1) A front page
story in the November 7 Los Angeles Times reported: "The Democratic
National Committee said Wednesday that it is returning one of its largest
1996 campaign contributions, $325,000, to Yogesh K. Gandhi because it
could not verify that he was the source of the funds." On Thursday
the DNC returned a $50,000 donation to a Greek businessman.
So how did the networks play this confirmation of the pre-election GOP
charge that the DNC took money from foreign nationals, which is illegal?
Not a word on the November 7 CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News. Only
ABC's World News Tonight covered it. Reporter Jackie Judd put the news at
the top of her piece on Republican plans to investigate Clinton.
NBC Nightly News found time to report D'Amato's announcement and to
disparage the quest for information. Jim Miklaszewski's story started with
the news of cabinet resignations, then moved to D'Amato. Here's the end of
Jim Miklaszewski: "One of the Clinton's chief antagonists in
Congress, Senator Alfonse D'Amato, announced his Whitewater probe is
D'Amato: "I think if we get into this business of looking like we're
out to fish, to bring up something to embarrass the President. I don't
think that's good for the country."
Miklaszewski: "White House officials are under no illusions and still
expect Republicans to vigorously pursue investigations on other fronts.
But they're also encouraged that D'Amato's announcement may signal an end
to any high profile political witch hunts. Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, the
When the Senate
held four weeks of hearings chaired by D'Amato in July and August 1995 NBC
Nightly News ran a grand total three stories.
Washington bureau chief Evan Thomas has discovered that Paula Jones may
have some credibility. On the November 3 Inside Washington the panel
discussed the new American Lawyer article in which reporter Stuart Taylor
learned that "a comparison of the Paula Jones and Anita Hill episodes
suggests that the evidence against the President is far stronger than the
media has let on -- and far stronger than the evidence against [Clarence]
On the show Evan Thomas explained: "There are two witnesses here that
matter, there are two friends of Paula Jones that she spoke to right after
the alleged incident. And they do not generally make their story available
to the press, generally. They talked to one reporter from the [Washington]
Post, Mike Isikoff, and the Post worried about whether to do this story
for a long time, finally ran a kind of somewhat diluted version of it, and
nobody talked to these women. Now, Stuart has gone back and talked to them
and they paint a pretty bad tale."
Nina Totenberg, who first publicized Hill's unsubstantiated an
uncorroborated charges, then asserted: "There are two things in this
article: one is the examination of the evidence which is fair game and not
dramatically new but very interesting and somewhat compelling. The other
is the Anita Hill argument and I would say that's apples and oranges. This
woman is going to get her day in court or she's going to settle, one or
When the Jones
story first came to light Evan took a bit different approach. On the May
7, 1994 Inside Washington he declared:
"Yes, the case is being fomented by right-wing nuts, and yes, she is
not a very credible witness, and it's really not a law case at all...some
sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks...I think she's
a dubious witness, I really do."
Lawyer article has been out for two weeks. So what has Evan Thomas put in
Newsweek. MRC analyst Steve Kaminski reports nothing appeared in this
week's or last week's issue.
CyberAlert reported how at the end of ABC's election night broadcast David
Brinkley noted the creativity of his ABC colleagues, and then charged that
"Bill Clinton has none of it. He has not a creative bone in his body.
Therefore he is a bore and will always be a bore." I also predicted
that his remarks would become big news as the journalistic community
cringed at the anti-Clinton remarks.
newspapers brought plenty of stories and a remark earlier election night
that didn't air on ABC's Washington affiliate. Just after Clinton finished
his speech, at about 12:30am ET, this exchange occurred, as printed in the
November 7 Dallas Morning News. (Rush Limbaugh on Thursday also played a
tape of Brinkley's comments.)
Brinkley: "I wish to say that we all look forward with great pleasure
to four years of wonderful, inspiring speeches full of wit, poetry, music,
love and affection. More goddamn nonsense."
Peter Jennings: "You can't say that on the air, Mr. Brinkley."
Brinkley: "Well, I'm not on the air."
Jennings: "David, we are on the air."
Brinkley: "Too bad. I told you I was leaving."
the controversy led Larry King's CNN interview with Ted Koppel. King
called the remarks "mean-spirited," and something he'd expect
from "wacko talk radio" hosts like Limbaugh, Oliver North or G.
Gordon Liddy. [There will be more of King's comments in the next
All fall reporters regularly referred to Bob Dole as "harsh,"
but no controversy erupted. Back on the February 20 Today show Bryant
Gumbel derided Pat Buchanan as "Mr. Puke-anan."
I'm still waiting for the media consternation.
5) On Wednesday
night's Late Show with David Letterman actress Marisa Tomei appeared.
Here's part of the interview:
Letterman: "Did you vote yesterday?"
Letterman: "Are you happy with the outcome?"
Tomei: "Yeah. I'm very happy."
Letterman: "Have you ever met President Clinton?"
Tomei: "Yes I have."
Letterman: "Where'd you meet him? At the White House?"
Tomei: "Yeah. I met him at the White House."
Letterman: "What was that like?"
Tomei: "It was very sexy, actually. It is that whole feeling."
Letterman: "Sexy in what sense? You're not talking about the
Tomei: "Well, it's a round room, first of all, the Oval Office."
Letterman: "He's an enormous guy, isn't he?"
Tomei: [taken aback, assuming a reference to Clinton's penis size] "I
don't know. [pause] I'm sure. It's why I voted for him."
Letterman: "I mean he's fat, is what I was driving at."
Letterman: "He is fat."
Tomei: "I don't think so."
Letterman: "He is fat and I'm going to continue to say so."
Tomei: "No, he's healthy. He's healthy."
Letterman: "No, they say, you know they released his medical records
like about a month ago to show that he was okay, he can run for another
four years. And I'm telling you they fudged, because they said he's 215
[Letterman laughs]. Two-fifteen is when lunch ends for this guy."
The gender gap
solved. All Bob Dole had to do was meet women in a "round room."