Barbara Walters Comes Clean; GOP's "Mindless Cannibalism"; Baldwin Chastised
1) Barbara Walters told David
Letterman that she thinks it was a "mistake" to impeach and that
Linda Tripp is no hero.
2) Geraldo Rivera went to the
White House Christmas party on Monday so he could encourage Bill Clinton
to "stay strong."
3) Monday night the networks
started with Clinton's high approval and negative reaction to
Republicans. CBS: "The President is on trial, the Republicans have
been found guilty." ABC found a woman who "says it reminds her
of a coup in her native Guatemala."
4) Matt Lauer challenged Bill
Bennett to have the "courage" to choose censure and asked Jim
Wright if in pushing impeachment of Clinton we've "learned
nothing" since his call to end "mindless cannibalism."
5) Alec Baldwin was chastised
by Jack Valenti for his "stone Henry Hyde to death" outburst.
Brit Hume observed that while "it was not in earnest," the
thought would not "have occurred to him to say it on that show if it
hadn't occurred to him otherwise."
6) Letterman's "Top Ten
Good Things About Having President Clinton As Your Cellmate."
>>> "The Best Notable
Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst
Reporting." Go to http://www.mrc.org
and click on the "Best of NQ" button, or go directly to the Best
of NQ page: http://www.mediaresearch.org/bestofnq1998.html.
Either way, you'll find both: a) The Print Edition sent to subscribers.
The annual special 8-page version of Notable Quotables with award winners
and runners-up in 14 categories as judged by a panel of 50 radio talk show
hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and other leading
media observers who generously gave of their time. Web Bonus: RealPlayer
video and audio clips of the biased quotes from television. Don't just
read the bias -- hear and see it too. b) Special Web Edition. See which
quotes visitors to the MRC Web site voted as the most biased of the year.
Barbara Walters revealed her contempt for pro-impeachment Republicans and
Linda Tripp. Appearing on Monday's Late Show on CBS to plug her Tuesday
night ABC special on fascinating people, Walters at first deflected David
Letterman's questions about impeachment by insisting: "Those of us
in the news department are very boring because we don't give
But pressed, she
soon did. Check out these two exchanges:
"Your feeling, in your stomach, in your heart when you see what was
going on, do you think that it was a mistake, that we made a mistake as a
country, our representative form of government, was a mistake made on
Walters: "You mean to impeach him?"
Walters: "Was a mistake made on Saturday?
You know what, I'm just not going to go there as we say. I'm going to
have to talk about it in future times, maybe not here with you, you may
never ask me to come back again after this. But I'm just not. It was the
will of the Republicans, it was what they wanted, it was [rears back and
brings hands to face, then waves them forward in a dismissive motion] oh,
ah, uh, you know, enough."
Letterman: "So you think a mistake was
Walters: "I think I'm too
"There are people who believe that she's actually a hero, people,
I've actually heard them say that Linda Tripp is a hero. I just think
that if there's more reprehensible behavior in the name of friendship,
let's see it. I don't believe it exists."
Barbara Walters: "Why do they think she's
a hero? Because she taped it?"
Letterman: "Because she shined the white hot
pure light of justice on the scum and lowlife that was taking place."
Walters: "Well, when you put it that way
it's very interesting. That's not the way I see it."
Letterman: "Oh, so an actual opinion."
Geraldo Rivera bucked up Clinton. Live from the White House lawn after the
Christmas party for the media, on Monday's Upfront Tonight Rivera
recounted for his CNBC viewers what he told Bill Clinton:
"I told him, because you know how I feel
about this, I said 'Mr. President, stay strong.' And he looked me
right in the eye and he said 'I think we're going to be okay.'"
What a relief.
Clinton's high approval numbers topped the three broadcast network
evening shows Monday night as each also profiled likely new Speaker Dennis
Hastert. CBS and NBC added stories on how the public is turned off to the
whole mess as CBS found Republicans at their lowest approval level in 14
years. Here are some highlights from the December 21 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened by citing an ABC News/Washington Post
poll showing Clinton's job approval at 67 percent "and whether you
judge it sympathy, or anger at the House Republicans, 56 percent in our
poll say Mr. Clinton should stand up to a trial rather than resign."
summarized the day's events with Clinton at a soup kitchen, a censure
plan from Carter and Ford and how even Senate Democrats believe a trial
must be started. Jennings then delivered a quick profile of Hastert, a
former high school teacher and wrestling coach who, Jennings relayed,
"is described as a conservative but not an ideologue."
-- CBS Evening News began with Scott Pelley:
"Dan, the White House is treating impeachment with defiance and the
reason may be the latest poll numbers. A new CBS News/New York Times poll
shows the President has a 73 percent job approval rating, that matches his
highest ever. Today the White House fairly scoffed at impeachment,
suggesting that if there's any humiliation in it, it is for Congress to
bear not the President."
Unlike ABC or NBC,
Pelley reported: "Some Senators were infuriated by Saturday's
post-impeachment gathering at the White House. One moderate Republican
told CBS News, quote 'The President is making a huge mistake. He's
acting like this hasn't happened. He's got to stop the arrogance,'
repeated the 73 percent job approval number, contrasting it with a 59
percent unfavorable rating of Republicans. Reporter Wyatt Andrews picked
up: "The jury in America has reached its decision. The President is
on trial, the Republicans have been found guilty." Andrews relayed
how the CBS poll found 63 percent believe Republicans acted mostly
"to damage Bill Clinton" while only 34 percent said they acted
mostly because the "charges were serious." Andrews asserted:
"What's happened is a severe Republican backlash, the worst GOP
rating recorded in 14 years."
Frank Luntz told Andrews the Republicans can only
recover if they have a quick trial and move on, which is why, Andrews
explained in concluding his story, Republicans like Hastert, a "low
key but effective legislator who will take the edge off the hostility the
public seems to blame on Republicans. One bright spot for the Republicans
is that they do have the next two years to work on the oddest political
outcome of the year: How Congress voted to impeach the President and
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw opened:
"Good evening. It must be maddening to the President's sharpest
critics on Capitol Hill and in other places, but his approval rating only
gets better after they take a whack at him." Brokaw explained that he
latest NBC News poll found a 72 percent job approval level with 62 percent
wanting him to stay in office versus just 34 percent who think he should
Lisa Myers looked
at how both parties say a Senate trial is inevitable and that even
Democrats like Dianne Feinstein want Clinton to admit his guilt. David
Bloom examined the defiant White House strategy and willingness to fight
it out because Clinton will never admit perjury. Gwen Ifill profiled
Hastert: "Allies say Hastert is a fixer who can talk to Democrats and
heal House Republicans now rocked with internal strife."
The show ended
with Jim Avila on the disconnect between Republicans and the public:
"Across the country, from New York City Christmas shoppers."
Man: "It's kind of taken a little bit away
from the holiday spirit."
Avila: "To the boardwalk along LA's Venice
Man: "I'd just like to see the process go
as quickly as possible so we can get on with our lives."
Avila: "America wants Christmas carols
uninterrupted by political scandal."
Saturday night ABC delivered a more biting hit at
Republicans. ABC's December 19 World News Tonight ran three reaction
stories, but could not find one person proud of Republicans for putting
principle first. First, from Chicago, Dean Reynolds ran some man on the
street reactions, none positive toward Republicans. Third, from Atlanta,
Steve Osunami ran two clips: one from a man who thought Clinton should
resign and one from a person who said Republicans had no right to impeach.
In between, viewers saw Judy Muller in South
Central Los Angeles at a Christmas tree lot at Florence and Normandie.
Woman: "It's sad, it's really sad
because it's a lot of other things going on in the world that needs
attention besides this."
Muller: "At a nearby flea market, Athelia
Ariano (sp?) says it reminds her of a coup in her native Guatemala."
Ariano: "We like him. He's doing a good
job. Why do Congressmen don't listen to the people?"
Muller: "And so a lot of people see no point
in listening to Congress....Sadness, anger, futility. And a grim
determination to get on with the holidays."
If a jury won't be impartial and listen to the evidence before deciding,
don't put the heat on biased jurors. Just cancel the trial. So argued
the ABC and NBC morning show hosts on Monday. NBC's Matt Lauer wished
Bill Bennett would have the "courage" to call for censure.
Minutes later Lauer analogized the impeachment proceedings against Clinton
to what Jim Wright termed "mindless cannibalism" as he asked if
like during McCarthy's witch hunts anyone has the credibility to demand
"have you no decency?"
-- ABC's Good
Morning America. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught these questions from
co-host Cynthia McFadden.
To Senator Orrin Hatch: "Senator, isn't it
fairly clear at this point that that two-thirds requirement, that 67 out
of 100 senators is impossible at this point to muster?"
To Cokie Roberts, while discussing impeachment
trial in the Senate: "But Cokie, what's the point, if they know they
don't have the 67 votes they require, what's the point of going to
-- NBC's Today.
Katie Couric worried about how a trial would distract from real issues,
asking Senator Mitch McConnell: "Why are you convinced of that [a
speedy trial in the Senate] because many people have been talking about a
long, protracted trial taking attention away from the important issues in
this country that people really care about?"
In the 7:30 half
hour co-host Matt Lauer talked with Bill Bennett and deposed Democratic
Speaker Jim Wright. MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed that he pressed both
from the left.
To Bennett after
noting how Larry Flynt offered big bucks for dirt on Congressmen: "Do
Republicans share none of the blame here?"
And: "Let me just read you a little bit
about -- from the op-ed from Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in the Times
this morning, talking about the potential trial of Bill Clinton in the
Senate....They are writing this probably to members of the Senate but they
could be writing it to you as well. Can you find the courage or the will
to call for censure and not the removal of this President?"
To Jim Wright:
"Speaker Wright, let me start with you. When you resigned nine years
ago you had been battered by the right. You called for an end to what you
called 'mindless cannibalism' Nine years later we're hearing terms
like that again and others swirling around the impeachment of Bill
Clinton. Have we learned nothing in nine years?"
And: "Speaker Wright, during McCarthy's
sort of communist witch hunt, the really turning point was when one person
being grilled by the Senator said 'do you have no decency.' Do you see
anybody with the credibility in Washington right now to ask that same
Fox News has played the Alec Baldwin video outburst, first detailed in the
December 15 CyberAlert, three times in the past few days. He may have
meant the December 11 Late Night with Conan O'Brien bit, in which he
yelled about stoning Henry Hyde and his family to death, as a comedy
sketch, but he's apologized to Henry Hyde, NBC has promised to never
repeat the show and even Jack Valenti has denounced his comments.
The December 20
Fox News Sunday showed an excerpt of Baldwin: "We would stone Henry
Hyde to death" and "kill their wives and their children,"
prompting host Tony Snow to remark: "There's our Howard Beale
moment of the year." Fox's Brit Hume then, in my opinion,
accurately assessed Baldwin's intention and beliefs: "I think it
was not in earnest. On the other hand, I don't think the thought would
have occurred to him to say it on that show if it hadn't occurred to him
-- Baldwin has
apologized. The December 17 Washington Post reported:
Baldwin wrote a letter of apology to House
Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) for a bit in which he
shouted, "We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their
homes and we'd kill their wives and their children!" Baldwin said the
exchange was a parody mocking the sanctimony of representatives on the
Judiciary Committee, and that he was sorry Hyde took it badly. "In
the current supercharged climate there's no room for this kind of
glibness," he said.
NBC has promised not to rerun the show,
ever. "The skit was obviously a joke and meant to be taken as
such," the network said via a spokesman for the show. "However,
in retrospect, there are sensitivities, given the climate in Washington,
and we won't re-air it," he said.
-- "Valenti to Baldwin: Cool It, Smart
Alec!" read the headline over a December 21 Washington Post item by
TV columnist Lisa de Moraes. Here's an excerpt:
Jack Valenti has fired off a letter to
actor Alec Baldwin, chastising him for suggesting in a comedy bit that
people stone to death House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde
The Motion Picture Association of America
president said he wrote to Baldwin after "a few friends of mine in
Congress -- Democrats and Republicans" complained about Baldwin's
recent comments on NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien."...
The actor's outburst was part of what was
supposed to be a big laugh-getter in which Baldwin became so agitated that
O'Brien had to administer oxygen.
Hollywood's No. 1 lobbyist acknowledged he
had not seen Baldwin's appearance on the talk show but said he didn't need
to. "This was to go stone somebody and kill his family," Valenti
said. "However it was said it's not something you use as a joke, it's
not something you parody. This is incendiary."
Baldwin spokeswoman Lisa Kasteler said
Friday that "I was surprised that he would comment on something he
hadn't seen and would get involved at all." She has said the incident
was intended as parody.
Valenti responded: "If I were clowning
around and said something in a racist way and said it was only parody, if
I said something in an antisemitic way and said it was only parody, what
do you think the press response would be?"
The answer to
Valenti's question: Far greater than it's been, but FNC and Rush
Limbaugh have highlighted it. Last Wednesday Special Report with Brit Hume
played the RealPlayer clip from the MRC Web page and Hume showed a brief
excerpt again on Thursday as he informed viewers they could see it on the
MRC home page. Hours earlier on Thursday Rush Limbaugh directed his
listeners to the MRC page if they wished to see it.
So, to read a
transcript of his outburst or to see and hear it via RealPlayer, which you
must download if you don't already have it on your computer, click on
the link MRC Webmaster Sean Henry put on our home page at www.mediaresearch.org
or go directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981215.html#5
From the December 21 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Good Things About Having President Clinton As Your Cellmate."
Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Finally, the connection you've needed
to meet your hero, Roger Clinton.
9. That Bubba makes one mean license plate.
8. You guys are a cinch to win the big health care debate against rival
7. His doughy folds of back fat are a great place to hide cigarettes.
6. His stories of life with Hillary make you appreciate how good things
are in prison.
5. If you're caught breaking out, he's got a great definition of
4. Thanks to constitutional loophole, you're fourth in line for the
3. Hilarious "Uh oh, is that Barney Frank?" joke he always makes
in the showers.
2. Tell him there's a Wendy's outside the prison wall and he'll dig a
tunnel in 20 minutes.
1. Four words: care packages from Monica.
And from the Late
Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it
into the Top Ten."
-- Unlike most prisoners, he isn't
constantly moaning about how much he misses his wife.
-- If you get jumped in the shower, he feels your pain.
-- His knowing smile when you ask him if he knows how to sneak out of
places in the dead of night.
This is the last CyberAlert until after Christmas, so I hope everyone has
a merry one.
-- Brent Baker
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