Abortion Mantra; Brian Williams Booed; Debate Sponsor Condemned Russert
1) Sam Donaldson pressed Bob and Elizabeth Dole from the
left on how GOP opposition to abortion turns off women. On Fox, Tony Snow
approached Bill Bradley from the right on social spending.
2) During Friday's GOP debate shown by MSNBC the
candidates were hit from the left and the audience booed Brian Williams.
Margaret Carlson condemned attendees for "waving and cheering and
stomping the most simple-minded statements."
3) MSNBC's Brian Williams criticized GOP candidates for
offering "red meat for conservatives," saying they uttered
positions which were "rather strident." The Union Leader
co-sponsored the debate, but its publisher blasted Tim Russert for how he
4) Friday night ABC caught up with Gore campaign manager
Donna Brazile's race-mongering insult of Colin Powell and J.C. Watts,
but NBC only gave it a few seconds on Saturday and failed to quote her
5) Nackey Loeb, who from 1981 to 1999 guided a
conservative institution, The Union Leader, died Saturday.
Latest issue of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of
the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is
now online thanks to Eric Pairel and Kristina Sewell. Amongst the quote
headings in the January 10 edition: "Time: Heroic Clinton &
Eleanor"; "Backward Winston Churchill"; "Can We Have
Another Camelot?"; "Reagan, Thatcher Mattered? No"; "Gumbel
the Great"; "Cuban Kids Fear U.S Kidnappers"; "The
Berlin Wall Suddenly Fell, But Germany's Far Ahead of America";
"Hillary Knocks My Socks Off"; "Clinton's Like a Fine
Sports Car"; "Another Christmas Saved By the Heroic Federal Toy
Regulators". To read the issue, go to:
the left, as usual, on This Week. From the right, in a very unusual angle,
on Fox News Sunday. On Sunday's This Week ABC's Sam Donaldson hit Bob
and Elizabeth Dole from the left on abortion, but in a rare television
event, Fox's Tony Snow posed a question from the right, about the
ineffectiveness of government spending, to Bill Bradley.
-- On the January 9 This Week Cokie Roberts asked
Elizabeth Dole: "Governor Whitman in New Jersey has never carried the
women's vote. Do you think that being on the ticket would bring the
Seconds after Roberts had pointed out how Whitman, a
"pro-choice" woman who even refused to outlaw partial-birth
abortion, failed to capture the women's vote, Sam Donaldson presented
the case that a Republican presidential candidate will never win female
support if the party opposes abortion. He told Bob Dole:
"I want to explore the business about women.
Senator Dole, you want to pay close attention to this, I want to read a
portion of the Republican platform of 1996. And here it is, on the subject
of abortion [on screen]: 'The unborn child has a fundamental individual
right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment
to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the
Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.' Now
Senator, among political reporters who covered you back then it's no
secret that you might have wanted a little different plank. Do you think
the Republicans in the year 2000 should have in their platform a plank
which says we want a constitutional amendment which in effect would ban
Donaldson followed up: "Mrs. Dole, what do you
think? You know what the polls say about this in this country."
And: "Do you think a human rights amendment to
ban abortion should be in the platform in the year 2000?"
-- During a Fox News Sunday interview with Bill
Bradley, host Tony Snow posed a type of question rarely, if ever, heard on
network TV as he raised the failure of the welfare state:
"For the last three decades we've spent
trillions of dollars on the so-called war on poverty, on Medicare and
Medicaid and all these entitlements and you're telling me things are
getting worse. Why if we shovel more money into it are those problems not
going to continue to get worse?"
Republican debate televised Friday night by MSNBC found the GOP candidates
again hit by the moderators from the left with questions designed to make
them look as extremist as possible. In a turnabout for MSNBC's Brian
Williams and a local South Carolina NBC affiliate's reporter, both were
booed loudly by the audience.
On Saturday, CNN, FNC, C-SPAN and PBS all showed a
1pm CT Democratic debate in Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register and
Iowa Public Television. Unlike the Republican treatment at the hands of
NBC, Al Gore and Bill Bradley were never challenged from the opposite
ideological position on anything, in their case the right, as they were
largely served up topics to discuss in questions which lacked an agenda.
In fact, neither were asked about their stand on gays in the military, the
controversy which emerged from their January 5 debate in New Hampshire.
PBS and the Register will sponsor a Republican debate to be held this
coming Saturday in Iowa. If they are consistent, the questioners will not
hit Republicans from the left nor raise any controversies, such as
McCain's letters to regulators. (More on this debate in a future
CyberAlert before the GOP forum.)
Time's Margaret Carlson declared Democrats the
winners of the South Carolina Republican debate, asserting on CNN's
Capital Gang on Saturday:
"The idea who won the Republican debate last night
is that the Democrats won, because they looked like they were at their
convention in Houston, which is the -- you know, there's the crowd like
it's happy hour at the Holiday Inn, waving and cheering and stomping the
most simple-minded statements. And this comes across as, you know,
intolerant. And they're not right on the issues that people care about.
And, you know, they've got to play outside that room in South Carolina.
And they're not going to with that stuff."
It was the moderators of Friday's debate which
caused the audience anger by posing hostile questions. The 8pm ET
gathering took place in front of an audience of 3,000 South Carolina
Republicans after they completed a fundraising dinner inside a former
Lowe's store in West Columbia. MSNBC showed it live and C-SPAN played it
later in the evening. Brian Williams of MSNBC and Dave Stanton of
Columbia's NBC affiliate, WIS-TV, served as co-moderators.
The first question came from Stanton:
"Ambassador Keyes, last night you asked where all the conservatives
have gone. If you had a choice between eight more years of a Democratic
President or eight years of a pro-choice Republican, which would you
Next, Williams asked McCain about his letters to the
FCC. Then Stanton posed a classic liberal agenda question to Gary Bauer:
"If someone in your family was raped and became pregnant and wanted
an abortion, and after a discussion with you they were adamant in their
decision to have an abortion, would you support that decision or would you
try to prevent it?"
Now we get to the booing as Williams put George Bush
into the positions of either appearing to be a racist or angering South
"Governor Bush, a few blocks from here on top of
the State Capitol building, the Confederate flag flies with the state flag
and the U.S. flag. [Boos.] It is, as you can hear from the reaction of
tonight's [boos], as you can hear from the reaction of tonight's crowd of
3,000 people from South Carolina, a hot button issue here. The question
is: Does the flag offend you personally?"
Bush: "The answer to your question is -- and what
you are trying to get me to do is to express the will of the people of
South Carolina, is what you are trying to get me to do."
Williams: "No, I am asking you about your personal
Bush: "I believe the people of South Carolina --
[applause, cheers] -- Brian, I believe the people of South Carolina can
figure out what to do with this flag issue. It's the people of South
Carolina's decision to make. [Applause.]"
Williams: "If I may --"
Bush: "I don't believe, I don't believe it's the
role of someone from outside South Carolina and someone running for
president to come into this state and tell the people of South Carolina
what to do with their business when it comes to the flag. [Applause,
Williams wouldn't relent: "As an American
citizen, do you have a visceral reaction to seeing the Confederate flag?
Bush: "As an American citizen, as an American
citizen, I trust the people of South Carolina to make the decision for
South Carolina. [Applause, cheers.]"
After that exchange, Stanton hit Steve Forbes from
the left with a question about a supposed need to spend more: "There
are many people on fixed incomes with health problems. And by the time
they say their medications have been paid for, they don't have money for
food or clothing or other necessities. Do you think people like this need
some help, and from what source should that help come?"
Following an e-mail question about veterans
benefits, Williams requested all the candidates on stage address this
leading inquiry: "Has affirmative action made America a better
Things remained fairly quiet through questions about
state-sponsored gambling, supporting farmers and how much each candidate
gives to charitable causes.
At this point Stephanie Trotter of WYFF-TV, the NBC
affiliate in Greenville, stood up and attempted to pose a question, but it
displeased the audience. Their loud boos forced her to repeat it three
times before all the candidates on stage understood it:
"I'm curious. As an adult, what is the biggest
mistake that you've made, and what lesson did you learn from it?"
Though Williams never asked any other candidates
about the Confederate flag during the debate, and avoided the issue in
post-debate interviews with McCain and Bauer, the only two candidates he
interviewed other than Bush, he pressed Bush about it again during the
live interview after the debate. As Bush repeated his previous
non-committal, a seemingly astonished Williams declared: "So you have
no reaction to the sight, as an American citizen, of that flag?"
Compare NBC's agenda-rich approach listed above,
as well as on Thursday night as detailed in the January 7 CyberAlert, with
how ABC's Peter Jennings treated Bradley and Gore in the January 5 New
Hampshire debate shown by MSNBC. He did challenge them some, but not with
ideologically-driven questions which suggested they are too far to the
-- "Let me try you both first on votes and
quotes. It is, as you both know, common in some campaigns, for a candidate
to take either his opponent's vote or a quote out of context. I would like
to ask you first, both of you, for one word answer. Mr. Bradley, has Mr.
Gore ever taken a vote of yours or a quote out of context?"
-- "Mr. Bradley, Mr. Gore brought up this
question of doing without television advertising. Can you tell us what you
really thought in the last debate when he held out his hand to you?"
-- To Gore, about Bradley: "Can I just ask if
you think -- rather simply. Do you think he has the experience to
-- After Gore claimed Bradley made
"mistakes" in votes for Reaganomics and against welfare reform,
Jennings asked: "Can I ask you, though, how large, how large a
mistake is a President allowed to make? Mr. Bradley, Mr. Gore, either one
-- Fifty minutes into the debate came the subject
which later generated some controversy, but notice how far from suggesting
the favoring of an open policy toward gays in the military might be
extreme, Jennings challenged them to proclaim their support for it:
"I'd like to ask you both a question about a
litmus test, if I may. Mr. Bradley used the phrase, and you've both talked
about gays in the military. You both believe that gays should have the
right to serve openly in the military. President Clinton's had great
difficulty. The Joint Chiefs as well as the Congress have been a principal
obstacle to that particular policy. If you become president -- I'll ask
you one at a time, you first Mr. Gore -- if you become President, would
you nominate members of the Joint Chiefs who only support your gay policy?
In other words, will it be a litmus test?"
The only question that could be remotely
characterized as coming from the right was posed by Union Leader reporter
John DiStaso, who asked: "It's another area where you both agree
totally. On campaign finance. You both admitted that you benefited from
some overzealous mistakes back in '96, and perhaps in excesses back in New
Jersey. But what exactly, Mr. Gore, were some of these mistakes that so
concerned you back in '96? And Mr. Bradley, let's finally take on head on
this question of pharmaceutical industry contributions and tax loopholes
for that industry."
+++ Hear Brian Williams get booed. Monday morning
the MRC's Andy Szul will post a video clip, on the MRC home page, of
Williams getting booed as he pressed George Bush about the Confederate
flag. To see the video via RealPlayer, go to: http://archive.mrc.org
Also viewable: Go to http://archive.mrc.org
and click on "Media Bias Videos" to watch a clip of Tim Russert
after Thursday's debate pressing Bush from the left about his religious
views and tax cut plan.
example of hostility to what network stars consider the too conservative
stands taken by Republicans at the January 6 debate and the publisher of
The Union Leader, which co-sponsored the debate, apologized Friday for how
Tim Russert moderated the forum.
-- As detailed in the January 7 CyberAlert, NBC's
Tim Russert and Brian Williams were fixated during and after the January 6
Republican debate on the candidate's religious views and support of tax
cuts. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught an additional bit of invective from
During the January 6 News with Brian Williams, which
aired an hour after the debate ended, Williams asked Newsweek's Howard
Fineman: "Howard, who are the Republicans who are not happy with the
way this event looked tonight and similar groupings of these six, meaning,
and it's red meat for conservatives, the positions rather strident
tonight: anti-gay, pro-Jesus, and anti-abortion and no gray matter in
-- The morning after the New Hampshire GOP debate
Union Leader publisher J.W. McQuaid blasted Tim Russert for how he
moderated the confab the paper sponsored along with New Hampshire Public
Television and New England Cable News. In the January 7 editorial featured
on the front page, headlined "We Apologize," McQuaid complained:
If readers or New Hampshire viewers of last night's Republican event
in Durham are upset this morning, it is no more so than this newspaper.
We co-sponsored this presidential primary program, as we did Wednesday
night's Democratic one.
Unfortunately, last night's moderator did exactly what many of his
brethren in the national media often try to do -- decide the contest
before the New Hampshire voters have a chance to do so. NBC's Tim
Russert apparently decided to make this his own two-man show with
candidates George Bush and John McCain, virtually ignoring the four others
for much of the questioning. No wonder the two are ahead in the polls!
The national media have it all figured out for us. Bush the name versus
McCain the hero.
No others need apply. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! But as
candidates Orrin Hatch and Steve Forbes attempted to remind us, the real
poll will be taken Feb. 1 by New Hampshire voters. As they have done many
times before, we hope the voters will set the national media straight.
That's the New Hampshire way.
END reprint of editorial
up with CBS, which ran a short item read by Dan Rather Thursday night (see
the January 7 CyberAlert), Friday night ABC aired a full story on Gore
campaign manager Donna Brazile's race-mongering insult of Colin Powell
and J.C. Watts. ABC's John Cochran even reminded viewers of how she was
fired from the Dukakis campaign. CBS ran another item Friday night. NBC
didn't get to the story until Saturday and reporter Claire Shipman
didn't even tell viewers the actual quote of what Brazile charged.
-- ABC's World News Tonight, January 7. John
Cochran explained how Brazile "told an interviewer on the Internet
that two well-known black Republicans have let themselves be used as
political props. She said 'Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C.
Watts because they have no program, no policy. They'd rather take pictures
with black children than feed them.' Powell and Watts fired off angry
letters to Gore, Powell accusing Brazile of 'playing the polarizing race
card,' Congressman Watts fuming that 'her racist remarks are
appalling.' Today, the Republican front-runner, George Bush, said he
would get rid of anyone in his campaign who made such remarks.
Bush asserted: "It's slash and burn politics.
That's unacceptable for her to have done that to, to good people."
Cochran recalled some history ignored by CBS and
NBC: "Brazile has been in trouble before. In 1988, Democratic
presidential candidate Michael Dukakis fired her from his campaign.
Brazile had urged reporters to pursue rumors that then Vice President Bush
was having an affair. Today, Gore not only refused to fire her but said
she's doing a great job as campaign manager. Privately, some of Gore's
aides say she was right to bash the Republican Party, but went too far in
going after the popular Colin Powell."
He concluded: "Even the Gore aides who think
Brazile is a loose cannon say firing her would be too harsh, and would
bring down the wrath of African American voters on Gore."
Over on Friday's CBS Evening News John Roberts
"CBS News has learned that the Vice President
telephoned General Powell tonight to discuss comments made by his campaign
manager Donna Brazile. In a recent interview, Brazile had stated that
'Republicans bring out Powell because they have no program, no policy.
They would rather take pictures with black children than feed them.'
Those comments prompted an angry response from the General who stated that
he was 'disappointed and offended' by Brazile's remarks, and accused her
of 'playing the polarizing race card' in the campaign.
"A Gore campaign spokesperson today said that the
two had a good personal conversation and that the Vice President said he
has great respect for the General. Earlier in the day Brazile had called
to talk with Powell while the campaign says she did not phone to
apologize, sources close to the general say she repeatedly used the words,
'I'm sorry.' Dan."
On Saturday NBC finally got to the story, as Claire
Shipman gave it a few seconds in the middle of a January 8 piece on the
Democratic debate earlier in the day in Iowa:
"....Gore was also forced to explain remarks by
campaign manager Donna Brazile. In an interview she accused Republicans of
using black members of their party, like General Colin Powell and
Representative J.C. Watts, to send a positive image while offering no real
support for African-Americans. After an angry letter from Powell, both
Brazile and Gore placed apologetic phone calls to him yesterday."
Without the quote NBC viewers didn't gain an
indication of Brazile's mean-spirited hostility.
Loeb, who guided New Hampshire's conservative voice, The Union Leader,
from 1981 when William Loeb died through last year, died Saturday. As
noted in the AP obituary, she remained tough to the end, writing a front
page editorial last February, when Bill Clinton visited the state,
headlined: "Mr. President, You're a Disgrace!"
Below is an editorial tribute to her by publisher
J.W. McQuaid run in the January 9 New Hampshire Sunday News, the Sunday
version of The Union Leader:
Nackey S. Loeb, 1924-2000:
We were very lucky to have her in our midst
We are not sure that her employees, her friends, or her New Hampshire
readers will ever fully understand how lucky we all are that Nackey
Scripps Loeb walked among us.
"Walk" is an odd term, we realize, to describe a person who
became a paraplegic and spent the last 22 years of her life in a
wheelchair. But Mrs. Loeb (we would never think to call her anything less
formal) was never "confined" to her chair. Her spirit, her will,
her very being would not allow a mere accident to keep her down.
We were lucky to have her because her commitment to maintain an
independent voice caused her to not only hang onto The Union Leader and
Sunday News after William Loeb's death but to invest in their future and
to do the hard work of leading us there.
We were lucky to have her because her fighting spirit (we never heard a
word of complaint from her about her physical status) was, truly, an
We were lucky to have her because her unabashed love of people, of New
Hampshire, and of this country was such a fine example in an age and a
business that are all too cynical.
We were lucky to have her because she had an easy laugh, a wicked sense
of humor, and a gentle but firm hand with a bunch of wild and sometimes
crazy newspaper types.
Author Mary Baures profiled Mrs. Loeb in her book, "Undaunted
Spirits, Portraits of Recovery from Trauma" (The Charles Press,
1994). The book also featured chapters on CBS newsman Mike Wallace and
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, among others.
"I'm not scared of dying...I think dying is a natural process, and
I'll hang in there as long as I can," she told Baures. "I think
there's a God who is playing an important part in deciding our fate,"
Mrs. Loeb said. "We are not captains of our ship, nor are we masters
of our soul. There has to be a blind acceptance and we're not allowed to
know the reason why things happen. For instance, it doesn't bother me that
I don't know why I had the accident and why I was wedged under the
dashboard. It happened, so I've accepted it. That acceptance carries me
In the book, she said of her newspaper workers, "It was up to me
to convince these people that it wasn't the end of the world when Bill
Mrs. Loeb did that. She hung in there with grit and determination and
remarkable grace and it is those things that we, her friends and
employees, will remember as we now try to convince ourselves that the
world will continue without her. But right now, that is hard, very hard.
With so few newspapers still run by independent
owners willing to deliver a conservative voice in the community, it's
sad to lose one of the most famous, but she has fortunately left the paper
in the hands of a conservative publisher. --
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