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MRC's Brent Bozell on FNC's The Kelly File, Friday 9:40pm ET/PT

CyberAlert -- 09/28/1998 -- Charming: "I Hate Tripp"

"Burned Out;" Who's Behind "Storming Out"?; Charming: "I Hate Tripp"

1) Sunday night CBS stressed how polls show "Americans are burned out by the Lewinsky scandal;" ABC put the burden on Paula Jones, asking if she'll "finally" settle; and Dan Rather dumped on Tripp.

2) So why the bogus stories of Clinton storming out? Bob Schieffer says he was "deliberately misled on this" by Democrats. But Time's Karen Tumulty suggested Clinton aides were fooled by Clinton.

3) Margaret Carlson: "Ken Starr is a non-independent counsel." Eleanor Clift: "This whole investigation was built on a legal fraud." Bob Schieffer: Lewinsky's testimony was "absolutely charming," with "I hate Linda Tripp" his "highlight quote."


>>> Re-live the Watergate hearings. During the day this week the History Channel will re-play the hearings, as described on the cable channel's Web page, www.historychannel.com: "Watch the original 1974 House Judiciary Committee Hearings on The History Channel September 28-October 2, 10am-3pm EST. These hearings have not been televised since they were first seen live nearly 25 years ago. The History Channel's Roger Mudd, who was CBS News congressional correspondent during Watergate, will join the current CBS congressional correspondent Bob Schieffer, to share insights into the committee hearings and the parallels to today's charges against President Clinton."
Nickelodeon special at 9pm ET Monday night. Nick News regular Linda Ellerbee will be joined by NBC's Katie Couric for a show on how parents and children should deal with Monicagate. <<<

1

cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) A relatively quiet set of Sunday morning shows on September 27 with the possible exception of James "Corporal Queball" Carville back in form on Meet the Press. (He declared war on Newt Gingrich and identified himself as Corporal Queball in Clinton's Army.)

Sunday night CBS stressed how polls show "Americans are burned out by the Lewinsky scandal" and ABC examined a Jones settlement through a White House prism. Friday night the three broadcast networks ran full stories on the possibility of a settlement in the Jones case. CBS and NBC added short items on how the Judiciary Committee had voted to release the Tripp tapes, though Dan Rather added a bit of editorializing by describing them as "Tripp's secret recordings of her conversations with Monica Lewinsky when Lewinsky thought Tripp was her friend." The two networks also provided a look at the exchange between Clinton and Lott about "the people's business" versus being "fundraiser-in-chief."

-- Sunday, September 27: ABC, CBS and NBC opened with the latest on Hurricane Georges.
ABC's World News Tonight. Following the hurricane, baseball's McGwire and Kohl's loss in Germany, anchor Carole Simpson announced: "When we come back, who comes out ahead if Paula Jones finally settles with the President?" Couldn't that also be put as "if Bill Clinton finally settles...?"
Simpson's introduction to the story also approached it from the White House point of view: "...she's asking for a million dollars, but the White House says a settlement is not an admission of guilt."
Tim O'Brien began his story by portraying Jones as the one abandoning principle: "As the President was fundraising for other Democrats in Texas today, his own fundraisers were telling him they can raise enough to settle the Paula Jones case. Jones's lawyer confirmed today it is now all about money, no apology needed."
Donovan Campbell: "Let's assume, hypothetically, a significant amount of money were offered to Mrs. Jones to settle her litigation. We would consider that a vindication."


CBS Evening News. You just can't keep Dan Rather from a hurricane. Live from New Orleans he opened the show with this tease crammed with rhymes and bad analogies:
"The Big Uneasy. The city of New Orleans battens down for the onslaught of Hurricane Georges. Floating casinos betting the house that they'll survive the hurricane's wrath. And tracking the storm: A hurricane so huge it's engulfing the Gulf."

sattkisscap.JPG (21843 bytes) CBS didn't mention the Jones case but later in the show Sharyl Attkisson delivered a story that began and ended by emphasizing public disgust with Monicagate:
"A stop in San Antonio wraps up the President's intense fundraising swing in the West where his mood seemed buoyed by high public approval numbers. And with polls also showing Americans are burned out by the Lewinsky scandal"
Senator Dianne Feinstein picked up the sentence: "I think outside the beltway people want this thing to be over. I think they've had enough of it."
Attkisson: "Democrats are pushing Republicans to speed things up."
Senator Robert Torricelli: "With 70 percent of the American people wanting this matter closed, many Republican leaders in the Senate who now talk bravely about removing the President from office, upon reflection I think will want to have an exit from this problem."

To balance the two Democrats she did allow Tom DeLay to explain that the House will proceed with its constitutional duties. After noting that the Judiciary Committee will vote October 5 on whether to launch an inquiry followed by the full House with hearings then after the election, Attkisson bemoaned:
"But first up later this week is the release of 60,000 new pages from Ken Starr's investigation and hours of Linda Tripp phone recordings. All of this means for an American public grown weary of the scandal, it's far from over."


NBC Nightly News provided a report from John Palmer on the Jones settlement possibility and how on Meet the Press Bob Dole, Howard Baker and Leon Panetta cast doubt on the chances for a deal anytime soon.
Anchor Len Cannon offered an interesting description of the Social Democrat who won in Germany, referring to how "Schroeder, a pro-business moderate, campaigned as the voice of change."


-- Friday, September 25: Like Sunday, all led with the hurricane. The three broadcast networks all explained that Jones wants $1 million and Clinton has offered $500,000. The three featured some form of Jones lawyer John Whitehead asserting that even without an apology a monetary settlement would, as he said on ABC, be a "tacit admission that the case is not bogus as the President indicated in his grand jury testimony." The networks stories also noted how the judge in the Jones case is looking at citing Clinton for contempt for false answers, so a settlement would get Clinton out of that morass.

ABC's World News Tonight ignored the House committee vote on the Tripp tapes and Clinton's attack on Republicans. Jackie Judd explored the possibility of a Jones settlement.


CBS Evening News. Dan Rather offered this loaded report on the Tripp tapes:
"In the Washington mess tonight there's word the House Judiciary Committee has voted to release a heavily edited version of Linda Tripp's secret recordings of her conversations with Monica Lewinsky when Lewinsky thought Tripp was her friend. Theses edited transcripts and the tapes, the Republican majority on the House committee decided, will be released next week."

Next, Rather highlighted Clinton's latest attack: "President Clinton today flatly accused the Republican-led Congress of focusing so much on him that the U.S. federal budget is being ignored. The President cited having to sign a stop-gap spending bill to prevent another U.S. government shutdown. CBS News White House correspondent Scott Pelley has more about the President's fight back campaign and what he's up against."

Pelley showed Clinton pleading for attention for "politics over people" followed by Trent Lott countering: "Is he the fundraiser-in-chief or is he the commander-in-chief. Now we're doing our work. Maybe he just hasn't noticed, he's been distracted."
Pelley continued: "At a fundraiser today Mr. Clinton seemed to suggest that the woe he has brought on his party is a good thing."
Clinton: "The enemy of the forces of progress in this election is not adversity. Adversity is out friend."
Pelley concluded by noting the oddity that Clinton is raising money for the very members who will vote in the impeachment process.

Finally, Phil Jones handled the Jones story.


NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw took 31 seconds to tell viewers about the planned release Thursday of the Tripp tapes and 60,000 pages of other material. Then, just before Lisa Myers reported on the Jones settlement talks, Brokaw set up this point-counterpoint:
"As for the President, today as he was leaving for a Democratic fundraising trip to Chicago and Los Angeles, he again went on the offensive, telling Republicans in Congress to get on with work on the budget. His remarks didn't go over well with Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Mr. Clinton made it clear he wants to change the subject away from Monica Lewinsky."
Clinton: "It is time now for Congress to buckle down, to send me the measures to keep the government open and to invest in education, in health care, and other needs of the American people."
Lott: "The President comes out at time when he needs cooperation with, and we need cooperation from him, with the Congress, and he takes a gratuitous slap, jumps on a plane and runs off for three days of fundraising. Now is he the fundraiser-in-chief or is he the commander-in-chief?"

2

cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) So who fed the media the line that the video would show Clinton exploding and storming out of the room during his grand jury testimony? CBS's Bob Schieffer, who told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz last Tuesday that "I do not believe the people I talked to would deliberately mislead me," claimed over the weekend that he was indeed "deliberately misled on this" by Democrats. But Time magazine's Karen Tumulty offered a benign explanation that Clinton aides themselves were fooled by Clinton. (As noted in the September 22 CyberAlert, NBC's Lisa Myers specifically reported before the video aired that Clinton did not storm out.)

Last Wednesday, September 23, in the Washington Post Howard Kurtz reported:
"CBS's Schieffer said his sources were on Capitol Hill, not the White House. But, he said, 'I got it from Democrats who'd been talking to the White House. I do not believe the people I talked to would deliberately mislead me. I asked Republicans and they said, yes, we're hearing that...I'm sure some of the people I talked to just didn't know what they were talking about."
"Said CNN correspondent John King: 'I was told by people on the Hill, who'd either seen the tape or been briefed by those who had -- both Democrats and Republicans -- that you would see flashes of anger. Several people who told me this are not friends of this President.'"
"White House officials acknowledge that they knew this negative spin would eventually help Clinton. But they say they offered accurate guidance to reporters once they were briefed by the President's lawyers last Friday."

Schieffer talked with Kurtz on Tuesday. By whatever day Tim Russert tapes his weekend CNBC show, probably Friday, Schieffer had a change of heart. On the CNBC program run at 6 and 10pm ET on Saturday and Sunday, Schieffer asserted:
"By accident or design, we were deliberately misled on this, I'm absolutely convinced of that. Now whether this was done this way in the beginning, purposely and deliberately, I don't know. But I do know this for a fact: Once I went out with that story I got no call from the White House telling me 'Bob, you've gone too far.' I got no call from any Democratic official telling me, you know, that story is just wrong. They let it stay out there because they knew what was happening was it was building up expectations...."


Karen Tumulty of Time magazine, however, maintained there was no White House spin effort, just confused Clinton aides. On CNN's Reliable Sources over the weekend, she argued:
"There were so few people in the room and the people in the room weren't talking. And I think that a lot of people got their information, for instance, from White House aides who saw the President immediately afterward. And I am told that he was quite angry from having sort of held it in and I think that is where the spin came from and it was one of the cases that we've had all along in this story, is that the people who really have the information are the people who aren't talking."

3

cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) Margaret Carlson insisted Clinton and Starr are both just as guilty of abusing power, Eleanor Clift charged "this whole investigation was built on a legal fraud" and CBS News reporter Bob Schieffer assessed Lewinsky's grand jury testimony as "absolutely charming," declaring her "I hate Linda Tripp" comment his "highlight quote." Three media quotes from the past few days, in date order:

-- Time's Margaret Carlson on CBS's This Morning on September 23, as caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Bill Clinton and Ken Starr deserve each other. They both abused power. Ken Starr is a non-independent counsel. There's not been a counsel who is as identified, not just with a political party, but with a wing of a political party. And he had, he did leap to join forces with Clinton's enemies when he found that he didn't have that much on his mandate cases, Whitewater, et al. He moved right over, he leaped into this lifeboat presented to him by Linda Tripp. Prosecutors will tell you that most of the time, they get information like this and they shut the door, they throw the person out of the office."

-- Indeed, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift agreed that Tripp's information was fraudulent, declaring on McLaughlin Group this past weekend:
"Ken Starr's investigation was predicated on Linda Tripp manipulating Monica Lewinsky to implicate Vernon Jordan, an implication that has not been borne out. So this whole investigation was built on a legal fraud."

-- Bob Schieffer, host of Face the Nation and CBS's Capitol Hill correspondent, expressed wonderment at how Monica Lewinsky dumped on Linda Tripp. Seconds after he conceded being duped by Clinton aides, as cited in #2 above, a delighted Schieffer recalled on CNBC's Tim Russert show aired September 26 and 27:
"After reading the transcript of her testimony to the grand jury, some of it was absolutely charming. I mean I don't know if that's the word or not. To me, the highlight quote in all of that is at the very end of her grand jury testimony, Tim, when the grand jurors said 'do you have anything else you would like to say?' and she said 'yes, I'm sorry this has happened,' and so on and so forth, and her last sentence was 'I just hate Linda Tripp.'"

How absolutely charming it is that a top Washington correspondent marvels at one person saying she hates another, just the kind of divisive slam he would condemn if uttered by a conservative. -- Brent Baker


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