MediaWatch: October 5, 1998

Vol. Twelve No. 17

No Liberal "Goldfinger"?

Within days of Hillary Clinton's charges of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," national networks, magazines, and newspapers began reporting on its alleged "Darth Vader," Richard Mellon Scaife. Reporters investigated the "Goldfinger of conservative causes" who funded sex stories like The American Spectator's Troopergate story. The media may have derived their Scaife reports from the liberal Web site Salon, which made Scaife their central focus in the first months of Monicagate.

But when Salon put out its own sexual scoop as Ken Starr's report headed for the House Judiciary Committee - that the committee's chairman, Henry Hyde, had an affair 30 years ago - no media outlet investigated the financial backers of the "vast left-wing conspiracy" behind Salon's well-timed hit piece. The Landmark Legal Foundation wrote Kenneth Starr and the Justice Department demanding a criminal investigation of Salon and the White House for potential obstruction of a congressional investigation. LLF's brief noted the Clinton ties of Salon funders:

  • The Silicon Valley investment banking firm of Hambrecht & Quist is a principal investor in Salon. "From 1991 to 1997, Mr. [William] Hambrecht, his wife, and daughter, gave more than $384,000 to Democratic candidates and organizations exclusively. Last February, Mr. Hambrecht hosted a major fundraiser for Democratic House candidates at his San Francisco home with President Clinton."

  • Adobe Systems is another principal investor, launched with venture capital from among others, Hambrecht & Quist. "From 1990 to 1997, Adobe's Chairman and President, Charles Geschke and his wife contributed over $95,000 -- all to Democratic candidates and organizations....Only a few weeks before the 1996 presidential election, Mr. Clinton and Vice President Al Gore participated via video conference at a reception in their honor held at Adobe."

  • Apple Computers "is the second major computer company backing Salon. In 1996 and 1997 alone, Steve Jobs, Apple's chief, contributed over $167,000 to the DNC. During a recent fundraising/golf outing weekend, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton stayed at Mr. Jobs' Woodside, California home." Since Salon skewers conservatives, the media found no nefarious conspiracy worth exposing.