Underwear Drawers; Starr's Demand = Assassination; Herman's 20 Seconds
1) Monday night FNC
revealed who has touched both Hillary's panties and Bill's briefs
while CBS relayed the warning that if Starr forces the Secret Service to
testify "a President will be assassinated." CBS, CNN and NBC
only gave a few seconds to an IC for Herman.
2) Tuesday morning ABC's
Kevin Newman worried people were tiring of so many ICs. Tuesday night all
the nets skipped Herman and only CNN offered a story on the immunity
battle in Burton's committee.
3) CNN's Larry King
Live gets $7 million a year, but he's not quite up on submarine
procurement, spouting liberalism before facts.
Janet Reno's decision to ask for an independent counsel to investigate
Labor Secretary Alexis Herman led ABC's World News Tonight on Monday
night and got a full story on FNC's Fox Report, but generated just 26
seconds on CBS and a mere 18 seconds on NBC. CNN was more worried about
the cost of investigations.
will be assassinated in the near future," CBS reporter Scott Pelley
said in relaying the ominous warning from the head of he Secret Service
about what will happen "if his agent's are forced to testify."
Highlighting the latest fodder for James Carville, FNC picked up the story
about how Starr "once had someone rifle through the First Family's
Here are some
highlights from the Monday, May 11 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight led with Herman. Peter Jennings noted that she's been under
investigation since a January story on ABC News highlighted accusations
that she took payoffs while at a previous White House staff job. The same
reporter who broke that story handled the Reno decision Monday night:
He explained that Reno said she maintained she
had "reasonable grounds to believe further investigation is
warranted." At the "heart" of the matter, Ross elaborated,
is the claim by African businessman Laurent Yene that he and a partner had
an arrangement to secretly pay Herman for improperly steering work to
their clients. Ross continued: "Yene passed a lie detector test
administered by ABC News by a respected former FBI agent. And today the
Attorney General said many, but not all of the details recounted by Yene
had been corroborated but that there was still no evidence that proved any
Ross concluded: "Late today the President
issued a statement of support for Secretary Herman, saying that it was
unfortunate that an independent counsel was appointed despite what he
called no findings of wrongdoing. But the fact is a number of serious
questions now surround the honesty and integrity of yet another member of
President Clinton's cabinet."
-- The nuclear
test explosion in India topped the CBS Evening News and before Herman Dan
Rather turned to Scott Pelley for a CBS News "exclusive" on why
the Secret Service is resisting Ken Starr. Pelley warned:
briefings to the Justice Department and to Starr the Director of the
Secret Service, Lew Merletti, is saying that a President will be
assassinated in the near future if his agent's are forced to
Pelley explained the reasoning: "He argues
that his agents must be close enough to touch the President and that if a
President worries about what an agent may see or hear he may push away his
human shield. The briefing was done pictures. It revealed that President
Kennedy told his agents they could no longer ride on the bumper of his car
and four days later he was assassinated. Secret Service analysis shows
that the agents would have been in the line of fire if they had been in
Of course that's
not true if you buy Sidney Blumenthal's "grassy knoll"
Over video of the
assassination attempt on Reagan Pelley announced: "This was shown to
Starr who was told proximity is the difference between life and
death." Pelley did add: "Starr's prosecutors ridicule
Merletti's argument, saying it makes 'the wild assumption that the
President will risk his life in order to engage in illegal or embarrassing
Later in the show
Rather had no time for details on the Herman decision, taking 26 seconds
"U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno today
officially announced her expected decision to seek an independent counsel
to investigate accusations of influence peddling and soliciting illegal
campaign donations by Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. Herman flatly denies
the accusations. This is the seventh independent counsel that Reno, under
Republican pressure, has called for to investigate high-ranking members of
the Clinton cabinet and team."
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET led with the status of the Middle-East peace talks.
Anchor Joie Chen took just under a minute to summarize the Herman
situation and run a soundbite from the Labor Secretary before introducing
a full report: "CNN's Brooks Jackson does the math on the high cost
-- FNC's 7pm ET
Fox Report was topped by Catherine Crier ominously warning of "some
scary news for anyone who eats" -- uninspected foreign produce. Steve
Centanni provided a full report on Herman, explaining: "African
businessman Laurent Yene makes the most explosive charge, claiming he
delivered cash to Herman's home, an alleged kickback for helping a
Patrick Vanhorn announced that Starr "once had someone rifle through
the First Family's underwear drawers." It took Rita Cosby a while
to get to the intriguing plug, first noting how Starr's deputies are
meeting with Secret Service officers to get what details they are willing
to share about Clinton's contacts with Monica Lewinsky and how Lewinsky
has hired a public relations specialist -- Judy Smith, a Deputy Press
Secretary under Bush.
Finally, Cosby got to the underwear, asserting
that after "billing records belatedly appeared in the White House
Starr planned to search the First Family's living quarters for more
documents, but he backed off when then White House counsel Jane Sherburne
agreed to undertake the search herself, even combing through the First
Family's underwear drawers. A White House source said this is just
another example of an over-reaching independent counsel, but one of
Starr's former deputies said having Sherburne search the White House
quarters was not invasive but a reasonable process for which he says Starr
should be applauded not criticized."
-- NBC Nightly
News led with imported food safety as Tom Brokaw intoned: "Your food.
It could make you sick. Tonight a new warning about tainted food coming
into this country." After a story on storm trackers and just before
the "hidden danger" of the "epidemic" of Lyme Disease,
Tom Brokaw gave 18 seconds to Herman:
"Attorney General Janet Reno says yes to an
independent counsel investigation of Labor Secretary Alexis Herman. Herman
is alleged to have taken kickbacks during her previous job as a White
House aide. Tonight, Herman says she's baffled by the decision and that
the allegations are false."
where ABC offered substantial Herman coverage while the other broadcast
networks barely touched the subject matches how the networks have treated
revelations about her over the past year or so. In addition to ABC, CNN
and FNC ran full reports on the allegations in January when the Justice
Department revealed it was looking into them, but CBS and NBC held their
stories to 20 seconds or less. In fact, CBS and NBC have yet to run a full
story on Herman in the evening. More in the next CyberAlert.
Tuesday morning, May 12, Today and Good Morning America ran stories on
Herman, but only GMA featured an interview segment. Instead of focusing on
Herman's alleged misdeeds, however, co-host Kevin Newman pressed ABC
legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin repeatedly about the cost and value of
independent counsels. One of his questions:
"I can hear people out there saying,
'What? Another one?' I mean Brian Ross reported that it's already
cost something like $63, $73 million for the previous six. How much is
this going to cost?"
none of the networks touched Herman and only CNN and FNC broached a
Clinton scandal-related item. ABC's World News Tonight led with rioting
in Jakarta, Indonesia, followed by a report on the fallout from the
nuclear test in India. The CBS Evening News went with India and then
Jakarta. Introducing a story on Republican Congressman Jay Kim, who
can't even campaign in his California district because he's on
detention in DC for accepting illegal campaign donations, Dan Rather
declared he demonstrates "the pervasiveness of sleazy campaign
CNN's The World
Today at 8pm ET, prompted by the nuclear test, led with a story by Jamie
McIntyre on the fifth failure of THAAD, the Theater High Altitude Area
Defense anti-missile missile to hit its target in a test at White Sands.
The 8pm show didn't mention Burton, but MRC analyst Eric Darbe informed
me that the vote planned for May 13 in Burton's committee topped the
10pm ET edition. CNN's Brooks Jackson included a couple of clips from
Burton's Tuesday afternoon House floor address laying out the case
against Clinton and defending himself. Jackson announced:
"Another bitter showdown coming up in
Congressman Dan Burton's investigation of the President, responding to
Democratic demands for his removal, Burton is taking the offensive."
After clips from Burton and Henry Waxman over
immunity for four witnesses, Jackson emphasized their lack of importance:
"It's not clear what evidence the four witnesses could offer. Two are
associates of Johnny Chung, who's already admitted to making illegal
donations to Democrats and pleaded guilty. Another is an associate of Gene
and Nora Lum, who also pleaded guilty nearly a year ago. The fourth is an
associate of Ted Sioeng, who left the country rather then answer questions
about big donations -- some to Republicans, but mostly to Democrats."
Leading into another Burton soundbite Jackson
explained: "Burton says if he could only prove ten percent of what he
believes to be true, the President would be in trouble. He has already
ordered 600 subpoenas, yet finds the lack of evidence frustrating."
Jackson concluded by noting that the Democrats
will most likely block immunity again, which "could force Speaker
Gingrich to transfer some facets of Burton's investigation to another
committee headed by a less controversial Republican, Bill Thomas of
FNC's Fox Report
also featured a piece on THAAD's failure. FNC ran a clip from Dan
Burton's Tuesday afternoon speech on the House floor attacking President
Clinton and defending himself. NBC Nightly News went with India first then
Jakarta, but unlike ABC and CBS which had reporters in Indonesia, Brokaw
just talked over some video.
Don't let any facts get in the way of your ideology. MRC news analyst
Eric Darbe noticed this exchange from the May 11 Larry King Live which
illustrates how the CNN host doesn't always know much about the topic
he's spouting off about. Guests Gary Hart and reporters Wolf Blitzer and
Bob Woodward were brought on to discuss coverage of Clinton and sex, but
veered off onto the military/industrial complex:
"It's the weapons construction business, it's a massive status
quo complex that keeps us all going."
Wolf Blitzer: "I recently heard the
President talking about the Seawolf submarine, which, despite its name,
Seawolf, is not necessarily my favorite submarine, but it's the top of the
line submarine. And the price tag for Seawolf is about -- what?"
Bob Woodward: "Two billion, plus."
Blitzer: "Yeah. So you're asking $2 billion
at a time like this when the Russian submarine fleet is not very
significant at this point, is there a need to go ahead and build yet
another Seawolf? But the industry that manufactures -- that makes these
submarines, the -- the assessment is, you have to keep these companies in
business in case of an emergency, otherwise, we won't be able to make
submarines down the road."
Larry King: "So but we have a hundred
Seawolfs that might have cured cancer with the same money."
Woodward: "We don't have a hundred of
'em by any means..."
And CNN, as
revealed Tuesday, has decided to pay this guy $7 million a year. How many
hours of cancer research would that cover?
-- Brent Baker
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