Bush: "Pawn of the Oil Industry"; NBC Caught Up on Gore Gaffes; Pro-Gore Media Bias Admitted; Geraldo Demands Apology -- Extra Edition
1) ABC's Terry Moran decided Gore welcomes the debate over tapping the strategic oil reserve if only "to point out" that Bush and Cheney "hail from the oil industry." But Gore's plan was mostly derided Thursday night as political and ineffective. Two CBS reporters couldn't agree whether the move would reduce oil prices.
2) NBC Nightly News caught up with two Gore gaffes the show had ignored when initially revealed. Claire Shipman cited the "blowup on the issue of health care" over his made up story about drug costs as well as his claim to have sung as a child a union jingle not created until 1975.
3) Media bias for Al Gore is so obvious that a network anchor admitted it. MSNBC's Brian Williams noted the lack of play for Gore's "mammogram" fumbling: "Had that happened to Bush the news media would have used it to further the theme that the Texas Governor has a troubled relationship with the English language."
4) On GMA, Jeffrey Toobin and Elizabeth Vargas stressed the taxpayer cost and human toll, especially on Hillary, of the Whitewater probe. Toobin: "Kenneth Starr made Mrs. Clinton the only First Lady in history forced to walk the gauntlet and testify before a grand jury."
5) New York Times part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy"? Geraldo Rivera suggested so Wednesday night in holding the paper "as guilty" as the House Judiciary Committee. He demanded that the paper apologize for serving as an outlet for Whitewater charges.
6) Lincoln bedroom sleepovers for donors are no big deal, former CBS and NBC reporter Giselle Fernandez contended. Besides, Bill Clinton "only had one kid." She'd prefer a room oozing with sex: "The Kennedy bedroom -- now that I'd like to at least experience."
Correction: The September 21 CyberAlert noted how "a network used a heart-rendering anecdote." That should have read "heart-rending."
Although ABC's Terry Moran began his story, on Al Gore announcing his recommendation to release some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, by relaying how Gore is "casting himself as the champion of beleaguered consumers and Governor Bush as a pawn of the oil industry," in an unusual event, elsewhere Gore got a tougher media drilling Thursday night than did George W. Bush.
All the broadcast and cable networks highlighted how Treasury Secretary Summers opposed the oil release, featured soundbites from Bush or others denouncing it as a crass political move and, with the exception of CBS, doubted such a small release as Gore proposed would have any impact on prices. ABC and NBC also raised the point that the current crisis shows the Clinton administration's energy policy has failed.
CBS couldn't agree whether tapping the oil reserve would or would not reduce oil prices. Bob Orr declared: "If the President gives the go-ahead to open the reserve tap, analysts say oil prices could quickly drop." But in the very next story CBS reporter John Roberts cited how former Energy Secretary James Schlesinger "says compared to the American thirst for oil...Gore's proposal is but a drop in the bucket."
Here's how the three broadcast network evening shows on Thursday, September 21, handled Gore's energy proposal:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with Terry Moran on how Gore was "casting himself as the champion of beleaguered consumers and Governor Bush as a pawn of the oil industry." Moran explained how Gore called on Clinton to tap the strategic reserve for "several" five million barrel releases, proposed his own policies for a new home heating oil reserve, a tax credit to oil distributors and $400 million to help the poor pay for heating oil.
Moran showed Gore proclaiming: "I will not go along with an agenda that is of big oil, by big oil and for big oil."
Moran moved on to Bush's reaction: "But
Governor Bush, campaigning in Cleveland, said the Clinton-Gore
administration helped cause the problem in the first place."
Moran outlined how Bush advocated a tough stance with OPEC, an increase in domestic refining capacity "and, in his own controversial proposal, opening up Alaska's wilderness to drilling."
Moran concluded by giving the last word to Gore: "Now the Gore campaign was quick to point out Governor Bush's agenda has no short-term effect to help consumers this winter and the Gore campaign says that they welcome this debate if only to point out to voters that both Governor Bush and Dick Cheney hail from the oil industry."
Next, John Cochran outlined how the Clinton
decision is a fight between Treasury Secretary Larry Summers who
called an oil release a "dangerous precedent" and Energy
Secretary Bill Richardson who wants to tap the reserves. Cochran then
hit Clinton's record, or lack of one:
-- CBS Evening News. "Petro politics" announced the on-screen graphic next to anchor Bob Schieffer's head as the show opened with Bob Orr on how tapping the strategic reserve "may be the only hope for lower energy prices this winter."
Orr reported how Richardson predicted home heating oil prices will be up 75 percent this winter from two years ago and natural gas in the Midwest will also soar, forecast to rise 43 percent from 1998.
Little can be done about natural gas prices, Orr
lamented, by "the President may be able to force down oil prices
by dipping into the nation's strategic petroleum reserve....If the
President gives the go-ahead to open the reserve tap, analysts say oil
prices could quickly drop from this week's ten year high of nearly
$38 a barrel."
But in the very next story Orr's Washington bureau colleague, John Roberts, offered just the opposite assessment. Roberts first pointed out Gore's flip-flop: "Eight months ago Al Gore dismissed the idea. Today, seven weeks to the election, it's suddenly sound policy." Roberts played clips from Gore and Bush as well as a soundbite from left-wing Democratic Senator Charles Schumer who claimed Bush and Cheney have "too much faith in Big Oil."
Viewers then heard from James Schlesinger:
"The timing is perhaps driven by electoral considerations."
-- NBC Nightly News led with the controversy
over Gore's proposal. After Claire Chipman looked at the politics of
Gore's idea (see item #2 below for details), Lisa Myers took on the
policy: "So is dipping into the reserves now a good idea?
Republicans say no."
Myers continued to stress the downside:
"Opponents also point to big potential down sides. It could
complicate efforts to get Saudi Arabia to expand production, diminish
the effectiveness of dipping into the reserves in a real emergency.
Even some who support Gore's plan say the administration is partly
responsible for the problem."
Myers concluded by assessing the Clinton record: "When Clinton took office, the U.S. was dependent on foreign producers for 50 percent, half of our oil. Now it's 59 percent. Then the price of oil was $16 a barrel. Today it's $35. But experts say no one, including George W. Bush, has come up with a quick painless solution to this crisis. So far polls show the public blames big oil and oil producing countries. Al Gore hopes it stays that way."
NBC Nightly News used Gore's oil release advocacy to finally catch up with two Gore gaffes the show had ignored when initially revealed. Claire Shipman contended that Gore is "hoping that his oil announcement will provide a change of subject from what has been his worst week in a month and a half." She went on to cite the "blowup on the issue of health care" over his made up story about drug costs for his dog versus his mother-in-law as well as his claim to have sung as a child a union jingle not actually created until he was well into his 20s.
Shipman began her September 21 top of the show
story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Hoping to
tap into public outrage over high oil prices, Gore today pushes the
President to make the controversial move of tapping into the
nation's oil reserves."
Shipman then got to
events NBC skipped when they happened: "Gore may be looking for
political cover, but he's also hoping that his oil announcement will
provide a change of subject from what has been his worst week in a
month and a half. First a blowup on the issue of health care.
Questions about whether Gore misstated the costs of arthritis
medication for both his mother-in-law and his dog."
Shipman concluded with an upbeat assessment: "Gore aides admit it's been a choppy week, but they hope today's announcement on oil reserves, including a proposal to release four hundred million dollars to help poor families pay home heating bills this winter, is what the public will really pay attention to."
Well it's hard to pay attention to Gore gaffes that Shipman contended led to a "blowup" when the networks won't tell anyone about them:
-- The dog/in-law fabrication was disclosed
Monday by the Boston Globe. Not until the fourth night after the Globe
story ran did NBC Nightly News mention it. The CBS Evening News
didn't get to it until the third night, Wednesday. And ABC's World
News Tonight has yet to touch it.
For a RealPlayer clip of FNC showing both
incidents, go to:
-- Gore on Wednesday this week recalled the
union jingle/lullaby he heard as a 27-year-old in a crib. All three
broadcast network evening shows ignored the claim that night and while
NBC got to it the next night neither ABC or CBS have informed their
viewers about it.
A breakthrough? Media bias against George Bush and for Al Gore is so great and obvious that even a network anchor, who himself is at the helm of a show which displayed the bias, admitted it. Thursday night MSNBC's Brian Williams opened his The News with Brian Williams by citing Gore's inability on Monday to come up with the word mammogram, confusing it with sonogram, and conceded: "Had that happened to Bush the news media would have used it to further the theme that the Texas Governor has a troubled relationship with the English language."
Williams opened the September 21 show:
Viewers then saw the same Claire Shipman piece run on NBC Nightly News which is quoted in this CyberAlert in item #2 above. Thus, viewers of the Williams 9pm ET hour on MSNBC (10pm and 1a ET on CNBC) got their first peek at Gore's dog/in-law fabrication and union jingle claim. Tuesday night Chris Matthews, acting as a reporter, told Williams about the dog/in-law claim but MSNBC did not show it. The night before Matthews also mentioned the mammogram gaffe, but since Shipman's piece did not show it, MSNBC viewers still have yet to see it.
+++ Watch Williams admit the media's pro-Gore bias. Late Friday morning ET, the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul will post, in RealPlayer format, a clip of Brian Williams opening his show Thursday night. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
ABC lamented the taxpayer cost and human toll on Hillary of the Whitewater probe. On Thursday's Good Morning America ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin regretted how "Kenneth Starr made Mrs. Clinton the only First Lady in history forced to walk the gauntlet and testify before a grand jury." He complained that "the Starr and Ray investigations alone cost more than $50 million and as it turned out, it was much ado -- two decades worth -- about not very much." GMA co-host Elizabeth Vargas agreed it was a big waste.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the relevant portions of the September 21 segment about Independent Counsel Robert Ray's decision to shut down the Whitewater probe.
Vargas set up the discussion: "The six-year
Whitewater investigation came to an emphatic resolution yesterday when
the Independent Counsel Robert Ray announced there was no evidence to
charge either the President or Mrs. Clinton with any crime. His whole
investigation has cost taxpayers $55 million....Robert Ray doesn't
actually clear the Clintons of any wrongdoing. He just says he can't
Of course, she chose for political and public relations purposes to take a very public walk in and out of the front door and through a crowd of reporters. Six years later it's still paying off with gullible liberals like Toobin.
Toobin continued his historical review:
"Then Starr's probe grew. Once close friends went to jail [clip
of Jim and Susan McDougal]. There was Travelgate, Filegate and then
another subject entirely [clip of President Clinton and Monica
Lewinsky]. Mrs. Clinton wasn't the target of that one....But the
Lewinsky affair took its toll, nonetheless. The President was
impeached. But Starr and his successor never issued any verdict on
Hillary Clinton's conduct until now...with no charges ever filed
against Hillary Clinton....The Starr and Ray investigations alone cost
more than $50 million and as it turned out, it was much ado -- two
decades worth -- about not very much."
But Vargas's implication that "all those people who've spent time in prison" are somehow victims was too much for even Toobin, though he soon returned to the standard liberal spin: "Well, I think you have to remember, in fairness to Starr, there were 14 convictions in this case, mostly of peripheral people, although Clinton's successor as Governor, Jim Guy Tucker, was convicted, but in terms of the Clintons themselves, and they've been the focus, how much videotape, how much newsprint has been spent on the subject of Whitewater, and it really doesn't seem to add up to very much."
New York Times part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy"? Geraldo Rivera suggested so Wednesday night in holding the paper "as guilty" as the House Judiciary Committee in hounding Bill Clinton. He demanded that the newspaper apologize for serving as an outlet for Whitewater charges.
Rivera argued during the September 20 Rivera live on CNBC: "You know Joe [DiGenova] it is outrageous that there is not, I mean The New York Times, I think The New York Times is as guilty as the majority on the, on the, the House committee there, Judiciary committee. They're the ones that lead the charge here. They were going with allegations and when we investigated them they seemed pretty shallow. But there is no I'm sorry and isn't this six years of gross torture inflicted on pretty slim evidence?"
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that he
wrapped-up the segment by returning to the complicity of the New York
Times: "I want to ask Jonathan [Alter] a question about the
media. I don't want to harp on this too much. But it seems to me,
but, but for The New York Times the, the implicit conspiracy between
The New York Times and the people out to get Clinton this thing
would've died a long time ago."
A loving husband and wife is an "ideal" but it just isn't "cool" and Hillary Clinton using the Lincoln bedroom as a reward to donors isn't a big deal, former CBS and NBC reporter Giselle Fernandez declared on ABC's Politically Incorrect Tuesday night before proclaiming her desire to spend time in a room that had a lot of sex: "The Kennedy bedroom -- now that I'd like to at least experience."
On the September 19 show Fernandez argued: "I think if you define marriage as a partnership of love and respect, where the sexes are considered equal, in a partnership, then perhaps it can be a wonderful ideal, but obviously I think that's the kind of self-righteous judgmentalism that causes rifts in our society, and I think that's not cool."
Later, fellow panelist Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post suggested that after the 1996 fundraising scandal "to allow anybody whose given any money anywhere near the White House to sleep over, and they say these are just friends, sure they're friends with a lot of money, is not good politics."
Fernandez countered: "I totally disagree.
It's her home. Rick Lazio entertains-"
I assume "the guy" is Clinton not Lincoln.
Fernandez is now co-host of This Week in History
on the History Channel. To see a picture of her, go to:
Here's a reminder of the kind of "reporting" we're now missing from her:
-- November 3, 1993 CBS This Morning from Cuba: "Welcome to Fidel Castro's playground, Cuba's Caribbean paradise few have seen, a Cuba the commandante is now inviting the world to enjoy. In the last two years alone, Cuba and its sultry beaches has become a major vacation hot spot...While tourism may be changing the landscape of Cuba's Caribbean shores, Fidel Castro is banking on it to save his workers' paradise from becoming a paradise lost."
-- September 4, 1994 CBS Evening News, on Cuba: "Back then [when it received Soviet subsidies], the island may have been a thorn in Washington's side but it was a beacon of success for much of Latin America and the Third World. For decades, Cuba's health care and education systems were touted as great achievements of the revolution...Some say the trade ban has never given Cuba a chance to see whether or not Castro's socialism might work."
-- She moved on to NBC to co-host the weekend Today show. For a September 3, 1995 utterance she earned a runner-up slot in the MRC's "Good Morning Morons Award" presented as part of our annual Best of Notable Quotables: "President Clinton will be attending more ceremonies in Hawaii marking V-J Day, Victory over Japan. Saturday, Mr. Clinton went to a ceremony on a hill high above Honolulu. He praised those who served in the military 50 years ago, saying they saved the world. After today's ceremonies marking the end of World War II, President Clinton will head back to the United States."
Hawaii joined the United States in 1959. -- Brent Baker
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