Gore's Flip on FTC Not Recalled; Gore Ogled by Oprah; Lee "Witch Hunt" GOP's Fault; Clymer's Mischief Revealed
1) The networks highlighted how
though Al Gore has benefitted from entertainment money, he endorsed an FTC
study on how Hollywood is marketing adult-oriented fare to kids. But only FNC
recalled: "Gore initially distanced himself from this study, telling
potential Hollywood donors that he had nothing to do with it."
2) "Bush today road-tested
his latest image and message make-over in a state that was supposed to be a
big sure thing for him," Dan Rather intoned about Florida.
3) Al Gore's failure to give her
a kiss on the lips disappointed Oprah, but she sure gave him a warm treatment
with an adoring audience applauding his promises of more drug coverage and day
care. Oprah played the "kiss" video twice, adding her own
play-by-play: "Notice the hug, it's a full body pull me in...whoa
4) "Republicans demanding
action" led to "a government witch hunt" for Wen Ho Lee, NBC
maintained. ABC made the case for anti-Chinese racism as the networks found
culprits for the Wen Ho Lee fiasco.
5) Adam Clymer outed himself as
the one who added this sentence -- "There may never have been a
'serious' candidate who needed it more" -- to a 1999 New York Times
story on how George Bush was getting tutored by experts on national and
6) ABC and CBS on Monday morning,
but not NBC, picked up on how U.S. Open champion Venus Williams pressed Bill
Clinton about cutting taxes.
online, or actually online for a few days now, the September 7
MagazineWatch about the September 11 issues. The topics in the edition
compiled by MRC analyst Paul Smith:
1. Newsweek and Time took Bush to task over his latest ad criticizing
Al Gore's integrity. Jonathan Alter: "I'd like to see the
Democrats attack Bush as a lightweight in hock to polluters.
"Margaret Carlson: "Bush wails like a cheap car alarm over
the most minor incursion -- and attacks at the same time."
2. U.S. News, contrary to the other news magazines, reported on two
independent studies that support conservative arguments: one showing a
significant media bias towards Gore following the conventions and one
finding black students vastly improving test scores through school
3. Newsweek's "Wisdom" czar attacked Bush as untrustworthy
and Cheney as an "option-holding fat cat" while still waxing
poetic over Al and Tipper's mandible-mash: "the Kiss still
For the details, go to:
Correction. The September 11 CyberAlert
referred to Bull "Conner." The MRC's Tom Johnson since
informed me that should have read "Connor."
FTC study on how movie, music and computer game producers market their
adult-oriented fare to children, topped the ABC and CBS evening shows
Monday night and NBC ran a full story after leading with the Wen Ho Lee
All reported how Al
Gore had picked up on the study and used it to suddenly demand
accountability in Hollywood. "Al Gore jumped on this violence in
entertainment report faster than a ninja warrior in a video
game," Peter Jennings suggested. The networks also allowed George
W. Bush to label Gore a hypocrite as reporters explained how much
support Gore has received from Hollywood. But only FNC's Jim Angle
reminded viewers of a fact not even mentioned on CNN's Inside
Politics: A 1999 newspaper story disclosed "that Gore initially
distanced himself from this study, telling potential Hollywood donors
that he had nothing to do with it."
Here's how the
broadcast network Monday, September 11 evening shows handled the
candidate reactions to the FTC report:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Following the lead story on the FTC report findings,
anchor Peter Jennings delivered the most colorful analogy: "In
the presidential campaign today, Al Gore jumped on this violence in
entertainment report faster than a ninja warrior in a video game.
Clearly there is political milage to be had here. However, this week
alone the Vice President is scheduled to attend three fundraisers
headlined by prominent entertainers, which is exactly why Mr. Gore has
been accused today of hypocrisy."
Terry Moran showed
Gore claiming "it's about protecting the children of this
country" as he threatened regulation if producers don't improve
within six months. Moran allowed a First Amendment attorney to argue
Gore is simply "pandering" for votes as Moran later noted
that Gore is popular with Hollywood and featured a clip of Bush
asserting Gore has received $13 million from Hollywood. Moran
concluded: "The Vice President has seized on the issue of
violence in the media just as the battle to win over independent
voters, especially women, is heating up. Gore's new position is
tailor made for them."
-- CBS Evening News.
John Roberts handled the FTC report as well as candidate reaction.
After an industry shill argued there's no need for regulation,
Roberts observed, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"But regulation is exactly what Al Gore
proposed on the campaign trail in Illinois today. He warned that if he
were President the industry would have six months to clean up its act
or else....The report's release just happened to be timed with
Gore's appearance on Oprah, the perfect forum for an issue of
interest to moms across the country."
Gore on Oprah: "Well it's not about
censorship, it's about citizenship."
Roberts then arrived at the Bush counter-argument:
"The Bush campaign today ridiculed the Vice President's sudden
concern and reminded voters that Gore has taken plenty of money from
the very industry he seeks to attack. That, says the Texas Governor,
leaves a credibility gap."
George W. Bush: "I think they've received
about $13 million of campaign funding, and as I recall, there was a
report last year that came out where he had an opportunity to stand up
and take the same position but chose not to."
Roberts concluded: "In Hollywood and
Washington, no one really expects that there will be new laws to
govern content. Just the pressure may be enough to lead industry to
act. But with millions of concerned parents on the line, both
candidates know this is a hot button issue they can take into
-- NBC Nightly News.
Lisa Myers provided NBC's story on the FTC study and she only
allocated a few sentence to the candidate reaction: "Today,
politicians of all sides tried to capitalize politically."
Gore: "I call on these industries for an
immediate cease-fire. Stop targeting advertising for adult material to
Myers: "However, Republicans challenge
Gore's credibility. He's expected to raise $8 million this week
alone from fundraising concerts featuring a who's who of the
-- FNC. Jim Angle on
FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume uniquely reminded viewers of how
Gore had earlier disavowed any responsibility for the FTC's ongoing
probe. Angle recalled:
"The Los Angles Times reported last year that Gore initially
distanced himself from this study, telling potential Hollywood donors
that he had nothing to do with it, that it was the President's idea.
But now, he heartily embraces it."
Gore: "If you entrust me with the presidency,
I will address this matter...Parents need help."
Indeed, an August
10, 1999 Los Angeles Times story by Marc Lacey began:
"Al Gore was quick to join the chorus of
politicians who, after the Colorado school shootings, decried
Hollywood's role in desensitizing young people to violence. But when
he huddled with industry executives last month at the Century Plaza
Hotel in Los Angeles, the Vice President was gushing with film
"At the private meeting with potential donors,
Gore distanced himself from the federal inquiry into Hollywood's
marketing of violent movies launched recently by President Clinton.
Participants said Gore made clear that the government study --
disparaged by some in Hollywood as a witch hunt -- was the President's
idea, not his, and was initiated without his input."
"latest image and message make-over" in Florida garnered
some attention on Monday's CBS Evening News. Dan Rather announced,
as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Bush today road
tested his latest image and message make-over in a state that was
supposed to be a big sure thing for him but where Al Gore now at least
appears to be highly competitive. It's Florida, where Bush's
younger brother Jeb is Governor."
clips of Bush talking to the elderly, Bill Whitaker reported: "At
a critical time George W. Bush came to a critical state where he once
was far ahead and where he desperately needs the elderly vote to
win....Pushing his prescription drug plan and knocking Al Gore's to
seniors in Clearwater....The new Bush slogan is 'Real Plans for Real
People,' but it could be 'Less is More.' Bush strategists
calculate he can win a close national election by narrowly targeting
swing voters like the elderly and middle class women in a few swing
"This state, Florida, is now up for grabs when just two months
ago is was solidly behind George W. Bush. And national polls show them
swinging toward Al Gore, so Bush will spend the next two months
fighting to pull them back hoping his education and tax plans will
appeal to struggling middle class women."
with some doubts: "The Bush folks are convinced it's a winning
strategy, and so is the Gore campaign, which is targeting the same
swing voters in the same key states."
kiss? I was hoping for something!" So rued Oprah Winfrey after Al
Gore walked onto her Chicago set Monday morning at 9am CT and just
gave her a peck on the cheek. But she, nonetheless, delivered a
one-hour wet kiss to Gore. He couldn't have dreamed of a more
adoring audience or host before which to appeal to Oprah's millions
marked the first time Oprah has featured a presidential candidate, so
there's nothing to which to compare her treatment of Al Gore, but
with George W. Bush scheduled for Tuesday, September 12 we'll soon
know if she offers him equally fawning treatment.
Chicago audience loudly applauded Gore's proclamations of support
for pre-school day care, tax cuts for mothers who stay home and
defiant claim that senior citizens "should not have to choose
between medicine and food."
Late in the show
Oprah posed a little quiz, asking about such weighty topics as
what's his "favorite cereal" and 'favorite time of the
Oprah maintained she
wanted to avoid politics and explore Gore's values and what makes
the "real man" tick. Naturally, she spent a long segment of
the showing admiring his kiss of Tipper at the Democratic convention.
Wrapping up the first segment of the program, she promised: "When
we come back we'll break down more of that wall and go beyond Al
Gore the politicians and get to Al Gore the man. And you know we have
to talk about that kiss, we have to talk about the kiss."
The bumper leading
into the subsequent segment played the "kiss" scene and
Oprah soon insisted: "For all the people who said that was fake,
everybody knows that you cannot even get your jaw to move that way if
you are not accustomed to doing it."
But playing it once
wasn't enough. Oprah ran it again, adding her own play-by-play:
"Notice the hug, it's a full body pull me in, pull me in, whoa
Playing to the
audience, Gore generated huge applause by pandering: "This was a
great moment in our lives. I mean it's not as if I got there by
myself. This has been a partnership and she is my soul mate."
Plugging the next
segment, Oprah asserted: "We'll talk to the Vice President
about personal challenges he's faced as a father and as a
Later, Oprah gave
Gore a little quiz:
-- Favorite movie?
Answer: "Local Hero."
-- Favorite cereal? "Wheaties."
-- Favorite book? "In addition to the Bible,
everybody has to say that, maybe The Red and the Black."
Of course, when some
people say "the Bible," they actually mean it.
End of tangential
point, back to the scintillating quiz:
-- Favorite subject
in school? "Science."
-- Favorite quote? "Bob Dylan, 'those who
are not busy being born are busy dying.'"
you're the victim of a partial-birth abortion the Gore-Lieberman
team refuses to restrict in any way.
End of second
tangential point, back to the scintillating quiz:
-- Favorite time of year? "Spring time."
-- Favorite thing to sleep in? "A bed."
-- Favorite musical group? "Beatles."
-- Favorite childhood memory? "Playing
baseball with my Dad."
That answer prompted
Oprah to ooze: "Nice."
But it grew even
sappier as Oprah proclaimed: "Coming up, between running for
President and raising a family how the Gores stay connected to the
spirit of their marriage."
That plug preceded a
vacuous three-minute video, with music, of Tipper and Al holding hands
as they talked about falling in love and loving each other.
Every network but
NBC on Monday night noted Gore's Oprah appearance, but only FNC's
Jim Angle, on Special Report with Brit Hume, corrected a Gore
distortion. Angle played this soundbite from Gore to Oprah: "My
number one proposal is to have high quality universal pre-school for
every child, in every family, in every community."
Angle admonished: "Actually, Gore's plan
would cover only four-year-olds, not all pre-schoolers."
+++ Watch a
RealPlayer clip of Oprah gushing over Gore's convention kiss. Late
Tuesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a bit of the Oprah
show. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
demanding action" led to "a government witch hunt" for
Wen Ho Lee, NBC maintained and ABC made the case for anti-Chinese
racism as the networks identified culprits for the Wen Ho Lee fiasco.
The impending plea bargain for accused spy Wen Ho Lee, though delayed
until a Wednesday hearing, generated full stories on all the networks
Monday night about how the case had fallen apart. Federal prosecutors
have apparently agreed to just one charge of improper handling of
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. In his afternoon e-mail plugging his show, an item
brought to my attention by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, Peter
Jennings claimed the detention of Lee had been "arbitrary."
Jennings charged: "The case against Lee has been
reduced to a mere shadow of what the Justice Department had intimated.
Washington so often castigates other nations for their arbitrary
detention of suspected criminals; why was this man jailed as long as
Of course, a federal
judge was convinced at more than one hearing that holding Lee was
appropriate and reasonable.
Jennings set up the
actual World News Tonight story by lamenting: "In New Mexico
today the formal end to what many people in the country, certainly
government, believe is a very sad chapter."
handled the story and featured soundbites from those who called the
prosecution a "disgrace" and "scandalous," though
Serafin also showed Senator Arlen Specter denouncing the
"incompetence" of the Department of Justice.
Next, Judy Muller
took up the racism angle: "For the last year and a half the
reaction of Asian-Americans to the case of Wen Ho Lee has been, in a
word, outrage....Many in the Chinese-American community believe the
Wen Ho Lee case uncovered institutionalized racism and they wonder why
the rest of the country seems so apathetic."
-- NBC Nightly News
led with Wen Ho Lee as George Lewis ran through the details of the
delayed plea deal and history of the case. Andrea Mitchell then asked,
"The question tonight: How does Wen Ho Lee go from being a man
prosecutors called quote 'an unprecedented security risk' who
allegedly stole the crown jewel of America's nuclear secrets, to a
free man, a symbol to many of a government witch hunt. Legal experts
on espionage cases say it's classic example of prosecutors, under
political pressure, overreaching to nail a suspect and singling out a
identified the troublemakers -- Republicans who demanded
accountability for illegal Democratic fundraising: "What was the
political climate? Charges and counter-charges about Chinese
espionage, illegal campaign contributions, more than a dozen
congressional hearings, Republicans demanding action. But some senior
law enforcement officials are still calling it a victory because they
have won Lee's cooperation for what happened to any nuclear secrets
in his files..."
I guess it would be
too much to ask that a reporter might mention Clinton administration
incompetence in allowing such loose rules which led to the concern in
the first place about nuclear information getting into the wrong
a Sunday "Week in Review" piece Adam Clymer, of "major
league asshole" fame, outed himself as the one who added this
sentence -- "There may never have been a 'serious' candidate
who needed it more" -- to a 1999 New York Times story on how
George Bush was getting tutored by experts on foreign policy and
national issues he hadn't dealt with as a Governor.
occurred in the 19th paragraph of a 20 paragraph September 10 piece
titled, "A Bush-League Aside Vaults an Onlooker Into the
"Newspaper reporters aren't immune from talking into an open mike
either. About 18 months ago, I was editing an article describing how
hard Mr. Bush was working to study national issues. With feeble
gallows humor, I suggested that perhaps he needed the tutorials more
than others. But while my comparable slurs of President Clinton, to
cite one prominent example, stayed private, a spectacular typesetting
blunder got my wisecrack printed. Through an Editors' Note, The Times
apologized, sort of."
Quite a coincidence
that only the Bush crack actually made it into print. Makes you wonder
if there really have been any against Clinton.
To read Clymer's
entire piece, go to:
The article from 18
months ago to which Clymer was referring was a March 15, 1999 story by
Richard Berke and Rick Lyman, headlined: "Training for a
Here's how it
began, with the miscreant sentence Clymer cleverly added marked by **:
He is the early favorite for the
Republican Presidential nomination, but even Gov. George W. Bush of
Texas concedes that his foreign policy experience goes no farther than
Mexico. Kosovo? Not even on the radar screen. And he has never had to
worry about the future of Social Security.
Rushing to fill in his blank slate on
pressing issues of the day before the campaign swings into full gear,
Mr. Bush has embarked on a cram course that could be titled "What
you need to know to run for President."
After winning a second term last
November, Mr. Bush began summoning dozens of the nation's brightest
thinkers around a table in the Governor's Mansion for sober-minded
tutorials. Politicians in both parties said they had never seen such a
comprehensive and elaborate undertaking, particularly this early in a
campaign. **There may never have been a "serious" candidate
who needed it more.**
The endeavor is intended to counter
what are widely seen as among Mr. Bush's biggest vulnerabilities: that
he lacks experience beyond Texas and that he has not articulated a
grand view of what he would do in the White House. It was no accident
that in their announcement speeches last week, Elizabeth Dole and
former Gov. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee emphasized their credentials
on national issues....
Four days later the
New York Times ran an "Editors' Note." It read: "An
article on Monday about the prospect of a presidential campaign by
Gov. George W. Bush of Texas described a series of tutorials aimed at
helping him study issues he would face. As published, the article
included an opinionated sentence casting doubt on his mastery of those
"The sentence was sent as a message between
editors after the article was written, and the reporters were never
aware of it. The comment was typed in a nonprinting computer script,
but converted into print through a command error."
I guess that's an
apology, "sort of," if you define an apology as something
other than an apology.
After I caught
Clymer's buried admission and tracked down the March 1999 story, the
MRC's Tim Graham informed me that Mickey Kaus had too and written
about it on slate.com. To get his take, "Clymer Blows His
Cover!", go to:
Williams, tax cut advocate. The three morning shows on Monday featured
taped interviews with Venus Williams, the women's champion of the
U.S. Open, and both ABC and CBS, but not Al Roker on NBC's Today,
asked her about her plea to President Clinton to cut her taxes.
Angles Times relayed part of the phone conversation between Williams
and Clinton after she won Saturday night:
"Can you lower my taxes,
Clinton, as politicians are known to
do, tried to laugh off the issue, but Williams was relentless.
"So what can you do about
it?" she asked.
"Not much, right now,"
"We're working on it."
He said he'd like to have a special
exemption for athletes, all but placing the next question on a tee for
"Should I read your lips?"
-- Good Morning
America, September 11. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this
Antonio Mora: "What did you say to him when he
called you on the phone?"
Williams: "I just asked him about lowering my
taxes a little bit."
Mora: "So what did he say when you told him he
should lower your taxes?"
Williams: "He said, 'What state do you live
Mora: "He's throwing it on the state
Williams: "Basically, he didn't cut me a
Mora: "He didn't cut you a deal, huh?"
-- CBS's The Early
Show, as taken down by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
Jane Clayson: "I heard that you spoke to
President Clinton on the phone after you won, and you had a
conversation about your taxes-"
Williams: "It's been tough, it's uh-"
Clayson: "You wanted to know if he could do
anything to help you out with your tax bracket now. That's a good
thing, that's a good thing Venus."
Williams: "I'm trying to help all
Williams is lucky
she escaped Bryant Gumbel who would have lectured her about being so
greedy.-- Brent Baker
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