Hillary Cheered, Paula Jeered; Kaplan Sorry CNN Showed Clinton's Hug
1) Hillary Clinton got a
standing ovation while the correspondents booed Paula Jones at their big
dinner. Margaret Carlson denounced the presence of Jones as an
"insult" to Bill Clinton.
2) Dateline landed an
exclusive with Elizabeth Ward Gracen, but instead of pressing her about
who told her to lie in 1992, Jane Pauley highlighted her contention that
Clinton isn't a harasser.
3) CNN President Rick Kaplan
insisted it was a "big mistake" to have aired the video showing
Clinton hugging Lewinsky.
annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner Saturday night
showed what the Washington press corps values. The attendees gave Hillary
Clinton a standing ovation and booed Paula Jones. Peter Jennings even
avoided coming in contact with Jones.
Saturday night association chief Larry
McQuillan of Reuters introduced the head table. President Clinton received
applause but when McQuillan got to Hillary Clinton she was greeted with
sustained applause which lasted long enough for people to begin standing.
The C-SPAN camera at the time was focused on the half of the head table
where Mrs. Clinton sat and the first person to stand up was two seats down
from the First Lady: Ron Fornier (sp?) of the Associated Press.
Not quite the enthusiastic reception that
greeted Paula Jones at the Washington Hilton. On Sunday's Meet the Press
host Tim Russert reported: "When she entered the ballroom there were
scattered boos toward Paula Jones." NBC's Lisa Myers acknowledged
to Russert "that was tacky."
Tony Blankley found Jones more gracious
than the press corps. On Sunday's CNN Late Edition he confirmed to host
Wolf Blitzer that he sat next to Jones: "She was exactly to my right,
and it was a very lovely evening. She is a delightful, unassuming lady. I
thought that the people who were ugly last night were the American, the
Washington political class, some of them booed her. They chased her around
the halls. There were -- I had reporters coming up to me before, because
they knew I was going to be sitting at her table, asking sort of
class-based, sneering kind of questions, which were unjustified. And I was
sort of embarrassed for the political class rather than for her. She
carried herself like a lady."
Could Margaret Carlson have been among
those booing? Here's her Outrage of the Week from the April 25 Capital
Gang taped hours before the dinner:
"Tonight, if we ever get out of here,
the White House correspondents hold their annual dinner where the press
hosts the President, journalists invite sources and the occasional
celebrity like Robert DeNiro. This year, Insight magazine, whose parent is
the Moonie paper, The Washington Times, decided on an in-your-face guest,
Paula Jones, in order to insult the guest of honor. That demeans not just
the President but the presidency. Too bad the President didn't insult the
press corps by staying home.
On Late Edition, just after Blankley
completed the comments quoted above, Blitzer asserted: "But a lot of
people say that it was inappropriate for her to be there with the
President and the First Lady."
Blankley countered the assumptions accepted
by Carlson and Blitzer: "She is the aggrieved party. I don't
understand the argument that here's a person who may have been wronged and
she can't appear in public, but the person who may have done the wronging
is free to stride the streets in pride. I don't think so. I think she had
every right to be there."
Indeed, even if it upset the news and
entertainment elite. In Monday's (April 27) Washington Post Michael
"...Before Jones arrived as a guest
of Insight magazine ('a conservative magazine affiliated with the
Washington Times,' went the refrain), she was much anticipated by
tuxedo-clad men and sequin-enhanced women who walked by the Times party
hoping for a glimpse. Many people, though, professed indifference to her
"'I certainly won't go out of my
way to say hi to her,' said ABC anchor Peter Jennings. Filmmaker Ken
Burns said, 'I have no interest in her whatsoever. I'll say hello to
the President, though.' Jon Bon Jovi had a planned greeting in case he
met up with Jones: 'Lighten up, babe.'..."
What a novel approach for network news
hound like Jennings: Avoid meeting a major figure in the news.
night, April 24, Dateline NBC interviewed Elizabeth Ward Gracen, the
former Miss America who now admits having sex with Clinton in the early
1980s. In 1992 she says the Clinton campaign asked her to lie and deny the
story, which she did. But instead of pressing Gracen about who was
involved in this latest example of Clinton dissembling, Jane Pauley
prompted Gracen to exonerate the Clinton operation, dismiss the idea that
Clinton could harass anyone and paint Hillary Clinton as a victim of
Gracen, not of Bill Clinton.
Pauley asked Gracen if she got a quid pro
quo in 1992 for her denial, specifically help in landing acting jobs.
Gracen adamantly rejected the notion before Pauley announced:
"If lawyers for Paula Jones are
looking for someone to say she was sexually harassed by the President,
Elizabeth Ward Gracen would be of little help. [to Gracen] You don't
think that the man you knew would be capable of sexual harassment?"
Gracen: "Doesn't fit the image I
have of him at all."
Pauley: "Did you see him again after
Gracen: "He called me, I guess, a
week or so after that and I just sort of politely told him that this
wasn't something I could continue, that I wasn't comfortable and he
was a gentleman and it was never spoken of again."
Pauley: "Did you think about the
effect it might have on Hillary Clinton?"
more sign of how CNN President Rick Kaplan is sympathetic to Bill Clinton
and is willing to alter news coverage to protect the Democratic President.
A FNC producer alerted me to this item from "The Scoop" section
of the May issue of George magazine:
"CNN President Rick Kaplan recently
admitted it was a 'big mistake' to have aired exclusive footage of
the now infamous hug between Clinton and a beret-headed Monica Lewinsky.
'Clinton probably gave 79 other hugs on that line,' says a contrite
Kaplan, adding that Al Gore 'also gave God knows how many hugs -- not
that anyone would care.'"
Where to begin on this one. First of all
that video provided the public with the first ever look at Lewinsky, so it
was newsworthy no matter what it showed Clinton and her doing. Second, no
one will care who Gore hugs until there are charges that he had sexual
relations with a huggee and lied about it. Third, an R-rated observation
made by the MRC's Tim Graham: Clinton may have given hugs to 79 others
but did they all go down on him?
This bit of damaging footage got onto CNN,
but given Kaplan's attitude we'll never know in the future what we
didn't get to see. -- Brent Baker
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