Broaddrick Fades; NOW's Warning Skipped; CBS Crusaded for More Medicare
4) Howard Kurtz maintained he knows "people at NBC who felt this interview was ready for airing at least a couple of weeks ago." Lisa Myers conceded there was internal debate about whether NBC should run the story.
Ending a story Thursday night on MSNBC Lisa Myers surmised, "The White House strategy: Stay quiet and hope the charges fade away." Never mind "fade away." They never appeared on any of the broadcast network evening shows this week, not even NBC Nightly News, nor on the ABC or CBS morning shows. Thursday evening not a word about Juanita Broaddrick on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly News. (The CBS Evening News ran a story on Saturday, but nothing since, and ABC has yet to air an evening report.)
When Today landed an exclusive with Linda Tripp a couple of weeks ago, Tom Brokaw played an excerpt the night before. But in this case, despite another exclusive for NBC, this vague end of show plug Wednesday night from Brokaw represents the totality of NBC Nightly News time devoted to Broaddrick: "Tonight on Dateline NBC Lisa Myers with an exclusive interview with the woman known as Jane Doe No. 5, Juanita Broaddrick. Her controversial accusations about President Clinton. Dateline tonight at 8, 7 Central."
Cable news is not ignoring the story. MSNBC spent much of Thursday talking about its NBC exclusive and playing interview clips of Broaddrick the other networks cannot. Thursday's The News with Brian Williams replayed the entire Dateline piece. CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live focused Thursday night on Broaddrick, though CNN did not mention her on The World Today. FNC devoted some daytime segments to the charges and ran a news story in the evening: See today's item #2.
NOW President Patricia Ireland, an avowed liberal feminist, labeled Broaddrick's charges "devastating" and warned Clinton to keep his operatives from impugning her. But few know that since the broadcast network evening shows and CNN's The World Today (as well as Inside Politics) skipped her comments. (She was among several guests on Larry King Live.) The only Thursday night newscasts to mention Ireland: MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams and FNC's Fox Report.
-- FNC's Rita
Cosby talked with Broaddrick and learned she was pleased with the Dateline
piece, considering it "a validation" and saying "Bill
Clinton is a terrible person." Cosby also passed on how her son said
they hoped the story would now go away. But Cosby discovered: "Broaddrick
says her phone is now ringing off the hook with calls from the media and
she is getting support from the National Organization for Women, whose
President says Mr. Clinton and his allies must not attack Broaddrick's
credibility or character."
-- In between
replays of segments of her Dateline piece, on the News with Brian
Williams, Lisa Myers checked in with a look at reaction to her interview:
(Watch this story. Friday morning a hunk of this story in RealPlayer format will be posted on the MRC home page by Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry. Go to: http://www.mrc.org)
Only Today touched Broaddrick on Thursday morning, as detailed in the February 25 Media Reality Check fax report distributed in a CyberAlert Special Extra Edition late Thursday afternoon. To read the fax report, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990225.html
CBS's This Morning has yet to utter the name "Broaddrick" and Good Morning America has never made her a news story or featured an interview about her. Last Friday, February 19, however, co-hosts Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer briefly discussed the Dorothy Rabinowitz piece in that day's Wall Street Journal. (See the February 22 CyberAlert.)
Now some additional information and quotes from NBC's Today that didn't make it into the fax report: how Clinton's press conference avoidance of Broaddrick was reported on Today and the questions posed by Katie Couric to Rabinowitz and Alan Dershowitz in Today's first interview segment about Broaddrick.
As the February 25 CyberAlert noted, Wednesday night only FNC bothered to show Clinton deferring to his lawyer's denial when asked by Helen Thomas, obliquely, about Broaddrick. Thursday morning on Today during the 7am news Claire Shipman showed the exchange, reporting: "And the President himself was asked about it at a press conference yesterday."
Shipman proceeded to pass along the White House spin that maybe the sex was consensual: "And sources say that behind the scenes the President has categorically denied the charges. But what the White House is very pointedly not denying is that the President knew Broaddrick, may have had a relationship with her, the subtle suggestion being that if there was an encounter it may have been consensual. But the White House doesn't think it's in its interest or the President's interest at this point to say anything more than 'No comment.' Broaddrick isn't pressing charges. Even if she wanted to the statute of limitations has long expired. It's not part of an ongoing investigation at this point. And at this point the White House is hoping it will turn into a situation reminiscent of much of last year. A case of 'he said versus she said.' An unprovable charge that will quickly fade. Matt."
Katie Couric did a
fairly balanced job in posing questions to Rabinowitz and Dershowitz. MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens transcribed her questions:
-- "Okay. Let
me interject for a moment. Why didn't Ken Starr pursue this even
further? She was basically a footnote in his report. Why?"
line from you. What should the people take from this and what impact will
it have? You talk about history. Is this, does this story have legs? Will
it stick to Bill Clinton and his legacy?"
On CNN Howard Kurtz maintained he knows "people at NBC who felt this interview was ready for airing at least a couple of weeks ago." Lisa Myers told MSNBC there was internal debate about "whether NBC should run a story about a rape allegation about the President of the United States, from 20 years ago, when we simply cannot prove it." But she denied any pressure from the White House and related that her mother wants one of Brit Hume's "Free Lisa Myers" buttons.
Some outtakes from two February 25 interviews:
-- CNN Inside
Politics host Judy Woodruff asked the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz:
"Was NBC justified, based on what you know, in delaying the airing of
this interview, from before the impeachment trial vote, until now?"
mentioned all the talk about sitting on the interview on the Internet,
talk radio and other organizations -- even the 'Free Lisa Myers'
buttons that some pundits wore on a Fox network show."
all the talk about people "sitting on the story," can you
characterize the debate at NBC on running the story? Was there even a
To read this entire online interview with Myers, go to: http://www.msnbc.com/news/244470.asp
NBC's main index page for Broaddrick material: http://www.msnbc.com/news/242994.asp
CBS skipped Broaddrick again Thursday night but made time for a one-sided piece using an emotional plea from an elderly lady to endorse Clinton's call to expand Medicare to pay for prescriptions. Reporter Scott Pelley highlighted a woman who supposedly "cannot afford all of the medicine that she needs to breath" and Pelley preposterously asserted: "Medicare's lack of prescription benefits is a quiet crisis."
Dan Rather introduced the February 25 CBS Evening News story on Clinton's trip to Tucson by misleadingly asserting: "CBS News White House correspondent Scott Pelley is traveling with the President in Arizona and looks beyond the photo-op to the fine print."
Naturally, one would think going beyond the photo-op to the "fine print" would mean a look at some problems with Clinton's proposal. But that's not what CBS delivered. This story is so biased and features such a sympathetic portrait of a selfish woman who wants everyone else to pay for her problems instead of her family, that I've transcribed it in full.
"In Tucson the President called for a revolution in Medicare, not
only to save the insurance program but also to expand it."
(Editorial comment: How selfish. She wouldn't want her family to take care of her but sees nothing wrong with making every other family pay for her.)
"Still, drug coverage would cost billions. Medicare is growing so
fast in twenty years it will claim 25 percent of the entire federal
budget. With drug coverage it could be 30 percent."
(Editorial comment: No, she's fighting for her dependence.)
I'll fight to the day I die for that."
-- See what Halpert looks like. Since this is such a great example of how the networks serve as advocates for Clinton's liberal plans to expand government, on Friday morning a RealPlayer clip of much of this story will be placed next to this item in the posted edition of this CyberAlert on the MRC home page. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990226.html#5
Tom Brokaw knows what's best for us. In the opening tease for Thursday's NBC Nightly News he questioned the wisdom of making a bigger SUV: "A new king of the road, a sport utility vehicle bigger than anything you've seen before. But is it necessary?"
Straight from the
liberal environmentalist agenda, NBC's Anne Thompson, over photos of the
evil new vehicle, opened the subsequent story:
So, it really isn't much bigger than a popular pickup.
Thompson proceeded to warn parking it will be "like docking the Queen Mary" as it's a foot longer than the Chevrolet Suburban. She allowed a dealer to salivate over how he's looking forward to having a product to compete with the Suburban and offered a soundbite from an auto analyst who pointed out how it will have a low emission engine so it won't be so bad environmentally.
Forget any questions about her legal work in Arkansas or how she made $100,000 on $1,000. Forget how her husband stands accused of rape. And don't even consider the possibility the whole idea is a PR gimmick planned before Broaddrick broke to distract from the then known to be looming allegations. Let's just marvel at the possibility Hillary Clinton will run for the Senate from New York.
That attitude is reflected in how Diane Sawyer handled the subject in a February 25 Good Morning America interview segment observed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson. Here is Sawyer's intro and her "questions."
Sawyer: "Well, to run or not to run, that is the question, and we have a little more information on whether the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going to do it in, for the Senate race in New York. Because yesterday she met with Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York, who herself is a leading contender for the Senate nomination if Mrs. Clinton doesn't run, and last night with New York Congressman Charles Rangel, who's been credited with starting the whole 'draft Hillary' movement, and we welcome you both. Congresswoman Lowey, tell me what happened yesterday. What did she say?"
Sawyer: "So she said she's seriously considering it. Is that the exact language, anything more?"
Sawyer: "Congressman Rangel, what's your bet today?"
your conversations with her, Congressman Rangel, what lights up her face
the most? What tempts her the most in this?"
Sawyer: "Alright, well Congresswoman, yes or no, is she going to do it or not?"
Some balance on 60 Minutes. Last fall the CBS program generated controversy for showing Jack Kevorkian killing a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease. This Sunday they'll run a story on people who choose to live with the disease. In the February 25 Washington Post Lisa de Moraes described how the new angle made it onto the show:
60 Minutes is going to follow up its report about Jack Kevorkian giving a lethal injection to a man with Lou Gehrig's disease. This time it will do a segment on people who choose to live with the illness. It airs this Sunday.
The newsmagazine started a nationwide debate when it aired a video showing Kevorkian administering the fatal dose to Thomas Youk, who was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It aired on 60 Minutes during the final weekend of the November sweeps and scored an impressive 22.6 million people to help the network to a very tight sweeps win.
60 Minutes Executive Producer Don Hewitt says the idea for this weekend's segment came from his appearance on CNN's Larry King Live after that controversial broadcast. Mike Wallace also appeared on King's show that night to discuss the decision to air the video. One of the people who called King's show suggested the newsmag should report on people who have the disease and chose not to take their lives.
This Sunday's segment will air, not coincidentally, during the final Sunday of the February sweeps, which actually ends this Wednesday, March 3.
Say what you want about 60 Minutes and Executive Producer Don Hewitt, but he's willing to do what many at the networks won't: show another side of a story he's already covered.
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