Most Networks Skipped Starr's Whitewater Success; Latest NQ
1) CBS, NBC and MSNBC Friday
night ignored the latest Whitewater success by Starr, ABC gave it a few
seconds. Only FNC spelled out the ramifications for Clinton. NBC went
Monica-free for two nights.
2) February 23 edition of
Notable Quotables: Saturday Night Massacre by Spin Control & Still
Shilling for the Clinton Marriage.
Clinton and the flight attendant
now on the MRC Web page. MRC Web manager Joe Alfonsi got a
"Snappy" of the video cited in the February 19 CyberAlert of
Bill Clinton and a flight attendant sharing a jump seat during the 1992
campaign. Their arms are interlocked and his hand is on her knee. She's
now on the White House staff. It's at the top of the MRC home page and
will remain there for at least another day: http://www.mrc.org
"Simon Said: Good News!" That's
the title of an opinion piece submitted by Julian Simon before his death,
but run Sunday by the Washington Post. See the February 11 CyberAlert for
details on his life dedicated to undercutting the fallacies espoused by
radical environmentalists and obligingly repeated by the media. To read
his February 22 Outlook section piece on how the lives of people around
the world are improving in ways many don't appreciate, go to:
Not only is Monicagate falling off network evening show budgets even on
nights with events or revelations in newspapers stories, but the networks
are also choosing to ignore developments on the Whitewater front. The
networks have all run stories featuring liberals complaining about how
Starr has strayed beyond his mandate while reporters themselves have
bemoaned the focus on sex instead of important issues. But Friday night
CBS, NBC and MSNBC didn't bother with the guilty plea deal made by
former Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker to offer Whitewater evidence. ABC
gave it 14 seconds, CNN a sentence. Only FNC aired a story spelling out
the ominous implications for the Clintons.
None of the broadcast networks uttered a
syllable about the Monica matter Friday night and Saturday's New York
Times story on how Vernon Jordan is distancing himself from Clinton,
saying Clinton assured him he did not have a sexual relationship with
Lewinsky, got part of a story on ABC, a few sentences on CBS but nothing
on NBC. In fact, NBC Nightly News didn't mention Fellategate Friday or
Sunday night (February 22) NBC Nightly News
finally got around to airing a story, a piece from Joe Johns on how
Lewinsky stands by her original deposition and, a day late, explaining how
the New York Times reported that Clinton told Jordan he did not have sex
with Lewinsky. Since the network skipped it Thursday night, NBC viewers
never learned of the February 19 Washington Post story on how Jordan met
more often with Lewinsky than previously known.
ABC featured a profile of Vernon Jordan by
Sam Donaldson on Sunday's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News,
for the second night in a row, did not run a full story. Anchor John
Roberts took 50 seconds to introduce and run a soundbite from Lewinsky
lawyer William Ginsburg insisting that she stands by her original
Here's a rundown of how the networks
handled the scandals on Friday and Saturday night. First, Friday, February
-- ABC's World News Tonight.
Like CBS and NBC, ABC led with Iraq and the anthrax arrests. Substitute
anchor Lisa McRee delivered this 14 second item on Whitewater, the only
broadcast network to even mention the development:
"Whitewater prosecutors won another
conviction today. In Arkansas, former Governor Jim Guy Tucker pleaded
guilty to a fake bankruptcy scheme that saved him $3 million in taxes.
It's the second fraud conviction in two years. He'll be sentenced to
-- CBS Evening News
devoted about half the show to Iraq. Zilch on Tucker, but CBS had time for
a story on El Nino, an Eye on America series on women and smoking and for
Dan Rather to list the rights in Clinton's proposed health care Bill of
- NBC Nightly News.
Nothing on Monicagate or Tucker and Whitewater, but did find time after
Iraq for a piece of Tara Lipinski winning the Gold Medal, an In Depth look
at the beneficial impact of warm weather caused by El Nino and for Tom
Brokaw's crime report on four Florida men arrested by police after their
cocaine got into their van's AC system and was blown all over them.
-- CNN's The World Today.
A bit past the halfway mark co-anchor Joie Chen showed soundbites from Ken
Starr and Mike McCurry about executive privilege. She then noted the
Justice Dept. evaluation that Secret Service (USSS) officers should be
protected from testifying. Next, she took 20 seconds to report Tucker's
decision to agree to cooperate.
-- MSNBC's News with Brian
Williams. He noted the Justice Dept. decision on the USSS and had
time for a story on a California woman who gave birth to a 14 pound baby,
but said nothing about Monicagate or Tucker.
-- FNC's Special Report with Brit
Hume at 6pm ET/9pm PT and 7pm ET Fox Report aired a full story on
Tucker. Fox News Channel's David Shuster spelled out the implications
for Clinton avoided by all the other networks:
"In exchange for a likely sentence of
probation Tucker has agreed to cooperate with investigators. That could be
bad news for the Clintons. Two years ago in a Whitewater trial that forced
Tucker to resign from office, he and the Clinton's former business
partners, the McDougals, were convicted of fraud and conspiracy, charges
they obtained fraudulent loans to help Arkansas's political family. One
of those loans went through the Clintons Whitewater account and
prosecutors have been fighting for three years to turn Tucker into a
government witness. But the development will have a more immediate impact
on Starr's investigation into Monica Lewinsky because precious
prosecution resources are now available for the case in
Too bad ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and NBC
viewers have no idea of Starr's progress on his original mission.
Now, here are some notes about Saturday,
-- ABC's World News Tonight
featured a report from Karla Davis on the Justice recommendation for
"substantial privilege" for USSS officers and the New York Times
story on a "possible distancing" between Jordan and Clinton as
someone close to Jordan told the paper Jordan was assured by Clinton that
no sex occurred.
-- CBS Evening News anchor
Paula Zahn noted that Lewinsky's father said he does not think his
daughter had sex with Clinton, then she delivered this 24 second item:
"A lawyer, who claims to know
Jordan's story, tells the New York Times that Jordan did not know
Lewinsky was a potential witness in the Paula Jones case when he was
helping her. When he confronted the President, the lawyer says, Jordan was
reassured by Mr. Clinton that he did not have a sexual relationship with
the former White House intern. The report says Jordan did, however, keep
the President personally informed about Lewinsky's job search."
-- NBC Nightly News:
nothing on anything related to Monicagate.
The February 23 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly
compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the
liberal media. If you've been an attentive CyberAlert reader most of
these should be familiar to you, but I think you'll find some stark
examples of bias you may have missed in the rush of breaking stories over
the past few weeks. The first eight quotes recount media attacks on Starr,
the rest deal with other aspects of Monicagate coverage.
A few quotes have not appeared in a
previous CyberAlert: Under "Still Shilling for the Clinton
Marriage," quotes from Newsweek and U.S. News caught by MRC analysts
Steve Kaminski and Eric Darbe and under "Clinton's State of the
Union: The Naked Pause that Refreshes," a quote the MRC's Gene
Eliasen noticed in Time magazine.
The issue follows below. -- Brent Baker
February 23, 1998 (Vol. Eleven; No.
Saturday Night Massacre by Spin Control
"For Ken Starr to say he's going
to investigate the leaks is as believable as O.J. Simpson looking for
the real killer." - Wall Street Journal Executive Washington
Editor Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, February 7.
"What Starr is doing is trying to
construct the truth according to Ken Starr, and according to Miss
Lewinsky's lawyer he's reneging on his offer of immunity, because
she's not saying what he wants and what he's doing is trying to get
people to say what he wants. He's the one who is suborning perjury
here in my view. He has gone way beyond the pale in term of his
treatment of witnesses." - Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, February 7
"You don't have to have a
moment's sympathy for the President to know that this convergence of
Jones, Starr and the FBI is not right. No one is worried much about
civil liberties when Sipowicz is browbeating the bad guy on NYPD Blue.
But the latest Washington drama is for real. As Starr disgraces the
Judicial Branch and Clinton the Executive one, things once lost - like
respect for privacy, the presidency and proportion - cannot be
retrieved. Next up: perhaps the Legislative Branch, to stage a trial
blending the worst of Watergate and Melrose Place, a show so repulsive
it might even shame Ken Starr." - Margaret Carlson in Time, Feb.
Starr on Trial in
Media's Kangaroo Court
"Ginsburg told ABC News he is not
coordinating with the President's lawyers, but he is not the only one
to complain that Starr's tactics border on abuse. Whitewater figure
Susan McDougal has long maintained that she's in jail on contempt
charges only because she won't invent facts to fit Starr's story.
The question now is whether Starr's tactics will prove more offensive
to the courts and the public than any alleged wrongdoing by the
President that Starr is investigating." - ABC's Michel McQueen,
February 7 World News Tonight.
Anchor Len Cannon: "The
President's popularity continues to climb while new leaks raise more
questions about this crisis and about the special counsel who is running
Paul Begala on Meet the Press: "Ken
Starr has become corrupt in the sense Lord Acton meant when he said
absolute power corrupts absolutely." - Top of the show tease,
February 8 NBC Nightly News.
"CNN has learned the ranking
Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee plans to ask Attorney General
Janet Reno to investigate whether Ken Starr should be removed from
office. Sources say Congressman John Conyers is writing a long letter to
Reno, accusing Starr of repeated abuses of power, including pressuring
witnesses to commit perjury. The allegations are specific and serious,
aimed at a man who already has given many people the impression he's
on a mission. That may have a lot to do with Starr's religious and
Republican roots...." - Greta Van Susteren hosting the February 5
CNN special "Investigating the Investigator."
Tom Brokaw:"Still ahead tonight.
Investigating the President. A growing backlash against independent
counsel Kenneth Starr. Is he out of bounds or just tone deaf?"
Victoria Toensing: "Ken Starr has a
political tin ear. And that is what has really hurt him."
Brokaw: "Has Starr gone too far in
his pursuit of Monica Lewinsky and the President?" - February 16
NBC Nightly News.
"So over the next few weeks
President Clinton's most delicate relations may not be with an
independent counsel who stones every turn of his life or an old intern
spinning astounding stories, but with millions of Americans who've
come to like and admire Bill Clinton and don't want to feel foolish
for believing in him. And to be sure prosecutor Kenneth Starr has also
put himself on trial. If after all of the agony over these past few
weeks it doesn't produce a single plausible actual charge against
President Clinton, and probably soon, it may be the independent
prosecutor who could be dismissed by the American public." - NPR
anchor Scott Simon on NBC's Today, February 1.
Still Shilling for
the Clinton Marriage
"'The only people who count in any
marriage are the two that are in it.' There is a simple alchemy to
their relationship: she's goofy, flat-out in love with him and he with
her. 'They don't kiss. They devour each other,' says one aide. He
needs her - for intellectual solace, political guidance and spiritual
sustenance....Clinton haters and even some supporters wonder whether
their marriage will end with the presidency. That seems wildly unlikely.
Neither Clinton plans to trade in a public career for shuffleboard. As
long as they're in the limelight, their turbulent partnership seems
certain to endure - for better or worse. That's because they see
themselves in almost Messianic terms, as great leaders who have a
mission to fulfill. Her friends speculate that the Bible gives her a
historical context for what she's going through. 'There's a lot of
consolation, guidance and refueling that comes from reading about
centuries-old calamities,' says a friend. Given the storm they're
in, it's a source of inspiration they'll need." - Matthew
Cooper and Karen Breslau, Feb. 9 Newsweek.
"There is no 'arrangement' about
tolerating infidelity. They are passionate about each other, for better
and worse. More than one staffer reports being 'embarrassed' when in
the room with the first couple as they openly touched each other."
- U.S. News & World Report writer and CBS News analyst Gloria
Borger, Feb. 2.
Gingrich Just As
Immoral As Clinton, Tripp Worse
"Bill Bennett, Mr. Virtues, has said
basically that Clinton is morally unfit to hold office. I'm sure Bill
believes that, but this is the same Bill Bennett who has a close friend
and goes on trips with Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House who's
been accused of some of the same sort of moral turpitude that the
President's been accused of....Gingrich gave his wife her walking
papers a day out of cancer surgery. Now that's character and as long
as we play political games, and we view character in a ideological
sense, I don't think the American public is going to be anything but
cynical." - Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt on CNN's Capital
Gang, Feb. 1.
"Friends don't tape friends, so
could we all quit calling Linda Tripp anything but the spy-provocateur
she is? Nothing in this mess is more inexplicable than how anyone could
record, day after day, the most intimate details, real or imagined, of
another person's life." - Time columnist Margaret Carlson,
Clinton's State of
the Union: The Naked
Pause That Refreshes
"He invited his exhausted audience
to take a holiday from Lewinsky and spend a refreshing hour and 12
minutes feeling like a country again. For once the talk on the screen
was not of oral sex, but of our lives and fortunes and sacred happiness.
He had become all human nature, the best and the worst, standing there
naked in a sharp, dark suit, behind the TelePrompTer. That which does
not kill him only makes him stronger, and his poll numbers went through
the roof....That may have been a miracle, but it was no accident:
Americans are less puritanical and more forgiving than the cartoon
version suggests, and this President is never better than in his worst
moments." - Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, February 9.
Smearing Clinton Like
"A final thought on what you have
seen and heard in this edition of Impact. A breaking news story is never
the full picture. Remember speculation that Middle Eastern terrorists
bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building? In fact, Americans did it.
Remember first reports that Princess Diana was hounded to death by the
paparazzi? In fact, we learned that the man driving her speeding
limousine was drunk. And that investigation is not over. Remember
Richard Jewell highly suspected in the Olympic park bombing? In fact,
the FBI apologized for targeting the wrong man. And now we are in the
middle of another breaking story; the President and his accusers. All
the facts are not in." - CNN's Bernard Shaw at the end of the
January 25 Impact.
If Frogs Had Guns, Dan
Would Make Sense
Starr and his people have been working for three to four years, spent
more than $30 million, they've used dozens if not a hundred or so FBI
agents. They may have turned this up, whether you had the Paula Jones
case or not. But again maybe not, but again that's like if a frog had
side pockets he'd probably wear a handgun. It didn't happen that
way." - Dan Rather on the Late Show with David Letterman, Feb. 5.
L. Brent Bozell III,
Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey
Dickens, Gene Eliasen,
Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate; Sherri Pascale, Circulation;
Rebecca Hinnershitz, Karen Sanjines, Interns
-- Brent Baker
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