Cheney Event = Gore's Temple; Nets Equated GOP Fundraising with Clinton's; Andrea Mitchell Had Night on the Town with Tipper & Al
1) ABC, CBS and NBC equated the GOP Presidential Gala and a reception at Dick Cheney's house with Clinton-Gore fundraising. Peter Jennings: "You shouldn't be surprised if the Republicans in this next report remind you of the Democrats they so recently criticized." CBS's John Roberts: "Critics complain that President Bush is selling the White House the same way President Clinton did." NBC's Campbell Brown went so far as to make a comparison with Gore's Buddhist temple event: "Political watchdog groups" charged "the Cheney reception is no different than the Clinton White House coffees or Vice President Gore's events."
2) FNC's Brit Hume picked up Tuesday night on how Howell Raines, set to take over the New York Times as Executive Editor in September, claimed the Reagan years "oppressed" him and that Ronald Reagan "couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it." The MRC has posted video of Raines in 1993 making his "Reagan years oppressed me" comment. [See item below for a clarification about the "shoelaces" comment]
3) Three weeks after Andrea Mitchell produced a NBC News story about how Bush's policies have caused "permanent damage to the environment," she and her husband joined Al and Tipper Gore in a wedding anniversary trip to New York City to see a Broadway play.
Correction: The May 22 CyberAlert inaccurately reported that Howell Raines, named Monday to become the new Executive Editor of the New York Times starting in September, "was the Washington Bureau Chief during the Reagan years." Actually, just during one year. As the item later stated accurately, he "headed the Washington bureau from 1988 through 1992" and covered Reagan as a correspondent. His bio on the New York Times Web site states: "From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Raines served as deputy Washington editor. Before that he was a national political correspondent in 1984, the White House correspondent from 1981 to 1984, and Atlanta bureau chief from 1979 to 1981."
Moral equivalence to an extreme. Tuesday night ABC, CBS and NBC all equated the GOP Presidential Gala at the D.C. Armory that night, and a thank you reception at the Vice President's residence for previous donors the night before, with Clinton-Gore and DNC fundraising practices.
Though Bush, Cheney and the RNC have not set prices for overnight White House stays, not set up coffees in the White House with the President for minimum donation levels, not held fundraisers at Buddhist temples and not solicited illegal foreign donations from Chinese operatives, ABC's Peter Jennings, nonetheless, warned: "You shouldn't be surprised if the Republicans in this next report remind you of the Democrats they so recently criticized."
CBS's John Roberts asserted: "For eight years, Republicans pounded Bill Clinton for his role as the fundraiser-in-chief. Tonight George W. Bush steps into the spotlight with a $20 million gala, the first mega-fundraiser of his presidency." By that standard, all fundraising is dirty, which certainly means CBS News follows the McCain speech regulation line.
All three broadcast network evening shows highlighted the view of Common Cause President Scott Harshbarger, the former Democratic Attorney General of Massachusetts. Roberts segued to him: "Critics complain that President Bush is selling the White House the same way President Clinton did with his fundraising coffees and sleep-overs in the Lincoln bedroom."
None labeled him as liberal and NBC's Campbell Brown elevated him to the status of "watchdog groups," though he's only one left- wing guy: "Both Democrats and watchdog groups are calling it more of the same. And tonight the President is under fire for abusing a system he promised to fix." Brown went so far as to compare the reception at Cheney's residence with Gore's Buddhist temple event which involved foreign money and bundling to avoid individual contribution limits: "Political watchdog groups joined Democrats, charging the Cheney reception is no different than the Clinton White House coffees or Vice President Gore's events [video clip of Gore at Buddhist temple] that prompted an investigation."
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume provided
a different take. Asked by Hume if the Cheney reception is the same as
what Democrats did in 1996, Jeff Birnbaum of Fortune magazine, hardly a
conservative, delivered an emphatic rejection of the theme espoused by
ABC, CBS and NBC:
Here's a rundown of what ABC, CBS and NBC reported Tuesday night, May 22:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings put the equivalence right up front: "In Washington, it's been a big week for fundraising, and you shouldn't be surprised if the Republicans in this next report remind you of the Democrats they so recently criticized. ABC's John Martin is on the money trail tonight."
Martin began his piece, as transcribed by MRC
analyst Brad Wilmouth: "The presidential gala tonight will draw
thousands of party donors to these tables and raise millions for the
Republican National Committee. Four hundred of those donors came to a
thank you dinner last night here at the Naval Observatory, the official
home of Vice President and Mrs. Cheney. In limousines and vans and on foot
they arrived, including Edison Electric Institute President Thomas Kuhn
and his Wife Wendy."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather implied the dirty events would be stopped if only we had "campaign finance reform." After noting how Senate Democrats had delayed the tax bill, he set up CBS's story: "Another piece of legislation still on hold is campaign finance reform. And it's still no holds barred in the rush to cozy up to big money special interests, including a huge Republicans fundraiser tonight featuring President Bush."
John Roberts opened his piece, as transcribed
by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, by accusing Republicans of hypocrisy:
"For eight years, Republicans pounded Bill Clinton for his role as
the fundraiser-in-chief. Tonight George W. Bush steps into the spotlight
with a $20 million gala, the first mega-fundraiser of his
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw portrayed all fundraising as bad: "And tonight in Washington there's a new administration, but some of the old imperatives: money, called the mother's milk of politics, is the ticket to a big Republican fundraiser tonight starring the President after a warm up last night at the Vice President's official residence. As NBC's Campbell Brown reports now, Democrats are getting in their licks."
Brown began with the political spin of
liberals: "Tom, both Democrats and watchdog groups are calling it
more of the same. And tonight the President is under fire for abusing a
system he promised to fix. Busloads of top contributors to the Bush
campaign and the Republican Party wined and dined last night with the Vice
President at his residence, government property."
Earlier in the day, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that Today news reader Ann Curry gave a bit of air time to the Democratic spin: "George W. Bush attends his first big fundraiser as President tonight. The gala dinner expected to bring in more than $20 million for the Republican Party. Last night 400 Republican donors attended a reception at the residence of Vice President Dick Cheney, something critics say is reminiscent of the Clinton White House coffees."
FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted quotes in Tuesday's CyberAlert from Howell Raines, set to take over the New York Times as Executive Editor in September, in which he claimed the Reagan years "oppressed" him and that Ronald Reagan "couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it."
Hume relayed in the "Grapevine"
segment on the May 22 Special Report with Brit Hume:
[Clarification, November 2003: It has come to our attention that while the sentence, "Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it," appeared on page 84 of the book by Raines, it came in the midst of a multi-paragraph quote in a chapter in which he favorably recited the comments on things great and small (during a fishing venture to Hunting Creek near Thurmont, Maryland), from his companion on the trip, Dick Blalock.
The MRC home page now features, thanks to Webmaster Andy Szul, a RealPlayer clip of Raines making that self pitying "Reagan years oppressed me" comment. It occurred during a November 17, 1993 appearance on Charlie Rose's PBS interview show to discuss the then-new book by Raines, Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis.
The video clip features this quote from Raines: "I don't shield my politics in this book, as I do in much of my journalism, as I've been disciplined to do. The Reagan years oppressed me because of the callousness and the greed and the hard-hearted attitude toward people who have very little in this society, so all of that came together at around age 40 for me."
Notice how he "shields my politics" in only "much," not all, of his journalism.
To watch the video clip and for more about the liberal views espoused by Raines, including the full context of the Reagan can't tie his shoelaces insult, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010522.asp#3
NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell a buddy of Al Gore's? Just weeks after she provided a one-sided and distorted story for the NBC Nightly News delivering an Al Gore-like criticism of Bush's environmental policy, she and her husband, Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan, accompanied Al and Tipper Gore to a Broadway show to celebrate the Gore's wedding anniversary.
As detailed in the May 1 CyberAlert, on the April 30 NBC Nightly News, Mitchell relayed how "Bush's decision to suspend and probably relax new standards Bill Clinton set for arsenic in water outrages environmentalists." Mitchell did not challenge an environmental extremist who made the preposterous claim that "the Bush administration is really risking millions of lives by not implementing the new standards." Instead, Mitchell found a "past supporter" of Bush's who has decided that "his policy is bad." She concluded by relating how some "Republicans worry Bush may have already lost pro-environment Republicans and independents," but she ominously added, that's "to say nothing...of the more permanent damage to the environment." For more, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010501.asp#1
The May 22 "Reliable Sources" column in the Washington Post relayed this exclusive story by Lloyd Grove:
Al, Tipper, Alan and Andrea
Last week we nearly published our scoop that Al Gore was planning to celebrate his 31st wedding anniversary by taking wife Tipper to the Broadway hit "The Producers," along with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and his wife, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell. But Gore got wind of our scheme and phoned to plead: "It's a surprise."
On the theory that even former Vice Presidents who almost became President have the right to surprise their spouses on odd-numbered anniversaries, we agreed to kill the item -- and yesterday Gore made good on his promise to give us an exclusive on the foursome's Saturday night excursion....
And was Tipper surprised? "Well, I got her to the airport by telling her I was taking to her to some unknown destination," Gore said. "She did the same thing to me last year, and took me to the beach for a couple of days. Anyway, she knew we were going to New York City as soon as we got to the gate" -- this time, for the 3:30 p.m. Delta Shuttle, as compared with last year's Air Force Two. A few weeks earlier, the Gores had run into the Greenspan-Mitchells and they tossed around the idea of taking in the Mel Brooks classic together....
"She was thrilled," Tipper's husband said, adding that after the show, the foursome shared dinner at La Grenouille. "I hope you make the point that the only reason I'm giving you this long interview is that you blackmailed me: It was either that or ruining the surprise." We're sure he was joshing.
Tuesday morning on MSNBC Don Imus asked
Mitchell about the jaunt: "How'd you and Al end up going with Al
and Tipper Gore to this thing? What's that all about?"
Al Gore certainly knows which reporters are sympathetic to his causes.
-- Brent Baker
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