CyberAlert -- 01/29/1999 -- Partisan GOP "Rammed Through" Its Plan; Rather Castigated Senators
Partisan GOP "Rammed Through" Its Plan; Rather Castigated Senators
7) Three instances of the media raising conservative angles: Ted Koppel on declining public concern for morality, Jeff Greenfield labeling the Democratic position "extreme," and a CNN guest noting that potential blackmail made Clinton's activity a public concern.
>>> "Why Do Reporters Lionize Clinton Aides Who Advocate Lying or Giving Nothing to Reporters? Cheryl Mills: Liar, Obstructor... Heroine?" The latest MRC Media Reality Check fax report is now featured on the MRC home page. Tim Graham opens the report: "After Deputy White House Counsel Cheryl Mills defended the President before the Senate on January 20, the media touted a new star. But almost none of them mentioned that she's facing her own investigation for perjury and obstruction of justice." To read the entire fax report go to http://www.mrc.org or directly to it at: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/1999/fax19990128.html <<<
Partisan "partisanship" by Republicans became the network mantra Thursday night after Democrats and Republicans each backed their own plans for what to do next. ABC's Linda Douglass asserted that "Republicans rammed through a plan of their own," as if it were done unfairly. CBS's Dan Rather and Bob Schieffer both referred to how Republicans "pushed through" their plan.
ABC and NBC focused on White House anger at Republican unfairness, though at least ABC's Peter Jennings noted that Clinton's lawyers had threatened to delay the process. CNN's Wolf Blitzer explained that the "White House reacted angrily" to the video depositions as "what frightens them is the mere spectacle of Lewinsky openly discussing the most embarrassing and humiliating moments in the Clinton presidency." Blitzer uniquely showed a clip of Lawton Chiles' daughter at his memorial service lashing out at Republicans, demanding they "...sow mercy so that God can then bestow upon you his harvest of mercy." Colleague John King credited "extraordinary pressures from the conservative base of the Republican Party" and the managers for encouraging the Republican Senators to move ahead.
Every network led Thursday night, January 28, with the just completed Senate votes, except the CBS Evening News. Dan Rather opened with how the Governor of Missouri agreed to the Pope's request to commute a death sentence: "Good evening. Josef Stalin once mocked the power of the Pope, asking, 'How many divisions does he have'? He doesn't have any, but again today there was on display the power of John Paul II to prevail over politicians."
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Peter Jennings began by emphasizing how "as of tonight
partisanship only looks to become more intense."
From the White
House Sam Donaldson relayed: "The President's aides are saying
tonight that the Republican plan is terribly unfair to the President, that
it's vague and allows the mangers on the Republican House side to run
amuck if they want, stretch this thing out for months and that it most of
all is back to partisanship..."
Gwen Ifill actually highlighted how the Democrats wanted to limit public access, contrasting the vote with how the parties were reversed on the dismissal debate: "Another party line vote, but this time it's the Democrats who wanted to keep the secrets, the Republicans who want to open witness testimony to the public."
NBC gave Claire Shipman time to deliver the unrebutted White House spin: "They do not like this at all. What they're saying tonight is that this vote makes plain from their point of view that bipartisanship in this trial is dead. As one adviser said tonight, 'we've been had.' They think the proposal is blatantly unfair because, as they see it, it means Republicans could keep the trial going for months, could call more witnesses, could bring in outside information. Now, what can they do about it? Not very much. They're continuing to study the proposal. They don't feel they have any choice but to participate in the process obviously, but you can bet they're going to keep complaining about it."
Media definition of bipartisanship: Republicans do what Democrats want. Media definition of lack of bipartisanship: Republicans use their majority to win passage of a plan opposed by the minority Democrats.
textbook example -- The headline over a January 27 Washington Post
"analysis" piece by Eric Pianin:
Rivera thinks the three witnesses should be pitied. MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens caught this whining on the January 27 Rivera Live:
Okay, Lewinsky I'll buy. But Jordan is a high-profile lawyer used to the public spotlight and Sidney Blumenthal is hardly just a "private citizen." He's a political operative for the White House best known for encouraging Hillary Clinton to impugn others with his tales of a vast right-wing conspiracy.
Speaking of the VRWC, MSNBC host John Hockenberry is striving to match Geraldo Rivera's enthusiasm for trying to prove Hillary Clinton correct, despite the weakness of the case.
Before getting to Richard Scaife as Godfather of the VRWC, Wednesday night on his show, now bumped to 10pm ET, Hockenberry suggested Clinton could sue for false arrest, asking law professor Jonathan Turley: "Although Jonathan, if the Senate does go ahead with this finding of fact idea after the Republicans argued so strongly against censure, doesn't that make this a show trial? And you might even go as far to suggest, as Lanny Davis almost does, that the President could sue for false arrest if he's not allowed to present a case?"
got to the one year anniversary of the vast right wing conspiracy charge.
MRC analyst Mark Drake documented how instead of dissecting its weakness,
he presented evidence in support:
"America's Business Is On Hold" read the headline over a January
25 "Dan Rather's Notebook" commentary on the CBS News Web
page. In the text of what was also a radio commentary announced by Rather,
the CBS anchor blamed Republicans for putting the trial ahead of the
public interest. Rather began:
Rather wrapped up:
As if any of those items would have been solved during these few weeks. And the impeachment trial does not involve the House, but what are they now doing?
Correction and elaboration: An item in the January 28 CyberAlert, on the Today show's interview with two Hillary Clinton defenders to mark the one-year anniversary of her infamous Today interview, concluded: "'Enough time' on the VRWC? But Today had no time to explore Hillary Clinton's admission on Today that if the charges were true that would be 'very serious.'" (Bob Woodward assured Today viewers that "based on the best evidence we have at this point she obviously was speaking from the heart" and Today co-host Matt Lauer asked him: "And Bob real quickly she said there if, 'The real story here if anyone wants to take the time to investigate it.' Has enough time been spent on that aspect of that story?")
In fact, after the portion of the interview quoted in CyberAlert, Lauer did play the part of the January 1998 interview in which Hillary Clinton stated: "Well, I think that if all that were proven true I think that would be a very serious offense. That is not gonna be proven true."
Lauer then asked Woodward: "How does that sound a year later?" Making CyberAlert "legally accurate," Woodward did not "explore" the issue by looking into the hypocrisy of Clinton backers or at her disingenuousness. Matching the pro-Hillary tone of the rest of the interview, he instead contended her reply only proved she really didn't know the allegations about her husband and Lewinsky were true: "Well I think it shows that she really did not know and that in fact for her to say that it would be a very serious offense if this is true, I mean I take her at her word there. I do not think this is an act."
For a change of pace, today we'll end on an upbeat note by showcasing three instances from the past week of ABC and CNN raising rarely mentioned conservative agenda angles on the Lewinsky scandal: Ted Koppel asking two Democrats whether public support for Clinton reflects badly on the values of Americans; CNN's Jeff Greenfield suggesting to a Democratic Senator that his party's stance, that even if Clinton is guilty of obstruction and lying under oath Senators should vote to acquit, is "a rather extreme" view; and former Senator Sam Nunn on CNN pointing out that since Clinton's phone calls with Lewinsky could have been tapped, thus opening him up to blackmail, his behavior is not just a private matter.
-- Doesn't it
bother you that the President does not have to be ethical to be popular?
From the January 22 Nightline:
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