Broaddrick Fades; NOW's Warning Skipped; CBS Crusaded for More Medicare
1) White House wants
Broaddrick story to "fade away." Actually, it never even became
a story this week on any broadcast network evening show, not even on NBC,
nor on ABC or CBS in the morning.
2) NOW President Patricia
Ireland labeled Broaddrick's charges "devastating" and warned
Clinton to not impugn her, but only MSNBC and FNC found it newsworthy.
3) Thursday morning only Today
4) Howard Kurtz maintained he
knows "people at NBC who felt this interview was ready for airing at
least a couple of weeks ago." Lisa Myers conceded there was internal
debate about whether NBC should run the story.
5) Scott Pelley preposterously
asserted: "Medicare's lack of prescription benefits is a quiet
crisis," as CBS used a plea from an elderly lady to justify
Clinton's plan to cover prescriptions.
6) Tom Brokaw demanded about
Ford's new SUV: "Is it necessary?" NBC relayed how the Sierra
Club claimed: "This is a vehicle that will bring a smile to Saddam
7) Diane Sawyer enamored with
the idea Hillary Clinton might run for the Senate, asking: "What
lights up her face the most?"
8) Balance from 60 Minutes.
Last fall it showed Kevorkian killing a man suffering from Lou Gehrig's
disease. This Sunday they'll run a story on people who choose to live
with the disease.
Ending a story Thursday night on MSNBC Lisa Myers surmised, "The
White House strategy: Stay quiet and hope the charges fade away."
Never mind "fade away." They never appeared on any of the
broadcast network evening shows this week, not even NBC Nightly News, nor
on the ABC or CBS morning shows. Thursday evening not a word about Juanita
Broaddrick on ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Evening News or NBC Nightly
News. (The CBS Evening News ran a story on Saturday, but nothing since,
and ABC has yet to air an evening report.)
When Today landed
an exclusive with Linda Tripp a couple of weeks ago, Tom Brokaw played an
excerpt the night before. But in this case, despite another exclusive for
NBC, this vague end of show plug Wednesday night from Brokaw represents
the totality of NBC Nightly News time devoted to 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, 7 Central."
Cable news is not
ignoring the story. MSNBC spent much of Thursday talking about its NBC
exclusive and playing interview clips of Broaddrick the other networks
cannot. Thursday's The News with Brian Williams replayed the entire
Dateline piece. CNN's Crossfire and Larry King Live focused Thursday
night on Broaddrick, though CNN did not mention her on The World Today.
FNC devoted some daytime segments to the charges and ran a news story in
the evening: See today's item #2.
NOW President Patricia Ireland, an avowed liberal feminist, labeled
Broaddrick's charges "devastating" and warned Clinton to keep
his operatives from impugning her. But few know that since the broadcast
network evening shows and CNN's The World Today (as well as Inside
Politics) skipped her comments. (She was among several guests on Larry
King Live.) The only Thursday night newscasts to mention Ireland:
MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams and FNC's Fox Report.
-- FNC's Rita
Cosby talked with Broaddrick and learned she was pleased with the Dateline
piece, considering it "a validation" and saying "Bill
Clinton is a terrible person." Cosby also passed on how her son said
they hoped the story would now go away. But Cosby discovered: "Broaddrick
says her phone is now ringing off the hook with calls from the media and
she is getting support from the National Organization for Women, whose
President says Mr. Clinton and his allies must not attack Broaddrick's
credibility or character."
Patricia Ireland: "These charges have to be
taken seriously. She must be treated fairly, respectfully. We have to call
on the President and all of his spokespeople, James Carville and all of
them, not to trash this woman."
-- In between
replays of segments of her Dateline piece, on the News with Brian
Williams, Lisa Myers checked in with a look at reaction to her interview:
Myers: "Today as protesters heckled the
President in Arizona, the nation's leading feminist group says an
Arkansas woman's charge that Clinton raped her 21 years ago should be
taken seriously. The President of the National Organization for Women
calls Juanita Broaddrick's allegation, that Clinton assaulted her in an
Arkansas hotel room, 'devastating.'"
Patricia Ireland: "I don't think there
could have been a mistake about whether it was consensual or not and so
I'm left with a he said, she said and as I say he doesn't have much
Myers: "Ireland says she can understand why
Broaddrick could wait 21 years to come forward."
Broaddrick soundbite from Dateline: "I was
afraid that I would be destroyed like so many of the other women have
Myers: "Ireland says the President must
publicly pledge not to allow any of his defenders to attack or attempt to
smear Broaddrick. However another feminist leader is less sympathetic to
the alleged victim."
Eleanor Smeal of the Fund for a Feminist Majority
insisted Broaddrick's claim about Clinton is "inconsistent with
what we do know about other occasions."
Myers noted how Dick Gephardt gave the news a
"shrug" and urged people to "move on" before she
concluded: "The President's spokesman said he will have no further
comment on Broaddrick's allegation and will in no way try to disparage
her reputation. The White House strategy: Stay quiet and hope the charges
(Watch this story.
Friday morning a hunk of this story in RealPlayer format will be posted on
the MRC home page by Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry. Go to: http://www.mrc.org)
Only Today touched Broaddrick on Thursday morning, as detailed in the
February 25 Media Reality Check fax report distributed in a CyberAlert
Special Extra Edition late Thursday afternoon. To read the fax report, go
Morning has yet to utter the name "Broaddrick" and Good Morning
America has never made her a news story or featured an interview about
her. Last Friday, February 19, however, co-hosts Charlie Gibson and Diane
Sawyer briefly discussed the Dorothy Rabinowitz piece in that day's Wall
Street Journal. (See the February 22 CyberAlert.)
additional information and quotes from NBC's Today that didn't make it
into the fax report: how Clinton's press conference avoidance of
Broaddrick was reported on Today and the questions posed by Katie Couric
to Rabinowitz and Alan Dershowitz in Today's first interview segment
As the February 25
CyberAlert noted, Wednesday night only FNC bothered to show Clinton
deferring to his lawyer's denial when asked by Helen Thomas, obliquely,
about Broaddrick. Thursday morning on Today during the 7am news Claire
Shipman showed the exchange, reporting: "And the President himself
was asked about it at a press conference yesterday."
to pass along the White House spin that maybe the sex was consensual:
"And sources say that behind the scenes the President has
categorically denied the charges. But what the White House is very
pointedly not denying is that the President knew Broaddrick, may have had
a relationship with her, the subtle suggestion being that if there was an
encounter it may have been consensual. But the White House doesn't think
it's in its interest or the President's interest at this point to say
anything more than 'No comment.' Broaddrick isn't pressing charges.
Even if she wanted to the statute of limitations has long expired. It's
not part of an ongoing investigation at this point. And at this point the
White House is hoping it will turn into a situation reminiscent of much of
last year. A case of 'he said versus she said.' An unprovable charge
that will quickly fade. Matt."
As shown above, it has already faded from ABC and
Katie Couric did a
fairly balanced job in posing questions to Rabinowitz and Dershowitz. MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens transcribed her questions:
-- "Ms. Rabinowitz let me start with you.
You were the first one who went public with Juanita Broaddrick's story.
You find her to be credible. Why?"
-- "Let's talk about some of the charges her
critics are making against her, for example, regarding her credibility.
That she did file a false affidavit in the Paula Jones case six months
ago. Why did she do that?"
-- "Alan Dershowitz you do not find Juanita
Broaddrick credible. Why?"
-- "When it comes to false affidavits though
what about Monica Lewinsky?"
-- "Okay. Let
me interject for a moment. Why didn't Ken Starr pursue this even
further? She was basically a footnote in his report. Why?"
Rabinowitz: "Because Ken Starr was
constrained. He had two issues and these were about obstruction of
Couric: "But these are far more serious
Rabinowitz: "I understand this. But Mrs.
Broaddrick made very clear that the President did nothing to pressure her.
She made it clear to me, she made it clear to Ken Starr and I suspect that
Ken Starr figured he had enough trouble and was not going to drag in
another story and say, 'Oh and this is this rape charge.' He had, he
focused on those two issues.
Couric: "He had to pick his battles in other
line from you. What should the people take from this and what impact will
it have? You talk about history. Is this, does this story have legs? Will
it stick to Bill Clinton and his legacy?"
-- "And she's come forward now only because
she wants to put the rumors to rest. That sounds pretty weak."
On CNN Howard Kurtz maintained he knows "people at NBC who felt this
interview was ready for airing at least a couple of weeks ago." Lisa
Myers told MSNBC there was internal debate about "whether NBC should
run a story about a rape allegation about the President of the United
States, from 20 years ago, when we simply cannot prove it." But she
denied any pressure from the White House and related that her mother wants
one of Brit Hume's "Free Lisa Myers" buttons.
Some outtakes from
two February 25 interviews:
-- CNN Inside
Politics host Judy Woodruff asked the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz:
"Was NBC justified, based on what you know, in delaying the airing of
this interview, from before the impeachment trial vote, until now?"
Kurtz replied: "Well, on the one hand, I
have to give credit to NBC for not throwing this on the air, for taking
the time and doing the double and triple checking that is indicative of
good journalism. At the same time, I know people at NBC who felt this
interview was ready for airing, at least a couple of weeks ago. And while
NBC executives deny it, you can't help but think that they were afraid of
dropping this kind of nuclear bomb while the Senate impeachment trial was
going on, and frankly, Judy, it is easier for NBC to air the Broaddrick
interview after her account has already been in a couple of major
newspapers, because now they are not breaking it, but they're giving the
country a look at the woman who is at the center of this latest political
-- The MSNBC Web site posted a discussion with
Myers about her interview. Here are a few of excerpts relating to why the
interview took five weeks to get on the air.
mentioned all the talk about sitting on the interview on the Internet,
talk radio and other organizations -- even the 'Free Lisa Myers'
buttons that some pundits wore on a Fox network show."
Myers: "Yes, my mother has asked for a copy
of the 'Free Lisa Myers' button. Now I think I can contact Fox and get
(To see Brit Hume wearing the button, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990205.html#2)
MSNBC: "There are charges NBC let Juanita
Broaddrick down by not running the story during the Clinton impeachment
trial. How do you feel about those charges?"
Myers: "The story wasn't ready. I know at
times Juanita felt quite frustrated and she did feel that she had been let
down. It will be interesting to see what her reaction is to the piece. I
think in the end it is better that the piece aired with the allegations
having been thoroughly investigated and us able to say, 'This is what
Juanita Broaddrick says, this is what we can corroborate, this is what we
can't, and let viewers reach their own decision.'"
all the talk about people "sitting on the story," can you
characterize the debate at NBC on running the story? Was there even a
Myers: "I think there were honest
differences of opinion along the way as to whether NBC should run a story
about a rape allegation about the President of the United States, from 20
years ago, when we simply cannot prove it. There are no medical records,
there is no police report. That said, I think the fact we were able to do
this extensive investigation, do it quite carefully and find as a result,
at the end of a month, that while we couldn't corroborate it, that what
we could find did tend to support her story. I believe that now, certainly
most of, perhaps even all, of the people who were in disagreement before
are reasonably comfortable about airing the story. Most of importantly
Andy Lack is. It was his call."
MSNBC: "And there was no delay in the story
from White House pressure?"
Myers: "No. To my knowledge, the White House
had nothing to do with the process at all....I saw no evidence that there
was any kind of White House pressure, at all. The reason the story was
delayed was that it needed to be investigated; a process of checking out
something this old took a month and it was not ready to go until
To read this
entire online interview with Myers, go to: http://www.msnbc.com/news/244470.asp
NBC's main index
page for Broaddrick material: http://www.msnbc.com/news/242994.asp
CBS skipped Broaddrick again Thursday night but made time for a one-sided
piece using an emotional plea from an elderly lady to endorse Clinton's
call to expand Medicare to pay for prescriptions. Reporter Scott Pelley
highlighted a woman who supposedly "cannot afford all of the medicine
that she needs to breath" and Pelley preposterously asserted:
"Medicare's lack of prescription benefits is a quiet crisis."
introduced the February 25 CBS Evening News story on Clinton's trip to
Tucson by misleadingly asserting: "CBS News White House correspondent
Scott Pelley is traveling with the President in Arizona and looks beyond
the photo-op to the fine print."
would think going beyond the photo-op to the "fine print" would
mean a look at some problems with Clinton's proposal. But that's not
what CBS delivered. This story is so biased and features such a
sympathetic portrait of a selfish woman who wants everyone else to pay for
her problems instead of her family, that I've transcribed it in full.
"In Tucson the President called for a revolution in Medicare, not
only to save the insurance program but also to expand it."
Clinton: "I would also like to see us begin
to work in to Medicare a prescription drug benefit which I think would
dramatically improve it."
Pelley: "Medicare's lack of prescription
benefits is a quiet crisis."
Pelley to Peggy Halpert (sp?): "Your doctor
doesn't know you've cut back on that medication?"
Halpert: "No because there's nothing he
can do about it."
Pelley: "In Maryland, Peggy Halpert cannot
afford all of the medicine that she needs to breath."
Halpert: "You get to the point where, after
trying to fight the system, you don't care anymore. It's not so much
you don't care but you also feel a lot of being ashamed and that takes a
lot out of you."
Pelley: "You have children who can help
Halpert indignantly retorted: "My children
have children going to college. I refuse to take my grandchildren's
college money. Both husbands and wife work. I refuse to take their money
to support me. Their life to me is more important than mine."
comment: How selfish. She wouldn't want her family to take care of her
but sees nothing wrong with making every other family pay for her.)
"Still, drug coverage would cost billions. Medicare is growing so
fast in twenty years it will claim 25 percent of the entire federal
budget. With drug coverage it could be 30 percent."
Halpert: "I think if Medicare paid for my
drugs it would leave funds for me at the time when I'm going to need
more help to come in and do things for me."
Pelley: "You're fighting for your
comment: No, she's fighting for her dependence.)
I'll fight to the day I die for that."
Pelley concluded without airing the views of
anyone but Halpert: "A bipartisan commission is working on a plan to
convert most of Medicare into managed care, HMO style. There is
disagreement on nearly all of the details but one: Medicare must be
completely redesigned to survive into the next century."
-- See what
Halpert looks like. Since this is such a great example of how the networks
serve as advocates for Clinton's liberal plans to expand government, on
Friday morning a RealPlayer clip of much of this story will be placed next
to this item in the posted edition of this CyberAlert on the MRC home
page. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990226.html#5
Tom Brokaw knows what's best for us. In the opening tease for
Thursday's NBC Nightly News he questioned the wisdom of making a bigger
SUV: "A new king of the road, a sport utility vehicle bigger than
anything you've seen before. But is it necessary?"
Straight from the
liberal environmentalist agenda, NBC's Anne Thompson, over photos of the
evil new vehicle, opened the subsequent story:
"Spy shots, the first look at Ford's new
Excursion, a monster SUV 19 feet long, the biggest one yet. A nine
passenger vehicle that Ford will unveil tomorrow, but today getting
broadsided by environmentalists."
Dan Becker, Sierra Club: "At 12 miles per
gallon this is a vehicle that will bring a smile to Saddam Hussein's
Thompson: "Its gas milage about the same as
the 4500 pound Dodge Durango and exotic sports cars including Ferrari and
Porsche. A monster on the road and on the balance sheet. By simply
building around the chassis of the F-Series truck Ford expects $15,000 to
$16,000 profit for every Excursion sold."
So, it really
isn't much bigger than a popular pickup.
to warn parking it will be "like docking the Queen Mary" as
it's a foot longer than the Chevrolet Suburban. She allowed a dealer to
salivate over how he's looking forward to having a product to compete
with the Suburban and offered a soundbite from an auto analyst who pointed
out how it will have a low emission engine so it won't be so bad
Forget any questions about her legal work in Arkansas or how she made
$100,000 on $1,000. Forget how her husband stands accused of rape. And
don't even consider the possibility the whole idea is a PR gimmick
planned before Broaddrick broke to distract from the then known to be
looming allegations. Let's just marvel at the possibility Hillary
Clinton will run for the Senate from New York.
That attitude is
reflected in how Diane Sawyer handled the subject in a February 25 Good
Morning America interview segment observed by MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson. Here is Sawyer's intro and her "questions."
"Well, to run or not to run, that is the question, and we have a
little more information on whether the First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton,
is going to do it in, for the Senate race in New York. Because yesterday
she met with Congresswoman Nita Lowey of New York, who herself is a
leading contender for the Senate nomination if Mrs. Clinton doesn't run,
and last night with New York Congressman Charles Rangel, who's been
credited with starting the whole 'draft Hillary' movement, and we welcome
you both. Congresswoman Lowey, tell me what happened yesterday. What did
she said she's seriously considering it. Is that the exact language,
"Congressman Rangel, what's your bet today?"
your conversations with her, Congressman Rangel, what lights up her face
the most? What tempts her the most in this?"
Rep. Rangel: "The challenge. I've campaigned
with this lady around the country, and it was so exciting to see her
excited about her own campaign for a change, rather than about someone
else's, but she is just one of the most exciting personalities I've ever
seen in politics...."
Sawyer: "I love how casually you say 'rather
than someone else's campaign,' I wonder who that might be. Ten times she's
run with her husband. Can I ask you Congresswoman Lowey, she's now showing
in the latest poll that she'd be 20 points ahead of her contender, her
strongest contender, Mayor Giuliani. Is it bad for the party, and for you
in considering whether to run, if she keeps stringing this out?"
"Alright, well Congresswoman, yes or no, is she going to do it or
Some balance on 60 Minutes. Last fall the CBS program generated
controversy for showing Jack Kevorkian killing a man suffering from Lou
Gehrig's disease. This Sunday they'll run a story on people who choose
to live with the disease. In the February 25 Washington Post Lisa de
Moraes described how the new angle made it onto the show:
60 Minutes is going to follow up its report
about Jack Kevorkian giving a lethal injection to a man with Lou Gehrig's
disease. This time it will do a segment on people who choose to live with
the illness. It airs this Sunday.
The newsmagazine started a nationwide
debate when it aired a video showing Kevorkian administering the fatal
dose to Thomas Youk, who was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
It aired on 60 Minutes during the final weekend of the November sweeps and
scored an impressive 22.6 million people to help the network to a very
tight sweeps win.
60 Minutes Executive Producer Don Hewitt
says the idea for this weekend's segment came from his appearance on CNN's
Larry King Live after that controversial broadcast. Mike Wallace also
appeared on King's show that night to discuss the decision to air the
video. One of the people who called King's show suggested the newsmag
should report on people who have the disease and chose not to take their
This Sunday's segment will air, not
coincidentally, during the final Sunday of the February sweeps, which
actually ends this Wednesday, March 3.
Say what you want
about 60 Minutes and Executive Producer Don Hewitt, but he's willing to
do what many at the networks won't: show another side of a story he's
No CyberAlert until Tuesday or maybe Wednesday of
next week. I'm leading a delegation from the MRC Alumni Club on a trip
to Las Vegas to study the impact of liberal media bias upon the gaming
industry. -- Brent Baker
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