Golf with Bill, overnights in the Lincoln Bedroom, a personal two-and-a-half-hour tour of the White House by the president for his 21-year-old daughter are among the perks Kaplan has enjoyed. His response to press questions about the conflict of interest: "It's nobody's business." And CBS news viewers are now asked to believe it will have no effect on the former "World News Tonight" and "PrimeTime Live" producer's coverage of Hillary.
Kaplan, in fact, has long lacked professionalism and traded in bias:
• CNN had to retract its 1998 "Tailwind" report in the very first edition of the Kaplan-created "NewsStand" news magazine show. The program claimed the U.S. military used nerve gas in a mission to kill American defectors in Laos during the Vietnam War.
• In the 1993 Food Lion lawsuit against ABC's "PrimeTime Live," a jury demanded ABC pay the supermarket chain $5.5 million for fraud — and that executive producer Kaplan personally pay $35,000. Food Lion had accused the show's producers of deceiving the public with "staged events and selective editing." (ABC successfully appealed the verdict.)
• Vanity Fair reported in 1998 that Kaplan in October 1994 killed an ABC "World News Tonight" segment on the Clintons' Whitewater scandal featuring an exclusive interview with an Arkansas state trooper who claimed a Clinton aide had tried to silence him, and that Kaplan discouraged other Whitewater coverage.
• It also revealed Kaplan advised Bill on how to bounce back from his disastrously tedious speech to the 1988 Democratic National Convention, in which he was practically booed off the stage.
• The magazine also reported that Kaplan even once hired Hillary "to work on coverage of the 1980 Democratic convention."
• According to a CNN producer quoted in the Washington Monthly in 1993, Kaplan arranged for Bill to appear on New York's Don Imus radio program during the 1992 campaign.