Short Shrift for Clinton's Contempt
More on a Local Rescue and Celebrity Breast Implants
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.
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."
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