Rivera: Hillary "Right About a Right-Wing Conspiracy"; "Easy" to Hate Tripp
1) All the nets focused on the
partisan split in the committee. CBS relayed a White House complaint that
House Republicans are not displaying "statesmanship." Ford's
idea "resonates" for NBC.
2) Geraldo Rivera wondered if
Hillary was "right about a conservative cabal" out for her
husband and insisted that a New York Times story "raises the question
of whether Mr. Starr lied."
3) NBC's Katie Couric warned
of a backlash against Republicans. ABC's Lisa McRee suggested there's
proof that Clinton was the victim of a political hit and it's
"easy" to hate Linda Tripp.
4) CBS's Bob Schieffer
predicted of Linda Tripp: "You'll see her face at a lot of Halloween
The broadcast networks all led Monday night with the all-day House
Judiciary Committee hearing on whether to recommend to the full House an
impeachment inquiry, though the broadcast networks only devoted two
stories at most to the topic. The final vote in favor did not take place
until 7:50pm ET, after the broadcast networks had already completed their
ET/CT feeds. FNC squeezed in a Fox Report during a break at 7pm ET and CNN
was able to show its the World Today, as usual, at 8pm ET. CNN, FNC and
MSNBC showed the hearings all day, interrupted only for ad breaks and
stressed how the vote spilt along partisan lines, with Dan Rather
inserting the word "Republican" into almost every sentence. Only
FNC's Carl Cameron noted that the Democrats spent most of the day
attacking Ken Starr. ABC, CNN and FNC explained how Majority Counsel David
Schippers dropped Starr's charge of abusing power, changed Starr's
perjury charge to making false statements and added charges of organizing
a conspiracy to coverup and failing to report crimes by others.
Incredibly, CBS and NBC only noted how Schippers had expanded the charges
and failed to mention any of his other adjustments.
CBS highlighted a
poll showing most oppose an impeachment inquiry, obligingly relayed
Clinton's complaint about how Congress is ignoring the important issues
and passed along a White House grievance that House Republicans are not
displaying "statesmanship." NBC contended that
"constitutional scholars" side with the Democratic
interpretation of impeachable offenses and that "Ford's idea
resonates with some historians."
Here are some
highlights from the Monday, October 5, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
Tonight. Peter Jennings opened:
"Good evening. In Washington today the
Republicans and the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee in the House of
Representatives have been laying out their contrary positions about
impeachment of President Clinton. It certainly qualified as a historical
day. Only twice before have Presidents faced such extreme action by the
Congress. It was a partisan day, to a fault."
Linda Douglass ran
through the committee's day, reporting: "Schippers charged the
conspiracy was carried out when the President and other gave false
statements and allegedly concealed evidence." She explained his
changes to Starr's charges before running a soundbite from Minority
Counsel Abbe Lowell. Remaining even-handed she next ran clips from
Democrat Robert Wexler and Republican Bob Barr.
Why all this talk
of conspiracy?, Jennings asked ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who
replied: "The Republicans showed that in this respect they're being
even more aggressive than Ken Starr." Is their argument
"impressive" wondered Jennings? Not really, assessed Toobin:
"Certainly a very circumstantial case."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather began the show by
emphasizing how Republicans forced their way:
"Good evening. The Republican-led House
Judiciary Committee tonight rejected a move by Democrats to set limits on
the time or scope on more investigations into possible impeachment of the
President. The committee's Republican majority left no doubt it would
vote tonight or tomorrow to recommend open-ended impeachment
Bob Schieffer went
through some highlights from the day but did not detail Schippers'
adjustments to Starr's charges. Dan Rather then displayed a CBS poll
asking: "Should Judiciary Committee begin a formal impeachment
inquiry?" Yes, said 38 percent; No, answered 56 percent.
CBS then offered
time to the White House spin as Dan Rather intoned: "For his part
President Clinton's public reaction was to criticize the Republican
majority for running a do-nothing Congress. The President accused
Republicans of ignoring the U.S. federal budget and allied problems and
the global economy, health care and Social Security."
Scott Pelley relayed a White House complaint:
"Dan, the White House fully expects the committee and then the full
House to vote for and impeachment inquiry. In fact one senior White House
official told CBS News in frustration today, that they were reconciled
that there would be no statesmanship, as he put it, in this process until
it reached the Senate." (Pelley proceeded to explain that Clinton's
team is urging Democrats to oppose impeachment so Thursday's vote will
look more partisan.)
how White House operatives are upset by a lack of
"statesmanship" in the House? Wouldn't a statesman have
resigned by now? And does it display statesmanship to discuss troop
deployment with a Congressman when your intern has your penis in her
-- CNN's The World Today. Co-anchor Joie Chen
"Members of the House Judiciary Committee
postured in public, each claiming to take the less partisan stance. But
from the first thing this Monday morning to just minutes ago, it was a day
on Capitol Hill defined and divided by party politics."
reviewed the cases presented by both sides in the House committee. Next,
Wolf Blitzer highlighted how the White House organized "a hastily
arranged opportunity for top Democrats to urge approval of several
spending bills. They insisted they're focused on the nation's business
while Republican are pre-occupied with the President's sex life."
Blitzer later added that Clinton lawyer David Kendal has sent a letter to
Janet Reno urging her to investigate Starr for misleading her about the
reason for expanding the probe to include Lewinsky. (See item #2 for
Crowley detailed the contrasts between how the two counsels, Schippers and
Lowell, interpreted the same evidence.
-- FNC's Fox Report opened with Carl Cameron,
"During three hours of opening statements
ranking committee Democrat John Conyers led most minority members in an
attack on both the independent counsel and his allegations."
through some of the comments from members on both sides and then David
Schuster detailed the new charges laid out by Schippers and how Lowell
countered. Next, from the White House, Jim Angle played a soundbite of
Dick Gephardt attacking Republicans for lack of action. Angle moved on to
note how the White House saw as good news the fact that Democrats in the
committee said nothing Starr charged is worth impeachment, before
concluding by noting the letter from Kendall to Reno. FNC allocated most
of the rest of the show to a roundtable amongst Cal Thomas, Matthew Rees
and Ruth Coniff.
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw opened:
"Good evening. It is now officially underway, the great
constitutional debate of whether this President should be the target of an
impeachment investigation in the House of Representatives. Although the
beginning of the debate in the House Judiciary Committee was couched in
language invoking the Constitution, the judicial system, the American
people, it quickly became, once again, a highly partisan debate."
Gwen Ifill covered
the committee's day, but offered no details on the adjustments made by
Schippers other than to allude to the new conspiracy charge:
"Hyde's handpicked investigator, Chicago prosecutor and long time
Democrat David Schippers, argued for an expansion of the inquiry."
Ifill played clips of Schippers, Lowell and
Robert Wexler before endorsing Democratic doubts: "Even
constitutional scholars debate how to define an impeachable offense."
Laurence Tribe, Harvard Law School: "Lying
to the grand jury is a terrible thing but it's not necessarily an abuse
of presidential power."
Ifill concluded: "Both sides are passionate
on one point: They want the issue resolved by the end of the year. This is
only the third time in history a Congress has come this close to
impeaching a sitting President. And the White House is already worrying
that when the full House votes later this week on whether to proceed with
the inquiry, dozens of Democrats will join the Republican cogs in doing
it." [Yes, she said "cogs."]
Brokaw then raised
the "Ford factor," the op-ed the former President wrote for
Sunday's New York Times urging impeachment be stopped and Clinton be
rebuked in the well of the House. Lisa Myers read a passage: "I do
care, passionately, about rescuing the country I love from further
turmoil." Noting that's similar to reasoning he employed in
pardoning Nixon, Myers wondered if Ford is again advocating a pardon. A
Ford biographer agreed.
Myers found support for Ford's idea, at least
with the media's favorite historian, though Myers did not note that the
historian once worked for a Democratic President -- Lyndon Johnson. Myers
"And Ford's idea resonates with some
historians, who view the President's misconduct as not grave enough to
warrant impeachment, but more serious than the White House admits."
Doris Kearns Goodwin: "When he chose to lie
to the American people he was using the presidential authority in a way
that really demeaned the dignity of the office of the presidency."
Myers: "As for the President, his spokesman
praised Ford's idea but did not say whether Mr. Clinton would be willing
to admit guilt and accept a rebuke, which Ford said he must to end quote,
'an otherwise squalid year.'"
transitioned into te world economic crisis by focusing on how Clinton is
on top of the matter: "While Capitol Hill was debating and voting on
the impeachment investigation tonight, President Clinton was dealing with
the economy here at home and overseas. He met with top officials of 22
countries gathered in Washington to try to figure out how to stop the
growing financial crisis..."
"What are the implications of Hillary Clinton being right about a
right-wing conspiracy to get her husband?" wondered Geraldo Rivera
Monday night in endorsing the implications of a New York Times story. But
as National Review documented the story delivered more insinuation than
fact and Greg Pierce of the Washington Times detailed a false charge the
New York Times made about Ken Starr.
to Have Received Tip on Affair Before Call by Tripp: Information Came From
Lawyers with Ties to Jones Legal Team," announced a top of the fold,
off-lead headline in Sunday's New York Times. As detailed in the October
5 CyberAlert, ABC's Mike von Fremd picked up the October 4 story,
declaring on World News Tonight: "This has given even more ammunition
to the First Lady's claims that all of this is part of 'a vast
agrees. On CNBC's 7:30pm ET/11:30pm PT Upfront Tonight on Monday night,
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Rivera announced:
"Even as Congress debates the fate of the
President, new questions are being raised about the conduct of the man who
has brought Bill Clinton to the breach of impeachment. In his zeal to take
down this President did Ken Starr mislead Congress and the Justice
Department? Remember what the First Lady, Hillary Clinton, said back in
Hillary on the January 28 Today: "The great
story here for anyone willing to find it and write about it and explain
it, is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my
husband since the day he announced for President."
Rivera then made the case for Hillary Clinton's
"What if she were right about a conservative
cabal to bring down her husband? An investigation by the New York Times
reveals that Ken Starr may have lied to Congress in his impeachment report
when he said he was first informed about the President's affair with
Monica Lewinsky by a concerned citizen named Linda Tripp in a phone call
on January 12. Evidence uncovered by the Times suggests that Ken Starr may
have known about Monica days earlier. A group of anti-Clinton lawyers, all
of whom are members of the conservative Federalist Society and all of whom
have ties to Ken Starr, helped bring the allegations of an affair to
Starr's attention at least a week before Linda Tripp's infamous
"The finding raises the question of whether
Mr. Starr lied, first to Janet Reno and later to Congress, when he claimed
it was the phone call from Linda Tripp that triggered the request to
expand the scope of his failed Whitewater investigation to include the
Rivera went on to
show a clip of Clinton during his testimony saying he was set up. Rivera
added: "Starr's office does not deny that someone in their office
got a call from an unnamed lawyer. But the independent counsel's
spokesman, Charles Bakaly, said today quote, 'We believe these kinds of
allegations that something was improper or inappropriate are merely
efforts to divert attention from the facts and evidence that was gathered
by this office,' end quote."
But Rivera wants
to divert attention. Interviewing Watergate counsel Richard Ben-Veniste
later in the show Rivera moved from asking if Hillary were on target to
declaring her so:
"What are the implications of Hillary
Clinton being right about a right-wing conspiracy to get her
Tonight is Rivera's "news" program, not his 9pm ET/PT talk and
National Review's Internet Update by Ramesh Ponnuru and John J. Miller
delivered a better rebuttal than I could provide of the New York Times
story, so here it is:
NO SMOKING CIGAR
Sunday's New York Times gave front-page, above-the-fold billing to a story
by Don Van Natta Jr. and Jill Abramson on the legal arm of the vast
right-wing conspiracy. It's a shoddy piece of work.
The story includes a lot of allegations and
half-allegations, but here's the main one: Jerome Marcus, a conservative
lawyer "with ties to the Jones legal team" -- i.e., he filed a
friend-of-the-court brief in Jones v. Clinton -- tipped off a friend in
Ken Starr's office about the Lewinsky affair "at least a week"
before Linda Tripp called. Marcus and two other conservative lawyers
helped Mrs. Tripp find a lawyer and conferred with Tripp's friend Lucianne
Goldberg about how to get her information to Starr.
That's it: basically, one phone call.
Starr's office did nothing about it. Van Natta and Abramson quote Starr
spokesman Charles Bakaly III: "A person in our office did get a
heads-up call that some information may be coming or may be out there. And
this person was instructed that we accept information through the front
door, and that the appropriate person to contact is Jackie Bennett, the
Washington deputy." Only when Mrs. Tripp called Bennett bearing tapes
was any action taken.
Van Natta and Abramson repeatedly note that
the phone call was "not disclosed" in Starr's request to the
Justice Department to expand his investigation or in his report last
month. Of course it wasn't; it was irrelevant. But look at the sandcastle
of speculation the Times builds on this foundation: "The tip in early
January indicates that the independent counsel's office could have been
developing a strategy to persuade the Justice Department to expand the
scope of the stalled Whitewater inquiry before the call from Mrs.
Tripp." The "could have been" isn't nearly good enough
cover: the tip "indicates" nothing of the sort. Van Natta and
Abramson produce zero evidence to support this accusation.
Instead, they produce more insinuations --
in fractured English: "[T]he role of go-between played by a group of
conservative lawyers with ties to the Jones case created an early and
previously undisclosed back-channel between Mr. Starr's office and Mrs.
Tripp." The implication of words like "go-between" and
"back-channel" is a two-way flow of communication. But all
Starr's office told Marcus was: brush off.
To read or sign-up
for NR's Washington Bulletin report, go to: http://www.nationalreview.com
In his October 6
Inside Politics column in the Washington Times, Greg Pierce observed that
the New York Times story "said Mr. Starr had been briefly involved in
the Paula Jones sexual harassment case: 'Before becoming the Whitewater
independent counsel in August 1994, he helped the Independent Women's
Forum, a conservative organization, file a friend of the court brief in
the Jones case. Mr. Starr was not paid for his services.'"
how the effort to show Starr's sympathy for the Jones case is based on
fallacy: "Barbara Ledeen, executive director of the Independent
Women's Forum, told this column yesterday that her group never filed such
a brief in the Jones case -- and that the New York Times previously had
published two corrections on the subject, with another one in the offing.
'This is the third time. This is a world record, I will bet, for the New
York Times on corrections,' she said."
To read Pierce's
weekday compilation of political items, go to: http://www.washtimes.com/politics/inside.html
NBC's Katie Couric warned of a backlash against Republicans for pushing
Clinton too hard and ABC's Lisa McRee asked a Democrat if there's
"anything you can do" about Republican efforts to inflict
"political damage," suggested a New York Times story supports
Clinton's contention that he's the victim of a political hit and
laughed about how "easy" it is to hate Linda Tripp. Another day
on the network morning shows.
-- On Monday's
Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that after pressing Republican
Judiciary Committee member Asa Hutchinson about alternatives to
impeachment and Gerald Ford's idea for a rebuke in the well of the
House, this exchange took place between the Arkansan and co-host Katie
"I'm sure Congressman you are aware of the
polls and most people in this country, according to the polls, do not
believe impeachment hearings should go forward. Are you afraid of a
backlash against the GOP?"
Asa Hutchinson: "Well the greatest concern
for a backlash would be that the American people perceive that we're being
unfair, overly partisan in this battle and trying to be vindictive."
Couric: "Don't you think they perceive that
-- Over on the October 5 Good Morning America,
MRC analyst Mark Drake observed some interesting comments from co-host
She tossed to
Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California on the Judiciary
Committee, this set up question:
"But with regard to this report that new
charges will be added: Is there any doubt in your mind that this is about
inflicting political damage and is there anything you can do about
Talking with ABC
News legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin in the 7:30am half hour, McRee endorsed
the idea that Starr is part of a political conspiracy to get Clinton:
"Just to catch our viewers up in case they
didn't read the story in the New York Times over the weekend -- that
Kenneth Starr was first tip offed about the Monica Lewinsky matter by
a lawyer in the Paula Jones case and that, of course, does sort of support
the President's charges all along that it's been political."
And showing that
you just never know where liberal bias will pop up, Mark caught this
insult at Linda Tripp uttered during an interview with New York Daily News
sports columnist Mike Lupica about the Yankees, the team that finished
with the best record in the American League.
Mike Lupica: "...What the Yankees have done
across this summer is, they have taken away an American constant. I think
people could count on hating the Yankees at this time of year. It's
like, it's like hating Linda Tripp. You know, I mean it's just
something you can count on."
McRee, laughing: "It's easy."
Linda Tripp Halloween masks? Yes, predicted Bob Schieffer on Sunday's
Face the Nation. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed this little shot
from Schieffer as he concluded an end of the show "final
thought" on the fate awaiting players in Monicagate:
there's Linda Tripp. Before she fades into history, my guess is you'll see
her face at a lot of Halloween parties."
I bet you'll see
a lot more of Monica Lewinsky. -- Brent Baker
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