night (April 2) the three broadcast network evening shows all aired full
stories on the release of more papers from the files of Harold Ickes
detailing the White House obsession with fundraising. None though
mentioned either of the other fundraising stories described in the April 2
CyberAlert: Ron Brown rewarding donors with government loans and Charlie
Trie getting money from a Chinese-owned bank.
relayed the White House line that they were just trying to keep up with
the Republicans. On World News Tonight ABC's John Donvan stated: "As
hard as the Democrats worked they still raised less than the
Republicans..." Over on the CBS Evening News, Rita Braver asserted:
"In fact, all day long the White House was reminding reporters that
Republicans out-raised the Democrats by more than $200 million dollars in
the last election..."
quite, Baltimore Sun reporter Carl Cannon documents in the April 7 Weekly
Standard. First, Cannon noted that the White House numbers don't include
the $35 million spent by the AFL-CIO for ads attacking Newt Gingrich and
Bob Dole. "And that $35 million doesn't include the thousands of
phone banks, get-out-the-vote organizers, and professional field
operatives that organized labor paid for in 1996. Leo Troy, a professor at
Rutgers University, estimates that this help would have cost 10 times as
much as the AFL-CIO attack ads if the Democrats had to pay for it."
President's numbers include 'hard money' -- campaign contributions of
$1,000 or less from individuals and $5,000 or less from political action
committees." In soft money, the subject of Clinton's problems, the
Democrats raised $122 million in 1995-96, just $19 million less than the
$141 million collected by Republicans.
2) A week and a
half after his article appeared in the Weekly Standard calling for Newt
Gingrich to step aside, Congressman Peter King was interviewed on
The New York
Republican explained his view that Gingrich's personality, not his
political views, made him unpopular, adding: "I don't think the
American people want him to be siding up with Jesse Jackson as opposed to
Katie Couric then
asked: "But in fairness, what is wrong with Newt Gingrich reaching
out to some other groups, extending himself? I mean, can't you catch more
flies with honey. Isn't there something about that? And perhaps the
rigidity of some of the conservative Republicans and their almost
religious adherence to the Contract with America, didn't that ultimately
backfire on them?"
figured out how to get on the media's side: move left so reporters can
defend you while bashing conservatives.
3) On last
weekend's McLaughlin Group the show looked at some wealthy politicians who
spend their own millions on their campaigns. Host John McLaughlin asked,
"Question: Does the personal wealth of a member of Congress make a
difference? Eleanor Clift."
As transcribed by
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift responded:
"You know you could have asked each one of those members where they
stand on cutting COLA's for people who are less well off I suppose. But
listen a number of those people, family traditions, Rockefeller, Kennedy,
have long histories of caring about people who are less fortunate. I think
a much bigger problem with this Congress is all of the people,
particularly in the Republican Party, who represent small business and
think government regulation is the worst problem facing the country."
Monday night's (March 31) Politically Incorrect on ABC, MRC news analyst
Gene Eliasen caught a few liberal comments from 20/20 co-host Hugh Downs.
-- On abortion:
"But they can preach that under free speech, there's nothing wrong
with trying to persuade a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. But
ultimately it's got to be her decision and not the decision of some
lawmakers, men lawmakers."
-- On the
Republican Party and Ronald Reagan: "The problem started on his
watch, though, and that is the Republican Party got in disarray because
they're enthralled to the far-right. And yet the polls show that that's
not the way the people feel so they don't know what to do."
-- They may be
far-right, but Republicans are no different than Democrats: "I think
it might be important to point out that this country is a one-party
country. Half of that party is called Republican and half is called
Democrat, it really doesn't make any difference. All the really good ideas
belong to the Libertarians and we're gonna wake up to that sometime."
How awake to
libertarian thinking is Downs? After a December 29, 1989 20/20 piece by
John Stossel on the benefits of deregulation, Downs told Stossel: "I
have to admit I hadn't known about the good things that deregulation may
Crockery of the Day. In today's quote Walter Cronkite spreads an
uncorroborated conspiracy theory about Grenada. On page 266 of his book, A
Reporter's Life, Cronkite recites misinformation told about the 1983
Grenada invasion, such as how officials initially claimed there were no
civilian casualties but later had to concede "a U.S. Navy plane
accidentally bombed a mental hospital, killing at least 17 persons."
record of misinformation perpetrated by the Reagan administration, we are
entitled to harbor other doubts. For instance, to back its claim of Cuba's
military intentions, our military, when it finally let correspondents into
Grenada, three days after the invasion, showed the newspeople a warehouse
at the airport filled with boxes of Soviet-made armaments.
"There is no
evidence that I know of to suggest that this was anything other than what
our military said it was. But for three days huge Air Force transport
planes had shuttled to the island from Barbados and the United States in
far greater numbers than resupply of our forces would seem to have
possible -- is it just possible -- that our forces actually had not found
evidence of heavy Cuban military activity and so had planted it for the
benefit of the correspondents in order to justify the invasion?
is far-fetched -- I hope. I really don't want to believe that our
government could have been that Machiavellian. But historians in the
future might well raise that possibility, and there is no independent
information to disprove it, such as that which might have been supplied if
our free press had been able to attest that the arms really were there
when our troops first arrived. Thus is illustrated the kind of mischief,
of the birth of rumor, that a lack of trust -- and a lack of evidence
collected by a free press -- invites."
Or, the mischief
the "most trusted man in America" can cause when he spreads a
rumor that he admits he has no evidence to support. Remember this Cronkite
passage the next time you hear a journalist disparaging the
"irresponsibility" of a conservative for making an
"unsubstantiated" charge against Clinton.