Reno Doing Her Job; A Goose Almost Cost Clinton Big Hollywood $; More Top Ten
1) Every networks but CBS had a unique bit of info on Lewinsky: FNC reported that she didn't write the talking points, NBC that Lewinsky not at White House during many visits. CBS's Dan Rather emphasized how Lewinsky "was rehearsed for days" by Starr's team.
4) Baldwin and Basinger almost canceled their Clinton fundraiser when they learned goose was on the menu. Another actor declared that the U.S. no longer needs bullets to assassinate its Presidents -- it has CNN.
Monica Lewinsky's grand jury appearance led every network Thursday night with FNC and CNN devoting half their hour-long newscasts to her testimony and its fallout. Every network but NBC showed how immediately after Clinton spoke at a White House event the Marine Band started playing and thus drowned out questions. All the networks ran the soundbite of Lewinsky spokeswoman Judy Smith announcing that "she answered each question truthfully, completely and honestly."
Every network but CBS delivered a unique bit of news on the Monica front. ABC's Sam Donaldson relayed that Harry Thomasson will coach Clinton for any TV address. CNN's Wolf Blitzer highlighted how his sources claim Lewinsky testified that Clinton did not consider the kind of sex they had to constitute "sexual relations." FNC's David Shuster informed viewers that testimony will show that Lewinsky did not write the talking points. He added that investigators think Bruce Lindsey was involved. NBC's Lisa Myers reported that Lewinsky conceded Betty Currie was not at the White House during several of her 37 visits.
Here's a run down of Thursday evening, August 6 coverage of Monicagate:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight went right to Jackie Judd, who asserted:
Next, from the
White House Sam Donaldson reported how the Clinton team used a band to
Discussing the day
with anchor Charles Gibson, Donaldson informed viewers: "We've
learned, and it's worth noting that, the President's Hollywood
producer friend Harry Thomasson, who often advises Mr. Clinton on public
relations, plans a trip to Washington soon."
Next, Bill Plante
focused on how the White House says it's business as usual but, Plante
countered, "every presidential event is carefully scripted to avoid
any opportunity for questions. As he finished up a gun control event today
Mr. Clinton looked over and seemed to signal the Marine Band to lay down
some musical cover."
After Plante, Dan Rather cautioned as he led into a brief discussion with Kristin Jeannette-Myers: "As for today's testimony by Monica Lewinsky, keep in mind we don't know for a fact what she said. We have been told some of what she said. You may also want to keep in mind that she was rehearsed for days by Starr's prosecution team."
Next, Bob Franken went through Lewinsky's day at the courthouse, followed by John King at the White House on how Clinton used the Marine Band to block questions. King's story also featured soundbites from Al Gore on how people are happy with Clinton and from Dick Gephardt on how only the media are obsessed with the case. Anchor Jim Moret then played a montage of video clips from reporters and talked about Clinton's situation with Jeff Greenfield who asserted that if Clinton's allies waiver, then he's in trouble.
Next, CNN ran a mini-Burden of Proof with Greta Van Susteren and Roger Cossack interviewing two guests. Finally, Susan Candiotti looked at Monica's new, "more refined image."
From up the street
at the White House Jim Angle zoomed in on how "in a Rose Garden
ceremony President Clinton joined police officers in calling for an
extension of the five day waiting period for gun purchases which was due
to expire this November. There will be even a longer waiting period before
the President says anything about Monica Lewinsky or her testimony. The
President pretends not to hear these days, helped in this instance by the
The rest of FNC's first half hour included a piece on how Lewinsky can make money on her story as she's already been offered $1 million by The Star and a heated roundtable argument amongst C. Boyden Gray, Eleanor Clift, Ellen Ratner and Alan Keyes.
Too late now.
After a piece on the Reno/Burton battle (se item #2), Tom Brokaw asked Tim Russert whether the White House will learn before August 17 what Lewinsky told the grand jury. Eventually they will, Russert decided, but observed: "It is eery today. If information is power, this is an impotent city. No one knows anything. It's like election day without the exit polls."
Later, for the In Depth segment Jack Ford explained what Monica probably went through inside the grand jury room and Pete Williams examined the role of and how a grand jury works.
Every network but ABC, which held itself to a brief update, ran a full report Thursday night on the House committee vote to hold Attorney General Reno in contempt for not turning over subpoenaed memos, from FBI Director and the chief fundraising investigator, urging the appointment of an independent counsel.
Shipman spun the facts on Nightly News to put Reno in the best possible
CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather announced: "On another front of the White House under fire, the bitter partisan fight over demands for another special prosecutor to investigate Clinton-Gore campaign fundraising erupted today on Capitol Hill. On a straight party line vote Republicans on a House committee voted to seek a contempt citation against the Attorney General of the United States Janet Reno."
Bob Schieffer ran
a clip of Republican Congressman Mark Souder complaining about
"serious potential corruption of our government" before warning:
"It got so bad at one point a Democrat suggested Republican committee
Chairman Burton had gone mad."
Cameron let viewers hear soundbites from both sides, but only Cameron
allowed a Republican, Bob Barr, to note that they want any sensitive
portions of the memos redacted before they are released. Following a clip
of Henry Waxman accusing Burton of intimidation tactics against Reno,
Cameron concluded by uniquely pointing out how Reno is breaking her own
The networks Wednesday night all ran stories previewing Lewinsky's testimony, noting the grand jury appearance by former Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes and at least ABC, CBS and CNN checked in on Clinton's reception on Capitol Hill where he traveled to meet Democrats. On ABC's World News Tonight Linda Douglass observed that though Democrats in public insisted the scandal does not have any impact, in private they offer another view: "One said it was like seeing someone with a big piece of spinach in his teeth. You're just too embarrassed to bring it up."
Dan Rather, once again, claimed Ken Starr is probing Clinton's "personal life" and Rather highlighted "the cost to taxpayers" of the Starr investigation.
Rather opened the
August 5 CBS Evening News, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
After Bob Schieffer's story on Clinton's supportive Capitol Hill reception, Rather declared: "Today marks the end of four years of the Ken Starr investigation, and still counting. Cost to taxpayers so far: 40 million dollars, and counting."
Duck, duck, goose! Following up on the Hamptons fundraising headlined by Bill Clinton last weekend the New York Post reported Thursday that Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, who are active in PETA, threatened to cancel the event at their home if goose liver remained on the menu. Meanwhile, another Post reporter relayed how actor Donald Sutherland compared Ken Starr's tactics to McCarythism.
Hamptons news. From "Page Six" in the August 6 New York Post:
So, Clinton can do and say anything, but if Monica Lewinsky were to reveal that Bill Clinton enjoyed a little foie gras after their sex sessions that would end Hollywood's support for Clinton.
York Post columnist Neal Travis passed along this summary of how a film
star denounces Ken Starr and the whole Monicagate matter in an upcoming
interviewed for the September issue of Premiere, says he is still hugely
'up' on Clinton. 'You have the lowest interest rate, an economy
that's going like crazy, a low unemployment rate,' he says. 'So the
idea that you could have a coup d'etat because of a sex act is beyond my
Today, a special CyberAlert bonus. A Top Ten list, plus "extra" items from two Top Ten lists. First, from the August 6 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Words You're Most Likely to Hear in Monica Lewinsky's Testimony." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
From the Late Show Web page, some of the "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."
And now, for the bonus round, my favorites from "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten" from the Tuesday night list, the "Top Ten Clinton Nicknames or Ben and Jerry Flavors." (See the August 5 CyberAlert for the ten which aired.)
I just figured out how to get around the cbs.com top of the page frame that makes it difficult to know the address of the page you are on and thereby forces you to jump link to link to get where you want instead of going directly there. When you first go the CBS Web page you are asked for your zip code so they can display a permanent frame with the local CBS station's logo and links. Even if you don't enter one the cbs.com format still displays a frame bar. To avoid this, instead of going to www.cbs.com , go to: http://marketing.cbs.com . For CBS News, try http://marketing.cbs.com/news/  For Letterman's page, go to: http://marketing.cbs.com/lateshow/  And the direct address for the latest Top Ten: http://marketing.cbs.com/lateshow/topten/ 
That's my Web tip of the day. -- Brent Baker 
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