Tripp "Ratted Out" Monica; Rivera:
Clinton Liberated the Chinese
1) Tripp led all but CBS. Tom
Brokaw contrasted Clinton's "excellent" job in China with
problems at home, but NBC's Lisa Myers verified one Tripp charge. All
showed clips of Clinton on the radio.
2) Geraldo Rivera declared
that in its "pre-Clintonian days" China had
"repression." But that's over now and yet Clinton's
"not getting cut any slack back home by the critics."
3) The spectrum at NPR and the
Washington Post runs "from the local chairman of the Communist Party
to the conservative Heritage Foundation." That puts liberals in the
CBS led with the Iraq radar/missile incident Tuesday night while ABC, CNN,
FNC and NBC began with Linda Tripp's testimony. All the Tripp stories
covered the same basic ground: how a media mob greeted her in front of her
house, how she would talk to the grand jurors about the taped
conversations and who gave her the talking points about how to skew her
testimony about Kathleen Willey and how Starr would use her appearance to
pressure Lewinsky into a deal. NBC's Tom Brokaw directly contrasted how
Clinton in China is "getting mostly excellent reviews for his
statements on human rights and political freedom," with the Lewinsky
scandal back home. But NBC's Lisa Myers uniquely confirmed one of
Tripp's assertions: that Lewinsky was in the White House at the same
time as the President of Mexico.
CBS, CNN and FNC
each took a few seconds to report Judge Susan Weber Wright's decision to
release documents filed in the Jones case, including Clinton's
deposition, with both sides having ten days to appeal. But only CNN noted
her decision came in response to a suit filed by media outlets.
ABC and NBC held
coverage of Clinton in China to just a brief, but upbeat, look at his
appearance on a radio show. CBS, CNN and FNC ran full stories with CBS
focusing on how Taiwan stands in the way of "normal" relations.
With network interest in his trip waning it looks like Clinton will make
it through all nine days without any stories about his satellite waivers
or illegal donations accepted from China. Just as he departed last
Wednesday NBC Nightly News aired a story on the diversion of U.S.
technology to the Chinese military, but nothing has appeared since on any
of the networks.
from the Tuesday, June 30 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. After the rundown of basic facts as summarized above,
ABC's Jackie Judd looked at Tripp's image:
"Before today's appearance Tripp engaged
in damage control. Critics have accused her of luring Lewinsky into a
friendship only to dig up dirt on the President. In an interview with the
Washington Post Tripp said 'I did not cultivate Monica -- she cultivated
me.' After reading that a close friend of Lewinsky's insisted that
Tripp has to take some responsibility for this, it smells like a set up.
Tripp though is not alone in claiming Lewinsky described a sexual
relationship with Mr. Clinton. Three other confidants have said Lewinsky
told them the same thing."
checked in from Shanghai, but only to summarize Clinton administration
reaction to the latest activities in Iraq and Kosovo. Over video of
Clinton on a Shanghai radio show, Peter Jennings explained that he was
asked about soccer, staying in shape "and did he have the courage to
convince his critics at home that the trip was a good idea." Clinton
replied: "Well, I think the American people will see when I go home
that this was a good thing that I came here." ABC later ended the
show with about a minute of video of Shanghai at night.
Evening News. After Iraq, CBS went to Scott Pelley in Shanghai. His story
concentrated on Clinton's call for the peaceful reunification with
Taiwan. China didn't get policy change it wanted, however, so Pelley
concluded "Taiwan will stand in the way of normal relations for years
to come." On the talk radio show, Pelley asserted that Clinton again
"pressed on human rights."
Phil Jones handled
the Tripp story and covered all the ground summarized in the first
paragraph of this item.
The World Today at 8pm ET. Bob Franken provided a full report on Tripp's
appearance before anchor Jim Moret reported Judge Wright's decision. CNN
next ran a piece by reporter Pierre Thomas on how Tripp is the
"lynchpin" of case, with comments from detractors and
supporters. Greta Van Susteren then analyzed the pressure on Lewinsky,
suggesting that Lewinsky is in a bind if she really doesn't know
anything about obstruction of justice but Starr thinks she does. Finally,
CNN played a video montage of comments from members of the media outside
the courthouse, including this hit on Tripp by Pam Coulter of ABC Radio:
"I'd say this is definitely a high point
as far as the excitement goes because you've got perhaps the star
witness. If Monica Lewinsky doesn't show up Linda Tripp is the person
who got the whole ball rolling, she's the one that a lot of people see
as the villain in this whole piece. They see her as the person who ratted
out Monica Lewinsky."
After an ad break,
Wolf Blitzer in Shanghai opened his story: "As President Clinton
continues his China journey he's enjoying the sites of Shanghai, but
more importantly he's continuing to reach out the Chinese people."
Blitzer covered Clinton's "freewheeling" talk radio show
appearance and his roundtable comments about Taiwan. CNN also featured a
look at Hong Kong as it approaches one year since Britain left. Mike
Chinoy found that the Chinese government has kept its hands off, allowing
free press and speech to continue.
-- FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report. David Shuster
filed a story on Tripp and added a bit of unique information: that
Lewinsky may be pressured by the fact that Starr could give her mother,
Marcia Lewis, immunity. Later, Gilbert Davis and Dick Morris debated the
implications of Tripp's appearance.
From China, Jim Angle alerted viewers to how the
political calls were screened out from Clinton's talk show appearance.
-- NBC Nightly
News. Tom Brokaw launched the show by contrasting Clinton's triumph
abroad with his problems at home:
"Good evening. President Clinton is having a
good time in China and getting mostly excellent reviews for his statements
on human rights and political freedom. But back home today the Monica
Lewinsky scandal is on the front page again..."
Lisa Myers began her piece: "With an army of
cameras trained on her every move, Linda Tripp stepped out of five months
of seclusion into the frenzy she helped create..."
Explaining how Starr had developed "mounds
of corroboration" for Tripp's allegations, Myers confirmed one
first raised a few months ago: "For example, Tripp told investigators
that last November, while the President and Mexican President Zedillo met
in the Oval Office, Lewinsky said she was next door in the President's
study waiting to have sex with the President. Now NBC News has learned
that White House records confirm Lewinsky did in fact visit the White
House that day, one of 37 visits."
Tim Russert came
aboard next to explain how Tripp's appearance would put pressure on
Lewinsky as Starr could tell her the grand jury is about to indict you so
talk now, and how the House Republican leadership does not want to deal
with any Starr report until after the election.
Over video of
Clinton on the Shanghai radio talk show, Brokaw noted he did not get any
questions about Lewinsky as inquiries dealt with the Asian economy,
Clinton's fitness and what sports he played in college.
One more day for Geraldo in China, one more day to extol Bill Clinton.
Tuesday morning Geraldo Rivera delivered his last report from China for
Today. An excited Rivera recounted his visit an hour earlier with Clinton,
reporting that Clinton said the Dali Lama was "ecstatic" about
progress on the Tibet front and that Clinton was very excited about his
upcoming visit to the "world famous Shanghai Museum." Clinton,
Rivera claimed, also loved a joke he told, but instead of recounting it he
went to an excerpt of his interview with Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright to whom he also told the joke.
Here it is,
Rivera's big joke about Clinton as told to Albright: "I was
thinking if they give him any more airtime he's going to have to
register as a pro-democracy dissident."
Near silence from
proceeded to pose two questions to Albright in the excerpt shown by the
June 30 Today. First, "Wouldn't it be very easy for the Chinese
just to slip back to the pre-Clintonian days where repression was the rule
and the airwaves were once again ruled by the state?"
Huh? Is Rivera in
Shanghai or Shangri-la? Repression is over? The airwaves are not ruled by
the state because they allowed Clinton on for an hour?
President has not merely raised the issue of human rights, he has
trumpeted it from virtually every rooftop in the country and yet he's
not getting cut any slack back home by the critics right or left."
Geraldo must have
some news sources other than NBC News and Today! A review of the database
analysis from the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens shows that since June 22 Today
has yet to feature an interview with a critic, from left or right, of
Clinton's China policy.
Back live with
Matt Lauer after the Albright tape Rivera assured Lauer that when he told
the joke to the Clintons the First Lady "howled and told her husband
he had to use that line."
Is Rivera a
journalist or a White House spinner?
Through what kind of prism do the Washington media see the world? A fairly
obscure item in the June 30 Washington Post offered a telling clue.
Writing a "Style" section compilation of local radio news, Marc
Fisher reported that NPR-affiliate WAMU had decided to replace 12 to 2pm
talk show host Derek McGinty, who left in January for CBS News, with Kojo
Nnamdi of Howard University's PBS TV station. (Actually, there is a
national angle here since an hour of this show is picked up by 40 NPR
affiliates around the country and many also carry Diane Rehm's WAMU-based
show.) Anyway, here's the last paragraph of Fisher's report on
"Nnamdi is a gentle voice on the air, backed
by a quick mind and bracing wit. His TV show, while emphasizing black and
African issues, has been open to all ideological stripes, from the local
chairman of the Communist Party to the conservative Heritage
Now you know why
the Washington media establishment so often labels conservatives as
"extremists" and/or "far-right" while liberals go
unlabeled. If communists and conservatives mark the two sides of your
spectrum then Paul Wellstone and the Children's Defense Fund are smack
in the middle and a conservative is on the extreme end. -- Brent Baker
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