Gore Fibs Are "What We Want"; Bush Getting Just Payback; Jennings v. NRA; Most Reporters Picked Gore to Win; Lieberman's False Story
-- Extra Edition
1) Newsweek's Eleanor Clift:
Gore's "picayune" lies show he's "overly competitive,"
but "maybe that's what we want in a President."
2) CBS and NBC focused on new anti-Bush ads from the DNC. Bush
has little to complain about, Dan Rather admonished, since "Gore
forces" claim "Bush has been running a consistent attack campaign,
going all the way back, they say, to his primary races against John
3) ABC's Peter Jennings special on the NRA painted the group
as a "powerful" and nefarious force. He concluded by suggesting Gore
would win if gun owners vote their larger interests, wondering of the election
day results: "Did enough gun owners vote only their guns? Or did they see
a larger picture?"
4) By a margin of five-to-one, reporters on George W. Bush's
campaign plane -- many of them inebriated -- predicted Al Gore will win the
election, Inside.com disclosed.
5) Joe Lieberman's story about a victim of "racial
profiling" is about as accurate as Gore's debate tales, the Washington
Times reported. But interviewing Lieberman on Sunday, CNN's Wolf Blitzer
failed to ask him to back up his claim.
6) Fox's Brit Hume confronted Gore adviser Tad Devine about
how during the debate Gore denounced Bush's idea "to get Russia to use
its influence on behalf of democracy" in Yugoslavia, and "that's
exactly what the administration was doing," yet Gore "ridiculed that
suggestion and said it was a bad idea."
7) ABC's Kevin Newman referred to how "we've already
heard about" the recently released list of the Democratic donors who
stayed overnight in the Lincoln Bedroom, but ABC never bothered to report that
revelation. Hillary Clinton: "I think contributing to the Democratic
Party is a contribution to the country, in my view."
8) Public prefers a President who "stumbles" to one
who "makes stuff up."
Clift: Gore's "picayune" lies show he's "overly
competitive," but "maybe that's what we want in a
On the McLaughlin Group over the weekend, referring to the Gore tales
about his Trip with FEMA Director James Lee Witt to Texas fires and how a
Florida high schooler had to stand due to a lack of desks, Newsweek's
Eleanor Clift saw an up side:
two examples are really picayune, but he really erred in being confronted
with the question did he ever question Bush's experience. Why didn't
he just say he had and address it or say 'I don't want to discuss it
tonight, I want to focus on his proposals'? He seems to have this need
to sort of win every point. I mean, he is overly competitive and maybe
that's what we want in a President frankly, but sometimes it's
unattractive in a debating."
campaign "is about to take a sharp turn even lower onto the low
road," Dan Rather lamented Monday night as he introduced a story
on new anti-Bush ads from the DNC. But Bush has little to complain
about, Rather soon added, since "Gore forces" claim
"Bush has been running a consistent attack campaign, going all
the way back, they say, to his primary races against John
Similarly, NBC anchor Tom Brokaw portrayed the
new anti-Bush ads as the natural reaction to Bush's tactics:
"The Gore campaign is going on the offensive, perhaps because
after several days of attacks by the Bush camp the latest polls show
this race tightening to a dead heat." Claire Shipman explained
Gore decided to launch the "sudden assault" because
"the Gore team believes it has to counter Bush's relentless
attacks on the Vice President's credibility, which it fears are
Without offering any rebuttal, both networks
played clips from the DNC ad which warned: "Now take a deep
breath and imagine Seattle with Bush's Texas-style environmental
All three broadcast evening shows led Monday
with the violence in Israel. ABC's World News Tonight held its
campaign coverage to plugging ABC's prime time special on the NRA.
(See item #3 below for details.)
Dan Rather set up the October 9 CBS Evening News
story: "With the race entering its final four weeks it appears
the competition is about to take a sharp turn even lower onto the low
began: "If voters were just waiting for the day that Campaign
2000 went negative, they needn't wait any longer. With polls showing
the race now a statistical dead heat the Democrats are making every
attempt to try to shake something loose and that means attack, attack,
announcer: "George W. Bush has a plan to bring the policies
he's used in Texas to the rest of America."
"Democrats launched today a series of disparaging advertisements,
tailored to battleground states, that assail Bush's record in Texas on
child welfare, the minimum wage and the environment."
"Last year Houston overtook Los Angeles as America's smoggiest
city. Now take a deep breath and imagine Seattle with Bush's
Texas-style environmental regulation."
"The ad war is coordinated with two new Web sites -- one that
mocks Bush's leadership qualities, calling him 'Bush Lite' --
another with the sinister title 'I know what you did in Texas.com.'"
Roberts proceeded to note that Joe Lieberman
will go on a "failed-leadership tour" this week in Texas to
highlight Bush's record on health care, the environment and gun
control as Governor of Texas. After a clip of RNC Chairman Jim
Nicholson recalling how Gore in 1991 said he'd win by "tearing
the lungs out" of his opponent, Roberts concluded:
research would indicate that there's very little risk in this type
of attack. All of the new ads were run through focus groups and found
to be very effective. With just 29 days left and neither side able to
claim clear advantage, the ugliness may have just begun."
Rather oddly followed up with a rationale for
why Bush deserves what he's getting from Gore: "The Gore side
of that story also includes Gore forces claiming Bush has been running
a consistent attack campaign, going all the way back, they say, to his
primary races against John McCain in South Carolina and Michigan. The
Bush team denies that."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw
announced: "With the election now just a month away the Gore
campaign is going on the offensive, perhaps because after several days
of attacks by the Bush camp the latest polls show this race tightening
to a dead heat. The MSNBC/Reuters daily tracking poll had Gore with a
five point lead over George W. Bush less than a week ago today.
Gore's lead is down to one point now, that's well inside the
margin of error. For the Gore campaign there's nothing fuzzy about
this kind of math. NBC's Claire Shipman begins tonight's In Depth
reporting on the Gore campaign's new emphasis on what it calls
Governor Bush's mistakes and missteps."
NBC's poll put Gore ahead by 43 to 42 percent.
Shipman explained how Gore's "campaign
unleashes a torrent of negative firepower against George W. Bush
today, pointing up his campaign bloopers as Gore's staffers call
them, and attacking his record as Texas Governor on everything from
health care to the environment."
She showed a clip of DNC Chairman Joe Andrew and
reported how Lieberman will go to Texas for "failed leadership
tour." Shipman noted that the DNC is "spending several
million dollars on three biting new ads in battleground states."
announcer: "Now take a deep breath and imagine Seattle with
Bush's Texas-style environmental regulation. George Bush, before he
talks about cleaning up Washington, maybe he should clean up
"Why the sudden assault when the public says in poll after poll
it's not in the mood for negativity? Because the Gore team believes
it has to counter Bush's relentless attacks on the Vice
President's credibility, which it fears are working."
Shipman ran a soundbite of Bush pointing out
Gore's "consistent pattern of exaggerating," adding:
"And the same message on the Bush Web site: 'The Gore Files,
Anything to Get Elected.' The DNC counters with 'Bush Lite: Less
Leadership, Less Experience, More Right-Wing Flavor.'"
Shipman concluded: "The Gore team so far is
trying to have it both ways. Candidate Gore is staying positive while
his running mate, his aides, and his ads do the dirty work. And Bush,
doing some of jabbing himself, clearly hopes his attacks will hurt his
opponent more than they hurt him."
fight with the NRA. Before Monday Night Football in the Eastern and
Central time zones and after it in the Pacific and Mountain time
zones, ABC aired a Peter Jennings Reporting special titled, The Gun
Fight. I did not see the whole show, but picked some things up from
part of it and stories earlier in the day on other ABC programs.
Jennings concluded the hour by suggesting Gore
would win if gun owners voted their larger interests: "Four weeks
from tomorrow when we look at the exit polls on election night we'll
be able to see just how well the NRA did. Did enough gun owners vote
only their guns? Or did they see a larger picture?"
Earlier in the day, on Good Morning America,
Jennings argued the show would not be anti-gun rights, but his
description of the show betrayed his agenda to paint the NRA as a
negative force as he focused on one of its victims:
"This is a
program about power. This is not a for or against gun control.
Everybody we interviewed in the broadcast is, in fact, in favor of
owning and using guns. But it is interesting to see the power of the
NRA at work, and so we see them in relationship to the gunmakers and
we see what happens when one Congressman, a Congressman from Michigan,
Bart Stupak, votes against the NRA just once in his entire
He warned Diane Sawyer, MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson noticed, of the NRA's power: "They're very powerful.
They're much more powerful than lobbies and organizations many times
their size, and as we have seen in the past, and may again, they are
very powerful in a close election because they convince people,
essentially -- or they have convinced people in the past -- to vote
their guns. They manage to -- this is the NRA specifically -- manage
to convince enough people, or enough people become convinced, that the
current trend of things may lead to them having their guns registered,
which they think leads ultimately to confiscation, and they vote on
single issue politics."
Jennings set up a World News Tonight preview
excerpt by referring to how "the controversial National Rifle
Association has set its sights on defeating Mr. Gore. A lot of people
who own guns are angry at Al Gore." In the excerpt, Jennings
asked NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre: "Your critics accuse you
of promoting fear. How do you respond to that?"
Following the excerpt, Jennings asked his
campaign reporters why gun control is not an issue raised by either
candidate. Bush reporter Dean Reynolds said the Bush team ignores gun
rights because they feel it would turn off women and
middle-of-the-road voters. Gore reporter Terry Moran replied that
Gore's team thinks gun control turns off the men Gore is trying to
margin of five-to-one inebriated reporters on George W. Bush's
campaign plane predicted Al Gore will win the election, an Inside.com
story plugged by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews and noted by Brit Hume
Monday night on FNC, revealed.
Here's an excerpt of the Inside.com piece
posted on Saturday by David Carr, titled: "For In-Flight
Entertainment, Bush Reporters Poll Themselves on Governor's
Chances." Carr disclosed:
Campaign functionaries for Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush have, on occasion, suggested that
the press corps has a virulent,
persistent bias against their candidate. From their perspective,
Al Gore seems to speed over every pothole while their guy
just can't get a break from those jackals at the back of the plane
-- in part because the reporters seem to think he can't win.
As it turns out, the Bush paranoia may be right on the money.
On Friday, the Bush campaign plane was flying from Marion, Ill., to
Tampa, Fla., when an enterprising reporter used a blender and a fully stocked bar to whip up some serious
margaritas during the 2 hour and 15
minute flight. Once the tequila took effect -- even several
Secret Service members joined in the afternoon wind-down --
NBC producer Alexandra Pelosi suggested that it was time that some
of the people covering the race did their own formal handicapping.
According to a reporter who was on the plane, a straw poll ensued.
The question was not who should win, but who would win -- and 26
reporters suggested Gore will be the last man standing on Nov. 7,
while just 5 voted for a Bush victory....
"Everybody knew that we weren't supposed to be doing it, but
it was Friday afternoon, it had been a long week, we were all drinking
margaritas, so it was like, what the hell," says the reporter.
Pelosi is the daughter of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, and has a reputation for
keeping the back of the plane a
lively place. She did not return calls asking for comment on her role
in the impromptu poll.
According to the reporter, writers from such publications as the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune and
three Texas papers -- the Dallas
Morning News, the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American
Statesman -- all voted....
The reporter, who described the events only after being promised anonymity, thought the vote was
extraordinary. "You just don't see that
kind of stuff happening, (but) even then, it's surprising that Gore
won by so much. Usually reporters favor whomever they are covering,
but I think the people on this race believe that Gore's going to win.
He's a fighter and just will not give up."
There may be another reason that the press corps isn't feeling too kindly toward the governor of Texas. Ever
since word leaked out about a
possible Gore mole in the Bush campaign, officials have been very
tightlipped with schedules. Pre-mole, schedules for the coming week
were faxed and e-mailed to reporters. Now, the campaign won't even
tell reporters where they will be at the end of the week, leaving many
of them scrambling to get home for the weekend....
Do you doubt the vote would have come out much
differently if the question had been "who do you want to
For the entire story, go to:
For Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, go to:
Gore's tendency to make up anecdotes connecting him to a problem may
have rubbed off on Joe Lieberman in time for the VP debate.
In the October 5 clash, Lieberman confirmed
personal knowledge of racial profiling since a black friend, he
asserted, was "stopped, surrounded by police, for no other cause
that anyone can determine than the color of his skin." The
Maryland police department in question, headed by a black police
chief, denied the abuse, the Washington Times reported on Saturday,
but CNN's Wolf Blitzer did not press Lieberman about it during the
Democratic candidate's only Sunday morning appearance.
On CNN's Late Edition Blitzer did, however,
ask Lieberman about Gore's "exaggerations," inquiring:
"Speaking about exaggerations, as you know, the Republican
campaign the Bush-Cheney ticket is accusing the Vice President, Al
Gore, of grossly exaggerating his
own achievements over these years."
But Blitzer and the rest of the media skipped
over an October 7 Washington Times front page story by reporter Sean
Scully. An excerpt:
Montgomery County police are sharply disputing Sen. Joseph I.
Lieberman's story of a friend, White House aide Bob Nash, who was
"stopped, surrounded by police, for no other cause that anyone
can determine than the color of his skin."
"I saw that, and I hoped he wasn't talking about Bob
Nash," county police spokesman Capt. Bob O'Toole said yesterday.
"The facts don't fit it....This had nothing to do with racial
Mr. Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate,
mentioned the case during Thursday night's debate against Republican
vice-presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney. When CNN moderator
Bernard Shaw asked both candidates about racial profiling, in which
police target drivers for traffic stops based on race or ethnicity,
Mr. Lieberman denounced the practice and promised White House action
to end it.
"I mean, the law, after all, is meant to express our values
and our aspirations for our society, and our values are violently contradicted by the kind of racial
profiling that I know exists," Mr. Lieberman said. "And I
just had a friend a while ago, Bernie, who works in the government,
works at the White House, African-American, stopped, surrounded by
police, for no other cause that
anyone can determine than the color of his skin. That can't be in
County police, however, say Mr. Nash was stopped because his car
closely matched the description of a car stolen shortly before in the
same area. Police quickly determined that they had stopped the wrong
vehicle and driver and released Mr. Nash after only eight minutes,
Capt. O'Toole said.
Montgomery County Police Chief Charles A. Moose commented on the
Nash case when it became public last month, saying, "This was not
racial profiling. The officers did not know the race of the person
driving the car. "From our standpoint, we were dealing with an
armed suspect who had used a weapon to take a car," said Chief
Moose, who is black.
Dan Gerstein, spokesman for Mr. Lieberman, confirmed that the
Connecticut senator was referring to Mr. Nash's case....
Capt. O'Toole insists the Nash case can't possibly be considered
racial profiling. Police say the incident began Sept. 6 when a caller
reported that someone had stolen his sport utility vehicle at gunpoint
in Silver Spring.
Less than an hour later in the same area, police pulled over a
black Infiniti SUV with temporary tags - the same description given
by the caller. They removed the driver at gunpoint and searched him.
The driver turned out to be Mr. Nash, the lawful owner of the
vehicle, according to county police.
"We dispute any suggestion by anybody that the stop involved
racial profiling," Capt. O'Toole said.
Officers on the scene apologized to Mr. Nash, as did Chief Moose
Brit Hume confronted Gore campaign Senior Adviser Tad Devine about how
during the debate when Bush proposed "that the administration
seek to get Russia to use its influence on behalf of democracy"
in Yugoslavia, which was "exactly what the administration was
doing, ultimately successfully," yet Gore "ridiculed that
suggestion and said it was a bad idea."
When during the Fox News Sunday interview Devine
charged, "I think it was obvious to anyone who saw George Bush in
that debate the other night that he was ill at ease talking about
international finance and foreign policy," Hume countered:
"It turned out he got that one right, though, didn't he?"
CNN's Wolf Blitzer raised the same subject
with Joe Lieberman on Late Edition, asking "wasn't George W. Bush
proven correct on this issue?" But after the one question and
Lieberman's denial Blitzer moved on. Hume stuck with it:
Hume: "Governor Bush proposed, in an answer
to a question during that debate, that the administration seek to get
Russia to use its influence on behalf of democracy. That's what he
said. He didn't say mediate; he said use its influence. It turns out
that's exactly what the administration was doing, ultimately
successfully. The vice president ridiculed that suggestion and said it
was a bad idea. Why did he do that? He must have known better."
"Well, because when Governor Bush was talking about this very
important issue, you know, whether or not we should get involved and
whether or not the Russians should get involved at this critical
moment, you know, he seemed to be doing so without knowing what the
Russian position would be. The Russians, at that time, as I understand
it -- and I'm not a foreign policy expert, but as I understand it, you
know, the Russians had not publicly stated that they support the
results of that election. That was the reality at that point in
Tad, in that moment -- and the vice president had to know this -- it
would be quite something if he didn't -- the administration
was doing with the Russians exactly what Governor Bush was proposing
they do, exactly. Why did he then criticize him for it?"
"No, listen, we did not know what the Russians would do at that
point in time. It's my understanding -- and again, I'm
not here on behalf of the government and I don't have access to this
information that you're pushing me about right now."
"Well, of course, we may not have known what they were going to
"But, you know, I think that the point the vice president was
trying to make is, that we should not enlist the help of Putin and the
Russians without knowing the position they would take. I think it was
a good point to make in the debate."
"Excuse me, you said -- you're saying they shouldn't do what
exactly they were doing."
"Well, listen, you know, we didn't know publicly what their
position was. At the time there seemed to be indications that
they would not support results of that election. You know, that was
publicly available information, the only information I would
have access to, by the way. And so, you know, I think what the Vice
President was trying to-"
he going to apologize for that?"
"No, he will not, absolutely. The point the vice president was
trying to make is a very good point, that you shouldn't go out and
make these broad statements about foreign policy without understanding
some of the nuances. And by the way, Brit-"
made no broad statement. He made a simple suggestion that turned out
to be exactly what was happening."
Bush and his campaign want to have a debate about who can best manage
the foreign policy of America for the next four weeks, we would
welcome the debate. I mean, I think it was obvious to anyone who saw
George Bush in that debate the other night that he was ill at ease
talking about international finance and foreign policy."
turned out he got that one right, though, didn't he?"
"Well, no, I disagree with that, I don't think he did."
Hume won that debate about the debate.
facts not in evidence, or at least never reported by ABC News. Friday
night ABC delivered an exclusive story by Brian Ross on how the
Clintons have packed state dinners with donors. But in introducing the
report, World News Tonight anchor Kevin Newman, MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson observed, referred to how "we've already heard
about" a recently released list of the Democratic donors who
stayed overnight in the Lincoln bedroom. World News Tonight, however,
never bothered to report that revelation.
Newman introduced the October 6 story:
"We're going to take a closer look tonight at the money trail
that leads to the most prestigious dinner invitation in America, a
seat at official state dinners at the White House. Now we've already
heard about the 146 Democratic campaign contributors who enjoyed an
overnight stay in the White House's historic Lincoln bedroom during
the past 15 months, and now we've learned that nearly 50 percent of
private citizens who attended White House state dinners this year also
gave money to the Democrats, and it hasn't always been that way."
No, as reported in the September 23 CyberAlert:
"ABC and CBS did not utter a word Friday night about the White
House sleep-over list released Friday afternoon." For details
about coverage of the list on CNN, FNC and NBC, go to:
And World News Tonight did not mention the
subject since then, well, at least not until Sunday, October 8, two
days after Newman's "we've already heard" assumption,
but the citation did not come from a reporter.
Reporter Dan Harris reviewed that morning's
Hillary Clinton-Rick Lazio debate: "The candidates in the most
expensive Senate race in history today wrangled over campaign cash,
Hillary Rodham Clinton accusing Congressman Rick Lazio of breaking a
recent agreement not to use outside money on TV ads."
"And if New Yorkers can't trust him to keep his word for 10 days,
how can they trust him for six years?"
"Mrs. Clinton, please, no lectures from Motel 1600 on campaign
That was it. No follow up explanation from
Oh, as for Friday's story, Brian Ross
reported: "The White House denies there's a direct connection,
but an ABC News analysis of the four state dinners held this year
shows an unprecedented number of Democratic donors as guests. By
percentage, it's about the same as the last four dinners held by
President Bush, but nowhere near the same scale. Under President
Clinton, the state dinners have been vastly increased, making room for
some 390 Democratic contributors representing more than $10 million in
A longer version of the Ross story aired on
Friday's 20/20, but even it did not recall the Lincoln bedroom
Amongst the state dinner donor/diners: Al
Franken, Dick Ebersol of NBC Sports and Cheryl Mills, now with Oxygen
Media. For guest lists and a RealPlayer excerpt of the Ross story, go
Almost forget the most noteworthy thing in the
Ross stories. At a press conference he asked Hillary Clinton if it
were proper to invite donors to official state dinners when those
seats have been traditionally reserved for great achievers. She
replied: "I think contributing to the Democratic Party is a
contribution to the country, in my view."
won one opinion poll decisively. On Fox News Sunday Tony Snow
recounted a finding of the most recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll.
Asked which they would prefer for President, a "candidate who
stumbles" or a "candidate who makes stuff up,"
respondents picked the stumbler by 82 percent to a piddling four
There is an up side to being subblibimal. -- Brent Baker
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