CyberAlert -- 02/08/1999 -- All a "Partisan Hit Job"; Donaldson: "Expel" Clinton; Newt Deserved It
All a "Partisan Hit Job"; Donaldson: "Expel" Clinton; Newt Deserved It
2) ABC's Linda Douglass insisted the Blumenthal/Hitchens conflict is "likely to have little bearing on the case" against Clinton. CBS's Bill Plante relayed how Clinton supporters think in 20 years people will realize "that the whole thing was a partisan hit job."
5) Dan Rather insisted it really is all about sex and MSNBC's "man on the street" reaction: A college professor from Boston who charged the scandal is driven by the Christian Right trying to void the Bill of Rights.
Two reporters less impressed with the Republican House managers than a
Democratic political activist. Saturday night on CNN's Capital Gang Mark
Shields, a former Democratic operative turned columnist, assessed the day:
Of course the Wall
Street Journal's Al Hunt disagreed. As did two reporters over on Inside
Washington, the syndicated show carried by many PBS stations. Newsweek
Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on the videotape of Monica Lewinsky:
Nina Totenberg of
NPR and ABC News agreed, claiming that despite being denied the
opportunity to put on their case in a normal fashion, it was the House
managers who demanded too much:
Saturday night all the broadcast networks led with highlights of what each side played from the Monica Lewinsky videotaped deposition. "Good evening. The case against the President that has so far had to do with sex and lies today turned to videotape," announced NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. The three shows also featured one clip of Vernon Jordan and ABC and CBS, but not NBC, showed a bite from Sidney Blumenthal.
Reporters squeezed in a mention of the affidavit from left-wing journalist Christopher Hitchens contradicting Blumenthal as Hitchens recounted a March 1998 lunch during which Blumenthal described Lewinsky as a stalker who made sexual demands on the President. ABC's Linda Douglass insisted the revelation is "likely to have little bearing on the case against the President." But over on CBS Bob Schieffer passed on how prosecutors think it "bolsters their contention that there was an organized White House effort to obstruct justice by smearing Ms. Lewinsky."
Barely a minute later on CBS Bill Plante relayed how a White House operative suggested that in 20 years people will remember how "the whole thing was a partisan hit job."
Some quick highlights from the Saturday, February 6 evening shows.
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Linda Douglass summarized the case made by the managers, illustrated with deposition clips. After playing a soundbite of Blumenthal recalling how Clinton told him Lewinsky was a stalker, Douglass concluded: "The managers accused Blumenthal of peddling that story to reporters. Under oath Blumenthal denied it, but tonight journalist Christopher Hitchens filed a sworn affidavit saying Blumenthal told him such a story. Tonight Blumenthal denied that. Senators say all of this might cause trouble for Blumenthal, but is likely to have little bearing on the case against the President."
Tim O'Brien presented the case made by the White House lawyers before Cokie Roberts appeared to show excerpts from her interview with Senator Robert Byrd set to run on This Week the next morning. Byrd said Clinton's actions are covered by high crimes and misdemeanors and he is guilty, but the question is should he be removed.
From the White
House Bill Plante checked in on the debate over censure, concluding by
conveying the Clinton spin that all people will remember is that whole
scandal was "a partisan hit job." Plante relayed:
Later, anchor Brian Williams interviewed manager Asa Hutchinson. After asking if any minds were changed and the impact of the Blumenthal/Hitchens development, Williams wondered if the managers are willing to go away: "Are you -- the thirteen House managers -- prepared as a group to say we made our last, best effort and withdraw, fade away now as a group, and let the Senate go into final arguments?"
Christopher Hitchens, a frequent contributor to Vanity Fair and The
Nation, may, as he said on Sunday's Meet the Press, "have nothing
but contempt for President Clinton," but he despises conservatives
even more. Only Meet the Press devoted a guest segment to the Hitchens/Blumenthal
story with Hitchens appearing as the opening guest. But when Tim Russert
asked if he'd be willing to testify against Blumenthal, Hitchens was
adamant in rejecting the idea of cooperation:
Sam Donaldson says if Clinton is guilty then Senators should "vote to expel him from office." Hardly an outrageous view -- following the rule of law -- but not one heard too frequently from a member of the media, especially one who works at the White House weekdays.
Senator Byrd told Cokie Roberts about how he is conflicted about whether
to vote to remove Clinton, though he believes he is guilty, in the
February 8 This Week roundtable segment Donaldson suggested:
(A RealPlayer clip of these comments from Donaldson will be placed on the MRC home page Monday morning by Kristina Sewell and Sean Henry of the MRC. Go to: http://www.mrc.org)
On Saturday, of the broadcast networks, only CBS provided live coverage, showing the House managers from 10 to about 11:30am ET. While the Washington Post reported that both ABC and NBC offered a feed to affiliates, neither Washington's ABC affiliate or NBC-owned station picked it up.
Two noteworthy items from Saturday daytime coverage. First, Dan Rather insisted the whole thing really is about sex. Second, as the network did three weeks earlier, MSNBC used the lunch break to showcase anti-impeachment process comments from people in the streets of Manhattan.
The wife told Hansen: "I have to say that with respect to Monica Lewinsky I think that if the religious right had not been after the man she was in love with none of this would have come to our attention and she would have had an interesting story to tell her grandchildren. As it is I don't think that covering up a sexual matter has anything to do with impeachability."
Her husband, who
first offered his name, continued her liberal reasoning: "I remain
part of the 75 percent of Americans who feels that the country's
treasure and government should not be spent on investigating the private
life of the President and his efforts to keep private."
MSNBC's first time to find and highlight only liberal opinion. During
the lunch break on January 16 MSNBC went to Times Square. Lisa Kim checked
in: "We've been out here pretty much all morning and will be this
afternoon. People are not really paying attention to the trial. A lot of
people are telling me that they're just sick and tired of this coverage,
that they want this whole deal to end very shortly."
Sunday morning only Fox News Sunday mentioned the IRS vindication for Newt Gingrich and how his much maligned college course was not partisan, so it did not violate tax laws by accepting tax deductible donations. Not a word on the This Week or Late Edition end of show roundtables.
On Fox News Sunday Juan Williams and NPR's Mara Liasson dismissed the vindication, claiming Democratic attacks were just politics as normal with Liasson actually suggesting Gingrich got what he deserved as Democrats treated him the same way he treated Jim Wright. All this was too much for Brit Hume, who scolded his two Fox News contributors.
Host Tony Snow began the segment by playing this December 21, 1996 soundbite from Democratic Congressman David Bonior: "Mr. Gingrich engaged in a pattern of tax fraud, lies and coverups in paving his road to the second highest office in the land. He is not worthy of that office."
Juan Williams soon
asserted: "David Bonior was engaged in a fight with a man who was the
head of the Republican revolution at the time and who was standing up on
his high horse and pretending to be totally above any impropriety and he
was making it clear 'you are coming close to the line'..."
suggested he didn't recall Democrats being accused of partisanship at
the time as Republicans are being charged now in the Clinton scandal,
Of course one difference is that Wright was guilty.
rationalization of the Democratic hit on Gingrich was too much for Hume,
For details on the IRS ruling and the lack of media attention, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990204.html#4 and: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990205.html#3
Alec Baldwin is back. On Friday's Politically Incorrect he celebrated, telling a conservative guest how "the Clintons have basically kicked your ass" and that he knows "Henry Hyde and those people, they must feel really empty and low." In a December 11 appearance on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien the actor shouted: "If we were in other countries, we would all right now, all of us together, all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death!" It was his idea of a comedy skit, but even Hollywood insider Jack Valenti soon condemned the outburst.
relevant exchange from the February 5 Politically Incorrect:
You can watch via RealPlayer the December 11 Late Night outburst from Alec Baldwin. Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19981215.html#5
"Like wow man" the '60s were really neat. Sunday night NBC aired the first part of a two part mini-series called "The '60s." Part two airs Monday night, February 8. On Friday's Today, MRC analyst Mark Drake noticed, one of the actors revealed his longing for a return to the values of that decade.
On the February 5
Today actor Jerry O'Connell told Katie Couric: "When I first read
the script my initial reaction was wow. As a child of the '80s, as an
'80s generation person, I know that scares people when I say that, but,
you know I didn't really do anything. I write. I never protested. I
never, you know, stormed the streets of Chicago. I've never been to a
political rally in my life and I never painted a sign and picketed and
really believed in a cause and it kind of made me a little embarrassed for
my generation. You know I feel like maybe we could have done more."
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