Accuracy in Media

Janet Reno passed away in Miami, Florida at the age of 78 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, first diagnosed in 1995. The liberal media praised her as the first woman to hold the office of U.S. Attorney General, and surprisingly covered her many fiascos while in office. However, the tone is not very critical and glanced over details of the scandals not named Waco or Elian Gonzalez:

ABC News said the following:

One of the Clinton administration’s most recognizable and polarizing figures, Reno faced criticism early in her tenure for the deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, where sect leader David Koresh and some 80 followers perished.

She was known for deliberating slowly, publicly and in a typically blunt manner. Reno frequently told the public “the buck stops with me,” borrowing the mantra from President Harry S. Truman.

After Waco, Reno figured into some of the controversies and scandals that marked the Clinton administration, including Whitewater, Filegate, bungling at the FBI laboratory, Monica Lewinsky, alleged Chinese nuclear spying and questionable campaign financing in the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election.

CBS News wrote:
By the time she took office, a crisis was already building at a compound in Waco, Texas. The Branch Davidian religious sect led by David Koresh was in a standoff with the FBI. Reno ordered agents to storm the property, saying she believed children were being abused. About 80 people died in the raid. Reno took full responsibility.

“I approved the plan and I’m responsible for it,” she said.

Reno also drew fire for her handling of the case of Elian Gonzalez. The 6-year old refugee had been living with relatives in Miami when Reno ordered federal agents to storm the house. The child was sent back to Cuba to live with his father. The Cuban American community was enraged.

NBC News reflected on her controversies in the following manner:

One of the administration’s most recognizable and polarizing figures, Reno faced criticism early in her tenure for the deadly raid on the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, where sect leader David Koresh and some 80 followers perished…

After Waco, Reno figured into some of the controversies and scandals that marked the Clinton administration, including Whitewater, Filegate, bungling at the FBI laboratory, Monica Lewinsky, alleged Chinese nuclear spying and questionable campaign financing in the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election.

CNN said the following, after praising her prosecution of the Oklahoma City bomber:

In 1993, she took office as the Waco, Texas, standoff was already underway. On the 51st day of the standoff, the attorney general ordered federal agents to raid the compound — a decision that resulted in the death of approximately 80 members of the Branch Davidian sect.
“The buck stops with me,” Reno said after the incident. She later said on CNN’s “Larry King Live” that her decision was “obviously wrong.”
In April 2000, Reno played a pivotal role in the saga of six-year-old Cuban immigrant Elian Gonzalez. Gonzalez, found off the coast of Fort Lauderdale in November 1999, was the only survivor among a group of 13 Cuban migrants trying to make it to the US. The incident sparked an international custody dispute between Gonzalez’s relatives in the US and his father in Cuba.
Reno ultimately ordered a raid that sent Gonzalez back to Cuba.

Photo by State Library and Archives of Florida





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