Dan Rather: Hillary for Chief Justice; Smaltz Empty?; Olbermann's Last Days
1) Dan Rather confirmed that
he hates the Lewinsky story, believes Hillary Clinton should be Time's
"Person of the Year" and urged Al Gore to make her the Chief
Justice of the Supreme Court.
2) On CBS Rather trumpeted
"Confusion, retraction and retreat in the impeach the President
investigation." ABC led with college players indicted for perjury to
a grand jury, but made no link to Clinton.
3) Tom Brokaw on Espy:
"Another expensive investigation by an independent counsel adds up to
nothing." But Brokaw and ABC's GMA ignored the 15 convictions and
$11 million in fines won.
4) One of Keith Olbermann's
last shots: "If this investigation... has not just been just about
sex, how come the two witnesses the Republicans trotted out today before
that kangaroo court...were two women who've both been rung up for lying
under oath about sex?"
5) Dan Rather discovered an
area where "laws are not supposed to be enforced on the basis of
public opinion polls."
>>> "Major Media
Ignored Case of VA Psychiatrist Barbara Battalino's Perjury About Sex in a
Civil Case: The Idaho Shrink: Washington's Missing Link." This latest
MRC Media Reality Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page. In it
the MRC's Tim Graham explains how the Weekly Standard first revealed
Battalino's case in June but the news weeklies never picked it up while
it took until late October for the Los Angeles Times, until November for
the New York Times and until the night before she testified for USA Today.
To read the report go to the MRC home page or: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1998/fax19981202.html
Thursday night on CNN's Larry King Live Dan Rather confirmed that he
"hated" the Lewinsky story "from the very beginning,"
believes Hillary Clinton should be Time's "Person of the Year"
and thinks she may be the next Democratic nominee for President, and
recommended to Al Gore what "I'd do" to insure the nomination:
promise to make Hillary Clinton the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
Here are the three
relevant comments from CBS News anchor Dan Rather from the December 3
Larry King Live:
-- Rather on the
Lewinsky story and his reaction when it broke while he was in Cuba
covering the Pope's visit:
"I have hated it from the very beginning and
I have hated right the way through, you see? Well, wait a minute, you just
said that sometimes a big story you like, bad news? I realize that it's
somewhat contradictory. But this story is, from the beginning, it's the
kind of story that, you know, I have no apology. I hate it. I have hated
it all the way through. It's one reason I tried to stay in Cuba, when the
Pope, it turned out that that would have been a foolish thing for us to
do, I suppose, but I was the last out of there because I kept hoping. I
just said, oh, we have got a great story, the Pope in Cuba, and we're
going to go back to cover something as sleazy as this. Naturally, we all
came back and the rest is history. But I hate it, as well."
-- Rather on
Hillary's presidential future and how she should be Person of the Year:
"I would not be astonished to see Hillary
Clinton be the Democratic nominee in 2000. Listen, I agree that Al Gore is
the odds-on favorite. He's probably going to be the nominee. But, you
know, you and I know, having covered politics for a lifetime, overnight's
a long time in politics, a week is forever. Here we are talking about a
race almost two years away. Hillary Clinton, as far as I'm concerned,
she's the Person of the Year, if Time magazine doesn't put her on the
cover, they may put Mike, Mark McGwire, or Alan Greenspan, or somebody,
but Hillary Clinton is the Person of the Year in that, you talk about a
comeback kid -- she makes her husband look like Ned in knee pants in terms
of comeback from where she was early in the Clinton administration. You
know, you add it all up, and you can make a case that Hillary Clinton
might, might -- mark the word -- be the strongest candidate for the
Democrats. But I'm not predicting it, I'm just raising it as a
Or a hope?
-- After King
wondered if Hillary's chances in 2000 might be better if back room deals
were still possible, Rather expounded on how he'd put Hillary on the
we've had so many blue plate specials. If you're Al Gore -- listen he's
been a loyal Vice President. He is the odds-on favorite for the
nomination. If you were Al Gore what would you do?"
King: "Make her, ask her to be Vice
President. Is that what you think? Is that where you're leading me?"
Rather: "No, I think maybe I would say,
'You know, we want the goals of the Clinton administration to be
achieved and to go forward. I need your help, First Lady, friend of mine,
Hillary Clinton, and if I'm elected President, I will make you the next
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.' That's what I'd do,
but Al Gore is a better man than I am and I doubt that he'd do it."
Earlier Thursday Dan Rather jumped on Henry Hyde's decision to drop
campaign fundraising and stressed White House disgust with the whole
process. CNN also led with the Hyde decision while NBC Nightly News went
first with the warm weather and later ran a story by Gwen Ifill which Tom
Brokaw introduced by hoping "so tonight, it looks like the end of
this process may be in sight." In an unusual source of a soundbite,
Ifill played a clip of the Family Research Council's Gary Bauer saying
it's a Congressman's job to do the tough thing sometimes even if that
goes against the polls.
ABC's World News
Tonight led with a piece by Brian Ross on how a federal grand jury in
Chicago indicted four former Northwestern University college football
players for.... Well, as Ross put it: "According to the indictment,
the four Northwestern players lied about their roles before the grand
jury." They supposedly lied about their roles in point shaving games
to help bookies. One lied about a deliberate 1994 fumble, the three others
about betting against their team.
Ross never used
the word perjury, but the AP reported that's what the four were indicted
for: perjury before a grand jury. Sound familiar? But ABC made no link to
Clinton. After all, as Geraldo Rivera would say, if you're going to fix
football games, deliberately fumble the ball and bet against your own
team, naturally you're going to lie about it.
Later in the show
Linda Douglass provided a full report on Hyde's decision and how
incoming Speaker Livingston wants the matter wrapped up this year.
While ABC, CNN and
NBC delivered calm, deliberative stories, Dan Rather was in full-hype mode
maximizing Republican embarrassment over the short-lived campaign angle.
At the top of the December 3 CBS Evening News Rather teased:
"Confusion, retraction and retreat in the
impeach the President investigation. Some Republicans now openly float a
non-impeachment deal as the Judiciary Committee drops the whole campaign
He then opened the show: "Good evening.
It's the incredible shrinking impeachment inquiry tonight, just days
after the Republican led House Judiciary Committee expanded it. The
President's camp and others call the committee highly partisan, unfair,
out of bounds and out of control. That was then, this is now. CBS News
Chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer has the latest on the
fast-breaking, Republican back tracking and retreat."
"A stunning verdict in the corruption trial of a former Clinton
cabinet member. Another expensive investigation by an independent counsel
adds up to nothing." So declared Tom Brokaw at the top of
Wednesday's NBC Nightly News.
But as MRC news
analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, independent counsel Donald Smaltz got
more than nothing despite former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy being
found not guilty. His prosecutions of other Agriculture officials and food
industry lobbyists were successful. As Smaltz pointed out in a soundbite
run in the subsequent story by Pete Williams: "Those prosecutions
have resulted in 15 convictions and we have collected over $11 million in
fines and penalties.")
found Geraldo Rivera in full righteous indignation mode, declaring on the
December 2 Rivera Live on CNBC:
"A man devoted to public service. A four
year long relentless multimillion dollar investigation conducted by an
independent counsel who insisted in pursuing the trivial. A time for
decent people on both sides of the aisle to end the insanity. Ladies and
gentlemen could our long national nightmare finally be coming to an end?
No. No such luck."
Rivera tied Espy
to the Lewinsky probe: "Washington's other insane and relentless
investigation into the trivial continues tonight full force."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, during the 8am news update on Good
Morning America news reader Bob Woodruff noted how Smaltz's probe cost
$17 million but that he collected $11 million in fines.
In the previous
hour, however, the GMA team ignored Smaltz's 15 convictions and $11
Co-host Lisa McRee: "A major legal victory
for a former top Clinton administration official. Former Agriculture
Secretary Mike Espy was acquitted yesterday of 30 corruption counts. The
independent counsel in the case, Donald Smaltz, spent four years and $17
million bringing Espy to trial....I just want to get this clear. This man
was accused of taking $33,000 or so worth of football tickets, plane
tickets, fine meals, a crystal bowl. So they spent $17 million to
Jeffrey Toobin, ABC legal analyst:
McRee: "Proportionality, does that mean
anything in Washington?"
Toobin: "You know, the question that's so
haunting from this one is one that was asked by Raymond Donovan, who was
Secretary of Labor under Ronald Reagan, who also was the victim of a long
and ultimately unsuccessful prosecution, and he said, 'Where do I go to
get my reputation back? Who do I see about that?' and that's the question
Mike Espy's gotta be asking today, and I think the prosecutorial mentality
in Washington is just taken over to such a degree, and I think cases like
this are an absolute tragedy."
McRee: "Cokie, you talk to these people a
lot. do they feel like they're targets of the inquisition?"
Cokie Roberts: "Oh, sure, but I have to tell
you another person who should be asking today where he goes to get his
reputation back is Don Smaltz, the prosecutor. Throughout this
investigation, he has been considered a runaway prosecutor, much more so
than Kenneth Starr, and he tried to drag into this case all kinds of
people and there was always, from the beginning, a sense that this was
overreaching, but this is the problem with the independent counsel law.
The minute the Attorney General goes to a three-judge panel and says, the
law requires me to seek an independent counsel, then that, whoever is
named can go off with unlimited resources, one case, and go for it."
Later, McRee again
displayed her hate of the impeachment probe: "Real quickly, what does
this mean for President Clinton as they, hopefully, wind up this
Roberts: "Well, I think President Clinton's
lawyers have now said that they are going to mount a defense. We expect to
hear from them next week before the Judiciary Committee, and depending on
how long their defense takes, the Judiciary Committee expects to start
voting at end of next week on impeachment, but look, Lisa, this case is
over. We're just going through the motions here now. The American people
decided that case."
encouragement from leading media figures.
Friday night is Keith Olbermann's last night with MSNBC before he jumps
to Fox Sports. Here are two of his almost last shots on the Big Show
picked up by MRC news analyst Mark Drake.
-- On the December
1 Big Show Olbermann twisted the appearance of two woman, brought out to
demonstrate people are prosecuted for lying about sex in a federal civil
case so Clinton's case is not about sex but about being punished for
lying, into evidence the whole Lewinsky matter is just about sex:
"Hello, good evening and welcome. For three
hundred and fifteen days now, I have sat here with an eye varying from
jaundiced to naive. I have doubted everything I've heard then I've
gone back and doubted those doubts, then doubted the whole thing out to
the parking lot and back just to come back inside and doubt it all over
again. Against that backdrop of skepticism bordering on paranoia, let me
ask you this question: if this investigation, this whole blessed turning
upside down of our political machinery for nigh under a year has not just
been just about sex, how come the two witnesses the Republicans trotted
out today before that kangaroo court they call the Judiciary Committee
were two women who've both been rung up for lying under oath about sex.
Gee, maybe it was just a freak coincidence. Round up the usual suspects
because good economy or bad one, we're still spending a measurable part
of the gross national product on this whatever it is."
-- Olbermann to
Republican Congressman George Gekas on the December 2 Big Show:
"Congressman Gekas, there is a point in what
in Mr. Meehan says. That sort of from a bi-partisan point of view, which
we have tried to maintain here, is there something odd about an
impeachment hearing that gets the full story of this ill fated former
South Carolina college basketball coach but does not hear from Monica
Lewinsky or one of the lesser material witnesses in this process. Did this
seem odd to you?"
Laws not made on the basis of public opinion polls? At least on matters
not related to Clinton perjury. MRC news analyst Brian Boyd caught this
unintentionally ironic item from Dan Rather on the Thanksgiving Eve CBS
Evening News. On the November 25 show he summarized a poll about reaction
to 60 Minutes showing Kevorkian's video of a very assisted suicide:
"As for public reaction, a CBS News Poll out
tonight suggests that by more than two to one Americans do not consider
what Kevorkian did, injecting a terminally ill patient with legal drugs at
the patients request, to be the same as murder. You may want to note that
laws are not supposed to be enforced on the basis of public opinion
Maybe that's a
point Rather could make the next time he trumpets a CBS poll on how most
think Starr is "a partisan out to get the Clintons." -- Brent Baker
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