CyberAlert -- 02/24/1997 -- "Republican" Ken Starr

"Republican" Ken Starr; Welfare Trouble; New NQ

1. Dan Rather insists upon calling Kenneth Starr the "Republican special prosecutor."

2. Figures in the fundraising scandal refuse to cooperate and go into hiding. And, the scandal may have begun in 1992, but the networks didn't let you know.

3. CBS warns of "trouble ahead" as the first phase of welfare reform is implemented.

4. Some quotes that didn't make it into NQ: Exposed pipes by urinals reminds a reporter of Reagan; U.S. Senate too conservative for the New York Times.

5. February 24 edition of Notable Quotables. Gumbel's not gone. Communism worse than Reaganomics. Would Jesus approve of the Pope?

1) Dan Rather just can't describe Kenneth Starr by his proper title of "independent counsel." He insists upon adding the word "Republican," a description that helps further the White House spin that Starr is a partisan hack out to "get" the Clintons. Opening Friday's (February 21) CBS Evening News, Rather announced:
"Good evening. The Republican special prosecutor in the Whitewater case announced a sudden change in plans this afternoon..."

In case viewers missed it, reporter Phil Jones drove it home in his story, which he concluded:
"...Starr, a Republican, has been a lightening rod since he was named independent counsel in 1994. Democrats have criticized him for his close associations with hard-line Republican conservatives. He's also kept his private law practice. He's ignored all this previous criticism but did admit that this latest flap has been personally humbling."

2) Several figures in the Democratic fundraising scandal are refusing to cooperate with the House and Senate investigating committees, but instead of jumping on what looks like a cover-up, the networks are giving the news scant attention.

Here's the entire transcript of what Dan Rather told viewers on Friday night's CBS Evening News:
"Two former Clinton Administration officials could be hit with contempt of Congress citations. Republicans on the House committee investigating Democratic campaign fundraising made the threat today following word that John Huang and Webster Hubbell have declined to turn over documents."

On Friday's NBC Nightly News reporter Jim Miklaszewski, in a story on Starr, gave a couple of sentences to noting that Huang and Hubbell may get contempt citations. ABC, which gave Huang's lack of cooperation one sentence on Thursday, did nothing on Friday. CNN's The World Today, however, aired a full story from Brooks Jackson on Huang and others "playing hard to get." Jackson also found that the lawyers for donors Pauline Kanchanalak and Charlie Trie refuse to accept a subpoena for them and that Trie cannot be located.

Through Saturday night ABC, CBS and NBC had failed to mention anything about Kanchanalak or Trie.

On Saturday, February 22 The New York Times, which has played follow-up to The Washington Post, Washington Times and Los Angeles Times on the fundraising front, carried three big stories on the ever-developing scandal. One page one headline heralded: "Democrats to Return More Money Received from 'Improper' Sources." Just below that another headline: "How Donor with Asian Ties Knitted Access and Success." The story detailed how Johnny Chien Chuen Chung, who has given $391,000 to the DNC, used photos of himself with the Clintons to further his business interests. The Times explored how much of Chung's wealth comes from foreign investors in his companies.

Inside, "Files Hint of Illegal Venezuelan Link to Democrats" declared a headline. Reporter John Sullivan's lead: "The Manhattan District Attorney said yesterday that he had given federal prosecutors evidence that a Venezuelan banking family might have illegally funneled campaign contributions to the Democratic Party during the 1992 elections."

Coverage of these developments:
-- ABC's World News Tonight: On Friday Peter Jennings read a brief item on how a DNC audit showed that more than $1 million more should be returned. Neither CBS or NBC told viewers about that Friday or Saturday. On ABC's World News Saturday: nothing.
-- CBS Evening News on Saturday: nothing
-- NBC Nightly News on Saturday: not a word

3) On Saturday new rules went into effect limiting to three months in three years the time able-bodied people without children can receive food stamps. Disaster impends, warned CBS Saturday night. On the CBS Evening News reporter Sharyl Atkisson intoned:
"People who help those on welfare see trouble ahead."
Chapman Todd, DC Central Kitchen: "You see a lot of people who fit that category but really have no marketable skills."
Atkisson: "Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have applied for special waivers to delay this first step in welfare reform. New York is among them, even though its Republican Governor strongly supports the need for drastic change."
After a soundbite from George Pataki, Atkisson led into a soundbite from liberal Congressman Charles Rangel: "Critics warn this is just a small preview of the tremendous headaches ahead as broader welfare reforms take hold."

4) Before we get to the latest issue of Notable Quotables, here are four pretty good quotes we weren't able to squeeze in:

-- An alert CyberAlert reader in Florida sent this item to us from an article on jury duty in the Miami Herald's Tropic magazine from February 9. Reporter Stephen Benz wrote:
"This trial begins in the jury pool waiting room, a room that looks like the waiting area at an airport gate -- and a rather shabby airport in some forsaken hinterland at that...The carpet is frayed and dirty. In the men's room, a hole in the wall between the urinals exposes the pipe works. The place has the look and feel of a Reagan-era mental institution."

-- Watching the January 19 This Week, MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen came across this attack from the welfare reform bill by Sam Donaldson:
"The Republican agenda...leaves a large segment of the country unrepresented here, and that's a segment of the country that does not believe in winnowing down habeas corpus, that does not believe in the things this President has now signed on to. Marian Wright Edelman may be right. A million children, mas o menos, could be thrown into very difficult straits by the welfare bill."

-- To CBS economics reporter Ray Brady, Bob Rubin is a hero. MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski noticed this exchange on the February 9 Sunday Morning on CBS:
Charles Osgood: "With all of this activity and things so almost perfect, almost too perfect to believe, is this because of government policy? Or is Bill Clinton just a really lucky fellow?"
Ray Brady: "Some of it is government policy. I happen to think we have one of the best Treasury Secretaries we've ever had in Bob Rubin. He got long term interest rates down, short term rates came down, that's speeding up the economy, it's keeping it going on an even keel."

-- MRC news analyst Clay Waters noticed the fear expressed by a New York Times reporter that the U.S. Senate is just too conservative. In a February 2 news story Richard Berke warned:
"With the retirement of a flock of moderates on both sides, the institution's center has all but collapsed. Now the Senate is flush with nine new Republicans, eight of whom are conservatives -- firebrands, even....In Kansas alone, the replacements for Senator Dole and Nancy Landon Kassebaum are two hard-driving conservatives, Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts. Brownback, a member of the rebellious class of 1994 in the House, moved even further to the right during his Senate campaign last year, calling for cuts in education, fewer environmental regulations and restrictions on abortion -- as well as the elimination of no fewer than four cabinet agencies."

-- Clay also picked up this line from CNN reporter Mike Chinoy's February 19 World Today profile of Deng Xiaoping: "One of Deng's great achievements was to free China from the worst excesses of radical Maoism..."

As opposed to those just plain swell ordinary excesses of radical Maoism.

-- Brent Baker (Notable Quotables below.)

5) The latest edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. There's a new Gumbel quote under the "What We're Missing in the Morning" heading and some very interesting extreme vs. Far-right labeling under "Ah, That's Much Better." And, don't miss the "theological" question Diane Sawyer told Oprah that she'd like to ask the Pope. See "Stars on the Pope."

To get a complimentary copy of NQ and an order form, it's just $19 per year for the hard copy version, send a message to Carey Evans at:

February 24, 1997 (Vol. Ten; No. 4)

Clinton on the Rock?

"His sturdy jaw precedes him. He smiles from sea to shining sea. Is this President a candidate for Mt. Rushmore or what?....In fact, when it comes to influencing the public, a single medley of expressions from Clinton may be worth much more, to much of America, than every ugly accusation Paula Jones can muster."
-- Los Angeles Times television writer Howard Rosenberg reviewing Clinton's Inaugural address, January 22.

Chinese Dictatorship No Better for Poor than Reagan

"And so in 1992, after a year out of public view, Deng emerged from retirement and launched a campaign for more and faster capitalist-style reform. The country responded with a boom that gave China the highest economic growth rate in the world, and turned it into a magnet for international investors who saw the emergence of a new economic superpower. But the burst of development brought with it many of the evils the communists had sought to eradicate: corruption, inflation, a growing gap between rich and poor."
-- CNN reporter Mike Chinoy reviewing dictator Deng Xiaoping's life on Prime News, February 19.

Jefferson in North Korea?

"In much of the world today, including Washington, governments and their diplomats are astonished still by the news that such a senior official should have defected from communist North Korea to the South. A diplomat in the Chinese capital Beijing said it was as if Thomas Jefferson had bolted from the young United States."
-- Peter Jennings on defector Hwang Jang Yop, February 13 World News Tonight.

Love You, Jesse

"Well, Congressman Jackson, and I love to be able to say that...You've had an interesting view of the political process. You worked with your dad, you know the legacy of Dr. King, you are now inside the process. Which, in your view, is a better place to be able to bring about real change in this society?"
-- ABC Good Morning America Sunday co-host Kevin Newman to Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), January 19.

Conservatives Are Racists

"[Dick Morris] attributed [Colin] Powell's vulnerability to his support for positions on affirmative action, gun control, and abortion. Other pundits (myself included) believe Powell could change his position on all these issues and still be overwhelmingly rejected by a Republican Party ideologically opposed to the nomination of an African American to the highest office in the land."
-- Former NPR President Frank Mankiewicz reviewing Morris's book Behind the Oval Office, January 19 Los Angeles Times Book Review.

"That's sick. That's actually perverse. Ralph Reed probably doesn't, other than that minister from Tuskegee, probably can't count the number of black people he knows on one hand."
-- Gannett reporter Deborah Mathis on a black minister's suggestion Reed was a new black leader, February 1 Inside Washington.

What We're Missing in the Morning

"I said to somebody that if O.J. killed his first wife, Marguerite [who is black], and her friend, then do I think George Will and William F. Buckley would have written about it? No way. Not on God's green earth. They wouldn't have even noticed."
-- Bryant Gumbel in a Los Angeles Times Magazine profile, January 12 (Brackets theirs).

Auschwitz vs. Macaroni Salad

ABC News President Roone Arledge: "If you were a reporter in World War II, and we all know the atrocities that went on in various countries during that war, and you heard about this and got yourself a job as a guard at a prison camp and you were able to tell the world everything that went on there which they didn't know anything about. You got that job through deception. You're not a guard. You never intended to be a guard. Is there anybody here who thinks that's a bad thing for society?"

Syracuse University Professor Robert Lissit: "Is there anybody here who wants to equate that with macaroni salad?"
-- Exchange on the February 12 ABC News Viewpoint program on Prime Time Live's deceptive Food Lion story, which employed hidden cameras to show supposedly tainted food.

Martin Luther King: Forget That Let's All Get Along Claptrap

"The real issue here is not money, but whether people who oppose nearly everything King stood for have the right to assert that his corpse is marching in their parade. [Black conservative Ward] Connerly and his ilk quote King on a highly selective basis....King, for all his commitment to nonviolence, was a radical advocate of social change who deliberately disrupted the status quo in pursuit of racial justice, not a milquetoast advocate of Hallmark Card-style brotherhood between the races."
-- Time columnist Jack E. White in a February 3 piece on Connerly, leader of the pro-Proposition 209 forces in California.

Newsweek Insists Democrats are Republicans

"The rap on Clinton is that by becoming essentially a moderate Republican on fiscal issues, he'll be remembered mostly as a President who played a good game of defense against extremist ideas, with some nice on-court cheerleading to make everyone feel better."
-- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, January 27.

"Free-market capitalism is the secular religion of our time. It is a creed triumphant. It won the Cold War -- and then the ideological battle in Washington, turning liberal Democrats into `Eisenhower Republicans' and ordinary Republicans into small-government zealots."
-- Newsweek's Michael Hirsh, February 10.

Ah, That's Much Better

"In a risky tactic for a candidate with little downstate political identity, Davis said that he plans to favor moderate candidates over extreme conservatives and single-issue politicians and that he is willing to endure criticism from the party's conservative activists to do so."
-- Washington Post> reporters Eric Lipton and Mike Allen on U.S. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) creating a PAC, February 18 early edition (Italics ours).

"In a risky tactic for a candidate with little downstate political identity, Davis said that he plans to favor moderate candidates over far-right conservatives and single-issue politicians and that he is willing to endure criticism from the party's conservative activists to do so."
-- Same story in the final edition.

Accept the Transgendered: That's an Order!

"Holiday Inn: The surgery that changed `Bob' into the sexiest woman at the 1975 class reunion is likened to a makeover of the lodging chain by Bass PLC. The racy spot is ruined by the final shot, when a male classmate reacts to the new Bob with a horrified grimace. What's next, narrow rooms for the narrow-minded?"
-- New York Times advertising writer Stuart Elliott on Super Bowl ads, Jan. 28 Business Day section.

Stars on the Pope

Diane Sawyer: "I've always thought the theological, the one theological question I'd like to ask him, and it's a serious question, is what do you think Jesus would think of the way you dress?"
Oprah Winfrey: "Ohhh! That's a great question!"
-- Exchange on Oprah, February 19.

"I think you're more likely to see the Pope ride through this room on a giraffe."
-- Dan Rather on the possibility of a CBS News cable channel to Philadelphia Inquirer TV writer Gail Shister, February 18.

-- L. Brent Bozell, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
-- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
-- Kathleen Ruff, Marketing Director; Carey Evans, Circulation Manager; Brian Schmisek, Intern

-- Brent Baker