Starr Ruined Lewinsky's Credibility; Clinton Jumps Out for Christie
1) A normal citizen would not
be prosecuted, contended ABC while CBS argued immunity destroyed
Lewinsky's credibility. Only FNC picked up Tripp's charge that Lindsey
had threatened her.
2) Battling headlines:
"Reno Refuses Bid for Prober's Memo" versus "Democrat
Says Burton Made Threat Against Reno."
3) Stars bring in the dollars
at DNC fundraisers featuring Clinton in the Hamptons. Alec Baldwin upset
that Clinton has been smeared just before Clinton stopped his motorcade to
meet a super-model.
>>> The Parents Television
Council, a project of the MRC, has released its 1997-98 lists of the least
& most family-friendly shows. The Dirty
Dozen Shows highlight the worst offenders of objectionable prime time
television for families, while the Diamond
Dozen Shows highlight some of the best family-friendly prime time
television fare. To read the lists, just go to: http://www.parentstv.org/press/1998/pr19980723.html.
The PTC also maintains a daily updated Family Guide to Prime Time
Television with content analysis for all prime time entertainment shows.
Check it out at: http://www.parentstv.org/shows/Welcome.html
Friday, Saturday and Sunday night the broadcast networks led with the
latest on the Monicagate front. Sunday's World News Tonight and NBC
Nightly News opened with stories running through soundbites from the
Sunday interview shows and previewing what might occur this week. (No CBS
Evening News aired in Washington, DC due to sudden-death in a golf
Saturday night ABC
raised the issue of how no normal citizen would be prosecuted for doing
what Clinton has supposedly done while CBS emphasized how "some
lawyers say" granting immunity to Monica Lewinsky "weakens her
Friday night every
network noted that Clinton will testify live via video to the grand jurors
and all played the entirety of Clinton's four sentence non-answer answer
in the Rose Garden about his upcoming testimony. All but FNC, which broke
it into three parts with reporter Jim Angle pointedly commenting on each,
ran it straight through. NBC's Claire Shipman declared that his
non-responsive response displayed "confidence." Only FNC's
David Shuster, relaying the claims of a leaker he actually named,
highlighted how Linda Tripp says she was threatened by Bruce Lindsey. If
Clinton comes clean and apologizes that's good enough even for most
Republicans, CNN announced its poll discovered.
Here are some
highlights from Saturday and Friday night. First, Saturday, August 1:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight began with Tim O'Brien reporting that the FBI hopes to
identify by Monday the stain on the dress. O'Brien noted that the key
players took off for the weekend, with Clinton fundraising and playing
golf in the Hamptons and Starr at an ABA meeting in Toronto. Catching up
to Starr in what looked like Reagan National Airport, O'Brien inquired
"And our polls are showing increasingly
people don't care if the President may have perjured himself. What does
Starr replied: "I'm not going to comment
O'Brien: "Former Watergate prosecutor
Richard Ben-Veniste says the average citizen would never be prosecuted for
lying about a sexual relationship, even if under oath."
Ben-Veniste: "In a normal circumstance no
prosecutor in any jurisdiction, who is a reasonable and experienced
person, would give a second thought to pursuing such an allegation."
O'Brien added, "But the President is not
your average citizen," before letting GWU law professor Jonathan
Turley assert that since the President is the chief law enforcer,
violating the law himself is the "most serious type of conduct."
-- CBS Evening
News. Unlike O'Brien, CBS reporter Eric Engberg didn't even try to
offer both sides on an anti-Starr agenda argument. After showing
Clinton's warm welcome in the Hamptons and explaining how he's staying
with Steven Spielberg and rasing money at the home of Alec Baldwin,
"Monica Lewinsky met today with Kenneth
Starr's lawyers at an undisclosed location in preparation for a still
secret date with the grand jury. She will appear under a grant of
near-total immunity from prosecution, a concession by Kenneth Starr some
lawyers say weakens her credibility."
Nancy Luque, former federal prosecutor:
"Imagine selling your story for a get out of jail free card, and not
just one get out of jail card, two. It really makes the thing that
you're saying very, very questionable."
That was it. No
time for another view.
Now, on to
Friday, July 31:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight started with Sam Donaldson at the White House. He announced:
"The President might have answered the key
question as to whether he intends to stick to his story, but in the Rose
Garden today he deliberately chose not to. Reporters had been advised that
Mr. Clinton might take a question or two on the subject. But though he
said he understood what he was being asked, here was his only
Clinton: "No one wants to get this matter
behind us more than I do, except maybe all the rest of the American
people. I am looking forward to the opportunity in the next few days of
testifying. I will do so completely and truthfully. I am anxious to do it,
but I hope you can understand why in the interim I can and should have no
further comment on these matters."
-- CBS Evening
News went right to Scott Pelley who explained how "he fended off
reporter's questions in the Rose Garden with one simple statement."
CBS viewers then saw and heard the same statement
run by ABC. Pelley pointed out that "Mr. Clinton didn't take the
opportunity to repeat his January declaration." Pelley then reminded
viewers of it by playing a clip of his "that woman" denial.
Next, Jim Stewart
looked at the accuracy of DNA testing and how the FBI lab is examining if
the President "left any bodily fluids" on the dress.
-- CNN's The
World Today held itself to just two stories. First, Wolf Blitzer with
Clinton's long soundbite. Blitzer also reported that the dress does
contain a stain and that the Starr investigation is shifting away from
Second, Brooks Jackson ran through the results of
a new Time/CNN poll taken Thursday night. Like earlier polls it found that
most people think Clinton is lying but don't care, though 55 percent
favor Clinton providing a DNA sample. While 19 percent are more likely to
vote for a Congressman who backs impeachment, the poll documented why
Republicans are reticent as 27 percent said they would be less likely to
pull the lever for such a member. Jackson concluded:
"If the President were to make a speech
saying he did have sex with Monica Lewinsky and apologizing to the
American people, 69 percent said that should end Starr's investigation,
including 52 percent of Republicans."
-- FNC's 7pm ET
Fox Report. Jim Angle broke up Clinton's statement into three parts.
Clinton: "No one wants to get this matter
behind us more than I do, except maybe all the rest of the American
Angle: "That is part of an ongoing effort by
the White House to trivialize the Lewinsky investigation as something the
public doesn't care about, a notion reflected in many polls. But the
White House is concerned that might change if the President is seen as
Clinton: "I am looking forward to the
opportunity in the next few days of testifying."
Angle: "Looking forward perhaps the same way
many of us look forward to going to the dentist. As one adviser put it, he
has no choice. He's got to testify. So the President has decided to make
a virtue out of necessity, pledging his eagerness to answer
Clinton: "I will do so completely and
truthfully. I am anxious to do it, but I hope you can understand why in
the interim I can and should have no further comment on these
Shuster found a leaker willing to be identified:
"In a leak to Fox News Linda Tripp says that
a significant part of her testimony to the grand jury focused on efforts
by Clinton supporters to keep her quiet. Tripp told the grand jury she was
threatened repeatedly. She testified it began last summer at the time
Newsweek was preparing to report an encounter between the President and
Kathleen Willey. In the story Tripp was quoted as saying Willey had
emerged from the Oval Office with her lipstick smeared and blouse untucked.
Tripp said Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey threatened to destroy her if she
repeated this assertion in the Paula Jones lawsuit..."
-- NBC Nightly
News. Lisa Myers began by noting how grand jurors will see the President
live, observing: "The White House had wanted prosecutors to give the
President questions in advance. Instead the President now must prepare not
only for tough questions from prosecutors but also for unpredictable
questions from fellow citizens."
reporter Claire Shipman looked at Clinton's comments, insisting that
"aides wanted him to look confidant and forceful as he faced a
barrage of questions." Viewers saw the full statement from Clinton
before Shipman concluded by telling anchor Brian Williams:
"But despite that confidence Brian there is
a considerable degree of tension here behind the scenes, all eyes on that
dress and the DNA tests. As one aide said tonight, if there's something
there that will change everything."
A headline contrast in stories about Dan Burton, Chairman of the House
Government Reform and Oversight Committee, demanding Attorney General Reno
provide him with a copy of Charles LaBella's memo outlining why an
independent counsel is required for the campaign finance probe. The
Washington Times emphasized that side of the story. The Washington Post
stressed Henry Waxman's complaint that Burton said he'd not pursue the
matter and not cite Reno for contempt if she named an independent counsel.
From the August 1
Washington Times --
"Reno Refuses Bid for Prober's Memo, Irking Lawmakers: Burton
Subpoenas 100-Page Report"
The Washington Post the same day --
"Democrat Says Burton Made Threat Against Reno: Chairman Presses for
Outside Finance Probe"
Hollywood celebrities came east to celebrate with Clinton and raise money
for the DNC at three fundraisers in the Hamptons, the wealthy vacation
area in eastern Long Island, New York. The only thing that came between
Clinton and getting to the money: model Christie Brinkley. Upon seeing her
Clinton stopped his motorcade Saturday afternoon and hopped out, with
Larry Cockell no doubt at his side.
Clinton spent Friday and Saturday night at the
home of movie director Steven Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw.
Late Saturday afternoon the Clintons attended a fundraiser hosted by
conductor and homosexual activist Jonathan Sheffer. Amongst the guests at
the $5,000 per person fundraiser, the August 2 Newsday reported, were
Julie Andrews and her husband, producer Blake Edwards.
Later on Saturday the Clintons made it to the
home of actor Alex Baldwin and his wife, the actress Kim Basinger.
"Well-known Hamptonites and presidential friends were invited to the
secluded 5-acre estate," the AP reported, "including singer
Billy Joel, actors Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson,
Spielberg and his wife, actress Kate Capshaw, and homemaking stylist
Martha Stewart." Actor Chevy Chase made an appearance and the group
"Hootie and the Blowfish" provided the musical entertainment at
the biggest event of the weekend.
Some bites about
who said and did what with Clinton during his Long Island weekend:
-- Setting the
stage for his the big Saturday night fundraiser at his home, Alec Baldwin
made clear he's trying to help Clinton overcome the Republican-fueled
Lewinsky affair. Frank DiGiacomo wrote in his "The Transom"
column for the August 3 New York Observer last week:
"Mr. Clinton can rest assured that Mr.
Baldwin won't be bringing up Monicagate when he visits....Mr. Baldwin
replied, 'My attitude about that is, I really don't care. There are
rock-ribbed Republicans who are part of the Republican fabric who only
have one dream' -- Mr. Baldwin said he did not mean rank-and-file
Republicans, the kind he might be battling himself someday, if he enters
politics -- 'that is, in Clinton, they would hope they have found their
Nixon. When Clinton beat Bush, they never got over it. They hate him. They
will do anything they can to smear him.'"
Amagansett, New York, Washington Times reporter Paul Bedard, in the August
2 edition, quoted Baldwin as gushing:
"My wife and I, Kim and I...we believe in
Hillary Clinton and in President Clinton. With all our hearts we believe
reporters were barred from the Baldwin/Basinger event, the New York Daily
News picked up a couple of quotes, reporting August 2: "The First
Couple got a rock-star-style welcome from hundreds crammed into a
white-peaked party tent on the front lawn of the 5-acre spread.
"After brief speeches, the Clintons plunged
into the crowd to press the flesh -- as rock stars Hootie & the
Blowfish belted out their hits. 'Even an old guy like me likes them,'
joked the President.
"Flashing his trademark deadpan look,
funnyman Chevy Chase refused to reveal any details of his high-priced chat
with the President. 'That's between me and the President,' he said.
'We have a lot of secrets.'"
-- Popping out for
Christie. All three New York tabloids on Sunday highlighted Bill
Clinton's reaction when he spotted Christie Brinkley. Here's how the
New York Post's Allen Salkin described the Saturday scene:
"As the day went on, just one person was
able to halt the President's motorcade -- supermodel Christie Brinkley
stopped Clinton's procession just by stepping out of her Sag Harbor house
to wave at him as he drove by.
"Clinton hopped out and chit-chatted with
Brinkley and her family about his just-completed golf game.
"Then the President posed for a few
snapshots with Brinkley and her new baby, Sailor Lee, before he drove off.
'That was our baby's first photo-op,' said Brinkley's husband, Peter
worries about how Republicans will "smear" Clinton as a
-- Brent Baker
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