MediaWatch: February 8, 1999

Vol. Thirteen No. 3

Today Remembers Hillary's Falsehoods

To mark the one year anniversary of his "historic" interview with Hillary Clinton, Today co-host Matt Lauer invited two Hillary defenders to the program on January 27. The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Ann Douglas, a Columbia professor and author of a glowing Vogue profile of Mrs. Clinton, honored the occasion with liberal spin.

After airing a clip of Hillary denying Clinton had relations with Lewinsky, Lauer inquired, "So, Bob, at that moment, no doubt in your mind that the First Lady did not know the truth about the story."

Woodward, demonstrating a lack of his usually reliable skepticism, responded, "Well based on the best evidence we have at this point she obviously was speaking from the heart, and, which she is able to do with is, I think we all agree, great force. The important thing, she was speaking to a number of audiences here. She was speaking to the Democratic base in the party and she said ‘Look, I’m on his side, I believe him.’ I also think she was speaking to her husband, who then the next day went and gave his first flawless State of the Union address after the scandal broke."

On the other hand, Lauer did ask Douglas, "Ann, people have questions about the First Lady. They say here is this enormously intelligent woman, how could she not have known? How could she not have suspected, considering especially that she had been through this, similar situations in the past?"

After Lauer played part of the interview where the First Lady admitted if the charges were proven true that it ‘would be a very serious offense,’ Lauer asked Woodward, "How does that sound a year later?"

Woodward did not explore her disingenuousness. If she didn’t know the truth about Lewinsky, how could she plausibly claim it never happened on national television? Instead he contended her statement only proved she didn’t know the Lewinsky allegations were true. Woodward claimed, "I think it shows that she really did not know and that in fact for her to say that it would be a very serious offense if this is true, I mean, I take her at her word there. I do not think this is an act."

Later, after Woodward partially debunked Mrs. Clinton’s conspiracy theory by saying he didn’t think Ken Starr was part of a conspiracy, Lauer pressed: "Real quickly, she said if, ‘The real story here if anyone wants to take the time to investigate it.’ Has enough time been spent on that aspect of that story?"