As the impeachment trial got underway on Tuesday, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig joined CNN Newsroom co-hosts Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto to try and indict"controversial" members of President Trump's defense team. Naturally, the segment was full of hypocrisy, bungled facts, and faulty analogies. Honig claimed Ken Starr would become "a walking, talking exhibit' for the House Democrat impeachment managers.
Broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC have donated 75 hours of free air time to Democrats’ impeachment hearings against President Trump, despite bad (and consistently shrinking) ratings. Yet in 1998 during President Clinton’s impeachment, these same networks could not be bothered to carry more than a few hours of independent counsel Ken Starr’s one-day presentation of the evidence against the President.
As Democrats make hay out of the potential “obstruction of justice” details in the Mueller report and ponder impeachment proceedings, the New York Times is taking a much more enthusiastic line on impeaching a president than it did the last time it was done, to Democrat Bill Clinton, in 1999. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos reported on Thursday’s front page under a headline suggesting Democrats would only be upholding their sacred duty by impeaching Trump: “Impeachment Divides a Party Balancing Duty With Danger.”
In the wake of the announcement on Sunday that Robert Mueller “did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia,” many in the news media are visibly upset with the Special Counsel for not being more aggressively anti-Trump. On Monday’s New Day, for example, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates exclaimed that it was “really atrocious” that Mueller refused to make a legal conclusion about whether the President had committed obstruction of justice, while over on NBC’s Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie fretted: “Is that a cop out? Isn’t this his job?”
Remember back when journalists were skeptical of independent investigations into presidents? In the days when Ken Starr was looking into Bill Clinton, journalists weren’t so supportive. On November 25, 1998, 20/20's Diane Sawyer grilled Starr, saying of the Starr Report: “This has been called demented pornography, pornography for puritans.”
Twenty years after he recommended to Congress that President Clinton be impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice, Kenneth Starr has written a book about it. Surely, with the passage of time and many other books exploring the Lewinsky affair and the other Clinton scandals, Starr can be treated with dignity and respect. Back then, he faced ABC’s Diane Sawyer calling his Starr Report “demented pornography, pornography for Puritans.” Twenty years later, nothing has changed.
The journalists on CBS This Morning, Monday, eagerly grilled Ken Starr about his investigation of Bill Clinton in the ‘90s. Co-host Norah O’Donnell also pressed the former special counsel about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanuagh’s role in looking into the Clintons.
By far, the biggest news story of the Trump presidency has been the Russia investigation. As of August 15, the three broadcast network evening newscasts have devoted a combined 1,854 minutes to the probe, or nearly one-fifth (19.6%) of all of their Trump news. Yet virtually none of that airtime (just 62 minutes, or 3.3%) has been spent scrutinizing Robert Mueller’s investigation — a big shift from twenty years ago, when the networks made Ken Starr’s conduct the focus of much of their coverage.
New York Times reporters Michael Shear and Adam Liptak’s review of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his involvement in Ken Starr’s independent counsel investigation of President Bill Clinton, made the front page of Sunday’s edition. It conveniently served as a defense of the Clintons against the “puritanical” “hatred” of Republicans: “Court Pick, Soldier in the Battle to Impeach Clinton, Has Regrets.” The reporters's opening and closing quotes are from former Clinton adviser current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, surely a nonpartisan source of objective wisdom on the matter at hand.
On Tuesday's New Day on CNN, during discussions of President Donald Trump selecting Judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin again fretted over the possibility that the Court will overturn Roe v. Wade and allow discrimination against homosexuals.
Today’s journalists routinely assert that it is “extreme,” “dangerous,” and possibly even criminal for the White House – or anyone else, for that matter – to criticize an investigation into the President. But twenty years ago, Independent Counsel Ken Starr was savaged by the same liberal media during his investigation of then-President Bill Clinton. At that time, Starr was harangued as a “partisan” and “inept prosecutor,” and a “peeping Tom.”
Late Wednesday’s CNN Tonight served as another case of the liberal media worshipping fake news anchor Dan Rather as he was subjected to praise from host Don Lemon as “a legendary journalist” with insight pummeling President Trump over the Russia probe and Stormy Daniels.