Cheney Not Compassionate; Gore Called "Conservative" in 1992; Lynne Cheney's "Stalinist Resolve"
1) ABC's Terry Moran relayed how
Gore's team is trying to hurt Bush "by painting Cheney as an
extremist." Dan Rather played along and called Cheney a "hardline
conservative." Today's Matt Lauer saw a contradiction between Cheney's
conservative views and being a "compassionate conservative."
2) Back in 1992 the networks not
only avoided labeling Clinton's VP pick, Al Gore, as a liberal, they described
him as "moderate" or even "conservative" despite his
liberal voting record. CBS: "Both Clinton and Gore are centrist, some
would say conservative."
3) CNN's Jonathan Karl pointed
out: "On the potentially explosive issues of gun control and abortion,
the Bush team says Gore was often voting the same way as Cheney" back in
the 1980s. Both earned A's from the NRA.
4) FNC's Brit Hume disclosed that
an anti-Cheney Web site set up by the DNC features a Reuters story with this
lead: 'The U.S. oil industry may have found its dream team with Republican
presidential candidate George W. Bush's pick of Dick Cheney..."
5) Chris Matthews and Los Angeles
Times reporter Elizabeth Shogren don't know any pro-life reporters who are
women. Shogren bemoaned how Dick Cheney is "too pro-life" and
"too pro-gun." And she urged Al Gore to "go ethnic" and
pick Henry Cisneros as his VP.
6) Lynne Cheney "acquired an
almost Stalinist resolve to kill off national standards at all cost,"
former Newsweek reporter Timothy Noah charged in a Slate diatribe in which he
denounced her criticism of a history standard which tilted to the left.
>>> Convention 2000 Media Reality
Check, starting Monday morning. All next week the MRC will produce
twice-daily reports on network coverage of the Republican convention.
These special Media Reality Checks, one concentrating on prime time and
the other on the morning shows, will be posted on the MRC Web site and
distributed by fax to the regular Media Reality Check fax list. Their
content will become the text for CyberAlerts next week. Thanks to analysts
working all night and our Webmaster coming in at 4am or so, the report on
prime time should be up on the MRC home page and at www.mrc.org/campaign2000
before east coast morning drive.
If you'll be in Philadelphia, be sure to sign up for CyberAlerts at
whatever address you'll have access to. If you are a member of the media
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The MRC's Brent Bozell and Tim Graham will be in Philadelphia to provide
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show, e-mail the same address or call Keith Appell: (703) 683-5004.
ideological labeling of Dick Cheney continued unabated on Wednesday with
ABC's Terry Moran relaying how Gore's team is trying to hurt Bush "by
painting Cheney as an extremist." Dan Rather called Cheney a "hardline
conservative" and though Cheney has a "very conservative"
record, Phil Jones threatened it's not a problem now "but this could
change as voters learn more about his record." NBC's David Gregory
tagged Cheney "an unabashed conservative," before listing some
supposedly out of touch views, but a new Zogby poll picked up by FNC and
MSNBC showed Bush-Cheney in tune with independents on guns and abortion.
And Wednesday morning
Today co-host Matt Lauer saw a contradiction between Cheney's views,
including supposedly being "anti-equal rights," and being a
highlights of Cheney coverage from Wednesday night, July 26, on the
broadcast networks followed by the Today item:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Without even a soundbite ABC showed a brief video clip of
Bush and Cheney in Casper before going to Terry Moran for a look at Gore's
attack strategy displayed during an appearance with Jesse Jackson. Viewers
heard Jackson proclaim: "Dick Cheney has an image that is palatable,
but Jesus warned to be aware of wolves in sheep clothing."
After some clips
of Gore and Clinton talking about how the GOP ticket appeals only to the
wealthy, Moran summarized the strategy:
"Gore's staffers say the Vice President is going after Dick Cheney so
aggressively because it helps him against Governor Bush, who they note is
still not that well known by most voters. By painting Cheney as an
extremist they really hope to hurt Bush. That's why the Vice President and
his surrogates will make so much of Cheney's conservative voting record in
Of course, that
strategy only works because of the compliant media.
-- CBS Evening
News. Dan Rather read two short items on what the two tickets were up to
during the day. Rather relayed how before the Rainbow Coalition "Gore
called the Republicans the quote, 'old guard ticket' of quote, 'big
oil, big polluters and price gouging drug companies,' unquote."
Rather then showed video of Cheney and Bush at a rally in Casper, and
noted: "To critics of his hardline conservative congressional voting
record Cheney said today quote, 'he is genuinely proud of that
Phil Jones checked
in with a look at a political focus group gathered to discuss VP choices.
An MD decided of Bush's pick: "I don't think Mr. Cheney did cocaine
or got drunk in high school or college and all that kind of thing. Like I
said before, it's nice to know there's two guys in the cockpit, at least
one knows how to fly the plane."
Jones then warned:
"On other issues, Cheney's very conservative voting record, his
anti-abortion rights stand and his current connection to a big oil
company, not problems right now but this could change as voters learn more
about his record."
Was that a
warning or a threat?
Nightly News. David Gregory provided the only full broadcast network story
of the night on the Bush-Cheney appearance in Casper. Gregory showed Bush
praising Cheney's small town roots and attacking Clinton's Lewinsky
evasions, but Gregory noted, facing reporters Bush was forced to answer
critics who say that Cheney "overshadows him."
Over video of
Cheney next to Bush at the airport, Gregory referred to how Cheney is
"an unabashed conservative with a voting record Democrats compare to
that of Newt Gingrich. Today Cheney downplays his record that includes
support for the tightest restrictions on abortion, opposition to gun
control, a vote against the Equal Rights Amendment for women and against
sanctions on South Africa during apartheid."
Following a clip
of Cheney saying he might now find some votes he would cast differently,
Gregory showed Gore's attack. NBC next ran a piece on how most experts say
Cheney's heart surgery is not a problem.
As for Gregory's
list of Cheney's out of touch votes, the ERA never had enough public
support to gain ratification. And on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume
viewers learned about a new poll putting Cheney in the mainstream on
abortion and guns.
roundtable segment Hume cited a Zogby poll of 1,008 "independent
voters" taken July 6-8. On partial birth abortion, 49 percent would
"support candidate who would ban" while 41 percent of
independents would "support candidate who would veto ban." Asked
"Would you support a candidate who believes doctors should be
required legally to notify parents of minors about abortions?" 68
percent said yes versus just 28 percent who said no. And on guns, 69
percent of independents, not the population overall, replied they would
"support candidate who wants better enforcement of current laws"
over a mere 25 percent who agreed they would "support candidate who
wants more gun control laws."
didn't mention the numbers on NBC Nightly News, John Zogby himself
appeared on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams Wednesday night to
discuss his findings.
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Today co-host Matt Lauer asked Tim
Russert: "As soon as it became clear that Dick Cheney was indeed the
man people came out of the woodwork and started challenging his voting
record while a member of Congress. And it's a pretty conservative record.
Do you think people had a more moderate image of him than is true?"
Russert explained: "That's because of his personality, his
presentations, his avuncular approach to life, Matt. But this is the race,
the battle to define Dick Cheney and therefore define George W. Bush. The
Republicans will say Cheney is reliable, steady, competent and will help
us govern. The Democrats will say, 'Not so fast. Before you govern you
have to win an election. And let's look at Mr. Cheney's record of
anti-abortion, anti-environment, anti-equal rights amendment for women,
anti-gun control.' That's what we're going to see play out over the next
Lauer eagerly took
up the Gore cause and painted a contradiction between all the things
Cheney is supposedly against and Bush's compassionate message: "And
when you talk about votes like that, that he made while in Congress,
anti-affirmative action, anti-abortion, anti-gun control, anti-equal
rights, how does George Bush portray him as a compassionate
MSNBC's Brian Williams had pushed a similar theme. MRC analyst Paul Smith
picked up on this question to Brent Scowcroft:
"The Governor of Texas is fond of talking about compassionate
conservatism. Fond of talking about a big tent. In this choice, he has
picked someone whose ideology on, let's say, the issue of abortion is
identical to his despite the suggestions and pleas of some including
former President Gerald Ford. Do you think it is too limiting, do they run
The networks can't tire of adding adjectives to describe how conservative
Dick Cheney really is, but back in 1992 they not only avoided labeling
Clinton's VP pick, Al Gore, as a liberal, they described him as
"moderate" or even "conservative" despite his liberal
voting record. NBC's Tom Brokaw dubbed Gore a "moderate
Southerner" and CBS's Susan Spencer actually referred to Clinton and
Gore as "a conservative pair."
In a Media Reality Check
"Quick Take" fax report distributed on Wednesday, the MRC's Tim
Graham contrasted two ABC News quotes from the two years. On July 25 this
week, ABC's Linda Douglass insisted on World News Tonight: "A close
look at his ten years in Congress reveals that Cheney was one of its most
conservative members, say analysts who have looked at his record."
But from the Democratic
convention floor on the July 13, 1992 World News Tonight Jim Wooten
asserted: "That's the ticket. Not a liberal in sight, and that's the
picture Clinton wants the convention to leave with the country, Democrats
happily moving from their liberal past to their centrist future."
With the help of the
MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, Tim Graham then compared the annual American
Conservative Union ratings for Cheney and Gore:
1979: 89 1980: 74 1981: 87 1982: 91 1983: 91
1984: 90 1985: 100 1986: 100 1987: 86 1988: 100
House: (Average: 19.6)
1977: 29 1978: 13 1980: 11 1981: 13 1982: 29 1983: 20 1984: 22
Senate: (Average: 10.4 )
1985: 17 1986: 9 1987: 6 1988: 9 1989: 19 1990: 9 1991: 14 1992 (based on
15 of 25 ACU votes): 0
Overall average: 14.6
These numbers were
representation of Tennessee he could not vote as liberal as he probably
really was, but over his lifetime in Congress the liberal Americans for
Democratic Action rated him at 66 percent, clearly the liberal side of the
spectrum. ADA's Web address: http://adaction.org
Nonetheless, back in
1992 Gore largely escaped liberal labels. To learn how the network tagged
Gore 1992 when tapped by Clinton, I dug out old issues of the MRC's
MediaWatch ConventionWatch, which brought back horrible memories of our
days in the rat-infested Ramada Penta hotel in Manhattan during the
Democratic conclave. But I also found some quotes which contradict with
how the networks have approached Cheney.
The night Gore was
announced, Thursday July 9, 1992 just a few days before the convention,
Dan Rather avoided any ideological labeling on the CBS Evening News:
"Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton made it official today. Environmental
expert and Vietnam veteran Senator Al Gore will be his running mate."
Reporter Richard Threlkeld claimed: "Both Gore and Clinton are
centrist, some would say conservative Democrats, and white and male."
Tom Brokaw announced on
the NBC Nightly News: "Today, Bill Clinton broke the rules. He chose
someone from the same gene pool: a fellow moderate Southerner of the same
generation, Senator Al Gore of Tennessee." That night only NBC's Bob
Kur used the word liberal, noting that while "his label, after 15
years in the House and Senate is moderate, he's cast enough liberal votes
to win high ratings from those interest groups."
During prime time
coverage on the first night of the convention, July 13, CBS's Susan
Spencer found that even "liberal" delegates think Clinton-Gore
could be a winning team so "they're willing to swallow their problems
that they have with such a conservative pair in hopes of winning."
Now compare that
treatment of Gore and the lack of repeated recitation of any of his
left-wing votes with this week's incessant labeling of Cheney and repeated
listing of votes the media find unpopular.
As reported in the July
26 CyberAlert, here's how Cheney was described the day Bush made his
-- ABC: Linda Douglass
referred to him as one of the "most conservative members" of
Congress who had "a very conservative voting record." Diane
Sawyer sighed that while he "doesn't look fire-breathing," he's
"very conservative." George Stephanopoulos dubbed him a
"very hardline conservative."
-- CBS: Bill Whitaker
managed three different adjectives, tagging Cheney "a bedrock
conservative" and "a rock-solid conservative" with a
"a solidly conservative voting record."
Whitaker also relayed how Democrats are "planning to paint him as too
far right and wrong for the country." Plus, Bryant Gumbel put Cheney
outside the mainstream: "Cheney's politics are of the hard-right
-- NBC: Tom Brokaw noted
Cheney's "stellar conservative credentials" before Anne Thompson
stressed his "very conservative record." Lisa Myers agreed,
recalling his days in Congress: "His voting record? Very
For more examples of
Cheney labeling, go to:
In the midst of network reporters happily promoting the Democratic/Gore
opposition research hits on Dick Cheney, a CNN reporter actually picked up
on the Bush team's counterattack on Gore, an angle ignored by ABC, CBS and
NBC. In a story on CNN's Inside Politics Wednesday night, but which did
not run on The World Today, Jonathan Karl showed how in the 1980s Al Gore
voted just like Dick Cheney on guns and abortion, positions for which the
Gore camp is now accusing Cheney of being an extremist.
On Special Report with
Brit Hume, FNC's Jim Angle made a brief mention of how Gore got good
grades from the NRA in the early 1980s. (Referring back to item #2 above,
that Gore could earn a 66 percent ADA rating while voting conservative on
issues on which Tennesseans were on the right -- like gun control --
suggests how liberal he must have been in many other areas.)
Karl informed viewers of
the July 26 Inside Politics: "On the potentially explosive issues of
gun control and abortion, the Bush team says Gore was often voting the
same way as Cheney. Take gun control. From 1980 to 1984 Gore received
virtually straight A ratings from the National Rifle Association while
representing his conservative Tennessee district in the House, grades
similar to Dick Cheney's on the gun issue."
On screen CNN displayed a graphic:
1980: A- A
1982: A- A
1984: A A
"And on abortion, Gore voted with he National Right to Life Committee
94 percent of the time [1979-84] in the early 1980s, nearly as high as
Cheney's 100 percent rating. And in 1984 Gore voted for an amendment
banning federal funding of abortion that said quote 'the unborn are
persons from the moment of conception.' Cheney voted for that too. It
Karl explained the Bush
strategy: "Attacked on Cheney's voting record the Bush campaign will
respond with an attack on Gore's, telling voters Gore has flip-flopped on
hot-button issues like gun control and abortion. Bush calls it political
judo and it's the modus operandi of his campaign -- use an attack against
you as an opportunity to turn the attack back on your opponent."
But that only works if
the media report your counterattack and so far ABC, CBS and NBC have all
ignored this "political judo."
+++ Watch a clip of Karl's story. On
Thursday the MRC's Eric Pairel will post a RealPlayer video clip from this
story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Some reporting is so biased one campaign is able to incorporate it into
its Web site. Naturally, that would be an anti-Bush page set up by the DNC,
FNC's Brit Hume reported Wednesday night.
Hume relayed on July 26:
"The Democratic National Committee has managed to get a polished Web
site called Bush-Cheney.net up and running, filled among other things,
with negative research about Dick Cheney's House voting record. Among the
contents there is a supposedly straight Reuters news story from Tuesday
that contains the following quote: 'The U.S. oil industry may have found
its dream team with Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush's
pick of Dick Cheney as his vice presidential running mate.'"
Indeed, the quote from
the lead sentence of the news story is featured at the very top of this
new home page:
The site links to the
full July 25 story by Reuter's Tom Doggett, headlined "Bush-Cheney Is
Dream Team for Oil Industry":
Women reporters who are pro-life? You must be kidding. Chris Matthews and
Los Angeles Times reporter Elizabeth Shogren don't know any pro-life
reporters who are women, which shows where Shogren stands, especially
since she complained about how Dick Cheney is "too pro-life" and
"too pro-gun." And she urged Al Gore to "go ethnic"
and pick Henry Cisneros as his VP.
These comments came
during the July 25 Hardball shown on both MSNBC and CNBC which MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens reviewed.
-- Chris Matthews:
"Is Cheney going to help or hurt the gender gap?"
Elizabeth Shogren: "Oh I don't, I don't think he could help bring any
Matthews: "Too pro-life?"
Shogren: "He's too pro-life and more importantly
too pro-gun. I mean you look back on his votes on guns and they are,
they're incredible. He voted against every gun control imaginable. Whether
it was against the cop killer bullets or against the plastic guns. I mean
just incredible. And this is an issue that's really resonating this time
around. And he, it doesn't, it doesn't matter whether, it's a message
that's very strong. I think the message will be very strong to
-- Matthews on abortion:
"Still a hot issue, Elizabeth Shogren?"
Shogren: "I think it's a hot issue but it's an issue that's not gonna
make, it's not the deciding issue."
Matthews: "Do you know any pro-life women
[Shogren just smiles]
Matthews: "I don't know any! I'm don't [not] gonna
ask you. I have never come up with any. But anyway."
Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund joked: "Let's have
some affirmative action!"
Matthews: "Yeah affirmative action on that
-- Shogren on Gore's VP
selection: "Oh I just wish he could go ethnic and pick someone like
Lynne Cheney "acquired an almost Stalinist resolve to kill off
national standards at all cost," former Newsweek reporter Timothy
Noah charged in a Slate diatribe in which he denounced her for daring to
oppose a national education standard for history which tilted to the left.
In the Slate posting brought to my attention by Rich Noyes, Director of
the MRC's Free Market Project, Noah asserted that Lynne Cheney "is a
shrill opportunist who could prove to be a serious liability for the
Noah's opened his Monday
"Chatterbox" posting on Slate, headlined "Cheney's Lynne
Problem," with a quote from Bill Bennett: "[T]he Cheneys
themselves are an interesting couple. At one point, Dick Cheney was
Secretary of Defense and Lynne Cheney was Chairman of the National
Endowment for the Humanities, kind of the material and moral defense of
western civilization. They're a very formidable pair. Everyone who knows
them has regard for them."
"What is Bennett
smoking?" Noah then asked in opening his diatribe. Here's an excerpt:
It's true that Dick
Cheney -- whom Bush reportedly is on the verge of naming his running mate
-- enjoys a certain bland respectability. But Dick's wife, Lynne Cheney,
who succeeded Bennett at the NEH, is a shrill opportunist who could prove
to be a serious liability for the Republican ticket.
Lynne seemed pleasant
enough 12 years ago, when Chatterbox (then a reporter at Newsweek) lunched
with her. She confessed that, although she was supposed to be the nation's
high-culture guardian, she'd just spent her summer vacation gulping down
Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. Chatterbox was charmed. Chatterbox was
also impressed by her passionate advocacy of national standards for
teaching American and world history.
Chatterbox had to revise
this favorable opinion after the presidency passed from the Republicans to
the Democrats. Almost immediately, Cheney started campaigning to abolish
the NEH and savaging her former grantee, UCLA's National Center for
History in the Schools, which was about to issue the very national
standards she'd commissioned. Cheney maintained that the panel, whose
draft report apparently mentioned Harriet Tubman six times and Paul Revere
not at all, had tilted leftward after Clinton's election. In fact, as
Chatterbox's Slate colleague Jacob Weisberg pointed out in a 1996 column
for New York magazine, Cheney had herself OK'd some of the more vapidly
left-wing content while running the NEH. Moreover, at least one of
Cheney's allegations about the draft report -- that it ignored the framing
of the Constitution -- turned out not to be true. Passages in a subsequent
draft drew Cheney's ire for various inoffensive assertions, such as,
"the Great Depression was one of the great shaping experiences of
American history," and, "at the beginning of the twentieth
century, Western nations enjoyed a dominance in world affairs that they no
longer possess." By then, Cheney had acquired an almost Stalinist
resolve to kill off national standards at all cost. She proved to be such
a transparent phony that sympathetic panel critics like Arthur Schlesinger
Jr. and John Patrick Diggins had to denounce her....
END of excerpt
To read the entire
piece, go to:
Noah is certainly
no compassionate conservative. -- Brent Baker
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