CyberAlert -- 05/06/1996 -- Gorby the Great

Gorby the Great

Four items today:

1) Tom Brokaw thinks Mikhail Gorbachev "is a great man." But not Ronald Reagan. Brokaw is also an admirer of Gorbachev's clothing, thinks he has "flashy eyes," and is "fun to be around." In contrast, Brokaw finds "all manner of flaws" in Reagan's "simple philosophy."

2) Cokie Roberts trashes Bill Kristol, well maybe not.

3) The Washington Times reports Billy Dale bill blocked.

4) Another take on reaction to that Freedom Forum poll.


Appearing on Charlie Rose's PBS show Thursday night (May 2) to review his 30th anniversary with NBC, anchor Tom Brokaw had this to say about Mikhail Gorbachev:
"I think Gorbachev is a great man in the 20th century because he forced his country to look at the hypocrisy and the fraudulence of communism and to begin slowly to make a turn away from it. Where he faltered, unfortunately, is that he didn't go all the way, that he lost the counsel of his very best advisers I think when they said we have to have a clean break here, we can't do business with the old gang and he hung on to too many parts of the old establishment and it eventually defeated him."
Charlie Rose: "Yea, he somehow lived with the idea that communism could be reformed."
Brokaw: "He could manage both, right, and you could have both reform and freedom and democracy and at the same time keep communism going."
Rose: "It really is a sad story..."
Brokaw [over Rose]: "It is."
Rose: "...a man who made such a contribution to our time by at least bowing to the reality of that his system couldn't compete, but he still had all of those missiles there and he could've used the Red Army and he didn't because. And now he is a pariah in his own land."
Brokaw: "Yea, it's, they have no regard for him at all. And you know, Americans, he can still light up any room that he walks into. The eyes are flashy, you know, and the great command of the language and the feel that he has, the very physical presence of him. It's still fun to be around him."
Rose: "Well, when were you last with him?"
Brokaw: "About a year and a half ago I went out to see him at his institute. I must say he look very sleek and western now. He comes over here to make these big lectures for big fees and so on, he's well dressed."

A few minutes later they moved onto Reagan:
Brokaw: "People will still be looking at Ronald Reagan I think, too, fifty years from now."
Rose: "A great man?"
Brokaw: "I think that history will have to be the judge of that. I think that he was the right man at the time. I think the country was adrift and he came along with his simple, in the best sense of the word, philosophy about what was required to get the country back on track, to kind of give the country a sense of itself again. You can look at the economics of Reaganism, for example, or some of the bombast of his foreign policy and look at Iran-Contra and find all manner of flaws in there. But what he did was give this sense that this is a great nation and we're a great people and that we've got to get on with being that once again. So I don't think he'll be a complicated Roosevelt-like figure."


MRC media analyst Jim Forbes caught this fun bit of spin control (aka covering her a**) from ABC's Cokie Roberts. Here she is on This Week With David Brinkley on April 28 discussing Bob Dole's problems:
"I also think the Republicans around town have been vicious. He's got the nomination now, it would seem to me the obvious thing to do is pull together and get behind the nominee. And instead what you have is somebody like Bill Bennett sniping from one direction, somebody like Bill Kristol sniping from another direction, and everybody seems to be already writing the stories of it's not my fault that he's lost."
Here she is two days later, on the April 30 Good Morning America, with Bill Kristol sitting next to her:
"I think that there is cause for paying attention, and if that's what Bill [Kristol] has in mind that's one thing. It's another thing though, and I'm not saying that Bill did this but some of his party colleagues certainly seem to be doing this.
There's a difference between getting Dole energized and writing him off, and that seems to already be going on here. It's as if everybody's saying 'It's not my fault he lost, it's not my fault he lost,' as they all jump ship. I think that's hardly helpful."


In case you missed the news, the May 2 Washington Times reported: "Senate Democrats have ganged up in secret to block legislation that would pay off 'Travelgate' figure Billy R. Dale's $500,000 legal bill in an apparent effort to shield the President from further embarrassment in the scandal. Senate leadership sources said yesterday that Sen. David Pryor of Arkansas, a close ally of the President, put a confidential 'hold' on the bill, blocking it from being considered by the Senate."
The next day's Washington Times reported that Pryor denied that he was the Senator who placed the hold.


Finally, I thought of an interesting point related to that Freedom Forum poll showing 89 percent of D.C. reporters voted for Clinton. Contrast media reaction (Al Hunt, Elaine Povich and Matthew Storin in previous e-mails) denying personal views have any impact upon coverage..... to current media hype over Kenneth Starr's "possible conflicts of interest." So, reporters can rise above their personal opinions to do their job, but a lawyer who is paid to represent clients with whom he may or may not agree, cannot.

-- Brent Baker