ABC: DeLay Will Lead to Defeat; Van Susteren's Galactic Federation
1) Ten Republicans decided
they would vote to impeach, but in profiling Tom DeLay, ABC's John
Cochran warned he may be pushing Republicans "toward defeat in the
next election." CBS highlighted how in a "mostly
Republican" area most want to move on.
2) CNN's Greta Van Susteren
belongs "to a religion that teaches of Xenu, evil head of the
Galactic Confederation" who "flew people to Teegeeack
(Earth)...in space ships, chained them to volcanos and blew them up with
hydrogen bombs." And her "pro-Clinton voice hasn't gone
unrewarded" while her husband sues Newsweek's Michael Isikoff.
3) "Despite the
hand-wringing of plenty of media mavens, Flowers was an important story
after all," declared Howard Kurtz in scolding his profession for
dismissing Gennifer Flowers in 1992.
4) Letterman's "Top Ten
Things That Have Crossed President Clinton's Mind" and "Top Ten
Signs There's Tension in the Clinton Marriage."
>>> Baldwin Outburst
Video. The December 15 CyberAlert quoted actor Alec Baldwin
screaming on Late Night with Conan O'Brien: "If we were in other
countries, we would all right now, all of us together, all of us together
would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We
would stone him to death!... We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we
would go to their homes and we'd kill their wives and their
children." Though the RealPlayer video of this will soon be replaced
in the center of the MRC home page, you will still be able to access it
through the CyberAlert archives index under the "News Division"
button. The direct address for the item on Baldwin and attached video
>>> Balloting is over.
As of 9am ET Wednesday, December 16 balloting closed for the special Web
edition of "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual
Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." On Friday we'll post the
results of this Web edition as well as our printed, hard copy regular
version with winners judged by a panel of 50 radio talk show hosts,
magazine editors, columnists and editorial writers. <<<
Correction: The December
15 CyberAlert quoted Sam Donaldson as reporting that "there's a sense
that Mr. Clinton is stealing for the worst." That should have read
"steeling for the worst."
Ten previously undeclared Republicans most sensitive to public opinion
announced Tuesday that they would vote to impeach, but in profiling
Majority Whip Tom DeLay, ABC's John Cochran warned he may be pushing
Republicans "toward defeat in the next election." The CBS
Evening News highlighted how in a "mostly Republican" area of
New Jersey both Republicans and Democrats want to forget impeachment and
broadcast networks led Tuesday night with how Clinton is facing defeat.
Below are the show openings for Tuesday, December 15 followed by a quick
summary of coverage:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings began: "Good evening. One of the
President's political allies said today it is like a tidal wave moving
against him. The possibility that Mr. Clinton will be able to fight off
impeachment has been growing slimmer by the hour today. A number of
Congressmen the White House was counting on to vote against impeachment in
the House of Representatives said today they will vote for it. It is still
possible for the President to prevail but he must start changing some
minds pretty quickly."
looked at the pro-impeachment announcements, running clips from Jack
Quinn, Michael Forbes, Ann Northrup. Tom Campbell and Nancy Johnson,
"the influential moderate from Connecticut."
Next, John Cochran
profiled Tom DeLay who, Cochran relayed, "cannot stand Bill
Clinton." After explaining how he moved into a leadership vacuum left
by the decision of Gingrich and Livingston to avoid the impeachment
battle, Cochran played a soundbite of DeLay saying he has the votes to
block a censure vote. On a day when several Republicans, the moderate kind
who took a measure of opinion in their districts, decided to back
impeachment, Cochran concluded:
"Some Republicans fear that by pushing them
toward impeachment DeLay may also be pushing them toward defeat in the
next election. It's a risk Tom DeLay is willing to take."
Cochran anchor Peter Jennings added: "One other comment about this
from Democratic Congressman Barney Frank. Any discussion of pressure on
members, he said, without mentioning Tom DeLay is like discussing
impeachment without mentioning Monica Lewinsky."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather opened:
"Good evening. An influential Senate Democrat warned tonight if it
comes to a trial in the Senate no one really knows for sure whether the
votes are there or not to remove the President from office..."
Bob Schieffer explained: "Dan, support for
the President seems to be eroding by the hour. Today ten moderate
Republicans the White House had been counting on for support said they
would vote for impeachment." As for the influential Senate Democrat,
Schieffer played a soundbite of Connecticut's Joe Lieberman warning that
anything could happen in the Senate.
Following a report
from Scott Pelley in Jerusalem, Dan Rather cited a CBS News/New York Times
poll result showing that asked "If there is a Senate trial, better if
Clinton resigned?" Yes said 40 percent, no replied 56 percent.
"rural central New Jersey" CBS reporter Wyatt Andrews found that
"this mostly Republican area with its sweeping farms and quaint small
towns, has delivered one verdict on impeachment already. In the last
election voters here booted out Republican Congressman Michael Pappas, in
part for singing the praises of Ken Starr. At the Stanton Reform Church
many voices in this mostly Republican congregation are saying the
President should be punished, just not by impeachment."
Memo to Andrews:
if most people voted for a Democrat in a district then that district is
not "mostly Republican."
Charging that most
viewed Starr and the congressional hearings as partisan, Andrews insisted:
"In fact, the let's get on with it sentiment is coming both from
Democrats afraid for the economy....and from Republicans who no longer
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw started:
"Good evening. In great political struggles it always comes down to
the numbers and tonight in the greatest political struggle of his life the
numbers are running against President Clinton. More and more members of
the House are publicly announcing they will vote to impeach the President
and send the charges against him to the Senate for a trial...."
David Bloom at
White House summarized the GOP decisions to favor impeachment, Pete
Williams ran through some reasons why Clinton won't admit he lied and
Lisa Myers profiled Tom DeLay.
On a February 5 CNN special the network's legal analyst, Greta Van
Susteren, highlighted "specific and serious" charges that Ken
Starr abused his power and witnesses. She suggested a reason behind his
excess, asserting Starr "already has given many people the impression
he's on a mission. That may have a lot to do with Starr's religious
and Republican roots."
But what kind of
religious mission is Van Susteren on? One few CNN viewers know about. In
the words of St. Petersburg Times reporter Mary Jacoby, Van Susteren
belongs "to a religion that teaches of Xenu, evil head of the
Galactic Confederation" who "flew people to Teegeeack (Earth)
75-million years ago in space ships, chained them to volcanos and blew
them up with hydrogen bombs, releasing exploded 'thetas' that are now
the source of most human suffering."
With Van Susteren
about to take center stage again in CNN's impeachment coverage I thought
I'd pass along some highlights from the December 13 St. Petersburg Times
profile to which one attentive reader alerted me.
revelations about Van Susteren exposed by reporter Mary Jacoby:
-- "Van Susteren is frequently in
touch with White House officials. And in her on-air questioning, she often
seems to repeat the official line."
-- "Van Susteren's pro-Clinton voice
hasn't gone unrewarded. In May, she sat with First Lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton at a state dinner..."
-- Her husband is representing Julie Hiatt
Steele in her lawsuit against Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and "in
1998 he gave $20,000 to various Democratic Party arms, including the
Democratic National Committee and Vice President Al Gore's political
-- She's claimed on air that Starr's
ties to tobacco companies being attacked by Clinton is a conflict, but the
article reveals that her husband is one of the lawyers suing the tobacco
Here are excerpts from the December 13 piece:
Cable News Network legal analyst Greta Van
Susteren and her wealthy trial-lawyer husband, John Coals, are a Beltway
power couple. She is the co-host of CNN's top-rated Burden of Proof. He is
a mover behind the multi-billion-dollar anti-tobacco lawsuits. Both have
dined at the White House.
And what about the fact they belong to a
religion that teaches of Xenu, evil head of the Galactic Confederation?
Who flew people to Teegeeack (Earth) 75-million years ago in space ships,
chained them to volcanos and blew them up with hydrogen bombs, releasing
exploded "thetas" that are now the source of most human
Well, it's not something savvy insiders
would normally emphasize.
Van Susteren and Coals are Scientologists.
But unlike members of established religions, whose own beliefs might seem
improbable if they weren't so widely held, these part-time Clearwater
residents are not exactly eager to draw attention to this fact...
Van Susteren and Coals straddle two worlds:
the capital's high-powered media and political milieu, and the close-knit
Scientology community around the church's spiritual headquarters in
Clearwater, where they own a home on Clearwater Beach.
Yet these worlds mix about as well as oil
Xenu and his blown-to-bits thetas aren't
something you'd want to drop casually into a cocktail conversation here,
the way other people might mention a Harvard degree or friendship with
And as a celebrity legal commentator in a
town brimming with lawyers, Van Susteren also has to contend with a
perception that the church is out to destroy its enemies at any cost. As
Scientology founder the late L. Ron Hubbard once wrote, the church should
use the legal system to "destroy and harass" its opponents and
"ruin them utterly."....
Her husband has been less visible but just
as colorful. Known as "Bhopal Coals" for swooping into India
after the 1984 Union Carbide Corp. poison gas leak that killed more than
2,000 people, Coals, who turns 52 this month, is an unabashed
More recently, he has handled politically
charged suits against tobacco companies and gun makers. He was a key
negotiator of the now-defunct $360-billion federal settlement that was
supposed to end cigarette makers' liability for smoking deaths in exchange
for cash payments to the government.
Coals became a Scientologist in the early
1980s. "I did a lot of drugs back in college," he explained.
"Into the '80s, I didn't do a lot of them, but I felt that I wanted
to handle this problem, and Scientology handled it."....
For years Coals and Van Susteren practiced
together in their own law firm, specializing in high-dollar personal
injury cases. Along the way, she became a Scientologist, too.
In Clearwater, the couple cuts a wide
swath. Coals tools around town in a vintage red Cadillac (until a recent
paint job, it was pink). Van Susteren zips through their Carlouel
neighborhood in a 1987 Mercedes sport coupe. They are major donors to a
church expansion project and have reached the upper levels of Hubbard's
"Bridge to Total Freedom."....
Van Susteren won't talk about her
relationship with the church. She declined an interview, citing privacy
concerns. "The thing about Florida, it's like my home town. I can
walk into the Beachcomber(restaurant on Clearwater Beach) and people treat
me as a regular guest. I like that."
In Washington, though, there's little doubt
Van Susteren stirs emotions, mostly among conservatives, who accuse her of
a pro-Clinton bias.
Writing in the National Review, Jonah
Goldberg called her the "high priestess of Clinton apologists,"
and Clinton's "chief cheerleader."(Goldberg is the son of
Lucianne Goldberg, the mischiefmaking New York literary agent who
encouraged Linda Tripp to tape record Monica Lewinsky).
Indeed, Van Susteren is frequently in touch
with White House officials. And in her on-air questioning, she often seems
to repeat the official line.
"If one side gets two hours, why not
let the White House have two hours? At least, you know, appear to
be...fair," Van Susteren said on CNN last month, referring to the
House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing.
She has since branched out into
quasi-political commentary, appearing on CNN's Inside Politics during the
impeachment hearings. When the White House released a 184-page rebuttal of
impeachment articles, Van Susteren told viewers, "It's a plea to the
Congress. "Please, just read the records. Don't rely on what
everybody's saying.'...I've actually gone through them, and I'm not as
horrified as most people."
A CNN spokeswoman said Van Susteren appears
on Inside Politics as a legal analyst. "Those comments are based
entirely on her interpretation of the Constitution and the law, not on her
personal political beliefs, which are private," Maggie Simpson said.
Meanwhile, Van Susteren's pro-Clinton voice
hasn't gone unrewarded. In May, she sat with First Lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton at a state dinner for the Italian prime minister that Coals also
For his part, Coals has taken on a case
dear to the Clintonites. He represents a woman who is suing Newsweek
investigative reporter Michael Isikoff.
Isikoff exposed Monica Lewinsky's affair
with Clinton, and he broke the story of former White House volunteer
Kathleen Willey's charges that the president had groped her outside the
Coals's client is Julie Hiatt Steele, a
former friend of Willey's who is suing the Newsweek reporter for allegedly
breaking a promise not to quote her in an article. In conversations with
Isikoff, Steele initially backed up Willey, then changed her story to say
Willey had asked her to lie.
"It puts me in the game" of
Washington, Coals said of the case, which is still is preliminary stages.
"Besides, I'm outraged at what has happened to Julie Steele."
His political donations also put him in the
game. In 1998 he gave $20,000 to various Democratic party arms, including
the Democratic National Committee and Vice President Al Gore's political
Despite their contacts with the White
House, Van Susteren and Coals do not seem to be lobbying for Scientology,
unlike John Travolta, who met Clinton to discuss Germany's hardline
policies against the church.
"It's not like I'm standing on the
corner of 16th and Pennsylvania handing out Dianetics books," Coals
So while the church trots out its celebrity
members for maximum P.R. effect -- beside Travolta, Tom Cruise, Kirstie
Alley, Chick Corea and Lisa Marie Presley all have promoted Scientology --
a Washington celebrity like Van Susteren keeps a low profile.
Even church documents refer to her by less
well known names. A Scientology brochure lauding top contributors to a
Clearwater building project lists a "Greta Conway" in a category
of people who donated $100,000 or more. Conway is Van Susteren's middle
name. Another brochure lists a "Mr. and Mrs. John Coals" in the
Coals said his wife isn't trying to hide
anything. "Her affiliation with the church has been all over the
media for years."....
Still, in a religion-besotted town where
politicians seek out churches for photo ops and one of the top lobbying
groups is named the Christian Coalition, it's curious that few people know
Susteren and Coals's Scientology
affiliation. "I had no idea," said Chuck Conconi, Washingtonian
magazine editor at large....
To read the entire
story, go to: http://www.sptimes.com/Floridian/121398/High_profile_couple_n.html
If it has moved,
you can access the last seven days of the St. Petersburg Times at the
bottom of their home page, sot his should be accessible until Saturday
somewhere at http://www.sptimes.com
"Monica and the Other Woman" read the headline over a Monday
Washington Post piece in which media reporter Howard Kurtz conceded
journalists really blew it in not taking the Gennifer Flowers matter more
seriously in 1992. Given what behavior led to the current situation, Kurtz
argued, "despite the hand-wringing of plenty of media mavens, Flowers
was an important story after all." Here's an excerpt from his
December 14 "Media Notes" column:
The press was roundly denounced in the
first weeks of 1992 for reporting the tawdry charges of illicit sex
involving candidate Bill Clinton.
But now that Clinton has become the second
president in a quarter-century to be recommended for impeachment by the
House Judiciary Committee, it's clear that the same issues -- of personal
credibility and private misbehavior -- were raised by the seamy spectacle
of Gennifer Flowers.
In short, despite the hand-wringing of
plenty of media mavens, Flowers was an important story after all. If the
purpose of a presidential campaign is to allow voters (and journalists) to
take the measure of their would-be leaders, then Clinton's handling of the
problem was all too revealing.
The networks initially ignored the Flowers
flap, except for a couple of sentences on NBC, while the New York Times
gave it a few paragraphs inside the paper. (The Washington Post ran a
lengthy story on Page A8.) Once Clinton himself took to the airwaves to
deny the charges, the story reached fever pitch and the self-flagellation
began. The coverage was described as "sickening" (Jim Gannon of
the Detroit News), "grab-your-crotch journalism" (David Nyhan of
the Boston Globe) and the "degradation of democracy" (The Post's
David Broder). Max Frankel, then the editor of the New York Times, said he
was "ashamed for my profession."
Clearly, reporters are uncomfortable
dealing with outbreaks of bimbonic plague, and every allegation --
particularly one sold to a supermarket tabloid, as in Flowers's case --
certainly doesn't deserve media coverage. But Flowers had tapes of
intimate-sounding conversations with Clinton long before anyone had heard
of Linda Tripp.
The former lounge singer alleged a 12-year
affair with the then-governor of Arkansas; Clinton, in his deposition in
the Paula Jones suit last January, finally acknowledged one instance of
sexual contact with Flowers back in 1977. But that's clearly not the
impression that candidate Clinton tried to leave when fencing with
journalists nearly seven years ago. Instead, he engaged in the same
lawyerly parsing of the truth that would be reflected in the article of
impeachment -- for perjury -- considered most likely to pass the House.
During the New Hampshire primary, Clinton
said that "the story is just not true." When Clinton sat down
for his famous "60 Minutes" interview, correspondent Steve Kroft
said: "I'm assuming from your answer that you're categorically
denying that you ever had an affair with Gennifer Flowers."
"I've said that before, and so has
she," said Clinton, fudging his response with the finesse of a
politician who would later question "what the definition of 'is'
Other parallels are eerie: Clinton
acknowledged having assigned a staffer to find Flowers a state job, a
precursor of the Monica Lewinsky job hunt. A Washington Post-ABC poll
found 54 percent of those questioned saying Clinton should quit the race
if it turned out he had lied, but eight of 10 saying the alleged affair
should not be a campaign issue -- the same public dichotomy that has
marked the Lewinsky saga.
The journalists of '92 were rightly accused
of descending into tawdriness over the man the tabloids dubbed the "Luv
Guv." But as impeachment moves to the House floor, it's clear that
episode turned out to be good training for covering the Clinton
From the December 14 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by Bill
Clinton's claim resignation never crossed his mind, the "Top Ten
Things That Have Crossed President Clinton's Mind." Copyright 1998 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "Nicole Kidman? Nude? One ticket,
9. "How about a new meal between lunch and dinner called 'linner'"
8. "I hope no one finds out about me and Vernon Jordan"
7. "I'm sure glad no one can read my thoughts -- oh, let's see what
tonight's Top Ten list is"
6. "If I can just find an intern from Wyoming, I'll have all fifty
5. "When did the Marine Corps band switch from 'Hail to the Chief' to
4. "How am I gonna be able to sneak chicks into prison?"
3. "Isn't it weird -- we drive on a parkway, but park on a
2. "I wonder what the precedent is on nuking Ken Starr to kingdom
And, from the Late
Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it
into the Top Ten."
-- "I'm not sure what a Furby is, but
I think I saw Monica's."
-- "Oh, Cokie, your mouth says 'impeach,' but your body says 'Take
-- "Before I leave the White House, maybe I should sleep with Hillary
there at least once."
-- "Paula Jones looks great after that nose job. Should I take
-- "Is it too soon to start hitting on Mary Bono?"
From the December 15 Late Show with David
Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs There's Tension in the Clinton
Marriage." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Hillary recently photographed in New
York Post holding hands with Jerry Seinfeld.
9. Hillary's just not been her cold, distant self lately.
8. For the first time in our nation's history, the President's staying at
7. After dinner, she pointedly offers him a cigar.
6. Hillary no longer laughs at joke, "You may be the First Lady, but
you sure ain't the last!"
5. They've already started talking about who gets to keep the White House.
4. Canceled weekly game of "Scattergories" with the Gores.
3. He's surpassed his monthly allowance of 60 extra-marital affairs.
2. Their towels are monogrammed "Hers" and "Philandering
1. Every morning she greets him with a 21-slap salute.
And from the Late
Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it
into the Top Ten."
-- No more threesomes with Barbra Streisand.
-- Hillary's back together with Martina Navratilova.
-- Body language experts detect a trace of hostility in the way Hillary
tries to strangle Bill.
-- Arafat and Netanyahu keep begging them to stop bickering.
I liked #7. -- Brent Baker
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