1) The three
broadcast network evening newscasts all led Monday night with the
sentencing of Jim McDougal and Janet Reno's decision to not appoint an
On NBC Nightly
News Jim Miklaszewski showed a clip of McDougal's Dateline NBC interview
with Stone Phillips that will run Tuesday night. McDougal said of Clinton:
"I just got sick and tired of lying for the fella."
noted "That could be big trouble for President Clinton," before
explaining McDougal's charge that Clinton was involved in a scheme to
obtain an illegal $300,000 SBA loan. After airing a clip of McDougal
asserting his credibility doesn't matter since he pointed Ken Starr toward
other witnesses and evidence, Miklaszewski concluded his story:
White House officials say McDougal's credibility does matter. That it's
his word against the President. But tonight there's worried silence and no
comment. Clinton aides admit they have no idea what McDougal turned over
CBS Evening News
viewers got a spin more sympathetic to the White House. Reporter Phil
Jones concluded: "This may sound like bad news for the Clintons, but
in the end McDougal's credibility will always be in question for he is a
convicted felon. Phil Jones, CBS News, Washington."
In two years and
three plus months, Tuesday's Dateline interview with McDougal will be just
the fifth Clinton-scandal story aired by the NBC magazine show. A check of
the MRC's Media Tracking System from January 1, 1995 through last week
August 8, 1995 interview with Senator D'Amato about his Whitewater
- A January 17,
1996 profile of fired travel office chief Billy Dale
- A January 26,
1996 piece on Hillary Clinton testifying before a grand jury
- More than a
year and a campaign season later, a March 2, 1997 story on the selling
of the Lincoln bedroom.
Dateline airs two
to four times a week, or about 350 times since January 1, 1995. Dateline
averages four stories per show. Five of 1,400 segments equals 0.3 percent,
meaning 99.7 percent of Dateline stories have not dealt with Clinton
scandals. Remember that the next time a reporter wonders why the scandals
are not "resonating" with the public.
3) Enough with
scandal coverage, or lack thereof. Here's some old-fashioned policy bias.
Last Wednesday (April 9) Lockheed- Martin unveiled a new fighter plane,
the F-22. The three broadcast networks all focused on its cost and raised
doubts about its necessity.
-- On World News
Tonight ABC's Peter Jennings announced: "It is also the most
expensive fighter plane ever built -- 80 to 100 million dollars each as of
now and the cost is expected to keep on rising. As we said it is your
money big time and it certainly raises questions today about whether
everything the Pentagon wants is worth the price."
-- Dan Rather
intoned on the CBS Evening News: "There is also news about a highly
publicized new U.S. warplane that's making $70 billion in tax money
disappear. This was roll-out day for the F-22, billed as the stealth
attack jet for the 21st Century and billed, as always, to you."
-- Tom Brokaw, on
the NBC Nightly News, told viewers: "A fierce political version of an
aerial dogfight over a new and very expensive fighter plane, the F-22. The
F-22 was a good idea at the time of conception, but do we really need it
now? And a whole new generation of other expensive weapons. Here's NBC's
explained: "The F-22 was designed a decade ago counter sophisticated
new Soviet aircraft then on the drawing boards. But with the Soviet Union
now just a memory, critics are calling the plane, rolled out today by
manufacturer Lockheed-Martin, a Cold War relic and an expensive one at
that -- a 160 million a copy gold-plated gizmo outmatching any conceivable
Center for Defense Information: "We're spending money we don't have
to build and airplane we don't need to defeat a non-existent enemy."
Of course, these
critics would have more credibility if they hadn't fought military weapons
during the Cold War.
military spending and favor social welfare spending. By coincidence that's
just what NBC advocates.
The next night,
on the April 10 NBC Nightly News, Brokaw ominously warned:
California, the welfare reform requirements could have a disastrous
effect. That's the conclusion of a university study out today. Too much
expected too soon of too many. Here's NBC's George Lewis."
As viewers saw
video of an overweight women walking with two kids, even up some stairs,
George Lewis asserted: "April Boyd is a single mom with six children.
Because of a hip injury suffered in a car accident she says she's unable
to work. Boyd is one of a half a million Los Angeles-area residents who
could lose part or all of their welfare benefits."
already struggling, so it'll just be all that harder for us because right
now I can't even work no more."
"Today's USC study predicts that welfare reform will push thousands
of people deeper into a life of poverty and overwhelming personal
After a soundbite
from a study author, Lewis reeled off some of the dire numbers about
unsupported disabled children and how 21,000 more children will end up in
studies put homelessness at under one million nationwide, Lewis
preposterously charged: "And homelessless could rise by as many as
190,000 people. Economically depressed neighborhoods, like LA's skid row,
will be hit the hardest. But the prediction is that the economic impact
for the entire community could go as high as a billion and a half dollars
a year. This afternoon a state welfare official criticized the USC study,
saying it went out of its way to paint, what he called, a doom and gloom
Viewers saw a
clip of the Governor walking between Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie as
Lewis noted: "Republican Governor Pete Wilson predicts that most
people kicked off the welfare rolls will find work. April Boyd is not so
you don't walk in a person's shoes such as myself you'll never know how we
feel and what we going through."
Over video of
April going up steps unassisted, Lewis concluded: "Most everyone
thought that overhauling the welfare system would be a good idea. Now,
there are new concerns being raised about the human consequences of doing
How about a
little concern for the human consequences of an ever-rising tax burden on
workers carrying those who think they have a right to other people's