From San Diego***
"Preachy Grandfather" | Networks which
didn't carry Dole video had a different policy in 1992 | A
CBS reporter insists CBS News has "been abundantly fair." | Week
in Review: the 12 most biased quotes of the week. | Sidebites
Quote of the Day
there were some transcendent moments but some risky rhetorical gambles
here, where Bob Dole may have taken the risk of coming across more as the
preachy grandfather than the grown-up he most wants to be, and that could
turn off some voters."
-- ABC s Michel
McQueen just after Dole's acceptance speech last night.
Speech Performance Praised by Most, But... ABC: Dole's "A
Bob Dole speech coverage featured
praise for his delivery, but the networks were critical of its content.
-- ABC condemned it as
"preachy," and NBC called it "tough." Just after Dole
finished, ABC's Michel McQueen warned that he may have come across as a
"preachy grandfather" [see Quote of the Day below]. Sam
Donaldson called it "a red meat speech" and a "a very tough
speech, I mean, Bob Dole says that violent criminals will have their lives
made a living Hell, he'd pursue terrorists to the ends of the Earth, I
think he s going to dash the teachers unions into the sea." NBC's
Lisa Myers described it as "the best speech I ever saw Bob Dole
give," but colleague David Bloom said "this was a very tough
speech, Bob Dole calling himself combative for country, but the people
down here, the partisans loved it."
-- CNN went to Wolf Blitzer for a
Democratic response just four minutes after Dole finished. Gene Randall
then demanded Dole campaign manager Scott Reed respond to that spin:
"Let me just run by first what George Stephanopoulos said about the
speech. Even before it was over he called it, 'The most negative,
partisan, divisive acceptance speech since Goldwater in 1964.'"
-- In Dole's speech CNN's Bernard
Shaw discovered the beginning of a nasty campaign: "I ve maintained
that this campaign is going to be one of the nastiest, bare-knuckled,
direct to the gut campaign's in America s political history. Listen to
this one sentence, quote 'It is demeaning to the nation that within the
Clinton administration a core of the elite never grew up, never did
anything real, never sacrificed, never suffered and never learned, should
have the power to fund with your earnings their dubious and self-serving
-- One day after Ted Koppel left
San Diego, Nightline covers the convention, talking with a focus group;
reporters discuss GOP inclusiveness.
-- A Video Contrast: In 1992 ABC
and CBS ran bios of Clinton; but nothing for Dole this year. NBC ran part
of Clinton's video, but none of Dole's.
Four years ago at the Democratic
convention in New York, ABC's Peter Jennings explained the quandary
biographical films present to the networks. "I'm not precisely sure
what to call it," Jennings said, "but it's the Democratic
Party's film about Bill Clinton's life, and it's something we try to come
to grips with every four years when the party decides what its view of the
candidates is." ABC's 1992 resolution: "We think it's usually
more prudent to give the assignment to a reporter." Reporter Jeff
Greenfield then introduced viewers to Bill Clinton's life story.
CBS did the same. Dan Rather told
viewers: "The delegates are now watching a film about Bill Clinton,
prepared by the Clinton campaign. We asked correspondent Richard Threlkeld
to look at the film and report on it." NBC aired the final three
minutes of the "Man from Hope" film. This year, CBS only showed
the last 30 seconds of the Republicans biographical film for Dole and
didn't assign the story to a reporter. NBC aired nothing. ABC skipped the
film so it could check in with Brit Hume with President Clinton in
Wyoming, with the vital news that Clinton claimed he wasn't watching the
Bob Dole's life story would still
be news to many Americans. U.S. News & World Report's Gloria
Borger noted in the June 3 issue that "A Harris poll last month found
that 59 percent of Americans don't know Dole has a disibility." They
must watch too much television news.
Wednesday night Marc Morano, best
known as the Rush Limbaugh TV show's "man in Washington,"
confronted several network reporters with his camera and microphone. Asked
about liberal bias, CBS correspondent Paula Zahn responded:
"Those of us who work for
organizations like CBS News take great pride in being fair and I think if
you look at this Republican convention, our coverage, you ll agree that we
have been abundantly fair." Well, Morano asked, what about the use of
extremist labels? "I don t think I ve used the word extremist once
since I got here on Saturday," the former CBS This Morning co-host
insisted. "Obviously, labels, I think are very limiting and we have
to be very careful about how we use that."
She may be able to restrain
herself, but her colleagues are not so professional. On Monday's CBS
Evening News Dan Rather asked Jack Kemp: "Even some Republicans
describe the current platform as quote, 'harsh, extreme,' even 'radical.'
Do you see it that way?"
Lesley Stahl, later that night in
prime time, claimed: "The whole purpose of tonight's convention, the
whole program, is to diminish the image of this party as extreme, because
that's what's turning the women off. Four years ago, the main speaker at
the convention...was Pat Buchanan. He was yelling, his pitchforks were
raised. Tonight it will be Colin Powell, he will appeal to civility. On
the platform, women find that extreme. It's turning them off."
But Zahn is far from innocent.
Take a look at a question that she posed on the July 5, 1995 CBS This
Morning to Pat Buchanan: "Even your sister concedes, although some
supporters might like what you have to say about the economy and these
very specific issues you just mentioned, they re very turned off by some
of your social policies. And you know you ve got political enemies out
there calling you an isolationist, a bigot, you re anti-gay, and some even
go as far as saying that your social stands are reminiscent of Nazi
Germany. How are you to win them over?"
So what have
viewers across America heard about the Republican convention? At week s
end, here s a collection of the most biased quotes from the networks:
[Kemp] is a rare combination 'a nice conservative. These days
conservatives are supposed to be mean. They're supposed to be
-- CNN analyst
Bill Schneider, August 9 Inside Politics.
Reagan will still have to learn how history will judge his time in office
-- the deficits, the Iran-Contra affair. But for the members of this
party, there is no more beloved figure."
-- Tom Brokaw
just after Nancy Reagan's emotional thank-you following a video tribute to
Ronald Reagan, August 12 NBC convention coverage.
know a lot has been made of the Republican Party being a very inclusive
party, one that can embrace the views of various people. Given the way the
platform has worked out vis-a-vis abortion, and the fact that some of
these Republican governors are not speaking because they felt as if they
were being censored. Do you still believe you can call the Republican
Party an inclusive party?"
-- One of
seven abortion questions posed by NBC's Katie Couric to Senator Kay Bailey
Hutchison, August 12 Today.
have not responded well to a message that at times has been considered too
harsh, too mean."
Michel McQueen, during August 13 coverage.
was grand TV, well-scripted, well-staged, craftily designed for a
broadcast image of tolerance and diversity that's starkly at odds with
-- ABC's Jim
Wooten on Colin Powell s address, August 13 World News Tonight.
right to abortion has never been an overwhelming issue for women at
election time. But this fight within the Republican Party has many women
questioning how far this party will go to limit their rights."
-- ABC s Peter
Jennings, August 13.
his speech was generally well-received, the reception was restrained, and
there were boos whenever Powell steered away from the right. Though they
booed and also heckled dissent, Republicans claimed the mantle of
inclusion throughout the first night of their convention. We can expect
more of the same today, Tuesday, August 13, 1996." --
-- "Do you
think -- this is a party that is dominated by men and this convention is
dominated by men as well...Do you think before tonight they thought very
much what happens in America with rape?"
-- Tom Brokaw
to rape victim Jan Licence who had just addressed the convention, August
-- "I think
the speech by Senator Hutchison of Texas is dangerous, Tom, because she
uses words that could be interpreted by some people as mean."
-- NBC's Tim
Russert previewing Hutchison's August 13 speech.
will tell you these days that people do not want much partisanship in
their politics, but they got it at the Republican convention last night.
There were attacks on President Clinton's credibility, integrity, even his
-- ABC Good
Morning America co-host Charles Gibson, August 14.
an old adage that says what you do speaks so loudly I can't hear what you
say. Republicans are speaking tolerance and diversity. Are you seeing any
evidence of it, or quite the contrary?"
-- Gumbel to
Tim Russert, August 14 Today.
-- "Just how
tightly scripted is this convention? Well, a Russian television reporter
said today that this is as tightly controlled as anything the Communist
Party ever put on, Tom."
reporter David Bloom, August 14 Nightly News.
Bryant the Killjoy
As the rest of the media conceded
the success of Elizabeth Dole's Wednesday night speech from the floor,
Today co-host Bryant Gumbel grumbled Thursday morning: "Yeah, I guess
some would say it was cool. Others would say it was calculating,
Later, Gumbel added: "In
keeping with the softer image that Republicans are trying hard to project
at their convention, Elizabeth Dole last night did her impression of Oprah
Winfrey, and in a fashion that supporters would call heartfelt but others
would call hokey, Liddy Dole sang her husband s praises to the
Ending With a Bang
ABC's Brian Ross filed stories
all week long on the corporate money lavished on the GOP, but his Thursday
World News Tonight report focused on a surprising target: "Very much
in the middle of the mix are the giant media corporations, like CNN, whose
multi-million-dollar merger has yet to be formally approved by federal
regulators. Time Warner gave more than $100,000 to be an official sponsor
of the convention."
Former Los Angeles Times
reporter Dwight Morris told Ross media companies shouldn t use the
conventions to lobby, and Ross noted: "But that didn t stop CBS
lobbyists from giving the Republicans thousands of dollars to help pay for
the cost of food and liquor in the skybox belonging to Republican Party
Chairman Haley Barbour."
Ross even reported on his own
bosses: "Last night, the ABC hospitality suite was a lobbyist s
dream. With visits from Congressman Tom Bliley, the chairman of the House
Commerce Committee, which handles telecommunications issues. And then from
the #2 man in the House, Majority Leader Dick Armey, who could be seen
with top ABC executives, including the ABC lobbyist, who insisted he
wasn't lobbying." We look forward to an equally revealing set of
nightly reports from Chicago.
Wall Street Journal
reporter Bob Davis wrote an article for the Thursday morning edition on
MRC Chairman Brent Bozell and the Media Reality Check '96 effort in San
Diego. Davis found notable hostility at CNN to Bozell: "His criticism
is mostly background noise, says CNN political director Tom Hannon."
Davis asked CNN analyst Bill Schneider to explain his claim last weekend
that "conservatives are supposed to be haters" and Jack Kemp
"is a rare combination: a nice conservative." Said Schneider:
"I wasn t name-calling. I was making an analytical point." He
added that he calls liberals wimps, but "they re so wimpy, they don t
complain. When you talk about mean conservatives, the wrath of God comes
down on you."
But a look into the Nexis news
data retrieval system finds something different. Schneider quoted
criticism of Colin Powell s "wimpout" on abortion in 1995. The
only other uses of "wimp" in the last five years were three
nearly identical references in 1992 and 1994 to the 1988 Bush-Dukakis
campaign. Schneider declared on November 1, 1994: "Michael Dukakis
got beaten up by the wimp, which proved he wasn't tough enough for the
Baker in San Diego, with Tim Graham, Steve Kaminski and Gene
Eliasen. In Alexandria VA: Tim Lamer, Geoffrey Dickens, Jim Forbes, Clay
Waters, Jessica Anderson and Matthew Turosz.
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe