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From the February 1999 MediaWatch


MSNBC's Business As Usual

In MSNBC Online’s February 12 rundown of their poll of "Impeachment Winners and Losers," all of the usual suspects in the year-long Lewinsky drama continued to be vilified while many of the major Clinton defenders were celebrated for their stoicism, loyalty, bravery and poise.

MSNBC listed the percentage of online respondents who rated each player a winner or a loser, but then added its own "reading of the conventional wisdom" for each. Hillary Clinton had not been discredited as a feminist for the wild, conspiratorial charges she had made in defense of her lying, philandering husband. In fact, MSNBC insisted she had emerged as a national heroine: "Stands by her man, blames right-wing conspiracy. Now looks stoic and heroic."

As for Ken Starr, MSNBC asserted: "Prosecutor with a tin ear for public opinion oversteps, loses his own ethics aide....should have gone to Pepperdine while he was ahead."

The House managers were major "losers," according to MSNBC. The "Citizen lawyers" who had brought the case against the President had been "clobbered" and their presentation skills were on the "windy" side. On the other hand, the Clinton Defense Team were "winners" for their able presentation, providing proof that "if you want to win in court, you’ve got to pay for it." Never mind that three-quarters of the country currently believes Clinton both obstructed justice and committed perjury.

Vernon Jordan’s selective memory and role in the cover up were no match for his charm and style: "Uber-lawyer artfully dodges charges he covered up pal’s indiscretions. Look for his Mug in Webster’s...next to ‘smooth.’"

But of course, there was Linda Tripp who remained, as always, a loser and a back stabber: "Snitch #1. Look for Webster’s to include her mug alongside ‘treachery’ in next edition. With friends like this..."

With MSNBC, who needs objectivity?





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