Lieberman's Praise of God Minimized; Gumbel Raised GOP Anti-Jewish Plot
1) Dan Rather Bias 101: The night
of the official Dick Cheney VP announcement Rather relayed the negative
Democratic spin against the GOP ticket. Tuesday night Rather highlighted the
Democratic ticket's boasts about themselves with a sly dig at Bush-Cheney.
2) "Sing to God and make
music to God and...give glory and gratitude to God from whom all blessings
truly do flow," declared Joseph Lieberman, but CBS gave his religious
comments just two seconds and NBC only referenced it in a clause.
3) FNC's Brit Hume wondered
about the reaction if George Bush had said a prayer. Well, when Bush did
mention Jesus during a debate NBC's Tim Russert demanded to know if
non-Christians should "feel excluded from George W. Bush because of his
allegiance to Jesus."
4) Bryant Gumbel slyly impugned
Bush-backers, asking Mario Cuomo if Republicans, "however quietly,"
will "try to make" Lieberman's Jewish faith "an issue?"
MSNBC's Forrest Sawyer suggested the "Christian Right" might use
Judaism against Lieberman.
5) Despite his overall liberal
voting record and that the National Taxpayers Union labeled him "a
card-carrying tax-and-spend liberal," major newspapers joined the
networks in tagging Lieberman a "centrist" or "moderate."
6) "At the Republican
convention people who were inclined toward choice...were not allowed to say
anything," complained Tom Brokaw. Al Gore then assured him the late Bob
Casey's family will be allowed to make "anti-abortion" comments in
7) Contrary to Al Gore's claim
to Tom Brokaw, he did not agree at the time with Joseph Lieberman's
admonishment of Bill Clinton, FNC's Brit Hume pointed out.
First, the August 7 CyberAlert reported: "Republican Senator William
of Delaware, at 73 percent, earned a slightly lower rating from ACU than
Lieberman got from ADA, but have you ever heard Roth dubbed as a centrist
or moderate?" The last name "Roth" was missing from the
beginning of the sentence. Second, an article in the Thursday Morning,
August 3, edition of "Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check,"
contained an error the MRC's Tim Graham belatedly noticed. The sidebar
item titled "NBC Resurrected the 'Little Brown One,'" quoted
George H. W. Bush as saying, as he pointed out his grandchildren to the
Reagans, "That's Debbie's kids from Florida, the little brown
ones." In fact, he did not say "Debbie's" but "Jebby's,"
as in son Jeb's kids.
Rather is consistent, if consistently biased in only highlighting the
Democratic attacks on the Republican team. The night of the official
announcement of Dick Cheney as George Bush's VP Rather relayed the
derisive and negative Democratic spin against the GOP ticket. Exactly two
weeks later on the night of the official unveiling of Joe Lieberman as Al
Gore's number two, Rather relayed not Republican criticism of the new
Democratic team but the Democratic ticket's boasts about themselves
which included a sly dig at Bush-Cheney.
Compare the two quotes
below. Bias doesn't get much more obvious or easy to see than this:
-- Here's Rather on
the July 25 CBS Evening News introducing that night's story on the
"In the presidential campaign, the official
announcement and first photo-op today of Republican George Bush and his
running mate Richard Cheney. Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as
quote 'two Texas oilmen' because Cheney was chief of a big
Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate. They also blast Cheney's voting
record in Congress as again quote, 'outside the American mainstream'
because of Cheney's votes against the Equal Rights for Women Amendment,
against a woman's right to choose abortion -- against abortion as Cheney
prefers to put it -- and Cheney's votes against gun control. Republicans
see it all differently, most of them hailing Bush's choice and
-- Rather introducing
the August 8 CBS Evening News piece on the Gore-Lieberman announcement
"Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore
officially introduced his history-making running mate today, Senator
Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. History-making because Lieberman is of
Jewish heritage and faith. The two started running right away. In their
first joint appearance they gave a preview of the Gore-Lieberman
fight-back, come-back strategy. Their message: They represent the future,
not the past, and they are the ticket of high moral standards most in tune
with real mainstream America."
As I said, evidence of
liberal bias doesn't get much better than that.
Later in Tuesday's
show Rather distorted Cheney's record as he claimed Cheney voted
"against freeing Nelson Mandela." See the CBS Evening News
detail in item #2 below for the full quote.
mind castigating the mixing of religion and politics, CBS and NBC Tuesday
night almost completely avoided Senator Joseph's Lieberman's religious
comments praising God uttered during his remarks at the Nashville event at
which Al Gore named him his VP pick.
Lieberman remarked: "Give thanks to God and declare His name and make
His acts known to the people. To be glad of spirit, to sing to God and
make music to God and most of all to give glory and gratitude to God from
whom all blessings truly do flow. Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I
thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life..."
The CBS Evening News
gave it a four word soundbite while NBC's Claire Shipman ran two
Lieberman soundbites on other matters, including his anti-Bush
"veterinarian" and "taxidermist" joke, as she said
only: "Lieberman quoted from the Bible." ABC's Terry Moran at
least provided a full-sentence soundbite as did FNC's Jim Angle on
Special Report with Brit Hume. Angle noted:
"Lieberman, a deeply religious man, repeatedly
gave thanks God for having been selected."
FNC then played this clip from Lieberman: "Dear
Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this
extraordinary moment in my life and Al Gore I thank you for making this
miracle possible for me."
recall topped both ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News on
Tuesday night with only the NBC Nightly News going first, for the second
day in a row, with the Lieberman choice.)
Here's a rundown of
the Tuesday night, August 8, broadcast network stories on the Lieberman
-- ABC's World News
Tonight. Terry Moran opened with an upbeat assessment: "The new
Democratic ticket took center stage under a scorching sun and riding a
wave of enthusiasm and emotion that seems to have galvanized the Gore
campaign. The Vice President heralding the significance of his
After a Gore soundbite
Moran acknowledged Lieberman's religious comments: "Senator
Lieberman was moved to share with the crowd and the country his deep
religious commitment, saying the historic moment was a time for prayer, a
Lieberman: "To be glad of spirit, to sing to God
and make music to God and most of all to give glory and gratitude to God
from whom all blessings truly do flow."
Moran noted the
ticket's goal of moving to the center and played another Lieberman
soundbite about restoring the moral center of the nation before Moran led
into Lieberman's big joke line: "For all the centrist talk,
however, Lieberman tried to counter the Republicans' efforts to try to
portray him as closer to Governor Bush on the issues than to Vice
Lieberman: "I think that's like saying that the
veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either
way you get your dog back!"
Moran then concluded: "All the talk about values
and character here showed how important it is for the Gore-Lieberman
ticket to distance themselves from the man whose name was not even
mentioned today, President Clinton."
-- CBS Evening News.
After Dan Rather's intro recited above in item #1, John Roberts handled
the Lieberman announcement. He began by reporting how Gore evoked the
memory of John Kennedy as Gore claimed he had torn down "an old wall
CBS ran a clip of
Lieberman praising Gore for his courage in picking the first Jew, before
Roberts allowed how Republican analysts claim the pick reinforces Gore's
vulnerability on character, a point made in a soundbite by pollster Linda
Finally, Roberts got to
the religious aspect, barely: "Today's announcement was part
showbiz, part religious revival-"
Lieberman, in full, for barely a second: "Maker of
Roberts moved right along: "-and part endurance
event as a thousand people braved temperatures that passed the century
mark, but perhaps the most poignant moment belonged to Lieberman's wife
Hadassah whose parents, the audience was told, survived the horrors"
of the Holocaust.
After a comment from
Hadassah, Roberts concluded by repeating the Gore team's spin:
"Campaign sources say the buzz created by Lieberman has exceeded
their expectations and contrary to recent elections, they hope that this
year the running mate may actually influence which candidate Americans
Up next, Rather
introduced a review of Lieberman's voting record by observing how he has
a "reputation for speaking his mind and voting his conscience."
Unlike the network policy with Cheney, Bill Plante did not pick out votes
to portray as extreme, which he could have with Lieberman's vote last
year against banning partial-birth abortion, a vote just as hardline as
were Cheney's in the opposite direction.
Instead, Plante noted
how Lieberman disagreed with the Bush campaign claim that he's closer to
Bush than Gore on many issues, and played Lieberman's taxidermist joke.
Then he ran through areas of Lieberman disagreement with Gore, listing
partial privatization of Social Security, experimental voucher programs,
affirmative action. Plus, how Lieberman criticized Clinton for using the
White House as a fundraising marketing tool.
piece, Rather delivered a cheap shot at Cheney with this distortion of his
record: "By the way, Democrats counter some of the Republican attack
by pointing out that Bush and his running mate haven't always agreed,
pointing to Cheney's votes against freeing Nelson Mandela and against
As Dan Rather well
knows, Cheney never voted "against freeing Nelson Mandela," only
against a resolution which included recognizing the communist-influenced
African National Congress.
-- NBC Nightly News led
with Lieberman as anchor John Seigenthaler delivered an inspiration spin:
"Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore made it
official today. During a rally on a steamy Nashville afternoon, Gore
introduced his running mate, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, an
Orthodox Jew, the first of his faith to ever run on a major party ticket.
Lieberman told the crowd he never dreamed he would have the opportunity
before him now. And Gore called the selection a step toward tearing down a
mighty 'wall of division' for all Americans."
Claire Shipman went
through Lieberman's gratitude and Gore's boasting about breaking a
barrier before playing a clip of Hadassah saying she was moved to be
standing in a place which honors soldiers who liberated her parents.
Shipman then allocated
five words to the religious content of Lieberman's address:
"Lieberman quoted from the Bible, praised Al Gore as a man of
character and took a jab at George Bush and his suggestion that
Lieberman's conservative Democratic views are close to Bush's."
Lieberman: "I think that's like saying that the
veterinarian and the taxidermist are in the same business because either
way you get your dog back!"
okay, Jesus not. Or at least God is okay when praised by a
"centrist" Democrat, but if a conservative mentions Jesus...
FNC's Brit Hume
wondered Tuesday night: "What does one suppose the reaction would
have been had George W. Bush, a declared born-again Christian, on the
platform when he had been nominated, had said a prayer of thanks?"
Well, let's go to the
videotape. During the January 6 Republican presidential debate sponsored
by MSNBC, moderator Tim Russert grilled George W. Bush about his
intolerance in citing, at a previous debate, Jesus as a role model. As
recounted in the January 7 CyberAlert, here's how Russert engaged in a
personal debate with Bush:
Russert: "Governor Bush, in the last debate when
you talked about Jesus being the most philosopher thinker that you
respected, many people applauded you, others said what role would religion
have in the Oval Office with George W. Bush. Fifteen million atheists in
this country, five million Jews, five million Muslims, millions more
Buddhists and Hindus. Should they feel excluded from George W. Bush
because of his allegiance to Jesus."
When Bush answered that it's "my life, it's
part of me," Russert came back: "Would you take an expression
like 'What would Jesus do?' into the Oval Office?"
Bush joked: "I would take an expression into the
Oval Office of 'Dear God help me.'"
Russert pressed ahead with his intolerance theme:
"In 1993 you suggested that unless you accepted Jesus Christ as your
Lord and savior, you couldn't go to heaven."
Bush insisted all he said was that his religion says
you must accept Christ go to heaven and God decides who goes, not him.
Russert demanded: "Even non-Christians?"
After the debate ended
Russert wasn't done with his effort to push the GOP away from religion,
telling Gary Bauer during a post-debate interview: "Every Republican
debate seems to have discussion about abortion, gay rights, Jesus Christ.
Fairly or unfairly are you concerned that many people in the country are
watching that exchange and saying, 'you know, that's a little bit more
about religion than it is about politics and that concerns me.'?"
Bauer's retort: "Well Tim, in all due fairness,
you guys brought those issues up."
Gumbel suggested on Tuesday's The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
observed, that Republicans will employ underhanded tactics to get people
to vote against the Gore-Lieberman ticket because of Lieberman's
Judaism. Interviewing liberal former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, Gumbel
slyly inquired: "Do you fully expect Republicans, however quietly,
however strategically, to try to make it an issue?"
Gumbel's question to
Cuomo in the 7:30am half hour aired after a 7am half hour interview
co-anchor Julie Chen conducted with the Bush campaign's Ari Fleischer in
which she suggested anti-Semitism will benefit the GOP: "Do you
believe that the Gore-Lieberman ticket will face anti-Semitism and perhaps
push some swing voters to the Bush-Cheney camp?"
Back to the Cuomo
segment, in the midst of Cuomo ruminating about how John F. Kennedy
overcame anti-Catholic bigotry but Italians are still burdened with being
tainted as affiliated with the Mafia, Gumbel jumped in:
"But in much the same fashion, you and I are both
old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy ran and people were wondering,
well is he going to check with the Vatican, or are his loyalties to the
Vatican or to Washington. Do voters not have a, do they not have some
justification for wondering if his true loyalties could be with Israel or
Cuomo shot back: "That's ridiculous." After
a long-winded oratory about how hard it will be for anyone to justify
opposing Lieberman on religious grounds, Cuomo asserted: "I think
America will not be bigoted against him and the ones who are wouldn't
vote for Gore anyway."
Gumbel argued: "We all hope you're right, we all
hope you're right, we'd love to sit around the camp fire and say yeah we
embrace everybody, we embrace our differences. You and I both know that's
not generally true."
Cuomo pointed out: "They voted for Kennedy."
Gumbel impugned the motives of Bush-backers: "Yes,
they did. Do you fully expect Republicans, however quietly, however
strategically, to try to make it an issue?"
Cuomo: "No, what I expect is some cynical
Republicans, there are cynical Democrats too, to sit there and smirk and
say, 'man, wait til he gets down South, wait til he gets to the Middle
West.' I think there are some who are saying that. I hear it now from
some of my friends and I have a lot of friends who are Republicans -- too
At this point, both
+++ Watch Gumbel take
his shot at the GOP and Bush. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul
will post a RealPlayer clip of the above exchange with Cuomo. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
As for what group may be
most likely to tear down Lieberman because he's Jewish, it's not
conservative Christians but blacks. In a story on Tuesday's NBC Nightly
News about reaction to Lieberman, Lisa Myers began by reporting: "For
neo-Nazis and hate groups that operate on the Internet, the Lieberman
announcement is a call to arms. Today, chat rooms overflowing with hateful
words." She soon led into a soundbite from Jerry Falwell by noting
how "Christian conservative applaud the choice of this Orthodox
But not all are so
accepting. Myers recalled a Pew Research Center survey: "Polls show
there are still tensions between Jewish and black Americans. A 1997 poll
finds 24 percent of blacks say they have a mostly or very unfavorable view
The media, however,
remain obsessed with conservative intolerance. On Monday's News with
Brian Williams on MSNBC, the MRC's Paul Smith noticed, anchor Forrest
Sawyer demanded of the Bush campaign's Ari Fleischer:
"If members of the extreme, let us say, Christian
Right or extreme right were to begin making that an issue you would
probably smack it down?"
Senator Lieberman's much more liberal than conservative voting record,
network reporters and newspapers continued on Tuesday to refer to him a
"moderate" and a "centrist." As detailed in the August
8 CyberAlert, Lieberman has earned a lifetime "Liberal Quotient"
of 77 from the Americans for Democratic Action. In 1999, Lieberman was
assessed 95 percent from the liberal group while the American Conservative
Union (ACU) gave him a zero for that year, making him one of the
Senate's eight most liberal Senators in 1999. His lifetime ACU rating: a
piddling 19 percent.
Monday night the
National Taxpayers Union (NTU) put out a press release which asserted
Lieberman is "a card-carrying tax-and-spend liberal." An excerpt
of the August 7 release:
Lieberman's Fiscal Record Falls Short of
Rhetoric, Tax Group Study Finds: Gore's VP Pick "Votes More
Consistently for Big Government" than Image Suggests
...."When it comes to taxing and
spending policies, Joe Lieberman's record falls short of the rhetoric
surrounding it," said NTU President John Berthoud. "Several of
his stances on high-profile issues -- such as capital gains taxation and
welfare reform -- have led to a national image as a fiscal moderate, but
the details of his record reveal he is a card-carrying tax-and-spend
liberal." For example:
-- In 1999 Lieberman posted a pro-taxpayer
score of just 8% on NTU's annual Rating of Congress, which includes
every roll call vote affecting taxes, spending, debt, and regulation (144
Senate votes that year).
-- 19 of the Senate's 45 Democrats
compiled NTU Ratings that were stronger than Lieberman's in 1999. The
Connecticut lawmaker actually fared worse than well-known Senate liberals
such as Paul Wellstone, Barbara Boxer, Robert Byrd, and Chuck Schumer.
-- In 1992, NTU began issuing grades in
relation to the scores reported in its Rating. In the past eight years,
Lieberman has earned 6 "F" grades and 2 "D" grades.
-- From 1992 through 1999, Lieberman has
voted against lower taxes and spending and for higher taxes and spending
3/4 of the time (an average of 76%).
For the full press
release, go to:
Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, Claire Shipman referred to
"Lieberman's conservative Democratic views."
-- Tuesday morning on CBS's The Early Show Bryant
Gumbel repeated a claim made by Democratic pollster Mark Penn: "As
you noted, politically a centrist."
-- Tim Russert on
Tuesday's Today: "There's no doubt about it. Joe Lieberman is a
centrist, moderate Democrat."
-- Anchor Forrest Sawyer
on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams on Monday night, August 7:
"The socially conservative, politically moderate Senator is being
lauded by both Democrats and Republicans for his integrity."
-- The lead paragraph in
the August 8 USA Today front page story by Laurence McQuillan tagged
Lieberman "a political centrist."
-- The subhead over the
August 8 Los Angeles Times story declared: "The political moderate is
the first Jew on a major U.S. party ticket."
-- "Gore Chooses
Centrist Conn. Senator as Running Mate," announced a jump page
headline in Tuesday's Washington Post. The headline over another article
read: "Lieberman Mixes Moderate Politics, Moral Imperative." But
deep in the latter story reporters Mike Allen and Amy Goldstein
acknowledged Lieberman's doctrinaire liberal views on key issues:
"He has been a consistent supporter of abortion rights, gun control,
environmental protection, minimum wage increases and other causes espoused
by party liberals. But two issues -- school vouchers and tort reform --
have put him at odds with major constituencies within the Democratic
Party, teachers and trial lawyers..."
-- "Senator Often
Stands To Right of His Party," declared a Tuesday New York Times
headline. But, as MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey observed,
reporter David Rosenbaum's article noted how Lieberman has not actually
made any specific proposal on an issue that supposedly showcases his
moderate views: "On Social Security...Mr. Lieberman has never been
faced with a vote on the matter and never made explicit what kind of
investments he would allow and in what circumstances."
Democrats will be so much more tolerant than were the Republicans.
Tuesday's Today played this excerpt from Tom Brokaw's interview with
Al Gore, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed:
Brokaw: "In any
presidential election women have become vitally important. Well at the
Republican convention people who were inclined toward choice on the
abortion question were not allowed to say anything, either on the floor or
at the podium."
Gore: "That's right."
Brokaw: "At the Democratic convention we know that
there will be delegates and others in the Democratic Party who are
anti-abortion. They have not been allowed to speak out as well."
Gore: "That's not true, they will be."
Brokaw: "They'll speak from the podium?"
Gore: "Absolutely, absolutely."
Brokaw: "Who will they be?"
Gore: "I have invited the representatives of
former Governor Bob Casey's family to speak. We're not afraid of
discussion, we're not afraid to have differing opinions. I am strongly
Not sure why Gore
decided to do this since the media never would have made suppression of
pro-life views an issue. After all, in 1992 they ignored the censoring of
of Brokaw's interview with Gore first shown on Monday's NBC Nightly
News, Tuesday night on his FNC show Brit Hume picked up on a claim by Gore
quoted in Tuesday's CyberAlert but which did not faze Brokaw.
On Special Report with
Brit Hume, the anchor of the same name pointed out:
"In his interview with Tom Brokaw, Al Gore was
asked about Senator Lieberman's famous statement in September 1998 that
President Clinton's conduct in the Lewinsky case had been 'immoral.'
'Did you agree with Joe Lieberman when he said that,' Gore was asked.
'I did and said so at the time,' Gore answered. But a search of
records reveals no such thing. Indeed, the first Gore statement critical
of Clinton's behavior did not come until June of the following
If NBC employed some
people with FNC's ability to recognize bogus claims maybe Tom Brokaw
could have pointed that out during his show. -- Brent Baker
Wednesday night, August 9, on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume
corrected an item from Tuesday's show which the August 9 CyberAlert had
quoted: "Last time we reported that despite Al Gore's insistence in
an interview with Tom Brokaw that he agreed at the time with Joe
Lieberman's famous speech calling President Clinton's behavior with
Monica Lewinsky quote 'immoral,' we could find no such agreement.
Further research, however, has shown that he called the President's
conduct, said Mr. Gore, quote 'indefensible' in September, even before
Lieberman's speech, and that he called it quote 'wrong' the next
month. We stand corrected." So does CyberAlert and we withdraw our
quip about Tom Brokaw.]
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