CyberAlert -- 10/01/1999 -- China's Communist Success; Socialist Turner; Morris's "Cockamamie" Story

China's Communist Success; Socialist Turner; Morris's "Cockamamie" Story

1) ABC News picked up on George W. Bush's very liberal sounding attack on the House GOP for balancing the budget "on the backs of the poor." Peter Jennings urged that the rich should pay more in Social Security taxes, complaining Bill Gates is under-taxed.

2) With free college, medicine and funerals, as well as TVs, VCRs and apples for all, CBS's Barry Petersen marveled at how the PRC village of Nanjie "is a glimpse of what all China might have been had communism succeeded."

3) CNN founder Ted Turner declared at a media conference in Shanghai: "I'm a socialist at heart."

4) The morning after CBS and NBC failed to label Warren Beatty as liberal their morning shows acknowledged the obvious.

5) Today's Matt Lauer didn't raise Al Gore's past actions, such as the Buddhist temple, when Gore boasted on the show that his campaign is "abiding strictly" by campaign finance rules.

6) "That is a complete, cockamamie story," Lou Cannon told FNC's Brit Hume of Edmund Morris's claim, repeated on 60 Minutes and Today, that Reagan tried to join the Communist Party in 1938.

7) In response to IBD's Paul Sperry daring to ask Clinton about Chinese fundraising, which prompted Clinton to erupt in anger, Joe Lockhart has banned him and called him as a "Class A shithead."

8) Who insisted Bill Bradley is "not that liberal, Gore is not that liberal"? Margaret Carlson? Judy Woodruff? Tucker Carlson? It wasn't Margaret Carlson or Judy Woodruff.

Correction: The September 29 CyberAlert item about Paul Sperry's encounter with Bill Clinton stated: "Pressed by O'Reilly, Sperry confirmed Clinton 'was shouting' and so he was therefore getting hit in the face with 'spiddle, if you will.'" It sounded like "spiddle," but it should have been transcribed as "spittle."


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) The media love it when Republicans shoot their own, so naturally ABC News highlighted how George W. Bush, using the type of language employed by liberal Democrats, castigated Republicans for trying to balance the budget "on the backs of the poor." Minutes later on Thursday night ABC anchor Peter Jennings suggested the rich should pay more into the Social Security system.

-- John Cochran began his September 30 World News Tonight story by showing Bill Clinton denouncing the gimmick to move spending to another fiscal year, and then added:
"A few hours later Governor George Bush joined the President in lashing out at congressional Republicans."
Bush, sounding like Paul Wellstone, declared: "I don't think they ought to balance their budget on the backs of the poor."
Cochran: "This is just the latest of several budget gimmicks that has Republicans in trouble in their attempt to appear to save money..."

The House Republican proposal would simply spread out EITC payments over 12 months, instead of making one payment all at once. No recipient would get any less money.

-- After a piece on the Social Security Administration's plan to send forms to everyone listing how much money they should expect to receive in retirement, Jennings opined:
"The government is being pretty clear with people: They will need an extra source of savings. But for so many people the burden of paying Social Security taxes makes that difficult. Eighty percent of Americans now pay more in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare than they do in income taxes. And it is suggested the rich could pay more. For example, it is often cited that the software billionaire Bill Gates pays the same Social Security tax as someone making $75,000 a year."

And Gates will get same amount from Social Security when he retires.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "Nanjie is a glimpse of what all China might have been had communism succeeded," CBS reporter Barry Petersen declared on Thursday night in imagining the self-contradicting situation.

The Peoples Republic of China has over a billion people living in over 3.7 million square miles, yet a day apart ABC and CBS picked the same Chinese village to profile to mark the communist nation's 50th anniversary. As noted in the September 30 CyberAlert, the September 29 World News Tonight featured a story looking at two villages, one very capitalistic and one, Nanjie, which follows communist rules.

For Thursday's CBS Evening News Barry Petersen traveled to the village of Nanjie, "where thoughts of Chairman Mao have risen again." Petersen showed a large statute of Mao in the square, noting that Mao's collectivism and ban on private property starved 30 million. Petersen then explained that "Nanjie tried the new ways, capitalist ideas like private farms, but they failed here. So, the 3400 villagers decided they would rather be what they once were: a communist collective."

Now, the village pays for locals to go to college and provides free medical care and funerals. Petersen marveled:
"Nanjie is a glimpse of what all China might have been had communism succeeded. At the Lee family household daughter Mung's [phonetic spelling] piano is about all that's privately owned. The apartment, the TV, VCR, the apples -- all supplied by the commune. We feel safe here says Mrs. Lee and my husband and I will never lose our jobs."

Over video of kids dancing on stage, Petersen concluded:
"At the local opera school, paid for by the village, children sing communism's praises. Today, Mao wouldn't recognize the China he took over fifty years ago. But Nanjie teaches its children that at least in this village communism had it right and that would be music to Mao's ears."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Speaking of discredited and failed economic models, "I'm a socialist at heart," proclaimed CNN founder Ted Turner in a comment picked up Wednesday by the Drudge Report. Speaking at a Time-Warner conference in Shanghai earlier this week, the Vice Chairman of Time Warner, which bought Turner's cable channels a few years ago, complained about how other billionaires aren't spending their money properly. Though he's worth $7.8 billion and keeps buying up most of the land in New Mexico, he doesn't approve of a computer industry leader buying yachts.

Here's an excerpt from the only story I could find on the speech before Time Warner's "Fortune Global Forum," a Reuters dispatch from Shanghai that I located via Yahoo!:

Forbes magazine recently listed Turner as the world's 38th richest person, with assets of roughly $7.8 billion which were greatly increased by Turner Broadcasting's merger with Time Warner.

"I think I'm the richest man in the world ever to work for someone else," Turner said. "I've had to make the most of it. It's not always easy."

Turner took a jab at the next generation of media entrepreneurs -- those in the Internet -- saying many were too extravagant with their newfound wealth.

"The Internet guys have gotten so rich so fast, they've lost respect for it," he said. He singled out Oracle Corp Chairman Larry Ellison for his yachts.

Turner said it took him so long to get wealthy he would rather give his fortune away. "I'd rather use it for the benefit of mankind rather than spend it selfishly. I'm a socialist at heart," he said.

He has promised to donate $1 billion to the United Nations....

END Excerpt


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Realizing Beatty really is a liberal. Wednesday night, as detailed in the September 30 CyberAlert, CBS Jerry Bowen and NBC's Bob Faw refused to apply an ideological label to Warren Beatty, but in their stories on his potential presidential bid they both tagged columnist Arianna Huffington as conservative. Thursday morning, the networks acknowledged Beatty's ideological slant.

MRC analyst Brian Boyd alerted me that on the September 30 This Morning CBS's Jerry Bowen filled in what his story the night before overlooked. Reporting on Beatty's Beverly Hills speech, Bowen reported that "the self-proclaimed unrepentant liberal has been pondering what he considers a Democratic party adrift from its roots....Beatty blasted both announced Democratic candidates, Al Gore and Bill Bradley, for speaking of economic prosperity while ignoring the growing disparity between America's rich and poor."

NBC's Today did not air an updated piece from Faw, but did run a story by Kelly O'Donnell who acknowledged Beatty's ideology:
"Embracing the term liberal, Beatty criticized Democratic presidential contenders Al Gore and Bill Bradley as too centrist, too similar to give voters a choice."

ABC's Good Morning America sent Clinton/Gore enabler George Stephanopoulos to Beverly Hills to cover Beatty's address before a conference sponsored by the very liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA). Stephanopoulos, MRC analyst Mark Drake observed, failed to label Beatty as liberal but did say Beatty spoke before the "liberal" ADA.

During a GMA news update, however, news reader JuJu Chang did tag Beatty: "Will he or won't he? Actor Warren Beatty still isn't saying if he'll run for president but he is pledging to speak up for liberal causes as the campaign heats up. Beatty addressed a gathering of Hollywood's liberal elite in Beverly Hills. He made no apologies when he described his political beliefs."
Beatty: "Old time, unrepentant, unreconstructed tax and spend, bleeding heart, tax and spend liberal, a Democrat. So I believe in the value of social programs. I believe in a safety net. I believe in regulations. I believe in active government."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Breezing right by Al Gore's history of violating campaign finance laws. Thursday morning Al Gore appeared on Today, but MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that Matt Lauer failed to challenge him when Gore boasted of "abiding strictly" by campaign finance rules.

On the September 30 Today co-host Lauer suggested the FCC reports to be released in a few hours might show Gore has "less money on hand than Bill Bradley does right now."
Gore replied: "Oh I don't know. I have no idea. We're gonna raise the maximum amount that we can under the reform limits. I'm abiding strictly by the reform limits. I'm for campaign finance reform. I go farther than what the law requires now. I don't accept any PAC contributions."
Instead of recalling Gore's role in raising illegal foreign money at the Buddhist temple, Lauer moved on: "Bill Bradley said when he heard about your challenge to the debates he said for ten months the Gore campaign has been ignoring us and now they're challenging us to debates. I think we're making progress."

Later, Lauer did press Gore about clemency for the Puerto Ricans and when Gore avoided two questions about it, Lauer asserted: "But don't you think we would value you opinion on that subject."
Gore oddly answered: "Well I'm out here shaking hands with voters, asking them for their opinion on the future not the past. I'm asking about where our country should go in the 21st century, not about the controversies in the 20th century."

Of course, that would mean he can't deal with anything next year either since the 21st century does not begin until 2001.


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Edmund Morris's "cockamamie" story. On Sunday's 60 Minutes and again Friday morning on Today, Reagan biographer Morris claimed that in 1938 Reagan tried to join the Communist Party, but a local official in Southern California turned him away because he considered Reagan to be a "flake."

Not true at all, former Washington Post reporter and Reagan biographer Lou Cannon told FNC's Brit Hume on Thursday night's Special Report with Brit Hume.

Hume asked: "Now Morris has this story that Reagan tried to join the Communist Party. Is that a true story?"
Cannon replied: "That is a complete, cockamamie story. I would be a couple of years younger if I could have back all the time I wasted chasing down various Reagan rumors, but that was one that never came my way. The particular episode you talk about, however, is shoddy for another reason. The story is told to Mr. Morris, according to Mr. Morris, by Howard Fast, the popular writer and former communist. Mr. Fast tells him this 52 years after it supposedly happened and he gives him the names of two people who Mr. Fast says will confirm it, this story. Mr. Morris goes to them, one of the few instances where he seems to have done some reporting, and they do not confirm it and he puts it in the book anyway. You don't casually accuse somebody, whether it's the President of the United States or the bellman, of being a communist or wanting to be a communist unless you can prove it."


cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes) The Clinton administration has banned Investor's Business Daily Washington Bureau Chief Paul Sperry from future social events at the White House after he had the guts to ask Clinton last Friday night, at a South Lawn party, about claims by FBI agents that their probe of his fundraising from China was subverted. Press Secretary Joe Lockhart called Sperry a "Class A shithead."

For details about the encounter, in which Clinton went into a ten minute tirade against Sperry and accused the FBI of just trying to divert attention from their Waco screw-up, go to the September 30 CyberAlert which features a RealPlayer clip of Sperry on FNC recounting the experience:

In a September 30 item, which unusually credited the Drudge Report for a rundown of the encounter, Washington Post Reliable Source columnist Lloyd Grove reported:
"Lockhart told us Sperry was 'badgering' Clinton at an 'off the record' party. 'He can cover this building, but he shouldn't expect to be invited yo any more parties here.'"

In an editorial on Thursday, Investor's Business Daily theorized that Clinton's angry eruption at the questions "suggests a fear of tough but reasonable questions about key issues. Is this the inevitable result of seven years of coddling by the Washington press corps?"

I'd say yes.

Here's a reprint of the September 30 IBD editorial which relayed some information gathered by Matt Drudge and ran through the incident and the White House's impudent reaction:

Many readers and others have asked us what happened last Friday evening at the White House between President Clinton and our Washington bureau chief, Paul Sperry. We're happy to comply, for it says a lot about our President.

The incident occurred at a barbecue for the press held on the South Lawn.

"It began innocently enough," is how third-person accounts of the incident start.

"When are you going to have your next formal press conference, Mr. President?" Sperry casually asked Clinton while he was shaking hands and socializing with reporters and their families.

Clinton: "I don't know. I'll have one."
Sperry: "When?"
The President replied: "Why?"
Sperry: "The American people have a lot of questions about illegal money from China and the campaign-finance scandal."

At that point, according to observers, Clinton began to lose his temper.

"Who are you with?" he demanded to know of Sperry. "I don't like your accusatory tone. It sounds like you've already got the story written."

Sperry gave the President his business card and said the public wanted answers about the allegations of illegal contributions from China.

"Suddenly," according to one account, which did not differ from other versions, "Clinton's mood changed, his face turned red and he launched into an argument that lasted nearly 10 minutes as he defended himself and the Democratic Party against allegations of Chinese attempts to influence the 1996 U.S. presidential election.

"During the exchange, Clinton suggested that Republicans were hypocrites on the subject of campaign-finance violations. He complained about the length and cost of the investigation and suggested that the FBI would prefer that the news media report on political-funding irregularities rather than questions about the April 19, 1993, federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas."

A story written by Sperry and detailing the president's criticism of the FBI appeared as a "National Issue" on IBD's front page Tuesday.

As for campaign-finance violations, Clinton told Sperry at the barbecue: "We've spent $4 million and gave the (campaign-finance) task force millions of records and every shred of evidence, and they haven't found a thing."

He also said: "I've been all around this country, and you are the first person to ask me about it. Not one person has brought that up."

Sperry noted that FBI agents who testified before Congress this month raised serious allegations of Department of Justice stonewalling on the campaign-finance matter and reminded Clinton that FBI Director Louis Freeh thought enough evidence existed to call for an independent counsel.

"It turned out to be a real shouting match on the South Lawn," one eyewitness was quoted as saying in one Internet account.

Photos taken during the incident show a red-faced Clinton wagging his finger in Sperry's face.

"At one point during the argument," said the Internet account, "President Clinton put his hands up to both sides of his head, wiggled them, rolled his eyes and gave Sperry a funny face.

"'Make sure that guy never gets close to me again!' the President ordered one of his aides after the showdown."

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart was quoted as telling an associate that Sperry is a "Class A shithead."

An aide to Lockhart told Sperry by phone late Monday that he would never be invited back to the White House.

"The only regret we have is inviting you -- and we won't make that mistake again," Lockhart warned Sperry.

Such reactions are, sadly, not unusual for this White House, which is known for personally attacking those it sees as threats.

The President's response suggests a fear of tough but reasonable questions about key issues. Is this the inevitable result of seven years of coddling by the Washington press corps?

We stand behind our bureau chief's right to ask basic questions on important issues the American people want to know about.

Sperry was doing what every reporter should do. And judging from the hundreds of e-mails we got on this matter, a sampling of which appear below, many others would concur.

As odd as we find Clinton's response to Sperry, the behavior of the White House press office can only be described as inexcusable.

Rather than answering Sperry's questions in a straight way -- or even giving the standard "no comment" -- it tried to bully our bureau chief into silence, as it's done with other journalists over the years.

By disinviting him from all future White House functions, it has also disinvited IBD's readers.

The intimidation won't work. We'll keep asking questions, even hard ones, as long as they beg to be asked. That's our job.

END Reprint


cyberno8.gif (1522 bytes) In a discussion about the ideological positions of Democratic presidential candidates amongst CNN anchor Judy Woodruff, Time magazine's Margaret Carlson, who serves as a liberal panelist on the Capital Gang, and Tucker Carlson, who serves as the conservative on Late Edition's roundtable, whom do you think said Warren Beatty would be the first liberal in the race as Bradley is "not that liberal, Gore is not that liberal."

Naturally, it's Carlson, right? Wrong. Okay, it must be Woodruff. Wrong again.

Check out this exchange from Wednesday's Inside Politics on CNN caught by MRC analyst Paul Smith:

Anchor Judy Woodruff: "Last but not least -- Warren Beatty. Margaret, we don't know what he's going to say tonight."
Margaret Carlson: "Please come in. We're hoping. We need one more sideshow here. Donald Trump is not enough, please. I don't -- he's probably not going to announce tonight. It's a little bit of a tease. Maybe he's on a listening tour. He's going to join people on the listening tour and ask them for their life story. But he's showing a little bit of ankle, and he wrote an op-ed piece."
Tucker Carlson: "Good for him. I feel so sorry for him. My heart goes out to all honest liberals out there, people who are upset about welfare reform and have a really legitimate beef with this administration. I know it's true."
Woodruff: "Well, does he have a point, that his point of view is not represented by Bradley and Gore?"
Margaret Carlson: "Bradley is pretty much representing his point of view, unless your -- because Bradley has moved so far to the left, there might be this little bit of space here for Warren Beatty."
Tucker Carlson: "Really? Because I think if you listen to what Bradley says, I mean, Republican talking points aside, he's side he's not that liberal. Gore is not that liberal.
Margaret Carlson: "He's against welfare reform, and he wants a massive health care plan."
Tucker Carlson: "Well, I think that's just stupid, but I'm not sure it's liberal. I don't think anybody is articulating..."
Margaret Carlson, jumping in: "The government is not liberal? Wasn't Hillary's health care plan like just the epitome of liberalism run amok?"
Tucker Carlson: "Well, it was kind of wacky. But nobody is articulating the idea that the Democratic Party should stand for transferring wealth from the wealthy to the poor. And I think that Beatty represents a legitimate and sort of now forgotten point of view."
Woodruff: "But Bradley just advocated a $65 billion health care plan."
Margaret Carlson: "Tucker, I say to you again, what kind of redistribution of wealth do you need other than this health care plan and let's do away with welfare reform?"
Tucker Carlson: "Well, no, I'm getting more radical every year."
Margaret Carlson: "I've infected you."
Woodruff: "You're a closet liberal."
Tucker Carlson: "You know, I must be. You know, but I just feel sorry for all good-hearted liberals out there, I guess."

On the bright side, at least even a liberal like Margaret Carlson realizes that Bradley is over on the left. -- Brent Baker


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