Trial Will Cause Market Collapse?; Rivera Attacks "Snotty" NBC Question
1) CBS gave an ideological
label to virtually every Republican. Dan Rather ruminated about doom,
asking what if "the stock market should suddenly drop a thousand to
twelve hundred points."
2) ABC relayed that bored
Senators ate jelly beans and took their pulse. NBC on the House managers:
"To conservatives, they may be the dream team....all white, all male,
3) Democratic Senators got a
private briefing from the House Democratic lawyers, but the networks
ignored that and instead focused on how GOP Senators broke the bi-partisan
4) Geraldo Rivera denounced as
"snotty" a question to President Clinton from a reporter from
his very own network, said Linda Tripp "makes me want to vomit"
and charged that Paula Jones was "manipulated by right-wing crazy
5) Though he denied it in
Clinton-like fashion, Larry Flynt gave $10,000 to Clinton-Gore in 1996.
6) MSNBC's John Hockenberry
on liberal Paul Wellstone's decision to not make a presidential run:
"I have to say I'm disappointed."
Credibility, Clinton Ties Barely Touched While Anti-Clinton Guests
Attacked or Ignored. ABC: Larry Flynt's Outreach Partner." The latest
Media Reality Check fax report is now up on the MRC home page. The MRC's
Tim Graham opened the report: "Seven years ago, Peter Jennings
regretted running the Gennifer Flowers story as a bad beginning to the
year that probably 'alienated a public already critical of news
media.' But on Tuesday night, Jennings and his show World News Tonight
were the only one of the Big Three to peddle Hustler magazine publisher
Larry Flynt's attack on Rep. Bob Barr." To read the full report,
which also contrasts how Good Morning America treated Gary Aldrich and
Larry Flynt, go to http://www.mrc.org, or
go direct: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990114.html
Corrections: The January
13 CyberAlert quoted Peter Jennings as saying "Mr. Barr is not happy
to be in Mr. Flynt's sites." That should have read
"sights." The beginning of item #2 in the same issue referred to
Larry Flynt's Tuesday night appearance on CNBC's Rivera Live. He
appeared on Monday night, January 11.
During CBS News coverage of the Senate trial Thursday afternoon, viewers
saw virtually every House manager tagged as a "conservative" and
at a time when the Dow was down under 200 points anchor Dan Rather asked
Warren Rudman to speculate on whether the trial would end sooner if the
stock market index were to plummet by more than 1,000 points.
at 1pm ET the three broadcast networks and PBS joined the cable networks
with live coverage. PBS stayed on to the end at 7pm ET while the
commercial networks showed the opening statements from Henry Hyde and
James Sensenbrenner and then went to analysis when Ed Bryant began at
about 2:15pm ET. CBS ended coverage at just past 2:30pm ET while ABC and
NBC provided a cut-off then for affiliates. Washington's NBC-owned
channel went to a soap, but the ABC affiliate stuck with ABC coverage
until Oprah at 4pm.
-- As Henry Hyde
outlined what topics each manager would cover over the three day
presentation, both ABC and CBS ran on-screen graphics with brief bio
information on the Congressmen. ABC stuck to their career and political
highlights. CBS, as the MRC's Tim Graham noticed, made sure everyone
knew they were conservative. Here's how each was described:
Ed Bryant: "Conservative, former
Bill McCollum: "Conservative"
George Gekas: "Solid conservative"
Steve Chabot: "Conservative"
Charles Canady: "Conservative, Chair of Constitution
Steve Buyer: "Conservative"
Lindsey Graham: "Conservative"
Sensenbrenner began viewers saw: "Conservative, a senior
The only ones to
escape an ideological tag: Asa Hutchinson, James Rogan and Bob Barr, all
because CBS had more interesting tidbits to offer. (Rogan: youngest
municipal court judge in California; Barr: early proponent of
After Hyde and
Sensenbrenner were done, Bob Schieffer gave his verdict: "Thus far,
Dan, we have not heard either Clarence Darrow or William Jennings Bryan,
this has been fairly tedious."
-- Dan Rather's first question to former
Republican Senator Warren Rudman: "The stock market was down well
over 200 points at one point today, it's now down about 170, we'll see
where it closes. Question: If, no one thinks it's going to happen, if
the stock market should suddenly drop a thousand to twelve hundred points,
what would happen to this proceeding in the Senate?"
If "no one
thinks it's going to happen" then why is Rather raising the threat
which comes right out of the White House's anti-trial spin manual? (The
Dow closed down 228 points on Thursday.)
A few minutes
later, after noting that polls show most Americans are not following the
trial, Rather concluded CBS's live coverage: "Future historians may
wonder how and why so many Americans chose to be so unconcerned. In the
eyes of history, Bill Clinton is not the only one on trial. So are his
accusers. So are his judges. And so are all of us."
The opening day of the Senate trial dominated the broadcast network news
Thursday night. (I was unable to see the CNN and FNC evening shows.)
Here's a brief rundown of the topics covered and a few interesting
quotes plucked from the lengthy January 14 coverage:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight opened with Linda Douglass reviewing the main points made by
Henry Hyde and the other managers. Douglass relayed: "But when the
managers began reciting the familiar allegations against the President,
sometimes repeating each other, some of the Senators got restless. One
began organizing his desk draw, another took his pulse and still another
was seen popping jelly beans."
Next, Jackie Judd
focused exclusively on Asa Hutchinson's outlining the evidence for
obstruction of justice including his call by call recitation of efforts to
get Monica Lewinsky a job and challenge to the Senate to set record
straight by calling Vernon Jordan as a witness.
Sam Donaldson gave
the White House reaction and after an ad break Jennings got assessments
from Bill Kristol, Cokie Roberts and Jeffrey Toobin. All agreed Hutchinson
made an impressive case for the need to hear from witnesses.
-- CBS Evening News. CBS produced a one-hour
newscast but I only saw the second half hour which, if as happened last
time CBS fed a one-hour show, may have been the only part carried by
Washington's CBS affiliate. In this second half hour Wyatt Andrews
detailed Hutchinson's presentation, Bill Plante looked at how Bill
Clinton is laying out spending proposal which total $11 billion and Dan
Rather brought on former Senator George Mitchell to defend Clinton and
attack the impeachment case.
introduced a profile of Chief Justice William Rehnquist with rhyme:
"CBS's Phil Jones has the brief on the chief." The show ended
with a "Reality Check" by Eric Engberg on how the Senate's
"old boys club" still does and will do much of its work in
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw opened by
measuring the entertainment value instead of the substance of the House
"...There were no thundering orations, no
surprising moments worthy of a John Grisham novel, no partisan foodfights.
The drama of this opening day came in the relentless attacks by Republican
prosecutors on the President's behavior and the challenges to the Senate
to answer to the rule of law and to America's children."
Gwen Ifill gave an
overview with two clips of Sensenbrenner and one each from Hyde and
Hutchinson. Claire Shipman checked in from the White House.
Then Lisa Myers
looked at the House managers. "To conservatives, they may be the
dream team. Thirteen lawyers, all white, all male, all conservative with
varying degrees of legal talent," Myers began. After explaining that
Hyde was an insurance lawyer, that Sensenbrenner only practiced for six
months, but that eight are former prosecutors, including Hutchinson who
once convicted Roger Clinton on drug charges, Myers concluded:
"Beyond convicting the President, prosecutors have one overriding
goal: to vindicate themselves and the House. They want to show this was
not the work of a partisan lynch mob but a compelling case of wrongdoing
by the President."
Williams examined the differences between a regular and a Senate trial.
Democratic Senators got a private briefing from the Democratic lawyers on
the House Judiciary Committee, but the networks ignored that and instead
zoomed in on how Republican Senators had supposedly broken the bi-partisan
spirit by meeting with the House managers to discuss possible witnesses.
Jurors Get Private Briefing" announced the lead headline in the
January 14 Washington Times over a story the networks skipped. Reporters
Nancy Roman and Bill Sammon relayed: "Abbe Lowell, Steve Reich and
Kevin Simpson -- lawyers who helped prepare arguments against impeachment
-- walked Senate Democrats through the case and answered questions during
the closed-door meeting."
broadcast networks all highlighted a soundbite from Tom Daschle
criticizing the Republican meeting:
-- In post-opening
statement coverage CBS News analyst Gloria Borger, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
observed, told Dan Rather: "Behind the scenes, we've heard today
that Republican Senators were meeting with the Republican House managers
to talk about this question of witnesses and it got the Democrats a little
bit upset about it because they said 'folks, this was supposed to be a
bipartisan show here.'"
Seconds later Bob
Schieffer led into the bite from Daschle: "The first friction in this
exercise which Senators have been determined to make as bipartisan as
possible did crop up today when the leader of the Democrats, Tom Daschle,
found out that some of the Senators had been conferring with the House
prosecutors about witnesses. He complained about that and the fact that
the House prosecutors have already begun to interview some
-- On ABC's
World News Tonight, Linda Douglass warned: "And all day long, behind
the scenes, a partisan battle over whether to call witnesses was brewing.
The Democratic Senate leader accused some Republicans of secretly plotting
with House managers on calling witnesses, even though the Senate had
agreed to put that decision off."
-- In her NBC
Nightly News story Gwen Ifill asserted: "But even before the opening
prayer, deep divisions over whether to call witnesses grew even wider.
Democrats angry that three Republican Senators had been meeting alone with
members of the House prosecution team, breaking a vow to work across party
Daschle: "It certainly violates the spirit of the agreement that we
just all agreed to last week."
So much to be angry about and only 90 minutes a night for Geraldo Rivera
to spout. Over the past two days Rivera has bemoaned the "grim
fact" of the trial, said that Linda Tripp's advice that Monica
Lewinsky should tell the truth "makes me want to vomit,"
denounced as "snotty" a question to President Clinton from his
very own network and charged that Paula Jones was "manipulated by
right-wing crazy people."
Rivera's outbursts, in date order from newest to oldest:
-- A disheartened
Rivera opened the January 14 Upfront Tonight:
"And so it has begun, the trial of our
President. For all the protests that this is a sexual witch hunt, an
attempt by his political enemies to use illicit sex and sex lies to throw
out a popular President, the grim fact is that if he is convicted by the
United States Senate, Bill Clinton is out of a job, he's out on the
street and he is barred forever from holding any federal office. Listening
to his congressional pursuers present their case against the President,
there was so many attempts to draw a parallel to Richard Nixon that I
thought I was listening to a doctor give a grave diagnosis. Listen."
(Rivera showed Republicans talking about a "cancer" on he
-- Linda Tripp's advice that Monica Lewinsky
should tell the truth, Rivera spewed, "makes me want to vomit."
On the January 13 Rivera Live, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noted, he
played a tape of a Tripp-Lewinsky conversation:
Monica Lewinsky: "Other than how you feel
yourself, like inside, what is the advantage of telling the truth?
What-what advantage do you see for yourself? Where will that put you? What
does that do for you?"
Linda Tripp: "Okay, well, how I feel inside
is-is not exactly how I define it. With me, to me, there's a reason for
telling the truth, that the truth is the right thing to do. I mean I
don't, I don't think it's my conscience so much as I just think
it's a fact of life. I think, I think that you're required to tell the
truth under oath."
Rivera: "Oh she makes me want to vomit, that
-- Rivera denounced as "snotty" a
reporter's question to President Clinton. The MRC's Geoffrey Dickens
recognized the voice of the reporter: Rivera's NBC News colleague --
Claire Shipman! On Wednesday's Upfront Tonight Rivera asserted:
"So on the eve of his impeachment trial the
President decided to field a couple of snotty questions like this
Audio of Claire Shipman with the camera focused
on Clinton: "Lawyers are arguing that the charges against you don't
amount to high crimes and misdemeanors. Do you personally believe that
perjury and obstruction of justice are not impeachable offenses?"
Minutes later in a
story by Jane Wells viewers saw the same exchange with Clinton, this time
with the camera looking at Shipman.
So much for teamwork at NBC News.
-- Paula Jones "manipulated by right-wing
crazy people." From the January 12 Rivera Live:
"Let's get to that major charge, although
I reject Joe's [DiGenova] lofty characterization of Paula Jones'
lawsuit as the citizen of Arkansas's civil rights action. I mean to me
what that does is demean all of those civil rights actions that really
meant something for people fighting for constitutionally protected rights
in the South and the North. People who died. And here's Paula Jones
being manipulated by right wing crazy people."
Larry Flynt: Depends what "donation" means. From National
Review's January 13 Washington Bulletin e-mail report:
THE LATEST HUSTLE
Larry Flynt says he isn't coordinating his anti-GOP activities with the
White House, but he seems to share its disregard for the truth. In a
December 20th letter to Flynt, Republican political consultant Craig
Shirley asked, "Have you personally or has your company ever given
money to President Clinton or the Democrat Party?" Flynt's January
7th reply: "No."
Federal Election Commission documents,
however, reveal that Flynt sent a $10,000 check to the Clinton-Gore
campaign on August 19, 1996. Although the money was later returned, Flynt
did give it--and lied when he told Shirley otherwise. Perhaps he's
embarrassed by the connection to Clinton.
To read National
Review's daily reports, go to: http://www.nationalreview.com
Journalists for Wellstone? That's a group John Hockenberry might have
formed if he had the opportunity, noticed MRC analyst Mark Drake. On his
MSNBC show Tuesday night, January 12, Hockenberry expressed his
disappointment with left-wing Senator Paul Wellstone's decision not to
run for President. Concluding an interview with the Minnesotan,
Hockenberry told him:
"Senator Wellstone, it's been a great
pleasure talking to you and you're not running for President, after
those sort of passionate words there. Not running for President. We'll
have to leave it there. I have to say I'm disappointed."
Seen any media figures expressing disappointment
about John Ashcroft's decision not to run? -- Brent Baker
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