Are There Any Clinton China Critics?
1) Networks still glowing about Clinton China performance. Only CNN acknowledged any critics exist. ABC suggested jurors may not like Linda Tripp. NBC skipped Tripp and Dale Young to spend time on UFOs.
Correction: The June 29 CyberAlert quoted Geraldo Rivera as saying Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg "were perfectly willing to sacrifice the young former White House intern on the alter of greed, on the alter of hatred for Bill Clinton..." As some church-going readers pointed out, that should have been altar, not alter.
More glowing assessments for Clinton's performances in Beijing topped the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows Monday night and only CNN acknowledged that not everyone back home is thrilled by Clinton's trip. CNN and FNC led with the argument over attorney-client privilege for Bruce Lindsey and a preview of Linda Tripp's expected Tuesday grand jury appearance. ABC and CBS also ran pieces covering both with ABC's Jackie Judd suggesting "the grand jurors just may not like her" because of her secret recording, but not NBC, which did not utter a word on the Monica front. So, other than a vague reference Sunday night, NBC Nightly News viewers never learned about Dale Young's confirmation that Lewinsky related details of her relationship with Clinton or how narrowly Clinton defines "sexual relations" as described in her interview with Newsweek.
Some highlights of the Monday, June 29 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Up first, Sam Donaldson on Clinton at Peking University
"talking about human rights and freedom." Donaldson showed clips
of challenging questions from students about human rights problems in the
U.S. and whether the U.S. wants to contain China before letting U.S.
Ambassador James Sasser insist that allowing the speech to appear on radio
and TV demonstrates China has undergone profound political change. From
Shanghai, Donaldson concluded:
Next, Deborah Wang showed how the university students gathered outside the hall were more enthused than those Clinton encountered inside. The show ended with a taped piece from Peter Jennings on the building boom in Shanghai and the history of the city.
Earlier, Jackie Judd looked at the arguments before the appeals court over testimony from Bruce Lindsey. Moving on to Linda Tripp's expected grand jury appearance, Judd told Jennings that she can substantiate the tapes and corroborate the testimony of others, "but the downside Peter is this -- that the grand jurors just may not like her, they may not accept her testimony, may not accept the testimony of a woman who says essentially it's okay for one friend to secretly record another friend talking about the most intimate details of her life."
Evening News. Scott Pelley began by painting a Clinton triumph that has
encouraged a Chinese dissident: "Today, on Chinese television, the
President carried a message of freedom into Beijing University..."
Phil Jones checked in with an update on Lindsey and Tripp. He explained the testimony of Dale Young "bolsters" Tripp's tapes because she covers a time before Tripp started taping. Jones told viewers that Young recalled that Lewinsky told her Clinton broke off their relationship because "he wanted Chelsea to be proud of him and he wanted to be a good husband and he didn't want to do anything like this anymore."
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET led with Bob Franken on the attorney-client
privilege argument over Bruce Lindsey, what Dale Young recalled of what
Monica told her, and the upcoming Tripp appearance. Since Young has
renewed questions about the definition of "sexual relations,"
Greta Van Susteren came on to explain that sex is whatever a jury thinks
it is, not a narrowly defined activity as Clinton seems to be contending.
Fourth, live from
Shanghai Wolf Blitzer relayed the White House pleasure with Clinton's
Beijing performance, but also introduced a piece on detractors back home
who are not so thrilled, the only negative words of the night on any
network about Clinton's activities in China.
-- FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report opened with Rita Cosby delivering a rundown of Tripp and Lindsey. On Dale Young, Cosby explained that she said Lewinsky told her there was intimate touching, phone calls and oral sex, but not to completion. That matches Clinton's denial of a "sexual relationship," argued Fox News consultant Dick Morris. Reporter Jane Skinner then profiled Tripp and how she got to her current position.
From Shanghai Jim Angle delivered a report very similar to the other networks about Clinton's Beijing University address.
Nightly News. Tom Brokaw's before the theme music tease: "President
Clinton in China, again speaking out forcefully for human rights."
Next, Jim Maceda looked at student attitudes since Clinton met with skepticism about freedom. For most students, Maceda asserted, "talk of human rights and democracy is a waste of time." They are now more interested in making money, but there is also an element of fear of what would happen if they spoke out.
Zilch on NBC about Lindsey, Tripp or Young but NBC made time for two pieces on pool safety and a full report about scientists who want to study UFOs.
Dan Rather never misses a chance to disparage Ken Starr. Last Friday, MRC
news analyst Jessica Anderson reminded me, he was the only network anchor
to showcase this criticism from a judge:
Cheap, anti-Fox News Channel and Matt Drudge shot of the week: From
"The Insider" column in the June 29 Electronic Media, an item
showing that though Ken Bode was absent from the June 19 Washington Week
in Review he moderates, so he could attend the graduation at the college
where he teaches, he was still delivering liberal analysis -- just to
fewer people. Greg Spring relayed:
"The most extraordinary thing is this: Presidents usually go abroad
to avoid their problems, not to underline them. No President has ever
flown right into the winds of his problems the way Clinton does tomorrow.
The President isn't leaving his difficulties behind. He's bringing them
with him. The President isn't compensating for his problems with his
foreign trip. He's compounding them....
Those words may have seemed prescient to Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief David Shribman when they appeared last Tuesday, June 23, but with the networks praising Clinton's joint press conference and Beijing University speech and how they triumphed over any Tiananmen Square negatives(see June 29 CyberAlert) and reporters otherwise ignoring the whole China connection issue, Shribman's worries have proven false, at least in network coverage.
show illustrated how far the networks are from caring about illegal
donations or technology waivers for supporters. MRC news analyst Geoffrey
Dickens noticed that in ending a piece celebrating Clinton for so
vigorously raising human rights in China, Geraldo Rivera raised the
satellite issue, not to examine its propriety but to admire its foresight:
There you have it.
It was all part of Clinton's long-term strategy to bring about democracy
so even if China has our best technology and ability to better target
nuclear missiles it won't matter because after a few talks from Clinton
they will embrace Jeffersonian democracy.
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