Media Wags Circle the Wagons on Rapegate, Washington Post Broaddrick’s charge “a sensational but uncorroborated allegation”, CBS “unsubstantiated claims”, Broaddrick’s story confirmed on the record by nurse who treated her as well as by four other witnesses, Newsmax February 3, 1999


Media Wags Circle the Wagons on Rapegate, Washington Post Broaddrick’s charge “a sensational but uncorroborated allegation”, CBS “unsubstantiated claims”, Broaddrick’s story confirmed on the record by nurse who treated her as well as by four other witnesses, Newsmax February 3, 1999


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From NewsMax February 3, 1999.

“Media Wags Circle the Wagons on Rapegate”

“NBC received some much-needed air support this weekend for holding its own bombshell interview with alleged Clinton rape victim Juanita Broaddrick. It came from CNN, the network that brought America the notoriously bogus “Tailwind” expose.
The Rapegate cover-up reached a fevered pitch on Sunday’s “Reliable Sources,” featuring CNN’s Bernard Kalb, UPI’s Helen Thomas, Chris Bury of “Nightline,” and Fox News Network’s David Schuster. The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz played master of ceremonies.

Kurtz set the segment up by reminding CNN viewers that Broaddrick’s charge was “a sensational but uncorroborated allegation,” according to the Washington Post, that involved “unsubstantiated claims,” according to CBS.

Asked by Kurtz if it was difficult to corroborate such “a complicated story,” Nightliner Bury tried to explain NBC’s “To report, or not to report” Hamlet act, saying:

“This is all a matter of distinctions. Is this a story about someone trying to interfere with an affidavit, interfere with the judicial system? If so, that’s a sensational story and you run it. If it’s a 20-year-old-plus story about a sexual incident that may not be corroborated, then it’s not a story and you don’t run it.”

No corroboration? As has reported, Juanita Broaddrick’s story has been confirmed on the record by the nurse who treated her after the assault as well as by four other witnesses who spoke to NBC.

CNN’s Kalb set the bar for reporting Rapegate even higher:

“The Washington Post using that escape phraseology, ‘sensational but uncorroborated,’ gives you a green light to publish any bit of trash that you want because you’re not responsible. … The moral dilemma here is that a network should not use that story unless there’s independent corroboration. And then you make a determination if there’s any special relevance to the issue at hand. You’ve got a double challenge here.”

Broaddrick’s story trash? As has reported, NBC investigators thoroughly checked out her claim and her background. Their verdict: She’s “very, very credible” and “squeaky clean.”

A scowling Helen Thomas suggested that Broaddrick, who had filed a false affidavit last January denying sex with Clinton, should be indicted rather than allowed a network forum to tell her story:

“If Starr had [focused on the Broaddrick story] so much, he’s already indicted a woman under the same circumstances for changing her story.”

And as far as the House trial managers reported interest in the Broaddrick case, Thomas, the grande dame of the Washington Press corps, complained:

“They should be asked what proof they have. You know, this constant being interviewed and never being asked a relevant question. And is it material, really? Where was she 20 years ago? … I think, if it had relevance then, Starr would have dealt with it. I don’t know if we’ve become the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury and everything else. I’m not saying we shouldn’t search for the truth, but if it isn’t in the realm — and they have so much already to make their judgments on.”

Only Foxs Schuster played it straight, explaining the obvious to the White House press corps spin team:

“The reason so many people are complaining about NBC is because their story now doesn’t appear to be any different than the last time they did it. Back in March, they went through, they talked to [Broaddrick’s] friends, they talked to a nurse, they felt they had the story then and they went with it. The problem is, why now are they not going with it if they’ve got the interview with the person and the story appears to be the same?”

Chris Bury worried that the story was leaking out, despite the best efforts of the mainstream press to suppress it:

“You have congressmen, House managers, who are mentioning the story unasked, on interviews on national television. Yesterday at the White House briefing, you had a reporter asking [Press Secretary] Joe Lockhart [about it]. So it’s the elephant in the room, it’s the rat in the room, and it’s leaking all over the place.”

Kalb closed the segment by chastising the “Reliable Sources” panel for even mentioning the allegation:

“We on this very program now are giving this story an additional momentum by discussing it. It’s picking up new legs because we are discussing it and possibly even arousing curiosity about it.”

“So why are you doing it?” snapped octogenarian Thomas, growing testy at the thought that the media’s Juanita Broaddrick cover-up might not succeed.”

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