No Jumping on Jordan's Meetings; CBS Hires a Clinton "Shill"?
1) News of more meetings than
previously known between Lewinsky and Jordan skipped Thursday night by NBC
and explained away on CBS.
2) "Who's thinking
about Buddhist nuns when the issue is illicit sex in the White
House?" Not NBC viewers since the network decided to help Al Gore by
ignoring Maria Hsia.
3) On Friday's 20/20
Monica Lewinsky's father will liken Starr to Hitler. Just like Susan
McDougal did last year on NBC.
4) CBS News has just hired
a former Clinton operative who once described Clinton as "the moral
leader of the Universe."
Correction: While putting
together a new edition of NQ on Thursday we noticed an error in the
February 9 CyberAlert. It quoted ABC's Michel McQueen as saying "Ginsburg
told ABC News he is not coordinating with ABC's lawyers, but he is not the
only one to complain that Starr's tactics border on abuse..." She
actually said "Ginsburg told ABC News he is not coordinating with the
President's lawyers..." Makes a lot more sense though the error had
no impact on the bias in the rest of the quote.
Thursday morning's disclosure that Vernon Jordan met with Monica
Lewinsky four times after she was contacted by lawyers for Paula Jones, a
sign of how much high-level effort went into finding her a job, hardly
stirred the networks. It got brief mention in the morning with two items
read by the GMA anchor and on Today David Bloom included the news in his
story from the White House which aired once. Thursday night NBC ignored
the front page news, ABC gave it a few seconds and CBS allowed
Lewinsky's lawyer to dismiss its relevance.
Maria Hsia pleaded not guilty Thursday and
made an appearance on the courthouse steps, but the three broadcast
network evening shows failed to use that as an opportunity to explore her
case, though FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume ran a full story from
Carl Cameron and CNN's Inside Politics, MRC analyst Eric Darbe noticed,
gave Hsia a sentence. Neither GMA or Today Thursday morning, MRC analysts
Gene Eliasen and Geoffrey Dickens documented, uttered a word about
Hsia's Wednesday indictment.
"Jordan, Lewinsky Met 4 Times, Source
Says: Contacts Followed Currie's Dec. 8 Call to Lawyer," announced
the February 19 front page Washington Post story. Reporters Susan Schmidt
and Amy Goldstein explained:
"Washington lawyer Vernon E. Jordan
Jr. was asked by President Clinton's secretary to help Monica S. Lewinsky
find a job three days after lawyers for Paula Jones disclosed that they
wanted to question Lewinsky about whether she had a sexual relationship
with Clinton, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.
"As a result of the Dec. 8 telephone
call by White House secretary Betty Currie, Jordan met four times and
conducted seven phone conversations with the 24-year-old former White
House intern over the next month, the source said. It was that
intervention that ultimately helped Lewinsky secure a job offer from
Revlon. Jordan, a close confidant to Clinton, publicly acknowledged last
month that he helped Lewinsky find a job as well as a lawyer, but the
extent of his efforts to aid Lewinsky and their timing in relation to the
Jones sexual harassment case were not previously known...."
All three evening shows Thursday night led
with the biological weapons arrests in Las Vegas followed by an Iraq
update. Highlights of February 19 evening Monicagate coverage:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter
Jennings noted Bruce Lindsey's grand jury appearance "surrounded by
lawyers today. At one point we think we counted ten." Why all those
lawyers, he asked Jackie Judd? She explained they came for a meeting with
the judge about executive privilege. Jennings then asked about Jordan:
"A brief answer on this. The Washington Post reports that Vernon
Jordan, the President's closest, or one of his closer confidants, has a
lot of meetings with Monica Lewinsky after she was subpoenaed to give
testimony in the other case, the Flowers case. Can you explain that?"
Jennings later corrected himself to say he
meant Jones not Flowers. After Judd's brief summary of the Post story,
ABC ran a clip of Lewinsky's father responding to a question from
Barbara Walters about why Jordan and UN Ambassador Richardson would give
such help to his daughter. The interview will run on Friday night's
-- CBS Evening News. Starr is a Republican,
but the affair is still just alleged. Dan Rather declared: "The
Republican independent counsel is casting far and wide and digging deep,
investigating the alleged affair between President Clinton and Monica
Lewinsky. And, whether anyone urged Lewinsky to lie about it. There were
new questions today about the role of presidential friend Vernon Jordan in
all of this."
Bob Schieffer then summarized the new
information about Jordan, but let Lewinsky's lawyer say it didn't
really mean much. Leading up to a soundbite from Ginsburg, Schieffer
"Monica Lewinsky's lawyer, William
Ginsburg, confirmed to us today that she did meet with the President's
close friend Vernon Jordan at least three times and only after the White
House learned that Paula Jones's lawyers wanted to talk to her. But he
told us that her search for a job outside Washington had begun long before
that and he put down any suggestion the White House tried to find her a
job to keep her quiet."
Ginsburg can pretend that these power
brokers by coincidence suddenly became interested in her quest for a new
job, but CBS doesn't have to play along.
-- NBC Nightly News. Vernon Jordan, who's
he? Wednesday night NBC skipped Hsia's indictment. Thursday night the
network didn't bother telling its viewers about Jordan's more
extensive than previously known efforts to find Lewinsky a job. NBC stuck
to Lindsey. Tom Brokaw announced: "The President's closest friend
in the White House, Bruce Lindsey, was back with enough lawyers to make up
two basketball teams..."
Reporter Claire Shipman called it "a
real show of legal force" by the White House as lawyers for both
sides met with the judge about what questions Lindsey would like to avoid.
noted above, Wednesday night NBC Nightly News ignored the indictment of
Maria Hsia, the woman who organized the Buddhist Temple event that so
embarrassed Al Gore. That reminded the MRC's Tim Graham of a sentence
from a glowing Gore profile that aired a few weeks ago on Today. In the
February 2 piece MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this line in Claire
"On the bright side Gore's poll
numbers are up and his role in last year's campaign finance scandal
seems a bad dream. After all who's thinking about Buddhist nuns when the
issue is illicit sex in the White House?"
She's making sure NBC News does what it
can to keep Gore's role out of the news. Today and Nightly News have yet
to mention Hsia's indictment, never mind her connection to Gore.
is it about Starr that generates such hate and analogies to Hitler? In
Friday night's 20/20 interview Monica's father, Bernard Lewinsky,
tells Barbara Walters according to excerpts distributed by AP:
"I feel that my daughter is about to
go to the grand jury, and it is time for me to speak up about the horrors
that she has gone through and continues to go through. What is going on,
and what Ken Starr has brought upon her, is unconscionable in my mind. To
pit a mother against her daughter, to coerce her to talk. To me, it's
reminiscent of the McCarthy era, of the Inquisition, and even, you know
you could stretch it and say the Hitler era. It's awful. I can't believe
that this is happening."
His analysis has a familiar ring. Here's
an excerpt from he October 21, 1997 CyberAlert about an October 6 Dateline
NBC profile of Susan McDougal:
Susan McDougal: "They cared little for
the people that they stomped along the way, the people they ran over along
the way to get to Bill Clinton, and that is exactly why I liken Ken Starr
to a Nazi, because the end to him justified the means."
Stone Phillips, instead of dismissing the
charge as ludicrous, empathizes with it and builds her case: "Kenneth
Star a Nazi? To understand the depth of Susan McDougal's hatred for the
man who had her jailed, you have to understand the depth of her love for
the woman who's been her inspiration."
Phillips to Susan's mother: "Susan
seems to feel that she's following in your footsteps with the stand that
she has taken."
Lorette Hinley, Susan's mother: "In a
way it makes my sad, and in a way I'm very proud of her."
Phillips: "Susan McDougal's mother
Lorette Hinley knows all about standing firm under enormous pressure. As a
teenager in Nazi-occupied Belgium she saw first-hand how the Gestapo
turned neighbor against neighbor forcing people to lie about loved ones
who were then arrested or shot. She says her family defied them, going so
far as to hide Resistance fighters in their basement....Those lessons from
the war were often told around the family dinner table in Camden, Arkansas
but never with more at stake than in September, 1996, the night before
Susan was scheduled to testify before a Whitewater grand jury...."
News has brought aboard a Clinton insider. In the February 19 Washington
Post John Carmody reported:
"Don Baer, who left the White House in
August after 3½ years, most recently serving as Director of
Communications, has signed on as a consultant for CBS News. He'll give
his perspective on several regular CBS News programs about the
'behind-the-scenes' activity in the administration as his old boss
continues to fend off crises. But network sources say 'he won't be
Carmody noted Baer's earlier career in
journalism with U.S. News where he held the title of Assistant Managing
Editor when he jumped to the White House. But Carmody missed another
interesting resume item: As detailed in MediaWatch at the time, the April
9, 1994 National Journal divulged that when North Carolina Governor
James Hunt, a Democrat, opposed Senator Jesse Helms in 1984, Baer, then a
lawyer in New York City, "organized a $75,000 Manhattan fundraiser
for Hunt." Three years later, he joined U.S. News.
So can Baer keep his personal feelings out
of his journalism and just how much does he adore Bill Clinton? Check out
this excerpt from a September 23, 1996 Weekly Standard profile by
"Clinton liked the articles Baer
contributed to U.S. News during the 1992 campaign. While other journalists
-- David Shribman of The Wall Street Journal, Joe Klein of New York, Ron
Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times -- ignored the more sensational
aspects of the campaign for enthusiastic grapplings with 'Clintonism,'
Baer wrote with extreme empathy about Clinton's background.
"'I think it's a southern thing' says
one of Baer's journalistic colleagues, who also knows Clinton. 'Being of
the South and still being rooted there, yet being driven and ambitious
enough to prove oneself in the larger world -- the two of them have a lot
in common.' While Baer has always been a loyal Democrat, he's not
necessarily a liberal. Like Clinton, he has an idiosyncratic, instinctive,
generally progressive politics that winds up at beyond-left-and-rightism.
This enthusiasm can appear like ideological non-commitment or caginess.
One New Democrat who met Baer at a dinner last year described him as
'bland beyond description, a fount of cliches. 'Clinton was the moral
leader of the Universe,' and all that.'"
Hard to imagine why anyone would think
there's a danger of him "shilling" for Clinton.
-- Brent Baker
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