Facilitating Clinton; Shriver Idolizes Hillary; Grodin's Back
Clinton Correction. The July 15 CyberAlert accurately quoted Hillary Clinton on the Today show recalling that Thomas Edison once said "Hard work is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Several CyberAlert readers have pointed out that the actual Edison quote is: "Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration." Makes a lot more sense.
Thursday night CBS led with the La Nina forecast for more extreme weather, but all the other networks went first with the latest on the court battles over Secret Service testimony. Judge Laurence Silberman rebuked the administration's position opposing an independent counsel as a "constitutional absurdity" and Attorney General Reno for acting as Clinton's counsel. CBS, FNC and NBC cited both criticisms, ABC the "absurdity" contention, but CNN raised neither.
CBS emphasized how Silberman is "a conservative appointed by Reagan," but when a judge in late June rebuked Ken Starr CBS failed to offer an ideological tag or note that Clinton nominated him. For the fourth day in a row Dan Rather claimed Starr is probing Clinton's "personal life."
(The CBS Evening
News concluded with a look at a Flint man on strike against GM and how his
family is struggling financially. Viewers saw him march on the picket line
and heard him explain why the strike is necessary in his mind.
Nonetheless, CBS reporter Frank Currier concluded: "A strike [is] now
as much a financial drain as an emotional test of one family's loyalty
to General Motors."
Here's a rundown of Thursday night, July 16 evening show coverage:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Jackie Judd noted that after the appeals court delayed the Secret Service testimony later in the day it delivered a "crushing defeat" as the court refused to hear the Clinton appeal. Judd elaborated: "Not a single judge wanted to take the case. One, Larry Silberman, a conservative, wrote a scathing opinion. He called it a 'constitutional absurdity' for the government to challenge its own independent counsel. In doing so, Silberman wrote, 'The President's agents literally and figuratively 'declared war' on Ken Starr." Judd then aired a counter soundbite from Mike McCurry.
From the White House Sam Donaldson reported that agent Cockell had been reassigned and replaced by the man he had replaced: Brian Stafford. Peter Jennings suggested to Donaldson that the move helps the White House show that agents can't do their jobs when distracted.
-- CBS Evening
News. "It's up to the Chief Justice of the United States. Must the
Secret Service tell Ken Starr now what is knows about the President's
personal life?" So Dan Rather asked in teasing the show. After a
story on La Nina, Rather announced:
Contrast Pelley's description of the judge with how Rather characterized a judge who rebuked Starr. From the June 26 CBS Evening News: "In Washington a federal judge today bluntly described special prosecutor Ken Starr's tactics as, and I quote, 'really scary.' It was at a court appearance for long-time Clinton family friend Web Hubbell. U.S. District Judge James Robertson's comment came when Starr's team argued that it was proper to indict Hubbell again on tax charges based on documents Hubbell supplied under a grant of immunity."
Just a plain old "federal judge." Rather didn't think it was worth trying to describe Robertson's ideology or note that he was named to the bench by President Clinton.
-- CNN's The
World Today at 8pm ET opened with Bob Franken's report on the back and
forth all day over the Secret Service. Next, CNN allowed John King to
present the White House view though King also uniquely pointed out that he
had learned that Starr's office had assured the Justice Department it
had no intention of asking Secret Service agents about Clinton's
conversations with his lawyer.
-- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET. David Shuster ran down the key Secret Service developments and cited Silberman's criticism of both the administration and Reno.
-- NBC Nightly
News. "For the President's top bodyguard today gave new meaning to
being in the line of fire," Lisa Myers began her top of the show
story. Observing that even Clinton insiders realize Secret Service
testimony is now inevitable, she pointed out that "not a single judge
found the administration's arguments worth hearing" and "one
judge even takes a swipe at Attorney General Janet Reno, accusing her of
improperly acting as the President's counsel."
Discussing Tim Russert's report about how Starr is looking into the possibility Secret Service agents may have 'facilitated' sexual liaisons for Clinton, Rush Limbaugh yesterday recalled an incident recounted in the July, 1997 Washingtonian magazine. Here's that story as run in CyberAlert last summer:
magazine's "Capital Comment" section a story headlined
"Don't Get Between Bill and a Babe" on how "a Newsweek
contract photographer has learned a little of what it must be like to work
for Bill Clinton." The monthly offered an illuminating illustration:
Sounds like Clinton expected unquestioned facilitation from Secret Service agents.
Maria Shriver proved again Thursday morning that she is much more a liberal advocate than any kind of journalist. Filling in for Katie Couric on Today she handled two of the show's big first hour interviews: a discussion about Secret Service testimony and another round with Hillary Clinton whom she had interviewed on Tuesday morning. In each, she posed questions a liberal would ask, even gushing over Hillary's niceness as "a people person," and failed to pose a single question from the right. After her talk with Mrs. Clinton Matt Lauer interviewed a liberal historian about the First Lady's legacy. Lauer stuck to admiring questions, making for a Today show liberal interview trilogy. New MRC news analyst Mark Drake transcribed the questions run below.
The July 16 Today
started with Lauer talking with Tim Russert. Then Shriver handled the
segment with former Secret Service agent Chuck Vance, who opposes
testimony, and GWU law professor Jonathan Turley who does not believe
agents should have a special privilege. Every court and judge so far
through several appeals have affirmed the duty of the officers to answer a
grand jury's questions, but Shriver portrayed Starr and Turley as the
ones out of sync. Here are her questions/arguments:
Today dropped the 7:30 news update so they could get right to Shriver's tribute to Hillary Clinton. For Tuesday's interview from the Thomas Edison site I was willing to cut Today some slack since they were showcasing a "good works" project advocated by the First Lady -- her fundraising to help restore historical sites. But Thursday morning, while Shriver introduced her interview by showing clips from Hillary Clinton's stops on her National Treasures Tour, her interview focused on personal and political matters, not the good works project.
Shriver's "questions" to Hillary Rodham Clinton in an
interview taped on a bus:
penetrating set of questions, Matt Lauer discussed her legacy with
historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, a former aide to Lyndon Johnson. When
Goodwin suggested that Mrs. Clinton could do anything from become
Secretary of State or UN Ambassador to care for poor children to go the
lecture circuit, but then again she may not want to remain public, Lauer
Nonetheless, he next wondered: "Let me just go back to something you said about possible public office. How desirable or how appealing a candidate do you think she would be?" Goodwin suggested "women would like it, this strong-minded, intellectually strong person to go forward," but she probably won't. Lauer countered: "But I mean if not now? I mean after six years of taking a lot of knocks, at this particular time, her popularity is at an all time high." Goodwin also admired Mrs. Clinton's success, contending: "There's something strange about the fact that when somebody seems to be struggling, as she has with dignity through difficult circumstances, some of that earlier seeming arrogance has been undone and everybody seems to love her now."
NBC News certainly does.
The ABC and NBC evening shows on July 14 ran pieces on how the Southern
heat wave is evidence of global warming. But it is not getting warmer
everywhere. The next night NBC's George Lewis went to Death Valley
National Park in California which is experiencing a boom in tourists from
Europe despite offering the highest temperatures in North America. Lewis
concluded his NBC Nightly News story:
Since then the Earth has experienced 75 years of man's fossil fuel burning onslaught, yet no record highs in the hottest place. No wonder the words "global warming" were not uttered by Lewis.
Actor turned pontificator Charles Grodin is back. Just a few weeks after CNBC dropped his weeknight show, companion network MSNBC has added him to its line-up. His new weekend show starts tomorrow, Saturday night at 8pm ET, though I assume it will repeat several times as does everything else on MSNBC. And if you tune in who will you see? Grodin told the July 15 USA Today: "I'll put people on who you don't see on TV. People in prison who shouldn't be there. People in soup kitchens. People on welfare with degrees from Harvard."
Sounds like a show you won't want to miss. -- Brent Baker 
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