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Media: Firing supeonas

NBC/ABC/CBS: Subpoenas "too scandal obsessed"<br>
Posted By: "partisan","waste of resources" (<br>
Date: 3/23/07 14:47<br>
That was then. This is now.<br>
Ten Years Ago, Subpoenas Drew TV Yawns<br>
When Team Clinton Was Subpoenaed, Reporters Found 'Hard-Charging
Partisans' Wasting Tax Money<br>
With the Democrats back in power, network anchors are dwelling
lovingly on congressional hearings now with liberal stars like Al
Gore and Valerie Plame. They've shown no loss of appetite for
hearings on the U.S. Attorney-firings scandal, deemed a
"constitutional crisis" by NBC Wednesday night. But ten years ago,
when a Republican Congress prepared subpoenas for the Clinton White
House on receiving political contributions from China, viewers heard
the networks sing a very different tune.<br>
> ABC wondered whether subpoenas and hearings weren't democracy in
action, but a waste of America's resources. On the April 10, 1997
World News Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings promoted a story: "When we
come back, two investigations of fundraising abuse, two of them on
Capitol Hill. Is it a waste of time and money?" Reporter John Cochran
underlined the problem of GOP partisanship: "Dan Burton is a hard-
charging partisan and has resisted investigating anyone but Democrats."<br>
ABC's Linda Douglass insisted there was public boredom at the end of
a story on the July 18, 1997 World News Tonight: "Democrats gripe
that the hearings are too partisan, so next week the committee will
focus on foreign contributions to Republicans, all the while
wondering if the public is paying attention to any of this."<br>
> CBS cast the House subpoena plans as a partisan food fight. On the
April 11, 1997 CBS This Morning, substitute anchor Cynthia Bowers
began: "Not long ago, there was a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about
returning a sense of civility to congressional debate. Remember that?
Well, forget it. When the debate is over money and politics, the
gloves come off in the House of Representatives."<br>
Reporter Bob Schieffer warned: "The House committee trying to
investigate campaign irregularities has broken into complete partisan
disarray over how much power to give Republican Chairman Dan
Burton....Democrats did everything but throw food when Burton laid
out ground rules for the investigation, under which he could subpoena
witnesses and documents without the Democrats'
permission....Democrats say Burton is destroying the committee's
credibility by concentrating only on Democratic
irregularities....Democrats fear the probe is already out of control."<br>
On July 31, 1997, the Senate committee probing the Asian money
scandal voted unanimously to subpoena the White House after they took
months to release documents about illegal donations to the DNC. The
only network mention came from Bob Schieffer on the July 30 CBS
Evening News â€" but nothing after subpoenas were issued.<br>
> NBC theorized that the media were too Clinton-scandal obsessed in
1997. On June 17, 1997, Today co-host Katie Couric asked reporter Bob
Woodward: "But are members of the media, do you think, Bob, too
scandal-obsessed, looking for something at every corner?"<br>
On August 1, even as the Senate moved to subpoena the White House, co-
host Matt Lauer professed: "But there aren't any major storm clouds
on the horizon for Bill Clinton, other than maybe Medicare reform."
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter replied: "Yeah, but of course there are
these possible scandals, but when the economy is doing well, the
public really doesn't seem to care much about anything else."<br>
On October 8, Today co-host Katie Couric framed the hearings for Sen.
Arlen Specter: "Perhaps this is an intentional effort to embarrass
the Democratic Party?" On the November 7 Today, NBC's Lisa Myers
pressed Senator Fred Thompson: "Your hearings clearly reinforced the
public's already low opinion of politicians and politics. Beyond
that, what did it accomplish?"
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