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CyberAlert -- 04/25/2002 -- Bush Matching Clinton in "Scandalous Fundraising"

Bush Matching Clinton in "Scandalous Fundraising"; CNN's Cop-Out on Bias; NBC's Mitchell: Cheney Really "Running the Show"

1) Though President Bush isn't abusing the White House to reward donors, ABC's Terry Moran charged: "After spending a lot of time during the 2000 campaign blasting the Clinton-Gore administration for what he called its 'scandalous fundraising,' President Bush has embraced the practice with relish."

2) CNN's cop-out in the morning on bias. Discussing e-mailed complaints about how they are too pro-Israel or too pro-Palestinian, Jack Cafferty dismissed the concerns: "The news media is only objective if they report something you agree with." Paula Zahn argued that when you "get an equal number of e-mails" on both sides that proves "you're straight down the middle."

3) Why would Mary Matalin want to leave Vice President Cheney's office to replace Karen Hughes on President Bush's staff when "we all know that Dick Cheney is running the show," NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked. Mitchell told Don Imus that Cheney is really "running the war, running the foreign policy, running the domestic policy." Was she serious or joking? Hard to tell.

4) Letterman's "Top Ten Ways Dick Cheney Injured His Foot."


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ABC's Terry Moran charged on Wednesday night that President Bush has "embraced...with relish" the same Clinton-Gore fundraising tactics he blasted as "scandalous" during the campaign. Just what is Bush doing? He's headlining fundraisers coordinated to occur during official trips paid for by taxpayers.

Peter Jennings introduced Moran's April 24 World News Tonight story: "President Bush went to South Dakota today taking the long fundraising route to his ranch in Texas. The Republican Party is trying to defeat if possible South Dakota's junior Democratic Senator Tim Johnson. Mr. Bush has spent more time fundraising at this point in his presidency than President Clinton had. And the taxpayer pays for this travel. ABC's Terry Moran joins us from South Dakota. Terry?"

Moran checked in: "Peter, after spending a lot of time during the 2000 campaign blasting the Clinton-Gore administration for what he called its 'scandalous fundraising,' President Bush has embraced the practice with relish. There was an official reason for this presidential trip and thus for taxpayers picking up most of the tab for the visit...."

When Bush referred to Clinton-Gore fundraising as "scandalous" one assumes his assessment was prompted by things like White House coffees and Lincoln bedroom sleep overs to pay off donors and how President Clinton wrote TV ads which were paid for by soft money donated to the DNC. Popping over to a hotel ballroom for a fundraiser after an official event so your travel is picked up by the government may be an unfair advantage of incumbency, but it's nothing new.

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CNN's cop-out in the morning. At the very end of Wednesday's American Morning the three hosts discussed e-mail they have received criticizing them both for being biased in favor of Israel and for being biased in favor of the Palestinians.

Instead of trying to evaluate the complaints against the reality of their show's reporting, the CNN team delivered the usual cop-outs employed by journalists. Jack Cafferty dismissed the complaints: "The news media is only objective if they report something you agree with." Paula Zahn argued that when you "get an equal number of e-mails" on both sides that proves "you're straight down the middle."

MRC analyst Ken Shepherd took down the exchange from just before 10am EDT on April 24 which MRC analyst Jessica Anderson had caught:

Anderson Cooper: "On both sides of this issue, people see this so clearly one way or the other, it's really fascinating."
Paula Zahn: "And it clearly colors their reaction to reporting and I think it's, you know, very difficult for people to separate their own personal views from the way they interpret the news."
Jack Cafferty: "The news media is only objective if they report something you agree with."
Zahn: "Right."
Cafferty: "Then they're objective. Otherwise they're biased if you don't agree, you know."
Zahn: "So I think it's very, what is the word, encouraging, when you sort of get an equal number of e-mails, one accusing you of the pro one accusing you of the anti, because you know in the middle, you're straight down the middle."

Or, maybe those complaining on one side are correct and the others are not.

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NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell dismissed the idea that Mary Matalin would want to leave Vice President Cheney's office to replace Karen Hughes on President Bush's staff since "we all know that Dick Cheney is running the show." Specifically, Mitchell told Don Imus by phone on Wednesday morning on his radio show simulcast on MSNBC, that Cheney is really "running the war, running the foreign policy, running the domestic policy."

Since she made her comments on the Imus show on which reporters joke around, you'd think that maybe she was kidding with Imus, but it is hard to tell since she didn't laugh at all and she delivered her comments straight.

You can be the judge. By early this afternoon EDT, the MRC's Mez Djouadi will post on the MRC home page a RealPlayer clip of Mitchell's comments which came just past 6:30am EDT after Imus dismissed as preposterous the idea conveyed in that morning's Maureen Down column that Matalin was sad to see Hughes announce her upcoming departure.

MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the exchange she came across in reviewing the April 24 show:


Was NBC's Andrea Mitchell serious when she said that Dick Cheney is really "running the show"?

Imus: "You know Mary's over there in her office, high-fiving everybody and pumping her fist and figuring, I mean, she's already an advisor to Bush, but she primarily works for Dick Cheney, as you know better than I know, but I mean, she's thinking she can't get out of here quick enough."
Mitchell: "I don't think that's true."
Imus: "Oh, of course you know it's true. I mean, I realize you can't say it, but."
Mitchell: "No, I think the two of them work very well together and enjoyed the mutual support system."
Imus, laughing: "Well, maybe they did, I'm sure they did, but she doesn't need her there. Mary Matalin knows what the hell's going on."
Mitchell: "If you're an advisor to Dick Cheney, why would you want to move to be an advisor to George Bush?"
Imus, sarcastically: "Oh yeah, why would you want to do that?"
Mitchell: "We all know that Dick Cheney is running the show."
Imus: "Guy over there with a lip-lock on a porterhouse steak about ready to croak, why would you want to cast your lot with him when you can work for the President? Oh, I see, I understand."
Mitchell: "Running the war, running the foreign policy, running the domestic policy."

Imus then moved on to another subject, asking Mitchell about comments made by her husband, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.

To judge for yourself whether Mitchell was serious or joking, in a few hours go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org

This will be the Question of the Day on the MRC home page.

My vote: She was trying to joke around, but she was so deadpan that she came across as being quite serious.

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From the April 23 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways Dick Cheney Injured His Foot." Late Show Web site: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/

10. His foot had a heart attack
9. Kicked toaster out of frustration when it wasn't cooking his ham and cheese Hot Pocket quickly enough
8. Leg wrestling with Condoleezza Rice
7. Went for a goofy-foot 360 and ate it, dude
6. Stepped on a pretzel that had been coughed up by the President
5. Was stung by an Al Qaeda sleeper agent bee
4. Practicing pop-and-lock routine from 'N Sync video he bought from television
3. Robert Blake did it
2. Still kicking himself for taking the job
1. Strom Thurmond drove over it with his rascal scooter -- Brent Baker

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