Bush Not Prepared to Be President; CBS's Self-Contradiction; Tipper Tossed Softballs; CNN's Campaign Finance Reform Agenda
-- Extra Edition
1) ABC and CBS highlighted
pre-debate polls which put Gore ahead. Dan Rather stressed how "only 49
percent say Bush is prepared well enough for the job of President."
NBC's Claire Shipman gushed of the "citizen advisers" for Gore:
"It's almost as if he has his own group of private...public opinion
pollsters right here with him."
2) CBS contradicted itself. Dan
Rather reported that "73 percent of voters polled say the next
President's power to appoint new justices will be an important influence
election day," but seconds later a CBS reporter maintained "polls
suggest" the impact of the Supreme Court is "just not registering
with the public."
3) NBC's Matt Lauer admitted he was "a little
disturbed" to learn the race had tightened after Bush went on Oprah.
Katie Couric tossed softballs at Al Gore's daughter, but she demanded a Bush
operative respond to Bob Dole's assessment that "there's a
feeling" that Bush isn't ready, "that he doesn't fill the
4) Tipper Gore appeared on both ABC and CBS Monday morning,
but neither raised Al Gore's most recent spate of fabrications. Instead,
they tossed softballs. CBS's Julie Chen wanted to know if in the White House
Tipper and Al will still go to the movies.
5) Time-Warner will use post-debate town meetings on CNN to
advance its liberal agenda, National Review revealed. CNN boasted: "The
series of town meetings is part of Time Warner's plan to support
campaign-finance reform through voter education."
6) On Fox News Sunday Brit Hume asked Gore campaign chairman
Bill Daley about Al Gore's promise that he would favor granting the same
privileges for immigration to same sex couples planning on a civil union as
provided those in a traditional marriage.
7) Media Reality Check Quick Take: While Hillary Clinton
refuses to be quizzed on any Sunday interview show, three networks have given
her town meeting forums, an opportunity they have failed to extend to Rick
8) MRC ad in today's Boston Herald: "Where is the
Balance? How the TV Networks are Covering Up for Al Gore."
Latest Notable Quotables now online. The October 2 edition of Notable
Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous,
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now up on the MRC Web
site thanks to Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul. Amongst the quote headings:
"Military Junta Forming for Bush"; "Rape, Murder: Now
That's Funny"; "Like Hillary: Praise or Slander?";
"Hillary, the Victimized Guinea Pig"; "Credit Gore, Blame
Both Sides"; "Berke, Led Around by the Nose";
"'Headline Exceeded the Facts'" and "Do Me, JFK."
To read all the
quotes, go to:
For the issue as
a life-like Adobe Acrobat PDF file, go to:
in time for what Tom Brokaw hyped as what "may be the most important
debate since John Kennedy and Richard Nixon 40 years ago," ABC and
CBS Monday night announced the results of their new polls. ABC's put
Gore up by 48 to 46 percent while CBS found
Gore ahead 45 to 41 percent as Dan Rather stressed how "only 49
percent say Bush is prepared well enough for the job of President."
CBS reporter Bill Whitaker noted how Bush
"knows fumbled facts, verbal stumbles" could hurt him. On
ABC's World News Tonight, Terry Moran quizzed Gore on the beach about
being "too aggressive" in the debate. All three broadcast
network evening newscasts showed video of Gore walking along a Florida
beach with his "citizen advisers." NBC's Claire Shipman
gushed: "It's almost as if he has his own group of private and
constant public opinion pollsters right here with him in Florida."
Some quotes and reporting of note from the ABC, CBS
and NBC evening shows on Monday, October 2, all of which aired
back-back-stories from reporters traveling with both camps. ABC and NBC
both led with violence in Israel while CBS put the campaign at the top of
-- ABC's World News Tonight debuted new graphics
and a new mix of its same theme music. Peter Jennings announced how an ABC News/Washington Post poll put Gore ahead
48 to 46 percent.
Jennings read some other poll findings, including
how 60 percent supposedly prefer smaller government. But that question
revealed a gender chasm since 70 percent of men but only 48 percent of
women "prefer smaller government." On that same gender split
theme, women back Gore 56 to 38 percent while men prefer Bush 53 to 40
Gore won in three other areas listed by Jennings. On
who do you "trust to handle education," Gore said 50 percent
compared to 39 percent for Bush. On who do you trust to "hold down
gas and oil prices," Gore won 45 to 36 percent and Gore was preferred
44 to 42 percent on who do you trust to "hold down health care
Terry Moran checked in from the Gore campaign in
Florida. Moran set up his mini interview: "Gore also addressed
another criticism of his debating style in an interview on the beach, of
Moran to Gore:
"There've been people who say in the past you're too aggressive,
you're mean in debates."
can't believe that."
"You're going to be nice to Governor Bush this time?"
it's not about me and him."
Moran: "So if
he hits you you'll turn the other cheek?"
I'm not saying that. I'm not sure that there will be attacks. There
won't be any from me. If there are from him I'll deal with that at the
Moran noted that Gore has worn a suit in his
practice sessions, "as if he wants to practice in his full battle
Dean Reynolds recounted Bush's public appearance
in Huntington, West Virginia where he warned that a Gore administration
would spend away the surplus.
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather led with how a CBS
News/New York Times poll found Gore in the lead 45 to 41 percent. Rather
ran through some other findings in the poll, including how at 67 percent
for Bush and 73 percent for Gore most think both can be
"effective" as President. But, Rather cautioned, "only 49
percent say Bush is prepared well enough for the job of President, 71
percent say Gore is."
Gore is also favored 68 to 48 percent on having the
"skills to negotiate with foreign leaders" and by 71 to 59
percent on having the skills to "work with Congress."
Rather declared: "By some analyses, these brand
new poll results indicate that Bush may have the greater challenge
tomorrow night, but also the greater opportunity since he has what the
Gore team sees as the advantage of lower expectations. However one feels
about that, it is part of the context of tomorrow's Bush-Gore face-off,
available to the biggest mass audience by far in the campaign to date,
although some broadcast networks refuse to carry it."
Just as CBS refused to show some debates in 1992
because of baseball playoffs.
CBS went first to Bill Whitaker with Bush. Whitaker
relayed: "Over the weekend he
practiced for hours. He knows fumbled facts, verbal stumbles or an unsure
demeanor with tens of million watching can critically hobble his run for
the White House.'
John Roberts filed from the Gore camp where he
reported on how Gore spent the day talking with his "so-called real
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw hyped the importance
of an event his network won't even broadcast: "Now to that
presidential debate tomorrow night. Gore and George W. Bush will face off
for the first time ever in front of what is expected to be a huge
television audience. It may be the most important debate since John
Kennedy and Richard Nixon 40 years ago."
(NBC is feeding both the playoff baseball game and
the debate to affiliates so a small number may carry the debate. One which
will show the debate instead of baseball is Washington, DC's WRC-TV.)
David Gregory checked in from the Bush campaign in
wild, wonderful West Virginia. From Florida with Gore, NBC's Claire
Shipman found him focusing on "relating to the public." She
concluded: "The campaign insists that even though this group of
so-called citizen advisers might seem like a big PR ploy, that they are
actually helping Gore stay focused on communicating. It's almost as if
he has his own group of private and constant public opinion pollsters
right here with him in Florida."
contradicted itself seconds apart. Dan Rather introduced a story by noting
how CBS's new poll determined most say the new President's impact on
the Supreme Court "will be an important influence election day"
for them. But seconds later in the subsequent report Jim Stewart
maintained the opposite, asserting "polls suggest" the impact on
the Supreme Court is "just not registering with the public."
Dan Rather announced on the October 2 CBS Evening
News: "The future of the Supreme Court is now an issue in the
presidential campaign. In the CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, 73
percent of voters polled say the next President's power to appoint new
justices will be an important influence election day, with abortion the
Seconds later reporter Jim Stewart countered:
"Other push button issues ranging all the way from gun control to
patients rights are also coming up for a vote, but even so polls suggest
it's just not registering with the public."
Stewart to Walter
Dellinger of the Duke University Law School: "Is that a determining
factor for them when they vote?"
Dellinger, who like
Stewart apparently hadn't seen the new CBS poll, insisted: "I
don't think voters think much about the Supreme Court when they vote. I
don't think they ever have."
"That's true even though some court issues, especially abortion,
strike deep emotional chords and despite the fact that just one vote
either way could totally change how the court decides that issue in the
You just can't
believe CBS News. CBS News doesn't even believe CBS News.
Matt Lauer told Tim Russert Monday morning that he was "a little
disturbed" to learn the race had tightened after Bush went on
Oprah. On the same show, while Katie Couric tossed softballs at Al
Gore's daughter, getting no tougher than wondering how her Dad will
come across stylistically, she pressed Bush operative Don Evans about
the ineffectiveness of Bush's tax cut proposal and demanded he
respond to Bob Dole's assessment that "There's a feeling that
he's not quite ready for prime time. That he doesn't fill the
Just back from the Olympics, Lauer told Russert:
"You said the word issues a second ago. I was a little disturbed
when I was in Australia to hear that the race had tightened and some
people were saying it's because George W. Bush did well on Oprah and
Regis. Is there some substance in these polls as well?"
Russert replied: "Absolutely Matt. On the
issues like social security, education, people do care. But they also
care about personality. They ask, they want to know about the totality
of a person. That's why this debate is so critical for George W. Bush.
I think even more so than Al Gore."
Was Lauer so upset when the Gore kiss propelled
him in the polls?
Russert later offered his view of what each
candidate must do Tuesday night: "I think the American people
have two things. One, they want George W. Bush to show capacity.
Capacity to be President of the United States. To sit in that Oval
Office and make tough decisions. They want to see from Al Gore,
character. Who is the real Al Gore? Is he someone who embellishes or
even misstates the truth, or someone who is his own person who can
articulate a vision for the country? One pundit said the other day
that George W. Bush sometimes treats English like a second language.
Another said that Al Gore treats us as if our second language, or
first language was English."
Katie Couric tossed softballs at Karenna Gore
Schiff. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens took down her inquiries:
-- "How did the mock debate go
-- "You know much has been made about the fact
that your dad is considered an excellent debater. Are you afraid that
he might lose or win on points and lose on style? In other words, what
he says may be very effective but the way he says it, might not be as
know everyone has been saying this is all about expectations. Having
said that, what are your expectations for tomorrow night?"
"Speaking of expectations many people say there's more at risk
for your father, because expectations are high for him as a debater
versus for George W. Bush, they are fairly low expectations. So if he
can just hold his own, he'll do very well. But people are expecting
more from your father. Is that a fair evaluation of the
-- "Tell me
about these 13 ordinary citizens who have been sort of ad hoc advisors
for your father as he prepares for this debate. How exactly are they
-- "Can you
give us some idea of what kind of advice their giving?"
know, finally let me ask you as a native Tennessean why your dad is
behind in the polls in his home state. What do you think the
explanation is for that?"
Couric then turned to Don Evans, Chairman of the
Bush campaign, but in addition to the same types of questions she
posed to Karenna Gore, she challenged him on substantive issues:
-- "How important is tomorrow night in your
estimation for Governor Bush?"
-- "How did
preparations go this weekend?"
heard me talking with Karenna Gore Schiff about expectations. It seems
that expectations, in terms of debating prowess are lower for Governor
Bush. Do you think that works to his advantage?"
-- "Let me,
let me just interrupt for a second and just read a quote by Bob Dole,
who of course was the nominee the first time around. He said last week
in a speech at Dennison, quote, 'There's a feeling that he's,' George
W. Bush, 'not quite ready for prime time. That he doesn't fill the
suit.' While Bob Dole says he doesn't agree with that he said, that
was in fact the perception. So is one of the goals of the debate
tomorrow to prove to the American people that George W. Bush can in
fact, fill the suit?"
"Speaking of tax cuts. At the Republican Convention Governor Bush
promised that his tax cut would mean lower taxes for all Americans.
But a bipartisan congressional analysis now shows that his tax cut
would actually mean either no change or less than they would expect.
So how big a problem do you think this will pose for the
but, but I'm sorry to interrupt this bipartisan congressional analysis
shows that it's gonna be no change or a lot less."
Gore popped up Monday, October 2, on ABC's Good Morning America and
CBS's The Early Show. Like Katie Couric with Al Gore's daughter,
both shows tossed softball questions and failed to raise the issue of
Al Gore's most recent spate of fabrications, though ABC's Charles
Gibson offered a bouquet to Bush as he wondered of Al Gore: "Has
he ever debated someone quite so engaging, quite so affable?"
CBS's Julie Chen seemed enthralled: "You
have said in the past that people find it surprising that quite often
you and your husband will go to the movies. Now if you become the
First Lady is that still going to happen?"
-- ABC Good Morning America. Here are the
questions posed to Tipper Gore by Charles Gibson, as taken down by MRC
analyst Jessica Anderson:
Gore, if the polls are to be believed, we have an election that is
dead even. So how important is tomorrow night?"
-- "But is
it really so good for one evening to be so important and do you think
it's as important as everyone else seems to?"
husband known as a tough debater. He's had more than 40 political
debates in his career, but can you compare any past opponent to
Governor Bush? Has he ever debated someone quite so engaging, quite so
the harder role: to actually be the debater or to be the spouse of and
sit and watch?"
know him better than any human being. What key, what indicator do you
look for when he debates that indicates to you that he's doing what it
is he wants to do?"
Over on CBS's The Early Show Julie Chen of Big
Brother embarrassment handled the Tipper appearance. MRC analyst Brian
Boyd transcribed her questions, which sometimes came in the form of
-- "In your
opinion what do you think is the most critical point that your husband
needs to make tomorrow night in the debate?"
-- "What do
you think your husband's strong suit is?"
know him better than any of us, what would you say is his weak spot
-- "We are
36 days away from the election and we are in a deadheat, are you
surprised by that?"
talk about the famous kiss at the convention. What happened at that
moment and do you think that moment won over some of the women voters
out there. I mean that is like a key vote to get out there in this
Yeah, like it really is, like, man.
-- "You have said in the past that people
find it surprising that quite often you and your husband will go to
the movies. Now if you become the First Lady is that still going to
Time-Warner plan to misuse post-debate "town meetings" on
CNN to advance its liberal pro-campaign finance "reform"
agenda? In their daily Washington Bulletin e-mail report Monday
evening, National Review's John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru
A CNN press release dated today says that the cable network will
provide "the most complete election coverage" between now
and November 7, and notes that it will hold televised town meetings
after each of the three presidential debates.
The statement continues: "The series of town meetings is part
of Time Warner's plan to support campaign-finance reform through voter
education. Time Warner has recently announced a four-point program to
change the company's policies on its involvement in the U.S. political
process: to eliminate soft money contributions; strengthen its PAC;
support campaign finance reform; and enhance campaign coverage."
In other words, CNN will host television events -- ostensibly news
shows -- as part of a parent-company "program" to
"support campaign finance reform."
Last November, Time-Warner CEO Gerald Levin said he wanted to
"add momentum to the bipartisan effort to make the process by
which we Americans choose our political leadership fairer and more
open, less subject to manipulation and more representative."
Can't you see Judy Woodruff doing her thing after the first debate
tomorrow night? "There should have been more discussion of Gore's
participation in the Buddhist temple fundraiser! He still hasn't
explained himself! Our political process has suffered enough from
manipulation and misrepresentation!"
Don't count on that last paragraph actually
being the spin CNN will apply. But it's a nice fantasy.
Fox News Sunday Brit Hume asked Gore campaign chairman Bill Daley
about Al Gore's promise to a questioner at last Tuesday's MTV
forum that he would favor granting the same privileges for immigration
to same sex couples planning on a civil union as are guaranteed for
those in a traditional marriage situation.
No network touched the major policy change
proposal last week except, as noted in the September 28 CyberAlert and
September 29 Media Reality Check, the Fox News Channel. The MRC's
Tim Graham alerted me to this exchange, on the October 1 Fox News
Sunday, which flustered Daley:
Brit Hume: "Vice President Gore seemed to
say this week that he favors civil -- or civic unions for gays and
that he would favor immigrants who are involved in such relationships
with gays who come to this country having the same rights as spouses
in marriage under immigration law and policy. Is the Vice President
prepared to offer the changes in law that would be required to put
that into effect?"
Bill Daley: "I don't know, to be honest with
you, Brit, whether it requires a change of law or whether it's the
regulations, but I'd look into that and get back to you."
Hume: "Well, what is, have I described his
position at least correctly as far as you know?"
Daley: "I believe so. I believe you have
described it correctly, but I'm not sure whether or not that requires
a legislative change, but I'll get back to you."
Hume: "Well, would the Vice President be
prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to put what he said he
believes in into effect as President?"
Daley: "If it needs legislation, then we'll
look at that."
Given the lack of interest by the rest of the
media don't count on Daley feeling any pressure to provide a real
by Rick Lazio's appearance Sunday on Meet the Press, Monday
afternoon the MRC's Tim Graham produced a Media Reality Check
"Quick Take" fax on how while Hillary Clinton refuses to be
quizzed on any Sunday interview show, three networks have given her
town meeting forums, an opportunity they have failed to extend to
You can read it online at:
For the Adobe Acrobat PDF version, go to:
Or, you can go nowhere and just read it here.
This is the text of the October 2 Campaign 200 Media Reality Check
IT'S OCTOBER, AND THE TOWN MEETING STAR IS MISSING...WHY CAN'T TIM,
BOB, WOLF, TONY, SAM & COKIE INVADE HILLARY'S SPACE?
-- Number of Sunday Morning Show Interviews since April 1999 by
Rudy Giuliani or Rick Lazio Vs. Number of Sunday Morning Show
Interviews by Hillary Clinton in the Same Time Frame:
19 to 0
-- Number of Network-sponsored Town Meetings for Giuliani or Lazio
Compared to Network-sponsored Town Meetings for Hillary:
0 to 3 (CBS's The Early Show, NBC's Today, and CNN in prime time)
-- While Giuliani and Lazio have subjected themselves to nearly 20
interviews with network anchors, Hillary Clinton or her aides have
never even promised she would show up for Sunday morning scrutiny.
When CNN's Wolf Blitzer asked about her absenteeism on the May 21 Late
Edition, spokesman Harold Ickes committed her to nothing: "Well,
she's focused on New York. She has had innumerable one-on-one
interviews with New York media, both electronic and press. She has
been at a number of editorial boards. She's been on your wonderful
town hall out of Buffalo, your hometown. So I think if you look at
where she's been, she's been focusing her attention on New York and
the New York press and has been very accessible."
"It's not fair that CBS, CNN, and NBC granted one candidate a
scripted town-meeting forum without any promise of a risky Sunday
interview, and her opponents get grilled by Russert, Schieffer, and Blitzer on Sunday with no town
meeting," said MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham.
"Her Sunday absenteeism only adds value to the tender town-hall
ad in today's Boston Herald. As noted in yesterday's CyberAlert,
coinciding with the arrival of reporters in Boston for the
presidential debate, the Tuesday, October 3 Boston Herald features an
ad placed by the MRC. It declares above supporting examples of missed
coverage: "Where is the Balance? How the TV Networks are Covering
Up for Al Gore."
Those outside the Boston area or who did not see
it in Monday's New York Post, can see the ad, created by the MRC's
Bonnie Langborgh, on the MRC's Web site. To view it as a
quick-loading HTML reproduction, go to:
To view a full size graphic image of the actual
ad, complete with a subliminal message, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/balancead2000-org.html -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
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