Plain as the News on Your Face: Clinton Lies and Obstruction That TV News Has Ignored

Executive Summary

Major media figures reprimanded themselves for going "too far" with too little information on the Monica Lewinsky story. But a Media Research Center analysis of past TV coverage by Tim Graham presents five Clinton practices that deserve investigation in the Lewinsky case that the network news has downplayed or ignored in non-sexual scandals:

  1. Hush Money for Friendly Witnesses. Before disgraced former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell testified before Whitewater counsel Kenneth Starr, he gained a half-million dollars in "jobs" secured by Clinton friends. The story drew only six full nightly news stories.

  2. Destruction or Hiding of Documents. Last November, a mechanic discovered a stash of Whitewater documents, including a check made out to Bill Clinton from Whitewater partner Jim McDougal, in the trunk of a tornado-damaged Mercury Marquis. Clinton claimed he never borrowed money from his felonious business partner, but the check matched the amount of a Whitewater loan repayment. Only NBC broadcast a full story.

  3. Violating the Privacy Rights of Adversaries. When Senators investigated the Clinton staff's collection of 900 FBI files of Republican White House employees in the fall of 1996, they found the log listing who gained access to the files was missing. Only CNN reported it briefly.

  4. Failing to Comply with Subpoenas. Well after DNC Finance Director Richard Sullivan testified before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the DNC belatedly released 4,000 pages of subpoenaed documents from Sullivan's office. In House testimony, Deputy White House Counsel Cheryl Mills admitted withholding a damaging memo on the White House Office Data Base for 15 months. Neither of these stories got any TV news coverage.

  5. Keeping Meetings Secret by Filing False Statements. Judge Royce Lamberth fined the White House nearly $286,000 for its misleading testimony in a lawsuit demanding open meetings by the Clinton health plan task force. The networks totally ignored this story.