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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Thursday March 11, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 44)
Bill Clinton: "First 'Woman President'"; Chilly Clinton Bed; Biting Bittman

1) Bill Clinton is America's "first 'woman President,'" asserted the Washington Post's Sally Quinn: "He does have a lot of feminine qualities about him: the softness, the sensitivity...."

2) FNC exclusive: Rita Cosby reported the Clintons left their ski weekend early because they had a fight and Hillary Clinton refused to accompany her husband on his current Central American trip because she doesn't want to be in the same room or bed as him.

3) ABC, NBC and the morning shows skip China, but not CBS and CNN. Wolf Blitzer pointed out how Clinton is now being attacked the same way he attacked Bush in 1992. "What goes around comes around."

4) Bernard Lewinsky believes there is a "right-wing conspiracy" since "the events to me are just too, too perfectly orchestrated."

5) Good Morning America devoted its interview with Starr's former top deputy to grilling him only about Starr's misdeeds and abuses.

6) "Who has had the greatest impact on society?" Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Janet Reno, Madonna or Hillary Clinton?


quinn0311.jpg (10428 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Bill Clinton, our first "woman President." So contended Sally Quinn of the Washington Post on CNN's Larry King Live Wednesday night. King agreed her portrait "makes sense." Quinn, the wife of former Post Editor Ben Bradlee, is not a nobody. She is considered by the media establishment to be an expert on the Washington political and media culture, invited on many shows and panels to offer her "inside" perspectives.

     After interviewing White House spinner Greg Craig King talked with CNN's Jeff Greenfield, Quinn and Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward. Near the end of the show the panel ruminated on why Clinton remains so popular. On why women like him so much, Quinn offered:
     "We were talking about -- speaking for all women, if I may, Toni Morrison wrote in the New Yorker that Clinton was our first 'black President,' and I think, in a way, Clinton may be our first 'woman President.' And I think that may be one of the reasons why women identify, because he does have a lot of feminine qualities about him: the softness, the sensitivity, the vulnerability, that kind of thing."
     King: "Well, Bob, what does that add to this mix?"
     Woodward: "Well, you know, what I, one of the things."
     King talks over him: "Kind of makes sense."
     Woodward: "I mean, it's, it's a possibility. He, he has communication skills that make Ronald Reagan look like an amateur, when you really look at it...."

     "The softness, the sensitivity." Probably not a view shared by Juanita Broaddrick.

     See and hear Quinn. This March 10 exchange from CNN will be posted Thursday morning, by the MRC's Sean Henry and Kristina Sewell, on the MRC home page. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "A Clinton family friend tells Fox News that the First Couple barely speak in private," FNC's Rita Cosby reported Wednesday night. FNC's Fox Report and Special Report with Brit Hume led Wednesday night with Cosby's exclusive about how the Clintons left their ski weekend early a week and a half ago because they had a fight. Cosby quoted a source who knows the Clintons as relaying how Hillary Clinton refused to accompany her husband on his current Central American trip because "I don't want to be in the same room with him, let alone the same bed."

     Paula Zahn opened the 7pm ET Fox Report: "Remember when the Clintons came home early from their ski trip last week? The White House said it was because Mrs. Clinton got hurt, but insiders are telling a very different story."

     Cosby disclosed: "Sources tell Fox News the reason it abruptly ended was because the First Couple had a shouting match which left Hillary Clinton storming out of the room, saying she wanted her bags."

     After letting Democratic hack Peter Fenn suggest strains are expected in a marriage after what they have been through, Cosby continued: "A Clinton family friend tells Fox News that the First Couple barely speak in private, that quote: 'They have nothing to talk about anymore. The only thing they have in common is Chelsea.'"

     Cosby noted that the First Lady's press aide, Marsha Berry, refused comment and maintained Hillary left early because she aggravated an old back injury. But, Cosby pointed out, that did not stop her from two days later going on a trip to New York City. Getting to Bill Clinton's current location, Cosby explained:
     "She was scheduled to be with the President on his current trip to Central America. But sources close to the First Family say Mrs. Clinton felt she could not get separate hotel rooms on the foreign trip without it being obvious and she therefore canceled. The source says Hillary said, quote 'I don't want to be in the same room with him, let alone the same bed.'"

     A feeling shared by many women, if not Sally Quinn.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) CBS is the only broadcast network concerned about Chinese espionage. Wednesday night neither ABC's World News Tonight or the NBC Nighty News, which both led with the House hearing into airline passenger rights, uttered word about China. CBS delivered two brief update stories while CNN's The World Today ran three full stories, including one which actually featured a soundbite from Lamar Alexander noting how the espionage was discovered at the same time as Al Gore's trip to the Buddhist temple.

     In the morning, nothing on any of the three broadcast shows on Wednesday. So, through Wednesday the Tuesday Today interview with Sandy Berger remains the only morning show interview segment. (I believe GMA conducted an interview Thursday morning, its first. More in the next CyberAlert.)

     -- CBS Evening News. In a short story Sharyl Attkisson reported: "CBS News has learned there is yet another top secret ongoing investigation about Chinese nuclear espionage. This case involves the theft of information about America's neutron weapons program from the Laurence Livermore weapons lab in California..."

     Rather then announced: "This building spy and espionage controversy is dogging President Clinton who's in Guatemala tonight for what's called a Central America summit." It's hardly "dogging" him on ABC or NBC. From Guatemala City, Bill Plante noted that a senior administration official said many other nations got secrets in addition to China. Here's the rest of Plante's brief report, in full:
     "Republicans charge that the administration was slow to fix the problem, which allowed China to build miniature nuclear warheads. Several Republican presidential candidates have called for the resignation of the National Security Adviser, but National Security Adviser Berger's response is that it was this administration that fixed the problem, the implication being that the leaks were from previous Republican administrations. The White House sees this the way it sees most criticism -- as a political attack, the Republicans looking for a wedge issue. And with China's Vice Premier due to visit the U.S. next month the issue of who let the nation's nuclear secrets get away is only likely to intensify."

     But will ABC and NBC notice?

     -- CNN's The World Today. David Ensor showed how at a House hearing on the State Department's budget Secretary Madeleine Albright was asked about the espionage, explained how there is wrangling between Republicans and Democrats over how much of the Cox report to make public and reported that two other nuclear laboratory scientists have already been fired or imprisoned for passing along secrets.

     Alan Dodds Frank then provided a profile of Wen Ho Lee before Wolf Blitzer checked in with a piece about how Republican presidential candidates "smell blood" in Al Gore's position as point man for advocating "constructive engagement" with China. Blitzer played this soundbite from Lamar Alexander: "It is ironic that Mr. Berger learned of this espionage in exactly the same month that Mr. Gore was attending his now famous fundraiser with Buddhist nuns in Southern California."

     The White House denies the connection, Blitzer relayed, but he observed that "What goes around comes around. During the '92 election campaign then candidate Bill Clinton similarly lashed out at President George Bush."
     Clinton in 1992: "The administration continues to coddle China despite its continuing crackdown on democratic reforms."
     Blitzer concluded: "But Gore and other administration officials insist it would be reckless for the United States to walk away from the biggest country in the world giving the economic, political and military stakes involved. That of course was the same argument President Bush made."

     (Tuesday night, a CyberAlert reader informed me, CNN's Moneyline NewsHour with Lou Dobbs devoted half the show to the Chinese espionage with Dobbs anchoring live from Los Alamos, New Mexico. More details in the next CyberAlert about those stories with some unique information and angles which did not run on CNN's main evening newscast, The World Today.)


blewinsky0311.jpg (11194 bytes)cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) A "right-wing conspiracy" explains how his daughter got caught, Monica Lewinsky's father insisted in a taped interview run on Wednesday's Today. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down this exchange from the March 10 Today:

     Katie Couric: "Do you believe in this notion of a right wing conspiracy that Mrs. Clinton talked about?"
     Bernard Lewinsky: "Well I, you know, can I prove it? No. Do I believe it? Yes."
     Couric: "Why?"
     Lewinsky: "The events to me are just too, too perfectly orchestrated to have come by serendipity alone."

     Why have facts when feelings and victimology rule.

     What do Bernard and Barbara (Monica's step mother) look like? If you're interested, go the posted version of this CyberAlert on the MRC Web site where a video image of them from Today will be posted Thursday morning next to this item.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Top Starr deputy grilled, from the pro-Clinton spin book. Over the past year many false allegations have been leveled against the Starr team. They fell apart when grand jury testimony was released which showed the Clinton team's spin was baseless. Starr was accused, for instance, of violating attorney-client privilege by asking a Secret Service agent about what he overheard in the car between Clinton and lawyer Bob Bennet on the way back from the Jones deposition. Not true. And, Sidney Blumenthal falsely claimed Starr was on a witch hunt, demanding to know who he talked to in the media about Starr. Again, false.

     So, with Starr's top deputy, Robert Bittman, now available for media interviews since he has left for a private sector job, what did Good Morning America do? Take advantage of a long-awaited chance to get Starr's point of view on events of the past 14 months from an insider who is finally free to talk? No, the show devoted an entire five minute interview segment to grilling Bittman about the latest charges against Starr's office, as if they are credible and accurate.

     Here are all the questions Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson demanded Bittman answer on the March 10 show, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark Drake.

     -- "As you know, Ms. Lewinsky charges in her book that your lawyers in the Ritz Carlton confrontation, January 16th, 1998 essentially prevented her from calling her lawyer, deprived her of her rights. Your response?"

     -- "Well, because technically she was not in custody and she was technically free to leave, but Mr. Bittman, in practical reality, you surround a 24 year old girl with up to nine FBI agents and prosecutors, I mean she's gonna be so scared, that she'll do anything they say, won't she?"
     Bittman explained that's not a "technicality" since she actually did leave several times and tried to call Betty Currie to warn Clinton.

     -- "And that same judge also criticized your office for discussing immunity with her without her lawyers present, which was in violation of Department of Justice guidelines."
     Bittman replied that Starr can't win since they offered her a free pass if she'd testify.

     -- "Offered her immunity if she would do certain things."

     -- "Perhaps the more serious charge: that your office was tipped off to Lewinsky by a lawyer tied to the Paula Jones case, which would, of course, put your office in league with a party to a private suit."
     Bittman denied any contact with Jones lawyers.

     -- "Well, your first contact, your first knowledge of Monica Lewinsky came from a Philadelphia lawyer named Jerome Marcus, didn't it, who was working with the Paula Jones' lawyers?"
     Bittman explained that they told him they don't deal with innuendo and asked that anyone with relevant information make direct contact. Tripp later called.

     -- "There is a possible investigation coming from the Department of Justice. You said earlier in the week that Janet Reno has it in for Kenneth Starr. A bit ironic, isn't it, Mr. Bittman since basically, what the country has come to believe is that Kenneth Starr has it in for Bill Clinton?"
     Bittman suggested that the closer Starr gets to the President the more Justice officials want to probe Starr.

     -- "You say as you get closer to the President, but really, things are moving further away from the President now that the impeachment is over, isn't it?"


cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) Think of the five women you believe have had the "greatest impact on society." Are Janet Reno and Madonna among your suggested names? If not, then you don't work for the Hearst-operated and partially Disney-owned History Channel. A visitor to the MRC home page alerted us to this Wednesday "Today's Poll" question on the channel's home page: http://www.historychannel.com

     The question: "Who has had the greatest impact on society?"
The names offered:
-- Oprah Winfrey
-- Gloria Steinem
-- Janet Reno
-- Madonna
-- Hillary Clinton

     As of late Wednesday, Oprah was leading followed by Madonna.

     I'd assume the History Channel did not mean to suggest these are the five with the greatest impact in history and were just putting forward some current names for ranking, but even so it's quite a skewed list, skewed to the left. No Margaret Thatcher and no one from the world of science or medicine or literature.

     An example of celebrity over substance. -- Brent Baker


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