CyberAlert -- October 23, 1996 -- Fundraising News

Five items today:

1. On Monday and Tuesday nights the CBS and NBC evening newscasts did not run any stories from their correspondents traveling with Clinton and Dole. ABC didn't on Tuesday either, but Monday night ABC's Brit Hume actually employed the term "harsh" to Clinton.

2. The questionable fundraising sources for the Democrats is getting some network attention. Tuesday night's World News Tonight included a story a Florida drug dealer invited to a White House dinner.

3. A CBS reporter says a second Clinton term will bring more "moderate appointments" to the Supreme Court, but he's immediately contradicted in the next soundbite.

4. PBS's Frontline asks "Why America Hates the Press." But in one hour a reason left unmentioned: liberal bias.

5. CNN's Susan Rook cites Bob Dole's divorce as proof his word is not his bond.

1) Monday night CBS and NBC covered the day's campaigning with their anchors giving brief reports. NBC Nightly News ran a lengthy piece from Andrea Mitchell on the Indonesian money trail.

On the October 21 World News Tonight, Brit Hume reported President Clinton's reaction to the fundraising scandals. Hume offered a unique use of the term "harsh," applying it to Clinton instead of Dole:

"President Clinton though stayed as far above the fracas as possible. He personally said not a word about it as he campaigned in Ohio and Michigan today. But his campaign thought enough of the matter to send out a spokesman to denounce Bob Dole on it in the harshest terms."
Joe Lockhart, Clinton-Gore Press Secretary: "You know Bob Dole talking about campaign finance reform is like Dr. Jack Kevorkian talking about the sanctity of life. It doesn't work. He has no credibility."

2) On Tuesday's World News Tonight (October 22) Brian Ross explored a convicted drug dealer who got a White House dinner for his $20,000.

Brian Ross: "At the very time twice convicted Jorge Cabrera was setting up his latest cocaine smuggling deal last December in the Florida Keys, Democratic fundraisers were arranging for him to attend a White House dinner with President Clinton. All it took was a $20,000 campaign contribution to the Democratic Party...."
"A few weeks after the White House dinner federal agents raided Cabrera's hideout and seized more than 5,000 pounds of cocaine, leading to Cabrera's conviction in July. Still, the Democrats didn't return his money until last week when after a reporter for Newsweek asked about it and the party finally checked into Cabrera's background. According to Cabrera's lawyer there are pictures of the drug smuggler at the White House and at another dinner here in Florida with Vice President Gore. But federal prosecutors demanded all copies and negatives of those photos and the Justice Department is refusing to make them public."

3) MRC analyst Steve Kaminski caught this humorous sequence during a story on Monday's This Morning on who Dole and Clinton might appoint to the Supreme Court.

CBS reporter Troy Roberts: "Court observers believe a Bob Dole presidency would move the court to the right and President Clinton would stick with moderate appointments should he win a second term."

Clint Bolick, Institute for Justice: "Bill Clinton has tended to appoint very well qualified people but people who are quite liberal. I expect that he'll continue doing that if he gets a second term and the Republican Senate will have no option but to confirm those people."

4) In most markets Tuesday night PBS aired an edition of Frontline titled "Why America Hates the Press." The show approached the subject from the left, using the James Fallows critique as its guide. There was plenty on the evils of the McLaughlin Group, celebrity journalism, reporters taking speaking fees and how awful it was for the Washington Post to put on the front page a story about Bob Woodward's new book.

One theme that was absent: Any consideration of how liberal bias might be turning people off. Just take a look at this list of those featured in the PBS show, as listed in the Washington Post's TV Week on Sunday:

"Michael Kelly, editor of the New Republic; the New York Times's R.W. 'Johnny' Apple; James Fallows of U.S. News & World report; Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell of NBC News; Tim Russert, host of NBC's Meet the Press; McLaughlin Group panelists Jack Germond of the Balitimore Sun, Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune; Howard Kurtz, Bob Woodward and David Broder of The Washington Post; Paul Taylor, a former Post reporter; and National Public Radio's Elizabeth Arnold and Cokie Roberts."

Not a conservative in the list. Fred Barnes snuck on a couple of times, but not to discuss anything about bias.

5) CNN's Susan Rook took a nice little pot shot at Bob Dole last week. In his Media Notes column on October 21, The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz relayed an exchange from CNN's TalkBack Live (3-4pm ET), though he didn't provide a show date.

After the RNC's Ed Gillespie asserted that for Bob Dole "his word is his bond," Rook shot back: "Which word are we talking about? The word to his first wife when he said, 'Until death do us part?'" Kurtz noted that after an audience member called it a cheap shot, Rook agreed: "Mea culpa. My apologies to Bob and Elizabeth Dole."

-- Brent Baker