CyberAlert -- 02/16/1999 -- CBS: GOP Must Move Left; Tripp a Bad Mom; CNN's Liberal Night

CBS: GOP Must Move Left; Tripp a Bad Mom; CNN's Liberal Night

1) The Republican Party must "move toward the middle, away from the far-right social conservatives" who pushed the impeachment process, contended the CBS Evening News Monday night.

2) Larry King seriously asked Linda Tripp if without the DNA evidence "there never would have been an admission by the President of any relationship?" Tripp revealed that Clinton's DNA evidence "was everywhere" on the dress.

3) Friday night NBC's Dateline introduced highlights of the Tripp interview with a broadside against her. And on CNN Al Hunt insisted most wouldn't want Tripp to be their mom.

4) Geraldo Rivera invited Hillary Clinton to march with him in the Puerto Rican Day parade.

5) "As Republicans why would they want to do anything the public wanted them to do?" So CBS's Gloria Borger snidely asked on PBS.

6) Instead of condemning Lewinsky and Jordan for lying Newsweek's Evan Thomas praised them as "pros" who are "savvy" and "terrific."

7) NBC's Claire Shipman assured viewers that though Clinton is angry at Republicans, "his method for dealing with that is more likely to be persuasion than retribution."

8) CNN's Liberal Night? Tuesday's CNN specials promise a bunch of liberal panelists, but just one conservative.

carville0216.jpg (8626 bytes)>>> See and hear Carville get booed. Last Friday morning Katie Couric asked James Carville about Ken Starr and whether he is "willing though to bury the hatchet and say we gotta move on, we gotta put his behind us?" Carville responded: "Yea, I'll bury the hatchet right in him. No I'm not burying no hatchets no way..." The night before the audience for CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, an audience drawn from the liberal Northeast, actually booed some of Carville's pro-Clinton harangues. Tuesday morning a RealPlayer clip of some of the booing will be placed on the MRC home page. Go to: <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) CBS News to the GOP: You must "move toward the middle, away from the far-right social conservatives" who pushed the impeachment process. Though the February 15 CBS Evening News piece by correspondent Sharyl Attkisson on what Republicans must do to overcome supposed public rejection of their party included some soundbites from Republicans, none were allowed to counter the central thesis of her one expert professor about how the Republicans must move left.

In a minute and thirty five seconds Attkisson managed to air five ideological labels about Republicans. In the following complete transcript of the report these labels are in ALL CAPS.

Sharyl Attkisson: "Today, Republicans at a town hall meeting in Michigan seemed delighted to talk about something besides impeachment."
Senator Trent Lott: "Actually what I believe in is less government from Washington, less taxes on the people and more freedom."
Attkisson: "Republicans are desperately re-grouping after a difficult year pursuing the President's impeachment. Many worry they're now at serious risk of losing their congressional majority. Political analyst James Thurber says the party must move toward the middle, away from the FAR-RIGHT SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES who pushed hardest for the President's ouster. But that won't be easily done."
James Thurber, American University: "It's tough for Republicans to moderate though when they have a well-organized RIGHT-WING in their party, pulling the party FURTHER TO THE RIGHT where the voters don't exist."
Attkisson: "Moderates like Senator John McCain, meeting in Florida over the weekend, are well aware of their party's challenge."
Senator John McCain on Saturday: "It's not an accident that this was the lowest turnout ever for 18 to 26 year-olds. Do you think it was some kind of aberration?"
Attkisson: "For now the game plan is hammer home traditional CONSERVATIVE goals like tax cuts and the return of power to local governments."
Lott: "We want to get those decisions and that money out of Washington, back in the states and the local level where the decisions are really made."
Attkisson: "The party's RIGHT-WING will continue to apply pressure on social issues like abortion. They may be in the minority but they're powerful fundraisers and that gives them the influence to shape policy and dominate the Republican agenda."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Linda Tripp's live interview Monday night by CNN's Larry King generated less hostility from King than I expected, but did deliver one noteworthy exchange in which Tripp offered what Geraldo Rivera would dismiss as a "salacious" detail about the semen-stained dress, though a previously unknown observation about quantity, and King's apparent lack of knowledge of how only the dress evidence led Clinton to concede anything quite naturally baffled Tripp.

Here's the relevant exchange from near the end of the February 15 show:

Tripp, recalling one of her visits to Lewinsky's Watergate apartment: "...The two times I had been there were -- both times were for reasons of convenience, having to stay late in town -- and at that time, she wanted me try on some jackets that she thought I would fit into. And I did. And at that time, she pulled out this semen-stained dress and showed it to me. And that was first time."
King: "And said that's the President's semen. What did she say?"
Tripp: "Well, I knew every outfit she had ever worn with them he him because there had been so much thought that went into which dress to wear and so forth, and I recognized it as a dress from a visit. And it was quite obviously stained all over the front, and she explained what it was."
King: "Wasn't one little stain?"
Tripp: "No. It was everywhere."
King: "And did you say keep it?"
Tripp: "Yes."
King: "Because?"
Tripp: "Not at that time. Later, later."
King: "But what led you to say that?"
Tripp: "Well, when I saw it, I realized that this was her insurance policy, much as my documentation later would be mine."
King: "Are you saying that no dress there never wold have been an admission by the President of any relationship?"
Tripp: "You're asking me that seriously?"
King: "No, I'm asking you -- yea."
Tripp: "Well, I think, I think the facts are clear on that."

Well, not to King. How the DNA evidence led to Clinton realizing he had to admit something happened apparently went right over King's head.

Speaking of King and missing the point, check out this wacky reasoning from the Monday USA Today column of the man who loves to berate "right-wing wackos." From the February 15 "Larry King's People" column:
"What-if department...What if President Clinton announced a cure for cancer developed by the National Institutes of Health? What would critics say? Would Bob Barr want him impeached for failing to tell us the study was going on? Would Rush Limbaugh decry the President taking credit while admitting getting rid of cancer wasn't a bad thing? Would Pat Buchanan insist that no nation other than America be given it? Would The Wall Street Journal worry about its effect on pharmaceutical stock prices? And so it goes...."


tripp0216.jpg (9026 bytes)cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) NBC maximized the Today show exclusive interview they had with Linda Tripp, running it again Friday night on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams and parts of it on Dateline NBC, but NBC didn't thank Tripp by offering a positive portrait of her.

See the February 12 special afternoon CyberAlert for details of the Today interview, which the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported Today agreed to carry unedited:
That CyberAlert guesstimated the interview last about 15 minutes on Today. I went back and timed it and it actually lasted 20:55, nearly 21 minutes.

But Friday night Tripp didn't even have the limited protection her no edit deal assured, a fact NBC took full advantage of in weaving her Today interview into a 13-minute piece for Dateline. Check out the introduction by Jamie Gangel, the reporter who conducted the interview:

Gangel: "Linda Tripp, the woman many Americans hold responsible for the year-long ordeal known as the Lewinsky affair. The woman who got it all started by secretly taping her girlfriend, Monica Lewinsky as she agonized over her relationship with the President of the United States. [snippet of Lewinsky on tape pleading with Tripp not to let her have an affair again with a married man] The woman who not only launched a national scandal but launched a thousand jokes. [Two-second bite of John Goodman playing Tripp on Saturday Night Live] And the woman who launched a wave of scorn."
Man on street: "I think she's manipulative."
Woman on street: "I don't think much of her."
Bernard Lewinsky, from June 5, 1998: "It's something that I don't know how she will ever live the rest of her life knowing that she has so damaged a 'friend,' quote unquote."
Gangel: "She spoke out only once before, in a brief press conference after her grand jury testimony last summer."
Tripp in July 1998: "I'm you. I'm just like you."
Gangel, now in an excerpt from her Today interview: "After you testified to the grand jury you said?"
Tripp: "Regrettably, I am you."
Gangel: "'I am you.' And I think America resoundingly said 'no you're not.'"

(To watch this intro, go to the MRC home page where Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer clip of it next to this item in the posted version of this CyberAlert.)

And so it went with Gangel interspersing interview clips with her reporting of what Tripp did, including her contacting Lucianne Goldberg, "a New York book agent, political bit player and an avowed Clinton hater." Gangel did include soundbites of Tripp talking about Lewinsky's suicide threats and how she thinks Lewinsky covered up for Clinton. But Gangel also again failed to acknowledge Tripp's prescience in saving the dress, accusing her of trying to "manipulate" Lewinsky, and concluded by playing her final interview question which held Tripp, not Clinton, responsible for the scandal:
"When all is said and done, Monica's life has been ruined. President Clinton remains in office. The country has gone through a year of scandal which many people blame you for. Was it worth it?"

The Wall Street Journal's Executive Washington Editor is as disgusted with Tripp as ever. Just look at Al Hunt's "Outrage of the Week" as announced on Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN:
"The infamous Linda Tripp told the New York Times this week that she was actually helping her friend Monica Lewinsky, acting like a mom by surreptitiously taping her and then going to a prosecutor. This mom also tried to cash in on those tapes by peddling a book, played along with the antics of right-wing operatives and says her dear friend Monica lied under oath to the Senate. Somehow I don't think most people would want Linda Tripp as a friend, much less a mom."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Geraldo Rivera, giddy with excitement and already aboard the Hillary for Senate campaign. Rivera got some off-camera face time with Bill Clinton in Mexico Monday morning. Smiling and barely able to contain his glee, on CNBC's Upfront Tonight on Monday night Rivera recounted part of his conversation:
"I said, you know, I'd like to invite the First Lady to march with me in this summer's Puerto Rican Day parade up Fifth Avenue, a million and a half people lining both sides of the streets. The President instantly said 'I think that she'd like that.' And then as if to emphasize it he said 'I think she'd like that' a second time so I would bet you'd have another Clinton to kick around Diane [Dimond] come the year 2000 in the United States Senate."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Republicans blocked a popular censure resolution because "as Republicans why would they want to do anything the public wanted them to do?" So argued CBS News analyst and U.S. News writer Gloria Borger on Friday's Washington Week in Review. Check out this exchange from the February 12 edition of the PBS show:

Gloria Borger: "The Senate didn't get to where it really wanted to get, which was a censure. All along you've seen the polls, the public has said well don't remove him from office, but give him some kind of reprimand. Why can't you folks agree in a bipartisan way to do something, to reprimand this guy and they just couldn't get there."
Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist: "Why not? What happened?"
Borger: "Well, I mean, and Doyle [McManus] can speak to this, but essentially the Republicans were saying we're voting to convict and that's enough and we don't want to appear to be piling on, which was kind of strange reasoning."
Friedman: "Too late to be piling on."
Borger: "Right, and it's unconstitutional and as Republicans why would they want to do anything the public wanted them to do? This would be a first. And then they said we'll let the Democrats off the hook if we do that. And the Democrats thought that the censure resolution was too tough."


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Admiring deceit. Clinton, Jordan and Lewinsky all lied and isn't that great! Instead of condemning them, on this past weekend's Inside Washington Newsweek's Evan Thomas praised them as "pros" who are "savvy" and "terrific." Suggesting an explanation for why the Senate couldn't muster a majority on the obstruction article, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor intoned:
"It was a weak obstruction of justice case for a couple of reasons. I think the biggest reason was the three principals involved in it -- Clinton and Monica and Vernon Jordan -- are pros, they know how to cover-up so there was never any, they didn't have to do any explicit 'now young lady you have to lie.' Monica's a savvy gal. She knows how to lie when the time is right. Clinton's been doing it all his life. And Vernon is a terrific lawyer who knew exactly how not to get himself into trouble. And with those three principals involved you were never going to pin a case on them."


cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes) Friday night the three broadcast evening shows each presented a different opening spin on what the day's events meant. On the NBC Nightly News Claire Shipman, who called the Clinton statement "the President's most humble apology, plain and short," also eagerly bought into the White House spin, concluding with this innocuous take on rumors of retribution:
"Aides say the President's mood today -- largely one of relief. Yes he has some anger at those Republicans who impeached him, but friends explain that his method for dealing with that is more likely to be persuasion than retribution. As one put it tonight, he knows now that in order to restore his legacy he has to think and act big."

Aren't his pursuit of big breasts what got him in trouble?

Over on the CBS Evening News reporter provided a piece on how Janet Reno is investigating Ken Starr, but Jones concluded by noting: "Those supportive of Starr view the Justice Department investigation of the independent counsel as an attempt to build a case so the Attorney General can fire Starr before he can indict Bill Clinton."

To give you a flavor what viewers learned from the networks Friday night, here's how the Big Three opened their February 12 broadcasts:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings, the only broadcast network anchor to remain in New York City, began: "Good evening. When the Watergate crisis was over in the 1970s President Gerald Ford said succinctly that the country's long national nightmare was over. The crisis in the Clinton presidency has never been as divisive, nor has it pulverized the nation's emotions in quite the same way. But when the President's impeachment trial was done in the Senate today and he came out and apologized for a crisis he had triggered there was, we think, a national sense of relief that it was over whether one agreed with the Senate decision or not."

-- CBS Evening News. From Washington, DC Dan Rather opened: "Good evening. The verdict is in. President Clinton will stay in office, the push by Republicans to remove him failed today. The vote wasn't even close to the two-thirds majority required, that would be 67 votes, on either one of the two impeachment counts for perjury and obstruction of justice. From Capitol Hill Bob Schieffer reports on a defining day for the President, Congress and the country."

-- NBC Nightly News. Also from Washington, Tom Brokaw led the broadcast: "Good evening. Well, after all of this: more than a year of charges, investigation, rumors, sex lies and videotape, the second impeachment trial of an American President ended today and the vote wasn't even close on perjury or obstruction of justice. Ten Republican Senators voted against the case presented by the House managers on perjury, so that vote was 55 to 45 not guilty. On the charge of obstruction of justice five Republicans crossed over. That vote was a flat tie, well short of the two-thirds needed for conviction."


cyberno8.gif (1522 bytes) Tuesday night: CNN's Liberal Night? Tuesday, February 16, CNN plans to air a two-hour special town meeting hosted by Jeff Greenfield in two parts: 8 to 9pm ET and 10 to 11pm ET with Larry King Live sandwiched in between. Conservative views may be hard to hear.

During Monday's Larry King Live King plugged his Tuesday show:
"We'll discuss the fallout from the impeachment trial with Hugh Downs of ABC's 20/20, Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post and David Gergen of U.S. News and World Report." Not a conservative among them.

As for the two-hour town meeting, "A Conversation with America: We the People," promos run Monday night on CNN listed these guests: liberal Hollywood producer Norman Lear, liberal former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite who has condemned the impeachment push, liberal former Congressman and current NAACP chief Kwesi Mfume, and Arianna Huffington. That's 3-to-1. Well, maybe it's more like 4 or 5-to-1. Monday's USA Today also listed Howard Baker and Chuck D of Public Enemy as panelists. Baker may be right of center, but he's no conservative. And I never thought of Chuck D as a public opinion analyst.

Let's hope the shows are more balanced than the promos and guest lists suggest. -- Brent Baker


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