Underwear Drawers; Starr's Demand = Assassination; Herman's 20 Seconds
1) Monday night FNC revealed who has touched both Hillary's panties and Bill's briefs while CBS relayed the warning that if Starr forces the Secret Service to testify "a President will be assassinated." CBS, CNN and NBC only gave a few seconds to an IC for Herman.
Janet Reno's decision to ask for an independent counsel to investigate Labor Secretary Alexis Herman led ABC's World News Tonight on Monday night and got a full story on FNC's Fox Report, but generated just 26 seconds on CBS and a mere 18 seconds on NBC. CNN was more worried about the cost of investigations.
"A President will be assassinated in the near future," CBS reporter Scott Pelley said in relaying the ominous warning from the head of he Secret Service about what will happen "if his agent's are forced to testify." Highlighting the latest fodder for James Carville, FNC picked up the story about how Starr "once had someone rifle through the First Family's underwear drawers."
Here are some highlights from the Monday, May 11 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight led with Herman. Peter Jennings noted that she's been under
investigation since a January story on ABC News highlighted accusations
that she took payoffs while at a previous White House staff job. The same
reporter who broke that story handled the Reno decision Monday night:
-- The nuclear test explosion in India topped the CBS Evening News and before Herman Dan Rather turned to Scott Pelley for a CBS News "exclusive" on why the Secret Service is resisting Ken Starr. Pelley warned:
briefings to the Justice Department and to Starr the Director of the
Secret Service, Lew Merletti, is saying that a President will be
assassinated in the near future if his agent's are forced to
Of course that's not true if you buy Sidney Blumenthal's "grassy knoll" conspiracy theory.
Over video of the assassination attempt on Reagan Pelley announced: "This was shown to Starr who was told proximity is the difference between life and death." Pelley did add: "Starr's prosecutors ridicule Merletti's argument, saying it makes 'the wild assumption that the President will risk his life in order to engage in illegal or embarrassing conduct.'"
Later in the show
Rather had no time for details on the Herman decision, taking 26 seconds
-- CNN's The World Today at 8pm ET led with the status of the Middle-East peace talks. Anchor Joie Chen took just under a minute to summarize the Herman situation and run a soundbite from the Labor Secretary before introducing a full report: "CNN's Brooks Jackson does the math on the high cost of investigations."
-- FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report was topped by Catherine Crier ominously warning of "some scary news for anyone who eats" -- uninspected foreign produce. Steve Centanni provided a full report on Herman, explaining: "African businessman Laurent Yene makes the most explosive charge, claiming he delivered cash to Herman's home, an alleged kickback for helping a client."
Patrick Vanhorn announced that Starr "once had someone rifle through
the First Family's underwear drawers." It took Rita Cosby a while
to get to the intriguing plug, first noting how Starr's deputies are
meeting with Secret Service officers to get what details they are willing
to share about Clinton's contacts with Monica Lewinsky and how Lewinsky
has hired a public relations specialist -- Judy Smith, a Deputy Press
Secretary under Bush.
-- NBC Nightly
News led with imported food safety as Tom Brokaw intoned: "Your food.
It could make you sick. Tonight a new warning about tainted food coming
into this country." After a story on storm trackers and just before
the "hidden danger" of the "epidemic" of Lyme Disease,
Tom Brokaw gave 18 seconds to Herman:
Monday's pattern where ABC offered substantial Herman coverage while the other broadcast networks barely touched the subject matches how the networks have treated revelations about her over the past year or so. In addition to ABC, CNN and FNC ran full reports on the allegations in January when the Justice Department revealed it was looking into them, but CBS and NBC held their stories to 20 seconds or less. In fact, CBS and NBC have yet to run a full story on Herman in the evening. More in the next CyberAlert.
Tuesday morning, May 12, Today and Good Morning America ran stories on
Herman, but only GMA featured an interview segment. Instead of focusing on
Herman's alleged misdeeds, however, co-host Kevin Newman pressed ABC
legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin repeatedly about the cost and value of
independent counsels. One of his questions:
Tuesday evening none of the networks touched Herman and only CNN and FNC broached a Clinton scandal-related item. ABC's World News Tonight led with rioting in Jakarta, Indonesia, followed by a report on the fallout from the nuclear test in India. The CBS Evening News went with India and then Jakarta. Introducing a story on Republican Congressman Jay Kim, who can't even campaign in his California district because he's on detention in DC for accepting illegal campaign donations, Dan Rather declared he demonstrates "the pervasiveness of sleazy campaign money."
CNN's The World
Today at 8pm ET, prompted by the nuclear test, led with a story by Jamie
McIntyre on the fifth failure of THAAD, the Theater High Altitude Area
Defense anti-missile missile to hit its target in a test at White Sands.
The 8pm show didn't mention Burton, but MRC analyst Eric Darbe informed
me that the vote planned for May 13 in Burton's committee topped the
10pm ET edition. CNN's Brooks Jackson included a couple of clips from
Burton's Tuesday afternoon House floor address laying out the case
against Clinton and defending himself. Jackson announced:
FNC's Fox Report also featured a piece on THAAD's failure. FNC ran a clip from Dan Burton's Tuesday afternoon speech on the House floor attacking President Clinton and defending himself. NBC Nightly News went with India first then Jakarta, but unlike ABC and CBS which had reporters in Indonesia, Brokaw just talked over some video.
Don't let any facts get in the way of your ideology. MRC news analyst Eric Darbe noticed this exchange from the May 11 Larry King Live which illustrates how the CNN host doesn't always know much about the topic he's spouting off about. Guests Gary Hart and reporters Wolf Blitzer and Bob Woodward were brought on to discuss coverage of Clinton and sex, but veered off onto the military/industrial complex:
"It's the weapons construction business, it's a massive status
quo complex that keeps us all going."
And CNN, as revealed Tuesday, has decided to pay this guy $7 million a year. How many hours of cancer research would that cover?
-- Brent Baker 
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