Clinton Shouldn't Talk; More Nina: Kneepads for All Women
*** Item #3 today has been
rated TV-MA by the CyberAlert Content Review Board. It contains slang
terminology for oral sex. ***
1) Wednesday night Tim Russert
clarified his "facilitated" report; Dan Rather again claimed
Starr is probing Clinton's "personal life;" only FNC noted
that four AG's say SS agents should talk.
2) Clinton has "no
obligation" to keep his promise to answer questions about Lewinsky
and it's "nuts" to believe Lucianne Goldberg, U.S. News
reporter Matthew Miller declared.
3) More from Nina Burleigh.
She fills in the [oral sex] bracket, urges all women to break out their
kneepads for Clinton and boasts that she "will frame and cherish
forever," the MRC's press release on her.
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Correction: The name of
the Secret Service agent subpoenaed was misspelled in the July 15
CyberAlert as Larry Cockrell. It is Cockell.
HMO "horror stories" from a Senate hearing topped the ABC and
CBS evening shows on Wednesday night, July 15. Will part or all of reform
plans pass? Bob Schieffer told CBS Evening News viewers: "It is a
long shot to be sure, but this is an election year and the politicians are
discovering people hate HMOs even more than they hate the IRS."
The Secret Service
showdown led on CNN and NBC while FNC uniquely considered opening
statements in the cadet murder trial in Texas to be the day's lead
story. ABC and CNN relayed angry White House reaction to the charge
conveyed by Tim Russert on Wednesday's Today show that sources close to
Starr suggest Secret Service officers may have 'facilitated'
Clinton's sexual liaisons. Russert appeared on the NBC Nightly News to
clarify his report. ABC and FNC showed a quick clip of Senator Hatch and
Attorney General Reno at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing while CNN
delivered a full story, but CBS and NBC skipped her appearance to explain
her resistance to an independent counsel to investigate foreign money and
why she insists upon appealing the Secret Service rulings. Dan Rather, for
the third night in a row, insisted Starr is probing Clinton's
Here's how the
Wednesday night, July 15 evening shows handled the Secret Service story
and Reno's appearance:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Sam Donaldson explained how Justice was still hoping to get
a federal judge to halt the Thursday testimony by Secret Service officers.
Agent Larry Cockell, Donaldson noted, was in the limo when Clinton went to
the deposition for Paula Jones and afterward he rode back with Clinton and
attorney Bob Bennett. Donaldson played a clip of McCurry claiming Starr is
making a backdoor attempt to circumvent attorney-client privilege by
demanding that Cockell tell what Clinton and Bennett said.
Donaldson picked up: "Press Secretary
McCurry also expressed his outrage about a report which said people close
to Starr believed Secret Service agents perhaps 'facilitated'
"Sneering at the President of the United States is common sport here
in Washington now and that's life but the Secret Service agents should
not be slimed by Ken Starr and his operatives."
"Later the report was amended to say the sources were on Capitol
Hill, but it gave McCurry a chance once again to beat the independent
counsel over the head for alleged improper leaking."
On Capitol Hill, Donaldson observed before
soundbite from Hatch and Reno, Republicans complained that the appeals are
a stalling tactic. Donaldson concluded:
"The administration says what's at stake
in this fight over the Secret Service is the physical safety of
Presidents. The independent counsel says what's at stake is vital
testimony in a criminal case. But in the end, Peter, what's at stake for
Bill Clinton could well be a demonstration of his innocence or guilt over
-- CBS Evening
News. For the third night in a row Dan Rather followed the White House
script, claiming Starr is digging into Clinton's "personal
life." Rather announced:
"More fast breaking developments on special
prosecutor Ken Starr's new push to get the top Secret Service man
closest to the President to tell him what he knows about the President's
Scott Pelley explained efforts to get an
emergency ruling to prevent Thursday testimony, though a judge earlier
Wednesday had refused to quash the subpoenas. Six uniformed officers have
already been interviewed by Starr's staff, Pelley noted before asserting
that "sealed court records reviewed by CBS News show that the
officers refused to answer some questions including whether anyone, quote
'witnessed the President in a romantic situation...with someone other
than Hillary Rodham Clinton.' Before the grand jury the officers would
be compelled to answer."
-- CNN's The
World Today led with the latest on the Secret Service showdown from Bob
Franken followed by a piece from John King with White House reaction and
complaints the calling of Cockell is proof Starr is "out of
control" and that the subpoena of records showing Clinton's
whereabouts is just a "fishing expedition." Finally, Pierre
Thomas provided a full rundown of Reno's Senate appearance with
soundbites from both Republicans questioning her as well as from Democrats
-- FNC's 7pm ET
Fox Report. David Shuster began by looking at the scramble to get the
Secret Service out of testifying. After showing a clip of Reno denying she
is trying to delay Starr, Shuster uniquely told viewers about what some
top law enforcement officials believe:
"But patience is clearly running out at the
courthouse and four former attorneys general, including Ed Meese, say they
support the new request for testimony from a Clinton bodyguard."
Meese: "The fact that a person is assigned
to protection of the President or anyone else does not make them any less
a law enforcement officer who has a dual responsibility, in addition to
whatever else assignments, to uphold the law."
-- NBC Nightly
News began with Claire Shipman on how a judge ruled Wednesday against
delaying the Thursday appearance before the grand jury by the Secret
Service officers. Getting to White House outrage over Russert's report,
"And at the White House, the press secretary
who normally avoids comment on the investigation, unleashes a bitter
attack on Starr and his efforts to force Secret Service testimony."
McCurry: "Secret Service agents who protect
the President of the United States with their lives are dedicated, serious
professionals and they should not be slimed by Ken Starr and his
Shipman: "McCurry was specifically referring
to a report on NBC that came from congressional sources close to the
investigation. That report said Starr is investigating whether Secret
Service agents may have actually quote, 'facilitated' the
President's alleged relationship with Lewinsky. Starr's office
adamantly denied leaking any information about the Secret Service to
Next, from the
White House lawn, Tim Russert told Brokaw Starr is calling in the officers
because "he wants to drive a stake at the heart of the relationship
between the Secret Service and the President..."
Asked to clarify his Today item, Russert
explained: "Members of Congress have been talking to investigators,
lawyers associated with the grand jury, people who are free to talk and
they are coming to some conclusions that perhaps Secret Service agents may
have been quote, 'facilitating,' we don't know whether that's
Republican spin, partisan spin, ideological spin or there's a germ of
evidence. Ken Starr is determined to find out and it has caused deep
concerns at the White House and within the Secret Service, men and women
who put their lives on the line everyday for the President."
"Perhaps" agents "may have" been doing something but
it may just be "spin" from any one of three angles. If Matt
Drudge promoted such an item the journalistic establishment would be all
Just like Dan Rather, U.S. News & World Report economics reporter
Matthew Miller believes Ken Starr's inquiry into perjury and obstruction
of justice can be dismissed as a probe of his "personal life"
which Clinton should not have to answer for. As for Lucianne Goldberg,
Millers considers her a less than reliable source.
relevant exchanges between Miller on Chris Matthews as caught by MRC news
analyst Geoffrey Dickens on the July 14 Hardball on CNBC.
"Do you think it is surprising that anything else would have happened
if the President after six months has refused to tell us what happened.
After having promised us he would. He promised he would. He didn't have
to promise but he said, 'I'm going to give you more rather than less,
sooner rather than later,' and henceforth from that there wasn't a
peep out of him."
Miller: "I know that you sincerely hang a
lot on that presidential statement. I guess I don't think it's the
President's obligation to tell us about his personal life like
I'm not saying that Ken Starr is a zealot or somehow a you know, a weird
guy who is hellbent just on getting the President. I think Starr is an
honorable man who has lost his perspective. Which can happen, it's an
occupational hazard for independent counsels when they are set after a
person instead of after a crime. And I think as Starr gets closer to the
prospect of having to indict a young woman, Monica Lewinsky, for the
purpose of trying to get to a President, again all over concealing an
affair, he himself will realize that there are better courses to..."
Matthews: "It's not all over
concealing....No, that's a misstatement Matt because the evidence now,
and every evidence we have, we don't have complete evidence, the
evidence is that these tapes show Monica Lewinsky describing an effort to
suborn her perjury in the matter of Kathleen Willey, a sexual harassment
case mattered not a matter involving her and the President. You guys keep
saying it the same way. This is the lingo but it's not true."
Miller: "You're relying on Lucianne
Goldberg as your authority. That's nuts!"
Breakout the kneepads, Nina's on the way! [If discussion or oral
sex offends you, read no further. This is the last CyberAlert item today.]
Burleigh, the Time contributor and former Time reporter who recounted in
Mirabella magazine her encounter with Clinton on Air Force One and how
much she wished to be "ravished" by him? Called about the
article by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, he quoted her as
proclaiming of Clinton: "I'd be happy to give him [oral sex] just
to thank him for keeping abortion legal." See
the July 7 CyberAlert for details.
Well, now she's
filled in what word she really used in the spot the Post bracketed and
revealed her next sentence to Kurtz, that he did not share with readers,
in which she praised Clinton for "keeping the theocracy off our
backs." Sounds like a hit at the Christian Right. But at least she
admits that she's not unbiased. It's all in the just-released July 20
edition of the New York Observer, the orange-tinted weekly broadsheet. The
MRC's Tim Graham alerted me her opinion piece, "My Spin Through the
Cycle," relating her experience at becoming a mini-celebrity over her
comments. She's even quite proud to have been denounced by MRC Chairman
L. Brent Bozell.
While the paper
has a Web site (www.observer.com), the text of articles is available only
through AOL. Key word: NYO. Here's an excerpt of the most illuminating
portion of her 1,300 word piece. We pick up with her reciting the call
from Kurtz a few days after Mirabella hit newsstands:
Mr. Kurtz rang. "I hear you wrote an
article about your legs," he opened, with a small snicker. "Have
you read the piece?" I asked. He admitted he had not, but planned to
do so and would call me back.
I started feeling queasy. I pointed out to
Howard that American jets had bombed an Iraqi radar station in southern
Iraq that morning. He was undeterred.
When he called back, I decided my only
defense would be to give him a quote that would knock his socks off. I
also wanted to test the Post's new "sizzle" -- the paper's
post-We Broke the Lewinsky Story advertising hook. So when Howard asked
whether I could still objectively cover the President, having found him so
attractive, I replied, "I would be happy to give him a blowjob just
to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be
lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for
keeping the theocracy off our backs."
I recognized Howard's visceral response
to my words by his sudden intake of breath and the spurt of pounding
fingers of keyboard. I'd never been on that side of a good quote before.
It was better than sex!
For days afterward, I wondered whether he
would have the guts to run the quote. After all, sizzle does not equal
pornography. Lo and behold, on Monday, he printed it, to the enormous
hilarity of my girlfriends in Washington and the horror of my former
colleagues at Time. He sanitized "blowjob" only slightly by
putting "oral sex" in brackets, and noted that it is
"unusual for a journalist" to express such an opinion.
Many are the dinner discussions I've had
with pious Washington Post reporters that ended in screaming matches about
reportorial objectivity. More than any other journalists I've met, Post
reporters like Mr. Kurtz hold fast to the notion that they are personally
capable of what I consider to be only a Platonic ideal. I refuse to
believe that any human being is capable of the kind of androidlike
unbiased observational qualities that Post reporters say they possess.
I think they are secretly a little envious
of those of us who do say what we think. I mean, who wouldn't covet
becoming the subject of a Brent Bozell press release in Washington? Brent
Bozell is the director of Media Research Center, a right-wing media
watchdog group always looking for left-wing leanings among the
scrupulously middle-of-the-road Washington press corps. He wrote me up on
Tuesday in a mass fax I will frame and cherish forever. "Nina
Burleigh's comment that she would give [oral sex] to the President to
thank him for keeping abortion legal is an apt metaphor for the way the
liberal media has treated Clinton."
Come on, Brent, it's our patriotic duty!
Definitely a novel
definition of patriotism. -- Brent Baker
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