CyberAlert -- 12/21/1998 -- Time: Starr Worse Than Clinton
Time: Starr Worse Than Clinton; Avoid Senate Trial Mantra; Maria Shriver's Agenda
1) In naming Bill Clinton and Ken Starr its "Men of the Year" Time held Starr more blameworthy than Clinton for what transpired in 1998. Time's top editor let slip that if they'd wanted to "honor" somebody with an "award" Hillary Clinton would have won.
2) Old media mantra: Must have censure deal to avoid impeachment. New media mantra: Must have censure deal to avoid a Senate trial. NPR's Nina Totenberg hopes "sanity will prevail." NBC's Jodi Applegate slammed by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
3) Don't blame Clinton. Blame conservatives. House Republicans kept moving the goal posts on Clinton, contended Jonathan Alter. Steve Roberts: "It was Tom DeLay...who pulled the pin on this grenade...and it exploded and hit Bob Livingston."
Note to readers: I know this is a lengthy issue, and looking back I realize I should have sent an edition Saturday night and then another one today. But with impeachment and Livingston still the hot news and with readers leaving on vacation as each day passes this week, I don't want to delay any of this material.
>>> "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Go to http://www.mrc.org and click on the "Best of NQ" button, or go directly to the Best of NQ page: http://www.mediaresearch.org/bestofnq1998.html. Either way, you'll find both: a) The Print Edition sent to subscribers. The annual special 8-page version of Notable Quotables with award winners and runners-up in 14 categories as judged by a panel of 50 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and other leading media observers who generously gave of their time. Web Bonus: RealPlayer video and audio clips of the biased quotes from television. Don't just read the bias -- hear and see it too. b) Special Web Edition. See which quotes visitors to the MRC Web site voted as the most biased of the year. <<<
Time magazine would have "honored" Hillary Clinton, but instead decided to equate the law-enforcer with the law-breaker by naming Bill Clinton and Ken Starr its "Men of the Year." Actually, Time did not consider the two worthy of equal censure as the magazine clearly blamed Starr more than Clinton for what the nation experienced in 1998 as its cover story asserted that while "Bill Clinton did something ordinary" in lying about sex, it was Ken Starr who "did something extraordinary" by pursuing it as a crime.
On Sunday's Meet
the Press Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson let slip his pro-Hillary
bias, a tilt which showed up in the magazine. Asked by Tim Russert who
qualifies as the Man of the Year, Isaacson explained:
Indeed, looking at the time.com Web site I learned that the Man of the Year package in the December 28/January 4 issue includes a story headlined, "The Better Half: During her husband's greatest crisis, Hillary has come into her own."
Here's how Nancy
Gibbs opened and closed Time's lead story summarizing why they made
Clinton and Starr the Men of the Year:
Not only is Starr out of line, but so is the whole conservative movement according to Time's wisdom. An accompanying story by Time's Richard Lacayo is headlined, "Where the Right Went Wrong: In backing Starr's witch hunt, conservatives fell in love with Big Government."
Having spent all autumn advocating the desirability of a censure deal, without missing a beat, within hours of the impeachment vote many leading media figures "moved on" to insisting that the Senate must make a deal to avoid a trial. Here are two illustrations:
-- On Inside
Washington just hours after Saturday's House vote, Nina Totenberg of NPR
and ABC News reminded her fellow panelists of how she predicted
impeachment would prevail and that something must be done so "sanity
will prevail and we'll avoid a trial." She intoned:
To Hutchison on the Sunday, December 20 show: "Now that this is in the hands of the Senate, would you mind seeing some kind of a censure deal worked out? Or would you like to see a full blown trial of the President?"
To Lautenberg: "Are you confident that a deal can be worked out to avert the spectacle of a trial?"
And back to
Hutchison again: "Senator Hutchison, the poll numbers reveal the
American people don't want the President removed. His approval ratings
are up to 72 percent, Republicans ratings are down. What kind of leverage
do Republicans really have given the conventional wisdom, which admittedly
has been wrong before, that no way are Republicans ever going to get the
67 votes, what kind of leverage do Republicans have against the President
given all that?"
Don't blame Clinton. Blame conservatives. Angry House Republicans kept moving the goal posts unfairly on Clinton, contended Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. And, charged Steve Roberts, "it was Tom DeLay and the other Republican leadership who pulled the pin on this grenade...and it exploded and hit Bob Livingston."
-- On Sunday's
Today, December 20, co-host Jack Ford picked up on Jonathan Alter's
point that Clinton's August speech failed in that he did not admit lying
and apologize, asking: "You have to wonder, given the politics of
anger that I know you've described here, the toxic atmosphere in the
House, if he had come forward and done all that do you think it really
would have made any difference?"
The Weekly Standard's Tucker Carlson cut him off before he could elaborate any more, remarking "I realize Tom DeLay is responsible for the world's evil, but to blame him somehow for what happened to Bob Livingston."
A major media figure, apparently serious, actually argued that what makes "Republicans crazy" about Clinton is not his duplicity or policies, but "his ability to do two things at once. I think it really does drive them up a tree." Check out this exchange from Friday's Washington Week in Review on PBS.
New York Times columnist: "One of the things that on listening to
this debate that just strikes me, the law and everything else aside,
there's something about Clinton that makes the Republicans crazy. What
NBC anchor Brian Williams, by highlighting how historians supposedly
"will not look kindly" on the impeachment action, opened
Saturday's NBC Nightly News by discrediting the vote led by Republicans.
With the Capitol dome behind him, Williams declared at the top of the
December 19 show:
Peter Jennings befuddled Bill Bennett by asking, if in light of Bob Livingston's resignation, "you want to re-think your position on the President?"
At 10:55am ET
Saturday after Bob Livingston made his surprising announcement about
withdrawing his name as a candidate for Speaker, ABC News viewers saw this
exchange during live coverage of the impeachment debate. After Bill
Bennett said he was not sure if Livingston made the correct decision in
deciding to resign, Jennings lectured:
If you see NBC News flying Maria Shriver from Burbank for a live news event you know it's big entertainment show for the network. They reserve her for the big stuff like conventions. All day Saturday during live NBC News coverage of the impeachment debate and votes, from 9am to 2:25pm ET, NBC and MSNBC viewers were treated to Shriver's liberal political advocacy instead of the more professional and knowledgeable work an actual Washington-based correspondent, such as Lisa Myers, surely would have delivered. (Once MSNBC was on its own at 2:30pm ET NBC's Capitol Hill reporter Gwen Ifill magically returned to the air.)
NBC put Shriver in a room somewhere near the House floor and about once every 30 minutes she got about two minutes to quiz a member live on air. Below are illustrative examples the agenda she pushed. Before the vote she kept hoping that Republicans would wimp out and afterward she demanded that Republicans respond to Democratic assertions that the vote means "the downfall of he Republican Party." Of course, she never asked a Democrat anything about why they are standing so enthusiastically behind a man they say disgraced the presidency. In between she argued Tom DeLay was forcing members to vote for impeachment and she put on a Valley Girl voice to mock Republican concerns about Bob Livingston.
-- Just after 9am ET to Richard Gephardt: "Do you think she [Hillary Clinton], the President, yourself, you kind of gave an indication, are holding out some glimmer that people may have said I'm in favor of impeachment but at the last minute they won't be able to do it?"
And: "Representative Frank was saying to several of us reporters yesterday that he does not think this is the downfall of Bill Clinton, this is in fact the downfall of the Republican Party. Do you agree?"
-- At 10:06am ET,
arguing with Republican George Gekas: "Several Republicans I've
talked to told me today you cannot imagine the pressure on people down
there to vote with the Republicans, they'd break your leg if you broke
with them today."
later, still ever hopeful: "Do you think anybody will break, any of
the Republicans who've actually said that they will vote for
impeachment, when push comes to shove and they actually have to stand up
today and vote for the impeachment of the President of the United States
that they'll just say 'I can't do it?'"
You can always count on a little wackiness when Dan Rather is on live for any length of time. While CBS went to a NFL pre-game show at 12 noon, that still gave Rather three straight hours on Saturday morning.
-- Funniest Rather moment. At about 11:15am ET, in the midst of talking with former Senator Warren Rudman, Rather jumped in and cut off Rudman dramatically, pleading: "Hold on just a second. Somebody is really shouting on the House floor. Let's see who that is. Oh, I'm sorry. It's Representative John Lewis from Georgia who has the microphone again."
If you are unfamiliar with Lewis, his normal floor speech mode is "full yell."
-- Wackiest question. At about 11:50am ET to former Clinton speechwriter Donald Baer: "Don, help me here. After the Republican sweep led by the now resigned Newt Gingrich in 1994 when the Republicans had their peak victory in recent history, President Clinton said that after that, after 1994, that if you left them, the Republicans, alone that they would burn themselves out. Now is or is not what we have now a race sort of between when the Republican burn themselves out or burn the President up?"
Freudian slip of the weekend? Asked by anchor Charlie Gibson to describe
leading House Speaker candidate Dennis Hastert, on the December 19 World
News Tonight on Saturday night Linda Douglass replied:
So, if you're a Republican you are by media definition an extremist. -- Brent Baker
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