CyberAlert -- 12/01/1997 -- Foreign $ Forgotten

Foreign $ Forgotten; Lister as Victim; Maher Mars Reagan

1. The Washington Post detailed another example of how the DNC captured foreign money, but the networks didn't bother reporting it.

2. Catching up on some stuff that got squeezed out of earlier CyberAlerts, only ABC reported Lister's resignation from the Army, portraying her as a victim of those opposed to women in combat.

3. Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect, has some very politically correct disgust for Ronald Reagan.

1) In the midst of the Arlington Cemetery flap the Washington Post broke another story about how the DNC subverted the ban on foreign contributions by encouraging a foreign national to donate a large sum to a supposedly non-partisan "voter education" group and then rewarded him with an invitation to a dinner with Clinton. The networks, as usual, passed.

"Voters Group Donor Got DNC Perk: Man With Nigeria Ties Was at Clinton Dinner," announced the November 22 Washington Post headline. Reporters Charles R. Babcock and Susan Schmidt opened the front page story:

"Officials of the Democratic National Committee helped a foreign businessman closely tied to Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha attend a White House holiday dinner with President Clinton last year, a few months after he contributed $460,000 to a voter registration group that won support from the DNC.

"Gilbert Chagoury, a foreign citizen with extensive family business interests in Nigeria, was included in the dinner for 250 top DNC donors last Dec. 21 although he is not a party contributor and could not legally give to the Democrats.

"He also had a meeting on U.S.-Nigeria relations -- strained since the 1995 hangings of nine Abacha political opponents -- with high level administration officials at the White House in July. Those officials said they were unaware of the donations or the dinner.

"Chagoury was solicited by a DNC fund-raiser last fall to give to a Miami-based nonprofit voter registration group, Vote Now 96, that has come under scrutiny from congressional investigators because of its connections to the DNC and indications that in some cases, at least, donors ineligible to give to the party were steered to the voters group. DNC officials attempted to divert one of Vote Now 96's large contributors to the reelection campaign of Teamsters President Ron Carey....

"DNC spokesman Steve Langdon said Chagoury was invited to the dinner with Clinton because 'he was a supporter of Vote Now 96, a voter participation project of importance to the DNC.'..."

Coverage of this latest bit of evidence of campaign law subversion? Zilch on any of the broadcast networks or CNN the weekend the Post story appeared, reported MRC news analysts Clay Waters, Geoffrey Dickens, Steve Kaminski, Gene Eliasen and Eric Darbe. Zilch on CBS's Saturday Morning or NBC's Today on November 22. Nothing on NBC Nightly News (college football bumped the CBS and ABC evening shows on Saturday). Not a word on CNN's Inside Politics or The World Today. The next day, still not a word on Today, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News or ABC's World News Tonight.

2) The furor over Assistant Army Secretary Sarah Lister denouncing Marines as "extremists" caused hardly a ripple on network news. The night before she decided to move up her departure date, ABC gave a few seconds to noting the controversy caused by her remark, first reported by the Washington Times. In fact, neither the CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News mentioned her resignation. Of the broadcast network evening shows, only ABC's World News Tonight even noticed her departure, though the network spun it as a tale of how Lister was a victim of politicians who opposed her efforts to integrate women into the Army.

Peter Jennings introduced the November 14 story:
"In Washington today, the Assistant Secretary of the Army, an Assistant Secretary of the Army, Sarah Lister, resigned. Yesterday we reported on the flap over comments that Mrs. Lister made about the Marine Corps. She called Marines 'extremists.' ABC's Jackie Judd reports that what she said was an opening for some of her critics."

Judd cited her comment and then, as transcribed by MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen, explained "In her letter of apology to the Marine Corps commandant, Lister insisted that her remarks had been taken out of context. But there was no stopping the fury."

After a soundbite from Oliver North Judd continued: "Former Marine Oliver North and other conservative radio hosts had encouraged listeners to protest. In Congress, ex-Marine Gerald Solomon had demanded Lister be fired."

Judd showed clips from Congressmen Gerald Solomon and Sam Johnson before elaborating: "As head of Army personnel, Lister was a strong advocate for women in the military, even allowing them to go into combat. Her supporters say that is what the firestorm is really about."

Nancy Duff Campbell of the National Women's Law Center asserted: "This is really part of a concentrated attack by people who do not want to see women advance in the military and she was just a ready opportunity and an easy symbol of that."

Judd concluded: "Lister, who already had plans to resign had her office packed today and left. Supporters say even without her the move to integrate women in the military will go on. Jackie Judd, ABC News, the Pentagon."

3) Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect, has earned a reputation as a libertarian willing, as his show's title suggests, to counter conventional wisdom. But often it's only the one conservative, up against Maher and three liberal guests, who is willing to say anything politically incorrect.

On the November 11 episode, for instance, Dinesh D'Souza, author of a new book on Ronald Reagan, fought a lonely battle to defend Reagan. When it comes to Reagan, Maher reflects the standard liberal contempt for the conservative President. Two examples of Maher on Reagan:

"But he did sort of make greed and stupidity glorified."

"But isn't part of America also that you don't leave people behind? I disagree with you, I think Reagan did speak for the majority. That still leaves millions out in the cold. I mean, when he made his speech for re-election, he said, 'I see a shining city on a hill,' and then Mario Cuomo said, 'But you know what, there's another city where they're doing a lot of crack.'"

4) The December 1 edition of Notable Quotables, the Media Research Center's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. In a change from the norm, about half these quotes will be fresh to you since they have not previously appeared in CyberAlerts. (Due to the holiday we put this together last week, but snail mail subscribers will notice a bit of a delay in receiving it since it will not mail until December 1, four days later than usual.)

Among the new quotes are the questions posed to Ward Connerly by Mike Wallace which were noticed by MRC news analyst Steve Kaminski. They appear under "Defend Yourself, Black Conservative Race Traitor." You'll find some Bryant Gumbel bias under "Racism on the Decline? Ha!" and under "Conservatives Like Excluding Blacks from College" another mean-spirited distortion from Time magazine's Margaret Carlson observed by MRC news analyst Clay Waters.

Plus, a gem MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught when reading old copies of the Los Angeles Times, which takes up to two weeks to arrive by mail. Check out "What Coffee Tapes Prove: Clinton Combines Best of Carter, Reagan." NQ follows below. -- Brent Baker in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, where the snow is falling, but unlike what happens in Washington, DC, no one is panicking.

-- Brent Baker