Home Page
  30-Day Archive
  Notable Quotables
  Media Reality Check
  Press Releases
Media Bias Videos
  Free Market Project
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
Contact the MRC
MRC Bookstore
Job Openings

Support the MRC



From the May 1999 MediaWatch

Short Shrift for Clinton's Contempt

Page One

More on a Local Rescue and Celebrity Breast Implants

The morning after federal judge Susan Webber Wright cited Bill Clinton for contempt for lying in the Paula Jones deposition, NBC News VP Tim Russert told Katie Couric on Today: "Bottom line, to be held in contempt by a federal judge is a big deal."

Russert issued his assessment just past 7:30am, after Today dedicated most of the first half hour to talking with five people involved in, or who covered, the rescue of a man in Atlanta trapped on a crane above a roaring fire. The April 13 Today allocated 13:34 to the fire rescue versus just 4:24 dedicated to the contempt citation issued to the President the afternoon before, a first in American history.

Today’s priorities matched other major outlets. The three broadcast networks each aired a brief story the evening of April 12, but only CNN and FNC followed up with a story the next night. On the Fox Report David Shuster uniquely showed viewers how the White House refused to address the embarrassment: "At the end of an event in the White House Rose Garden, Mr. Clinton was asked the question directly." Viewers heard a reporter asking "Will you appeal the contempt, Mr. President?" Shuster showed how Clinton walked away.

CNN skipped Clinton’s obfuscation, going on The World Today with a piece by Bruce Morton on how after surviving so many scandals, "Finally, he ran out of teflon"and "got nailed for contempt of court. Not a close call, either. ‘Contumacious’ the judge called the President. Webster’s says that means ‘stubbornly perverse or rebellious, willfully disobedient.’"

The two biggest weekly news magazines were derelict. While the April 26 U.S. News gave Gloria Borger a page to tell readers about the ruling, Time gave it two sentences in an article about Starr’s loss in the Susan McDougal case. Viveca Novak wrote that "for a President who told Dan Rather he doesn’t consider the impeachment vote a ‘badge of shame,’ the legal slap may amount to a footnote in the saga."

Indeed it will if all take it as seriously as Newsweek which provided only this 15-word quote from Webber on its page of quotes: "The court takes no pleasure whatsoever in holding this nation’s President in contempt of court." Newsweek did have room for a 150-word item about Pamela Anderson’s decision to remove her breast implants while 17-year-old singer Britney Spears "confronted allegations that she’s had her chest augmented."



Tell a friend about this site




Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314