ABC & NBC Resist Broaddrick Story; Starr Hammered More in Prime Time
1) ABC's Cokie Roberts:
Hillary Clinton "can do good without running for public office."
2) The Juanita Broaddrick
stories in two newspapers generated a few seconds on GMA and Today, full
stories on CBS and CNN, but zilch on ABC and NBC in the evening and
nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC Sunday morning. NBC's Lisa Myers
"frustrated" by not getting on air.
3) "Presidents are people
too" Clinton got to say in reply to one of three softball questions
from U.S. reporters at his news conference, a lack of tough inquiries
noted by Sam Donaldson.
4) In part two of NBC's
prime time attack on Ken Starr a lead character regretted how he spread
"forty million dollars worth of misinformation." And on ABC's
The Practice a lawyer suggested Starr showed his "true calling was
pornography" while another lawyer cited CNN's Tailwind as an
example of media misdeeds.
>>> February 22 MediaWatch and
Notable Quotables now online on the MRC home page thanks to MRC research
associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean Henry. In MediaWatch read a
front page story about the networks urging the GOP to go left and the
Review by the MRC's Tim Graham, "No Valentines for Tripp 'The
Betrayer,'" on how NBC and CNN treated her. A back page piece,
"Networks Nix Newt News," summarizes how all but CNN and Fox
News Sunday skipped the IRS ruling clearing Gingrich. Under the "www.bias.com"
department heading MRC analyst Mark Drake lists some of MSNBC's loaded
descriptions of scandal players he came across on the network's Web
site. Plus Newsbites: "Tom's Tilt" on how Tom Brokaw, on
Letterman's show, accused Republicans but not Democrats of hypocrisy and
zealotry; "Jared Who?" by Jessica Anderson how the rest of the
media failed to pick up on ABC's story confirming that Kathleen Willey
was harassed; and "Buttoned Broaddrick" by Geoffrey Dickens on
NBC's failure to show their interview. To read this and past issues of
MediaWatch, go directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1999/mw1999archive.html
Hillary Rodham can do more "good" outside the Senate than in it,
ABC's Cokie Roberts asserted on Sunday's This Week. Just after George
Stephanopoulos recommended Hillary Clinton skip the Senate and go right to
Manchester, New Hampshire to launch a presidential bid, Roberts suggested
she has no reason to run for the open New York Senate seat:
"The truth is that the main reason to run
for public office is to do good. And she can do good without running for
Juanita Broaddrick still blacked out by ABC's World News Tonight and NBC
Nightly News, though the CBS Evening News and CNN's The World Today,
after ignoring Friday's Wall Street Journal editorial page piece, picked
up on her story after the Washington Post put it on its Saturday, February
20, front page. Of the broadcast network Sunday shows only Fox News Sunday
raised the subject. (Tony Snow asked Speaker Denny Hastert about it and
the subject was the lead item for the roundtable.) Not a syllable on
ABC's This Week, CBS's Face the Nation or NBC's Meet the Press nor
on CNN's Capital Gang or the syndicated Inside Washington, though on
McLaughlin Group Eleanor Clift denounced it.
Williams gladly relayed, as if accurate, Joe Lockhart's charge
"that in the past that page of the Wall Street Journal has branded
the President a drug smuggler and a murderer."
For those of you
relying on a broadcast network or the New York Times for your news,
Juanita Broaddrick is the woman who accused Bill Clinton of sexually
assaulting her in 1978. A few weeks ago the Drudge Report revealed that
NBC's Lisa Myers landed an exclusive interview, but the network refused
to air it. As noted in the February 3 CyberAlert, FNC ran a story about
how NBC was holding back the interview. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990203.html#4
A few days later, FNC's Brit Hume sported a "Free Lisa Myers"
button, to see it, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990205.html#2
Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reported on NBC's blown exclusive:
"Several NBC sources said Myers and her
Washington bureau chief, Tim Russert, were frustrated by their inability
to get the story on the air. They and other advocates believe that each
time they came up with further corroboration, NBC management raises the
evidentiary bar a little higher. They also feel badly about winning
Broaddrick's trust, combing through her records and disrupting her life,
only to keep holding the story, these sources said.
"Myers, who has pursued Broaddrick for a
year, would say only that the story 'remains a work in progress. We
learn something new every day.' An NBC executive said that 'there are
some serious aspects of it that are still unable to be confirmed.'
"But Broaddrick eventually grew frustrated
and agreed to talk to the Journal. I feel so betrayed by NBC,'
Broaddrick said yesterday. Her son, Kevin Hickey, said Myers had assured
them after the taping that there was no chance the interview would not run
as scheduled on Jan. 29. NBC also interviewed a friend of Broaddrick's who
saw Broaddrick after the alleged assault and confirmed her account."
To read the entire Kurtz story, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/media022099.htm
A lot happened on
this story on Friday and Saturday and I think CyberAlert can be of most
value by reviewing what the networks did and did not pick up on day by day
over the weekend, so here's a timeline:
February 19. The Wall Street Journal's editorial page featured a lengthy
piece by Dorothy Rabinowitz, headlined "Juanita Broaddrick Meets the
Press," recounting her interview with Broaddrick. Wall Street Journal
material is inaccessible to non-subscribers, but I did come across one
place where her piece is posted: http://freeweb.pdq.net/danno/wsj.htm
On the NBC front, Rabinowitz reported that when
the interview did not air, for any journalist asking NBC what happened to
the interview "the office of NBC News President Andrew Lack had a
simple, uplifting message -- namely that NBC wanted to make sure the story
was 'rock solid' journalism."
(That's a strange standard to apply to a story
NBC actually already aired: back on March 28, 1998 the NBC Nightly News
carried a piece by Myers recounting Broaddrick's allegation. For a look
at that story, go to the December 29 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981229.html#5)
generated by Rabinowitz: Zilch on CBS's This Morning or NBC's Today.
Not a word in the evening on ABC, CBS, CNN or NBC, but both Good Morning
America and MSNBC picked up on it.
Jessica Anderson noticed that while talking about the day's newspapers,
GMA host Charles Gibson highlighted the story though both he and Diane
Sawyer were baffled about why it appeared on the editorial page and not
the regular news pages.
Charles Gibson: "I'm very interested, there
is a story on the editorial page, it's a curious place for it, on the
editorial page of the Wall Street Journal today, and it's a story
that's been around for a while, or that's been alluded to in the press,
but now the Wall Street Journal has put it right out front here. A
woman, known until now only as 'Jane Doe #5, is in the headline, and she
has a name, they've given her a name, it's Juanita Broaddrick."
Diane Sawyer: "This is in the Starr Report
and in the Paula Jones case."
Gibson: "Well, yeah, in the Starr Report,
not the report that was published, but in the background evidence that
actually House members didn't have access to for awhile, and only some
members saw it, there were other women who had allegations against Bill
Clinton that were specified, and she was called Jane Doe #5. She alleged a
sexual assault by then-Attorney General in Arkansas Bill Clinton in 1978.
And she had denied it for years and years, even denied it in a deposition
in the Paula Jones case. Then has now changed her story, and now talks to
the Wall Street Journal about this alleged sexual assault, and it's
on the editorial page, which seems a strange place for it."
Sawyer: "It is an interesting
Sawyer's implication, a WSJ news editor did not deem the story unworthy
and place it in the editorial section. The WSJ news and editorial sections
are run separately.
MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams stressed the official Clinton
denial and White House denigration of the Wall Street Journal.
Brian Williams: "Late news tonight
concerning this morning's Wall Street Journal which published the
first-ever in depth account of the woman known as Jane Doe No. 5 in the
Clinton scandal, Juanita Broaddrick. The story, notably printed on the
opinion page and not in the news section of the national newspaper, sites
sources but no physical or photographic evidence as it details an alleged
sexual assault on the woman 21 years ago by then Arkansas Attorney General
Bill Clinton. Well, tonight the President's lawyer has responded. David
Kendall, of the firm Williams and Connolly, says in a statement: 'Any
allegation that the President assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years
ago is absolutely false. Beyond that, we are not going to comment.'
White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart went further earlier today noting
that in the past that page of the Wall Street Journal has branded the
President a drug smuggler and a murderer. There has been much talk about a
NBC News investigation into Miss Broaddrick that so far has not aired.
Today a network spokeswoman said NBC News does not comment on
CNN's Reliable Sources on Saturday night, Wall Street Journal editorial
writer John Fund took issue with Lockhart's charge which MSNBC passed
"It is disappointing and sad when Joe
Lockhart says, 'We're going to dismiss this whole story because The
Wall Street Journal is not important,' because we've called the
President a drug smuggler and a murderer. He knows better than that. We
have never done that. We have reported on corruption in Arkansas. We have
never made those kind of inferences, and it's just kind of sad that the
White House strategy of deny, delay, denigrate, and distract continues to
this day, and you simply attack the messenger and not address the
-- Saturday, February 20. "'Jane Doe No.
5' Goes Public with Allegation" announced the Washington Post's
front page story over the subhead: "Clinton Controversy Lingers Over
Nursing Home Owner's Disputed 1978 Story." Freed of its off the
record obligation, the Post went with a story based largely on interviews
reporter Lois Romano conducted with Broaddrick last spring. To read the
story, go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/janedoe022099.htm
Today allocated 18 seconds. Nothing Saturday night on ABC's World News
Tonight or NBC Nightly News, but the CBS Evening News ran a piece and
CNN's The World Today featured a three and a half minute story by Bob
During the 7am
news update on Today Soledad O'Brien read his item: "President
Clinton's lawyer David Kendall brands as absolutely false charges that
the President sexually assaulted an Arkansas woman more than twenty years
ago. Juanita Broaddrick's story has been circulating for several years
but was not widely reported until an item appeared on the editorial page
of Friday's Wall Street Journal."
In the evening,
ABC found time for a full story on how the NAACP is organizing a project
to end racial profiling by police --though the story failed to note that
at the same convention NAACP Chairman Julian Bond intolerantly claimed
House Republicans have "become the running dogs of the wacky radical
right" -- and a piece on women in Rome wearing jeans to protest a
judge's ruling that a woman could not have been raped because tight
jeans are too difficult to pull down. NBC squeezed in stories on
survivalists preparing for the millennium bug, how Chicago Mayor Richard
Daley has won black support and a 60-year old rookie cop in El Porto,
The CBS Evening
News did manage to give 1:51 to Broaddrick, the first broadcast evening
show mention since March. Anchor John Roberts, who narrated the story,
began: "For more than a year she has been known as Jane Doe No. 5, a
woman who Paula Jones lawyers believe had suffered a sexual assault at the
hands of President Bill Clinton. Now, despite sworn testimony to the
contrary, Jane Doe No. 5 has come forward to tell her story."
Roberts recited the basics of the Washington Post
story on the assault, how her story has not always been consistent and
that Starr dropped the matter when he found no White House influence.
Roberts added: "Kevin Hickey, Broaddrick's son, says the memory is
still painful to his mother."
Hickey: "She fully understands that this was
20 years ago and would just assume leave it there. But I think there comes
a point where you have to decide 'well, I want my side of this told. And
if it's going to be out there it's going to be accurate.'"
Roberts ended by relaying the Kendall denial.
Finally, on the
McLaughlin Group Newsweek's Eleanor Clift naturally managed to attack
Clinton haters and the right wing:
"These allegations go back more than 20
years. This woman made no charges at the time. It's my understanding
that she couldn't even recall initially the year. Investigative
reporters for major publications have looked at it since 1991. Ken Starr
passed on it. You know, where is this going to go except among all the
Clinton haters and the right-wing conspiratorialists. It's great fodder.
But you know, you proved they guy's a cad, you're not going to prove
he's a violent criminal."
agreed to an extent with Clift, cautioning the alleged incident occurred
more than 20 years ago and asking: "Why are other journalists not
going forward with this story when they've gone forward with other
allegations? So I think you've got to put a question mark over the
Reporters spent months complaining about lack of access to President
Clinton, noting he had not answered questions since last April. So, what
did they ask about when they got the chance in a joint news conference
held Friday afternoon by President Clinton with the French President?
reporters were called upon. First, Terence Hunt of AP asked about
extending the Kosovo deadline, though Kosovo is all the French reporters
asked about. Second, Helen Thomas of UPI wondered: "What lessons have
you learned from your 13 month ordeal? Do you think the office of the
presidency has been harmed? And what advice do you give future
Presidents?" Third, Larry McQuillan of Reuters inquired: "I
wonder if you could share with us some your thoughts about the pros and
cons of Hillary running for the Senate seat in New York?"
the star network reporters, but any of these veterans could have posed a
Friday night both
ABC and CBS featured clips of Clinton's nauseous "Presidents are
people too" answer to Thomas. After playing that soundbite ABC's
Sam Donaldson observed to anchor Charles Gibson: "Of course there are
a lot of other questions to ask. What about Judge Wright's threat to
hold the President in contempt of court, what the threats that are
swirling around this town that Mr. Clinton intends to take revenge on
House Republicans and Ken Starr. But all those questions Charlie are going
to have to wait for the President's first general news conference which
his Press Secretary says may take place sometime in March."
You just don't
appreciate Sam Donaldson until you see how pathetic the rest of the White
House press corps is in comparison.
After a year of being impugned by the network news divisions, now the
network prime time entertainment shows are hammering Ken Starr. In part
two of NBC's Law & Order/Homicide arc, on Friday night NBC continued
its attack on Starr as a lead character bemoaned how he spread "forty
million dollars worth of misinformation" and another character
bitterly complained that "in an impeachment report to Congress he can
allege just about anything he wants" without proof. Catching up with
NBC, on Sunday night's The Practice on ABC a lawyer suggested Starr
showed his "true calling was pornography."
-- First, a
reprint of the February 18 CyberAlert item for those of you trying to
follow the show plots at home, then the new material from part two and the
The NBC dramas Law & Order and Homicide
are running crossover episodes this week involving the detectives and
prosecutors from New York City investigating a murder of a woman found
dead in New York who worked in Baltimore, but who had ties to the White
House, thus prompting a clash with the Independent Counsel.
Law & Order aired Wednesday night and
it soon became clear that the Independent Counsel, "William
Dell," is supposed to match Ken Starr. The detectives in both cities
learn that the murdered woman, "Janine McBride," was a lesbian
recently transferred from a position in the Old Executive Office Building
with the Council of Economic Advisers. They find a witness who may have
seen the murderer, but the witness was a lover who is also a married
mother with young kids so the prosecutors promise to protect her identity.
While in a room at the Watergate Hotel New
York City prosecutor "Jack McCoy," played by Sam Waterston, as
well as "Danvers," the Baltimore prosecutor, are summoned to the
office of Independent Counsel William Dell who demands to know name of the
witness, whereupon this exchange occurs:
Danvers: "Aren't you charged with investigating financial
misdealings by the administration? How does Janine McBride figure into
Dell: "The street only runs one way Mr. Danvers. You tell me what you
know. If you're not familiar with the independent counsel
McCoy cuts him off: "I know the statute. I also know about the leaks
of grand jury testimony from your office. The Justice Department is
investigating your investigation."
Dell, growing angry: "Mr. McCoy!"
McCoy: "Speaking for myself I'm not putting my witness in my murder
case in jeopardy just to satisfy your curiosity."
Danvers: "I have to follow Mr. McCoy's lead on this."
Sounds like a script written by David
McCoy is forced to appear before Dell's
grand jury where Dell actually personally questions his witnesses. When
McCoy refuses to tell him the name of the witness, saying he promised to
keep him or her anonymous, Dell goes into irrelevant personal matters from
Dell demands: "Mr. McCoy, what are you hiding?"
McCoy responds: "Nothing. I'm simply trying to discharge my duties
as a prosecutor for New York County."
Dell: "Your duties. Mr. McCoy, weren't you called before the
disciplinary committee of the New York Bar Association for withholding a
witness statement in a murder case?"
Dell's questions grow more personal,
saying in one question: "This ADA was one of your lovers, isn't
that right?" Dell then recklessly impugns New York City police
detective "Leonard Briscoe," played by Jerry Orbach, saying he
once was called before a police ethics commission, prompting an outraged
McCoy to point out he was cleared. Undeterred, evil Dell starts talking
about how Briscoe's daughter was murdered by a drug dealer. The scene
then builds to its climax:
Dell: "Wasn't he a passenger in a car driven by another one of your
lovers at the DA's office when she was killed? Wasn't he drunk at the
time? The accident report indicates that he was. Now one last time Mr.
McCoy, what is the name of your witness and what did they tell the
McCoy, shaking his head in disgust: "Mr. Dell, have you no shame?
Have you no shame?"
Friday night on
Homicide: Life on the Street, the show painted Independent Counsel Dell as
unable to tell the difference between a tawdry personal lesbian love
triangle and true corruption. The story picks up after "Ned Berkes,"
the boyfriend of the murdered woman, "Janine McBride," kills the
woman arrested for the murder. Detectives learn that "Walter
Boyce," an imprisoned drug dealer/murderer, asked the woman who
killed McBride to commit the murder because of a contract from former DEA
agent "Theodore Dawkins" who is now working as a private
investigator for lawyers working for the President to "dig up
dirt" on William Dell.
McCoy from New York and Ed Danvers from Baltimore visit the White House
Deputy Chief of Staff, a woman named "Bernardi" who admits she
had McBride transferred because Bernardi had been having a lesbian affair
with Katherine Raynor who had been involved with McBride in another
lesbian hook up. Bernardi admits asking Dawkins to bribe McBride for
silence which then led McBride before she was killed to tell Dell she knew
of administration corruption. Bernardi charges: "This William Dell.
He's in our closets. He's in our bedrooms. This started as an
investigation in the President's business affairs, policy matters. This
thing has become its own sick argument."
Dawkins indicted, prompting a visit from goons working for Dell who demand
the indictment be dropped and threaten to expose how Danvers was involved
in a racist incident as a teen, thus killing his just announced nomination
for a state judgship.
Dell takes custody
of Dawkins and gives him immunity because Dell is so obsessed that he
irrationally thinks Berkes was part of a nefarious White House operation
instead of seeing the reality that Berkes was just upset his girlfriend
turned out to prefer women over men.
All this leads to
this exchange in which McCoy and Danvers sound like Abbe Lowell:
Dell: "You have five minutes. I have a press
briefing to get you."
McCoy: "You son of a bitch. You offered
Dawkins immunity to get whatever you can on the administration."
Danvers: "But you refused immunity to Walter
Boyce who's already doing life in prison just so you can torpedo our
Dell: "There are larger issues at stake.
This is more than a murder here."
Danvers: "More than a murder?"
Dell: "Corruption at the highest
McCoy: "What proof do you have? Dawkins has
no corroboration. All you've got is innuendo and allegations."
Danvers: "That's all he needs. He set it
up so this case will never get to court. You don't want a jury trial, a
chance to determine who's guilty and who's not. Because let's face
it the only case you can make in court stops with Theodore Dawkins. But
outside the courtroom, at a press conference or in an impeachment report
to Congress, he can allege just about anything he wants."
McCoy: "And never have to prove a
arrogance, Dell tells a story about how a Supreme Court Justice told him
why inside the beltway lawyering is so "worthy and dignified"
while that outside the beltway is so "savage and bitter." It's
"because the stakes so damn small."
In the next scene
Katherine Raynor complains about how Dell's sex obsession will ruin her
life as she'll become a Leno joke target, telling Baltimore and NYC
cops: "What did I do that was wrong? I went to work every day, I did
my job, I met someone, I fell in love. What did a I do to deserve any of
Then the show cuts
to a picture of Dell on TV saying the original murder was "an attempt
by high ranking members of this administration to silence a witness who
was prepared to testify about sexual improprieties at the office of the
White House chief of staff."
In disgust, McCoy turns off the TV and scoffs:
"Forty million dollars worth of misinformation."
Danvers laments: "And we helped him dig up
About a two-minute
long RealPlayer video clip of these scenes will be posted on the MRC home
page Monday morning by Webmaster Sean Henry. A clip from Law & Order
is available from the February 18 CyberAlert or on the MRC video page:
-- Sunday night on ABC's The Practice, a drama
set in Boston focusing on an eccentric criminal law firm, the firm takes
up the case of a restaurant owner suing a local TV station for fraud. The
station promised a positive story on the chef but aired an expose about
roaches in the kitchen, thus bankrupting the restaurant.
Wrapping up her
closing argument, lawyer "Lindsey Dole" raises some famous real
incidents of media misdeeds:
"Look what's happening today. Forget the
tabloids. We have reporters at major newspapers, including the Boston
Globe right here, getting caught making up stories, writing stories about
people who don't really exist, plagiarizing. CNN, Time magazine
reporting about Tailwind and germ warfare. Don't let the facts spoil a
good story, you can just print the retraction on weekends or put in a
footnote. Anything to get the story and to get it first. Who cares who
gets hurt. These people got hurt. They were defrauded. It cost them
everything they had worked their whole lives for. Hail, hail freedom of
the press. I think it's time to send a little message to all the
In response, the
TV station's lawyer facetiously contends:
"It's just open season on the press these
days, isn't it? And why shouldn't it be. I mean, look at what the
press has done lately. We all know that it was the media that planted that
intern in the Oval office. We know it was the press that caused all those
Republican Congressmen to have that sudden explosion of conscience. And it
was the journalists who convinced Kenneth Starr that his true calling was
Reminder: The video clips highlighted in
CyberAlerts as being featured that day on the MRC home page are accessible
for 30 days in RealPlayer format on the MRC's new Media Bias Videos
page: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html. -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
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