Accuracy in Media

Transcript
(The audio is available here)

Narrator

This is part four of a series produced by Patrick Knowlton.  On this audio, you will hear, Miquel Rodriguez, the most qualified government official to speak on Foster’s death.  You will also hear comments by media personalities and members of Congress, including Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Dan Burton.  

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducts background checks on the president’s nominations for federal judgeships.  This agency, and possibly the same FBI agents, that assisted Bates and Kavanaugh in covering-up Foster’s murder, assures that nominees have no criminal background, and so are qualified to serve as judges. 

 

The Senate Judiciary committee, chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch, confirms judicial nominees.  Listen and compare the comments of Miquel Rodriguez to Chairman Hatch.

 

Senator Orrin Hatch:

Accordingly, I want to be clear on one point, there is absolutely no credible evidence to contradict the Fiske Report’s conclusion that Vincent Foster took his own life, and it happened at Fort Marcy Park.  There is no credible evidence to the contrary.  I suspect conspiracy theorists will always differ with this conclusion.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

Both EMTs that responded to the park.  Both observed trauma to the neck.  I saw pictures that clearly indicate to me that there is trauma on the neck.  I believe it’s a puncture wound on the neck. 

There is really nothing that is consistent with him committing that kind of violent act at all.

Narrator:

The public has been told by the media that the Senate Banking Committee investigated the death of Vincent Foster.  Compare the remarks of committee members with those we have heard from Miquel Rodriguez.  First is California Senator Barbara Boxer:

 

Barbara Boxer:
The first issue is the Vince Foster death.  Independent Counsel states quote, “the overwhelming evidence compels the conclusion that Vincent Foster committed suicide.  There is no evidence that issues related to Whitewater played any part in his suicide.” Now you’ve heard that several times, but that’s the crux of the matter.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

This whole notion of doing an honest investigation is laughable.  I knew what the result was going to be, because I was told what the result was going to be from the get go.

 

Narrator:

Republican Senator Bob Bennett:

 

Bob Bennett:

I will be happy to stipulate that Vince Foster committed suicide.  There was a time when the rumors that were in the press lead me to believe there was some credence to an additional theory.  I find no possible justification for that now and I am one senator who is willing to say that this hearing should not be about whether or not Vince Foster committed suicide.  He committed suicide, I’ll so stipulate.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

All I know is that things did not happen the way Fiske said that they happened, and the reports don’t support what Fiske said.

 

Narrator:

Senior Republican Senator Pete Domenici said the Republicans would not challenge the Fiske Report.

 

Senator Pete Domenici:

With reference to his death I don’t think anyone on our side is challenging the suicide. So perhaps we can get rid of that rather quickly.

Miquel Rodriguez:

It is in many Republicans’ interest to not rock the boat, because what we are talking about is ultimate power.

 

Narrator:

Former Democrat and now Republican, Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell:

 

Senator Campbell:

These hearings begin with the investigation of Vincent Foster’s suicide and that should turn the stomach of any caring American.  I really believe we should drop that whole issue.  The Park Police, the FBI, the Medical Examiner, the Independent Counsel they are all professionals and they did their job and concluded that Vince Foster did indeed commit suicide.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

And this is all so much fluff and a look-good job.  This is all so much nonsense.  I knew the result before the investigation began.

 

Narrator:

Democrat Senator Christopher Dodd:

 

Senator Dodd:
This panel is a banking committee, not a medical board of inquiry.  We’re senators not coroners.  There are some legitimate questions that ought to be examined but probing in a macabre way into the family tragedy, that all that have looked at it have concluded was tragically a suicide and nothing more.  I hope we can move through very quickly and get to the issues that are more important in my view.

 

 Miquel Rodriguez:

They had the nerve to look at me straight in the eye, and ah, when I said, “Look, I think it might be a good idea to use different FBI agents.”  They went through the roof! They went absolutely nuts!  They had everything the way they wanted it.  It was a complete sham job.  You know, again, I just think it is a whitewash.  I know these people and I know what they are trying to do.  I know where they want to go.  Where they want to go is the path of least resistance.

 

Narrator:

Democrat Senators Carol Moseley-Braun and Senator John Kerry: 

Carol Moseley-Braun:

Mr. Chairman I would like to associate myself with the remarks of Senators Bennett and Boxer regarding the Vincent Foster issue.  We are not conducting an investigation into a suicide.

 

Senator John Kerry:

The FBI, the Park Police, the Foster family and the Special Counsel have all concluded that Vince Foster tragically took his own life.  The medical examiner, the FBI laboratory, the DNA analysis on the gun, the medical and forensic experts all agree yet somehow here is the United States Senate giving credence to the most insulting, degrading, lurid, and lunatic theories that people could invent.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

Very few people need to know anything about anything really.  All people need to know is what there job is, not why, be a good soldier, carry out the orders.

 

Narrator:

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby and Vincent Foster were next door neighbors in a Georgetown rowhouse.  This is what Senator Shelby said about his neighbor:

 

Senator Shelby:
It is my understanding, as others have said, and people have testified like Doctor Hirsch, um, that it was a suicide and I have no reason to question that.  And I was hoping that we can close this forever.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

Even the Park Police, even the Park Police and the person who first saw the body, ah, saw different things.  But there was a point in time where the particular gun that he described arrived and something before that was either not observed or not completely identified. 

 

Narrator:

Peter Jennings aided the cover-up when he announced that ABC News had been, “investigating to see if there is any truth to the rumors,” about Vince Foster’s death.  But the ABC news investigation did not include interviewing Patrick Knowlton and other witnesses that could prove Foster did not drive his family’s gray Honda to the park . 

 

On March 11, 1994, ABC News broadcast the conclusion that Vince Foster committed suicide.  At that time, only two witnesses had been interviewed by Robert Fiske.  Miquel Rodriguez told us, the conclusion was determined long ago and “the news media had the story line from the get go.” 

 

Peter Jennings:

Another story about violence, in Washington today the White House is accusing Republicans of spreading irresponsible and unsubstantiated rumors about the Whitewater affair.  In particular a rumor circulating yesterday insinuating foul play in the death of Vince Foster, the White House Counsel, who police have said committed suicide last summer.  We have been investigating to see if there is any truth to the rumors.  Here is ABC’s Jim Wooten:

 

Jim Wooten:

The common thread is that Foster was murdered someplace else, that his body was moved to this park above the Potomac where it was found.  And feeding all this speculation, is more speculation.  For instance, the rumor that there are no photographs of the scene.   There are.  ABC News has seen a complete set, including this one showing Foster’s hand, his thumb caught in the trigger guard.  Some rumors insist there was little or no blood on or around Foster’s body.  The grim and graphic photographs of the scene prove that is not true either.  The White House itself may have fueled some of the rumors with its own incompetence in the hours after Foster’s death.  But there is little reason now to doubt that for whatever reason he may have had, the President’s boyhood friend drove himself across the Potomac one afternoon last July and tragically took his own life.  Jim Wooten ABC News Washington.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

The photographs that were taken for several people don’t exist any longer or they have never been turned over to reviewing officials.  I had a person look at thirteen photographs and that person told me mine are not here.  So that person’s photographs are missing.

At the time they got there, and the body was in the position that it was in, there was virtually no blood anywhere. 

Then there are some conflicting reports of there being blood later on.  Later the EMT sees blood, then Haut sees blood.  Well the reason is very clear.  They lifted the body and pulled it to the top of the ridge, to top of the berm, and once they did that blood started flowing fast.

 

Narrator:

Why did Fiske and his FBI investigators give ABC News the death scene photographs during their ongoing investigation?  Six years after Starr issued his conclusion, the public is still denied the right to view the photographs.  A Freedom of Information Act suit, by Attorney Alan Favish, to release the photographs is before the United States Supreme Court.

 

Does the news media act as the voice of the government or does it serve as the eyes and ears of the American people?

 

Miquel Rodriguez told us he spoke to over 100 journalists, including ABC’s Nightline.  Ted Koppel talked to Miquel Rodriguez and knew that Rodriguez would not join the criminal cover-up.  Publicly Koppel concealed what Rodriguez told him.  Koppel discredited Rodriguez for not being a team player.

 

Ted Koppel:
Let me just put a slightly different turn on the facts as you have recounted them.  I am familiar with the gentleman of  whom you speak.  I am familiar with the charges.  The only difference with the version I have heard and the version you have recounted is that I have heard is that he is described as a guy who wanted to go off on his own, who did indeed want to follow some leads that his superiors did not want him to follow, because they wanted to follow a team approach there.  But that in and of itself, and I don’t think even Mr. Rodriguez, would take the position that he had evidence, of Vince Foster having been killed.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

Well I wrote that to Starr back in January of this year and it was squelched by Tuohey, he could yell louder than I could.  He was a team player.  I know.  My office was searched by him.

 

There is really nothing that is consistent with him, ah, you know, committing that kind of a violent ? or that kind of violent act at all. 

 

 Narrator:

After Miquel Rodriguez contacted ABC Nightline, Ted Koppel did not report the evidence that Foster was murdered.  Nightline’s host misled viewers by broadcasting the foolish idea that if Foster had been murdered too many people would have to be involved in a conspiracy.

 

Ted Koppel:
Let me take for the moment what you have said, with a grain of salt.  But let’s assume for the sake of argument that it were true.  One would then have to also conclude that everyone who subsequently has investigated this case, now I’m not now talking about reporters, I’m talking about the FBI, I’m talking about the Senate Banking Committee, I’m talking about the Park Service itself, all those who have investigated it, and all those who have subsequently read all of the reports, would have to be in collusion, say for whatever reason, I’m wondering what reason you might think, ah would bring Democrats and Republicans, critics and friends of the Clinton administration, to, to conspire to come to that conclusion.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

You don’t need a lot of people to know what’s going on.  In fact, you don’t need many at all.  Everyone makes a very big mistake when they believe that a lot of people are necessary to orchestrate some kind of ? some result here.  Very few people need to know anything about anything really.  When you write a report all you have to do is make sure it is consistent with, the most innocuous thing is to make sure it is consistent with the result that you ultimately want to get, which is to not embarrass your other colleagues who have made their conclusion already.

 

Narrator:

Knowlton learned that Miquel Rodriguez was talking to the New York Times, Washington Post and the Associated Press, at the same time Rodriguez contacted Nightline.   Miquel Rodriguez told Ted Koppel about the criminal activity in Kenneth Starr’s Office of Independent Counsel.   Why is Ted Koppel still asking for someone to give him the evidence? 

 

Ted Koppel:

The impression that somehow if there was a great, dramatic, indeed shattering story like the one just mentioned, that those of us in the media have anything to gain, I’m talking now about the mass media, by not broadcasting it.  You give me the evidence, I’ll be delighted to broadcast it.  I have no particular problem with where the ideology of a story comes from, as long as I can prove it to be true.  Okay? 

 

Narrator:

Patrick Knowlton personally delivered evidence of his intimidation to every news organization including Ted Koppel personally.  Mr. Knowlton also included the proof Foster’s car was not at Fort Marcy Park.  Koppel told his producer to ask Patrick Knowlton to bring his evidence to his ABC office.  After meeting with Nightline’s producer, ABC never contacted Patrick Knowlton again.

Miquel Rodriguez:

I have talked to a number of people from Time Magazine, Newsweek, you know, Nightline, there have been well over a hundred.  And this matter is so sealed tight the editors won’t allow it to go to press.  The accepted media here has always had, ah, a certain take on all of this.  And there’s been story lines from the get-go.       

 

Narrator:

When confronted with their failure to report important news, an excuse offered by journalists is, “We don’t have the facilities.  We don’t have the time.”  It is interesting that stories like Monica Lewinsky get the full attention and resources of the press.  Corruption uncovered by the government is acceptable, without question, and reported.   Serious government corruption, uncovered by citizens, is suppressed and/or dismissed as conspiracy theories.

 

Ted Koppel:

I do five programs a week on Nightline.   For example, turning out 2 ? hours of broadcasting every week means that on average we will probably spend, I’m talking about different members of our staff, perhaps, five or six days on a program.  Some programs we may spend five or six hours on.  If news breaks, a major news story breaks at seven o’clock in the evening or at eight o’clock in the evening, we’ll have it on Nightline at eleven-thirty at night, three hours later.  There is no question in my mind, and it has always been so, that the fringe media, on the left and on the right, the smaller organizations, the ones that can and do in fact, focus an enormous amount of attention, on a particular story, sometimes spending many months, even years on a story, that it is often the fringe media that will develop a story that is ultimately picked up by the mass media.  If you are looking to the mass media to do the real investigative journalism, if you’re looking for Nightline to do major investigative stories, you’re looking in the wrong direction.  We don’t have the facilities we don’t have the time.  I have a staff of 50 people and we do 2 ? hours of broadcasting a week.

 

Narrator:

When it comes to reporting the news, ABC is no different than FOX, CNN, NBC and CBS.  Compare the comments of journalist Mike Wallace of CBS 60 Minutes, to what we now know from Miquel Rodriguez.  It is clear that Mike Wallace has it wrong.

 

 

Mike Wallace:

What really happened to Vince Foster?  Did President Clinton’s boyhood friend kill himself or was he murdered?  Foster’s body was found outside Washington more than two years ago, but still we read stories about his death almost every day.  And just as often viewers call or write asking us to investigate.  So we have taken a look at what really happened to him.

 

But the evidence does not indicate that to any of the investigators, all of whom concluded that the body could not have been moved.

 

Dr. Donald Haut you are the Fairfax County Medical Examiner?

 

Dr. Haut:

Yes I am.

 

Mike Wallace:

Was there a suspicious lack of blood at the scene?

 

Dr. Haut:

Absolutely not.

 

Mike Wallace:

Did you tell a reporter by the name of Christopher Ruddy that there was an unusual lack of blood?

 

Dr. Haut:

No.

 

Mike Wallace:

Christopher Ruddy says that you changed your story.

 

Dr. Haut:

No. That’s not true.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

So Haut actually sees the body in two positions and people are conveniently using different phrases of Haut to justify whatever result they want.  Sure Haut says on one hand there is no blood, but, he says, on the other hand, there is blood.  The fact is, a number of people have said there was a small amount where the body was originally found.  Later on it’s moved to a horizontal position at the top of the berm, it does have some seepage under the body.  So when Haut sees the body it is in a horizontal state, so yes there is going to be blood.  Haut actually sees the body in two positions.

 

Narrator:

Mike Wallace and Jim Wooten of ABC News hoodwinked the public by broadcasting that there was plenty of blood where Foster’s body was found. 

 

NBC’s Tim Russert, without presenting facts or evidence, suggests the public should accept and trust whatever the authorities say.

 

Tim Russert:

The Fiske investigation, a former Republican U.S. attorney, concluded the death was a suicide. If Ken Starr, a man who accepted the position as Dean of the Pepperdine Law School, School of Public Policy, if he concludes, if he concludes, that Vincent Foster’s death was a suicide, will you then accept that?

 

Narrator:

NBC’s Tim Russert personally received the evidence of Patrick Knowlton’s harassment and what he and other witnesses saw at Fort Marcy Park.  Knowlton appealed to Tim Russert to look at the evidence and report the story of his harassment.  Tim Russert took Knowlton’s evidence and telephone number, but  Russert never contacted Knowlton.  The private Tim Russert is different from the public Tim Russert:

 

Tim Russert:

And if there is a situation where an individual is being harassed or is placed in harm in any way, shape, or form, be it Waco, Ruby Ridge, wherever the case may lead us we’ll be there covering it.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

It was the Independent counsel themselves and the FBI that beat me back, in fact threatened me.  They told me to back off and back down.  I have been communicated with again and told to be careful where I tread.  I can tell you this it’s not just my career and reputation, but it also has to do with my personal health and my family.

 

Narrator:

Several prominent Senators stated their agreement with Robert Fiske’s Report. on Foster’s death.   Patrick Knowlton met personally with many members of Congress including House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Dan Burton.  Publicly, Speaker Gingrich stated that his committee chairmen would investigate Foster’s death. 

House Speaker Newt Gingrich:

 

Newt Gingrich:

I think we are entitled to a full airing and I think you are going to find that Congressional hearings are going to raise those questions.  I was very struck by an article I think it was in the Investors Business Daily, ran a very long article that I thought was stunning, raising question after question about Foster and what happened there.  And I have asked several of our Congressional chairmen of our committees to look into that and I think you will be seeing some hearings on these topics because when you look at them there is just too much there to not try to find out what really happened.

 

Narrator:

Privately, Dan Burton, Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, in a meeting with Patrick Knowlton promised he would hold hearings to investigate Foster’s death. 

Representative Dan Burton:

 

Representative Dan Burton:

You know me, if I tell you something it is going to be the straight scoop or I won’t tell it to you.  I am not going to violate your trust.  I promise.

 

Well let me just say I had an interview with Novak.  And anytime I am talking to the media, even my good friend Bob Novak, I am not going to say that I am going to re-open any investigation, the Travel Office, the FBI, Vince Foster or anything.  Now that doesn’t mean that I am not going to look into things that I think are relevant or important, and I am going to do that.

 

Oh no, what I said was that unless I have additional information that would lead me to believe that we ought to re-open any of the investigations then I am not going to do anything.  Now that doesn’t mean that, see I’m going to be looking into all of this to find out if there is additional information.  But publicly I am not going to re-open the investigation unless I get something.  There is no need to do it.  And I am going through it. And if that, that, that, that, that, would shed new light on it, of course I am going to explore it.

 

Listen to me.  I, I, I, I am going to look into every aspect of every one of these investigations.  I am going to go through all the files that Clinger had.  I am going to go through my files.  I’ve got a deposition of the man who found his body.  But I am not going to divulge how I am going to conduct any of this until the proper time.  And what I need is something to hang my hat on that will show that there is additional information or evidence.

 

Now you got to do that in a very careful way.  Otherwise the media is going to have a field day.  They are expecting me to do that.  They expect me to right off the bat to start beating on the Foster issue.  And, and I can’t do that right off the bat.  Just give me a little bit of time to go through this.

 

I do what I say I am going to do and if you don’t trust me.  If you don’t want to give me information then don’t do it.

 

I am just telling you as chairman of this committee I got three investigations, right now.  I got Travel Office, I got FBI and now I got these illegal contributions.  And I have got to deal with those. 

 

Now Foster, I told you and I still believe this.  I said it on the record to the New York Times or Washington Post I can’t remember which one.  I said I don’t recant anything I said about Foster.  I believe his body was moved.  I believe that Report was in error.  I believe what the confidential witness said. 

 

But I have got to do this at the right time.  And I don’t think starting right off the bat doing this would be the right thing to do because they would, they would try to blow that up and make it look like I was not a credible chairman.  So what I’ve got to do is deal with the things that are right on my plate which are Travel Office, Filegate Office, er File Office, er FBI Files, and this this issue right now.

 

And Foster you may rest assured.  I am going to look at all the documents I possibly can.  I’m going to look at those pictures.  I am going to look into that.  This is not the time to be beating on that drum until we’re ready.

 

Well, then don’t believe me.

 

Miquel Rodriguez:

I still have hope that what I uncovered will not be explained away.

END




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