Tripp Cursed, Called "Pathetic...Loser"; Livingston: Will "Grow" & Has "Matured"
1) The networks used the tapes
to denounce Tripp not Clinton as only NBC said it's Clinton's actions
that matter. Only ABC played the Clinton on drugs comment but ignored the
latest Hubbell evidence which got just a few seconds on the other
2) Geraldo Rivera: "After
hearing Tripp's treachery, you may feel the need of a shower."
Keith Olbermann on Linda Tripp: a "pathetic, self-destroying, older
3) Despite his "knee-jerk
conservative views," the Washington Post praised Bob Livingston for
an "enormous capacity to grow" as he has "matured into an
4) Monday night only NBC's
Jim Miklaszewski raised criticism that tied Saddam Hussein's survival to
bad Clinton policy.
5) Only reason Thomas
Jefferson would not have been impeached for his Hemings relationship:
"There was no talk radio." Guess who?
>>> The November 16 MediaWatch is
now up on the MRC Web page: http://www.mediaresearch.org
or http://www.mrc.org. Articles include a
front page story titled, "Stamping Dirt Down on Newt's Grave";
an analysis by the MRC's Tim Graham: "Was 1998 'The Year of the
Moderate?'"; and an On the Bright Side by MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson on how only FNC and Fox News Sunday highlighted how Democrats
played the race card. Plus, Newsbites: "Body Double" on
contrasting reasons given for Ventura's victory, "CBS's Ad Blitz
for Team Clinton" by MRC analyst Mark Drake on how CBS ran only
soundbites from top Democrats the two weeknights before election day, and
"Fonz the Fascist" by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens on how the
networks which jumped on Al D'Amato this year for calling his opponent a
"putzhead" weren't so disgusted when his opponent, in 1992,
denounced him as a "fascist." The issue is featured at the top
of the MRC home page at www.mrc.org.
The voice of Monica Lewinsky, heard for the first time in the tapes
released of her conversations with Linda Tripp, topped the ABC, CNN, FNC
and NBC evening shows on Tuesday night. CBS went first with the Fed's
decision to cut the interest rate again.
Matching the White
House spin, the three broadcast networks made Linda Tripp's behavior,
not the President's, the issue. CNN and FNC refrained from such hits on
Tripp. Dan Rather combined a hit on Tripp with giving credence to Clinton
spin about "the timing behind the committee's release today of the
actual tapes of Linda Tripp's secret betrayal of her unsuspecting friend
Monica Lewinsky." Incredibly, only NBC's Lisa Myers noted that
Clinton's actions are all that really is at issue and that without
Tripp's foresight Clinton would have gotten away with it: "Linda
Tripp had nothing to do with...the President's decision to get involved
with an intern in the first place. But without Tripp and her tapes chances
are the President would never have been caught."
showed similar interests in which clips they chose to play, but of the
broadcast networks and CNN only ABC's Jackie Judd aired a clip of Tripp
saying that Lewinsky told her that she thought the President was on drugs,
though only to illustrate Tripp's betrayal as she passed this anecdote
along to Lucianne Goldberg. (FNC's Fox Report played extensive excerpts
that I was not able to thoroughly review.) Only FNC's David Shuster
raised how Lewinsky made a racial comment about Betty Currie.
Whitewater? That was the media refrain for months. But after Ken Starr on
Tuesday sent the Judiciary Committee new evidence about payoffs to Web
Hubbell for his silence on Whitewater, including new testimony from John
Huang about a payoff, the networks yawned. ABC's World News Tonight
ignored the development, the CBS Evening News gave it 19 seconds, CNN's
The World Today a very vague 11 seconds and NBC Nightly News a
comparatively great 29 seconds.
highlights of tape coverage from the Tuesday, November 17, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened:
"Good evening. Now we know what Monica
Lewinsky sounds like. This will not qualify as a vital day in history,
even in the recent troubled history of the Clinton presidency. Still after
all of these months the public may now put another piece of the Monica
Lewinsky jigsaw puzzle into place. The House Judiciary Committee released
dozens of tapes of Miss Lewinsky's recorded conversations with Linda
Tripp, recorded by Miss Tripp. We've seen the transcripts of all the
conversations before, but here today were 22 hours of conversation that
Miss Lewinsky certainly never believed the whole country would be
Jackie Judd played
clips of Lewinsky "talking to a woman she believed was her
friend," starting with the one in which she was crying about how he
hadn't called her in weeks. In it Tripp sympathizes with Lewinsky's
plight, prompting Judd to counter:
"Linda Tripp's sympathy is not all it
seems. Not only is she secretly recording the conversations, on one
occasion Tripp hangs up with Lewinsky and a short while later calls
Lucianne Goldberg, the Republican operative who told Tripp to tape in the
Tripp, October 5, 1997: "You know what she
said on tape to me last night? 'I think he's on drugs.'"
Goldberg: "Wow. You got it on tape?"
Goldberg: "Good for you."
with clips about the dress and Lewinsky trying to get Tripp to lie.
then briefly noted how Starr will testify Thursday and that White House
lawyers will be able to question him.
-- CBS Evening News. A few minutes into the show anchor Dan Rather noted
the three developments of the day on the scandal front: a boycott threat
by Democrats, Republicans talking about a longer witness list "and
the timing behind the committee's release today of the actual tapes of
Linda Tripp's secret betrayal of her unsuspecting friend Monica Lewinsky.
First, CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer with the Tripp
tapes that triggered special prosecutor Ken Starr's case to Congress, or
so it is said." (*** Rather's words were unclear here. He could
have said "....or so he said.")
with a clip of Lewinsky saying she's still in love with Clinton. Ruining
the mood, Schieffer asserted: "The tapes also underline the cynicism
of Linda Tripp, who repeatedly expressed sympathy even as she secretly
recorded the conversations." After soundbites from the tapes of
Lewinsky crying, asking about the double clicks, arguing about the
definition of sex and, at the Ritz Carlton in Arlington, Virginia,
offering to pay Tripp to lie, Schieffer concluded: "Why are the tapes
being released only now on the eve of the impeachment hearings? Just
happenstance says the committee. It took this long to get them edited and
Rather picked up
on Schieffer's line: "Happenstance or not, the timing of today's
tape drop is just one of the stress cracks in the Judiciary Committee now
verging on an open partisan split."
From the White House Scott Pelley explained that
a source says more witnesses will be called and that Starr will not limit
himself to Lewinsky, but will use other allegations to demonstrate "a
pattern and practice of obstruction of justice." Pelley then took 19
seconds for the Hubbell news: "Just today Starr sent Congress four
boxes of fresh evidence on Whitewater. In it, Starr alleges Mr.
Clinton's friend Webster Hubbell was paid to keep quiet about the real
estate fraud. There is new testimony here from Democratic fundraiser John
Huang who says he arranged a lucrative payment to Hubbell. Hubbell denies
that it was hush money."
-- CNN's The World Today began with Brooks
Jackson with tape clips followed by Jonathan Karl on the battles at the
Judiciary Committee as Dick Gephardt threatened a Democratic boycott. Karl
delivered this 11-second mention of Hubbell: "Earlier today the
independent counsel sent over another four boxes of new evidence to the
Judiciary Committee, much of it dealing with Webster Hubbell, the former
Justice official recently indicted again by Ken Starr."
-- FNC's Fox Report started with David Shuster
with tape excerpts. He concluded by uniquely relaying: "Many of the
tapes are highly edited, but sources tell Fox News that at one point
Monica Lewinsky makes a racially derogatory remark about Clinton secretary
Betty Currie. And Linda Tripp on another tape that was not cut has
unflattering statements about Chelsea Clinton."
Next, Rita Cosby
ran soundbites to illustrate Monica's mood swings toward Clinton from
"infatuation to anger." Then Carl Cameron checked in on the
Thursday hearings and the latest about hush money to Hubbell. Dick Morris
came aboard for a live interview before FNC spent the next 20-plus minutes
interspersing tape excerpts with comment from Susan Carpenter-McMillan and
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw started the
"Good evening. There have been secret
Washington tape recordings made public before: Richard Nixon in Watergate,
Lyndon Johnson. But nothing like we heard today. Monica Lewinsky confiding
in her friend Linda Tripp who unknown to Ms. Lewinsky was recording their
intimate talks. The conversations ranged from the banal to the sensational
to the shocking. It won't make President Clinton's life any easier,
but there doesn't appear to be a smoking gun either."
Lisa Myers began
with Lewinsky and Tripp discussing Lewinsky's sexy voice followed by the
soundbite of Lewinsky crying. Myers hit Tripp, but unlike ABC and CBS, at
least gave her reason for making the tape: "Tripp taped conversations
to protect herself she says once she became aware of wrongdoing. From the
outset, she appears to manipulate Lewinsky and gathers evidence against
Myers proceeded with clips of Tripp advising
Lewinsky on a letter for a job and urging her to keep the dress safe.
Then, in "a major betrayal," Tripp told a Jones lawyer about
Lewinsky. After a Ritz soundbite from Lewinsky about how Clinton will deny
all, Myers brought the case back to the man who committed the actions,
"And deny it he did. Linda Tripp had nothing
to do with that decision to lie or with the President's decision to get
involved with an intern in the first place. But without Tripp and her
tapes chances are the President would never have been caught."
The fact that only
Myers made this seemingly obvious point Tuesday night shows just how
biased against Starr and Tripp the networks have become. Without Tripp's
foresight about saving the dress, Clinton never would have admitted his
lie, at least sort of. He'd still be denying all and impugning Lewinsky
as a stalker.
But no reporter
portrayed Tripp as a hero to whom the nation owes thanks for exposing
presidential deceit. Apparently whistle-blowers are only worth revering
when they expose Pentagon cost over-runs.
Back to NBC:
Brokaw then played three more clips: Lewinsky on buying a $20 tie at
Marshalls for Clinton, Lewinsky saying she lied to her parents all the
time and Lewinsky recounting how her mother and aunt joined her at an
arrival ceremony, leading Clinton to say "they're cute."
From the White
House, David Bloom reported in a larger story about Democratic anger and
boycott threats: "Today new evidence from independent counsel Kenneth
Starr: four boxes delivered to Congress focusing on allegations that the
White House tried to buy the silence of former Justice Department official
Webster Hubbell. And tonight new signs that Republicans are pointing their
impeachment investigation in the same direction. Late today Republicans on
the House Judiciary Committee met, in part to consider whether to seek the
testimony of John Huang, a Clinton ally and former Democratic fundraiser
who helped steer a $100,000 payment to Web Hubbell."
introduced a profile of Jennifer Dunn: "In a way no one anticipated,
the election two weeks ago is breaking up one of the most powerful cliques
on Capitol Hill -- the Republican leadership of the House, all
conservative white males, most of them from the South."
Gwen Ifill examined Dunn and how she wants to
make history as highest women ever in the House. Ifill did note that
Democrats are no more diverse: "When Democrats elected their leaders
yesterday, no woman made that cut either."
Rivera and Olbermann demand showers, they're so disgusted with Linda
Tuesday's Upfront Tonight on CNBC Geraldo Rivera promoted how the show
would focus on "the taped evidence of one woman's absolute betrayal
of her young and much too trusting friend. After hearing Tripp's
treachery, you may feel the need of a shower. Example: on November 20,
1997 Tripp convinces Lewinsky to save her infamous semen-stained blue
Later, he asked:
"Remember when Linda Tripp said she was just like us?"
Tripp on courthouse steps: "I'm you. I'm
just like you."
Rivera: "This person just like us
manipulated Monica from day one."
(The November 13
CyberAlert noted that MSNBC was running Rivera's 9pm CNBC show at 10pm
and 1am. This week MSNBC is running a show hosted by John Hockenberry, the
man slated to replace Olbermann, at those times.)
Minutes later over
on MSNBC Keith Olbermann opened his variously named Big Show or White
House in Crisis: "Stand by to feel like you need a shower."
After the theme music, he declared:
"Hello, good evening and welcome back to
Hell. Can we renounce our citizenships for like only 24 hours? This
thought before we begin: For months, William Howard Ginsburg took shot
after shot on this program and others for some of his legal strategy. But
throughout his stewardship of the Monica Lewinsky defense we praised him
here for at least one noble constant: He never let us even hear his
client's voice. God, do we miss him tonight. Okay, one of them will read
the part of the irresponsible adolescent, the other will narrate the lines
of the pathetic, self-destroying, older loser and you an I will be
Polyphemus hiding ourselves behind the Aris."
(He said what
sounded like "palonius," so I assume he was referring to
Polyphemus, who in Greek mythology, according to my Grolier's CD,
"was a Cyclops, a one-eyed giant, who lived in an island cave on
Sicily." I'm not up on ancient or Greek history, so I may have
guessed the wrong historical reference.)
An often cited illustration of liberal bias offered by conservatives is
how the media will praise a conservative who goes left by saying they have
"grown" or "matured." The Washington Post delivered a
classic example on Monday in a front-page profile of incoming House
Speaker Bob Livingston. It's too early know how good a Speaker he'll
be or how much he'll compromise, but one thing is for sure, he's the
kind of conservative the Washington press corps can tolerate.
into their November 16 profile, reporters Eric Pianin and George Hager
wrote that despite his conservative opinions he has shown "enormous
capacity to grow" and even though he arrived in Congress with
"knee-jerk conservative views" he has "matured into an
adroit legislator." Here's an excerpt:
Though his biggest challenge will be
placating conservative activists within his own party who believe he is
too accommodating, Livingston is no moderate: He opposes abortion,
supports increased spending on the military and on missile defense, backs
business causes and wants tax cuts.
But he has shown an enormous capacity to
grow, something that suggests he is more apt to see the subtleties of
issues and the possibilities for compromise. He has also become a creature
of modern Washington. Once seen as something of a crusading reformer,
Livingston now freely dispenses corporate campaign contributions to
colleagues, with an eye to consolidating power.
Livingston first arrived in Washington in
1977 with a reputation as an occasional hot-head, with knee-jerk
conservative views and a strong moral streak. His past experience as a
tenacious New Orleans prosecutor were already legendary, such as the time
in a burst of nervous excitement he knocked a glass of water into the lap
of a judge during a bench conference -- and still won the case. The
onetime Democrat seemed destined for a permanent spot in the Republican
But once thrust into the insular,
go-along-to-get-along world of congressional appropriations, Livingston
matured into an adroit legislator capable of unifying his colleagues....
Monday night, November 16, all the networks led with Iraq, but amazingly
only one included a syllable of criticism for Clinton's policy.
In an "In
Depth" piece for NBC Nightly News Jim Miklaszewski examined efforts
to get Saddam Hussein, noting that since the end of Gulf War the U.S. has
launched six covert operations against him. Milaszewski wrapped up his
critics claim, the failure to oust Saddam lies not with Iraqi opposition
but with the lack of a coherent White House strategy."
Senator John Kerry: "It's not whether or
not we can build an opposition. The real crisis is there's a hollowness
is our policy."
Miklaszewski: "And many at the Pentagon
believe tonight when President Clinton called off airstrikes he may have
missed the best chance in years to get Saddam."
(Monday night ABC
devoted its "A Closer Look" to the Millennium. First, Peter
Jennings talked with Stephen Jay Gould about whether the next century
begins in 2000 or 2001. Since there was no Year Zero, obviously the
century began on January 1, 1901 and will end on December 31, 2000. But
since gimmicks and marketing will prevail, Gould resigned himself to the
fact that this will be a 99 year century. Second, Peggy Wehmeyer looked at
Christians and the belief by some in the impending end of the world.)
From CNN host Larry King's November 16 column in USA Today, this thought
in its entirety between ellipses:
"If he had to
testify, do you think Thomas Jefferson would have been impeached? No
chance, there was no talk radio."
At least Jefferson
was able to go through life without having to endure the inanities of
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