1) Larry Flynt got a
national showcase for his latest hit: CNBC's Rivera Live. But he went
beyond sex to an intimate detail. Yet Rivera claimed Republicans
"brought this upon themselves" and made "all of us part
of this sleazy process." Another guest lumped Bob Barr with Hitler
2) Monday night Sam
Donaldson noted that judges have been removed for perjury and CNN's
Bruce Morton, recalling how the British burned the White House,
ruminated: "The Republicans would never go that far, would
3) Larry King contended
anyone who made a mistake on a tax form is as guilty as Clinton and
anyone opposed to the Senate deal is the very definition of a
4) The January 11 edition of
Notable Quotables: "A Legislative Coup d'etat" and
"Stop a Senate Trial."
Geraldo Rivera's gift to Larry Flynt: a national cable soapbox from
which to slime Congressman Bob Barr. And Rivera then had the temerity to
denounce how the Republican "urge to destroy the President"
will "make all of us part of this sleazy process."
scene on Monday's Rivera Live on CNBC: Geraldo Rivera with Larry Flynt
as his guest, as well as Alan Dershowitz and Jerry Falwell.
Fresh from his
two-week vacation, up front Rivera assured viewers of his discretion:
"As I've said before, the only permissible ground for revealing
scandalous private details of public lives is to prevent politicians
with dirty hands from leading the moral charge against the President in
the Senate trial set to begin on Thursday."
Talk about a
false premise. What Bob Barr has or has not done has nothing to do with
Clinton and if it's not illegal, just hypocrisy, then there's no
comparison to Clinton's multi-month campaign of deceit and misuse of
government power to cover up his lies in official judicial proceedings.
turned the show over to Flynt, publisher of Hustler magazine, so he
could reveal what his $1 million award uncovered.
Rivera: "Give us the headline,
Flynt: "Well, the individual we're
talking about is Bob Barr. He was the first member of Congress to ask
for President Clinton's resignation. We have established that he did
not tell the truth under oath and we have depositions to back this up. I
find even more troubling than that is the fact that this man consented
to his wife having an abortion."
Rivera: "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. I
don't want to go into abortions."
Flynt: "I only want to make one statement
about that. It's very important."
Rivera: "Why is that? Isn't it a legal
right in this country?"
Flynt: "Because he stood on the House of
Congress and said abortion was equivalent to murder. But he still had
implemented it." [Yes, he said "on the House of
Rivera: "Larry, you undermine your case by
Then it went
downhill. Okay, it couldn't really go any further downhill.
to outline Flynt's revelation that Barr had an affair with his current
wife before he married her and, now this is the big bombshell, in
depositions for his divorce he utilized a privilege allowed in Georgia
to decline to answer questions about his sexual activities with his
wife-to-be pre-divorce. Rivera helpfully read excerpts from the
After an ad
break, Rivera challenged Falwell: "Reverend Falwell, haven't the
Republicans like Barr, like Livingston, haven't they brought this,
like Henry Hyde and his, haven't they brought this upon themselves?
When you go down into the gutter you get dirty."
No, Rivera has
brought this upon all of us.
Jumping ahead in
the show a few minutes, Falwell confronted Dershowitz. Earlier
Dershowitz had declared: "Bob Barr, who I despise because of his
support for racist groups..." Falwell suggested people shouldn't
"despise" anyone, prompting Dershowitz to start ranting, on a
show featuring a Clinton ally dishing dirt on a conservative, about how
Republicans are guilty of "sexual McCarthyism." The Harvard
law professor soon lumped Barr in with Hitler and Stalin, lecturing
"Despising is really important, let me
tell you, it is a very important trait. I despise Hitler. I despise
Stalin. I despise racists and I'm going to continue to despise them
not withstanding what you say."
I could go on,
but I think you get a flavor of the show. I'll end with this lead-in
to an ad break in which Rivera blamed not himself for giving a
pornographer a showcase, but those who want to "destroy"
"This, ladies and gentlemen, I warned you
in January, you get there and it will filthify, if that's a word, it
will make all of us part of this sleazy process. The urge to destroy the
President of the United States is so malignant that nobody will
emerge..." [last word drowned out by Flynt]
seems an applicable word to apply to Rivera's performance and decision
to give Flynt a megaphone.
All the networks led Monday night, January 11, with the White House
response to the charges to be tried by the Senate.
On ABC's World
News Tonight anchor Charlie Gibson suggested "both sides are
digging in for a long battle, but at least today it was polite"
since the White House decided to not file a motion to dismiss. ABC aired
just one story, a report from Sam Donaldson who summarized the
Clinton's team's claims, including how the charges do not warrant
removal from office even if true. But Donaldson concluded by adding:
"And as far as whether there are sufficient grounds for his
removal, the House argues that the constitutional grounds for removing a
President is the same as for removing a judge. And Charlie, several
judges have been removed for crimes such as perjury."
The CBS Evening
News ran two stories. First, Scott Pelley with the White House view and
how on Monica Lewinsky, since her statements both help and hurt
Clinton's case, "the defense must decide whether to buttress her
credibility or destroy it." So much for avoiding PPD. Second, Bob
Schieffer delivered the perspective of the House managers.
World Today opened with several reports, including a look by Bruce
Morton at how Senate rules prevent Senators from talking during the
trial but they can and will speak with reporters outside the chamber.
Morton concluded with this joking shot at the GOP:
"However partisan they get, Hillary Rodham
Clinton may take comfort in an event she went to: the dedication of a
Dolly Madison coin. When Mrs. Madison was First Lady during the War of
1812 the British burned the White House. The Republicans would never go
that far, would they?"
News. In contrast to ABC's portrait of politeness, Tom Brokaw
asserted: "Tonight the White House is making pre-emptive strike,
claiming the charges against Bill Clinton do not represent high crimes
and misdemeanors." Claire Shipman filled in the details from the
White House, uniquely reporting that to give a showcase to two women,
the White House may have its case presented in the Senate by Deputy
Counsel Cheryl Mills and Nicole Seligman, an associate of David Kendall.
Next, Gwen Ifill previewed the Senate trial and ran through some of the
unanswered questions about what will happen.
Larry King, back on "wacko" patrol and being a little wacky
himself. In his weekly USA Today column on Monday the CNN host contended
that nearly every American is as guilty as Clinton:
"The big issue these days is lying under
oath. How many of you ever put down a misstatement on an Internal
Revenue Service tax return? If you did, even if you were off by only a
dollar, when you signed the return, you took an oath. Have you ever
taken an oath in traffic court and not told the full truth about the
circumstances of your ticket? I therefore call for the impeachment and
dismissal of all those guilty of these 'misdemeanors.' So be
slight difference between inadvertently putting a wrong number on a tax
form and deliberate lying about your income.
King denounced critics of CNN's Cold War series, taking almost as many
words to defend his credibility in assessing it given he's a CNN
"Critics are carping at the CNN series on
the Cold War. Yes, I work for the company, but it's still the best
documentary I've seen. It's fair and wonderfully edited. Since my
contract runs through 2005, I don't have to say this, but it needs
saying: This is great television...."
And just after
that ellipses, one more shot at conservatives: "New definition of a
wacko: someone angry that the Senate got together on something."
The January 11 Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of
the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.
Until last June
CyberAlerts regularly featured the newest NQ when published, but the
press of impeachment scandal events pushed the issues aside. Since many
may not have been paying close attention to the news and CyberAlerts
around the holidays, I thought it may be illuminating to many to be able
to read this latest NQ since it features the most egregious bias from
the days just before the House impeachment vote through the end of the
year. You'll see that several quotes show how badly media figures want
to avoid a Senate trial and how passionate they are about portraying the
President as a victim of Republican McCarthyism. -- Brent Baker (NQ
A Legislative Coup d'Etat?
"That was the party with the slender
majority and two weeks to live that impeached the man because they
could. It was a spiteful action, an action that they performed
absolutely in violation of the framers' intent. It was a legislative
coup d'etat, and it has been rejected utterly by the American people, 73
percent of whom now say they approve of the President's performance in
-- Geraldo Rivera, with "NBC News" under his name as his
identifier, December 22 Today.
"Ladies and gentlemen what I said yesterday, what I say today is
the most important thing I have ever said to you. If those leaders do
not allow your elected representatives the option of voting on censure
or impeachment then they have robbed, they have robbed from you, make no
mistake about it. They have used a procedural device to steal from you
your right to be democratically represented on the floor of the House of
Representatives! They have stolen that from you!"
-- Geraldo Rivera, December 9 Rivera Live on CNBC.
"Frankly, if the Republicans want to
go ahead and do this, I think they disgrace themselves in a more
profound way than President Clinton has by abusing the machinery of
impeachment, knowing full well that the Senate will hold a sham trial
and they will be, in effect, delivered of this ridiculous conclusion
they've come to."
-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, December 12.
"I think that the Republicans are going to pay a price for this
hard line attitude because Henry Hyde himself said they would never do
this along partisan lines, the House would be disgraced if they did it
along partisan lines, and that's exactly what they're doing."
-- U.S. News contributing editor Steve Roberts on CNN's Late Edition,
"Don, help me here. After the Republican sweep led by the now
resigned Newt Gingrich in 1994, when the Republicans had their peak
victory in recent history, President Clinton said that after that, after
1994, that if you left them, the Republicans, alone that they would burn
themselves out. Now is or is not what we have now a race sort of between
when the Republicans burn themselves out or burn the President up?"
-- Dan Rather to former Clinton speechwriter Donald Baer during live CBS
News impeachment coverage, December 19.
"As salvo after salvo of cruise
missiles continue to punish Iraq, Republicans in Congress are engaging
in conduct that during the war in Vietnam they called giving aid and
comfort to the enemy...Although they have backed off from the most
inflammatory language of yesterday they are still pressing for
-- Geraldo Rivera opening the December 17 Upfront Tonight.
Hitting Clinton....from the Left
"But when you propose a hundred
billion dollars in additional spending for the Pentagon, even though the
Cold War is over with, that is money that could go for education, could
go for health care, could go for improving the cities, agriculture,
environment. That's money that's now going to go for defense spending.
So where is the money going to come from?"
-- CNN's Wolf Blitzer to OMB Director Jack Lew, January 3 Late Edition.
We Wanted to Honor Hillary As Our
Spurned Spouse of the Year
"It's that person or persons who's
affected the news the most, affected our history the most for good or
for ill. Had it been an award, had it been somebody we wanted to honor,
you know there are a lot of other people from Mark McGwire to Hillary
-- Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson explaining his Men of the Year
choice, December 20 Meet the Press.
"For a while...she was our leading contender. Her strength and her
almost surreal ability to assert her dignity were remarkable to some and
mystifying to others. She also, for many months, helped determine how
the nation framed the scandal debate by portraying it as a partisan
battle and disgusting prosecutorial invasion of personal privacy. So why
didn't we choose her? Sentimentally, a lot of us wanted to; I personally
was fascinated and impressed by her."
-- Isaacson's "To Our Readers" article, Dec. 28/Jan. 4 Time.
Freudian Slip About Republicans
"Rumpled, charmed, low-key,
conciliatory, someone who can get along with both moderates and
Republicans, a veteran, a nuts and bolts legislator..."
-- ABC's Linda Douglass describing incoming House Speaker Dennis Hastert,
December 19 World News Tonight.
Ken Starr: Just Larry Flynt With
"Adultery as a killer issue will
haunt politics for years to come. Now we have Larry Flynt following on
the heels of the tabloids, the press and Ken Starr. What's kept Clinton
in office is partly the fear of Starr, who's Flynt with subpoena power
and a grand jury. People don't want their government going into a
person's sex life, no matter how reprehensible. Sticking with marriage
is the right thing to do but not because Larry Flynt or the government
is waiting to humiliate you if you don't."
-- Time reporter Margaret Carlson's "Outrage of the Year," as
announced on CNN's Capital Gang on December 26.
"Reverend Falwell, is Mr. Flynt, in effect, doing the work of the
Christian Right, here?"
-- Good Morning America substitute co-host Cynthia McFadden to Jerry
Falwell, December 22.
Stop a Senate Trial
"Didn't I say to you that we are
marching off the cliff? Reason tells you we should stop this and get on
with the business of governance. But, there is precious little. I mean,
I spent most of today and yesterday half on the phone while I was
covering this thing, with Senators Republican and Democratic, and at the
moment everybody's fondest hope is that the two week hiatus, between now
and the new year, in that period impeachment will sink in and sanity
will prevail and we'll avoid a trial. But there are a lot of people that
don't want that to happen."
-- National Public Radio's Nina Totenberg, December 19 Inside
Co-host Jodi Applegate: "Senator Hutchison, the
poll numbers reveal the American people don't want the President
removed. His approval ratings are up to 72 percent, Republicans' ratings
are down. What kind of leverage do Republicans really have given the
conventional wisdom, which admittedly has been wrong before, that no way
are Republicans ever going to get the 67 votes, what kind of leverage do
Republicans have against the President given all that?"
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): "The
-- December 20 Today.
"Why are you convinced of that [a speedy trial in the Senate]
because many people have been talking about a long, protracted trial
taking attention away from the important issues in this country that
people really care about?"
-- NBC's Today co-host Katie Couric to Senator Mitch McConnell, December
Lauer: Have You No Decency?
"Speaker Wright, let me start with
you. When you resigned nine years ago, you had been battered by the
right. You called for an end to what you called 'mindless cannibalism.'
Nine years later we're hearing terms like that again and others swirling
around the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Have we learned nothing in nine
-- Matt Lauer to former Speaker Jim Wright, who resigned over ethical
problems, December 21 Today.
"Speaker Wright, during McCarthy's sort of communist witch hunt,
the really turning point was when one person being grilled by the
Senator said 'do you have no decency.' Do you see anybody with the
credibility in Washington right now to ask that same question?"
-- Lauer to Wright, same show.
Media Should Raise McCarthyism
"This has been called the era when
nothing truly matters. Nothing breaks through. It all ends up sounding
the same. And when a certain Congressman from Florida said during the
debate Saturday, 'have you no sense of decency, sir?', using the same
quote as what ended, in a lot of people's minds the McCarthy era, it
didn't get through because it wasn't heard because it was at the same
volume as everything else."
-- MSNBC's Brian Williams, referring to Democrat Robert Wexler, to House
Democratic investigative counsel Abbe Lowell, December 21 News with
Republicans Hate Clinton Because ....He Can Do Two Things at
Thomas Friedman, New York Times
columnist: "One of the things that on listening to this
debate that just strikes me, the law and everything else aside, there's
something about Clinton that makes the Republicans crazy. What is
Michael Duffy, Time magazine's Washington Bureau Chief:
"Yeah, it's true. Part of it I think we saw this week is his
ability to do two things at once. I think it really does drive them up a
tree. He has this extraordinary compartmentalized ability. This week we
saw him on Wednesday go from meetings about impeachment on the Hill to
meetings about Iraq to phone calls to Senators about what will happen
there if it goes on to the Senate, back to writing his statement about
you know. The extraordinary thing about Clinton is he's able to
compartmentalize these stories in ways that lot of Americans are not,
certainly I'm not. And it's hard for, I think, people to understand how
he does his job, how he can do this with all this that's swirling around
-- December 18 Washington Week in Review on PBS.
END of Notable Quotables.
-- Brent Baker
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