CyberAlert -- 09/13/1999 -- Puerto Rican "Dreams"; Bias Conceded in Lack of Home Deal Outrage
Puerto Rican "Dreams"; Bias Conceded in Lack of Home Deal Outrage
2) An NBC anchor referred to "the dreams" of the released Puerto Ricans as NBC's Stan Bernard insisted that on Meet the Press one pledged non-violence. In fact, the FALNer did so reluctantly, ranting about his cause and equating himself to George Washington.
3) "If that were a Republican we'd all be screaming," conceded Jack Germond in acknowledging media bias in not questioning the $1.3 million for the new Clinton house. Instead, This Morning's Thalia Assuras wondered if they will take part in town bake sales.
Most questionable terminology selection of the weekend. Here's how, on
the version of the McLaughlin Group with ad breaks carried by commercial
TV stations, John McLaughlin plugged an upcoming segment:
The Puerto Rican "nationalists" were released from various prison on Friday, but that generated little network interest as ABC's Peter Jennings again repeated the canard about how the decision "pitted" Hillary Clinton against her husband.
Picking up on the appearance by one terrorist on Meet the Press, on Sunday night NBC's Stan Bernard claimed "the way to liberty was a pledge of non-violence restated this morning." In fact, Ricardo Jimenez eventually mouthed the words but when asked if he had any regrets he complained about his sentence and then spent most of the interview rationalizing the FALN by ranting about the colonization of Puerto Rico and accusing the U.S. government of terrorism. He proclaimed: "I'm pretty sure you're proud of George Washington. I'm definitely in that line in Puerto Rico, as they called me a freedom fighter for our country."
September 10, CNN's The World Today and FNC's Fox Report, aired full
reports on the release of the Puerto Ricans. But ABC's World News
Tonight, NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams only
allocated a few seconds. ABC's Peter Jennings gave it 17 seconds:
(U.S. Open tennis ran past 8pm ET, thus bumping the CBS Evening News in the ET and CT time zones Friday night. Tennis also bumped the show in the east on Saturday and Sunday nights.)
Sunday's Nightly News with a story on the joyous welcome the
"nationalists" received in San Juan and Chicago. Anchor John
Siegenthaler introduced the September 12 report: "NBC's Stan
Bernard on the promises they've made and the dreams they've held
Anyone who had watched Meet the Press earlier in the day would know how hard Bernard and his producer had to look to pluck out that quote. It hardly reflected the attitude displayed by Jimenez, the only Puerto Rican to appear on a Sunday morning interview show, released after serving 19 years of a 90 year sentence. Just check out his answers from Chicago to moderator Tim Russert's questions:
Russert began by
listing the convictions: "Let me put on the screen for you and our
viewers exactly what those charges were: armed robbery, seditious
conspiracy, possession of unregistered firearm, carrying firearms during
commission of seditious conspiracy, interference with interstate commerce
of violence, interstate transportation of a stolen vehicle, interference
with interstate commerce by threats of violence. This morning, Mr. Jiminez,
do you have any regret or remorse for the commission of those
Russert went on to press him about apologizing to the family of a police offer killed. When Jimenez again insisted they had "no intentions of ever having cost human life directly to somebody," Russert countered: "If you, in fact, are part of an organization, support of an organization that sets off 130 bombs, isn't there a pretty strong possibility that innocent people are going to be hurt and killed?"
+++ See and hear Jimenez rationalize his past actions and crusade for his cause. Monday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a RealPlayer clip of a portion of the Meet the Press interview. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org
The $300,000 loan by Bob Dole to Newt Gingrich upset the media, but a loan four times larger given to the Clintons by a political operative deep in fundraising scandals has yet to arouse media concern. Instead of exploring the ethics and propriety of Terry McAuliffe's loan to Bill and Hillary for $1.3 million so they could buy a campaign address, CBS This Morning co-host Thalia Assuras wondered if the Clintons will participate in town bake sales and ABC's George Stephanopoulos rejoiced at how Hillary will finally get the swimming pool she has long wanted.
liberal media figures acknowledged the bias of the media on this issue,
but didn't suggest doing anything to correct it. On Inside Washington
over the past weekend columnist Jack Germond asserted:
On September 2 and 3 many network shows ran items on the Clintons buying a house in Chappaqua, New York and how former DNC fundraiser Terry McAuliffe would give them a loan, but none followed up after the Washington Post on September 4 raised ethical questions about the deal.
In a front page story on September 4, Post reporter Ruth Marcus wrote:
In a move that enables the Clintons to buy the house -- and Hillary Rodham Clinton to have a base for her New York Senate run -- the 42-year-old real estate developer and dealmaker pledged to put up $1.35 million in cash to secure a mortgage for the Clintons. Otherwise, swamped by more than $5 million in legal debts, the Clintons might have had difficulty obtaining the loan for the five-bedroom, century-old house.
Ethics law experts said yesterday that there is no legal difficulty with the Clintons' accepting McAuliffe's help, but some questioned the propriety of the President's accepting such a benefit from a private citizen.
"It's just plain wrong. It's dangerous. It's inappropriate," said Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21. "This is a financial favor worth over a million dollars to the President."
McAuliffe is not actually giving any money to the Clintons. Rather, he will deposit $1.35 million in cash -- the full amount of their mortgage -- with Bankers Trust; the only risk to McAuliffe's money is in the unlikely event that the Clintons default.
The Clintons will put up $350,000 and pay an adjustable-rate mortgage set at one point over the London Interbank Offered Rate, a bank lending rate that is now 5.52 percent. The loan is "interest-only," meaning the Clintons pay only interest on the loan but do not reduce the principal during the five-year term.
Some mortgage bankers said McAuliffe's intervention either allowed the Clintons to obtain what might appear to be an otherwise risky loan or to secure a lower interest rate because the mortgage is fully backed by collateral. "They would definitely be in a better position to get a better rate with that deal," said Crestar Mortgage Corp. senior vice president Patrick Casey, incoming President of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Metropolitan Washington....
Last Friday both the Washington Times and Wall Street Journal, the MRC's Tim Graham alerted me, ran editorials questioning the propriety of the deal. What could Bill Clinton do as a favor to McAuliffe? The Journal suggested: "For starters, he could make it tough for the U.S. Attorney's office to get to the bottom of Mr. McAuliffe's oft-denied role in the sleazy 1996 'contributions swap' between the Democratic National Committee and the Teamsters union."
The September 13 Newsweek didn't portray anything wrong with the deal. As Tim Graham recounted in last week's MagazineWatch on the MRC Web site, Debra Rosenberg and Evan Thomas breezed through the financial details: "Real-estate and financial mogul Terry McAuliffe stepped in and supplied the bank with $1.35 million in collateral, to be paid off or refinanced in five years. McAuliffe has bailed out the Clintons before: he was the Democrats' chief fundraiser who built a surprisingly large $42 million war chest for Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign. An amiable Clinton golfing buddy who, perhaps as much as any friend, stood by the President during the Lewinsky scandal, McAuliffe is also raising money for Hillary's Senate campaign. While unorthodox, McAuliffe's sugar-daddy role on the Clinton house appears to be perfectly legal."
For more, go to:
Instead of jumping on criticism of the deal as they did in April, 1997 with Dole and Gingrich, the network stars acted like hosts of real estate firm paid for shows.
On September 3
ABC's Good Morning America brought aboard George Stephanopoulos as its
sole guest to discuss the matter. Co-host Elizabeth Vargas asked
Stephanopoulos: "Why do you think the Clintons picked this
house?" He replied: "Oh, I think it fits on a lot of different
levels. It fits their personal taste, it's a nice traditional house, it's
private, near a lot of golf courses for the President, and finally they've
got a swimming pool."
(Smith did point out to Assuras that he's the town manager of New Castle, which includes Chappaqua as Chappaqua is not a town.)
Contrary to earlier claims by PBS officials, PBS stations only rented or bought lists from Democratic groups for direct mail fundraising, but you wouldn't know that from the Washington Post story which ignored that conclusion nor would you have learned that from ABC's World News Tonight which had relayed PBS's bi-partisan spin back in July.
Washington Times reporter Barbara Saffir opened a September 10 front page story on Friday:
An audit that shows WETA and 52 other federally funded TV stations swapped their donor lists exclusively with Democratic organizations is inflaming a debate over federal funding for public broadcasting.
A six-week long audit by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's inspector general found that:
-- "Virtually all of the exchange or rental transactions of station membership/donor names were to apparently Democratic organizations."
-- Public broadcasting officials incorrectly told Congress that stations also rented from several Republican groups but the "organizations" typically turned out to be names of donor lists dubbed by the list brokers who compiled them.
The same day
CPB released the report CPB President Ervin Duggan resigned. In her
Washington Post story on that development reporter Lisa deMoraes included
a few paragraphs on the fundraising lists but decided the determination
that PBS did not use Republican lists was not newsworthy:
controversy erupted in July, of the broadcast evening shows only ABC's
World News Tonight aired a story. On July 16 reporter Bob Woodruff began
by explaining how the issue came to light after a Massachusetts mother
complained that a donation to Boston's WGBH in the name of her young
son, Sam, prompted a fundraising letter to him from the DNC. Woodruff got
to the big picture:
We now know that is not accurate, but no correction aired Thursday or Friday night on ABC.
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