Blame Lott, Not Ickes or Clinton; Overlooking Temple Laundering
3) One reporter acknowledged the media bias in favor of campaign finance reform as Tom Brokaw, Gloria Borger and Sam Donaldson prove his point. >>>> The MRC's 10th Anniversary Gala is fast approaching: October 22 in Washington, DC. For ticket information, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org OR http://www.mrc.org. Or, call 1-800-MRC-1423. After hours, punch in extension 131.
1) The "El Nino Preparedness Summit" in Santa Monica, California topped the three broadcast networks on Tuesday night and each also reported that Janet Reno had decided to extend her investigation into Clinton's phone calls. But none mentioned Tuesday's House subcommittee hearing on corruption in the Teamsters election.
On ABC's World News Tonight Peter Jennings announced Reno's decision and followed with a clip of Clinton's reaction. Reporter Linda Douglass offered some analysis, explaining that the Attorney General says "she needs more time to evaluate the evidence that has been collected so far. Thus far though the prosecutors say there is no evidence of the President even asked anybody for money on the telephone..." Jennings next highlighted a new ABC News poll which showed that "all this fuss" is not hurting Clinton's approval rating. One reason: 31 percent had never heard of the videotapes of the coffees.
On the CBS Evening News Scott Pelley focused on the imminent release of 60 additional videotapes and "newly discovered audio tapes."
NBC Nightly News opened with a piece
on the El Nino threat. Reporter Mike Boettcher assured viewers:
"The White House considered the threat serious enough to send
Vice President Al Gore to the summit." I guess exploiting the
issue to shine up Gore's environmental image had nothing to do with
2) The October 14 CyberAlert reported that Los Angeles Times reporter Alan Miller appeared on Monday's Inside Politics to discuss his October 7 story showing how Democrats raised money abroad long before the 1996 election season. His story focused in part on the foreign fundraising coordination by Maria Hsia. Miller did appear on the CNN show and talked about Hsia's role, but his appearance was prompted by a newer story. Bernard Shaw interviewed him about an October 12 Los Angeles Times piece he wrote that ran in the October 14 Washington Edition of the paper. It also centered on Hsia.
"Temple's Political Giving
Hidden in '93, Records Say: Federal grand jury targets Democratic
fundraiser Maria Hsia, Buddhist group's donations," read the
headline. Reporters William Rempel and Alan Miller's lead:
"The aggressive Democratic fundraiser behind last year's Buddhist
temple benefit featuring Vice President Al Gore acted to conceal
temple political donations as early as 1993, according to records and
testimony that reveal a more extensive history of temple
money-laundering than was previously known.
Coverage: Nothing yet, morning or evening, on any of the broadcast networks.
3) Last week USA Today reporter Richard Benedetto
observed that "most of the reporting" on campaign finance
reform "is tilted toward voices in favor of wholesale
reform." The October 12 edition of CNN's Reliable Sources used
the column to set up a segment on reform coverage during which
moderator Bernard Kalb cited a quote run in the September 29
CyberAlert and October 6 Notable Quotables.
McCain-Feingold's defeat last week hasn't quelled demands from star journalists for the liberal regulatory plan to control speech and spending. Here are some recent examples:
-- Tuesday night, October 14, NBC's Tom Brokaw made a guest appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. The host raised the coffee videotapes, leading Brokaw to offer his assessment which blamed "money in politics" not the President for how he has demeaned the office: "The country has just tuned it out at this point, unfortunately, because it is a real cancer on the system. And you can't have a political system that is cash and carry, that only the people who have the cash can carry away the influence and everybody else is cut out."
In the end, Brokaw predicted, Janet Reno will decide against appointing an independent counsel and that will lead to some Republican hypocrisy: "The Republicans will beat on the table as say this is outrageous, but at the same time the Republican Majority Leader, Trent Lott, has arranged the legislative schedule in the Senate so there's no chance that campaign finance reform will pass this time, he's actively taking a part in that."
-- On last Friday's (October 10) Washington Week in Review on PBS Gloria Borger of U.S. News and CBS News offered the same spin, painting McCain-Feingold as THE WAY to "solve the problem" of all the 1996 improprieties. Those against the bill, in Borger's simplistic presentation, don't want "to solve the problem."
Borger, as transcribed by MRC news
analyst Gene Eliasen, recounted what she saw happen on Capitol Hill on
PBS viewer's problem isn't with Ickes either. It's with reporters who think it's more important to change laws that were violated than determine who did what.
-- A few weeks ago, on the September 28 This Week, Sam Donaldson demonstrated that the First Amendment is great for journalists but we can abandon it when it comes to others who want their voice heard free of a media filter.
Donaldson began by giving away his real concern, that without more regulation Republicans will benefit: "If we have more money and everybody can put in as much as they want to, the Republicans win." Donaldson explained how upset he was with a campaign message he and his colleagues couldn't stop: "All of the special interest groups, not directly connected with the parties. I remember 1988. It was not George Bush who ran the Willie Horton ad, that devastating ad. It was Floyd Brown and some other group that ran that ad and if we don't limit money there what good does it do to simply say to the parties, 'No soft money?'"
Later Donaldson declared that "I think the Supreme Court decision is wrong, I do not think money is speech."
All of this illustrates the accuracy of Benedetto's October 6 "Politics" column in USA Today. He observed: "Little space or time is devoted to sober, broad looks at arguments on all sides of the issue. Instead, coverage is often emotional and selective. Reporting usually begins from the premise that the McCain-Feingold reform bill now before the Senate is good, and that any attempt to slow it, stop it or change it is bad."
Benedetto offered a couple examples
of bias, including this broad indictment:
Let's see. The anti-smoking campaign, portraying global warming as a threat and arguing for campaign finance reform. What do they all have in common? They are issues pushed by liberals. If not "pure liberal bias," maybe a 99 percent liberal pack.
-- Brent Baker