Gore Operative Directed Berke; Quid Pro Quo Blackout; Actors Tout Gore; Elian's Cable Story; Lazio "a Punk"
1) Rick Berke of the New York Times conceded "it took me
several viewings" of the ad played in slow motion by a Gore operative
"to notice the RAT" frame of it. But, a female editor supposedly
caught it at regular speed. Jack Germond scolded the media for making such a
big deal about it.
2) Tony Snow: "Berke had no idea he had been fooled into
touting a stale story about an ad scheduled to go off the air the day his
piece appeared. Gore operatives thus transformed the Times into a purveyor of
all the news that's fit to reprint."
3) Networks continued Friday to black out the quid pro quo
charge. Morning shows hopped on Gore's hypocrisy in Hollywood fundraising,
but the evening shows stressed George Bush's bad week, only gently touching
on Gore hypocrisy. Bette Midler: "Go, go, go, Al. We need a little
4) Liberal, pro-Gore pontificating at the Gore fundraiser.
Julia Roberts: "Republican in the dictionary comes just after
'reptile' and just before 'repugnant.'" She also advised:
"I'd tell Tipper to wear more leather." An actor's insight:
"It's like the '60s, man, artists supporting and caring and making a
stand for things."
5) In Fox Family's The Elian Gonzalez Story guess which
real-life character assures Juan Miguel he can move to Miami permanently with
Elian and which character "can't understand" why Juan Miguel wants
to stay in Cuba, urging him to consider the views of "the thousands who
have escaped. Or the hundreds who have died trying."
6) "He is a bit of a punk," Newsweek Assistant
Managing Editor Evan Thomas insulted New York Senate candidate Rick Lazio.
York Times reporter Rick Berke denied any nefarious political agenda in
the decision by his paper to plaster across page one his
"dispassionate" story on the "RATS" ad. On PBS's
Washington Week in Review Friday night he conceded he was more than
spoon-fed the story by the Gore team as he was so slow on the up take
"it took me several viewings" of the ad played in slow motion by
a Gore operative "to notice the RAT" frame of it. But, a female
editor supposedly noticed it at regular speed.
Moderator Gwen Ifill asked Berke: "I have to
ask you about your role in this Rick because you, you personally have come
under attack from other news organizations, and certainly by the
Republicans, as having been a tool of the Gore campaign in this."
In defending himself Berke indicted himself as to
how much he relied on a Gore operative: "Well, let me tell you how it
came about. The Gore people called me last week and they said we want you
to view this tape of a commercial. We don't want to tell you anything
more about it. Judge for yourself. So they showed it to me, I'm looking
at it, I don't notice anything unusual about it. Then they slow it down
and I still don't notice it [points finger at head]. It takes me a while
sometimes, you know, go figure. It took me several viewings to notice the
"And then, they
were, 'isn't this incredible?' and I said 'well wait a minute, I
don't know what we're going to do with this.' So what I did is, I
started calling around, calling experts, saying is this unusual and they
said yes it is. And I also showed it to people at my office. I showed it
to one editor and I said 'look, there's something unusual about this
commercial.' She picked it up immediately at a regular speed. She said
'my gosh, there's RATS there.' So I simply wrote the story in a
dispassionate way, giving all sides, and let people judge what they will
If the "no-blink" editor caught it so
quickly why hadn't she noticed it before?
At least one colleague was not impressed with how
the media at large were so enamored with the story. On Inside Washington
over the weekend liberal syndicated columnist Jack Germond wondered:
"What's wrong with the press? We think it's a big deal if some
guy, a hired hand for Bush -- Bush himself didn't put the word
'rats' in this -- does this. Why is it a big story? Why are we paying
so much attention to it?"
Snow recounted in column late last week how his Fox News colleagues weeks
before had noticed the same ad frame made so famous by Berke, but put it
in proper perspective as "everyone who saw it had a good laugh."
Berke's gullibility, Snow suggested, allowed Gore to transform "the
Times into a purveyor of all the news
that's fit to reprint."
Here's an excerpt of the column by Snow who back
on August 28 was filling in as anchor of FNC's Special Report with Brit
I know a fair amount about the story because I was the first to report
it. Two of my colleagues at Fox News, Andy Schwartz and Jim
Eldridge, spied the "rats" while screening the ad on Aug. 28.
That evening, we put the whole thing on Fox News Channel -- stopping the
tape for the seemingly inadvertent reference to vermin. Everyone who saw
it had a good laugh.
Our publicity department dutifully contacted a number of papers, including The New York Times, and even placed
a follow-up call to the Times. But
nobody bit on the story, presumably because they understood
that in moving the word "bureaucrats" from left to right across
a television screen, the final four letters naturally would appear
So the whole thing vanished -- until, on a slow news day in a laggardly
news week, the Gore campaign called Berke with its "scoop."
It said a clever viewer in Seattle had noticed the "r" word in a
Republican ad, insinuating that the rodentine reference constituted dirty,
lowdown, filthy politics at its worst.
Berke snapped at the bait. He wrote a piece, which the Times splashed
across its front page. It alleged deep and troubling ugliness
in the heart of the Republican camp -- all because of four letters only a
highly vigilant viewer would notice. The story fingered Alex Castellanos,
a GOP ad man, and fulsomely quoted some of Castellanos' most ardent
enemies. It gave him a sentence or two for rebuttal.
The original item carried no mention of Fox News, meaning Berke had
no idea he had been fooled into touting a stale story about an ad
scheduled to go off the air the day his piece appeared. Gore operatives
thus transformed the Times into a purveyor of all the news
that's fit to reprint.
Let's put the matter in perspective. The spot criticized Gore's plan to
replace garden-variety HMOs with the Godzilla of HMOs, a giant federal
health-care plan -- and to force all senior citizens to get their medicine
from Uncle Sam. The spot warned that under such a scheme, we would have to
entrust our very lives to that most hated of species: bureaucrats....
To read the entire column, go to Townhall.com:
To read what Snow said August 28 on FNC about the
ad, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000913.asp#2
morning and night the broadcast networks, which so enthusiastically jumped
on the Tuesday New York Times "RATS" ad "discovery" as
a story, continued to refuse to let their viewers in on a Thursday front
page report in the same paper about a probe of a possible quid pro quo
donation for a veto, a fundraising effort which involved Al Gore. For an
excerpt from the Times story, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000918.asp#1
Instead of devoting whole evening stories to Al
Gore's hypocrisy in criticizing Hollywood while taking their money, an
issue made hot by a $6 million fundraiser Thursday night at Radio City
Music Hall, Friday night ABC and CBS stressed Bush's bad week, only
gently touching on Gore hypocrisy. ABC's Peter Jennings admired how Gore
used the issue to his advantage, CBS gave it a sentence.
(Olympics-obsessed didn't utter a word about the
campaign on Friday's NBC Nightly News. NBC, however, was the only one of
the three broadcast network evening shows last week to dedicate a full
story to Gore's Hollywood hypocrisy. Go to:
Friday morning, however, the networks did focus on
Gore's hypocrisy and his defense of it as taking on a constituency
group. On CBS's The Early Show, Bill Plante showed Bette Midler wishing:
"Go, go, go, Al. We need a little spanking." Plante earlier
scolded: "Al Gore and Joe Lieberman have redefined chutzpah. They've
raised millions from the very same show biz folks they're accusing of
-- ABC's World News Tonight, September 15. Peter
Jennings handled the week in review himself, recounting without any
mention of the media's role: "The Bush team got knocked off message
this week by rats in commercials and posturing about debates that got then
nowhere. A week in which policy got trumped by process."
He then admired Gore's maneuver: "Mr. Gore
this week the advantages of being an incumbent. He knew the government
report on entertainment and children was coming, a very big deal to
suburban parents. And so a well-timed appearance on Oprah about the evils
Gore on Oprah:
"Joe Lieberman and I have talked about trying to give parents more
help in protecting their kids from entertainment that they think is
Hollywood is still a constituency so last night in New York Mr. Gore was
again taking their money. 'Hypocrisy' said Mr. Bush. 'Bravely
crossing our supporters' said Mr. Gore."
Jennings soon acknowledged: "We thought this
week that Republican Dick Cheney was looking a lot more casual. Several
Republicans said 'about time.' And we did think it odd that Democrat
Joe Lieberman appeared on a radio program [Imus] that is often the epitome
of crude behavior that Mr. Lieberman is now campaigning against."
-- CBS Evening News. John Roberts reviewed the week,
starting with Bush's problems: "In a week that began with the
controversy over rats and ended by caving on debates faster than a Texas
sinkhole. His retooled campaign looks to political analysts to be more
than a little disoriented."
After a soundbite from Charlie Cook, Roberts reminded
viewers: "Still, a CBS News analysis shows the race for the White
House is so close is to make any bet a fool's game. Gore is ahead in 16
states, Bush in 21, the electoral vote count is 224 to 175, with the
remaining 14 contests narrow enough that the election could turn either
way. In an effort to swing the tide of undecideds his way, Bush is
switching strategy: from attacks on Gore's character to a fight in the
policy arena. It's traditionally Democratic turf, but a game Bush plays
better than most Republicans, says Democratic strategist Bob Beckel."
Following a Beckel clip, Roberts made a brief
mention of Gore's Hollywood fundraising, but aired no critical soundbite:
"But don't expect Republicans to let go of the character issue
completely. Not when Gore gives them the sort of ammunition he did at last
night's gala Radio City fundraiser, chastising Hollywood on the one
Gore at the Radio
City Music Hall event: "It's wrong to market inappropriate material
Roberts picked up:
"While accepting from them millions in campaign contributions with
-- ABC's Good Morning America, September 15.
Co-host Diane Sawyer asked George Stephanopoulos: "Let's talk about
this fundraiser, $6.5 million last night. The Bush people are saying this
is complete hypocrisy, somebody's got to call them on it. Criticize the
entertainment industry one day and then show up and raise money from them
the next day."
agreed, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "It's a
pretty fair point, and what they're really trying to tap into is Gore's
history on this issue. You know, many years ago, Mrs. Gore took on, took
out against the music industry, and then when Gore was running for
President in 1988, he basically went and apologized and said it wouldn't
happen again in order to raise money from the music industry. And so
they're saying, 'Listen, you can't believe everything you hear from Gore
on this issue.' On the other hand, Gore did try to build a shield against
that by what he said last night at Radio City."
-- CBS's The Early Show. Bill Plante highlighted
Gore's Thursday night fundraising event: "You know, Democrats and
Hollywood? That's old news, right? Bill Clinton, after all, has been
raking in money from his friends in the entertainment industry for years.
But this week, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman have redefined chutzpah. They've
raised millions from the very same show biz folks they're accusing of
sleazy marketing. There was Al Gore at Radio City Music Hall last night
with some of the biggest names in Hollywood at a political gala for which
the top ticket price was $20,000....Yet on Monday, Gore endorsed a White
House report which charges that Hollywood markets violence and obscenity
to pre-teens, and he warned it to clean up its act or face federal
Plante uniquely mentioned: "But this same week
began with Cher headlining a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in
Camden, New Jersey. Total take: $1 million. And it continued in Boston
where James Taylor helped raise $2 million."
Back to Thursday night, Plante relayed: "At
last night's gala, Bette Midler, Julia Roberts and Michael Douglas
entertained a crowd which forked over $6 million. Total for the week: $9
million bucks. Republicans were quick to accuse the Vice President of
Chairman of the Republican National Committee: "Al Gore is, is faking
a criticism of the, of the Hollywood elite who are producing this
"The stars didn't seem much bothered."
"I can take some criticism, and I think our industry is, well
deserves some criticism."
"Go, go, go, Al. We need a little spanking."
They just wouldn't accept one from any
conservative or Republican.
-- NBC's Today. News reader Ann Curry, MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens noticed, set up a story: "Vice President Al Gore was
going for the gold himself last night at a star studded political
fundraiser in New York. And that has sparked criticism from the
Republicans who say it is hypocritical for the Democrats to take money
from an industry whose values they criticized earlier this week."
Reid explained: "Vice President Al Gore was
serenaded by some of the music industry's biggest stars Thursday night at
a Democratic fundraiser in New York that raked in more than $6 million.
That just one day after Gore's running mate, Joe Lieberman, sharply
criticized Hollywood for marketing violence and sex to children. In his
remarks at the fundraiser Gore too chided the entertainment
Viewers saw clips of Gore and Nicholson before Reid
picked up on a specific concern: "Republicans also point out that the
fundraiser was co-produced by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose
distributed some of Hollywood's most controversial films, including Kids,
about a group of teens on a relentless quest for sex and drugs. Gore
advisers deny the charge of hypocrisy, claiming that Gore is not afraid to
stand up to his friends when he thinks they're in the wrong."
Reid wrapped up with clips of Gore on the Late Show
with David Letterman.
in the dictionary comes just after 'reptile' and just before
'repugnant,'" actress Julia Roberts insightfully observed to the
delight of the Radio City Music Hall crowd at the September 14 DNC
fundraisier for Gore-Lieberman. That was just one of several liberal
pro-Gore and anti-conservative pronouncements made by actors and
Jessica Lange told Entertainment Tonight in a story aired Friday:
"The entertainment industry has to be accountable for what they do
and I mean I think the great thing about, you know, Gore, is that he's
willing to take them on."
As opposed to conservatives who have never taken on
"the entertainment industry"?
For CNN's September 15 Showbiz Today, reporter
Michael Okwu wandered among the Hollywood celebrities to capture some
off-stage soundbites, starting with Matt Damon who declared: "To me
it's just a chance to kind of get behind a candidate I think could, will
and should win and be our next President."
"Industry heavyweights came out in force Thursday night for a
Democratic National Committee fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall. Most
eased gracefully between sounding off musically and sounding off
One of the Crosby,
Stills & Nash, not Crosby but one of the other two, asserted:
"Well, let's start with the Supreme Court, the environment, the
smartest guy to come along, including his predecessor, for many, many,
many, many, many years."
Crosby piped up:
"And then you can get to good guy, bad guy."
Okwu then played this from Julia Roberts on stage:
"What really spoke to me was that Republican in the dictionary comes
just after 'reptile' and just before 'repugnant.'"
"Others were more subtle," Okwu observed
in switching back to clips CNN got from celebrities in the crowd and
hallways. Lauren Hutton snidely remarked: "It'll be much better if we
don't do any 'subliminalable' business. Just get out there and do
K.D. Lang quipped:
"You know, I'm an animal rights activist. So when I found out that
the rats were on this side I was here."
proclaimed: "I'm here tonight because I'm a Democrat, lifelong, and I
like the party and I like the platform and I like these two guys. I think
they're really decent guys."
Okwu pressed Midler: "Is this fair to the other
side, to the Republicans? I mean, it's-"
I'm sure they have people who love them, too. Everybody has someone to
Okwu later picked up this insight from actor John
Leguizamo: "It's like the '60s, man, artists supporting and caring
and making a stand for things."
And matching Midler's spanking theme quoted in
item #3 above, Julia Roberts advised: "I'd tell Tipper to wear more
leather [laughs]. I think that would bring in some votes."
He probably already has the leather vote harnessed
+++ Watch the celebrities pontificate. Late Monday
morning MRC Webmaster will post, alongside this item, an excerpt of the
CNN story. Go to:
Castro gave Juan Miguel Gonzalez the option of leaving Elian in the U.S.
permanently with no further protest from Cuba, Castro offered Juan Miguel
a permanent visa to live in the U.S. and lawyer Greg Craig didn't
understand why Juan Miguel liked Cuba, urging him to consider the views of
"the thousands who have escaped. Or the hundreds who have died
trying" to get to America.
That's reality to those who believe the Elian
story as recounted in the Fox Family Channel's The Elian Gonzalez Story,
a two-hour movie which debuted on the cable channel Sunday night. It will
run again his Thursday and Saturday night.
Overall, from my cursory review, with two exceptions
it appeared to offer a glowingly positive portrayal of every character in
the real-life drama, from Janet Reno (complete with shaking hand) to
Lazaro Gonzalez to Fidel Castro to Juan Miguel. The
exceptions: Donato Darymple was painted as a self-promoting opportunist
and Marisleysis as a delusion psycho who imagined she really was Elian's
Two scenes stood out for me for their unlikelihood.
-- First, Juan Miguel goes to meet Fidel Castro, who
assures him: "You're a very decent man, Mr. Gonzalez. you've been
a loyal party man for several years. Your country is grateful. I am
grateful. Now, I want you to tell me the truth. And I promise you no
matter what choice you make I will personally respect your decision. Your
son, Elian, do you wish him to remain in Miami or do you want to have him
returned to you here?"
Juan Miguel: "I
want him here with me, sir. I love my country and I love my son. They're
You will not be alone in this. The Cuban people will take to the streets.
We will make sure their voices are heard in Miami."
-- Second, a few minutes later in the movie, lawyer
Gregory Craig goes to Juan Miguel's home in Cuba and while sitting at a
table with him, his wife and mother, advises him: "I strongly suggest
Mr. Gonzalez that you come to Miami."
not impossible. Castro has given us assurance that he will in no way
hinder your efforts. Not only are you free to come to the United States to
plead for your child, he's gone so far as to grant you a permanent visa
should you so wish."
Juan Miguel: "I
don't wish to leave Cuba. I love my country. Can you appreciate that
Craig: "I can
appreciate it sir. But in all frankness I can't understand it."
"Is it that bad, you think? Talk to those who lived under Battista.
Talk to them, they'll tell you different story."
you should ask the thousands who have escaped. Or the hundreds who have
Juan Miguel: "I
will do no such thing. I should not have to plead for my own child. Go
back and tell them that."
Craig: "I will
keep you posted on a daily basis. Reuniting you with your son will be my
Lazio is "a punk," Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan
Thomas asserted on Inside Washington over the weekend in a review of
the Lazio-Clinton debate. He blasted Lazio: "He is a bit of a
punk...He looks like a puppy dog when he's got his teeth in your
ankle, there's some punk qualities."
Imagine the media outrage if any conservative
hurled that kind of insult at Hillary Clinton. If you're part of the
media it's okay to be "mean-spirited." -- Brent Baker
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