Nets Jumped on ADL Complaint; Lieberman Double Standard Conceded; Gore Attacks Energized NBC; Survivor to Save Early Show?
1) The networks jumped on the
ADL's criticism of Joe Lieberman for mixing religion and politics, but only
ABC's Peggy Wehmeyer reminded viewers how Gore and Bush "toned
down" their religious rhetoric "as a result of press criticism"
and suggested "Lieberman can get away with it because he's Jewish and a
2) Time and USA Today reporters
conceded a media double standard on religion and politics: "If a
conservative Republican were saying these things it would, people would be
3) ABC's World News Tonight
ignored Bill Clinton's response to the official Arkansas lawsuit calling for
his disbarment while CBS gave it 25 seconds and NBC 28 seconds on Tuesday
4) Monday night only NBC's
Claire Shipman called Gore's attack on Bush over prescription drugs
"harsh" and only ABC's Terry Moran pointed out how Joe Lieberman
has been a major recipient of "drug industry campaign funds."
5) Al Gore's Monday attack on
George Bush over prescription drugs sure energized NBC News. Tuesday morning
Today led with it and Tuesday night, of the broadcast networks, only NBC
focused for the second straight night on Gore's efforts to "needle
6) New edition of MediaNomics:
"Media Aid Environmental Hit Job on ABC Reporter" and
"Journalists Try to Pull Out the Plug On Electricity Deregulation."
7) $5 million to Bryant Gumbel and
it's still mired in 3rd place, so CBS plans to boost the ratings of The
Early Show by making most of the Survivor cast appear regularly on the show.
broadcast networks Tuesday night all jumped on the Anti-Defamation
League's (ADL) criticism of Joe Lieberman for mixing religion and
politics, but only ABC's Peggy Wehmeyer reminded viewers how other
candidates have "toned down" their religious rhetoric "as a
result of press criticism" and suggested "Lieberman can get away
with it because he's Jewish and a Democrat."
CBS made the complaint its
lead story as Phil Jones turned to the "conservative Bill
Bennett" to vouch for Lieberman's sincerity and noted how
"Bush has avoided hot-button religious and social issues. A mistake
says a conservative, family values lobbyist." NBC merged the ADL
criticism into a larger story on Gore's day of campaigning against Bush.
Here's a rundown of
how the Tuesday August 29 ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows treated the ADL
-- ABC's World News
Tonight led with the fires in West. Later, anchor Charles Gibson
"In presidential politics today, something of a
backlash against mixing politics and religion. The Anti-Defamation League,
a group founded to fight discrimination against Jews, has written a letter
to Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman asking him to stop
invoking his faith on the campaign trail."
Reporter Peggy Wehmeyer
explained how "after a speech in Detroit where Lieberman said belief
in God is the basis of morality, a Jewish watchdog group issued a terse
Following a soundbite
from the ADL's Abraham Foxman and a quote from his letter, Wehmeyer
pointed out how talking about religion on the campaign trail is not new in
this campaign and she showed two old Gore and Bush clips as a reminder.
First, Gore in April 1999: "The purpose of life is to glorify
God." Second, Bush in December 1999: "When you accept Christ as
your savior, it changes your heart, it changes your life."
Wehmeyer then uniquely
blamed the media for their abandoning the theme and suggested why there is
a double standard for Lieberman: "Gore and Bush have since toned down
the religious rhetoric, some say as a result of press criticism. But
Lieberman continues to invoke God's name repeatedly. Some think
Lieberman can get away with it because he's Jewish and a Democrat."
Forest Montgomery, Counsel, National Association of
Evangelicals, asserted: "If an evangelical or Bush had said something
like this the press would have been on them like so many tigers."
Wehmeyer concluded by
reporting how Lieberman is "unrepentant" and plans to continue
sharing his passion about religious faith.
-- CBS Evening News.
Anchor John Roberts led the program:
"Seventy days now until America elects a new
President and Vice President and suddenly religion is becoming a big
issue. Not the religion any of the candidates practices, but the religion
they preach on the campaign trail."
Phil Jones outlined the
ADL criticism, playing a clip of Lieberman which so enraged the ADL:
"We are children of the same awesome God."
Jones suggested Democrats picked Lieberman to separate
Gore from Clinton's scandals, "but is Lieberman being political or
sincere? It's a little of both says Republican conservative Bill
"The fact that it may be to their advantage politically to talk about
these things doesn't mean it isn't a conviction of Joe Lieberman's.
It is s conviction of Joe Lieberman's, as I know."
Jones recalled what happened to Bush when he touched
religion, but did not mention the media's role in fueling the
controversy: "After Republican George Bush declared Jesus Christ his
favorite political philosopher in a primary debate, and in the aftermath
of the controversy surrounding his trip to Bob Jones University, a
chastened Bush has avoided hot-button religious and social issues. A
mistake says a conservative, family values lobbyist."
Richard Lessner, American Renewal: "I think Al
Gore and Joe Lieberman have sensed the importance of those issues and they
are filling a vacuum that was very consciously left by the Bush
(Some may recall Lessner
from his previous job as editorial page editor at the Union Leader in New
miracle of the day: He got CBS to put two soundbites from conservatives,
though preceded by warning labels, into one story.
-- NBC Nightly News gave
the ADL complaint only a couple of sentences in a larger story. Claire
Shipman, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, reported: "And
Gore is also answering questions today about his running mate Joseph
Lieberman, about concerns from the Anti-Defamation League that Lieberman
is making too big a point about religion on the campaign trail."
After Gore insisted "I believe in what Joe Lieberman is saying,"
Shipman continued: "Advisors say they think the public likes it, too.
Lieberman may start to talk more about his support for the separation of
church and state, but he won't cut out the religion."
a conservative Republican were saying these things it would, people
would be going nuts." Reporters from Time and USA Today
acknowledged to Chris Matthews on Hardball Monday night that Democrats
are benefitting from a huge media double standard on religion and
politics, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed.
August 28 MSNBC/CNBC show, Matthews suggested: "The odd thing of
having an orthodox, very observant Jewish candidate for Vice
President, talking a lot about religious faith. Biblical references,
Talmudic references, John. Who would've believed this three weeks
John Dickerson of Time magazine conceded:
"Well not to mention that, but it bears repeating that, if a
conservative Republican were saying these things it would, people
would be going nuts."
Matthews soon turned to Tom Squitieri of USA Today: "Tough
question, I said the liberal press. Suppose this guy was a religious
conservative from the Christian fundamentalist tradition and he was
out there quoting from the Old Testament, as most people from that
tradition do. Would he be mocked by the media? By the New York liberal
media? Would we be saying what kind of a clown act is this?"
Squitieri admitted the media bias: "Just look
back a couple of years ago when Pat Robertson ran for the Republican
nomination. You had that kind of, that kind of thing going on."
Squitieri: "Yeah, I mean making fun of him
because he was a man of the cloth and imposing his religious views. I
think it's the reverse, in a way, of the Nixon can go to China. He
could get away with that, if McGovern had been President he would've
been pilloried for doing that."
Matthews: "So it's alright to talk about
your Christian fundamentals if you're Jewish?"
Squitieri: "If you're Jewish. Yeah
Matthews: "I think that's true. I think
we've lurched into the truth here."
Clinton's response to the official Arkansas lawsuit calling for his
disbarment went unnoticed Tuesday night by ABC's World News Tonight
while CBS gave it 25 seconds and NBC 28 seconds.
Evening News anchor John Roberts announced: "President Clinton
today began the campaign to save his license to practice law. In his
response to disbarment proceedings filed late this afternoon, the
President admits he was trying to avoid embarrassment in the Paula
Jones and Monica Lewinsky depositions, but claims he did not
intentionally give false statements. His attorneys argue that
stripping the President of his law license would be excessively harsh
and unprecedented given the circumstances of the case."
the NBC Nightly News, unusual substitute anchor Matt Lauer reported:
"One note from the White House tonight. President Clinton has
asked a lawyer's committee in Arkansas not to disbar him over his
testimony in the Paula Jones sex harassment suit. In his response to a
complaint filed by an Arkansas prosecutor, Mr. Clinton says having his
license pulled is too harsh a penalty for the accusation. The
prosecutor argued President Clinton lied to save himself embarrassment
in the Jones case and for that he should lose his law license. No word
yet on when this all will be decided."
Gore's attack on George Bush over creating a new prescription drug
entitlement program and Bush's laying out of his education plan led
to stories Monday night on the broadcast evening news shows, but only
NBC's Claire Shipman called Gore's attack "harsh" and
only ABC's Terry Moran pointed out how Joe Lieberman has been a
major recipient of "drug industry campaign funds."
August 28 World News Tonight on ABC dedicated a full story to Gore's
day followed by a few seconds on Bush's education plan; CBS ran one
story which covered the main points made by each candidate and NBC
aired a full story on each.
"Harsh" Gore. Only NBC's Claire Shipman applied the term
to Gore. Shipman observed: "The Vice President attacks the
Gore: "These companies have so much power and
so much wealth. This is by all odds the most profitable industry in
Shipman: "And harsh words for his opponent, a
new ad released today in nine states."
Gore TV ad: "George Bush's approach leaves
millions of seniors with no prescription drug coverage."
hypocrisy because of Lieberman's donors. Monday night only ABC's
Terry Moran pointed out: "The Vice President has proposed a
prescription drug benefit under the Medicare program, but he may have
a problem with his own rhetoric, since one of the main recipients of
drug industry campaign funds is his own running mate, Senator Joe
Lieberman. In an interview, the Vice President says Lieberman's record
shows he was not unduly influenced by the campaign funds."
Gore's Monday attack on George Bush over prescription drugs sure
energized NBC News. Tuesday morning Today led with it as evidence, in
Ann Curry's words, that "this presidential campaign is starting
to heat up!" Tuesday night, of the broadcast networks, only NBC
focused for the second straight night on Gore's efforts to
"needle Governor Bush," including how he has Bush on the
defense over debates. David Gregory concluded by asserting that some
"aides think that Bush seems trapped, unable to go on the
offensive for a second week now."
August 29 Today opened with this soundbite from Al Gore on his plane:
"The time for, for generalities without specifics, I think is,
just about over. And so it is kind of, you know, where specifics are
concerned it's kind of put up or shut up time."
Co-host Matt Lauer then welcomed viewers:
"Good morning. With those words Vice President Al Gore threw down
the gauntlet to Governor George W. Bush, stepping up the challenge in
the race for the presidency today, Tuesday August 29th, 2000."
attack excited co-host Ann Curry, observed MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens: "Okay this presidential campaign is starting to heat
Lauer agreed: "In a big way. The Vice
President made that challenge as he traveled the country, riding the
momentum of a popular plan for providing prescription drug coverage
for seniors. We're gonna talk about why that's working with voters and
how the Bush campaign plans to respond."
James introduced the top story: "And more now about some comments
from the Vice President. With 10 days [sic] to go until election day
Vice President Gore raised the stakes in a debate over a prescription
drug plan. Last night he told George W. Bush to, in his words, put up
or shut up. More from NBC's Chip Reid."
Chip Reid began: "Tough talk from Vice
President Al Gore aboard Air Force Two....Put up or shut up time for
George W. Bush on the subject of prescription drugs. Gore, taunting
Bush for failing to offer a detailed plan to help seniors with the
high cost of prescription drugs. Last night a Bush spokesman called
Gore's words, quote, 'Not very statesmanlike.' Earlier in the day Bush
said he's already offered the blueprint of a plan and will offer
details next week. Bush aides say their plan will be much less
expensive and bureaucratic than Gore's. But in the meantime with Bush
on the defensive Gore is getting all the political mileage he
Gore soundbite, Reid continued: "At a pharmacy in Tallahassee,
Florida, 82 year old Mertle Jennings told Gore she often lives in
pain, forced to choose between food and arthritis medicine. Gore later
told a forum of seniors about her plight."
soon made Gore's case: "Many here had stories just as dire,
just as emotional. Medicare generally does not cover prescription
drugs with 39 million seniors and with drug costs soaring Gore
believes his detailed plan to spend $253 billion over 10 years to help
seniors buy prescription drugs is a political grand slam. The Gore
campaign believes Florida could be the key to winning this election
and they believe prescription drugs is such a powerful political issue
with seniors that it could be the key to winning Florida."
night, Claire Shipman announced: "The issue today: children's
health care, but the point is to needle Governor Bush....And a sharper
attack in a new ad to be released tomorrow obtained by NBC News."
Clip of anti-Bush ad: "The new prescription
drug ad for George Bush, the New York Times says its accuracy is
'zero.' Bush has no specific plan."
Shipman: "That follows the tough jab last
night above Air Force Two, accusing his opponent of lack of
Al Gore: "It's kind of put up or shut up
Shipman: "Any regrets today about what aides
say was an unscripted comment?"
then went on to the Lieberman/ADL controversy, quoted in item #1
above, before concluding: "But most of the focus of the Gore
effort now seems to be on getting under Bush's skin. The campaign
today, for example, releasing this letter accepting the debate
commission's terms for three prime time match-ups this fall, debates
that the Gore team says Bush is ducking."
Gregory next provided the Bush response, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth: "Tonight Governor Bush strongly denies what Claire
was talking about, that he is ducking any of the debates....The Vice
President's formal acceptance of the commission's debate calendar
today puts new pressure on Bush, but he says the commission debates
are just three of fifty-three invitations he's considering..."
clip of Bush's retort on prescription drugs, Gregory concluded:
"While some Bush aides say that there is an advantage in allowing
Gore to appear so negative, other aides think that Bush seems trapped,
unable to go on the offensive for a second week now. Said one, 'We
haven't scored a punch in a long time.'"
will hardly let him.
August 29 edition of MediaNomics from the MRC's Free Market Project
(FMP) is now online thanks to Webmaster Andy Szul. The articles
researched and written by FMP Director Rich Noyes:
Media Aid Environmental Hit Job on ABC Reporter
It makes sense that the liberal activists at the
Environmental Working Group (EWG) would attack ABC's John Stossel.
But it's a different issue with Stossel's media brethren.
Allegedly mainstream news organizations revealed their true mindset
when they chose to repeat the EWG's distorted claim that Stossel is
a sloppy and biased reporter, rather than hunt down the facts for
the entire analysis as well as to view a RealPlayer clip from the
Stossel story in question, go to:
Journalists Try to Pull Out the Plug On Electricity Deregulation
Business owners and residents in San Diego,
California are understandably peeved that their electric bills have
doubled over the past twelve months. But national media personalities
have now parachuted in, blaming "deregulation" for
consumers' woes when both past and present regulation of the
electric power industry continues to affect market prices.
the rest, go to:
access both stories, go to:
Bryant Gumbel and The Early Show survive. Jim Romenesko's MediaNews
highlighted Gail Shister's Philadelphia Inquirer exclusive that
since appearances by Survivor cast members boosted Early Show ratings,
Executive Producer Steve Friedman plans to use the Survivor cast
regularly even though the show is now over.
Here's an excerpt from her August 29 story:
Steve Friedman, leader of
The Early Show tribe, still carries a big Tiki torch for CBS's
And who (but Susan) could
blame him? Survivor's just-ended 13-week prime-time run gave the
once-comatose morning show a major Nielsen boost every Thursday, when
the previous night's reject was featured guest.
"Like the rest of
America, I'm in withdrawal," Friedman says. "I looked
forward to Wednesday night and Thursday morning. I'll miss the bump.
Unfortunately, a lot of the momentum we had will probably be disturbed
during the Olympics."
against NBC's all-taped coverage of the Sydney Games, CBS will repeat
the whole series Sept. 15 through 29 at 9 nightly, except Sundays.
Fresh interviews will be included.
Then there's Survivor 2:
The Australian Outback, which launches Jan. 28 after the Super Bowl.
Though still third in the
morning wars, Early Show, with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Clayson, picked
up steam, thanks to Survivor, especially among 18-to-49-year-old
women. Last Thursday's show -- featuring 15 of the 16 Survivors (Kelly
called in sick) -- climbed to a 3.5 rating and 12 percent audience
share in the 48-market overnights.
Those were the best
numbers yet for the 10-month-old Early Show and highest for any CBS
early-morning broadcast since the '94 Winter Olympics. Moreover, Early
Show tied ABC's Good Morning America. As usual, both finished well
behind NBC's Today juggernaut (4.8/17)....
Meanwhile, Friedman has
talked to all but one of the Survivors about becoming regular
contributors. Lone exception: Greg, who "wasn't dependable. He
didn't show up, and he seemed indifferent to the press." (The
Friedman's first choice --
big surprise -- is Ultimate Survivor Richard. "Why not go for the
winner?" But with all Mr. Hatch's bookings and endorsements, he
may not have time for a regular gig....
Greg showed just the right attitude toward a show starring Bryant
Gumbel. -- Brent Baker
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