Big Media Believe O.J. II Tops Clinton Scandals

by L. Brent Bozell III. This article appeared in the Washington Times National Weekly Edition, P 36. It was received via TOSN on 10/22/96.

Scandal reporting in a campaign season? Not this year. The networks
are too busy with substantive stories, like JFK Jr.'s wedding, another
O.J. Simpson trial and the perils of fat substitutes, to bother. So,
President Clinton continues to surf along on a double-digit lead,
knowing he has nothing to fear from the see-no-Democratic-evil
television networks, which are showing the same dedication to news
reporting as, say, Pravda. Take a look at a typical week of news
On Sept. 23, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.'s inspector general
concluded that Hillary Clinton had drafted a real estate document for
the sham Castle Grande deal with the intent to "deceive" federal
regulators. If he's right, Hillary's guilty of perjury, and that's a
felony. Network coverage? Nothing.
On Sept. 24, a House committee held hearings on charges that the
Clinton administration has let criminals become citizens. The
Washington Times story the next day began: "Immigration workers
yesterday told a House Government Reform and Oversight subcommittee of
rampant abuses in the Citizenship U.S.A. program that apparently let
thousands of immigrants with criminal records become citizens."
Network coverage? Nada.
On Sept. 25, Sen. Orrin Hatch revealed a six-month gap in the log,
which listed who at the White House was accessing FBI background files
on Republican White House employees. The aide who kept the log went
into hiding rather than appear before Senate investigators. How much
more guiltily could this administration behave, and how much more
ridiculous can this get? The Washington Times correctly bannered the
news the next day. Network coverage? Zilch.
Also on Sept. 25, The Washington Times reported that Rep. John Mica
sent a letter to Mr. Clinton's "drug czar" demanding release of a
4-month-old Institute for Defense Analysis report that concluded
George Bush's inter-diction policy was far more effective than Mr.
Clinton's emphasis on drug treatment. It's a huge issue in the
campaign, an obvious cover-up of a policy failure. Network coverage?
On Oct. 1, the White House claimed executive privilege to withhold a
memo to Mr. Clinton from FBI Director Louis Freeh said to be highly
critical of federal drug policy. Network response? Still waiting.
On the Sept. 23 "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," Mr. Clinton held out the
possibility of pardons for those involved in the Whitewater scandal.
On Sept. 26, 170 members of Congress, including three Democrats, sent
a letter to the White House demanding Mr. Clinton promise not to
pardon anyone. The Sept. 29 Washington Times reported that House
Democrats were prepared to shut down the government if Republicans
demanded a vote on a resolution calling for Mr. Clinton not to pardon
key Whitewater figures. Given that the networks spent months blaming
the GOP for closing down the government over serious policy
differences, what do you think was their coverage when the Democrats
threatened the same in a shameless political maneuver? With the
exception of one general question about pardons from "CBS Evening
News" Sunday anchor John Roberts to commentator Laura Ingraham,
absolutely nothing.
So, what kind of hard-news stories were they covering during this
time? Well, between Sept. 26 and Sept. 29, each of the network evening
news shows aired two major stories each about . . . Newt Gingrich and
his dealings with the House ethics committee. Even more amazingly, all
the networks aired the truly wacky accusation (advanced by the
thoroughly--and legally--discredited nuts at the Christic Institute)
that Ronald Reagan's CIA helped hook black kids on crack to fund the
Contras in the 1980s.
At CBS, Pentagon reporter David Martin did note that several
Democratic congressional committees worked years trying to prove CIA
involvement in drug-running and couldn't do it. But that didn't stop
CBS from running a longer "Eye on America" report on Oct. 1, with Bill
Whitaker repeating the same unproven allegations.
Those two Iran-Contra conspiracy stories are double the number CBS has
aired on Mena, Ark., where Bill Clinton allegedly knew about
drug-running. None of the other networks has touched the Mena story.
A week of network blackouts like this underlines the two biggest
election-season lies that come from the liberal media: (a) our only
bias is in favor of a good story, and (b) our 89 percent pro-Clinton
bias is personal and not reflected in our journalism.
So ridiculous are these claims that even "Saturday Night Live" is
spoofing the media's shameless performance. Its recent premiere began
with a satire of ABC, with Tom Hanks (as Peter Jennings) questioning
Bill Clinton: "Mr. President, we here at ABC News are not in the
business of making endorsements, but everyone here is voting for Bill
Clinton, and I personally cannot imagine how any decent person would
not, in fact, do the same. In the light of this, which of your many
achievements do you feel important to emphasize as we head toward the
And they wonder why viewers are leaving them by the millions.
L. Brent Bozell III is chairman of the Media Research Center

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