CyberAlert -- 03/12/1998 -- Hubbell's Scam

Hubbell's Scam; Couric's McKinney Connection; Conservatives on Brock

1) All the nets Wednesday night speculated about Clinton testifying, but only FNC told what the grand jurors heard and only NBC detailed the planned Hubbell indictment -- plus, nine months after print reports, NBC got to Hubbell's LA scam.

2) Katie Couric pointed out that the Army is court-martialing Sergeant-Major McKinney for charges similar to those facing Clinton.

3) David Brock is "a disgrace," declared John Podhoretz. "Brock's problem is not conservatism, it is narcissism," asserted David Horowitz who also illustrated how the media have hypocritically accepted Brock's picture of intolerant conservatives.

Clinton & the Stew II. Back by popular demand. The photo of Clinton with his hand on a flight attendant's thigh has been returned to the top of the MRC home page. She's now on the White House staff. MRC Web manager Joe Alfonsi has enhanced the presentation with multiple slides from the video and a link to the CyberAlert describing the scene's relevance to the Starr investigation. Go to or

cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)All the networks Wednesday night ran stories speculating about whether and how President Clinton will testify to the grand jury, though only CBS claimed its story was an "exclusive." NBC's Lisa Myers provided a truly exclusive piece on Ken Starr's intention to indict Web Hubbell unless he cooperates. Nine months after newspaper accounts appeared, as part of her story Myers gave some TV time to how a Los Angeles auditor concluded that Hubbell ripped-off the city.

The grand jury did not hear testimony, but only FNC informed viewers of what the jurors did all day. On FNC's 7pm ET Fox Report David Shuster explained that "prosecutors spent the day playing audio tapes for the grand jury made by Linda Tripp. She recorded hours and hours of conversations with Monica Lewinsky, conversations in which Lewinsky claimed to have had a sexual relationship with the President..."

For CNN's 8pm ET The World Today John King delivered a piece on whether Clinton will testify. Here's what the broadcast networks presented Wednesday night, March 11 on the Monicagate front:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened the show: "Good evening. There was a very strong indication today that the independent counsel Kenneth Starr does intend to call the President to testify before the grand jury that is investigating his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. This continues to overshadow everyday politics in Washington and the next big question is fairly straight forward: will the President willingly tell his version of these events to the grand jury, or will Mr. Starr be forced to try another method."

Sam Donaldson began his piece by asserting: "Peter, according to sources, Kenneth Starr has informed the President's lawyers that at some point he will call Mr. Clinton to testify...."

-- Dan Rather topped the CBS Evening News with the same story as ABC, but claimed it was somehow "exclusive," declaring:

"Good evening. Special prosecutor Ken Starr is seeking sworn testimony from President Clinton himself. CBS's White House correspondent Scott Pelley has exclusive information on this tonight. Scott."

Pelley's "exclusive" information: "Dan, prosecutors are asking for the President's testimony in the Monica Lewinsky obstruction of justice investigation. Prosecutors and the President's lawyers have addressed this subject over the last several days and CBS News is told that prosecutors are asking for Mr. Clinton's voluntary cooperation. Now he has pledged that in the past, but when he was asked today about the grand jury he wouldn't commit..."

Having not offered anything exclusive on Clinton's testimony, Dan Rather next relayed a develop CBS grabbed, without credit, from NBC:

"In a connected development, reports circulated again tonight that Starr is about to indict President Clinton's friend, and former Justice Department official, Webster Hubbell again on new criminal charges. Among other things, this would ratchet up the pressure on Hubbell to cooperate with Starr's wide ranging investigation of the Clinton family and political camp."

-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw launched the show with the true exclusive that Rather borrowed:

"We begin tonight with what appears to be a new offensive in the Ken Starr investigation, one that involves an old friend of the President and a new charge. And once again this move does seem designed to get at the Clintons and Whitewater through the troubles of their Arkansas political family. NBC's Lisa Myers tonight with our exclusive report."

Lisa Myers reported that Webster Hubbell has been notified he will be indicted on charges of tax evasion, making false statements and fraud, charges that could send him back to prison for six years.

Myers elaborated: "The potential charges involve taxes on hundreds of thousands of dollars in controversial fees Hubbell received in 1994 after he resigned from the Justice Department in disgrace and before he went to prison. In all, the President's wealthy friends provided Hubbell more than $500,000 in so-called consulting fees, far more than he ever earned in any year of his life. Some of the money came from the city of Los Angeles for work on an airport project, but the city's controller found that Hubbell filed false statements, billing the city for work never done."

Starr, Myers continued, wants Hubbell to talk about Whitewater and White House efforts to use hush money to impede the investigation. Myers tossed in another intriguing tidbit: "As leverage, Starr is certain to confront Hubbell with a phone call recorded by prison officials in which Hubbell told his wife to reassure friends that he will keep secrets."

Audio of Hubbell: "I'm not going to breach anything personal. When people want things to be private they will always be private with me."

Myers deserves credit for finally getting some air time for the Los Angeles Airport deal, but it should be old news to veteran CyberAlert readers. From the Friday, June 27, 1997 CyberAlert:

"Hubbell Cheated L.A., a City Audit Claims," announced a front page story in the June 24 Los Angeles Times. The Tuesday Washington Post and New York Times ran stories inside. LA Times reporter David Willman explained: "Webster L. Hubbell, the former No. 3 official at the U.S. Justice Department, lied two years ago to win consulting payments totaling $24,750 from the city of Los Angeles and should face the prospect of renewed criminal prosecution, according to an audit report made public Monday. The report concluded that a July 19, 1995, letter Hubbell sent to the city itemizing his supposed work 'was materially false.'" City Controller Rick Tuttle decided: "Mr. Hubbell defrauded the City of Los Angeles."

Coverage: Nothing on any of the broadcast networks Tuesday morning through Thursday night. Not a word on ABC's World News Tonight or GMA, CBS Evening News or This Morning, nor NBC Nightly News or Today.

cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)Katie Couric broke out of the pack Wednesday morning, asking why Gene McKinney is being court-martialed for the same type of accusation facing the Commander-in-Chief. NBC's Today brought together Gary Bauer of the Family Research Counsel and Dallas-based syndicated radio host Tom Joyner. Couric posed this nice set-up question to the Clinton-loving Joyner:

"Do you believe this is some kind of right-wing conspiracy as Hillary Clinton has stated, that this is a Republican conspiracy of some kind?"

But, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, she also pressed Joyner about the contrast between how McKinney and Clinton are being treated:

"Tom let me ask you a question, Tom. I'm just curious, you know Sergeant Major Gene McKinney may be court-martialed for sexual harassment in the military. Obviously there are many differences and they are two distinct cases. But do you see any irony in that about how he is being approached or treated as a result of his behavior and your suggestion that we simply ignore the President's?"

(Joyner replied that McKinney, Vernon Jordan, Betty Currie and Alexis Herman all were targeted just after Clinton launched his racial healing agenda.)

cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)David Brock: An Ungrateful Egomaniac. That's the assessment of two conservative writers who have offered their takes on why the former American Spectator writer decided to renounce his troopergate story and denounce conservatives. Here are some excerpts from John Podhoretz's colorful New York Post commentary and David Horowitz's lengthier treatise published on the Web in which he confronts the media bias in buying into Brock's claim that conservatives ostracize those who dare stray from the party line.

-- Highlights from "What a Sorry Statement from a Sorry Individual," a March 11 piece by New York Post editorial page editor John Podhoretz:

"Dear David, I've just read your open-letter 'apology' to President Clinton in Esquire magazine. I can't contain my anger and disappointment -- anger at the almost boundless hypocrisy you display in your meretricious piece, and disappointment that I had anything to do with launching your career.

"Alas, I did. I gave you your first job out of college at Insight magazine. I should have left you in Berkeley.

"I apologize, America....

"I suspect you're really upset that rank-and-file conservatives who made your book on Anita Hill a best seller stayed away from 'The Seduction of Hillary Rodham' in droves.

"They were right to do so; the book did not deserve an audience. Just because Free Press was foolish enough to give you $1 million for it doesn't mean ordinary people have to buy it so that you can earn out your advance.

"Now you write an article supposedly apologizing to the President for putting his private life on display. But anybody who thinks the apology is heartfelt hasn't spent time hearing you giggle with triumph at your giant-slaying....

"[Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Editor of the American Spectator] paid your salary for six years and defended you against all attackers even when it was difficult to do so. Nice of you to accuse him of having no journalistic ethics, David; what about a simple personal ethic, like loyalty to a one-time colleague and defender?

"Probably you think you don't owe Tyrrell any loyalty because he decided not to renew your contract with the American Spectator. I think if you were still collecting a cool $500,000 from the magazine for three years' work, you wouldn't be expending so much energy trying to cleanse yourself of the conservative taint.

"The big question on the right when it comes to you is this: Can you really pull it off? You've already gotten a six-figure advance for a memoir of your time on the right, which proves that there is an inexhaustible hunger among liberals in publishing houses for anti-conservative works that will never sell.

"But will the liberals in the glossy-mag world take these mea culpas at face value and give you those big freelance contracts you want so much? You need a big income to support those three residences you own, after all. They might; they're not very smart.

"You are. You're also a disgrace.

"Your former friend, John Podhoretz."


To read his entire hard hitting piece, go to:

-- David Horowitz penned a lengthy discourse on what explains Brocks actions. Scott Peterson of the Dittus Group in DC alerted me to this essay for which I can not do justice in this limited space, but the excerpt below picks up about half way through as Horowitz examines the intellectual/media acceptance of Brock's very disputable portrait of an intolerant conservative movement:

"....David Brock's problem is not conservatism, it is narcissism. But once he published his mea culpa, it became politics as well. In the Esquire article, Brock declared his independence from the Right, even as he re-affirmed his conservative views. Apparently, he thought he could be a free-floating journalist sans partisan baggage, accepted as a writer for the liberal media the way he was still accepted at The American Spectator. But the fall-out from his article was already radioactive....

"In his Slate article, [former Newsweek reporter Jacob] Weisberg predictably upped Brock's ante: 'The party where humorless thought police work to enforce a rigid ideological discipline isn't made up of Democrats. It comprises Republicans ....Brock portrays a political subculture in which loyalty to the cause means everything, truth very little." As a liberal journalist, Weisberg is confident, of course, that he is under no obligation to check Brock's claims with a single reportorial call to sources. Who, in the universe of like-minded scribes, would call him to account?

"Not content with a passing hit, Weisberg actually defines the relation between Left and Right as that between free men and slaves: 'The treatment of Brock has no parallel among liberals. A few left-wing journalists, such as Nat Hentoff and Christopher Hitchens, have caught flak for dissenting from the conventional liberal position on abortion. But....'

"If liberal journalists lack a party line, perhaps Weisberg can refer us to the brave liberal souls who did not go along with the wolf-pack that descended on Bork and Thomas, or who may have suggested in some venue I overlooked that the Clinton obstructions of justice and the White House abuse of governmental agencies match (let alone overshadow) Watergate in their implications for constitutional order. Perhaps he will let us all know the names of those who departed from the politically correct line on AIDS. Perhaps he will give us the honor roll of those who broke ranks to describe the feminist witch-hunt in America's military....

"As for the conservative lock-step, what a hoot. In the last six months, Arianna Huffington has attacked every conservative leader Weisberg could name, without noticeably diminishing her invitations to parties or service on the boards of conservative think tanks. Bill Kristol is regularly slammed by Republican leaders, and Pat Buchanan was labeled a 'fascist' by both The American Spectator and Bill Bennett without diminishing his presence at conservative conferences. Newt Gingrich has been viciously caricatured on the covers of National Review and

The Weekly Standard....

"In the wake of the partisan lynching of Justice Thomas, Senator Orrin Hatch accepted, without demurral, Clinton's nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a long-time ideological leader of the feminist left. Was Hatch read out of the conservative movement for this political surrender? Did any conservative journalist rummage through Ginsburg's garbage and personal secrets in order to smear and taint her, as liberals did Thomas and Bork? Was there a relentless Republican interrogation at the hearings aimed at ferreting out her ideological commitments? Did conservatives join in any effort to destroy her ability to be a role model to women, in the way liberals closed ranks to destroy Thomas' public persona and keep him from becoming an inspiration to his community?

"The media is so utterly and pervasively dominated by the liberal culture, that liberals have lost the ability to see who they are and what they do....

"Predictably, David Brock has now dropped his ambivalence and his bid for independent status, and moved on to the greener pastures of the conservative-bashing press. In his April 'open letter,' he claims that he has seen that light. 'If sexual witch-hunts become the way to win in politics, if they become our politics altogether, we can and will destroy everyone in public life.' An interesting concept that manages to smear -- witch-hunt style -- a whole class of people without offering any evidence to support it. Brock's new mentor? Why, it's Sidney Blumenthal, the genie behind the First Lady's 'vast right-wing conspiracy' hysteria, along with several very real sexual witch-hunts against the staff of Clinton's prosecutor Ken Starr."

To read the entire Horowitz essay, go to the Center for the Study of Popular Culture Web page at or, directly to:

Just over two years ago Brock was willing to spend several hours trapped with conservatives inside an enclosed space with no way to exit. Accompanied by Laura Ingraham, now a CBS News and MSNBC commentator, he accepted a complimentary invitation to the MRC's annual dinner for our donors, held in the fall of 1995 on a boat cruising the Potomac and featuring Bob Novak as dinner speaker. Maybe we should send him a bill for the cost of his dinner.

-- Brent Baker

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