CBS: Public Wants No Punishment; Celebrities Denounce Starr
2) "Victory in America over this prosecutor will be victory for those across the world who support the principles of freedom," declared Anthony Hopkins, Gerard Depardieu, Vannessa Redgrave, Emma Thompson and many other international celebrities.
The threat and damage caused by Hurricane Georges led he ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC evening shows Thursday night. I did not have access to FNC's Fox Report, but Thursday afternoon at about 3:20pm ET the network highlighted an angle on the Clinton scandal not considered by the other networks in the evening. After Carl Cameron summed up Barney Frank's press conference by describing how the Massachusetts Democrat accused Republicans of, in Cameron's words, "partisan gamesmanship," anchor Jon Scott observed: "Interesting Carl that the President denied his relationship with Monica Lewinsky for about seven months before finally owning up to it and yet the Democrats are complaining that the Republicans have been stalling the process."
ABC, CBS and NBC all highlighted Clinton's Rose Garden request that "The way out here, and the only way out, is for people in Washington to do what the folks in America want them do to which is take care of their concerns, their children and their future." (CNN ran a similar soundbite.) But all contrasted Clinton's hope by lamenting the reality that Republicans plan to lengthen the process by proceeding with impeachment hearings. Dan Rather stressed how out touch the GOP is, announcing that "the latest CBS poll indicates more than half of the public would be satisfied with no punishment for the President at all." Only NBC's David Bloom bothered with Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde's response to Clinton, noting "Hyde rejected Mr. Clinton's claim that it would be a mere distraction or diversion. This is, he said, about the rule of law."
And a quick Geraldoism of the night from Geraldo Rivera in the opening of Thursday's Upfront Tonight on CNBC: "Regardless of what America may want, Republicans in Washington seem hell-bent on pushing ahead toward impeachment."
Now some highlights of evening news scandal coverage from Thursday, September 24:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight offered one piece from Sam Donaldson. Peter Jennings
introduced it by stressing how Republicans are dragging out the process:
began: "White House officials are resigned to a formal impeachment
inquiry, although the President himself made another try today at saying
this pursuit of him is a foolish diversion from the truly important
business of the country. At the conclusion of a Rose Garden ceremony the
President actually waited for a question on whether he could avoid an
impeachment inquiry, even shushing the crowd to make certain he would hear
Donaldson then moved on to how Henry Hyde plans to hold a committee vote the week after next followed quickly by a full House vote on holding impeachment inquiry hearings. Noting Democrats are "not buying" Hyde's claims of "evenhandedness," Donaldson played a soundbite from Barney Frank. Donaldson also noted how Hillary Clinton is calling Democratic members of Congress to urge their support for her husband and that Clinton has talked to Bob Dole. Donaldson ended by telling Jennings that to show he's still in charge Clinton has invited to the White House Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and PLO leader Arafat.
After the hurricane stories Rather ran through the latest CBS News/New York Times poll numbers. Clinton's job approval has jumped from 61 percent before the Clinton video was shown to 67 percent now. His personal approval is up from 39 to 45 percent and support for censure has declined to 46 percent with 31 percent favoring impeachment hearings and the same percent saying he should resign. Rather continued: "All tolled, more than half [53 percent] now say they'd be satisfied with no punishment and just drop the whole matter. But as CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer reports tonight, Speaker Newt Gingrich and the Republican-led House made it clear today it won't do anything of the sort."
Schieffer explained how Hyde plans a vote the week after next on an impeachment inquiry. He ran a Hyde soundbite before transitioning to a reply from Barney Frank by emphasizing how Democrats are "furious" at what they see as a plan to drag the process past the elections. Schieffer ended by noting that Hyde is not interested in censure or a deal and if the House approves he plans hearings after the election but before the end of the year.
Dan Rather moved to CBS's second of two full stories, declaring: "For his part, what President Clinton did today included trying to re-focus public attention on the economy, on America's own social problems and on a very important international problem. Not on his problems."
From the White
House Scott Pelley introduced a Clinton soundbite by observing that he
"seemed to be scolding Congress to lay impeachment aside."
Pelley picked up afterward: "And that's the defense strategy: tell voters the impeachment process is the problem, not the President. Then accuse Republicans of prolonging the process." Pelley also noted how the First Lady is making calls to Congress and that Clinton is keeping a high profile by inviting Netanyahu and Arafat to visit next week.
The show ended with an Eye on America look at how baby boomers view Clinton. The CBS News poll found that by two-to-one they approve of Clinton's job performance and don't want him to go.
Next, Bob Franken ran through Hyde's plan for a vote, playing clips of Hyde and Frank's response, explained how the Judiciary Committee on Friday will squabble over whether to release Tripp's audio tapes or just transcripts and ended by raising the Democratic claim, which Hyde denied, that the committee decisions are all being choreographed by Speaker Newt Gingrich.
Bloom noted how
Hillary Clinton is making calls and then highlighted a public blast from
Hillary not played by the other networks: "Outside Denver Colorado
this afternoon the First Lady went public, sharply attacking congressional
Bloom concluded by reporting hat NBC News had learned that the FBI will not investigate Republican charges that the White House was behind the Hyde affair story because they don't believe spreading rumors amounts to obstruction of justice.
Clinton's Hollywood supporters have not been dissuaded one bit by all they've seen and heard over the past few weeks. They still think the scandal is an unworthy distraction from the great policies espoused by Clinton and that Starr is a "fanatical prosecutor."
-- At a restaurant anniversary party USA Today's Jeannie Williams caught this from Bill Cosby, as run in the September 16 edition. (Ellipses and parentheses hers): "How much does a guy like (President Clinton) have to be punished and brutalized when...he's doing (his job) very, very well?...I just say for each and every person, if it was your family, when is enough enough?"
-- On Tuesday's
(September 22) ShowBiz Today on CNN, Mark Scheerer played some reactions
to Clinton's video from Hollywood stars:
Movie actor Robert DeNiro: "We have so many important things in this world to worry about and to preoccupy ourselves with this. I mean, people in other countries laugh at us. We have nothing better to do with our money and our time?"
Kelsey Grammar, star of NBC's Frasier: "I don't think it's necessary to watch them. I don't think they're going to make a significant contribution to anybody's opinion."
A group of international entertainers and intellectuals Wednesday backed President Clinton, saying the right wing was using the Lewinsky sex scandal to undermine his social program.
"The democratically elected President of a free nation has been subjected for eight months to inquisitorial harassment by a fanatical prosecutor with unlimited power," the 67 signatories said in a statement published by the influential daily Le Monde.
The campaigners included Nobel peace prize winners, Desmond Tutu and Jose Ramos Horta, a Nobel literature winner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Nobel physics laureate Pierre-Gilles de Gennes.
They appealed to the American people to support Clinton.
"Kenneth Starr's arbitrary and unfair procedures must not have the upper hand. Victory in America over this prosecutor will be victory for those across the world who support the principles of freedom," they said, adding that Starr was breaking the "sacred right" to privacy.
Clinton is seeking a deal with Congress to avoid impeachment over his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
"The judicial show orchestrated by Prosecutor Starr is only a cover. His real fight is political. Backed by the extreme right, he is seeking to undermine President Clinton's ideas of freedom and his social and liberal program," the statement said.
Appeal signatories included film stars Anthony Hopkins, Gerard Depardieu, Vannessa Redgrave, Emma Thompson, Jeanne Moreau, writers William Styron, Guenter Grass and Carlos Fuentes, singer Peter Gabriel, violinist Yehudi Menuhin and the chairman of the French National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, Jack Lang.
"Oppression begins whenever a power, whatever it is, intrudes into an individual's private space and personal affairs," they said.
END of story
From the September 22 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Kenneth Starr Turn-Ons." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. A woman who's willing to wear a wire on
the first date.
And from the Late Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- Phone sex operators who whisper the
entire Constitution to him.
I've run many anti-Clinton Top Tens, so I thought it would be fair to show how popular culture perceives and makes fun of Starr. -- Brent Baker 
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