Manager Meeting with Lewinsky Ruins Bipartisanship; Geraldo: Clinton a "Schmuck"
1) Brit Hume thought it
"surprising" that journalists would buy the outraged spin of
Democrats over an interview of Lewinsky. But they did, blaming the GOP for
ruining the bipartisan spirit.
2) The networks led Friday
with Byrd's motion to dismiss, heightening his credibility by calling
him the "conscience of the Senate" and the "senior
statesman of the Senate."
3) Eleanor Clift hailed the
prescience of Pat Robertson and dismissed the whole process as an
4) "The White House
counsels blew a hole in the House impeachment case wide enough to get a
tractor trailer through," declared Al Hunt as Clift and the morning
shows also praised their work.
5) CPAC attendees were happy
or angry? Both, insisted the Washington Post in conflicting stories a day
6) Bill Clinton is a
"schmuck," declared Geraldo Rivera.
7) NBC's John Palmer on the
return of Monica Lewinsky: "This is quite a blow to the White
>>> Now up on the MRC home page:
the January 25 Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the
latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Quote
topic headings include "Conservatives Choose Torturing Clinton Over
the Constitution," "Dan Rather, Defense Counsel," "Scaife
and American Spectator: Same as Larry Flynt," "Brian Williams
Picks on Hyde" and "'Grew' by Moderating Reagan." Go to
the MRC home page at http://www.mrc.org
or directly to the issue posted at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990125.html
Discussing the plan of House managers to talk with Monica Lewinsky, on Fox
News Sunday Brit Hume asserted: "They are also looking to determine
whether Monica Lewinsky would be a hopelessly hostile witness or whether
she would not. The only way you do that is to meet with her. The idea that
this is some outrage ought to be laughable and the idea that journalists
in this town are treating those complaints on the floor by Chuck Ruff and
others with a straight face is surprising."
or just a reflection of the usual bias, that's what they did Saturday
night with all the networks blaming the House Republicans for damaging the
sacred "bipartisan" spirit of the Senate process. NBC's Brian
Williams bemoaned how hopes of a "swift end" to the trial
"were dashed late today" by Lewinsky's emergence. Check out
these teases and openings from the Saturday, January 23 evening shows:
-- Anchor Elizabeth Vargas opening ABC's World News Tonight:
"Good evening, I'm Elizabeth Vargas. It
was a contentious day in the Senate as the split between Democrats and
Republicans seemed to grow. The Democrats cried foul after Judge Norma
Holloway Johnson today ordered Monica Lewinsky to answer more questions.
Independent counsel Kenneth Starr requested the interview with Lewinsky on
behalf of the House managers prosecuting the case. Democrat Tom Daschle
called the move by the Republicans 'a clear demonstration of raw
Douglass began by noting how "Democratic Senators were furious"
at the move to talk with Lewinsky but Republicans didn't stop there,
they made things worse by actually suggesting that Clinton be asked a
question: "Democrats say the atmosphere is becoming poisonous. Then
late today, adding fuel to the fire, Majority Leader Trent Lott announced
that on Monday Republican Senators will send a list of written questions
to the President and they want him to answer them himself."
-- Anchor Paula Zahn at the top of the CBS
"Good evening. Whatever shreds of bipartisan
spirit in President Clinton's impeachment trial may remain unraveled
today with the sudden re-emergence of Monica Lewinsky."
started his story: "This news about Monica Lewinsky threw the whole
trial into a turmoil here today. Democrats warned it could destroy the
-- The tease from anchor Brian Williams at the
top of the NBC Nightly News:
"Monica Lewinsky is summoned back to
Washington by investigators, the Senate dissolves into a fight."
Bill McCollum on the Senate floor: "Are they
afraid of our talking to Monica Lewinsky?"
Williams: "Ken Starr walks back into the
picture. Hopes for a quick end are blown up and Democrats are
Senator Patrick Leahy: "It is an act of
Williams the began
the show with wording which assumed ending the trial soon is the preferred
"Good evening. Any hopes that this
President's impeachment trial would come to a swift end, perhaps even a
peaceful end, were dashed late today when a jet from Los Angeles landed at
Dulles International Airport outside Washington. On board, key witness
Monica Lewinsky, the former intern whose affair with the President led to
impeachment. A federal judge has okayed this, saying the Congressmen
prosecuting the President with the help of Ken Starr, who has returned,
can question Lewinsky once again. The White House, Senate Democrats are
furious. This trial, it turns out, will end with a bang and not a wimper."
Friday night all the networks led with Senator Byrd's plan to offer a
motion to dismiss the case against Clinton. But instead of portraying the
move as a partisan effort to prevent witnesses which may hurt Clinton or
embarrass Democrats by showing how they are ignoring the evidence, all
hailed Byrd as a great statesman beyond reproach. In his statement Byrd
also castigated Clinton for hurting "public trust," but of the
broadcast networks, only CBS quoted that portion of his letter.
-- Peter Jennings
opened the January 22 World News Tonight by noting: "....Now Senator
Byrd is a Democrat and the Republicans represent the majority, but Senator
Byrd is a constitutional scholar, sometimes called the conscience of the
Senate on such matters and if he says it's okay to dismiss the case
other politicians in both parties may decide it's okay to follow."
-- On the CBS Evening News Bob Schieffer told
Rather: "Dan, Byrd's announcement is not so significant just
because he's so revered here, but also because many Democrats thought he
was ready to convict the President. And to be sure, Byrd said he was not
trying to end this trial because he thinks the President is innocent. To
the contrary, Byrd said 'I believe that he has weakened the already
fragile public trust that has been placed in his care.'...."
-- Tom Brokaw began the NBC Nightly News:
"Good evening. There's a major break tonight for President Clinton
and his impeachment trial. Robert Byrd, one of the senior statesman of the
Senate caught everyone by surprise when he announced late this afternoon
he would move to have the trial dismissed. Byrd is a Democrat but he's
been openly critical of the President and he's a guardian of the
Senate's place in history. This will put a lot of pressure on the
Ifill did recall how Byrd had referred to the post-impeachment pep rally
as an "egregious display of shameless arrogance," but she failed
to highlight the critical comments in his Friday announcement letter.
Hailing the brilliant insight of a man she usually disdains, on the
McLaughlin Group over the weekend Newsweek's Eleanor Clift dismissed the
whole process as an illegitimate sham:
"When Pat Robertson puts up the white flag of surrender it's over.
Even the Buchanan Brigades are deserting."
John McLaughlin: "Is it a sham trial?"
Clift: "It's been, the whole issue has
been a sham. It shouldn't have gotten this far. The House acted
improperly in passing it on to the Senate..."
More rave media reviews are in for the performance of the White House team
from Al Hunt and Eleanor Clift, plus Good Morning America and Today:
-- On CNN's
Capital Gang on Saturday, Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor
Al Hunt declared:
"The White House counsel blew a hole in, the
White House counsels blew a hole in the House impeachment case wide enough
to get a tractor trailer through -- factually, legally and politically. It
began with Charles Ruff, who skillfully picked apart the facts of the
charges and it ended with Dale Bumpers. I've been in that Senate chamber
over 1,000 times and I have never seen anyone, whether you agree or
disagree with him, work the place as brilliantly as Senator Bumpers did
"But Mark, they were helped immeasurably,
when you ask why, they were helped immeasurably by the sloppiness of the
House case and it came home to roost with Charles Ruff and others this
week. Finally, last week on this show I predicted that after three days of
drubbing, in what I thought was a pretty powerful presentation by the
House managers, until we heard the White House this week, I thought that
Clinton would take a dive in the polls. He didn't. The American people
heard the case and actually the support for impeachment dropped."
-- After John McLaughlin explained how a House
Government Reform and Oversight Committee report charged Cheryl Mills with
lying to the committee about the White House database, on the McLaughlin
Group Eleanor Clift asserted, referring to Chairman Dan Burton:
"A charge from Mr. Burton is a badge of
honor and the fact that the President has a man with a disability and a
black female on his team of five. He's not going to put tokens up there.
He has the best legal minds and people working for him they could get and
they were very effective and they stand up very well against that parade
of White House, of House managers."
-- Friday morning instead of informing viewers of
the charges against Mills for obstruction, detailed in the January 22
CyberAlert, Good Morning America continued to heap more praise upon her.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noted these comments from co-host Diane
Sawyer intermixed with soundbite clips:
"Cheryl Mills of the gentle gestures and
velvet voice....Her friends say they've never seen her like that before,
that the lawyer behind the politeness and pearls is in fact a
fast-talking, fiercely-combative, fight-to-the-finish opponent, and that's
why both Clintons want Mills on the team....She's an Army Brat, who grew
up on bases around the world before heading off to Stanford Law School. As
a college kid, she set up a program to help send underprivileged kids to
college too....The portrait she keeps on her office wall is Michael
Jordan. At the age of 33, she's in starting lineup of the playoffs,
too....And looking on at Mills's was her proud boss, White House Counsel
-- Friday's Today almost turned into the Dale
Bumpers Show. MRC analyst Mark Drake counted up 122 seconds, that's over
two minutes, of soundbite time for replays of comments from Bumpers on the
Senate floor. Here's how Today led with to the Bumpers intensive piece
"Meanwhile, Arkansas produced something very positive for Bill
Clinton in the form of former Arkansas Senator Dale Bumpers, who wrapped
up the President's defense in his Senate impeachment trial with a speech
that many are calling quite eloquent. We're going to find out what
Senator Bumpers had to say to the group and what happens next in our first
half hour this morning."
Close Up this Morning: President Clinton's impeachment trial. Senators
from both parties acknowledge they are looking for a quick way to end it.
On Thursday the White House ended its part of the case with an emotional,
folksy appeal from former Senator Dale Bumpers, a Democrat, an Arkansan
and a close friend of the President."
segues between bites of Bumpers: "A six term Senator popular on both
sides of the aisle, Bumpers was always known for his oratorical flourish
and Thursday, he did not disappoint...He was blunt about how he defines
the scandal...And he provided some rare insight into the first family...In
the end though, he brought back it back to the question at hand with a
dose of realism and a warning."
Those moody conservatives. Compare these two headlines, a day apart, on
the Conservative Political Action Conference which met from Thursday to
Saturday in Arlington, Virginia. Both are from the front page of the
"Style" section in the Washington Post.
January 22: "The GOP's Smiley Face: At Conservatives' Dinner, a
January 23: "Right-Wing's Ruffled Feathers: Conservative PAC Fumes
as Clinton's Numbers Rise."
What changed here were not the conservatives, but
the Post as each story was written by a different reporter who found what
he or she wanted to find at the hotel.
Al D'Amato was condemned for calling his Democratic opponent Charles
Schumer a "putz," but it's okay for Geraldo Rivera to label
Bill Clinton a "schmuck."
January 22 Upfront Tonight on CNBC, Rivera recalled:
"While his actions certainly do not warrant
impeachment, let's not forget who brewed the blow that has battered our
national psyche. Remember this, exactly a year ago?"
Clinton, a year ago: "I'd like for you to
have more rather than less, sooner rather than later. So we'll work
through it as quickly as we can and get all those question out there to
Rivera: "Face it. He was a schmuck. But that
was not a high crime and misdemeanor..."
Beginning a Saturday story for NBC Nightly News about the White House
reaction to the interviewing of Monica Lewinsky, reporter John Palmer
insisted: "This is quite a blow to the White House...."
"Blow" was probably not the best word for either Rivera or
Palmer to use given Clinton and Lewinsky's past activity in the White
House. -- Brent Baker
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