Myers Freed; Media Dismiss Broaddrick and Hope She Goes Away
1) The Broaddrick interview by
Lisa Myers is set to air Wednesday night on Dateline. NBC News President
Andrew Lack denied the network sat on the interview, insisting they spent
the last five weeks completing "more cross-checking and more
2) NY Times admitted it and LA
Times knew of her charge in 1992, but "regarding it as the kind of
toxic waste traditionally dumped just before Election Day, both newspapers
passed on the story."
3) A media reporter surprised
at lack of media interest in Broaddrick. Newsweek's Jonathan Alter:
"This story was peddled by the same old right-wing enemies of Clinton
4) "Sexgate was supposed
to be over," Time lamented. And they hope it will be, insisting the
public wants Broaddrick to go away.
5) Dan Rather told Don Imus he
hopes the public doesn't want to hear about Juanita Broaddrick.
6) The Wall Street Journal's
Alan Murray belittled the Dorothy Rabinowitz exclusive, while the night
before his paper reported the same thing the Washington Post's John
Harris declared: "I think we need to be highly skeptical of the
7) Geraldo Rivera went on a
tirade against the Wall Street Journal. Broaddrick hung up on him, calling
8) Network coverage update:
Nothing since Saturday on the broadcast networks.
>>> The latest edition of Notable
Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous,
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now up on the MRC home
page. Topic headings in the February 22 issue include "Northeastern
Liberals: In Touch"; "Admiring the Liars....Hating the Truth
Tellers"; "'Horrible' FNC Fed the Right"; and
"Racist Managers, Honest Clinton." To read the issue go to the
MRC home page or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/1999/nq19990222.html
For the complete archive of every issue back to 1988, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/archives.html
Lisa Myers, free at last. Late Tuesday NBC News announced it will carry
the long-held Lisa Myers interview with Juanita Broaddrick. Her piece will
run on Wednesday's (February 24) Dateline NBC which will air at 8pm
ET/PT, 7pm CT/MT. (If they ran it on Tuesday night's show which airs at
10pm/9pm, or waited until Friday's 9pm/8pm, they could have kept it out
of the family hour.)
conservative groups charging that NBC sat on the interview because it was
embarrassing to Clinton," a story on the MSNBC Web site noted, NBC
News President Andrew Lack countered: "Everyone involved in the
process knows there's no truth to that." The Washington Post's
Howard Kurtz quoted Myers as assuring: "There was no delay. We used
every day of this process to gather information."
Below is the text
of NBC's promo spot for Wednesday's show followed by excerpts from the
Tuesday MSNBC Web story and Wednesday Washington Post piece on NBC's
-- At the end of
Tuesday's Dateline NBC viewers saw this promo spot:
Announcer: "Coming up on Dateline Wednesday:
She was part of the Paula Jones case. She's been investigated by Ken
Starr and some members of Congress read her story in secret before they
voted on impeachment. Now the woman once known only as Jane Doe No. 5 is
making headlines with her serious allegations."
Juanita Broaddrick: "All these stories are
floating around, different stories of what really happened, of what people
think happened. And I was tired of everybody putting their own spin on
Announcer: "Who is she? What does she have
to say? What are all the details of her controversial story? And why is
she speaking out now?"
features the first-ever Broaddrick voice and close-up video aired by a
network. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Sean Henry will post a RealPlayer
clip of this spot. Just go to: http://www.mrc.org
For this and other RealPlayer clips cited in
CyberAlerts over the past month: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
The interview, conducted on January 20, was
originally scheduled to run on January 29, according to what Dorothy
Rabinowitz reported in the Wall Street Journal that Broaddrick had told
her. To read about the Rabinowitz story, learn what coverage it and a
Washington Post story generated the next day and to access links to
previous CyberAlerts with details about the original Myers story in March
1998, the FNC story on Broaddrick, how the Drudge Report revealed NBC News
was holding the interview and comments from Tim Russert about the
controversy, go to the February 22 CyberAlert: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990222.html#2
-- From the MSNBC Web site, a story trying defend
....NBC News President Andrew Lack said on
Tuesday that the network wanted to complete its reporting on the story
before airing it and wasn't angry that others had run the story first.
Myers' interview with Broaddrick quickly
circulated within the media, with some conservative groups charging that
NBC sat on the interview because it was embarrassing to Clinton.
"Everyone involved in the process knows there's no truth to
that," Lack said.
NBC spokesperson Alex Constantinople said,
"We did a lot of reporting of our own to put the story into
NBC planned to run the story on the first
"Dateline NBC" available as soon as the reporting was complete,
Lack said, and NBC finished its work Tuesday. He said the timing of the
broadcast had nothing to do with the end of Clinton's impeachment trial.
"When you have a story that was 21 years ago, that involves lots of
information and facts and involves serious charges, you need to do a lot
of checking," he said. "And that's what we were doing."
Lack said he found it "odd" that
NBC was criticized for taking too much time in reporting. "You
wouldn't have asked that question a few years ago," he said.
"That is unfortunately some of the fallout of the pace of journalism
over the past few years."
To read the full story: http://msnbc.com/news/242994.asp
-- From a February 24 Washington Post Style
section story by Howard Kurtz:
...."I kept asking for more
information and more cross-checking and more digging, and that takes
time," NBC News President Andrew Lack said yesterday. "I felt
comfortable this morning that we had dotted all the i's and crossed all
the t's." He said he had not been influenced by the end of the
President's impeachment trial or the fact that the woman, Juanita
Broaddrick, has given her account to the Wall Street Journal and The
Broaddrick said yesterday that she did the
interview with NBC correspondent Lisa Myers "so people can see me and
validate the situation. It's important for them to hear it from the person
this happened to. It's very emotional to me. It's very real to me. I have
no fear of the President, which is probably silly. Some people say they
are absolutely in awe that I am so brave. I just did it to protect
The eight-hour session with Myers was
"the hardest day of my life since I lost my father in '71,"
Broaddrick said, but she also called the interview "therapeutic. I
felt a weight has been lifted. This is something my husband and I have
never been able to talk about."
For Broaddrick to tell her story on
national television will likely give added impact and visibility to a
difficult, disputed story that many news organizations have shied away
from. As Lack put it: "You can see her, you can measure her
differently" than in a newspaper interview....
Since Internet columnist Matt Drudge
reported that NBC was holding the Broaddrick interview, the network has
received a torrent of calls and e-mail messages from angry viewers
demanding that it be broadcast. "These are very serious
charges," Lack said. "I was a little surprised that people were
not appreciating enough that we were doing our job."
Said Myers: "There was no delay. We
used every day of this process to gather information."
To read the rest
of Kurtz's story, go to:
The New York Times on Wednesday caught up with the Washington Post and
Wall Street Journal and ran its first Broaddrick story, but revealed in
the very first paragraph that they deliberately ignored her charge in
The February 24
story by Felicity Barringer and David Firestone began:
The allegation was passed on to reporters
for The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times in the waning days of the
1992 presidential campaign. Regarding it as the kind of toxic waste
traditionally dumped just before Election Day, both newspapers passed on
the story -- that a nursing-home executive had been sexually assaulted in
1978 by Bill Clinton, then the Attorney General of Arkansas.
The rumor persisted in the shadowlands of
the Internet, even after a sworn denial by Juanita Broaddrick, the woman
involved. Mrs. Broaddrick reversed herself last spring, during questioning
by investigators for the independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr. Last month,
during the impeachment process, she decided to make the assault charges
public in an interview with NBC News. Then she chafed because the
interview was not broadcast.
Now, Mrs. Broaddrick has found a different
avenue to tell her story, giving several news organizations, including The
New York Times, an account of an encounter with Clinton in an Arkansas
hotel room. The interviews represent are the first time she has spoken
openly about an allegation first made public last March. In the interview,
she describes a scene in which Clinton invited himself to her room and
then attacked her.
President Clinton's personal lawyer, David
A. Kendall, has strenuously denied the charge. "Any allegation that
the president assaulted Mrs. Broaddrick more than 20 years ago is
absolutely false," he said in a statement released Friday.
"Beyond that, we're not going to comment." The White House
declined further comment on Tuesday.
The problems with Mrs. Broaddrick's
allegation are obvious. There is no physical evidence to verify it. No one
else was present during the alleged encounter in Little Rock hotel room
nearly 21 years ago. The hotel has since closed. And Mrs. Broaddrick
denied the encounter in an affidavit in January 1998 in the Paula Jones
case, in which she was known only as "Jane Doe No. 5." Through
all those years, she refused to come forward. When pressed by the Jones
lawyers, she denied the allegation. And now, she has recanted that denial.
Her allegation has long been fodder for
Clinton's legal and political opponents; lawyers for Ms. Jones earned a
stern judicial rebuke last spring when they made Mrs. Broaddrick's name
public in a legal pleading based on unsubstantiated hearsay accounts.
But despite the problems with the
allegation, it became part of the background noise of the impeachment
process in Congress, pushed by conservative House Republicans even after
Starr made only a glancing reference to it in a supplement to his
Gee, maybe it
wouldn't have been such a nefarious rumor for so long if the New York
Times had done its job and pursued the story in 1992 instead of waiting
for two major newspapers and a network to report it before it bothered to
get around to it.
MSNBC jumped on its sister network's exclusive video, with both
InterNight and Hockenberry focused Tuesday night on Broaddrick. I missed
InterNight, but on the 10pm ET/PT Hockenberry Newsweek's Jonathan Alter
discounted the newsworthiness of her charge by insisting "this story
was peddled by the same old right-wing enemies of Clinton in
Arkansas." But Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" box
seemed to concede Clinton's guilt.
The February 23
Hockenberry opened with an interview with David Schippers followed by
segments with Stuart Taylor and an apoplectic Lanny Davis. Then Wall
Street Journal editorial writer John Fund, Alicia Mundy of Media Week and
"I'm very surprised at the number of major publishing institutions
and media outlets that are ignoring this."
blamed "cyber gossip," aka Drudge, for fueling the story, Fund
corrected him: "There was no cyber gossip about this anywhere before
NBC Nightly News aired it March 28th of last year. NBC News was first.
Let's get that on the record, that's a fact."
asserted: "If you have the woman willing to put her name and her
picture out there and willing to say period this is what happened and you
can believe me or not believe me, but she's willing to do that. She has
no attachments to any of those right-wing nut groups. She has great
credibility. I think you have to sit and listen to her. This is a serious
Alter jumped in: "It is not true she
doesn't have any attachments to any right-wing groups. [shouting over
Fund who was saying she was a Clinton campaign worker] I'm not calling
her a right-winger but this story was peddled by the same old right-wing
enemies of Clinton in Arkansas. That doesn't mean it's not true, but
her story was peddled by them. Again, that's the context."
"Conventional Wisdom" box in the March 1 Newsweek contains this
after an even arrow for Jane Doe No. 5: "Should have leveled
(unproven) assault charge in '78, or '92. But sounds like our
guy" Clinton is probably guilty of a felony, but, as the MRC's Tim
Graham noticed, there's not another word in Newsweek about the incident.
Time magazine at least ran a full-page story, though it reflected
annoyance at even having to report on another "sexgate" item,
offered a loaded ideological label to lessen the credibility of the Wall
Street Journal story and ended by stating the public wants her to go away.
New Charges" announced the headline over the piece in the March 1
issue by Adam Cohen. The subhead: "Sexgate was supposed to be over,
but a Clinton acquaintance now alleges he once assaulted her."
The story began:
"Just when the air was clearing in Washington -- when politicians
were finally putting aside the presidential sex scandal and moving on to
Social Security and tax cuts -- another woman has come forward alleging
sexual misconduct by Bill Clinton. Corroboration is scant, the White House
denials are emphatic, but this tale has an unpleasant new twist: it is a
charge of sexual assault."
Cohen later added:
"Last week the precise details of the allegation were published in
the Wall Street Journal's vociferously conservative opinion pages, and
other media outlets quickly followed with their own stories."
concluded with this hope noticed by the MRC's Tim Graham:
"With impeachment over and the statute of
limitations on the alleged crime long passed, the story seems unlikely to
have much traction. Broaddrick herself says, 'I'm just hoping this
absolutely goes away in the next week.' A weary nation would probably
To read the whole
story, go to: http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/articles/0,3266,20166,00.html
Dan Rather agrees with Time as he told Don Imus he hopes the American
people have "heard all they want to hear about this and are saying
you know, 'Next. Let's move on to the next thing.'" MRC analyst
Mark Drake caught this exchange from about 7:37am ET Tuesday on the Imus
in the Morning syndicated radio show simulcast by MSNBC:
"Even this Juanita Broaddrick thing that, this interview that the
people over there at NBC News have been sittin' on for some reason, who
Dan Rather jumped in: "Well, I think the
reason is pretty obvious that they're, they don't call me and tell me
why they run or don't run these things, but I think it's pretty
obvious. They are nervous about, number one, whether this information is
accurate, whether it's really true or not. And then number two, even if
it does it turns out to be true, it happened a long time ago and number
three, they've gotta be figuring maybe, just maybe the American public
has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying you know,
'Next. Let's move on to the next thing.'"
Imus: "I was reading in either Time
or Newsweek that even the woman herself, Juanita Broaddrick said
that she hopes that this thing went away this week and even she was sick
about hearing about it and it's her story."
Rather: "Well, let's hope she gets her way
That explains why
Rather's weekday CBS Evening News has avoided Broaddrick after the
Saturday edition ran a story prompted by the Washington Post report.
Instead of being proud of his paper's scoop, the Wall Street Journal's
Alan Murray belittled the Dorothy Rabinowitz exclusive while the night
before his paper reported the same thing the Washington Post's John
Harris declared: "I think we need to be highly skeptical of the
Jessica Anderson took down some highlights of a Friday Washington Week in
Review discussion about Broaddrick, whose story appeared that morning in
the Wall Street Journal.
Alan Murray, Wall
Street Journal Washington Bureau Chief: "Well, Ken [Bode], one of the
great things about the newspaper I work for is that there is an absolute,
almost fierce separation between the editorial pages and the news pages.
And I work for the news pages, and this was done as an opinion piece on
the editorial pages. So I learned about it when you learned about it, when
I read the paper this morning. I do think one of the things you have to
keep in mind about this is that both Ken Starr and the House managers
declined to pursue this issue, primarily because there was no evidence of
obstruction of justice. This woman changed her story. She, she denied that
anything happened to the Paula Jones attorneys, and then she, and then she
again started saying that something did happen. But, but even the piece
that ran on the Wall Street Journal editorial page said that there
was no evidence that she was pressured to change her story, that she felt
any, any pressure from the White House. And that's why it hasn't come up
moderator Ken Bode asked, "The White House say anything about this
today?" The Washington Post reporter John Harris replied: "They
said it comes, consider the source. It comes from a very partisan source,
the Wall Street Journal editorial page. I think we have to say, in
fairness, there have been lots of stories over many years about President
Clinton and his personal background. This does not fit the pattern or seem
to be consistent with that behavior in any way. So I think we need to be
highly skeptical of the story."
The next morning
his own paper put the story on its front page.
Raising Broaddrick's charge sent Geraldo Rivera into a full tirade
Monday night, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens documented, after Broaddrick
hung up on Rivera during a phone conversation.
He opened the
February 22 Rivera Live:
"After the malignant story spread like that
sick-out at American Airlines over this weekend the White House today
again responded to renewed questions about Juanita Broaddrick, the
Arkansas nursing home operator who alleges a 1978 sexual assault by Bill
Clinton. The ancient and uncorroborated charge which was flatly denied as
outrageous and untrue on Friday by David Kendall, the President's
personal lawyer and which the purported victim once denied herself under
oath, has made the rounds since the 1992 presidential campaign. But
Friday's flamboyant, full page regurgitation by the President's arch
foes on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, the same crew who've
accused him of murder and drug dealing by the way, followed by more
measured stories in the Washington Post, Newsday and Time magazine among
others has caused a storm in the scandal starved Capitol.
"Well guess what. The story is not only 21
years old and unproven it's also been reported before. By us. On March
30, 1998. We along with NBC's Lisa Myers reported virtually every detail
of the allegation which of course are impossible, by their very nature for
the President to now disprove. So if it is old hat, why all the commotion
now? It's because it is payback time in Washington.
"Hi everybody I'm Geraldo Rivera. Juanita
Broaddrick has denied in a sworn affidavit that the alleged attack by Bill
Clinton ever took place. And she did that without any involvement or
coaching, indeed without any contact whatsoever with the President of the
United States. In addition the only person aside from the alleged
victim's husband who claims now to have heard the story back in 1978
when it supposedly happened is a friend of Ms. Broaddrick's named Norma
Rogers. But Ms. Rogers is someone with good reason to hate the President.
Bill Clinton as governor commuted the sentence of a man who had killed Ms.
Roger's father. The hotel where the alleged incident took place no
longer exists. It's records were destroyed so we don't, we probably
won't ever know if Juanita Broaddrick was lying when she denied under
oath that her encounter with Clinton ever happened. Or if she is lying
now. What we do know is that while her retracted allegation could not be
used by the impeachment prosecutors it was secretly shown in a sealed room
to wavering Republican House members just before their vote on
impeachment. So why has it surfaced again now? And what can possibly come
of it? Professor Alan Dershowitz do you share my outrage?"
As John Fund
pointed out on CNN's Reliable Sources, the Journal has never accused
Clinton of murder and drug-running. See the February 22 CyberAlert.
Then Rivera got
"NBC News' credibility is at issue here.
Because the Dorothy Rabinowitz rabid statement in the Wall Street Journal.
I don't know if you read the Wall Street Journal. I'm sure it's a
fine, fine publication and if you want to make a lot of money in the stock
market it's great but when you read the editorial page it's like
it's written by, 'Where are these people?' These are the Mena,
Arkansas and drug dealing and Vince Foster died, they should indict the
little tart and get it over with. I mean I don't know how reasonable
people don't say the editorial page, the op-ed page and the news
coverage are the same publication. It's really wacked, it is wild and
wacked to me and they should be so ashamed of themselves. I mean I don't
know how they could ever point the finger at anyone as being tabloid
anything when they write that absolute crap!"
recounted how he barged in on a call with Broaddrick:
"I spoke briefly to Juanita Broaddrick today
and she didn't want to talk to me, she was talking to one of my
producers. I got on the phone and said, 'Hi it's me.' I introduced
myself. And I asked her the question. I said, 'Did anyone put you up to
that sworn affidavit in which you denied, you know, that you had been,
that this had happened?' And she said, 'No.' And I said, 'Okay.'
And then she said she didn't want to talk to me. And I said, 'Why
not?' She said, 'Because I'm too biased.' 'What do you mean too
biased?' [She] said, 'Too biased in favor of Clinton.' I said,
'Well you are only talking to people who are against Clinton?' And
that's when she, uh, she hung up on me. So anyway."
"biased" in favor of Clinton? How'd she get that idea?
Finally, for the record, a Broaddrick coverage summary. Not a word about
her Monday and Tuesday morning or evening on the broadcast network shows.
The MRC analyst staff also reported zilch on Sunday's Today and GMA, so
network coverage prompted by either Friday's Wall Street Journal piece
or Saturday's Washington Post story stands as listed in the February 22
-- Not a syllable yet on either ABC's World
News Tonight or NBC Nightly News.
-- A few seconds on Saturday's Today and a
brief discussion on Friday's GMA about the placement of the story on the
Wall Street Journal's editorial page over the news pages.
-- Full stories Saturday night on the CBS Evening
News and CNN's The World Today.
Remember, check the MRC home page after 10am ET
Wednesday for video of NBC's Dateline promo featuring Broaddrick. -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
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