CyberAlert -- 02/03/1999 -- Jordan Praised; Starr "A Nut Job"; FNC Picked Up Broaddrick Charge

Jordan Praised; Starr "A Nut Job"; FNC Picked Up Broaddrick Charge

1) Network spin: Jordan didn't reveal much interesting, but CBS and NBC conceded he contradicted earlier statements and FNC found he broke new ground. CBS poll: Trial politically motivated by GOP.

2) Diane Sawyer gushed over Vernon Jordan's integrity. He pretended not to know about Lewinsky's sexual relationship with Clinton, proving he's "smart, careful, always ahead of the game."

3) Ken Starr's deliberate leaking exposed "himself as a nut job," Geraldo Rivera charged.

4) Juanita Broaddrick's story picked up by FNC, despite White House threats, Drudge reported. And Tim Russert assured Don Imus: "If we honestly had a buttoned up bombshell, we would go with it in a flash."

5) Larry King baffled about why conservatives "hate" Clinton since he's a "moderate to a conservative."

Correction: The Tuesday, February 2 CyberAlert was misdated as Tuesday, February 1. Its volume and issue numbers were correct.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) All but CBS, which began with the ruling in the Oregon abortion Web site case, led with the questioning of Vernon Jordan and the Senators watching the tape of Monica Lewinsky. The broadcast networks and CNN emphasized how the Jordan interview added little, though NBC acknowledged that Jordan did admit to a previously denied breakfast meeting with Lewinsky. CNN's Bob Franken gained information as the night wore on. During Inside Politics he insisted: "Jordan didn't really break any new ground." But by the time of Late Edition at 10pm ET he had discovered the sudden recollection of the breakfast meeting.

CBS's Bob Schieffer missed the breakfast but reported that on the job search Jordan "conceded that the project took on a much higher priority than he has ever described before." Only FNC's Carl Cameron raised both the higher priority given the search and the now admitted breakfast meeting. After ABC's story on Jordan, Cokie Roberts stressed how Republicans are continuing the trial process just to "embarrass" Clinton. Dan Rather announced that "by 60 to 28 percent Americans think the Senate trial is politically motivated by Republican to hurt Bill Clinton."

Here's how the networks Tuesday night, February 2 assessed the Jordan interview with House manager Asa Hutchinson:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Linda Douglass was the vaguest of all the network reporters: "Sources say Hutchinson's questioning broke some new ground and said Jordan occasionally became flustered." Following a bit of Hutchinson she continued: "Sources say White House lawyers asked Jordan only two questions, giving him the opportunity to make a statement. He talked about his rise from poverty to power and his belief in his own integrity."

Douglass ended by noting that Republicans are thinking of asking Clinton to sit for a deposition, prompting anchor Peter Jennings to ask Cokie Roberts: "True Cokie they cannot force the President to show up, they don't have that kind of power, but secretly would Republicans say they want to embarrass the President?" Roberts replied: "Oh, I think there's a lot of attempt to embarrass the President here and an attempt to embarrass Democrats...."

-- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer: "Vernon Jordan has always said that when he helped Monica Lewinsky find a job it was no more than he had done for other young people. But during his deposition today, sources say Jordan conceded that the project took on a much higher priority than he has ever described before. Looking every inch the power lawyer that he is Jordan gave no hint of any of that in public. Others familiar with the questioning conceded he gave prosecutors new detail, but said it was all a long way from proving the job search was part of a scheme to buy Ms. Lewinsky's silence."

On the Lewinsky front, Schieffer highlighted how "one Republican said she now knows why the White House does not want the tape made public." Viewers saw a soundbite of Senator Susan Collins explaining how Lewinsky does not look like sophisticated woman but like someone exploited by the President.
Adding that Lewinsky went to her lawyer's office to watch her tape, Schieffer cautioned: "She may be vulnerable, but sources said she's become legally sophisticated. Example: Asked if the President had lied about sex, she replied I'm 'not comfortable talking about someone else's intent or state of mind.'"

Next, Dan Rather relayed the latest CBS News/New York Times poll results: By 56 to 37 percent the public disapproves of how the Senate is handling he trial, "by 60 to 28 percent Americans think the Senate trial is politically motivated by Republican to hurt Bill Clinton," and by 48 to 28 percent Republicans think it will hurt their party in 2000.

-- CNN. CNN's 8pm ET The World Today was replaced by a New Hampshire primary preview special and at 10pm ET CNN carried Late Edition/Prime Time.
What a difference a few hours makes. At 5pm ET Bob Franken assured viewers that Jordan said nothing interesting but by 10pm ET Franken had discovered some admissions by Jordan.

On Inside Politics Franken reported: "He came to the Capitol. He was questioned for close to three hours and according to some sources who were in the room Vernon Jordan didn't really break any new ground. He was questioned for the three hours by Asa Hutchinson who is the House manager assigned to the Jordan case, looking for some clarity on the various inconsistencies in Jordan's grand jury testimony and that of Monica Lewinsky. Jordan we're told by sources pretty much stuck to his grand jury testimony and the White House lawyers at the end had almost no questions for him expressing the same kind of confidence they did on how things had gone."

On Late Edition five hours later Franken revised his overview:
"Vernon Jordan's testimony garnered differing accounts. Sources friendly to the President among the 46 in the room, say Mr. Clinton's friend added little that hurt the President's case. House manager sources contend that Jordan's new testimony highlighted inconsistencies with that of Monica Lewinsky. For instance, questions about a December '97 meeting. She says he suggested getting rid of notes Lewinsky wrote to the President. Jordan claimed not to recall the meeting until, according to sources with knowledge of his testimony, he was shown the receipt from the breakfast. After he admitted it must have taken place, Jordan denied ever telling Lewinsky to destroy anything..."

-- NBC Nightly News. Gwen Ifill: "Sources say he admitted today attending one breakfast with Lewinsky he had previously denied. Lewinsky has testified that Jordan urged her at that breakfast meeting to destroy copies of notes she wrote to the President."
Ifill concluded: "Sources say tonight that Jordan didn't do much to clear up any contradictions in his testimony and even prosecutors say they don't expect any more bombshells. With one more witness to go they're beginning to fear that they're just simply running out of time."

Introducing a profile piece by Lisa Myers on Susan Collins and her finding of guilt idea, anchor Brian Williams insisted: "The only clear consensus emerging in all of this in the Senate appears to be that most are ready to see this trial go away."
The highlight of the Myers story: As she sat next to Collins at a woman's college basketball game Myers shook hands with a big bear mascot.

-- Carl Cameron led the Fox Report at 7pm ET with both the breakfast recollection and more detail about the love letters: "Sources say he did change his story to a certain extent and quote 'broke new ground' that will require Senators to study carefully his video deposition. Vernon Jordan did testify that the President asked him directly to help Monica Lewinsky find a job. He had initially denied that he'd ever had breakfast with Monica Lewinsky and discussed that job search. Confronted with evidence of it today he recalled it and said in fact that breakfast did occur. He had initially denied ever having a conversation with Lewinsky about letters she had prepared to write to the President. He today confirmed that conversation did take place, but adhered to earlier testimony when he denied suggesting that Lewinsky destroy those letters. It was a day of testimony that many think may not have gone well for the President or his friend."

It's amazing how memories are suddenly improved when the prosecutor has DNA evidence or, in this case, an American Express bill matching the time, place and food ordered recalled by Lewinsky in her testimony. Jordan should have left home without it.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Later in the day Tuesday Jordan would change his story and only recall events when a receipt proved he was there, but Tuesday morning Diane Sawyer portrayed him a fount of integrity.

MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson noticed this tribute in the guise of a profile aired on the February 2 Good Morning America in which Sawyer gushed: "He's a dazzling contradiction, a man who can charm an entire room and never give away his secrets, a man who fixes other people's problems and never seems to break a sweat over his own."

Here are the highlights of the piece, as Diane Sawyer oozed:
"Well, Charlie, when Vernon Jordan is deposed today, House managers are expected to ask him about his efforts to get Monica Lewinsky a job. Did he do it just as a favor to keep the President happy, or to keep Lewinsky silent under oath? In a grand jury appearance last March, he testified that Lewinsky told him she did not have sex with the President, though he added he purposely did not press her for details, saying, 'I thought I'd heard enough.'
"His friends would say that's classic Vernon Jordan: smart, careful, always ahead of the game. He's a dazzling contradiction, a man who can charm an entire room and never give away his secrets, a man who fixes other people's problems and never seems to break a sweat over his own....
"[President Clinton] and Jordan have been friends for 25 years. Jordan helped elect him, served on his transition team. The two men golf together, vacation together. They are simultaneously power brokers and road buddies, sharing an appreciation for food, women and laughter....
"Vernon Jordan, grandson of an African-American sharecropper, the only black man in his class at DePaul University, went from tending bar at an all-white club for lawyers, to become himself one of the most influential lawyers in America. He sits on the boards of ten corporations, which makes Washington watchdog Charles Lewis uneasy....
"But Washington writer Sally Quinn says Jordan's main influence is the loyalty to and from his friends....It was Jordan who escorted the first black student into the University of Georgia. He was head of the National Urban League when in 1980, a white supremacist shot him in the back, almost paralyzing him. He's a man accustomed to life at the center of the storm, the President's confidant, the power-fixer, the complex friend who will be deposed today."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Dismissing the thought that maybe Ken Starr did not personally orchestrate the front page placement in the Sunday New York Times of a story about how his office had decided it could indict Clinton, Geraldo Rivera disparaged Starr as "a nut job." MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught his from Rivera on the February 1 River Live on CNBC:
"But Dan [Abrams] it would seem to me that the White House on the one hand would fear an indictment, a pending indictment, they would dread it. On the other hand you have a guy exposing himself as a nut job, making this announcement through 'associates say,' yet again revealing himself, not to just be as many of his apologists say, you know, tone deaf to public opinion. This man really seems a true believer to me."


broaddrick0203.jpg (15597 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) The Juanita Broaddrick story broke through NBC's blackout Tuesday on FNC and NBC's own MSNBC. Last March NBC's Lisa Myers reported on Broaddrick's allegation that Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her in 1978 when he was Attorney General of Arkansas. But, as Drudge Report readers know, a couple of weeks ago Myers got an on-camera interview with Broaddrick, but NBC News has so far failed to air any of it. To read a summary of how the networks handled the Broadderick allegation on March 28 after it was revealed in papers released as part of the Paula Jones lawsuit, go to the December 29, 1998 CyberAlert:

Two developments on Tuesday. First, Don Imus asked NBC News VP Tim Russert about it during the Imus in the Morning radio show which is simulcast on MSNBC. Russert promised: "If we honestly had a buttoned up bombshell, we would go with it in a flash." Second, FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume aired a story on Broadderick's claim, despite, the Drudge Report reported, getting threats from the White House warning them not to go with the story.

-- February 2 Imus in the Morning exchange, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake.
Don Imus: "So are you people at NBC News sittin' on this Lisa Myers' interview with Juanita Broaddrick?"
Tim Russert: "You know, this is one most amazing stories that I've ever been involved in because it just hit me in talk radio and the answer's very simple: If we honestly had a buttoned up bombshell, we would go with it in a flash. I mean that's what we do for a living, and every time you're involved in a story -- this one, or any other story -- who, what, when, where, why. And when you lock up all those various corroborations, you go with the story. If you don't, you don't go with it. There are four or five stories we're working on. Lisa Myers has led the way in her coverage of this entire episode, and believe me, if and when we lock up a story, we'll go with it. If we don't, we won't."
Imus: "Does a taped interview exist between Lisa Myers and this woman?"
Russert: 'I'm not going to get into where we are. I mean it's a work in progress about a whole lot of things."
Imus: "In other words, the answer is yes. Thank you."
Russert: "All right, Mr. Falwell."
Imus: "No. I just wondered that was all."
Russert: "I mean, you know there's a videotape available if you want where it says President Clinton murdered people. I mean, you know, put it on the screen."
Imus: "So there's something to this story. Something exists."
Russert: "Well, there's something to life but I much prefer this whole thing about the naked cowboy [outside the Mayflower Hotel] and you."
Imus: "Man, you should run for office the way you answer these questions. You could very easily -- Well, you're too nice a guy to be President."

-- FNC picked up the ball Tuesday night. On the 6pm ET/9pm PT Special Report with Brit Hume reporter Rita Cosby reviewed the basic facts of the case. Hume began by observing: "The Internet is buzzing with it. So is talk radio. So is the e-mail to Fox News Channel. 'It' is the interview NBC News has done with the woman known for a long time only as Jane Doe #5."
Cosby explained how Broaddrick now says she was assaulted in 1978, but she denied the allegation in a previous affidavit so what to do with story is now being debated in newsrooms. Cosby then detailed her charge:
"The alleged assault occurred when Broaddrick was at a nursing home conference at this Little Rock hotel 21 years ago. At the time, Bill Clinton was Arkansas's state attorney general and running for Governor. Sources say he was supposed to meet her in a conference room, but at the last minute he switched the location to a hotel room. A friend of Broaddrick's who attended the conference saw her right after the alleged assault. Norma Kelsay told Fox News that Broaddrick said she'd been assaulted by Clinton. Quote, 'She was hysterical,' Kelsey said. 'Her lip was blue and bleeding, and her hose were severely torn in the crotch area.'
"Three other close to Broaddrick, say Broaddrick gave them similar accounts. But Kelsay says Broaddrick told her never to tell anyone about what happened in the hotel because she didn't want any publicity and feared she'd be blamed because she let him in her room...."

Tuesday night Matt Drudge revealed that FNC went with this piece despite pressure from the White House. An excerpt from the Drudge Report exclusive (more available at

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart personally warned a news network on Tuesday not to air a story on Juanita Broaddrick, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The development comes two weeks after Broaddrick sat for an exclusive in-depth interview with NBC NEWS reporter Lisa Myers -- an interview that NBC NEWS executive have determined is not fit for air.

FOX NEWS CHANNEL on Tuesday evening ran with a story about the interview and questions swirling around NBC NEWS.

According to network sources, earlier in the day, Lockhart called FOX NEWS CHANNEL's White House correspondent and warned him not to pursue the story.

"You guys will regret this," Lockhart told the reporter. "Clinton haters have been putting this story out for a decade now, as far back as the '92 campaign."

Lockhart warned: "If you go with the story after NBC NEWS decided not to, there won't be any argument about whether FOX NEWS is right wing or not."

White House spokesman Jim Kennedy later called FOX NEWS to explain that Lockhart's comments were strictly "off the record," according to a well-placed source.

Meanwhile, Lisa Myers has been told by management not to comment on her spiked interview with Broaddrick.

Over the weekend, Broaddrick told a friend that she is now deeply disappointed in NBC, a network she says "hounded" her for nine months to get the interview and is now giving her the run-around.

"It had been very painful to relive the experience which she had buried deep down for years," says a source. "But she thought she could clear it up once and for all and make the media go away with a one-time only statement."

"Now she's in an even worse fix -- calls, e-mails and people driving by all the time. NBC seems like its protecting the President, and she feels used after eight hours under the kleig lights with them."

END Excerpt

See Broaddrick, sort of. By late morning today (Wednesday) the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry should have a RealPlayer clip up on the MRC home page of beginning of FNC's story which includes a distant shot of Broaddrick. On a 2 inch by 2 inch RealPlayer screen she should be about a half inch high.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) The latest bit of political insight from Larry King during a Tuesday night CNN interview with Lesley Stahl, Hugh Downs, Jeff Greenfield and David Gergen:
"Why, Lesley, do you think he's [Clinton] so hated? He's a moderate to a conservative right, basically?"

How do you respond to such a wacky premise? -- Brent Baker


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