Rivera Linked Starr to Bombings; "Whip Starr's Ass;" Starr Nazi-like
>>> MRC column in today's Wall Street Journal: Check out the editorial/op-ed page of the August 20 Wall Street Journal for a column by MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell showing how members of the media need to offer a mea culpa for their months of defending Clinton and denigrating Ken Starr. <<<
With leading Democrats signaling they are not satisfied with Clinton's address and evidence emerging that contradicts Clinton's one-way sex theory, the networks have decided the President is now in some real trouble. The top of the show introductions on ABC and NBC Wednesday night were amongst the toughest in months with both networks emphasizing how Clinton's problems are "growing worse." NBC's Brian Williams noted Clinton's birthday, but added how it was "a birthday his press secretary describes as the worst in his life, because of his admission he'd had a relationship with a woman closer in age to his own daughter."
The continued fallout led every network as all highlighted how he wore a tie, on the day Monica Lewinsky first testified, that she had given him as a gift, saying "when I see you wearing this tie I'll know that I am close to your heart." NBC's Lisa Myers disclosed Clinton wore in Africa sunglasses bought by Lewinsky. Only CBS credited the story, plugged Tuesday night by the Drudge Report, to the New York Times where it appeared Wednesday morning. CBS led with how Clinton had turned over a DNA sample, an event also reported in briefer form by the other networks.
Every network tried to explain Clinton's rationale in how he insisted his denial of a sexual relationship was "legally correct" because he simply received a sex act, but in various levels of detail each explained how Lewinsky is expected to testify Thursday about how he initiated sex acts. Only CNN and FNC specified how the "type of sex" admitted by Clinton was oral. NBC delivered the most cryptic explanation, CNN allowed a source to dismiss Clinton's rationale as "ludicrous" and FNC learned that Lewinsky is "outraged" by Clinton's suggestion he "just sat back" while she serviced him.
ABC and FNC ran separate stories on Democratic and Hill reaction, but ABC has yet to mention Democratic Congressman Paul McHale's call for resignation. (CBS, CNN and FNC highlighted him Tuesday night.) He appeared on Wednesday's Today and Wednesday night NBC Nightly News included a clip of him insisting public officials who lie under oath are unfit for office.
Here are some highlights from the Wednesday night, August 19 evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Anchor Forrest Sawyer topped the show:
Sam Donaldson explained how Clinton maintained his denial, in the Jones deposition, of a sexual relationship with Lewinsky was "legally accurate" because "he interpreted the definition given him as describing a one-way street. If it was Lewinsky who had touched Mr. Clinton he could say he had not had sexual relations with her." But, Donaldson reported that sources say she has already testified that Clinton "initiated contact with her." Another area where Clinton was grilled Monday, Donaldson asserted: how the gifts ended up with Currie. When asked if he asked Lewinsky for the gifts back "he did not give a definitive answer."
Covering a lot of ground, Donaldson moved to the tie Clinton wore at an August 6 gun control event in the Rose Garden. (This is the event where the Marine Band played to drown out questions). Donaldson elaborated: "She is said to have told the President 'when I see you wearing this tie I will know I am close to your heart.' Prosecutors want to know if he wore it on the day she was to testify as signal to her, hoping she would not say anything damaging." Noting that she didn't see him wearing it until she saw that news that night, Donaldson added that "twice before this summer the President wore the same tie: on June 24th, as he was preparing to leave for China, and on July 9th in Atlanta."
Next, Linda Douglass covered upset Democrats. Senator Patrick Moynihan, she relayed, "ripped into" Clinton's speech and said he should apologize, but "Privately many Democrats have been much harsher than Moynihan was today. One Democratic House member told ABC News he was 'nauseated' by the President's speech..." The dilemma for Democrats, she explained, is how to separate themselves from Clinton in fall elections.
Bob Schieffer covered the DNA matter before getting to the sex, disclosing that in the Map Room Clinton read a statement conceding "'inappropriate physical contact.' When prosecutors questioned him about that, he said Miss Lewinsky had performed a specific sex act on him." Schieffer noted how Lewinsky says the sex went beyond that, before quickly jumping to the New York Times tie story.
From Martha's Vineyard Bill Plante found a President celebrating his birthday in private with a quiet dinner Thursday night at Vernon Jordan's home, but Plante asserted that aides will soon argue its time for the nation to get back to business. To illustrate that they hope to convince Clinton to leave the island next week to focus on events around popular issues.
caught up with FNC's story from he day before as Dan Rather intoned:
"It's becoming increasingly possible that Vice President Al Gore
may be part of renewed focus for another independent counsel when and if
one is appointed to investigate campaign fundraising...."
Attempting to explain Clinton's rationale, Blitzer asserted in reference to the deposition's definition of sexual relations, that Clinton thinks that "since there was no specific mention of quote, 'hands and mouth,' it did not necessarily include the type of sex they engaged in." In a soundbite, former Bush speechwriter Jennifer Grossman declared: "He didn't have sex with her, but that she had sex with him. That is absolutely ludicrous."
John King checked in from the Massachusetts island and emphasized White House efforts to calm "Democratic jitters and outright anger."
FNC also provided pieces from Wendell Goler in Martha's Vineyard, Julie Kirtz on how more women than men support Clinton, and Eric Burns on the dichotomy between media and public interest in the story. The media saw a bad speech, but the public "found more truth serum in it than snake oil." Plus, Carl Cameron assessed Democratic support, uniquely highlighting how Republicans fear that for Clinton "the best character defense is a tough policy offense."
Claire Shipman in
Martha's Vineyard noted the DNA sample turnover and Clinton's dinner
with Vernon Jordan. Then she got vague:
Could she have been any more cryptic?
Shipman played a soundbite of Paul McHale from that morning's Today: "The consequences when any public official lies under oath should be forfeiture of office." Shipman added that other Democrats are mad, with Tom Daschle "especially angry since the President personally assured him none of the accusations were true."
Lisa Myers relayed
how prosecutors think wearing the tie may have been an effort to obstruct
justice, adding: "NBC News has learned that Lewinsky has said they
had a signaling system that also includes sunglasses she gave the
President which Clinton wore in Africa." [video of Bill wearing them
as he stood next to Hillary]
For the In Depth segment David Bloom explored scenarios about what awaits Clinton, from impeachment to no hearings at all. Pete Williams looked at a middle ground option, a vote of censure by the House and Senate as occurred in 1834 with President Andrew Jackson.
Geraldo blames Ken Starr for the embassy bombings? In a MSNBC chat session Tuesday night Rivera wondered why the $40 million Starr's probe has consumed wasn't "spent to make our embassies bombproof."
To help promote the 7:30pm ET Monday premiere on CNBC of Upfront Tonight, described as "a new in-depth newscast hosted by Geraldo Rivera and Diane Dimond," Rivera took time to participate in the chat session. MRC news analyst Clay Waters caught the transcript on the MSNBC Web page and highlighted some of Rivera's more passionate comments defending Clinton and bashing Starr. (Note: ellipses, abbreviations, use of lower and upper case as typed by Rivera.)
-- "You have to make your judgments about this President. If I still had my daytime talk show, Bill Clinton would be a perfect subject for analysis, he seems dysfunctional in this aspect. He's 52 and acts sometimes as if he's 18. What I think is a more impressive fact about this man is that he's been a damn good President. Who among us is perfect, has not sinned, is going to cast the first stone?"
-- "There is
no way this man will ever resign. He believes that this whole mess was
engineered by his political enemies.
-- "I ask as an atty that everyone understand that all lies ain't perjury. Once again, to be perjury in a federal case, it must be a Material Lie. This was a lie about a non-essential and discarded aspect of a dismissed civil lawsuit brought for political purposes. How would you feel if Richard Mellon Scaife bankrolled a hate campaign against you?"
-- "I believe that Ken S. has declared a holy war Vs this prez. Again, he may not be perfect...far from it...but at what point do progressive people feel revulsion more at the pursuer than the pursued?"
-- "The Jones
case was a politically bankrolled hit job.
-- "Did you ever see Les Mis? He IS like inspector Jaubert. At some point the pursuit became more important than the original intention to seek the truth."
The entire 4,000 word transcript is on the MSNBC Web site. The address, as of Wednesday at least: http://bbs.msnbc.com/bbs/msnbc-transcripts/posts/ei/212.asp 
Comedian Chris Rock, once of Saturday Night Live, used a Wednesday Today show appearance as a platform to praise Bill Clinton and threaten Ken Starr and George Stephanopoulos. This Friday HBO begins a 13-week run of Friday night variety shows hosted by Rock, the hook for his Today booking. Rock's analysis is too bizarre to adequately summarize, so you'll need to read the excerpts below that were caught and transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.
From the August 19 Today:
Chris Rock: "You got the President. They're all over him. I don't get it. Leave this man alone....They question everything he does, you know. They don't give him any slack. You know Clinton will spend a $100 bill and they'll put it up to the light, 'let me check that out there.'"
"And what did you think of his apology the other night. Did you watch
this story doesn't interest you. So if on your talk show President
Clinton were to appear you wouldn't have any major question you would
want to ask him?"
As several CyberAlert readers alerted me, Tuesday night on his The Big Show/White House in Crisis 8/11pm ET MSNBC shows, host Keith Olbermann suggested that Kenneth Starr looks like a particular Nazi leader. Well, he heard some complaints. So Wednesday night, August 19, he delivered this clarification and apology, though not retracting his suggestion that Starr's face reminds him of the Nazi Heinrich Himmler:
"For months since I have looked at videotape of Kenneth Starr's face I have thought he looks like somebody famous from history, but who? Not long ago it dawned on me and yesterday, in a question to one of my guests, I mentioned it, that facially Ken Starr reminded me of Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses, the infamous Nazi. We got a number of calls from people who were offended by that remark, who thought I was comparing Starr to Himmler and insulting Starr or who thought I was comparing Starr to Himmler and demeaning the terrible importance of the Holocaust. And to those people who were offended I sincerely and humbly apologize. I meant only what I said. Facially, the two men look vaguely alike. But I am primarily of German descent, so I carry with me an inherited shame and guilt about this. So despite the innocence of the intent of my remark there, I should have been much more sensitive about invoking that name in this context and for having not been so I am very sorry."
Olbermann's next sentence: "Still ahead for us tonight, did Olbermann's apology go far enough? We'll have the latest poll numbers on that."
That's been my advice: When apologizing for comparing someone to a Nazi or making light of the Holocaust, always follow up with a lame joke that makes light of your apology. -- Brent Baker 
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