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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| Friday July 14, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 116) |

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Bradley & Gore: Forget the Past; NARAL Test; Bush Scolded as Racist Lout

1) Back on May 9 CBS and NBC reminded viewers of how Bush and McCain attacked each other in the primary season as Tom Brokaw asked McCain if he'd "endorsed somebody who's not qualified to be President?" But Thursday night the two networks stuck to the rosy image and refused to show how Bradley once denounced Gore.

2) The liberal litmus test on abortion: FNC's Brit Hume recounted NARAL's report card on potential VPs. Plus, FNC reported on a judge's quest to get the White House to produce missing e-mails.

3) "Making Light of a Dixiecrat's Dark Past," intoned the scolding headline over a Washington Post story about how the Bush campaign put out a joking press release about how Strom Thurmond said: "I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman." But six years ago the Post ran a lighthearted piece on Thurmond.

4) "How dare you use the term 'Amcrash derailments,'" an e-mail writer lectured CyberAlert. "You shouldn't be FORCED to drive or fly. That's immoral."

    >>> All the Gumbel stuff all on one page. MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has put together all the latest Gumbel material, from video of his "What a f***ing idiot" outburst to the MRC's July 11 newspaper ads about that to his most recent examples of liberal comments on the Early Show to the MRC's compilations of Gumbel's bias from his NBC days. Go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/gumbel/gumbelreturn.html <<<


Quite a contrast between how CBS and NBC handled the endorsements by the losers to the two party's eventual presidential nominees.

    Back on May 9 the CBS Evening News didn't include a negative word about Al Gore from George Bush or John McCain as Bob Schieffer showed primary season clips of the two Republicans attacking each other. Thursday night, July 13, however, after Bill Bradley endorsed Al Gore, Dan Rather noted how "the George Bush camp today pumped out some old, unflattering Bradley quotes on Gore," but CBS refused to inform viewers of them as Rather eagerly relayed how the two said they "stand against what they call 'Bush tax cuts for the rich.'"

    Thursday night NBC Nightly News simply showcased Gore and Bradley saying complimentary things about each other and how Democrats are better for the country. NBC failed to mention Bradley's vociferous attacks on Gore earlier this year, but the night McCain endorsed Bush the NBC show featured an interview with McCain in which Tom Brokaw asked if he were disappointed that Bush failed to "condemn" Pat Robertson for saying McCain's temper would make him a "dangerous" President and had he now "endorsed somebody who's not qualified to be President in terms of foreign policy?"

    Meanwhile, on ABC's World News Tonight, Terry Moran at least did observe before playing one old primary quote: "It could not have been easy for Bradley who had accused Gore of lying about his record during the primaries and whose disdain for Gore was at times palpable." FNC's Jim Angle ran three examples of Bradley denouncing Gore during a January debate.

    Now back to CBS and NBC contrasts:

    -- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather delivered the entirety of CBS's July 12 coverage, which did not include any soundbites, but was read over video of the Democrats lakeside in Green Bay:
    "In the presidential campaign, Democrat Bill Bradley today gave his personal, public and enthusiastic endorsement to Al Gore. They were side by side in Wisconsin, their first joint appearance since Gore beat Bradley in the primaries. The George Bush camp today pumped out some old, unflattering Bradley quotes on Gore. But Bradley said today he and Gore stand together on all the important issues, such as health care and education, and stand against what they call 'Bush tax cuts for the rich.'"

    Compare that to Bob Schieffer's May 9 story in which he reminded viewers: "Bush flew in knowing he needs McCain to woo independents, but in truth both men dreaded this meeting and why not. Remember: They once promised never to go negative and shook on it [video of shaking hands at a debate]. But within days, Bush had called McCain a hypocrite."

    CBS then showed a soundbite of Bush from February 7: "This is a man who made his campaign on going after lobbyists and insiders and yet he's raised more money than anybody in the campaign from lobbyists and insiders."
    Schieffer: "McCain accused Bush of the worst Republican sin."
    Clip of McCain in a primary season TV ad: "His ad twists the truth like Clinton. We're all pretty tired of that."
    Schieffer: "It got so bad, friends said it wasn't until last night during a book signing that McCain finally decided to endorse Bush...."

    -- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams announced the July 13 development, sans any negative words:
    "Four months after Al Gore defeated him for the Democratic presidential nomination, former Senator Bill Bradley finally endorsed the Vice President today. At a rally in Green Bay Wisconsin Bradley, the former pro basketball star, said winning is a team sport and he'll work to help the Democrats win Congress and the White House."
    NBC played two clips from Bradley: "I will work to accomplish both because I believe Democrats have a better chance of guiding America to a brighter future than do Republicans and it's not even close."
    "And today, I want to make it clear that I endorse Al Gore for President of the United States."
    Williams picked up: "Gore in turn praised Bradley for bringing quote 'high purpose and high ideals' to the primary contest and he said Bradley would be an important part of the coming campaign and of this country's future."

    Opening the May 9 broadcast, though it had taken McCain two fewer months to come around, Tom Brokaw had stressed McCain's distaste for the necessary announcement: "The Pittsburgh meeting had been on the calendar for some time, but it was only recently that McCain decided to endorse. What one reporter called, 'taking your medicine now, not later.'"

    NBC didn't question Bradley's enthusiasm, but here was Brokaw's first inquiry in his taped interview with McCain: "You described what you did today as, 'taking your medicine now, rather than later.' That doesn't sound to me like a ringing and enthusiastic endorsement."

    As detailed in the May 10 CyberAlert, Brokaw then brought up Pat Robertson: "On NBC's Meet the Press last Sunday, the evangelist and political activist Pat Robertson questioned McCain's stability."
    Robertson in a clip from Meet the Press: "Can you imagine dealing with our foreign powers and you get mad and you fly off the handle. It could be very dangerous."
    Brokaw to McCain: "When given a chance to condemn those remarks today, Governor Bush failed to do so. Did that disappoint you?"
    McCain: "Yes."
    Brokaw: "What did you think when you heard Pat Robertson's remarks?"
    McCain called them vicious and bad for the Republican Party before Brokaw helpfully reminded viewers: "During the campaign McCain attacked Robertson as an 'agent of intolerance' who hurts the Republican Party."
    Brokaw next inquired: "During the course of your campaign against George Bush, you also said you're the only one running for President who knows the military and understands the world, the only one. Have you endorsed somebody who's not qualified to be President in terms of foreign policy?"

    -- ABC and FNC. Thursday night, July 13, ABC anchor Peter Jennings acknowledged all has not been rosy between the two liberals: "In presidential politics today, well, it's just the way it is. Four months after they fought a nasty and personal primary battle, former Senator Bill Bradley has taken his medicine and endorsed his party's nominee Al Gore."
    Terry Moran began from Green Bay: "They walked down the political aisle a little stiffly, a reluctant couple still carefully keeping their distance. Al Gore and Bill Bradley came to a pretty lakeside park in downtown Green Bay and went through the motions."
    Bill Bradley: "I endorse Al Gore for President of the United States."
    Moran: "It could not have been easy for Bradley who had accused Gore of lying about his record during the primaries and whose disdain for Gore was at times palpable."
    Clip of Bradley during a CNN/Time debate: "Well, what you've seen is an elaborate, what I call Gore dance."
    Moran: "Today Bradley was careful to couch his endorsement as a matter of party unity rather than personal conviction..."

    Moran also pointed how unlike McCain and Bush, Bradley and Gore avoided a press conference which could have exposed their "bitterness." Maybe, but it's doubtful CBS or NBC would have cared.

    On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, reporter Jim Angle took some time to show how Bradley had once denounced Gore: "Bradley quoted coach Vince Lombardi as saying that victory is a team sport as he called on all Democrats to unite behind Gore. Even that much couldn't have been easy for Bradley. During the primaries he was outraged by Gore's tactics, and said so."
    Bradley, in clips from the January 26 CNN/WMUR debate: "And my question to you is, why should we believe you that you will tell the truth as President if you don't tell the truth as a candidate?"
    "That's what's been your campaign. A thousand promises, a thousand attacks. A promise to every little special interest group, attack, attack, attack every day."
    "If you're running a campaign that's divisive, that's the kind of presidency that you'll also have."

    Angle soon pointed out: "And Gore repaid Bradley's endorsement by praising the same Bradley positions that he ridiculed during the campaign."
    Gore: "There is no more passionate voice for justice and equality in all of America than Senator Bill Bradley and I look forward to working with Bill Bradley."

    +++ See what CBS and NBC refused to show. Late Friday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of the part of Angle's story with the Bradley clips from earlier this year. Go to: http://www.mrc.org


The left-wing litmus test on abortion and a former government official maintained the White House could produce the e-mails it has so far failed to turn over. Thursday night's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC reported two items I did not see elsewhere:

    -- Brit Hume noted on the July 13 show, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "NARAL, that's the National Abortion Rights Action League, the national organization that promotes universal access to abortion, has released its report card on what the group thinks of the possible vice presidential candidates for the Democrats and Republicans.
    "Not surprisingly, NARAL gave seven of the ten Republicans an 'F,' with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge getting a 'D,' New York Governor Pataki a 'C,' and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman a 'B.' Seven of the Democrats were graded 'A,' with Florida Senator Bob Graham getting a 'B,' Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt rating only a 'C.'
    "National Right to Life Committee says it has no plans to grade possible VP candidates, but a spokeswoman said, 'If George W. Bush is always being asked if he's considering a pro-choice running mate, why isn't Al Gore being asked if he's considering a pro-life partner?'"

    Good question.

    For the record, these Republicans earned an F: Dole, Engler, Hagel, Kasich, Keating, Fred Thompson and Tommy Thompson.

    These Democrats got an A: Durbin, Feinstein, Kerry, Leiberman, Mitchell, Richardson and Shaheen.

    -- A bit later Hume introduced a story: "A former Clinton administration staff member says the White House could have produced those missing e-mails. The testimony came in another hearing on the matter in federal court in Washington. But White House officials say technical problems are holding up the retrieval process, and it could be months before any of the lost e-mails surface."
    Collins Spencer, who I've never heard of and must be a new guy, explained: "Larry Klayman, founder of the conservative group Judicial Watch, heads back to court to take on the White House. By his side, Cheryl Hall and Betty Lambuth, two former White House computer experts who blew the whistle in the missing e-mail case. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth asked why it's taken so long to find thousands of lost e-mail messages from administration members, including President Clinton and Vice President Gore...
    "Larry Klayman put former White House computer consultant Cheryl Hall on the stand to testify that the White House is dragging their feet..."


It's okay for us to joke around about a politician's segregationist past, but if a Republican candidate does we'll portray him and his staff as insensitive racist louts. In a front page of the "Style" section piece on Thursday, the Washington Post berated the Bush campaign for a joking press release making fun of Al Gore being "Truman-like" in blaming Congress. The release quoted Senator Strom Thurmond as saying: "Mr. Gore, I knew Harry Truman. I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman."

    "Making Light of a Dixiecrat's Dark Past," intoned the scolding headline. Post reporter Michael Powell recalled: "It is factually correct that Thurmond knew Truman. In 1948, he accused Truman of 'stabbing the South in the back' by integrating the armed forces. A few weeks later, Thurmond broke with Truman and the Democratic Party and announced a third-party presidential challenge. Thurmond's party dubbed itself the Dixiecrats. Its raison d'etre was a defense of Southern white supremacy against the forces of integration."

    But six years ago the same section of the Post featured a lighthearted piece on a birthday party for Thurmond in which the reporter recounted the sight of Thurmond downing 11 oysters and admired his agility at his old age: "He stands erect. His voice is strong. His blue eyes are clear. He hears just fine, without the aid of technology. He remembers names of aides, generals and constituents. He remembers their children's names."

    First, an excerpt of the Post's July 13 story by Michael Powell:

George W. Bush's presidential campaign had a clever idea this week. It released a statement by Republican Strom Thurmond, the century-old U.S. Senator from South Carolina.

"In Al Gore's latest reincarnation, he claims to be Truman-like, blaming Congress," Thurmond says. "Mr. Gore, I knew Harry Truman. I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman."

It is factually correct that Thurmond knew Truman. In 1948, he accused Truman of "stabbing the South in the back" by integrating the armed forces. A few weeks later, Thurmond broke with Truman and the Democratic Party and announced a third-party presidential challenge.

Thurmond's party dubbed itself the Dixiecrats. Its raison d'etre was a defense of Southern white supremacy against the forces of integration. "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches and places of recreation," Thurmond thundered....

His 1948 candidacy -- which received 39 electoral votes--would become a founding stone of the massive white resistance to the civil rights movement. And...[ellipses in Post story]

"Let me stop you right there," says Ari Fleischer.

Fleischer is Bush's campaign spokesman, and he has just listened to a recitation of these facts. It misses the point, he says. Thurmond and Bush, he says, were trying to nettle Gore. Reporters, he says, "laughed uproariously" when they read the senator's statement.

"We are in a day when people make light of their past," Fleischer says. "The only people who've complained are the partisans at the DNC. And you."

Humor-challenged? That's a distinct possibility. Another possibility is that in America, historical memory is the first thing to go. That our amnesia makes us complicit in what politicians would prefer that we forget.

Amnesia is central to the mannered theater that is life in Washington. You see Thurmond walk the Capitol's marbled corridors, and you mentally launder his reputation. Think: cute old codger, elder statesman. A Beltway grandee who presided over his U.S. Senate colleagues (97 percent of whom are white) at the impeachment of a president.

Don't think: former white supremacist and segregation's champion. And don't read the history books like "Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond," by Jack Bass and Marilyn W. Thompson, because you might find something like this:

In 1948 the Supreme Court threw out South Carolina's white primary, decreeing that the party could not bar blacks from voting. This outraged Thurmond, who complained that "every American has lost part of his fundamental rights."

A Thurmond-controlled party convention quickly adopted an oath requiring that primary voters swear allegiance to racial segregation in religious, social and educational affairs....

Fleischer would simply direct a reporter's attention to the bottom line. "Thurmond indeed ran against Harry Truman. What more can I tell you? There's no 'there' there to your story."

As it happens, candidate Bush spoke to the NAACP convention on Monday, the same day his campaign released the Thurmond statement. Bush gave a fine and eloquent speech, and in the fifth paragraph he quoted Lincoln on history and remembrance:

"President Lincoln pleaded to our divided nation to remember that 'we cannot escape history....We will be remembered in spite of ourselves.' "

    END Excerpt

    To read the entire story, go to:

    But by the Post's standard, it too was guilty of allowing "amnesia" to make "us complicit in what politicians would prefer that we forget."

    Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, used Nexis to dig up an illuminating December 6, 1994 "Style" section piece by Mark Fisher, kindly headlined, "Not Over The Hill: Strom Turns 92 With an Eye on '96."

    Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the piece:

It has come to this: Strom Thurmond, who turned 92 years old yesterday, and who has already held fund-raisers for his 1996 reelection campaign, favors term limits.

"It might be good to have fresh blood up here," Thurmond said last night at his birthday party at the Reserve Officers Association on Capitol Hill. "I think, overall, limits would be best for the country. Everybody might not be as good a man as I am in the Senate."

He stands erect. His voice is strong. His blue eyes are clear. He hears just fine, without the aid of technology. He remembers names of aides, generals and constituents. He remembers their children's names.

The next chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he has indeed heard of his party's vaunted "Contract With America." "Now I haven't read that contract, but I like what I've heard," he said.

The senator stepped over to the buffet last night and, before an aide gently pointed out that the photographers were having a field day, Thurmond scarfed up 11 raw South Carolina oysters.

Suddenly, the oysters, which had been sitting untouched at one end while shrimp were being sucked up by the dozen at the other end, became the center of attention. When a healthy, alert 92-year-old man eats oysters, you can forget the warnings about deadly microorganisms. You eat the oysters.

"Senator," asked a perky TV reporter from back home in South Carolina, "what's your secret?"
"Secret for what?" Thurmond replied.
"Your secret for living so long."
"I had parents who gave me good genes," said the senator, who has three living sisters.
And then he added: "Diet and exercise. Every morning, I do 50 minutes' exercise. Twenty minutes twisting, stretching, turning; 10 minutes sit-ups; 20 minutes driving a stationary bicycle. Lay off sugars and fats. More fruits, more vegetables, less red meats."....

    END Excerpt

    Not exactly a condemnaton of his racist past, though the story did later give a sentence to how he was once a "segregationist."

    A photo caption in the July 13, 2000 story complained: "In 1948 Strom Thurmond was a champion of segregation, a fact hardly anyone seems to remember, or care about."

    Speaking of not caring about the past, how many times during the South Carolina primary do you recall journalists reminding viewers or readers that current Democratic Senator Ernest Hollings was the Governor of the state in the early 1960s when the Confederate flag was placed atop the State House?


"How dare you use the term 'Amcrash derailments,'" an e-mail writer chided CyberAlert after reading the July 11 CyberAlert item which quoted CNN's Jeff Greenfield advocating that some of the surplus be allocated to railroads. Greenfield complained about how the U.S. does not "have a decent rail system. We are about forty years behind, thirty years behind every other industrialized country." To read the item, go to:

    I had jokingly ended the article: "Just what we need, more Amcrash derailments."

    I don't normally share reader comments about CyberAlerts, but this one came in to the MRC's general e-mail address, so is probably not a CyberAlert subscriber, and is so hyperbolic that I'd thought readers would find it amusing. I won't reveal the writer's identity, just his reasoning.

    The writer insisted he's no liberal but demanded the "freedom to choose what mode of transportation you want to use. You shouldn't be FORCED to drive or fly. That's immoral."

    Here's the e-mail in full:

In response to your statement and what Jeff Greenfield said, how dare you use the term "Amcrash derailments" in your statement regarding Jeff Greenfield's stand on having better trains. I may not agree with what a lot of these liberals say but he's got a point that America has no business having an inefficient rail system.

I am one of the millions of Amtrak riders myself and I've never been in an accident but I have been on late trains a number of times because of freight traffic due to recent mega-mergers. But regardless of what your politics is, America deserves a better rail system. That's a fact. Down in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush derailed a bullet train projects days, days after he took office. The train was being developed with both public and private money.

Now you may say, "Why should railroads be subsidized?" Well, I and many people believe that if roads (which are more costly, environmentally degrading, and not solving the traffic problems) and aviation (which is also costly, environmentally degrading, and not solving air traffic) get billions, billions in government funds, then railroad projects (which are the least environmentally degrading, least costly when compared to the other two, and more pleasant to ride) certainly deserve to benefit from more government funding too. Railroad passengers shouldn't be written off.

Amtrak would be a much better rail system if our government hadn't gipped it. Amtrak would have faster and safer trains if they had their own tracks (meaning freight trains wouldn't increase wearing and tearing) separate from grade crossings but again, the only reason why our government writes it off is because Amtrak doesn't make political contributions like the highway and aviation lobbies do. It's not Amtrak's fault that impatient drivers break the law, go around crossings, and contribute to accidents. It is the transportation issue why I'm not a Republican anymore because I've been so heartbroken by their actions lately. I thought conservatives believed in more freedom. That should include freedom to choose what mode of transportation you want to use. You shouldn't be FORCED to drive or fly. That's immoral. Despite the numerous support Gov. Gray Davis has been giving to the railroads in California I will never turn Democrat because they had achance to do something when they controlled Congress for so many years.

So I just wanted to express my views on this and if you're going to continue to be biased towards the railroads please don't use the term "Amcrash" anymore. That's very crude.

    END Reprint of e-mail letter

    Okay, from now on it's Slamtrak. -- Brent Baker


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