Thursday, August 27, 1998 - Vol. Two, No. 35 - Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
News Magazines Give Little Credit to Starr for Extracting Confession Out of a Very Reluctant Clinton
No Cigar for Kenneth Starr?
obviously missing angle in the journalistic aftermath of Clinton's "confession"
is the victory of Ken Starr in extracting it. In this week's news magazines, Time's
"Winners and Losers" feature picked "No One" as the winner and then
self-deprecatingly nominated the press. Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom
Watch" left out Starr for a "Compartments of Bill Edition" which provided
mostly down arrows for Clinton's performance. All three magazines did small features on
"Boy Scout" Al Gore and new worries about an independent counsel on fundraising.
News & World Report's Stephen Budiansky summarized: "The only
comforting bit of normality in the entire week was provided by the reliable inanity of the
Washington press corps. The reporter who demanded to know if Defense Secretary William
Cohen had seen the movie Wag the Dog reassured us that in one corner of the
globe, the world was all right."
Editor-in-Chief Mortimer Zuckerman's commentary
was titled "Blame All Around: Clinton's recklessness has given Starr more dirt to use
and abuse." Zuckerman knocked Clinton, but preached for closure for the American
people: "After four years they believe it is time for Starr to submit his report and
end an ordeal that has wounded so many people, and this country, so grievously."
released its issue early with an
attractive cover photo of the Clinton family. It wasn't quite as friendly inside, as
Clinton drew scorn in columns by Peggy Noonan, Dee Dee Myers, Garry Wills, Charles
Kraut-hammer, and Walter Kirn. For the White House spin, Time turned to National
Public Radio personality Garrison Keillor for an essay titled "Can We Get On to
Something Serious?" [see box]. The cover story by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy began
with the moldy old tale of how the Clintons used to prepare young Chelsea for the
"wicked lies" their enemies would tell. "What would it take to prepare her,
so many years later, for the possibility that this time, the enemies were the ones telling
the truth? And what would it take to prepare us?" They also ended by calling Chelsea
"a bright-eyed American echo of other countries' princesses," asserting:
"Her ability to come back and fight for him, to walk with him and smile for him and
throw herself before the cameras aimed at him, was an act of generosity and love that
speaks better for Bill and Hill-ary Clinton than anything they could say or do in whatever
public life remains to them."
Time devoted one page to a listing of
several Clinton lies, but Richard Stengel spent two pages arguing presidential lying is
routine, and that "Inside the Beltway, the scandal is not the lie but the unvarnished
truth. George Bush's campaign barb about Reaganism being voodoo economics raised far more
hackles than his claim that Clarence Thomas was the most qualified man in America to be on
the Supreme Court."
only gave special commentaries to Jesse Jackson and George Stephanopoulos, who urged
Clinton not to resign. Jonathan Alter wrote about Hillary, claiming "No one can see
behind the closed doors of someone else's marriage, especially one as perplexing as
theirs." Alter then spent parts of five pages explaining how plausible it was that
the First Lady had just figured out the truth about Monica. But a Newsweek poll
found only 11 percent believed that White House story. -- Tim Graham
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors; Jessica Anderson, Geoffrey
Drake, Paul Smith, Clay Waters, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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