"Burned Out;" Who's Behind "Storming Out"?; Charming: "I Hate Tripp"
1) Sunday night CBS stressed
how polls show "Americans are burned out by the Lewinsky
scandal;" ABC put the burden on Paula Jones, asking if she'll
"finally" settle; and Dan Rather dumped on Tripp.
2) So why the bogus stories of
Clinton storming out? Bob Schieffer says he was "deliberately misled
on this" by Democrats. But Time's Karen Tumulty suggested Clinton
aides were fooled by Clinton.
3) Margaret Carlson: "Ken
Starr is a non-independent counsel." Eleanor Clift: "This whole
investigation was built on a legal fraud." Bob Schieffer:
Lewinsky's testimony was "absolutely charming," with "I
hate Linda Tripp" his "highlight quote."
>>> Re-live the Watergate
hearings. During the day this week the History Channel will re-play the
hearings, as described on the cable channel's Web page,
www.historychannel.com: "Watch the original 1974 House Judiciary
Committee Hearings on The History Channel September 28-October 2, 10am-3pm
EST. These hearings have not been televised since they were first seen
live nearly 25 years ago. The History Channel's Roger Mudd, who was CBS
News congressional correspondent during Watergate, will join the current
CBS congressional correspondent Bob Schieffer, to share insights into the
committee hearings and the parallels to today's charges against President
Nickelodeon special at 9pm ET Monday night. Nick
News regular Linda Ellerbee will be joined by NBC's Katie Couric for a
show on how parents and children should deal with Monicagate.
A relatively quiet set of Sunday morning shows on September 27 with the
possible exception of James "Corporal Queball" Carville back in
form on Meet the Press. (He declared war on Newt Gingrich and identified
himself as Corporal Queball in Clinton's Army.)
Sunday night CBS
stressed how polls show "Americans are burned out by the Lewinsky
scandal" and ABC examined a Jones settlement through a White House
prism. Friday night the three broadcast networks ran full stories on the
possibility of a settlement in the Jones case. CBS and NBC added short
items on how the Judiciary Committee had voted to release the Tripp tapes,
though Dan Rather added a bit of editorializing by describing them as
"Tripp's secret recordings of her conversations with Monica
Lewinsky when Lewinsky thought Tripp was her friend." The two
networks also provided a look at the exchange between Clinton and Lott
about "the people's business" versus being
September 27: ABC, CBS and NBC opened with the latest on Hurricane
ABC's World News Tonight. Following the
hurricane, baseball's McGwire and Kohl's loss in Germany, anchor
Carole Simpson announced: "When we come back, who comes out ahead if
Paula Jones finally settles with the President?" Couldn't that also
be put as "if Bill Clinton finally settles...?"
Simpson's introduction to the story also
approached it from the White House point of view: "...she's asking
for a million dollars, but the White House says a settlement is not an
admission of guilt."
Tim O'Brien began his story by portraying Jones
as the one abandoning principle: "As the President was fundraising
for other Democrats in Texas today, his own fundraisers were telling him
they can raise enough to settle the Paula Jones case. Jones's lawyer
confirmed today it is now all about money, no apology needed."
Donovan Campbell: "Let's assume,
hypothetically, a significant amount of money were offered to Mrs. Jones
to settle her litigation. We would consider that a vindication."
CBS Evening News. You just can't keep Dan
Rather from a hurricane. Live from New Orleans he opened the show with
this tease crammed with rhymes and bad analogies:
"The Big Uneasy. The city of New Orleans
battens down for the onslaught of Hurricane Georges. Floating casinos
betting the house that they'll survive the hurricane's wrath. And
tracking the storm: A hurricane so huge it's engulfing the Gulf."
CBS didn't mention the Jones case but later in the show Sharyl Attkisson
delivered a story that began and ended by emphasizing public disgust with
"A stop in San Antonio wraps up the
President's intense fundraising swing in the West where his mood seemed
buoyed by high public approval numbers. And with polls also showing
Americans are burned out by the Lewinsky scandal"
Senator Dianne Feinstein picked up the sentence:
"I think outside the beltway people want this thing to be over. I
think they've had enough of it."
Attkisson: "Democrats are pushing
Republicans to speed things up."
Senator Robert Torricelli: "With 70 percent
of the American people wanting this matter closed, many Republican leaders
in the Senate who now talk bravely about removing the President from
office, upon reflection I think will want to have an exit from this
To balance the two
Democrats she did allow Tom DeLay to explain that the House will proceed
with its constitutional duties. After noting that the Judiciary Committee
will vote October 5 on whether to launch an inquiry followed by the full
House with hearings then after the election, Attkisson bemoaned:
"But first up later this week is the release
of 60,000 new pages from Ken Starr's investigation and hours of Linda
Tripp phone recordings. All of this means for an American public grown
weary of the scandal, it's far from over."
NBC Nightly News provided a report from John
Palmer on the Jones settlement possibility and how on Meet the Press Bob
Dole, Howard Baker and Leon Panetta cast doubt on the chances for a deal
Anchor Len Cannon offered an interesting
description of the Social Democrat who won in Germany, referring to how
"Schroeder, a pro-business moderate, campaigned as the voice of
-- Friday, September 25: Like Sunday, all led
with the hurricane. The three broadcast networks all explained that Jones
wants $1 million and Clinton has offered $500,000. The three featured some
form of Jones lawyer John Whitehead asserting that even without an apology
a monetary settlement would, as he said on ABC, be a "tacit admission
that the case is not bogus as the President indicated in his grand jury
testimony." The networks stories also noted how the judge in the
Jones case is looking at citing Clinton for contempt for false answers, so
a settlement would get Clinton out of that morass.
ABC's World News
Tonight ignored the House committee vote on the Tripp tapes and
Clinton's attack on Republicans. Jackie Judd explored the possibility of
a Jones settlement.
CBS Evening News. Dan Rather offered this loaded
report on the Tripp tapes:
"In the Washington mess tonight there's
word the House Judiciary Committee has voted to release a heavily edited
version of Linda Tripp's secret recordings of her conversations with
Monica Lewinsky when Lewinsky thought Tripp was her friend. Theses edited
transcripts and the tapes, the Republican majority on the House committee
decided, will be released next week."
highlighted Clinton's latest attack: "President Clinton today
flatly accused the Republican-led Congress of focusing so much on him that
the U.S. federal budget is being ignored. The President cited having to
sign a stop-gap spending bill to prevent another U.S. government shutdown.
CBS News White House correspondent Scott Pelley has more about the
President's fight back campaign and what he's up against."
Clinton pleading for attention for "politics over people"
followed by Trent Lott countering: "Is he the fundraiser-in-chief or
is he the commander-in-chief. Now we're doing our work. Maybe he just
hasn't noticed, he's been distracted."
Pelley continued: "At a fundraiser today Mr.
Clinton seemed to suggest that the woe he has brought on his party is a
Clinton: "The enemy of the forces of
progress in this election is not adversity. Adversity is out friend."
Pelley concluded by noting the oddity that
Clinton is raising money for the very members who will vote in the
Jones handled the Jones story.
NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw took 31 seconds to
tell viewers about the planned release Thursday of the Tripp tapes and
60,000 pages of other material. Then, just before Lisa Myers reported on
the Jones settlement talks, Brokaw set up this point-counterpoint:
"As for the President, today as he was
leaving for a Democratic fundraising trip to Chicago and Los Angeles, he
again went on the offensive, telling Republicans in Congress to get on
with work on the budget. His remarks didn't go over well with Senate
Majority Leader Trent Lott. Mr. Clinton made it clear he wants to change
the subject away from Monica Lewinsky."
Clinton: "It is time now for Congress to
buckle down, to send me the measures to keep the government open and to
invest in education, in health care, and other needs of the American
Lott: "The President comes out at time when
he needs cooperation with, and we need cooperation from him, with the
Congress, and he takes a gratuitous slap, jumps on a plane and runs off
for three days of fundraising. Now is he the fundraiser-in-chief or is he
So who fed the media the line that the video would show Clinton exploding
and storming out of the room during his grand jury testimony? CBS's Bob
Schieffer, who told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz last Tuesday that
"I do not believe the people I talked to would deliberately mislead
me," claimed over the weekend that he was indeed "deliberately
misled on this" by Democrats. But Time magazine's Karen Tumulty
offered a benign explanation that Clinton aides themselves were fooled by
Clinton. (As noted in the September 22 CyberAlert, NBC's Lisa Myers
specifically reported before the video aired that Clinton did not storm
September 23, in the Washington Post Howard Kurtz reported:
"CBS's Schieffer said his sources were on
Capitol Hill, not the White House. But, he said, 'I got it from
Democrats who'd been talking to the White House. I do not believe the
people I talked to would deliberately mislead me. I asked Republicans and
they said, yes, we're hearing that...I'm sure some of the people I talked
to just didn't know what they were talking about."
"Said CNN correspondent John King: 'I was
told by people on the Hill, who'd either seen the tape or been briefed by
those who had -- both Democrats and Republicans -- that you would see
flashes of anger. Several people who told me this are not friends of this
"White House officials acknowledge that they
knew this negative spin would eventually help Clinton. But they say they
offered accurate guidance to reporters once they were briefed by the
President's lawyers last Friday."
with Kurtz on Tuesday. By whatever day Tim Russert tapes his weekend CNBC
show, probably Friday, Schieffer had a change of heart. On the CNBC
program run at 6 and 10pm ET on Saturday and Sunday, Schieffer asserted:
"By accident or design, we were deliberately
misled on this, I'm absolutely convinced of that. Now whether this was
done this way in the beginning, purposely and deliberately, I don't
know. But I do know this for a fact: Once I went out with that story I got
no call from the White House telling me 'Bob, you've gone too far.'
I got no call from any Democratic official telling me, you know, that
story is just wrong. They let it stay out there because they knew what was
happening was it was building up expectations...."
Karen Tumulty of Time magazine, however,
maintained there was no White House spin effort, just confused Clinton
aides. On CNN's Reliable Sources over the weekend, she argued:
"There were so few people in the room and
the people in the room weren't talking. And I think that a lot of people
got their information, for instance, from White House aides who saw the
President immediately afterward. And I am told that he was quite angry
from having sort of held it in and I think that is where the spin came
from and it was one of the cases that we've had all along in this story,
is that the people who really have the information are the people who
Margaret Carlson insisted Clinton and Starr are both just as guilty of
abusing power, Eleanor Clift charged "this whole investigation was
built on a legal fraud" and CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer assessed
Lewinsky's grand jury testimony as "absolutely charming,"
declaring her "I hate Linda Tripp" comment his "highlight
quote." Three media quotes from the past few days, in date order:
Margaret Carlson on CBS's This Morning on September 23, as caught by MRC
analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Bill Clinton and Ken Starr deserve each
other. They both abused power. Ken Starr is a non-independent counsel.
There's not been a counsel who is as identified, not just with a
political party, but with a wing of a political party. And he had, he did
leap to join forces with Clinton's enemies when he found that he
didn't have that much on his mandate cases, Whitewater, et al. He moved
right over, he leaped into this lifeboat presented to him by Linda Tripp.
Prosecutors will tell you that most of the time, they get information like
this and they shut the door, they throw the person out of the
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift agreed that Tripp's information was
fraudulent, declaring on McLaughlin Group this past weekend:
"Ken Starr's investigation was predicated
on Linda Tripp manipulating Monica Lewinsky to implicate Vernon Jordan, an
implication that has not been borne out. So this whole investigation was
built on a legal fraud."
-- Bob Schieffer,
host of Face the Nation and CBS's Capitol Hill correspondent, expressed
wonderment at how Monica Lewinsky dumped on Linda Tripp. Seconds after he
conceded being duped by Clinton aides, as cited in #2 above, a delighted
Schieffer recalled on CNBC's Tim Russert show aired September 26 and 27:
"After reading the transcript of her
testimony to the grand jury, some of it was absolutely charming. I mean I
don't know if that's the word or not. To me, the highlight quote in
all of that is at the very end of her grand jury testimony, Tim, when the
grand jurors said 'do you have anything else you would like to say?'
and she said 'yes, I'm sorry this has happened,' and so on and so
forth, and her last sentence was 'I just hate Linda Tripp.'"
charming it is that a top Washington correspondent marvels at one person
saying she hates another, just the kind of divisive slam he would condemn
if uttered by a conservative. -- Brent Baker
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