brought another round of Clinton scandal developments: Evidence of White
House deception in their story about Web Hubbell; Charges the Secretary of
Labor nominee misused her previous White House position to financially
benefit a business partner; and a convoluted tale of campaign cash and a
shady deal involving Mack McLarty.
As usual, the
networks ignored them all. Here's a brief summary of each:
-- A Wednesday,
April 16 Washington Post story raised more questions about "hush
money." Reporter Susan Schmidt began:
"In the nine
months after he resigned from the Justice Department in 1994 and before he
pleaded guilty to charges of bilking his former law firm, Webster Hubbell
had more than 70 meetings with Clinton administration officials, records
show. An appointment calendar, telephone message slips and other documents
obtained by The Washington Post indicate that the extent of Hubbell's
contacts within the upper reaches of the White House and the
administration was much broader than was previously known."
New York Times and USA Today carried stories detailing questionable
activities by Labor nominee Alexis Herman. USA Today reporter Edward
of Labor nominee Alexis Herman, while serving in a top administration job,
provided extraordinary access to the White House for a former business
associate who bought her consulting company. USA Today has learned that
Herman, while the director of the White House Office of Public Liaison,
repeatedly opened the doors of the White House to Vanessa Weaver, a close
friend. In some cases, Weaver brought along clients or others she was
trying to sign up, or she arranged through Herman for them to participate
in prestigious White House events."
-- On Tuesday
night PBS ran an edition of Frontline produced by Peter Boyer in which he
traced the role of Nora and Eugene Lum in making some Clinton cronies very
rich. It's a pretty complex story and I've only seen the first 15 minutes
of the show, but as explained in Walter Goodman's New York Times
television review on Tuesday, the Lums were used in 1992 "as a
channel for large amounts of cash from prosperous Asian-Americans."
The real news in the program comes in what Boyer uncovered about Mack
the revelations, noting that Boyer tracks the Lums "to Oklahoma and
finds them being used as fronts to benefit a giant utility company headed
by Thomas McLarty, who later became the President's Chief-of-Staff. The
details of that operation, which an Oklahoma official suggests amounted to
a political fix, are too complicated the short explication," but the
result "was that the McLarty company benefited; the Lums suddenly
became millionaire part-owners of a new natural gas outfit; Ron Brown's
son, Michael, received a nice piece of the new company..."
not a word on ABC, CBS or NBC about any of these three disclosures.
2) While the
broadcast networks didn't find time Wednesday night for Clinton scandals,
they ran lengthy packages on tobacco which failed to note Clinton
hypocrisy on the issue. But at the same time the networks did manage to
squeeze in news about the status of Newt Gingrich's "fine."
ABC's World News
Tonight devoted the first seven minutes to a series of stories on the
potential $300 billion settlement deal with tobacco companies. Introducing
a piece, Peter Jennings explained: "The Clinton administration has
been very concerned about the increase in teenage smoking recently and
very vocal about its belief that the tobacco companies deliberately go
concerned" about getting their cut of tobacco profits from sales to
teens. ABC failed to note that recently released documents show that
Clinton and the Democrats solicited contributions from tobacco companies
and then asked that the money go to state parties in order to avoid
federal disclosure rules.
uncovered the scheme April 3 and CNN ran a story on April 7 (See the April
11 CyberAlert for details.) The Sunday April 13 Washington Post ran a
front page story on how Democrats "channeled millions of dollars to
state Democratic parties last year, effectively hiding big contributions
from tobacco, gambling and other special interests."
But ABC, CBS and
NBC have yet to utter a word about this scheme. On Tuesday night (April
15) CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather failed to mention the hypocrisy
when he introduced a clip of Clinton denouncing teen smoking:
Clinton is in New York tonight. Besides fundraising for Democrats the
President came here to campaign against teenage smoking. At a quote 'Kick
Butts Rally' at a junior high school in Brooklyn the President told
students they have to take responsibility for their future."
three evening shows on Wednesday night ran pieces on how Newt Gingrich is
expected to announce on Thursday how he'll pay off the $300,000 assessment
imposed by the ethics committee. But instead of calling it an assessment
(to cover the cost of the investigation), ABC and NBC referred to it as a
Jennings suggested that Gingrich "will have to take out a loan to
repay the bulk of the fine." NBC Nightly News ran the words
"Ethics Fine" below a photo of Gingrich as Tom Brokaw introduced
a full story from Lisa Myers:
Washington tonight Newt Gingrich is trying the political equivalent of a
triple somersault. How does he make good on that fine leveled against him
for ethics violations, at the same time please his fellow Republicans and
3) Speaking of
Speaker Gingrich, an exchange he had over the weekend with a reporter
illustrates that, to many reporters in Washington, more regulation to
limit speech and spending is the only acceptable response to the Clinton
Gingrich got into
a bit of a debate with Jane Mayer of the New Yorker when he appeared on
the April 13 Fox News Sunday. Mayer, a former Wall Street Journal
reporter, co-authored the book Strange Justice which attacked Clarence
Thomas and backed Anita Hill's version of events.
relevant portion of Fox News Sunday:
Gingrich: "How long do the Democrats get to pretend they don't have
an obligation as patriots to investigate? How long do the Democrats get to
misdefine this case? This, here you have, let's stay on the one narrow
case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports the Chinese Communists
may be trying to buy the election. The Bank of China transfers to Charlie
Trie the money that he was taking to the presidential defense fund. How
long can Henry Waxman of the Democrats say, We don't want to investigate
whether or not the Chinese Communists were trying to buy the American
this is such, though, if you really care about this issue, then why is it
that there are only two co-signers to the campaign finance bill that's
serious in the Senate?"
"Because it's not a campaign finance bill."
know, it seems like it's just being demagogued, but nobody really is
trying to reform."
"In the first, in the first place, the Clinton-Gore team broke the
current campaign law. Why would you think the people who broke the law are
suddenly going to -- I mean, of course, they're calling for a new law.
That way, we won't look at the fact that they broke the law."
"Haven't both sides said that they had to give back money because
they, I don't know if you want to say broke the law, but breached the
rules or whatever?"
"You compare jaywalking and felony."
think someone went to jail for giving money in the wrong way to the
Republican Party to Bob Dole, didn't they?"
"Well, in fact, if the same standard were applied to the Democratic
National Committee, they would have to give back $300 million in
demonization of Congressman Dan Burton, the Chairman of the House
investigating committee, continues. MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski caught
this diatribe from Newsweek's Evan Thomas on last weekend's Inside
"Burton is a
car wreck waiting to happen. He's got real problems himself on campaign
fundraising. Some lobbyist accused him of trying to extort money from him.
The Justice Department's on the case. Burton is, shall we say, a
complicated guy. He once, I think, said he wanted to nuke Iraq to avoid
the Kuwait War. I mean, he's got all sorts of problems. It's great for the
White House to take the press attention away from a serious, sober
congressional hearing and put it on Burton."
So the White
House decides what gets attention? If the media are interested in a
providing a "serious, sober" examination of what happened maybe
they could show a bit more interest in the evidence as it is disclosed and
a bit less interest in diverting attention to irrelevant analysis of the
policy positions of a Congressman.