Fox News’s 'Scandalous' on Feb. 25 is right over the target
On Sunday, Feb. 25, the Fox News Channel will premiere part 6, the second-to-last episode, of its new series Scandalous that focuses on the 20th century scandals involving Bill and Hillary Clinton. Parts 1-5 of Scandalous – the series premiered on Jan. 21 – have been the highest rated programs on all of cable news on each Sunday night that they have been broadcast. On Sunday Feb. 18, for example, the Nielsen Research ratings confirmed that episode 5 of Scandalous trounced parts 3 and 4 of CNN’s heavily promoted six-hour documentary series on Patty Hearst and also had higher ratings than any other program on the three major cable news channels during that entire day and night.
Scandalous is a detailed, chronological account of the scandals involving Bill and Hillary Clinton through 1999, when President Clinton was tried for impeachment in the U.S. Senate. Each episode of Scandalous has been more compelling than the previous one as the dramatic documentary builds momentum to the denouement – the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton – the first trial in the Senate of a U.S. president for high crimes and misdemeanors in 130 years.
President Bill Clinton and White House Intern Monica Lewinsky
The two decades that have passed since the news of the Monica Lewinsky scandal that resulted in Bill Clinton’s impeachment first broke have tended to soften the memory of the highly charged and salacious events that captivated and divided the nation for a period of 13 months in 1998-’99. Bill Clinton was ultimately acquitted of impeachment charges that were passed by the House of Representatives in December 1998. In his 1999 trial in the U.S. Senate, he was allowed to finish out his second term that ended on Jan. 20, 2001.
President Bill Clinton testifies before the Special Prosecutor’s Grand Jury August 1998: “It depends on what the definition of 'is' is.”
Scandalous is a fresh reminder, after the passage of two decades during which memories of these events have largely faded (or have likely never been processed at all by people under the age of 35 or 40 today) of the serious illegal acts committed by President Clinton, including obstruction of justice, perjury when testifying under oath, subornation of perjury (by another witness), and bribing a witness.
Defenders of the Clintons have long maintained – and with most people’s memories fading, this false meme has tended to carry the day – that Bill Clinton’s “crimes” were little more than engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Lewinsky was 27 years younger than the president at the time of their affair. Whatever else happened as a result of their dalliance and Clinton’s attempts to cover it up, it was – then and now – a classic no-no, legally and ethically, in the workplace.
Instead of a nothingburger, Bill Clinton’s actions constituted serious illegalities and certainly merited his impeachment. Whether or not he should have been convicted and removed from office is a question the viewer will be left to decide.
As I have written previously, parts 1-5 of Scandalous, and presumably the remaining parts 6 and 7, represent a serious, balanced, fresh, and very compelling effort to revisit a major news event of 20 years ago that consumed the news media and the nation’s political dialogue for a period of 13 months. While television and film documentaries about President Richard Nixon’s “impeachment” (in reality, Nixon was never impeached; he resigned before a vote in the House to impeach him could be taken) are numerous, nothing that I can recall until Scandalous came along has ever been done on the subject of Clinton’s actual impeachment.
This exploration of the subject is long overdue. It is especially relevant in 2018 with many Democrats now on record promoting the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump – with little justification, of course, and few if any references being made to the nation’s last impeachment, of their fellow Democrat President Clinton. Prior to Clinton’s impeachment, the only other time a U.S. president was impeached was 130 years earlier when President Andrew Johnson was tried in the Senate for high crimes and misdemeanors. He avoided conviction by a single vote margin.
President Andrew Johnson, other than Bill Clinton the only president to be impeached, in 1868.
Also premiering on Fox News on Sunday Feb. 25, at 10 P.M. E.T., is the brand new weekly hour long program featuring popular conservative radio talk show host Mark Levin, Life. Liberty and Levin. The program was announced last Nov. 21. In its news release that day, Fox News noted:
The hour-long program will feature Levin's lively in-depth and long-form interviews and powerful debate style with consequential guests covering history, philosophy, and economics. Levin will also capitalize on his extraordinary knowledge and compelling perspective as a constitutional lawyer to discuss the American founding, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
Levin is an attorney who served in the Reagan administration as chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese. He got his start in radio two decades ago by appearing as a guest legal analyst on Rush Limbaugh's and Sean Hannity's radio shows. In 2002, Levin was given a program of his own: weekends on WABC AM 770 in New York. In 2003, he moved to the 6-9 P.M. M-F slot on WABC, Hannity's flagship station at the time, immediately following Hannity's show. In 2006, The Mark Levin Show, which continues to air live at 6 P.M. EST, went into national syndication.
Levin is a serious and articulate constitutional scholar, and his legal and political expertise is reflected on his show. He is the author of over half a dozen New York Times bestselling nonfiction books. The most successful one, Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto, was released in 2009 and became a #1 New York Times bestseller for eleven weeks and was rated #2 on Amazon.com's list of the bestselling books of 2009.
Unlike CNN and MSNBC, which do not program topical news and opinion programs in prime time on Saturdays and Sundays, opting instead for pop documentaries and travel shows (CNN) and prison reality shows (MSNBC), Fox News has expanded its news and opinion offerings on weekend nights – all of them with conservative hosts. On Saturdays, the channel’s Justice with Judge Jeanine (Pirro) is usually the number one program of the night on all three major cable news channels. Last summer, Fox News added another live conservative news and opinion show, The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, to its prime time Sunday lineup. And as of tonight, Mark Levin joins the Sunday schedule, as well, immediately following Hilton.
Fox News conservative favorites Greg Gutfeld and Jesse Watters also host highly rated programs on Saturday nights, with replays on Sunday afternoons.