Saturday, November 20, 2004

Clinton Library

I've compared recent new stories from both CNN and Fox News about the dedication of the Clinton library. Here are some differences between the two. Some of the differences are subtle and others are not. CNN quotes are in blue; Fox in red; my comments in brackets. These are from November 19th articles posted on their respective web sites.

1. CNN (2nd paragraph):
The library and presidential center has offered Clinton an opportunity to further define his legacy as the nation's 42nd commander-in-chief. Fox (1st paragraph): Former President Bill Clinton said his new library, dedicated Thursday in Little Rock, Ark., represents the changes that took place in the United States during his eight years as president. [Subtle, but one talks about legacy and the other about changes.]

2. Fox (3rd paragraph): Designed to reflect Clinton's eight-year-long theme of building a bridge to the 21st century, the $165 million glass and steel home of Clinton memorabilia and artifacts, holds memories the president can be proud of as well as a few recollections he may prefer to forget. [Mention, early on in the article, of negative aspects of the presidency.] CNN (12th paragraph): The library offers a "warts and all" look at Clinton's presidency, including his impeachment and a brief mention of his acknowledged relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That exhibit -- which is titled "The Fight for Power" -- also criticizes former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, leader of the Whitewater probe. [No other mention is made of Clinton's scandal but this one mention follows with a criticism of Starr comment.] Later in the article Fox says:
The privately funded center exposes not only highlights from the 42nd president's terms in office but some lowlights, too, including the president's impeachment by the House of Representatives. "Presidential libraries are not about rewriting history. Presidential libraries are about preserving history, and they reflect the good and the bad, the success and failures and the victories and defeats," said Skip Rutherford, head of the Clinton Presidential Library Foundation. Even Monica Lewinsky's name appears in the library, in the alcove titled "The Fight for Power," which details the legal battles between Clinton and special counsel Kenneth Starr and congressional Republicans. The display is taken from Clinton's point of view, but historians say that is to be expected in any presidential library."We really let our visitors and all the people who come and visit this library over the next 20 years to decide whether or not it is objective," said presidential library director David Alsobrook.

3. Fox: In that alcove are also other memorable moments from the Clinton era, including the Republican-led legislation called the "Contract With America" and the Whitewater investigation, which includes Whitewater figure Susan McDougal in her U.S. Marshals-provided orange jumpsuit. "We had to show this was a systematic attempt by Republican leaders to delegitimize Bill Clinton and the administration," said former Clinton adviser Bruce Lindsey, who worked with the ex-president through much of the exhibit-design process. [Fox is focussing a little more on the controversies of Clinton's administration and how those are depicted in the library.]

4. Fox:
"A lot of memories, but unfortunately for Democrats, it's all we have right now," said Democratic strategist James Carville. Big-name Democrats are in Little Rock for the occasion, talking about the future of the party. Democrats have lost two consecutive presidential elections since Clinton held office. [Fox chooses to add some connections to the recent elections.]

5. Fox (last paragraph): When the building opens to the public Friday, visitors paying $7 can peruse the library's 14 alcoves detailing different aspects of Clinton's Oval Office years — one of which is dedicated to scandal. [Fox adds a parting shot for the last comment.]

6. Both gave descriptions of the celebreties present and facts and figures about the new facility. Quotes of speaches by various speakers were given although both use different quotes.

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