Five items today:
1. In an address at the
National Press Club on Thursday, Ross Perot rejected the
Dole campaign's overture to endorse Dole and he criticized Bill
Clinton's character. The three evening shows highlighted the first, but
ABC's World News Tonight failed to report Perot's anti-Clinton comments.
Both ABC and NBC charged that Bob Dole "lashed out" at
Clinton." NBC's Gwen Ifill complained that "Perot barely
mentioned Republican Bob Dole, even though he also accepts contributions
from overseas." On CBS, Phil Jones said the Perot gambit demonstrates
that Dole is "determined to try anything."
2. After Wednesday's order
proved fruitless, on Thursday a federal judge issued another order demanding
the DNC to produce John Huang. Of the broadcast network evening shows,
only ABC's World News Tonight reported the effort to locate him.
3. On CBS, Dan Rather
offered an uncritical look at video of Bill Clinton
hugging a "devout Catholic" after convincing her that it was
okay for him to veto the partial birth abortion bill.
4. NBC's Lisa Myers
contended on MSNBC that tax cuts are incompatible with
balancing the budget. By promising a tax cut, she charged, Bob Dole
"seems to have cast aside the most enduring commitment of his 35 year
career - balancing the budget."
5. Republican House freshman
Helen Chenoweth told Tom Brokaw that she's "just a plain spoken
Western woman." Brokaw countered on Thursday's Nightly News:
"Not exactly. In her first term Chenoweth was a cheerleader for the
1) Thursday night
(October 24) ABC's World News Tonight made no mention of Perot's comments
about Clinton's character. Instead, ABC emphasized Dole's attack, saying
he was "livid" when he criticized the media. Anchor Diane Sawyer
announced: "In a speech in Florida Mr. Dole lashed out at the
President and a lot of other people too."
Wooten began: "Clearly frustrated by his stalled campaign, Senator
Dole was fiercely critical today not only of the American media, but of
the American public as well for not recognizing his virtues and the
President's vices....As for the press, he was practically livid, telling
an audience of the faithful in Pensacola that the sins of the Clinton
administration are being concealed by partisan newspapers and
Dole: "Now we know the liberal media's not going to report on all
these things because they want him re-elected. They like it the way it is.
We need the media to tell the American people the truth and the truth is
Bill Clinton ought to be voted out of office in a landslide."
NBC Nightly News
did run clips of Perot's attacks on Clinton, but in trying to lessen the
damage to Clinton Gwen Ifill failed to distinguish between accepting money
from foreign nationals, which is illegal, with getting money from U.S.
subsidiaries of foreign companies or from naturalized citizens, which is
Gwen Ifill: "Ross Perot attempted to blast his way back into
contention today with a scathing indictment of President Clinton and the
Democratic party's fundraising tactics, which includes accepting money
Perot: "If you love this country and your children, how could you
even consider voting for a candidate that has huge moral, ethical and
criminal problems facing him as our country has problems to solve."
Ifill: "Perot barely mentioned Republican Bob Dole, even though he
also accepts contributions from overseas."
Next, David Bloom
reported in from the Dole campaign. His piece began:
Last Sunday, DNC General Chairman Chris Dodd promised that John Huang
would be made available to the media. So far, no one's been able to find
the DNC fundraiser (and former Commerce Department official) responsible
for bringing in the illegal $250,000 from South Korea and hundreds of
thousands of dollars in other questionable donations from overseas. On
Thursday, a federal judge took action. As reported by Brian Ross on
Thursday's World News Tonight (October 24):
"Spurned by Ross Perot, an admittedly frustrated Bob Dole lashed out
today at voters"
Dole: "Wake up America."
Bloom: "At President Clinton's ethics."
Dole: "This is a disgrace."
Bloom: "And especially at the liberal media, who Dole blamed for
trying to engineer his defeat."
Dole: "We need the media to tell the American people the truth, and
the truth is Bill Clinton ought to be voted out of office in a
On the CBS Evening News this is how Phil Jones concluded his story on
Perot and Dole: "Perot says he finds the whole Dole request to be
weird. Was it an act of desperation? No says one top Dole aide. He calls
it determined, determined to try anything."
Brian Ross on
John Huang: "In Washington today, a federal judge ordered Democratic
Party lawyers into court and told them to produce John Huang to testify in
a civil lawsuit alleging favoritism at the Commerce Department for big
Democratic contributors. The judge's unusual action came after Huang could
not be found at his home in Glendale California or when U.S. Marshall's
went to an address yesterday in Washington that the judge had ordered the
Commerce Department to provide..."
Litke followed with a dispatch from Jakarta on the Lippo conglomerate's
Asian empire and ties to Clinton.
While ABC thus
updated viewers on the Indonesian scandal, neither CBS Evening News or NBC
Nightly News mentioned the scandal or Huang's name. (CNN's Inside Politics
did offer an anchor-read brief.)
Over video of Bill Clinton along a rope line talking with a teenage girl
who at first is crying, then is smiling and, finally, is hugging Clinton,
Dan Rather announced on the October 24 CBS Evening News:
"In Louisiana President Clinton had this tearful encounter today with
a teenager. She said she was a devout Catholic and was upset with the
President's veto of a bill banning late-term abortions. The President
spoke with her awhile, saying he had vetoed that bill after talking with
women who might have died without the procedure. As you see, this seemed
to satisfy the teenager who said she felt better and would tell her mother
'it's okay to vote for President Clinton,' unquote."
Of course, Rather
didn't bother telling viewers that the bill Clinton vetoed had a life or
health of the mother exception.
MSNBC's News with Brian Williams on Tuesday night (October 22) ran a
profile of Dole by Lisa Myers. It began:
"The heart and soul of Dole's agenda is his economic program, built
around the bold, some say extravagant, promise."
Bob Dole: "We'll have a President who will cut taxes 15 percent
across the board for every taxpayer in America."
Myers: "With that promise, that half a trillion dollar tax cut, Dole
seems to have cast aside the most enduring commitment of his 35 year
career - balancing the budget."
Thursday night Tom Brokaw narrated an "In-Depth" segment
exploring big money from special interests pouring into congressional
races. His case study: The Idaho race of GOP freshmen Helen Chenoweth (targetted
by labor unions) vs. Democrat Dan Williams.
"Helen Chenoweth, a controversial first term Republican
Chenoweth: "I don't have a clue why they would target me. I come from
an innocuous state. I'm just a plain-spoken Western woman."
Brokaw: "Not exactly. In her first term Chenoweth was a cheerleader
for the New Right. Voting against an increase in the minimum wage,
trashing traditional environmental organizations. She was a hardliner on
gun laws. So, she is a target of big labor and conservationists."
make any negative comments about the views espoused by the Democratic
candidate. He concluded by noting that the two candidates have debated,
"But their campaigns are trapped in a cloud of money, saturating the
air, polluting the political process, and that's a loss for
So is a campaign
trapped in a cloud of media distortion, polluting the fair and balanced
dissemination of political views.