1) In Thursday daytime
coverage Dan Rather relayed the Clinton spin about how "the
people's business" is getting "put aside" and suggested
Republicans should be worried about being perceived as conducting a
"coup" against a twice elected President.
2) As they signed the oath
book, ABC issued five ideological labels for conservative Senators but
avoided tagging any liberals.
3) The networks opened
Thursday night by stressing both the historical import of the day and
partisan rancor. All but NBC briefly noted the indictment of Julie Hiatt
4) "Aren't you also
honor-bound to do what's good for the country?" ABC's Elizabeth
Vargas argued in making the case to avoid a trial.
5) "Democrats believe
House managers are conservative zealots, and some Republicans
agree," asserted Phil Jones on the CBS Evening News.
6) Sunday's CNN Cold War
will portray the U.S. in the 1960s as "a racist, warmongering
nation." The American Spectator discovered a book by the producer
of the series reflects disdain for Reagan's "simplistic vision of
an ideological crusade against communism."
>>> "Do the Media Care
About Guilt or Innocence or Just Preventing Answers to Inconvenient
Questions? Selling the Spectre of 'McCarthyism.'" The latest
Media Reality Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page thanks to
Webmaster Sean Henry. For the fax report the MRC's Tim Graham
collected some examples over the past year of members of the media
denouncing conservatives for "McCarthyism" in pursuing charges
against Clinton. To read the full report, go to http://www.mrc.org
or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990107.html
It was a busy day Thursday for Dan Rather. So little time and so much
bias to squeeze in. During just 90 minutes of live daytime coverage on
January 7 Rather managed to add a partisan label to William Rehnquist,
relay the Clinton spin about how "the people's business" is
getting sidetracked, suggest Republicans should be worried about being
perceived as conducting a "coup," and declare that by
"anybody's analysis" Trent Lott is being pushed by the
-- Rather, as
any regular CyberAlert reader knows, frequently refers to Ken Starr as
the "Republican special prosecutor." So, guess what he called
William Rehnquist? Just before 1:35pm ET, wrapping up CBS's live
coverage of the swearing in of Senators, Rather recounted the day's
events, including this item:
"The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,
Republican William Rehnquist, was sworn in to preside at the Senate
earlier Rather relayed the White House spin that the impeachment trial
has "put aside" a "long line of the people's
business." At about 1:25pm ET or so during the signing of the oath
book Rather intoned, with dramatic pauses between each sentence:
"The deed is done. That is, the trial has officially begun. This is
life. This is real. It's happening now." He then asked Bob
"Bob, is there or is there not any sense
among the Senators, any talk among the Senators, that there's other
very important business that needs to be attended to. Saddam Hussein has
his aircraft in the air threatening U.S. fighting men and women in the
military. There are questions about Social Security, what to do about
health care. There's a long line of the people's business that seems
to have been put aside and apparently is going to be put aside for weeks
if not months now."
-- Republicans pulling off a coup? Jumping back to CBS's 10-10:30am ET
coverage of Henry Hyde reading the articles of impeachment, afterward
Rather delivered this thesis to former Republican Warren Rudman:
"Senator, when you talk to other Senators,
particularly older Senators -- those who've been around for a bit --
is or is there not some concern of the public perception in some
quarters, not all of them Democratic, that this is in fact a kind of
effort at a quote 'coup,' that is you have a twice elected,
popularly elected President of the United States and so those that you
mentioned in the Republican Party who dislike him and what he stands
for, having been unable to beat him at the polls have found another way
to get him out of office."
(To see a RealPlayer clip of this go to the MRC
home page where Webmaster Sean Henry will place it by this paragraph in
this CyberAlert when he posts it Friday morning.)
-- Hard right.
Two minutes later, the MRC's Tim Graham noticed, Rather posed this
loaded question to Gloria Borger of CBS News and U.S. News:
"What options are open to Trent Lott at
this moment, keeping in mind that he is under considerable pressure from
his own basic constituency, which is by anybody's analysis, the harder
right part of the Republican Party?"
Speaking of labeling. In under 30 minutes of live coverage on Thursday
afternoon ABC News issued five ideological labels to conservative
Senators but avoided tagging any one of several liberal Senators whose
names ABC reporters announced.
-- At 1:12pm ET,
just before the Rehnquist swearing in, ABC's Linda Douglass described
two groups of Senators then talking on the floor. One was made up of
Republicans Slade Gorton, Fred Thompson, Connie Mack and "Senator
Santorum of Pennsylvania, very conservative member, one who wants
witnesses." The other group, she told viewers, was made up of
Democrats Tom Daschle, John Breaux, Joseph Lieberman, and John Kerry,
none of whom she labeled though Kerry is as liberal as Santorum is
-- As Senators
signed the oath book, between and during comments from ABC reporters,
Peter Jennings told viewers the names of some of the Senators they were
watching. After pointing out but not labeling liberal Democrats John
Kerry, Herbert Kohl, Ted Kennedy, and Carl Levin, Jennings found two
worth tagging and then a liberal he didn't find label-worthy:
"Senator John McCain here of Arizona,
left-hander. More right than left in his politics and intending to run
for President of the United States. Senator McConnell of Kentucky, very
determined conservative member of the Republican Party. Senator Mikulski
of Maryland. It tells you something about how often they're in the
news whether they are easily or not easily recognized..."
later: "Senator Rick Santorum, one of the younger members of the
Senate, Republican, very determined conservative member of the Senate.
That's Senator Daschle there in the left-hand side of your picture.
Behind him Senator Byrd. Senator Sarbanes of Maryland, a long time
Democratic Senator just walking across the picture...."
I guess Sarbanes
-- Just after
not labeling Democrat Charles Schumer, Jennings warned viewers:
"Mr. Smith of New Hampshire, also another very, very conservative
Republican intending to run for the presidency..." Finally, he
ended by running through the names of the last five Senators, three of
whom are amongst the most far-left in the Senate: "Senator
Torricelli of New Jersey that was. Senator Voinovich, Senator John
Warner of Virginia, and the next one up Senator Wellstone from Minnesota
and the last W, having all 100 Senators, in the brown suit there,
Senator Wyden of Oregon."
How far to the
left must you be to not recognize Torricelli, Wellstone and Wyden as
leaders of the Senate's left-wing faction?
All the networks opened their evening shows Thursday night by stressing
both the historical import of the day and its solemnity as well as how
partisanship has prevented agreement on how to proceed. ABC, CBS, CNN
and FNC, but not NBC, all took a few seconds to note how a grand jury
had indicted Julie Hiatt Steele. FNC devoted almost all of its 7pm ET
Fox Report to the Senate events while CNN ran a one-hour special at 10pm
To give you a
flavor of the network coverage, here are the intros from the January 7
broadcast evening shows along with a few other noteworthy items:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings, who stayed in New York, began:
"Good evening. It has been a day for the
history books, the beginning of another great struggle for William
Jefferson Clinton. The opening of the President's trial in the Senate
was very solemn, though by tonight the mood in the capital had turned to
serious rancor again over how the trial should proceed. It has been one
of those rare days that people will not forget, whether they were in the
Senate chamber or watching it on television."
Jennings gave an
overview of the day, Linda Douglass looked at the status of a trial
plan, Sam Donaldson delivered the White House view and Jennings talked
with Senator John Chaffe and then Cokie Roberts, who called it a "a
very solemn occasion." Jennings then took 20 seconds to note the
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather opened from
"Good evening on this history-making day
in the nation's capital and for the nation. The impeachment trial in
the Senate that Republican congressional leaders hope will remove
President Clinton from office, has begun. It officially started today,
but things abruptly stopped and tonight there's still no set of agreed
upon rules for how this trial will proceed or even when it will proceed.
CBS's Bob Schieffer reports that confusion, chaos and partisan
politics surrounding a trial with great consequences for the President,
the Congress and the whole country."
reviewed the day's events and competing trial plans, Scott Pelley gave
the White House view, asserting that Clinton's team made an
"extraordinary offer" to accept the Starr report if no more
evidence is admitted. Rather then talked with Gloria Borger, who claimed
Clinton's fate is now in the hands of "34 Senate Democrats."
(There are 45.) Up next, Eric Engberg ran through the differences
between a regular jury and the Senate, concluding that regular juries
don't worry about elections, "so keep those letters, calls and
e-mails coming everyone. You're the real jury."
announced: "There are new indications tonight that special
prosecutor Ken Starr is still on the job, trying to buttress the
Republican's case. The grand jury investigating Kathleen Willey's
claim that President Clinton made unwanted advances, indicted a friend
of Willey tonight: Julie Hiatt Steele is now charged with lying and
obstructing justice when she cast doubt on Willey's story."
-- NBC Nightly News. From D.C., Tom Brokaw
started the show:
"Good evening. On a day that will be
recorded in bold print in American history books -- the opening day of
the Senate impeachment trial of President William Jefferson Clinton. It
began today and then stalled in a continuation of the partisan combat
that has characterized this scandal from the beginning. Nonetheless, it
was a memorable and sobering opening day."
the day, Gwen Ifill checked in on the Senate's competing trial plans
and David Bloom reported in from the White House. Later, for the In
Depth segments, Pete Williams profiled William Rehnquist and Lisa Myers
examined the Senate jury. She began: "It's one of the most
unusual juries ever assembled, one that looks nothing like America: 91
percent male, 97 percent white. The only minorities: Senators Campbell,
a native American, Akaka, native Hawaiian, and Inouye,
Avoiding a trial is what's good for the country, interim co-host
Elizabeth Vargas contended on the January 7 Good Morning America. MRC
news analyst Jessica Anderson caught these two exchanges with Republican
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Vargas: "Senator, the Senate prides itself on being a very
dignified body. Does the specter of swearing in Monica Lewinsky on the
floor of the Senate and talking about sexual matters disturb you?"
Hutchison (R-Texas): "Yes, very
Vargas: "Then why do you think so many of
your colleagues are reluctant to work out some kind of a deal to avoid
"You have said, Senator, that you are honor-bound to do your
constitutional duty. Aren't you also honor-bound to do what's good for
Hutchison: "Yes, absolutely."
Vargas: "Do you think a protracted trial
in the Senate and the impeachment of President Clinton is, in fact, good
for the country?"
The House impeachment managers are a bunch of white, male, Christian
"zealots" who "live in an echo chamber." And CBS
News knows it because Peter King told them so.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News reporter Phil Jones looked at the 13
House managers. He started his January 6 piece by letting Congressman
James Sensenbrenner describe how he plans to use his opening statement
to make the case that Clinton's conduct is impeachable. Jones then
pounced, using an eager anti-impeachment Republican as his validator.
"Democrats believe House managers are conservative zealots, and
some Republicans agree."
Peter King: "It's a very hard core
group. Some of them I have a lot of respect for, but I think on balance
you're talking about a group of individuals who are very hard-nosed
and determined to get Bill Clinton."
Jones: "Indeed, the impeachment managers
are strikingly alike. All 13 are white, all 13 males, all 13 Christians,
all 13 lawyers. Eight have been prosecutors. Average age 52. And says
Republican Congressman Peter King who voted against impeachment, they
hear something he's not hearing."
King: "They, in many cases, live in an
echo chamber. They believe that everyone has as bad of an opinion of
Bill Clinton as they do. And the fact is the American people don't
share their opinion."
Jones then concluded: "But the House
managers are committed. As Congressman Sensenbrenner told me today,
quote 'I'll be disappointed if the Senate doesn't
(Check the MRC home page Friday morning for a
RealPlayer clip of part of this story.)
Democrats had impeached a Republican President how likely is it CBS News
would have used a conservative Democrat to tag his party's majority as
a bunch of extremists?
CNN's Cold War is back. After a holiday break, on Sunday night it
returns with part #13 on the 1960s airing at 8pm and 12am ET. Here's
how the episode is plugged on the www.cnn.com/coldwar Web page:
"Make Love, Not War: The 1960s. Western
economies grow and prosper, partly fueled by the production of
armaments. But young people reject their parents' affluence and the Cold
War. Racial violence rocks U.S. inner cities. Rebellion, anti-war
protests and rock music express the mood of a disenchanted
This episode is
one that a New Republic article, cited in a previous CyberAlert,
specifically highlighted. And the January American Spectator features a
devastating review of a companion book by the Executive Producer of the
Cold War series, a review which reveals the series will soon denigrate
Ronald Reagan. First, the New Republic and then the Spectator:
-- In the
November 9, 1998 New Republic Jacob Heilbrunn wrote that CNN's series
paints the Cold War "as a morally unintelligible contest between
two equally dangerous superpowers, whose 'fear' of each other
constantly threatened to plunge a world full of innocent bystanders into
On the episode
to air this Sunday, Heilbrunn observed:
In "Make Love Not War," an
episode written by feminist Germaine Greer, CNN trots out everyone from
former Black Panther Bobby Seale to Allen Ginsberg to portray the United
States in the 1960s as a racist, warmongering nation. "The cold war
military buildup continued," Branagh says scornfully, but "an
increasing minority were questioning the cost and effect on American
life." (Apparently, that minority was able to increase despite the
"smearing" of all "dissent.")
And the Soviet regime of that era? Nikita
Khrushchev, according to his son Sergei, "believed that socialism
had to be liberated.... It should be made more democratic." Which
must be why he sent missiles to Cuba. Branagh reports that
"Khrushchev believed the Soviet people would work even harder if
they were freed from fear and poverty. But the cold war's pressure to
rearm" -- an exogenous, abstract force that even the ruler of the
Soviet Union was apparently powerless to resist -- "kept the old
priority for heavy industry alive, especially in the expanding defense
To read more of
the New Republic critique go to the October 30 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981030.html#4
To read about a
FNC story on the controversy over the CNN series, go to the November 13
-- Cold War book even more biased than the
series? Or, does it preview some bias to come on the evils of Reagan and
joys of Gorbachev? In the January American Spectator Joseph Shattan, a
Bradley Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, reviewed Cold War: An
Illustrated History, 1945-1991, a book by Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor
Downing published by Little, Brown for the bargain price of $39.95.
with this reserved assessment:
"Although Jimmy Carter has praised Ted
Turner's 'deep and long-standing commitment to easing the tension and
disharmony between the two superpowers, world peace, nuclear arms
control, environmental quality, and global sharing of news' --
proof-positive that Turner is a horse's ass -- that is not why I am
certain that Cold War, Ted Turner's 24-part, $12-million CNN documentary
is an awful waste of time. Rather, I arrived at this judgment after
reading the companion volume to the TV series, also called Cold War.
Co-authored by Jeremy Isaacs (the British executive producer of the
series) and Taylor Downing (another British filmmaker), and based on the
scripts for the documentary, it is one of the shoddiest, most
intellectually dishonest books I have ever come across.
thesis is that the Cold War was almost entirely America's fault. To make
their case, Isaacs and Downing ignore a vast body of evidence, and
distort the rest..."
Later, in the
section excerpted below, Shattan details how the authors show disdain
for Reagan, sympathy for Andropov and admiration for Gorbachev. The CNN
series will get to Reagan in late March and early April. Here's the
Which brings us to Ronald Wilson Reagan,
the American President most committed to winning the Cold War, and the
villain of Cold War. Isaacs and Downing find him entirely devoid of
redeeming characteristics. "Reagan's world was like an old
Hollywood movie; he saw things in simple terms of right and wrong, with
the Communists as the bad guys and the West leading a 'crusade for
freedom.'...Any conflict, anywhere in the world, was liable to be
overlaid with this simplistic vision of an ideological crusade against
But Reagan was worse than a simpleton; he
was a friend of tyrants everywhere:
"Right-wing military juntas, despite their despicable treatment of
opponents, received U.S. support. President Zia of Pakistan made it
clear that, even with U.S. aid, he still wanted to develop his own
nuclear weapons. Before the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina
in 1982, the United States supported the Argentine generals, with their
cruel record on human rights, because of their anti-Communist stance, as
well as the support they gave the Contras. In El Salvador, Guatemala and
Honduras, covert U.S. aid helped arm the death squads that terrorized
the countryside. America's share in the international arms trade
increased during the Reagan years. All this came as a consequence of
Reagan's 'noble cause' of fighting communism."
Needless to say, the democratization of
Latin America that occurred during Reagan's presidency goes unremarked
in Cold War.
As if such villainy weren't enough,
Reagan compounded his sins by "accusing Moscow of lying, cheating,
and using any means to achieve the objective of 'world revolution'; the
Kremlin merely noted that the new team in Washington lacked 'political
tact and courtesy.'" (Actually, Moscow went a good deal further
than that, regularly comparing Reagan to Hitler and equating the United
States with Nazi Germany.) Poor Kremlinites! In the face of Reagan's
relentless propaganda barrage, they "had no alternative policy but
to reiterate a belief in detente and strategic arms control." But
the fiercely anti-communist Reagan didn't give a fig for detente, and
his determination to achieve "the militarization of outer
space" through SDI threatened arms control. All this came as a
terrible blow to the Kremlin, and especially to its leader, Yuri
Andropov. "Andropov, unwell and confined to a kidney-dialysis
machine at a clinic outside Moscow, saw all his hopes for peaceful
Fortunately, Andropov's protégé,
Mikhail Gorbachev, picked up his fallen sponsor's banner and eventually
brought the Cold War to a peaceful end. Exactly why he did so is unclear
to Isaacs and Downing, but on one point they are adamant: It had nothing
to do with Ronald Reagan's policies:
"Reagan remained convinced that U.S. strength and determination had
caused the Soviets to give in and had forced them to the negotiating
table. What he never fully recognized in Gorbachev, despite the warm
rapport that grew up between the two men, was that here was a Soviet
leader with a new line of thinking who no longer fitted the mold of the
past. Gorbachev, in countless speeches, stressed his commitment to arms
reduction and his unwillingness to play the games of his predecessors;
confrontation was simply not a stable basis for peace, he argued.
Compromise, mutual trust, and co-operation would be the way forward....A
stop had to be called, and Gorbachev called it."
To read the
entirety of Shattan's review, which documents how Isaacs and Downing
blame the U.S. for starting the Cold War and forcing Moscow to make an
atom bomb as well as how they argue the Berlin Wall was not East
Germany's fault and that Moscow invaded Afghanistan as a defensive
move, go to the American Spectator home page: http://www.spectator.org.
For a more direct route, go to the table of contents http://www.spectator.org/archives/99-01_toc.html
and scroll to the bottom where you'll see the Cold War review listed.
Just when you
thought CNN's series couldn't get any more slanted, we learn it
will. -- Brent Baker
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