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CNN on Clinton's "Life"

Reported by Eleanor - June 21, 2004 -

On CNN's Wolf Blitzer (June 21, 5:42 pm ET), Wolf interviewed Jack Quinn, a former Clinton White House counsel, about Clinton's book, "My Life." This interview of Quinn was vastly different from the interviews by Fox. At 6:40 on CNN Lou Dobbs Tonight, a Kelly Wallace report also differed markedly from the Fox coverage of this story.

A stark difference at CNN from the Fox reports is that there was no indication at CNN that the Clinton book might "hurt" John Kerry. Another very noticeable difference is that in both CNN reports, the guest and/or reporter were allowed to say positive things about Clinton and the book without interruption.

Blitzer tried to inject his own ideas about the Clinton "lies," but he allowed Jack Quinn to make all the comments he wanted in support of Clinton. Examples from Quinn: "Ken Starr was revolting. He went after Clinton in a highly personal way. He encouraged people to tell lies. He was determined to get Clinton. History will treat Clinton better than Starr. Yes, Clinton did lie to the American people, but he's contrite about that. Starr determined to bring the First Lady to court to embarrass her for political reasons. That's wrong, immoral. Clinton is contrite and sorrowful. God, I wish Ken Starr had an ounce of the honesty of Bill Clinton. Starr won't admit he was politically motivated. This is why he will never sit on the Supreme Court. We are now faced with a president that lied about WMD, reasons to go to war on Iraq, and prescription drugs. When history looks on one hand at personal foibles, and on the other at false pretenses, history will look at Clinton in a kind way."

Kelly Wallace, CNN reporter, on Lou Dobbs said, "The book won't hurt the Kerry campaign." Clinton told how difficult it was to tell Hillary. That he won his struggle with the republicans, but lost to his own demons with Monica. That he settled old scores with Ken Starr. That it cost the taxpayers $7 million for a big political operation designed to bring down the president. That his greatest regret is that he didn't get Osama bin Laden, and his failure at the Camp David peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians. Wallace says, "The scathing NY Times review is not likely to affect sales. People are lined up for it. People with advance copies say the first part about his childhood is refreshing, but the second part about his presidency was rushed to meet a deadline." The nightly poll asked if viewers will read the Clinton book. The result was 63% yes and 37% no.

Comment: This CNN coverage of the Clinton book, "My Life," is vastly different from the Fox coverage as documented in the blog entry, "Stealing What Spotlight?"