1) Newt Gingrich
admitted he did wrong and agreed to pay back the ethics committee for the
cost of investigating him. The President admits nothing as each new
assertion is disproved by revelations and no one calls for him to pay
investigatory costs. Instead of focusing on the larger picture of how
taking Bob Dole's loan meant Gingrich was going to pay the $300,000
himself, much of the media claimed the deal looked bad to the public, an
idea they helped foster.
Washington over the weekend liberal columnist Jack Germond noted of the
Bonier attacks on Gingrich's deal: "I think the Democrats look like
fools when they attack him." That didn't stop his media colleagues.
Here are some media comments from over the weekend:
-- Friday, April
18 Good Morning America:
Cokie Roberts: "I think the real problem with it is not anything
illegal or unethical. I think that it is people will look at it in the
same way that they looked at the House banking scandal -- which was not
illegal -- and say 'oh there they go in Washington again, everybody just
taking care of each other.' And it contributes to that whole view that
everybody inside of Washington is in cahoots."
"Cokie, does it pass muster? The ethics committee was trying to
penalize the Speaker, to make him pay a penalty. And now he doesn't have
to re-pay anything for eight years. This loan isn't called until the year
2005, so does this pass muster in what the committee wanted to do?"
that it passed muster with those who counted, the House Republicans. For
more on Roberts and her institutional bias that might explain her
insistence that nothing illegal happened in the House bank scandal, see
item #2 below.)
April 19 NBC Nightly News. John Palmer reported on reaction to the deal
from Gingrich's district when Gingrich spoke to a Republican gathering.
After a soundbite from Gingrich referring to Democratic critics as a
"small band of destructive people," Palmer continued:
terms of the law are still raising questions."
Editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine: "I think the idea that
you don't have to pay anything back for eight years and he didn't have to
come up with any personal money out of his personal checkbook, I think it
re-enforces the notion that people in power get special deals."
former member of the ethics committee, which imposed the sanction, thinks
the loan terms are too generous."
U.S. Rep. Tom
Sawyer, (D) Ohio: "The kinds of arrangements that may have been made
out of friendship in this case, or for some other reason, would probably
not be available to most American citizens."
"Some Clinton administration officials also question the loan
arrangements, but the official word from here is: that's a matter for
Congress to settle. John Palmer, NBC News, the White House."
Nice to know NBC
feels it's important to report that the White House "questions"
the loan. The White House doesn't believe in loans: it gets people to give
money to friends.
-- On the
McLaughlin Group, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift asserted: "It's another
example of a politician getting a deal that the ordinary person can't
-- On Sunday's
This Week Sam Donaldson displayed a bit of honesty about his lack of
impartiality toward Gingrich:
"I wanted to
find a way to jump all over him. I couldn't. I think it's probably not a
bad solution and I think it's probably okay."
-- On CNN's Late
Edition Steve Roberts, now with the New York Daily News and formerly with
U.S. News and the New York Times, complained:
"Bob Dole is
not a lobbyist, but he's about to work for one of the biggest, most
high-powered lobbying firms in town, including one that's representing
tobacco interests in these negotiations. Do we really want a Speaker of
the House who owes $300,000 to a guy's who's a principle in a major
lobbying firm? Also, I do think that he reminded me a little bit of Bill
Clinton frankly in his talk. He says I'm taking responsibility, but really
it was my lawyer's fault. Grow up Newt. Take responsibility. Don't put it
off on other people."
then pointed out that Gingrich is encumbering himself with a personal debt
up to $640,000 if he waits to pay it off.
-- On Inside
Washington, NPR's Nina Totenberg tried to have it both ways: "I don't
see anything really awful about the deal, but it, to normal people it sort
of has an odor about it. The cab drivers I had this week all thought there
was something not quite right here."
countered: "I hate to be in the position of defending Newt Gingrich
on anything, but I don't see any odor about this at all. I mean the fact
is the terms he got were not any different than the terms other people can
get if they have a reasonable expectation of making well on the
Newsweek's former Washington Bureau Chief, then took a shot at Dole:
"It's not so much that it's bad for Gingrich, but it's weird for, I
mean Bob Dole, look at, Bob Dole fails to become President of the United
States, leader of the free world, continue his life of service. Instead
he's become an influence peddler so he can post bail for Newt
Incorrect, the ABC talk show aired after Nightline, took up liberal bias
on Thursday night (April 17). MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen caught this
denial from author Richard Reeves, the former chief political
correspondent for the New York Times:
if you look at the most influential people in the American press, if you
made a list of Diane Sawyer, Bill Safire, John McLaughlin, David Gergen,
Pat Buchanan, what they have in common was they were all, every one of
them was on Richard Nixon's staff at the same time. That's the liberal
conspiracy that you're..." [he's cut off by other panelists]
And none but
Sawyer is a reporter.
A bit earlier,
host Bill Maher had introduced the segment by arguing liberal bias is a
thing of the past:
about the way the media handles a thing like this? Do you think, now I
hear this all the time, I've been hearing this for years that there's a
liberal bias to the media, and maybe there was at some point, but do you
think nowadays, most of the people I read, or at least I like to read,
George Will, William Safire, Buckley, Rupert Murdoch, a very conservative
man, owns pretty much every newspaper in the country. Do you think that's
a strawman, that's sort of like past its point of reality?"
Here is the full
list of all the newspapers in the U.S. owned by Rupert Murdoch's News
New York Post
Yes, it's a list
of one. A bit short of owning "pretty much every newspaper in the
country." (At the height of Murdoch's U.S, newspaper empire in the
mid-'80s, he owned the Post plus dailies in Boston, Chicago and San
Antonio, well short of the widespread ownership of Knight-Ridder and the
New York Times Company.)
of the paranoid fear that Murdoch instills in the hearts of liberals.