Beatty Not Liberal; Morris Distorted on "Airhead"; Clinton's Spittle
1) ABC's George Stephanopoulos approved of Gore's campaign reorganization while NBC's Andrea Mitchell stood in front of Gore's real boyhood home. Peter Jennings insisted: "China, today, is hardly a communist country."
Correction. The September 29 CyberAlert item about the NBC drama The West Wing reported that "controversy ensues after Deputy Chief-of-Staff 'Toby Lyman' says to a Ralph Reed-type character, named 'Mary,' on a TV show: 'Lady, the God you pray to is too busy being indicted for tax fraud.'" As he is subsequently referred to, the character's name is "Josh" Lyman. The Communications Director is "Toby Ziegler."
Wednesday night Gore's announcement that he's moving his campaign offices to Nashville, and challenge to Bill Bradley to debate, led ABC's World News Tonight, CNN's The World Today and the NBC Nightly News. The CBS Evening News went first with the spread by birds of the West Nile virus. FNC's Fox Report led with a topic skipped by ABC, CBS and NBC: Gary Bauer denouncing a rumor about him having an affair.
ABC viewers also
learned from Peter Jennings that China is no longer communist, as he ended
Reporter Mark Litke then proceeded to compare and contrast the village of Nanjie, which follows communist rules, and Huaxi, where the residents are capitalists and among China's wealthiest.
On the Gore front, the story by ABC's John Cochran featured the view of just one analyst, former Clinton/Gore enabler turned ABC News analyst George Stephanopoulos, who approved: "Anything that helps people to take a second look, that gives them a reason to say let me take another look at Al Gore, is good for this campaign right now because the people have so far, especially in the key state of New Hampshire, stopped listening."
CBS's Dan Rather offered only a brief item on Gore, but pointed out: "In the background criticism, some of it inside the Gore camp, that his Washington-based operation is too-insular, too top heavy and too expensive."
Over on the NBC
Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw observed: "This was unprecedented
maneuver for a candidate who's still the odds-on favorite."
CBS and NBC couldn't bring themselves to apply an ideological label to Warren Beatty, but both made sure viewers realized that columnist Arianna Huffington is "conservative," though she's probably a lot less conservative than he is liberal. Wednesday night the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News profiled Beatty, who at the time was hours away from making a speech in Beverly Hills, but only indirectly raised his liberalism. To make the labels that were uttered easy to find, I've put them in ALL CAPS below.
-- CBS Evening
News. Dan Rather's intro avoided any ideological labels. Reporter Jerry
Bowen opened his piece:
refused to apply a label to Beatty: "Those who bought tickets got a
taste of Beatty's platform in Bulworth, his movie about a Senate
candidate who goes over the edge campaigning against big money party
politics as usual."
After a soundbite
from Beatty's wife Annette Bening on Today commenting on her husband's
intentions, Faw went on to at least note how Beatty has helped liberals
though Faw did not label him a liberal: "He's never held public
office before but he's worked and raised money for a host of Democratic
LIBERALS, a breath of fresh air says one-time presidential pollster, now
Hollywood screenwriter, Patrick Cadell."
Reagan biographer Edmund Morris told Today's Katie Couric on Wednesday
that he never called Ronald Reagan "an airhead," which means
Couric distorted his assessment in order to impugn Reagan when she opened
Monday's Today by happily blurting:
In the first day
of three days of interviews on Today, Couric spent most of her time on
September 29 quizzing Morris about the appropriateness of his fictional
characters. But she started out by telling him, as transcribed by MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
As for the "airhead" quote Couric so eagerly repeated on Monday, the Today writers sure picked an unusual way to open their September 27 show as the misquote appeared on the jump page of a Washington Post story from five days earlier. Today also had to skip over a more positive assessment to find the airhead line. Look at how Washington Post reporter Linton Weeks led into the airhead graph in his September 22 story:
Asked by American Enterprise magazine -- for an interview that will appear in its November-December issue -- what was the biggest revelation in "Dutch," Morris replied, "That Ronald Reagan was a massively substantial person of considerably more deliberation and philosophical seriousness than he's ever been given credit for."
At points in the book, however, Morris is more dismissive of Reagan's intellect. He writes that he could not believe how shallow Reagan's "hidden depths" appeared to be. He refers to Reagan's frequent use of cue cards, to his deference to aides on matters of substance, and to the often rambling answers the president gave to interviewers.
After following him around for seven months, making friends with Reagan insiders such as Michael Deaver, Donald Regan, George Shultz and Caspar Weinberger, Morris writes that he was stumped. "Dutch remained a mystery to me, and worse still -- dare I entertain such a heresy, in the hushed and reverent precincts of his office? -- an airhead."
According to what Morris told Couric, he wrote "-- an apparent airhead." While that clarification should hardly make Reagan fans any happier with Morris's book or powers of perception, a reading of the original Washington Post recounting makes obvious that Today and Couric distorted Morris as he was referring to how he viewed Reagan in late 1985 after following him around for a few months, a view he eventually realized was wrong.
Now for a little
Morris bashing courtesy of Couric, here's the next exchange in
Clinton "spittle" in the face. When Investor's Business Daily's Washington Bureau Chief, Paul Sperry, dared to do what no other Washington reporter would -- ask Clinton about campaign money from China and the FBI's probe being subverted -- he was rewarded with ten minutes of an angry Clinton yelling at him from barely a foot away.
The display of Clinton's temper happened last Friday night on the White House South Lawn at a jazz concert for Washington reporters.
Wednesday night on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor Sperry recounted his experience, telling Bill O'Reilly how while standing in a receiving line he asked Clinton when he would next hold a press conference since "the American people have a lot of unanswered questions." Sperry recalled that "at that point he moved right square in front of me and basically got in my face and said 'like what?' and at that point I took a big gulp."
Sperry asked him about the campaign finance investigation and how four FBI agents two days earlier had testified about their probe of him and Democrats being suppressed. Sperry explained: "When I mentioned the FBI agents in particular, and there was at least one other reporter there who witnessed this, the Seattle Times reporter said he just 'blew his top.' He did. He came unglued and said the FBI was basically saying that 'gee we need to change the subject from Waco and get attention on the campaign finance probe.'"
Pressed by O'Reilly, Sperry confirmed Clinton "was shouting" and so he was therefore getting hit in the face with "spittle, if you will." Sperry added that Clinton "went into a tirade about Haley Barbour" being the only person tied to Chinese money, a preposterous claim. Sperry predicted: "I will not be going to the Easter Egg roll."
+++ Hear Sperry recount his encounter with a Clinton in full fury. About one hour after this CyberAlert is sent Thursday morning, the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will get up a RealPlayer clip of Sperry on FNC's September 29 The O'Reilly Factor. Go to: http://www.mrc.org 
The President seemed buoyant and relaxed.
He was smiling, shaking hands and socializing with reporters Friday night during the annual picnic for members of the White House press corps when a guest asked, "When are you going to have your next formal press conference, Mr. President?"
President Clinton kept shaking hands and after a few moments said: "I don't know. I'll have one."
The reporter, Paul Sperry, Washington bureau chief of Investor's Business Daily, asked, "When?"
The President replied, "Why?"
Sperry: "The American people have a lot of questions about illegal money from China and the campaign-finance scandal."
Suddenly, the President's mood changed, his face turned red and he launched into an argument that lasted nearly 10 minutes as he defended himself and the Democratic Party against allegations of Chinese attempts to influence the 1996 U.S. presidential election.
During the extraordinary exchange, Clinton suggested that Republicans were hypocrites on the subject of campaign-finance violations. He complained about the length and cost of the investigation and suggested that the FBI would prefer that the news media report on political funding irregularities rather than questions about the April 19, 1993, federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
"We've spent $4 million and gave the (campaign-finance) task force millions of records and every shred of evidence, and they haven't found a thing," Clinton told Sperry.
Sperry replied that FBI agents who testified before Congress this month raised serious allegations of Department of Justice stonewalling on the campaign-finance matter and reminded him that FBI Director Louis Freeh thought enough evidence existed to call for an independent counsel.
At that, Clinton laughed and said, "Yeah, the FBI wants you to write about that rather than write about Waco."....
Clinton began his response to Sperry by saying that Republicans were as sullied as Democrats by campaign-finance allegations. "You want to know the only person who has been linked to money from China? Haley Barbour and the RNC, that's who," he said.
He apparently was referring to allegations by former Democratic fundraiser Johnny Chung, who told investigators that he was told by a Chinese contact that an aide to Barbour -- who was then the Chairman of the Republican National Committee -- helped arrange a $2.1 million loan to Republicans with the help of the Chinese in 1994. The aide's attorney has denied the allegation.
The President suggested that reporters were bowing to an agenda set by Republicans and not following the issues the people care about. "The GOP wants that to be the story rather than guns or their tax plan," Clinton said.
Sperry replied that the public wanted answers about the allegations of illegal contributions. But Clinton wasn't buying it. "I've been all around this country, and you are the first person to ask me about it," Clinton said. "Not one person has brought that up."
The conversation got so heated that a White House photographer attempted to end it. "This is so inappropriate," the photographer said, defending the President. "Mr. President, there is a nice little boy here who wants to shake your hand."....
To read the entire story, go to: http://www.seattletimes.com/news/nation-world/html98/clin_19990927.html 
Sadly, Clinton is probably right about one thing: This was the first time anyone asked him recently about campaign finance or the charges made by the four FBI agents as Sperry stands out in a Washington press corps uninterested in the whole subject. Indeed, as detailed in the September 24 CyberAlert, of the TV networks only FNC covered the troubling cover-up claims made by the FBI agents. Not a word even on CNN's Inside Politics or in the New York Times or Washington Post. For details on what the agents said about being thwarted and what FNC and the Washington Times reported, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990924.html#2 
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