ABC: Heckler Is "Voice of the People"; "Free Lisa Myers"; Starr a Felon
>>> "Will Jane Doe End Up as
Jane Don't? NBC Policy of 'Locking Up' Broaddrick Interview Wasn't
Used with Bernardin, Thomas, Nancy Reagan." The latest Media Reality
Check fax report will be posted on the MRC home page on Friday morning. In
it the MRC's Tim Graham contrasts Tim Russert's caution on airing the
Broaddrick interview conducted by Lisa Myers with how the network showed
no such concern for verification in highlighting unsubstantiated
allegations against three other public figures. To read the issue go to
the MRC home page: http://www.mrc.org  or
to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990205.html 
ABC and CNN promoted a heckler's outburst as a credible and accurate representation of how most people feel which should be honored. "We begin tonight with the voice of the people heard from the Senate gallery today," insisted Peter Jennings before playing a clip of the heckler shouting: "God almighty, take the vote and get it over with." Jennings claimed he was speaking "for so many Americans, whether they believe the President should be convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice or not." Actually, as the FNC's Jim Angle noted from the White House, the heckler "could have been a White House official because that is exactly the view here."
The trial, CBS's Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer yearned, may soon "finally" come to an end. Both CBS and NBC highlighted how James Rogan answered a Clinton lawyer's question by saying "it is none of your damn business." FNC's David Shuster caught up with ABC reporter Jackie Judd's disclosure that a private investigator confirmed Kathleen Willey's charge that she was threatened.
Every network but CBS looked at the controversy over the flattering People magazine cover story on Hillary and Chelsea which the Clintons have condemned for invading Chelsea's privacy. "This has set off a spirited debate about journalism, boundaries and exploitation," suggested Tom Brokaw. NBC's David Bloom and ABC's John Cochran showed how Chelsea's parents had exploited her before for their benefit. Both played the video from last summer of Chelsea holding hands between her parents as they walked to the helicopter and showed the cover of a 1992 People featuring all three. Bloom added that the elder Clintons "insisted" the then 12-year-old Chelsea appear with them on the cover. The NBC story also gave time for a competitor to denounce the Time Warner magazine as Newsweek's Jonathan Alter complained: "It violates a kind of an informal but useful agreement that the media had to give her a break. Let the poor girl alone, she didn't ask for this, she's essentially a victim. She didn't put herself forward, why is it necessary?"
Here are some highlights of how the Thursday, February 4 evening shows handled the Senate votes to not hear from live witnesses but to allow the managers to play portions of the three videotaped depositions:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened by giving legitimacy and credibility
to a crank:
explained the day's votes, before showcasing a "curt" comment
from a manager: "When White House lawyers wanted to know what portion
of the tapes prosecutors intended to show, they got a curt reply."
Schieffer concluded by returning to Rather's theme that this might "finally" end: "Tonight Ms. Lewinsky sent word that she and her family appreciate not having to go through the ordeal of testifying on the Senate floor. In the meantime Dan, it looks like this trial is finally about to end."
Of course, the Senate trial has been going for barely four weeks, hardly a lengthy period.
Introducing the view from the White House, Rather relayed: "A fast out that leaves President Clinton in office on terms considered by his staff to be fair to him is the goal of the President's camp."
FNC then aired an
update on the Kathleen Willey case, the first network story I've seen
since ABC's January 29 story in which Jackie Judd revealed that Jared
Stern, a private investigator hired by a lawyer for Nathan Landow,
confirmed that there was a plan to intimidate her. FNC's David Shuster
gave an overview of the case and after allowing Stern to decline comment
"Free Lisa Myers" proclaimed big blue buttons sported by Roll Call's Morton Kondracke, Fortune's Jeffrey Birnbaum and Brit Hume at the end of Thursday's 6pm ET/9pm PT Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC.
Hume explained: "And finally, we wanted to send our best wishes to our colleague at NBC News, Lisa Myers. She has done remarkable reporting on the Clinton-Lewinsky case and her latest coup is the only interview anyone has done on tape with the mysterious Jane Doe No. 5. NBC News, however, has yet to air that interview and we just wanted Lisa to know that we were thinking about her over here at Fox News and we wish her well."
(To see the button, go to the MRC home page. Friday morning, with the tape cuing help of Kristina Sewell, Webmaster Sean Henry will post an image of the button on Hume's jacket and a RealPlayer clip of Hume's comments. Go to: http://www.mrc.org )
Newt vindicated. Who cares? That seems to be the media attitude. As the February 4 CyberAlert reported, the IRS determined he and the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF) did not violate any tax laws in having the tax-exempt PFF fund the college course he taught. Allegations that his course was "partisan," and thereby improperly benefitted from a tax subsidy, were at the center of the ethics complaints filed by Democrats. On Wednesday CNN's Inside Politics ran a full story by Brooks Jackson and CNN noted the ruling in its 8pm ET newscast. (See the February 4 CyberAlert for details.)
Despite an AP dispatch picked up by many papers and a New York Times story, Thursday morning not a syllable aired about it on ABC's Good Morning America, CBS's This Morning or NBC's Today, MRC analysts Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd and Geoffrey Dickens informed me. Not a word on Wednesday night on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, observed MRC analyst Mark Drake. Thursday night the broadcast networks failed to catch up with CNN and I did not notice a story either Wednesday or Thursday night on FNC.
Do you have any doubt that if the IRS investigation had confirmed the allegations the networks would have pounced on the proof of Gingrich wrongdoing?
House Minority Dick Gephardt appeared on Thursday's Today to discuss his decision to not make a presidential bid since he thinks it's possible for Democrats to re-take the House in 2000, making him Speaker. But instead of playing devil's advocate, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that co-host Katie Couric egged him on.
Couric introduced the February 4 interview: "With the GOP in apparent turmoil some Democrats believe they have a good chance to win back control of Congress. Among them House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt who last night announced he would not run for President in the year 2000. Instead he has his eye on another job, Speaker of the House."
Couric proceeded to inquire about how close he came to running and how the public might blame Democrats as well as Republicans for the "do nothing Congress," but instead of posing some questions from the right, such as whether there might be a backlash against Democrats for condoning perjury and obstruction, she tossed these softballs:
-- "In terms
of hardcore politics, Congressman Gephardt, obviously the GOP, according
to the latest public opinion polls is vulnerable. Are you licking your
chops over that?"
Geraldo Rivera ruminated Wednesday night about how Ken Starr may become a "convicted felon." In another quote caught by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, on the February 3 Rivera Live the host asked Democrat Abbe Lowell a devil's advocate question which incorporated two insults at Ken Starr:
"Welcome Abbe. What about the charge that even though Ken Starr is a terrible man who is violating Rule 6(e) and may himself someday be a convicted felon, that has nothing to do with the fact that the President may have also broken the law?"
Don't want to look partisan? Too late for that now. Dismissing the
relevance of the news that Sidney Blumenthal confirmed how Bill Clinton
lied to him in denying a relationship with Monica Lewinsky, on
Wednesday's Hockenberry show on MSNBC, MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed,
John Hockenberry told Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund:
Is Hockenberry a little sore about being promised the 8pm ET slot and then getting bounced to 10pm ET?
From the February 4 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Hillary Clinton Campaign Slogans." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Read My Lips -- No New
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