Shooting Shows Need for Gun Control; Top 10 Post-Impeachment Plans
The triple whammy to hit Clinton led every evening show Monday night followed by the latest on the Capitol shooting. ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC and NBC all ran through the same basic facts: how at a secret location in New York City Monica Lewinsky, for the first time, talked directly with Starr staffers; how a federal appeals court, citing his role as a government-paid lawyer, had rejected the attorney-client privilege claim made by Bruce Lindsey; and how though Clinton will not have to appear Tuesday before the grand jury, he has been subpoenaed so his lawyers are trying to work out an arrangement.
Though they all agreed on those basic facts, each network offered a distinctive fact or spin. ABC's Sam Donaldson revealed that Clinton's lawyers want to delay testimony until September, a bit of information also relayed later by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Starr's team has agreed to allow Clinton to avoid the grand jury and give a videotaped deposition in the White House, FNC's David Shuster asserted. NBC's Lisa Myers concluded that Starr's office has already written much of its report which details "substantial and credible evidence of possible impeachable offenses by the President."
Enthusiastically acting as Clinton's defense lawyer in the guise of analysis for The World Today, CNN's Greta Van Susteren urged Clinton to defy the subpoena and declared that Lewinsky "would be easy to destroy in terms of credibility. But, unfortunately, in this particular case you can't look at just from a legal standpoint. There are huge political ramifications."
Here are some Monicagate highlights from the Monday, July 27, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight led with Jackie Judd's run down of Lewinsky and Lindsey.
From Albuquerque Sam Donaldson reported that Clinton's lawyers will
argue that his testimony should be put off to September to accommodate
planned trips and his vacation: "So they will say we'd like
to do it in September because we need time to prepare. This is a very
-- CBS Evening
News. Dan Rather began: "Good evening. Monica Lewinsky is talking --
a lot. The woman at the center of the criminal investigation of President
Clinton finally met today with prosecutor Ken Starr's
investigators..." Scott Pelley, in Albuquerque, asserted that
Lewinsky still may get full immunity if Starr is satisfied with her
answers. Amongst the questions, "Prosecutors are asking whether the
President encouraged Lewinsky to deny an affair. Lewinsky has said on an
FBI recording that he did..."
-- CNN's The World Today opened with a live North Lawn standup from Wolf Blitzer with what he dubbed "new information." Specifically, that Lewinsky said she and Clinton had a sexual relationship but she's not willing to say he urged to lie about it. Blitzer suggested that Clinton wants to delay his testimony until September so he can be the last witness and avoid a "perjury trap." Next, Bob Franken looked at Lindsey followed by analysis from Greta Van Susteren and a piece from John King on the political implications and how top Democrats say they won't support a fight over the subpoena.
Now, back to
Susteren. Here's what the CNN legal analyst told anchor Jim Moret about
the threat Lewinsky posed to Clinton:
-- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET. David Shuster announced: "Fox News has learned Starr's backing away from the request that President Clinton show up at the grand jury in person. Instead, according to sources, prosecutors are willing to accept a possible videotaped deposition at the White House..." Shuster added that if Clinton and Starr cannot come to an agreement, Starr will not press the issue and will instead just include Clinton's refusal to answer questions in his report to Congress.
-- NBC Nightly
News. Anchor Brian Williams declared: "Suddenly, and seemingly out
nowhere, there are rapid and major developments to report tonight on the
investigation into the President..."
From the White House Claire Shipman offered an update on negotiations over testimony, reporting: "Sources say if no deal is reached the White House would likely try to paint Starr as an out of control prosecutor and fight the subpoena on constitutional grounds."
In the July 27 CyberAlert I expressed pleasant surprise that the networks had refrained from using the Capitol shooting as a peg to push gun control. I spoke too soon. I saw Fox News Sunday, Meet the Press, This Week and Late Edition. But I missed Face the Nation and as a couple of CyberAlert readers and MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer used his final thoughts segment to sermonize about how the shooting demonstrates the need for more gun control.
So, from the July
26 Face the Nation, Schieffer's commentary as transcribed by Jessica:
The Republican Party leadership asked a black former Congressman to address a meeting and suggest how the party could attract black voters. Instead of the positive story they wanted the GOP move simply provided CBS with another hook for a story on the party's intolerance.
CBS Evening News, reporter Jeffrey Kofman showed former U.S. Rep. Floyd
Flake addressing a national RNC meeting in New York. Kofman asserted:
Someday it would be nice to see a network story on how the GOP "moderates" show intolerance toward conservatives or whether there is room in the Democratic Party for those who stray from the feminist-left line on abortion.
From the July 27 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Bill Clinton Post-Impeachment Plans." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants Inc.
10. Spend more quality time with Chelsea
and her 13 half-brothers and sisters.
The Late Show page on the cbs.com Web site now features "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten." Here are my favorites of the 20 or so listed, all under the category of "Top Ten Bill Clinton Post-Impeachment Plans."
-- Catch up on eight-year stack of
To the extent that the topics of Letterman's Top Lists reflect what his staff believe a wide national audience knows enough or cares enough about to understand, Monday's list might be a sign that public interest in Monicagate is on the upswing after a couple of months when many tuned out. This is the first Monicagate-related Top Ten list from Letterman since the "Top Ten Other Executive Privileges" on June 4. -- Brent Baker 
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