Bill Clinton Reacted with "Fury"; Worried About Impact on Hillary; "Reagan Couldn't Tie His Shoelaces..."; Geraldo's "Love Nest"
1) ABC uniquely put Bush's press conference ahead of
Hillary's session of denial and "disappointment." CBS's John
Roberts painted Bill Clinton as an angry victim trying to make things right:
"When President Clinton found out what Hugh Rodham had done he telephoned
Rodham's lawyer in a fury, demanding that the money had to go back."
2) FNC's Brit Hume wondered about the credibility of Senator
Clinton's "Sergeant Schultz"-like "I know nothing"
3) "This is just terrible" for Hillary Clinton,
fretted Gloria Borger on The Early Show as Bryant Gumbel aimed his disgust at
her opponents: "Aside from feeding the cottage industry of the usual
Republican Clinton-bashers, is anything likely to come of this?"
4) David Gergen insisted: "Both Clintons, especially Bill
Clinton, has never been, they've never been venal."
5) The always obnoxious Helen Thomas to President Bush:
"Why do you refuse to respect the wall between the church and state? And
you know that the mixing of religion and government for centuries has to led
6) "Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended
on it," belittled the man New York Times staffers see as the mostly likely
new top editor. In a 1993 interview Howell Raines whined: "The Reagan
years oppressed me because of the callousness and the greed and the
hard-hearted attitude toward people who have very little." [See item
below for a clarification about the "shoelaces" comment]
7) Geraldo Rivera "has set up a luxury love nest for his
new galpal," a "25-year-old CNBC producer," the New York
Post's "Page Six" disclosed on Thursday.
hallway encounter with the press led the CBS and NBC evening shows Thursday
night, February 22, as well as CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special
Report with Brit Hume, but ABC's World News Tonight decided to go first with
President Bush's press conference since, in the reasoning of Peter Jennings,
"Mr. Bush is the President now." ABC uniquely tracked down Marc Rich
at a St. Moritz ski slope, but he skied away from Brian Ross.
The ABC, CBS and NBC stories on Hillary's supposed
disappointment in her brother and denial of any knowledge of what he did all
allowed for the possibility that Hugh Rodham did talk directly with Bill
Clinton, but CBS's John Roberts went the furthest to portray Bill Clinton as
an angry victim trying to make things right. Roberts claimed: "Sources
tell CBS News that when President Clinton found out what Hugh Rodham had done
he telephoned Rodham's lawyer in a fury, demanding that the money had to go
Only NBC's Lisa Myers highlighted how former New York
City Mayor Ed Koch had become the latest Democrat to denounce Clinton. She also
noted how "Roger Clinton personally asked the President to pardon a number
of people, but the President said no."
To give you a flavor of the broadcast network approaches,
here are their show introductions followed by some select quotes from
-- ABC's World News Tonight. From Washington, DC, Peter
Jennings opened the show: "Good evening from Washington. It was a busy day
here. The Bush administration and the Clinton presidency shared the spotlight
again. Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton, felt obliged to meet the press today and
talk about her brother's efforts to win a pardon and one sentence commuted
for his clients. President Bush was pressed about the pardons at his first
major encounter with the White House press corps since moving in. We'll get
to the Clintons more fully in a moment, but Mr. Bush is the President now and
Terry Moran is over there at the White House. Terry, a White House press corps
can put a lot of pressure on a new President. How'd it go?"
Moran's assessment: "Well Peter the White House
says it went great, not surprisingly. The press corps's verdict, not
surprisingly, is a bit more mixed. But in answering about 25 questions
President Bush was personable, to the point, and yet at times halting and
Up next, Jackie Judd reviewed Hillary's press
conference and highlighted how Hillary portrayed herself as a victim "of
what she called her brother's 'terrible misjudgment.'" As for what
Bill knew, Judd suggested: "An associate said today it was possible that
he, Clinton, knew Rodham was involved in trying to get convicted drug dealer
Carlos Vignali out of jail. The associate said, 'It could have been brought
up at a meeting.'"
ABC then aired a taped piece from Brian Ross in St.
Moritz, Switzerland where he tracked down Marc Rich. Ross approached him a ski
lift but he skied away as Ross asked: "The whole country wants to know:
Did you give any money at all to President Clinton? Mr. Rich, really."
While Rich is now free of the worry of being arrested as
he travels, he's staying put in Switzerland for now but, Ross learned, people
there are not too happy about all of the attention. Ross concluded: "Rich
has now cancelled a big party set for tomorrow night here. Faced with a
notoriety he never had when he was just an American tax fugitive."
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather, in Washington, DC,
opened his February 22 program, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, by
setting up four back-to-back pardon-related stories, more than aired by ABC or
"Good evening. Senator Hillary Clinton confronted the
growing pardon story head on today, walking out and telling reporters back
there at the Capitol that she was not involved in any pardons and knew nothing
about efforts to arrange them, efforts by her brother, and now it turns out,
also some lesser help for lesser pay by the treasurer of her Senate campaign.
We have extensive coverage tonight with a team of CBS News correspondents. John
Roberts has the latest questions about pardons, politics, influence, and money.
Bob Schieffer is covering Senator Clinton's defense of herself. Jim Stewart
looks in depth at the controversial pardons involving Senator Clinton's
brother, and Phil Jones has new information about Marc Rich's long campaign
to clear his record. First, John Roberts with the pardons becoming a Clinton
Roberts began his piece by painting Bill Clinton as an
aggrieved victim: "Sources tell CBS News that when President Clinton found
out what Hugh Rodham had done he telephoned Rodham's lawyer in a fury,
demanding that the money had to go back."
After reviewing how Hillary declared her brother just
plain wrong and claimed to be "heartbroken and shocked" by his deal,
Roberts noted how President Bush at his press conference had refused to
denounce Bill Clinton.
Roberts then acknowledged how Bill Clinton's
culpability may be greater than his aides claim: "Clinton has professed to
be deeply disturbed at the revelation that Hugh Rodham was paid almost $400,00
to procure pardons for convicted drug dealer Carlos Vignali and Glenn Braswell,
who was jailed in the '80s for fraudulent sales practices. However, sources
tell CBS News that while Mr. Clinton doesn't remember talking to Rodham about
the pardons, he can't rule out the possibility that he did. Rodham claims he
never revealed his involvement to his sister and brother-in-law, not even when
golfing with Mr. Clinton in Florida two weeks ago."
CBS viewers next saw Bob Schieffer review the Hillary
press conference of denials, followed by Jim Stewart with a brief look at the
two criminals involved, Carlos Vignali and Glenn Braswell. Stewart noted:
"Braswell was ironically known as a big money giver to Republicans before
turning to Rodham for help"
Finally, Phil Jones looked at how Marc Rich has been
trying to buy his way out of a criminal prosecution for years, going back to a
1986 offer to pay $250 million if the cases were dropped against himself and
partner Pincus Green.
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw remained in New York City
were he opened his broadcast: "Good evening. These are dark and defensive
times in the Clinton-Rodham family. The former President and his wife, the
Senator, are once again trying to escape a political, legal, and ethical
controversy of major proportions. The disclosure that Hillary Clinton's
brother Hugh Rodham received hundreds of thousands of dollars to help two
convicted felons win presidential pardons is a new firestorm to go with the
incendiary pardon of financier Marc Rich. We begin tonight with NBC's Lisa
Myers on the Clinton watch."
Myers observed how Senator Clinton used "the word
'disappointed' at least ten times" in her press conference. Myers
noted how while Hillary denied any knowledge of Hugh's activities, "the
former President's spokesman does not deny that Clinton knew Rodham was
lobbying for pardons."
Myers also highlighted questions about another relative:
"NBC News has learned that the former President's brother, Roger
Clinton, also was involved in the pardon process. President Clinton's
spokeswoman, speaking on Rogers' behalf, tells NBC that Roger Clinton
personally asked the President to pardon a number of people, but the President
said no. But congressional investigators are now looking into Roger Clinton's
involvement in other pardons to see whether money changed hands. Today many
Democrats are angry."
Ed Koch: "I thought that he was a good President.
I'll no longer say that by virtue of what he did with those pardons. That was
a presidential act. It was outrageous. I don't think we know yet the full
Later, Andrea Mitchell examined Hugh Rodham and found
"he is no stranger to controversy." Specifically, Hugh and brother
Tony almost caused an international incident over their effort to corner the
market on hazelnuts in Soviet Georgia. Last month, Mitchell reported, the two
showed up at Clinton's farewell at Andrews Air Force Base to get Bill Clinton
into a picture with their Soviet Georgia partner.
of the night. While network reporters were passing along Hillary Clinton's
denial of any knowledge of her brother's deal and "disappointment"
in it, FNC's Brit Hume wondered about the credibility of her supposed lack of
After saying on Thursday's Special Report with Brit
Hume that her performance reminded him of the common line from the
"Sergeant Schultz" character on Hogan's Heroes -- "I know
nothing" -- he ruminated to show's panel of journalists:
"The President, who was a habitual life-long
philanderer, and had a little deal with Monica Lewinsky which was advertised in
the media for a long time, she only found out about it toward the latter stages
of the scandal we're to believe. And now we're to believe that her brother,
who is a lawyer, was representing these people, staying in the White House,
talking to Bruce Lindsey about it, the President knew about it and somehow she
missed the whole thing. Is that credible?"
"this is just terrible" for Hillary Clinton, fretted Gloria Borger on
Thursday's The Early Show on CBS as Bryant Gumbel aimed his disgust at her
opponents: "Aside from feeding the cottage industry of the usual
Republican Clinton-bashers, is anything likely to come of this?"
MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down Gumbel's February 22
questions to Borger and some of her answers as they treated Hillary as a
-- "Key question here would seem to be what did the
Clinton's know and when did they know it. How do you answer that?"
-- "Is it true the White House advisor Bruce Lindsey
knew about this, knew about the connection?"
-- "This doesn't seem to impact Bill Clinton much
because he's out of office, but what about Senator Hillary Clinton?"
Borger worried: "Oh, this is just terrible for her.
We're told that she's very angry about this, not only at Bill Clinton, of
course, but now at her brother. She's a new Senator, she's trying to make her
maiden appearance in the Senate, she went on the floor the other week to talk
about health care, for example, and all everybody was talking about were the
pardons. And it's a real problem for her. Republicans in the Congress say they
don't want to go near her quite frankly. Last time they did that she became a
victim and they lost, and so I think they're going to stay away from Hillary
Rodham Clinton but that doesn't mean they're going to stay away from
investigating her husband which, of course, puts her in a very very awkward
-- Gumbel: "But lets be clear here, there are
suggestions of improprieties here but there are no illegalities involved here,
-- "But aside from feeding the cottage industry of
the usual Republican Clinton-bashers, is anything likely to come of this?"
Borger replied: "We don't know. I think what may come
of it in the end is some real procedures on pardons. That in fact as Bill
Plante was talking about before, lots of these pardons went around routine
procedures and that maybe the Congress will say look in order to grant a
presidential pardon people at the Justice Department have to be called in for
their opinions. But I think beyond that nothing else is going to occur except
that George W. Bush is sort of floating under the radar here. He seems to be
having a very good time with this."
Hillary have "never been venal," insisted former aide and current
U.S. News writer David Gergen, a former editor of the magazine who serves as a
frequent guest expert on ABC's Nightline. On the February 21 The News with
Brian Williams on MSNBC, MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, Gergen argued the
couple don't care about money:
"Both Clintons, especially Bill Clinton, has never
been, they've never been venal. They have, they may have blind spots. They've
made mistakes but they've never been people I think who are corrupted by money.
I've just never seen any instance of that and I trust that at the end of the
day what we'll find here is that there was some real stupidity involved in the
part of the brother but that the Clintons themselves, were, while they are
going to be lashed to this mast now for the next few weeks, that we'll find at
the end of the day that they themselves have not been venal in any of these
Want to make a bet?
come and Presidents go (at least until Bill Clinton), but Helen Thomas never
goes away and is always a liberal exponent in the guise of a reporter. Check
out this impassioned liberal advocacy from her at Thursday's presidential
Thomas: "Why do you refuse to respect the wall
between the church and state? And you know that the mixing of religion and
government for centuries has to led slaughter. I mean the very fact that our
country has stood in good stead by having this separation. Why do you break it
President Bush: "Helen, I strongly respect the
separation of church and state."
Thomas: "You wouldn't have a religious office in the
White House if you did."
Thomas, who was with UPI until last year, now works for
The man the
staff of the New York Times considers most likely to succeed Joseph Lelyveld as
Executive Editor as he approaches mandatory retirement age, charged in a 1993
book that former President "Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life
depended on it." This week's New York Observer reported that in the
competition for the top job "the general feeling on the paper is that the
Executive Editor's job is" Howell Raines' "to lose."
November 2003: It has come to our attention that while the sentence,
"Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it,"
appeared on page 84 of the book by Raines, it came in the midst of a
multi-paragraph quote in a chapter in which he favorably recited the comments
on things great and small (during a fishing venture to Hunting Creek near
Thurmont, Maryland), from his companion on the trip, Dick Blalock. The other
quotes attributed in the book to Raines are accurate and reflect his personal
The paragraph in full from which the quote came:
"'See that pool?' said Dick. 'That was Jimmy Carter's favorite pool when
he was President We're only about a mile from Camp David. The Fish and
Wildlife Boys kept the stream lousy with big brood fish from the hatcheries
when he was up here. I knew a guy who used to slip in and give every big trout
in the stream a sore lip whenever he heard Carter was coming. Of course, I
liked Carter. Charlie Fox and Ben Schley taught him a lot about fishing, and he
ties a good fly. Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on
We regret the confusion.]
Raines, who is now the paper's editorial page editor
and who was the Washington bureau chief during the Reagan years, complained in
Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis that "reporting on President
Reagan's success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich,
white, and healthy -- saddened me." During a November 17, 1993 interview
about his book on Charlie Rose's PBS show, he whined: "The Reagan years
oppressed me because of the callousness and the greed and the hard-hearted
attitude toward people who have very little in this society."
The June 1994 MediaWatch caught up with the book by
Raines. Here's a reprint of that article titled, "Raines Rains on
Reagan: Fly Fishing Flashbacks."
Howell Raines, Editorial Page Editor for The New York Times, has generated a
bit of publicity for editorials critical of the Clinton Administration's ethics
and decision-making process. But a new book by Raines reveals where his
sympathies lie. In Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis, the former national
political correspondent, who headed the Washington bureau from 1988 through
1992, fails to criticize the policies of any liberal, but he has plenty to say
-- "Then one day in the summer of 1981 I found myself at the L.L. Bean
store in Freeport, Maine. I was a correspondent in the White House in those
days, and my work -- which consisted of reporting on President Reagan's success
in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white, and healthy
-- saddened me."
-- "In 1981, shortly before the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, my
family and I arrived in Washington. I was thirty-eight. I attributed any
twinges of unhappiness I felt in those days to bad timing and the cycles of
politics. My parents raised me to admire generosity and to feel pity. I had
arrived in our nation's capital during a historic ascendancy of greed and
-- "I was taken aback by the news that Alan Simpson, the Republican
Senator from Wyoming, was a fly fisherman. So much for the ennobling influence
of the sport. During Bush's term, Simpson established himself as the meanest
man in the Senate. True, his hatefulness had a kind of Dickensian grandeur. But
there was no way you could follow his rantings about women, the environment and
civil rights and still believe that fly fishing in the mighty temple of the
Rockies is guaranteed to purify the soul."
END Reprint of MediaWatch article
Raines may soon become the nation's most influential
journalist. Jim Romenesko's MediaNews (http://www.poynter.org/medianews/)
on Wednesday highlighted a New York Observer piece by Gabriel Snyder headlined,
"Consensus at Times on Succession: It's Howell Raines, Not Keller."
An excerpt from the top of Snyder's story:
A little more than one year from now -- April 5, 2002 -- The New York Times
executive editor, Joseph Lelyveld, will turn 65, the mandatory retirement age
for editors at the paper. Speculation about Mr. Lelyveld's successor has
raged for years, and the consensus has been that there are two contenders: Bill
Keller, The Times' managing editor, and Howell Raines, the editorial page
But within The New York Times, many staff members interviewed said that the
field has been narrowed to one. The general feeling on the paper is that the
executive editor's job is Mr. Raines' to lose.
"There is a consensus that seems to be growing that it's going to be
Howell," said one high-level Times staff member, who added: "I would
be very surprised if it wasn't Howell. Some days I think he expects to be
editor, and anybody who knows Howell knows he wants the job and thinks he
Internally and psychologically, the staff of The New York Times is preparing
to answer to Mr. Raines. "It's hard to imagine Howell not getting
it," said another Times staff member....
The executive editor of The Times has more influence on news coverage, and
sometimes public policy, than any other news executive in the United States.
The succession is considered far in advance; the saga of A.M. Rosenthal's
retirement lasted for years. And when Mr. Lelyveld's predecessor, Max
Frankel, decided he was going to retire, Mr. Sulzberger asked Mr. Lelyveld to
be the executive editor seven months before Mr. Frankel stepped down in July
The most common factor cited in Mr. Raines' favor is simply the age
difference between him and Mr. Keller. There's a recent tendency at The Times
to avoid having an executive editor serve as long as Mr. Rosenthal, who ruled
from 1969 to 1986. Since The Times has a mandatory retirement policy, the
58-year-old Mr. Raines would hold the top post for about six years, versus the
12 years the 52-year-old Mr. Keller would have....
To read the entire New York Observer article, go to: http://www.observer.com/pages/offtherec.asp
Rivera's love life made it into the New York Post on Thursday, prompted by
news he had arranged a Manhattan home for a woman less than half his age.
Here's an excerpt from the February 22 "Page
Six" item by Richard Johnson, Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson, plugged by
Jim Romenesko's MediaNews:
Geraldo Rivera has set up a luxury love nest for his new galpal, 25-year-old
CNBC producer Erica Levy.
Rivera, 57, is lavishing Levy with an apartment at one of Donald Trump's
luxury buildings in the East 60s, and has showered her with thousands of
dollars worth of pricey jewelry and couture clothing, sources tell PAGE SIX.
The comely Cleveland native is currently sharing an apartment with two
female pals in Murray Hill. She is supposed to move into her new uptown abode
on April 9. We're told the pad is in Levy's name, but it's not clear if Geraldo
is buying or renting it for her.
Levy's parents are said to be less than thrilled that their pretty brunette
daughter has taken up with Rivera.
"Geraldo's older than Erica's father," sniffs a pal of Levy's.
"Her parents aren't very happy that she's been seeing him. They know about
his reputation with women."...
Levy also managed to nab a plum assignment as a producer on Rivera's "Geraldo
Voyager" specials for the Travel Channel, which airs four new sailing
specials this fall....
It isn't clear whether Rivera will move in with Levy. Sources say that
contrary to published reports, Levy never "moved in" with him in
Malibu. "She still lives in New York," says a pal. "She stayed
there when she was out there with him. That was it."
Geraldo, who hosts "Rivera Live" on CNBC, has a history with
twentysomething gals named "Erica" who work for him.
His dalliance with another eye-catching employee, Erica Pressman, 27, was
blamed for the break-up a while ago with his long-suffering wife, C.C. Dyer.
Dyer booted Rivera out of their New Jersey home after she found photographs
of him on his 70-foot sailboat with the busty blonde Pressman, who worked as a
publicist for the defunct syndicated talk show "Geraldo."...
To read the whole item, go to:
At least now when Geraldo breaks up with his young lovers
Bill Clinton is conveniently nearby and available to pick up where he left off. -- Brent Baker
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