Sex Scandals

By Paul Bremmer | May 12, 2014 | 5:35 PM EDT

It looks like the MSNBC-Republican syndrome is starting to affect Joe Watkins, Alex Witt’s go-to GOP strategist now that Susan Del Percio has left the network. On Saturday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Watkins joined his more liberal colleagues in defending the Clintons from Monica Lewinsky’s re-emergence in Vanity Fair.

When asked his opinion of the whole matter, the strategist made it clear he was tired of the story. He erupted:

By Matthew Balan | May 8, 2014 | 6:50 PM EDT

Thursday's New Day on CNN hyped Monica Lewinsky's Vanity Fair article and acknowledged that former President Clinton's sex scandal with the now former White House intern casts doubt on Hillary Clinton's credibility in the realm of women's issues. Chris Cuomo noted that Lewinsky "makes a decent case that women, who are all gathering around Hillary as the obvious choice for them, may want to rethink it, based on how she characterizes her role in her husband's affair."

Panelists Amy Chozick of the New York Times and Republican strategist Margaret Hoover agreed with Cuomo's point, but all three, along with anchor Kate Bolduan, played up the "delicate position" for Republicans if they raised the Lewinsky scandal in a potential presidential race against Hillary Clinton. Hoover hyped that Mrs. Clinton would likely gain an advantage from the issue: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

By Kyle Drennen | May 8, 2014 | 11:08 AM EDT

During a report on Thursday's NBC Today about Monic Lewinsky's article in Vanity Fair magazine, correspondent Peter Alexander touted liberal spin that the former Bill Clinton mistress speaking out would actually help Hillary Clinton's political prospects: "Clinton watcher Ruth Marcus argues Lewinsky has done Hillary a big favor." A soundbite followed of the Washington Post columnist proclaiming: "Now if there's a Hillary Clinton campaign for president in 2016, we can move on from the Lewinsky scandal of yore."

In a discussion segment that followed Alexander's report, co-host Matt Lauer wondered to  MSNBC host Alex Wagner: "How does this article, this essay, impact Hillary Clinton should she run for office in 2016?" Wagner argued: "Every time Lewinsky is mentioned, it is good for Hillary Clinton. It reminds everybody of her major accomplishments on the world stage. And people tend to be more sympathetic to Hillary Clinton than Monica Lewinsky because she is the woman scorned." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

By Paul Bremmer | May 7, 2014 | 12:57 PM EDT

Radio host Laura Ingraham dropped a dose of reality on the Democrats’ “war on women” narrative on Fox News Tuesday night. Filling in as host of The O’Reilly Factor, Ingraham began the show with a segment about Monica Lewinsky, who resurfaced this week to write about her affair with Bill Clinton in Vanity Fair.

Ingraham reminded viewers that Hillary Clinton dismissed Lewinsky as a “narcissistic loony toon” in a private letter to her close friend. The Fox News substitute host charged:

By Matthew Philbin | April 25, 2014 | 10:40 AM EDT

Note to institutions embroiled in scandal: when The New York Times calls, don’t bother taking the call.

That, apparently, is the lesson Florida State University learned the hard way on April 16, when a front page Times hit-piece by Walt Bogdanich left out nearly all the information the school said it provided the Times.

By Kyle Drennen | March 18, 2014 | 10:24 AM EDT

ABC News completely ignored the Monday death of heiress Rachel "Bunny" Mellon, who used her wealth to help conceal the mistress of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards. CBS and NBC both noted the passing of the 103-year-old and her connection to Edwards, but failed identify Edwards as a Democrat. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, co-host Norah O'Donnell touted how Mellon "was a horticulturist who redesigned the White House Rose Garden at Jackie Kennedy's invitation." However, when it came to her involvement with Edwards, O'Donnell only vaguely mentioned: "In later years, she gave money to help presidential candidate John Edwards."

By Paul Bremmer | February 17, 2014 | 12:09 PM EST

MSNBC’s Alex Witt is clearly one of those journalists who wishes Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky sex scandal would completely fade from memory so as not to obstruct Hillary Clinton’s potential bid for the White House in 2016. On Sunday’s edition of Weekends with Alex Witt, the host went so far as to apologize after her guest mentioned Lewinsky’s name.

Witt was talking to Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) about Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) attempts to link Mrs. Clinton to her husband’s sexual misdeeds in the 1990s. Cicilline, a loyal Democrat, stuck up for Hillary and downplayed the importance of the scandal:

By Mark Finkelstein | February 17, 2014 | 8:08 AM EST

So who's being the sexist?  Mika Brzezinski went ballistic on today's Morning Joe over Republicans like Rand Paul raising Monica Lewinsky in the context of a possible Hillary presidential run, calling them "sexist" and "misogynistic."  But in the course of her rant, Mika mockingly referred to such Republicans as "little peanuts." Hmm.

Did Mika need to use such suggestive, demeaning language in making her point? You have to view the video to get just how derisive was Mika with her "little peanut" line. View the video after the jump.

By Mark Finkelstein | January 28, 2014 | 7:52 PM EST

Did Al Sharpton just stumble into some unfortunate phrasing, or did he take an intentionally vulgar shot at Rand Paul?  

On his MSNBC show tonight, discussing the fact that Paul recently raised the most salacious scandal of Bill Clinton's presidency, Sharpton said "Rand Paul is really going to try to do the Monica Lewinsky on the Democrats as a way of countering the war on women that they're doing with legislation and all kinds of things."  I'm inclined to believe the sly Sharpton knew exactly what he was doing.  View the video after the jump.

By Tom Blumer | December 27, 2013 | 9:29 AM EST

On April 10, the New York Times almost singlehandedly revived the political career of disgraced Anthony Weiner with an 8,300-word profile of the former Congressman, his wife, and their baby boy Jonathan. Clay Waters at NewsBusters noted shortly thereafter that Jonathan van Meter's profile, which revealed Weiner's intention to become a candidate in New York City's mayoral race while somehow avoiding still-open questions about Weiner's "underage girl problem," had its intended effect, as the major broadcast networks fell in line to "promote his political rehabilitation."

We all know that the attempted rehabilitation failed spectacularly, because the supposed personal rehabilitation which formed its basis turned out to be completely fictional. In late July, a Times editorial called for Weiner to withdraw from the race without owning up to the role the paper had played in his attempted revival. So it figures that the Times, which identified Weiner's demise as one of 2013's "political lowlights" earlier in the day, would ignore Weiner's "Look at me" Thursday Facebook post.

By Tom Blumer | December 22, 2013 | 9:07 PM EST

Let's get it out of the way up-front, and excuse the "too much information" element via the New York Post: New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak is a Democrat who has been accused of having "tormented three workers with lewd antics such as sending a video of himself supposedly receiving oral sex, suggesting they shack up with him in hotels and ..." — sorry, readers who really want to know the final item will have to go to the link.

At the Albany Times Union, which appears to have been the paper which broke the story, reporter James M. Odato waited until the last of his 20 paragraphs to inform readers that "The Erie County Democrat represents the densely populated town of Cheektowaga." Naturally, the Associated Press's far briefer unbylined report did not note Gabryszak's party affiliation. Party ID-free excerpts from Odato's report follow the jump (HT JWF; bolds are mine):

By Tom Blumer | October 23, 2013 | 9:53 PM EDT

In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on "Halliburton no-bid" not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google's counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).

In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone among media outlets in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, "worth as much as $568 million." It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on "CGI no-bid" (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets (as would be expected, the Washington Times is one of the four).