CBS: GOP Must Move Left; Tripp a Bad Mom; CNN's Liberal Night
1) The Republican Party must
"move toward the middle, away from the far-right social
conservatives" who pushed the impeachment process, contended the CBS
Evening News Monday night.
2) Larry King seriously asked
Linda Tripp if without the DNA evidence "there never would have been
an admission by the President of any relationship?" Tripp revealed
that Clinton's DNA evidence "was everywhere" on the dress.
3) Friday night NBC's
Dateline introduced highlights of the Tripp interview with a broadside
against her. And on CNN Al Hunt insisted most wouldn't want Tripp to be
4) Geraldo Rivera invited
Hillary Clinton to march with him in the Puerto Rican Day parade.
5) "As Republicans why
would they want to do anything the public wanted them to do?" So
CBS's Gloria Borger snidely asked on PBS.
6) Instead of condemning
Lewinsky and Jordan for lying Newsweek's Evan Thomas praised them as
"pros" who are "savvy" and "terrific."
7) NBC's Claire Shipman
assured viewers that though Clinton is angry at Republicans, "his
method for dealing with that is more likely to be persuasion than
8) CNN's Liberal Night?
Tuesday's CNN specials promise a bunch of liberal panelists, but just
See and hear Carville get booed. Last Friday morning Katie Couric asked
James Carville about Ken Starr and whether he is "willing though to
bury the hatchet and say we gotta move on, we gotta put his behind
us?" Carville responded: "Yea, I'll bury the hatchet right in
him. No I'm not burying no hatchets no way..." The night before the
audience for CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, an audience drawn
from the liberal Northeast, actually booed some of Carville's
pro-Clinton harangues. Tuesday morning a RealPlayer clip of some of the
booing will be placed on the MRC home page. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
CBS News to the GOP: You must "move toward the middle, away from the
far-right social conservatives" who pushed the impeachment process.
Though the February 15 CBS Evening News piece by correspondent Sharyl
Attkisson on what Republicans must do to overcome supposed public
rejection of their party included some soundbites from Republicans, none
were allowed to counter the central thesis of her one expert professor
about how the Republicans must move left.
In a minute and
thirty five seconds Attkisson managed to air five ideological labels about
Republicans. In the following complete transcript of the report these
labels are in ALL CAPS.
"Today, Republicans at a town hall meeting in Michigan seemed
delighted to talk about something besides impeachment."
Senator Trent Lott: "Actually what I believe
in is less government from Washington, less taxes on the people and more
Attkisson: "Republicans are desperately
re-grouping after a difficult year pursuing the President's impeachment.
Many worry they're now at serious risk of losing their congressional
majority. Political analyst James Thurber says the party must move toward
the middle, away from the FAR-RIGHT SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES who pushed
hardest for the President's ouster. But that won't be easily
James Thurber, American University: "It's
tough for Republicans to moderate though when they have a well-organized
RIGHT-WING in their party, pulling the party FURTHER TO THE RIGHT where
the voters don't exist."
Attkisson: "Moderates like Senator John
McCain, meeting in Florida over the weekend, are well aware of their
Senator John McCain on Saturday: "It's not
an accident that this was the lowest turnout ever for 18 to 26 year-olds.
Do you think it was some kind of aberration?"
Attkisson: "For now the game plan is hammer
home traditional CONSERVATIVE goals like tax cuts and the return of power
to local governments."
Lott: "We want to get those decisions and
that money out of Washington, back in the states and the local level where
the decisions are really made."
Attkisson: "The party's RIGHT-WING will
continue to apply pressure on social issues like abortion. They may be in
the minority but they're powerful fundraisers and that gives them the
influence to shape policy and dominate the Republican agenda."
Linda Tripp's live interview Monday night by CNN's Larry King
generated less hostility from King than I expected, but did deliver one
noteworthy exchange in which Tripp offered what Geraldo Rivera would
dismiss as a "salacious" detail about the semen-stained dress,
though a previously unknown observation about quantity, and King's
apparent lack of knowledge of how only the dress evidence led Clinton to
concede anything quite naturally baffled Tripp.
relevant exchange from near the end of the February 15 show:
one of her visits to Lewinsky's Watergate apartment: "...The two
times I had been there were -- both times were for reasons of convenience,
having to stay late in town -- and at that time, she wanted me try on some
jackets that she thought I would fit into. And I did. And at that time,
she pulled out this semen-stained dress and showed it to me. And that was
King: "And said that's the President's
semen. What did she say?"
Tripp: "Well, I knew every outfit she had
ever worn with them he him because there had been so much thought that
went into which dress to wear and so forth, and I recognized it as a dress
from a visit. And it was quite obviously stained all over the front, and
she explained what it was."
King: "Wasn't one little stain?"
Tripp: "No. It was everywhere."
King: "And did you say keep it?"
Tripp: "Not at that time. Later,
King: "But what led you to say that?"
Tripp: "Well, when I saw it, I realized that
this was her insurance policy, much as my documentation later would be
King: "Are you saying that no dress there
never wold have been an admission by the President of any
Tripp: "You're asking me that
King: "No, I'm asking you -- yea."
Tripp: "Well, I think, I think the facts are
clear on that."
Well, not to King.
How the DNA evidence led to Clinton realizing he had to admit something
happened apparently went right over King's head.
Speaking of King
and missing the point, check out this wacky reasoning from the Monday USA
Today column of the man who loves to berate "right-wing wackos."
From the February 15 "Larry King's People" column:
"What-if department...What if President
Clinton announced a cure for cancer developed by the National Institutes
of Health? What would critics say? Would Bob Barr want him impeached for
failing to tell us the study was going on? Would Rush Limbaugh decry the
President taking credit while admitting getting rid of cancer wasn't a bad
thing? Would Pat Buchanan insist that no nation other than America be
given it? Would The Wall Street Journal worry about its effect on
pharmaceutical stock prices? And so it goes...."
NBC maximized the Today show exclusive interview they had with Linda
Tripp, running it again Friday night on MSNBC's The News with Brian
Williams and parts of it on Dateline NBC, but NBC didn't thank Tripp by
offering a positive portrait of her.
See the February
12 special afternoon CyberAlert for details of the Today interview, which
the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz reported Today agreed to carry
That CyberAlert guesstimated the interview last about 15 minutes on Today.
I went back and timed it and it actually lasted 20:55, nearly 21 minutes.
But Friday night
Tripp didn't even have the limited protection her no edit deal assured,
a fact NBC took full advantage of in weaving her Today interview into a
13-minute piece for Dateline. Check out the introduction by Jamie Gangel,
the reporter who conducted the interview:
"Linda Tripp, the woman many Americans hold responsible for the
year-long ordeal known as the Lewinsky affair. The woman who got it all
started by secretly taping her girlfriend, Monica Lewinsky as she agonized
over her relationship with the President of the United States. [snippet of
Lewinsky on tape pleading with Tripp not to let her have an affair again
with a married man] The woman who not only launched a national scandal but
launched a thousand jokes. [Two-second bite of John Goodman playing Tripp
on Saturday Night Live] And the woman who launched a wave of scorn."
Man on street: "I think she's
Woman on street: "I don't think much of
Bernard Lewinsky, from June 5, 1998: "It's
something that I don't know how she will ever live the rest of her life
knowing that she has so damaged a 'friend,' quote unquote."
Gangel: "She spoke out only once before, in
a brief press conference after her grand jury testimony last summer."
Tripp in July 1998: "I'm you. I'm just
Gangel, now in an excerpt from her Today
interview: "After you testified to the grand jury you said?"
Tripp: "Regrettably, I am you."
Gangel: "'I am you.' And I think America
resoundingly said 'no you're not.'"
(To watch this
intro, go to the MRC home page where Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry will
post a RealPlayer clip of it next to this item in the posted version of
And so it went
with Gangel interspersing interview clips with her reporting of what Tripp
did, including her contacting Lucianne Goldberg, "a New York book
agent, political bit player and an avowed Clinton hater." Gangel did
include soundbites of Tripp talking about Lewinsky's suicide threats and
how she thinks Lewinsky covered up for Clinton. But Gangel also again
failed to acknowledge Tripp's prescience in saving the dress, accusing
her of trying to "manipulate" Lewinsky, and concluded by playing
her final interview question which held Tripp, not Clinton, responsible
for the scandal:
"When all is said and done, Monica's life
has been ruined. President Clinton remains in office. The country has gone
through a year of scandal which many people blame you for. Was it worth
The Wall Street Journal's Executive Washington
Editor is as disgusted with Tripp as ever. Just look at Al Hunt's
"Outrage of the Week" as announced on Saturday's Capital Gang
"The infamous Linda Tripp told the New York
Times this week that she was actually helping her friend Monica Lewinsky,
acting like a mom by surreptitiously taping her and then going to a
prosecutor. This mom also tried to cash in on those tapes by peddling a
book, played along with the antics of right-wing operatives and says her
dear friend Monica lied under oath to the Senate. Somehow I don't think
most people would want Linda Tripp as a friend, much less a mom."
Geraldo Rivera, giddy with excitement and already aboard the Hillary for
Senate campaign. Rivera got some off-camera face time with Bill Clinton in
Mexico Monday morning. Smiling and barely able to contain his glee, on
CNBC's Upfront Tonight on Monday night Rivera recounted part of his
"I said, you know, I'd like to invite the
First Lady to march with me in this summer's Puerto Rican Day parade up
Fifth Avenue, a million and a half people lining both sides of the
streets. The President instantly said 'I think that she'd like
that.' And then as if to emphasize it he said 'I think she'd like
that' a second time so I would bet you'd have another Clinton to kick
around Diane [Dimond] come the year 2000 in the United States
Republicans blocked a popular censure resolution because "as
Republicans why would they want to do anything the public wanted them to
do?" So argued CBS News analyst and U.S. News writer Gloria Borger on
Friday's Washington Week in Review. Check out this exchange from the
February 12 edition of the PBS show:
"The Senate didn't get to where it really wanted to get, which was
a censure. All along you've seen the polls, the public has said well
don't remove him from office, but give him some kind of reprimand. Why
can't you folks agree in a bipartisan way to do something, to reprimand
this guy and they just couldn't get there."
Tom Friedman, New York Times columnist: "Why
not? What happened?"
Borger: "Well, I mean, and Doyle [McManus]
can speak to this, but essentially the Republicans were saying we're
voting to convict and that's enough and we don't want to appear to be
piling on, which was kind of strange reasoning."
Friedman: "Too late to be piling on."
Borger: "Right, and it's unconstitutional
and as Republicans why would they want to do anything the public wanted
them to do? This would be a first. And then they said we'll let the
Democrats off the hook if we do that. And the Democrats thought that the
censure resolution was too tough."
Admiring deceit. Clinton, Jordan and Lewinsky all lied and isn't that
great! Instead of condemning them, on this past weekend's Inside
Washington Newsweek's Evan Thomas praised them as "pros" who
are "savvy" and "terrific." Suggesting an explanation
for why the Senate couldn't muster a majority on the obstruction
article, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor intoned:
"It was a weak obstruction of justice case
for a couple of reasons. I think the biggest reason was the three
principals involved in it -- Clinton and Monica and Vernon Jordan -- are
pros, they know how to cover-up so there was never any, they didn't have
to do any explicit 'now young lady you have to lie.' Monica's a
savvy gal. She knows how to lie when the time is right. Clinton's been
doing it all his life. And Vernon is a terrific lawyer who knew exactly
how not to get himself into trouble. And with those three principals
involved you were never going to pin a case on them."
Friday night the three broadcast evening shows each presented a different
opening spin on what the day's events meant. On the NBC Nightly News
Claire Shipman, who called the Clinton statement "the President's
most humble apology, plain and short," also eagerly bought into the
White House spin, concluding with this innocuous take on rumors of
"Aides say the President's mood today --
largely one of relief. Yes he has some anger at those Republicans who
impeached him, but friends explain that his method for dealing with that
is more likely to be persuasion than retribution. As one put it tonight,
he knows now that in order to restore his legacy he has to think and act
pursuit of big breasts what got him in trouble?
Over on the CBS
Evening News reporter provided a piece on how Janet Reno is investigating
Ken Starr, but Jones concluded by noting: "Those supportive of Starr
view the Justice Department investigation of the independent counsel as an
attempt to build a case so the Attorney General can fire Starr before he
can indict Bill Clinton."
To give you a
flavor what viewers learned from the networks Friday night, here's how
the Big Three opened their February 12 broadcasts:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings, the only broadcast network anchor to remain
in New York City, began: "Good evening. When the Watergate crisis was
over in the 1970s President Gerald Ford said succinctly that the
country's long national nightmare was over. The crisis in the Clinton
presidency has never been as divisive, nor has it pulverized the
nation's emotions in quite the same way. But when the President's
impeachment trial was done in the Senate today and he came out and
apologized for a crisis he had triggered there was, we think, a national
sense of relief that it was over whether one agreed with the Senate
decision or not."
-- CBS Evening
News. From Washington, DC Dan Rather opened: "Good evening. The
verdict is in. President Clinton will stay in office, the push by
Republicans to remove him failed today. The vote wasn't even close to
the two-thirds majority required, that would be 67 votes, on either one of
the two impeachment counts for perjury and obstruction of justice. From
Capitol Hill Bob Schieffer reports on a defining day for the President,
Congress and the country."
-- NBC Nightly
News. Also from Washington, Tom Brokaw led the broadcast: "Good
evening. Well, after all of this: more than a year of charges,
investigation, rumors, sex lies and videotape, the second impeachment
trial of an American President ended today and the vote wasn't even
close on perjury or obstruction of justice. Ten Republican Senators voted
against the case presented by the House managers on perjury, so that vote
was 55 to 45 not guilty. On the charge of obstruction of justice five
Republicans crossed over. That vote was a flat tie, well short of the
two-thirds needed for conviction."
Tuesday night: CNN's Liberal Night? Tuesday, February 16, CNN plans to
air a two-hour special town meeting hosted by Jeff Greenfield in two
parts: 8 to 9pm ET and 10 to 11pm ET with Larry King Live sandwiched in
between. Conservative views may be hard to hear.
Larry King Live King plugged his Tuesday show:
"We'll discuss the fallout from the impeachment trial with Hugh
Downs of ABC's 20/20, Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee of the Washington Post
and David Gergen of U.S. News and World Report." Not a conservative
As for the
two-hour town meeting, "A Conversation with America: We the
People," promos run Monday night on CNN listed these guests: liberal
Hollywood producer Norman Lear, liberal former CBS News anchor Walter
Cronkite who has condemned the impeachment push, liberal former
Congressman and current NAACP chief Kwesi Mfume, and Arianna Huffington.
That's 3-to-1. Well, maybe it's more like 4 or 5-to-1. Monday's USA
Today also listed Howard Baker and Chuck D of Public Enemy as panelists.
Baker may be right of center, but he's no conservative. And I never
thought of Chuck D as a public opinion analyst.
Let's hope the shows are more balanced than the
promos and guest lists suggest. -- Brent Baker
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