Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, Tuesday PM Edition
-- Visit Convention 2000 Media Bias (More) --
1) Journalists Applaud "Rock
Star" President; No Questioning of Clinton's View of Self, History, and
2) CBS Star Gumbel Chooses Porn
Over Gore; Flap Over Playboy Mansion Fundraiser "A Lot About
Nothing." Gumbel claimed "family values...frightens a lot of people
because those are code words."
3) Can Hollywood Accept
Lieberman's Barbs? ABC's Charles Gibson Remembers How Hollywood Dumped on Dan
4) Sidebars: Genius Day at NBC;
Ted's Lewinsky Logic; Clinton Haters?
5) Quote of the Morning: Bryant
Gumbel wondered if Hugh Hefner found Gore's "preoccupation with
morality" to be "frightening"?
page story. Journalists Applaud "Rock Star" President: No
Questioning of Clinton's View of Self, History, and GOP
Last night, Bill
Clinton was bumped from prime time by his wife. This morning, CBS and ABC
bumped him from the top of their shows in favor of a trapped Russian
submarine. NBC led with Clinton - correspondent Claire Shipman called it
"a very successful evening" for the President.
classic Clinton," Shipman told viewers. "The show started half
an hour late but the room full of revved-up Democrats hardly noticed.
Cheering for a full five minutes as the President took a rock star-like
televised walk through the back corridors and into the convention
"It is not
easy to make a recitation of issues and perceived accomplishments into a
rip-roaring political speech," acknowledged ABC's Charles Gibson.
"But the President had the most supportive of audiences, willing to
cheer everything: the budget surplus, welfare reform, job creation, you
name it. The Democrats want to do that: emphasize issues and
None of the
journalists this morning questioned Clinton's version of the history of
the past eight years. Instead, they expressed "awe at his political
skill and how much he loves to do what he does," as ABC Political
Analyst George Stephanopoulos gushed on Good Morning America.
Clinton, walking alone out there, the energy, the empathy," Tim
Russert said on Today. But he had less kind words for Hillary's speech.
"Very pedantic, very sing-songish, and it's not her strength. She's
much better in a town-hall-type setting," he advised.
cancelled this morning's scheduled interviews, so ABC ran a conversation
taped yesterday with an empathetic Peter Jennings. "He's leaving the
greatest thing in his life and you are about to meet the challenge of the
biggest thing, certainly, in your political life," Jennings asked.
"What if he needs you?"
He can always
catch the shuttle to New York.
two article. CBS Star Gumbel Chooses Porn Over Gore: Flap Over Playboy
Mansion Fundraiser "A Lot About Nothing"
Bryant Gumbel has
never been shy about taking a strong stand. Two days after attending a
media party at the Playboy Mansion, Gumbel took up the cause of Playboy
founder Hugh Hefner after the Gore campaign pressured Rep. Loretta Sanchez
to remove her Hispanic Unity USA fundraiser from the playground for sexual
swingers. Gumbel first interviewed Sanchez:
-- "You went
along with being pressured to move the event out of the Playboy Mansion
- because the party asked you to. But in your heart do you think they're
wrong?" When Sanchez didn't say no, Gumbel replied: "So I'll
take that as a yes, that philosophically they made a lot about
-- "Do you
not think it somewhat hypocritical for the Democratic leadership to compel
you to move the fundraiser when Al Gore has accepted $1,000 from Hugh
Hefner as a campaign contribution, $500 from [his daughter and Playboy
CEO] Christie Hefner as a campaign contribution?"
seemed even more irritated in a taped interview with Hugh and Christie
Hefner. He never raised the idea that perhaps the fundraiser clashed with
Gore picking "social conservative" Joe Lieberman and trying to
distance himself from Clinton's sexual escapades.
-- "They said
it would send the wrong kind of message. What message do you think it
would have sent, if any?" Christie Hefner said this "family
values" talk is "usually code for a party that excludes people,
that is against gay rights, that is in favor of censorship and prayer in
-- Then Gumbel
pleaded the Hefner case: "I've run the numbers and over the years,
the two of you, Playboy, have given roughly $900,000 to a variety of
Democratic candidates and causes. Should the money figure in this
discussion? Do you feel betrayed?" He added: "Isn't it that
you've given money, and they have accepted the money gladly, and then seem
at this point somewhat embarrassed by the association?"
-- Gumbel read
with disdain a statement by DNC chair Joe Andrew: "His words: 'I
think everybody understands the lifestyle represented by Playboy magazine
and the Playboy Mansion. It does not reflect the values of working
families because it reflects the lifestyle they do not think is
-- Gumbel summed
up: "In a macro-political sense, do you think the Gore preoccupation
with morality is a frightening turn for the party?" Hefner agreed,
but later explained that "the media rather universally is very
supportive of all of this. They see the bully-boy tactics that are going
on here." That would certainly apply to Gumbel.
-- Later, in an
interview with Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Baltimore Mayor Martin
O'Malley, Gumbel took up Christie Hefner's line: "We're seeing the
Gore-Lieberman ticket centering itself around what they're calling family
values. And that frightens a lot of people because those are code words.
Is a take on morality out of step with what young people are about? Do
young people want government involved in what they see as their social
+++ Watch an
excerpt of Gumbel interviewing the Hefners. A RealPlayer clip is now up on
the MRC's home page: http://www.mrc.org
of page three story. Can Hollywood Accept Lieberman's Barbs? ABC's Charles
Gibson Remembers Dumping on Dan Quayle
Eight years ago at
the Democratic convention, Bill Clinton ridiculed Republican criticism of
Hollywood. This morning, ABC Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson
took an unusual stroll down Memory Lane when two entertainment writers
assessed Hollywood and the Gore-Lieberman ticket.
When Variety 's
Steve Gaydos said Lieberman's stands aren't costing the Democrats
contributions, Gibson responded, "There's an irony in...that it was a
Republican, Dan Quayle, who not too many years ago took on the
entertainment industry when he criticized Murphy Brown and said you really
can't represent a single woman having a baby as just another
lifestyle...The country went nuts when Dan Quayle did that. Now Hollywood
is sort of yawning." Jess Cagle of Time suggested it was all
partisan: "There was a big difference in that Dan Quayle was a
Republican, you know, someone that Hollywood enjoys attacking, you know,
there was an agenda there."
When Gaydos said
he thought Lieberman might "inoculate" Gore, Gibson returned to
his theme: "Quayle was vilified out here when that happened... Now is
that fair - Quayle gets vilified and there is a yawn when Lieberman does
what he does?" Time's Cagle insisted: "Tipper Gore merely wanted
parental warnings [on album covers] and that's not a terribly unreasonable
stance. The one thing that Lieberman has been successful in is advocating
the V-chip....I don't know that Lieberman has really advocated censorship
stories along the sides of pages two and three.
Genius Day at NBC; Ted's Lewinsky Logic; Clinton Haters?
Genius Day at NBC
NBC's Today featured two politicians Tuesday
morning who should feel lucky Matt Lauer didn't pull out a foreign-policy
Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura about the Reform Party, and he channeled Ross
Perot: "I look like a genius today, don't I?...Is it dead? Yes, I
believe it is. I think this is the final straw. And, who knows, maybe that
was Pat Buchanan's ultimate motive to do it. You know, remember something.
These two parties never want to see the rise of a third party, and it's
not beyond my belief that Buchanan was sent to the Reform Party to destroy
But at least he
didn't stumble over Buchanan's name.
Kennedy tried to push for more rank-and-file Democrats to vote. "I
mean, the fact of the matter is if we don't show up and vote, the right
wing shows up to vote and that's what's so worrisome," Kennedy told
Lauer. "In '94 we had the lowest turnout in the history of the
country and look who got elected Speaker, Dick--uh, uh, you know, Newt
getting rave reviews for your efforts for the DCCC [Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee]," Lauer told the congressman.
"Is that perhaps your strength, as opposed to the legislative process
and that part of being a congressman?"
In his opening last night, ABC Nightline host Ted
Koppel began with the boilerplate notion that Gore needs Clinton's
positives, while finding "a way to disassociate himself from the
President's extremely low personal approval ratings."
be that difficult," Koppel explained. "Al Gore has been perhaps
the most active vice president in American history, and there's not a hint
of scandal associated with Gore's personal behavior."
"So much for
logic," Koppel quipped.
Unstated during coverage of the Democratic
Convention last evening was that just two years ago many in the media
publicly said that the country would be better off if Bill Clinton
resigned from the presidency.
According to the
National Journal, 169 newspapers and 40 media personalities advocated that
Clinton leave the White House as a consequence of the Lewinsky scandal.
At the time, the
dump-Clinton movement included columnists such as Bonnie Erbe, Al Hunt,
Morton Kondracke, Judy Mann, Clarence Page, Andrew Sullivan, and Garry
Wills, and newspapers such as USA Today, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, and the Denver Post.
of the Morning: "In a macro-political sense, do you think the Gore
preoccupation with morality is a frightening turn for the party?" --
CBS's Bryant Gumbel to Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, in an interview shown
on the August 15 The Early Show.
END Reprint of
Media Reality Check newsletter
"Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check" compiled by Rich Noyes and Tim
Graham with the assistance of daytime shift analysts Brian Boyd, Ken
Shepherd and Ted King. Plus, Kristina Sewell sending the fax and taping
the coverage with Eric Pairel and Brandon Rytting loading up the Web page
and Liz Swasey spreading the word to the media. -- Brent Baker
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