MediaWatch: September 1996

Vol. Ten No. 9

Democratic Harshness

Democrats blame the GOP for harsh personal attacks, but on the August 26 Good Morning America co-host Charlie Gibson asked Senator Christopher Dodd: "You said the other day that `I got the word out,' that I don't want to hear personal attacks against the Republicans at this convention. Yesterday on his train trip the President accused Republicans of blackmail to get their budget. Al Gore, yesterday, accused the Republicans of ignorance and audacity, talked about the two-headed monster of Dole and Gingrich. Dick Gephardt, the leader of the House, of the Democrats, talked about Republican extremism, said they're radicals. Talk about getting the word out?"

Labor's Power Ties

The labor unions didn't get the Darth Vader treatment reserved in San Diego for the Christian Coalition, but in Chicago there were a few critical looks at union power.

CNN campaign finance reporter Brooks Jackson delivered a story on the unions' political campaign in which he observed: "So Bill Clinton says the era of big government is over? Not at the Democratic convention, where unionized government workers are suiting up for battle against Republicans."

On World News Tonight August 27, ABC's Brian Ross reported: "In the world of big money and Democratic politics on public display this week in Chicago, this man holds a special place. His name is Arthur Coia, who despite being president of a labor union the FBI says has long been controlled by the Mafia, the Laborers International has become one of the Democrats' top money people, raising millions and gaining him special access to the Clinton White House....In the last two years, the Clinton administration has gone all-out to court Coia and his union money with invitations to the White House and an appearance by the First Lady at a big union conference."

Ross added detail: "In an abrupt change of plans that raised questions about whether the union's money to the Democrats had bought it some kind of sweetheart deal, prosecutors dropped the allegations and instead quietly negotiated a deal with Coia that let him keep his job and put him in charge of cleaning up the union."