Touting Pat Robertson; CBS: Clinton Brought Smiles to Kids; GOP "Un-American"
2) The networks enthusiastically touted Pat Robertson's call to end the trial. Dan Rather: "The new argument by Democrats for a fast out and a quick acquittal is getting an unintentional assist from a most unlikely quarter."
"Media Ignore Blatant Double Standard of Many Senate Democrats Who Convicted Perjurious Judges: Al Gore Voted to Remove Judges for Less?" The latest Media Reality Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page. In this edition the MRC's Tim Graham documents the minimal coverage for how 26 currently serving Democratic Senators voted to remove a judge for committing perjury. The fax report is posted on the MRC home page, or go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990122.html
Correction: The January 18 CyberAlert quoted George Stephanopoulos as saying "...I think the White House will probably site Gerald Ford..." That should have read "will probably cite..."
The last day of Clinton's defense led the ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC and CNN evening shows Thursday night, but in stark contrast to all the days when the House managers made their case, the other side received no time on ABC nor time for any relevant points on CBS and NBC. Every network offered laudatory words for the performance of former Senator Dale Bumpers, but neither ABC or CBS even mentioned David Kendall who went before Bumpers.
FNC's Carl Cameron sensed a swing in momentum toward the anti-witness view, citing Republican Senators Warner and Shelby as two now leaning against witnesses as finding an exit strategy is "definitely in the wind." CBS's Bob Schieffer relayed the same sentiment, noting after a clip of Bumpers: "As moving as the rhetoric was, equally significant was talk in the corridors where there are increasing signs that Senators in both parties are searching for some way to speed up the proceedings and end the trial."
Below, a look at how the January 21 evening shows handled reaction from the House managers and assessed Bumpers.
-- Republicans ignored: CNN's Jeanne Meserve told World Today viewers: "At every opportunity the House managers were at the microphones to defend themselves and their case and their compassion, which was called into question by Bumpers."
That must have surprised anyone who saw the broadcast network evening shows. While a soundbite of Greg Craig's daily criticism of the Republican case or an entire story dedicated to relating the White House view aired on all three broadcast network evening shows on the three nights the House managers made their case, and Craig appeared on all three on the third day (Saturday, January 16), Thursday night none made time for the equivalent reaction from a Republican, though they all had access to video of Henry Hyde which both CNN and FNC played. ABC avoided Republican reaction. While CBS and NBC ran the same soundbite of Hyde urging Senators to not short-circuit the process, the networks did not air any of his comments on what Kendall and Bumpers claimed.
-- "Homespun...wallop" and "folksy humor" from a "confident" Bumpers:
ABC's Linda Douglass on World
News Tonight: "At ease and confident, Bumpers dared to joke about the
Dan Rather opening the CBS
Evening News: "Good evening. President Clinton's opening defense at
the impeachment trial that could expel him from office had as homespun
wind-up and wallop today. The President's friend, a former U.S. Senator
from Arkansas, invoked not the letter of the law, but the spirit."
CNN's Jeanne Meserve on the World Today referred to how Bumpers "used folksy humor, his renowned rhetorical skills and his knowledge of the Constitution."
On the NBC Nightly News Gwen Ifill introduced her piece on Bumpers: "Offering a folksy and pointed defense of an old friend today...."
Pat Robertson thrilled the White House and the networks when he asserted on Wednesday that Clinton has won and it's time to end the trial. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today ran stories on his comments Thursday morning and all three broadcast networks jumped on them Thursday night as a sign momentum has shifted in favor of ending the trial. Nightline used Robertson as a jumping off point for a discussion among four conservative guests (Bill Bennett, Ralph Reed, Robert Bork and Carmen Pate) about whether it's time for Republican Senators to bail out.
Here's how the January 21 evening shows promoted Robertson's assessment:
-- ABC's World News Tonight.
Sam Donaldson at the White House:
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather
explained how Robertson's comments had aided the Democratic cause:
Engberg played the
soundbite from Robertson: "Clinton's won. They might as well dismiss
this impeachment hearing and get on with something else because it's over
as far as I'm concerned."
-- NBC Nightly News. David
Robertson on the 700 Club: "Clinton's won. They might as well dismiss this impeachment hearing and get on with something else because it's over as far as I'm concerned."
Bloom then played a soundbite of Joe Lockhart pleased that Robertson has joined the vast majority who want to move on. Bloom concluded by picking up on George Bush's complaint that there is now "'excessive intrusion into private lives.' Of course, that's a complaint this White House has been echoing for the past year."
Dan Quayle's plan to announce Thursday night on CNN's Larry King Live his decision to run for President generated a brief mention from every networks and a full story on ABC. CBS anchor Dan Rather considerately alerted viewers that the last out of office Vice President to become President was Richard Nixon.
On World News Tonight Peter
Jennings asked: "Mr. Quayle says that he assures us he is serious.
The question is will he be taken seriously?"
Cochran concluded: "Those who know him well say the once easy going Quayle is now a driven man, determined to show those who laughed at him that he is no joke."
Bill Clinton, CBS Evening News viewers learned, "brings smiles to the faces of many children." Thursday night CBS delivered a model example of how no matter how much liberal media analysts complain about how scandal coverage is unfair to Clinton, the President can always count on favorable treatment for any liberal policy initiative he forwards.
The January 21 "Eye on
America" feature promoted Clinton's call at a White House event for
another $18 million for a program called "Troops to Teachers."
Maggie Cooper opened this "news" story:
As viewers saw smiling children at play Cooper contended the 5th graders in San Benito (sp?) Texas are "especially" happy because they've benefitted from a former Air Force Master Sergeant turned teacher who has helped raise test scores. Cooper explained that the program provides departing members of the military with up to $5,000 for training and certification if they agree to teach in certain schools for at least five years. Without giving a time frame, Cooper reported that so far the program has placed 3,000 new teachers. Giving the program a glowing review, Cooper added that it has fulfilled a "desperate need" for male and minority teachers.
Nonetheless, not everyone
realized the wonders of the program. But fortunately Clinton came to the
rescue: "The program was living on borrowed time because funding was
running out. But today President Clinton's appeal to Congress may give
Troops to Teachers a new lease on life."
Never mind the Senate removing Clinton now, how will we survive without him in two years?
On a more serious note, if the program has so far placed 3,000 teachers let's be generous and say it will place 3,000 a year. Over the ten years that Cooper said we'll need 2 million that will produce 30,000 teachers. Wow. A mere 1,970,000 to go.
Cheryl Mills, American hero. The January 21 CyberAlert featured praise for Cheryl Mills from network reporters. MRC analysts have come across some more admirable reviews of her performance and life, but none managed to mention her role in obstructing a House probe of the White House Database.
Thursday's Today, MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens noticed, featured a glowing profile of Mills by Pete
Williams. After running through her personal history, Williams made it to
MRC analyst Mark Drake caught
this positive review of her performance from reporter Chip Reid on
Wednesday night's The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC:
Neither of these stories or any of the other reports from Wednesday night or Thursday morning on the January 20 presentation by Mills went into her role in helping the White House obfuscate a couple of other scandals.
In a January 21 e-mail report Matt Drudge detailed what all the networks have skipped about Mills. Here's an excerpt from the Drudge Report:
HILL CONTROVERSY: CLINTON DEFENDER CHERYL MILLS FOUGHT OWN OBSTRUCTION CHARGE
..."This is outrageous, arrogant and will do nothing to help the president's case!"
The reaction of a senior Republican Senator after he learned earlier this week that Mills would present the Clinton defense on Lewinsky obstruction charges in the Senate impeachment trial.
Late last year Mills herself was hit with charges of obstruction and wrongdoing by a House subcommittee!
When called before the committee to explain the withholding of documents during its investigation into the White House Database situation, Cheryl Mills chose to give "demonstrably false testimony," a committee report claimed.
"The committee believes that there is substantial evidence that in September 1996 then-Associate [now-Deputy] Counsel to the President Cheryl Mills, with the knowledge and concurrence of then-White House Counsel Jack Quinn, knowingly and wilfully obstructed the investigative authority of this committee by withholding documents that were plainly responsive to the committee requests for documents and information. Moreover, when this obstruction was brought to light in a hearing before the committee, Ms. Mills lied under oath about the documents and the circumstances surrounding their nonproduction."
The Mills matter was referred to the Department of Justice for investigation of possible perjury and obstruction, according to Hill sources.
Mills strongly denies any wrongdoing in the Database situation.
But one Congressman directly involved in the investigation tells the DRUDGE REPORT: "We found substantial evidence that she perjured herself, repeatedly, in testimony before our committee. And now she has been chosen to defend the president on obstruction?"
The Mills charges are playing at http://www.house.gov/reform/neg/reports/whodb/whodb.htm
Mills also was in the middle of controversy over the White House's long delay in turning over to Congress videotapes of White House coffee fundraisers.
To read the Drudge Report, go to: http://www.drudgereport.com
"State of Union Proposals Carry $288 Billion Annual Price Tag: Clinton Would Grow Government $7 for Every $1 in Tax Relief, Study Finds." So announced a press release from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF), but have you seen Clinton's speech referred to as liberal or any reporter cite the huge spending totals Clinton advocated? To read the NTUF press release and study, go to: http://www.ntu.org/sou2.html
MRC analysts and I have yet to see the NTUF number or any similar perspective expressed on a television news show. In fact, MSNBC's John Hockenberry asserted, the supposedly conservative and centrist ideas in the speech made Clinton a "Republican President."
As the January 21 CyberAlert showed, many reporters heaped praise on the address. But that's a much different approach than reporters took when Reagan was President. Digging back through the MRC's pre-computer hard copy archive, the MRC's Tim Graham discovered an illustrative example from 1987 and passed it along to MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell III for inclusion in his latest syndicated column. It begins:
All the media pom-pom shaking over Clinton's latest State of the Union address almost makes me nostalgic for a return to the Reagan years, when the press mercilessly (and, usually, unfairly) slammed the Gipper at every opportunity.
At least there was an attempt at journalism.
Go back a dozen years. In 1987, ABC's Jim Wooten analyzed Reagan's State of the Union address this way: "During the Reagan years, the number of poor people in America has gone up by 23 percent, while federal help to the poor has gone down by nine percent. And if the President has his way with this next federal budget, that gap will continue to grow." Wooten then ticked off a list of anticipated victims from the Reagan "cuts," including children, school lunches, food stamps and public housing. He then claimed homelessness had increased "a thousand percent" in the Reagan years....
END Column excerpt
To read the entire column, go to where the MRC's Kenny LeMay has posted it: http://www.mediaresearch.org/columns/news/col19990121.html
Instead of focusing on Clinton's tax and spend plans, MSNBC's John Hockenberry portrayed him as someone advocating ideas that would make Reagan proud. Here are two of his questions to Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa on the Wednesday night edition of his MSNBC show, both observed by MRC analyst Mark Drake:
"So in other words, personal retirement investment money goes into the economy. It fuels growth along with tax cuts. The growth gives you more revenue. The revenue you use to save Social Security. Sounds like a Reagan proposal to me."
"All right, then let me ask you this. Why, under any circumstances would the Republicans want to impeach a 'Republican President?'"
A few Geraldoisms picked up by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens from the January 20 Rivera Live:
-- "Hearing Ms. Mills talk about what civil rights are really all about makes Republican references to poor Paula Jones, in my constitutionally protected opinion, laughable."
-- After a clip of Cheryl Mills, as he pats his heart: "I'm telling ya, I love that woman. I think I got a crush, I don't know. Ed Rollins I don't know if it was pragmatic politics or playing the race card or the gender card, I don't care what card you call it that woman did a brilliant job today."
-- "It seems to me that you gotta, you have to be polite to the President of the United States. I mean Dick Armey is sitting there, 'Oh gawd,' rolling his eyes, 'What a whopper.' You know to me that and then the empty seats. To me that's very un-American."
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