Focus on Bush's Michigan Troubles; ABC & NBC Relayed Gore's False Medicare Charges, Corrected by FNC and MSNBC
-- Extra Edition
1) Polls now put George W. Bush
ahead of Al Gore, but Tuesday night ABC and CBS focused on how Bush is behind
in Michigan. ABC showcased a Republican woman who proclaimed "a stronger
connection with Al Gore" because he's for stricter gun control. Jim
Wooten concluded that "about the last thing on anybody's mind is
2) Tuesday night FNC and MSNBC
corrected Al Gore's false charges about Gingrich's desire to "cut"
Medicare and MSNBC corrected the claim that Gingrich wanted it to "wither
on the vine." But Tuesday morning ABC and NBC relayed Gore's false claims
without comment. ABC's Charles Gibson also failed to ask Gore about his
fabrications from last week or latest e-mail revelations.
3) FNC uniquely reported Tuesday
night on the latest Gore-related e-mails. Brian Wilson highlighted an e-mail
about how a campaign adviser could send Gore "e-mails without having them
archived by the White House computer system."
4) Ever vigilant against guns, to
a gun safety list Gumbel appended: "We could probably add don't own a
polls put George W. Bush slightly ahead of Al Gore -- CNN/USA Today/Gallup
now has Bush up 47 to 44 percent nationally -- but Tuesday night ABC and
CBS focused on how Bush is behind in the key swing state of Michigan.
how the good economy is benefiting Al Gore and showcased a Republican
woman who proclaimed "a stronger connection with Al Gore"
because "he's more in touch with what's important,"
specifically, stricter gun control. More generally, Jim Wooten
concluded that in the town of Plymouth where things are "nearly
perfect, almost precious, about the last thing on anybody's mind in
change." CBS relayed how its poll found Bush TV ads are actually
turning off voters.
again anchored the NBC Nightly News from New York after a week in
Sydney, but Olympic stories still consumed half the show. NBC led with
the Supreme Court decision to not hear the Microsoft case before an
appeals court has addressed it. Brokaw maintained "many believe
that's a major victory for Microsoft." NBC aired no campaign
story though the show did have a piece on Bill Richardson, before a
Senate committee, defending his strategic oil release.
News Tonight led on September 26 with how the key witness for the
prosecution at the Pan Am 103 trial performed poorly. "The media
say they got the message," trumpeted Dan Rather at the top of the
CBS Evening News in introducing a story on how the film industry would
announce on Wednesday new rules to shield those under 17 from R-rated
movies. But Sandra Hughes concluded: "When the re-release of a 27
year-old horror film outsells new critically acclaimed movies many
wonder if the promises made today are just tinsel town talk."
Now to ABC and
CBS campaign coverage on Tuesday night, September 26:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight. Anchor Peter Jennings offered a quick summary of what
Bush and Gore did during the day:
presidential politics today, George W. Bush was campaigning in
California, talking again, promoting his plan for education. Governor
Bush today called for new incentives for math and science teachers.
He's behind in the polls in California, but he says he's going to put
up a fight there. Al Gore was campaigning in Michigan. Mr. Gore taped
a town meeting for MTV and no, he wasn't asked 'boxers or
then checked in from Michigan where he found the good economy is a
challenge for Bush. Wooten traveled to the town of Plymouth. He
described the 10,000 population town as "a Norman Rockwell
painting of middle America, pretty, prosperous, proudly patriotic and,
says the Mayor, instinctively Republican."
So Bush should
do well here Wooten decided, but the editor of the local paper
explained people are lining up with Gore because of the booming
economy, good schools, low taxes and almost no crime. Wooten showcased
one family: "Most people, like Tom and Maria Prose, seldom lock
their doors. They're among those famous Michigan independents who
usually vote Republican for Reagan, Bush, Dole. This time?"
"I think it's very possible that I would vote for Gore this time.
I'm not too excited about George W."
Prose: "I have to admit that I'm feeling a stronger connection
with Al Gore. I feel that's he's been, that's he's more in touch with
over video of teens walking down a street: "Mainly, she says,
that's stricter gun controls. She's seen the violence in America's
Gore ahead in Michigan, Wooten asserted, because he's "getting a
more positive response to his proposals on education and health care.
So what happened to the Bush lead around here?" Over video of
scenes of the town square and parks, Wooten concluded: "At the
moment it seem to have been overcome by the growing sense that in a
place like this, nearly perfect, almost precious, about the last thing
on anybody's mind is change."
-- CBS Evening
News. Dan Rather noted how Bush spent the day in California talking
education and Al Gore participated in a MTV town meeting before
turning to Bob Schieffer in Washington for a look at Michigan.
Schieffer reported that a new CBS News/New York Times poll "shows
Gore pulling into a teeny lead" in Michigan, 45 to 41 percent
with Nader at 5 percent. Among union households, Schieffer added, Gore
is up 56 to 29 percent.
suggested Bush's own ads are hurting him: "The problem for Bush
is that some of his ads seem to be backfiring. About a third of the
voters said they thought more of Bush (35%) after seeing his ads, but
a larger number (37%) said they thought worse of him, a striking
contrast to those who thought better or worse of Gore after seeing his
ads." Better over worse for Gore: 48 to 23 percent.
But the GOP
got some good news on the Senate race, Schieffer observed, as the poll
determined Republican Senator Spence Abraham has a 12 point lead over
Democratic challenger Deborah Stabenow.
CBS would have
done viewers a service if they had examined the differences between
the Bush and Abraham ads to see why one set is working and the other
is not with the same voters.
Al Gore has spent the last two days insisting George W. Bush supported
Newt Gingrich's 1995 Medicare proposals, which Gore falsely claims
included Gingrich's desire to "cut" Medicare by $270 billion
and for Medicare "to wither on the vine."
the broadcast networks and CNN's Inside Politics ignored Gore's
disingenuous line of attack, but Tuesday morning both ABC and NBC
relayed his dishonest accusations without correction. Tuesday night,
however, both FNC's Jim Angle on Special Report with Brit Hume and
Brian Williams on MSNBC pointed out Gore's false charges and corrected
-- ABC's Good
Morning America. Charles Gibson interviewed Al Gore from Coral Gables,
Florida and, just like Today the morning before, failed to ask him
about his dog versus in-law drug cost or union jingle fabrications or
anything about the e-mails released Friday which showed his staff knew
the Buddhist temple event was meant to raise money.
transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, Charles Gibson asked only
two questions: "Let me start with the horse race because there's
a new round of polls showing that your lead is gone, that this race is
really dead even right now and Governor Bush particularly making
inroads with female voters. Do you have a sense of why?"
In posing his
second question Gibson accurately described what Republicans advocated
in 1995: "You're attacking the Texas Governor on Medicare, for
1995 remarks in which he advocated slowing the increase in Medicare
spending. Shouldn't he be judged on what he's saying today, rather
than what he said five years ago because he's proposing a $198 billion
increase in Medicare spending now?"
repeated his false charges in his answer: "Well, I do agree with
you. What he said five years ago was in strong support of the Newt
Gingrich plan, that former Speaker Gingrich said would cause Medicare
to wither on the vine -- you probably recall that. I fought against
that plan, even when Newt Gingrich shut the government down twice. But
I agree with you, it's far more significant to look at the current
Gibson did not
chastise Gore for claiming Gingrich wanted Medicare to "wither on
the vine" when Gingrich was actually referring to the Health Care
Finance Administration. Instead, Gibson turned to George
Stephanopoulos at Wayne State University in Michigan for questions
from two female students.
queried: "I recognize that you are against the voucher program,
but also realizing that Michigan has several failing school districts,
what do you propose we do to eliminate this problem in Michigan and
the U.S. all together?"
wondered: "Mr. Gore, I come from a working class family. My
parents have always voted Democratic. However, this year my father
said that he was not going to vote at all. He's not satisfied with the
choices of the candidates this year. He doesn't believe that either of
the candidates will look out for his interests, and I think this has a
lot to do with the fact that in the 1990s, he lost his job. His
factory was closed down and he was out of work. What could you say to
my father to convince him that you are the right choice in
Today, September 26. Chip Reid, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed,
relayed Gore's false accusation without correction. Reid began his
in the battleground state of Florida, where Medicare is of paramount
importance, Al Gore launched a new attack on George Bush Monday,
citing a statement Bush made five years ago in support of the Medicare
plan of then Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich."
George W. Bush in 1995: "Elderly people will not suffer as a
result of this plan. It's gonna make the plan solvent."
"The Gingrich proposal was passed by a bitterly divided House,
but was vetoed by President Clinton. He later signed a compromise.
Gore says the real goal of Gingrich and Bush was to cause Medicare to
Al Gore at
campaign appearance: "The fact that he endorsed the Gingrich plan
when Gingrich said he wanted Medicare to wither on the vine matches
the effect of the plan that he has proposed this year."
noted the Bush denial but never explained Gore's false premise:
"The Bush campaign angrily denied the charge, accusing Gore of
grasping at straws."
Hughes: "What Governor Bush's statement was, was it was a support
for Republican efforts in Congress to balance our nation's
concluded: "Gore plans to focus on Medicare and what the campaign
calls the Bush/Gingrich connection for most of the week."
Special Report with Brit Hume. Jim Angle corrected Al Gore's claims.
From Ann Arbor, Michigan Angle reported: "Al Gore continued his
attacks on George W. Bush, calling him part of long-standing
Republican effort to, as he put it, go after Medicare hammer and tong,
an effort Gore said got worse under Newt Gingrich."
Al Gore at
a campaign event for seniors: "You remember that? Well he came
after Medicare and tried to cut $270 billion out of it."
out: "Actually, Gingrich did not propose cutting Medicare but
rather reducing the anticipated increase in Medicare spending.
Nevertheless Gore was intent on linking Gingrich, who is unpopular
with many voters, to Governor Bush."
"Well my opponent, it turns out, spoke up in support of that plan
back in 1995, said that's a good plan."
"Bush's remarks in 1995 were made available by the Gore
Bush in a
1995 TV interview: "It's going to make the plan solvent and
Republicans will be heralded not only for saving Medicare but at the
same time for having the political courage to balance the
Angle then put
the Gore charges in context, noting how the Clinton administration did
just what they rebuked Republicans for proposing: "Now though it
is the Clinton administration that claims credit, both for saving
Medicare and balancing the budget, made possible in part by reducing
spending in Medicare by $240 billion in just the last three years,
almost as much as the $270 billion number Democrats said would cripple
-- MSNBC's The
News with Brian Williams opened with Williams discussing the campaign
with Chris Matthews.
played a longer version of Gore at the same event for seniors shown by
FNC: "He came after Medicare and tried to cut $270 billion out of
it and make a whole series of structural changes, not just budget cuts
but structural changes that he predicted at the time would cause
Medicare to wither on the vine. You remember his saying that? That's
what Newt Gingrich said. Well my opponent, it turns out, spoke up in
support of that plan."
admonished: "Now some context. Republicans have a problem with
what Al Gore is saying. Newt Gingrich wanted cuts in the rate of
increase for Medicare, from 18 to 12 percent and he never wanted
Medicare to wither on the vine. What he wanted to go away and die was
something called the Health Care Finance Administration, the
bureaucracy through which people get to Medicare. It wasn't Medicare
at all. Chris, when will the facts perhaps start getting in the way
here and do you expect any backlash on this point?"
answered that it's just a Democrat resorting to the same old
When will the
facts "start getting in the way" and when will a
"backlash" occur? Perhaps when the big boys at the broadcast
networks, including Williams' colleague Chip Reid, start doing some
reporting about Gore's accuracy instead of just serving as a conduit
for his false accusations.
The last time
Democrats falsely accused conservatives of wanting to "cut"
Medicare reporters not only relayed the charge they joined in making
it, a 1996 MediaWatch study by the MRC's Tim Graham documented. The
July 1996 study was headlined "Medicare: The Story with 1,060
Errors; The Health Program That Grows by Leaps and Bounds Mysteriously
Described as 'Cut'."
determined: "In the last 18 months, reporters have made Medicare
'cuts' an essential part of its method of underlining the 'extremism'
of the Republican Congress. The GOP's balanced-budget plan called for
a $270 billion reduction in projected Medicare increases over seven
years (with spending per recipient scheduled to increase from $4,800
to $7,100), but 'cuts' remained the most popular paradigm of
determine the accuracy of Medicare coverage, MediaWatch analysts
reviewed 1,134 news stories in three newspapers (The New York Times,
The Washington Post, USA Today) and three news magazines (Newsweek,
Time, U.S. News & World Report) from January 1, 1995 to June 30,
1996. Employing the Nexis news data retrieval system to secure every
news mention of 'Medicare' within 10 words of 'cut,' 'reduce,'
'slash,' 'scale back,' and 'savings,' analysts found 1,060 examples of
journalists describing Medicare 'cuts.'"
To read the full study with examples,
FNC uniquely reported Tuesday night on the latest Gore-related e-mails
released late Friday which showed how his staffers were well-aware
that the Buddhist temple event was a fundraiser. As noted in the
September 26 CyberAlert, other than a few seconds Friday night from
Dan Rather the e-mails went unnoticed by the networks.
On Tuesday the
House Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the latest
formerly missing e-mail retrieved from back up tapes, but not even
CNN's Inside Politics bothered with it.
Brian Wilson to the hearing and on Special Report with Brit Hume he
passed along an intriguing discovery. Over video of e-mail text being
displayed on an overhead screen, Wilson explained:
representations from the Clinton administration to the contrary, this
first batch of recovered e-mails has contained a few interesting
nuggets. This document, sent to Vice President Gore, discusses ways
that campaign adviser Carter Eskew might be able to send the Vice
President e-mails without having them archived by the White House
show also addressed another issue not yet taken up this week by the
broadcast networks or CNN, the mole inside the Bush campaign and how
ABC has denied spiking its mole story by Jackie Judd, a report it
posted over the weekend on abcnews.com, but which has yet to make it
onto the air. For the online story: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/DailyNews/mole000923.html
Bryant Gumbel, ever vigilant against guns, MRC analyst Brian Boyd
noticed in catching a Monday morning shot from Gumbel. The September
25 The Early Show on CBS featured a piece by Katy Abel on a
12-year-old killed accidentally by a gun in Massachusetts, which
already has strict gun laws. After her story on the mother's anguish
finished, Abel listed for Gumbel what both the NRA and Center to
Prevent Handgun Violence agree on for what parents should do to keep
guns away from kids, such as ask other parents if they are a gun
owner, discuss guns with kids, tell kids if they see a gun don't
touch, leave the scene, and lock, don't hide guns.
piped up: "Of course, we could probably add don't own a gun but
that's another discussion."
point of view Gumbel has made clear many times before.
-- Brent Baker
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