Clinton's Budget Tops; Tripp the Betrayer; Hollywood Defends Clintons
1) Monicagate did not lead any
of the Big Three; Dan Rather euphemistically referred to spending as
"help;" Donaldson and Shipman clashed on credit for budget
2) Today and This Morning
featured interviews about how women are "horrified" by how Linda
Tripp "betrayed" Monica Lewinsky.
3) Left Coast checks in:
Hollywood celebrities stand up for Bill and Hillary and denounce
Republicans. Exclaimed one: Tripp "should be screwed first, and then
4) Letterman's "Top Ten
Other Accusations Against the President."
None of the broadcast network shows led Monday night with Monicagate. ABC
and NBC started with Clinton's budget proposal, while CBS led with the
abortion clinic bombing. Dan Rather described Clinton's new spending
proposals as "$100 billion more help." What made a balanced
budget possible? Sam Donaldson said "reductions in some
spending," but NBC's Claire Shipman credited "a booming
economy, not spending cuts." Only NBC's David Bloom noted
Clinton's refusal to answer questions about his sex scandal.
Here are highlights from the Monday,
February 2 broadcast network evening shows:
-- ABC's World News Tonight
began with Sam Donaldson at the White House where Clinton announced his FY
1999 budget plan. Donaldson intoned: "In fact, the new budget
projects a $9 billion surplus, thanks to reductions in some spending and a
surge in tax revenue due to a strong economy. But there's more, and
that's where the Republican's have pounced..."
After clips of Republicans complaining
about $120 billion in new spending paid for by the proposed tobacco
settlement and competing soundbites about tax cut plans, Donaldson
concluded on a buoyant note:
"Administration officials say this
balanced budget is a result of the President's sound policies. His
critics say it's mainly a matter of benefitting from the strong economy
that other forces are driving. But no matter why it couldn't come at a
better time, just another upward push for Mr. Clinton's new, sudden,
sky-high job approval rating. Peter."
Next, Peter Jennings interviewed Jackie
Judd about the status of negotiations between Starr and Lewinsky and the
release of Clinton's deposition which shows he denied having sex with
the intern. Later, ABC devoted its "A Closer Look" segment to
politicians "salivating" over what to do with the surplus. Linda
Douglass looked at how Clinton wants to save Social Security while
Republicans want to give the money back through tax cuts. She concluded:
"Even though Republicans probably will
proceed slowly with any tax cut proposal, the White House believes it may
have painted them into a corner. Said one senior White House official,
saving Social Security will trump tax cuts anytime."
-- A piece from Jim Stewart on how
investigators believe the same man is responsible for the Atlanta abortion
clinic, Atlanta gay bar, Olympic Park and Birmingham abortion clinic
bombings topped the CBS Evening News. CBS then ran two pieces on the
impending execution in Texas of Karla Faye Tucker. After an ad break, Dan
Rather turned to the balanced budget proposal, declaring: "This
budget also calls for $100 billion more help over the next five years,
mostly for child care, health care and education."
Scott Pelley explained that the new
programs depend on tobacco settlement taxes, then switched topics to
Monicagate, reporting that prosecutors got a copy of Clinton's
deposition in Jones case and that Lewinsky told Tripp she'd get job if
she lied in an affidavit. Up next: in a surprising appearance, Carl
Bernstein, identified as a "CBS News consultant," told viewers
that Starr has decided to send any evidence of presidential perjury
directly to the House of Representatives, not a grand jury.
-- Tom Brokaw opened the NBC
Nightly News by announcing:
"We have been living with and
anguishing over federal budget deficits so long they seem to an incurable
disease. Now, a combination of a booming economy, a Democratic President
and a Republican Congress has made it possible for President Clinton to
claim he has found the cure. Republicans are skeptical, but tonight the
President has the stage."
Claire Shipman asked: "But what made
it possible? A booming economy, not spending cuts. In fact the Clinton
budget is stuffed with ambitious and costly proposals..."
David Bloom next handled the Lewinsky
update, reporting that a UCLA student who dated her says she told him of
an affair. Only Bloom bothered to highlight Clinton's continued
"Eleven days after promising not to
dodge what he called very legitimate questions about his relationship with
Monica Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton did just that again today, quickly departing
this morning's budget announcement, reporter's questions drowned out
by partisan applause...."
The networks keep putting Kenneth Starr on the defense, suggesting he's
the one who has done wrong. Meanwhile, two Monday morning shows looked at
how Linda Tripp betrayed Monica Lewinsky.
-- On Monday's Today, MRC news analyst
Geoffrey Dickens observed, David Bloom asserted: "Now with
independent counsel Kenneth Starr under tremendous pressure to justify his
full-throttled investigation of the President and with no new talks
planned between prosecutors and lawyers for Monica Lewinsky, the former
White House intern. Even Lewinsky attorney Bill Ginsburg is predicting
that President Clinton will survive allegations of an affair and a
-- Teasing an upcoming segment, Today
co-host Ann Curry announced:
"And also, you know, a lot of women
were really horrified to hear about Linda Tripp tape...secretly tape
recording Monica Lewinsky. We're gonna find out this morning that
that's not what real girlfriends do."
Curry began the 8:30am half hour segment:
"Time now for Today's Woman.
Friendship means different things to different people. But few people
expect to have their friendship betrayed by having their private
conversations taped as Linda Tripp did to Monica Lewinksy. Well Sylvia
Gearing is a psychologist who has some theories on friendship and she
joins us this morning. Dr. Gearing good morning."
Dr. Sylvia Gearing: "Hi good
Curry: "Exactly what kind of a friend
would do to Monica Lewinsky what Linda Tripp did?"
Gearing: "A poor friend. That's the
first thing I can say. I cannot believe that someone who professes to be a
friend could go about scheming the way that she did and absolutely defying
and violating Monica the way that she did."
CBS's This Morning, MRC analyst Steve
Kaminski reported, also similarly scrutinized Tripp's betrayal.
Hollywood was quick to rush to the defense of Clinton against the charges
of having an affair with a 21 year old White House intern. With some input
from MRC entertainment analysts Adam Pogach and Tom Johnson, Melissa
Caldwell put together the following list of quotes from celebrities
backing Clinton and attacking Ken Starr that have aired recently on
ABC's Politically Incorrect, the Late Show with David Letterman, Access
Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight.
-- From the January 21 Politically
Incorrect on ABC:
Host Bill Maher: "Obstructing justice
has to take place with a crime. What was the crime?"
Jami Gertz, actress (ER, Twister, Less Than
Zero): "I think entrapment on the part of the Republican,
uh...Yeah....I think a woman wearing a wire and talking to her girlfriend
and gaining her confidence. I'm more worried about that than I
am...Frankly, if Hillary is not worried about who the President kisses,
then I am not worried about who the President kisses...."
-- From the January 23 Politically
Actor, Esai Morales: "But the fact of
the matter is boys will be boys, humans are humans, but we're making being
human kind of illegal. We're being hypocritical about it. I'm embarrassed
for the United States, that's how I feel. Because around the world they're
laughing at us. Our President's trying to make peace in the Middle East,
we're thinking, 'But really, did you squeeze her butt?' I mean, who gives
-- From the January 26 Politically
Mark Curry, actor (Hangin' With Mr.
Cooper): "I agree with the President. You know what I'm tired of?
I'm tired of young ladies...always come out, and they can say one thing,
'Oh, he touched me', and suddenly you ruined somebody's career, or
whatever...I think, this is our President. I think, show me the tape. Show
me something...Show me the tape of that day...My man is innocent. She's
[Monica] a patsy."
-- From the January 30 Politically
Scott Thompson, actor and comedian (Kids in
the Hall, Larry Sanders Show): "She [Linda Tripp] should be screwed
first, and then paddled. Because she needs both."
-- Actor Ethan Hawke (Great
Expectations) made an appearance on the January 30 Late Show with
David Letterman. Asked about the controversy, he replied with this
illogical analogy to Reagan and Iran-Contra:
"I think if the guy wants to chase
skirt, it's not my problem. You know what I mean? I mean, Ronald Reagan
never went under oath for the whole Iran-Contra scandal so if this guy
wants to do his business."
To which Letterman asked: "But do you
want to vote for a guy who wants to chase skirt?"
Hawke answered, "Absolutely, I
wouldn't have it any other way."
-- The January 30 edition of the NBC-produced
Access Hollywood show featured two celebrity quotes, one
condemning coverage and one accepting it as reasonable. Actor Paul Newman
"It's a sad day for the whole
country, all of it. I must say I fault the press. Their participation in
this has been anything but glorious. Now you just float a rumor...and it
goes on page one. No documentation, no question as to whether it's
accurate or not...[The] first [paper] said 'someone alleged.' Then the
next paper takes it and says, 'It was reported that,' and the [third]
paper puts it down as fact...When it's finally retracted, the retraction
is on page 87, next to the obituaries."
Actor Gene Hackman, however, was more
reserved in his criticism: "In some ways, I suppose the media is
right to pursue it, because if it's true, then it needs to be exposed
[and Clinton] would have to resign."
-- From the January 23
Kelly Lynch, actress (Homegrown, Mr.
Magoo, Virtuosity): "I hope to God it's not true. I think he's
been an amazing President."
Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost, The Associate,
Cinderella): "I feel really bad for him. The press is really
tough, and everybody
needs to lay low and let's find out what's
Mary Stuart Masterson (Bed of Roses,
Benny and Joon): "I think it's crazy. I think he's a terrific
President. He never hit on me. I met him."
She sounds disappointed.
-- From the January 26
Harry Hamlin (LA Law): "I have
the deepest respect for the way that family stays together as the opposing
party tries to find every possible way to discredit this President."
-- From the January 28
Diane Ladd, actress (Primary Colors,
Ghosts of Mississippi): "I think that Clinton's heart is in the
right place on these issues, and I hope he concentrates on them."
-- From the January 30
Susan Sarandon, actress (Dead Man
Walking, The Client): "I guess they went after him because they'd
spent so much money on
Whitewater and not gotten anywhere. And I
just think it's a waste of everybody's time."
Warren Beatty, actor (Bulworth, Love
Story, Dick Tracey ): "I have no reason not to believe him."
Now, contrast those attitudes to the
respect shown for Ronald Reagan by actor Richard Belzer, a star of NBC's
Homicide drama. Back on December 18 he appeared on the Late, Late Show
with Tom Snyder. Here's an exchange from the CBS show.
Tom Snyder: "You gave it to Reagan
pretty good when Reagan was in office. Now, he's a former President and an
old man at the end of his trail with Alzheimers. Do you see him
differently now from the way you saw him them?"
Richard Belzer: "I see the humanity of
his suffering, but I have no sympathy for the man. He caused undue, he
demonized the poor during his administration. He did some unconscionable
things that I don't want to get into now, but everyone's aware of, its in
the history books, I'm not making it up."
Snyder: "But now when you say he did
some unconscionable things that's not fair because..."
Belzer: "OK, well you know he traded
guns for cocaine to free hostages, that's documented. I know people argue
that but let's say there's no cocaine, he did trade weapons to our mortal
enemy, and he...I'll tell you, the first thing he did in office and the
last thing he did in office will bookend Reagan. His first act as
President of the United States..."
Snyder: "Fire the air traffic
Belzer: "...No, that was another
maniacal thing. No one has ever done a story about how many air accidents
there were after he did that by the way, and there were a lot. Aside from
that, his first act in office was, there is a law in the United States,
the federal government cannot fund any institution that practices
segregation. Ronald Reagan's first act as President was to suspend that
law for Bob Jones University...."
If Bill Clinton is forced to leave office
in disgrace, Eleanor Clift, Margaret Carlson and Al Hunt will find a
welcome home in Hollywood.
From the February 2 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Other Accusations Against the President." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide
10) Uses Moscow hot line to have phone sex
with Mrs. Yeltsin.
9) Plans to convert White House press office into a microbrewery.
8) Writes letters to Penthouse under the name "Hillbilly #1."
7) Fathered three of the seven McCaughey septuplets.
6) Can't see self on TV without yelling, "Bubba, you're one
5) Planning to bomb Iraq just to impress Cindy Crawford.
4) Taught Buddy the dog to "fetch" Sam Donaldson's hairpiece.
3) For three years has lived on nothing but vanilla frosting.
2) On Pamela and Tommy Lee's honeymoon he operated the camcorder.
1) His real father: Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.
Can't go wrong
with jokes about Sam Donaldson's hairpiece. -- Brent Baker
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