Clinton Saving "America's Treasures"; ABC's Toobin Backs Hillary's VRWC
1) "An ambitious plan to save America's treasures,"
exclaimed Tom Brokaw on Clinton making some Western areas National Monuments.
ABC led with the end-run around Congress. Jackie Judd spelled out the bad
implications of a court ruling limiting federal power.
2) Dan Rather readily relayed how John McCain "criticizes
George W. Bush's tax cut plan as a giveaway to the rich." But CBS's
numbers on the impact of each plan didn't match that rhetoric.
3) ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is out with a book
claiming conservatives used the Lewinsky matter to abuse the legal system.
Asked about Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy" claim, Toobin
said she "was more right than wrong." He also learned that Bob
Bennett asked Paula Jones to draw a picture of Clinton's penis.
4) Letterman's "Top Ten Donald Trump Tips For a Healthy,
5) Hillary Clinton to appear on Wednesday night's Late Show
with David Letterman.
Correction: The January 10 CyberAlert
quoted a question from NBC's Brian Williams as he moderated the GOP debate on
January 7: "Governor Bush, a few blocks from here on top of the State
Capitol building, the confederate flag flies with the state flag and the U.S.
flag. [Boos.] It is, as you can here from the reaction of tonight's [boos], as
you can here from the reaction of tonight's crowd of 3,000 people from South
Carolina, a hot button issue here..." The Friday night timing of the
debate gave me the luxury of using, for the Monday CyberAlert, a transcript I
got off Nexis instead of transcribing it myself. But though I corrected
several errors in the transcript by comparing it to the videotape, I missed
the use of the word "here" in place of the proper "hear."
Bill Clinton's "powerful gesture for land conservation" topped ABC's
World News Tonight on Tuesday. CBS didn't touch Clinton's decision to issue an
executive order designating four Western areas as National Monuments and went
first with the flu in the U.S. and Europe. NBC devoted its In-Depth segment to
the land move after it led with the battle over Elian Gonzalez.
ABC portrayed Clinton's land maneuver as part of
an effort to "secure a better legacy," and while NBC eventually gave
a few seconds to Westerners upset by the land grab, Tom Brokaw characterized
Clinton as a second Teddy Roosevelt who is "safeguarding America's
natural beauty for future generations."
All three broadcast evening shows ran full stories
on McCain's new tax plan with both CBS and NBC describing it as
"modest" compared to George Bush's proposal. See item #2 for
details. Looking at a Supreme Court ruling, ABC's Jackie Judd portrayed as an
ominous trend the court's decision that state employees cannot sue in federal
court over age discrimination.
Judd explained how the justices found that Congress went
to far in allowing such lawsuit since unlike blacks and woman older people
have not been subjected to a history of unequal treatment. Judd spelled out
the dire implications, relying on one liberal lobbyist as her only expert:
"For the nearly five million state employees who
choose to sue in state court, their level of protection now depends on where
Laurie McCann, AARP: "Some of the state laws are
very good, like California and the DC Human Rights Act, but then there's other
state statutes like Alabama which is merely words on paper."
Judd concluded: "This is the latest in a series
of decisions favoring states over intrusion from Washington. Those who lost
today worry that the court may eventually extend that philosophy to other
laws, including the Family Medical Leave Act and the law protecting the
Now back to Clinton's land grab. Peter Jennings
opened the January 11 World News Tonight:
"We're going to begin tonight watching a lame
duck President govern his way around the Congress. The President was in the
West today for one of those very dramatic photo-ops that Presidents love. Mr.
President had to relish this one. He's trying to secure a better legacy than
the country permits him so far. In this case, a powerful gesture for land
conservation or, as many Republicans particularly see it, an abuse of
John Cochran explained how Clinton issued an
executive order which puts about one million acres of land in Arizona, Nevada
and California into one of three National Monuments, thus severely limiting
use of the land. Cochran allowed Arizona Senator John Kyl to express his
displeasure with the end run around Congress which leaves locals to deal with
how to handle the inevitable influx of tourists to the preserved areas.
At the top of NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw's tease
reflected seeming bafflement at to why anyone would oppose Clinton's move:
"NBC News In-Depth: An ambitious plan to save America's treasures before
time runs out for the President. Why so many critics?"
Getting to the story, Brokaw's set up stuck to a
approving assessment of Clinton's prescience:
"NBC News In-Depth tonight: Safeguarding
America's natural beauty for future generations. President Clinton says that
is exactly what he was doing today when he declared more than a million acres
of Western land as National Monuments. Theodore Roosevelt dedicated the
greatest number of national monuments, 18, including the Grand Canyon. Jimmy
Carter was next with 15 monuments, all of them pristine territory in the state
of Alaska. Well now three new monuments and a new debate: Is this about
preservation of the land or preserving a presidential legacy?"
Reporter Roger O'Neil asserted that Clinton was
just "doing what he was afraid Congress wouldn't do." Explaining how
Clinton wanted to stop suburban sprawl, O'Neil aired clips of Clinton and
Interior Secretary Babbitt before getting to the other side. O'Neil relayed
how ranchers point out that the Interior Department already controls one
quarter of U.S. land and aired a soundbite from Kyl. He then concluded by
suggesting Clinton might do more than Teddy Roosevelt:
"There's more acreage on the President's wish
list, enough that if he continues to set aside more land this 21st century
President could surpass Teddy Roosevelt, who began the nation's effort to
preserve land a century ago."
McCain's tax cut earned full stories Tuesday night on all three broadcast
network evening shows. Though CBS's Dan Rather relayed McCain's claim that
Bush's plan is "a giveaway to the rich," the numbers listed by CBS
showed the wealthy getting a bigger tax cut from McCain.
On World News Tonight ABC's Linda Douglass
outlined McCain's plan and how he is gambling that voters want to put money
away for the future by shoring up Social Security.
Dan Rather gladly highlighted McCain's class
warfare, announcing on the CBS Evening News: "John McCain, who criticizes
George W. Bush's tax cut plan as a giveaway to the rich, has now weighed in
with a tax cut agenda of his own." From New Hampshire, Bill Whitaker
began his CBS Evening News story:
"When it comes to taxes, the Republican stance
is pretty predictable: cut 'em. So who could have predicted the tax warfare
between the GOP frontrunners? Between a huge $483 billion cut proposed by
Texas Governor George W. Bush and a more modest one, about half as much, laid
out today by Arizona Senator John McCain."
Whitaker's numbers did not match McCain's
rhetoric: "Under the McCain plan, a family of four earning $35,000 would
see their taxes cut by $1,200; earning $75,000 they'd get a $1,700 tax cut; at
$150,000, McCain would slash their taxes by $4,500. Bush, by comparison, would
cut $1,500 from the lower-wage taxes, $2,100 from the middle-income family and
$4,300 from the higher-wage bracket." On screen viewers saw a table
credited to Deloitte & Touche.
After battling soundbites from McCain and Bush,
Whitaker suggested: "This close race will likely be determined by
independent voters." A woman asserted: "There are a lot more issues
that are more important to me, especially the character of the person
Whitaker then concluded: "So running on tax
cuts may not work the same magic here it once did."
Over on the NBC Nightly News David Bloom got
barely a minute to handle the story. He began by relaying how "McCain
says he's being conservative, responsible." Compared to Bush's plan,
Bloom said McCain "unveiled a modest" tax cut plan.
ABC News legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is out with a new book this week on the
Lewinsky scandal. Though he maintained on Tuesday's Imus in the Morning radio
show that "I think you can't underestimate just how appalling the
President's behavior was," the book isn't about how the Clintons and
their operatives used unethical methods to discredit investigative authorities
but about how ideologically-motivated conservatives misused the legal process
for political ends.
Indeed, he told Imus: "If you look at how I
think the legal system was manipulated by Clinton's enemies, you know,
practically from Day One of his presidency, yes, I think it's fair to say
there was a conspiracy to try to force Clinton out of office, but one in which
the President, you know, gave his enemies tremendous ammunition." Asked
about Hillary's "vast right-wing conspiracy" claim, Toobin labeled
her "more right than wrong."
Ted Koppel devoted the entire Nightline Tuesday
night to Toobin's book, A Vast Conspiracy: The Real Story of the Sex Scandal
That Nearly Brought Down a President. Toobin told Koppel about couple of items
he uncovered which are unflattering toward Clinton's team, including how
Hillary proclaimed that she accused the conservatives of conspiring in order
to teach them "not to F with us" and that Clinton's lawyer abused
Paula Jones during her deposition. It will be interesting to see over the next
few days whether media outlets pick up of these topics or concentrate only on
how Toobin impugned conservatives.
More on Nightline below, but first a rundown of
what Toobin told Imus, including how he agreed that "right wing
nuts" took advantage of the Lewinsky matter in an effort to destroy
Clinton, followed by the text of the MRC's Tuesday fax report on Toobin's
background and how even a New York Times book review by Michiko Kakutani
"Toobin spends the better part of this book
railing against Clinton's adversaries, who he says 'appeared literally
consumed with hatred for him...They were willing to trample all standards of
fairness -- not to mention the Constitution -- in their effort to drive him
-- Highlights from the January 11 Imus in the
Morning radio show simulcast by MSNBC, as transcribed by MRC analyst Mark
Don Imus: "Was the First Lady right when she
went on the Today show and described this attempt to get her husband a vast
right wing conspiracy? Was there any kind of conspiracy?"
Jeffrey Toobin: "I think she was more right than
wrong. I think obviously she and everybody around the Clintons vastly
understated the President's own responsibility for getting himself involved in
this mess but if you step back and look at the whole story, as I try to do in
this book, you recognize that this was really practically from the day Bill
Clinton took office, and remember the American Spectator story that mentioned
Paula and set off the Paula Jones case was set off in December of 1993. He
hadn't even been President for a year. Cliff Jackson, the Arkansas, you know,
anti-Clinton activist, takes Paula Jones under his wing at a time when Clinton
hasn't even been President for a year. And if you look at how I think the
legal system was manipulated by Clinton's enemies, you know, practically from
day one of his presidency, yes, I think it's fair to say there was a
conspiracy to try to force Clinton out of office, but one in which the
President, you know, gave his enemies tremendous ammunition."
Imus followed up: "So was she right, was it
just a conspiracy or was it just entirely comprised of right wing
Toobin: "Yeah, you know, that's one of things
that you know, that I think it's important to recognize as we step back a bit.
You know there was no one in the anti-Clinton forces who wasn't already a
dedicated enemy of the President. Sure, there were people who were unhappy
with the President, Joe Lieberman, you know has been mentioned but if you look
at the people who were trying to drive him from office it was all conservative
Republicans and I think, you know, that tells you a lot."
Toobin later opined: "You know one of the
great examples of hubris I think on the part of Clinton's enemies was this
feeling was 'It's always just out there. It's just out there.' It's not gonna
be Filegate. Then it will be Travelgate. Then it will be you know Whitewater
and Lewinsky came along and people said, 'Finally. Okay, we got him' but
interestingly, as the Lewinsky story went along, and the public started to say
you know, 'We don't care about this,' it started again, this idea that you
know, 'It's gonna be Juanita Broaddrick. That's gonna be the straw that breaks
the camel's back.'"
Imus wondered at another point: "Here is my
basic question: is what the public thinks happened actually did happen? The
President had sex with Monica Lewinsky and lied about it and got caught and
then these right wing nuts who we talked about, who were trying to get him
over Whitewater and the Paula Corbin Jones mess, then saw this is an
opportunity to finally succeed. Is that essentially what happened?"
Toobin: "I think that's right and you know, I
think you can't underestimate just how appalling the President's behavior
Toobin added: "You know it's funny, as I said
before we went on the air, I said I thought that that [New York Times] review
read like it was written by one of the House managers. You know, it's, you
know, a recapitulation of all the arguments that have been made against
Clinton. I don't you know, you've read the book- you see I don't spare any
invective on Clinton's behavior, how awful it was, but I do think, you know,
the constitutional structure that was set up was not designed to throw elected
Presidents out of office because of misbehavior, however awful, that's really
personal in nature and not having anything to do with the execution of his
duties. I mean none of this stuff has to do with his duties."
Imus: "Do you think he broke the law?"
Toobin, sounding like Geraldo Rivera, replied:
"You know, broke the law -- he didn't break the law in the sense that any
real criminal prosecutor would have brought a criminal case against him. I
mean people break the law on a daily basis in a million ways and cases aren't
prosecuted. A reasonable prosecutor in a civil case that had been thrown out
on a peripheral matter would never brought a perjury case against him."
Finally, Toobin echoed another liberal complaint:
"One of the real outrages of the Starr Report, I think, is by describing
these sex acts in you know, in the detail that they did, four of five times in
the footnotes, in the text, in the grounds, any sex act described in that kind
of detail, I think would seem perverse, and insane and ludicrous to you know,
get into the mechanics like that."
-- January 11 Media Reality Check fax report by
Jeffrey Toobin vs. The Right-Wing Cabal
ABC Fires Zelnick and Kristol, But Its "Objective" Legal Expert Has
New "Highly Partisan" Liberal Book
ABC's ongoing tilt to the left seems to be outdoing the Gore and Bradley
campaigns. After firing reporter Bob Zelnick for writing a book on Al Gore and
scrapping conservative pundit Bill Kristol's contract, their legal expert
Jeffrey Toobin has authored a new book coming out today titled A Vast
Conspiracy: The Real Story of a Sex Scandal That Nearly Brought Down a
Toobin's liberal slant is no surprise. He is the child of two network news
veterans, the late producer Jerry Toobin and anchorwoman Marlene Sanders. In
his 1991 book Opening Arguments, about his service as a lawyer for Iran-Contra
prosecutor Lawrence Walsh, Toobin fondly remembered Watergate: "The
aftermath of this bungled burglary attempt constituted the dominant political
event of my childhood. I developed the disdain for Richard Nixon that was all
but obligatory on the Upper West Side of Manhattan -- I recall my first taste
of champagne on the night he resigned, August 9, 1974, but the stories that
captured my attention were of the young lawyers working for Special Prosecutor
Archibald Cox, who seemed, through the prism of television, like they were
changing the world."
Toobin added, "The Mets (as well as others) had taught me that the
good guys didn't always win, but Watergate seemed a happy exception to that
rule...To my eyes, it looked less like a job than a crusade -- and I wanted to
join the next one."
When he landed a job with Walsh's office, Toobin recalled playing an Elvis
Costello song, "A raucous tune about the fall of a decrepit empire. Sure,
I thought, we would prosecute some crimes and put some people away. But that
would only be the start. The Walsh office would take on Reagan and all the
President's men, with their contempt for the Constitution, disdain for the
Congress, and hostility to the truth, the qualities epitomized by the
diversion scheme. We had nothing less than a blank check to uncover and
rectify the misdeeds of a corrupt and dishonorable administration. We wouldn't
stop until we reached the top."
Toobin relished his role attempting to bring down the Reagan White House:
"I spent most of my frantic first weeks in office trying to pretend I was
having less fun than I was. Fencing with Ed Meese's minions? Playing chicken
with the White House? Battling Ollie North? I was having the time of my
Toobin's still crusading in what today's New York Times review called a
"highly partisan" and "willfully subjective" book. It
noted Toobin presents the President as "A victim of 'extremists of the
political right who tried to use the legal system to undo elections -- in
particular the two that put Bill Clinton in the White House.'"
The review added: "Toobin spends the better part of this book railing
against Clinton's adversaries, who he says 'appeared literally consumed with
hatred for him...They were willing to trample all standards of fairness -- not
to mention the Constitution -- in their effort to drive him from office,' he
says. 'They ranged from one-case-only zealots in the cause of sexual
harassment to one-defendant-only federal prosecutors, and they shared only a
willingness to misuse the law and the courts in their effort to destroy Bill
"Highly partisan" is an apt description of Toobin, who changes
his views of who's "manipulating" the legal system based on who's in
charge. But he's a perfect match for the accelerating liberalism at ABC.
END Reprint of fax report
-- Toobin on the January 11 Nightline.
Toobin told Ted Koppel that after charging on
NBC's Today that Bill Clinton was the victim of a "vast right-wing
conspiracy," Hillary returned to the White House and triumphantly
proclaimed: "I guess that ought to teach them not to F with us."
Recalling how Ken Starr rejected an immunity deal
early on with Lewinsky because he didn't trust Bill Ginsberg, Toobin judged:
"It was, in many respects, the misjudgment that was the worst thing Starr
did and may have saved the Clinton presidency." The delay, Toobin argued,
enabled Clinton to win the PR war and convince the public it was a private
matter. Of course, the media helped promote that view.
On his reading of the full text of the Paula Jones
deposition, which his book is the first to detail:
"What I saw was the most extraordinary act of
character assassination that I had ever seen by Bob Bennett, the President's
lawyer, and Danny Ferguson's lawyer, who was the co-defendant in the Paula
Jones case. These supposed defenders of women's rights and the people who were
so outraged by the way Anita Hill was treated by the Senate Judiciary
Committee, raked over Paula Jones about her sex life, in excruciating detail,
and even to the point where Bob Bennett asked Paula Jones to draw a picture of
the President's genitals. I mean that was the kind of degrading treatment they
subjected this woman to."
Let's see if that point is picked up by much of
the media this week.
Sneaking in a plug, Toobin highlighted how Random
House has posted many never before seen Paula Jones deposition documents at a
new Web site tied to the book: http://www.vastconspiracy.com
Koppel ended the show with this question:
"When, Jeff, all is said and done, was there a vast conspiracy?"
Toobin offered a gentler reproach of conservatives
than he had earlier in the day on the Imus show: "There has been a vast
conspiracy in the country. Not the one that Hillary Clinton talked about so
much, but as the legal system has taken over the political system. That
instead of fighting political battles in elections, in legislatures, we have
civil lawsuits like Paula Jones case, we have criminal prosecutions like the
Starr investigation that are politics by other means and I think that has been
a vast conspiracy and I think that is a poison that I hope is eradicated from
From the January 11 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Donald
Trump Tips For a Healthy, Loving Relationship." Copyright 2000 by
Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. No pick-up line better than "have sex with me or you're
9. Look at her lovingly as you would gaze at yourself in a mirror.
8. She touches the hair, she's out the door.
7. Loving, healthy relationships should last no longer than 3 months.
6. Don't brag "Had her, had her, had her" when watching Miss USA
Pageant with wife.
5. Take her to your casino, give her roll of quarters, say, "Go
4. Tell her "Of all the women I've slept with, you're somewhere in the
3. Nothing says "I love you" like 2 tickets to: "Taj Mahal
Presents An Evening With John Davidson."
2. Make up your own "Trump Tower" joke here.
1. Rule #1 -- Become a billionaire.
And from the Late Show Web site, some of "the
extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
-- To cut down on the risk of germs, only have sex in a hot tub full of
anti-bacterial hand gel.
-- Surprise her with little perfumed notes containing phrases from your
-- There isn't any disagreement that can't be smoothed over with a stack of
hundred-dollar casino chips.
-- Promise her that, if things don't work out, she can have back her job as a
-- Yacht's are a perfect way of telling your wife, "Sorry for nailing the
-- One hour a day, let her cuddle with your hairpiece.
-- Date non-Americans, so when they accuse you of cheating, you can pretend
not to understand.
Hillary Clinton will finally face the "Big Man" on Wednesday night.
As David Letterman viewers know, as part of a running gag since mid-December,
Late Show Executive Producer Rob Burnett has been updating Letterman each
night about his talks that day with Hillary's staff about getting Hillary to
agree to appear on the show. Burnett's Tuesday update: She'll be a guest on
the show Wednesday night, January 12.
Last Spring the Late Show audience booed James
Carville. Tune into CBS tonight to see how they greet Hillary Clinton.