Geraldo Lost?; Clinton "Hurting" & "Close to Tears"; A Witch Hunt?
2) Death watch-like coverage Thursday night, but Dan Rather insisted impeachment talk contradicts bi-partisanship; CBS and NBC painted Clinton as pained victim not schemer, referring to how he "was hurting" and "close to tears."
Has Bill Clinton lost Geraldo Rivera? A dejected Rivera, until now Clinton's Defender-in-Chief, opened Thursday's Upfront Tonight on CNBC: "Hi everybody and welcome to what may be the beginning of the end of the Clinton presidency..."
With so much media coverage it's hard to keep track of it all. Thursday afternoon CNN expanded Inside Politics from 30 to 150 minutes (4 to 6:30pm ET) and again aired a one-hour special at 8pm ET. FNC dedicated the entire 7pm ET Fox Report to the Starr report fallout. (This time co-anchor Jane Skinner wore pants.)
All the network evening shows outlined how Starr's report charges Bill Clinton with 11 offenses in four broad areas, but on the broadcast networks only ABC's Jackie Judd raised the pattern Starr suggested linking Monica Lewinsky and Webster Hubbell. CBS and NBC explained that the report will detail Clinton's sexual encounters with Lewinsky in order to demonstrate how they don't match his denial of sex based even on his narrow definition. NBC's Lisa Myers vaguely broached a story broken by the Drudge Report weeks ago, saying that among the "lurid details" is "a sexual episode involving a cigar." She's the first network reporter to mention the cigar episode.
While the overall
tone of the broadcast networks Thursday night reflected a crisis for a
President in deep trouble, there were some noteworthy cases of reporters
still pushing spin favorable to Clinton, portraying him as a victim or as
one suffering pain instead of as a schemer still just deceiving people by
pretending to be sorry:
Most bizarre point of the night: ABC's Jack Smith worrying about how the "have-nots," the supposed 83 percent without access to the Internet.
Some highlights from September 10:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Peter Jennings cautioned at the top of the show: "In the Congress today they are wrestling with the possibility of impeaching the President, now that he's accused of numerous crimes. Important note: This is purely a prosecutor's document. There has been no defense, so far."
Up first, Jackie
Judd reported: "According to sources, prosecutors say Mr. Clinton
cited executive privilege not to protect the office of the presidency, but
only to protect himself and to keep witnesses away from prosecutors."
Next, Linda Douglass checked in from Capitol Hill, concluding: "One Democrat said if Starr's report is bad and credible Democrats will start running from the President."
Jennings turned to Jack Smith to explain how the report will be available on the Internet. Smith first considered the fear of Web overload and then worried: "There's also concern about the 83 percent of American households who do not have access to the Internet. There is the Government Printing Office, which promises to have copies a day later, but most American will have to rely on the print media..."
correspondent Peggy Wehmeyer opened a unique, enterprising story:
"Bill Clinton, a life-long Southern Baptist, has professed a deep
commitment to his Christian faith. But leaders of the Presidents own
denomination now say his public proclamation of faith is in such
contradiction to his private behavior that he should resign."
Dan Rather then
introduced Bob Schieffer on Capitol Hill by castigating Republicans:
A few stories
later Rather interviewed Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. One question:
"What are you hearing from the people back home? You come from a
pretty conservative area of the country. What are they telling you?"
Later in the show Bill Plante looked at Hillary Clinton, passing along the White House spin: "Over the weekend before his speech to the nation, when she reportedly first learned that he had lied about the Lewinsky affair, Mrs. Clinton went to church with the President."
-- NBC Nightly News. Lisa Myers picked up on one
of Starr's points: "At key times, when there's more pressure on
Monica to tell what she knows, the President's efforts to help her get a
Reporting on the Cabinet meeting, David Bloom told viewers of Clinton's pain: "I spoke with several people who were inside the room. They described the President as close to tears, at times barely audible..."
Later, looking at how the scandal has rattled the market, Tom Brokaw interviewed Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin: "A tough question to begin. If the market continues to fall precipitously because of the President's troubles, is there a point when you go to him and say it's in the country's interest that he must resign?"
Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee just can't resist forwarding
Democratic anti-conservative spin, even in the face of overwhelming
evidence. MRC analyst Clay Waters caught this question during a September
10 interview with humorist P.J. O'Rourke to promote his new book,
"Eat the Rich." After O'Rourke marveled at Clinton's ability
to fib, suggesting he'd make a good car salesman at O'Rourke Buick,
and admitting he'd done some bad things, but nothing that would take 140
pages to explain, McRee countered:
From the September 10 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs You're About To Be Impeached." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. When you call to congratulate Mark
McGwire, he lets his machine get it.
And from the Late Show Web page, "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- You now have to pay for the headset
rental on Air Force One
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