Only FNC Hinted at Clinton-Lewinsky Collusion; Starr Targeted; Tax Cuts Help Rich
1) ABC & CNN described Lewinsky as "poised." All agreed she offered nothing new, but only FNC reported that "knowing glances" between the lawyers for her and Clinton occurred as she was stopped from giving any substantive responses to Ed Bryant.
3) Charles Gibson argued with Charles Bakaley about how Starr really is guilty as Diane Sawyer demanded of Robert Bork: "At any point have you suggested to Judge Starr that it's time to shut the office down or that he may be pressing too hard?"
Reviewing Monica Lewinsky's performance, on Monday night the networks delivered remarkably similar assessments of how she offered nothing new and showed a "poised" and "professional" demeanor. All highlighted an apology to her from a White House lawyer. Only FNC dared to report that she gave "snippy answers" and that there were "knowing glances" between her lawyers and Clinton's lawyers as her lawyers cut her off before she gave any substantive responses.
ABC's Linda Douglass described Lewinsky as "poised and very prepared." Over on CNN Bob Franken employed the same terminology, relaying that "Lewinsky was poised, precise and still sympathetic to the President" while CBS's Bob Schieffer announced: "It was all very business-like and professional."
Here's how the networks described on their Monday, February 1 evening shows, what happened during the deposition of Monica Lewinsky at the Mayflower hotel:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Linda Douglass: "Sources say there were no surprises in Lewinsky's testimony. Several said she was poised and very prepared. One described her as guarded. White House lawyers asked Lewinsky no questions. Instead, they read a statement on Mr. Clinton's behalf apologizing to her for what she has been through. Tonight White House officials said they did not ask her questions because nothing she said required following up."
-- CBS Evening
News. Dan Rather opened by stressing how this was "the 23rd official
questioning of Monica Lewinsky." Bob Schieffer described the session:
"The House prosecutors did get their chance to depose Monica Lewinsky,
but apparently they did not find out very much. We're told there were no
blockbusters, nothing really new. One source says she only reaffirmed her
grand jury testimony. But White House lawyers, who had never had a chance
to meet Miss Lewinsky, did take the opportunity to apologize to her for
all they said that she and her family had been put through."
-- CNN's The
World Today. Bob Franken began: "Several sources present tell CNN the
President's attorneys asked no questions." He later elaborated:
"Several sources present tell CNN that tape will show Lewinsky did
not depart from her earlier grand jury testimony, that she did not add
anything new. One source said that fact will please the President's
side, which can argue there is no reason now for Lewinsky to testify
publicly before the Senate. But House managers will claim that she helped
their case by repeating an account damaging to the President."
-- NBC Nightly
News. Gwen Ifill: "In the presidential suite of a downtown Washington
hotel, White House lawyers got their first chance today to question Monica
Lewinsky. But, sources say, White House lawyers Nicole Seligman, Cheryl
Mills and David Kendall asked Lewinsky nothing. And they say Seligman, on
behalf of the President, actually apologized to Lewinsky, in the words of
one source, quote 'for all he put her through.'"
-- FNC's Fox
Report, co-anchored by Jon Scott and the leather-clad E.D. Donahey,
delivered quite a different description of what occurred in the room,
portraying an uncooperative Lewinsky whose lawyers were in collusion with
the White House.
Next, Carl Cameron
looked at the White House anger at Starr and competing exit strategy
ideas, but concluded by returning to the Lewinsky deposition when asked by
a co-anchor about anything else that happened Monday:
(Tuesday morning the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will post on the MRC home page a RealPlayer video clip of this part of Cameron's story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org )
The White House once again managed to make Ken Starr the issue as every network showcased David Kendall's complaint that Starr is guilty of "illegal and partisan leaking" in the Sunday New York Times story on how he has decided he can indict a sitting President. ABC included the item in Linda Douglass's story on Lewinsky, but all the other networks on Monday night ran separate stories with Kendall setting the agenda.
NBC's Tom Brokaw
introduced a full report from Pete Williams by noting that "Starr
tried for damage control." Pete Williams began: "White House
lawyers are reacting angrily today to a report that Kenneth Starr has
concluded he could charge the President with a crime. They're asking a
federal judge to punish Starr, accusing him of violating court ordered
Schieffer concluded his Lewinsky story by saying there was even some
joking in the deposition, CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather declared:
"On another front, the President's lawyers were in anything but a
joking mood today. This has to do with the possibility that Ken Starr,
whatever happens in the Senate, could indict the President."
(The CBS Evening News ended with a piece from Mark Phillips in London on how the world, at least the world media, view the Lewinsky scandal: "For all the multitude of languages and accents being used to report this story around the world, the general impression is being expressed with one voice." A woman from French TV declared: "Why is America going mad?" A man with the BBC agreed: "America, or at least Washington, has gone completely mad." Phillips did highlight the foreign hypocrisy as while they complain they all cover it, with the BBC offering gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Senate trial.)
The Starr story about thinking it's okay to indict Clinton really
enraged the Good Morning America team on Monday morning, MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson observed. Charles Gibson argued with Charles Bakaley
about whether the leak came from Starr's office. When Bakaley denied it,
Gibson countered: "How do you know that. There've been leaks from the
Gibson's February 1 questions to Charles Bakaly, Ken Starr's spokesman,
which assumed Starr is in the wrong:
Robert Bork came aboard to discuss the substance of Starr's analysis as
Bork believes you cannot indict a sitting President, but Diane Sawyer soon
pressed him to take on Starr for the alleged improper leak and how it
supposedly has intruded upon the Senate's work:
ABC and NBC pounced on the Republican proposal for tax cuts, as if they
wished to discredit the idea before it got any momentum. On Monday's
World News Tonight Sam Donaldson summarized the officially released
Clinton budget proposal. In a second story, ABC's John Cochran looked at
the disagreement over tax cuts with Republicans wanting a broad one while
Clinton advocated some targeted ones. Cochran announced: "Republicans
are trying to get the public's attention with one of their favorite
tactics: promising tax cuts for everyone."
On the NBC Nightly
News reporter David Bloom also highlighted Republican interest in a tax
cut, but portrayed Republicans as the ones with a bad attitude: "The
President's proposed budget arrived on Capitol Hill today to a rude
reception from Republicans, who are demanding that some of the trillions
of dollars in a projected surpluses be spent on a broad tax cut."
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