Thursday, October 8, 1998 - Vol. Two, No. 41 - Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
Grand Jury Scolded White House Aide for Misleading the Media; Now Will the Media Follow Suit?
Will Sid's First Amendment Army Recant?
On February 26, White House aide Sidney
Blumenthal stepped outside the courthouse and blasted Ken Starr for focusing on his
contacts with reporters. But by reading the grand jury transcripts, Nightline
discovered Blumenthal misled reporters.
ABC replayed Blumenthal: "Today, I was forced to answer questions about
my conversations, as part of my job, with, and I wrote this down, the New York Times,
CNN, CBS, Time magazine, U.S. News, the New York Daily News,
the Chicago Tribune, the New York Observer and there may have been a few
others, I don't remember right now. Ken Starr's prosecutors demanded to know what I had
told reporters and what reporters had told me about Ken Starr's prosecutors."
ABC's Dave Marash then read from the transcript:
"A look at the grand jury transcript shows prosecutors pressing Blumenthal not about
his contacts with the media, but with the President, the First Lady and other top White
House politicos and about the messages that they wanted Blumenthal to spin into the
Blumenthal told the Starr team: "If
reporters called me or I spoke with reporters I would tell them to call the DNC to get
those talking points, and those included news organizations ranging from CNN, CBS, ABC, New
York Times, New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune, New York Observer, Los Angeles
FNC reporter David Shuster aired
a story last night: "Prosecutors, restricted by grand jury rules of secrecy, could do
nothing to counter the public perception. The grand jurors were infuriated and even four
months later, when Blumenthal returned, they took the unusual step of admonishing him in
person." So why aren't the other networks following up on their earlier outbursts?
CBS reporter Eric Engberg
underlined an "ominous" prosecutor and grand jury on March 2: "It is now
the one invitation in Washington no one wants, a call to testify before Ken Starr's grand
jury. It left some [video of Lewinsky's mother] near emotional collapse, others [video of
Blumenthal] raging about police state tactics. And nearly all the witnesses, it is safe to
say, felt the ominous chill that comes with the arrival of a grand jury subpoena."
CNN's Bernard Shaw asked
reporter Pierre Thomas on February 24: "By calling before the grand jury people such
as Sidney Blumenthal, is Ken Starr acting illegally?" Right after Blumenthal's
testimony on the 26th, Shaw began a segment: "Now let's discuss the question: Should
Ken Starr resign?...Should Starr pack his bags?"
NBC's Matt Lauer put the onus on
Starr on the February 26 Today. "White House adviser Sidney Blumenthal is
scheduled to testify before Ken Starr's grand jury later today and his subpoena has caused
an uproar in Washington over Starr's practices. Has Ken Starr gone too far? We'll talk
about it in our first half hour." Lauer asked three times if Starr had
"overstepped his boundaries."
On the PBS show Washington
Week in Review on February 27, Time Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy
claimed: "You know, Starr, by subpoenaing people like Sidney Blumenthal at the White
House, you know, played right into the White House strategy of sort of demonizing Starr.
Starr did some other things this week that didn't make a lot of sense. He said there were
an 'avalanche of lies' being told about the people in his office. We are -- you know, if
snow was the metaphor, all he got was a light dusting."-- Tim Graham
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Ross Adams, Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd,
Drake, Paul Smith, Clay Waters, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
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