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From the January 1999 MediaWatch

Hillary's Holiday Halo

A year of reporting on Monicagate wound down with more of the same strange themes -- for example, that Hillary Clintonís victimhood made her ever more admirable.

On the December 9 Today, Katie Couric delivered an early Christmas gift to the Clintons: a chance to appear on television together without tough questions and with gushing praise for the First Lady. In a tour of the White House decorations, Couric softly pressed the President for comment on the House impeachment probe, but also noted: "Meanwhile, your wife looks incredible...She spent a lot of time in New York last week going to many events. And everywhere you [Hillary] went you got such an incredibly positive response. Thatís sort of an early Christmas gift. Are you grateful or gratified by that display of affection that you really see wherever you go now?"

Today Executive Producer Jeff Zucker conceded in the December 10 USA Today, "it is slightly awkward talking solely about how many wreaths and bells there are at the White House when this (the impeachment inquiry) is going on. Itís a fine line."

A December 28 CBS special, The Ladies Home Journal Most Fascinating Women of Ď98, also praised Hillary for standing by her man. CBS 60 Minutes reporter Lesley Stahl handled the portion of the show on Mrs. Clinton: "Why were we so riveted by her performance? Was it that we expected to see her crumble, cry, agonize? And how do we explain her spike in popularity in the face of her husbandís scandal? Part of it was surely sympathy, maybe even pity, and she became more human, more vulnerable. Thereís also something appealing about her loyalty, her standing by her man, and the dignity with which she has comported herself. We are all grateful for grace in the midst of disgrace."

Stahl didnít address the "dignity" with which she went on Today in January and lied about how the allegations about Lewinsky were false and then maligned conservatives as being part of a vast right-wing conspiracy, a charge she has never had the "grace" to withdraw.







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