CyberAlert -- 02/12/2000 -- 60 Minutes to Tout Convicted Felon's Drug Charge Against Bush

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60 Minutes to Tout Convicted Felon's Drug Charge Against Bush

1) 60 Minutes to feature a piece Sunday about drug use allegations against George W. Bush lodged by discredited, at least until now resurrected by CBS, book author J.H. Hatfield who was convicted of hiring someone in 1987 to commit murder. He now says "things in the past should stay in the past," except for Bush's alleged drug use. CBS conceded his story could be "truth or lie."

2) While Hatfield now concedes he was convicted for solicitation of murder, when first confronted last October he denied that he was the same J.H. Hatfield who had been convicted and served time.

3) Sunday's 60 Minutes will also feature another liberal agenda story on how "pro-choice advocates say" the touting of abortion doctor's names by "anti-abortionists" is a threat to their lives.


Fortunate Son author fortunate to have CBS News on his side. Last October book publisher St. Martin's Press recalled the book Fortunate Son after controversy erupted when the Dallas Morning News revealed that author J.H. Hatfield once hired someone to kill his boss by bombing her car. Now he has a new publisher, an outfit called Soft Skull Press, and while major book publishers with names you've actually heard of dream of getting one of their book authors touted on 60 Minutes, the prestigious news magazine show has decided to promote Hatfield's second attempt to gain a national audience for his unproven charges against Bush.

Hatfield claims that in the early 1970s George W. Bush was arrested for cocaine possession and that his father improperly used his influence to arrange for the record to be expunged.

CBS never lent such valuable promotion time and credibility to any one of the many books about Bill Clinton which leveled troubling charges about his days in Arkansas.

The CBS News Web site features this plug for the February 13 segment, which runs below interspersed with some comments from me:

Just because he lied to his editors about being a convicted felon isn't a good enough reason for those editors to doubt his book, in which he uses anonymous sources to accuse George W. Bush of covering up an arrest for cocaine when he was a young man. That's what J.H. Hatfield, author of Fortunate Son, a book its initial publisher pulled from the shelves for lack of credibility, tells 60 Minutes' Lesley Stahl in his first interview on Sunday, Feb. 13.

St. Martin's Press "pulled the book because I have a criminal background and that doesn't have anything to do with the price of eggs in China," Hatfield tells Stahl. He admits hiring a man to kill a woman for him, committing burglary, writing bad checks, embezzling and taking kickbacks.

A list of criminal convictions like these doesn't have anything to do with his credibility, Hatfield asserts. "Don't you think some things in the past should stay in the past? I mean, I served my time," he says.

BREAK from reprint of CBS Web page plug

Comment: If proven charges of trying to murder someone in 1987 -- 13 years ago -- should "stay in the past," why shouldn't unsubstantiated allegations about a more minor offense, which supposedly took place twice as long ago, also be forgotten?

RESUME reprint of CBS Web page plug:

Scores of journalists have failed to corroborate his much- publicized accusation against the presidential candidate, and instead have found holes in it. Bush has flatly denied it. But Hatfield persists with his anonymous sources, none of whom, he admits, was an eyewitness, saying, "Why are all three telling the same story essentially?"

BREAK from reprint of CBS Web page plug

Comment: So, will CBS News prove what journalists have so far "failed to corroborate" or just publicize a reckless allegation?

RESUME reprint of CBS Web page plug:

And, it's a story St. Martin's Press never checked out, even in a minimal way, says Hatfield. "Even the lawyer didn't ask me who [the sources] were and I started to offer it to her, because I knew we would have attorney-client confidentiality. She said, 'I don't want to know,' he tells Stahl. The fact that the lawyers signed off on it is, according to Hatfield, the most compelling reason his credibility and criminal record shouldn't be an issue.

BREAK from reprint of CBS Web page plug

Comment: Well, if some lawyer for a book publisher says she believes it that's good enough for me. All lawyers are models of integrity who always put honesty and accuracy first.

RESUME reprint of CBS Web page plug:

Hatfield now says that he is blacklisted; since St. Martin's pulled his book and called it furnace fodder, he's lost two book contracts.

But truth or lie, Fortunate Son is being published by upstart Soft Skull Press of New York. Soft Skull publisher Sander Hicks says he called Hatfield's agent and said, "You don't know me sir, but maybe you've read about the punks of publishing? And he, instead of saying, 'who are you kid?' he said, 'That's good. I'm looking for a punk.'"

END of reprint of CBS Web page plug

Comments: Is CBS proud to be working in concert with "punks"? And look earlier in the graph: "But truth or lie." Let's read that again: "But truth or lie." Quite a high standard CBS News has set for itself. By that standard they should have given time to every anti-Clinton book packed with charges CBS had no idea whether were the truth or lies.

If you think I'm making up CBS's words, you'll find this CBS News plug at:,1597,159674-412,00.shtml


Last August all the networks featured stories on drug use charges against Bush, stories prompted in part by citing Hatfield's upcoming book, but in October only the Fox News Channel picked up on Hatfield's nefarious career. The October 21 Special Report with Brit Hume ran a story by Mike Emmanuel summarizing the scoop about Hatfield's criminal history uncovered by Dallas Morning News reporter Peter Slover, a report which soon led to St. Martin's Press pulling the book.

When considering Hatfield's honesty, it's worth remembering that while he now concedes he was convicted for solicitation of murder, when first confronted by Slover he denied that he was the same J.H. Hatfield, as Slover recounted in his October 21, 1999 story:

James Howard Hatfield, 41, was convicted of solicitation of capital murder, served five years of a 15-year sentence in a Texas prison and was paroled in 1993, state and Dallas County criminal records show.

Author J.H. Hatfield flatly denied in an interview that he is the same man. But a parole officer in Arkansas confirmed Wednesday that Mr. Hatfield the author is Mr. Hatfield the ex-convict, who is on parole from Texas through April 2003....

The biographical materials released with Mr. Hatfield's books and his earlier works reveal many similarities between the author's background and that of the convicted man, as revealed in his criminal and parole records.

Both Hatfields share the same month and year of birth, lived in Dallas at the same times, and both now reside in the same region of Arkansas.

When questioned about those similarities, Mr. Hatfield declined to give his Social Security number, address or any other information to distinguish him from the convicted man....

END Excerpt

The October 22 CyberAlert provided further excerpts from the Slover story, a picture of the bombed car and video of the FNC piece in RealPlayer format. Go to:


It will be liberal night on 60 Minutes. Just check out the Web site plug for another story set to run Sunday night:

Anti-abortionists say it's their First Amendment right to publicize the names or pictures of doctors who perform abortions. But pro-choice advocates say the publicity is a threat to the doctors lives. Ed Bradley reports.

Welcome home to CBS's liberal advocacy night -- Brent Baker

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