Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, Wednesday PM Edition
-- Visit Convention 2000 Media Bias (More) --
1) Kennedy Night Coverage, the
Morning After: "Liberal Night" Issues Downplayed in Favor of
2) Jackson's Rousing
"Rhetorical Flourish": Dick Cheney Threw "Anti-Democratic...Red
3) Joe's "Been Down the Line
With Liberals": ABC's Stephanopoulos Reassures Democrats About Lieberman
4) Republican Warriors, Democratic
Victims: Mrs. Cheney Pushed Politically, Mrs. Lieberman Emotionally. Bryant
Gumbel claimed "family values" are "a code word for
intolerance" and worried: "Need people be concerned about a hard
turn to the social right in the Democratic Party?"
5) Sidebar items: Gibson Stops
Short; Rocking Joe Lieberman; More Black-Jewish Tension; Celebrating the Left
6) Quote of the Morning: Bill
Bennett on getting into the Staples Center via a pres pass.
page story. Kennedy Night Coverage, the Morning After: "Liberal
Night" Issues Downplayed in Favor of Nostalgia
Rep. Harold Ford,
Jr.'s post-prime time "keynote address" was ignored by the
broadcast networks and MSNBC last night, a blackout that was continued by
the networks this morning. Instead, they highlighted Caroline Kennedy
Schlossberg's convention speech, an excuse to reprise the syrupy Kennedy
hagiography of last summer.
"Here in Los
Angeles, Caroline Kennedy stirs the echoes and rekindles Camelot with
memories of her father," ABC's Charles Gibson waxed at the start of
Good Morning America, dropping her married name. "There were tears in
the eyes of a lot of the delegates," his partner Diane Sawyer
was a carefully-put-together program designed...to convince liberal
Democrats that they have nothing to fear despite Al Gore's move to the
center with his choice of Joe Lieberman," explained NBC's Claire
Shipman on Today, "and who better to deliver that message than the
speech last night included liberal calls for action on abortion, civil
rights, the environment, and gun control, but this morning reporters acted
as if it were nothing but a nonpartisan trip down Memory Lane. "It
was Caroline Kennedy who provided the heart," asserted ABC's Linda
Douglass. "She is the repository of the family legacy, the embodiment
of her father's ideal that the government can solve problems."
the most sugary of all. In a pre-taped interview with both Schlossberg and
her uncle Ted Kennedy, she told the Senator he was "such a towering
figure," and asked of Schlossberg, "Do you feel, ever, a sort of
burden of having to carry on the mantle of the family legacy, the burden
of being such a symbol of your family?"
seems required of all interviews with the Kennedy cousins who have yet to
thrust themselves on the public, Douglass asked, "Do you ever
consider going into politics yourself?" Of course, endorsing Al Gore
at a Democratic convention is a non-partisan act.
Story on top half of page two. Jackson's Rousing "Rhetorical
Flourish": Dick Cheney Threw "Anti-Democratic...Red Meat"
ABC's Charles Gibson
recalled today that two weeks ago Dick Cheney "threw red meat to the
delegates, and had a very anti-Democratic speech." But Jesse
Jackson's quadrennial Republican-bashing tirade was described by Gibson
this morning as a plus: "Jesse Jackson, as always, provided the
On Today, NBC's
Matt Lauer claimed, "Jesse Jackson raised the roof on this convention
hall with a podium-pounding speech that went right after George W.
Bush." Jackson was shown: "Papa Bush gave us Clarence Thomas.
Baby Bush gave us an end to affirmative action and women's right to
self-determination in Florida. George W. won't stand against, or for
hate-crimes legislation. I say, America, stay out the Bushes! Stay out the
Bushes!" Lauer cooed: "He does have a way with words."
Jackson's claim that the
words "Africa" and "AIDS" never came up at the GOP
convention was rebutted by Republicans. Patricia Funderburk Ware,
president of a nonprofit group that focuses on the African American family
-- devoted her entire speech to the AIDS epidemic. Governor Bush advisor
Condoleezza Rice referred to Africa in a speech about foreign policy. But
Jackson's speeches are never reviewed for accuracy or negativity.
Story on bottom half of page two. Joe's "Been Down the Line With
Liberals": ABC's Stephanopoulos Reassures Democrats About Lieberman
Senator Joe Lieberman,
with a 95 percent liberal rating from Americans for Democratic Action and
a zero from the American Conservative Union, is so far to the right he
frightens the Democratic base, at least according to some network
"program [was] designed to reassure the party faithful, to convince
liberal Democrats that they have nothing to fear despite Al Gore's move to
the center with his choice of Joe Lieberman," NBC's Claire Shipman
told Today viewers. "Earlier in the day, Lieberman met with the
Congressional Black Caucus, to ease concerns about some of his
conservative positions." On MSNBC last evening, Andrea Mitchell
similarly fretted to Bill Richardson, "You worry that he might be too
But the notion that
Lieberman is a conservative (let alone "too conservative") was
debunked by none other than former Clinton aide and ABC Political Analyst
George Stephanopoulos, who said this morning that "liberals like him
because he's got a liberal heart. He marched in the civil rights struggles
in 1960. He's been down the line with liberals on a woman's right to
choose, consumer issues, environmental issues." Admitting that
Lieberman "strayed from the liberal orthodoxy at times on issues like
affirmative action, vouchers in public schools," Stephanopoulos
nonetheless argued that Lieberman has "spent a lot of time at this
convention, going to the Black Caucus yesterday, calling the heads of the
teachers' union, reassuring them he's on Al Gore's team on those issues,
and they've come away happy."
Page three article. Republican Warriors, Democratic Victims: Mrs. Cheney
Pushed Politically, Mrs. Lieberman Emotionally
Lieberman will take her first steps on the national stage to introduce her
husband, the vice presidential nominee. But ABC and CBS sympathetically
introduced her this morning in a very different way than they introduced
Lynne Cheney two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago, Jane
Clayson was the only one of the morning anchors that stuck to personal
questions instead of poking at Cheney as a "right-wing warrior."
This morning, Bryant Gumbel presented Mrs. Lieberman as a victim.
-- "Those Americans
that have been victimized by discrimination. I count you among them, I
count myself among them, know how intolerant some Americans can be. How
big a role do you think your husband's religion, his ethnicity will play
with voters?" Boy, we should all get $5 million a year. What
victimization? Is he still mad NBC didn't let him interview O.J.?
-- Gumbel asked if she
shared her husband's views "about the portrayal of sex and violence
in TV and movies?" When she said yes, he followed up: "I ask the
question because this ticket has put a premium on what's called 'family
values,' which for a long time as you know was a code word for
intolerance. Need people be concerned about a hard turn to the social
right in the Democratic Party?"
On ABC, co-host Charles
Gibson promised "a very emotional interview" with Mrs.
Lieberman, a woman with "an extraordinary background." He
introduced an interview with "one of the more intriguing new
figures" at the convention, in which Jack Ford asked only one
Lieberman has always been known for being independent, strong-minded,
willing to say what he believes regardless of the circumstances. Those are
not necessarily the characteristics that you see in a job description for
the job of Vice President. Is that going to create some frustrations, do
you think, for the Senator?"
Ford explained that Mrs.
Lieberman's parents survived the Holocaust, and her mother recorded an
interview with Steven Spielberg's Shoah Foundation, which preserves the
testimony of survivors. Ford asked, "What do you think when you see
your mother talking about the beating of her own sister?" Then, with
the television set between them, he showed her mother saying through
tears, "The blood was coming, you know, so much, I cannot explain,
that was only the beginning." Then ABC showed Mrs. Lieberman's lips
quivering with emotion, then cut to a more collected Mrs. Lieberman
declaring she would work hard on "making sure it doesn't happen
Lynne Cheney received
none of these "made-for-TV" convention favors. She was live, not
taped and edited. ABC showed no pictures of her as a teenager, as they did
Mrs. Lieberman; showed no pictures of her family, as they did of the
Liebermans. (They showed only daughter Hana, not the other three children
the Liebermans had in their first marriages.) Mrs. Cheney was not
Gibson peppered Cheney
with questions about how "the platform is again very strongly
pro-life and rejects abortion rights, and the platform specifically comes
out against gay unions, and against legal protections based on sexual
preferences. So, is this really an open, compassionate, tolerant
articles on pages two and three: Gibson Stops Short; Rocking Joe
Lieberman; More Black-Jewish Tension; Celebrating the Left
Gibson Stops Short
GMA's Charles Gibson discussed presidential music with
historian Michael Beschloss Wednesday morning. He explained that Bill
Clinton used Fleetwood Mac instead of Elvis, since "they found that
every song they tried to use was about romances gone wrong. They thought
that was a little bit off message."
Gibson reported that
Gore's campaign song is Bachman-Turner Overdrive's '70s hit "You
Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," and read the first lines: "I met a
devil woman/ She took my heart away/ She said, I had it comin' to me/But I
wanted it that way." Beschloss replied, "A little bit off
But Gibson didn't read
the next two lines: "I think that any love is good lovin'/ and so I
took what I could get." That sounds quite a bit like the Democratic
Rocking Joe Lieberman
Joe Lieberman has
officially been designated an interesting person. "Last night, he got
a rock star's reception when he made a surprise appearance at the
convention," asserted CBS's Bryant Gumbel.
The Senator's walk
onto the floor was "one of the most exciting and electric moments so
far of this convention," echoed ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
Lieberman "was mobbed like a rock star on the floor last night,"
declared NBC's Claire Shipman on Today. Watch for Spandex tights and hair
Tension In the thick of questioning if America's ready for Joe Lieberman,
the networks avoided the latest outbreak of anti-Semitism this morning.
New York's Daily News reported the Anti-Defamation League lit into the
local black Amsterdam News yesterday for an editorial that suggested
Lieberman was chosen because "Jews from all over the world...will be
sending bundles of money" to the Democrats, wrote Publisher Emeritus
Wilbert Tatum. "If this scenario is the correct one -- and we believe
it is -- America is being sold to the highest bidder." Where was
Celebrating the Left
The Early Show focused on liberals this morning, not
all of them Gore-friendly. Jane Clayson interviewed Ralph Nader and showed
his entire 30-second "witty ad" touting that "getting the
truth" [Nader] into the debates was "priceless." So was
getting his ad aired free on CBS.
CBS's Lisa Birnbach
profiled Rep. Lynn Rivers of Michigan: "In Washington 'frugal' is
Rivers' middle name. She gave back her Congressional pay raise twice and
refuses gifts from lobbyists." She didn't mention Rivers has an
American Conservative Union rating of 11. Birnbach concluded that while
the parties preach inclusion, "Lynn Rivers has spent her career
making sure blue collar middle class Americans are not forgotten in the
Quote of the Morning: "I'm here as part of the media, believe it or
not. So now I'm part of the problem." -- Bill Bennett explaining to
NBC's Matt Lauer his presence at the Democratic Convention, August 16
"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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