Winnie's Story "Totally Genuine"; Bush "Scare Tactic" in Calling Gore Liberal; Gumbel Avoided Lieberman's Two-Faced Promises
1) Making it so, Tom Brokaw
Thursday night admired how Winnie Skinner's plight has turned into
"more than 15 minutes of fame." Jim Avila insisted: "Her
neighbors say her story is totally genuine." She lives in a house, but he
claimed that drug companies aren't doing enough to "take this great
grandmother off the streets." And how does she afford a Tommy Hilfiger
2) NBC's David Gregory warned that Bush employed "a
scare tactic" when he branded "the Vice President an old style tax
and spender." But with Gore, Claire Shipman did not tag as a "scare
tactic" his claim that "forty days from now prosperity itself will
be on the ballot" because Bush's tax cut "could wreck our good
3) Before Bush listed what Gore would bring, ABC's Dean
Reynolds complained that
he offered "few details to back up his charges," including how
"Bush predicted darkly, more IRS agents." CBS looked at how Bush's
"secret weapon," GOP Governors, "is misfiring."
4) ABC Thursday night finally addressed the Bush
"mole" story as Jackie Judd showed clips of her interview with
Yvette Lozano, the woman questioned by the FBI.
5) Bryant Gumbel did ask Joe Lieberman about taking money from
Hollywood when the industry is under fire for marketing R-rated movies to
kids. But when Lieberman insisted that "we've said stop or we'll take
action" through the FTC, Gumbel failed to point out how Lieberman
promised at a fundraiser to only "nudge" them.
showing the good judgment Wednesday night to ignore the anecdotal story of
Winnie Skinner which both ABC and CBS, as well as MSNBC, showcased,
Thursday night NBC Nightly News caught up and ran a glowing story in
support of her Gore-agenda cause and discrediting anyone who would dare
question the genuineness her plight. At a Gore event Wednesday in Iowa
with a pre-selected audience, Skinner became a media hero after she stood
and recounted how she collects cans along roadsides in order to pay for
"Her neighbors say her story is totally
genuine," Jim Avila insisted, adding: "In fact one neighbor, a
Republican, told me she's angry that anyone would suggest that Winnie is
a political plant." Avila boosted the liberal cause of using a victim
to promote another government program as he argued that "experts say
she represents many older Americans." Though she lives in a house and
has a son, and as a great grandmother presumably other relatives who could
help her, Avila shamefully asserted that pharmaceutical
company programs for the poor aren't doing enough to lower her medicine
bill to "take this great grandmother off the streets."
An earlier Avila piece ran on Thursday's Today. To
read about it go to:
For details about Wednesday night's fawning
coverage of her:
Thursday night Tom Brokaw trumpeted: "While
these presidential campaigns are scrambling to make the most of the
country's prosperity, there are still a great many Americans who have
been left behind. One of them turned up at a Gore campaign event yesterday
in Iowa, and her story has turned into more than 15 minutes of fame.
NBC's Jim Avila tonight on campaign soundbites and real-life
Avila began his fawning story, which also ran later
on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, by recounting how Skinner takes
blood pressure pills every morning before she heads out to pay for them by
getting $5 a day picking up cans.
After a clip of her at the Gore event, Avila
elevated her importance and then tried to discredit any doubters:
"White-haired, gentle-faced. Winnie, taking center stage. So perfect
a symbol of what many older Americans say is wrong with the nation's
health care system some people doubted her story, suspected she could be
working for Gore."
Skinner, sitting in
front of her house: "If somebody even suggested me being a plant I
would tell them to get lost. I'm not that kind of person."
Avila made her case:
"Winnie's been collecting cans to make ends meet since 1967 when
her husband died. Her neighbors say her story is totally genuine. In fact
one neighbor, a Republican, told me she's angry that anyone would
suggest that Winnie is a political plant. Winifred Skinner does speak her
mind. Retired factory worker, founder and former President of a Des Moines
UAW local. She votes Democratic, a friend at the union gave her a ride,
but Winnie says it was her idea alone to go to Gore's event on
prescription medicine for one reason."
says I want to see Al Gore, I got something to say."
told the Vice President her basic budget, determined to make it on her own
without help from her son."
Avila ran down how she gets $782 a month from Social
Security, $159 from her UAW pension and then must pay $111 for health
insure and spend $200 on medication.
"By the end of the month, her checking account
down to a couple of dollars, her pantry down to cereal," Avila
Skinner: "If I
run out of anything to eat I can always have a dish of oatmeal. And
say she represents many older Americans, 39 million on Medicare, ten
million low income, four million below the poverty line. A spokesman for
the drug company says he's touched by Winnie's story, but insists
there are programs already in place to help."
pharmaceutical industry spokesman: "We want to be able to make sure
that every senior is able to have affordable access to those
Over video of
Skinner walking down a street and bending over to pickup a can, Avila
concluded: "Programs Winnie Skinner says are not enough to pay her
$200 a month medicine bill or take this great grandmother off the
A news organization interested in serving their
viewers would have asked why anyone finds symbolic a woman who has a hobby
of picking up cans for five cents per can when she clearly doesn't have
to given that she has a large family and friends who can help her.
A September 29 story in the Des Moines Register
recounted how Skinner became a national media celebrity on Thursday.
Reporter Mike Siebert noted that "while she walked her regular
morning route picking up cans on Des Moines' east side, a woman asked how Skinner could afford a designer jacket from
Siebert documented how she got into the
"invitation-only" event via her union connections and how a
someone in the invitation-only audience urged Gore to call on her.
An excerpt from Siebert's report:
Here's her version of what happened Wednesday:
A secretary at the local United Auto Workers office called to see
whether Skinner wanted to attend an invitation-only Gore event in Altoona.
No, she replied, her "93 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was in the shop
with an oil leak. Marilyn D. Arnold, the union secretary, said she had a
list of senior citizens who might want to attend a town-hall meeting on
health-care costs. Skinner was one of about 30 on the list, she said.
Arnold knew Skinner. They had coffee occasionally and Arnold gave
Skinner cans. Arnold offered her a ride to Altoona.
"She walked in the door and gets to talking to people and says,
'I wanted to talk to the man,'" Arnold said.
A man in the audience told Gore he should give Skinner the microphone.
She shined. She was poignant, funny and completely unafraid about being
on TV or in front of a presidential candidate.
The frenzy began.
To read the entire Des Moines Register story, go to:
"scare tactic" versus Gore's effort to "make voters worry
about George W. Bush's economic policy." Thursday night NBC Nightly
News presented back-to-back pieces on the Bush and Gore economic
arguments, but only George Bush's rhetoric was negatively described and
only with Bush did NBC claim he's had to defend the validity of his
David Gregory warned that Bush delivered "a
scare tactic of his own" when he branded "the Vice President an
old style tax and spender." Gregory soon added: "Yet it's Bush
who's been forced to defend his proposed $1.3 trillion tax cut against
the charge that it will bust the budget."
But with Gore, Claire Shipman simply relayed how he
insisted "the stakes...couldn't be higher" as he wants people
to worry about Bush's plans. But Gore's rhetoric was every bit as much
of a "scare tactic" as he warned that "forty days from now
prosperity itself will be on the ballot" because Bush's tax cut
"could wreck our good economy in the process."
In the sequence they aired, here's how the
September 28 NBC Nightly News assessed the economic pitches of Gore and
Claire Shipman began: "Gore's team believes
that the booming economy is his greatest strength heading into the debates
and not just how healthy it is right now, but how it could easily go bust
according to Gore in the wrong hands. The stakes, according to Gore,
couldn't be higher."
Gore at the
Brookings Institution: "Forty days from now prosperity itself will be
on the ballot."
Shipman explained how he vowed to protect the middle
class by balancing the budget and paying down the debt, "but the key,
Gore advisers believe, to using the economy effectively is to make voters
worry about George W. Bush's economic policy."
Gore: "What I
can't support is a $1.6 trillion tax cut that mostly helps the very
wealthy, which comes at the expense of middle class families and could
wreck our good economy in the process."
After relaying how a NBC poll found that when asked
"Who would do better with the economy?" 42 percent said Gore
versus 36 percent who answered Bush, Shipman concluded: "Still, Gore
advisers admit since the race is dead even, the issue hasn't helped that
much, but look for him to keep pounding away at it because his advisers
believe in the final weeks the economy will make a difference."
Next, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, David Gregory
"Bush is hardly
shying away from a fight over the economy, but his senior advisers admit
the campaign's biggest obstacle is facing an opponent who can point to
prosperity on his watch. So from the Texas Governor today a scare tactic
of his own. The Texas Governor today in Green Bay Wisconsin brands the
Vice President an old style tax and spender who would direct the biggest
federal spending hike in 35 years, a vast departure, Bush says, from the
centrist 'New Democrat' philosophy that swept the Vice President and
Bill Clinton into office eight years ago."
Bush: "If the
Vice President gets elected the era of big government being over is over.
And so too I fear could be our prosperity."
who even talks about the budget during a practice session with the Green
football players: "Guess what he just asked? 'Can we get our tax
Gregory picked up
his sentence, as he put Bush on the defensive: "charges Gore's plan
for bigger government and more spending will lead to deficits and tax
hikes, and yet it's Bush who's been forced to defend his proposed $1.3
trillion tax cut against the charge that it will bust the budget."
Yeah, "forced to defend" it by a media
which focuses incessantly on its "cost" and impact on the
surplus while ignoring how Al Gore's spending plans will consume all of
the surplus and more. A National Taxpayers Union Foundation study in
August determined Gore's spending proposals are five times greater than
Bush's. For details, go to:
CBS provided much less tilted reviews Thursday night of Bush's attack on
Gore, though ABC's Dean Reynolds complained that Bush offered "few
details to back up his charges." CBS's
Bill Whitaker looked at how Bush's "secret weapon," the
Republican Governors in battleground states, "is misfiring."
Reynolds opened his World News Tonight piece, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "In his sharpest policy
attack of the campaign, Bush today suggested the Vice President is a
champion of big government whose plans would cripple the economy."
George W. Bush:
"If the Vice President gets elected, the Era of Big Government being
over is over. And so, too, I fear, could be our prosperity."
"While offering few details to back up his charges, Bush painted a
stark picture of America's future under a Gore presidency. Americans, he
said, would face hundreds of new or expanded federal programs, pages of
new rules and regulations, thousands more bureaucrats, and Bush predicted
darkly, more IRS agents."
Sounds like a lot of details to me.
Reynolds showed another Bush soundbite:
"We'll find ourselves working harder for government -- appeasing
it, pleasing it, and trying to keep it at bay. More forms to fill out,
more regulations to meet, and more lines to stand in."
Bush said his opponents are using old-style politics to scare voters. But
accusing Democrats of being big-spending liberals is not exactly new. What
it is is a tried and true Republican campaign tactic that worked well
twelve years ago when Bush's father used it against Michael Dukakis and
went on to win the election."
Anchor Peter Jennings then provided a short item on
Gore's day: "In Washington today Mr. Gore responded to Mr. Bush by
saying that he is the safer choice when it comes to the economy. Mr. Gore
reiterated that he believes in paying down the debt -- this year, next
year, every year -- and he criticized the tax cuts proposed by Mr. Bush,
which he said would lead the country back into running deficits."
Over on the CBS Evening News, anchor Anthony Mason
castigated the hype of both candidates: "It's forty days till
election day, and Al Gore and George Bush are ratcheting up the attacks
over who has the better plan for the economy. This includes accusing each
other of trying to sell the public a blueprint for economic disaster.
Correspondent John Roberts reports on the soaring inflation of their
"In some of their most pointed attacks to date, the candidates today
drew sharp battle lines over the economy." Roberts introduced a Bush
soundbite: "George W. Bush claimed that Al Gore's tax and spend
policies would bust the budget and threaten prosperity." Before a
counter Gore clip, Roberts noted: "Gore charged that Bush would
derail economic growth by squandering the surplus on a tax cut for the
Roberts assessed Gore's status: "That Gore
has to work this hard on the issue is troubling to his campaign.
Historically, if the economy is good, the incumbent party wins. The
economy has never been better, but Gore has had difficulty connecting
himself to that prosperity....part of the reason is that next to the
President the person most likely to get credit for the economy is Alan
Greenspan, not Al Gore. And there is also a feeling among some voters that
the economy is so good a change at the top wouldn't matter. That's why
the Vice President is driving so hard to convince voters that it
Next, Bill Whitaker checked in from Green Bay with
Bush, asserting: "George W. Bush came here today to slam Al Gore as
the godfather of big government."
After a Bush soundbite Whitaker moved on to explore
how Bush's "secret weapon," the Republican Governors in
battleground states, "is misfiring." Whitaker charged:
"Bush, neck and neck with Gore in national polls, is down in
Michigan, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, all with strong GOP governors. Tommy
Thompson also helped Bush's father in '88, but Wisconsin went for
Dukakis and twice for President Bill Clinton....And in this tight race,
even playing with such a formidable team is no guarantee of victory in
Thursday night became the first broadcast network evening show to take on
with a full report the Bush "mole" story. Peter Jennings
reminded those unfamiliar about how "a package of secret information
and video tapes from the Bush campaign was mailed by someone to Tom
Downey, the man who was helping Al Gore prepare for the presidential
debates. There has been a noisy debate ever since about who sent it."
Jackie Judd interviewed Yvette Lozano, who works for
Mark McKinnon, the man who makes Bush's ads. She told how she's been
interviewed by the FBI. Judd explained: "What made the FBI suspicious
was video from a Post Office security camera in Austin of Lozano mailing a
package on September 11. Two days later, former Congressman Tom Downey
received a package postmarked 'Austin' containing briefing documents
and a tape of George W. Bush practicing for his debate with Al Gore --
explosive political material. The package she sent, Lozano insists, did
not contain the tape but a pair of pants from the Gap that she says she
was sending back for Mark McKinnon, her boss."
McKinnon confirmed her story to Judd and Lozano
assured Judd she'd be willing to take a lie detector test.
Judd added: "The Bush campaign faults the FBI
for focusing its attention on Lozano instead of casting a wider net."
After a clip of McKinnon suggesting Gore operatives are involved, Judd
concluded: "The Gore campaign has complained it is being set up to
take the blame. The mysterious mailing is a dirty trick that has left both
sides in this frustrated and distracted."
To watch Judd's story via RealPlayer, go to:
how Hollywood markets R-rated movies to youngsters, "how do you
justify continuing to take money from Hollywood?" CBS's Bryant
Gumbel asked Joe Lieberman on Wednesday's The Early Show. But when
Lieberman insisted that he and Gore have told them "stop
or we'll take action" through the FTC, Gumbel failed to follow up
on how in direct conflict with Gore's threat to have the government
regulate the content of material exposed to kids, Lieberman promised at a
fundraiser that they will only be "nudges" and, "I promise
you this: We will never put the government in the position of telling you
by law, through law, what to make."
Like ABC and NBC in their interviews with Gore
earlier in the week, Gumbel avoided raising the subject of Gore's
fabrications from the week before about his dog versus his
mother-in-law's prescription costs and hearing as a child a union jingle
actually not created until he was 27.
Gumbel began the interview by asking Lieberman about
polls which show a close race and "why has George Bush successfully
Gumbel next inquiry: "When health and education
continue to be the primary issues, primary concerns of the voters, and
since both camps are offering a series of new proposals. Does this come
down to simply a matter of who do you trust?"
Gumbel followed up: "I don't want to get
hung-up on polls, but poll after poll shows an undecided rate of somewhere
of about 10 to 12%. Do you find that either surprising or disappointing at
this stage of the race?"
Gumbel then arrived at hypocrisy over Hollywood:
"You've no doubt seen the New York Times this morning, headline up in
the top of the front page how the studios use children to test market new
films, how they've basically shown R-rated films to youngsters as young as
nine and ten years old, full of violence. In light of stuff like that how
do you justify continuing to take money from Hollywood?"
"Well, you take their support, you thank them for it, but you tell
them that they're wrong. And I think that's the key determinant for
Gumbel jumped in:
"You don't think there's a conflict in doing that, in preaching to
them, but taking their money?"
no, asserting he and Gore are on the right side because they support
McCain Feingold. Lieberman added that as for Hollywood: "We've said
stop or we'll take action" through the FTC.
Instead of pointing out how Lieberman had actually
praised the industry and promised them no government action, Gumbel
proceeded to a series of questions about the controversy over Lieberman
remaining in the Connecticut Senate race.
Back on September 20 the Washington Post's Mike
Allen quoted how Lieberman, at a Hollywood fundraiser on September 18,
privately assured the entertainment industry they had nothing to fear:
"'Al and I have a tremendous regard for this industry,' Lieberman
said late Monday to an audience that had contributed $10,000 a couple to
the Democratic National Committee. 'We're both fans of the products out
of the entertainment industry -- not all of them, but a lot of them. And
the industry has entertained and inspired and educated us over the
Allen later quoted Lieberman: "'It's true
from time to time we have been, will be critics -- or nudges -- but I
promise you this: We will never put the government in the position of
telling you by law, through law, what to make,' Lieberman said. 'We
will nudge you, but will never become censors.'"
The Democratic ticket doesn't need to consider any
law to censor Gumbel since he self censors himself to avoid making them
defend saying one thing in public to get votes and another in private to
their big donors to generate contributions. -- Brent Baker
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