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Sanders Has Never Talked to the Senator

August 22, 1992

Regarding Howard Rosenberg's television analysis column "Media, Politicians Are Cozy Companions" (Section A, Aug. 18), Rosenberg got one thing right: I did not refer to Sen. Al Gore as "Al." I did not call him "Sen. Gore." Nor did I call him "Mr. Gore." In fact, I didn't call him anything at all. I have never interviewed the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Not in person. Not via satellite. Not by phone. Not even by carrier pigeon. I've never spoken to the man. Period.

Therefore, I did not "climb on Gore's lap," mentally or otherwise.

I have the utmost respect for Rosenberg's witty and often-insightful writings, but I learned on Day 1 of Journalism 101: Check the facts first.

I assume Howard (if I may be so bold as to cozy up to a columnist) was referring to a recent interview I conducted with Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton (not Gore) on "Action News at Six."

Clinton did not "make a fuss about" our mutual Southern background. I brought it up. Having begun my journalism career reporting for several Arkansas newspapers, radio and television stations, I've known Bill and Hillary Clinton for about 20 years.

For me to conduct an interview and not acknowledge that fact would be about as hypocritical as Rosenberg pretending he never wanted to be on television.

For the record, the Clinton interview dealt with a number of timely issues about which the Democratic nominee gave specific and direct answers: his response to the escalating crisis in Iraq, his plans for dealing with economic problems here in Southern California and his plans for dealing with possible negative campaigning from his opposition.

Hardly a mental lap-climb.

By the way, contrary to the tone of the article, I received several calls from people who thought I was too tough on Clinton (whom I never called "Bill").

I'm glad Rosenberg is there to keep an eye on us "TV types." I applaud when he brilliantly takes us to task when necessary. Certainly someone should. But Rosenberg committed a cardinal sin in the sacred journalism book by which he swears. Even a superficial television reporter would be more careful than that.


Anchor-Reporter, KCBS-TV


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