Murderers Doing Work of Congress & Right; Cronkite Denounces Starr
The charging of Eric Rudolph for the 1996 bombing in Olympic Park led ABC's World News Tonight and CBS Evening News on Wednesday night. CNN and NBC went first with the imminent budget deal and a report that Ken Starr advised Paula Jones lawyer Gil Davis in 1994 topped FNC's Fox Report. (The budget deal was announced later, at about 11pm ET.) CBS and FNC delivered full reports on the budget deal, but ABC held it to a few seconds. Though every network mentioned how Clinton won on getting money for 100,000 new teachers, none asked if that number is any less illusory than the 100,000 cops.
Dan Rather offered an alliteration-filled introduction to a story on Henry Hyde's plans. The CBS and FNC anchors read an excerpt from Monica Lewinsky's goodbye letter to her neighbors at 700 New Hampshire Ave. NW, aka The Watergate. Dan Rather also warned viewers about a new inequality: the "Cyber Ceiling."
Here are a few notes and quotes from the Wednesday night, October 14, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight led with Eric Rudolph being charged with the Olympic Park
bombing in Atlanta. After explaining how he's thought to be still hiding
in the woods of North Carolina and running soundbites of locals saying
they wouldn't turn him in, ABC's John Miller concluded:
Jennings read this short item about the budget deal: "In Washington
today the White House and Republican leaders say they're in the process of
completing the $500 billion spending bill which will keep the government
running for another year. The White House is claiming it has won on a
major sticking point: a billion dollar measure to hire 100,000 new
teachers. Republicans point out that they win because the money's going to
be controlled by local governments and not by federal bureaucracy."
-- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer explained how this kind of last-minute showdown happens almost every year, noting that this year Clinton got the $1.1 billion he wanted for 100,000 new teachers. Pointing out how Democrats condemned the "do-nothing" Congress Schieffer highlighted a supporting CBS News/New York Times poll which found 72 percent can't name anything Congress has accomplished this year.
piece by Scott Pelley on Henry Hyde's plans to accelerate the process, Dan
Later in the show
Rather found a new inequality to worry about -- the impact of fewer women
than men being interested in computers. Over a graphic reading "Cyber
Ceiling," he ominously announced: "There is new research out
today on a gender gap in the world of computer technology. Whatever the
reasons, there is one virtual certainty. As CBS's Diana Olick reports, in
cyber space women face a disadvantage in high-paying, high-tech
-- CNN's The World Today led with Jonathan Karl on the imminent budget deal. Or tried to. Viewers saw repeated delays in the airing of pre-taped segments as Karl stood live staring at the camera. He reported that Clinton got money for teachers, but not funds for school renovations. Highlighting how both sides agreed to $20 billion in "emergency spending" for farm aid, defense, troops in Bosnia and the Year 2000 computer problem, Karl uniquely pointed out: "It's the highest level of emergency spending since such funds were used to pay for the Persian Gulf War. The emergency category is not covered by last year's balanced budget agreement, making it a tempting place for added spending..."
Next, Bob Franken
explained how Henry Hyde, to keep on schedule, wants to scale back the
number of charges by consolidating the 15 charges into fewer
"core" charges, such as perjury and obstruction of justice.
-- FNC's Fox
Report at 7pm ET led with a piece by David Shuster on how Starr consulted
with Gil Davis in 1994. Surprisingly, though probably due to its late
afternoon disclosure, the story by NPR's Nina Totenberg was not picked up
by any of the other networks. Shuster did not mention Totenberg, just
cited NPR and reported that Davis now says Starr advised him on six
occasions in 1994. Shuster continued: "Even though Starr was not
investigating the President in 1994 when he was advising the lawyers for
Jones, some legal experts say he had an ethical obligation to reveal any
potential conflicts of interest."
Up next, Carl
Cameron summarized how Hyde wishes to consolidate the charges, not drop
any as the Washington Post reported Wednesday morning.
-- NBC Nightly News led with the budget deal as David Bloom observed: "....and even Republicans concede that when it came to the biggest hurdle, money for education, they decided it was better to go home and campaign than stay and fight an embattled, but still popular President." Bloom explained how Clinton got his $1.1 billion for 100,000 teachers, but not his $5 billion for school construction. Clinton victories also included how the "Republicans abandoned their plan for a $80 billion tax cut, meaning the budget surplus is largely saved for Social Security." Bloom listed how Clinton lost this year on tobacco, a patients bill of right and campaign finance reform.
Tuesday night the deal with Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic which put off airstrikes topped the ABC and CNN evening shows. CBS led with Japan's parliament voting to bail out its small banks and NBC went first with layoffs at Merrill Lynch.
Some brief highlights from the Tuesday, October 13, broadcast evening shows:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. After ignoring Republican and conservative arguments all weekend (see the October 13 CyberAlert), on Tuesday Sam Donaldson gave a clause to the GOP view on education spending. In a story on how Clinton picked a fight over education because polls show his stand is popular, Donaldson recounted how he first proposed 100,000 teachers in his State of the Union address. Since then he's vetoed Republican bills "because the Republicans often attached private school voucher proposals to which the President objected." Now, Donaldson noted in finally giving the Republican take a few syllables, Republicans will "gladly provide the $1.1 billion for more teachers if it goes directly to local districts, without passing through federal programs as the President wants."
The murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard in Wyoming hasn't led to widespread media claims of conservative culpability as happened after the Oklahoma City bombing. While the networks have aired many stories featuring activists advocating the need for a federal "hate crime" law, but no one with a different point of view, they have largely refrained from maligning an entire segment of the population or conservative leaders for the individual actions of a few.
But there have been exceptions. Specifically, ABC's Bill Maher and NBC's Katie Couric.
-- On Monday night's Politically Incorrect host Bill Maher segued into the murder: "And as far as the gay thing goes, you know, the Taliban -- I mean the Republican Party..."
Maher pretty clearly implicated Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott in the murder: "I voted for Dole and I was pretty much behind that revolution in '94, back when they were all about economics. But I started talking about this on Friday. You know, between Bill Clinton and their hatred of gays, you know, it's no wonder that things like this happen. When you create an atmosphere that is so anti-sexual in this country, you know, yes, the borderline personalities like these idiots are going to hear it and pick up on it and say, 'Oh, you know what.'"
Other panelists jumped in at that point, but later Maher blamed Congress for what the accused did: "When they hear Senators and Congressmen and people who they respect in an elevated position say that, you know, being gay is next to, you know, being the devil, of course, then they think, 'Well, you know, it's okay. I'm sort of doing the work of the Congress.'"
-- NBC News picked
up and ran with the left-wing's shots at conservatives, MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens noticed on Tuesday. Opening the October 13 Today, co-host
Katie Couric announced:
subsequent segment, Couric stated: "On Close Up this morning, the
beating death of Matthew Shepard. As investigators try to learn more about
the reasons behind the murder of the openly gay University of Wyoming
student NBC correspondent David Gregory reports it is sending shockwaves
through the gay community."
Couric then allowed Elizabeth Birch of the Human Rights Campaign to elaborate on how the Christian Right is to blame and Janet Folger, Executive Director of the Center for Reclaiming America, to defend the ads her group created.
The only thing defective is the reasoning of the liberals to whom NBC conveyed credibility. Even if you buy into the argument that the ads somehow incited murder, quite a stretch, how do we know the murderers ever saw the ads?
After transcribing the story, the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens talked with Kristen Hansen of the Family Research Council, part of the coalition behind the ads. Hansen explained that while the ads did appear in papers available in Wyoming, such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, the group has yet to buy a TV spot. Those accused are of college-age, the adult age group least-likely to read a newspaper. But they could have seen the ad on TV. How, if no ads were bought? In network stories condemning the ad campaign which featured an ad excerpt, like Gregory's on Tuesday's Today.
If Couric, Gregory, Today producers and the Human Rights Campaign really think the ads are culpable, they should demand arrest warrants for accessory to murder for every network employee involved in airing the ads.
In August the Clinton family joined Walter Cronkite aboard his boat in Martha's Vineyard. Now Cronkite wants to get Ken Starr out on his boat so he can vent his anger at him for a probe that is "more divisive" than Vietnam. Out promoting his co-anchoring of CNN's coverage of John Glenn's return to space, Cronkite labeled the Clinton scandal "a private affair," reminiscing favorably about when the media ignored "personal peccadilloes."
-- Here's a
portion of Cronkite's October 13 interview with Mark McEwen on CBS's This
Morning, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
-- In Wednesday's USA Today Peter Johnson summarized some comments Cronkite uttered later on Tuesday at a lunch with reporters in New York City:
"Tuesday, Cronkite stopped short of calling special prosecutor Kenneth Starr a zealot, but he said Starr's probe of President Clinton's sex life may prove to be 'more divisive' than Vietnam.
"The only question is 'how long can the American public stand it,' said Cronkite, 81, accusing Starr of 'considerable excessive zeal' in hounding Clinton about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. 'It's a desperate, sad situation,' he said....
"Cronkite still refuses to discuss the sail [with Clinton in August], but says he'd 'like to get Kenneth Starr out on the boat,' presumably to give him a piece of his mind."
The "most trusted man in America" can always be trusted to spout the conventional liberal thinking. -- Brent Baker 
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