Tying Conservatives & Scaife to Hale; Starr's Cost Rises by the Minute
1) CBS painted Ken Starr as
out of control in obsessing on Clinton's "private life" now
that the underlying case is gone. CBS and CNN highlighted charges that
Starr's probe is tainted by payments from conservatives to David Hale.
investigation has cost $29 million. No, more like $35 million. Actually,
$40 million. On CBS the cost grows by the minute.
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night ABC led with the CDC study showing a rise in teenage smoking, but
the other networks all put the Paula Jones aftermath at the top of their
shows. The CBS Evening News painted Starr as the bad guy out of control.
Dan Rather referred to how Starr is investigating not obstruction of
justice, but the President's "private" life. Bob Schieffer
insisted that "no one has ever been tried for perjury for encouraging
others to lie after the underlying case has been dropped."
Both CBS and CNN ran stories on how, as Dan
Rather put it, "Republican haters from the far-right" made
payments to Whitewater witness David Hale. CNN put the American Spectator
and Richard Scaife at the center of the conspiracy to get Hale to lie
CBS and NBC showed Fox News video of
Clinton, as Rather so lyrically announced, "beating a drum, chomping
a cigar and strumming a guitar." Only NBC's Lisa Myers suggested
that how much longer Ken Starr's probe takes depends on how much Clinton
obstructs the investigation.
Here are some highlights of the Thursday
night, April 2, newscasts:
-- ABC's World News Tonight.
Anchor Peter Jennings ran through the days events, such as how the Jones
team was taking time to decide if to appeal, Erskine Bowles appeared
before the grand jury and how Starr said Jones does not effect his case.
Linda Douglass then looked at how the
scandal has divided the GOP. She aired soundbites from Senator Hatch, who
doesn't want Congress to back off, and Senator Specter and Speaker
Gingrich, who worry about the backlash from attacking a popular President.
Douglass noted that Ralph Reed is telling his clients that the too much
focus on scandal will turn off the public.
Sam Donaldson opened his piece from
Senegal: "His step seemed a little springier, his smile a little
broader this morning. Was it any wonder given the good news of the Jones
case dismissal. But in talking about it, the President seemed to
deliberately downplay his delight."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan
Rather's tease at the top of the show contrasted a delighted Clinton
with a dour Starr:
"President Clinton's first public
reaction to the dismissal of the Paula Jones case. A measure of pleasure
as he flies home from Africa to fewer political clouds. Far less measured:
special prosecutor Kenneth Starr's reaction today inside and outside of
First Rather began with the distant Fox
News video of Clinton in his hotel room. Rather explained: "That's
the President beating a drum, chomping a cigar and strumming a
guitar." After a report from Scott Pelley in Senegal, Rather
announced that a CBS News poll found the public agreed with Webber
Wright's decision by 53 percent to 23 percent.
Rather continued by describing Starr's
investigation the way Starr's opponents picture it, as an invasion of
Clinton's personal life: "Several poll questions also indicate the
American public wants an end to investigation of the President's private
life, including the Ken Starr investigation of the Monica Lewinsky case.
But as CBS's chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer reports,
Kenneth Starr made it clear today by word and deed that he couldn't
Bob Schieffer showed a clip of Starr
asserting how lying under oath and obstruction of justice are not impacted
by the dismissal: "It doesn't matter who wins and who loses in the
civil case. What matters from the criminal laws perspective is were crimes
Schieffer countered, leading into a
soundbite from Senator Arlen Specter: "That's correct in theory,
but the core of Starr's case is whether the President lied to Paula
Jones's lawyers or encouraged others, such as Monica Lewinsky, to do so.
And as far as can be determined, no one has ever been tried for perjury
for encouraging others to lie after the underlying case has been dropped.
That's one reason even Starr allies now say if Starr does have something
on the President it better be something big."
The CBS attacks on Starr kept coming. Next,
Rather reported that Attorney General Reno is looking into another matter,
"On another front there could be
trouble for the Ken Starr Whitewater investigation. Reports continue to
surface that this key witness for the prosecution, David Hale, may have
been secretly bankrolled by political activists widely regarded as
political opponents, people that Clinton supporters call Republican haters
from the far-right..."
Of course, Web Hubbell also got payoffs.
The difference is Hubbell was paid to keep quiet while if this charge is
true it means Hale was paid to tell what he knew.
Reporter Phil Jones examined what the Jones
team will do and later the Eye on America segment looked at what it takes
to prove sexual harassment.
-- CNN's The World Today
at 8pm ET was just a half hour Thursday night to make room for an 8:30pm
special on the Muslim gathering "the Hajj" in Mecca. CNN devoted
half of the half hour to the Jones case implications. Bob Franken reported
on the status of the Starr investigation and John King checked in from
Senegal before anchor Joie Chen asserted that "one key part of Ken
Starr's investigation of the President may be in trouble."
CNN's Pierre Thomas picked up on the Hale
story, explaining: "David Hale, Ken Starr's primary witness in the
Whitewater investigation, may soon find himself the subject of a criminal
probe. At issue: allegations conservative groups paid Hale cash, and
provided perks in exchange for damaging testimony against President
After a clip of Reno, Thomas introduced a
blast from James Carville: "Bolstered by the recent dismissal of the
Paula Jones lawsuit, Mr. Clinton's supporters say the allegations point to
their long held belief in a right-wing conspiracy." Following
Carville's bite, Thomas elaborated on the conspiracy:
"The U.S. Attorney in Arkansas,
recently began an investigation of Hale and dispatched FBI agents to
pursue the case. One witness alleged to the Associated Press that Hale was
paid hundreds in cash by a man named Parker Dozier (sp?). Dozier admitted
he was paid $35,000 by persons working for the conservative magazine
American Spectator. The magazine is affiliated with conservative
millionaire Richard Scaife, thought to have funded a number of
anti-Clinton projects. The witness says Dozier and Hale discussed
Whitewater and passed information to the magazine. Dozier denies paying
Hale anything or discussing Whitewater with him, but told AP he gave Hale
use of his cabin and a car. The allegations against Hale are similar to
those raised about former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell.
They charged Clinton supporters gave
Hubbell financial assistance to keep quiet about Whitewater...."
Wow, "hundreds in cash." Not
quite as much as the hundreds of thousands in cash delivered to Hubbell.
If CNN plans to assign Thomas to the
conspiracy beat he needs to learn how to pronounce the name of the grand
conspirator in chief: Thomas pronounced Richard Scaife's name as "Skay-fee"
when it is properly enunciated "Scafe."
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom
Brokaw began: "After a twelve day visit President Clinton is coming
home from Africa tonight in better shape than when he left. Nonetheless,
even though the Paula Jones case may be off the docket for now, the Ken
Starr investigation continues..."
Lisa Myers told viewers that Starr's
staff is debating two options: One, bring Monica Lewinsky in, give her
immunity, and then send a report to the House. Or two, indict Lewinsky,
use her trial to air evidence against Clinton and call Clinton as a
Breaking from conventional wisdom, Myers
put the burden on Clinton for when Starr's probe will end: "So how
much longer will all this take? Sources say it depends on the President,
whether he keeps invoking executive privilege to keep aides from telling
all they know and whether his administration keeps blocking questioning of
Secret Service agents..."
Next, David Bloom raised the possibility
Jones may not appeal the ruling after all. Bloom also featured the Fox
News video as a lead-in to a soundbite from the media's favorite
Republican, Senator Specter: "In his hotel room last night the
President celebrated, banging an African drum, chomping an unlit cigar and
why not. Today a leading Republican admitted the public has scandal
NBC's "In Depth" segment
examined what you have to prove to win a sexual harassment complaint and
how Jones's case failed to meet that burden.
much taxpayer money Ken Starr is spending soars by the day and even by the
minute on CBS News, MRC analyst Steve Kaminski noticed.
"Federal auditors report special
prosecutor Ken Starr's investigation of the Clintons has now cost at
least $29 million and still counting," Dan Rather announced on the
March 31 CBS Evening News.
In just a day and a half Starr managed to
squander another $6 million, as Bill Plante told April 2 CBS This Morning
"...The judge's decision will also
have an impact on Independent Counsel Ken Starr's investigation. In
nearly four years, Starr has spent about $35 million. Now that the Jones
suit has been thrown out, it will be harder for Starr to justify a further
prolonged investigation. Starr says that Judge Wright's decision is all
the more reason for a quick resolution of the investigation."
Minutes later in an interview with former
White House aide Jack Quinn, co-host Mark McEwen added another $5 million
to the tab: "Let's talk about that Starr investigation. Everybody
has been watching television since this came out. People in the country,
many of them are saying enough already, it's been $35 to 40 million
being spent. What do you think this will do to Starr's
This kind of inconsistent reporting isn't
doing much to bolster CBS News's reputation.
-- Brent Baker
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