Surplus Credit; CBS Admired Hillary; Starr "Worrisome" to Time
1) The surplus got stories on all the networks, but none noted it's only a surplus if you count Social Security revenue and none mentioned spending has soared since Reagan. Another Clinton donor was indicted, but ABC, CBS and NBC skipped the development.
>>> The History Channel is repeating the 10am to 3p ET playing of the 1974 House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings this week, noted in the September 28 CyberAlert, from 3pm to 8pm ET. So far I haven't seen the often recalled "bipartisanship" of the era. The majority party wins and the minority party loses every vote. Just like now, but the parties are reversed. <<<
Clinton's announcement of a $70 billion budget surplus generated a story on all the networks Wednesday night and it led the evening shows on ABC and NBC. CBS jumped right to falling mortgage rates while FNC went first with how the Tripp tapes will show that Lewinsky told her Clinton and Jordan told her to lie. A massacre in Kosovo topped CNN and the broadcast networks also featured stories on the just-discovered atrocity which occurred last week.
All the networks spread credit around for the surplus, but none mentioned that the budget is really about $40 billion in debt if you don't count Social Security FICA tax revenue which currently exceeds outflow. Only CBS's Scott Pelley and NBC's Mike Jensen observed that there is still a $5.5 billion outstanding debt and Jensen uniquely gave some credit to President Bush. Clinton says we cannot afford a tax cut, but only FNC and NBC pointed out the billions allocated for Clinton's "emergency spending" for Bosnia and the Year 2000 computer problem.
Every network noted that spending has been held down or cut recently, though that's really not true. As Scott Hodge pointed out in a Heritage Foundation report earlier this year, "during the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan cut real domestic discretionary spending by 15 percent before 'spending caps' were enacted....But since Reagan left office, domestic discretionary spending has jumped 23 percent in real terms, even though 'spending caps' have been the norm."
A major Clinton-Gore donor in Miami was indicted Wednesday with 17 counts related to serving as a straw donor, but the broadcast network ignored the development. CNN and FNC ran short items. In fact, not a word about the Clinton scandals on the broadcast networks Wednesday night.
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. After showing Clinton saying when we last had a surplus in
1969 Bonanza was on TV and Neil Armstrong was on the Moon, Cochran got
right to who gets credit:
He moved quickly
to the debate over what to do now:
If 10 percent is "huge" how huge is the 90 percent?
Cochran concluded that Clinton's on the popular side: "The President says he will veto any big tax cut until the future of Social Security is guaranteed. And the polls, which he pays a lot of attention to, show he is on the popular side in this debate."
Later, Candy Crowley explained how Democrats are considering the advantages of crafting an alternative procedure on the Clinton-front, either censure or advocating an inquiry with a timetable for after the election. The fewer Democrats who support the Republican plan, she noted, the more the Republicans will look partisan. Bill Schneider explored how the election will be interpreted as referendum on impeachment.
Finally, co-anchor Joie Chen took a few seconds to report: "A Miami business executive stands accused of making illegal contributions to several Democratic campaigns, including the Clinton-Gore reelection effort. Mark Jimenez, CEO of Future Tech International has been indicted on 17 counts of violating federal election laws. Attorney General Janet Reno notes that Jimenez is the 12th person charged by the campaign finance task force."
Next, Carl Cameron caught another Democratic flip-flop: "Democrats had argued that any impeachment of the President should follow procedures established during Watergate. Now they're changing their tune." He went on to run a clip of John Conyers demanding a narrow inquiry on he Starr report instead of a broad investigation Conyers supported during Watergate. But Cameron was balanced, also hitting Trent Lott by contrasting his comment on Tuesday that "bad conduct" justifies impeachment with his 1974 argument that only serious crimes warrant impeachment.
Co-anchor Jon Scott took a few seconds to note the Jimenez indictment before he talked with Dick Morris about what Morris told the grand jury about Clinton's use of private investigators to silence women by intimidating them with embarrassing information.
On the surplus,
Wendell Goler ran clips from Clinton and Senator Don Nickles, explaining
Republicans credit their takeover and push for a balanced budget while
Clinton thanks his 1993 budget plan. After noting that Clinton says the
country cannot afford a tax cut, Goler concluded with a Republican point
about Clinton's "emergency spending" plans:
explained that both Clinton and Republicans think they deserve the credit,
Next, Mike Jensen
looked at "what does the surplus mean?" He answered that $70
billion can do a lot but there is still a national debt of $5.5 trillion
costing 14 cents of every federal dollar for interest. Who gets the
credit? Jensen suggested:
No CyberAlert on Wednesday, so here's a brief run down of Tuesday night coverage. (Some detail of another admiring look at Hillary Clinton, this time by CBS, in item #3).
The Fed's quarter point reduction in its loan rate led all the newscasts Tuesday night, September 29. ABC, CBS and CNN featured full reports on the top military Generals telling a Senate committee that readiness is falling to a dangerous level, but both CBS and CNN blamed pork-barrel spending by Congress, not Clinton administration decisions to reduce defense spending and force size.
On the CBS Evening
News David Martin began: "For the first time in a generation the
Joint Chiefs of Staff warned Congress the military is in decline and in
danger of going into a nosedive..."
On the Monicagate-front,
zilch on ABC and NBC. Dan Rather noted House Republicans "are
floating plans" to give the Judiciary Committee authority for an
open-ended probe. Scott Pelley reported that the White House is writing a
new rebuttal to Starr's report as Clinton defenders maintain that even
if true the charges do not warrant impeachment. CNN's John King provided
a piece on how word of a pro-Clinton ad campaign has upset Capitol Hill
Carl Cameron, on FNC's Fox Report, picked up on how the about to drop document dump will reveal that Sidney Blumenthal told Hillary about "the Monica problem" but she said Clinton was "just ministering to a troubled young person" and "as for the Tripp tapes, sources say Linda Tripp comes across as a schemer and a manipulator, but in those tapes Monica Lewinsky did in fact ask her to lie. And about the White House Lewinsky said quote 'I wouldn't cross those people for fear of my life.'"
(Wednesday morning on Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noted, Gwen Ifill did mention the Blumenthal/Hillary exchange and Dick Morris's charge about intimidating women, but none of that has made it onto NBC Nightly News.)
Catching up with NBC News, Tuesday night CBS featured its own admiring look at how Hillary Clinton is overcoming adversity, instead of focusing on the possibility she is shamelessly playing the part of the hurt but supportive wife when she was really part of the scam all along. (See the September 23 CyberAlert for the latest from NBC.)
Bill Plante began
his September 29 CBS Evening News piece: "Hillary Rodham Clinton is
in Puerto Rico tonight, comforting victims of Hurricane Georges, out in
public as she has been almost every day since the release of the
President's videotaped testimony and still, to the astonishment of many,
intensely supportive of the President and his agenda. Accepting an award
she underscored that it's for"
After showing her
applauding Martin Luther King's daughter when she said Bill Clinton
deserved forgiveness and noting that no one really knows what she says in
private, Plante concluded:
In other words, she's doing it to maintain her own political power.
The weekly newsmagazines have joined the Clinton defense team this week. "Enough Already" declared the headline over the October 5 cover story in the latest Newsweek about how "in the real world, people want the Monica Madness to end."
In Time, opposite a full page drawing of Linda Tripp's face made to look like a tape recorder, the headline: "There's Something About Linda." The subhead: "Tripp may have helped trigger the Lewinsky scandal, but her manipulations may now be key to Clinton's counterattack."
A few pages later Time allocated a whole page to an attack on Ken Starr headlined "Cover That Keyhole: Bill Clinton may behave badly, but the really worrisome guy is Ken Starr." Time Senior Writer Richard Lacayo insisted: "What the President did ranged from the silly to the squalid, but the investigation is worse, turning a private mess into a public eyesore."
In this excerpt, we pick up Lacayo's diatribe slightly short of midway, after he's shown his disgust with how Starr's team questioned Clinton about the specifics of his sexual activities with Lewinsky. Lacayo then contended:
"You don't have to care much for Clinton to know that any number of things about Starr's inquiry feel unsound. His indifference to the niceties of nonpartisanship, his way of delivering the evidence without the exculpatory alternatives that prosecutors generally offer would be enough. What's really unsettling is the larger dynamic. At a time when the notion of a protected personal realm is beginning to seem quaint and sepia toned, even people who don't expect government investigators on their doorstep sense that Starr has breached more than just the President's tattered defenses. By its very example, his investigation furthers a truly unwholesome idea: that relations between consenting adults -- even juvenile, unappetizing and wrongful ones -- can be criminalized. All you have to do is corner the people involved, question them under oath and make them squirm."
Wasn't it liberals who pushed through all those sexual harassment laws which criminalized supposedly consensual sex between two people of unequal power in the workplace?
to lay out how Starr will damage society:
Equating Starr's clinical recitation of a few sexual encounters with true pornography meant to arouse is rather preposterous. Just compare the Starr report to a romance novel, never mind a Penthouse Letter.
A paragraph later
Lacayo concluded that Starr was more sinister than Clinton:
From the September 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the Top Ten, or make that the Top 41, "Other Clinton Scandals." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants Inc.
10. Kicked 12 year-old boy to get McGwire
home run ball
Now, three more:
3. During last State of the Union Address,
bit the head off a live bat
And two more:
2. Fathered the entire population of
Tyson's Corner, Virginia
And another 26, for 41 in total:
26. Let O.J. live in Lincoln bedroom for a
Just too many potential scandal possibilities to contain in a Top Ten list. -- Brent Baker 
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