MediaWatch: December 1997

Vol. Eleven No. 12

Revolving Door: Turner's Clinton Man

Turner’s Clinton Man

Ted Turner chose a liberal Democrat to run the foundation he created to oversee distribution of his $1 billion gift to the United Nations: Tim Wirth, Undersecretary of State, will assume the position of President of Turner’s freshly-created United Nations Foundation. Wirth previously served as a Congressman and Senator from Colorado, earning a very liberal reputation.

At the State Department Wirth had been in charge of the administration’s environmental efforts. The Washington Times noted on November 20 that Wirth had pushed the administration from the left. Reporter Patrice Hill explained: "Wirth became a lightning rod for conservative opposition to the global warming treaty in Congress because of his moves calling on the United States and other industrialized nations to adopt legally binding reductions in carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gasses while exempting developing countries....Wirth prompted criticism by privately asking congressional delegates to the UN-sponsored negotiations not to criticize the administration’s position in Kyoto."

Heading North, South & East

Two White House speechwriters have departed, one to take a media slot and the other to become an ambassador, while a newspaper veteran assumed a diplomatic post.

David Shipley, who joined the Clinton speechwriting staff in 1995 after stints as a New York Times editorial writer and Executive Editor of the New Republic, is traveling north. Shipley, who has been writing recently for the First Lady, left in mid-December to, as the November 26 Washington Post reported, "work on a series of special issues for the New York Times Sunday magazine."

In November the Senate approved the nomination of Carolyn Curiel as U.S. Ambassador to Belize. An editor at the New York Times and Washington Post before jumping to TV in 1992 as a Nightline producer, she joined the Clinton team in 1993.

On the foreign mission front, last summer Bob Healy, a former Executive Editor and in the early ‘80s the Washington Bureau Chief for The Boston Globe, hopped a plane for Dublin, Ireland. The Washington Post reported that he’s "working in a senior job in the embassy on the U.S. Information Agency payroll."

In a December 1990 Globe column Healy complained: "Bush was saddled with a lot of the supply-side voodooism of the Reagan era ....Reagan was not the President of morning in America: he was President of the free lunch. He gave us growth, but the cost was borrowed money, more than a trillion dollars of debt."

Right Writing

The Christian Coalition tapped David Aikman, a Time correspondent until a few years ago, as Senior Consulting Editor of the group’s magazine, the Christian American. At Time, Aikman reported from Asia, served as bureau chief in West Berlin and covered foreign affairs out of Washington....

U.S. News & World Report has brought aboard Michael Gerson as a Senior Editor to cover non-profits and philanthropy. Gerson, who has been Policy Director for Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), was hired by Assistant Managing Editor Steve Waldman, National Journal reported. Before jumping to U.S. News, Waldman had worked as top policy adviser to the chief of Clinton’s AmeriCorps program.