No Unwarranted Broaddrick Delay?; Hockenberry: Illegitimate Story
1) NBC's Lisa Myers denied
any unwarranted delay with her Broaddrick interview, insisting Wednesday
that "this story finally was ready yesterday when Andy Lack made the
call." But then why were staffers still working on it Tuesday night?
2) MSNBC's John Hockenberry:
"If this has no legal standing now, if it's past the statute of
limitations, why are we bothering with it at all?"
3) Helen Thomas obliquely
raised the Broaddrick matter to Clinton at a joint press conference, but
only FNC bothered to mention Clinton's refusal to respond.
4) NBC's euphemisms for
rape. Tom Brokaw cited "controversial accusations" while MSNBC
employed the term "sexual encounter."
5) Bryant Gumbel back on every
weekday? USA Today and the New York Post reported that CBS plans to have
him host This Morning.
6) Letterman's "Top Ten
Signs the Clintons Are Your Neighbors."
>>> Check out the MRC's Media
Bias Videos page with all the RealPlayer clips cited in CyberAlerts over
the past month. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
Correction: The February
24 CyberAlert was misnumbered as No. 36. It was No. 35, the 35th
CyberAlert this year.
Clarification: The rundown
in the February 24 CyberAlert, of broadcast network coverage of Broaddrick
prompted by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post stories,
inadvertently left off one show. As noted in the February 22 Cyberalert:
"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.)"
The Lisa Myers interview with Juanita Broaddrick aired Wednesday night on
Dateline NBC and minutes later Myers appeared on MSNBC's The News with
Brian Williams where she denied politics delayed her piece:
"Basically this story finally was ready yesterday when Andy Lack made
the call, the President of NBC News, that it was time to put it on the
air." But is Myers just being a good soldier? You be the judge by
reading her complete answer below.
If you missed the
Myers story, which featured both interview excerpts and reporting by Myers
and consumed over half of Dateline, MSNBC will most likely run large
portions during the day Thursday. And msnbc.com has posted video clips and
a transcript. The msnbc.com Broaddrick page with clips (Windows Media
Player required -- this is MS-nbc): http://www.msnbc.com/news/242994.asp
This page features a link to a transcript which fails to identify who said
what. The first two paragraphs were announced by Stone Phillips, the last
paragraph by Jane Pauley with everything else in between from Myers except
that attributed to Broaddrick. The transcript's direct address: http://msnbc.com/news/244249.asp
the 8pm ET/7pm CT Dateline aired, MSNBC's 9pm ET/8pm CT The News with
Brian Williams brought Myers on to discuss her exclusive and show some
excerpts. The last question from Brian Williams:
"Lisa, it's one of those strange cases
where we can't separate ourselves from our organizations, so we're
duty-bound to ask about the genesis of this story. When did you stop
working the story, when was the call made to air it and why now?"
may require some deciphering or Freudian analysis. Though she denied any
unwarranted delay, three times she employed the word "finally."
I've put each FINALLY in all Caps. And see if you don't agree her
third to last and second to last sentences contradict each other:
"Why now is because the story was FINALLY
ready. I started talking to Juanita Broaddrick about a year ago and
FINALLY on January 20th we did an interview and it was at that point we
had to start to begin our own investigation. Charging the President of the
United States with rape 21 years ago is a very serious allegation. We had
to do everything we could to find out if perhaps Bill Clinton wasn't
even in the country that day. Or to find out if there were some problems
with, serious problems with Juanita Broaddrick's credibility. She had
after all denied that there was any incident last year in the Paula Jones
case. She now says that was a lie, that she just wasn't ready to deal
with this then. But basically this story FINALLY was ready yesterday when
Andy Lack made the call, the President of NBC News, that it was time to
put it on the air. But we literally still were doing reporting late last
night. We found out new information virtually every day of the last month
and we've had dozens of people working on this story."
So, the story was
not deemed "ready" until Lack "made the call," not
when the reporting was completed. If it was "ready" Tuesday
afternoon why were Myers and staff still trying to nail down facts Tuesday
night? Sounds more likely that Lack decided it was "ready" when
he became embarrassed over being beat on the story by the Wall Street
Journal and Washington Post or someone higher up demanded an end to the
delays which already cost NBC a big scoop.
Williams/Myers exchange. Thursday morning Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry
of the MRC will post a video clip, of Myers explaining the story timing,
on the MRC home page in the more popular RealPlayer format. Go to: http://www.mrc.org)
Just after the Myers piece, Dateline co-host Jane Pauley urged viewers to
tune into MSNBC's Hockenberry at 10pm ET/PT for further discussion of
"whether Juanita Broaddrick's story is true, whether it has any
political relevance, and whether the media, including NBC News, should
have reported it." John Hockenberry's answer: No. Instead of being
proud of how his network bagged the first on-camera interview with
Broaddrick, Hockenberry acted ashamed and characterized the story as
evening at Rockefeller Center, after her remote for the New
Jersey-produced News with Brian Williams, Myers appeared live at 10pm ET
with Hockenberry in Manhattan. His first question: "A 21 year old
rape charge, much of it may remain uncorroborated forever. Why report this
Ten minutes later
he pressed not from the right with a question about whether Andy Lack held
the story to a higher standard than usual and improperly delayed it to
protect Clinton, but from the left, raising the claim that Myers was just
out to gain fame by getting Clinton:
"Among the institutions that have gotten
lambasted throughout the last year of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the
President's impeachment process are the media. And there are a lot of
people watching tonight, watching the Dateline program tonight or watching
this program now who don't see an investigator searching for the truth
necessarily at the bottom of this allegation. They see, you know, a
reporter who, when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke said 'Who can I
get? Who am I going to get to interview? What's going to make my
career?' The reason we know about this rape allegation is because of the
ambitions of a reporter not because of a search for the truth. What do you
say to that?"
Myers replied that
while there is a statute of limitations on a criminal charge of rape,
there is none on whether a person is fit to be President.
Jonathan Alter and MSNBC host Laura Ingraham came aboard for the next
segment. When Alter asserted that the FBI found Broaddrick's claim
"inconclusive," Hockenberry pounced:
"But if they said inconclusive, if
impeachment is over, if this has no legal standing now, if it's past the
statute of limitations why are we bothering with it at all, Laura Ingraham?"
Is there anything
Clinton could do which would concern Hockenberry?
UPI's Helen Thomas obliquely raised the Broaddrick matter to Clinton at
a joint press conference at 2:30pm ET Wednesday with the President of
Ghana, but only FNC bothered to mention Clinton's refusal to respond.
Thomas inquired: "What is your reaction to recent allegations by an
Arkansas woman, apparently something she claims happened many years
ago?" Thomas then asked about the Independent Counsel law before
Clinton replied: "My counsel has made a statement about the first
issue and I have nothing to add to it."
ABC's World News Tonight led with avalanches in Europe and did not run
anything on the press conference. Avalanches also topped the CBS Evening
News on which Scott Pelley delivered a full report on the press
conference, but only dealt with air strikes on Iraq and Clinton's
comments about how Republicans should join him in working on the
people's business. NBC Nightly News started with the avalanches and
featured a full story from Gwen Ifill on Senate hearings about renewing
the independent counsel law. Ifill even played part of Clinton's answer
to Thomas about the subject, but aired nothing about his reply about
Broaddrick. CNN's The World Today avoided Broaddrick and like Ifill
CNN's Charles Bierbauer's piece on the IC law included a soundbite
from Clinton responding to Thomas.
Only FNC was
unafraid of Broaddrick Wednesday night. FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report featured
a piece by Eric Burns on the controversy over NBC's decision to delay
showing its Broaddrick interview.
Earlier, on the
6pm ET Special Report with Brit Hume, Jim Angle focused on Clinton's
answer to Thomas, observing that the visit by the President of Ghana
"forced the President to do something he often resists: answer
reporters questions. And one of them, though asked in vague terms, was
explosive. Mr. Clinton was asked to react to allegations that he sexually
assaulted an Arkansas woman 20 years ago." Angle did not run the
question from Thomas, but did air Clinton's response as recited above.
NBC frightened of the word "rape" or term "sexual
assault" even when preceded by "alleged"?
At the end of
Wednesday's Nightly News Tom Brokaw delivered this innocuous sounding
plug for Dateline and the "controversial accusations" from
Broaddrick: "Tonight on Dateline NBC Lisa Myers with an exclusive
interview with the woman known as Jane Doe No. 5, Juanita Broaddrick. Her
controversial accusations about President Clinton. Dateline tonight at 8,
The plug run on
Tuesday's Dateline referred only to how "the woman once known only
as Jane Doe No. 5 is making headlines with her serious allegations"
and her "controversial story."
afternoon I heard a MSNBC host use this euphemism: "sexual
Sounds like a
group session Clinton would attend at the Renaissance Weekend.
Just when you thought morning television was relatively safe after the
departure of Bryant Gumbel from Today and Lisa McRee from Good Morning
America, USA Today's Peter Johnson reported Wednesday: "Talk is
heating up that Bryant Gumbel will co-host a revamped CBS This Morning
Well, for $5
million a year he has to do something now that his CBS show is off the
air. On Monday, New York Post reporter Don Kaplan filled in the details
about the speculation:
...Gumbel could be joining the super-hot
morning TV competition as early as May, according to TV sources.
Gumbel, the former host of NBC's Today
show, has been talking with CBS officials about coming back to morning TV
for several weeks now, according to those sources.
Bringing back Gumbel would give CBS News'
This Morning a dose of instant star power -- much the same way Diane
Sawyer and Charlie Gibson did when they took over Good Morning America
"Bringing in a mega star like Bryant
Gumbel is a fast way to send a message to the audience," said Alan
Bell, vice president of broadcasting for Freedom Communications, a
California-based media company that owns eight CBS-affiliated stations....
Several affiliates say they anticipate the
network will announce an overhaul of the show by June at the CBS annual
affiliates meeting. "Some affiliates have been bugging CBS officials
about the continuing lagging audience in the morning," Freedom's Bell
Gumbel, who CBS lured away from NBC two
years ago with a $5 million contract and the promise of his own primetime
show, Public Eye, has been substantially absent from the network since his
show was yanked last August.
Meanwhile, CBS is also in the process of
trying to set up a new street-level studio in midtown Manhattan like the
Today show's. Negotiations are reportedly underway to develop the studio
in the General Motors building.
From the February 24 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Signs the Clintons Are Your Neighbors." Copyright 1999 by Worldwide
10. Your neighbor comes over to ask if he
can borrow a couple of interns
9. Your other neighbors, the Starrs, just can't seem to get them evicted
8. Entry door had to be widened at thigh level
7. Dry cleaner around corner has more business than it can handle
6. When you get in elevator with your neighbor, he asks, "Going
down?" then chuckles to himself
5. They sublet their apartment for $50,000 a night
4. You find pair of boxers in laundry room reading "Hail To
3. Two days after you borrow bag of ice, Betty Currie knocks on your door
and asks for it back
2. Your elevator has been re-christened "Bubba Chute One"
1. Building tests fire alarms, neighbor shrieks and hauls ass to England
Finally, I make some dumb mistakes in CyberAlerts,
but I feel a little better when I see that the networks do also. Wednesday
night I came across this on screen wording in a promo for the February 24
Crier Report on FNC: "The Independent Council Act: End It or Mend
FNC needs to mend
its spelling and make that the Independent "Counsel" Act. -- Brent Baker
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