CyberAlert -- 02/24/1999 -- Myers Freed; Media Dismiss Broaddrick and Hope She Goes Away
Myers Freed; Media Dismiss Broaddrick and Hope She Goes Away
1) The Broaddrick interview by Lisa Myers is set to air Wednesday night on Dateline. NBC News President Andrew Lack denied the network sat on the interview, insisting they spent the last five weeks completing "more cross-checking and more digging."
6) The Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray belittled the Dorothy Rabinowitz exclusive, while the night before his paper reported the same thing the Washington Post's John Harris declared: "I think we need to be highly skeptical of the story."
>>> The latest edition of Notable
Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous,
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now up on the MRC home
page. Topic headings in the February 22 issue include "Northeastern
Liberals: In Touch"; "Admiring the Liars....Hating the Truth
Tellers"; "'Horrible' FNC Fed the Right"; and
"Racist Managers, Honest Clinton." To read the issue go to the
MRC home page or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990222.html
Lisa Myers, free at last. Late Tuesday NBC News announced it will carry the long-held Lisa Myers interview with Juanita Broaddrick. Her piece will run on Wednesday's (February 24) Dateline NBC which will air at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT/MT. (If they ran it on Tuesday night's show which airs at 10pm/9pm, or waited until Friday's 9pm/8pm, they could have kept it out of the family hour.)
"With some conservative groups charging that NBC sat on the interview because it was embarrassing to Clinton," a story on the MSNBC Web site noted, NBC News President Andrew Lack countered: "Everyone involved in the process knows there's no truth to that." The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz quoted Myers as assuring: "There was no delay. We used every day of this process to gather information."
Below is the text of NBC's promo spot for Wednesday's show followed by excerpts from the Tuesday MSNBC Web story and Wednesday Washington Post piece on NBC's decision.
-- At the end of
Tuesday's Dateline NBC viewers saw this promo spot:
features the first-ever Broaddrick voice and close-up video aired by a
network. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer
clip of this spot. Just go to: http://www.mrc.org
....NBC News President Andrew Lack said on Tuesday that the network wanted to complete its reporting on the story before airing it and wasn't angry that others had run the story first.
Myers' interview with Broaddrick quickly circulated within the media, with some conservative groups charging that NBC sat on the interview because it was embarrassing to Clinton. "Everyone involved in the process knows there's no truth to that," Lack said.
NBC spokesperson Alex Constantinople said, "We did a lot of reporting of our own to put the story into context."
NBC planned to run the story on the first "Dateline NBC" available as soon as the reporting was complete, Lack said, and NBC finished its work Tuesday. He said the timing of the broadcast had nothing to do with the end of Clinton's impeachment trial. "When you have a story that was 21 years ago, that involves lots of information and facts and involves serious charges, you need to do a lot of checking," he said. "And that's what we were doing."
Lack said he found it "odd" that NBC was criticized for taking too much time in reporting. "You wouldn't have asked that question a few years ago," he said. "That is unfortunately some of the fallout of the pace of journalism over the past few years."
To read the full story: http://msnbc.com/news/242994.asp
...."I kept asking for more information and more cross-checking and more digging, and that takes time," NBC News President Andrew Lack said yesterday. "I felt comfortable this morning that we had dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's." He said he had not been influenced by the end of the President's impeachment trial or the fact that the woman, Juanita Broaddrick, has given her account to the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post....
Broaddrick said yesterday that she did the interview with NBC correspondent Lisa Myers "so people can see me and validate the situation. It's important for them to hear it from the person this happened to. It's very emotional to me. It's very real to me. I have no fear of the President, which is probably silly. Some people say they are absolutely in awe that I am so brave. I just did it to protect myself."
The eight-hour session with Myers was "the hardest day of my life since I lost my father in '71," Broaddrick said, but she also called the interview "therapeutic. I felt a weight has been lifted. This is something my husband and I have never been able to talk about."
For Broaddrick to tell her story on national television will likely give added impact and visibility to a difficult, disputed story that many news organizations have shied away from. As Lack put it: "You can see her, you can measure her differently" than in a newspaper interview....
Since Internet columnist Matt Drudge reported that NBC was holding the Broaddrick interview, the network has received a torrent of calls and e-mail messages from angry viewers demanding that it be broadcast. "These are very serious charges," Lack said. "I was a little surprised that people were not appreciating enough that we were doing our job."
Said Myers: "There was no delay. We used every day of this process to gather information."
To read the rest
of Kurtz's story, go to:
The New York Times on Wednesday caught up with the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and ran its first Broaddrick story, but revealed in the very first paragraph that they deliberately ignored her charge in 1992.
The February 24 story by Felicity Barringer and David Firestone began:
The allegation was passed on to reporters for The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times in the waning days of the 1992 presidential campaign. Regarding it as the kind of toxic waste traditionally dumped just before Election Day, both newspapers passed on the story -- that a nursing-home executive had been sexually assaulted in 1978 by Bill Clinton, then the Attorney General of Arkansas.
The rumor persisted in the shadowlands of the Internet, even after a sworn denial by Juanita Broaddrick, the woman involved. Mrs. Broaddrick reversed herself last spring, during questioning by investigators for the independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. Last month, during the impeachment process, she decided to make the assault charges public in an interview with NBC News. Then she chafed because the interview was not broadcast.
Now, Mrs. Broaddrick has found a different avenue to tell her story, giving several news organizations, including The New York Times, an account of an encounter with Clinton in an Arkansas hotel room. The interviews represent are the first time she has spoken openly about an allegation first made public last March. In the interview, she describes a scene in which Clinton invited himself to her room and then attacked her.
President Clinton's personal lawyer, David A. Kendall, has strenuously denied the charge. "Any allegation that the president assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is absolutely false," he said in a statement released Friday. "Beyond that, we're not going to comment." The White House declined further comment on Tuesday.
The problems with Mrs. Broaddrick's allegation are obvious. There is no physical evidence to verify it. No one else was present during the alleged encounter in Little Rock hotel room nearly 21 years ago. The hotel has since closed. And Mrs. Broaddrick denied the encounter in an affidavit in January 1998 in the Paula Jones case, in which she was known only as "Jane Doe No. 5." Through all those years, she refused to come forward. When pressed by the Jones lawyers, she denied the allegation. And now, she has recanted that denial.
Her allegation has long been fodder for Clinton's legal and political opponents; lawyers for Ms. Jones earned a stern judicial rebuke last spring when they made Mrs. Broaddrick's name public in a legal pleading based on unsubstantiated hearsay accounts.
But despite the problems with the allegation, it became part of the background noise of the impeachment process in Congress, pushed by conservative House Republicans even after Starr made only a glancing reference to it in a supplement to his report....
Gee, maybe it wouldn't have been such a nefarious rumor for so long if the New York Times had done its job and pursued the story in 1992 instead of waiting for two major newspapers and a network to report it before it bothered to get around to it.
MSNBC jumped on its sister network's exclusive video, with both InterNight and Hockenberry focused Tuesday night on Broaddrick. I missed InterNight, but on the 10pm ET/PT Hockenberry Newsweek's Jonathan Alter discounted the newsworthiness of her charge by insisting "this story was peddled by the same old right-wing enemies of Clinton in Arkansas." But Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" box seemed to concede Clinton's guilt.
The February 23 Hockenberry opened with an interview with David Schippers followed by segments with Stuart Taylor and an apoplectic Lanny Davis. Then Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund, Alicia Mundy of Media Week and Jonathan Alter.
Mundy declared: "I'm very surprised at the number of major publishing institutions and media outlets that are ignoring this."
After Hockenberry blamed "cyber gossip," aka Drudge, for fueling the story, Fund corrected him: "There was no cyber gossip about this anywhere before NBC Nightly News aired it March 28th of last year. NBC News was first. Let's get that on the record, that's a fact."
asserted: "If you have the woman willing to put her name and her
picture out there and willing to say period this is what happened and you
can believe me or not believe me, but she's willing to do that. She has
no attachments to any of those right-wing nut groups. She has great
credibility. I think you have to sit and listen to her. This is a serious
The "Conventional Wisdom" box in the March 1 Newsweek contains this after an even arrow for Jane Doe No. 5: "Should have leveled (unproven) assault charge in '78, or '92. But sounds like our guy."
So, "our guy" Clinton is probably guilty of a felony, but, as the MRC's Tim Graham noticed, there's not another word in Newsweek about the incident.
Time magazine at least ran a full-page story, though it reflected annoyance at even having to report on another "sexgate" item, offered a loaded ideological label to lessen the credibility of the Wall Street Journal story and ended by stating the public wants her to go away.
"New Woman, New Charges" announced the headline over the piece in the March 1 issue by Adam Cohen. The subhead: "Sexgate was supposed to be over, but a Clinton acquaintance now alleges he once assaulted her."
The story began: "Just when the air was clearing in Washington -- when politicians were finally putting aside the presidential sex scandal and moving on to Social Security and tax cuts -- another woman has come forward alleging sexual misconduct by Bill Clinton. Corroboration is scant, the White House denials are emphatic, but this tale has an unpleasant new twist: it is a charge of sexual assault."
Cohen later added: "Last week the precise details of the allegation were published in the Wall Street Journal's vociferously conservative opinion pages, and other media outlets quickly followed with their own stories."
concluded with this hope noticed by the MRC's Tim Graham:
To read the whole story, go to: http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,20166,00.html
Dan Rather agrees with Time as he told Don Imus he hopes the American people have "heard all they want to hear about this and are saying you know, 'Next. Let's move on to the next thing.'" MRC analyst Mark Drake caught this exchange from about 7:37am ET Tuesday on the Imus in the Morning syndicated radio show simulcast by MSNBC:
"Even this Juanita Broaddrick thing that, this interview that the
people over there at NBC News have been sittin' on for some reason, who
That explains why Rather's weekday CBS Evening News has avoided Broaddrick after the Saturday edition ran a story prompted by the Washington Post report.
Instead of being proud of his paper's scoop, the Wall Street Journal's Alan Murray belittled the Dorothy Rabinowitz exclusive while the night before his paper reported the same thing the Washington Post's John Harris declared: "I think we need to be highly skeptical of the story."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down some highlights of a Friday Washington Week in Review discussion about Broaddrick, whose story appeared that morning in the Wall Street Journal.
Alan Murray, Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief: "Well, Ken [Bode], one of the great things about the newspaper I work for is that there is an absolute, almost fierce separation between the editorial pages and the news pages. And I work for the news pages, and this was done as an opinion piece on the editorial pages. So I learned about it when you learned about it, when I read the paper this morning. I do think one of the things you have to keep in mind about this is that both Ken Starr and the House managers declined to pursue this issue, primarily because there was no evidence of obstruction of justice. This woman changed her story. She, she denied that anything happened to the Paula Jones attorneys, and then she, and then she again started saying that something did happen. But, but even the piece that ran on the Wall Street Journal editorial page said that there was no evidence that she was pressured to change her story, that she felt any, any pressure from the White House. And that's why it hasn't come up before now."
Later, when moderator Ken Bode asked, "The White House say anything about this today?" The Washington Post reporter John Harris replied: "They said it comes, consider the source. It comes from a very partisan source, the Wall Street Journal editorial page. I think we have to say, in fairness, there have been lots of stories over many years about President Clinton and his personal background. This does not fit the pattern or seem to be consistent with that behavior in any way. So I think we need to be highly skeptical of the story."
The next morning his own paper put the story on its front page.
Raising Broaddrick's charge sent Geraldo Rivera into a full tirade Monday night, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens documented, after Broaddrick hung up on Rivera during a phone conversation.
He opened the
February 22 Rivera Live:
As John Fund pointed out on CNN's Reliable Sources, the Journal has never accused Clinton of murder and drug-running. See the February 22 CyberAlert.
Then Rivera got
recounted how he barged in on a call with Broaddrick:
Geraldo "biased" in favor of Clinton? How'd she get that idea?
Finally, for the record, a Broaddrick coverage summary. Not a word about
her Monday and Tuesday morning or evening on the broadcast network shows.
The MRC analyst staff also reported zilch on Sunday's Today and GMA, so
network coverage prompted by either Friday's Wall Street Journal piece
or Saturday's Washington Post story stands as listed in the February 22
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