Inappropriate to Ask Clinton Cooperation; Hillary Makes Us "Nicer"
1) Burton's behavior of most
concern to the networks. ABC and CBS say Starr made
"inappropriate" request of White House, but NBC revealed Starr
accused Clinton of encouraging McDougal to stay silent.
2) America's true heroes: U.S.
News salutes William "Paul Revere" Ginsburg while Hillary
Clinton makes "people be nicer."
3) The May 4 edition of
Notable Quotables: Our Almost All Peter Jennings issue with five quotes
from the crusading liberal anchor.
night ABC, CBS, FNC and NBC led with progress on cancer gained by using
anti-angiogenesis drugs. CNN failed to air a prime time newscast as a
"Battle Against Cancer: Hopeful Signs" special replaced the 8pm
ET The World Today and CNN ran a repeat of Impact at 10pm ET.
Instead of pursuing the meaning of
statements from Web Hubbell in the prison tapes, such as how he would have
to "roll over again," for the second night in a row ABC and CBS
focused on Democratic and White House complaints about how Dan Burton
released the tapes. FNC ran a story on the subject, but FNC's piece,
unlike ABC and CBS, at least featured Trent Lott urging attention be
focused on Hubbell instead of Burton. CBS and FNC also delivered full
stories on the new indictments of Susan McDougal while NBC featured a
piece on McDougal but barely touched the Burton controversy.
Starr's office asked Clinton to encourage
McDougal to end her silence, an "inappropriate" request
suggested the ABC and CBS stories. But NBC's Lisa Myers rejected the White
House spin, reporting that the independent counsel's office had
"accused the President of making public statements that indirectly
encouraged his former business partner not to cooperate" and asked
the White House to cease such efforts.
Some highlights from the Monday, May 4
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Highlighting
the tape controversy Peter Jennings explained that to quell complaints
Burton released more tapes: "It is the second time in a week that
Chairman Burton has released such tapes, but it is what he didn't give out
the first time that has won Mr. Burton more than his share of
Jackie Judd began: "The war over the
Hubbell prison tapes got even nastier today with Republican Congressman
Dan Burton, who released them, in the line of fire."
After a soundbite from Henry Waxman about
how Burton falsified evidence, Judd ran a clip of a favorite Democratic
exchange in which Hubbell says Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with
padding bills at the Rose law firm.
Jennings then asked about the McDougal
indictment and Judd gave the basics. Jennings added: "Now the
independent counsel's office also talked to the White House about
Judd relayed the anti-Starr White House
spin: "Right, they revealed today that they had asked the President
to encourage McDougal to cooperate and that the White House turned them
down. The White House said that would have been entirely inappropriate for
the President to do and it is reckless of Starr to suggest
-- CBS Evening News. Scott Pelley checked
in with a piece on how the Little Rock grand jury, which will close down
Thursday, will not indict Hillary Clinton, but she's not out of jeopardy
as Starr is moving to the DC grand jury a probe of her work in the Castle
Grande land deal. Pelley also reported the indictment of McDougal, adding:
"Starr's office said today that it even asked Mr. Clinton to
encourage McDougal to testify." Following a clip of Starr spokesman
Charles Bakaly saying the White House rejected the request, Pelley
concluded by relaying the White House line that suggested Starr did
"This evening the White House released
a statement saying the President has always encouraged everyone to tell
the truth but it wouldn't be appropriate for him the intervene."
Next, Dan Rather got to Burton: "All
weekend long and again today House Republicans were being accused of
misleading and highly selective leaks of those tapes that originally
appeared damaging to the Clintons, and may still actually be. So today
Republicans promised all the Hubbell tapes. CBS's Phil Jones reports what
they actually delivered."
Jones opened with the "chaotic"
scene as tapes were passed out to the media. Jones aired two segments
Republicans supposedly distorted: In one the full tape shows Hubbell and
his attorney were discussing immunity issued by the OIC, not a
presidential pardon; in the other Hubbell makes clear Hillary Clinton did
not know anything about over billing. Concluded Jones:
"Republican Chairman Burton is accusing Democrats of squealing like a
bunch of pigs, but Democrats say Burton is out of control and trying to
fulfill his promise of two weeks ago to get the President."
-- NBC Nightly News. Lisa Myers began with
good news for the White House, predicting Hillary Clinton will not be
indicted. But in Little Rock, she added, Susan McDougal was hit with more
charges of criminal contempt and obstruction of justice. Putting the
burden on Clinton not Starr, Myers offered a different picture than ABC
"And Starr's spokesman accused the
President of making public statements that indirectly encouraged his
former business partner not to cooperate. Starr repeatedly asked Clinton
to get his friend to talk."
Myers concluded: "McDougal insists
that no amount of jail time will make her talk. Tonight, Starr is calling
her bluff and at the same time suggesting that the President himself may
be encouraging her silence."
Tom Brokaw then noted how Burton released
more tapes since "Burton's earlier versions did not include the
portions helpful to Mrs. Clinton." Brokaw posed one question to Tim
Russert: "Tim, a fair amount of good news for the Clintons
Russert replied, in full: "Tom, some
Democrats were saying if they indict Hillary Clinton it will be a great
political backlash. But the White House is relieved. They did not want
that footnote in history and the rigors of a trial and they think this is
a very important chapter that's been closed. They are now focusing on
something else Tom. Ken Starr, Newt Gingrich and Dan Burton. The message
from the White House is we are blessed by our enemies."
-- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET. From Little
Rock reporter David Shuster predicted no indictment for Hillary Clinton
but that McDougal had been indicted. Like NBC's Myers, but unlike ABC and
CBS, Shuster noted a bit of new evidence: a check written by McDougal that
said "payoff Clinton."
Up next, Carl Cameron picked up on the
Burton controversy, explaining how Democrats claimed the original tapes
released omitted parts exonerating people and that the transcripts were
doctored. After a clip of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle jokingly
suggesting an independent counsel for Burton, Cameron ran a soundbite from
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott skipped by the other networks:
"Aides say Burton's editing is not the
point. The point they say is that Hubbell does seem to incriminate himself
on the tapes and his proclamations of innocence are bogus, Republicans
add, because Hubbell knew he was being taped."
Lott: "Why don't you focus on
what the tapes show. Once again you're picking up the White House
headlines from the May 11 U.S. News & World Report.
On page 18: "The Survivalist." The subhead beneath: "How
does Hillary Clinton cope with the barrage of sex scandal charges? By
launching a national campaign to make people be nicer."
On page 24: "Feeling 'like Paul
Revere.'" The subhead beneath: "William Ginsburg: defending
liberty, a client -- and himself."
What a great guy.
If it weren't for this awful scandal poking
into the private sex life of a President who is doing such a swell job we
wouldn't have the opportunity to have these wonderful people do such great
things for us.
May 4 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the
latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Due to
a printing fiasco, the mailing of this issue was a delayed but it should
now be on the way to subscribers.
(Those of you who are not yet subscribers
can help support the MRC's efforts by signing up. For just $48 annually
you can receive 25 combined issues of MediaWatch and Notable Quotables, 12
monthly issues of MediaNomics and the year-end Best of NQ awards issue.
The $48 "re-deign" offer, to celebrate our new MW/NQ combo
package, ends May 22. To subscribe by credit card, call MRC Circulation
Manager Michelle Baetz at 800-MRC-1423. That's 800-672-1423. Call between
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the old-fashioned way, in their more colorful hard copy form.)
Amongst the quotes fresh to CyberAlert
readers: a quote noticed by MRC analyst Clay Waters under "Solution
to Mean-Spirited Politics: Campaign Finance Regulation." Clay also
caught a Los Angeles Times quote listed under "Scaife's Rabid Bribing
Campaign" and the CBS This Morning tip under "Adultery: A
Benefit of Feminism." The last quote, "Strategically Sucking
Up," features an exchange on CNBC's Hardball about Time magazine
observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.
The NQ issue appears below. -- Brent Baker
May 4, 1998 (Vol. Eleven; No. 10)
Jennings: I Want to See Poverty
"I was thinking about what Jane Fonda said the other night about
North Georgia and how she thought North Georgia was not unlike parts of
the developing world and some politicians in Georgia jumped all over
her....And the truth of the matter is there are parts of America which are
just as bad as some of the worst parts in the rest of the world and that's
desperately sad." -- ABC News anchor Peter Jennings on Jane Fonda's
charge that children are "starving to death" in Georgia, April
23 CBS Late Late Show with Tom Snyder.
"What you really don't see, when I first started volunteering for the
Coalition [for the Homeless] -- by the way there are a lot of people who
volunteer a lot more diligently and more seriously than I do -- in the
feeding program we used to feed under the Brooklyn Bridge, under the
Manhattan Bridge. And this is only seven or eight years ago there were
communities of homeless there, of men primarily who did not want to be in
the shelter system. There are none of those little shanty towns anymore,
they've all been pushed away. Some people may think that's a good thing
but I always thought it was sad that we hide the homeless because, because
it's a fact of life and I also think it's incumbent upon the rest of us to
recognize the homeless and see the homeless and look the homeless in the
eye because there's no lower status in life than to be without a place to
live." -- Jennings, same show.
Pour More Into Rotten Schools
Cokie Roberts: "In the Catholic schools in the District of Columbia
the majority of the students aren't Catholic because these are poor
families that are trying to get their kids out of rotten public
Sam Donaldson: "Well, we should
maintain the rotten public schools better then. We should pour money into
those rotten schools and make them better." -- Exchange between
co-hosts on ABC's This Week, April 26.
CBS: No NOW Hypocrisy
"Paula Jones's lawsuit was rejected by a federal court judge. And
today the National Organization for Women said it will not support Jones's
appeal. The organization says it's not a good test case and its members
don't want to work with quote, 'disreputable right-wing organizations and
individuals,' unquote." -- Entirety of news item read by Dan Rather
on the April 22 CBS Evening News.
Solution to Mean-Spirited Politics: Campaign Finance Regulation
"They get elected in very partisan campaigns, very nasty,
burn-and-destroy campaigns. And they're bringing the same habits now to
Washington. That used to not happen. But it's happening now. And until
something I think is done to reform the whole campaign finance system and
how we get people to Washington, I think you'll see a continuing partisan
atmosphere here." -- Bob Schieffer to Charles Osgood, April 26 Sunday
Millionaire or Billionaire, But Always a Conspiratorial Hater
"Starr attempted to leave for Pepperdine in Malibu, California last
year, but was so ridiculed he agreed to see the investigation through to
the finish. Still, critics continued linking Starr to Richard Mellon
Scaife, the conservative millionaire and Clinton basher who helped finance
the Pepperdine post." -- Jackie Judd, April 16 World News Tonight.
"In cutting ties to Pepperdine Starr
also bowed to critics who claimed the job was a serious conflict of
interest because the school is funded, in part, by billionaire Richard
Mellon Scaife, financial godfather of the alleged right-wing conspiracy
against the President. Starr insists he has absolutely no ties to Scaife,
who is alleged to have given indirect financial aid to a key Whitewater
witness against the President." -- Lisa Myers, April 16 NBC Nightly
Scaife's Rabid Bribing Campaign
"If there is a 'vast right-wing conspiracy' at work in America, the
man at its center likely is Richard Mellon Scaife, the 65-year-old
reclusive Pittsburgh billionaire whose money has funded both mainstream
conservative think tanks and underground attack campaigns against
President Clinton.... Scaife's money also has poured into the rabidly
anti-Clinton American Spectator magazine. Editor R. Emmett Tyrell [sic]
Jr. relentlessly derided the new President in 1993, a vilification
campaign that won Scaife's support." -- Los Angeles Times reporter
David Savage, April 17.
"Subsidizing probes, underwriting witnesses, chipping in for a
deanship at a Malibu school, the omnipresent megamillionaire Richard
Mellon Scaife owns the cashbox of the anti-Clinton crusade." --
Caption for April 27 Time caricature of Scaife.
Who Offended Who First?
"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."
-- Time columnist Margaret Carlson, April 25 CNN Capital Gang.
"But a lot of people say that it was inappropriate for her to be
there with the President and the First Lady." -- Wolf Blitzer to Tony
Blankley on CNN's Late Edition, April 26.
"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." -- Former Gingrich press secretary and CNN panelist Tony
Blankley, April 26 Late Edition.
He'd See Her If She Was Homeless
"I certainly won't go out of my way to say hi to her." -- Peter
Jennings on avoiding Paula Jones at the White House Correspondents'
Association dinner, April 27 Washington Post story by Michael Colton.
Ken Starr, Overcharging Nazi
"Clearly worried that it might look as
if he were taking a payoff from the right wing, he announced last week
that once he finishes his investigation he won't, repeat won't be taking
that cushy job at Pepperdine University after all. Well, of course he
won't. By the time he finishes his investigation he'll be too old."
-- CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, April 19.
"The long-running, wide-ranging and multi-million dollar Ken Starr
investigation of the Clintons is far from over, possibly running now
beyond 1998. That's on top of the nearly four years and $30 to $40 million
it's already taken." -- Dan Rather opening the CBS Evening News,
"Starr is regarded as an occupying army in Little Rock. It's sort of
like....like the French talk about the Germans." -- Newsweek's Evan
Thomas on Inside Washington, April 25.
Killer Sport Utility Vehicles
"Tonight we begin at the crossroads of physics and safety and
government responsibility. In Washington today government is grappling
with what to do about the threat that sport utility vehicles represent to
lesser vehicles in accidents. It's an obvious concern now. Sport utility
vehicles have become the latest driver's passion and because they are
bigger and heavier they have the potential to do unusual damage." --
Peter Jennings opening the April 21 World News Tonight.
"There were high-level talks today about knocking a very different
giant down to size: the sport utility vehicle. SUVs. Extremely popular
with some but considered a killer on the road to others..." -- Dan
Rather introducing a story after a report on Microsoft, April 21 CBS
Trashing an "Age of Deregulation"
"We begin tonight with something to think about later this evening.
You're at home or in the office or the car, and you go to make a phone
call. What do you think the chances are that when you do, you're going to
be ripped off by the phone company? There are millions of complaints in
this age of deregulation, millions. And it's a big enough problem for
Congress to take up tomorrow."
-- ABC anchor Peter Jennings opening World News Tonight, April 22.
Adultery: A Benefit of Feminism
"The women's movement brought change and power to millions of
American females. Virginal brides surrendered to the sexual revolution.
Modern fashions exposed body parts previously reserved for the bedroom.
Entering the work force meant the old ways that women met men were ancient
history [video clip of a milkman]. And a new breed of superwoman said 'I
can have it all'...The search for pleasure leads some women to shop [video
of sex toys] and some to stray...And experts say many husbands and wives
can become stronger individuals, and on rare occasions, might even find
that cheating recharges their marriage." -- CBS This Morning co-host
Jane Robelot, April 23.
Strategically Sucking Up
CNBC host Chris Matthews: "Puff interview with the President! Walter
Isaacson, your Managing Editor, just out of nowhere gets this great
interview with the President after Newsweek has been hosing this guy for
Karen Tumulty, Time: "We were strategically positioning." --
CNBC's Hardball, April 6.
-- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher
-- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
-- Eric Darbe, Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
-- Kristina Sewell, Research Associate; Michelle Baetz, Circulation
-- Rebecca Hinnershitz, Karen Sanjines, Interns
-- Brent Baker
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