Accuracy in Media

We have on occasion been critical of Salon Magazine, the Internet magazine that has often seemed like a public relations arm of the Clinton White House. But lately, the wheels have been coming off of this left-wing spin machine. One of Salon’s two editors has called on President Clinton to resign. A reporter, Jonathan Broder, was recently fired for publicly criticizing the decision by Salon’s editors to expose Henry Hyde’s sexual affair from 30 years ago, though Hyde had never lied about it under oath.

These actions were surprising coming from an online magazine bankrolled largely by multi-millionaire Democratic supporter William Hambrecht, through his Silicon Valley investment banking firm, and two computer companies. Hambrecht has managed more than half a billion dollars in venture capital investments for Apple and Adobe. They are also well known as major financial supporters of Clinton according to the Landmark Legal Foundation.

The latest straying from the party line is an October 13 article by Murray Waas, in which he takes the White House to task for lying about its role in the efforts to produce a letter signed by 34 Democrats in the Senate with the goal of derailing the impeachment train that has already left the station. According to Waas’s sources, quote, “President Clinton himself was the source of a controversial proposal to recruit at least 34 Democratic senators to declare that they would not vote to convict Clinton of any impeachment charges lodged by the House…The account by these sources directly contradicts White House assertions that the proposal originated on Capitol Hill,” unquote.

This controversy began when John Harris reported on October 4 in the Washington Post that Clinton was quote, “lobbying…to get more than one third of the Senate-to declare up front that they would never vote to convict,”( unquote). Harris wrote that Clinton had discussed this with Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, who had discouraged the idea. “This is an idea which was generated on the Hill,” Harris quoted a senior White House official as saying.

The next the public heard of this was three days later, from the floor of the Senate, when Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia lashed out. Known as the number one “pork barrel” senator, but also the self-appointed and widely recognized defender of parliamentary procedures and constitutional authority, Byrd sharply admonished the president. This got fairly wide coverage, but some of his strongest statements weren’t heard in the news sound-bites. Here is a sample of what he said:

“I would suggest by way of friendly advice to the White House, don’t tamper with this jury…We may have to sit as jurors. Don’t let it be said that we allowed ourselves to be tampered with, no matter who attempts the tampering, no matter how subtle the attempt…One may say, well, there is no impeachable offense. This is something we don’t know. If Senators commit themselves prematurely and then find, in reading the articles, that there is one article that is very, very difficult to vote against, it may be your own seat that you are imperiling.”

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