been a straight-shooter....At issue: Did Olson tell the whole truth about his ties to an anti-Clinton project of the right wing American Spectator. Best know for arguing George W. Bush’s case during the Florida recount, Olson was a board member and lawyer for the magazine during the 1990s. And David Brock, a former American Spectator writer turned conservative critic, has testified that Olson is not being forthcoming."
     Brock: "Ted Olson is a talented Washington lawyer and I’m not and I’m not going to get into the kind of deceptive word play that he has engaged in before the committee. As I said, I know that those involved knew the Arkansas Project as the Arkansas Project and Mr. Olson was involved."
     Stephanopoulos: "For Olson’s defense, I sat down with his good friend and a former Solicitor General, Ken Starr, who said the focus should be on Olson’s whole career."

     Viewers then a saw a taped one-on-one interview with Starr. Stephanopoulos’s second "question" consumed 45 seconds, a time longer than many TV news stories:
     "But the Democrats say credibility is crucial because even as Mr. Olson said in his testimony absolute candor and fair dealing have to be the hallmark of a Solicitor General and they point to what they say is evolving answers in the committee. They say he first said he didn’t know about the Arkansas Project until 1988 as a board member of the American Spectator. Then confronted with contradictory evidence he says, ‘oh yes I did know about it earlier when I was working as a lawyer for the Spectator.’ And he also said that he had nothing to do, assist in the conduct of investigation of the Clintons, yet in 1994 he was paid $14,000 by the Spectator to conduct legal research into the criminal exposure of the Clintons that grew out of the magazine’s investigation. How does that square with absolute candor and fair dealing?"

     After Starr defended Olson’s accuracy and pointed out how Brock says Olson told the truth but could have been more forthcoming to say he had attended dinners where the project was discussed, Stephanopoulos countered: "What they say is it was literally true but misleading. And what would you say to critics who say that’s just the kind of legalistic parsing that you and Mr. Olson criticized Clinton administration officials for during the Monica Lewinsky and Watergate investigations, Whitewater excuse me?"

     The next question from Stephanopoulos took 36 seconds: "But Democrats say this isn’t the first time that Mr. Olson has misled Congress. They point to an incident when he was a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration and an independent counsel investigating his dealings with an Environmental Protection Agency matter found that he had been less than forthcoming in his testimony. Public integrity lawyers in the Justice Department were even more harsh, saying there was ‘significant evidence that Olson gave knowingly false testimony’ and President Reagan’s own EPA Administrator Anne Burford said Olson ‘out and out lied to me.’ Isn’t this record of failing to be forthcoming with the Congress evidence that Mr. Olson might not be forthcoming with the Supreme Court?"

     The fourth and last question from Stephanopoulos offered up another justification for Democratic blockage: "The Solicitor General is supposed to serve both the President who appoints him and the Supreme Court, has this special role. Is it possible then that perhaps Mr. Olson, because of his long record as a partisan, is simply too partisan for this appointment and maybe that’s what Democrats are upset about?"

     How about "perhaps Mr. Stephanopoulos, because of his long record as a partisan, is simply too partisan for this role as a reporter and maybe that’s what ABC viewers are upset about?"

3

Geraldo Rivera launched his own jihad against Ted Olson on Thursday night, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed. "Tonight," he opened the May 17 Rivera Live on CNBC, "did the high profile attorney nominated to be this country’s top lawyer mislead Senators about his connection to an extreme right wing effort to sabotage Bill and Hillary Clinton. We’ll investigate."

     Rivera referred to the America Spectator’s "viciously anti-Clinton effort called the Arkansas Project." He revealed his bitterness about the Clinton years as he predicted the Senate vote "could be payback for the grossly out-of-proportion impeachment of Bill Clinton. Not to mention the Supreme Court’s decision to hand the presidency to George W. Bush." He added: "Viewers of this program know my personal views of this noxious scheme of character assassination and about the man who funded it, the right wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife."

     Before getting to guests Joe Conason, Joe DiGenova and David Brock, Rivera delivered this lengthy diatribe:
     "Hi everybody Geraldo Rivera. More on the unrelenting chutzpah of America’s best known acquitted killer [O.J. Simpson] later in the program. But upfront tonight another kind of killing, character assassination. This man Ted Olson could soon be at the center of the most contentious and intensely partisan Senate confirmation hearing in years. Based on whether he told the truth about his ties to a viciously anti-Clinton effort called the Arkansas Project. The Senate Judiciary committee deadlocked today. Nine votes to nine on Olson’s nomination to be this country’s Solicitor General. That’s the Justice Department official who acts as the government’s attorney before the high court. Because the job is so important he’s sometimes called the Court’s tenth justice. And the position is seen as a stepping stone toward possibly becoming Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
      "Today the tie vote on Olson split right down party lines. And it foreshadows confirmation hearings in the full Senate that many predict could be payback for the grossly out-of-proportion impeachment of Bill Clinton. Not to mention the Supreme Court’s decision to hand the presidency to George W. Bush. Here’s why: Most Americans know Theodore Olson best for his very skillful representation of President Bush’s Florida election case before the U.S. Supreme Court. But this highly competent attorney is described by today’s Washington Post as quote, ‘not only an architect of the conservative legal movement but a significant player as well, advising Paula Jones’s legal team when she sued President Clinton for sexual harassment, and defending his friend Kenneth Starr during the Whitewater investigation.’
      "More relevant to the current controversy however is Olson’s involvement with the magazine that was at the epicenter of the anti-Clinton movement during the past decade, The American Spectator and the publication’s so-called Arkansas Project. We’ve told you about that one. That’s the four year, $2.4 million attempt to dig up and track down every filthy rumor about the Clinton’s lives. With big, bizarre allegations rather, ranging from cocaine addiction to even murder. Viewers of this program know my personal views of this noxious scheme of character assassination and about the man who funded it the right wing billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. And last week’s Wall Street Journal reminded everyone saying quote, ‘Various Clinton acolytes from Geraldo Rivera to Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal spun the Arkansas Project effort as something out of one of Robert Ludlum’s paranoid political thrillers.’ Whatever. In any case here is the crux of the matter. Ted Olson who was a lawyer for the magazine American Spectator and on its board of directors first told the Senate Judiciary committee he knew nothing specific about the magazine’s pride and joy, this Arkansas Project, at least until 1998. Then he revised that answer to sometime in 1997. Here is an excerpt from his testimony."

     Rivera soon continued: "So he had no role in the origin or the management of the Arkansas Project and first knew about it in general terms in 1997. But here’s what The New York Observer and The Washington Post and two of our guests who you will meet in a moment, allege. Item: American Spectator financial records for 1994 show payments of more than $14,000 to Olson’s law firm for Arkansas Project expenses. Item: Olson had dinner meetings in 1995 with American Spectator editor Emmett Tyrrell, he later served as best man at Tyrrell’s wedding and with Arkansas Project head David Henderson, meetings at which the Project was discussed. Item: The publisher of American Spectator put Olson’s name at the top of a list of people who regularly attended such Project related meetings. Item: Olson testified he could not remember who originally introduced him to his client David Hale. You remember David Hale, he’s the Little Rock con-man who was the key witness against Clinton in the Whitewater investigation. But the same David Henderson who headed the Arkansas Project has admitted that it was him who arranged the representation of David Hale by Ted Olson."

4

Al Hunt took a cheap shot, on Saturday’s CNN Capital Gang, at conservative foundation head Richard Scaife over his funding of the American Spectator in the early 1990s. The Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal disparaged him as "a right wing nut."

     Wrapping up a segment on the May 19 show about the Ted Olson nomination, columnist Mark Shields charged: "Anybody who went near the toxic, lousy American Spectator knew what it was about the destruction of Bill Clinton. That’s what is was."
     Bob Novak: "You’re just showing your prejudice. Anything to do with the right you hate."
     Shields: "Is that an objective reading of that magazine?"
     Hunt: "That was a project that was not; that was funded by a right wing nut. I think we all agree that was improper, including Bob agrees with that."

     I don’t recall Hunt ever castigating anyone as "a left wing nut."

5

NBC’s Matt Lauer hit Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham from the left on Friday morning over President Bush’s energy plan. Lauer cited Jimmy Carter as an authority, quoting how the former President "accused President Bush of using quote, ‘scare tactics to promote drilling on federal lands and other environmental atrocities.’" Lauer also became an advocate, arguing: "But you’re gonna have to do something more in terms of renewable sources of energy. Wind and solar power. I know the President is offering tax incentives for people who use those sources of energy. There has to be more though."

     Here are all of Lauer’s inquiries to Abraham via satellite on the May 18 Today:

     -- "On Close Up this morning the Bush energy policy. With rolling blackouts in California and the price of gas increasing every few weeks President Bush presented his controversial plan for a national energy policy on Thursday. Spencer Abraham is Secretary of Energy. Mr. Secretary good morning to you. Good to have you here. The President painted a pretty dismal picture of our energy future in outlining this plan. Do you think he was presenting a worst case scenario to build support for this proposal?"

     -- "Let me tell you what former President Jimmy Carter had to say. As you know he had to deal with an energy crisis of his own back in the 1970s. He’s accused President Bush of using quote, ‘scare tactics to promote drilling on federal lands and other environmental atrocities.’ So you’re saying these aren’t scare tactics?"

     -- "Does this plan do anything, Mr. Secretary, to ease the problems we are facing in the next couple of months. Of course I’m talking about the short term here. High gas prices, rolling blackouts, that sort of thing."

     -- "Let me ask you a long term question. The President in proposing this yesterday said that the environment and exploration are not competing priorities. Environmentalists disagree with that completely. How do you answer it?"

     -- "Do, do you think, do you think that environmentalists are being alarmist when they look at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and say if you go into that place and you start drilling for natural gas and oil you are risking irreparable harm?"

     -- "But you’re gonna have to do something more in terms of renewable sources of energy. Wind and solar power. I know the President is offering tax incentives for people who use those sources of energy. There has to be more though."

     -- "Real quickly Secretary Abraham, I know you’re realist. Do you think it’s gonna be a tough battle to get some of these proposals through Congress?"

6

An "F" for Bush’s energy plan from Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift. Asked on the McLaughlin Group over the weekend to give it a grade on substance and politics, she replied: "F on substance, D on politics because the market may fix itself and he may proclaim victory in two years when his policy had nothing to do with it."

7

Not everyone in Hollywood is a liberal Gore supporting, Bush-basher. On Friday’s Late Show on CBS, Kelsey Grammer, star of the NBC sit-com Frasier, admitted he attended President Bush’s inauguration and that he’s "a little bit right of center."

     Grammer told David Letterman on the May 18 show: "I was there at the Inauguration in hopes of kind of lending whatever support I could to the idea that bi-partisanship would be a good thing and I am definitely, you know, a little bit right of center so I was pleased about that, but we’ll see how he does."

     Not exactly a hard-core conservative proclamation, but not bad for someone who must work in Hollywood.

8

From the May 16 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Reasons Mayor Giuliani Loves Spring New York." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

     10. Seeing first robin of spring getting mugged by a pigeon
     9. When the buds finally bloom on New York City's one and only tree
     8. Melted snow means we finally solve a lot of missing-person cases
     7. Sidewalk vendors replace their counterfeit designer scarves with counterfeit designer sunglasses
     6. When your cab careens out of control into the East River, you can pretend it's a fun water park ride
     5. Every spring, Governor Pataki and I rent a VW bus and follow Blink 182 cross country
     4. Just when you need him, a well-rested Batman finally returns from his condo in Boca
     3. Cutting to the front of line at Ben & Jerry's because dammit I'm the mayor
     2. Hot babes showing a little leg (video of Giuliani as a Rockette)
     1. You can go out to Yankee Stadium and be damn sure you won't run into Hillary

     And my favorite entry from the Late Show Web site’s list of he also-rans, the entries that didn’t make the final cut:
     "When you wear sandals, your toes get tickled by the cockroaches."

     Keep that in mind if you visit New York City this summer. -- Brent Baker


 

 


Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314