60M Skipped Clinton's Enron Tie; Stephanopoulos This Week's Solo Host; Gumbel Chided "Far Right" on Powell; Saudi Suicide Aid Noted
1) Despite the Clinton administration's active role in promoting Enron's since-failed electric power plant project in India, in a 13-minute story on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, CBS's Bob Simon didn't mention the word "Clinton." But, Simon linked the Bush administration to nefarious efforts in 2001 to get India to pay Enron what it owed the company.
2) A number of firsts on Sunday morning for ABC's This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, but without either: Clintonista George Stephanopoulos served as the sole host and conducted all the interviews; Bill Kristol returned; and Stephanopoulos interviewed the husband of a Clinton White House colleague, Todd Purdum who is married to Dee Dee Myers.
3) Bryant Gumbel charged that the "far right" has "been pretty much savaging Powell for the last week." Gumbel wanted to know: "Is he being set up to take the fall for the failures of this administration's foreign policy?"
4) Like ABC's Peter Jennings, Dan Rather whitewashed the beneficiaries of a telethon in Saudi Arabia. But on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw allowed for a vile goal: "Some are asking, is this really a way to bankroll terror?" Reporter Kelly O'Donnell suggested so: "A senior U.S. government official tells NBC News Saudis give financial help to the families of all Palestinians killed, drawing no distinction between suicide bombers and others killed."
5) Barely a month after ABC devoted a special two-hour edition of Prime Time Thursday to Rosie O'Donnell announcing that she's a lesbian, and to promoting her pet cause of overturning Florida's ban on adoptions by gay couples, a show fawningly titled, "Rosie's Story: For the Sake of the Children," ABC is dedicating a program to O'Donnell's "secret obsession."
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Despite how the Clinton administration promoted Enron's since-shut down electric power plant project in India, a plant which went online in 1999, in a 13-minute story on Sunday night's 60 Minutes, CBS's Bob Simon didn't mention the name "Clinton" or the term "Clinton administration." But, Simon linked the Bush administration to nefarious efforts in 2001 to get India to pay Enron what it owed the company.
Simon recounted how in the mid-1990s a local
politician, who promised to end construction of the plant, won election
after claiming officials who approved the plant, which would produce more
electricity than needed at a high price, were bribed. Simon then got to a
Clinton administration action, but he didn't mention Clinton: "The
American Ambassador, Frank Wisner, pitched in. His role, as he saw
Simon went on to note that in 1997, after India was convinced to re-start the building of the plant, Wisner took job with an Enron subsidiary.
In 1999 the plant finally went on line, Simon reported, and charged India four times the going rate for its power. In 2001, India stopped paying for the power it didn't really need anyway, and the plant was shut down.
Simon then implied a Clinton role, but again failed to raise Clinton's name as he specifically cited the role of Vice President Cheney: "[Ken] Lay had always found solid support from Washington and it was no different now. The Bush administration set up an Enron task force. Objective: Make those Indians pay their bill. Vice President Cheney did his part last June, as recorded in this task force e-mail. 'Good news,' it reads, 'the Veep mentioned Enron in his meeting with Sonia Gandhi,' the Indian opposition leader. But then, a few months later, Enron lay bankrupt and disgraced...."
Despite Enron's collapse and September 11, Simon was appalled that just two months ago, U.S. Ambassador to India Robert Blackwell had the gall to lecture India about how the "sanctity of contract here may be in doubt" due to India not making payments to Enron.
The Clinton administration's role in
promoting Enron's India power plant is hardly unknown. Back on the
January 18 Special Report with Brit Hume, FNC's Wendell Goler disclosed:
On February 25, Lisa Myers reported on the NBC Nightly News: "Documents obtained by NBC News show the Clinton administration billed three Enron projects in India and Turkey as success stories, personally pushed by the late Commerce Secretary Ron Brown. About that time, Enron made its first $100,000 contribution to the Democrats."
A number of firsts on Sunday morning for ABC's This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts, but without either:
-- Clintonista George Stephanopoulos served as the sole host and conducted all the interviews.
-- Amongst those Stephanopoulos interviewed, the husband of a colleague with whom he worked in the Clinton White House: New York Times State Department correspondent Todd Purdum, who is accompanying Secretary of State Powell on his trip. Purdum is married to Dee Dee Myers. One of Stephanopoulos's questions to Purdum: "Any frustrations about the White House? You hear a lot of grumblings that the White House is taking a harder line and maybe not giving Secretary Powell al of the maximum flexibility he needs." Purdum confirmed that the White House is complicating matters my using the term "homicide bomber," which is "a provocative Israeli phrase."
-- The return of Bill Kristol. In what I'm fairly confident was Kristol's first appearance on the show since he was dropped from the roundtable in 2000, Kristol appeared alongside Clinton's Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk.
-- Liberal journalist Michael Kinsley took part in the roundtable segment.
This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Get used to the sound of that.
CBS has yet to announce what day will be Bryant Gumbel's last as co-host of The Early Show, but he's showing no sign of going away quietly as he keeps using his morning perch to take shots at conservatives.
On Friday, Gumbel blamed the current round of terrorist attacks on Israel not on the Palestinian leadership but on where Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon walked a year-and-a-half ago. And he charged that the "far right" has "been pretty much savaging Powell for the last week," before asking: "Is he being set up to take the fall for the failures of this administration's foreign policy?"
MRC analyst Brian Boyd caught Gumbel's April 12 questions to Democratic former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who was involved in Middle East talks during the Clinton years:
-- "People forget that both sides were at relative peace and fairly close to an agreement up until September of 2000 when Ariel Sharon decided to basically sabotage the peace agreement that was in the works. How do they get back to that point? Effectively what do you do, what can Powell do, what can he say, what can he offer, what can he threaten?"
-- "You've seen it as I have and you know how Washington works in leaks, columns, comments. Those on the far right, inside and outside this administration, have been pretty much savaging Powell for the last week. Is he being set up to take the fall for the failures of this administration's foreign policy?"
Like ABC's Peter Jennings on Thursday night, on Friday night Dan Rather whitewashed the beneficiaries of a telethon in Saudi Arabia. But on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw allowed for a vile goal: "The Saudi Arabians say this telethon is to help the Palestinian victims of the violence. But some are asking, is this really a way to bankroll terror?"
Reporter Kelly O'Donnell suggested the Saudis are encouraging suicide murderers by paying their families: "A senior U.S. government official tells NBC News Saudis give financial help to the families of all Palestinians killed, drawing no distinction between suicide bombers and others killed."
Dan Rather simply announced on the April 12 CBS Evening News: "Arab governments are raising money for the Palestinians uses a distinctly Western method: The telethon. In Saudi Arabia today, phone-in pledges totaled more than $85 million. The biggest pledge, $27 million, was from the same Saudi prince whose offer of $10 million for September 11 victims was rejected by New York City."
The night before, ABC's Peter Jennings noted on World News Tonight: "You saw from Dean Reynolds' report how much damage there is in the West Bank. In Saudi Arabia today there was a nationwide telethon to raise money for Palestinians in the occupied territories who the Saudis are referring to as 'martyrs.' The Saudi royal family has donated several million dollars, and it is one of many fund-raising campaigns currently under way in the Arab world."
For more about FNC's story on how the money is targeted to the families of suicide bombers, and for excerpts from UPI and Weekly Standard stories about the matter, go to the April 12 CyberAlert: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020412.asp#2 
On Friday night, Brokaw set up a much more through Nightly News story than yet provided by ABC or CBS: "Meanwhile, elsewhere in the Arab world, the phones are ringing off the hook for an unusual around-the-clock fund-raiser airing on Saudi television. The Saudi Arabians say this telethon is to help the Palestinian victims of the violence. But some are asking, is this really a way to bankroll terror? More on that from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell tonight."
Kelly O'Donnell: "Operators standing by,
tens of millions pouring in, cash stacked high."
Our friends the Saudis.
ABC's Primetime Rosie? Barely a month after ABC devoted a special two-hour edition of Prime Time Thursday to Rosie O'Donnell announcing what everyone already knew, that she's a lesbian, and to promoting her pet cause of overturning Florida's ban on adoptions by gay and lesbian couples, ABC is dedicating another show to O'Donnell.
ABC fawningly titled its March 14 program, "Rosie's Story: For the Sake of the Children." For more about it: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20020315.asp#1 
Sunday's This Week featured this promo spot:
Announcer: "Thursday: Rosie
O'Donnell's back. And what she reveals this time will have you talking
all over again."
What does she mean, people are "going" to think she's out of her mind?
I can't wait to learn about Rosie's "secret obsession." Maybe it involves how to use your celebrity to get a major network to set its news agenda around your personal issues. -- Brent Baker 
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