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 Media Reality Check

For Immediate Release: Katie Wright (703) 683-5004 -  Friday, February 11, 2000

Much Like Tom Brokaw's Amnesia With Gore, CBS Anchor Cites Hillary Gaffes He Hasn't Aired

Rather's Anchorman Amnesia Over Hillary

Call it anchorman amnesia. When the top TV titans put on their pundit hats, they suddenly recall every inconvenient story they've left out of their newscasts for the benefit of their liberal friends. 

On Meet the Press January 30, NBC's Tom Brokaw talked about Al Gore: "You'll remember in Chicago when he invoked his dying sister of lung cancer [sic], 'I'm going to fight every day of my life. I made that pledge on her deathbed against tobacco.' He was taking tobacco money at the time. He was growing tobacco himself. He was defending tobacco several years later; the Internet question, no controlling legal authority." 

That's strange. Brokaw didn't correct Gore's convention speech in 1996. Brokaw also did not report Gore's claim to have invented the Internet. 

Dan Rather played the same game in touting the New York Senate race. In a recent commentary at, Rather touted his discovery of Hillary Clinton's tin ear for New York politics. His CBS commentary proclaimed: 

"Her staff, her campaign and her own performance have been spotty and erratic at best. At worst, all three have been a kind of 'Original Amateur Hour' of politics with signs of owing much to the early works of the Marx Brothers: The Yankees cap fiasco. The Puerto Rican terrorists pardon business. The mistake with Mrs. Arafat. The house mortgage deal. It has been, literally, just one damn thing after another." Make that one ignored thing after another: 

Hillary's sudden Yankee fandom? Dan said nothing, unless you count his tough first question to the First Lady on 60 Minutes II last May: "Mets or Yankees, Mrs. Clinton?" 

Hillary kisses Mrs. Arafat after she claimed the Israelis gassed Palestinian kids? Rather didn't report it. 

The Chappaqua mortgage, first financed by fundraiser Terry McAuliffe, still under investigation in the Teamster scandal? Rather didn't touch it, although Saturday anchor Russ Mitchell noted when the McAuliffe plan was renounced. 

The FALN pardons? Rather aired only three stories, although on September 8, he did refer to "The political flap over what some regard as Hillary Clinton's flip-flop over clemency for supporters of a Puerto Rican nationalist group linked to violent acts." 

While Hillary's flaps were often ignored, Rather jumped on a questionable flap over her GOP opponent Rudy Giuliani appearing at a January dinner also attended by Austrian politician Joerg Haider [see box]. Rather did not mention, as the New York Post did, that "Giuliani's aides said he didn't know the Austrian politician was among the many guests, who also included [Democrat] City Council Speaker Peter Vallone." That's especially unfair considering Rather's Arafat amnesia. -- Tim Graham



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