Clinton Slick?; Anti-Hillary
Three brief Filegate and
Whitewater coverage updates.
1) NBC's Tim Russert
says filegate could "capsize" Clinton administration, but Bryant
Gumbel wonders how Bill Clinton can put behind him "the
perception" that he "is a little slick."
2) On CBS This
Morning the fill-in co-host acts as a Clinton campaign operative and
dismisses the relevance of the Senate Whitewater report. Referring to it
and upcoming travelgate hearings she wonders "Are we really wasting
money and time when there's already an independent counsel?"
3) ABC's World News
Tonight leads show with three stories on Clinton scandals, but Dan Rather
again portrays Republicans as the aggressors and Hillary Clinton as the
Tuesday morning on Today Tim Russert declared: "If things are as they
say they are with Filegate, there's no problem. But if the President or
the First Lady or any high-ranking White House official authorized or
condoned gathering files, this small kind of ripple could capsize this
administration. It is that big of an event."
To which Gumbel responded: "What's Bill
Clinton then, Tim, got to do to put this behind him? As you said,
isolated, these various incidents don't mean an awful lot, but
cumulatively, they give the perception that the President is a little
slick around the edges." Perception?
On the June 18 edition of CBS This Morning fill-in co-host Erin
Moriarty interviewed Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari, Hillary
friend Lynn Cutler and Washington Post reporter David Maraniss. MediaWatch
Associate Editor Tim Graham noticed the very pro-Clinton tilt of her
questions. All seven try to dismiss the importance of the Whitewater
matter as a whole lot of nothing. Here are her questions, as transcribed
by MRC intern Jessica Anderson:
"Let me start with you, Mr. Maraniss. You
know, it's a little bit anti-climatic today. The report's being issued,
but most of us have heard so much of what's already in it, is there really
anything that spells trouble for the First Lady Hillary Clinton?"
"Well, Mr. Maraniss, when you take a look at
this, and I know you've written about this, we're talking about
transactions that occurred a decade ago. I mean, can't some of this just
be simply forgetfulness?"
"Well, but we've got those questions, then
at the same time you've got this House committee that's taking a look at
the travel office and of course the suggestions that the First Lady
Hillary Clinton may have pressured the firing of some of the agents in
that office. Does this add to that, does that increase the problems, or is
this, again, just a lot of questions?"
"Well, let me switch back to you,
Representative Molinari. You can't help but, and I know a lot of people
take a look at this, there have been one hundred hours of hearings by the
Senate, on the Whitewater committee, and then now there are the hearings
on the travel office. Are we really wasting money and time when there's
already an independent counsel?"
"But let's be honest here. I mean, this is
an election year. How much of this, as the White House, of course, says,
is just a matter of the Republicans piling on in a presidential election
"Well, I think Lynn Cutler probably has a
response to that. I mean, you're proud of being a friend of Hillary
Clinton. What is your response to the Representative's words?"
"Mr. Maraniss, let me just get to you
quickly, just to kind of sum this up. All the way along, this morning,
we're talking about Hillary Clinton. What does this mean for the President
in his election? I mean, his name has not been raised really in any of
this, except in passing."
ABC's World News Tonight on Tuesday night (June 18) led with three stories
in a row on Clinton scandals. Peter Jennings announced that the Senate
Republican report "is very harsh about Mrs. Clinton above all."
First, Jackie Judd provided a story on the Senate Whitewater reports.
Second, Michele Norris reviewed the allegations against Mrs. Clinton.
Norris pointed out how records contradict some of her claims and
concluded: "The Clintons accuse their critics of bombarding them with
a never ending stream of questions to keep them on the defensive. But an
examination of the First Lady's statements suggest that problems like
Whitewater stay afloat because while the questions keep coming, the
answers often change."
Third, Brit Hume summarized the FBI file story,
noting that Anthony Marceca answered House committee questions, Craig
Livingstone went on leave, and that Secret Service officials said the list
does not resemble any list their computer could have generated.
Nightly News Tom Brokaw asserted in his top of the show opening: "The
White House and those FBI files, the controversy that won't die as the
President's men scramble some more." NBC aired a story by Brian
Williams on Filegate and a piece by Lisa Myers on Whitewater.
however, was in a different world, not airing a full story on Filegate.
Instead, 12 minutes into the broadcast Dan Rather did a brief item on
Livingstone going on leave. Then Rather offered this even-handed
assessment: "The more than year-long investigation ended almost the
way it began: A Republican offensive targeted First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Democrats claim that it's an
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