CyberAlert -- 08/27/1999 -- Blind to Officer Blinded by FALN; Erbe Boasted of Heroin & LSD Use

Blind to Officer Blinded by FALN; Erbe Boasted of Heroin & LSD Use

1) The NYC police commissioner, as he stood along side officers injured by FALN bombs, denounced Clinton's decision to pardon members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, but only FNC cared.

2) On CNN Michael Barone raised media hypocrisy in ignoring Juanita Broaddrick while pursuing George W. Bush about drugs, but Howard Kurtz falsely maintained that the media did press Clinton "several times" about Broaddrick's rape charge.

3) PBS's Bonnie Erbe urged the media to leave Bush alone in a column in which she recalled: "Prior to trying heroin I smoked a lot of different types of marijuana and hashish...and took a wide variety of hallucinogens: mescaline, LSD, you name it."

4) New ABC News reporter George Stephanopoulos insisted: "We do not get serious health care reform because of campaign finance, the way campaigns are financed."


faln0827.jpg (9576 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) The Police Commissioner in New York City held a press conference Monday featuring officers injured by FALN attacks, including one who was blinded, to denounce President's Clinton's decision to pardon 16 FALN terrorists now serving time. Incredibly, only FNC bothered to tell viewers about the event or use it as a hook to explore Clinton's August 11 decision.

Not only have ABC, CBS and NBC not yet looked at this issue according to MRC analysts Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd and Geoffrey Dickens, neither have CNN or MSNBC. MRC analyst Paul Smith informed me the pardons have yet to be mentioned on CNN's Inside Politics or The World Today and MRC analyst Mark Drake has not seen them cited on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams.

The August 18 CyberAlert outlined the basic facts of the case and ran an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal editorial about the rarity of pardons, suggesting this decision was motivated by Hillary's Senate run, and how, despite White House claims, those to be pardoned do have ties to killings and injuries. Here again are two paragraphs from the August 13 Journal:

"Deputy White House Chief of Staff Maria Echaveste is quoted in yesterday's papers as saying that those offered clemency 'never killed anyone.' This is preposterous. No one died in the [1983 Hartford] Wells Fargo heist but innocent people lost their lives in more than 100 attacks carried out by the same terrorist group on U.S. facilities. Even if these 16 terrorists didn't murder anyone directly, they were part of a conspiracy that was to be extended by the funds stolen from the bank in Connecticut....
"To understand how rare it is for a President to commute a sentence or offer remission of a fine, as Mr. Clinton did for the 16 Puerto Rican terrorists this week, consider the numbers supplied by the Office of the Pardon Attorney. From the time he took office in January 1993 until April 2, the date the Office prepared its last report, Mr. Clinton had received 3,042 petitions for clemency. Until Wednesday, he had granted a total of three."

For more details, go to:

The August 20 CyberAlert noted how Greg Pierce, in his Inside Politics column for the Washington Times, reported how "FOP President Gilbert G. Gallegos, in a letter to Mr. Clinton yesterday, called the offer a 'slap in the face' to law enforcement officers everywhere." Gallegos also countered Clinton's claim that the convicts did not hurt anyone. To read the letter from Gallegos which the networks skipped, go to:

Monday night, August 23, FNC uniquely pursued the story with a piece by Gary Matsumoto on the Fox Report. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth transcribed the report, which began:
"From the mid '70s to the mid '80s, an obscure guerilla group, calling itself the Armed Forces of National Liberation, set off bombs and robbed banks across the country in an effort to secure independence for Puerto Rico. Now the convicted, sixteen of them serving in U.S. prisons, want clemency. And President Clinton is prepared to give it to them on condition that they renounce violence. Noble freedom fighters, or terrorist thugs? The New York Police Department is unanimous in its views."
Howard Safir, NYC Police Commissioner: "The NYPD is vehemently opposed to President Clinton's offer of clemency to sixteen convicted members of the FALN. Let's talk about some of the facts, such as the fact that the FALN is responsible for at least 150 bomb attacks over a nine year period, that resulted in six deaths and seventy injuries."
Matsumoto: "More Puerto Ricans live in New York than in San Juan, Puerto Rico's capital. One million, according to the last census. That comes to about twelve percent of New York City's population, a hefty voting block. Detective Richard Pascarella was blinded by an FALN bomb planted outside of New York Police Headquarters. Pascarella believes the President is indulging in blatant politicking for his wife."
Richard Pascarella, retired NYPD detective: "This is really truly pandering to the Hispanic community, the Latino community, for their vote when Mrs. Clinton runs for the vacated seat of Patrick Moynihan in New York state."
Matsumoto: "Some Puerto Ricans believe the FALN never belonged in jail in the first place."
Rafael Martinez-Alequin, The Free Press: "People who fight for the independence of their country, whether it be in Puerto Rico, or Northern Ireland, they are not criminals."
Matsumoto: "But this man's in a minority among Puerto Ricans, who routinely vote against independence in referendums. One of the bombs was planted here at this New York City landmark near Wall Street. The Fraunces (sp?) Tavern, one of the oldest in the United States. It was January 1975, a member of the FALN entered through this door with a bomb stuffed in a valise. The blast ripped through a lunchtime crowd, killing four people and injuring more than fifty. The New York cops, who say they speak for the dead and injured, have little sympathy for the FALN members complaining of long prison terms."
Anthony Senft, NYPD Detective: "But I have a life sentence. I lost an eye. I have a severe case of vertigo. I lost sixteen percent of hearing on one side and forty on the other side."
Matsumoto concluded: "No response yet from the White House. In New York, Gary Matsumoto, Fox News."

In his syndicated column this week for the Creator's syndicate, MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell ruminated:
"Imagine for a moment what would be the media reaction if this were a Republican President. Frankly, I think it impossible to overestimate the level of media outrage. Footage of these terrorists' bombings would run like a broken record. A parade of tearful family members of the victims, or the victims themselves, would be brought on the morning talk shows to share their grief and vent their anger at such an insensitive President. The pundits would openly raise questions of ruthless political pandering.
"But now they're nowhere to be found. See, there's this juicy rumor about George W., and, well...."

To read the whole column, for which MRC analyst Paul Smith reviewed network coverage to determine there was none, go to:

+++ Hear from the injured New York City police officers. Friday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of the above recited FNC story. Go to:


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) On CNN on Tuesday Michael Barone raised media hypocrisy in ignoring Juanita Broaddrick while pursuing George W. Bush about drugs, but Howard Kurtz maintained that the media did repeatedly press Clinton about Broaddrick's rape charge.

During an August 24 Late Edition Prime Time discussion about Bush, Barone, formerly with U.S. News and now at Reader's Digest, pointed out:
"Nobody has cross-examined or quizzed Bill Clinton about the charges bought by Juanita Broaddrick, which are charges of a more serious offense than cocaine use. It's a charge of rape, a charge that has five contemporaneous witnesses."
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz countered: "Michael, he was asked about that several times and he refused to answer."
Barone: "Well, then, they should keep asking him."
Kurtz: "Should they keep asking him every day for a year?"
Barone: "If they're going to apply the same standard we've been applying to George W. Bush on cocaine, we certainly should. It should be the beginning of every press conference, and we should probe him on the external circumstances about what he was doing on those days, what his relationship with this woman was. There's all sorts of ancillary questions that you could think up. I think the country is heartily sick of the whole subject, as Mary said earlier -- in the case of Clinton, does not want to hear any more about this -- but as The Washington Post noted, his perfunctory denial issued through his lawyer has no probative value at all, because we know he lies about these things."

Clinton was asked about Broaddrick "several times"? That's news to me.

In fact, he's been asked about it twice and virtually all of the networks ignored both questions and answers. As reported in the February 25 CyberAlert about a February 24 press conference, hours before Broaddrick appeared on Dateline:
"UPI's Helen Thomas obliquely raised the Broaddrick matter to Clinton at a joint press conference at 2:30pm ET Wednesday with the President of Ghana, but only FNC bothered to mention Clinton's refusal to respond. Thomas inquired: 'What is your reaction to recent allegations by an Arkansas woman, apparently something she claims happened many years ago?' Thomas then asked about the Independent Counsel law before Clinton replied: 'My counsel has made a statement about the first issue and I have nothing to add to it.'"
Three weeks later, at a March 19 press conference, ABC's Sam Donaldson asked Clinton about Broaddrick's charge, but neither the CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News mentioned the subject that night. In several subsequent press conferences reporters failed to utter her name.

For a complete rundown of the lack of interest in Broaddrick by the networks, see items #1 and #2 in the August 20 CyberAlert:

And, my op-ed in the August 23 Washington Times, "Bush talks, Clinton walks." For a reprint, go to:


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Bonnie Erbe, host of the women-oriented To the Contrary talk show on PBS and formerly a reporter for Mutual/Westwood One radio, asserted in a column for the Scripps Howard News Service:

"I wish the media and the public would get off this hypocritical trip (pun intended) of hounding him [Bush] into not only admitting, but into spelling out in lurid detail what we all presume he did: snort cocaine."

Such a view from a liberal media figure may seem surprising, especially since she assured readers: "Let me state for the record, by the way, that I never tried cocaine."

That's because it came along too late for her as she boasted about snorting heroin, recalling: "Prior to trying heroin I smoked a lot of different types of marijuana and hashish (yes, inhaling all the time) and took a wide variety of hallucinogens: mescaline, LSD, you name it."

Here's an excerpt from her column which I caught in the August 24 Denver Rocky Mountain News while still out in Aspen earlier this week:

I have a confession to make: More than 25 years ago (actually, about 30 years ago) I used an illegal narcotic.

I'm not running for president, nor any political office for that matter. And the statute of limitations has surely run out on my transgression. So it's safe to come clean.

I won't make you guess about which drug it was. It was heroin. And here come the gory details. I snorted it -- no, I didn't inject it.

I was caught up in the drug culture of the late '60s and early '70s, which I state as a reason, not an excuse. And, oh yes, prior to trying heroin I smoked a lot of different types of marijuana and hashish (yes, inhaling all the time) and took a wide variety of hallucinogens: mescaline, LSD, you name it. Well, I not only survived that stupor, I excelled at high school studies and extracurricular activities during it.

I certainly would not recommend my behavior as an example to others.

Having had this experience, however, I feel sorry for Gov. George W. Bush. I wish the media and the public would get off this hypocritical trip (pun intended) of hounding him into not only admitting, but into spelling out in lurid detail what we all presume he did: snort cocaine.

Let me state for the record, by the way, that I never tried cocaine. It wasn't "in" until after I had already ceased using drugs.

We are, most of us, such hypocrites in this charade. We try to force our politicians to live up to a standard that not even a nun could meet. Then we wonder why the array of people willing to run for office sometimes seems so substandard. In Gov. Bush's case, the man already has said he committed acts in his youth of which he is not now proud. He's being honest (a rare and undervalued commodity in politics these days).

He's consistent; when asked to comment last year on the president's personal problems, Gov. Bush refused. He's also taken on the difficult task of trying to push the media back to a benchmark that allowed public figures just a smattering of privacy....

Enough of the hectoring. Gov. Bush's apparent experimentation with hard drugs could serve as an inspiration to those now using drugs and trying to break free. We should all demand the media leave him alone.

END Excerpt

The same day in a nationally syndicated column run in the Denver Post Cal Thomas recommended that Bush come clean since stonewalling "won't work without a lying staff, an enabling wife and a fawning press," all factors from which Clinton has benefitted. In the press category, Erbe is the exception which proves the rule.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Warren Beatty-like thinking from ABC's newest reporter? As noted in several previous CyberAlerts (see August 23), ABC News is transforming George Stephanopoulos into an on-air reporter. During the Iowa straw vote weekend he appeared on several shows as ABC's only analyst of the Republican event. But a recent exchange caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson shows that the former Clinton enabler believes Warren Beatty's left-wing mantra about how evil corporate money triumphs doing what's right in politics. His wacky reasoning was even too much for Cokie Roberts to buy.

On the August 22 This Week host Roberts referred to an op-ed the actor wrote: "Warren Beatty, the actor in California, has a piece in today's New York Times where he is saying 'Why Not Now?' It's not clear what he means by 'not now.' I guess campaign finance reform not now?"
George Will: "What is clear in that piece he wrote? Seriously."
George Stephanopoulos: "Well, wait, he's coming from the movies and this is a trailer."
Roberts: "I see."
Stephanopoulos: "This is preview, coming attraction, maybe a Warren Beatty candidacy. I mean, who knows whether he's going to run again, but you know, in the piece, he's right about one big thing. We need public financing of congressional campaigns. I know, George. I can see it in his eyes."
Will: "An entitlement to the political class -- just what America needs."
Stephanopoulos: "But it's why, the privileged are protected. We do not get serious health care reform because of campaign finance, the way campaigns are financed."
Will: "What?"
Roberts: "Oh, come on, George."
Will: "Could that have had something to do with the health care proposal?"
Stephanopoulos: "No, but's also because the health care industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars to protect their interest."
Roberts: "Look, for twenty years, the Democratic Party ran on the left and with leftists their, as their nominees and they lost. And it wasn't until..."
Stephanopoulos: "That's different from the issue."

In the future, if ABC has its way, this kind of analysis will appear from Stephanopoulos not in panel discussions but in news stories. -- Brent Baker


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