Castigating GOP for Politics “Even Before Wellstone is Buried”
When Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) died tragically in a late October plane crash, Democrats selected former Vice President Walter Mondale to replace him. The day after the crash, CNN’s Judy Woodruff asked loaded questions about the Republican campaign against Mondale in an interview with Sen. Harry Reid
Morning Shows Downplayed Memorial Turned Liberal Rally
Wellstone’s memorial attracted 20,000 people including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y), former Vice President Al Gore, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) went to pay his respects and was roundly booed. Initial network reports downplayed the partisan nature of the event.
Extra Edition, October 30)
Speak No Evil of Mondale
Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Walter Mondale was described in glowing terms by network correspondents, who even praised his 1984 pledge to raise taxes.
Reality Check, October 30)
CBS: A Little Help for Our Friends
Dan Rather scolded Republicans for a Georgia ad and claimed both sides in the Minnesota race were getting “dirtier and nastier.”
A more detailed look at Rather and CBS’s slanted, pro-Democrat coverage was provided in a
Media Reality Check.
Schieffer Calls Bowles a Conservative
CBS correspondent Bob Schieffer gave viewers a glimpse into his liberal worldview when he called North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Erskine Bowles, a former chief-of-staff for Bill Clinton, “fairly conservative.”
60 Minutes Does a Texas One-Step
The Sunday before the election 60 Minutes ran a story on the Texas senatorial and gubernatorial elections. The only “expert” interviewed for the segment was liberal columnist Molly Ivins, who predictably castigated Republicans and praised Democrats.
Reality Check, November 4)
Another Double Standard:
Democratic Gay-Bashing No Big Deal
South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Alex Sanders blasted former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. “His wife kicked him out and he moved in with two gay men and a Shih Tzu. Is that South Carolina values? I don’t think so,” Sanders said. The comment was followed by media silence. Giuliani told George Stephanopoulos on
This Week that if Sanders had been a Republican, a media firestorm would have erupted.
Election Night Coverage
Baffled By Republican Victories
The media wondered why the economy didn't help Democrats.
Dems Lost Because They Weren’t Liberal Enough
Journalists and pundits looked at the election results and came to a startling conclusion. The Republican victories weren’t an indicator of the country’s conservative mood but proof that Democrats weren’t liberal enough.
The message was even clearer by the following afternoon. The Republican victory meant that the country wanted both parties to move left, the media said.
Reality Check, November 6)
And Because Their Patriotism Was Questioned
Time’s Margaret Carlson claimed “Democrats were shy of saying too much about Iraq” because the Republicans would attack with an ad “questioning their patriotism.”
Media Theme: Don’t Pursue a Divisive, Conservative Agenda
CNN’s Jeff Greenfield and MSNBC’s Chris Matthews warned Bush not to carry out a conservative agenda.
It’s not right to govern from the right, CBS’s Harry Smith suggested to Mississippi Republican Senator Trent Lott the day after the elections.
Reality Check, November 6)
ABC’s Terry Moran claimed President Bush’s aggressive conservative agenda in 2001 pushed Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) out of the party. Plus, Bush wants to use his power to appoint “deeply conservative” federal judges.
Jennings Worried About Senate, Rather About the Supreme Court
Jennings, Rather and Brokaw held forth on the Republican wins. Jennings was concerned, asking Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) early in the night: “If the Republicans do end up with control of the Senate, what would worry you most?”
CBS’s Extremist Labeling
Leslie Stahl called women gubernatorial candidates moderates and their opponents “ultra-conservatives.” Later that night Bob Schieffer labeled Sen. Zell Miller (D-Ga.), one of the few moderate-to-conservative Democrats on Capitol Hill, as “very, very conservative.”
The Election Aftermath
Television’s talking heads made a ton of predictions. How did they do?
Conservative Media Bias Beat Democrats
Time magazine and the Wall Street Journal’s Al Hunt claimed “conservative media bias” defeated Democrats. Really, they did.
Hunt and Time weren’t the only ones.
Newsweek also joined the chorus as the MRC noted in a Media Reality
Media Ignore Historical Aspects of GOP Victory
Networks focused on the disarray among Democrats and ignored the historic victory by President Bush and his party.