Tale of two special councils: In age of Bubba, before the Internet, the optics were different

by WorldTribune Staff, May 25, 2018

Ken Starr, the special counsel appointed to investigate President Bill Clinton, was routinely slammed by the major media as “partisan,” “inept,” and even “a peeping Tom.”

Ken Starr, left, and Robert Mueller

Now, the same media say it is “dangerous,” possibly even criminal, for the Trump White House or anyone else to criticize special counsel Robert Mueller, the Media Research Center (MRC) noted in a May 23 analysis.

So, other than the party of the president, what has changed in 20 years?

On May 21 MSNBC host Chris Matthews said of the Trump administration’s attitude towards Mueller: “President Trump is indicating today that he’s willing to go to extreme new lengths to discredit the Russia probe.”

CNN Tonight host Don Lemon said: “It seems extremely dangerous that you have investigators investigating the investigation. You have a president who appears to be, by anyone’s standards, trying to manipulate the process.”

Chris Cuomo said on the May 22 edition of CNN’s New Day: “The logic is clear. Attack the people who are attacking you, even if it’s just in perception. Bring down their credibility, and that will reduce the impact of anything they find…”

In March, MSNBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander suggested that a tweet in which Trump had criticized Mueller somehow constituted a criminal act: “Does this effort to sort of undermine and discredit this investigation… does this only add to this obstruction of justice effort by Robert Mueller?”

The MRC noted that “Journalists sang a very different tune when it was a Democratic president under scrutiny. Accusations of Ken Starr’s supposed partisan zeal and incompetence were commonplace throughout the investigation, and as the probe dragged on, the cacophony of dissenting voices only grew fiercer.”

MRC analysts combed the archives and found the following examples of media bashing Starr:

“There is growing controversy tonight, about whether the newly named independent counsel in the Whitewater case is independent or a Republican partisan allied with a get-Clinton movement.” – Dan Rather on the Aug. 8, 1994 CBS Evening News.

“What the judge said plays directly into what the White House’s allies have been saying, that this is an over-zealous prosecutor over-reaching in a bid to bring down the President.” – ABC’s Jackie Judd ending a story on charges dismissed in the Hubbell tax evasion case on World News Tonight, July 1, 1998.

“If he doesn’t come forward very soon with credible evidence of lawbreaking, he will go down in history as the Peeping Tom Prosecutor.” – Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter on The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC, April 1, 1998.

“At any point have you suggested to Judge Starr that it’s time to shut the office down or that he may be pressing too hard?” – Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer to Judge Robert Bork, 1998.

See the MRC’s compilation video of Starr bashing here


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