Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, Friday AM Edition
-- Visit Convention 2000 Media Bias (More) --
1) Gore's Speech Satisfied Network
Analysts: "Al Gore Tonight Rose to the Occasion" & "He Hit
a Home Run"
2) Not All Thrilled With Gore's
Speech; Sam Donaldson: "The Vice President Was on Speed Tonight" so
viewers may have missed Gore's best stuff.
3) CBS Suggested GOP Dirty Tricks:
Dan Rather's Mantra: "The Republican-Backed Special Prosecutor."
Gloria Borger warned Democrats will fight back by "tying George W. Bush
to Kenneth Starr."
4) CBS Hit Bush's Policy Failures
& Inconsistencies from the Left; But Gore's Liberal Positions Not
Scrutinized. Previewing Bush's speech CBS warned that his "compassion
often obscures the conservative," but last night CBS listed Gore's policy
agenda without critical comment.
5) FNC Picked Up On Tribute to Bob
Casey: Media Defined "Inclusiveness" as Backing Pro-Choice Position.
Brit Hume observed: "There was kind of a working media definition of
inclusiveness in Philadelphia, and that meant toleration, or possibly even
support for, the pro-choice position."
6) Sidebar items: Dan Rather's
Inscrutable "Popeil Politics"; Lieberman's Liberalism Over
Conscience; Third Clinton Term
7) Quote of the Night: Dan Rather
choked up as he signed off with the wackiest comment of the night
page story. Gore's Speech Satisfied Network Analysts: "Al Gore
Tonight Rose to the Occasion" & "He Hit a Home Run"
Al Gore earned
mostly upbeat assessments for his Thursday night acceptance speech, though
there were some notable exceptions, such as ABC's Sam Donaldson who
suggested Gore looked like he "was on speed tonight." (See page
2 for negative comments.)
-- ABC. George
Stephanopoulos: "I think one of the most effective moments in the
speech was when he tied those specific promises and those specific values
to the faces of people in the crowd....Style? No stiff Al Gore tonight. He
was afire, he was fierce. I think the question will be will it come off as
maybe a little bit too hot for people at home?"
"I think those were good bookends for this speech and, as George
Stephanopoulos said, to talk about issues through human stories, another
very good technique. I think it probably has put him in the position he
needs to be in to go out and really fight now because it's a real
Ted Koppel on
Nightline: "As George Bush did two weeks ago, Al Gore tonight rose to
the occasion. He acknowledged the obvious -- he is not the most exciting
politician, but then he is not running for the post of national orator. Al
Gore had to step out of the shadow of Bill Clinton tonight and he
-- CBS. Ed
Bradley: "I thought it was a solid speech....And I thought he had
some very good lines in this speech, and unfortunately a lot of them got
buried because there was applause on the floor and people wanted to keep
applauding and he was just plowing through that speech. I thought it was
very effective in one sense, in that he used real people to outline the
broad brush strokes of what his policies would be."
-- CNN. Bernard
Shaw: "This party's presidential nominee has completed his speech and
he hit a home run." Shaw later added: "But think of the elements
we have now in Campaign 2000. George W. Bush at that Philadelphia
convention two Thursdays ago. He was superb with his speech. Al Gore
tonight for the Democrats, superb with his speech."
Top of page two article. Not All Thrilled With Gore's Speech; Sam
Donaldson: "The Vice President Was on Speed Tonight"
Not all were as
impressed with Gore's speech as those quoted on page one:
-- ABC's Sam
Donaldson was concerned people missed Gore's best stuff: "The Vice
President was on speed tonight. He acted like a man who was late catching
a plane. Someone must have told him you must not be slow and awkward and
methodical. Boy, he was none of those things. But you know, in racing
along, he stepped on some of his best lines. When he would introduce the
Gutierrez family, you could hear 'em in the background starting to cheer,
and he'd go, 'No, no, no,' and he'd go on. I mean, I think people watching
at home...said, 'Wait a second, this guy is going too fast, I can't get
-- CBS's Bob
Schieffer observed: "It was totally devoid of humor. I can't ever
remember a political speech at any kind of political gathering where there
wasn't a little humor in it....Normally a speech like this will sort of
start off and like a great plane or something head down the runway and
then soar into the sky. This one did not really soar, it seemed to
-- Past midnight
ET on MSNBC, guest analyst Peggy Noonan insisted: "It was the most
boring, boilerplate garbage! Excuse me, it was boring!" Howard
Fineman of Newsweek chirped up with the liberal take: "I don't know.
To the people who think that the government can help guarantee that they
get prescription drugs it's not boring, you know. It's not boring."
Bottom half of page two story. CBS Suggested GOP Dirty Tricks: Rather's
Mantra: "The Republican-Backed Special Prosecutor"
Near the top of
CBS's prime time coverage last night Dan Rather charged: "In an
apparent attempt to embarrass Al Gore on this his big night, someone, for
whatever reason, has leaked the story that the Republican-backed special
prosecutor, Ken Starr's successor, has convened a new grand jury to
investigate President Clinton and accusations related to the President's
Earlier on the CBS
Evening News he employed the same language which incorporated the liberal
spin about an unfair partisan attack in a personal matter: "Al Gore
must stand and deliver here tonight as the Democratic Party's presidential
nominee. And now Gore must do so against the backdrop of a potentially
damaging, carefully orchestrated story leak about President Clinton. The
story is that Republican-backed special prosecutor Robert Ray, Ken Starr's
successor, has a new grand jury looking into possible criminal charges
against the President growing out of Mr. Clinton's sex life."
In prime time and
on the Evening News Gloria Borger then passed along the Gore spin with a
warning about Ken Starr: "One top Gore adviser portrayed it as what
he called a quote 'grand Republican strategy to tie Al Gore to President
Clinton.'" She added: "The hope of the Gore campaign is that
this leak will fire up their troops and backfire against the Republicans.
How? By tying George W. Bush to Kenneth Starr."
A fact skipped by
CBS News: Last year the AP reported, "Until January 1998, Ray was a
registered Democrat in New York City."
Story at top of page three. CBS Hit Bush's Policy Failures &
Inconsistencies from the Left; But Gore's Liberal Positions Not
Bush's acceptance speech two weeks ago, the CBS Evening News warned that
his "compassion often obscures the conservative," and in
profiling his life in prime time CBS criticized his record as would a
liberal. But last night CBS listed Al Gore's policy agenda without
critical comment and in prime time didn't utter a word about his policy
-- CBS Evening
News previews. Back on August 3, Bill Whitaker previewed Bush's acceptance
speech by countering his "compassionate conservative" theme:
"It's a feel-good message with something for everybody. The
compassion often obscures the conservative, but it's there. When Dick
Cheney's rigid-right congressional votes came under attack, Bush embraced
the man and his record." Whitaker cited as evidence how Bush
"refused to challenge this platform's call for a total abortion
Last night John
Roberts previewed Gore, but refrained from any negative comments on
liberal ideas: "In a speech that could be the most important of his
life Gore will touch on favorite themes of Social Security, health care,
education and the economy. He'll also propose bi-weekly town
-- Prime time
profiles. In place of the official Bush bio film, CBS aired a piece by
Bill Whitaker who came at Bush's Texas record from the left: "Like
most Texas governors, he's been a friend to big business. He pushed tort
reform, which limits business liability from lawsuits. Though Texas air is
some of the dirtiest in the country, he allows polluters to voluntarily
comply with environmental regulations. Texas is first in capital
punishment, second in the number of uninsured children...."
John Roberts handled the Gore profile, but did not relay conservative
criticisms of Gore's policy record.
Article on bottom half of page three. FNC Picked Up On Tribute to Bob
Casey: Media Defined "Inclusiveness" as Backing Pro-Choice
Fox News Channel
separated itself from the other networks last night by picking up on the
pre-prime time film tribute to the late pro-life Penn. Gov. Bob Casey, who
was denied the right to speak at the '92 convention. Just before 9pm ET
Brit Hume introduced a film clip and then went to Jim Angle on the floor
who interviewed pro-life Congressman Ron Klink about how he's treated.
learned from a delegate that all 435 of them from California are
"pro-choice," prompting him to query: "There are so many
efforts made to try to make the California delegates very reflective of
what's going on in the state, and not everybody in the state is
pro-choice, are they?"
Brit Hume noted
the contrast with the media attitude toward Republicans: "There was
kind of a working media definition of inclusiveness in Philadelphia, and
that meant toleration, or possibly even support for, the pro-choice
position." A few hours earlier, Carl Cameron had recalled remarks the
night before by Karenna Gore-Schiff and pointed out how "in a speech
billed as about a loving dad, hailed his inclusive open-mindedness --
except on abortion." Same could be said for the other networks.
items along the sides pf pages two and three. Dan Rather's Inscrutable
"Popeil Politics"; Lieberman's Liberalism Over Conscience; Third
Inscrutable "Popeil Politics"
Dan Rather did not disappoint Thursday night as
he came through again with the wackiest comments of the night. He closed
CBS News coverage just before 11pm ET with some remarks in which he oddly
linked conventions with a TV infomercial pioneer:
"And so we
come to the end of the nominating phase of Campaign 2000. In his landmark
book, The Making of the President, 1960, the late Theodore White said, 'A
convention is frequently a place where the naked act of history and
decision takes place in public.' That was 1960. Now forty years later,
conventions no longer make decisions, and what we witness in public now is
less a naked act of history than a flagrant act of hyperbole. Popeil
Politics, as in Ron Popeil, king of the TV infomercial. He invented the
infomercial to sell his household gadgets. The Republicans and the
Democrats have made it their own to sell their candidates."
Then, as Rather
choked up and voiced his last words in barely a whisper, he dramatically
concluded: "In 82 days, our beloved America will choose a new
President. Let the buyer beware. Let the voter be informed. For CBS News,
Dan Rather reporting from the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California.
Liberalism Over Conscience
Wednesday night in prime time Fox News Channel
addressed the claim that Joe Lieberman really isn't liberal. Fred Barnes
suggested he doesn't do much more than flirt with conservative ideas,
asking Bill Bennett:
"For many conservatives the critique of Joe
Lieberman is that he talks the talk, but he doesn't walk the walk. You
know, he wrestles with the decision whether to vote for or against
Clarence Thomas, partial birth abortion, he wrestles with, you know, his
conscience and so on. Impeachment, whether to convict the President or
not, he wrestles with that. But he always seems to wind up on the
side-" Brit Hume jumped in: "Yeah, his conscience loses."
Barnes stressed: "His conscience loses, and Democrats, the Democratic
leadership wins. He always votes with them, anyway."
Third Clinton Term
The Hollywood Left remains infatuated with Bill
Clinton. Early Thursday night on MSNBC Chris Matthews asked actress Whoopi
Goldberg: "In the ideal universe, the next President of the United
States -- forget popularity, forget political do-ability and practicality
and all that stuff -- who would you most like to see as President taking
the oath next January 20th: Ralph Nader, Al Gore or Bill Clinton?"
Without hesitation, Goldberg picked "Bill Clinton."
of the Night: "What we witness in public now is less a naked act of
history than a flagrant act of hyperbole. Popeil Politics, as in Ron
Popeil, king of the TV infomercial." -- Dan Rather closing CBS News
convention coverage Thursday night.
"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 alerting the media to our analysis. -- Brent Baker
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