CyberAlert -- 02/01/1999 -- ABC Talks to PI Who Warned Willey; "Stalinist" Trial; Rivera Endorses McCain

ABC Talks to PI Who Warned Willey; "Stalinist" Trial; Rivera Endorses McCain

1) CBS scolded Ken Starr for a "serious case of poor timing," but it was the New York Times which chose the timing of a story on how Starr associates said he believes he can indict a President.

2) Peter Jennings and Dan Rather marveled at the "remarkable" GNP numbers. CBS delivered only the White House attacks on the GOP while NBC highlighted how "even Republicans" want to move on.

3) A private investigator hired by Democratic fundraiser Nathan Landow's lawyer revealed to ABC News that Kathleen Willey was intimidated and he warned "her that someone wanted to do her harm."

4) Al Hunt: The "Republican Party is dominated by an intolerant, sometimes bigoted, overwhelmingly southern right-wing and that scares a lot of people" as they act like "family values cops."

5) Charles Gibson disapproved of considering newsworthy an interview in which Ken Starr's wife said he's been faithful.

6) "It's Stalinist," declared MSNBC's John Hockenberry of continuing the Senate trial now that it's clear fewer than two-thirds will vote to convict.

7) In a CNBC chat session Geraldo Rivera once again disparaged Ken Starr and denounced the "cabal" of conservatives, but he revealed his 2000 pick: "The most attractive candidate to me is McCain."

>>> Clinton's hand on her thigh. In analyzing what pages are most popular on the MRC site Webmaster Sean Henry discovered that one we long forgot about is still generating interest: stills of a February, 1998 ABC News story about how Bruce Lindsey hushed up news that Bill Clinton was a bit too friendly with flight attendants on his 1992 campaign plane. So, Sean has gone back and added a RealPlayer video clip of ABC's story, complete with the incriminating video of Clinton with the flight attendants. Go to: <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Sunday's New York Times front page story on how Ken Starr "has concluded that he has the constitutional authority to seek a grand jury indictment of President Clinton before he leaves the White House in January 2001," generated questions on the Sunday morning shows and led the evening shows.

But though the Times cited only what "associates" of Starr had supposedly been saying and despite the fact Starr deferred any comment when asked about the story outside his home Sunday morning, the CBS Evening News blamed Starr for the timing of the story. Reporter Sharyl Attkisson asserted:
"....Although Starr won't give any hint as to his intentions, members from both parties say that raising the prospect now, in the middle of the impeachment trial, is a serious case of poor timing."
Asa Hutchinson on Face the Nation: "Well, it's not helpful at all because many people in the Senate, or some people, defenders of the President, say well there's no sense impeaching him because he can be held accountable when he leaves office."
Senator Charles Schumer on Face the Nation: "I think that Ken Starr is once again running amuck. The timing is very suspicious. Why was this leaked right now?"

The Times only reported: "While the President's legal team has fought in the Senate chamber for the President's political survival, Starr and his prosecutors have actively considered whether to ask a federal grand jury here to indict Clinton before his term expires, said Starr's associates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"But these associates emphasized that Starr had not decided whether, or when, to ask the grand jury to charge Clinton with perjury and obstruction of justice in the Monica S. Lewinsky matter...."

If timing is at issue it's the New York Times which should be questioned.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) "Remarkable," gushed Dan Rather of the latest GNP number on Friday night. Peter Jennings agreed, marveling at the "remarkable" rate. Tom Brokaw was equally as impressed, but managed to find a different term: "sensational."

On the impeachment front, CBS offered viewers only the White House view of how Republicans want to "prolong the impeachment trial now simply to inflict maximum humiliation," while NBC's Gwen Ifill highlighted how "even some Republicans" now "agree" it's time for the trial to end.

-- First, here's how the three broadcast networks opened the Friday, January 29 shows:

Peter Jennings, ABC's World News Tonight: "Good evening. The biggest news today is also a big surprise to all but the insider government number crunchers. The Gross Domestic Product, which measures all the goods and services being produced in the national economy, was up a remarkable 5.6 percent in the last quarter of last year..."

Dan Rather, CBS Evening News: "Good evening. It's just plain amazing. With 40 percent of the world in recession, if not depression, figures out today show the U.S. economy is coming off its strongest quarter in two years, growing at a remarkable rate of 5.6 percent in the final three months of 1998..."

Tom Brokaw, NBC Nightly News: "Good evening. Think about it. There probably have never been better times than these when so many people are doing so well in an economy that just gets stronger and stronger. The latest measure are the numbers that are in for the end of 1998 and they're sensational..."

-- Second, the impeachment trial front:

CBS delivered only the Clinton spin without an utterance from a Republican. Anchor Dan Rather announced: "The President's spokesman flatly accused congressional Republicans of trying to prolong the impeachment trial now simply to inflict maximum humiliation and damage on the President. CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer shows you the picture that prompted this kind of talk."
Schieffer then showed video of Senate Sergeant-at-arms Zigler walking with the subpoenas for Lewinsky, Jordan and Blumenthal. No GOP view appeared in his story.

Next, Scott Pelley checked in from the White House: "Today the White House criticized the depositions as simply an attempt to embarrass Mr. Clinton."

Following Pelley, Rather got to Reno's decision on Harold Ickes, but instead of stressing how much evidence Reno had to ignore in making her decision, he highlighted how she declined to name "yet another" independent counsel:
"CBS's Phil Jones confirms tonight that Attorney General Janet Reno has officially decided no on the appointment of yet another special prosecutor, this time involving fundraising by the President's former Deputy Chief of Staff, Harold Ickes. Reno's decision against follows heavy Republican pressure to rule yes and some conflicting advice in her own Justice Department ranks."

During a NBC Nightly News story on the issuing of the subpoenas, Gwen Ifill showed how Democrats want to move on, adding: "And even some Republicans, mayors visiting Washington for a conference today, agree."
Mayor Rita Mullins, Palatine Illinois. "Enough is enough. I kind of wore this pin today because it was like stop, stop. We've had enough." [Her pin was of an open hand]


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Kathleen Willey was intimidated by a private investigator hired by Nathan Landow's lawyer. Friday night ABC's Jackie Judd advanced the Willey story with an exclusive report on World News Tonight. Judd began:
"ABC News has learned that this private investigator, Jared Stern, has become a key witness in the investigation of whether there was an attempt to scare Kathleen Willey."
After a soundbite of Stern confirming that he worked on the Willey case, Judd picked up the story:
"Sources familiar with Stern's work say he was hired by a lawyer for Nathan Landow. Landow is a prominent Democratic fundraiser who brought in several hundred thousand dollars for the Clinton-Gore ticket. Willey has testified that Landow pressured her to deny that Clinton made a sexual advance toward her. The same sources say that Landow had Willey investigated at a time when she was a witness in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case and also the Starr criminal investigation.
"Landow himself told ABC News last fall that he had asked the lawyer to draw up quote, 'a chronology,' unquote of Willey. Sources say Stern, the private investigator, was asked to pull her phone records, to find out what medications Willey might be taking, to conduct a so-called 'noisy' investigation to let Willey know she was being watched. Stern's lawyer, Edward Bouquet:"
Bouquet: "I think that he perceived a situation where he was being asked to do something that he wasn't comfortable with."
Judd: "Bouquet claims Stern was so uncomfortable he called Willey and left a message -- using an alias -- warning her that someone wanted to do her harm. What investigators want to know is whether Stern has knowledge of the so-called 'jogger,' that is a reference to Willey's claim that two days before her deposition in the Jones case, a jogger, a stranger, approached her near her home, asked about her children, and said, 'Don't you get the message?' We asked Stern what he does know."
Judd: "Do you believe that there was a jogger who harassed her?"
Stern: "I do, wholeheartedly."
Judd: "Stern insists he is not the jogger but he also says with certainty that Willey is telling the truth about the incident. A spokesman for Landow says he will be 'completely exonerated.' Sources say Landow and the lawyer refuse to answer prosecutors' questions, making this a very difficult case to close."


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Al Hunt charged that the modern Republican Party, with its "southern right-wing" dominated by "intolerant" and "bigoted" leaders "scares a lot of people." Appearing on Saturday's Capital Gang on CNN, the Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal claimed in answer to a question about how the trial would hurt the GOP:
"You know, if impeachment were an isolated instance, I doubt it would have any affect at all. But it is adding to the growing perception that the Republican Party is dominated by an intolerant, sometimes bigoted, overwhelmingly southern right-wing and that scares a lot of people. It's very similar to what happened to the Democrats in the '70s and the notion that they were dominated by this narrow band of ideological and cultural folk. And I want to tell you something, I think today many people see Republicans not as a party of family values, but as a party of family values cops and they don't like that at all."


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes) Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson didn't react positively to the news that Ken Starr's wife said she'd have left Bill Clinton and that she is confident her husband has been faithful. MRC news analyst Jessica Anderson caught this exchange from the Friday morning, January 29 show.

Co-host Diane Sawyer: "On a very different and lighter note, Alice Starr, Ken Starr's wife, has given an interview in Ladies Home Journal, and she says about Mrs. Clinton, 'I'd rather not be married to someone who doesn't love me enough to remain faithful,' and talks about the fact that she and Ken Starr, Judge Starr have been faithful to each other, and goes on to say that she met him because, and married him because he was the friendliest, nicest person [she'd] ever met. So that from Alice Starr, who's by all accounts, a very nice woman."
Charles Gibson: [Pauses] "Okay."
Sawyer: "I'm just reporting the news."
Gibson: "No, no, we're, we're getting details of people's lives that I don't want to know, overall."
Sawyer: "Right."


hocken0201.jpg (18202 bytes)cyberno6.gif (1129 bytes) The Republicans are directing a Stalinist show trial?
Yes, contended a MSNBC host in a quote caught by MRC analyst Mark Drake. Conservatives would argue the trial is illegitimate because the House managers are not being allowed to put on a full and complete trial with witnesses. Liberals claim it's phoney because once more than one-third voted to dismiss last week everything is now for show since the prosecutors cannot win the two-thirds required for convictions.

Clearly following the liberal line of thinking, on Thursday night's Hockenberry on MSNBC John Hockenberry proposed to Republican Senator Charles Grassley: "You said it's not about getting the President but when historians look at the numbers in those votes today, is that what they are going to say -- it wasn't about getting the President or are they gonna say it was?"

Moving on to law professor Jonathan Turley, Hockenberry forwarded the official liberal line on the meaning of the 44 votes in favor of dismissal: "Jonathan, I want to start with you. Now you've said eloquently and repeatedly on this program and others throughout this process that this is a constitutional process and that it needs to move forward and that a trial is absolutely appropriate and that everything is working according to plan. It seems to me after today that any pretense of that this is a constitutional process is gone. Yes, we're gonna have witnesses but it's not a real trial and the votes were partisan so it's not a real constitutional process anymore."

Turley replied that the trial is in a quagmire because the managers were not allowed to direct the case, but that following a constitutional process does not always prevent "uniquely stupid" things from happening.
Hockenberry fired back: "But 'uniquely stupid' is not the word I would describe this process. It's Stalinist. It seems as though it's gone on behind closed doors. Everything is according to a script. It's just arcane and impenetrable in the extreme and it has nothing to do with what we would consider normal fairness and trial procedure to be."


cyberno7.gif (1643 bytes) In response to questions in a CNBC chat session last Wednesday night Geraldo Rivera once again disparaged Ken Starr as a "persecutor" and traced all of Clinton's troubles to a "cabal" of conservatives, yet denied he reflects the "same narrow- mindedness of those who relentlessly pursue our President."

Here are some of the questions and answers that intrigued MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, listed as posed, with the errors left intact. To read the entire transcript of the January 27 session, go to:

-- Q: "Do you contest the fact that Nixon NEVER lied under oath like your hero Clinton? This will ALWAYS BE A FOOTNOTE IN THE HISTORY BOOKS -IMPEACHED!!!! Doesn't that make you proud to be one of the Spinmeisters?"
A: "The history books will record that Bill Clinton was a flawed man, much like most of the rest of us. It will further record that he was hounded for four years by an ideologue whose whole life revolved around getting Clinton by any means necessary. It will further record that the last years of the millennium saw the GOP crucify itself on a cross of false morality."

-- Q: "When this mess is finally finished, what will you focus your attention on? I really do enjoy your show! How do you stomach Bob Barr and Jerry Farwell and that idiot from the Wall Street Journal?"
A: "As far as putting members of the right on the program, I think it is important to know your enemies, even better than your friends. Besides, if I just aired one side of this story, I'd be guilty of the same narrow-mindedness of those who relentlessly pursue our President."

How could anyone consider Geraldo to be "narrow-minded"?

-- Q: "How can we justify the imprisonment of other people in this country for perjury if Mr. Clinton is allowed to get away with it?
A: "Clinton can still be indicted and convicted and imprisoned for perjury. He is liable as soon as he is out of office. And know how obsessive a man Ken Starr is, I am sure that persecutor will still be around to get Clinton anyway he can."

-- Q: "Do you believe, Geraldo, in the 'vast right wing conspiracy theory? Or, at least, a medium sized-wrong one?"
A: "I believe that Clinton's troubles have been caused principally by a relatively small web, let's call it a cabal of conservatives including Richard Mellon Scaife, the beauts who run the American Spectator, and a lean and hungry bunch of hard right wingers who have hated Clinton from the moment he uttered his first political word."

-- Q: "Geraldo, its all over. Now will you support Gore in 2000?"
A: "I don't get involved in electoral politics. I do own a small weekly newspaper in New Jersey. It is feisty and independent and it does endorse both GOP and DEM candidates. Of what I've seen so far the most attractive candidate to me is McCain of Arizona. But then I went to the U of A so I'd be partial to a fellow Wildcat."

That should doom McCain amongst conservatives. -- Brent Baker


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