MediaWatch: July 27, 1998

Vol. Twelve No. 12

Revolving Door

Campaigning Correspondents
Plenty have jumped from politics to the media, but two former network correspondents are now trying to win elected office. Naturally, both are running as Democrats.

Pennsylvania primary voters on May 19 picked Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky as the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor. A reporter for NBC-owned WRC-TV in Washington until 1990, during the ‘80s, her stories appeared on Today. In 1992 she captured a U.S. House seat in suburban Philadelphia. She lost in 1994 after delivering the deciding vote for Clinton’s 1993 budget.

The Clintons, the AP reported May 18, "have not forgotten" her as "First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton was the guest of honor at a $5,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner for her." Since Mezvinsky’s 1994 loss she has served as head of the Women’s Campaign Fund which, AP noted, helps "female candidates who favor abortion rights."

Over the border in Northwest New Jersey’s 5th congressional district Mike Schneider is the Democratic candidate to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Marge Roukema, a moderate Republican. A network veteran best known as the news reader on ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Schneider told the Bergen Record he thought he could pick up the votes of the conservative who lost to Roukema in the primary. Asked why conservatives would back him, Schneider took the liberal dodge: "‘What is a conservative?’ he asked. ‘What is a liberal? What is a moderate these days? I’m not sure anybody can really explain it except for politicians who try to wrap themselves in those labels when they find it convenient.’"

Covering the 1992 Democratic convention for ABC Schneider defined Clinton’s platform as conservative: "When it comes to business and economic affairs, this is a very mainstream, if not in some cases almost conservative platform."

Martha’s Clinton Living
CBS News not only isn’t embarrassed that one of its stars hosted a fundraiser for President Clinton, it publicized the event. Do-it-yourself maven Martha Stewart may not cover politics, but she is a regular on CBS’s This Morning. On the June 13 Saturday Morning, Mark Knoller showed a clip of Clinton at a fundraiser saying: "Let me first thank Martha Stewart for having us here." She credited the assembled Democrats: "I’m so happy that you could show your generosity of spirit and pocketbook."

Knoller set the mood: "She whipped up a festive lunch, very much in the Martha Stewart style. Take a look at the program, tastefully bordered in red and white checkerboard. Not only did it present the luncheon menu of oven-cured tomatoes, peachwood-smoked salmon, and shortcakes with strawberries, you get the recipes for each dish, as well. Seems like a reasonable bonus for $5,000 a plate."