Nets Skip Scandal; Don't Blame the Shooters; Hollywood's Clinton Excuses
1) ABC and NBC conflict on
whether Clinton apologized to South Africa. ABC, CBS and NBC silent on
Monicagate as CNN and FNC ran updates, but only CNN noted the billing
records found in Foster's attic.
2) Blame everyone but the
shooters. A GMA host wonders if more needs to be spent on guidance
counselors, Today wonders if Southern culture glamorizes guns too much.
3) More Hollywood political
wisdom. "I wouldn't care if the President had been involved in
bestiality if he runs the country right," declared a star of Primary
CyberAlert readers have alerted me to two recent errors. First, the March
20 CyberAlert provided an incorrect address for the Cal Thomas column on
CNN's Century of Women. In http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a140415/htm
the last slash should have been a dot. So, the correct address is: http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a140415.htm.
The fourth and final installment of the CNN Perspectives series hosted by
Hillary Clinton and narrated by Jane Fonda will air Sunday night at 8pm
Second, the March 26 CyberAlert cited an
ABC story in which reporter Rebecca Chase said learning to hunt with a
rifle is "a right of passage" in the South. Some may consider it
a right, but in Chase's context it is a "rite of passage."
the third night in a row on Thursday all the networks led with multiple
reports on the Arkansas shooting and its aftermath as all also featured
full stories on the historic first visit of a U.S. President to South
Africa, though ABC's story conflicted with NBC's. ABC's Sam
Donaldson reported that President Clinton did not apologize for how the
U.S. helped maintain the apartheid system, but NBC's Tom Brokaw declared
that South Africa "got an apology from President Clinton." Of
the broadcast networks, Thursday night only ABC ran a piece on the less
than PC address to the Wisconsin legislature from football player Reggie
On the scandal front, the Associated Press
revealed Thursday that a second copy of Hillary Clinton's Rose Law Firm
billing records were found in Vince Foster's attic while in DC the grand
jury heard testimony from two White House aides on who saw Clinton in the
Oval Office and the how and why of Monica Lewinsky's transfer to the
Defense Department. In addition, a Washington Post report on how Starr
subpoenaed book store records to learn what books Lewinsky bought
generated some controversy.
The broadcast networks skipped all of it,
not uttering a syllable Thursday night about any aspect of the Monica
mess. Their shows were hardly packed with hot news as the CBS Evening News
ran full stories on an anti-impotency bill and the conflict between cars
and rickshaws in Calcutta. NBC Nightly News viewers were treated to
stories on new proposed HHS rules on transplant protocols, investment club
scams and a "Brokaw Reporting" segment on why people keep
re-building in Malibu after fires and floods.
CNN and FNC noted the appearance of the
White House aides, but only CNN's Bob Franken reported the discovery of
the billing records and spelled out the implications. FNC was the only
network to highlight the controversy over the book store subpoena.
Some quotes from the Thursday night, March
First, the did he or didn't he apology
contrast. From Cape Town, ABC's Sam Donaldson asked on World
"Would President Clinton today offer
regrets for past U.S. support for the old white apartheid government? He
did not refer to it, offering a new partnership instead."
Clinton before the South Africa parliament:
"America wants a strong South Africa. America needs a strong South
Africa and we are determined to work with you as you build a strong South
Donaldson: "Some people here clearly
hoped the President would offer some kind of apology for past U.S.
cooperation with the old apartheid government. But after lamenting the
U.S. role in slavery and timidity in halting Rwandan genocide, Mr. Clinton
may be through with what some reporters have dubbed his contrition tour.
From now on, say his aides, he'll talk about the future, not the
Over on the NBC Nightly News
Tom Brokaw announced:
"Once an outcast in the international
community, the new South Africa now wins high praise for overcoming years
of racial division. And today it also got an apology from President
Clinton. More now from NBC's Claire Shipman."
Shipman: "Clinton and Mandela met for
the first time today on South African soil and just before that historic
visit the President made an unusual admission to an independent television
network. He said that the U.S. was, quote 'complicit in the racist
apartheid' regime by cooperating for so long with the South African
government. But the President also said that the U.S. fought to dismantle
Second, a look at how CNN
and FNC handled Monicagate:
On CNN's World Today at
8pm ET anchor Joie Chen announced that House Republicans had hired an
organized crime prosecutor to serve as the Judiciary Committee's chief
counsel. Bob Franken then explained how Starr is using billing records
found in Foster's Little Rock house:
"The documents are a significant part
of an investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton prepared fraudulent legal
papers related to a real estate venture and whether any evidence was
covered up. Sources say the discovery raises a number of questions, among
them: how were not one but two copies lost for so long and did the delays,
in opening Foster's White House office for inspection immediately after
his death have anything to do with a possible effort to remove the billing
Franken went on to note the appearance in
DC of Nancy Hernreich and Marsha Scott.
FNC anchor Jon Scott
delivered a very Dan Rather-like intro on the 7pm ET Fox Report:
"In news out of Washington, the
question: Is Ken Starr going too far? Now he wants to know what Monica
Lewinsky is reading. He's also trying to dig up dirt on the
President's love life and today he called a White House insider back to
the grand jury."
Reporter David Shuster noted how Marsha
Scott was back to answer questions about Lewinsky's job transfer, that
Starr defended his decision to recall Marcia Lewis by explaining how it is
the duty of all citizens to provide evidence, and how Starr wants to know
what Jones's attorney's have collected on four women in order "to
show a pattern of White House intimidation."
money for schools and stricter gun control laws. That's how to prevent
future school shootings the morning show hosts argued on Thursday, March
Good Morning America
co-host Kevin Newman, MRC news analyst Gene Eliasen noted, posed this
question to a child psychologist: "Well, Doctor Kenney, let me ask
you because there's a lot of schools, I think of my own district,
there's one social worker for 1,200 kids. I think the average is
there's one guidance counselor for every 800 middle school students in
this country. Are we just under-funding our schools for this kind of
Guests on NBC's Today,
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens reported, were badgered repeatedly about the
inadequacy of gun control laws.
Katie Couric argued with Arkansas Governor
Mike Huckabee: "The arsenal that these two young boys had amassed is
certainly a terrifying thought. You heard of course discussions about that
with what ten sophisticated weapons including .30 caliber semi automatic
rifles, a deer hunting rifles, things like that. It's not illegal in the
state of Arkansas for children to possess these types of guns. I know it
is illegal for them to have handguns if they are under 21 but not the
other kinds of weapons that these boys had. Is that right?"
Governor Mike Huckabee: "Well Katie
the issue really I think has to be remembered that these boys illegally
possessed these. They broke into a house and they stole these weapons in
order to take them. They didn't have legal possession of them at the
Couric: "But under Arkansas law
Governor they could have had legal possession. In other words it would not
have been against the law for them to have these weapons in their
Later, Couric declared: "Governor
Huckabee this a third deadly shooting to take place in the South in the
last five months and some criminal experts have ventured a guess that
southern society, which has a more permissive attitude towards guns and
hunting and perhaps in some circles even glamorizes those things that
might have been a factor in some, this recent spate of shootings. What's
your view of that?"
Huckabee replied by reminding
"everyone that Colin Ferguson got on a train in Long Island, shot 39
people. That wasn't Long Island, Arkansas."
At another point in the show Ann Curry
demanded of Surgeon General David Satcher:
"The CDC, when you were director,
issued a report calling gun violence the leading cause of injury in the
U.S. and it got into some trouble with gun rights activists. In light of
what's happened Tuesday in Arkansas what do you want to say about gun
violence now as Surgeon General sir?"
With Primary Colors now in theaters as people argue over whether it is
favorable toward President Clinton, I thought I'd take this Friday
before a movie-going weekend to relay another collection of quotes from
Hollywood celebrities defending and making excuses for Clinton.
Up front, quotes from the Primary Colors
team and then some from some others, all collated by MRC entertainment
analyst Melissa Caldwell based upon quotes she and fellow analysts Adam
Pogach and Tom Johnson have come across. Let's get the quote with a
vulgarity out of the way first, so close your eyes for this one caught by
Adam Pogach. Asked in the April Interview magazine about how the Lewinsky
affair affected his movie, Primary Colors Director Mike Nichols shot back:
"Very little, really, except to put a
lot of bullshit in the newspapers. I now have all the more sympathy for
Clinton, and everyone else who's in the news all the time, because the
inaccuracy level is so breathtakingly high..."
Now on to the obscenity-free, but
sex-packed quotes collected by Melissa Caldwell, including this item
noticed by Tom Johnson from Nichols, who is married to ABC's Diane
Nichols insisted in a March 15 Washington
Post article that "We must stop...making up our minds based
on rumors, conjecture, unsubstantiated gossip and stories. It's
madness..." He later added: "If the Lewinsky story or parts of
it are true, where is the public voice, just one, one Joseph Welch
somewhere, to say, 'Isn't private life private?'....If this century
has taught us anything, it's that sexuality is uncontrollable. That's
the point of it. That's what it is. Everybody knows that. We expect it
to be tailored, controlled, changed...like a pet cat. But it's not going
to happen. So our charismatic men with high energy, leaders who might run
for office are beginning to say, 'The hell with this! I'm not going to
get into a position where I'll be torn to bits every time I look at a
female walking by.' It can't be. We have to rethink things..."
Primary Colors star John Travolta showed
his true colors on the February 23 edition of Entertainment
Tonight: "I loved him [Clinton]. I thought he was powerful,
and gracious, and real, and I had a real connection."
ET interviewed other
Primary Colors stars the following night. Here's what they had to say.
- John Travolta, who handles the
Clinton character: "Look at yourself and say 'Am I that clean? Can
I go up there and be perfect or flawless?' I don't think so...I'm
not interested in the scandal. I've followed literally nothing on it...I
find it sad that one can get so preoccupied with personal, you know,
behavior, when we have so much more at stake."
- Billy Bob Thornton (who admits that
he sought the Clintons' approval before accepting the part of the
campaign advisor) stated: "It's not Watergate, and so I just think
it should have nothing to do with anything."
On CNN's Showbiz Tonight
on March 16 Thornton elaborated: "Gosh, I wouldn't care if the
President had been involved in bestiality if he runs the country
-- Speaking of bestiality, when asked
whether the image of our President has been tarnished abroad by the
scandal, British actress Emma Thompson, who plays the Hillary Clinton
character, offered: "No, I don't particularly. It's not even a
decent scandal, you know, it's not as if he'd been caught with a horse
or something. I mean, you know, I didn't understand. I think in Europe
we're really flummoxed by it."
-- A good sex scandal turns her on, as
Thompson told the February 27 New York Times "You marry an Alpha-male
-- that's what happens," adding: "This is a scandal? Monica
Lewinsky? If there was a scandal, couldn't he have been with a nun or
something really venal like that? It's all so bizarre to me. I long for
the J. Edgar Hoover days. Let's find a man dressing in women's
clothes. Something really weird. This almost seems natural. For any guy in
power -- it's a very erotic situation."
Now quotes from celebrities not starring in
-- Vocal Clinton supporter actress Mary
Steenburgen said of the Clintons on the February 19 edition of Entertainment
Tonight, "I completely love and adore both of them..."
When asked what she said to the Clintons regarding the Lewinsky affair,
Steenburgen replied: "I've just said what I've always felt, which
is 'You've had a great, amazing presidency, and I'm really proud of
On the same program, Actress Faye Dunaway
declared: "I think that the common man, the people of America, want a
good country and they want a good life, and he's given them more of
-- During an appearance to promote her new
CD on Much Music, a Canadian music video channel, Madonna exclaimed:
"It's ridiculous. I don't want to know about it. I don't care.
Leave Bill alone!" (Entertainment Tonight, March 10).
-- Actor Fred Savage of NBC's Working on ABC's
Politically Incorrect, February 10: "The only thing that
bugs me about this whole Lewinsky/Clinton thing is that it seems like
Americans have this sense of hyper-morality...I kind of think that it's
interesting that the President's become more human."
-- Actress Christine Lahti of CBS's
Chicago Hope on Politically Incorrect, February 19:
"We're talking 79 percent approval rating, what do you mean 'A
weakened and horny' Bill Clinton? This is a very popular and great
-- Actor Wayne Knight, best known as Newman
on NBC's Seinfeld stated on the same program: "I wouldn't move to
impeach someone who lied about [beeped out]....Obstruction of justice, in
terms of saying to somebody, 'Let's just keep it quiet,' that's
not enough. Even if that is obstruction of justice, that's still not
enough, in my mind, to remove somebody from the Oval Office...Why not just
dismiss Starr then? I mean, just let this whole thing go. Nobody wants to
do this, let's just end this now, stop spending the millions and
millions of dollars."
-- Actress Kim Coles of Fox's Living
Single on Politically Incorrect, February 20: "Well,
he's human...I think that's what makes him a good role model, because
we need to know that he's infallible [sic], absolutely, that he's
human and that he's going to make mistakes."
-- Feminist actress Marlo Thomas, who is
making a comeback with her recent film role in The Real Blonde, declared
on the March 3 Late, Late Show with Tom Snyder
"First of all, I am sick to death about this whole Monica Lewinsky
thing. I don't want to hear about it. I don't want to know about
anybody's sex life. I don't want to hear about yours, I don't want
to hear about President Clinton's. There is only one man in America that
has to keep his pants up, and that's my husband. Other than that, I
don't want to know about it. I really don't. I find it really
unappetizing. It's nobody's business."
Of course much of what her husband
Phil Donahue did on his talk show was showcase people's sex lives.
-- Brent Baker
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