Enron as "Bush’s Whitewater"; And "Worse" Than Whitewater; To CNN, Arafat is the Victim; Kinsley Insulted Goldberg as "Dense"
1) The networks added a "who knew what and when did
they know it" scandal motif to the Enron story while ignoring or
downplaying how Democrats also benefitted from Enron donations. "The
story some are already calling Bush’s Whitewater," charged
MSNBC’s Brian Williams. "Enron’s connections to the Bush
administration, wide and deep," warned ABC’s Peter Jennings.
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman revealed the White House press corps were
"like a pack of bloodhounds on the first day of hunting season."
2) NBC’s Pete Williams noted: "A lawyer for Enron,
Bob Bennett, predicts that many of the allegations against the company
will turn out not to be true." Doesn’t that sound like a familiar
3) "The Enron debacle won't be President Bush's
Whitewater. It will be much worse," argued David Callaway, Executive
Editor of CBS.MarketWatch.com. Callaway, however, revealed his liberal
agenda, as he condemned how Bush "rammed through an expensive
economic plan that wiped out the budget surplus."
4) CNN anchor Aaron Brown fretted that the expected U.S.
decision to tie Arafat to an intercepted arms shipment "will not
exactly help get the peace process back on track." CNN’s Andrea
Koppel portrayed Arafat as the victim: "For Palestinian leader Yasser
Arafat, this is the absolute worst kind of news for him." Reuters
asserted that the U.S. "gives Israel about $2 billion a year in
weaponry used to kill Palestinians."
5) On NBC’s Law & Order: SVU the prosecutor put
abortion rights ahead of charging a man with murder for extracting a
seven-month-old fetus and killing it. "I will not charge for murder
in the death of an unborn child."
6) Microsoft’s Michael Kinsley insulted Bernard Goldberg
as "remarkably dense" and wondered if "his glorifiers are
just as dense," but next week Goldberg’s book will rank number one
on the New York Times best-seller list.
President Brent Bozell’s take on FNC hiring Geraldo Rivera and Greta van
Susteren, "Storm Clouds at Fox?" He opened his January 10 column
by asking: "Should conservatives start worrying about the Fox News
Channel?" For his answer:
Bush and other administration officials clearly have ties to Enron --
received donations, solicited advise of Enron executives or once worked
for the company -- but on Thursday night, in reporting on Bush’s
comments about the case and Attorney General John Ashcroft’s recusal,
the networks, especially ABC and CBS, did their best to add a "who
knew what and when did they know it" scandal motif while either
ignoring, or only mentioning as an afterthought, how many Democrats also
benefited from Enron contributions.
CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts turned
the Bush cabinet’s lack of any action to help Enron into a scandal
itself, asking: "Who knew what about the Enron fiasco? The White
House now acknowledges members of the Bush Cabinet were contacted about
the energy giant’s financial troubles." CBS’s Bill Plante relayed
how much Enron donated to Bush and Ashcroft, but ignored their donations
"Enron’s connections to the Bush
administration, wide and deep," warned ABC’s Peter Jennings. Only
at the very end of a subsequent story did Linda Douglass acknowledge:
"Ken Lay did play golf with then-President Clinton, and Enron has
contributed to Democrats."
Indeed, in offering specific names not uttered
by the other networks, on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume, Wendell
Goler noted: "Fleischer points out Enron executives also gave
hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats, including Senate Majority
Leader Tom Daschle and New York Senator Chuck Schumer. And Ken Lay was one
of Bill Clinton’s golfing partners."
MSNBC’s Brian Williams referred to Enron’s
collapse as "easily the most under-covered news story of the past few
weeks" and warned that "before this is all over it could be a
major pre-occupation, if not a danger, for the Bush White House."
Though Clinton was a personal investor who controlled a large percentage
of the Whitewater project, while Bush had no financial stake in Enron,
Williams likened it to a Clinton scandal: "For more on the political
ramifications of the crash, and resulting mushroom cloud from Enron, the
story some are already calling Bush’s Whitewater, we are joined now by
Howard Fineman, Newsweek magazine senior political correspondent."
Williams asked Fineman on the January 10 News
with Brian Williams: "Is that overstatement? Just how big is this
thing going to get?" Fineman reveled the Washington press corps
certainly doesn’t think so: "Well, it’s hard to tell, but judging
by the press room at the White House today Brian, that was like a pack of
bloodhounds on the first day of hunting season..."
More detail about January 10 evening show
coverage on ABC, CBS and NBC, all of which opened Thursday night with
multiple stories on the Enron situation:
-- Peter Jennings teased: "On World News
Tonight, the criminal investigation of the energy company Enron, which
cost so many people their retirement savings. Enron’s connections to the
Bush administration, wide and deep."
Jennings set up the first story: "Enron
was a company with deep political connections to the Bush administration,
and so there are political issues to be dealt with."
Terry Moran outlined how the case presents
"tough questions about regulatory policy and political
influence," before he ran through Bush’s comments and promise of an
investigation, how Ashcroft’s campaign received $50,000 from Enron CEO
Ken Lay and how last fall Lay had called Treasury Secretary O’Neill and
Commerce Secretary Evans for help, but they had turned him down.
Jennings then announced: "Enron has very
extensive connections to the President and other officials in his
Linda Douglass outlined the ties, as taken
down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "President Bush seemed to downplay
his long political relationship with Enron CEO Ken Lay, pointing out that
Lay supported his opponent when he first ran for Governor of Texas." George W.
Bush: "I got to know Ken Lay when he was the head of what they call
the Governor’s Business Council in Texas. He was a supporter of Ann
countered: "But during that campaign, Lay contributed twice as much
money to Mr. Bush as he did to Ann Richards. Over Mr. Bush’s career, Lay
and Enron became his most generous supporters, giving or raising more than
$500,000 since 1993."
McDonald, Texans for Public Justice: "If you had to choose one
individual and one corporation, clearly Ken Lay, the CEO of Enron, and the
resources of Enron, would be the number one supporter or promoter of
George Bush’s political career."
"All the while, Enron lobbied for legislation to open up markets for
its energy trading business. As Governor, Mr. Bush signed a law championed
by Enron and others deregulating power in Texas. When Mr. Bush became
President, Lay weighed in on energy issues. He and Enron officials met
privately six times with Vice President Cheney or his staff, four times as
they were drafting the administration’s energy policy."
Douglass concluded: "The ties between
Enron and the White House are deep and wide. The President’s chief
economic advisor, his trade representative, his secretary of the army, his
choice to head the Republican Party, all worked for Enron. Ken Lay did
play golf with then-President Clinton, and Enron has contributed to
Democrats. But a Senate committee led by Democrats will scrutinize
Enron’s ties to the current White House in hearings later this
-- John Roberts teased the CBS Evening News:
"Who knew what about the Enron fiasco? The White House now
acknowledges members of the Bush Cabinet were contacted about the energy
giant’s financial troubles. And Enron’s auditors reveal a significant
number of documents have been destroyed."
Roberts opened the broadcast: "Just as
the Justice Department is opening a criminal investigation into the
collapse of the Enron corporation, Enron’s auditors revealed today that
documents related to the company have been destroyed. More about that in a
moment, but first, what did the Bush Administration know about Enron’s
financial troubles? The White House acknowledged for the first time today
that Enron contacted members of the President’s Cabinet, telling the
Treasury Secretary the company was heading for bankruptcy, a collapse that
cost many investors and Enron employees their life savings. We begin our
coverage tonight with Bill Plante at the White House."
Plante reported: "President Bush moved to
distance himself from the bankrupt Enron corporation, one of his largest
campaign contributors, even as the White House revealed that Enron’s
chairman sought administration help as his company collapsed. Enron
Chairman Kenneth Lay is an old friend of the President’s, but Mr. Bush
says he hasn’t talked to Lay in months, and never talked business." George W.
Bush: "I have never discussed with Mr. Lay the financial problems of
"But as Enron failed, Lay did contact two Bush Cabinet members,
possibly seeking support for a bailout. Lay made two phone calls to
Treasury Secretary O’Neill and one to Commerce Secretary Evans
expressing concern about the effect Enron’s problems might have on the
economy. The Cabinet secretaries declined to help, but they never told the
President about the calls. Their spokesmen say they had no information
that wasn’t already public. Bill Allison for the Center of Public
Integrity has been tracking the Enron bankruptcy."
Center for Public Integrity: "And to just sit on the information and
do nothing is really hoping a problem will go away rather than dealing
Plante noted how Bush has ordered an
investigation of the crash which "cost thousands of employees their
pensions while Enron executives cashed in for big profits."
donation numbers, but skipped contributions to Democrats: "Enron
Chairman Lay has been a generous contributor. Lay donated more than
$166,000 to Mr. Bush’s various campaigns. The company and its employees
have given Bush a total of $623,000. Lay also gave $25,000 to the John
Ashcroft Victory Committee in October 2000 when Ashcroft was running for
the Senate. The ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee
sent Ashcroft a letter today suggesting conflict of interest, and Ashcroft
and several members of his staff announced they would not take part in the
-- Tom Brokaw began the NBC Nightly News by
explaining: "Enron chief executive Kenneth Lay and his company have
been some of the most generous contributors to President Bush during his
political career. And Enron executives met six different times with Vice
President Cheney or his staff as he was shaping the administration’s
energy policy last spring. So the White House today was working hard to
put distance between the President and this company’s troubles."
Following pieces by David Gregory from the
White House, in which he pointed out the donations to Bush, a story by
Pete Williams on the charges against Enron, and a piece by Jim Avila on
those who lost all their retirement funds, Brokaw turned to Tim Russert
who reported that White House staffers realize they have a problem on
their hands, though they maintain the Bush team did nothing wrong. Russert
added: "Congress also understands, Tom: 40 percent of the House of
Representatives, 70 percent of the United States Senate also took
contributions from Enron."
For a list of who in both parties benefitted
from Enron’s political donations, check the Center for Responsive
Politics Web site: http://www.opensecrets.org/alerts/v6/enron_cong.asp
While the GOP got more than Democrats, Al Gore
and Bill Clinton received some Enron money, the Center for Public
who is working for Enron and insisting the allegations against the company
In his story on the case which ran on both the
NBC Nightly News and MSNBC’s The News with Brian Williams, Pete Williams
observed: "A lawyer for Enron, Bob Bennett, predicts that many of the
allegations against the company will turn out not to be true."
Isn’t that the same line he used in January
1998 to deny the Monica Lewinsky story?
online commentary, David Callaway, Executive Editor of CBS.MarketWatch.com,
argued that "the Enron debacle won't be President Bush's Whitewater.
It will be much worse." Callaway contended the case goes
"straight to the heart of exposing what is wrong with the way the
Bush administration is conducting itself these days."
Callaway, however, revealed his liberal
political agenda, as he condemned how Bush "rammed through an
expensive economic plan that wiped out the budget surplus but to date
hasn't had any positive effect on the economy."
An excerpt from Callaway’s January 10
commentary brought to CyberAlert’s attention by Keith Appell of Creative
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS.MW) -- The Enron debacle won't be President Bush's
Whitewater. It will be much worse.
Unlike the financial sideshow over a 20-year-old failed land deal that
dogged the Clinton administration, the collapse of the nation's largest
energy trader into the nation's largest bankruptcy last month is set to go
straight to the heart of exposing what is wrong with the way the Bush
administration is conducting itself these days....
Don't expect to see either Bush or Vice President Cheney directly
linked to the financial shenanigans that brought Enron down. They won't
be. This is not about finding a smoking gun, as much as some Democrats
might wish it were.
What it is about, and what the public will get to hear and read about
in wrenching detail over the coming months, is how business gets done down
in Texas. How a small group of business leaders exert enormous clout over
Bush and his team in getting the rules changed to their benefit.
It will explain why Bush has locked up presidential records, locked out
any voices opposed to his pro-business agenda and rammed through an
expensive economic plan that wiped out the budget surplus but to date
hasn't had any positive effect on the economy.
It will explain what influence Enron Chief Executive Ken Lay and his
advisers had with Cheney and his energy task force when they met six times
last year while the vice president was putting together the
administration's energy policy.
And it will explain why Bush is now thinking about acting on a proposal
from that very task force that seeks to roll back a key provision of the
Clean Air Act that helps keep factory pollution down by requiring new
controls when old plants are upgraded....
END of Excerpt
To read Callaway’s piece in full, go to:
FYI, CBS.MarketWatch.com is not part of CBS or
CBS News. It’s a separate San Francisco-based company in which CBS is a
minority investor and in exchange for having "CBS" in the name
CBS News agreed to use them as a source for business news.
intercepted 50 tons of weapons and explosives on its way, they determined,
to Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority. But to CNN Arafat is the
victim. And to Reuters, it is the U.S. which is fueling deaths since the
U.S. "gives Israel about $2 billion a year in weaponry used to kill
On Wednesday night, CNN anchor Aaron Brown
fretted that the expected U.S. decision to link the shipment to Arafat
"will not exactly help get the peace process back on track." As
if Palestinians bringing in more weapons to kill Israelis would help.
CNN’s Andrea Koppel lamented how "for
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, this is the absolute worst kind of news
for him." Probably would have been worse news for those the weapons
would have killed.
Brown, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd observed, set
up the January 9 NewsNight story:
Israeli military men died today in an attack that Hamas is claiming
responsibility for. But even before this incident, the tension has been
growing over the last several days between Israel and the Palestinians,
stems from something that happened last week. A massive shipment of
Iranian weapons seized by Israel at sea, the Israeli government quick to
point the finger at Yasser Arafat. And now the United States may be
willing to do the same thing, which will not exactly help get the peace
process back on track."
CNN State Department correspondent Andrea
Koppel began her report: "For Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, this
is the absolute worst kind of news for him. For the first time since this
story broke last week, now the Bush Administration is saying that it has
seen compelling evidence linking Yasser Arafat and some of his senior
aides to that shipment, that intercepted shipment of 50 tons of weapons
that Israel intercepted last week near, in the Red Sea near its
James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com’s
"Best of the Web" column (www.OpinionJournal.com/best),
highlighted the negative way Reuters characterized U.S. support for Israel
and that nation’s use of U.S. aid. The line came in a January 9 dispatch
by Washington bureau reporter Jonathan Wright in a story headlined,
"Powell Tells Arafat U.S. Wants Quick Explanation."
Referring to State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher, Wright asserted: "Boucher said the United States,
which gives Israel about $2 billion a year in weaponry used to kill
Palestinians, objected to the $100 million shipment to the Palestinians on
the grounds that it contributed to the escalation of violence."
More like $2 billion in weapons to defend
itself against never-ceasing terrorist acts.
To read the entire Reuters story, go to:
let anything interfere with the right to abortion, not even prosecuting a
man for murder who cut into his wife to remove and kill a seven-month-old
fetus who he thought was fathered by another man.
Last Friday’s Law & Order: Special
Victims Unit presented the conundrum for a pro-abortion detective and
prosecutor, both women. The prosecutor sent up a red flag: "You want
to charge for homicide with the fetus as the victim you give the fetus
rights. Do you want to go down that road?" A detective who was
initially in favor of charging the man with murder, sees the light,
realizing "this is very dangerous territory" which could impede
on abortion rights.
MRC intern Donald Goodman transcribed the
scene from the January 4 episode which starred John Ritter as a
psychiatrist who attacked his wife, cut into her and removed and killed
her seven-month-old fetus which he believed was fathered by another man.
During the hour-long NBC drama, the prosecutor, "Alexandra
Cabot," played by Stephanie March, explains to three detectives why
she does not want to charge him with murder:
Alex: "Arrest him, we’ve got him for
attempted murder and assault one for the attack on the mother, plus
Elliot Stabler," played by Christopher Meloni: "And murder, he
killed that baby."
"Warner’s [the medical examiner] certain of that?"
"Baby was alive, now it’s dead. What’s the problem?"
"The problem is whether or not we can establish if the baby was
legally a person."
Donald Cragen," played by Dann Florek: "And how do we do
"Prove the baby was born alive according to New York State law.
Something that indicates it took a breath, moved. If it died while it was
still in its mother’s womb it technically wasn’t a person, so it’s
Olivia Benson," played by Mariska Hargitay: "If that baby had
been born in a hospital it would have lived."
doesn’t matter. Neonatalcides are notoriously difficult to prosecute
because the medical evidence is almost always inconclusive. Without a
witness stating unequivocally the baby was a live birth, I’m just not
certain we can get a murder conviction through. Best we can do is illegal
third trimester abortion."
"That’s a D Felony, we’ll get more out of the assault
"At seven months a baby moves inside of the mother. The only reason
that baby is dead is because he bashed its skull in. Now I don’t care if
you call it a person or not, that’s murder."
"That argument can also be used to condemn legal abortion. Do you
want me to charge every doctor who performs an abortion with murder?"
"Abortion is different, it’s the mother’s choice."
"We’re not talking about the mother’s rights. You want to charge
for homicide with the fetus as the victim you give the fetus rights. Do
you want to go down that road?"
"It’s not the same thing."
the eyes of the law, it is."
"The law needs to change."
around: "I don’t know Elliot, you can’t have it both ways: the
fetus is either a life, or it’s not."
"You saw that baby, Olivia, you saw that baby. This guy’s going to
"And I don’t like it any more than you do, but this is very
"And I’m not prepared to dismantle reproductive rights on an
yelling: "We’re going to let a murderer get away to preserve a
political ideal. I don’t even know what I’m doing here."
"Take a break detective."
"Your ME comes back with solid medical evidence the baby was born
alive, we’ve got something to work with. But I will not charge for
murder in the death of an unborn child."
In the end, though the defense lawyer
undermines the evidence the baby did breath outside the womb, the show
implies that the Ritter character is convicted of murder because in the
very last scene, after being confronted with a paternity test suggesting
he really was the father, he concedes that after he removed the baby boy
from his wife’s body, he "only cried a little."
To learn about the NBC show, go to:
Another episode airs tonight at 10pm EST/PST,
another liberal columnist has denigrated Bernard Goldberg, this time
Michael Kinsley insulted him as "remarkably dense," but next
week Goldberg’s book, Bias: A CBS News Insider Exposes How the Media
Distort the News, will rank number one on the New York Times best-seller
As detailed in the January 8 CyberAlert, in an
Electronic Media column, Washington Post TV reviewer Tom Shales described
the former CBS News correspondent at a "full-time addlepated
windbag" and "a no-talent hack." For more, go to:
In a column in the January 11 Washington Post,
Kinsley, Editor of Microsoft’s Slate.com, mocked Goldberg’s thesis of
"The point is that this dumb book adds
nothing to the argument, and it is the accusers who are offering it as
stopped clock, Goldberg isn't always wrong. He's probably sincere. But
he's remarkably dense. And you have to wonder
whether his glorifiers are just as dense, or deeply cynical, or living on
a different planet. Do they really think it is devastating evidence of
bias that a TV producer would decide to label a full-time ideologue such
as Phyllis Schlafly as ‘conservative’ but not feel obliged to label
avocational activist Rosie O'Donnell as ‘liberal’?"
For the entire column, go to:
Meanwhile, the MRC’s Tim Jones alerted me
that Thursday’s New York Times reported that Goldberg’s book will be
number one on their January 20 list. Martin Arnold conceded: "I was
startled to learn that five books appealing to political conservatives, a
third of the total, will be on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction
best-seller list on Jan. 20 and that one of them will be No. 1."
Arnold characterized Goldberg’s "climb
to the top of the list" as "perhaps the most astonishing
publishing event in the last 12 months."
For the New York Times article in full, those
registered can go to:
Yes, "astonishing" especially for
those, like Kinsley, who dismiss Goldberg’s "glorifiers" as