- The Washington Times - Monday, January 22, 2001

Bias? What bias?

"During ABC News' live coverage [Friday] of a deal between Independent Counsel Robert Ray and outgoing President Bill Clinton, anchor Peter Jennings complained that the prosecutor had used his 'enormous leverage' to force Clinton to admit he had testified falsely in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit in January 1998.
" 'I gather that the independent counsel must have been hitting these people with a sledgehammer in the final days of the presidency,' Jennings griped to ABC political analyst and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos.
"Stephanopoulos agreed that the deal was 'a bitter pill,' but lectured the audience that Clinton had not been forced to 'admit to criminal conduct.'
"Jennings presented Clinton as the victim. 'His critics will not be disappointed to see this happen, and his enemies, too, nonetheless, it's a very sad, almost tragic way for the president to spend his last day in office,' he mourned."
from a "Media Reality Check" issued Friday by the Media Research Center at www.mrc.org

Courtroom clown

"Alan Dershowitz says he doesn't get defensive when people accuse him of going a little overboard in his analysis of the Florida presidential fight. Yes, he accused George W. Bush of staging a 'legal coup d'etat' and called secretary of state Katherine Harris a crook. But Dershowitz, the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard University, says his statements made during a seemingly endless succession of television appearances are part of his role as an educator. 'I defend my positions,' he says. 'My job as a teacher is partly as a public provocateur …
"For all his non-defensiveness he has to defend himself a lot these days… . Whatever the specific criticism, what Dershowitz is really fighting is the sense that in the past few years, his career has taken a strange and, for some, sad turn… . For all his self-promotion and love of publicity, Dershowitz was at one time more respectable than he is today. The man who was once viewed as a flamboyant but solid civil libertarian has now taken on an almost clownish public persona. What happened?
"For most of Dershowitz's critics and even some of his admirers the answer begins with two letters: O.J… .
"After O.J., Dershowitz found himself the target of far more scathing assessments: 'Did you see who they brought in to speak for Clinton yesterday?" Jay Leno asked in a 'Tonight Show' monologue after Dershowitz testified before the House committee considering the Clinton impeachment issue. 'Alan Dershowitz. Is that a good idea? It seems pretty sad when your only character witness is the same guy who defended O.J. Simpson.' "
Byron York, writing on "Alan Dershowitz, Goofball," in the Feb. 5 issue of National Review

Britney the prude

"Britney Spears is under fire again for what she's wearing but this time, the complaint is that she's too covered up.
"Locals in Rio de Janeiro, where the teen pop queen is performing, say the bikini she's romping around in doesn't show enough of her body.
" 'Her bikini is as big as a U.S. state,' one Brazilian TV newsman, who polled Britney's male fans, told the Brazilian Press Association.
" 'With all that fabric, in Brazil you could make three swimsuits.'
"And she's taken time out to visit some of Rio's famous tourist attractions including its beaches which feature some of the teeniest thong bikinis in the world… .
"The Britney bikini criticisms are a far cry from what she's used to in this country.
"In the past, the 19-year-old songbird has been blasted by parents groups for wearing eye-popping outfits at her concerts and on TV that they say revealed too much cleavage."
Bill Hoffman, writing on "Brazilians to Britney: Show us some skin," in Friday's New York Post

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