Facilitating Clinton; Shriver Idolizes Hillary; Grodin's Back
1) CBS relayed Judge
Silberman's rebuke as the network tagged him "a conservative
appointed by Reagan." But when a judge condemned Starr last month CBS
didn't bother telling who appointed him.
2) Last year Clinton
asked a photographer, who he thought was a Secret Service agent, to get a
woman's card. In other words, to "facilitate" a liaison.
3) Maria Shriver, filling in
on Today, pushed the anti-Starr line on the Secret Service and took a bus
ride with Hillary Clinton about whom she raved: "a people
person...funny" and "nice."
4) The hottest place in the
U.S. is 11 degrees cooler than it was in 1913, so NBC's story on Death
Valley didn't mention global warming.
5) Charles Grodin is back. Now
he's on NBC and promising his guests will be prisoners and Harvard grads
now on welfare.
Clinton Correction. The
July 15 CyberAlert accurately quoted Hillary Clinton on the Today show
recalling that Thomas Edison once said "Hard work is one percent
inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Several CyberAlert readers
have pointed out that the actual Edison quote is: "Genius is one
percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Makes a lot more
Thursday night CBS led with the La Nina forecast for more extreme weather,
but all the other networks went first with the latest on the court battles
over Secret Service testimony. Judge Laurence Silberman rebuked the
administration's position opposing an independent counsel as a
"constitutional absurdity" and Attorney General Reno for acting
as Clinton's counsel. CBS, FNC and NBC cited both criticisms, ABC the
"absurdity" contention, but CNN raised neither.
CBS emphasized how
Silberman is "a conservative appointed by Reagan," but when a
judge in late June rebuked Ken Starr CBS failed to offer an ideological
tag or note that Clinton nominated him. For the fourth day in a row Dan
Rather claimed Starr is probing Clinton's "personal life."
(The CBS Evening
News concluded with a look at a Flint man on strike against GM and how his
family is struggling financially. Viewers saw him march on the picket line
and heard him explain why the strike is necessary in his mind.
Nonetheless, CBS reporter Frank Currier concluded: "A strike [is] now
as much a financial drain as an emotional test of one family's loyalty
to General Motors."
Houston to CBS: Loyalty to GM? They are on
strike! They have no loyalty.)
Here's a rundown
of Thursday night, July 16 evening show coverage:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Jackie Judd noted that after the appeals court delayed the
Secret Service testimony later in the day it delivered a "crushing
defeat" as the court refused to hear the Clinton appeal. Judd
elaborated: "Not a single judge wanted to take the case. One, Larry
Silberman, a conservative, wrote a scathing opinion. He called it a
'constitutional absurdity' for the government to challenge its own
independent counsel. In doing so, Silberman wrote, 'The President's
agents literally and figuratively 'declared war' on Ken Starr."
Judd then aired a counter soundbite from Mike McCurry.
From the White
House Sam Donaldson reported that agent Cockell had been reassigned and
replaced by the man he had replaced: Brian Stafford. Peter Jennings
suggested to Donaldson that the move helps the White House show that
agents can't do their jobs when distracted.
-- CBS Evening
News. "It's up to the Chief Justice of the United States. Must the
Secret Service tell Ken Starr now what is knows about the President's
personal life?" So Dan Rather asked in teasing the show. After a
story on La Nina, Rather announced:
"Also heating up today the battle over
special prosecutor Ken Starr's demand for Secret Service agents to tell
him what they know about President Clinton's personal life. As CBS News
White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports, the issue has become a
high court cliffhanger."
Scott Pelley ran through what happened with the
appeals court before asserting: "And in a remarkable rebuke, a
federal judge accused the Clinton administration of acting illegally and
dishonorably....In a blistering statement one appeals court judge
essentially accused the White House of obstructing Starr's
investigation. Judge Laurence Silberman, a conservative appointed by
Reagan, called the administration's position a 'constitutional
absurdity.' He accused the Justice Department of shielding Mr. Clinton,
saying 'The Attorney General is, in effect, acting as the President's
counsel under the false guise of representing the United States.'"
Pelley's description of the judge with how Rather characterized a judge
who rebuked Starr. From the June 26 CBS Evening News: "In Washington
a federal judge today bluntly described special prosecutor Ken Starr's
tactics as, and I quote, 'really scary.' It was at a court appearance
for long-time Clinton family friend Web Hubbell. U.S. District Judge James
Robertson's comment came when Starr's team argued that it was proper to
indict Hubbell again on tax charges based on documents Hubbell supplied
under a grant of immunity."
Just a plain old
"federal judge." Rather didn't think it was worth trying to
describe Robertson's ideology or note that he was named to the bench by
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET opened with Bob Franken's report on the back and
forth all day over the Secret Service. Next, CNN allowed John King to
present the White House view though King also uniquely pointed out that he
had learned that Starr's office had assured the Justice Department it
had no intention of asking Secret Service agents about Clinton's
conversations with his lawyer.
Finally, in a third piece CNN aired Bruce Morton
explained why the Secret Service is so convinced that proximity is the key
to presidential safety.
-- FNC's Fox
Report at 7pm ET. David Shuster ran down the key Secret Service
developments and cited Silberman's criticism of both the administration
-- NBC Nightly
News. "For the President's top bodyguard today gave new meaning to
being in the line of fire," Lisa Myers began her top of the show
story. Observing that even Clinton insiders realize Secret Service
testimony is now inevitable, she pointed out that "not a single judge
found the administration's arguments worth hearing" and "one
judge even takes a swipe at Attorney General Janet Reno, accusing her of
improperly acting as the President's counsel."
But, Myers noted that all of the Secret Service
officers subpoenaed say they never saw Lewinsky in a sexual situation with
Up next, Pete Williams explained how the Supreme
Court handles emergencies, a situation which normally arises in death
Discussing Tim Russert's report about how Starr is looking into the
possibility Secret Service agents may have 'facilitated' sexual
liaisons for Clinton, Rush Limbaugh yesterday recalled an incident
recounted in the July, 1997 Washingtonian magazine. Here's that story as
run in CyberAlert last summer:
magazine's "Capital Comment" section a story headlined
"Don't Get Between Bill and a Babe" on how "a Newsweek
contract photographer has learned a little of what it must be like to work
for Bill Clinton." The monthly offered an illuminating illustration:
"Larry Downing, who was shooting for the
White House Correspondents' Association at its annual dinner, had an
unexpected run-in with the President.
"During the event, Clinton was talking to an
attractive woman across the roped-off buffer area. Photographers work in
that area, between the dais and the main ballroom.
"Downing was wearing one of those lapel pins
the Secret Service hands out to give freer access. Clinton pointed at
Downing and asked him to get a business card from the woman.
"'Yes, sir,' Downing said. The President
seemed to assume that Downing worked for him because of the pin and
because Downing looked familiar from covering the White House for
"Photographers who saw the incident said
Downing took the card from the woman and, because the Secret Service
doesn't want anyone handing anything directly to the President, showed it
to a nearby agent -- who looked at it and handed it back to Downing to
give to Clinton.
"A look of anger crossed Clinton's face. He
snapped to Downing: 'You don't have to ask for permission when I tell you
to do something. This is my life, and nobody's going to tell me what to
Clinton expected unquestioned facilitation from Secret Service agents.
Maria Shriver proved again Thursday morning that she is much more a
liberal advocate than any kind of journalist. Filling in for Katie Couric
on Today she handled two of the show's big first hour interviews: a
discussion about Secret Service testimony and another round with Hillary
Clinton whom she had interviewed on Tuesday morning. In each, she posed
questions a liberal would ask, even gushing over Hillary's niceness as
"a people person," and failed to pose a single question from the
right. After her talk with Mrs. Clinton Matt Lauer interviewed a liberal
historian about the First Lady's legacy. Lauer stuck to admiring
questions, making for a Today show liberal interview trilogy. New MRC news
analyst Mark Drake transcribed the questions run below.
The July 16 Today
started with Lauer talking with Tim Russert. Then Shriver handled the
segment with former Secret Service agent Chuck Vance, who opposes
testimony, and GWU law professor Jonathan Turley who does not believe
agents should have a special privilege. Every court and judge so far
through several appeals have affirmed the duty of the officers to answer a
grand jury's questions, but Shriver portrayed Starr and Turley as the
ones out of sync. Here are her questions/arguments:
-- "Mr. Vance, let me begin with you. You
are a former Secret Service agent. Has Ken Starr overstepped his bounds?
Is this a fishing expedition?"
-- "Mr. Turley, let me ask you. Many people
are outraged. Some do call it a fishing expedition. Yet, you have a filed
a brief on behalf of four former U.S. attorney generals supporting Mr.
Starr's position. Why is that?"
-- To Turley: "Well, I think some of the
criticism that you're hearing is certainly because former Presidents,
other members who have been in the Secret Service, even current members
are saying that this is way out of bounds, that it could endanger the life
of the President, would ruin a trusted relationship. Why don't you think
the court agreed with the former Presidents?" (Turley countered that
only Bush takes that stand. Carter and Ford support Secret Service
-- "Mr. Vance, I would take that you
disagree with Mr. Turley, that you think that, in fact, they should enjoy
some kind of special privilege?"
-- To Vance: "If they have to go in and
testify now, will that trust be forever broken? Will the relationship be
Today dropped the
7:30 news update so they could get right to Shriver's tribute to Hillary
Clinton. For Tuesday's interview from the Thomas Edison site I was
willing to cut Today some slack since they were showcasing a "good
works" project advocated by the First Lady -- her fundraising to help
restore historical sites. But Thursday morning, while Shriver introduced
her interview by showing clips from Hillary Clinton's stops on her
National Treasures Tour, her interview focused on personal and political
matters, not the good works project.
Shriver's "questions" to Hillary Rodham Clinton in an
interview taped on a bus:
-- "Four states, ten or eleven stops. Four
days. This is a real commitment for you. What do you get out of that? It
is exhausting it seems to me." (Answer: Loves meeting people.)
-- "Do you feel physically, emotionally,
spiritually different when you get out of Washington, get on the
road?" (Answer: Yes.)
-- "You and I spoke right at the beginning
of this second term. Now, with two years left, is it something you look
forward to? Do you get out there and say 'I want to keep going out, I
want to meet people, I have more stuff I want to do,' or do you look and
go 'Oh, my God, two more years!'?" (Answer: Wish there were more
time left since I love meeting people.) [See the fax report cited at the
top of this issue for more on Shriver's 1996 interview.]
-- "There's so much speculation now about
what you're going to do. What Hillary Clinton's life is going to be
after the presidency. Do you find that takes away from what you're going
to do, or do you just like slough it off and pay no attention?"
-- "I've talked to several people and they
came up and said 'She's so different than I thought she would be.
She's so much more of a people person. She's funny, she's nice.'
Do you think that, like, people don't get you? I mean you get out there
and people see a different side of you."
penetrating set of questions, Matt Lauer discussed her legacy with
historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, a former aide to Lyndon Johnson. When
Goodwin suggested that Mrs. Clinton could do anything from become
Secretary of State or UN Ambassador to care for poor children to go the
lecture circuit, but then again she may not want to remain public, Lauer
"Yeah. Yeah. It's tough to imagine she
would want to stay too much in the public spotlight because that public
spotlight has burned her on several occasions over these past six
next wondered: "Let me just go back to something you said about
possible public office. How desirable or how appealing a candidate do you
think she would be?" Goodwin suggested "women would like it,
this strong-minded, intellectually strong person to go forward," but
she probably won't. Lauer countered: "But I mean if not now? I mean
after six years of taking a lot of knocks, at this particular time, her
popularity is at an all time high." Goodwin also admired Mrs.
Clinton's success, contending: "There's something strange about
the fact that when somebody seems to be struggling, as she has with
dignity through difficult circumstances, some of that earlier seeming
arrogance has been undone and everybody seems to love her now."
NBC News certainly
The ABC and NBC evening shows on July 14 ran pieces on how the Southern
heat wave is evidence of global warming. But it is not getting warmer
everywhere. The next night NBC's George Lewis went to Death Valley
National Park in California which is experiencing a boom in tourists from
Europe despite offering the highest temperatures in North America. Lewis
concluded his NBC Nightly News story:
"Today the temperature in Death Valley
topped out at 123 degrees. If it's any comfort, that's still below the
record high of 134 degrees set in 1913."
Since then the
Earth has experienced 75 years of man's fossil fuel burning onslaught,
yet no record highs in the hottest place. No wonder the words "global
warming" were not uttered by Lewis.
Actor turned pontificator Charles Grodin is back. Just a few weeks after
CNBC dropped his weeknight show, companion network MSNBC has added him to
its line-up. His new weekend show starts tomorrow, Saturday night at 8pm
ET, though I assume it will repeat several times as does everything else
on MSNBC. And if you tune in who will you see? Grodin told the July 15 USA
Today: "I'll put people on who you don't see on TV. People in
prison who shouldn't be there. People in soup kitchens. People on
welfare with degrees from Harvard."
Sounds like a show
you won't want to miss. -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
readers and subscribers:
>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a
blank e-mail to:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to email@example.com."
After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply
hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been
added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page
link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO
NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by
subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday
afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: email@example.com.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe