CBS Stressed Bush's Unfitness; Landlord Gore Finally Mentioned; "Gasbag" Limbaugh; Philbin for Bush
-- Extra Edition
1) The ABC and NBC polls cited Tuesday night put Bush ahead of
Gore, but with Bush behind by one point in the CBS poll, Dan Rather stressed
that on "dealing wisely with an international crisis, Gore is a full ten
points up on Bush. Gore's lead is even bigger on the question of being
prepared for the presidency."
2) Only NBC ran a full story on the presidential campaign
Tuesday night, thus uniquely noting how Griffin Bell endorsed Bush. NBC also
relayed Bush's "taunting" of Gore over his tenant problems and NBC
also showed viewers Bush's "meandering and labored attempted to give an
undecided voter a reason to support him." NBC and ABC raised
"credibility concerns" about Gore.
3) Confronted with how his Web site denounces George Bush for
"bumbling and babbling," Al Gore told FNC: "I wouldn't say it
that way." But Brit Hume noted the language remains up on his Web page.
4) Bernard Shaw defended his VP debate question about racial
profiling in which told Cheney and Lieberman: "You are black for this
question. Imagine yourself an African-American."
5) After Today allowed Rush Limbaugh to explain his views,
MSNBC's Paul Begala took a mean-spirited shot at him: "He's lost a
lot of weight. You know, I guess we've got to downgrade him from blimp to
6) The Early Show's Jane Clayson threw a curve ball at
Karenna Gore-Schiff, asking if she wouldn't want for herself the Social
Security private investment option proposed by Bush.
7) One celebrity for Bush. To stunned silence from the
audience, Tuesday night Regis Philbin affirmed "absolutely" when
David Letterman asked if he'll vote for George W. Bush.
Bush has moved ahead of Al Gore in the ABC and NBC polls cited Tuesday
night, but only NBC led with the development. The CBS poll had Bush behind
by one point and anchor Dan Rather stressed his bafflement with how Bush
could be faring so well given "that on the question of dealing wisely
with an international crisis, Gore is a full ten points up on Bush.
Gore's lead is even bigger on the question of being prepared for the
World News Tonight viewers did not hear about the
ABC News/Washington Post poll until about half way through Tuesday's
newscast, but in contrast to CBS, ABC's Peter Jennings listed areas
where Bush is preferred, pointing out how "the public trusts Mr. Bush
to hold down the size of government," prefers Bush "for holding
down taxes" and believes Bush is the best to "give the country a
Here's how the ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows
handled the latest presidential poll numbers on Tuesday night, October 10:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with the ongoing
violence in Israel. Peter Jennings compared Bush's standing in the ABC
News/Washington Post poll to where he was a week earlier before the first
"Overall, Mr. Bush has improved his position.
Among people who say they are likely to vote, 48 percent prefer him, 45
percent Mr. Gore. Most people still think that Mr. Gore has the right
experience to be President: Bush 58, Gore 74 percent. The public trusts
Mr. Bush to hold down the size of government, which more people prefer: 49
percent think Bush would do it better, 39 percent think Mr. Gore. As for
holding down taxes, it's Mr. Bush's message 49 percent of the people
like; 39 percent Mr. Gore. Mr. Bush has made progress with women. Last
week he was 18 points behind Mr. Gore; men still favor Bush by a large
An on screen graphic showed Gore ahead with women 52
to 43 percent and Bush favored by men 54 to 37 percent.
Jennings continued: "Finally this week, asked
which candidate can best give the country a fresh start: 54 percent of
registered voters say Mr. Bush, 33 percent say Mr. Gore."
-- CBS Evening News began with, as Dan Rather dubbed
it, the "Firestone-Ford fiasco."
He later cited the latest CBS News poll, apparently
sans the New York Times, which put Gore ahead 43 to 42 percent. Rather
stressed areas where Gore had a more commanding lead:
Gore with a one point lead over Bush, well within the poll's margin of
error. This is so even as our poll indicates that on the question of
dealing wisely with an international crisis, Gore is a full ten points up
on Bush [50 to 40 percent]. Gore's lead is even bigger on the question
of being prepared for the presidency [70 to 48 percent]. However, that
leads to the conclusion that Bush scores well on questions of demeanor and
presentation. You may want to note that some national polls indicate Bush
is ahead of Gore, but the Bush lead is within the margin of error in most
of those polls."
-- NBC Nightly News led with the campaign. Tom
Brokaw announced: "One month from today, American voters will be at
the polls choosing the next President of the United States. And with four
weeks to go this election could not be any closer or more difficult to
predict. The advantage, which is always slight, is now shifting back and
forth week to week. According to the MSNBC/Reuters daily tracking poll, Al
Gore was up six points a week ago, a lead that gradually narrowed to one
point yesterday and vanished today as George Bush overtook him. Bush up
one point 43 to 42 percent, which is of course inside the poll's margin
night, of the broadcast networks, only NBC aired a full story on the
presidential campaign, thus uniquely noting how Jimmy Carter's Attorney
General endorsed George W. Bush as NBC also relayed Bush's
"taunting" of Gore over his tenant problems, a subject ignored
for over three months by NBC Nightly News. NBC also showed viewers an
edited clip of Bush's "meandering and labored attempted to give an
undecided voter a reason to support him."
NBC's story, as well as a brief ABC item, raised
the subject of Gore's "exaggerated" claims and
"credibility concerns," a topic ignored by the CBS Evening News
which followed up its poll numbers with a piece on what Dan Rather
described as "the unlimited shoveling of cash into political parties
by the special interests is a growing concern." Anthony Mason
highlighted how major corporations are "so tired" of demands for
donations for politicians "that major corporations including Time
Warner, General Motors, and Honeywell have sworn off giving soft money. An
association of executives called the Committee for Economic Development
has called for radical campaign finance reform, signing up nearly 300
After running down ABC's poll numbers listed in
item #1 above, World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings noted that Bush
spent the day in Tennessee where "he accused the Vice President of
being the candidate of Washington and claimed that Mr. Gore would spend
away the nation's surplus."
As for Gore, Jennings briefly reported that he
"was campaigning in Florida and ABC's Terry Moran asked him today
if he was sensitive about the charges that he exaggerated or embellished
during last week's debate."
Gore: "I will
try to do better in getting all the details right and not giving people
reason to think that I have stretched a story to make a point."
The NBC Nightly News actually aired not one but two
campaign stories after Tom Brokaw led the show with the poll numbers.
Checking in from the Bush campaign, David Gregory
asserted, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Tonight there
is an exuding confidence coming from this Bush campaign, somewhat
unexpected, but renewed today with that slight edge you referred to...a
reflection, aides assert, of the fact that there is growing credibility
concerns for the Vice President, concerns and problems that Bush will
eagerly try to exploit during tomorrow night's debate and beyond."
"Bush in Tennessee today, where the race on the Vice President's
home turf is surprisingly tight, announcing the endorsement of prominent
Democrats, including Jimmy Carter's Attorney General Griffin Bell. And
taunting Gore, who earlier this year was accused by a tenant of failing to
properly maintain rental property he owns in the state."
George W. Bush:
"Tennessee is a fine place to live. I guess it though depends on who
your landlord is."
the race so close, both sides have gone negative, but advisors say Bush
will avoid getting personally involved for fear of a backlash, leaving his
top aides to attack Gore, as they did this weekend, by calling him a
quote, 'serial exaggerator.' A bigger worry to some advisors is that
it's Bush himself giving Gore room to attack his readiness to be
President. Over the weekend in Florida, Bush offers a tangled description
of his tax plan and has to turn to his brother to ask if the numbers add
up....Late last week, a meandering and labored attempted to give an
undecided voter a reason to support him."
this story with her. Groping for the right answer as you can tell, kind of
weaving around. [NBC jumped to another point in Bush's response] You
tell your friend that I think I've got the capacity to reach across the
Bush advisors maintain such gaffes are hardly decisive, that the election
will turn on a general comfort level that undecided voters have with both
candidates, terrain where they believe Bush still has an advantage."
Up next, Claire Shipman looked at how Gore is
targeting Florida: "Experts agree that Bush can't win without
Florida, and it was supposed to be easy for him. But now the polls are
extremely tight, and the Gore campaign is on the offensive predicting an
upset victory here. Al Gore in Bradenton, Florida today, confident he'll
be only the second Democrat in two decades to win the state....He and
running mate Joe Lieberman have been to Florida ten times since labor day,
erasing a fifteen-point Bush lead. And today a substantial new ad buy by
the DNC, $850,000, attacking Bush on issues like environmental
After a clip of the ad which asked, "imagine
Bush's Texas record in Florida's everglades," Shipman noted that
Gore now leads in the Sunshine State 46 to 43 percent. She observed:
"For a long time, Florida has leaned conservative, but it can be
unpredictable. George Bush's father barely won here in 1992, and Bill
Clinton took the state in 1996. Still Bush's brother is a popular
Dr. Lance Dehaven
Smith, Florida State University Political Scientist: "It's a
surprise that Jeb Bush has not been more of a factor in being able to
deliver the state for George W. Bush..."
"Now, the Bush campaign and Republicans have outspent Gore and the
Democrats here since Labor Day, eight million dollars to three million.
But tonight the Gore campaign says it is willing to spend a million
dollars a week in Florida to win."
Back to reporter David Gregory's reference to
Bush's "taunting" of Gore over his rental property. That's
the first broadcast network evening show mention of Gore's landlord
performance, though Gregory did not really explain Bush's point about
the complaints by Gore's former tenant. In early June when the story
first broke, while FNC ran full stories, ABC and CBS never mentioned it.
CNN's Inside Politics ran a brief item with video and NBC's Today gave
it a few seconds without video.
To remind yourself of the issue, check out two past
CyberAlert items with accompanying RealPlayer clips of FNC stories:
-- Monday night, June 5, FNC's Special Report with
Brit Hume and Fox Report both carried
full stories by David Shuster on the condition of the Al Gore-owned rental
home occupied by a family and Gore's promise to resolve the situation
without evicting them:
-- The Mad Mayberrys. Only the Fox News Channel
bothered to update viewers on how the Mayberrys, the family renting the
run-down house from Al Gore, gave up on him and moved to Ohio after he
failed to fulfill his promised repairs:
Jim Angle asked Al Gore if he agreed with a statement by one of his top
campaign aides that George Bush is incapable of making policy
pronouncements without "bumbling and babbling." Gore took the
high road, insisting: "I wouldn't say it that way."
Despite Gore's assurance his attitude applies to
his whole campaign, Brit Hume observed on Special Report with Brit Hume
Tuesday night that the anti-Bush blast is still featured on Gore's Web
site. Indeed, the Web site still has up the October 8 "Statement By
Mark Fabiani, Gore/Lieberman Deputy Campaign Manager for
Communications." It begins:
seems incapable of talking about the important issues in this campaign in
a coherent way. The American people deserve to hear him explain his
policies and address the issues without bumbling and babbling. They expect
someone running for president to be held to presidential standards, and
that includes talking clearly about the
important policy matters that impact people's lives."
Check out the entire statement at:
Picking up on an old Gore claim uncovered last week
by the DrudgeReport, Hume later relayed:
of a House hearing twenty-one years ago reveals that Vice President Gore's
agricultural experience is apparently greater than even he now says. He
said proudly in the past that he raised tobacco throughout most of his
life. His Web site says he also fed livestock, cleaned out the hog parlors
and helped clear and plow the fields, during his summer vacations in
Tennessee. At that 1979 hearing, then Congressman Gore also said he'd
quote, 'raised chickens myself, ten thousand of them at one time, five
thousand in each of two houses.' At other times, Gore has said his
father had a commercial egg production house with 10,000 chickens."
The latest column by MRC President L. Brent Bozell
examines how the Gore "exaggerations" have become news despite
the best efforts of many in the media as the MRC's Tim Graham dug back
to old examples and found the media hardly jumped on his past bloopers.
Here's an excerpt:
The furor that ultimately followed does not prove that the media love
to pick on Al Gore, as hardcore Gore partisans in the press like Time's
Margaret Carlson suggest. It proved something quite different -- that
liberal media spin does not always win the day, especially when millions
of Americans have seen the politician's spiel for themselves. Instead, the
furor and sudden plunge in Gore's polls proved that alternative media
outlets, from talk radio to the Internet to newspaper columnists to
Republican researchers, have a power all their own to overcome the spin
the liberal media prefer.
Nearly every Gore gaffe that's become part of the campaign talking
points was originally ignored by the major media, which attempted to
strangle the mistakes and embarrassments in the crib. Now that they're
resonating, liberals are huffing and puffing about how Gore's gaffes
aren't really gaffes. He didn't really say he "invented the
Internet," they complain, he "took the initiative in creating
it." The real point here isn't the complete lack of distinction
between "inventing" and "creating" the Internet. It's
that Gore said this on March 9, 1999, to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and Blitzer
didn't even blink. He didn't follow up. His eyebrows didn't even move. He
just asked another question. The statement went
completely unreported on television for ten days.
To read the entire Creators syndicate column, go to:
night on Crossfire CNN's Bernard Shaw defended the bizarre racial
profiling question he posed as moderator of the VP debate when he asked
both candidates to pretend they were black. During the October 5 debate
Joe Lieberman: You are black for this question. Imagine yourself an
African-American. You become the target of racial profiling either while
walking or driving. African-American Joseph Lieberman, what would you do
The next night on Crossfire, broadcast from The
George Washington University, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth noticed an
audience member asked about the question. Shaw defended his approach:
"It's an issue,
first not in the campaign, but an issue within our society. It's on the
minds of a lot of people. It goes to the fabric of our Constitution, our
system of government. We're all Americans, and presumably we should be
treated fairly. And I wanted to ask the question of the candidates to see
what their thinking was, to see what their feeling was."
Today Lisa Myers quizzed radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh about his
disdain for Al Gore and asked him to defend his other views on the
campaign, but the questions from Myers allowed Limbaugh to fully
outline and defend his positions in the pre-taped interview. Today
followed up, however, with "balance" in a live interview
with Gore debate coach/MSNBC Equal Time co-host Paul Begala who, as
the MRC's Tim Graham alerted me, took this shot at Limbaugh:
got to give him his due. You know, look, he's lost a lot of weight.
You know, I guess we've got to downgrade him from blimp to just
gasbag, Matt. I mean I could not believe the stuff he's putting out
there and he's trying to rally a right wing audience that is
candidly very dispirited and they should be."
I thought liberals
deplored mean-spirited personal attacks?
As for the taped Limbaugh interview, it aired in
two parts over the October 10 and 11 Today shows.
Katie Couric introduced part one on October 10,
as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens, by stressing
Limbaugh's conservatism: "On Close Up this morning, Rush
Limbaugh. He's the most popular radio talk show host in America. One
of the most influential political voices in this country. As the race
for the White House tightens his staunchly conservative views carry
great currency with the right. But Limbaugh rarely sits down for TV
cameras. So when he sat down recently with NBC's Lisa Myers he wasted
no time in expressing his opinions."
Myers got right to Gore's lies in the first
debate, but soon challenged Limbaugh: "But how can you say the,
the lie is deliberate? I mean if it's so easy to check why would
anyone deliberately lie about it? You're gonna get caught!" She
followed up: "Rush, are you saying that in your view Al Gore is
an even bigger liar than Bill Clinton, that's a really harsh
She later asked him to defend his assessment
that the private sector experience of Bush and Cheney make them better
qualified to be President: "You've said that Al Gore is not
qualified to be President. He's been in public office for 24 years.
House, Senate, Vice President. You may disagree with his views, but
experience Al Gore does have." She followed up: "But George
Bush only has six years as Governor of Texas. The only business in
which, at which he was a success was running a baseball team. What
makes him more qualified than Al Gore?"
Myers later let Limbaugh expound on how he
thinks Clinton made soccer moms think he cared more about them than do
their husbands, but that Gore reminds women of their first husband
whom they divorced.
+++ See how a major media outlet treated
Limbaugh. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a
RealPlayer clip of a portion of the Today interview. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
actual devil's advocate question to a liberal from CBS's Jane
Clayson. Interviewing Karenna Gore-Schiff Tuesday morning, the Early
Show co-host tossed the usual softballs, but she also threw a curve
ball, asking Gore-Schiff if she wouldn't want for herself the Social
Security private investment option proposed by Bush.
Clayson began the October 10 interview, as
observed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd, by asking: "You advised your
father on the first debate, how are you going to advise him for this
She next inquired: "After last week's
debate critics accused your father of exaggerating the facts. They
also criticized those long sighs when George W. Bush said something
that he didn't like. Are we going to see a different Al Gore
Clayson wondered: "The Democratic National
Committee is coming out with a series of new ads that attack Governor
George W. Bush, his record in Texas. Let's listen to a couple....Karenna,
as an advisor to your father did you support him going negative?"
Clayson then arrived at her unusual line of
inquiry: "Social Security, as you know, is a big issue in this
campaign and there are a lot of young people not unlike yourself who
say that they want to take some of their own money and invest it
themselves, instead of putting it in a so-called lockbox, like your
father recommends. What are your feelings about that? Do you not want
to have that kind of option yourself?"
But Clayson ended with a softball: "I know
you've been out on the campaign trial night and day, Karenna, how are
you juggling being a new mom, and a wife, helping your dad these
celebrity for Bush. Virtually all of Hollywood may back Al Gore, but
to disapproval from a New York audience a New York-based celebrity on
Tuesday night affirmed his preference for Bush.
On Tuesday's Late Show, David Letterman asked
Regis Philbin, host of ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and his
own syndicated morning interview show on which Bush recently appeared:
election were right now would you vote for George W. Bush?"
Audience reaction inside New York City's Ed
Sullivan Theater: Absolute silence. Maybe it was stunned silence. -- Brent Baker
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