Hillary the Clueless; Everyone Lies but Clinton Just Got Caught
1) Hillary Clinton really
didn't know about Lewinsky, insisted Newsweek's Evan Thomas and
Gannett's Deborah Mathis.
2) NBC reported that Ken Starr
is pursuing an "abuse of power" theory and in an In Depth piece
NBC portrayed Clinton as a victim in a society in which everyone lies.
Only CNN ran a full story on the 2000 census sampling ruling, but pushed
3) With CNN and CBS in the
lead, the networks delivered some evidence that the Sudanese plant did
really make chemical agents.
4) The smaller the market the
less important local TV news directors find the Lewinsky story, a poll
Two Washington reporters really seem to believe that the First Lady, whom
we've been told is the smartest women in America, did not believe the
stories about her husband and Monica Lewinsky. MRC news analyst Jessica
Anderson caught this exchange on Inside Washington from over the weekend:
Evan Thomas, Newsweek: "You know, I couldn't believe it when I
first read that she didn't hear about it 'til Thursday. It seemed
improbable to me because she's so smart and because she's been here
before. But I am beginning to believe it now. I mean, our reporting
indicates that she, it sounds implausible, but marriages are complicated
things and she may have just willfully decided she didn't need to hear
it straight from Clinton and Clinton may have held out to the last minute
before telling her."
Deborah Mathis, Gannett News Service: "Yeah,
I think that, you know, she, when she first heard this, she probably
thought, Oh, boy, could it be true? And as the evidence and the testimony
developed, she thought, Oh, this very well may be true, but not until she
heard it from his mouth, and that was the first time she may have heard
it, was the weekend prior to his confession, that she absolutely knew it
was true. I think she is honestly devastated. She looks heavy to me, but
not bowed, which I think is important. And I think that she's showing
some uber-feminism here."
I have a better
explanation: if she managed to dismiss seven months of news stories as
part of some grand right-wing conspiracy then maybe she's even more
paranoid about people "out to get" her and her husband than we
Hurricane Bonnie, soon to make landfall along the Atlantic shore, topped
the CBS, FNC and NBC evening shows Monday night. ABC went first with
flooding in Texas followed by the hurricane. CNN began with its exclusive
that Clinton plans to address the Lewinsky matter again. The federal
appeals court decision throwing out the Clinton plan to use statistical
sampling for the 2000 census was skipped by ABC, CBS and NBC. FNC gave it
a brief mention while it generated a full story on CNN which approached it
from the liberal side, concentrating how it will supposedly mean Latinos
will not have fair representation.
On the Monicagate
front, ABC speculated about the likelihood of a censure vote, CBS held
coverage to a few seconds of anchor Ed Bradley saying Speaker Newt
Gingrich said he is not interested in rushing to impeachment for one
personal lapse as he wants to see a pattern of abuse before launching
hearings and Ed Bradley showed clips of Bill and Hillary making separate
lunch sojourns on Martha's Vineyard. Gingrich's comments prompted
stories on CNN and FNC. CNN highlighted a poll showing Dole would still
lose today and FNC looked at possible Clinton defense strategies.
intrepid Lisa Myers added any fresh news, reporting that Ken Starr is
pursuing an "abuse of power" theory. Then NBC's Fred Francis
portrayed Clinton's only offense as getting caught since everybody lies:
"To tell the truth, we all lie. Some small fibs, some tall tales and
some, like the President, get caught."
from the Monday, August 24 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Anchor Forrest Sawyer noted that an ABC News poll found 67
percent oppose resignation and 70 oppose impeachment, but 55 percent say
yes to a congressional censure for Clinton. John Cochran explored that
possibility, observing that Congress can censure its own, but for a
President it would just be symbolic.
"So if censure has no teeth why would Congress do it? Because it
would be popular with voters." And answered: "Censuring the
President could offer a solution to many in both parties. To Republicans
that do not want to be blamed for prolonging an investigation that many
Americans find distasteful. And to Democrats who want to separate
themselves from the President without impeaching him."
After political analyst Charles Cook tagged it an
"attractive" option, Cochran concluded by putting a damper on
the idea: "Attractive, but not to everyone. Not to those who wonder
how a President could govern after being censured by another branch of
government. And not to those who, after they read Ken Starr's full
report to Congress, may decide that no matter what the public thinks, the
President deserves more than just condemnation."
-- CNN's The World Today led with Carl Rochelle
in Martha's Vineyard insisting that "a source close to the
President tells CNN that after listening to all of the analysis Mr.
Clinton has realized last Monday's speech did not put the Lewinsky issue
to rest. Just how he will deal with the issue is unresolved. Perhaps a
question at a news conference, but another formal address is highly
Joie Chen then ran
through some numbers from the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey,
including this illuminating discovery: "If the 1996 election were
held over again right now, 46 percent of the registered voters say they
would vote for Mr. Clinton, 36 percent say their ballot choice would be
Bob Dole. Ross Perot would win 11 percent."
Franken took the pulse of Capitol Hill, beginning by noting how Gingrich
feels "a pattern of lawbreaking" is the threshold for hearings.
Just past halfway
through the show CNN got to the 2000 census decision, but instead of
painting it as a victory for accuracy and fairness, CNN's Jonathan Aiken
emphasized the liberal angle that it will hurt minorities. Aiken began by
asserting that the 1990 census was "criticized for undercounting
minorities." After noting this court ruling was a victory for
Republicans who had sued, Aiken charged:
"African American and Latino groups say head
counts, like the 1990 census, undercounted their true numbers because
urban populations are hard to reach and people don't always trust the
motives of census takers, government employees paid to ask personal
Ingrid Duran of the National Association of
Latino Elected and Appointed Officials then claimed that Hispanics were
undercounted by 5 percent in 1990, thus losing three House seats.
Aiken drew the political implications of the
court ruling: "A significant increase in black or Hispanic population
totals could shift the balance of political power in Congress."
Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg suggested
sampling could have shifted seats from the Southwest to Northeast and
Aiken blandly concluded: "Time is a factor
here. The census deadline is looming and this issue will no doubt go to
the Supreme Court."
-- FNC's Fox Report. Wendell Goler checked in from Martha's Vineyard
with lunch video, noting that Clinton dined with Bruce Lindsey who is
refusing to answer questions. David Shuster outlined the defense planned
by Clintonites. First, since Lewinsky was thrown out of the Jones case the
perjury doesn't matter and second, they are also floating the idea there
was no obstruction because gifts were not destroyed. Shuster concluded:
"In a courtroom that argument wouldn't go very far either, but the
Clinton camp is aiming at Congress and hoping that lawmakers are looking
for a way out."
-- NBC Nightly News. The In Depth segment
featured two pieces. First, Lisa Myers on the latest from Starr. Second,
Fred Francis on how everyone lies.
Lisa Myers informed viewers: "While the
President today tried to enjoy his vacation on Martha's Vineyard, NBC
News has learned that prosecutors in Washington are focusing a possible
new charge: abuse of presidential power to try to cover up the Lewinsky
affair. The idea comes right out of Watergate when President Nixon was
accused of abuse of power during impeachment proceedings..."
Among Clinton's abuses: "Misuse of the
Secret Service to keep agents from testifying, and misuse of
government-paid White House lawyers to coordinate testimony of friendly
witnesses and help discredit unfriendly ones."
Fred Francis then
explained that fibbing has always been a Bill Clinton flaw, but after all,
"The absolute truth about lying is that we all do, whether we like to
admit it or not. To differing degrees, with different motivations. And
studies show we're lying now more than ever before."
After a psychologist explained that we lie when
the truth won't get us what we want, Francis continued: "One study
found we deceive 30 percent of the people we interact with each week. Take
deception at work. One survey of 40,000 people found that 93 percent admit
they lie habitually on the job. So it's not just our politicians."
Francis cited some non-politician liars and
played a clip from the movie Liar, Liar which showed that "white lies
are, as one expert notes, the lubricant of a polite society."
But, Francis cautioned, "bigger lies like
Clinton's causes ripples through the country."
Bill Bennett: "This is awful thing.
Everybody can tell the difference between that and 'Gee Aunt Gladys your
hair looks beautiful today.' They're just not in the same
Francis: "And worst of all, studies say, we
save our bigger lies for the ones we love. One in every three spouses has
covered up an extramarital affair."
Clinton in the Monday speech: "I misled
people, including even my wife."
Francis: "How did we sink his low?
Psychologists say the family unit, once strong and united, has been
fractured and in many cases mom and dad no longer teach right from
Following another soundbite from a psychologist,
Francis concluded by painting Clinton as just another victim of a culture
of lies: "To tell the truth, we all lie. Some small fibs, some tall
tales and some, like the President, get caught."
"Sudan has been insistent the pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum was
making much needed medicine. And with news reporters combing the ruble and
finding only innocent looking pill bottles, the U.S. was on the
defensive," CNN's Jamie McIntyre observed in opening an August 24
World Today story.
As any reader of
the August 24 CyberAlert would know, that's just what the U.S. networks
have been doing, with stories about the end of medicine production,
destroyed candy plants and no evidence of chemical weapons making.
McIntyre went on
to explain that the CIA took soil samples near the plant and they tested
positive for a chemical that's one step from nerve gas, EMPTA. McIntyre
also noted ties between the Sudan plant and the founder of Iraq's
chemical weapons operation.
Over on ABC's
World News Tonight on Monday John McWethy got to the same evidence, but
took his time. McWethy began:
"U.S. officials are increasingly worried
they may lose the public relations battle. Sudan's President insisted
today that the facility the U.S. hit made only medicine and he invited the
United Nations to inspect the ruble for traces of chemical used to make
poison gas. Worse for the U.S., a British engineer who once managed part
of the plant said it was not built to deal with those kind of toxic
Only after a soundbite from the Brit did McWethy
allow that "hiding evidence of a small amount of poison gas
production is not that difficult," a point explained by a former UN
inspector. Then McWethy got to the CIA's evidence:
"Intelligence sources tell ABC News that the
CIA secretly collected soil samples outside of the plant and found very
strong evidence of a chemical called EMPTA that has no known use except to
make VX nerve gas..."
Over the weekend
pieces from Sudan by Vicki Mabrey stressed the lack of proof that the
plant was used to make dangerous chemicals. (See the August 24 CyberAlert.)
But Monday night CBS reporter David Martin delivered the evidence:
"U.S. intelligence officials say a soil
sample secretly taken from the vicinity of that pharmaceutical plant in
the Sudan contained a chemical compound know as EMPTA, whose only known
use is to make nerve gas. That is what convinced the Clinton
administration to target the plant in last week's cruise missile
After a soundbite from Mike McCurry and noting
that the Sudanese President labeled Clinton a war criminal, Martin
explained that the plant could be used for more than one thing at once:
"Intelligence officials say the plant may well have turned out
legitimate medicines as a cover, but it belonged to the Sudanese military
industrial complex, an organization to which Osama bin Ladin gave
With local television news directors, those at Fox affiliates find the
Lewinsky story the most important and the smaller the market the less
important the news directors find the scandal. The August 24 Electronic
Media relayed the results of a August 11-14 survey of 125 TV news
directors conducted by Audience Research & Development. The key
findings, as summarized by New York Bureau Chief John Lafayette:
Directors at Fox affiliates were most likely to think the story was
important, with 67 percent saying the story was either important or
extremely important....ABC affiliate news directors were least likely to
say the story was important (21 percent)..."
"Fifty-five percent of the news directors working in the top 20
markets felt the story was important or extremely important. But just 38
percent of the news directors from markets 100 and smaller felt the story
was important, with just 10 percent of those saying it was extremely
So much for the
axiom that the smaller the town the less liberal the local media. -- Brent Baker
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