Steele & Star Sting Willey; CNN's Liberal Women; Travolta Hugs Clinton
1) Julie Steele's tale falls
apart, but ABC and CNN claim she causes "more credibility
problems" for Willey. Nets upset by Willey talking to the Star, but
Steele made deal with another tab.
2) CNN's Century of Liberal
Women. Columnist Cal Thomas dissected the bias in the series hosted by
Hillary Clinton and Jane Fonda.
3) Primary Colors star John
Travolta told Today that he doesn't want to know anything about
Clinton's possible perjury. If your plane is crashing do you care who
the pilot had sex with last night?
as the News on Your Face: Clinton Lies and Obstruction That TV News Has
Ignored," a just released MRC Special Report is now available at the
top of the MRC home page.
figures reprimanded themselves for going 'too far' with too little
information on the Monica Lewinsky story. But a Media Research Center
analysis of past TV coverage by Tim
five Clinton practices that deserve investigation in the Lewinsky case
that the network news has downplayed or ignored in non-sexual
scandals." Those are: "Hush Money for Friendly Witnesses,"
"Destruction or Hiding of Documents,"
the Privacy Rights of Adversaries," "Failing to Comply with
Subpoenas," and "Keeping Meetings Secret by Filing False
To read the full
report that MRC Web Manager Joe Alfonsi has posted, go to the top of the
MRC home page: http://www.mrc.org or to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/specialreports/cov0319.html
Correction: The quote from
NBC's Josh Mankiewicz cited in the March 19 CyberAlert was missing an
"of." It should have read: "...And that's made a lot of
current and former agents wonder who they're supposed to protect the
President from -- an assassin, or a character assassination?"
Reacting to the release of an affidavit from Kathleen Willey's friend
Julie Steele, on Thursday Newsweek's Michael Isikoff told his colleagues
that Steele's the one with credibility problems since her story keeps
changing. But ABC and CNN were oblivious, leading their coverage with
"more credibility problems for Kathleen Willey." ABC at least
mentioned Isikoff's take, but not CNN. All the networks highlighted how
Willey supposedly tried to make a deal with the Star tabloid, though only
ABC and CNN noted that Steele already sold material to the National
Enquirer. Despite the willingness of the media to pick up on all of the
White House's anti-Willey spin, NBC's Lisa Myers concluded that
"even some in the President's circle find Willey to be
Neither ABC or NBC
mentioned who appeared before the grand jury. ABC and CBS skipped the
floor comments from House Majority Whip Tom Delay condemning Clinton, but
while CNN, FNC and NBC showed Delay they each ran a different soundbite.
An Independent Counsel for Bruce Babbitt was picked Thursday, but ABC
didn't bother telling viewers.
Here's how the
evening shows covered Monicagate on Thursday, March 19:
World News Tonight. "More
credibility problems for Kathleen Willey. Did she ask a friend to lie
about what happened in the Oval Office?" So teased Forrest Sawyer at
the top of the show. Jackie Judd, in the show's first story, led with
doubts about Willey:
"A friend of
Kathleen Willey claims Willey asked her to lie to back up her account of
what happened in the Oval Office with President Clinton. Julie Steele says
Willey wanted her to say that she had been told about the alleged
encounter by Willey and that Willey had been disturbed by it. In an
affidavit signed last month Steele claims Willey 'never told her of any
sexual advances' by Mr. Clinton and that 'it would be all right if
Steele lied' about it."
impugning Willey did Judd get to questions about Steele: "But the
affidavit represents the third version of Steele's story. At one point
Steele said Willey told her the President made a pass, but Willey didn't
appear to be upset. Her first account, to a Newsweek reporter, had Willey
graphically describing the alleged incident the same day it
Newsweek: "And that Kathleen Willey was, in Julie Steele's words,
humiliated by it and upset about it."
Steele recanted and accused Willey of asking her to lie, she sold her
story to the National Enquirer for $7,000. Meanwhile, another tabloid, the
Star, claims that it tried brokering a deal last month to buy Willey's
After a soundbite
from Star Managing Editor Phil Bunton, Judd concluded:
point it is impossible to know where the truth lies, but Clinton aides
feel that sufficient damage has been done to Willey's credibility, some
inflicted by the White House itself, that she is not a threat to President
Clinton in the way she appeared to be just several days ago."
Indeed not when
her accuser's consistency is shown lacking but a network leads with how
it is Willey with the credibility problem.
Douglass checked in from Capitol Hill with a look at how Henry Hyde and
Newt Gingrich are "struggling" with what to do when Starr
forwards his report.
Evening News led with how the
El Nino effect will soon be over. About halfway through the show, after
pieces on the Dodgers sale to Murdoch, school violence and New York
City's decision to make students wear uniforms, anchor Bob Schieffer
noted that the grand jury heard from Clinton friend Marsh Scott.
Bill Plante then
summarized the other developments, starting with GOP leaders figuring out
how to handle the report from Starr. Plante soon moved on to Willey:
President's friends continued attacking Kathleen Willey's credibility.
And the New York Daily News says Willey tried to sell her story to the
supermarket tabloid Star magazine. Phil Bunton, the Star's Managing
Editor, says he initiated a bid for Willey's story."
"Initially she didn't want to do any deals with us, didn't want
to talk. But suddenly the beginning of February this year her attorney
said she might talk if we were prepared to pay at least $300,000."
Plante emphasized questions about Steele: "And today there is new
information that Julie Hiatt Steele, who contradicted Willey's story may
have credibility problems of her own. Steele claimed in sworn testimony
that Willey never described sexual advances by the President, but did ask
her to lie and tell Newsweek that it had happened. Newsweek said today
that Steele did originally tell them that Willey had 'graphically
described being fondled by the President' on the day it happened, only
later did Steele change her story to the magazine to match her sworn
"As one of the attorney's told CBS News earlier in the case, the
President may have been boorish but he wasn't causing sexual
introduced a story on "yet another independent counsel." Phil
Jones explained what prompted the appointment of an IC to look into Bruce
The World Today at 8pm ET. Anchor Joie Chen read a brief item on
Babbitt, then went to John King who explained how
Hyde and Gingrich
are having preliminary discussions on how to proceed while protecting
grand jury material. King ran a soundbite from Delay, observing that
"conservatives aren't shy about questioning the President's
the President would just tell the truth to the American people it would go
a long, long way toward bringing this ordeal to an end."
sources tell CNN that Gingrich is highly sensitive to the election year
politics of investigating a President whose poll numbers are sky
Chen reported that a friend of Monica Lewinsky and Marsha Scott, a long
time Clinton aide, testified before the grand jury. CNN then went to Wolf
Blitzer who led with the Star deal and failed to note questions about
Steele, treating her affidavit as more proof that Willey made it all up:
President Clinton's supporters, there's more evidence Kathleen Willey may
have had a financial motive in accusing him of groping her. The editor of
the Star tabloid says Willey's lawyer last month asked for at least
$300,000 to tell her story..."
After a clip of
Bunton and a denial from Willey's lawyer, Blitzer regurgited
yesterday's news: "Earlier this week, a Los Angeles publisher,
Michael Viner, said Willey's lawyer had also asked for $300,000 for a book
Wednesday, Willey's former friend, Julie Steele, released a sworn
affidavit accusing Willey of asking her to lie about the incident to a
reporter. In her 60 Minutes interview, Willey had this explanation for
Steele's accusation. 'The White House wanted to discredit me and they
found a pawn in her.' Steele already has cashed in. Her lawyer confirms
to CNN she sold a picture of Willey and the President to the National
Enquirer for $7,000, and for thousands of dollars to other news
organizations as well, including to CNN..."
Fox Report at 7pm ET. Carl
Cameron began his top of the show story: "For the first time, a
senior member of the Republican congressional leadership has suggested on
the floor of the U.S. House that White House stonewalling could lead to
Tom Delay: "I
can't think of a better way to bring on formal congressional proceedings
than to go on hindering, obstructing and belittling the judicial
proceedings that are now underway."
to run down the debate about how to handle an inquiry, whether by naming a
select group or by empowering the entire Judiciary Committee.
Rita Cosby started
the next story: "The credibility of Kathleen Willey, the latest woman
to allege the President made sexual advances toward her, is coming under
the Star deal and Steele's affidavit. Cosby reported that the White
House is adding to its payroll former Deputy FBI Director Larry Potts, now
with Investigative Group International.
Nightly News led with how Clinton is expected to take steps to
improve relations with Cuba by allowing more humanitarian aid cash to be
sent to the island nation.
NBC devoted the In
Depth segment to the "complicated tale of Kathleen Willey."
Brokaw slid into the story by noting that
Whip Tom Delay said the President has violated America's trust."
Speaker, a presidency enveloped in scandal is good for nobody and the
faith that the American people have out in President Clinton has been
violated time and time again."
Brokaw picked up
again: "The Kathleen Willey story took still another turn today.
NBC's Lisa Myers sorts out her sometimes conflicting tales, beginning
with that fateful day when she says she had an unwelcome encounter with
the President of the United States."
Willey's activities on November 29, 1993 starting with her 7am train to
DC from Richmond. Pointing out her financial troubles and the conflicts
between her version and Clinton's version of their meeting, Myers
continued: "A half hour later, upon leaving the Oval Office, Willey
says she shared her story with two friends, Linda Tripp who largely
confirms her account, and later with Julie Steele. But Steele now claims
under oath that Willey never said anything about a sexual advance and
later asked her to lie and say she did. But today a Newsweek reporter said
it's Steele's story that keeps changing."
"As recently as three weeks ago Julie Steele did confirm to me again
that Kathleen Willey had told her at some point about a sexual overture
that had been made by the President."
Returning to the
1993 events, Myers recounted how upon returning home Willey could not
locate her husband and his body was found the next day. After jobs at a
bakery, as a receptionist and flight attendant, she now lives on $4,500
from her kids, but still owes the $275,00 her husband allegedly embezzled.
"That financial strain may be behind Willey's alleged effort to get
a $300,000 book deal, maybe even sell her story to a tabloid..."
Myers offered this
unique spin in her conclusion:
lawyer denies it and she ultimately told her story for nothing. There are
some questions about her motives and a few inconsistencies, still even
some in the President's circle find Willey to be believable."
I don't recall
such interest in what the Star wants to report or reported when it ran a
story headlined "Clinton's Love Letters to Monica: 'I Must See
You...Call Me, Bill.'" Lower on the cover of the February 17
edition: "Monica's Shocking X-Rated Letter to Prez. 'You're
Ungrateful...Didn't You Ever Think I Wanted (Satisfaction) Too?'"
Century of Liberal Women. Cal Thomas wrote a column this week on a subject
I've been meaning to get to for a couple of weeks, CNN's Sunday night
Perspectives series titled "A Century of Women." The four part
series, aired at 8pm ET and 12am ET, started on March 8 with part three
airing this Sunday. It's "presented by" Hillary Clinton, who
makes opening and closing comments, and narrated by Jane Fonda.
Thomas does a
better job than I can of reciting the liberal slant, so here are the first
few paragraphs from Thomas's Los Angeles Times Syndicate column:
media critics have occasionally referred to CNN disparagingly as the
'Clinton News Network' because of a perceived bias in favor of the
President. But a series running this month shows it is more the network of
the wife of CNN
Turner and could be named JFN, 'Jane Fonda's Network.'
observance of Women's History Month, CNN is airing on four Sunday nights
'A Century of Women: Justice for All,'hosted by Hillary Rodham Clinton
and featuring perhaps the most one-sided, biased and distorted view of
women ever seen on television. Among the women showcased are actresses
Meryl Streep, Jessica Lange, Glenn Close and Jodie Foster (who recently
announced her unmarried pregnancy), Maya Angelou, Grace Slick and R-rated
author Erica Jong, who apparently believes true equality for women means
being able to talk as dirty as the proverbial sailor. Also included are
the grandchildren of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, whose
advocacy of birth control and abortion is praised, but whose racist views
and endorsement of eugenics to produce a 'master race' is conveniently
conservative woman on the series is Phyllis Schlafly, whose name is
misspelled 'Schafley' in the press release.
appear -- if they are not acting like 'Stepford husbands' -- they are
opposed to women's rights and equality. They are abusers, rapists and
insensitive brutes. Mothers who choose to stay at home with their children
because they regard this as a higher calling than a career that pays in
currency are treated with disdain when they are considered at
MRC news analyst
Clay Waters informed me that to read the entire column you can go to this
address where it's posted: http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a140415/htm
It's not to late
to tune in and hear the propaganda. Here are the summaries from the CNN
Web site of parts three and four:
Writing Our Lives -- The contributions and influence of women in movies,
television, art and dance are chronicled through the groundbreaking
efforts of Martha Graham, Georgia O'Keefe and Lucille Ball. Interviews
include Maya Angelou, Roseanne, Carol Burnett, Twyla Tharpe and Jessica
Bed & Board -- This episode tells the stories of women trying to
balance the dual demands of work and motherhood as seen through the eyes
of such diverse figures, from labor leader Elizabeth Gurley Flynn to
Hillary Rodham Clinton. This look at women's lives in the 20th century
continues as WWII puts women in the work force and changes the social
fabric of American life for decades to come."
I see nothing. I know nothing. I don't want to know anything. That's
the attitude of John Travolta, star of the movie Primary Colors opening
today (March 20), toward the investigation of Clinton for perjury and
obstruction of justice. Thursday morning, March 19, Today aired a taped
interview with him conducted by co-host Matt Lauer. MRC news analyst
Geoffrey Dickens couldn't overlook this exchange and transcribed it so
we could all benefit from Travolta's penetrating analysis:
"Let's talk about this guy Bill Clinton. Or let's talk about an
American President. Probably the most powerful guy in the world. How much
about his personal life do we have a right to know?"
"Personally my viewpoint?"
door shuts at the White House."
shuts and what happens behind it."
think when you start to ask personal questions you better be prepared for
the answers, because you are invading someone's privacy. I mean, are you
"Okay you have a girlfriend?"
"Okay. If someone were to say to you, 'Now look, what did you do
last night when you had sex with your girlfriend?'"
"Wouldn't that be an invasion of your privacy? Would you like, like
to tell the details of that?"
"Oh, well then there you go."
"Alright let me, let me turn it around though. If I were the
President of the United States and I were married and potentially I had a
girlfriend, and potentially I lied about the girlfriend in a sworn
deposition would we have a right to know about that?"
"Because, well I don't know about that but that would be between
his wife and him I guess."
ties into the message of this movie. So if we've got a guy whose got
great ideas for the future of this country, but who is flawed, who maybe,
has a problem with women, we should still consider that guy to run this
"Why not? It would be like if you were on an airplane and the captain
of the airplane, you suddenly out of nowhere, you're having a problem
and you are crashing, you find out who, what happened to him that you
didn't agree with last night, you're gonna pull him out of the seat?
And let the plane crash?"
would say do you not let him get in the seat in the first place
"Well then I'd say have that person who can sit in that seat with
no background do it."
who can fly this plane better fly it?"
"There you go, you know."
Note how even after Travolta makes clear he
doesn't want to know anything, Lauer poses serious philosophical
questions, as if Travolta really were a presidential candidate with
opinions that matter. Reality and fiction do merge.
-- Brent Baker
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