CyberAlert -- 11/18/1998 -- Tripp Cursed

Tripp Cursed, Called "Pathetic...Loser"; Livingston: Will "Grow" & Has "Matured"

1) The networks used the tapes to denounce Tripp not Clinton as only NBC said it's Clinton's actions that matter. Only ABC played the Clinton on drugs comment but ignored the latest Hubbell evidence which got just a few seconds on the other networks.

2) Geraldo Rivera: "After hearing Tripp's treachery, you may feel the need of a shower." Keith Olbermann on Linda Tripp: a "pathetic, self-destroying, older loser."

3) Despite his "knee-jerk conservative views," the Washington Post praised Bob Livingston for an "enormous capacity to grow" as he has "matured into an adroit legislator."

4) Monday night only NBC's Jim Miklaszewski raised criticism that tied Saddam Hussein's survival to bad Clinton policy.

5) Only reason Thomas Jefferson would not have been impeached for his Hemings relationship: "There was no talk radio." Guess who?

>>> The November 16 MediaWatch is now up on the MRC Web page: or Articles include a front page story titled, "Stamping Dirt Down on Newt's Grave"; an analysis by the MRC's Tim Graham: "Was 1998 'The Year of the Moderate?'"; and an On the Bright Side by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson on how only FNC and Fox News Sunday highlighted how Democrats played the race card. Plus, Newsbites: "Body Double" on contrasting reasons given for Ventura's victory, "CBS's Ad Blitz for Team Clinton" by MRC analyst Mark Drake on how CBS ran only soundbites from top Democrats the two weeknights before election day, and "Fonz the Fascist" by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens on how the networks which jumped on Al D'Amato this year for calling his opponent a "putzhead" weren't so disgusted when his opponent, in 1992, denounced him as a "fascist." The issue is featured at the top of the MRC home page at <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) The voice of Monica Lewinsky, heard for the first time in the tapes released of her conversations with Linda Tripp, topped the ABC, CNN, FNC and NBC evening shows on Tuesday night. CBS went first with the Fed's decision to cut the interest rate again.

Matching the White House spin, the three broadcast networks made Linda Tripp's behavior, not the President's, the issue. CNN and FNC refrained from such hits on Tripp. Dan Rather combined a hit on Tripp with giving credence to Clinton spin about "the timing behind the committee's release today of the actual tapes of Linda Tripp's secret betrayal of her unsuspecting friend Monica Lewinsky." Incredibly, only NBC's Lisa Myers noted that Clinton's actions are all that really is at issue and that without Tripp's foresight Clinton would have gotten away with it: "Linda Tripp had nothing to do with...the President's decision to get involved with an intern in the first place. But without Tripp and her tapes chances are the President would never have been caught."

The networks showed similar interests in which clips they chose to play, but of the broadcast networks and CNN only ABC's Jackie Judd aired a clip of Tripp saying that Lewinsky told her that she thought the President was on drugs, though only to illustrate Tripp's betrayal as she passed this anecdote along to Lucianne Goldberg. (FNC's Fox Report played extensive excerpts that I was not able to thoroughly review.) Only FNC's David Shuster raised how Lewinsky made a racial comment about Betty Currie.

Where's Whitewater? That was the media refrain for months. But after Ken Starr on Tuesday sent the Judiciary Committee new evidence about payoffs to Web Hubbell for his silence on Whitewater, including new testimony from John Huang about a payoff, the networks yawned. ABC's World News Tonight ignored the development, the CBS Evening News gave it 19 seconds, CNN's The World Today a very vague 11 seconds and NBC Nightly News a comparatively great 29 seconds.

Here are highlights of tape coverage from the Tuesday, November 17, evening shows:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened:
"Good evening. Now we know what Monica Lewinsky sounds like. This will not qualify as a vital day in history, even in the recent troubled history of the Clinton presidency. Still after all of these months the public may now put another piece of the Monica Lewinsky jigsaw puzzle into place. The House Judiciary Committee released dozens of tapes of Miss Lewinsky's recorded conversations with Linda Tripp, recorded by Miss Tripp. We've seen the transcripts of all the conversations before, but here today were 22 hours of conversation that Miss Lewinsky certainly never believed the whole country would be listening to."

Jackie Judd played clips of Lewinsky "talking to a woman she believed was her friend," starting with the one in which she was crying about how he hadn't called her in weeks. In it Tripp sympathizes with Lewinsky's plight, prompting Judd to counter:
"Linda Tripp's sympathy is not all it seems. Not only is she secretly recording the conversations, on one occasion Tripp hangs up with Lewinsky and a short while later calls Lucianne Goldberg, the Republican operative who told Tripp to tape in the first place."
Tripp, October 5, 1997: "You know what she said on tape to me last night? 'I think he's on drugs.'"
Goldberg: "Wow. You got it on tape?"
Tripp: "Yep."
Goldberg: "Good for you."

Judd continued with clips about the dress and Lewinsky trying to get Tripp to lie.

Peter Jennings then briefly noted how Starr will testify Thursday and that White House lawyers will be able to question him.

rather1118.jpg (24149 bytes) -- CBS Evening News. A few minutes into the show anchor Dan Rather noted the three developments of the day on the scandal front: a boycott threat by Democrats, Republicans talking about a longer witness list "and the timing behind the committee's release today of the actual tapes of Linda Tripp's secret betrayal of her unsuspecting friend Monica Lewinsky. First, CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer with the Tripp tapes that triggered special prosecutor Ken Starr's case to Congress, or so it is said." (*** Rather's words were unclear here. He could have said "....or so he said.")

Schieffer began with a clip of Lewinsky saying she's still in love with Clinton. Ruining the mood, Schieffer asserted: "The tapes also underline the cynicism of Linda Tripp, who repeatedly expressed sympathy even as she secretly recorded the conversations." After soundbites from the tapes of Lewinsky crying, asking about the double clicks, arguing about the definition of sex and, at the Ritz Carlton in Arlington, Virginia, offering to pay Tripp to lie, Schieffer concluded: "Why are the tapes being released only now on the eve of the impeachment hearings? Just happenstance says the committee. It took this long to get them edited and reproduced."

Rather picked up on Schieffer's line: "Happenstance or not, the timing of today's tape drop is just one of the stress cracks in the Judiciary Committee now verging on an open partisan split."
From the White House Scott Pelley explained that a source says more witnesses will be called and that Starr will not limit himself to Lewinsky, but will use other allegations to demonstrate "a pattern and practice of obstruction of justice." Pelley then took 19 seconds for the Hubbell news: "Just today Starr sent Congress four boxes of fresh evidence on Whitewater. In it, Starr alleges Mr. Clinton's friend Webster Hubbell was paid to keep quiet about the real estate fraud. There is new testimony here from Democratic fundraiser John Huang who says he arranged a lucrative payment to Hubbell. Hubbell denies that it was hush money."

-- CNN's The World Today began with Brooks Jackson with tape clips followed by Jonathan Karl on the battles at the Judiciary Committee as Dick Gephardt threatened a Democratic boycott. Karl delivered this 11-second mention of Hubbell: "Earlier today the independent counsel sent over another four boxes of new evidence to the Judiciary Committee, much of it dealing with Webster Hubbell, the former Justice official recently indicted again by Ken Starr."

-- FNC's Fox Report started with David Shuster with tape excerpts. He concluded by uniquely relaying: "Many of the tapes are highly edited, but sources tell Fox News that at one point Monica Lewinsky makes a racially derogatory remark about Clinton secretary Betty Currie. And Linda Tripp on another tape that was not cut has unflattering statements about Chelsea Clinton."

Next, Rita Cosby ran soundbites to illustrate Monica's mood swings toward Clinton from "infatuation to anger." Then Carl Cameron checked in on the Thursday hearings and the latest about hush money to Hubbell. Dick Morris came aboard for a live interview before FNC spent the next 20-plus minutes interspersing tape excerpts with comment from Susan Carpenter-McMillan and Eleanor Clift.

-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw started the broadcast:
"Good evening. There have been secret Washington tape recordings made public before: Richard Nixon in Watergate, Lyndon Johnson. But nothing like we heard today. Monica Lewinsky confiding in her friend Linda Tripp who unknown to Ms. Lewinsky was recording their intimate talks. The conversations ranged from the banal to the sensational to the shocking. It won't make President Clinton's life any easier, but there doesn't appear to be a smoking gun either."

Lisa Myers began with Lewinsky and Tripp discussing Lewinsky's sexy voice followed by the soundbite of Lewinsky crying. Myers hit Tripp, but unlike ABC and CBS, at least gave her reason for making the tape: "Tripp taped conversations to protect herself she says once she became aware of wrongdoing. From the outset, she appears to manipulate Lewinsky and gathers evidence against the President."
Myers proceeded with clips of Tripp advising Lewinsky on a letter for a job and urging her to keep the dress safe. Then, in "a major betrayal," Tripp told a Jones lawyer about Lewinsky. After a Ritz soundbite from Lewinsky about how Clinton will deny all, Myers brought the case back to the man who committed the actions, concluding:
"And deny it he did. Linda Tripp had nothing to do with that decision to lie or with the President's decision to get involved with an intern in the first place. But without Tripp and her tapes chances are the President would never have been caught."

The fact that only Myers made this seemingly obvious point Tuesday night shows just how biased against Starr and Tripp the networks have become. Without Tripp's foresight about saving the dress, Clinton never would have admitted his lie, at least sort of. He'd still be denying all and impugning Lewinsky as a stalker.

But no reporter portrayed Tripp as a hero to whom the nation owes thanks for exposing presidential deceit. Apparently whistle-blowers are only worth revering when they expose Pentagon cost over-runs.

Back to NBC: Brokaw then played three more clips: Lewinsky on buying a $20 tie at Marshalls for Clinton, Lewinsky saying she lied to her parents all the time and Lewinsky recounting how her mother and aunt joined her at an arrival ceremony, leading Clinton to say "they're cute."

From the White House, David Bloom reported in a larger story about Democratic anger and boycott threats: "Today new evidence from independent counsel Kenneth Starr: four boxes delivered to Congress focusing on allegations that the White House tried to buy the silence of former Justice Department official Webster Hubbell. And tonight new signs that Republicans are pointing their impeachment investigation in the same direction. Late today Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee met, in part to consider whether to seek the testimony of John Huang, a Clinton ally and former Democratic fundraiser who helped steer a $100,000 payment to Web Hubbell."

Later, Brokaw introduced a profile of Jennifer Dunn: "In a way no one anticipated, the election two weeks ago is breaking up one of the most powerful cliques on Capitol Hill -- the Republican leadership of the House, all conservative white males, most of them from the South."
Gwen Ifill examined Dunn and how she wants to make history as highest women ever in the House. Ifill did note that Democrats are no more diverse: "When Democrats elected their leaders yesterday, no woman made that cut either."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Rivera and Olbermann demand showers, they're so disgusted with Linda Tripp.

Opening Tuesday's Upfront Tonight on CNBC Geraldo Rivera promoted how the show would focus on "the taped evidence of one woman's absolute betrayal of her young and much too trusting friend. After hearing Tripp's treachery, you may feel the need of a shower. Example: on November 20, 1997 Tripp convinces Lewinsky to save her infamous semen-stained blue dress."

Later, he asked: "Remember when Linda Tripp said she was just like us?"
Tripp on courthouse steps: "I'm you. I'm just like you."
Rivera: "This person just like us manipulated Monica from day one."

(The November 13 CyberAlert noted that MSNBC was running Rivera's 9pm CNBC show at 10pm and 1am. This week MSNBC is running a show hosted by John Hockenberry, the man slated to replace Olbermann, at those times.)

Minutes later over on MSNBC Keith Olbermann opened his variously named Big Show or White House in Crisis: "Stand by to feel like you need a shower." After the theme music, he declared:
"Hello, good evening and welcome back to Hell. Can we renounce our citizenships for like only 24 hours? This thought before we begin: For months, William Howard Ginsburg took shot after shot on this program and others for some of his legal strategy. But throughout his stewardship of the Monica Lewinsky defense we praised him here for at least one noble constant: He never let us even hear his client's voice. God, do we miss him tonight. Okay, one of them will read the part of the irresponsible adolescent, the other will narrate the lines of the pathetic, self-destroying, older loser and you an I will be Polyphemus hiding ourselves behind the Aris."

(He said what sounded like "palonius," so I assume he was referring to Polyphemus, who in Greek mythology, according to my Grolier's CD, "was a Cyclops, a one-eyed giant, who lived in an island cave on Sicily." I'm not up on ancient or Greek history, so I may have guessed the wrong historical reference.)


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) An often cited illustration of liberal bias offered by conservatives is how the media will praise a conservative who goes left by saying they have "grown" or "matured." The Washington Post delivered a classic example on Monday in a front-page profile of incoming House Speaker Bob Livingston. It's too early know how good a Speaker he'll be or how much he'll compromise, but one thing is for sure, he's the kind of conservative the Washington press corps can tolerate.

Seven paragraphs into their November 16 profile, reporters Eric Pianin and George Hager wrote that despite his conservative opinions he has shown "enormous capacity to grow" and even though he arrived in Congress with "knee-jerk conservative views" he has "matured into an adroit legislator." Here's an excerpt:

Though his biggest challenge will be placating conservative activists within his own party who believe he is too accommodating, Livingston is no moderate: He opposes abortion, supports increased spending on the military and on missile defense, backs business causes and wants tax cuts.

But he has shown an enormous capacity to grow, something that suggests he is more apt to see the subtleties of issues and the possibilities for compromise. He has also become a creature of modern Washington. Once seen as something of a crusading reformer, Livingston now freely dispenses corporate campaign contributions to colleagues, with an eye to consolidating power.

Livingston first arrived in Washington in 1977 with a reputation as an occasional hot-head, with knee-jerk conservative views and a strong moral streak. His past experience as a tenacious New Orleans prosecutor were already legendary, such as the time in a burst of nervous excitement he knocked a glass of water into the lap of a judge during a bench conference -- and still won the case. The onetime Democrat seemed destined for a permanent spot in the Republican back benches.

But once thrust into the insular, go-along-to-get-along world of congressional appropriations, Livingston matured into an adroit legislator capable of unifying his colleagues....

End Excerpt


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Monday night, November 16, all the networks led with Iraq, but amazingly only one included a syllable of criticism for Clinton's policy.

In an "In Depth" piece for NBC Nightly News Jim Miklaszewski examined efforts to get Saddam Hussein, noting that since the end of Gulf War the U.S. has launched six covert operations against him. Milaszewski wrapped up his report:

"Ultimately, critics claim, the failure to oust Saddam lies not with Iraqi opposition but with the lack of a coherent White House strategy."
Senator John Kerry: "It's not whether or not we can build an opposition. The real crisis is there's a hollowness is our policy."
Miklaszewski: "And many at the Pentagon believe tonight when President Clinton called off airstrikes he may have missed the best chance in years to get Saddam."

(Monday night ABC devoted its "A Closer Look" to the Millennium. First, Peter Jennings talked with Stephen Jay Gould about whether the next century begins in 2000 or 2001. Since there was no Year Zero, obviously the century began on January 1, 1901 and will end on December 31, 2000. But since gimmicks and marketing will prevail, Gould resigned himself to the fact that this will be a 99 year century. Second, Peggy Wehmeyer looked at Christians and the belief by some in the impending end of the world.)


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) From CNN host Larry King's November 16 column in USA Today, this thought in its entirety between ellipses:

"If he had to testify, do you think Thomas Jefferson would have been impeached? No chance, there was no talk radio."

At least Jefferson was able to go through life without having to endure the inanities of Larry King. --Brent Baker

>>> Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert readers and subscribers:

>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a blank e-mail to: mrccyberalert-subscribe
. Or, you can go to: Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to" After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to CyberAlert.
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to:

>>>You can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: Or, go to:<<<