"Clique" of "Clinton Haters"; Moyers' Liberal Diatribe; Blumenthal Admonished
3) "Both parties contrived to bend and break the law," Bill Moyers argued on Frontline with Republicans more culpable because they bury campaign finance reform "so the arms race in dollars continues to escalate. And so does the selling of democracy."
Correction: Schippers on the brain. The October 6 CyberAlert errantly spelled FNC reporter David Shuster's name as Schuster.
President Clinton's efforts to deal with the world economic crisis led the ABC and CNN evening shows Tuesday night while the buildup toward a NATO airstrike in Kosovo topped CBS and NBC. FNC went first with maneuvering before Thursday's expected House vote on an impeachment inquiry.
ABC and NBC ran no stories on the impeachment front and only alluded to it in intros to stories on Clinton addressing the IMF/World Bank convention. CBS ran a full piece by Bob Schieffer after a loaded intro by Dan Rather about how Republicans plan to investigate "President Clinton, his sex life and lies he told to hide it." CNN and FNC ran multiple impeachment-related stories with FNC's David Shuster delivering a unique piece on how the grand jurors were angry about how Sidney Blumenthal misled the public about what questions he faced from them and prosecutors. (See item #4 for details on Shuster.) Only CNN reported that EPA Administrator Carol Browner testified at Mike Espy's trial.
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened with ABC's only allusion to impeachment: "Good evening. It was a very nervous day in Washington and while the subject of impeachment is the background for almost everything there, it is the state of the world's economy that we begin with tonight."
Sam Donaldson began the subsequent story: "With a whiff of panic spreading through financial markets everywhere, President Clinton made it clear today he thinks there may be very little time left to avert a worldwide financial disaster."
Later, for the "A Closer Look" segment, Robert Krulwich explained how the IMF works, but did not examine any of the complaints offered by conservatives, though Jennings noted Republicans oppose Clinton's request for $18 million for the IMF "unless the IMF requires borrowers to abide by U.S. trade agreements."
Jerry Bowen blamed
a large hole in the ozone layer on global warming (more on that in a
future CyberAlert), before Dan Rather intoned:
Bob Schieffer explained how the White House wants the vote Thursday to look as partisan as possible, but White House lobbying of Democrats may backfire.
examined how Majority Counsel David Schippers had upped the charges from
11 to 15 and how he outlined his conspiracy charge by illustrating all the
phone calls over a few hours amongst Clinton, Currie and Jordan. Meserve
Next, Bruce Morton highlighted how Maryland Governor Parris Glendening, who snubbed Bill Clinton in early September, campaigned Wednesday with Hillary and now would welcome Clinton's help.
Co-anchor Jim Moret then made CNN the only network Wednesday night to raise Mike Espy's trial for accepting $35,000 in illegal gifts. FNC noted when the trial began last week, but the broadcast networks have yet to utter the name "Espy" this month. Moret explained that in court Wednesday, "EPA Administrator Carol Browner says the former Agriculture Secretary told her planned to disregard the strict Clinton administration ethics rules. She recounted a conversation involving two other cabinet members over drinks in 1993. When ethics rules came up, Browner testified Espy said something to the effect of 'It's a bunch of junk. I'm going to do like I did in Congress.'"
Carl Cameron revealed that Henry Hyde plans to delay hearings until after the election and that Dick Gephardt will use a privileged resolution on Thursday to allow a vote on the Democratic alternative. Jim Angle relayed that the White House is resigned to approval of a full inquiry and how new Press Secretary Joe Lockhart claimed Republicans are just stringing the process out to benefit them on election day. Co-anchor Jane Skinner then interviewed Democrat Jerrold Nadler. Following the Shuster piece detailed in item #4 below, Heather Nauert and Time's Jay Carney discussed impeachment.
After the first ad
break Tom Brokaw, like Jennings, referred to impeachment in introducing a
piece on Clinton's economic speech:
Geraldo Rivera is so passionate about vindicating Clinton that he flew to Arkansas to prove how "David Hale's testimony was bought and paid for by a clique of right-wing Clinton haters" and that Hale "was in the hip pocket of a group of hardline right-wingers." And, Rivera charged, it was all paid for by "that prince of Clinton haters -- Richard Mellon Scaife."
From Little Rock,
on CNBC's 7:30pm ET/11:30pm PT Upfront Tonight of October 6 Rivera
After explaining how David Hale, a key Whitewater witness, appeared today in court on a state fraud charge and that he claims Clinton pressured him into making an illegal $300,000 loan to Susan McDougal, he allowed McDougal to denounce the idea. After some clips of supposed Hale friends saying he never told them about Clinton's role under he faced prison, Rivera insisted: "In fact, none of Hale's charges have ever been substantiated."
launched his jihad over how conservatives ganged up to destroy Clinton:
Now standing in
front of Dohzier's bait shop, Rivera continued his diatribe:
A few minutes later as the show ended Rivera told co-host Diane Dimond: "I just want to point out that after four years and $40 million dollars the naughty cigar trick and the semen-stained dress got more mention than all of the Whitewater investigation."
Bill Moyers is back. The usual PBS omnipresence has been off PBS and NBC for the past year because of health reasons, but Tuesday night he returned, full of liberal righteousness. The venue: a Frontline titled "Washington's Other Scandal." But instead of focusing on the law breaking of Democrats on behalf of Clinton in 1996, Moyers devoted the PBS hour to showing how both parties are equally corrupt with Republicans a bit worse because they oppose Moyers' preferred solution: more regulation, aka campaign finance reform.
Moyers showed video of Clinton's fundraising dinners and coffees and another narrator read from memos from Dick Morris and Harold Ickes about how to avoid the spending limits by using soft money for issue ads. But other than one reference to John Huang Moyers failed to explore the allegations of illegal foreign contributions to the DNC. That would ruin his 'the system is what's wrong' theme.
He only profiled one Democratic donor and portrayed him, an Indian tribe's leader who gave to buy access but never got what he wanted, as a victim. Two conservative donors to Republicans, in contrast, were painted as schemers who gave only to avoid responsibility for their products which killed children and polluted the environment.
Moyers opened the
show by laying out his both sides are equally guilty/the system is the
problem theme. Over video of Clinton at a fundraiser at the Hay Adams
Hotel, Moyers intoned:
Moyers proceeded to recount how the 1994 congressional losses motivated a Democratic effort to run pro-Clinton ads in 1995. Eventually, Clinton, Morris and Ickes decided to use DNC soft money, even though the ads couldn't explicitly mention Clinton's campaign. PBS showcased memos from Morris and Ickes about how to get around the federal limit. Though supposedly separate from Clinton-Gore, Moyers showed how Clinton himself edited and reviewed ads and at the Hay Adams boasted of how the "issue" ads boosted his approval ratings in key states.
About 20 minutes
into the show, Moyers flipped to the evils of the other party: "The
Breakers Hotel, Palm Beach, 1997. Even as the Senate is investigating
Democratic campaign fundraising excesses the Republicans Party gathers its
biggest donors, those who gave at least $100,000 in soft money in 1996.
They're called Team 100."
Jumping to Sam Brownback's Senate campaign in Kansas, Moyers highlighted last minute ads against his opponent run by something called Citizens for the Republic Education Fund which, Moyers soon revealed, is really a front for Triad, a Washington group which promises anonymity to donors.
Viewers then saw Bob Cone in a promotional video for Triad as Moyers asserted: "But Cone had shown little interest in politics until 1994 when at least ten children had died in the swing cradles produced by his company, Graco Children's Products. When the parents threatened to sue, Cone and his brother begin contributing to candidates who promised to limit a citizens ability to sue corporate America."
(Moyers missed the irony given that his favored campaign finance reform would "limit a citizens ability to" express their views about candidates.)
The other big donor to Triad for the ads on Brownback's behalf: the Economic Education Trust. That's really, Moyers revealed, Koch Industries, "a Kansas-based conglomerate."
Like he did with Cone, Moyers impugned the Koch family. Over video of newspaper headlines about polluting violations and oil spills, Moyers announced: "The Koch's begin putting a lot of money into politics when their company's behavior created legal difficulties and unwanted attention. By 1996 in state after state at the center of Koch's business empire, legal problems were piling up" so they poured money to candidates in those key states.
Moyers then jumped to last summer's Thompson Senate hearings. Though the video he showed of Brownback featured the Buddhist nuns of Al Gore fame in the background, he skipped that illegal activity. Instead, Moyers noted that "Koch's man, the single largest recipient of Triad's secret money, won" and "Senator Sam Brownback was named a member of the committee charged to investigate campaign finance abuses. His campaign would not come under public scrutiny."
But that's not
even the real scandal for Moyers. The real scandal is the failure of a
Switching back to Clinton and the Hay Adams fundraisers, Moyers scolded: "But the real scandal is the legal bribery built into a system where your political worth is determined by your net worth."
To illustrate he recounted how Cheyenne Arapaho tribe leader Charles Surveyor of Oklahoma, who wanted land back the government confiscated in 1883, had to give money the tribe could not afford in order to get attention.
The hour concluded with Ickes commiserating with Moyers about how "the system" must be reformed.
Expanding upon the discovery highlighted on Friday's Nightline that Sidney Blumenthal mischaracterized how he was pressed by the grand jury (see the October 5 CyberAlert), FNC's David Shuster delivered a unique piece Tuesday night on how Blumenthal angered the grand jurors.
On the October 6
Fox Report Shuster recalled:
Shuster then read
grand jury testimony:
showed the conflict in Blumenthal's attack on Starr: "Even though
Blumenthal had mentioned the organizations on his own, here's how he
described the session to the press."
with an illuminating observation about how playing by the rules hurts
Back on February 26 the network hyped Blumenthal's blast. Here are a two examples from the February 27 CyberAlert.
-- On NBC Nightly News David Bloom led into the Blumenthal soundbite by reporting: "Presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal testified before the grand jury today and then launched into an attack, a tirade against independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr. At issue: is the White House trying to smear prosecutors to derail their investigation, or is Starr abusing his powers to intimidate political opponents."
-- On CNN's
Inside Politics John King began by putting the burden on Starr:
"White House aide Sidney Blumenthal was the witness before the Monica
Lewinsky grand jury, yet many say independent counsel Ken Starr is the one
with questions to answer." After dueling soundbites from Blumenthal
and Starr, King insisted: "Even some longtime friends question
The next day CBS also played Blumenthal's ranting about Starr's police state tactics.
When will CBS, CNN and NBC correct the record? None have so far. -- Brent Baker 
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