CyberAlert -- 12/07/1998 -- 60 Minutes Blames GOP for Loutchansky

60 Minutes Blames GOP for Loutchansky; Nets Ignore Judges's Pro- Starr Ruling

1) 60 Minutes highlighted a Russian Mob figure invited to meet Clinton at a fundraiser, but Mike Wallace blamed conservatives who "have consistently torpedoed efforts in the Senate to pass any meaningful campaign reform."

2) CNN and MSNBC jumped on a Los Angeles Times article on how Henry Hyde is a hypocrite for excusing Oliver North's lying.

3) Networks highlighted Judge Johnson's probe of Starr leaks, but last Friday all but FNC ignored her ruling that Lewinsky was not mistreated at the hotel and was allowed to call her lawyer.

4) Time Daily urged reader activism to shut down the impeachment process: "The next two weeks are your last chance to save the Spring."

5) Keith Olbermann's last words on MSNBC: "Wake me when it's over." His replacement, John Hockenberry, is well to the left: "I think that capitalism is inherently amoral."

>>> What were the most outrageously biased quotes of 1998? You be the judge. This year we're producing a special Web edition of the Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting -- and you can help pick the winners. Just go to our home page to cast your ballot. And just for sharing your assessments, you'll get a free "Don't Believe the Liberal Media" magnet. We're still producing the printed edition selected by our regular panel of judges, but your vote will decide which quotes make it into the special Web edition.
The ballot page will be activated at noon ET on Monday. Go to: to get to the ballot form created by MRC Webmaster Sean Henry. Or, go to the MRC home page and click on the big button created by MRC Marketing Director Bonnie Goff.
Voting opens at noon and will remain open until 9am ET on December 15. Results will be posted December 18. Go to the address above to cast your vote for the awards, including the Hallucinating Hillary Award for promoting the vast right-wing conspiracy, Presidential Kneepad Award for best Lewinsky impression, Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award for hating Ken Starr and Move Over Buddy Award for Geraldo's Clinton lapdoggery. (The ballot page features an image of the free magnet, but I've noticed that it will be a blur to AOL users employing the default juniorfied version of Explorer. I hadn't realized until now how bad AOL's browser really is (at least AOL 3.0) with poor image production on Web pages. Note to AOL users: The Web isn't nearly as blurry as AOL makes it.) <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) A potshot at conservatives from 60 Minutes on campaign finance reform.
On Sunday night's 60 Minutes Mike Wallace examined the case of Grigori Loutchansky, a Russian "businessman" who was invited to an October 1993 Democratic fundraiser where he met President Clinton, even though Western intelligence and police agencies consider him a Russian Mob figure active in money laundering, narcotics smuggling and nuclear materials trading. Wallace interviewed Loutchansky, who denied all, including charges he has enemies killed, as well as Republican U.S. Representative Gerry Solomon and Senator Fred Thompson.
Wallace established that Loutchansky was already on CIA and State Department watch lists before he got his visa to travel to the U.S. for his photo-op with Clinton. In fact, the CIA was following Loutchansky's movements.

Despite how the Democratic fundraisers ignored all the red flags and invited the unsavory man, representative of how they violated many of the current fundraising rules and norms, how did Wallace conclude his piece? By blaming Republicans! Wallace intoned:
"In closing, we should point out that despite their self-righteousness about Grigori Loutchansky and the Democrats' fundraising abuses, the Republicans have consistently torpedoed efforts in the Senate to pass any meaningful campaign reform."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Every network but FNC led Friday night December 4 with stories contrasting the dropping unemployment rate with the recent layoff announcements. CNN and MSNBC picked up on a Los Angeles Times story on how Henry Hyde is a hypocrite for condemning lying now while he excused it in Oliver North's case. CNN at least let North explain how the two cases are different, but both stories focused on just Hyde while the same point in reverse could be made about any number of Democrats.

-- CNN's The World Today anchor Joie Chen noted how Hyde's words are "coming back to haunt him." CNN's Frank Sesno played a lengthy clip from Hyde in 1987 on he Iran-Contra committee:
"Why did you have to lie to Congress? Why was this different from other covert actions? Well, you know, it's very simple when you have a covert action that everybody agrees with, isn't that correct? But when you get a controversial one, then you have a whole different problem. [soundbite jumps to another clip] Let me give you a quotation that you might carry with you, and I quote, 'A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger are of higher obligation.' And that same person said, quote, 'On great occasions, every good officer must be ready to risk himself in going beyond the strict line of law when the public preservation requires it.' Now the person who said those things had a little bit to do with the founding of this country. We have a monument to him called the Jefferson Memorial."

Sesno asked: "Oliver North and Bill Clinton. Are the cases that different? Have the rules changed? Or is Henry Hyde a hypocrite? Today's Los Angeles Times raises that question in an article headlined 'Hyde's View On Lying Is Back Haunting Him.' Congressman Hyde would not comment on the story for CNN, but Oliver North, the central character in those hearings 11 years ago, now a radio talk show host, says there's no comparison and no hypocrisy."

North asserted: "Henry Hyde is commenting on the fact that the Reagan administration was accused of the following things: of not revealing everything that they were doing to save the lives of Americans being tortured to death in dungeons in Beirut, and trying to keep a freedom fighter army alive in Central America that the Congress had sent into combat. Now 1998. Fast-forward 11 years: Henry Hyde is commenting on the fact that the chief executive officer of the United States of America, the President, has raised his right hand, promised to take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and then lied after he raised his hand -- a major difference."

-- On MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams Gwen Ifill didn't bother with any more than a clause to Hyde's side as she failed to offer the context Sesno added and instead let a Clinton spinner denounce him, though she conceded up front that Clinton operatives made sure reporters knew about the story:
"At the White House officials alerted reporters today to a Los Angeles Times article that appeared to demonstrate how Henry Hyde's opinion of lying and perjury have shifted through the years. When Hyde was a member of the 1987 Iran-Contra committee he said lies should be judged quote 'in the murkier grayness of the real world.' And he quoted Thomas Jefferson."
Hyde, 1987: "A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger are of higher obligation."
Ifill: "Hyde this week as Chairman of the committee."
Hyde: "We still believe this is a country and a nation governed by laws and not men and we're exploring whether there are different consequences."
Joe Lockhart, Clinton Press Secretary: "I think the Chairman shows remarkable dexterity in applying standards when it comes to the subject at hand."
Ifill: "A spokesman for Hyde said the President's alleged lies were not in the interest of national security like Oliver North's."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Back on August 7 when a federal appeals court ruled against Starr's office and allowed Judge Norma Holloway Johnson to proceed with an investigation of whether the independent counsel's office illegally leaked information, every network ran a story that evening. Fast forward to last Friday, December 4. A New York Times headline announced: "Judge Finds Starr's Aides Did Not Abuse Lewinsky." Network coverage: Zilch Friday morning and evening on the broadcast networks and CNN. Not even CNN's Inside Politics mentioned the revelation of the previously sealed ruling which invalidated one of the Clintonista's favorite anti-Starr angles. While FNC's Fox Report also ignored the news, FNC ran a full story by Rita Cosby on its 6pm ET Special Report with Brit Hume hosted by Tony Snow. That one FNC piece is the totality of television coverage I've seen.

On Friday Don Van Natta Jr. of the New York Times reported what others papers picked up on Saturday, but not even that widespread print coverage generated a syllable on the weekend broadcast network shows. Here's an excerpt of Van Natta's December 4 piece:

Kenneth Starr's prosecutors did not forbid Monica Lewinsky to call her lawyer when they first confronted her at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Jan. 16, and in fact they gave her several opportunities to call anyone she chose, a federal district judge concluded in a finding unsealed this week.

Contrary to that finding, issued last April but kept sealed until now, President Clinton's lawyers and House Democrats have argued that prosecutors mistreated Ms. Lewinsky by repeatedly refusing her the opportunity to call her lawyer, Francis Carter. They maintain that the incident illustrates Starr's overzealousness, perhaps even misconduct.

The ruling, by Judge Norma Holloway Johnson, part of a ream of documents ordered released this week by a federal appeals court, sheds further light on the controversial episode at the Ritz-Carlton, which occurred five days before the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal became public.

The independent counsel's prosecutors approached Ms. Lewinsky there to try to win her cooperation in an investigation of whether President Clinton or others had lied under oath to cover up his affair with her. But Ms. Lewinsky's subsequent accusation that the prosecutors' efforts amounted to bullying led the White House and congressional Democrats to mine the incident for material they believed embarrassing to Starr.

On Wednesday, White House lawyers demanded of Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., who as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee heads the Clinton impeachment inquiry, that they be permitted to look at all decisions by Judge Johnson "addressing the question of whether Ms. Lewinsky was denied access to her counsel, Frank Carter, on Jan. 16."....

But in her decision, issued on April 28, Judge Johnson said lawyers and agents from Starr's office had not barred Ms. Lewinsky from calling her lawyer and had "acted within the ethical rules in questioning Ms. Lewinsky without her attorney present."....

Starr's spokesman, Charles Bakaly III, said: "This is an example where our prosecutors did not discuss rulings that would have helped us to respond to attacks against the office. We were prohibited from discussing it, because it was under seal, and we adhered to that."

END Excerpt

Of course, if Starr's office did leak we'd have learned about this long ago.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Time magazine urged readers to act now to shut down the impeachment process. Major media figures have often castigated radio talk show hosts for urging listeners to call their Congressman to sway a vote on a particular issue, but last week Time did just that. Before he abandoned the MRC last week for the rough and tumble of Manhattan, media analyst Clay Waters caught this plea from Time's Frank Pellegrini in a December 4 Time Daily news story.
Pellegrini concluded his piece:
"If the House forwards articles of impeachment, there are only two ways the Senate can get out of it -- a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules, or a motion-to-end-trial by a Senate juror, decided by simple majority. Both are considered too proactive -- or too craven, depending on your point of view -- to be viable options. So attention jaded American public: Write a letter. Take a poll. The next two weeks are your last chance to save the Spring."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Friday night Keith Olbermann hosted his last Big Show for MSNBC, but he didn't leave without taking one last opportunity to show his disgust with the Lewinsky scandal. His last words on MSNBC: "I will say only this: If you need me I'll be hiding in sports. Wake me when it's over, if it's over."

Olbermann, who will join Fox Sports next week, may have displayed his annoyance and lack of interest in the Lewinsky scandal, and even uttered more liberal than conservative comments over his 14 months (recall his comparing Starr to a Nazi), but he was not the dedicated leftist that his replacement is, at least judging by some candid comments the new guy made a few years ago.

Monday night the 8pm ET/PT hours on MSNBC become "Hockenberry," a show hosted by John Hockenberry, once of NPR. The MRC's Tim Graham reminded me of Hockenberry's comments made during a March 2, 1995 session on America Online when he was with ABC News:

-- "I think that capitalism is inherently amoral and it is folly to expect that a system run on greed will be able to adopt some virtuous precepts to prevent the violations of human rights."

-- On Clinton's re-election chances: "Faced with a choice of a crowd-pleasing fanatic trying to look like a Republican and about a hundred real Repubs it looks tough to me."

-- On whether the public is well informed: "I think American politics thrives on ignorance today. I think American policy works without a backup plan as long as people are so unrepentantly uninformed."

-- When asked if the Contract with America will work: "Yes. I'm moving to Switzerland."

Another bit of evidence that MSNBC should stand for More Slanted NBC as the cable network is just NBC News with more liberal bias. -- Brent Baker

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