CyberAlert -- 11/16/1998 -- Missing Jones Facts

"Outrageous" Hubbell Indictment Just Like McCarthy; Missing Jones Facts

1) Al Hunt called Starr's indictment of Hubbell "outrageous." MSNBC's Keith Olbermann compared Starr to Joe McCarthy and the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne endorsed the historic analogy.

2) On the Jones settlement only FNC and NBC even alluded to Clinton's insurance deal and how the court was looking at his perjury. Only FNC noted he will pay more than Jones asked for.

3) Dateline also looked at a woman under house arrest for lying about sex in a civil case, but Josh Mankiewicz bizarrely asserted: "It is painful as well to the President and so far, at least, Bill Clinton isn't being held to a different standard."

4) Letterman's "Top Ten President Clinton Screen Names."

>>> Notable Quotables. The November 16 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now up on the MRC home page thanks to Webmaster Sean Henry and research associate Kristina Sewell. Go to: Topic headings include: "All Hail the 'Pragmatic Centrists'"; "Fusillades Against Faircloth"; "Clinton's Just Like Jefferson"; "J. Edgar Hoover = Joseph Stalin?" and "Rather's Election Night Patter: Enough to Gag a Buzzard."<<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Haranguing over Hubbell. The Friday indictment of Webster Hubbell for fraud and cover-up in how he and Hillary Clinton handled the Castle Grande project, outraged media figures, especially MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. Earlier last week he bemoaned how Gingrich's ouster missed by days an anniversary of a Stalin purge. On Friday night he charged Ken Starr with being as deluded as Joe McCarthy.

-- Al Hunt on the November 14 Capital Gang, referring to the impact of the showdown with Iraq: "I don't think it's going to have much impact on impeachment at all. I think Ken Starr's made his own position even worse with this outrageous third indictment of Webster Hubbell. How many times?"

-- Time magazine reporter Michael Duffy on a live Inside Washington produced at 7pm ET on Saturday: "It's hard to know who to root for in the Web Hubbell-Ken Starr thing. On the one hand, here's Hubbell, right, he gets a million dollars from all the President's friends in three months to do nothing in 1994. That's odd, it's strange. I wish we all could get that deal. On the other hand, Ken Starr seems to indict the guy seasonally."

olber1116.jpg (24871 bytes) -- At the end of Friday night's Big Show on MSNBC at 8pm ET, repeated at 11pm ET as White House in Crisis, Keith Olbermann asserted to Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne:
"There's also a line between tenacity and sort of jealousness. E.J., I was watching, just the other night, the highlights of the Army McCarthy hearings. And I was reminded of this today. Joe McCarthy, not even paying attention as with each reference he made to one of Joseph Welch's second chair attorney's, he dug himself deeper and deeper into a hole that he thought, that he thought he was making this point that was for his case and he was just burying himself. Is there not some perception, Mr. Starr's point that Web Hubbell and prosecuting him now is almost walking into a radioactive dump?"
Instead of denouncing Olbermann for impugning Starr with this preposterous analogy, Dionne a former Post and New York Times reporter, piled on, saying that Olbermann's words confirm his theory:
"Well, I think the fact that you just said it suggests it's going to be thought of by a lot of people, sure. It's the Hubbell trifecta. And either it's three strikes and you're out or the third time is the charm. Obviously he believes profoundly, Ken Starr does, that Web Hubbell is lying and has information he needs and he's going to do anything it takes to get it out of him. But the mood has changed a lot on this story. I was struck, watching the first half of the show, that we're talking about Iraq, we're talking about military action, nobody is talking about Wag the Dog. The President is in a very different place. So I think the reaction to this Hubbell indictment is going to be very different because people finally started to see this thing wind down and this says nope it's not winding down at all. He faces potentially over 100 years of jail time which means he'll get out just in time to watch the end of this investigation."

Ha ha. Now, go back to Olbermann and review the phrase, "I was watching, just the other night, the highlights of the Army McCarthy hearings." Talk about bizarre activity. He has too much free time.

The night before, on November 12, Olbermann issued another odd historical analogies. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught this one:

"It was on this date in 1927 that Josef Stalin completed his consolidation of the leadership in Russia by engineering the expulsion from the Communist Party of Leon Trotsky. Darn. With Newt, the Republicans missed that anniversary by just six days."

On the bright side, we won't have Olbermann to lecture us must longer. That evil conservative Rupert Murdoch has bought out the last two years of Olbermann's $600,000 a year MSNBC deal. In December Olbermann will jump to Fox Sports where he's expected to anchor the 11pm ET highlights show for the Fox Sports News show on cable. Just how much did Monicagate annoy Olbermann? In the November 10 New York Post Michael Starr relayed:
"Insiders say Olbermann was so angry at the constant Sexgate coverage that he demanded to be let out of his contract, ripped his nameplate off his door in frustration and often showed up for work just minutes before airtime."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The buildup and build down to a showdown with Iraq dominated weekend network news, leading Friday through Sunday night newscasts. But Friday night all but NBC found time for three scandal-front developments: the indictment of Webster Hubbell, the sending by Starr of Kathleen Willey evidence to the House Judiciary committee and a settlement in the Paula Jones case.

All the networks gave the most time to the Jones case with a full story on it. ABC and FNC gave brief mention to the other two developments, CBS and CNN ran a second story combing Hubbell and the Starr evidence while NBC Nightly News skipped the Willey evidence Friday night (and didn't mention it on Saturday or Sunday night) and gave Hubbell 14 seconds.

In addition to the basic facts of the settlement, there are four relevant points I believe a complete story would have conveyed:
a) The $850,000 deal is $150,000 more than Jones originally asked for.
b) Most of the money will go to Jones's lawyers, so she probably will gain little financial benefit.
c) on Tuesday, as the November 14 Washington Post noted, the appeals court "asked for the full transcript of Clinton's January 17 deposition in this case, which some lawyers close to the Jones camp interpreted as a sign that they were concerned about possible perjury by the President."
d) Insurance will pay. Saturday's Washington Post: "Sources said the President's lawyers have reached a tentative agreement with Chubb Group Insurance to buy out the personal liability policy that has covered some of his legal expenses for close to half the settlement. 'When all is said and done, not a penny will come out of his pocket,' said one person close to the situation." The insurance coverage should have raised all the issues uncovered by Byron York in a 1996 American Spectator piece on how Chubb and another insurance company violated their own rules and industry norms to cover the costs of the Jones suit.

Only FNC's David Shuster and NBC's Lisa Myers even alluded to points c and d, and only Shuster explicitly noted point a.

Here's how the Friday night, November 13, evening shows handled the scandal developments:

-- ABC's World News Tonight squeezed all three news items into 2:06, leaving time after Iraq for full stories on a convention of those who escaped death row when later found innocent and the 30th anniversary of Sesame Street.

Jackie Judd began with the Jones settlement: "Paula Jones began her lawsuit saying all she wanted was an apology from the President. Then she began demanding money. What she ended up with was an $850,000 settlement and no admission of any wrongdoing by Mr. Clinton...."
After noting that it's unclear how much she'll get compared to her lawyers and that her lawyers knew her case was weak legally, Judd concluded: "For the President ending the lawsuit, in the words of one ally, removes a distraction for the rest of his term. And his lawyer said tonight the President was not prepared to spend even one more hour on the matter."

Peter Jennings then asked her about the Willey evidence and Hubbell indictment. On Hubbell, she told viewers: "For the third time Starr has indicted Hubbell, this time for alleged fraud and perjury related to a land deal in Arkansas known as Castle Grande. One count says that Hubbell sought to cover up the true nature of the relationship of one of his law partners with the land deal. That law partner was Hillary Clinton. Hubbell said tonight he is innocent, there's nothing Starr can do to him to make him lie about his friends, Bill and Hillary Clinton."

-- CBS Evening News. Phil Jones got 1:08 to cover the Jones decision, opening: "It was on April Fools day that Paula Jones's lawsuit was thrown out of court. Now, on Friday the 13th, President Clinton has agreed to pay even though a federal judge has ruled her claim is without legal merit."
Phil Jones observed that Clinton made no admission of guilt and it's unclear how much Paula Jones will get, and then concluded his brief story: "Tonight, Mr. Clinton's lawyer said the President settled because he is not prepared to spend one more hour on this matter. Now all he has to worry about is impeachment."

Next, from the White House, Scott Pelley looked at the Willey case and ran a clip of her from 60 Minutes in which she accused Clinton of groping her. He ended with a quick summary of the Hubbell indictment.

-- FNC's Fox Report. Live, over sirens in the streets of DC, David Shuster announced: "President Clinton has agreed to pay Paula Jones $850,000, that's more money than Paula Jones was suing for before the case was dismissed. The agreement was reached late this afternoon. There had been increasing fears in the Clinton camp that the appeals court in Minneapolis was getting ready to reinstate the lawsuit. They had requested some depositions of the President and Paula Jones. In addition, many lawmakers on Capitol Hill had been urging" him to settle....

Co-anchor Uma Pemmaraju asked Shuster about Hubbell and Willey.

-- CNN's The World Today. Eileen O'Connor provided a full report on the Jones case, reviewing its history and what was alleged to have happened in the hotel room, but not raising any of the issues listed above. Co-anchor Jim Moret then talked live with former Jones attorney with Gil Davis, asking about legal fees and whether Clinton would be "perceived as admitting guilt." Up next, Bob Franken looked at Willey and Hubbell.

-- NBC Nightly News. Lisa Myers raised the insurance issue: "Sources close to the President are optimistic the money will come from his insurance policies, not from the Clinton's themselves. Tonight the President, through his lawyer, again called Jones's charge, that he exposed himself and asked for sex, baseless. Then why would he pay $850,000 to settle the case. Because, his lawyer said, 'the President has decided he is not prepared to spend one more hour on this matter.'"
Noting that he talked to Bob Bennett while dealing with Iraq, Myers uniquely offered a view from the Jones camp: "Tonight in the Jones camp, a sense of vindication. Even before the settlement polls showed most Americans believe something happened to Paula Jones in that hotel room."
Susan Carpenter-McMillan on CNBC's Hardball: "This nation owes Paula Jones a real thank you. I think she exposed him for what he was. There would have been no impeachment, no Monica Lewinsky, no Kathleen Willey, there would have been nothing without the Paula Jones case."
Myers concluded by raising perjury: "This does not mean the President is entirely free of this case. The trial judge still can hold him in contempt for lying to her court. And she has signaled she just might do it."

(Memo to Susan Carpenter-McMillan: Given the public attitude do you really think they are thankful about knowing about Lewinsky?)

Brokaw then took 14 seconds for this item: "Also tonight, the President's friend Web Hubbell has been indicted for a third time on fraud and perjury charges stemming from the original Whitewater investigation. Hubbell, who's already served time in federal prison, says he is innocent."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) More on punishment for lying about sex in a federal civil case. The November 13 CyberAlert detailed November 11 stories on NBC's Today and ABC's 20/20 about people being punished for doing what Clinton did. ABC's Sam Donaldson highlighted three cases while Today looked at just one, Barbara Battalino. (Go to:

Well, MRC analyst Mark Drake informed me that Today was just following up on a Dateline story on Battalino run on Friday, November 6. Dateline allowed her to sympathize with Clinton and anchor Stone Phillips emphasized how unusual such a prosecution is. Here are some excepts. Host Stone Phillips opened:
"Lying about sex is one thing. Lying about sex under oath is another. As Congress prepares for impeachment hearings against President Clinton, that will be one of the big questions -- did he commit perjury when he denied having sex with Monica Lewinsky and if so, should he be removed from office? While lying a civil case is illegal, it's almost never prosecuted. But as you are about to see, there are exceptions. Tonight, a story about sex, lies, and secret audiotapes and consequences. Sound familiar?"

Deep into the piece NBC's Josh Mankiewicz observed: "Well, prosecutors refused to go on camera to discuss that [why Battalino was prosecuted] but they did tell us off camera that the evidence of Barbara Battalino's perjury was so clear that they could not ignore it, which is exactly the argument many Republicans are now making about President Clinton's testimony in the Paula Jones' case and before Ken Starr's grand jury. And Barbara Battalino, a registered Republican, is now making an argument that the chief executive might find familiar."
Mankiewicz asked her: "I wonder if, in that context, you have any sympathy for the President?...Even though he's going through many of the same things you are?"

Mankiewicz oddly concluded: "It is painful as well to the President and so far, at least, Bill Clinton isn't being held to a different standard. The weeks and months ahead will tell whether he and Barbara Battalino learned the same lesson about the consequences of a lie."

So far I don't see an ankle transmitter on Clinton, as is worn by Battalino to enforce her house arrest.

Phillips then offered these final words: "There is another similarity between the cases involving Barbara Battalino and Bill Clinton. Both the Paula Jones' lawsuit and Ed Arthur's case [suit against Battalino] were thrown out of court. As for federal prosecutions for civil perjury, Dateline has been able to find only eight cases in the six years of the Clinton administration."

As pointed out in the November 13 CyberAlert, the network evening shows have yet to inform their viewers that there are very real examples of people being held to account for lying about sex in a federal civil case.


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) From the November 13 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten President Clinton Screen Names." Copyright 1998 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. PuffyDaddy
9. Luv2Lie
8. BiteMeKen
7. FirstStud
6. ImpeachMe
5. Al-Gore
4. 2Slick4U
3. Who'sHillary?
2. InternDFlower
1. SpockRules

And, from the Late Show Web page, some of "the extra jokes that didn't quite make it into the Top Ten."

-- Perjurer@1600
-- DraftDodgr
-- LuckyBstrd
-- BabsBagger
-- LittleRocks

Some ideas here for those of you on AOL. --Brent Baker

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