Starr Leaker; Catholics Worse Than HMOs; Pentagon Condemns CNN
Every network but NBC devoted a full report Tuesday night to the hearing before three appeals court judges on the parameters of an examination of whether Ken Starr's office improperly leaked grand jury information. NBC didn't mention the day's gathering of lawyers. CNN and FNC featured full stories, and CBS aired a brief mention read by anchor Dan Rather, on the Pentagon report which concluded there's no evidence to support any of the allegations made in CNN's NewsStand story on Operation Tailwind. Neither ABC or NBC mentioned the findings. (See item #3 today for coverage of the Pentagon report on CNN's original story.)
ABC News discovered a health threat even greater than HMOs: hospitals owned by the Catholic church. Peter Jennings warned the upcoming story "is not about cost. It's about ideology. What happens when a Catholic hospital is the only one around." See item #2 below for more.
Clinton administration proposals for further nursing home regulations topped ABC's World News Tonight. The CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News led with the investigation into the cruise ship fire while FNC's Fox Report opened with the probe of Starr and CNN's The World Today went first with an explanation of how the government tracks temperatures.
Washington Times front page showcased two exclusives: First, that by
adding six new intercontinental ballistic missiles, China has implemented
a one-third increase in its ICBM arsenal. Second, following up on its
Monday story about how the White House got 1,000 FBI files, how the White
House conceded that it had improperly obtained hundreds of files. Bill
Sammon reported: "A White House official, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said new Filegate documents list more than 400 people 'whose
files we should not have requested.' The official explained that the
White House was updating its security files from an outdated Secret
Service list that contained both existing employees and those who had left
the White House. 'We were working from a list that was not an accurate
one, but there was certainly nothing intentional about this,' the
Here are some highlights from the Tuesday, July 21 evening shows. A look at the Pentagon report on CNN's story is in item #3 today.
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with Sam Donaldson on a 900 page report from the Health Care Financing Administration on how laws passed four years ago didn't do enough to improve nursing homes. Next, from San Francisco, reporter Judy Muller highlighted nursing home abuses, charging: "This weekend the Government Accounting Office will release the results of its investigation into California nursing homes. Sources say the language of that report is unusually strong and critical. While many nursing homes do offer adequate care, critics say that the elderly residents are too often at the mercy of a profit-driven industry."
On the Monicagate
front, Jackie Judd explained that Starr and lawyers for all the parties
appeared at the courthouse. Judd asserted:
Pelley concluded by noting the appearance of some Secret Service officers before the grand jury and how another just retired agent on the presidential detail had been issued a subpoena.
-- CNN's The World Today. Wolf Blitzer provided a summary of the battle over leaks between Clinton's lawyers and Starr.
-- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET began with David Shuster's look at Starr's trip to the courthouse to try to dismiss the case against him over leaks. Shuster also relayed how the Secret Service officers are being forced to answer before the grand jury questions they had earlier refused to answer, such as what steward Byani Nelvis had told them he saw.
Later, in a Fox Files report Carl Cameron previewed an audit due Wednesday showing how the Social Security Administration employs workers who toil solely for a labor union, a practice which cost $15 million in 1996. Cameron explained: "President Clinton's executive order in 1993 made it all legal, creating labor-management partnerships in which federal employees become taxpayer-salaried labor representatives."
What's more threatening and dangerous than an HMO? A community with only Catholic-controlled hospitals, ABC contended Tuesday night. Plugging the upcoming segment on the July 21 World News Tonight Peter Jennings asserted: "When a Catholic hospital is the only one nearby are patients losing some of their options? We'll take A Closer Look."
"A Closer Look" segment, Jennings explained:
New Hampshire Michelle Norris looked at complaints about what happened
when the Catholic owned hospital entered into a management partnership
with the other hospital in the Queen City, "a partnership formed to
help cut costs, but because of the Catholic church's rules about birth
control and abortion, there have been severe consequences for
a power outage in DC briefly knocked Washington's ABC affiliate WJLA off
the air for a bit less than a minute immediately after the Norris piece,
so I missed the beginning of a follow-up interview. Jennings talked with a
Catholic expert I recognized, but at the risk of getting his name wrong
I'll not guess at it here. The signal cut back in just as the guest
expert was suggesting there's nothing wrong with a hospital owner
running it as they see fit.
MSNBC and FNC late Tuesday morning carried part of the Pentagon press conference with several military leaders announcing the results of their look into the CNN story on Operation Tailwind. CNN carried it live, in its entirety, without network commercial break. Tuesday night CBS gave the Pentagon report a few seconds while ABC and NBC skipped it. CNN and FNC offered full stories, but a poll result relayed by FNC suggests the whole incident has not really hurt CNN's credibility.
On CNN's The
World Today Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre didn't sugar-coat the
Not quite the
attitude toward the military expressed by NewsStand producers April Oliver
and Jack Smith. But McIntyre's willingness to thoroughly rebuke CNN's
original story is no surprise when you recall his anger at Oliver and
Smith. As cited in the July 8 CyberAlert, in the July 7 Washington Post
Howard Kurtz reported:
But it may not have harmed CNN all that much according to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics Poll result featured on Tuesday's Fox Report. Asked if they had "lost respect for CNN and Time because of the report?" the respondents answered:
55%: No, not lost respect
Matsumoto proceeded to summarize how the Pentagon "didn't find any
evidence to support the allegations." After noting the non-use of
sarin, Matsumoto added:
In Tuesday's Washington Times Rowan Scarborough disclosed that CNN rejected a demand for $6 million from McCarley, but has issued an apology to retired Admiral Thomas Moorer and, last Friday, agreed to a financial settlement with Moorer for an "undisclosed sum."
CNN has posted the full Department of Defense report on its Web site. As of Tuesday night at least it could be accessed at: http://www.cnn.com/US/9807/21/pentagon.tailwind.report/ 
-- Brent Baker 
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