Broaddrick and Hemings, March 23, 1999 (Previous version: March 11, 1999)

This website is about media coverage of different scandals. Juanita Broadderick accuses President Clinton of raping her in 1978. Many people say that such accusations should not be reported. Looking back, however, many of the newspapers saying this were very eager to report accusations of less severe misconduct supported by far flimsier evidence, when such reporting helped Bill Clinton.

. The following table results from a Lexis search. I searched for JUANITA BROADDRICK for January 1-February 25, 1999. I searched for SALLY HEMINGS for November 1-5 of 1998. Day 1 of the Broaddrick story is February 20, 1999, the day after the WSJ editorial page story. Day 1 of the Hemings story is November 1, 1999.

The Day After the Story Broke that a Paper Reported It, and the Number of Words in the First Five Days
PAPER Broaddrick Day (words) Hemings Day (words)
Boston Globe 3-2756 1-3514
New York Times 4-2344 1-4622
Los Angeles Times 1-1379 1-1867
Ottawa Citizen (-9)-3928 1-617
St Louis Post-Dispatch Not reported 1-702
Washington Post 1-7259 1-4497

Daily News (New York)
1-5688 2-1836
Scotsman 1-2181 2-553
Independent (London) 1-395 2-393
WSJ (news) 5-684 2-533

USA Today
3-877 3-2219
San Francisco Chronicle Not reported 3-1140
Detroit News 5-461 3-551

Houston Chronicle
5-336 4-821
Times (London) 1-721 4-401

Guardian (London)
1-531 Not reported
Daily Telegraph (London) 1-733 Not reported
Sunday Times (London) (-9)-2342 Not reported
WSJ (editorial) 0-3700 Not reported
Thus, the Boston Globe reported on Sally Hemings on Day 1 (November 1) and had stories totalling 3,514 words within the first five days. It reported the Juanita Broaddrick story on Day 3 (February 22), and had stories totalling 2,756 words within the first five days.

The table shows that foreign papers (boldfaced) tended to give more play to Broaddrick than to Hemings, whereas the reverse is true for American papers. Two foreign papers even jumped the gun and were ahead of the Wall Street Journal by 8 days in reporting on the Broaddrick story.

The first two entries, the Boston Globe and New York Times, are especially notable. Both had heavy and early reporting of the Hemings story, but lighter and later reporting of the Broaddrick story. The Daily News and WSJ Editorial Page are also interesting; both of them thought that President's Clinton's alleged act of rape was more newsworthy than Thomas Jefferson's alleged affair with a slave.

A statistical analysis of this might be interesting-- means and correlations for the two variables, and some kind of sample-splitting technique. I don't have time for that now, tho.

See also the link below to the Capitol Hill Blue story about TV coverage of the Broaddrick rape.

This analysis contains

  1. A Table of Data on Coverage
  2. Link to "Broadcast news ignores Juanita Broaddrick story", a Capitol Hill Blue story with details on TV coverage of the story. (Off-site.)
  3. Headlines
  4. Story Content
  5. The Hemings-Jefferson Story
  6. My Comments
  7. Links to Jefferson and Broaddrick Sources
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