Media Suppressed Bush Errors?; Bush and Gore Too Frugal; Public Realizes Journalists Favor Gore; ABC's Prime Time Gore Aid
-- Extra Edition
1) While simultaneously relaying
Gore campaign-cited instances of Bush errors, CBS picked up the Gore complaint
that Bush's mistakes did not get adequate media focus. In fact, the networks
gave more attention to Bush's errors after the second debate than they did
to Gore's fabrications after the first one. Also, ABC and NBC cited polls
which put Bush well ahead.
2) ABC News flunked Bush and Gore from the left on education
for advocating too little federal money for schools. "It's not enough
money," a school principal complained. "Not nearly enough
money," echoed ABC's Deborah Amos.
3) "The President himself is taking an enormous risk
here. At stake: Possibly the world economy," Dan Rather oozed from Egypt.
John Roberts credited Clinton with "seven years of painstaking
4) By two-to-one registered voters say "most
journalists" are "pulling for" Gore over Bush. Even a plurality
of Democrats see a pro-Gore slant, a Pew Research Center for the People and
the Press poll determined. And the closer people follow news coverage the more
they see a pro-Gore tilt.
5) ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Thursday night
endorsed Al Gore's boast that he "was the basis" for Love Story.
But the contestant who picked another answer has protested ABC's claim.
Regis Philbin insisted: "Yes, it's true, it's true."
6) "An innocent man is serving a life sentence...If this
were Texas, he might already be dead." So warned a character on ABC's
The Practice in seemingly taking a shot at George Bush.
7) FNC showed that at the "Million Family March" one
speaker "praised Libya's Moammar Ghadafi for providing universal health
8) Time magazine on CPUSA's Gus Hall, who passed away
Monday: "How can anyone think ill of Hall when he beams so about cooking
pancakes for his grandchildren...or shares his secret for making tasty beef
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supposed mistakes during the second presidential debate did not get
adequate media attention, Gore operatives complained Monday. And CBS
compliantly picked up their complaint while simultaneously relaying Gore
campaign-cited instances of Bush errors. "All eyes were on the Middle
East, not on the candidates' mistakes," last week CBS's Bill
Whitaker asserted, so, "Democrats claim...Bush got away with false
claims on the death penalty and his Texas record of insuring poor
In fact, the broadcast networks gave more attention
to Bush's errors the morning and evening after the second debate than
they did to Gore's fabrications after the first one.
Monday night ABC and NBC also passed along vague
references to Gore's claim that Bush inflated the amount spent on child
health in Texas, but neither offered a syllable of what Bush said Monday
on the campaign trail. Both ABC and NBC also briefly relayed new poll
numbers which put Bush ahead of Gore by greater than the margins of error.
First a look at ABC and NBC coverage Monday night,
October 16, and then an examination of CBS's hypothesis of anti-Gore
media bias. All three evening shows led with the summit in Egypt, but only
CBS's Dan Rather anchored from Sharm el Sheikh.
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings
reported that the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll found Bush leading
Gore 48 percent to 44 percent. He added that since the last poll a week
ago both candidates fell in the "honest and trustworthy"
question, with Gore plummeting from 63 to 49 percent and Bush slipping
from 62 to 53 percent.
Jennings then offered a brief re-cap of what the
candidates did Monday, but while he relayed a Gore attack line he failed
to give equal time to anything Bush said: "On the campaign trail
today, Al Gore's campaign attacking George Bush's record in Texas,
very central to their message now. In Missouri they presented three
Democratic lawmakers from Texas who criticized the Governor's health
care record. They say he is not spending what he said he was spending. Mr.
Bush campaigned in Arkansas where the polls show that he is tied with Mr.
Later, ABC ran a "A Closer Look" at the
education proposals from each candidate. See item #2 below for details.
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Tom Brokaw recounted how
NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll put Bush
ahead of Gore by 48 to 42 percent. Brokaw added: "One of the reasons
that Bush is pulling ahead may be that Americans now think restoring moral
and family values is more important than maintaining the economy. That's
a switch from what the polls have been telling us for most of the
Brokaw then turned to NBC's two campaign beat
reporters for an update. From Little Rock with Bush, David Gregory
reported that the Bush team feels good about its situation and is being
cautious. One sign of that caution, they've stopped doing press
conferences. They know that to pull women voters from Bush, Gore will
drive home his attack on Bush's health care record in Texas, Gregory
noted. So to counter that, Gregory observed, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush and
Cindy McCain will all campaign in swing states to sell women on Bush.
From St. Louis with Gore NBC's Claire Shipman
found that Gore will avoid intensive debate preparation. Unlike Gregory,
she then relayed the Gore attack line: "Prosperity itself is on the
ballot. Gore trying to use stark terms to make it clear that he believes a
vote for George W. Bush is a risk and one theme we're going to keep
hearing, something David Gregory mentioned, the Texas record. The Gore
campaign even flying three Texas legislators here today to hammer that
-- CBS Evening News. Bill Whitaker explored how the
foreign crises have benefitted Bush as they shut down coverage of Bush's
debate errors. He began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"Privately, Bush staffers acknowledge the Yemen terrorist attack
could highlight the Governor's differences with Al Gore on military
preparedness, but they also know even appearing to use the tragedy for
political benefit could backfire....So publicly Bush campaigns as usual,
today in President Bill Clinton's home state Arkansas, and stands by his
statement of support that sounds almost like Al Gore's."
After a clip of Gore urging prayers for summit
participants, Whitaker contended: "But in a sense Bush already has
benefitted from the foreign flare-up. Last Thursday, the day after the
second joint appearance, all eyes were on the Middle East, not on the
candidates' mistakes. Democrats claim while no one was looking Bush got
away with false claims on the death penalty and his Texas record of
insuring poor children."
George W. Bush
during the October 11 debate: "We spend $4.7 billion a year on the
uninsured in the state of Texas."
"Not so say frustrated Democrats who were still trying today to make
voters take notice."
Texas legislator: "Those are the most misleading statements in the
campaign to date."
the complaint, Whitaker moved on to a larger point: "All of this is
especially frustrating to the Gore camp because after the first debate
Gore was deemed the winner but dropped in the polls after opponents and
pundits pointed out his mistakes and exaggerations. With the race so
close, the Bush strategy is to hold the course -- don't make any
mistakes or do anything dramatic. Gore, on the other hand, hopes to hold
Bush's Texas record up to closer scrutiny at tomorrow's town hall
meeting and hopes that this time that'll score some points."
+++ REALITY CHECK. While it certainly is true that
Gore's fabrications in the October 3 debate gained attention from the
late night comedians and cable TV talk show guests, the broadcast networks
gave them less attention the next morning and night than they gave to Bush
mistakes in the second debate -- despite the fact that the Yemen bombing
occurred before the evening newscasts aired the night after the October 11
On October 4, the morning after the first debate,
only ABC's Good Morning America raised Gore's fabrication about
accompanying FEMA Director James Lee Witt to a Texas fire. Zilch about
that on both CBS's The Early Show and NBC's Today.
That night, all the networks took note of Gore's
false claim that he accompanied Witt and NBC and FNC reported the
revelation, from that morning, that Gore's anecdote about a Florida high
school girl who because of overcrowding must stand in class was also
false. ABC, CNN and Whitaker's CBS ignored that fib.
Now, fast forward to the morning of October 12, the
morning after the October 11 debate. Both ABC's Good Morning America and
NBC's Today highlighted Bush's error in saying all three men,
convicted of murdering James Byrd, were sentenced to death when, in fact,
one was given a life sentence. That's twice as many morning shows as
noted any Gore errors after the first debate.
That night, despite the breaking news of the bombing
in Yemen and violence in Israel, both ABC and NBC corrected Bush on the
Byrd case, NBC corrected Bush about his allegation that Russia's Viktor
Chernomyrdin embezzled IMF funds and ABC's Dean Reynolds backed up
Gore's charge that Texas ranks at the bottom in health insurance
Whitaker's CBS -- both in the morning and evening
-- did skip Bush's second debate errors, but they also ignored Gore's.
flunked both Bush and Gore from the left on education for not advocating
enough federal money be allocated to schools. "It's not enough
money," a New Jersey school principal complained. "Not nearly
enough money," echoed ABC's Deborah Amos.
Monday night World News Tonight launched a series of
"A Closer Look" segments on the candidates and education. The
first segment looked at how Bush and Gore want to use the federal
government. After Peter Jennings relayed how the new ABC News/Washington
Post poll found the public better trusts Gore to handle education by 48 to
41 percent, Amos checked in from a Camden, New Jersey elementary school
where music is taught in a stairway and gym classes are held in a hallway.
She provided a pretty straight forward summary of
how Gore wants to increase federal spending while Bush wants to provide
states with more flexibility. The Camden principal said she'd like more
money and more flexibility. Amos outlined how Gore wants poorer schools to
get money for pre-school and after school education and how Bush focuses
on getting kids to read by the 3rd grade and implementing annual testing.
Amos allowed the principal to criticize Bush's testing as "not
always a good measure" because of kids from unstable homes who switch
schools often. Gore wants higher teacher salaries, but Amos showed a
soundbite from a teacher insisting more pay will not necessarily convince
people to work in an inner city school.
Amos then drew to her liberal conclusion that a lack
of money is the core problem and neither candidate will spend enough:
"The federal government has very little to do with funding public
schools. Only about seven percent of the yearly budget comes from
Washington. That won't change much in either plan."
"They put all those billions. Break it down and then see how much we
get in Camden and how much I get a Cooper's Point. It's not enough.
It's not enough."
Amos concluded by
lamenting: "Not nearly enough money from either man to provide the
same education that suburban schools offer just five minutes down the
ABC promised Tuesday's segment would look at
Clinton: Risk-taker and peace-maker. From Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, on
Monday night CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather oozed: "The President
himself is taking an enormous risk here. At stake: Possibly the world
economy, his legacy and maybe the election campaign at home."
CBS reporter John Roberts began his subsequent
report by crediting Clinton's hard work: "Rarely in this process
has President Clinton seemed so somber in public, almost grim as he
attempted today to rescue seven years of painstaking work."
No mention by CBS of the impact of Clinton
interfering with Israeli elections to ensure Benjamin Netanyahu lost his
re-election bid to Clinton's favored candidate, Ehud Barak. But, Roberts
did play the debate soundbite of Bush promising he'd make sure peace
talks were not "on my timetable" but at the pace preferred by
people think the media are being "unfair" to Bush than believe
reporters are being "unfair" to Gore and by two-to-one
registered voters say "most journalists" are "pulling
for" Gore over Bush. Even a plurality of Democrats believe reporters
are pushing for Gore, a new poll from the Pew Research Center for the
People and the Press has determined.
The poll also discovered that the closer people
follow the news the more they see a pro-Gore tilt: "Those who follow
campaign news very closely are more likely to say that the media wants
Gore to win -- 54 percent of those who track campaign developments very
closely think most journalists are in the Vice President's camp, while 18
percent of this group say most journalists want Bush to win."
The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to this latest Pew
poll conducted earlier this month of about 1,000 registered voters.
Specifically, it found:
-- "Would you say the press has been fair or
unfair in the way it has covered George W. Bush's election
Fair: 65 percent
Unfair: 25 percent
Don't know: 10 percent
-- "Would you say the press has been fair or
unfair in the way it has covered Al Gore's election campaign?"
Fair: 74 percent
Unfair: 15 percent
Don't know: 11 percent
-- "Who do you think most newspaper reporters
and TV journalists want to see win the presidential election: George W.
Bush or Al Gore?"
Gore: 47 percent
Bush: 23 percent
Neither: 6 percent
Don't know: 24 percent
(As noted above, of those who follow campaign news
"very closely," 54 percent observe media bias for Gore and just
18 percent see a slant for Bush.)
Under "Most journalists pulling for" in an
accompanying table, Pew provided a partisan breakdown for the same who do
"journalists want to see win the presidential race" question.
Gore: 67 percent
Bush: 12 percent
Neither: 2 percent
Don't know: 19 percent
Gore: 36 percent
Bush: 30 percent
Neither: 8 percent
Don't know: 26 percent
Gore: 44 percent
Bush: 28 percent
Neither: 4 percent
Don't know: 24 percent
Despite the large 47 to 23 percent margin which sees
a media tilt toward Gore over Bush, it's actually less lopsided than a
1996 Pew poll discovered. Back then 52 percent said they believed the
media wanted to see Clinton win versus just 17 percent who somehow saw a
-- Pew also reported: "Over the past eight
years, there has been an increase in the number of voters who say that
reporters often allow their political preferences to shape news coverage.
Fully 57% of voters hold that view now, compared to 49% in September 1992.
Nearly nine-in-ten (89%) say that journalists at least sometimes let their
political views affect coverage, while just 9% say this seldom or never
For details about the poll conducted for Pew by
Princeton Survey Research Associates, go to:
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Thursday night endorsed Al Gore's boast
that he "was the basis" for Love Story. But this week's U.S.
News & World Report noted the contestant who picked another answer has
protested ABC's claim that Gore really was the model for the lead male
Upon reviewing a tape of the ABC quiz show I caught
two noteworthy actions not quoted by U.S. News: First, the contestant
revealed he was aware that Gore thought "in his own mind" that
he inspired the movie and, second, Regis Philbin insisted: "Yes,
it's true, it's true."
The question and answer favorable to Gore came nine
days after the same show on October 3 posed a question less favorable to
Gore's image: "In the 1992 book, Earth in the Balance, what
politician proposes eliminating the internal combustion engine?" For
more details and to watch a RealPlayer clip, go to:
In the "Washington Whispers" column in the
October 23 U.S. News, Paul Bedard disclosed:
Al Gore's exaggerations have claimed a victim, Who Wants to Be a
Millionaire contestant Joel Foss. The Marysville, Wash., contractor faced
this $64,000 question last Thursday: 'Al Gore was the basis for the main
male character in which of these best-selling novels?' A Separate Peace,
Primary Colors, The Secret History, and Love Story. Foss saw a trick. He
recalled that Gore repeated an erroneous report that he and Tipper were
the basis for Erich Segal's Love Story. He remembered Segal saying he used
a dash of Gore, a pinch of actor Tommy Lee Jones, and imagination to
create Oliver Barrett IV. So he rejected Love Story and guessed Primary
Colors and lost.
question fair? ABC says Segal now insists 'he derived a great deal from
Al Gore.' That's the furthest he's gone on it, but how was Foss to know?
ABC wouldn't release Segal's letter. 'We didn't say that Al Gore was the
only basis for the character,' whines ABC. Says Foss, 'In my opinion,
when they say Al Gore was the basis for it, that's singular; they didn't
say a basis.' The result: He's filing a grievance and hopes to
For the rest of the Washington Whispers column, go
On the October 12 Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? the
question came at the $64,000 level. Host Regis Philbin read it: "Al
Gore was the basis for the main male character in which of these
The possible answers:
a) A Separate Peace
b) Primary Colors
c) The Secret History
d) Love Story
Contestant Joel Foss studied the answers for about
three seconds and then remarked, to scattered laughter and guffaws from
the audience, "Well, it doesn't say, 'in his own mind,'
Foss picked "b," Primary Colors, prompting
Philbin to wonder if he'd seen the movie or read the book. Foss replied
no and affirmed "b" was his "final answer."
Philbin corrected him: "No, believe it or not
it was Love Story. The primary male character in Love Story."
A surprised Foss walked off the set and Philbin
strode to the side of the stage to handle the "fastest finger"
quiz to pick the next contestant. But first, he remarked: "Yes,
it's true, it's true. Eric Segal, who wrote Love Story, was a
classmate of Al Gore at Harvard and based the character 'Oliver' on
Actually, Segal has said the character was based on
Tommy Lee Jones, Gore's roommate.
+++ Watch ABC's quiz show give credibility to
Gore's claim that he inspired the lead character in Love Story. On
Tuesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of the
question and answer. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
days after Millionaire another ABC show pitched in for the liberal cause
with a shot at the error-prone death penalty in Texas, a remark viewers
would naturally connect negatively to George Bush.
This political comment aired during Sunday's The
Practice, which revolves around a scrappy Boston criminal defense law
In Sunday's episode, assistant district attorney
"Helen Gamble," played by Lara Flynn Boyle, realizes that a man
for whom she won a murder conviction and life sentence for killing his
wife, really didn't do it as the jury was fooled by a witness who lied
after coaching by one of her DA office colleagues.
After "Gamble" tells a judge her
conclusion, her boss "Kate," played by Anna Deavere Smith (the
National Security Adviser on The West Wing and Press Secretary in the
movie An America President), threatens to fire her. This conversation then
Kate: "Why are
you doing this Helen?"
all say better let a guilty man go free than put an innocent one in
jail. An innocent man is serving a life sentence, Kate. If this were
Texas, he might already be dead."
suddenly did you become the jury?"
jury doesn't know he passed a polygraph. The jury doesn't know a
witness was coached, that he lied. The jury doesn't know a lot of
stuff Kate. I do."
To see what Lara Flynn Boyle looks like, go to:
ABC's Web page for The Practice:
can't beat a Farrakhan event for wackiness. ABC Monday night ignored
the "Million Family March" on Washington's Mall of far
fewer than a million. NBC's Tom Brokaw read a short item about it,
as did CBS's Dan Rather who dubbed it "a pro-family values
event." But FNC's David Shuster showed how one speaker
"praised Libya's Moammar Ghadafi for providing universal health
In a piece on the October 16 Special Report with
Brit Hume, Shuster recounted how in his two-hour speech Farrakhan
avoided anti-Semitism and "wild charges," though I'd note
he did ramble on a bit about numerology related to how George
Washington was a "33 degree Shriner." But, Shuster relayed,
there was still "controversy at this march" and it
"seemed to belong to an American Indian who took to the podium
and praised Libya's Moammar Ghadafi for providing universal health
care, never mind Libya's support of terrorism."
from the podium: "Beautiful brother, Colonel Moammar Ghadafi, I
know today that the world could change. Here's a man who's proven
to the world that there is a better way."
Now here's a guy Larry King could quite
properly call a "wacko."
Doesn't Love Grandpa Gus Hall?" The former leader of the
Communist Party USA passed away Monday at age 90. The MRC's Tim
Graham recalled a gem of a tribute from Time magazine.
In the September 9, 1991 issue reporter Michael
his wife of 56 years, applauds him as a good family man. Indeed, how
can anyone think ill of Hall when he beams so about cooking pancakes
for his grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, or shares his
secret for making tasty beef stew. (It's the apples.)"
One more reminder the West won the Cold War
despite the Western media's too frequent affection for communism.
Can you imagine any such oozing in Time about someone like Newt
Gingrich? -- Brent Baker
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