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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Wednesday March 3, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 38)
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 interview clips.

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 Review-Journal revealed.

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 displayed."


bwalters0303.jpg (8007 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) 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."

     Bloom suggested 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 hear."

     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 interview.

     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."

     See NBC's 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


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) 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 said off-the-air.

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.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) 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."

     A "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

     Second, Monday morning March 1, during an interview with departing Clinton spinner Paul Begala, Gibson posed two questions noticed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
     "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 directly?"
     "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 stop."
     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 it."
     Morton then gave airtime to an actual conservative: "Critics say NOW is a day late and a dollar short on this issue."
     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."

     Morton allowed 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.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) 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 newsworthy.

     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 American media.

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....

     End Excerpt.

     Mitchell and 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


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) 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 Myers.

     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 person's allegations."

     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 it:

     Tony Snow: "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 News."
     Juan Williams: "It wasn't on the Nightly News."
     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


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) "I don't believe it at all," declared Time magazine's Jack E. White on Inside Washington when asked about Juanita Broaddrick's charge.

     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 outrageous."
     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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