MediaWatch: April 20, 1998

Vol. Twelve No. 5

Revolving Door: Jabbing Jones

Jabbing Jones

Clinton lawyer Bob Bennett drew upon a former AP reporter to help him draft soundbites to discredit Paula Jones. Amy Sabrin, the Washington Post relayed February 23, "crafts the briefs — long, detailed-laden analyses of case law and issues spiced with soundbite quality lines suitable for a media-intense case." Sabrin left the AP for Bennett’s firm in the early ‘80s after an assignment in Washington. But Sabrin goes both ways. In the late 1980s she toiled on Bennett’s team when he defended Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger against IC Lawrence Walsh.

Clinton Team Moves

Ginny Terzano, a researcher with the CBS News election unit in 1988 and most recently Press Secretary to VP Al Gore, has taken a Senior VP slot at Dewey Square Group, a political consulting firm. In 1987 she put in a stint as a press aide in Gary Hart’s campaign. Soon after the election she left CBS and took over the DNC’s press office, joining the White House in 1993 as Deputy Press Secretary....

Victor Zonana, a Los Angeles Times reporter when he jumped to the Clinton team in 1993, has left to join the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, a UN and World Bank-funded operation. Until April Zonana had served at HHS as Deputy Assistant Secretary for public affairs.

Baer’s New CBS Bearings

CBS News has brought aboard a Clinton insider. The Washington Post’s John Carmody reported in February: "Don Baer, who left the White House in August after 3½ years, most recently serving as Director of Communications, has signed on as a consultant for CBS News. He’ll give his perspective on several regular CBS News programs about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ activity in the administration...But network sources say ‘he won’t be shilling.’" Baer held the title at U.S. News of Assistant Managing Editor when he jumped to the White House.

Is he a shill? Check out this excerpt from a September 23, 1996 Weekly Standard profile by Christopher Caldwell: "One New Democrat who met Baer at a dinner last year described him as ‘bland beyond description, a fount of cliches. ‘Clinton was the moral leader of the Universe,’ and all that.’"

Caputo Kaput at CBS

Just as Baer signed up with CBS his former White House colleague Lisa Caputo stepped down as Vice President for corporate relations. Caputo pushed Hillary Clinton’s agenda as Press Secretary to the First Lady until late 1996. Since leaving CBS in March Caputo has moved in front of the camera, filling the liberal chair for a week on CNBC’s Equal Time.