Reno Doing Her Job; A Goose Almost Cost Clinton Big Hollywood $; More Top Ten
1) Every networks but CBS had
a unique bit of info on Lewinsky: FNC reported that she didn't write the
talking points, NBC that Lewinsky not at White House during many visits.
CBS's Dan Rather emphasized how Lewinsky "was rehearsed for
days" by Starr's team.
2) "Reno is doing behind
the scenes exactly what she says publicly: seriously reviewing the
matter," insisted NBC's Claire Shipman on an independent counsel
3) Wednesday night Dan Rather
again contended that Starr is probing Clinton's "personal
life;" Rather stressed the "cost to taxpayers" amassed by
4) Baldwin and Basinger almost
canceled their Clinton fundraiser when they learned goose was on the menu.
Another actor declared that the U.S. no longer needs bullets to
assassinate its Presidents -- it has CNN.
5) Letterman's "Top Ten
Words You're Most Likely to Hear in Monica Lewinsky's Testimony."
Plus, extra entries for the "Top Ten Clinton Nicknames or Ben and
Monica Lewinsky's grand jury appearance led every network Thursday night
with FNC and CNN devoting half their hour-long newscasts to her testimony
and its fallout. Every network but NBC showed how immediately after
Clinton spoke at a White House event the Marine Band started playing and
thus drowned out questions. All the networks ran the soundbite of Lewinsky
spokeswoman Judy Smith announcing that "she answered each question
truthfully, completely and honestly."
Every network but
CBS delivered a unique bit of news on the Monica front. ABC's Sam
Donaldson relayed that Harry Thomasson will coach Clinton for any TV
address. CNN's Wolf Blitzer highlighted how his sources claim Lewinsky
testified that Clinton did not consider the kind of sex they had to
constitute "sexual relations." FNC's David Shuster informed
viewers that testimony will show that Lewinsky did not write the talking
points. He added that investigators think Bruce Lindsey was involved.
NBC's Lisa Myers reported that Lewinsky conceded Betty Currie was not at
the White House during several of her 37 visits.
Here's a run
down of Thursday evening, August 6 coverage of Monicagate:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight went right to Jackie Judd, who asserted:
"Lewinsky said on one tape, 'I have lied
my entire life.' And sources tell ABC News she was prepared to say she
was lying seven months ago when she denied under oath having sexual
relations with President Clinton. But her credibility is not as much an
issue before the grand jury as it would be in a criminal trial or at a
congressional hearing because here the prosecutor runs the show."
Next, from the
White House Sam Donaldson reported how the Clinton team used a band to
"The President and his aides, nervous though
they surely are about the Lewinsky testimony, went to great lengths today
to make it appear it was business as usual here without a care in the
world. But they made certain the President did not have to entertain
questions on the matter. The President appeared in the Rose Garden to
support extension of a key provision of the Brady gun control bill.
However, when the event was over, he quickly signaled the Marine Band to
play away. So much for hearing any shouted questions from the press
Donaldson uniquely added that the White House
pulled the same stunt later after a speech at a hotel to a Native American
group. As soon as Clinton finished drummers from a tribe began pounding
Discussing the day
with anchor Charles Gibson, Donaldson informed viewers: "We've
learned, and it's worth noting that, the President's Hollywood
producer friend Harry Thomasson, who often advises Mr. Clinton on public
relations, plans a trip to Washington soon."
Gibson: "Which means?"
Donaldson: "Well which means that if the
President does decide to address the nation Mr. Thomasson could help
advise him as he did on the famous 'I have had no sexual relationships
with that woman Ms. Lewinsky' statement."
-- CBS Evening News. Scott Pelley ran through
Lewinsky's day and how she was expected to confirm a sexual
relationship, say Clinton and she discussed denying affair and testify
that Clinton suggested she get rid of gifts after they were subpoenaed.
Next, Bill Plante
focused on how the White House says it's business as usual but, Plante
countered, "every presidential event is carefully scripted to avoid
any opportunity for questions. As he finished up a gun control event today
Mr. Clinton looked over and seemed to signal the Marine Band to lay down
some musical cover."
Plante did allow New York Democratic Congressman
Charles Schumer to announce the pro-Clinton spin of how Clinton is
"focused on what matters to the American people."
After Plante, Dan
Rather cautioned as he led into a brief discussion with Kristin
Jeannette-Myers: "As for today's testimony by Monica Lewinsky, keep
in mind we don't know for a fact what she said. We have been told some
of what she said. You may also want to keep in mind that she was rehearsed
for days by Starr's prosecution team."
-- CNN's The World Today opened with Wolf
Blitzer delivering unique information for the night about how Lewinsky
testified that Clinton maintained that the type of sex they had did not
fit the definition of "sexual relations." Blitzer revealed:
"CNN has learned specifics of what Monica
Lewinsky told the grand jury, and those graphic details given under oath
directly contradict the President. Two sources familiar with her testimony
say she stuck to her story, that beginning in November 1995, she had only
a certain kind of sex with the President, more than a dozen times over 18
months, including in his private study off the Oval Office. Then he told
her the kind of sex they had, in his mind, did not amount to, quote,
'sexual relations,' providing him with deniability; that they
discussed hypothetical ways to conceal their relationship, but that the
President never directly told her to lie under oath."
Next, Bob Franken
went through Lewinsky's day at the courthouse, followed by John King at
the White House on how Clinton used the Marine Band to block questions.
King's story also featured soundbites from Al Gore on how people are
happy with Clinton and from Dick Gephardt on how only the media are
obsessed with the case. Anchor Jim Moret then played a montage of video
clips from reporters and talked about Clinton's situation with Jeff
Greenfield who asserted that if Clinton's allies waiver, then he's in
Next, CNN ran a
mini-Burden of Proof with Greta Van Susteren and Roger Cossack
interviewing two guests. Finally, Susan Candiotti looked at Monica's
new, "more refined image."
-- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET opened with David
Shuster live from the courthouse. He uniquely relayed how, in the end,
we'll learn that neither Lewinsky or Tripp wrote that talking points and
Bruce Lindsey may well have:
"Fox News has learned Lewinsky has followed
through on the proffer she submitted to investigators and described sex
acts with the President and conversations late last year when Mr. Clinton
allegedly discussed how she could cover it up. Investigation sources also
tell Fox News Lewinsky's courthouse testimony, when it is finally
released, will support the notion that the language in the so-called
talking points memo did not come from her or Linda Tripp....Sources tell
Fox News investigators are convinced Clinton adviser Bruce Lindsey was
involved in the origins of this key piece of evidence..."
From up the street
at the White House Jim Angle zoomed in on how "in a Rose Garden
ceremony President Clinton joined police officers in calling for an
extension of the five day waiting period for gun purchases which was due
to expire this November. There will be even a longer waiting period before
the President says anything about Monica Lewinsky or her testimony. The
President pretends not to hear these days, helped in this instance by the
In another unique angle from FNC Thursday night
Angle picked up on the story of John Sullivan, a Democratic candidate for
Mayor of Indianapolis in 1996. He can be seen standing next to Lewinsky in
the new video of Clinton hugging Lewinsky at an October 1996 fundraiser.
Angle recounted how event organizers asked him to keep an eye on her
because, he was told, she might be disgruntled because of her transfer to
the Pentagon. That, Angle suggested, shows many in the Clinton circle were
well aware of Lewinsky as a possible problem.
The rest of
FNC's first half hour included a piece on how Lewinsky can make money on
her story as she's already been offered $1 million by The Star and a
heated roundtable argument amongst C. Boyden Gray, Eleanor Clift, Ellen
Ratner and Alan Keyes.
-- NBC Nightly News. Lisa Myers noted that
Clinton did not tell her to lie "but did suggest ways to cover up the
relationship. One example: Saying she was a friend of presidential
secretary Betty Currie, not of the President, which is exactly what the
President said in his deposition. But NBC News has learned that Lewinsky
now has told prosecutors that Currie was not even there during some of her
37 visits to the White House..."
Myers later added: "Friends say Lewinsky is
still fond of the President and worries that her testimony might hurt
Too late now.
After a piece on
the Reno/Burton battle (se item #2), Tom Brokaw asked Tim Russert whether
the White House will learn before August 17 what Lewinsky told the grand
jury. Eventually they will, Russert decided, but observed: "It is
eery today. If information is power, this is an impotent city. No one
knows anything. It's like election day without the exit polls."
Later, for the In
Depth segment Jack Ford explained what Monica probably went through inside
the grand jury room and Pete Williams examined the role of and how a grand
Every network but ABC, which held itself to a brief update, ran a full
report Thursday night on the House committee vote to hold Attorney General
Reno in contempt for not turning over subpoenaed memos, from FBI Director
and the chief fundraising investigator, urging the appointment of an
Shipman spun the facts on Nightly News to put Reno in the best possible
"Even as frustrated Republicans on Capitol
Hill took the extraordinary step of voting to cite the Attorney General
for contempt of Congress, NBC News has learned that Janet Reno has started
a formal 30 day review period to consider the appointment of an
independent counsel. There have been review periods before, but what this
means is that Reno is doing behind the scenes exactly what she says
publicly: seriously reviewing the matter. It also means she has new
evidence to consider..."
CBS Evening News
anchor Dan Rather announced: "On another front of the White House
under fire, the bitter partisan fight over demands for another special
prosecutor to investigate Clinton-Gore campaign fundraising erupted today
on Capitol Hill. On a straight party line vote Republicans on a House
committee voted to seek a contempt citation against the Attorney General
of the United States Janet Reno."
Bob Schieffer ran
a clip of Republican Congressman Mark Souder complaining about
"serious potential corruption of our government" before warning:
"It got so bad at one point a Democrat suggested Republican committee
Chairman Burton had gone mad."
Tom Lantos charged: "What is clear is that
Burton should wipe away the froth around his mouth and stop demanding
information he has no right to."
Cameron let viewers hear soundbites from both sides, but only Cameron
allowed a Republican, Bob Barr, to note that they want any sensitive
portions of the memos redacted before they are released. Following a clip
of Henry Waxman accusing Burton of intimidation tactics against Reno,
Cameron concluded by uniquely pointing out how Reno is breaking her own
"Republicans deny intimidation tactics. They
blame Reno and say she's brought this on herself by violating the
Justice Department's own rules which say all congressional subpoenas
must be honored unless the President claims executive privilege."
The networks Wednesday night all ran stories previewing Lewinsky's
testimony, noting the grand jury appearance by former Deputy Chief of
Staff Harold Ickes and at least ABC, CBS and CNN checked in on Clinton's
reception on Capitol Hill where he traveled to meet Democrats. On ABC's
World News Tonight Linda Douglass observed that though Democrats in public
insisted the scandal does not have any impact, in private they offer
another view: "One said it was like seeing someone with a big piece
of spinach in his teeth. You're just too embarrassed to bring it
Dan Rather, once
again, claimed Ken Starr is probing Clinton's "personal life"
and Rather highlighted "the cost to taxpayers" of the Starr
Rather opened the
August 5 CBS Evening News, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Good evening. More people close to
President Clinton became witnesses today in special prosecutor Ken
Starr's push for testimony about the President's personal life. Among
them, five U.S. Secret Service employees and a former White House Deputy
Chief of Staff. And as CBS White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports,
all is set for possible testimony tomorrow by Monica Lewinsky, flipped by
Starr from prosecution target to key prosecution witness."
Schieffer's story on Clinton's supportive Capitol Hill reception,
Rather declared: "Today marks the end of four years of the Ken Starr
investigation, and still counting. Cost to taxpayers so far: 40 million
dollars, and counting."
Duck, duck, goose! Following up on the Hamptons fundraising headlined by
Bill Clinton last weekend the New York Post reported Thursday that Alec
Baldwin and Kim Basinger, who are active in PETA, threatened to cancel the
event at their home if goose liver remained on the menu. Meanwhile,
another Post reporter relayed how actor Donald Sutherland compared Ken
Starr's tactics to McCarythism.
Hamptons news. From "Page Six" in the August 6 New York Post:
"Animal rights activists Kim Basinger and
Alec Baldwin were prepared to cancel the fundraiser they hosted last
Saturday for President Clinton when they learned foie gras was on the
"Foie gras, French for 'fat liver,'
comes from ducks and geese that have been force-fed to enlarge their
livers. Animal-lovers like Basinger consider it torture and would just as
soon serve their guests the hind leg of a pet beagle.
"The menu, catered by 24 restaurants in the
Hamptons, was published hours before the Clintons were scheduled to
arrive. Baldwin and Basinger -- both members of People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals -- immediately demanded it be removed.
"PETA President Ingrid Newkirk told PAGE SIX
what happened next: 'I spoke to Alec about this and he told me that when
he found out about the foie gras, he was very upset about it. 'He called
someone very high up -- very high up -- in the DNC and said, 'can you
imagine...can you imagine what it feels like to have a metal pipe shoved
down your throat?'
"'He was adamant about it. He asked for
the foie gras to be pulled from the menu -- and it was pulled. The foie
gras was not served.'"....
"However, it seems unlikely that the lives
of any ducks were saved, and the palates of the President and his wealthy
pals were not entirely deprived of foie gras. The delicacy was reportedly
served at the $25,000-a-couple bash thrown by investment banker Bruce
Wasserstein the night before the Baldwin fundraiser."
So, Clinton can do
and say anything, but if Monica Lewinsky were to reveal that Bill Clinton
enjoyed a little foie gras after their sex sessions that would end
Hollywood's support for Clinton.
York Post columnist Neal Travis passed along this summary of how a film
star denounces Ken Starr and the whole Monicagate matter in an upcoming
"Beleaguered Bill Clinton still has the
support of the Hollywood crowd. Donald Sutherland, for example, compares
the President's troubles with Kenneth Starr to McCarthyism and thinks the
whole Monica affair is 'pathetic to watch.'"
interviewed for the September issue of Premiere, says he is still hugely
'up' on Clinton. 'You have the lowest interest rate, an economy
that's going like crazy, a low unemployment rate,' he says. 'So the
idea that you could have a coup d'etat because of a sex act is beyond my
"Sutherland notes that in Paris, a French
journalist told him that America no longer needs bullets to assassinate
its Presidents -- it has CNN. 'This used to be the land of
opportunity,' Sutherland adds. 'Now it's the land of
Today, a special CyberAlert bonus. A Top Ten list, plus "extra"
items from two Top Ten lists. First, from the August 6 Late Show with
David Letterman, the "Top Ten Words You're Most Likely to Hear in
Monica Lewinsky's Testimony." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
2. "Hillary" (Oh, sorry, that's a word you're least likely to
From the Late Show
Web page, some of the "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into
the Top Ten."
-- "Pocket Veto"
-- "Little Bubba"
-- "Dry cleaning"
And now, for the
bonus round, my favorites from "the extra jokes that didn't quite
make it into the Top Ten" from the Tuesday night list, the "Top
Ten Clinton Nicknames or Ben and Jerry Flavors." (See the August 5
CyberAlert for the ten which aired.)
-- Subpoena Colada
-- Horny Bubba Crunch
-- Subpoena Butter Cup
-- Peppermint Fattie
-- Captain Cream
-- Tubby Bubba
-- Hillary Chiller
-- Fundraising Coffee
-- Oval Office Surprise
-- Hyperactive Nuts
I just figured out
how to get around the cbs.com top of the page frame that makes it
difficult to know the address of the page you are on and thereby forces
you to jump link to link to get where you want instead of going directly
there. When you first go the CBS Web page you are asked for your zip code
so they can display a permanent frame with the local CBS station's logo
and links. Even if you don't enter one the cbs.com format still displays
a frame bar. To avoid this, instead of going to www.cbs.com, go to:
http://marketing.cbs.com. For CBS News, try http://marketing.cbs.com/news/
For Letterman's page, go to: http://marketing.cbs.com/lateshow/ And the
direct address for the latest Top Ten: http://marketing.cbs.com/lateshow/topten/
That's my Web
tip of the day. -- Brent Baker
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