CyberAlert -- 11/10/1997 -- CBS Blamed a Crime Victim; Clinton Absolved, But Reagan Blamed

CBS Blamed a Crime Victim; Clinton Absolved, But Reagan Blamed


The November 7 CyberAlert misspelled the name of Clinton's nominee for the civil rights chief slot at the Justice Department. It's Bill Lann Lee, not Bill Lan Lee. The November 6 CyberAlert referred to Paul Harris as "the first black Republican elected to the Virginia House of Delegates since the 1870s." Actually, it's only been 106 years -- since 1891.
1. Nothing on House hearing on Friday, nor on the Whitewater bank check. But Today interviewed the San Diego Chicken.

2. A man in Metarie, Louisiana shot a carjacker. CBS blamed him for "inviting trouble instead of avoiding it."

3. Ads are as bad for women as communism, suggested a CNN story; Bob Schieffer called murderous policies am "economic experiment."

4. What a difference ten years makes. In 1987 reporters were indignant about Iran-Contra and condemned Reagan's ethics.

1) Friday morning and night brought no coverage of separate House hearings held both on Thursday and Friday on White House withholding documents and on the relationship between Molten Metal Technology, Peter Knight and Al Gore. Not even CNN's Inside Politics could find time Friday for either hearing. And the broadcast networks have yet to tell viewers, as CNN did last Thursday, about the discovery in an old car of a 1982 Madison Guaranty check for over $20,000 payable to Bill Clinton, a check that contradicts Clinton's claims that he never got any money from Madison.

Friday's Today did run a taped interview with Senator Fred Thompson conducted by Lisa Myers. As recounted by Tim Graham in the November 7 Media Reality Check, now available at the top of the MRC's home page, Myers asked if the President was involved in a coverup, knowingly accepted illegal contributions, or did anything improper. She began by noting the cost and 33 witnesses who refused to appear, and concluded with the first network mention that the committee may seek perjury charges against Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and former DNC Chairman Don Fowler. (It should be recalled that Today did not utter a word at the time about Babbitt's October 30 testimony.)

But in between she also posed a question reflecting the current media mantra blaming lack of regulation, not the actions of individuals, for Democratic illegalities:

"At the same time you were criticizing the misdeeds of the Clinton administration, leaders of your own party were opposing changes in the law to outlaw these huge contributions that helped create these scandals. Do you think that undercut your credibility with the public?"

A few minutes later Matt Lauer delved into a very serious matter: the dispute between Barney the Dinosaur and the San Diego Chicken. Today devoted several minutes to Lauer's interview with the San Diego Chicken, who was in full outfit for his 4:30am PT appearance.

2) The crime victim is the villain at CBS News. Last Wednesday, November 5, the CBS Evening News ran a piece about the first instance test of a new Louisiana law allowing victims to shoot carjackers. In this case the man who shot and wounded the carjacker will not be charged. Reporter Bob McNamara narrated a story over video from WWL-TV in New Orleans. MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski caught this interesting conclusion from McNamara:

McNamara: "Aaron Bottoms says he wasn't out to test a law and hopes his attacker survives."

Bottoms: "I didn't want him to die, I wasn't out to kill him. I just didn't want him to kill me."

McNamara: "Still, driving a car with wheels valued at $700 dollars each these days may be a case of inviting trouble instead of avoiding it. Bob McNamara, CBS News, Dallas."

Bottoms' car: a Chevrolet sedan that looked at least ten years old, though I guess it had nice wheels. But car or even tire value does not seem to be what's always motivating the Big Easy's carjackers. Earlier in his story McNamara explained that "the law came out of the killing two years ago of eleven month old [name I can't imagine how to spell] and the wounding of his mother during a New Orleans carjacking attempt..."

As McNamara spoke those words viewers saw video of the crime scene and a car with shattered windows: a Hyundai Excel, hardly a luxury vehicle nor one on which you'd expect to find valuable wheels.

3) A couple of items on the China front that got overlooked over the past weeks in the rush of other news bias.

Back on the October 11 World Today, MRC news analyst Clay Waters noticed, CNN ran a story which equated communist dogma of the past with capitalism of the present. Both have negatively impacted women. Here's the last third of a piece from CNN's Andrea Koppel in Beijing on glamorous images of women in China:

Andrea Koppel: "...And in today's increasingly beauty-obsessed society, light is operative word. While thin has always been in in China, doctors say in the last couple of years eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia have become more common."

Dr. Hong Baose (through interpreter): "This has a lot to do with what's put out in the media. For example, the celebrities that young people see in the media are singers, actors and especially models who have to be tall and thin. But in the end that's not real life."

Koppel: "But much as the Communist Party used to use its propaganda to promote unisex uniformity, today's message is equally mind-numbing and potentially misleading, because beauty sells. Andrea Koppel, CNN, Beijing."

Bob Schieffer took on conservatives and described as "ill- fated economic experiments" communist efforts which killed millions, all in his end of the show commentary on the October 26 Face the Nation. As transcribed by MRC intern Rebecca Hinnershitz, Schieffer opined:

"Finally today, I've never been one to quote extensively from the writings of Richard Nixon, but when it comes to what the basis for our relationship with China ought to be, I always thought that Nixon won the award for getting it right in the fewest words possible. He said simply, 'There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its people to live in angry isolation.' Nixon went on to establish relations with China, and until the Chinese brutally crushed a rebellion in Tiananmen Square, America and China grew closer to the mutual advantage of both. It's been a tenuous relationship since Tiananmen because Tiananmen was hard to take for Americans especially. After all the student rebels had taken the Statue of Liberty, our symbol of freedom, as their symbol. For that reason alone it will always be a factor in our dealings with China. Tiananmen was indefensible, and there will be no defense of it here. But as the Chinese president heads to Washington, it seems to me that those in this country who still want to build a wall around China mainly because of what Tiananmen stood for should also remember that it is no more feasible today to fence off China than it was when Nixon warned against it.
"There is, after all, some good news about China these days. It's in the midst of a remarkable change as it moves toward a market economy. It is not America, but it is more open than it has ever been, and in a country where millions died during such ill- fated economic experiments as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese will tell you what they are proudest of is that their country has remained stable in the process. Of course, we want China to adopt a more open political system, but we can't force that by walling off 1.2 billion people. Better that we look for ways to bridge those walls through trade and other contacts. As President Clinton said, 'It becomes increasingly difficult to maintain a closed political system in an ever more open economy and society.'"

So, the Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward are "ill- fated economic experiments." Does Schieffer consider the Holocaust an "ill-fated cultural repatriation effort"?

-- Brent Baker