Thursday, April 9, 1998 | Vol. Two, No. 15 | Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
How Can the Reporters Buying Clintonites Drinks Be Relentless Pursuers of Paula's Charges?
Champagne Toasts to the Jones Dismissal
Post media writer Howard Kurtz, whose entire book Spin Cycle is premised on
the notion of a Clinton-hating press, greeted the Paula Jones dismissal with the question:
"What will the press do without Paula?" Lost in the hindsight is the real story
of dismissive media coverage of Jones and its dramatic contrast with the fawning over
Anita Hill: Although she announced her charges of harassment on February 11, 1994, the
networks (with the exception of a 16-second brief on ABC) waited almost three months to
even mention Jones's name. So did NPR's Nina Totenberg, who broke Hill's unproven charges.
The Los Angeles Times was the only major newspaper to devote a regular story to
the Jones press conference. (The New York Times ran four paragraphs, The
Washington Post dismissed it as "another ascension of Mount Bimbo." The
Wall Street Journal ignored it.)
- When Jones filed suit in May 1994, the networks aired only 15 stories in the first five
days, less than one-fourth the 67 stories they devoted to Hill in the same time frame.
There were no sympathetic features on sexual harassment, no stories looking for
Washington's reaction, no biographies of Jones. CBS's Hill-Jones gap was 17 to 1.
- Time and Newsweek interviewed Jones in June 1994, but both failed to
publish anything from it. "We're certainly under no obligation to print
anything," Time Washington Bureau Chief Dan Goodgame declared. Instead, Time
carried a Michael Kramer column on "Why Paula Jones Should Wait." Newsweek
repeated its attacks on Jones' character: "Former Clinton aides are depicting Paula
Jones as a groupie, who, far from acting like a victim of harassment, hung around
Clinton's office 'gigg-ling and carrying on' after her alleged hotel encounter." They
never said this about Anita Hill, although the book The Real Anita Hill noted one
of Hill's co-workers said: "My clearest recollection is of her sitting on a couch
outside [Clarence Thomas's] office, very nicely dressed, flipping through magazines."
- The Jones suit received only eight full evening news stories and three morning show
stories in all of 1996. Three of the evening stories and two morning stories focused on
the RNC ad ridiculing Clinton's claim he could not be sued since he was on active military
duty as commander-in-chief. The other five relayed court actions.
- In mid-October 1996, The American Lawyer magazine issued a paradigm-shifting
cover story by Stuart Taylor charging Jones's evidence was much stronger than Anita
Hill's. In the three weeks after it appeared, the story didn't draw a sentence in the
three newsweeklies. Other than a brief citation as an example of media bias by ABC's Jeff
Greenfield on October 31, the networks ignored it until January. Taylor explained recently
to The Washington Post: "There was a huge, pent-up,
Clinton-is-getting-away-with-too-much feeling in the press that was suppressed during the
election, partly because they didn't want to elect Dole."
- Many still haven't touched the American Spectator scoop of June 1996 about the
Chubb Group and State Farm paying millions to Clinton lawyer Bob Bennett. But the same
networks who swarmed over Bob Dole's loan to Newt Gingrich and its implications on Dole's
lobbying clients haven't bothered with what those insurance companies might want from
Clinton. Virtually the entire media took a pass. -- Tim Graham
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey
Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Steve
Kaminski, Clay Waters, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe