Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, Tuesday AM Edition
-- Visit Convention 2000 Media Bias (More) --
1) Both Parties Too Conservative
for MSNBC: Liberals Probed About Concerns the Ticket Not Liberal Enough
2) Bill Clinton's Speech Hailed:
"Masterfully Delivered," But on "Downside" Late Hour
3) Sam on Clinton: "As Good a
Political Speech as I've Ever Seen"...But in 1988 He Took on Reagan,
applying liberal argument that tax cuts caused the deficit.
4) A Unique Perspective from Fox
News: FNC Explored Delegate Quotas & Definition of "Working"
5) Celebrities: "Best Eight
Years of Our Lives"; Stars Drive SUVs to Hillary Clinton for Senate
6) Sidebar articles: CBS
"Mistake" Helps Dems as both CBS and NBC spiked Laura Bush but
showed Hillary's speech; Craig Kilborn Apologized for his "Snipers
Wanted" caption over video of George Bush; Brad Pitt, ABC's Campaign
Finance Expert; Texas: Full of Starving Women claimed Cher.
7) Quote of the Night: Dan Rather
on Hillary's fears.
page story. Both Parties Too Conservative for MSNBC Liberals Probed About
Concerns the Ticket Not Liberal Enough
In prime time two
Monday's ago, opening night of the Republican convention, MSNBC pounded
Republicans with about 20 questions from the left about how their
conservative positions would turn off voters, especially on abortion. Tom
Brokaw argued there "ought to be more tolerance for abortion,"
and Claire Shipman asked a Congresswoman what she would say "to women
who are worried that George W. Bush will appoint people to the Supreme
Court who might try to take away that right?"
But last night,
despite the Democratic Party's hard line pro-abortion position, no
attendees were queried if their opposition to banning partial-birth
abortion might turn off moderates.
were probed about whether they are happy with the ticket. David Bloom
asked a delegate: "What do you think about this, whether or not the
liberal wing of the party has lost influence, what with, for example Joe
Lieberman, getting the vice presidential nomination?"
acknowledged the ideology of delegates but found it non-controlling. He
inquired of James Carville: "This hall is packed with liberals,
hard-left liberals, and Al Gore stampeded to the Left in the primary
season, then he races back to the center and picks someone like Joe
Claire Shipman set
up Jesse Jackson: "You spoke out very early and publicly in support
of the choice of Joe Lieberman but there are a lot of liberal Democrats, a
lot of African-Americans who aren't sure they like the choice. He is a
more conservative politician. What does the ticket need to do to try to
convince liberal Democrats that this is a good pick?" (Lieberman is a
"conservative politician" who earned a 95 rating last year from
the liberal Americans for Democratic Action and a zero from the American
Just before 10pm
ET, however, Lisa Myers slipped in a question from the right to Senator
Bob Kerrey: "I'm here with one of the most independent-minded members
of the Senate....Senator, the Clinton legacy. You once said this President
is 'an unusually good liar.'"
Top of page two story. Bill Clinton's Speech Hailed: "Masterfully
Delivered," But Late Hour Reduced Audience
CBS's Dan Rather
proclaimed that Bill Clinton's speech was "masterfully
delivered." Bob Schieffer lamented: "I guess the only downside,
Dan, is how many people got to hear it because it was almost 11 o'clock on
the east coast when he got started." Ed Bradley: "He never
mentioned George Bush or Dick Cheney and I don't think it's a speech that
anyone would characterize as negative in tone, yet he was able to draw a
sharp contrast between what he sees as the record of the Clinton-Gore
years with what Republicans in Congress predicted would happen."
Greenfield also respected its tone: "Gently, gently mocked the
opposition, referred to the Republican opposition to his program and said
time has not been kind to their predictions." But ABC's George
Stephanopoulos saw a more negative tone: "That was one of the most
partisan convention speeches I ever saw Bill Clinton give. In 1996, he
wouldn't even mention the Republican Party. This time he took some shots.
This wasn't just Bill Clinton unfiltered, Peter, it was Bill Clinton
Bottom half of page two article. Sam on Clinton: "As Good a Political
Speech as I've Ever Seen"...But in 1988 He Took on Reagan
Last night on ABC,
Sam Donaldson offered effusive praise for Bill Clinton's speech, but he
applied a more critical lens to Ronald Reagan's similar pass-the-baton
address 12 years ago, making a liberal political point about how Reagan's
tax cuts caused deficits.
Monday night: "I think this was as good a political speech as I've
ever seen a politician give, certainly under these circumstances. He has a
record on the economy, his strong suit, that is very, very hard to argue
against and by saying to the country, 'Are you better off today than you
were eight years ago? You bet you are,' I think that's going to resonate.
But Peter, I think you put your finger on it. Does this transfer to Al
Gore? Do these cheers we hear for Bill Clinton and this speech of sweet
reasonableness, this humbleness, this easy manner, transfer on Thursday
night to a man who so far has not been able to connect? We'll see. At the
moment it's simply Bill Clinton's night and that's all we can say about
-- Donaldson on
August 15, 1988: "It was a typical Reagan speech. He defended his
record and American values. He excoriated the opposition party. There was
a sentimental close, and Reagan the little kid threw balloons out on the
floor. I mean, he may be 77, the President of the United States, but
there's a lot of little kid in this man. Now, Jeff [Greenfield] may also
be right that when you look at the substance of the speech it's another
thing. Reagan said he's not responsible for the deficits, but he's the man
who insisted on super-large defense expenditures and cutting taxes so you
didn't pay for them. And he tried to talk about George Bush as the next
leader, but his only answer to the Democrats' 'Where was George?,' he
said George was there when it came to helping reform government
regulations. Well, if that's the best he can say, 'George was there,'
that probably is not going to be good enough. Still, it was a great effort
by Reagan. 'C' maybe, but 'A' here in the hall."
+++ Watch video
clips of Donaldson's two takes 12 years apart. After 8am ET, go to the
MRC's home page to view them via RealPlayer: http://www.mrc.org
Top of page three story. A Unique Perspective from Fox News: FNC Explored
Delegate Quotas & Definition of "Working"
CNN and MSNBC made
passing references Monday night to the Democratic Party's racial, ethnic
and sexual orientation quotas for state delegations, but only FNC explored
them as co-anchor Brit Hume wondered if boasts of "inclusion"
were "in any way undercut with the public by the fact that this is
achieved by a fairly rigid system of quotas?"
outlined the targets: "26 percent Latino/African American, 16 percent
Asian/Pacific Islander, nine percent, specifically to California, Native
American goal was one percent, disabled 10 percent, gay men five percent,
lesbians five percent." Cameron then discussed the topic with a gay
activist from Ohio, noting how there's even a requirement for
quizzed Dick Gephardt about the definition of "working family,"
a phrase frequently employed by liberals. Gephardt said it only means
"If you work," leading Hume to ask: "If you work at all? So
George W. Bush's family, that's a working family, right?" Gephardt
agreed: "I think so." Hume replied: "And Bill and
Hillary Clinton, the First Family, they work, right?" Gephardt went
along: "I think so." Hume followed up: "Now, is there an
income limit?" Gephardt: "No, no income limit. "Hume:
"So you could be extremely rich, but as long as you still work, so
Steve Forbes' family is a working family?" Gephardt decided:
"Working is good."
Article on bottom half of page three. Celebrities: "Best Eight Years
of Our Lives"; Stars Drive SUVs to Hillary Clinton for Senate
A long list of
celebrities turned out Saturday for a $1 million fundraiser for Hillary
Clinton's Senate campaign held at the estate of "radio mogul"
Ken Roberts. In Monday's USA Today Jeannie Williams passed along some of
the gushing over Bill and Hillary that she overheard:
Travolta sat with the President at dinner after the outdoor concert and
spoke, thanking Clinton 'for the best eight years of our
lives.'...Hillary, in a pink suit and giant pink pearl necklace, got her
share of plaudits: 'I can't wait to call you Senator!' said Michael
Bolton before launching into When A Man Loves a Woman, which he said was a
request. The President mouthed 'thank you.' Jimmy Smits wasn't waiting
for November, greeting her with, 'Good evening, Senator!' He thanked the
President for 'walking the walk' with the Latino community. Whoopi
Goldberg reminded Hillary, 'I'm one of your constituents, girl!' (and
told her husband, 'You kicked a--.'). Mary Steenburgen told Hillary,
'You killed on Leno last night!'....Guests David Hasselhoff and wife
Pamela have met Hillary and he calls her 'very cool.'"
attendees listed by Williams: Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Gregory Peck,
Patti LaBelle, Toni Braxton, Melissa Etheridge, Dylan McDermott, Anjelica
Huston, Alfre Woodard, David Spade and Red Buttons.
The celebs put
their comfort ahead of the liberal environmental ideology espoused by
Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. Williams observed: "Supportive celebs
put up with portable toilets with flowers but few flushes, and lengthy
waits in a line of limos and SUVs heading up a single lane to the
Sidebar articles along the sides of pages two and three. CBS
"Mistake" Helps Dems; Kilborn Apologized; Brad Pitt, ABC's
Campaign Finance Expert; Texas: Starving Women
"Mistake" Helps Dems
Dan Rather, who faced charges of a
double-standard in breaking into 48 Hours to show 15 minutes of Hillary
Clinton's 18 minute speech Monday night, conceded CBS "made a
mistake" in not carrying Laura Bush's speech on the first night of
the GOP convention.
Rather told Ed
Bark of the Dallas Morning News: "Laura Bush is not a candidate for
anything....I'd be surprised if Mrs. Bush or anybody else didn't agree
that to compare the two is a little bit like comparing watermelons with
turnips. I don't think anybody would want us to say, 'Well, OK, we made
one mistake so we're gonna make another.'"
But CBS is not
alone in a double standard. NBC ran Third Watch at 10pm ET/PT instead of
Laura Bush. Last night they aired Dateline and joined Mrs. Clinton's
speech at 10:30, with 12 minutes to go.
Without mentioning the specifics of his show's
August 4 "Snipers Wanted" caption over video of Bush, Monday
night CBS Late Late Show host Craig Kilborn said he wanted to
"apologize for a mistake we made....with a caption on our screen
concerning Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush that should
not have made it on the air." He added: "I want to apologize
personally to George W. Bush, our audience, the viewers at home, and to
anyone else who was offended. I am sorry it happened."
Brad Pitt, ABC's
Campaign Finance Expert
Who better to assess the influence of corporate
donations than actor Brad Pitt? At least that's what ABC, the same network
which chose Leonardo DiCaprio to interview Bill Clinton, apparently
assumed as Monday's World News Tonight featured his thoughts.
Ross asserted: "The entertainment and media industry is a major
source of corporate money for both parties, with the Disney company, which
owns ABC, one of the biggest overall media corporate contributors."
Then, as viewers
saw dark video of Brad Pitt outdoors at night, Ross implored: "Does
that give the industry more voice than somebody who doesn't have the
millions to spend?" Pitt answered: "Uh, well, you know what, I'm
sure it does. I'm not saying that's a good thing, but yeah, money has an
effect. No question." Ross followed up: "Does that trouble
you?" Pitt: "Yeah, that troubles me. Do I have an answer to
Cher, on George Bush's Texas, as she expounded on
the 9pm ET edition Monday night of CNN's Larry King Live: "More
people, more women are starving in his state than any other state in the
United States. More children are going to bed hungry. If you look at the
child council, it says that it's the worst place to raise a child. Texas
is the worst place to raise a child."
Quote of the Night: "Everyone who runs for office has fears." --
Dan Rather to Hillary Clinton during an interview shown on the August 14
CBS Evening News. Clinton replied that she fears a prosperous nation
"can so easily be lulled into a sense of complacency" and make a
"very bad decision" in voting.
"Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check" compiled by me with the
MRC's overnight analyst team: Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Anderson, Paul
Smith and Brad Wilmouth. Plus, Kristina Sewell taping the coverage and
sending the fax, Andy Szul loading up the Web page at sunrise and Liz
Swasey trying to get the media to pay attention to our analysis. -- Brent Baker
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