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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Wednesday December 2, 1998 (Vol. Three; No. 192)

GOP Scrooges Ruining the Holiday Mood; CNN Would Have Hired Lewinsky?

1) CBS's Bob Schieffer failed to explain how two women who appeared before the House were like Clinton in that they lied about sex in a federal civil suit. NBC's Gwen Ifill painted the Republicans as Scrooges out of touch with the holiday cheer.

2) Geraldo Rivera took a fresh shot at Ken Starr's "selective ability to recall information," and asserted: "I like that move now to sue the gun manufacturers."

3) An exasperated Lisa McRee demanded: "Why drag in campaign finance?" Jeffrey Toobin called Hyde's decision "pretty bizarre."

4) "With a snap of his fingers" Clinton told Lewinsky he could get CNN's Rick Kaplan to hire her, Linda Tripp told the grand jury.

5) What's Eleanor Clift thankful for? "The good sense and the sound judgment of the American people" for wanting to drop the impeachment inquiry.

>>> Latest Notable Quotables now on line. The November 30 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now up on the MRC home page thanks to Webmaster Sean Henry and research associate Kristina Sewell. Topic headings include: "Ken Starr, Evil Puppeteer?", "That Poor Hush-Money Millionaire," "Tripp Sends Them to the Shower" and "Starr Should Have Been McCarthy." Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org or http://www.mrc.org or jump directly to the latest issue of Notable Quotables. <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) ABC led Tuesday night with layoffs at Boeing while CBS and NBC went first with the big Exxon-Mobil merger. CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather stressed the job cuts: "Good evening. Corporate mergers are about to cost thousands of Americans their jobs. Boeing has just announced another huge cutback. More about that in a moment, but first today's high-octane merger that's being talked about around the world...."

     The expansion of the Judiciary Committee probe by subpoenaing memos from FBI Director Freeh and Justice investigator Charles LaBella on possible criminal acts in fundraising by Bill Clinton, topped the CNN and FNC evening shows. Every network played at least one clip from the two women who testified who had been convicted of perjury, but CBS reporter Bob Schieffer failed to explain the similarity to Clinton's case as he never told viewers both were convicted of lying about sex in a federal civil suit. NBC's Pete Williams showed a clip of Alan Dershowitz yelling at the committee, but not Hyde's retort. In a second story, Gwen Ifill painted the Republicans as a bunch of Scrooges: "Washington, like the rest of the country, is in a cheery, holiday mood. But not inside the Capitol where Republicans are digging in their heels, forging ahead with and even expanding hearings and investigations to impeach the President..."

     Here are some highlights of how the Tuesday, December 1 evening shows approached the House hearing:

     -- ABC's World News Tonight. "In Washington today it was sex, lies and fundraising," Peter Jennings intoned as he introduced a piece by Linda Douglass. She explained the new subpoenas and ran a clip of Barbara Battalino, the VA psychiatrist under house arrest for lying about sex with a patient in a VA hospital. Douglass concluded with the White House complaint that the Republicans are out of control:
     "Today the House Democratic leader called the impeachment process chaotic and called upon the new Republican leaders to step in. But many of them believe the President should be impeached and they're telling their members to vote their conscience when impeachment comes to the full House as they expect that it will."

     From the White House, Sam Donaldson got a few seconds to say that the staff is pushing for an impeachment alternative of censure but must "convince the hardliners on Capitol Hill" and the Clintons to go along.

     -- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer began with Democratic protests about the probe expansion, running soundbites from John Conyers and Richard Gephardt countered by one from Henry Hyde. Leading into a clip of Battalino saying Clinton is not a king so should be treated like everyone else, all the detail Schieffer offered about her was one line about how Republicans wanted to showcase punishment for perjury "by calling in convicted perjurers. A woman under house arrest for lying under oath said if she had to be punished so should the President."

     After an evenly split Schieffer story in which both sides got two soundbites, Rather illustrated the White House's strategic advantage as their side got another chance to blast Republicans. Rather eagerly relayed:

     "As for the reaction in the President's camp tonight, CBS News White House correspondent Scott Pelley reports that the President's legal team is furious about what it calls this quote, 'unfairness,' saying that the expansion of the impeachment investigation makes it impossible to mount a defense for the President because it is quote 'a fishing expedition' and in their view there's no telling what the charges will be now."

     -- CNN's The World Today led with a piece from John King, who like ABC and CBS, ended by delivering the White House view:
     "The White House says these new subpoenas cast doubt on Republican pledges to wrap up the inquiry before Christmas. And even many senior Republicans are privately complaining that the impeachment process appears to be careening out of control."

     Pierre Thomas provided a story on the on memos from Freeh and LaBella and Jonathan Karl reviewed the testimony of the two women with "something in common" with Clinton: they lied about sex in a civil case.

     -- FNC's Fox Report began with a report from Paul Cameron on the expanded inquiry and the testimony from the to women. Unlike ABC, CBS and NBC, but like CNN, Cameron explained how Judge Norma Holloway Johnson will hear arguments Wednesday about releasing the full, redactions-restored, versions of the memos.

     Jim Angle then uniquely highlighted how those inside the Justice Department, upset with Reno's lack of action and how Clinton's wrongdoing was concealed from Congress, were responsible for leaking the information to the committee.

     -- NBC Nightly News. Pete Williams began with Battalino and the other woman, Pam Parsons. After a clip of liberal Leon Higginbotham denouncing the idea of impeaching Clinton over sex, Williams highlighted a blast from Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz but did not run a counter soundbite, as did ABC and CNN which ran a part of the same Dershowitz soundbite.
     Williams: "And in the most dramatic moment of the day a defense attorney and law professor said it's wrong to focus on the President while ignoring what he says is the far more serious problem of policemen who lie on the stand. He accused committee members of hypocrisy."
     Dershowitz, yelling: "They are telling the American public they don't care about perjury, they don't care about the real perjury that exists and is pervasive in this country in courthouses and courtrooms and police stations. All they care about is Democratic perjury."

     Williams, concluding his story: "That prompted committee Chairman Hyde to say he isn't out to get anyone and that he has no idea how all the Republicans might vote on impeachment."

ifill1202.jpg (17124 bytes)     Tom Brokaw moved on to explain his bewilderment about why the Republicans keep pressing: "Then there is the question of why the Judiciary Committee is looking beyond the Starr report, looking for other possible misbehavior by the President when the public is saying move on. The answer may be as simple as politics and safe House seats."
     Gwen Ifill began: "Washington, like the rest of the country, is in a cheery, holiday mood. But not inside the Capitol where Republicans are digging in their heels, forging ahead with and even expanding hearings and investigations to impeach the President..."
     Later in her story, which also ran on CNBC's Upfront Tonight and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, she asked and answered: "Why he single minded pursuit, seemingly so out of sync with the national mood? One reason, no Republican on the committee suffered at the polls." Another reason: neither Newt Gingrich or Bob Livingston has decided to intervene, leaving Democrats "exasperated."

     Neither ABC or CBS have yet aired a full story on the cases of those punished for lying under oath about sex in a federal civil case. NBC got to it the day Ken Starr testified. Earlier, Dateline, Today and 20/20 looked at the subject. For details on the Today and 20/20 stories, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981113.html#3

     For more on the Dateline piece, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981116.html#3


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) Geraldo Rivera returned on Monday from a week off, but he hasn't lost any of his disgust with Ken Starr. On the November 30 Upfront Tonight on CNBC he slipped in a hit at Starr: "In any case, late today Hyde condemned the President for his quote, 'selective ability to recall information,' which kind of reminded me of Ken Starr's testimony before the committee."

     And showing that Rivera's liberalness goes beyond the Clinton scandals, MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens also caught this liberal advocacy announced later in the same show:
     "I like that move now to sue the gun manufacturers the same way they sued the tobacco manufacturers. I think that's the way to go."

     At least Rivera's consistent: neither Clinton nor the gun-using criminal is responsible for where he shoots. (Sorry, too good an opportunity to pass up.)


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) ABC's Lisa McRee was exasperated by the Republican decision to look at Clinton's answers in the campaign fundraising probe. On Tuesday's Good Morning America, MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, she pounded away at Republican Representative Lindsey Graham:

     -- "Congressman, why? Why expand the inquiry now?"
     -- "Well, then why even bring it up?"
     -- "But Ken Starr's report was about sex in the White House and lying about sex. Why drag in campaign finance?"
     -- "But according to polls, the public is really coming away saying, we are sick of it, get it over with."

     Old media line: impeaching a President for lying about sex is illegitimate. New media line: Don't look at anything else that might have to be considered more substantial.

     McRee then asked ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin: "And in terms of Janet Reno's decision not to appoint an independent investigator to look into Vice President Gore or into Harold Ickes at this time, which she still of course could, is that a mistake?"
     But instead of pursuing McRee's rare attempt to raise a Republican point, Toobin jumped back immediately to denouncing the Judiciary Committee:
     "I think the law is very unclear. I mean, she could have gone either way, clearly. I think expanding the probe at this point is really pretty bizarre. I mean, remember Henry Hyde at the very beginning of this process said, look, he said in September, we're dealing only with Lewinsky, we'll be done by end of the year. This is an enormous subject, it's been investigated a great deal by Congress already, and now on December 1 they're going to start fresh with it? It really does suggest that they really are desperately looking for some new angle that's going to turn the people against the President."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Monica Lewinsky almost employed by CNN? As Rush Limbaugh noted on his show last Tuesday, November 24, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page passed along to him a nugget he came across on page 4,293 of Linda Tripp's grand jury testimony.

     Here's the relevant excerpt:
Q: Did Monica Lewinsky and the President discuss the possibility of other jobs, particularly in the media?

A: Yes. The President suggested when he wanted a list of -- a wish list of where she wanted to go -- and she had vague ideas, but nothing specific enough to allow him to have a specific clear idea, they talked about networks. And he instantly said that someone who would do anything he asked was someone named -- I think his first name is Richard, but Kaplan at CNN, who had recently I believe gone from ABC to CNN who he said was a very, very close friend and was heading up CNN in Atlanta. He could make that happen with a snap of his fingers.

END Excerpt

     If you ever see any bias from Wolf Blitzer or John King, remember that it could have been worse, they could have been produced, edited or even replaced by like, you know, Monica Lewinsky.

     For more on Kaplan's close relationship with Clinton, check out the January 14 CyberAlert which featured excepts from a Vanity Fair profile of the CNN President. Amongst the items detailed:
-- How Kaplan once hired Hillary Clinton.
-- How he not only advised Clinton about how to counter Gennifer Flowers, a pretty well known event, but had earlier counseled Clinton on how to recover from his too-long 1988 convention speech.
-- How he had been a political operative for a liberal presidential candidate before jumping to journalism.
-- How he made calls to console Hillary Clinton after Vince Foster's death and to Web Hubbell after he resigned.
-- How he killed a Whitewater piece from World News Tonight, discouraged reporters and producers from pursuing the topic and only ran an in-depth look one night in 1994 because Nightline was about to grab it.
-- How he slurred conservative media critics who see liberal bias, specifically Reed Irvine and MRC Chairman Brent Bozell, as "liars."

To read this CyberAlert, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19980114.html


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) What's Eleanor Clift thankful for? Answering that question on the McLaughlin Group aired this past weekend the Newsweek veteran replied:
     "The good sense and the sound judgment of the American people, expressed in poll after poll this year, and in the November elections basically putting the scandal in a perspective that nobody here in Washington has been able to do."

     I bet Monica Lewinsky would be a more balanced reporter than Eleanor Clift. At least Lewinsky was able to acknowledge she was in love with Bill Clinton.  -- Brent Baker


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