Larry King's Clinton Spin; Washington Post Labeling1. ABC finds that Clinton knows how to fill the need for sympathy; Whitewater grand jury extended but viewers have no idea why.
1) Tuesday was a quiet day on the political news front, but ABC's World News Tonight did offer a couple of interesting items. Reporting on President Clinton's trip to Grand Forks, North Dakota, John Donvan began his story:
"There was a need in Grand Forks today that this President knows better than most how to satisfy. It was the need for sympathy..."
Later, Peter Jennings announced:
"In Little Rock Arkansas today a federal judge has extended the life
of the Whitewater grand jury for another six months. In papers filed this
morning independent counsel Kenneth Starr said the extra time is needed
because he has gathered quote 'extensive evidence of possible obstruction
of justice,' although he does not say by whom..."
Viewers would have a better appreciation of what is intriguing Starr and who he thinks is obstructing justice if ABC and CBS had reported any of the numerous recent newspaper stories on Web Hubbell. As noted in CyberAlerts last week and yesterday, the networks have skipped over:
-- The Washington Post story detailing 70 meetings with Hubbell by Clinton officials.
-- The Los Angeles Times story on Clinton confidant Bruce Lindsey maintaining contact with Hubbell while Hubbell was being asked to cooperate by Starr.
-- Another LA Times story on how a White House lawyer wrote "monitor cooperation" by Hubbell's name.
-- A Washington Times story on how, before Hubbell left the Justice Department, Hillary Clinton was notified that he was under investigation.
-- A New York Times story headlined "White House Knew in '94 That Hubbell Was Focus of Inquiry."
2) James McDougal spent an hour Monday night (April 21) on CNN's Larry King Live. King and McDougal spent much time on McDougal's claim that Bill Clinton did indeed attend a meeting where he urged David Hale to get an illegal $300,000 SBA loan for Susan McDougal, and speculating as to why Susan McDougal refuses to say whether Bill Clinton was truthful when he testified at her trial.
Intermixed with those discussions, King repeatedly served as an advocate for Clinton, putting the best spin possible on Clinton's actions. Here are some examples from exchanges culled from the transcript on the CNN Web page:
King, on the meeting to pressure
Hale on loan: "But that day, in that office, wasn't he helping your
wife when he said give her the help with the loan, wasn't he doing you a
King, on Susan McDougal's refusal
to answer the question about Clinton's truthfulness, which has put her in
jail for contempt: "Do you respect the principle she is standing for?
She doesn't have to be in jail."
King: "The President had
nothing to do with illegalities here."
King: "Do you think Mr.
Clinton might say -- President Clinton might say -- you know, Jim, got me
started in this whole thing to begin with. He's the one that called me
about Whitewater. I don't know from land deals -- McDougal took me down
King: "Why do you think the
public -- I mean the President's popularity is very high -- despite all of
this, it remains high, despite fundraising supposed scandals. How do you
You just did.
The Washington Post is again presenting the political teams as the conservatives versus the nonpartisans. In a front page story headlined "Critics Find Environmental Bias in Schools," reporter Joby Warrick picked up a conservative topic related to Earth Day. She examined alleged bias of environmental education offered to America's children, with the help of subsidies from the EPA. In response to complaints that courses are "unbalanced" and "serve up a steady diet of gloomy, politically slanted messages about the planet's future," Texas officials held a seminar in Houston where oil and chemical companies, with their own money, presented the other side.
Warrick noted the seminar "infuriated environmental groups, who say they weren't invited." Warrick identified Michael Sanera's book (with Jane Shaw) on environmental education as "being hailed by conservatives...But environmentalists say that both the book and the Houston seminar are part of a nationwide effort by industries and political conservatives to discredit environmental instruction -- while simultaneously promoting industry-friendly teaching materials and textbooks."
Warrick noted that "conservative lawmakers" were concerned, but that the Center for a Commercial-Free Public Education, which she failed to tag, is trying to refute Sanera's book. The Post reporter went on to refer to Republican Senators Lauch Faircloth and James Inhofe as "staunch conservatives," but didn't provide a label for the North American Association for Environmental Education, which works with the EPA to write the educational guidelines.
The Post appears incapable of using a liberal label to describe environmentalists, no matter how radical. Inside Tuesday's paper, the Post ran a story on a study about logging in British Columbia. Greenpeace released the study, but the Post didn't apply a label.
For MediaNomics, published by the MRC's Free Market Project, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/archive/mediawatch/archive1997.asp 
The April MediaNomics stories:
For MediaWatch, go
The April MediaWatch features:
There's plenty of fresh material that has not previously appeared in CyberAlerts.
-- Brent Baker