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CyberAlert -- 03/12/1999 -- Couric Delivered Ultimate Media Insult

SPECIAL EXTRA EDITION

Couric Delivered Ultimate Media Insult: Stephanopoulos "A Linda Tripp Type," Asserting "Some People" Think Airing the Clinton's "Dirty Laundry" is "Sorta Gross."

This morning's Today devoted the entire 7:30am half hour to Katie Couric's interview of George Stephanopoulos about his new book, All Too Human. Matching the pattern of ABC's 20/20 and Good Morning America, as detailed in the March 12 CyberAlert, Couric opened by portraying Stephanopoulos as a betrayer who has done wrong.

Instead of quizzing him about his evidence for how Bill Clinton lied and dissembled regularly to the public, or attacking Stephanopoulos for how he hid this information while supposedly offering candid analysis for ABC News over the past two years, her first question began:
"A lot of people, George, think that this is just kinda creepy, that you've done this. They see you as a turncoat, a Linda Tripp type..."

Monday night on CNN's Larry King Live Dee Dee Myers and David Gergen refused to say they believe Clinton's denial about raping Juanita Broaddrick. Stephanopoulos now admits he wouldn't even vote for Clinton after seeing the real man over the last seven years. But the media are not interested in pursuing how those closest to Clinton have been betrayed by him. Instead, they paint Clinton as the victim.

Couric opened the March 12 Today: "Good morning. He was once one of the President's most trusted aides but his new book about his years on the inside has many wondering whether he's a traitor or man of integrity."

Here are her first three questions, as transcribed by MRC news analyst Mark Drake:

-- "A lot of people, George, think that this is just kinda creepy, that you've done this. They see you as a turncoat, a Linda Tripp type, if you will, who sort of ingratiated himself with the people inside the White House. They made you who you became and now all of a sudden, you're telling, you're airing all the dirty laundry and some people just think that's sorta gross."

(A "lot of people" and "some people" who are liberal activists and/or members of the news media.)

-- "But aren't some situations off limits? I mean you talk very candidly about the President's relationship with Mrs. Clinton. You had entree to situations that most people wouldn't. I mean you were sitting there -- or standing there -- once when the President was in his boxer shorts and Hillary came in and they kissed and you witnessed conversations. It seems to me that, I mean is nothing sacred?"

-- "Why now George? Couldn't this have waited until the President was out of office?"

Amazing. A journalist upset at an insider for delivering information.

(Couric did later at least ask why he stood by Clinton after he realized Clinton lied to him and whether in doing so he became "an enabler.")

In Monday's CyberAlert: More about this interview, how CBS's This Morning approached him and how PBS's NewsHour on Thursday night ran a segment with media reporter Terence Smith on how "the book's release has sparked debate on the propriety of White House staffers criticizing a President while he is still in office." The MRC's Tim Graham observed that Smith's panel discussion included no conservatives or critics of Clinton: Rahm Emanuel, the former Clinton flack; Kennedy intimate and historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.; and Peter Carlson of The Washington Post, who, Smith explained, "wrote an article earlier this week about what he called 'the American game of cashing in.'"

Just like liberals, journalists are more concerned with process than substance. -- Brent Baker

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