Wednesday, December 2, 1998 -- Vol. Two, No. 48 -- Media Inquiries: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004
Major Media Ignored Case of VA Psychiatrist Barbara Battalino's Perjury About Sex in a Civil Case
The Idaho Shrink: Washington's Missing Link
The Weekly Standard's David Tell felt
goaded. Geraldo Rivera on CNBC claimed "in our research -- and it's been furious and
in-depth -- we've found scarce precedent for a federal prosecution of a sex lie in a civil
case." On CNN's Crossfire, liberal co-host Bill Press asserted,
"there's never been another case in the history of this nation where someone has been
indicted for lying about sex in a civil case." Both Geraldo and Press's guest that
night, Democratic lawyer Stanley Brand, offered bets that no one could find a precedent.
So the Standard
found one, as Tell's weekly editorial offered in the June 22 issue: Dr. Barbara
a Boise-based Veterans Administration psychiatrist who'd lied in denying having oral sex
with a patient, Vietnam veteran Edward Arthur, who'd sued her for medical malpractice and
sexual abuse. Thanks to Arthur's 25 hours of taped phone calls (sound familiar?), Janet
Reno's Justice Department prosecuted Battalino, who's now serving six months of home
detention and was assessed a $3,500 fine. Battalino appeared Tuesday before the House
Judiciary Committee impeachment probe, but before that, the national media had avoided
touching the case for months on end:
A search of the Nexis news data retrieval system found that Battalino has yet to be
mentioned in Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News & World Report despite
pundits from each magazine toeing the no-precedent line on TV.
The Washington Post was the first national outlet on the story, thanks to
"In The Loop" columnist (and former Justice Department reporter) Al
described the case on August 5. Kamen joked: "So two years' detention in the White
House? Beats being homeless."
The Los Angeles Times arrived next, more than two months later on October 23.
In a front page story, Richard A. Serrano featured Battalino and U.S. postal supervisor
Diane Parker (serving 13 months in prison for lying about sex with a subordinate):
"Parker and Battalino are but two of 115 people now serving time for committing
perjury in federal court proceedings -- the same charge that has brought President Clinton
to the brink of impeachment."
The New York Times caught up in a November 17 story by Edward
reported: "A review of more than 100 perjury cases in state and federal courts and
statistics on the number of perjury prosecutions brought around the country show that
people are prosecuted in America for what might be called small lies more regularly than
the Clinton defenders have suggested."
Associated Press and USA Today first noted Battalino on November 30, once the
Judiciary Committee called her.
NBC reported on Battalino on the November 6 Dateline, the November 11 Today
(including a Matt Lauer interview with Battalino), and the November 19 Nightly News.
ABC covered Battalino and others on the November 11 20/20. But ABC's and CBS's
evening shows didn't touch the story until last night, and CBS's Bob Schieffer ignored all
of Battalino's parallels with Clinton, calling her simply "a woman under house arrest
for lying under oath."
self-criticism on Monicagate has focused overwhelmingly on stories published too quickly,
and ignored those published way too slowly. -- Tim Graham
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors; 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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