Gore "Surging" or a "Dead Heat"?; Swayed by The "Kiss"; CBS Blamed Reagan for Firestone; Clymer: Hillary Hero
1) NBC's Tom Brokaw: "Gore is
surging, Bush is struggling." ABC's Peter Jennings: "The
presidential race pretty much qualifies as a dead heat." ABC blamed
Bush's stall on "the decision to launch negative ads while at the same
time calling for elevating the campaign discourse."
2) NBC's Lisa Myers focused on a
middle-aged women swayed to Al Gore by the "kiss" and Gore hugging
his daughter. Both made him "much more human." Her reasoning:
"I mean, he wouldn't be that close I think with his family if he were not
a nice guy."
3) Dan Rather once again skipped
pro-tax cut arguments and recited only the anti-tax cut spin. This time on the
inheritance tax: "President Clinton called the measure a tax giveaway
that would overwhelmingly mostly benefit the rich."
4) Add CBS News to the list of
outlets blaming Reagan for bad Firestone tires. CBS's Bob Orr rued how Carter
regulations "were never enacted" because "Ronald Reagan swept
to power promising to help struggling U.S. auto companies by reducing
regulations. NHTSA's budget was slashed." Chicago Tribune's Jim Warren
5) An "asshole" to Bush,
but a great teacher to Hillary who praised Adam Clymer as "a superb,
fair-minded reporter who...has taught me a lot." FNC pointed out how the
Times had to correct Clymer's negative piece on Cheney's charitable giving.
CBS and NBC all focused stories Thursday night on problems in the Bush
campaign and concerns expressed by Republicans, but none considered
conservative critiques about how the problem may be Bush's me-too
prescription plan and resistance to differentiating himself by taking on
Gore's massive spending proposals. Instead, the networks saw the debate
over debates as the main distraction. CBS cited his "off color"
remark and ABC blamed "the decision to launch negative ads while at
the same time calling for elevating the campaign discourse."
ABC and NBC
delivered conflicting polling numbers on whether Gore is ahead or even
with Bush. "Gore is surging, Bush is struggling," declared
NBC's Tom Brokaw in citing a Zogby poll, but ABC's Peter Jennings
insisted "the presidential race pretty much qualifies as a dead
heat" as ABC's poll put both candidates at 47 percent.
Here's how the
broadcast networks, on Thursday night September 7, assessed Bush's
problems and spun the poll numbers.
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Anchor Peter Jennings opened the broadcast with a new
poll: "It is exactly two months until election day and as of
today, September 7th, the presidential race pretty much qualifies as a
dead heat. The ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that among the
people who say they are likely to vote in November, 47 percent prefer
Mr. Bush and 47 percent Mr. Gore..."
last poll in late July to the current one, Jennings relayed how on
dealing with education both were at 44 percent but now Gore is
preferred 50 percent to 38 percent. On managing the budget, the
numbers went from 49 percent to 43 percent in favor of Bush to 47
percent to 42 percent in favor of Gore. Jennings added: "There is
one glaring gap around which the rest of the campaign will swirl. Mr.
Gore leads by 18 points among women. Mr. Bush leads by 20 points among
checked in from Pittsburgh, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth: "This is not the best time for the Bush campaign, but
as Governor Bush told one of his aides this morning, this is when you
find out who your real friends are. George W. Bush woke up this
morning to a spate of damaging comments in the national news media,
quoting leading Republicans. 'Undeniable panic gripping the party,'
said a column in the Washington Post. 'There's been a loss of
confidence in Bush.' Bill Bennett, a sometimes advisor to Bush, told
the New York Times, 'No doubt about it there's a real worry about the
general state of things.'"
After a clip
of Bush, Reynolds continued: "The Bush supporters behind these
stories are saying the campaign's problems are undermining the sense
of inevitable victory they once shared. There's been the lukewarm
reception for his running mate Dick Cheney, Bush's ineffective defense
of his tax cuts, the decision to launch negative ads while at the same
time calling for elevating the campaign discourse, and the perception
that he is reluctant to debate Al Gore before a big audience....The
Governor, who campaigned today with two wartime heroes at his side,
went out of his way to belittle all the analysis."
But Bush will
make some changes, Reynolds noted, such as holding town meeting-type
-- CBS Evening
News led with oil prices. Deep in the show, Dan Rather intoned:
"In the competition for the American presidency, Republican
George Bush brushed off talk today, some of it from top Republicans,
that what he's doing is not working and if he doesn't change, if he
doesn't turn the thing around, he could lose. Among other things, they
point to various polls, for whatever they may be worth, now showing
Bush anywhere from tied to six to ten points behind Al Gore."
Nice dig there
at non-CBS News polls.
subsequently asserted after a clip of Bush complaining that political
insiders are with him when he's up in the polls: "But it's not
just the polls triggering party jitters. Some complain Bush running
mate Dick Cheney hasn't added spark, that Bush's prescription drug
plan hasn't caught fire. Others say his off color remark knocked him
off message, the campaign is just plain arrogant."
-- NBC Nightly
News. Tom Brokaw's pre-theme music, top of the program tease: "On
the defensive. George W. Bush now calls himself the underdog. New
polls showing he's losing ground. Now what?"
Brokaw set up
the first story by recalling how two weeks ago Bush had a healthy lead
and Gore was struggling, but "now, with the election two months
away, Gore is surging, Bush is struggling," according to a Zogby/Reuters
noted that Bush "shrugs off high anxiety" of Republicans
but, Gregory cautioned: "Tonight, fresh evidence of Bush's
backslide. The new Zogby/Reuters poll taken since Labor Day shows the
Texas Governor trailing the Vice President by six points in a four-way
race. Other polls are closer, but Bush says the message is
"I am the underdog..."
numbers as listed on screen: Gore 46 percent, Bush 40 percent, Nader 5
percent, Buchanan 2 percent.
"What's gone wrong?" He suggested the debate over debates
became a distraction and Bush's anti-Gore debate ad "has
apparently backfired" since undecideds don't like
At least some women voters put emotion and gimmicks ahead of substance
in deciding for whom to vote. A group of women interviewed by NBC's
Lisa Myers provided the evidence. Thursday night she focused on a
middle-aged California women who gave Gore her allegiance because of
the "kiss" and his hugging his daughter, both of which led
her to see him as "much more human" and to like him because
"I mean, he wouldn't be that close I think with his family if he
were not a nice guy."
question the wisdom of the 19th Amendment.
began her September 7 NBC Nightly News exploration of Gore's support:
"The story behind Al Gore's surge in the polls begins with voters
like Lisa Forrester in California. An independent, she voted for Bill
Clinton four years ago, but like these women we brought together last
month before the Democratic convention [Myers around table with
women], she was undecided and definitely not sold on Al Gore."
last month: "He seems to come across to me as phoney, or silly or
updated viewers: "But then Forrester says she watched the
convention, was struck by Gore and his daughter [video of Al and
Karenna hugging on podium] and yes that big kiss for his wife [video
of it]. Today Forrester is solidly for Gore."
"How I see him differently is that he seems much more personable
and he seems much more human. I mean he wouldn't be that close I think
with his family if he were not a nice guy."
extrapolated, citing more Zogby/Reuters numbers: "In fact, three
of the four previously undecided women now support Gore, even those
who once worried he was too tainted by Clinton, which helps explain
why Gore, tied with Bush among women almost a month ago [at 42
percent], now leads 54 percent to 33 percent, a surprising 21 point
lead. There's a huge gender gap. Gore leads by 21 among women, Bush by
11 points among men."
Myers did go
on to run a clip from a lower income Hispanic woman who said Gore does
not appeal to her and she has decided that "we need a
When it comes to tax cuts, Dan Rather doesn't bother telling viewers
why conservatives back them, but he eagerly relays President Clinton's
liberal spin that any tax cut will be a "giveaway" to the
example occurred Thursday night as Rather announced, in full:
"President Clinton's veto of legislation that would have repealed
the inheritance tax will stand. House Republicans failed today to get
the two-thirds majority vote to override the veto. President Clinton
called the measure a tax giveaway that would overwhelmingly mostly
benefit the rich."
reporting on tax cuts fits a pattern espoused by Rather. Back on July
27 he asserted: "On another tax dollar front, the
Republican-controlled House voted tonight to reduce taxes for some
Social Security recipients who earn more than $34,000 a year. This is
the latest election year measure President Clinton says he'll veto
because the President says it benefits the well-to-do the most, will
cost $100 billion, and is, Mr. Clinton says, 'outside the mainstream
of what Americans want.'"
More blaming the Firestone tread separation problem on what Ronald
Reagan supposedly did 18 or so years ago. As detailed in the September
7 CyberAlert, ABC highlighted the liberal spin Wednesday night. CBS
News and a Washington Bureau Chief have now also given publicity to
night ABC's John Martin recalled how tough rules were issued in the
late 1970s by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
but "then came the Reagan administration" and the NHTSA
"budget was cut 49 percent." For more on ABC's piece, go to:
CBS's Bob Orr rued how the Carter administration's regulations
"were never enacted" because "Ronald Reagan swept to
power promising to help struggling U.S. auto companies by reducing
regulations. NHTSA's budget was slashed." Orr also relayed a
former Clinton official's complaint that "the Republican
Congress...often sides with big business until there's a problem like
the current Firestone flap." But Orr never explored what the
Clinton administration did or didn't do to restore whatever damage
Reagan and the GOP Congress supposedly inflicted.
before, on CNBC/MSNBC's Hardball, Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau
Chief Jim Warren contended: "Moves to tighten standards for
testing tires among other things and for beefing up the regulatory
agency NHTSA were ultimately undermined by the incoming Reagan
-- CBS Evening
News, September 7. Anchor Dan Rather maintained:
Firestone fiasco has exposed major weaknesses in the U.S. government's
watchdog agency in charge of safety on America's highways. Members of
Congress accuse the agency of being asleep, but critics fired back
saying it was in reality Congress that put it to sleep. Correspondent
Bob Orr has a CBS Evening News 'Reality Check.'"
by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, Orr explained: "When Firestone
struggled through an earlier recall in 1978, the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, was at the height of its
power. It drafted tough new tire regulations, but the rules were never
video of Reagan being sworn in, Orr identified the culprit:
"Ronald Reagan swept to power promising to help struggling U.S.
auto companies by reducing regulations. NHTSA's budget was slashed,
and now two decades later the regulator is left with little real power
and few resources. Since 1980, NHTSA's staff has been cut by 30
percent, and its budget by even more. At the same time, the number of
cars in America has jumped 38 percent."
authority? A disgruntled Clinton appointee: Ricardo Martinez. The
former NHTSA Administrator argued: "We had a lot of problems with
trying to keep the agency afloat the last six years."
even consider the Clinton administration role, and instead focused
only on Congress: "Ricardo Martinez, who headed NHTSA until last
October, says the agency is underfunded and overwhelmed. Yet the
Republican Congress, he says, often sides with big business until
there's a problem like the current Firestone flap."
"It is interesting to see that some of the same people in
Congress who really thought NHTSA was too hard on the car companies
are now complaining that NHTSA is asleep at the wheel."
ABC the night before, did allow someone to say that Reagan is being
made the scapegoat: "Louisiana Representative Billy Tauzin, who
chaired yesterday's hearing on the Firestone recall, says NHTSA has
dropped the ball.
"They're trying to find a scapegoat, like everybody else in this
case. So they try to blame Ronald Reagan. That's like the dog ate my
homework excuse. It just doesn't fly."
It does with
ABC and CBS.
"NHTSA insists it's doing more with less. Investigations have
more than doubled since 1980, but the agency rarely orders major
recalls, relying instead on companies to take voluntary actions."
Hoar, Auto Safety Consultant: "The car companies view NHTSA as an
annoyance and something that they have to put up with rather than
something that they need to be concerned about or fear."
a bigger and more powerful regulatory body is the only solution:
"And the car companies are spending millions lobbying Congress to
keep it that way. One former NHTSA investigator says the agency simply
doesn't have the muscle needed to police auto safety, and until that
changes, the industry, and not the regulators, will call most of the
-- Hardball on
MSNBC and CNBC, September 6. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this
from Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief Jim Warren during a
segment with Lawrence Kudlow:
if you also have a long memory you go back to the Reagan
administration, you so ably served and remember that there was a
Firestone recall in 1978. But moves to tighten standards for testing
tires among other things and for beefing up the regulatory agency
NHTSA were ultimately undermined by the incoming Reagan
administration. And it's interesting, Chris [Matthews] just a few
minutes ago was talking to Representative Kasich and also Senator
Breaux about, you know, the potential perils of less government. And
the extent to which Al Gore, you know represents a potentially onerous
return to big government. Well when it comes to stuff like tires, food
and other matters that hit close to home I think people when they
really think about it aren't so big on cutting the budgets of some of
these agencies, cutting the number of inspectors Larry!"
"I like Adam Clymer. I think Adam Clymer is a superb, fair-minded
reporter who, in the years I have followed him, has taught me a
lot." So enthused Hillary Clinton in a quote cited by the Deborah
Orin in the New York Post, Greg Pierce in the Washington Times and
noted by Brit Hume on his FNC show Thursday night. Clymer is the New
York Times reporter George Bush called "major league
Hume went on
to inform Special Report with Brit Hume viewers: "And
speaking of Clymer, the New York Times has now published a correction
of misstatements in his article this past Saturday about the alleged
meagerness of charitable contributions by GOP vice presidential
candidate Dick Cheney..."
that September 2 front page story Clymer wrote:
and Mrs. Cheney's tax returns not only showed a sharp increase in
adjusted gross income from 1992 to 1999, they also showed total
contributions to charities of $209,832, or just over 1 percent of
their 10-year income of $20,677,742.
to put a more generous face on those figures, a statement by the
Bush-Cheney campaign said $442,152 actually went to charity.
total was reached by adding $89,500 in honorariums, which Mr. Cheney
had to decline and therefore redirected to charity, and $142,820 in
grants from corporations on whose boards the two had served, which
matched their contributions."
For the entire
story, go to:
article on Saturday about the finances of Dick Cheney, the Republican
candidate for vice president, misstated his reason for having rejected
$89,500 in honorariums from 1992 to 1999 and having directed them to
charity. The action was voluntary, not required.
article also misstated the relationship of Mr. Cheney's wife, Lynne,
to the board of Union Pacific Resources. She was a board member until
the company was taken over this year by the Anadarko Petroleum
Corporation, an independent oil and gas exploration company. She is
not now a member."
taught Hillary how to put anti-conservative spin ahead of accuracy. -- Brent Baker
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