Public Backlash Coming; "Psalm-Singing Zealots"; Today Troubled; Carlson Hit by Car
1) FNC disclosed eight
Democrats back impeachment while NBC warned those who vote yes risk
"potential backlash from a public suddenly awakened by an impeachment
they say they don't want."
2) Geraldo Rivera prompted
someone who favors impeachment to denounce Republicans as "a bunch of
psalm-singing religious zealots."
3) If no censure vote is
allowed, Geraldo Rivera shouted, then "They have used a procedural
device to steal from you your right to be democratically represented on
the floor of the House of Representatives! They have stolen that from
4) Airing a softball,
holiday-themed segment with the Clintons put Today in "a weird
position," conceded the show's Executive Producer.
5) Margaret Carlson hit by a
car, but it won't stop her liberal advocacy on CNN's Capital Gang or
in Time magazine.
>>> "Ken Starr Might Have
Thought Twice About An Interview If He Knew ABC Host's Body of Work: Diane
Sawyer's Judgment of the 'Judgmental.'" In the latest Media
Reality Check fax report, now up on the MRC home page thanks to Webmaster
Sean Henry, the MRC's Tim Graham compares how Sawyer treated Starr to
her much more sympathetic approach to Barney Frank, Susan McDougal, the
Menendez brothers and even Fidel Castro. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
>>> Time is running out.
Where's your ballot? Join the over 600 people so far who have cast their
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Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst
Reporting." Just go to our home page to make your picks. And for
sharing your choices, you'll get a "Don't Believe the Liberal
Media" magnet. Balloting is open until 9am ET on Tuesday. To vote,
click on the "Best of NQ" button at http://www.mrc.org.
Or, go directly to the sign-up page: http://www.mediaresearch.org/nqbest/nq1998signupa.html
C-SPAN stayed with the opening statements from House Judiciary Committee
members until they ended for the day at around 9:30pm ET, but CNN and
MSNBC had cut out much earlier, at 6:30pm ET, to return to regular
programming. FNC stuck with the hearings most of the time to the end,
interrupted for some discussion amongst Brit Hume, Fred Barnes and Morton
Kondracke as well as updates from FNC reporters. At one point, FNC's
Carl Cameron uniquely informed Hume that Dick Gephardt's team had been
told that eight Democrats will vote for impeachment, about double the
CNN again devoted
most of the 8pm ET The World Today to the impeachment situation and ran a
special at 10pm ET which featured long excerpts from the Abbe Lowell and
David Schippers presentations.
network evening shows all led with the day's developments as each anchor
stressed how impeachment is becoming a real possibility. Only ABC's
Jackie Judd explained Schippers' contention that only the DNA on the
dress ended Clinton's lying about his relationship. And only NBC's
David Bloom fully illustrated Schippers' point that Clinton was paying
close attention when his lawyer insisted there was "absolutely no sex
of any kind" with Lewinsky. NBC also focused on how the public is not
paying attention, but Republicans could soon be hurt by a "potential
backlash from a public suddenly awakened by an impeachment they say they
Here are some
highlights from the Thursday, December 10 broadcast network evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened:
"Good evening. The impeachment battle in the
House Judiciary Committee is virtually over. Today it has been a last
ditch battle between two very accomplished lawyers: one for the President
and one against. There was also another videotape not seen by the public
before. The Judiciary Committee is now on the eve of making a political
decision the likes of which has only been made twice before."
showed highlights from minority counsel Abbe Lowell's case about how a
trial will be about sex, how the lawyers in the Jones deposition were
confused about the definition of sex and how Ken Starr in his House
appearance repeatedly employed phrases like "I have no recollection
Jackie Judd looked
at the presentation from majority counsel David Schippers, whom she
described as "somber, but also caustic and cutting." She later
added: "Schippers seemed barely to contain his disdain for Mr.
Schippers: "Life was so much simpler before
they found that dress wasn't it?"
Judd: "Meaning, Schippers said, that if the
President's DNA had not been found on Lewinsky's dress he would still
be lying about his relationship with her..."
From the White
House Sam Donaldson reported Clinton aides were close to embracing precise
language for a Democratic censure proposal.
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather began the show:
"Good evening. By any reasonable analysis
the chances that President Clinton will be impeached by the House and face
a Senate trial that could remove him from office are increasing by the
hour. The Republican-led House Judiciary Committee's approval of one or
more of four proposed impeachment counts is now considered a sure thing
before this week is out. So sure that House Speaker Newt Gingrich today
notified all House members that he's calling the full House into an
impeachment session next Thursday, December 17th."
summarized the case made by both counsels, starting with Schippers who,
"in a somber voice...laid out a litany of allegations."
Schieffer also played Lowell's Starr clips and showed how Schippers said
Clinton paid close attention during his lawyer's assurance he and
Lewinsky did not have sex, but did not illustrate with a clip as did NBC.
From the White
House Scott Pelley revealed that the President is personally lobbying
members of Congress. Next, Gloria Borger added that the White House is
having corporate lobbyists make the pitch to moderates that impeachment
would hurt the economy, but some have been insulted by the approach so it
may backfire. Finally, Phil Jones profiled Majority Whip Tom DeLay,
"a political and religious conservative and proud of it."
-- NBC Nightly News. Over a graphic which
declared "On the Attack," Tom Brokaw started the broadcast with
a series of run-on sentences I've tried to make somewhat grammatically
"Good evening. This day began with another
spirited defense of President Clinton before the Judiciary Committee, but
before too long, through the day and into the night, the Republicans on
the House Judiciary Committee made one withering attack after another. And
they were backed up by the President's own words on videotape and in
legal transcripts and in White House phone logs and the testimony of aides
and friends. The chief Republican investigator said the President lied and
lied until he ran out of people to lie to. After the congressional
elections it did seem as if the President had dodged the impeachment
arrows. Tonight it's not so clear."
summarized the cases made by the "dueling lawyers."
From the White House David Bloom then noted Clinton's aides say he'll
agree to censure. But Bloom showed the shallowness of that by playing an
exchange between him and Press Secretary Joe Lockhart about what
"false statement" Clinton will admit to. Lockhart wouldn't
Bloom then illustrated a point brushed over by
ABC and CBS, explaining Clinton had "claimed he hadn't been paying
attention last January when his lawyer used an affidavit from Monica
Lewinsky to prove there'd been no affair. The tape, Schipppers argued,
shows the President listening intently."
Audio of Bob Bennett in video of Clinton looking
forward intently in the Jones deposition: "That there was absolutely
no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form."
Bloom: "The President's spokesman said
tonight that while it might appear from the videotape the President was
listening intently, he swears he was not and there's no proof to the
Insert your joke
here. Here's mine: I don't know of any reason not to trust Clinton's
Next, Jim Avila checked in with the heartland: "It's become what
many believe is irritating political white noise, practically ignored in
Tim Crowner, bar owner: "I'd say today
people are showing more interest in my chicken diablo special than in
Avila: "Overkill in Chicago."
Rita Sackar, shopper: "Well, I've just had
enough of it that's why I'm not watching it."
Avila: "America shops as its President faces
impeachment, a solid year of Monica, Paula and cable TV political sex talk
has numbed much of America into a chorus of haven't we heard this
After showing how
the topic on WGN Radio in Chicago was not impeachment but why do women
wear black, Avila aired a clip of a professor making the point that
normally when Congress is so out of touch with the public's view many
become ex-Congressmen. Avila then concluded with this warning to those who
might vote for impeachment:
"Potential backlash from a public suddenly
awakened by an impeachment they say they don't want."
Leave it to Geraldo Rivera to prompt someone who favors impeachment to
denounce Republicans as "a bunch of psalm-singing religious zealots
from the televangelist world."
Upfront Tonight on CNBC co-host Diane Dimond was in the midst of
interviewing former Republican Senator Lowell Weicker, who announced that
he had decided that he would vote to impeach if he were on the House
Judiciary Committee. Rivera soon jumped in, demanding: "What do you
think about the people who are driving the engine of the President's
impeachment? Are you proud of your former colleagues?"
Weicker replied: "No. Never mind my former
colleagues. Am I proud of the party they belong to which is dominated by a
bunch of psalm-singing religious zealots from the televangelist world. No,
I mean they've destroyed the party and I, that's what makes it so
tough for me. Here's a man I voted for twice for President, endorsed
twice for President, agree with him philosophically and yet I've got to
choose between that and the rantings and ravings of a political party I
think is way out of tune with this country...."
normally sticks to media figures and ignores politicians, but this is too
rich. Weicker is mad at conservatives for destroying the Republican Party
as if he is somehow still part of it. After leaving the Senate he
couldn't capture the Republican nomination for Governor in Connecticut,
hardly a "psalm-singing" state, so ran and won as an independent
for Governor. Then faced with a choice between Clinton and George Bush,
the son of a liberal Republican Senator from his own state and hardly a
"zealot," he picked the Democrat.
Geraldo Rivera turned angry Wednesday night, denouncing conservatives for
taking on the President he so loves. Here are a few of his outbursts
picked up by MRC news analyst Geoffrey Dickens from the December 9 Rivera
Live on CNBC:
soundbites of Lindsey Graham and Maxine Waters: "It was an incredible
outburst of vitriol and venom. As the two day defense of Bill Clinton came
to a close South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham revealing his utter
disdain for Bill Clinton and stunning just about everyone at the House
Judiciary Committee hearing by accusing the President of plotting to
destroy Monica Lewinsky in a desperate bid to save himself. It was a
shocking but perhaps fitting end to passionate and partisan day in which
committee Republicans drew up Articles of Impeachment even before the
White House counsel finished presenting his defense.
"Hi everybody I'm Geraldo Rivera. This is
it, I hold it in my hand. The working draft of four articles calling for
the impeachment and removal from office of the President of the United
States released just hours ago. But disgracing Bill Clinton and destroying
his presidency is apparently not enough for those who wrote this document.
It also calls for the additional draconian punishment of quote,
'Disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit
under the United States.' Meaning that Mr. Clinton who would only be 54
years old even if allowed to finish his term would be forever barred from
holding any elective or appointed federal office! He could never, for
example, be appointed a special envoy as Jimmy Carter has so often been.
And he could not even run for Congress as the impeached and convicted
Judge Alcie Hastings has successfully done. Mr. Clinton would effectively
become in exile in his own land.
"Dee Dee [Myers] do you think the severity
of the punishment when the people realize just what we're talking about
will turn them even more against this process?"
-- On allowing
vote on censure: "Ladies and gentlemen what I said yesterday, what I
say today is the most important thing I have ever said to you. If those
leaders do not allow your elected representatives the option of voting on
censure or impeachment then they have robbed, they have robbed from you,
make no mistake about it. They have used a procedural device to steal from
you your right to be democratically represented on the floor of the House
of Representatives! They have stolen that from you!"
-- Leading into an
ad break: "Impeach and destroy is our title and our focus. It is a
solemn time, it is a troubling time, it's coming down, I never thought
The Executive Producer of NBC's Today admitted their December 9
"interview" with the Clinton's, detailed in the December 10
CyberAlert, was pretty soft. Here's an item from Peter Johnson's
Inside TV column in the December 10 USA Today:
"Everybody felt weird. This is a weird
position." So said NBC's Today producer Jeff Zucker about Katie
Couric's deferential White House interview Wednesday with President
Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton. During her chat, taped Sunday, Couric
gave Clinton three chances to discuss the impeachment hearings. He
declined, and Couric shifted solely to softer, holiday-related fare.
Somewhat curious, since Today has hammered
away at the Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal all year. But Zucker said
Today was there to talk to the Clintons about the holidays, not the
scandal. "I think she (Couric) was trying to be respectful. Of
course, it is slightly awkward talking solely about how many wreaths and
bells there are at the White House when this (the impeachment inquiry) is
going on. It's a fine line."
line" Couric and Today crossed, I'd suggest, when Couric enthused
that Hillary Clinton "looks incredible. You're wearing the dress you
wore on the cover of Vogue" and called the positive response the
First Lady got on a trip to New York City "sort of an early Christmas
gift. Are you grateful or gratified by that display of affection that you
really see wherever you go now?"
To read all of
Couric's "questions" to the Clintons, check the December 10
CyberAlert story. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981210.html#3
Margaret Carlson was hit by a car Tuesday night in Washington, but that
won't stop her from attacking conservatives this Saturday on Capital
Gang. The Reliable Source column in Thursday's Washington Post reported
Time magazine writer and television pundit
Margaret Carlson will go to Mass to give thanks for being alive, "as
soon as my back stops aching."
She was hit Tuesday night by a car as she
crossed Calvert Street NW en route to a dinner honoring Ireland's
Nobel-winning peacemakers at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
"I was dashing across the street and
the valet parker was shooting out of the driveway" during a break in
traffic, she said. "I am bruised and scratched and it's a miracle I
am alive," added Carlson, who was able to get up and go in to dinner.
She was back at work yesterday wearing a neck brace.
"She was darting between cars in rush
hour traffic in a dark area with no crosswalk" in heavy rain, said
Richard Karp, President of Silver Spring-based Unipark valet parking
service hired for the event. Karp said he called the police, who filed no
charges against the driver.
recognize the Omni Shoreham as a frequently used location for the annual
Conservative Political Action Conference.)
Carlson is the
second well-known liberal media figure to be hit by a car recently. CBS
report Eric Engberg got hit last year. Until I heard the valet parker did
it I was worried the CyberAlert subscriber list might be subpoenaed. -- Brent Baker
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