Wednesday, October 29, 1997 -- Vol. One, No. 30 -- Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
Ten Years Ago, Media Bigwigs Beat Their Breasts at a "Constitutional Crisis," "Shredded Democracy"
Where's That Iran-Contra Idealism?
Today, the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee
resumes its fundraising investigation by focusing on Clinton fundraising calls from the
White House, as well as the delayed response to subpoenas asking for White House coffee
videotapes. Last week, the networks presented this struggle as -- yawn -- another tiresome
sideshow of partisan bickering. (They did not explain that is exactly the line Democratic
spin controllers wish to get across.) How different it was than the attitudes of ten years
Donaldson on ABC's World News Tonight, May 15, 1987: "Senior
officials here are defensive about the President's loss of memory. Said one, the President
of the U.S. is entitled to say he doesn't remember. But beyond entitlement, they are
concerned about the implications. At best, it tends to reinforce the notion that Mr.
Reagan isn't up to the job. At worst, the idea that he isn't telling the truth."
Barry Serafin on ABC's World News
Tonight, May 17, 1987: "Whatever the differences, the current hearings
and investigations make Watergate seem a little less like ancient history."
Carl Stern on NBC Nightly News,
July 31, 1987: Reagan said he didn't think any laws were broken and Stern
rebutted: "If a President believes there's no indication that a single law was
broken, why does he believe that 23 individuals already have requested and received
immunity from prosecution, criminal prosecution for what they testify about...Exhibits
this very week show that Meese's own investigators identified violations that might have
included misappropriation, conspiracy, conversion, fraud, embezzlement, certainly false
Stern added: "And just to top it all off,
Tom, remember it was the President and the Attorney General who asked for a special
prosecutor. That requires a finding of reasonable, credible evidence to believe that a
significant crime may have been committed. So how can it be said there's no indication a
single law was broken?" In 1993, Stern left NBC to become a flack for Janet Reno's
Justice Department, which hasn't matched a "dishonest" Ronald Reagan in asking
for an independent counsel.
Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News,
August 3, 1987: "And when the public phase of those hearings ended today
with the testimony of Secretary Weinberger, we were left with an astonishing record of
deceit, ignorance, naivete, good or bad intentions, failed policies, and discredited
public servants, and this story is not yet complete."
Sam Donaldson on ABC's This Week,
July 12, 1987: "The colonel [Oliver North] has been brilliant at his
performance before the committee, but he hasn't been right. I think he has done a
disservice to the President, who he claims to serve. Because what he has suggested to the
committee and the country and my children is that you should lie, you should cheat, you
should cut corners, you should do anything you want if you personally believe that a)
someone has authorized you to do it, and b) it served the interest of the United States as
you see it...Not only is Oliver North not a national hero, but he is someone we do not
want to emulate if we are going to keep a free society." Looking in hindsight from
the Clinton era, the media's Iran-Contra idealism looks like another cynical exercise in
partisan spin control. -- Tim Graham
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey
Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Steve
Kaminski, Clay Waters, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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