E-Mail Bounced Again; Judge Snubbed in AM; Liberal & Moderate VP Picks
1) Not a syllable Thursday night on ABC, CBS, MSNBC or NBC on White House counsel Beth Nolan's appearance before the House Government Reform Committee to respond to questions about e-mail. CNN and FNC ran full reports.
2) Nothing on e-mail, but ABC had time for the "conspiracy to retaliate" against Smith & Wesson and a helmet law in Italy. CBS looked at lights in the sky. NBC relayed how Elian is missing Cuba's "education system that is the envy of Latin America." NBC offered an admiring profile of a gun control advocate.
5) John McCain demanded an investigation of Al Gore's 1996 fundraising and raised the LaBella memo, but Bryant Gumbel refused to take up either issue and kept pressing McCain about whether George W. Bush has done enough to cater to him.
>>> Genitalia: Seven times more of
it conveniently available on your TV. Now that I've got your attention.
New study from the MRC's Parents Television Council, "What a
Difference a Decade Makes: A Comparison of Prime Time Sex, Language, and
Violence in 1989 and '99." The report compiled by Tom Johnson
compared and contrasted four weeks of prime time programming from the fall
of 1989 with four weeks of programming from this past fall. Among the
Another e-mail hearing, another hearing bounced by the broadcast networks. White House counsel Beth Nolan appeared Thursday before the House Government Reform Committee to answer questions about why much White House e-mail was not turned over in recent years in response to subpoenas. Not a syllable about her appearance aired Thursday night on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News or MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams. Not even CNN's Inside Politics covered it, though that could be because she was still testifying during the 5pm ET show.
CNN's The World Today at 8pm ET, however, did carry a full story by Bob Franken and at 6pm ET/9pm PT FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume ran a thorough piece by Brian Wilson. FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report held the hearing to a 25-second summary delivered by anchor Shepard Smith. CNN's Crossfire focused on the flap.
(Last week's first hearing on e-mail at least generated a story on the CBS Evening News while ABC and NBC only mentioned the launch of a Justice Department probe. As detailed in the March 24 CyberAlert, on March 23 the same House committee held a hearing with current and former Northrop-Grumman employees, who oversaw maintenance of White House computers, about how they discovered e-mails which were not handed over in response to subpoenas and that they felt threatened by officials to not alert anyone to the problem. The same day the Justice Department announced a probe of the matter. ABC's World News Tonight ignored the hearing but gave the Justice Department announcement 20 seconds. Ditto for NBC Nightly News which managed to squeeze the Justice announcement into 16 seconds. MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams spent 11 minutes replaying a Katie Couric interview with the Ramseys but couldn't find any time for the e-mail story. CBS, CNN and FNC all ran stories.)
The March 30 The World Today on CNN played a piece by Bob Franken in which he showed clips from the hearing as he reported that Nolan announced that with a new contractor the missing e-mails could be found not in two years as she originally predicted but in 175 days. That would put Gore's missing e-mail in play for the campaign, Franken observed. After recalling how the White House knew in 1998 that a server problem meant many e-mails were not produced but did not acknowledge the problem until news reports revealed it last month, meaning the Washington Times, he relayed Nolan's contention that former White House counsel Charles Ruff thought it was just a glitch that had no impact. Franken concluded by saying that the committee now plans to subpoena Ruff.
Earlier, on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, the anchor of the same name introduced FNC's story: "White House counsel Beth Nolan has been on Capitol Hill answering questions, or trying to, about those missing e-mails. She and a Justice Department lawyer testified before the House Government Reform Committee. Nolan says the e-mail flap was a mistake and not a deliberate action, but as Fox News' Brian Wilson tells us, Republican Chairman Dan Burton has his doubts."
FNC's Brian Wilson, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth, began: "Dan Burton, the Chairman of the House
Government Reform Committee, has questions. Why were Ken Starr and various
congressional investigators not alerted that subpoena searches of the
White House e-mail system were incomplete when that was known at the White
House as early as June of 1998. How did at least 246,000 White House
e-mails fall through the cracks? Why were Vice President Gore's e-mail
messages never archived? And:"
++ Watch FNC's story and see Beth Nolan. Late Friday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of Brian Wilson's story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
Instead of telling their viewers about the e-mail scandal the broadcast networks and MSNBC focused on Elian Gonzalez (with multiple stories) as well as on other less than pressing news Thursday night. ABC had time for a helmet law in Italy, CBS for looking at lights in the sky and NBC to glorify a gun control advocate.
All led with Gonzalez and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams devoted nearly the entire broadcast to the topic with Forrest Sawyer anchoring live from Miami. (On the campaign front, only ABC's Peter Jennings took a few seconds for a brief item about Bush's $3 billion plan to recruit teachers.)
In addition to a piece on whether there's "a conspiracy to retaliate against the gun maker Smith & Wesson because it has been cooperating with the Clinton administration," the March 30 World News Tonight on ABC featured stories on the Census effort to count the homeless as reporter Carla Wohl claimed "hundreds of thousands of homeless" were missed ten years ago when the Census counted 230,000 of them, on how the FBI investigates cyber crime and on a new law in Italy requiring helmets for those on "scooters and motorbikes."
The CBS Evening News looked at the drug war in Colombia and Clinton's Clinton plan for more aid to fight what Dan Rather termed the "leftist" rebels, but he cautioned there are complaints the Colombian army is tied to the "right-wing" paramilitary. Another story examined how British winemakers may benefit from global warming. Richard Roth predicted: "For British wine 2050 could be a very good year." CBS ended with a piece on the "enduring mystery" of the "Northern Lights" seen in the sky above in Alaska.
NBC Nightly News opened with multiple Elian stories, then ran a piece on how a witness now says police told him what to say at a trial which may have falsely convicted a man, now on death row, of killing a police officer. For its "In Depth" segment NBC returned to the Elian case as Jim Avila compared the life Elian has in the U.S. with a kid in Cuba of the same age. The Cuban family, Avila relayed, must subsist on $23 a month so they have less food and fewer toys. After allowing the Cuban mother to assert that love is more important than material things, Avila delivered the standard Cuban propaganda line: "Cubans point to the good things about their country. An education system that is the envy of Latin America, virtually everyone in Cuba reads and while life may be hard in Cuba, child psychiatrist Bennet Leventhal says children there can be just as happy as here."
Next, NBC viewers watched a story on efforts to kill
mosquitos in Queens before there's another outbreak of the West Niles
virus. NBC ended with a "Women to Watch" admiring profile by
Lisa Myers of Donna Dees-Thomasas, the founder of the Million Mom March
scheduled for Mother's Day. In his top of the show tease Tom Brokaw went
a little over the top in hyping her impact:
Federal Judge Royce Lamberth's March 29 finding that President Clinton was in "criminal violation" of the Privacy Act, for releasing letters written by Kathleen Willey, was front page news in Thursday's Washington Post and even the Boston Globe. The New York Times put the story inside with a plug for it on page one. But the network morning shows were not interested.
Not a word about the ruling aired on CBS's The
Early Show or NBC's Today, which both dedicated the majority of their
shows to Elian with time set aside for Texas tornado updates and looks at
the claim a man on death row in Tennessee was falsely convicted. ABC's
Good Morning America, however, managed to squeeze in a brief mention in a
larger story pegged to Clinton comments at a fundraiser in Columbia, South
Carolina the night before about the Confederate flag. MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson timed this portion of Andrea McCarren's story at 29 seconds:
Geraldo Rivera has given the judge's rebuke of Bill Clinton higher priority than have the networks. As detailed in the March 30 CyberAlert, Wednesday night ABC gave it 19 seconds, CBS 29 seconds, CNN 28 seconds, MSNBC 23 seconds and NBC 18 seconds.
But that same night, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, CNBC's Rivera Live devoted 20 minutes to the development. His March 29 guests included liberals Joe Conason and Julian Epstein, Judicial Watch's Larry Klayman and Linda Tripp's civil attorney. Rivera gave the news a level a gravity not heard on the networks. Over a graphic reading "Criminal Clinton?", Rivera intoned: "Ladies and gentlemen stand by. The President of the United States has today, by a federal judge, been accused of committing a crime. Details in a moment."
Rivera even challenged one of his guests: "But a judge has said, Julian [Epstein], that the President definitively violated the criminal provisions of the federal Privacy Act and in that regard it is quite stunning."
Stunning that Rivera is more concerned about Clinton's illegal actions than are broadcast network television producers.
Pushing moderate and liberal VP choices for Bush. On CNN Time's Margaret Carlson urged George W. Bush to pick a pro-choice running mate, either Christie Todd Whitman or Olympia Snowe, because it would "create some excitement for him." On CBS's The Early Show Bryant Gumbel offered his suggestions: Whitman, George Pataki, Tom Ridge or Elizabeth Dole.
-- Carlson, caught by MRC analyst Paul Smith, on the
March 29 Inside Politics:
Yeah, for reporters.
-- Thursday morning CBS's The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noted, brought aboard Jack Kemp and Mario Cuomo to assess potential VP picks for Gore and Bush.
To Cuomo, Gumbel asked for quick assessments of Senators Evan Bayh, Bob Graham and Dianne Feinstein as well as Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. Turning to Kemp, he started with Whitman and then moved to New York Governor George Pataki, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, whom Kemp called a "terrific candidate, a very progressive conservative candidate....Vietnam veteran, Catholic, moderate on the issue of pro-life." Gumbel's last suggestion: Elizabeth Dole.
John McCain demanded an investigation of Al Gore's 1996 fundraising and highlighted the findings of the LaBella memo, but Wednesday morning Bryant Gumbel refused to take up either issue as he kept pressing McCain about whether George W. Bush has done enough to cater to him. Gumbel urged McCain to agree that Gore "has gone farther towards advancing your reform agenda than has so far Governor Bush."
Returning to the Senate on March 21 McCain blasted Gore and urged him to demand an investigation of what occurred in 1996, but as noted in the March 22 CyberAlert, while CNN and FNC ran stories not a word about it appeared on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening or morning shows, nor MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams.
And CBS is still resisting any coverage. McCain
appeared on CBS's The Early Show on March 29 to discuss a hearing to be
held later that day, by his Senate Commerce Committee, about gambling on
college sports. Gumbel soon turned the conversation to the campaign, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
Gumbel made Gore's case: "As I think you
know, he admits that he is the imperfect messenger."
Instead of pursuing the content of the LaBella memo,
asking what could be done to get the Justice Department to take action or
inquiring about whom McCain holds responsible for covering up Clinton-Gore
misdeeds, Gumbel responded: "Would you allow that he has gone
farther, Mr. Gore I'm talking about, he has gone farther towards advancing
your reform agenda than has so far Governor Bush, who said that you didn't
change his views on reform?"
Gumbel proceeded to pursue questioning about how
well Bush is treating McCain: "The Governor did call you yesterday,
his camp characterized the conversation as a very productive conversation.
Did you see it that way?"
bright side. Earlier this week an FNC reporter pointed out the role of
environmentalists and the government in making gas cost more than the
natural market price. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught this conclusion to
a March 28 piece by Jonathan Serrie on the Fox Report:
From the March 30, 2000 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Questions on the George W. Bush Application for Running Mate." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Ever been President? 'Cause that would help"
Don't worry, I'll give equal time to any Gore-bashing Top Tens Letterman ever runs. -- Brent Baker 
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