Special Reports Personal Collection:
Norris Carden's (www.nuzman.com) e-mail collection of Drudge's Special Reports (5/31/1997 - 1/17/2001.)
XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SAT JULY 11 1998 18:48:01 UTC XXXXX
TAPES DETAIL TURMOIL WITHIN CNN; CONVERSATIONS RECORDED!
The DRUDGE REPORT has obtained a transcript of a conference call between CNN
reporters and producers that went down the morning they all learned that CNN
Chair Tom Johnson would retract the network's Tailwind story.
A transcript of the recorded conversation is set to be published in the
ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION later in the weekend, according to one
It is not known who recorded the shocking conversation, but the candid talk
reveals a raw turmoil inside of CNN on the morning of July 2 -- the morning
they took back the report that the U.S. military used nerve gas on American
defectors in Laos.
Everyone was fighting eveyone.
Distraught producer April Oliver is caught on tape telling her bosses:
"[You] requested an hour to do this story in January. We wrote a proposal
outlining an hour, knowing full well that it was a controversial story and
that it needed full vetting. Every time that they hit on us in that report,
it's for something we excluded. When you came to us this past spring, you
told us to do a 14-minute piece."
Jim Connor, who is now acting executive producer of CNN's NEWSSTAND tells
Oliver: "That's right."
Oliver: "So, how come we're being fired for not including all these things
that we couldn't possibly fit into a 14-minute piece?"
Connor: "April, you're asking the unanswerable."
Fired Tailwind producer Jack Smith in the tapped phone conversation
expresses outrage over the news that his story would soon be retracted.
Smith: "Fairness is not being accomplished here. They should not go forward
with any public release until we, the principals of this story, who've been
gagged for the last two weeks, have an opportunity to speak about it.
"They have gagged us. They have deceived us and they have misled us and
every reporter in this room should know that. This is a corporate whitewash.
This is a cave to the military establishment, to the secret army which is
one step away from the secret police."
Smith, during the conference call that was caught on tape, provides his
account of his meeting with CNN Chairman and CEO Tom Johnson, who later
offered to resign over the news nightmare. [CNN founder Ted Turner would not
Smith: "Let me tell you so that everybody hears this. Tom Johnson called me
about 10:15 this morning and after we discussed the report. ...I told him
that I strenuously objected to its conclusion and a great many of its
particulars. A great many of its particulars. Tom Johnson then said, 'I'm
here to ask you either to resign or I'm going to terminate you. If you don't
resign, I'll terminate you.' I said to Johnson that there had been an
agreement with David Kohler last night at one in the morning that April and
I would have an opportunity to comment and criticize the draft report and
that no action would be taken until that was accomplished.
"Tom Johnson then said he would hold in abeyance what he said to me with
respect to resignation or termination until that noon meeting, that noon
call with Kohler and whoever else was supposed to be on that call, took
place. That's my last conversation with Johnson. I also told him at the time
that April and I had not been interviewed as part this investigation in
spite of Mr. Abrams and Mr. Kohler indicating that would be done. It was not
done. We were misled and we were deceived."
It is not known where the taping occurred, or if it broke any privacy laws.
The taped conference call included CNN employees in Washington, Atlanta and
other locations, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.
"These tapes are fantastic!" exclaims one Washington observer.
"How ironic: Linda Tripp is in legal hot water over taping. No someone at
CNN maybe, too!"
[MATT DRUDGE IN NEW YORK CITY... MORE ON 'DRUDGE' FOX NEWS TONIGHT, 9:00 PM
ET/6 & 11 PM PT. CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR CHANNELS...]
X X X X X
PRELIMINARY BOXOFFICE REPORT
For Friday, July 10, 1998
1. LETHAL WEAPON 4 $11.305 OPEN
2. ARMAGEDDON $07.170 -47% $083.473
3. SMALL SOLDIERS $04.785 OPEN
4. DR. DOLITTLE $03.285 -49% $080.137
5. MADELINE $02.350 OPEN
6. MULAN $02.080 -55%
7. OUT OF SIGHT $01.265 -50% $027.373
8. TRUMAN SHOW $01.160 -52% $113.802
9. X-FILES $01.125 -58% $071.703
10. 6 DAYS AND 7 FRIGHTS $01.005 -55% $060.996
11. A PERFECT MURDER $00.550 -58% $063.264
12. GONE WITH THE WIND $00.160 -53% $003.561
Dollars are in millions
% denotes change from last Friday
Numbers are moved for private recreational use
The REPORT is issued when circumstances warrant
http://www.drudgereport.com for breaks and steaks
(c)DRUDGE REPORT 1998
Not for reproduction without permission of the author