CyberAlert -- 08/02/1999 -- CBS Bought Hillary's "Candor"; $90,000 Skipped in AM; "Stupid Tax Cut"
CBS Bought Hillary's "Candor"; $90,000 Skipped in AM; "Stupid Tax Cut"
1) Fox's Brit Hume said "it sounds like such twaddle. It doesn't have the ring of truth." But on Sunday night ABC and CBS reporters called Hillary's Talk comments "frank." CBS saw "a picture of a man who couldn't help himself and a woman who wouldn't give up."
Corrections: The July 30 CyberAlert mistakenly referred to Bill Clinton's lawyer as Bill Bennett, it's Bob Bennett. The same issue also misspelled the last name of Lee Radek of the Justice Department.
Hillary Clinton put forth some liberal psychobabble about how her husband was so traumatized by seeing his mother and grandmother fight that he couldn't resist Monica Lewinsky, and the networks bought it. Sunday night ABC and CBS reporters called her comments, in the premiere issue of Talk magazine, "frank." CBS's Sharyl Attkisson also labeled them "revealing" and John Roberts insisted she showed "considerable candor" in painting "a picture of a man who couldn't help himself and a woman who wouldn't give up."
Oh, please gag me. Not once was a doubtful word about the First Lady's veracity heard in the pieces which led the August 1 World News Tonight on ABC and CBS Evening News or in the story run a few minutes into the NBC Nightly News.
viewers at least heard her claims questioned. In perfect synergy, ABC's
This Week led with a discussion about the interview in the Disney-owned
magazine whose editor appeared on Monday's Good Morning America and will
get more publicity on Wednesday's 20/20. In the opening roundtable
George Will suggested:
Over on Fox News Sunday Morton Kondracke on Roll Call ruminated: "What I find incredible about the interview is that Mrs. Clinton actually believed that for a very long period, ten years or so, before the Monica Lewinsky case broke, he had controlled his weakness....There is a story that came out in the Bob Woodward book about how Bob Bennett, the President's lawyer, was going to ask him about a case that occurred supposedly in the Governor's mansion right before the inauguration of President Clinton in 1993. So, that doesn't figure. Either she was completely out of the loop about all this stuff, didn't know that it was going on, or she knew and she's fibbing to talk magazine."
So, she's either a dimwit or a liar.
Brit Hume, Washington Managing Editor of Fox News, chose the latter: "The trouble with this explanation is that it sounds like such twaddle. It doesn't have the ring of truth."
(Kondracke was referring to Clinton's liaisons with Marilyn Jo Jenkins. See the June 14 CyberAlert for details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990614.html#6)
This kind of skepticism was absent in the CBS and ABC newsrooms in New York City.
from the First Lady. In a published interview Mrs. Clinton explains why
she has stayed with her husband," exclaimed anchor John Roberts at
the top of Sunday's CBS Evening News. He then opened the show:
began: "In the revealing interview to be published this week in the
premiere issue of Talk magazine, the First Lady acknowledges that even
though she knew of past infidelities, she was caught completely off guard
by the President's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky. 'I thought this
was resolved ten years ago,' she says. 'I thought he had conquered
I'm sure like me you are relieved to know "physical passion" has returned to their lives. But with whom?
++ Watch Attkisson's flattering story. Monday morning the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell will post a portion of it in RealPayer format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
On ABC, World News
Tonight anchor Carole Simpson breathlessly announced:
from USA Today's Susan Page and ABC's anchor-in-training George
Stephanopoulos, who said the comments were unwise because they remind
voters of an issue they'd like to forget, Davis concluded by passing
along Hillary's praise of her husband:
No exploration of how her assessment of him as a "very, very good man" might be contradicted by Juanita Broaddrick's claim he raped her. Remember her? The media don't.
15 seconds on Today. That's the total morning show time allocated Friday morning to federal Judge Susan Webber Wright's $90,000 sanction on Bill Clinton for lying in the Paula Jones case she oversaw. As noted in the July 30 CyberAlert, on Thursday night, July 29, the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News ran full stories while ABC's World News Tonight gave the unprecedented sanction of a President a piddling 22 seconds.
The next morning, Today news reader Sara James read a 15-second item about how President Clinton would pay the fine without appeal. But neither ABC's Good Morning America or CBS's This Morning aired a syllable about it, MRC analysts Jessica Anderson and Brian Boyd observed. Both shows spent most of the morning on the Atlanta shooting, but still found time for other issues. GMA squeezed in first hour items on Clinton arriving in Sarajevo and interviewed actor Richard Gere in the 8am half hour so they could devote the whole 8:30am half hour to Trisha Yearwood.
(Discussing how he became involved in human rights issues, after he was finished plugging his new movie The Runaway Bride, Gere asserted: "I think, probably when I started to get most serious about this was in Central American issues, and again, it was U.S. involvement. What we were doing, what we were supporting in Central America is horrific, what we did in El Salvador, what we did in Nicaragua, what we did in Guatemala. We supported the wrong people constantly, and there was a lot of brutality in our name that we paid for.")
In its prime 8am half hour This Morning conducted an interview segment about an upcoming auction of Marilyn Monroe's property.
Live coverage of the Atlanta shooting bumped Thursday's Inside Politics on CNN and The World Today covered only the shooting, but CNN did not update viewers on Friday as neither show mentioned Wright's sanction. On Inside Politics host Judy Woodruff plugged an upcoming segment: "And still ahead on Inside Politics, a major political story that was overshadowed by events in Atlanta yesterday." But it wasn't the fine, as she outlined another legitimate news story: "After much protest and legal battling California calls off efforts to carry out a ballot measure that sparked anti-immigration moves in Washington."
In a very brief discussion about Wright's ruling on Sunday's CNN Late Edition, USA Today's Susan Page observed: "Remarkable to me how little publicity it got."
Remarkable indeed. USA Today didn't even put it on the front page.
The indictment Friday of Linda Tripp for taping her own phone calls generated full stories on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, CNN's The World Today, FNC's Fox Report and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, but just a few seconds on the NBC Nightly News.
While all but NBC ran a soundbite from her spokesman or lawyer lashing out at the outrage over the prosecution, none aired any comments from civil libertarians upset by the outrageous law or journalism advocates disturbed she's being punished for sharing information about wrongdoing with a reporter, if any such people exist.
ABC's Barry Serafin allowed her spokesman, Philip Coughter, to say: "The most disgraceful, transparently politically motivated campaign of vengeance in recent American history."
On the CBS Evening
News Phil Jones began: "Linda Tripp has tried desperately to shed her
image as the villain in the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, including changes in
her looks and pleading for sympathy...Today she became more than a
villain." Jones played this from lawyer Stephen Kohn: "One of
the most important whistleblowers in American history is facing ten years
in prison, $20,000 in fine, to be branded as a felon."
"Where is the ACLU to protect her here?" asked The Weekly Standard's Tucker Carlson on Sunday's Late Edition. So much for the media and liberals protecting whistleblowers.
On the McLaughlin
Group Newsweek's Eleanor Clift asserted Wright's sanction was proper
as was the indictment of Tripp:
Talk about blaming the messenger.
Eleanor Clift's boss, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, lashed out at "this stupid tax cut."
Washington over the weekend, carried on many PBS stations outside of
Washington, DC, host Gordon Peterson summarized how Democrats denigrated
the Republican tax cut plan as "a package of nearly $800 billion in
tax reductions that some Democrats described as irresponsible, crazy, a
boondoggle for the rich. How would you describe it Evan?"
Later, Thomas lamented how no one is taking advantage of the surplus as an opportunity to reform Medicare: "They are blowing a chance to make a deal. This is the absolute prime moment when they ought to be doing reform and instead they're talking about this stupid tax cut."
Will Republicans be "crazy enough" to shutdown the government again, asked ABC's Cokie Roberts? No, George Will explained, it was the media which claimed they did last time.
On Sunday's This Week on ABC host Cokie Roberts asked Bill Kristol: "Now I want to know if you think the Republicans are crazy enough to allow a government shutdown? I mean how many times do you have to get burned? They've been burned over and over and over again on Medicare, do they get burned on this one more than once too?"
After Kristol replied, George Will pointed out: "What made the last government shutdown a really epochal event in this town and in American government in the '90s was that the President shut the government down, the media said the Congress shut the government down, the media story stuck and the President knows and the Congress knows that the President can do it again."
Fox News Sunday's first guest: Charles LaBella, the former head of the fundraising scandal probe who lost his appointment to be U.S. Attorney in San Diego when he pressed for an independent counsel. He was quite reticent to criticize anyone in particular or to assign political motives for the lack of prosecutions, but before he appeared the show ran a piece from Carl Cameron which raised an instance of a blocked probe.
was largely a merger of his July 27 and 28 FNC stories (http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html)
about the lack of pursuit of leads in several cases related to fundraising
tied to China, but he added this new information:
CBS used the Atlanta shooting as another opening to push gun control. While the July 30 CBS Evening News story gave time to both sides, its agenda matched those pushing more gun control as anchor John Roberts hoped: "The shots that rang out in the Atlanta massacre were heard clearly by lawmakers on Capitol Hill today. While it may have been loud enough to put gun control back in the spotlight, CBS's Diana Olick reports it might not be enough to spark serious change."
"As Americans were still learning the details of yet one more mass
shooting, their lawmakers in Congress today were taking the next step in
the battle over gun control."
60 Minutes aired an interview with Wen Ho Lee Sunday night in which the Los Alamos scientist maintained his innocence, but the night before NBC Nightly News aired the first broadcast network mention in two months of Chinese espionage and influence on the 1996 election -- from a Panamanian journalist.
The July 31 NBC
newscast ended with a piece from George Lewis on the closing down of the
U.S. Southern Command based in Panama as the U.S. prepares to turn over
the canal to Panama at the end of the year. Noting that Panama is now
spending a lot of money to modernize it, Lewis added:
Eisenmann will never get hired by a U.S. network.
Finally, an issue on which the media and Colin Powell disagree: guns. Interviewing retired General Powell and Army Secretary Louis Caldera on Friday morning, July 30, about an expansion of the ROTC program in high schools, Today co-host Matt Lauer raised a liberal issue item.
As noted by MRC
analyst Mark Drake, Lauer demanded of Powell, who was interviewed via
satellite from a high school in Washington, DC where gun ownership is
banned yet over 300 are shot to death each year:
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