Starr: "Flynt with Subpoena Power"; "A Legislative Coup d'etat"; GOP McCarthyism
1) Margaret Carlson impugned
Ken Starr as Larry "Flynt with subpoena power." Al Hunt
denounced the "extraordinary hypocrisy" of those who voted to
impeach Clinton but opposed punishing Gingrich.
2) "Is Mr. Flynt, in
effect, doing the work of the Christian Right, here?" So asked
ABC's Cynthia McFadden on GMA.
3) Led by the "repulsive
billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife," Geraldo Rivera charged,
conservatives enacted "a legislative coup d'etat" as part of
their "pathologically ideological movement to oust our very popular
and effective President."
4) MSNBC's Brian Williams
lamented that a liberal Democrat's invoking of the rallying cry against
McCarthyism to condemn Republicans didn't generate more publicity.
5) The networks are now
ignoring the sexual assault charge against Clinton alluded to by Tom DeLay,
but they highlighted it in March.
6) Margaret Carlson's
Neighborhood: Everyone discussed global warming as they put up their
Christmas lights. No kidding.
>>> "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.
Holiday or not, you can always count on Margaret Carlson and Al Hunt to
deliver the liberal view. For the "Outrage of the Year" Time's
Carlson impugned Ken Starr as Larry "Flynt with subpoena power and a
grand jury" and the Wall Street Journal's Hunt denounced the
"extraordinary hypocrisy" of those who voted to impeach Clinton
but had opposed punishing Newt Gingrich.
At the end of
CNN's Capital Gang on December 26 Margaret Carlson declared:
"Adultery as a killer issue will haunt
politics for years to come. Now we have Larry Flynt following on the heels
of the tabloids, the press and Ken Starr. What's kept Clinton in office is
partly the fear of Starr, who's Flynt with subpoena power and a grand
jury. People don't want their government going into a person's sex life,
no matter how reprehensible. Sticking with marriage is the right thing to
do but not because Larry Flynt or the government is waiting to humiliate
you if you don't."
Al Hunt then
offered his Outrage of the Year:
"Twenty-five House Republicans and one House
Democrat who voted to impeach the president all piously proclaimed their
indignation over Clinton's lies. What makes these members, the most
prominent is House GOP Whip Tom DeLay, noteworthy is that at the start of
this Congress, all 26 voted against any punishment for Newt Gingrich, who,
of course, was found by a special counsel to have lied. With the history
and stakes so large, this is extraordinary hypocrisy, even in this
applying the same reasoning means that all the Democrats and Republicans
who voted to punish Gingrich but voted no on the impeachment articles are
also hypocrites. But that's not the kind of hypocrisy Hunt cares about.
And that's "extraordinary hypocrisy."
Complementing Carlson's theory that Larry Flynt is just following
through on Ken Starr's work, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that
last week on ABC's Good Morning America substitute host Cynthia McFadden
kept arguing that Flynt is doing what the Christian Right wants by outing
adulterers. McFadden missed the fact that the Christian Right hasn't
Falwell on December 22, she pressed:
-- McFadden: "Reverend Falwell, is Mr. Flynt,
in effect, doing the work of the Christian Right, here?"
-- McFadden: "So Mr. Falwell, Reverend
Falwell, do you approve or disapprove of the revealing? Mr. Flynt says
there are 11, 12, maybe more to go."
Falwell: "Well, of course I disapprove of
investigating personal lives and destroying families, and so forth, but I
McFadden, cuts in: "But isn't that the kind
of moralistic, I mean, isn't that what the Christian Right wants, a higher
Geraldo Rivera of NBC News. Over the past few months a few CyberAlert
readers have asked why I cite comments from Rivera when he's a known
liberal advocate with a talk show, not a newsman. His appearance on Today
last week explains my reasoning. Rivera is a member of the NBC News team
that NBC News shows off.
December 22 show featured a discussion between the pro-Clinton Rivera, who
had "NBC News" beneath his name on screen, and G. Gordon Liddy,
properly identified as a "radio talk show host." As with shows
such as Capital Gang and the McLaughlin Group, the liberal advocate is
part of the mainstream media.
pretending to be fair, Rivera's staff boasts of his slant. In the
December 28 New York Post columnist Adam Buckman looked at Roger
Clinton's appearance the week before on CNBC's Rivera Live. Quoting
the show's Senior Producer, Steve North, Buckman relayed: "He
requested to appear on Rivera Live because of his long relationship with
the program and because host Geraldo Rivera 'has been the President's
most vocal supporter,' North said."
On Today, Rivera
charged that with the help of the "repulsive billionaire Richard
Mellon Scaife," conservatives enacted "a legislative coup
d'etat" as part of their "pathologically ideological movement
to oust our very popular and effective President." He added that
"the GOP has now been kidnaped by the hard right" and he told
Liddy: "I compare you to Susan McDougall. I think you're both
people of great principle, however quirky."
Here are some
excerpts of his December 22 appearance with Liddy as transcribed by MRC
analyst Mark Drake:
-- Today co-host
Matt Lauer to Rivera: "Hey Geraldo. I want you to set this up for me.
Tell me what this is cultural war is supposed to be about, and why it has
had such a direct impact upon what is going with the President for the
Rivera: "Tom DeLay, Bob Barr, the reclusive
and repulsive billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife: to them, Bill Clinton
represents everything evil in the world -- a baby boomer, a guy who may or
may not have smoked dope, a guy who avoided the draft in Vietnam, a man
who once he began his presidency was very clear about his position on
reproductive rights for women, pro-choice, gays in the military. These are
the things that make the hair on G. Gordon Liddy's head stand straight
up. They wanted him impeached really from the moment he was born. Bob
Barr, in fact, introduced a resolution of impeachment in November before
any of us ever heard of it or Luicanne Goldberg or even Monica Lewinsky."
-- Lauer's next
question: "So what you're saying is that they're going after him
because what he represents, not actually what he did?"
Rivera: "I absolutely believe that, Matt. I
believe that if it were someone else they would not nearly have the
spirit. It would not nearly be this bitterly partisan, you know, driving
these people forward. I had Alan Dershowitz on the program, one of the
regulars, along with the Reverend Jerry Falwell and Alan was
cross-examining Jerry, and it came out the Reverend Falwell basically has
hated Bill Clinton since 1980 when it became clear that he was for choice
in terms of the abortion issue. I think that underlies everything we are
seeing here. It is an ideological, a pathologically ideological movement
to oust our very popular and effective President."
-- Rivera to Liddy,
declaring a legislative coup d'etat: "That was the party with the
slender majority and two weeks to live that impeached the man because they
could. It was a spiteful action, an action that they performed absolutely
in violation of the framers' intent. It was a legislative coup d'etat,
and it has been rejected utterly by the American people, 73 percent of
whom now say they approve of the President's performance in
denigrating Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg as "the snitches, the
rats," Rivera compared Liddy to Susan McDougall: "You didn't
say anything because you didn't want to be a snitch. You didn't want
to take down the boss who sent you on a serial felony mission to sabotage
the opposition. That's why you didn't testify. That's to your
credit. I compare you to Susan McDougall. I think you're both people of
great principle, however quirky."
final shot: "In my view, the GOP has now been kidnaped by the hard
right. What you saw with, here was Amo Houghton, the scion of a wealthy
family, an aristocrat who's been a congressman for a long time from the
Western district. He now, for the first time, has a primary opponent
because he stood for the President. This Republican Congressman, this
moderate, this Rockefeller Republican now has a primary opponent who's a
fundamentalist minister. That's the threat that kept the Republicans in
line. That is now the party that has kidnaped the GOP. It's the hard
right, the religious conservatives. There's no more coalition
Republican. It's just an ideological war now."
As if he and the
other Clintonistas never made it ideological by making war on the
"vast right-wing conspiracy."
NBC's Brian Williams was disappointed that a liberal Democrat's
invoking of the rallying cry against McCarthyism didn't generate more
traction. Tim Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, alerted me
to a question Williams posed to the Judiciary Committee's Democratic
counsel Abbe Lowell on December 21. On MSNBC's The News with Brian
Williams, referring to Democrat Robert Wexler, Williams lamented:
"This has been called the era when nothing
truly matters. Nothing breaks through. It all ends up sounding the same.
And when a certain Congressman from Florida said during the debate
Saturday, 'have you no sense of decency, sir,' using the same quote as
what ended, in a lot of people's minds the McCarthy era, it didn't get
through because it wasn't heard because it was at the same volume as
Clinton and rape. The networks may be ignoring the story now, but they did
cover it back in March.
suggested on a special Saturday Hardball on December 19 that
never-released evidence about a charge of sexual assault against Bill
Clinton is what convinced many moderate Republicans to back impeachment,
fueling discussion on talk radio shows, including Sean Hannity filling in
for Rush Limbaugh on December 21 and 23. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay
stoked the speculation when he urged on December 23: "Before people
look to cut a deal with the White House or their surrogates who will seek
to influence the process, it is my hope that one would spend plenty of
time in the evidence room. If this were to happen, you may realize that 67
votes may appear out of thin air. If you don't, you may wish you had
before rushing to judgment." The White House denounced him while the
Washington Post and New York Times on December 24 suggested he was
referring to the case of "Jane Doe #5."
While at least
some of the networks cited DeLay's comment on their December 23 evening
shows, on December 24 the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows failed to pick up
on the simmering feud between DeLay and the White House, MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson reported to me.
But despite any
current consternation over the appropriateness of reporting the sexual
assault allegation, the networks did report on it back in March when first
raised by lawyers for Paula Jones. To "refresh your
recollections" of the specifics, here's an excerpt from the Monday
March 30, 1998 CyberAlert:
The networks all ran stories Saturday and
Sunday night about the Paula Jones court filing complaining about how the
Clinton team suppressed the Willey letters and citing a woman who Clinton
supposedly assaulted in 1978.
On Saturday night NBC's Lisa Myers took
the assault charge seriously, detailing how the incident became public,
citing the woman's name and running soundbites from the man whose
knowledge the Jones lawyers cited. She even added supporting evidence from
another contemporary witness. ABC, in contrast, referred to the woman only
as "Jane Doe #5" as Linda Douglass emphasized the lack of
credibility of those making the charge, dismissing them as Clinton
enemies. Sunday night ABC again punctuated the weakness of the charge
instead of exploring it as CBS also framed the story around White House
Saturday, March 28. (NCAA basketball meant
no CBS Evening News.) On ABC's World News Tonight Saturday anchor
Elizabeth Vargas announced:
"A court document filed for lawyers for Paula Jones is making news
today. It was filed after the President's lawyer asked the judge to
dismiss the case. The documents from Jones's lawyers contain new
allegations which show just how ugly this case is getting."...
Douglass proceeded to the "ugly"
charge: "But Jones's lawyers didn't stop at obstruction of
justice. They also claim to have 'significant evidence' which suggests
Mr. Clinton 'sexually assaulted' a woman, Jane Doe #5, twenty years
ago. But the main evidence they produced was a second-hand account from a
man named Phil Yoakum, who says in a letter that Jane Doe #5 told him
about the alleged assault. Yoakum says his account can be corroborated by
Sheffield Nelson, a Republican who is Mr. Clinton's arch-enemy in
Arkansas. Legal sources tell ABC News that Jane Doe #5 told Jones lawyers
under oath that the incident did not happen, but the lawyers did not
include her denial in their court papers today. The President's lawyer
called the Jane Doe #5 allegations 'reckless and outrageous,' a sign
he said that Jones's lawyers are becoming desperate. The judge in the
Jones case is expected to rule on the President's motion to dismiss the
case in the next several weeks."
NBC's Lisa Myers provided a more complete
overview of the charge so viewers could decide for themselves its
credibility. On NBC Nightly News she began: "The explosive new
allegation tonight is that President Clinton sexually assaulted a woman
twenty years ago in Arkansas..."
After noting that Clinton was Attorney
General at the time he supposedly forced himself upon campaign worker
Juanita Broaddrick, Myers relayed: "In court documents today
Jones's lawyers claim Clinton quote 'forcible raped and sexually
assaulted' then quote 'bribed and intimidated her' to remain
Broaddrick has denied the charge under
oath, Myers noted, before continuing: "NBC News has talked to four
people from Arkansas who say Broaddrick told them of such an assault years
Specifically, she told Phillip Yoakum.
"In an interview with NBC News Yoakum said Broaddrick told him that
Clinton invited himself to her hotel room, allegedly to discuss her
nursing home business. She told you in 1981 that Bill Clinton assaulted
Yoakum: "Yes, 1981 is when she told me."
Myers: "Did you believe her at the time?"
Yoakum: "I believed her."
Myers: "Yoakum admits he is no fan of the President and that he
unsuccessfully tried to get Broaddrick to publicly tell her story when
Bill Clinton first ran for President."
Yoakum: "And she says who would believe me..."
Myers: "There was another woman at that hotel that day, a nurse and
friend of Broaddrick who says she iced her friend's face after the
alleged assault. In a telephone interview with NBC News, this woman, who
admits she dislikes Clinton, said Broaddrick was 'distraught,' her
'lips were swollen, at least double in size.' She told me they had
'intercourse against her will.'"
Sunday, March 29. ABC and NBC only gave the
assault charge a couple of sentences while CBS, which did not have a
Saturday newscast, gave it a bit more time....
On the CBS Evening News reporter Sharyl
Attkisson first went to the "gross suppression of evidence"
charged by Jones. Then she jumped to the assault charge, but she provided
none of the details relayed by NBC and led with White House denials
instead of explaining the allegation:
"...The White House describes as
outrageous and false other allegations in the new Jones documents --
unsubstantiated claims that Bill Clinton raped a woman back in 1978 when
he was Arkansas's Attorney General, then suppressed her story through
bribes and/or threats. Outraged Clinton defenders say the woman is on the
record denying that it ever happened."
After a soundbite from Torricelli,
Attkisson delivered this less than definitive conclusion:
"And adding to the confusion, when we asked the woman's attorney
about the rape allegation he told CBS News, quote 'we do not deny it, we
do not admit it. People will have to judge this kind of crock on their
own,' end quote. But with overlapping investigations and sealed
documents that will be hard to do."
Margaret Carlson's strange neighborhood, somewhere in the Washington, DC
area. Asked on the December 26 Capital Gang to name her "sleeper
issue for the new year," Time's Margaret Carlson replied:
"On December 5th, everyone in my
neighborhood went out to decorate for Christmas and the word was global
warming. No longer a joke of Jay Leno's, global warming will be an issue,
a real one."
Does she live in a neighborhood full of EPA
bureaucrats and Al Gore groupies? Or maybe just one dominated by liberal
journalists. -- Brent
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