NBC Suppressing Broaddrick While Plugging Lewinsky on ABC
1) NBC Nightly News has yet to
air a story on its own network's Broaddrick exclusive, but on Tuesday it
ran two pieces plugging ABC's exclusive with Lewinsky. And NBC managed
to trash Ken Starr.
2) Are NBC News execs trying
to suppress the Broaddrick story? Nothing on Nightly News; replay of the
interview passed over; NBC's shows and cable nets not allowed to play
3) Still nothing on ABC or
CBS. CNN caught up with the controversy over reaction from feminists as
Today's Matt Lauer quizzed NOW's Patricia Ireland over her hypocrisy:
"You said that Bob Packwood should resign. Why not call for the
President to resign?"
4) The Associated Press
resisted writing a Broaddrick story, the Editor of the Las Vegas
5) Broaddrick dominated all
but CBS on Sunday morning. Steve Brill falsely asserted she "got
plenty of play" during the week and Brit Hume credited Tim Russert
with getting her story on the air.
6) "I don't believe it at
all," declared Time magazine's Jack E. White, contending: "The
story doesn't deserve to be dignified by being broadcast and
NBC Nightly News has yet to utter a word about Juanita Broaddrick. No
story on Broaddrick despite the exclusive Dateline NBC interview captured
by Lisa Myers, a Nightly News regular. But Tuesday night NBC ran not one,
but TWO stories promoting ABC's exclusive interview with Monica Lewinsky
set to air Wednesday night on 20/20. That's right. NBC Nightly News
didn't air a story beforehand plugging the February 24 Dateline story
nor afterward about what Broaddrick said on its own network, but Tuesday
night the show hyped the exclusive interview with a scandal figure set to
run on a competing network.
The March 2 NBC
Nightly News still managed to add a liberal tilt by emphasizing that
"what's missing from the ABC interview is any discussion of
independent counsel Kenneth Starr and his tactics now under investigation
by the Department of Justice," a gap NBC eagerly filled.
Anchor Tom Brokaw
set up the back-to-back pieces:
"NBC News In Depth tonight. Speaking out.
Monica Lewinsky in her own words. For more than a year now we've heard
her on audio tapes and in depositions on videotape, but now Monica
Lewinsky is telling her version of a story that's been reported,
dissected and debated around the world. First installment: the airing of
an interview on ABC with Barbara Walters. The details began to leak out
tonight and we begin our In Depth reporting now with NBC's White House
correspondent David Bloom."
Lewinsky agreed to the ABC interview with Barbara Walters in order to
promote her new book and to polish her image, explaining how she
apologizes to the country and says she is sorry for what Chelsea and
Hillary were put through. As for Bill Clinton, Bloom relayed, she's
still enamored and calls him "my sexual soul mate." Bloom then
got to Starr:
"What's missing from the ABC interview is
any discussion of independent counsel Kenneth Starr and his tactics now
under investigation by the Department of Justice. Because of her immunity
deal Starr could and did barr Lewinsky from discussing the prosecutor's
conduct in the case, but Lewinsky recently told British journalists that
on the day she was first confronted by Starr's agents in this hotel she
asked to speak to her mother and her lawyer and they refused. 'It was
really scary,' Lewinsky reportedly said.' They tried to make me wear a
wire' to gather evidence against the President. It is just that sort of
story that Starr did not want a national television audience to
Sort of like how
NBC Nightly News did not want viewers to hear about Broaddrick, which is
"what's missing from" the NBC show.
Next, Bob Faw
examined the selling of Lewinsky and various views of how interested the
public is in her tale. After noting that she was paid $600,000 for a book
written for her that will be released Thursday, as the camera zoomed in on
a full page ABC News newspaper ad for 20/20, Faw observed:
"Hype too for that Barbara Walters interview
tomorrow night. ABC, which isn't paying Lewinsky, reportedly hoped to
charge $800,000 a commercial, five times the going rate, a $35 million
windfall. But buyers balked at both price and content and despite Ms.
Walters some ads remain unsold."
As he spoke, viewers saw the ad with a big head
shot of Monica and could read the ad copy as the camera panned down:
"Monica. The Barbara Walter Interview. Special time 9/8c.
20/20." After Faw so considerately made sure NBC viewers learned when
to tune into ABC he played an audio clip of Walters on Imus in the Morning
claiming: "There is yes, there is one revelation, there is one thing
that she has never said before."
Faw moved on to
other marketing angles being pursued by Lewinsky, such as a British TV
At the end of the
next ad break Nightly News viewers heard another hit on Starr in a Today
promo for the author of the Lewinsky book: "Thursday on Today. Ken
Starr wouldn't let Monica tell all, but there's one man who can tell
us what she couldn't say. Thursday on Today."
promotion of ABC News. Wednesday morning the MRC's Kristina Sewell will
cue up these NBC stories so Sean Henry can place a RealPlayer clip from
them, including the panning of the ABC ad, on the MRC home page. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Are the New York executives for NBC News ashamed of their big Broaddrick
scoop and trying to suppress her story? You be the judge:
-- Spiked by
Nightly News. As noted in #1 above, NBC Nightly News never aired a story
on Broaddrick. Lisa Myers even produced a piece on reaction to her
Dateline interview. Her report ran on the February 25 News with Brian
Williams on MSNBC, as detailed in the February 26 CyberAlert, but never
appeared on Nightly News.
-- Replay of the
Dateline with Broaddrick spiked. Since NBC canceled Nightside last fall,
the network has fed two hours of re-runs to affiliates at 2am ET, though
MT and PT stations can carry the hours in reverse sequence. Monday through
Friday night NBC offers a replay of the Tonight Show followed by the soap
opera Sunset Beach. Saturday night NBC feeds Saturday Night Live again.
And Sunday nights, the Sunday Dateline followed by Meet the Press.
Well, this past Sunday there was no Dateline and
Dateline was also bumped on Friday night, so the next available Dateline
going back through the week would be the Wednesday edition with Broaddrick.
But NBC skipped over it and instead gave affiliates the Tuesday, February
23 Dateline to replay Sunday night/Monday morning.
-- NBC News is
restricting use of the Broaddrick video, even by its own shows, the Drudge
Report disclosed Sunday night (www.drudgereport.com):
NBC NEWS executives are washing Juanita
Broaddrick right out of their hair.
NBC NEWS has issued an order restricting
the use of Juanita Broaddrick's DATELINE interview, it has been learned.
Effective March 1 at 12:01 AM, NBC outlets
will be restricted from using the exclusive Broaddrick footage.
"No wonder the White House isn't
concerned, no one will see her anymore," one frustrated MSNBC anchor
MSNBC and CNBC producers will have to work
through NBC lawyers, on a case by case basis, to receive authorization to
use the Lisa Myers/Broaddrick session....
END excerpt from
the Drudge Report.
Though the Sunday interview and talk shows focused on it (more in item #5
below) the Broaddrick story is being ignored by the regular network
morning and evening shows. But if journalists don't pursue it the story
will wither away.
As Fred Barnes
observed in the lead editorial for the March 8 Weekly Standard:
"Where does the story go from here? Neither
prosecutors nor members of Congress are pursuing it. The statute of
limitations in Arkansas on rape (six years) ran out long ago. Independent
counsel Kenneth Starr has no jurisdiction in the case because Broaddrick
says Clinton never pressured her to lie under oath or obstruct justice. As
for members of Congress, Republicans are suffering impeachment hangover
and aren't interested, and Democrats...well, their tolerance for egregious
wrongdoing by Clinton is boundless. So who does that leave? Only the press
and the public.
"For the media to allow the story to die
with no response from Clinton and only a curt denial from his lawyer would
be a travesty. If there's a journalistic standard for such cases, it was
set in the Clarence Thomas and Bob Packwood episodes. In both, the press
investigated aggressively, even though the accusations involved incidents
that had occurred years before. Nor was the fact that Anita Hill merely
accused Thomas of talking dirty an impediment to reportorial zeal.
Packwood was charged with groping and kissing, not rape-and again, the
media went after him relentlessly."
"travesty" is under way. (To read the entire magazine editorial,
go to: http://www.weeklystandard.com.
It's the only item on the Web page.)
Here's a list of
how the network news shows, other than Sunday morning programs, have not
covered Broaddrick since her story broke in the February 19 Wall Street
Journal. The February 20 front page story in the Washington Post and
February 24 Dateline also offered hooks for stories. (MSNBC and FNC each
aired several prime time stories last week, including pieces Thursday
about Patricia Ireland warning the White House to not impugn Broaddrick.
See the February 26 CyberAlert.)
-- ABC. Nothing on
World News Tonight through Tuesday night (no WNT in east because of golf
Sunday night) or on Nightline. No story or interview segment on Good
Morning America, though the show raised the subject twice: First, on
February 19 Charlie Gibson wondered aloud to Diane Sawyer why the Dorothy
Rabinowitz piece appeared on the editorial page. See the February 22
CyberAlert for details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990222.html#2
morning March 1, during an interview with departing Clinton spinner Paul
Begala, Gibson posed two questions noticed by MRC analyst Jessica
"Paul, this stuff doesn't go away. There's
now a charge of sexual assault against the President, 20 years ago when he
was Attorney General in Arkansas. Does he need to answer those charges
"But you can, you know, Paul, you know
Washington, you can feel the drumbeat beginning. Republican Senators on
the talk shows this weekend saying you can't just issue a statement
through a lawyer, the President has to say something directly."
-- CBS. Not a syllable yet on CBS's This
Morning, reported MRC analyst Brian Boyd. Back on Saturday, February 20
the Evening News featured a 1:51 story narrated by anchor John Roberts
(see the February 22 CyberAlert), but nothing since -- so not a word
during Dan Rather's weeknight show.
-- NBC. Zilch on NBC Nightly News, as already
noted in items #1 and #2 above. Today ran 18 seconds on February 20 and
its first interview segment on February 25, the morning after the
interview aired on Dateline, with Dorothy Rabinowitz and Alan Dershowitz.
See the February 26 CyberAlert for details: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990226.html#3
Last Friday, February 26, Today featured a
segment with NOW President Patricia Ireland. As transcribed by MRC analyst
Mark Drake, co-host Matt Lauer did pose some challenging questions:
"But it's a very strong statement in
assuming that they may take this tack [attacking Broaddrick], Mrs.
Ireland, and I don't recall that you were quite as strong in your
statements surrounding Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones at the time."
"Let's take it one step further. If you say
that Juanita Broaddrick's story should be taken seriously and you find it,
in another area of your statement 'particularly compelling,' why haven't
you asked the President to resign?"
"But let me take you back to when Anita Hill
charged that Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her and when Bob Packwood
was charged with sexual harassment. You said that Clarence Thomas should
not be appointed to the Supreme Court. You said that Bob Packwood should
resign. Why not call for the President to resign?"
"So if I said to you this somewhat smacks of
politics, that Clarence Thomas was nominated by a Republican
administration and Bob Packwood was a Republican and the President is a
Democrat, you would respond how?"
-- CNN. Bob Franken filed a three minute plus
piece for the February 20 The World Today, but until Friday night,
February 26, the 8pm ET CNN news hour skipped over Broaddrick. In between,
Inside Politics talked about it with Howard Kurtz and on Friday night,
after running the same Bruce Morton piece which would air on The World
Today about feminist reaction, MRC analyst Paul Smith noted that Judy
Woodruff interviewed liberal Eleanor Smeal and conservative Betsy Hart.
Bruce Morton began his February 26 piece:
"The White House and its supporters, ever since the President's
sexual scandals began making news, have attacked the women. Monica
Lewinsky was a stalker, Paula Jones was cheap, and so on. Now Patricia
Ireland, President of the National Organization for Women, says that must
Ireland: "No to 'nuts' and 'sluts.'
No to the idea of questioning her sanity or her integrity, saying that she
either imagined it, she's delusional, or she asked for it and wanted
Morton then gave airtime to an actual
conservative: "Critics say NOW is a day late and a dollar short on
Kristi Hamrick, Family Research Council: "It
seems like NOW has decided to return to its roots about the time that the
impeachment phenomenon is no more. What this really shows us is that NOW
is committed not first of all to women but first and foremost to Bill
Clinton and abortion itself."
Ireland to counter that the rape charge makes this case different, before
concluding: "For many reasons -- it was so long ago, she once swore
it didn't happen, and so on -- hers is a story which is unlikely to
develop, unlikely to have a chapter two."
Certainly not if
the most-watched broadcast network shows never even bother to inform their
viewers about it.
The networks aren't the only media outlets reluctant to touch the
Broaddrick story. An editor for a major newspaper wrote on Sunday about
the reluctance he encountered when he asked the AP if the wire service
planned to distribute a story on Dorothy Rabinowitz's Wall Street
Journal story. In Sunday's Las Vegas Review-Journal, Editor Thomas
Mitchell recounted how the AP told him Broaddrick's story was not
In this excerpt
from his February 28 column Mitchell opens by observing how mainstream
media resistance to the Broaddrick story shows the fallacy of the current
liberal establishment complaint that alternative media sources are driving
them to go with unverified rumors:
Hand-wringing over the Broaddrick matter
The talking heads on TV and various print
pundits have been contemplating their collective navels over just what the
handling of the Juanita Broaddrick story says about the state of the
They say that the speed of the Internet has
dazzled us news executives, making us leap too soon to publish or
broadcast, trammeling old standards of verification and substantiation.
They say the competition to be first has supplanted our ideals. They say
the threshold for salaciousness has been lowered. They say the definition
of news has been rewritten because these kinds of allegations were never
aired about other presidents.
Using a kind of inductive reasoning, the
pundits are taking this one, unique story and its unique set of
circumstances and trying to hold it up as an example of some sweeping
woe-is-us trend in the profession.
Call me a heretic, but I think they and
their dogma of journalistic doom are so much hot air. Has the bar been
lowered for what allegations are worthy of ink and air time? No, the facts
have been stacked so high that the bar just looks lower. Without Gennifer
Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Kathleen Willey and other Jane Does
from Arkansas to the D. of C., there would be no story about Juanita
Broaddrick's claim that she was raped by Bill Clinton in a Little Rock
hotel room 21 years ago....
When I saw the column by Dorothy Rabinowitz
in the Journal, I picked up the phone and called a couple of editors at
The Associated Press, asking if they were going to report on this topic.
The messages trickled back during the day that the AP did not report on
opinion columns, and later that this was not newsworthy because
Broaddrick's story kept changing. She had, after all, signed an affidavit
denying anything happened. (And Clinton had wagged his finger at the
television camera, I recalled.)
Thinking this story was something our
readers should be able to judge for themselves on its own merits or lack
thereof, I called the Journal and obtained permission to reprint the
entire Rabinowitz column in our Sunday Focus section.
That afternoon, the AP moved a short story
on the topic, breaking no new ground and omitting most pertinent details.
I told the news desk to run it inside the A section of the paper.
That evening, The Washington Post moved its
own version, including its previously off-the-record quotes from
Broaddrick. By the time News Editor Mary Greeley reached me at home, she
had already bumped a story about prescription costs off the front page and
replaced it with the Post report....
Greeley definitely aren't qualified to work for the New York Times,
which waited several more days before even mentioning Broaddrick.
To read the
entirety of the column by Mitchell, go to: http://www.lvrj.com
and click on "archives." Or, go directly to: http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/1999/Feb-28-Sun-1999/opinion/10689834.html
Broaddrick dominated Sunday morning, but one supposed expert, who claimed
"this story got plenty of play" during the week, needs to be
reading the CyberAlerts. (Item #3 above details how the network morning
and even shows have handled Broaddrick.)
On Sunday, for the
second week in a row, CBS's Face the Nation skipped the subject,
focusing instead on Y2K computer problems. Fox News Sunday, in contrast,
for the second week in a row, focused on Broaddrick. Guest Dan Quayle was
asked about it, the show brought on Dorothy Rabinowitz and Steve Brill to
talk about it and it was the first item discussed for the roundtable
during which Brit Hume credited Tim Russert for pushing the story.
ABC's This Week
focused on Broaddrick during the roundtable and Sam Donaldson's first
question to guest Tom Daschle raised her name. CNN's Late Edition
covered Broaddrick and most of NBC's Meet the Press focused on the
charge and its coverage: Bill Bennett, Susan Estrich and Patricia Ireland
appeared together and later Tim Russert talked with Howard Kurtz and Lisa
On Fox News Sunday
Rabinowitz noted the "silence" from much of the media especially
the networks. Steve Brill, a supposed media expert as owner of Content
magazine, ignored the broadcast blackout, insisting: "You and I must
be living in a different country, because I thought all last week, if I
turned to any of the cable news channels and if I turned to the Washington
Post and then after that even the New York Times, I saw this story. I
thought this story got plenty of play, and I think there are a lot of
people who would argue that it got much too much play given that it's one
Later, in the
roundtable, Brit Hume, FNC's Washington Managing Editor, expounded upon
who got NBC to run the story and how the other networks are not pursuing
"Do you think NBC would have run the story if the Washington Post
hadn't put it on the front page?"
Hume: "No. I don't. I don't think NBC News
would have run the story without it having run elsewhere before. Two
people deserve credit for this story at NBC News. One of them is Lisa
Myers who got the story and the other is our colleague Tim Russert, who
fought for it, and had to fight for it, which is not a fortunate
commentary about the news media today, that you know, that there had to be
this great battle to get this story on the air. This story, once that
interview was done, and the reporting accompanied it was done, should have
been on the air immediately. It should have been on the Nightly
Juan Williams: "It wasn't on the Nightly
Hume: "I know it wasn't."
Mara Liasson of NPR: "You know, and despite
any of the complaints you might have about how the media has not covered
it enough. I think the media is covering it and one of the most
significant things was this weekend when the New York Times ran an
editorial asking the president to answer the questions directly. And I
think that's the form in which this is going to continue. He is going to
be asked to deny it in person instead of just his lawyers."
Hume: "There's still no getting around the
fact that the New York Times despite that editorial had only one story on
this and it was wrapped in all this bubble wrap about it being -- made it
a press story as one of your earlier guests was pointing out. The Los
Angeles Times has done next to nothing, except the same kind of story the
New York Times did. ABC News, CBS News and NBC News as a news
organization, apart from Dateline, have done nothing on this. It is very
peculiar and exposes the fault lines in the American media as well as
anything has ever done."
To watch this
exchange in RealPlayer format, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html
"I don't believe it at all," declared Time magazine's Jack
E. White on Inside Washington when asked about Juanita Broaddrick's
On the February 27
show which runs on many PBS stations and WUSA-TV, the CBS affiliate in
Washington, DC, liberal columnist Jack Germond assessed: "I think
she's very credible, a very credible witness as they say."
Newsweek's Evan Thomas agreed: "Yea, she was very convincing. It's
pretty hard to watch that show and not think he did it." After
NPR's Nina Totenberg helpfully remarked that "I'm left just not
knowing what to do about it" and Charles Krauthammer said he found
her believable, host Gordon Peterson turned to Time's national
correspondent who, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd, put himself
to the left of the show's liberals:
"I don't believe it at all. Anybody who
waits 21 years to surface a charge like this, and has no evidence to back
it up, other than very circumstantial, what she may or may not have told
some of her friends at the time, has sworn in the deposition that it never
happened, and now all of a sudden comes forth with this story, the story
doesn't deserved to be dignified by being broadcast and displayed. What I
find fascinating about this case, is that we've sunk so low now that a
charge of this magnitude can be leveled against the President of the
United States with next to no evidence at all. I think that's
Germond countered: "Wait a minute, there's
not no evidence she does have contemporaneously three of four witnesses,
I'm mean you don't make those up."
White shot back: "You call that evidence, I
call it gossip. I don't know, I don't know that. There are many cases of
rape accusations I've looked into and it turns out the story is not that
at all. This incident occurred 21 years ago, the women admittedly can't
even remember what day in which it occurred. I think that in itself raises
questions about her credibility."
I seem to recall
that a few years ago Jack E. White left Time and for a few months served
as a top producer for ABC's World News Tonight. With that show snubbing
the Broaddrick story it appears he's still in tune with his old employer. -- Brent Baker
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