Clinton Saving "America's Treasures"; ABC's Toobin Backs Hillary's VRWC
1) "An ambitious plan to save America's treasures," exclaimed Tom Brokaw on Clinton making some Western areas National Monuments. ABC led with the end-run around Congress. Jackie Judd spelled out the bad implications of a court ruling limiting federal power.
3) ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is out with a book claiming conservatives used the Lewinsky matter to abuse the legal system. Asked about Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy" claim, Toobin said she "was more right than wrong." He also learned that Bob Bennett asked Paula Jones to draw a picture of Clinton's penis.
Correction: The January 10 CyberAlert quoted a question from NBC's Brian Williams as he moderated the GOP debate on January 7: "Governor Bush, a few blocks from here on top of the State Capitol building, the confederate flag flies with the state flag and the U.S. flag. [Boos.] It is, as you can here from the reaction of tonight's [boos], as you can here from the reaction of tonight's crowd of 3,000 people from South Carolina, a hot button issue here..." The Friday night timing of the debate gave me the luxury of using, for the Monday CyberAlert, a transcript I got off Nexis instead of transcribing it myself. But though I corrected several errors in the transcript by comparing it to the videotape, I missed the use of the word "here" in place of the proper "hear."
Bill Clinton's "powerful gesture for land conservation" topped ABC's World News Tonight on Tuesday. CBS didn't touch Clinton's decision to issue an executive order designating four Western areas as National Monuments and went first with the flu in the U.S. and Europe. NBC devoted its In-Depth segment to the land move after it led with the battle over Elian Gonzalez.
ABC portrayed Clinton's land maneuver as part of an effort to "secure a better legacy," and while NBC eventually gave a few seconds to Westerners upset by the land grab, Tom Brokaw characterized Clinton as a second Teddy Roosevelt who is "safeguarding America's natural beauty for future generations."
All three broadcast evening shows ran full stories on McCain's new tax plan with both CBS and NBC describing it as "modest" compared to George Bush's proposal. See item #2 for details. Looking at a Supreme Court ruling, ABC's Jackie Judd portrayed as an ominous trend the court's decision that state employees cannot sue in federal court over age discrimination.
Judd explained how the justices found that Congress went
to far in allowing such lawsuit since unlike blacks and woman older people
have not been subjected to a history of unequal treatment. Judd spelled out
the dire implications, relying on one liberal lobbyist as her only expert:
Now back to Clinton's land grab. Peter Jennings
opened the January 11 World News Tonight:
John Cochran explained how Clinton issued an executive order which puts about one million acres of land in Arizona, Nevada and California into one of three National Monuments, thus severely limiting use of the land. Cochran allowed Arizona Senator John Kyl to express his displeasure with the end run around Congress which leaves locals to deal with how to handle the inevitable influx of tourists to the preserved areas.
At the top of NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw's tease reflected seeming bafflement at to why anyone would oppose Clinton's move: "NBC News In-Depth: An ambitious plan to save America's treasures before time runs out for the President. Why so many critics?"
Getting to the story, Brokaw's set up stuck to a
approving assessment of Clinton's prescience:
Reporter Roger O'Neil asserted that Clinton was
just "doing what he was afraid Congress wouldn't do." Explaining how
Clinton wanted to stop suburban sprawl, O'Neil aired clips of Clinton and
Interior Secretary Babbitt before getting to the other side. O'Neil relayed
how ranchers point out that the Interior Department already controls one
quarter of U.S. land and aired a soundbite from Kyl. He then concluded by
suggesting Clinton might do more than Teddy Roosevelt:
McCain's tax cut earned full stories Tuesday night on all three broadcast network evening shows. Though CBS's Dan Rather relayed McCain's claim that Bush's plan is "a giveaway to the rich," the numbers listed by CBS showed the wealthy getting a bigger tax cut from McCain.
On World News Tonight ABC's Linda Douglass outlined McCain's plan and how he is gambling that voters want to put money away for the future by shoring up Social Security.
Dan Rather gladly highlighted McCain's class
warfare, announcing on the CBS Evening News: "John McCain, who criticizes
George W. Bush's tax cut plan as a giveaway to the rich, has now weighed in
with a tax cut agenda of his own." From New Hampshire, Bill Whitaker
began his CBS Evening News story:
Whitaker's numbers did not match McCain's rhetoric: "Under the McCain plan, a family of four earning $35,000 would see their taxes cut by $1,200; earning $75,000 they'd get a $1,700 tax cut; at $150,000, McCain would slash their taxes by $4,500. Bush, by comparison, would cut $1,500 from the lower-wage taxes, $2,100 from the middle-income family and $4,300 from the higher-wage bracket." On screen viewers saw a table credited to Deloitte & Touche.
After battling soundbites from McCain and Bush, Whitaker suggested: "This close race will likely be determined by independent voters." A woman asserted: "There are a lot more issues that are more important to me, especially the character of the person running."
Whitaker then concluded: "So running on tax cuts may not work the same magic here it once did."
Over on the NBC Nightly News David Bloom got barely a minute to handle the story. He began by relaying how "McCain says he's being conservative, responsible." Compared to Bush's plan, Bloom said McCain "unveiled a modest" tax cut plan.
ABC News legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is out with a new book this week on the Lewinsky scandal. Though he maintained on Tuesday's Imus in the Morning radio show that "I think you can't underestimate just how appalling the President's behavior was," the book isn't about how the Clintons and their operatives used unethical methods to discredit investigative authorities but about how ideologically-motivated conservatives misused the legal process for political ends.
Indeed, he told Imus: "If you look at how I think the legal system was manipulated by Clinton's enemies, you know, practically from Day One of his presidency, yes, I think it's fair to say there was a conspiracy to try to force Clinton out of office, but one in which the President, you know, gave his enemies tremendous ammunition." Asked about Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy" claim, Toobin labeled her "more right than wrong."
Ted Koppel devoted the entire Nightline Tuesday night to Toobin's book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President. Toobin told Koppel about couple of items he uncovered which are unflattering toward Clinton's team, including how Hillary proclaimed that she accused the conservatives of conspiring in order to teach them "not to F with us" and that Clinton's lawyer abused Paula Jones during her deposition. It will be interesting to see over the next few days whether media outlets pick up of these topics or concentrate only on how Toobin impugned conservatives.
More on Nightline below, but first a rundown of
what Toobin told Imus, including how he agreed that "right wing
nuts" took advantage of the Lewinsky matter in an effort to destroy
Clinton, followed by the text of the MRC's Tuesday fax report on Toobin's
background and how even a New York Times book review by Michiko Kakutani
-- Highlights from the January 11 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast by MSNBC, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake:
Don Imus: "Was the First Lady right when she
went on the Today show and described this attempt to get her husband a vast
right wing conspiracy? Was there any kind of conspiracy?"
Imus followed up: "So was she right, was it
just a conspiracy or was it just entirely comprised of right wing
Toobin later opined: "You know one of the great examples of hubris I think on the part of Clinton's enemies was this feeling was 'It's always just out there. It's just out there.' It's not gonna be Filegate. Then it will be Travelgate. Then it will be you know Whitewater and Lewinsky came along and people said, 'Finally. Okay, we got him' but interestingly, as the Lewinsky story went along, and the public started to say you know, 'We don't care about this,' it started again, this idea that you know, 'It's gonna be Juanita Broaddrick. That's gonna be the straw that breaks the camel's back.'"
Imus wondered at another point: "Here is my
basic question: is what the public thinks happened actually did happen? The
President had sex with Monica Lewinsky and lied about it and got caught and
then these right wing nuts who we talked about, who were trying to get him
over Whitewater and the Paula Corbin Jones mess, then saw this is an
opportunity to finally succeed. Is that essentially what happened?"
Toobin added: "You know it's funny, as I said before we went on the air, I said I thought that that [New York Times] review read like it was written by one of the House managers. You know, it's, you know, a recapitulation of all the arguments that have been made against Clinton. I don't you know, you've read the book- you see I don't spare any invective on Clinton's behavior, how awful it was, but I do think, you know, the constitutional structure that was set up was not designed to throw elected Presidents out of office because of misbehavior, however awful, that's really personal in nature and not having anything to do with the execution of his duties. I mean none of this stuff has to do with his duties."
Imus: "Do you think he broke the law?"
Finally, Toobin echoed another liberal complaint: "One of the real outrages of the Starr Report, I think, is by describing these sex acts in you know, in the detail that they did, four of five times in the footnotes, in the text, in the grounds, any sex act described in that kind of detail, I think would seem perverse, and insane and ludicrous to you know, get into the mechanics like that."
-- January 11 Media Reality Check fax report by Tim Graham:
Jeffrey Toobin vs. The Right-Wing Cabal
ABC's ongoing tilt to the left seems to be outdoing the Gore and Bradley campaigns. After firing reporter Bob Zelnick for writing a book on Al Gore and scrapping conservative pundit Bill Kristol's contract, their legal expert Jeffrey Toobin has authored a new book coming out today titled A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of a Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a President.
Toobin's liberal slant is no surprise. He is the child of two network news veterans, the late producer Jerry Toobin and anchorwoman Marlene Sanders. In his 1991 book Opening Arguments, about his service as a lawyer for Iran-Contra prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, Toobin fondly remembered Watergate: "The aftermath of this bungled burglary attempt constituted the dominant political event of my childhood. I developed the disdain for Richard Nixon that was all but obligatory on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- I recall my first taste of champagne on the night he resigned, August 9, 1974, but the stories that captured my attention were of the young lawyers working for Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who seemed, through the prism of television, like they were changing the world."
Toobin added, "The Mets (as well as others) had taught me that the good guys didn't always win, but Watergate seemed a happy exception to that rule...To my eyes, it looked less like a job than a crusade -- and I wanted to join the next one."
When he landed a job with Walsh's office, Toobin recalled playing an Elvis Costello song, "A raucous tune about the fall of a decrepit empire. Sure, I thought, we would prosecute some crimes and put some people away. But that would only be the start. The Walsh office would take on Reagan and all the President's men, with their contempt for the Constitution, disdain for the Congress, and hostility to the truth, the qualities epitomized by the diversion scheme. We had nothing less than a blank check to uncover and rectify the misdeeds of a corrupt and dishonorable administration. We wouldn't stop until we reached the top."
Toobin relished his role attempting to bring down the Reagan White House: "I spent most of my frantic first weeks in office trying to pretend I was having less fun than I was. Fencing with Ed Meese's minions? Playing chicken with the White House? Battling Ollie North? I was having the time of my life."
Toobin's still crusading in what today's New York Times review called a "highly partisan" and "willfully subjective" book. It noted Toobin presents the President as "A victim of 'extremists of the political right who tried to use the legal system to undo elections -- in particular the two that put Bill Clinton in the White House.'"
The review added: "Toobin spends the better part of this book railing against Clinton's adversaries, who he says 'appeared literally consumed with hatred for him...They were willing to trample all standards of fairness -- not to mention the Constitution -- in their effort to drive him from office,' he says. 'They ranged from one-case-only zealots in the cause of sexual harassment to one-defendant-only federal prosecutors, and they shared only a willingness to misuse the law and the courts in their effort to destroy Bill Clinton."
"Highly partisan" is an apt description of Toobin, who changes his views of who's "manipulating" the legal system based on who's in charge. But he's a perfect match for the accelerating liberalism at ABC.
END Reprint of fax report
-- Toobin on the January 11 Nightline.
Toobin told Ted Koppel that after charging on NBC's Today that Bill Clinton was the victim of a "vast right-wing conspiracy," Hillary returned to the White House and triumphantly proclaimed: "I guess that ought to teach them not to F with us."
Recalling how Ken Starr rejected an immunity deal early on with Lewinsky because he didn't trust Bill Ginsberg, Toobin judged: "It was, in many respects, the misjudgment that was the worst thing Starr did and may have saved the Clinton presidency." The delay, Toobin argued, enabled Clinton to win the PR war and convince the public it was a private matter. Of course, the media helped promote that view.
On his reading of the full text of the Paula Jones
deposition, which his book is the first to detail:
Let's see if that point is picked up by much of the media this week.
Sneaking in a plug, Toobin highlighted how Random House has posted many never before seen Paula Jones deposition documents at a new Web site tied to the book: http://www.vastconspiracy.com
Koppel ended the show with this question:
"When, Jeff, all is said and done, was there a vast conspiracy?"
From the January 11 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Donald Trump Tips For a Healthy, Loving Relationship." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. No pick-up line better than "have sex with me or you're
And from the Late Show Web site, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- To cut down on the risk of germs, only have sex in a hot tub full of
anti-bacterial hand gel.
Hillary Clinton will finally face the "Big Man" on Wednesday night. As David Letterman viewers know, as part of a running gag since mid-December, Late Show Executive Producer Rob Burnett has been updating Letterman each night about his talks that day with Hillary's staff about getting Hillary to agree to appear on the show. Burnett's Tuesday update: She'll be a guest on the show Wednesday night, January 12.
Last Spring the Late Show audience booed James Carville. Tune into CBS tonight to see how they greet Hillary Clinton. -- Brent Baker
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