CyberAlert -- 11/02/1998 -- Clinton Just Like Jefferson

Clinton Just Like Jefferson; "Nastiest" Campaign Ever; Hero Feingold

1) CNN's dream: "Could a new genetic study suggesting Thomas Jefferson fathered a child with a slave be a boost for President Clinton in fighting impeachment?"

2) CBS denounced "one of the shortest, nastiest mid-term election campaigns ever," as it gave Clinton time to show his healing with blacks. Tom Brokaw applied biased labeling to Jeb Bush.

3) Howard Kurtz contrasted how the networks blame conservatives but not liberals for terrorism and murder. NBC's VP says it's because they just report what liberals say about conservatives.

4) During the Lewinsky affair Clinton fired an envoy for sexual misconduct, the Washington Times disclosed. Networks: zilch.

5) Russ Feingold, you're my hero. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman grumbled that if liberal anti-First Amendment champion Feingold loses, "that's really depressing to me."


tjeff.jpg (25307 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Pro-Clinton Spinning Stretch of the Weekend. While passing out candy to the neighborhood tykes on Halloween night I caught this from anchor Marina Kolbe on CNN's 8pm ET The World Today:
"Could a new genetic study suggesting Thomas Jefferson fathered a child with a slave be a boost for President Clinton in fighting impeachment? The study in next week's edition of the journal Nature concludes that new genetic work, coupled with old circumstantial evidence, proves Jefferson fathered at least one child by his slave, Sally Hemings. One of the study's authors says it suggests, according to history, presidential indiscretions are long-standing."

Was Clinton buddy/CNN President Rick Kaplan working the news writing desk Saturday night?


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "One of the shortest, nastiest mid-term election campaigns ever," Dan Rather preposterously proclaimed Friday night in what may be a preview of the coverage we'll see Tuesday night. Bob Schieffer piled on, claiming "it's already been one of the nastiest campaign seasons ever," which he illustrated by showing a Republican ad and a Democrat calling a Republican a liar.

Football bumped the CBS Evening News in the East on Sunday night, but ABC's World News Tonight led on Sunday with the storm damage in Nicaragua and Honduras. Mike von Fremd focused on Clinton's trip to a black church in Baltimore and how the Christian Coalition distributed voter guides. Later, ABC ran "Point of View" piece with Mike Murphy, who produced the new Republican ads, explaining how negative ads work. The November 1 NBC Nightly News began with Iraq not allowing in the UN inspectors. Joe Johns provided an overview of the last weekend of campaigning, including Clinton's church trip and how negative ads are on he increase because they work. Next, Dan Lothian looked in on Washington's woman versus woman Senate race.

Now back to Friday night where in addition to CBS's jihad about nastiness, the network also gave airtime to a lengthy plea from Clinton to black voters without running anything from a Republican candidate. FNC's Fox Report and NBC Nightly News delivered the only full stories on the judge appointing a special master to investigate leaks from Starr's office. NBC's Tom Brokaw profiled Jeb Bush, Republican candidate for Governor of Florida, and offered this unequal choice of labels for him and his Democratic opponent: "MacKay is pro-choice, Bush anti-abortion." FNC's Carl Cameron picked up on Democratic attacks on Gingrich for being involved in the new GOP ads, but Cameron uniquely raised the hypocrisy of Dick Gephardt since he also worked on Democratic ads.

Here are some highlights from the Friday, October 30, evening shows:

-- ABC's World News Tonight led with Glenn's first full day in space followed by Jackie Judd on Abe Hirschfeld renewing his offer to pay Paula Jones $1 million if she settles with Clinton.

For the A Closer Look segment John Cochran examined the "McConnell factor," how Senator Mitch McConnell as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee controls $86 million. Cochran explained how he's been generous with Jim Bunning in Kentucky, but not so with Linda Smith in Washington because she supports campaign finance reform.

-- CBS Evening News led with the impending election. Dan Rather opened: "Good evening. One of the shortest, nastiest mid-term election campaigns ever is heading into the final weekend knee-deep in money and mud. Attack ads are wall-to-wall as races tighten and both sides try to rally voters to the polls."

Bob Schieffer began by noting how the GOP launched an ad campaign to revise Lewinsky even though a week earlier the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee said Republicans wouldn't talk about impeachment. Why the change in tactics? Schieffer pointed to a CBS News/New York Times poll which determined that "by large margins Democrats have been winning over voters" on issues like improving health care and education and saving Social Security. Schieffer then declared:
"Whether or not the scandal becomes an issue it's already been one of the nastiest campaign seasons ever. In New York, Senator Al D'Amato accused opponent Chuck Schumer of liking foreigners more than New Yorkers."
D'Amato ad: "If you live in Mongolia, Schumer's your man."
Schieffer: "In Illinois, as elsewhere, substance gave way to invective."
Senator Carol Moseley-Braun on radio show with her Republican challenger Peter Fitzgerald: "That is not true Peter, you know I'll stop telling the truth about your record if you stop telling lies about mine."
Schieffer: "But for all the noise and more than a half billion dollars in campaign spending, polls suggest the overriding question is turnout. Are voters already so turned off they'll sit out the election."
After a soundbite from a woman complaining about how people are being turned of, Schieffer concluded with an assertion we can measure against reality in a few hours: "Expectation now: Republicans will make modest gains, fairly typical for the party out of power in an off election year, not really much of a mandate for either side on anything."

Schieffer picked an Al D'Amato ad to illustrate negative campaigning, but on Fox News Sunday on November 1 host Tony Snow played one from Democrats that the rest of the media have ignored. Here's what a Missouri Democratic Party radio ad, targeted at black voters, asserts:
"When you don't vote, you let another church explode. When you don't vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don't vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don't vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches and Head Start."

Unfazed by such divisive campaigning, immediately after Schieffer's story Rather went to the White House where Scott Pelley showed Bill Clinton in "healer" mode. Pelley stated:
"With no strong issues propelling voters to the polls Democrats are now raising impeachment as a threat to the nation's well-being. Late today Mr. Clinton carried that theme to African-American ministers in a classic of Clinton campaigning."
Clinton: "If you believe in your heart that you have been a part of my presidency, and I tell you you have, I wouldn't be here without you, then I ask you this one thing: Realize that this too is an important election. That it is not an ordinary time, it is therefore not an ordinary election."

An extraordinarily long soundbite for Clinton, but no time for a Republican response.

-- CNN's The World Today led with co-anchor Joie Chen showing Bill Clinton in New York with Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton in California with Barbara Boxer. CNN then ran two campaign stories. First, John King on the White House attacking Newt Gingrich: "The White House is attacking a familiar foe as it tries to turn attention way from the President in the final days of campaign '98." Second, Garrick Utley on how a negative ad is made and why they work. Later in the show CNN noted the Hirschfeld offer and the appointment of the special master. Plus, CNN played a report from Candy Crowley on the Boxer/Fong Senate race in California.

-- FNC's Fox Report led with the Dow's best month this year.
David Shuster looked at Judge Norma Holloway Johnson's decision to probe leaks, but noted the threshold of evidence against Starr is low as in one instance cited by the judge ABC's Jackie Judd just referred to "law enforcement sources."

Carl Cameron handled the attack on the attack ads, observing:
"To hear Democrats and the Vice President you'd think scandal is an election year issue not because of what the President admits doing but because of Newt Gingrich."
Gore: "This entire partisan plot was personally masterminded by Speaker Newt Gingrich."
After soundbites from RNC Chairman Jim Nicholson and Executive Director Cliff May about how Gingrich only saw the ads after they were finished, and a clip of Gore calling them a smokescreen to avoid real issues, Cameron asserted:
"Though Democratic leader Dick Gephardt took part in crafting the Democrat's response ads, he blasted any role the Speaker may have taken in GOP commercials."

-- NBC Nightly News led with John Glenn. Lisa Myers provided a full report on Hirschfeld renewing his offer to end this "nightmare."

Leading into a full story from Pete Williams, Tom Brokaw asked: "Did Ken Starr's office leak secret grand jury material to the news media. Was that a violation of federal law? According to the judge looking at that question, the evidence is beginning to pile up against Starr."

Brokaw reported the In Depth segment on Jeb Bush in Florida, who Brokaw discovered is "running as a kinder, gentler Republican" compared to four years ago when he lost the race for Governor. Referring to Democrat Buddy MacKay, Brokaw employed this uneven use of labeling, relaying the preferred tag of just the liberal side: "MacKay is pro-choice, Bush anti-abortion." After explaining how Bush favors private school vouchers and running a soundbite of MacKay saying they would destroy public schools, Brokaw challenged Bush:
"When you leave behind the kids that invariably will be left behind, don't you then have an underclass of historic proportions?"
Jeb Bush: "We have it now and that's what we need to fight against."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) "When a Crime Occurs, the Media Often Cast Their Gaze to the Right," reads the headline over the jump page for Monday's Media Notes column by Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post. Picking up on a theme detailed last week by CyberAlert Kurtz compared how the networks blamed the wider pro-life movement for the Barnett Slepian murder "but when a left-wing environmental group claimed credit for burning down a ski resort in Vail, Colorado, there was little suggestion that environmental activists might have contributed to such violence."

Kurtz spoke with Dan Rather and a NBC official, who both defended their coverage: "The anchor called CBS's coverage 'fair and accurate,' saying the network 'gave voice' to people blaming the anti-gay and anti-abortion movements, 'and also gave voice to those who said, 'Don't paint us all with this brush.' The circumstances surrounding the Vail fire, says Rather, were less clear. Bill Wheatley, NBC's vice president for news, says the press is just doing its job. 'It's fair to report there are charges being made by, in this case, gay rights groups, and to ask for reaction to such charges,' he said. As for linking violence to conservative activists, he said: 'We ought not suggest it on our own, but when others are suggesting it, we at least ought to pursue it. You tend to seek reaction when a party involved in the news makes such a charge.' By contrast, said Wheatley, he knows of no charges that environmental groups somehow encouraged the burning of Vail."

Lesson for conservatives: To ensure balanced coverage conservatives must be as irresponsible as liberals and blame liberals for things they had nothing to do with because the media sure won't discern between a legitimate connection and a reckless effort to impugn a political opponent.

To read Kurtz's November 2 story, go to and select print edition, then "Style," then scan down to "Style columns." The direct address, which should work on Monday:

To read the CyberAlert articles, go to: and:


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) "During Affair, Clinton Fired Envoy for Sex Misconduct," announced a front page Washington Times headline on Friday, October 30. But none of the network morning or evening shows on Friday touched the subject.

So, to let you know what Washington Times readers have learned but network viewers never will, here's an excerpt from reporter Jerry Seper's story:

President Clinton fired the ambassador to Eritrea last year for sexual misconduct with two U.S. Embassy employees, according to a confidential report obtained by The Washington Times.

At a time when Mr. Clinton was involved in an "inappropriate" sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and had been accused by two other women of making crude sexual advances, he recalled Ambassador John F. Hicks.

The reasons for Mr. Hicks' recall from his post in Asmara, Eritrea --located on the Red Sea between Sudan and Ethiopia -- have not previously been made public. The firing followed complaints to the State Department from two embassy secretaries that he repeatedly groped, kissed, fondled, touched and called them at their homes despite numerous requests that he leave them alone.

Mr. Hicks, a Clinton appointee, reportedly told one of his accusers, who is white, that she rejected him because he was black. State Department spokeswoman Linda Topping Thursday declined comment, citing federal privacy concerns. White House spokesman James Kennedy also declined comment on Mr. Hicks' recall. He had been named by Mr. Clinton to the ambassadorship in May 1996....

Investigators concluded the accusations were valid and Mr. Hicks had created "an intimidating, hostile and offensive work environment which had the effect of unreasonably interfering with both of these women's work performance."....

The report said Mr. Hicks:

-- Fondled one of the secretaries by rubbing her back and buttocks, embraced her with his arms and tried to kiss her on the mouth during a meeting in his office. He then became emotional, saying, "Baby, baby, oh baby." The secretary pushed him away and left.

-- Grabbed the same secretary during another office encounter, rubbing her buttocks and inviting her to sit on his lap. When she declined and tried to leave, he put his arms around her from behind and she could feel "he was in an excited state with an erect penis." He then kissed her, saying, "baby, baby," moved his hand under her skirt and underwear and touched her vagina with his fingers. At that point, she told investigators she was "frozen with fear" and it took "all of her strength" to push him away.

-- Called the second secretary numerous times at her home in Asmara to ask her to come to his office late at night or to tell her, "Good night, my love, sleep tight."....

END Excerpt

Sounds like an excellent candidate for Director of Intern Operations at the White House.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Russ Feingold, you're my hero. On Friday's Washington Week in Review on PBS, former New York Times reporter and now foreign policy columnist/conservative basher Thomas Friedman, grumbled:
"If someone like Russ Feingold, who is trying to really promote campaign finance reform, and trying to run basically as clean a campaign finance campaign as one can run, gets wiped out in Wisconsin that's really depressing to me. If you can't win that kind of campaign in Wisconsin, I find that really disappointing."

Expect more of that Tuesday night and Wednesday morning if the media's hero of liberal campaign finance reform, aka confining unlimited free speech to the news media, loses.
-- Brent Baker

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