Brokaw Denounced GOP "Zealotry" and Hypocrisy; Gingrich Vindicated
1) Direct from the liberal
spin manual, Tom Brokaw told David Letterman that Clinton did wrong but
there was "zealotry" by Republicans who are hypocrites for not
being upset by Iran-Contra.
2) NBC's Tom Brokaw stressed
how Clinton "was spending his time on a subject that is expected to
be much larger than impeachment in the next election." Medicare.
Sidney Blumenthal admitted Clinton lied to him, but FNC suggested
Blumenthal lied to the managers.
3) Geraldo Rivera brought his
staff on-camera to salute the New York Times for denouncing Ken Starr as a
"narcissistic legal crank." And he impugned House managers as
4) The IRS ruled Monday that
contrary to the Democratic and media-fueled scandal, Newt Gingrich's
college course never violated tax laws. Only CNN noticed with a thorough
report from Brooks Jackson.
5) ABC's Hugh Downs
rationalized Clinton's sex with Lewinsky as "a glandular
thing" impacting all men "that can eclipse one's rational
faculties for a time."
Correction: The February 2
CyberAlert misspelled the last name of the spokesman for the Office of the
Independent Counsel. It's Charles Bakaly, not Bakaley.
AOL subscribers: The Web does not have to be a blur. This may go
under the heading of "dah" to many of you who long ago figured
this out, but since I know many AOL users over the years have complained
about the poor resolution of graphic images on Web sites, including how
they cannot read the captions which are part of the images on the MRC
page, I thought I'd pass along a solution MRC Webmaster Sean Henry
stumbled upon Wednesday. Apparently "use compressed graphics" is
the default setting in AOL for its customized internal browser. To see
graphics closer to how they should be seen, follow these instructions:
While in AOL but without the browser in use, go
to the "Members" pull down menu at the top of your AOL screen,
choose "Preferences" and click on the "WWW" icon.
Select the tab for "Web Graphics" and then deselect the
"use compressed graphics" option check mark. Launch the AOL
browser and re-load a page you've seen before. You should notice a huge
improvement in graphic clarity, though it still won't be as good as
Netscape or a true version of Internet Explorer.
Wednesday night on the Late Show with David Letterman NBC's Tom Brokaw
tried to appear fair by criticizing both Clinton and Republicans for how
they've handled the impeachment scandal, but he noticeably failed to
reproach Democrats in general as he criticized only the Republicans for
"misled his friends" and "lied under oath," Brokaw
asserted, but on the other side "there was this kind of zealotry and
hectoring of witnesses" by Republicans who didn't think perjury and
abuse of power were such a big deal "when Iran-Contra was going on
and Ronald Reagan was in office."
discussion about Clinton on the February 3 Late Show on CBS:
"There were excesses on both sides. Certainly no one can defend the
President's behavior. But I also..."
David Letterman, cutting off Brokaw: "He's
Brokaw: "He's a goober, right. And he's
a lying goober at that is what he is. But on the other hand I think that
there's a strong feeling that there was real political zealotry on the
part of the people who came after him, that they carried it out too
Letterman: "Is that legitimate, that
criticism that it's all part of this very active, very vigorous
Brokaw: "I don't think the right-wing
conspiracy is entirely fair because the President got himself in this hot
water and this was a duly constituted independent prosecutor, but it was a
five year investigation, it went on for a long time, it started with
Whitewater, then they got into a lot of other things and then when you
heard how the President had behaved the question became was that a high
crime and misdemeanor and a crime against the state and it was on that
point that most people backed away from saying let's throw him out of
office, but the House continued to prosecute him because they felt
strongly about the matter of perjury under oath and they also felt it was
an abuse of power.
"They didn't feel, these same Republicans,
that way when Iran-Contra was going on and Ronald Reagan was in
Letterman: "That was a much bigger, bigger,
broader thing, wasn't it?"
Brokaw: "But there's no defending anyone
in all of this. I mean the sad thing is, the sad thing about this for the
country is and I think that this is how the country's reacting to it --
that there's no one to cheer here for. The President's behavior was
indefensible. He misled his friends, he lied under oath, however he parses
the word 'is,' and on the other side that there was this kind of
zealotry and hectoring of witnesses and potential witnesses."
Brokaw could just
as easily have pointed out that Democrats who condemned Reagan officials
involved in Iran-Contra, and demanded criminal penalties, are hypocrites
for refusing to remain consistent in their approach to Clinton. But in
Brokaw's world only conservatives are guilty of "zealotry" and
no one should "cheer" for those pursuing the rule of law.
the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will have a RealPlayer clip of
this up on the MRC home page.)
Forget Blumenthal, let's get this trial over with and move on. Tuesday
night all the networks emphasized how Senators are working furiously to
appease the public's desire to end the trial and get back to real
issues. "Oh how the Senate would like to get the President's
impeachment trial over with without letting President Clinton off the
hook," Peter Jennings sympathized.
"While the Senate was struggling with how to wrap of the impeachment
trial," Tom Brokaw declared, "the President was spending his
time on a subject that is expected to be much larger than impeachment in
the next election." That would be saving Medicare, an issue NBC
illustrated with anecdotes about suffering elderly while ignoring those
paying the bill.
All also squeezed
in a little bit on Sidney Blumenthal's deposition with FNC's Carl
Cameron suggesting the managers think he misled them. CBS showcased a
MSNBC analyst, aka Clinton spinner Lanny Davis, who called a Maine radio
station to denounce Senator Susan Collins for her finding of fact idea
which he labeled a "kangaroo court process."
Here are some
highlights from the Wednesday, February 3 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened by looking forward to the end:
"Good evening. Oh how the Senate would like
to get the President's impeachment trial over with without letting
President Clinton off the hook. Late today the Chairman of the House
Judiciary Committee, Henry Hyde, one of the Republicans prosecuting Mr.
Clinton, said that the three witnesses who've just been deposed on
videotape -- Lewinsky, Jordan and today the presidential aide Sidney
Blumenthal -- should be seen by the whole Senate in person. As of tonight
the betting on Capitol Hill is: not a chance. Too many Senators in a hurry
now to finish this with their own reputations intact."
explained Republicans met Wednesday to find a way to end the trial
"without looking like they lost." After explaining the finding
of fact idea and how with it perjury would become "providing false
and misleading testimony" and obstruction of justice would become
"impede, cover-up and conceal the existence of evidence," she
noted: "Democrats trashed the plan before they'd even heard the
She concluded: "Having hope for some
Democratic support, some of the Republicans were staggered by the voracity
of the Democrats' response today. They may actually drop their plan if
it has no hope of getting any bipartisan support. But in the meantime
Republicans are continuing to take their own partisan shots. Tonight they
did send a letter to the President asking him to appear for a deposition
Jennings inquired: "Not a chance as we know
Linda, but what about Sidney Blumenthal. Any light shed on what he said
Douglass replied: "No new ground broken
although sources do say that when asked if he now does believe that the
President lied to him in saying that Monica Lewinsky was stalking him,
Blumenthal said yes."
-- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer began his lead
piece with Blumenthal:
"White House aide Sidney Blumenthal told
prosecutors that he now believes President Clinton lied to him when he
told him Monica Lewinsky was a stalker who tried to force him to have sex.
Now that is the story that Blumenthal told the grand jury last year, but
he denies he ever spread it to reporters in an effort to smear Ms.
Lewinsky and he says he told no one about it, in fact, except his wife and
Next, Phil Jones
examined the finding of fact idea and talked with its author, Republican
Susan Collins of Maine. Jones then relayed:
"The White House has gone ballistic,
attacking those pushing the findings idea. Lanny Davis, one of the
President's lawyers, even called a Maine radio station to ridicule
callers and Senator Collins."
Audio of Davis on
a Bangor station: "You are frustrated and in a minority of hating
Bill Clinton. And as a minority of this country, you are willing to
subscribe to unfair, kangaroo court process that Senator Collins has
proposed." [This bad syntax is accurate]
castigating Republican Senators and anyone who agrees with them, Davis
serves a "legal analyst" for MSNBC.
-- CNN's The World Today. Bob Franken reviewed
Blumenthal's testimony, Jonathan Karl looked at the finding of facts
idea and how "Democrats are waging war" on it and Wolf Blitzer
highlighted how the White House promises it won't gloat if Clinton wins.
-- FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report. Carl Cameron
uniquely picked up on how the House managers may pursue perjury committed
by Blumenthal: "Sources say Blumenthal also said that he had never
had conversations within the White House, or taken part in strategy
meeting at which discussions of how to deal with Monica Lewinsky or
particularly attack her credibility occurred. He denied, sources say, that
there were ever strategy meetings in the White House to deal with smearing
any potential witnesses. That, because it was reported by the media having
had occurred, has prompted some sources to suggest that the managers may
actually go after Sidney Blumenthal and potentially even prosecute him for
-- NBC Nightly News was the only show not to lead
with the impeachment trial. Instead, NBC stressed how Clinton is doing
something more important: the people's business. Tom Brokaw topped the
"Good evening. While the Senate was
struggling with how to wrap of the impeachment trial of President Clinton
today, mindful of more polls saying end it now, the President was spending
his time on a subject that is expected to be much larger than impeachment
in the next election. It's Social Security, Medicare and how to heal
them with these unexpectedly large budget surpluses."
Up first, David
Bloom began: "Tonight the President is trying to box in Republicans,
arguing that Americans face a choice between strengthening Medicare or
cutting taxes. But tonight, even some Democrats complain that when it
comes to Medicare, Mr. Clinton is ducking the most difficult issues."
Bloom introduced a Clinton soundbite by
asserting: "Republicans, the President seemed to be saying, prefer
tax cuts for the wealthy to shoring up a health insurance program for the
Bloom did note that the Concord Coalition called
his idea to set aside 15 percent of the surplus for Medicare a "shell
game" and ran a critical soundbite from Senator Bob Kerrey, but no
conservative appeared in the piece.
Up next, Lisa
Myers made the case for the need for Medicare to cover prescriptions as
Clinton proposed, calling the current lack of coverage a "gaping hole
in the Medicare safety net." Like Bloom she ignored conservatives,
focusing on the plight of a woman and comments from a doctor who claimed
her patients must choose heat over buying medicine and the lack of
prescription coverage shortens people's lives. Pointing out how there is
no plan for how to pay for the $20 billion prescription coverage would
cost, Myers concluded with the plight of a recipient:
"Until then 67 year-old Doris Huber will
have to live on whatever's left after she pays her medical bills. Less
secure than she and millions of others thought they'd be under Medicare,
a program supposed to meet their needs."
Not until the
third story did NBC get to the Senate trial. On Blumenthal, Gwen Ifill
told viewers: "Congressional sources say Blumenthal, in a sometimes
contentious session with House prosecutors, testified the President flat
out lied to him when he said he had never had a sexual relationship with
Geraldo Rivera celebrated Tuesday night over a New York Times editorial
which rebuked Ken Starr as a "narcissistic legal crank,"
bringing his staff on-camera to join him in giving a salute to the
editorial writers. Later he disparaged the House managers as
"born-again...right-to-lifers, all of whom are you know,
anti-immigration, pro-English Only, etc," so the more diverse public
naturally says "wait a second, those people wouldn't even let me
into their home or their neighborhood."
Here are the two
noteworthy diatribes from Rivera on the February 2 Rivera Live on CNBC,
both caught by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
-- Rivera praising
the New York Times editorial which castigated Ken Starr for supposedly
leaking news that he thinks he can indict Clinton, though there's no
evidence Starr or his office had anything to do with the Sunday New York
"If you thought that Pat Robertson's
statement that Republicans should give up the ghost was the death knell of
the impeached Clinton movement an editorial in today's New York Times is
another huge nail in the coffin. The article is unprecedented in its tone,
its language and its attitude for the normally staid and reserved
newspaper whose nickname is the 'Old Grey Lady.' It excoriates Ken
Starr for inserting his sorry self into the Senate trial, condemning what
it calls his legal mischief.
"The paper says quote, 'Mr. Starr is
already regarded by his critics as an obsessive personality. Now he seems
determined to write himself into the history books as a narcissistic legal
crank.' I love that line."
Rivera read more
of the editorial before wrapping up: "In a parting blow the editorial
suggests 'The Senate needs to find a way to slap Mr. Starr back into
line.' I love when they talk dirty. As you know I have been hugely
critical of The New York Times and its anti-Clinton/pro-Ken Starr
editorial stance during the past several years. Especially its overheated
reporting about Whitewater and other defunct presidential scandals but
tonight, c'mon, c'mon [waves over staff to stand behind him] tonight
after seeing this major institutional change in direction and attitude let
me just say in the tradition of the high seas, from the staff of Rivera
Live to the staff of The New York Times, welcome aboard! [Five staffers
stand behind him and join Rivera in a salute.]"
(To see this group
scene, go to the MRC home page where an image of it will be placed
Thursday morning along side this item in the posted CyberAlert.)
-- Rivera on how the House managers should
rationally be perceived as racists who discriminate against those of
differing skin colors and ethnicities:
"I don't want to be a brown racist,
substituting for white racism here. But don't you think 13 guys, all of
whom, you know, are not noted for any contribution to civil rights. I'm
talking about the House managers. All of whom are born-again, all of whom
are right-to-lifers, all of whom are you know, anti-immigration,
pro-English Only, etc, etc, don't you think that when that face is
presented, isn't that one of the reasons the majority, the vast majority
of the American people support the President? When they look at the people
prosecuting, some say persecuting him say and say wait a second those
people wouldn't even let me into their home or their neighborhood or to
work along side them?"
Too late for Newt Gingrich to get his job back. Remember that scandal a
few years ago about how Gingrich violated the tax code by claiming his
partisan college course was educational? (This, despite the fact he
praised Democrats like FDR in it and criticized many Republicans.) Oh,
never mind. After a three-and-a-half year probe, the IRS on Wednesday
announced it found no improprieties in the tax filings of Gingrich and the
sponsoring Progress and Freedom Foundation.
Big news? No, only
CNN's Brooks Jackson noticed, but even CNN buried his comprehensive
story as the last piece on the February 3 Inside Politics. The World Today
gave it a mere 22 seconds, but that was 22 seconds more than the other
network evening shows.
Politics, co-anchor Judy Woodruff conceded: "After all the criticism
of his tactics and long-time questions about his ethics, Gingrich
apparently can, on at least one point, say, I told you so."
began: "It was legal after all. Newt Gingrich's oh-so-controversial
college course that he started back in 1993, before he was Speaker.
Remember how Democrats denounced it?"
David Bonior a couple of years ago: "Mr.
Gingrich engaged in a pattern of tax fraud."
John Lewis: "We now have a Speaker under
investigation for lying to the outside counsel, investigating his
involvement in a massive tax-fraud scheme."
Jackson continued: "Tax fraud? Well, never
mind. After a three-and- a-half year examination, the Internal Revenue
Service -- Bill Clinton's IRS -- has issued an official finding: no
violation of tax laws. Critics said the course, which was videotaped and
widely distributed, was too political; a scheme to use a tax-exempt
educational foundation to promote a Republican agenda and elect Republican
candidates. But in a 74-page memorandum, the IRS said otherwise, quote:
'The course taught principles from American civilization that could be
used by each American in everyday life, whether the person is a welfare
recipient, the head of a large corporation or a politician.' It said:
'The course was not biased toward particular politicians, or a
particular party. The facts show the class was much more than a political
"Gingrich issued a statement: 'I consider
this a full and complete vindication. I urge my colleagues to go back and
read their statements and watch how they said them, with no facts, based
on nothing more than a desire to politically destroy a colleague.' But
ruling comes too late to help much: Gingrich has resigned from Congress,
and already paid a $300,000 fine to settle House Ethics Committee charges
that he made misleading statements during an investigation of the college
by noting how Gingrich made the correct decisions in the first place:
"When he settled those charges, Gingrich also agreed he should have
sought better legal advice about the course, but it turns out he was
right, and those who accused him of tax fraud were wrong."
Shaw added: "Always good to keep the record straight."
The question is,
do the other networks feel the same way? If they do we should see them
pick up this story on Thursday.
To read the
Progress and Freedom Foundation's triumphant press release, excerpts of
the IRS ruling or the entire IRS document, go to http://www.pff.org
or to a special links page PFF has set up: http://www.pff.org/IRS_clean_bill_of_health.htm
Bill Clinton couldn't help himself, it's just "a glandular
thing." MRC news analyst Paul Smith picked this up from ABC 20/20
co-anchor Hugh Downs during a February 2 discussion on CNN's Larry King
"I think it is fair to say in a case like
this where a powerful man who is an astute politician, obviously
intelligent but who is driven to take risks. There is no doubt about that,
not politically, he is very careful about that. But this is a glandular
thing really with a lot of men and we all probably suffer from it to a
certain, more or less extent that can eclipse one's rational faculties
for a time and I am sure that is what happened. It wasn't like he did
something dumb or that he was venal about it so much as he was just driven
and his wife sees fit to forgive him for it I don't know why the nation
wouldn't forgive him."
What "glandular thing"-driven event is
in Downs' past? And I guess spending months lying and pushing legal
privileges requests at taxpayer's expense is not "venal" if
having sex of some kind with an intern is not "dumb." -- Brent Baker
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