Car Dealer Gun Giveaway Denounced; Ray Awaiting Rather Apology; Bush Tax Cut Will Hurt "Health and Education"
1) Matt Lauer pounded away at a
Tennessee car dealer who planned to giveaway a gun to anyone who bought a car:
"If you give someone a CD player, they can't go out and kill someone with
it." On giving water pistols to kids, Lauer complained: "Some people
say that's just going too far."
2) Independent Counsel Robert Ray
is still waiting for an apology from Dan Rather for linking the
"Republican-backed" prosecutor to the leak about how Ray had
empaneled a new Lewinsky grand jury.
3) Convention contrasts in the
news magazines: The Republicans' "Bubba-bashing... blowtorch" was
matched by Joe Lieberman's "rye sense of humor." Time and U.S.
News promoted the Gore-Lieberman ticket as "just plain folks." Why,
"Did you know the Veep can body surf, make igloos, and chase coon
dogs?" Newsweek's Jonathan Alter: "Bush's massive tax cut does
overwhelmingly favor the wealthy at the expense of health and education."
Correction: An August 25 CyberAlert
citation referred to "Clinton lawyer William Bennett." That
should have read Robert or Bob.
Tennessee car dealer held his own Friday morning on Today when a disgusted
Matt Lauer took him on, demanding he defend his "Second Amendment
Saturday" giveaway of a voucher for a free gun to any adult who would
buy a car. "If you give someone a CD player, they can't go out and
kill someone with it," Lauer argued before insisting that the dealer
answer Handgun Control Inc. criticism. Lauer complained about a harmless
toy: "Even children who come to your dealership are going to get a
free water pistol. And some people say that's just going too far."
Lauer set up the first
interview segment of the August 25 7am half hour, as transcribed by MRC
intern Ken Shepherd: "On Closeup this morning, buy a car get a rifle
free. That is the deal you'll get tomorrow at Advantage Auto Sales in
Powell, Tennessee, and needless to say, the promotional campaign has
raised a few eyebrows."
Lauer then interviewed
via satellite dealer Greg "Lumpy" Lambert. After asking
"Why'd you come up with this?" Lauer contended: "Now,
obviously, if you're pro-guns and you want people to own guns that's one
thing but why give them away free, aren't you just asking for trouble
Lambert pointed out that
they are not being given away free since you have to buy a car to get one
and then you only get a voucher for a gun store where you still must pass
the background check. But Lauer pressed on with his liberal arguments:
"Let's say I come down to your dealership, I buy a car tomorrow, I
get my voucher, I go out and get my gun and then in a week or so I decide
that I don't want it, what's to stop me from selling it to anyone I want
to sell it to?"
"It's a free country, it's your property and you have a right to
sell it if you choose to."
To which Lauer followed
up: "And so if then the person that buys that gun from me goes out
and commits a crime with it, or God forbid takes a life with it, how are
you going to feel at your auto dealership?"
Lambert replied: "I'm not responsible for the
actions of other people...what we need is crime control not gun
Lauer demanded: "Yeah, but why not take away the
possibility? If you give someone a CD player, they can't go out and kill
someone with it."
Lambert laughed before responding: "Maybe that's
true, but it's the person that kills people, not the firearm."
Lauer then made Lambert
listen to an anti-gun group's political spin: "We talked to the
people at Handgun Control in Washington, they said this: 'Gun violence
is too serious of an issue to make guns the subject of a promotion.
Ironically, you have to be licensed to drive a car and to register your
car when you buy one. But we don't have such regulations for owning guns.
There's nothing to stop a person who gets a gun from Mr. Lambert's
promotions from turning around and reselling it to someone who should not
have one.' What's your response to that?"
Lambert explained how
you don't have to register a car if you keep it on your private property
and while all firearms require a background check, DUI records are not
checked before someone is allowed to buy a car.
Lauer then turned silly:
"From what I understand, Mr. Lambert, you're taking the promotion a
little bit further. Even children who come to your dealership are going to
get a free water pistol. And some people say that's just going too
That line befuddled
Lambert who pointed out they just wanted to give something to kids and
they first get parental permission.
Lauer then got to the
obvious: "This promotional idea has raised eyebrows, in particular,
Mr. Lambert, in big cities across the country, in urban areas where we
deal with gun violence everyday. Do you think that in the cities we just
are missing something that we aren't getting what's happening in places
like Powell, Tennessee?"
After Lambert suggested cities have "people with a
lot of hate in their hearts, that's what causes violence, it's not the
guns," Lauer fired back: "What about places like Paducah,
Kentucky, and Jonesboro, Arkansas?"
+++ Watch Lauer scold
the Tennessee car dealer. The MRC's Andy Szul and Kristina Sewell will
post an excerpt from this interview by early Monday afternoon. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Counsel Robert Ray is still waiting for an apology from Dan Rather for
linking him to the leak about how he had empaneled a grand jury to look at
Bill Clinton's Lewinsky-related statements, the New York Post reported
In an August 25 item
highlighted by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews and brought to my attention by
the MRC's Tim Graham, "Page Six" writer Richard Johnson, with
Paula Froelich and Chris Wilson, relayed:
Last Thursday, when AP broke the
anonymously-sourced story that Ray had empaneled a new grand jury to hear
evidence against President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, hours
before Al Gore was scheduled to accept his party's nomination at the
Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, the CBS News anchor went on the air
to rail against the "leak" from "Republican-backed"
"Al Gore must stand and deliver here
tonight as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee," Rather said
on the air. "And now Gore must do so against the backdrop of a
potentially damaging, carefully orchestrated story leak about President
Another correspondent quoted a "top
Gore advisor" calling the leak part of a "grand Republican
strategy to tie Al Gore to President Clinton" and likened it to
"the political equivalent of a hand grenade being rolled onto the
floor of this convention." In his "Rather's Notebook"
column on CBS' web site the same day, Rather went even further.
"You don't have to be a cynic to note
that this has all the earmarks of a carefully orchestrated, politically
motivated leak," Rather wrote. "So you ask yourself -- what
group has the motive to see that such a leak would occur at such a
time...None of which is to say that George W. Bush is behind the leak,
either directly or indirectly."
But the next day, when Ray confirmed the
report, U.S. Appellate Court Judge Richard D. Cudahy, a Democrat and one
of three federal judges on the panel that supervises Ray, released a
statement that he was accidentally the source for the story....
Ray is still waiting for Rather to follow
suit. "We considered [Rather's reports] to be unbalanced," Keith
Ausbrook, senior counsel in Ray's office told The Post. "Except for
Judge Cudahy, we haven't received any apology."
He shouldn't hold his breath. Rather
doesn't seem in any hurry to make amends. Rather's spokesperson, Kim
Akhtar, was out of the office and unavailable for comment, but another CBS
staffer said Rather is off fishing in some remote locale.
Here's how Rather
opened the August 17 CBS Evening News from the Staples Center:
"Timing is everything. 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. CBS' Jim
Stewart in Washington has that story and the context."
To listen and watch, via
a RealPlayer clip, to that misleading reporting, go to:
latest MRC MagazineWatch compares and contrasts coverage by Newsweek, Time
and U.S. News of he two conventions. Below are excerpts of four items in
the August 22 edition about the August 28-dated magazines as compiled by
the MRC's Tim Graham:
1. Convention contrasts:
the Republicans' "Bubba-bashing... blowtorch" was matched by
Joe Lieberman's "rye sense of humor" and the Liebermans'
inspiring "versions of the American Dream."
2. The magazines split on the post-convention analysis:
Newsweek celebrated the bounce of a "Gladiator of
Government," while Time and U.S. News wondered if Gore
had the skills to woo both liberals and moderates.
3. Time's Eric Pooley and U.S. News &
World Report's Kenneth Walsh promoted the Gore-Lieberman ticket as
"just plain folks." Why, "Did you know the Veep can body
surf, make igloos, and chase coon dogs?"
4. Pounding home the usual party line, Newsweek's
Jonathan Alter felt the earth move for Albert: "The average voter's
bottom line on Gore is increasingly: 'He'll do.'" Besides,
"Bush's massive tax cut does overwhelmingly favor the wealthy
at the expense of health and education."
Now the text for those
four pieces of analysis:
1. Now that the "Stay Out The
Bushes" convention in Los Angeles is over, we can compare and
contrast post-convention issues. There were similarities (in U.S. News,
editorialist David Gergen praised George W. Bush, while editorialist
Mortimer Zuckerman praised Al Gore), but more contrasts. In Time's
"Winners and Losers" feature two weeks ago, Dick Cheney was a
loser for his "Clinton-bashing red-meat speech." The only
Democratic losers this week were targets of friendly campaign advice:
"Gore consultants: Guys, put a cork in it (except to Time).
You keep making your client look like a mere pawn." The winners
included Karenna Gore Schiff ("Advice to Al: Keep her onstage as well
as behind the scenes") and of course, lip-locking Tipper
("'80s music scold; now Joe's the prude. H-wood, America digs
you. And that dance, that kiss.")
In Newsweek's "Conventional
Wisdom," Bush and Gore both drew up arrows. But Bush drew half-praise
("Passes key test with 52 smirkless minutes. But will Bubba-bashing
be enough?") while Gore's thumbs-up was unencumbered
("Finally, his own man. No 'lift of a driving dream,' but a
bigger bounce than Bush.") Would anyone watching these two speeches
conclude, as these entries suggest, that Bush did more
"bashing"? Two weeks ago, Lynne Cheney got a down: "Wigs
out at questions about (openly) gay daughter. Get used to it, Lynne."
But Joe Lieberman got a rave review: "Bakery-truck driver's son's
rye sense of humor goes over big. Bonus: He looks like a VP."
Two weeks ago, Newsweek's two-page
spread of pictures before its convention story carried one caption which
read, "Cheney, with wife Lynne, roused the delegates with a red-meat
attack on Gore." Newsweek also headlined one set of photos,
"The Republicans' 'Inclusion Illusion': The faces on the stage
were diverse, but the delegates were still overwhelmingly white." By
comparison, this week's Lieberman photo is buried under the Gore lip-lambada,
but the caption read "Joe and Hadassah Lieberman spoke for the New
Democrats and told their versions of the American Dream." In the
former "Illlusion" column, Newsweek celebrated "The
Place to See and Be Seen," over pictures of ten celebrities on site.
Two weeks ago, U.S. News writer
Terrence Samuel suggested Dick Cheney's "quiet blowtorch of a speech
aimed at the Clinton-Gore administration" blew up "all the early
talk that having Cheney on the ticket would evoke memories of a more
grown-up, less partisan Washington." This week, he never mentioned
Lieberman's attacks on Republicans (although the magazine matches his
article with excerpts titled "Now, a little Bush bashing").
Instead, Samuel reported on liberal unease over Lieberman by playing the
usual reporter's Democratic party game: liberals were identified by
these labels: the "party faithful," "party purists,"
"traditional Democrats," a "diehard Democrat,"
"blacks," and in the case of radical troublemaker Maxine Waters,
the "voluble African-American congresswoman."
2. The magazines split on the
post-convention analysis: Newsweek celebrated the bounce of a
"Gladiator of Government," while Time and U.S. News
wondered if Gore had the skills to woo both liberals and moderates. In
"Picking a Fight," Time scribe Nancy Gibbs asserted:
"The secret code of the Bush campaign is that politics doesn't
really matter, the country is at peace, the market is up, so you can
afford to vote for the guy you like because we're all happy centrists
now...Gore heard the music and read the polls and saw that this was a
contest he could not win. He is sharper when he's in a fight, but Bush
has not played by the Gore rules...So last week Gore picked a different
fight," picking on faceless corporations. "He may not win a
popularity contest against George W. Bush, but he might win one against,
say, Exxon." Gibbs wasn't totally sold, forwarding the fears of
Democrats: "Why does Gore have to use the word fight 20 times in his
speech when every survey shows many swing voters want all the partisan
fighting to stop?"
Gibbs saw a candidate in trouble, with a
shaky base. "Even the right wing wants victory enough to do anything
and say nothing. You didn't see Charlton Heston in Philadelphia.; you
couldn't miss Jesse Jackson in Los Angeles." Gore "is
threading a fine needle: he picked a centrist running mate and shaped a
centrist platform, all the while calling for the workers in the hall to
unite. He's offering Clintonism in populist garb, centrism in a union
suit." Gibbs suggested "some Democrats - and some Republicans
- say Gore is making a huge miscalculation." Gore aides made their
case to her: "In some ways, it's role he has been comfortable with,
as the son of a waitress and a Senator known for his fiery defense of
In "On his own at last," U.S.
News reporters Roger Simon and Kenneth Walsh explained: "Ignoring
advice to veer to the center, where campaigns are often won or lost,
ignoring advice to go more for the heart than the head, Gore delivered a
populist address of the old school."
At their most sympathetic, Simon and Walsh
proclaimed: "The frustration for the Gore forces has been that when
people are asked who shows the greatest leadership ability, an area where
the seriousness and long record of Gore should shine through like a
beacon, they pick Bush by wide margins." Like Gibbs, Simon and Walsh
[worried] about the effects of Gore's risky populism scheme on voters in
the middle, and will have to thread a needle between the party's liberal
and centrist wings.
Howard Fineman and Bill Turque took a different tack. In "How Al Got
His Bounce," they focused on average voter reaction: "Ken Kinter
fiancee, Kirsten Held, nodded approvingly when Gore promised to defend
abortion rights. They liked his potshots at Big Tobacco, Big Drugs, and
Big Oil. Kinter voted for Bob Dole in 1996 and remains undecided, drawn to
George W. Bush's 'bubbly,' upbeat style. But the Vice President
impressed him. 'Al Gore is dry, but with both feet planted firmly on the
ground.' he declared."
They continued by explaining what won a
"big" convention bounce: "It was the newest and, his
supporters said, the innermost Al Gore: a bull-market populist vowing to
use prosperity (and the big budget surplus) for programs the benefit
'working families'...If that's so, then this is who Gore really is:
a back-to-the-future liberal with a tinge of Southern populism, a
Gladiator of Government and the political heir to his own dad, the late
Sen. Albert Gore Sr. of Possum Hollow, Tenn. This presumably final release
of the new Al Gore was also notable for what he didn't say...He did not
pay much homage to the centrist New Democrat cast, of which running mate
Joe Lieberman is a leading member." Fineman and Turque completely
slid past the question of the very prominent liberal base at the
convention, spending most of their space previewing possible fall
strategies and tactics.
3. Time's Eric Pooley and U.S.
News & World Report's Kenneth Walsh promoted the Gore-Lieberman
ticket as "just plain folks."
Two weeks ago, Pooley was picking on George
W. Bush's economic program as too cheap. But image, not substance, was
his beat this week. Pooley's article was headlined: "Al Gore,
Regular Guy: Did you know the Veep can body surf, make igloos, and chase
coon dogs?" He dutifully began: "One big goal of the Democratic
convention was to prove that Al Gore has the experience to be President.
Not executive experience, but the really important stuff -- body surfing
and mountain climbing, making igloos and cocoa and a dinosaur diorama with
the kids, shooting pool and watching Star Trek with Tommy Lee
Jones, chasing through the woods with coon dogs in the middle of the
night, wrapping a turkey in aluminum foil and roasting it in the
fireplace. At this convention, Gore's image was the thing being cooked
inside the shiny wrapper."
Pooley found Gore more intense than
easygoing, but he played along: "The biographical film narrated by
Tipper Gore was effective because it showed Gore as a loving family man,
and he is that. Best of all, it was a chance to show off photos of Al and
Tipper as young marrieds in the 1970s -- a scruffy hunk and his blond
babe. As a 30-year-old woman sitting in the hall was heard to say, 'Gore
was hot -- who knew?'"
Now that Gore had been eroticized, Pooley
ended by praising his double-time convention address: "The convention
offered a thousand opinions about who Gore is. But his speech suggested a
simple one: He's a man who knows that he and the system are flawed but
who might just be smart and tough enough to get things done. Gore came out
of his shiny foil wrapper."
Under the headline "The families are
just plain folks: Tipper and Hadassah stand by their men," Walsh
argued: "Excitement or no, the Lieberman family seems to make a lot
of sense as a paradigm of simple, straightforward normalcy after nearly
eight years of the dysfunctional and vastly complex marriage of Bill and
Hillary Clinton. Ditto Al and Tipper Gore, who were portrayed last week as
doting parents and political lovebirds at the Democratic National
Convention." In case you didn't get the point, Walsh concluded:
"Says a friend of both the Liebermans and the Gores, 'These are two
strong and tranquil marriages by today's standards.' It may be just
what the country wants to see in the White House after the storm-tossed
Walsh didn't explore whether the Bush
marriage would just as easily accomplish this task.
4. Pounding home the usual party line, Newsweek's
Jonathan Alter felt the earth move for Albert: "Gore connected with
the kitchen-table concerns of ordinary Americans and at long last
developed his own political profile. If the underlying motivation for
those leaning to Bush is 'change for change's sake,' the average voter's
bottom line on Gore is increasingly: 'He'll do.' That's the living-room
view. Out in Campaignland, a spirited debate is underway about Gore's
populist theme...But on balance, it should work. Bush's massive tax cut
does overwhelmingly favor the wealthy at the expense of health and
education. When that becomes widely known, it will hurt Bush."
Alter on Bush, damned if he does:
"AFTER CONVENTION, BUSH CHIDES GORE FOR DIVISIVE TONE, read the lead
headline in The New York Times. This is not a winning theme for
Bush. 'Chiding' can itself be 'divisive'; you can't easily go negative
on someone's negativity. And voters don't go for aggrieved victimhood.
They want candidates to punch back."
Alter on Bush, damned if he doesn't:
"For Bush to hit hard on Gore's 1996 visit to the Buddhist temple
might also seem like old news - and too negative. As for litigating the
last eight years, this is a total loser for Bush."
If Alter's view held sway, Bush would be
advised to quit now and avoid the hassle.
The MagazineWatch also
features two more items:
-- Newsweek's Michael Isikoff
played the new Clinton-Lewinsky grand jury story straight, while U.S.
News concluded with Barney Frank bluster and Time urged
independent counsel Robert Ray to "Give up: you can't catch that
-- Time's Margaret Carlson, who introduced Hillary Clinton to the
nation in 1992 as "an amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and
Oliver Wendell Holmes" has gotten a bad case of Hillary fatigue after
the First Lady's convention address: "By the time she was saying
thank you (for what she didn't say), many had lost the will to live."
To read the August 22
MagazineWatch about the August 28 issues, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/magwatch/mag20000822.asp -- Brent Baker
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