Pro-Gore Audience Parodied by SNL; ABC's NRA vs. NAACP Disparity; Katie Couric's Sister Starring in Liberal TV Ad
1) Saturday Night Live parodied
the pro-Gore agenda of debate questioners: "I'm wondering about
Governor Bush's risky tax scheme to steal the trillion dollar surplus from
Social Security...waste it on a tax cut for the rich, and take us back to
those awful times when his father...caused AIDS and homelessness."
2) Sunday night ABC and CBS relayed fresh poll numbers which
have Bush slightly ahead while ABC, catching up with CBS, dedicated a whole
piece to Bush's supposed indifference to a confession to a murder for which
two other men are serving life sentences.
3) On ABC' This Week Cokie Roberts scolded the NRA's Wayne
LaPierre for its tone as she played an anti-NRA ad. With the NAACP's Kweisi
Mfume, however, she read their ad and advised Mfume on how he is not
emphasizing the right issues to get out the maximum black vote.
4) Newsweek's Eleanor Clift: "You talk about Gore's
little white lies while Governor Bush gets away with 'the big lies.'"
5) Katie Couric's sister Emily is starring in Virginia TV
ads produced by Voters for Choice. She extols: "Chuck Robb will protect
our rights, George Allen won't."
6) ABC's Diane Sawyer began an interview with actress Bo
Derek by harassing her for attending the GOP convention: "I saw you at
the convention, and I have to confess, my mouth sort of dropped open for a
minute because I knew you're pro-choice."
Night Live's opening skit picked up on how the supposedly
"undecided" voters who posed questions at the third presidential
debate came at the candidates from the left with questions which reflected
Gore's agenda, but were not bright enough to realize it. The CyberAlert
the morning after the debate pointed out how eight audience questions
assumed a liberal premise while only two matched the conservative agenda.
The October 21 opening skit on the NBC show parodied
the citizen questions, interspersed with Dana Carvey playing George H. W.
Bush butting in and pretending to be an undecided voter.
Up first, a woman identified as "Lesley
Doss." She asked: "Governor Bush, I've been following the
campaign very closely but I need to know more about where the candidates
stand on the issues I really care about: protecting a woman's right to
choose, dealing with global warming, and fighting the big oil companies
and HMOs. Do you and the Vice President have any differences on these
issues that would help me to decide which of you to support? Right now I
have no idea."
Next, a guy named "Dan McGrath" wondered:
"Mr. Vice President, I've been following this campaign, I've seen
the first two debates, but I still haven't made up my mind. To be frank,
if you or Governor Bush want my vote I have some questions that have to be
answered. Have either you or Governor Bush ever held elected office? Have
you reached the age of 35 years as required by the Constitution? And are
you an American citizen?"
Finally, "Roger Clyman" posed the most
loaded question of all three: "Mr. Vice President, as an undecided
neutral voter not committed to either candidate, trying to make up my
mind, I'm wondering about Governor Bush's risky tax scheme to steal
the trillion dollar surplus from Social Security and Medicare, waste it on
a tax cut for the rich, and take us back to those awful times when his
father nearly brought our economy to its knees and caused AIDS and
homelessness. Tell me how would your plan differ so I can decide which of
you to vote for?"
Nice to see that while the political slant of the
questions may not have been noticed by ABC, CBS or NBC immediately after
the debate, it was obvious enough for some comedy writers to pick up on
To compare the parody to reality, check out the MRC
Media Reality Check which listed all of the liberal questions, "Lehrer
Picks Pile of Liberal Questioners: PBS Anchor Stacked the Deck for Gore
With Eight Questions from the Left, and Two from the Right."
To view it as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, go to:
Speaking of the debates, MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth
noticed that last Wednesday on CNN's Larry King Live, debate moderator
Jim Lehrer maintained "nobody has accused me of being unfair."
He told king on the October 18 show: "Unless I've missed it, nobody
has accused me of being unfair. That was the bottom line for me. And I
believe that I can be fair, if I can be fair, that everything else will
take care of itself."
Actually, the MRC did accuse him. "Lehrer
Repeated Shaw's Liberal Questions: Why Didn't the PBS Anchor Balance
Questions from the Left with Questions from the Right?" To read the
October 12 Media Reality Check, go to:
To see it as an
Adobe Acrobat PDF file, go to:
night ABC and CBS relayed fresh poll numbers which have Bush slightly
ahead while ABC, catching up with CBS, dedicated a whole piece to
Bush's supposed indifference to a confession to a murder for which
two other men are serving life sentences.
October 22 CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts
reported how a new CBS News/New York Times poll put Bush at 44 percent
and Gore at 42 percent. He moved on to some other findings, such as
how 54 percent of Bush backers were "enthusiastic" compared
to just 39 percent of Gore supporters, how "issues matter
most" to 47 percent of Gore supporters but only 38 percent of
Bush voters, but "personal characteristics matter most" to
55 percent of those backing Bush and just 35 percent of those planning
to vote for Gore.
Roberts introduced a story from Bill Whitaker:
"There were some uncomfortable moments on the campaign trail this
weekend over foreign policy just as the Bush campaign prepares to
barnstorm America." Whitaker looked at how 28 Governors will
"barnstorm" for Bush and how Gore operatives are attacking
Condoleeza Rice for saying troops should be pulled out of the Balkans.
Over on ABC's World News Tonight/Sunday,
anchor Carole Simpson highlighted how a new ABC News poll found an
"extremely tight" race with Bush leading 48 to 45 percent.
She later set up a story on a hardly breaking news subject: "In
Texas, a prisoner has confessed to a murder that two other men are
serving time for. He put his confession in a letter and sent it to
Governor George W. Bush. That was more than two years ago."
Reporter Jami Floyd reviewed the same case as
had the CBS Evening News on the night of the third debate. On October
17 CBS's Bob McNamara proclaimed: "Critics say Governor
Bush's repeated claim that the Texas criminal justice system is fair
and failsafe has been undermined." For details, go to:
Cokie Roberts is afraid too many pro-gun voters will go to the polls
and worried not enough pro-Democratic African-Americans will make the
trek. On Sunday's This Week she conducted back-to-back interviews
with the NRA's Wayne LaPierre and the NAACP's Kweisi Mfume, but
she hit each with quite a contrasting agenda.
She scolded LaPierre for the NRA's claim that
Bush would let the NRA work out of the Oval Office, as well as the
tone of a Charlton Heston comment and an NRA ad. She even played an
anti-NRA ad to show how the NRA is turning off mainstream voters. With
Mfume, however, Roberts read their ad under the guise of proving the
NAACP's partisanship, but without scolding its tone, and then
advised Mfume on how he is not emphasizing the right issues to get out
the maximum black vote: "The African-American community, the vote
turnout has been low. What are you going to do to turn that around
Roberts opened the October 22 interview with
LaPierre by nailing down how the NRA agrees with Bush on on instant
background checks and trigger locks, but disagrees on raising the
minimum age to own a gun.
Roberts then launched her non-stop attack:
-- "It was not you, but it was a member of
your organization who did say if George Bush is elected President the
NRA will be working out of the Oval Office."
-- When LaPierre suggested they will have some
access after Clinton gave access to anti-gun groups, Roberts fired
back: "Some access is a little different from we'll be working
out of the Oval Office."
-- Let me show something that your leader
Charlton Heston said the other day in reference to the fact Gore was
saying he supports hunters and all of that. 'Now Al Gore is saying
'I'm with you guys on guns.' In any other time or place you'd
be looking for a lynching mob.' And then people in the crowd said
I've got the rope. Now is this appropriate language?"
-- "But my question is, is this being
counter-productive? If he says something about a lynching mob, if Bush
says these people must be against me if they're putting this ad on,
let me show you another ad now that is running in Kentucky. And this
is Scotty Baesler running and you've been campaigning against him
and here's an ad he has on of a young woman who was hurt in that
shooting incident in Paducah Kentucky."
In the ad, a girl in wheelchair asserted in
part: "We need strong leaders to take on the gun lobby...."
-- "That ad is having a big effect in that
race. Is it possible you're turning off voters instead of turning
-- "Tell me how many voters you think
you'll be able to turnout?"
-- "How much are you spending? I've heard
$20, $25 million."
After an ad break, she turned to NAACP President
Kweisi Mfume. Without any
condemnation of its tone or effectiveness, she read "an
advertisement that you are running that has James Byrd's daughter
saying that when George Bush refused to support hate crimes
legislation that she felt like her father had been killed again. You
also ran an ad in the New York Times that I'd like to put up here
and take a look at. 'I went to Governor George W. Bush and begged
him to help pass a hate crimes bill in Texas. He just told me no.'
Our community will be dragged down.' Now that pretty much looks like
an ad against George Bush."
-- Roberts only challenged him on how the ad
betrays his partisanship: "But your organization is supposed to
be not supporting one candidate or another. That looks like it's
pretty much supporting Al Gore."
-- "Well it has Republicans clearly upset.
A member of the Republican National Committee was quoted as saying
that it's now clear the NAACP is now a partisan organization."
That was the extent of any tough questions. She
never asked LaPierre about how to best motivate his constituency, but
she worried how to best motivate Mfume's:
-- "As you know, there's been some debate
within the Gore campaign about whether Bill Clinton should be involved
in this race. If he's involved in this race what does that mean in
terms of turnout in the African-American community."
-- "The fact is that after those struggles
for civil rights in the African-American community the vote turnout
has been low. What are you going to do to turn that around this
-- But are those issues, the issues you've
been talking about, hate crime, that kind of thing, is that's
what's really on people's minds or is it the economy and in some
cases is it guns for instance?"
-- "What's going to get out those voters?
We just have a little time here, but is it hate crimes or is it a
Clift of Newsweek once again came to Al Gore's defense on the
McLaughlin Group over the weekend, excusing the seriousness of his
misstatements and elevating the importance of ones by George Bush:
about Gore's little white lies while Governor Bush gets away with
'the big lies' -- the missing trillion in Social Security, the
notion that he takes credit for a patients health care bill in Texas
hen when vetoes it and then let it pass without his signature because
he was going to be overridden. He's the one who's telling the lies
and cliche city, one vacuous cliche after another. The notion that he
will come to Washington, 'bring people together,' The Texas
legislature meets every other year for four months."
Couric's sister is now starring in anti-George Allen ads for Gloria
Steinem's Voters for Choice group.
Last week Voters for Choice launched a TV ad
campaign starring Emily Couric, Katie's older sister and a
Democratic State Senator in Virginia from the Charlottesville area who
was considering a run for Lieutenant Governor in 2001 until being
diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It's been a heavy buy on
Washington, D.C., TV stations and probably around the commonwealth of
Virginia. It ran, in fact, on WUSA-TV Thursday night seconds before
George Bush walked onto David Letterman's stage.
In the Virginia Senate race Republican former
Governor George Allen is challenging incumbent Democrat Chuck Robb.
In the ad, Emily Couric, in a blue suit, sits on
a red couch with a bookcase and a window behind her. "Emily
Couric, State Senator" appears briefly on-screen before she
Emily Couric. As a woman in public life, I've always supported a
woman's right to make her own reproductive health care decisions.
That's why I hope you'll pay special attention to the candidates
for U.S. Senate. Chuck Robb has been a champion for a woman's right
to choose, but his opponent George Allen has said he could roll back
Roe versus Wade and restrict that right -- even in the first months of
pregnancy. Check the record. Chuck Robb will protect our rights,
George Allen won't."
On screen at the end of the ad:
"For more information:
To imagine what Emily looks like, conjure up an
image of Katie, and just make her hair a bit longer and grayer. Her
voice is even similar.
The Voters for Choice Web site features a
mission message from Gloria Steinem as well as a RealPlayer file of
the Couric ad. The direct address to play the ad:
An interior page (http://www.voters4choice.org/candidates/) calmly proclaims their goals:
"ELECT A PRO-CHOICE PRESIDENT!
Al GORE IS PRO-CHOICE AND VFC ENDORSED!
GEORGE W. BUSH IS ANTI-CHOICE!"
Couric's morning competitor Diane Sawyer is also disturbed that
anyone would support the anti-choice George Bush. Last Friday morning
Sawyer began in interview with actress Bo Derek, ostensibly about her
new line of pet care products and upcoming movie appearances, but
harassing her for attending the Republican convention.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the start
of the October 20 interview.
Sawyer: "You're traveling for the
Republican presidential candidate."
saw you at the convention, and I have to confess, my mouth sort of
dropped open for a minute because I knew you're pro-choice."
"Your candidate is not. So how did you end up in the Republican
"Because I really believe there's so much more to our country and
what makes our country great and there's so much, I think, that needs
to be done, and I think it's an issue, that it shouldn't a government
issue at all, I mean, I really don't believe it should be. And I'm
comfortable being a woman, being a Republican, and I really don't
think our right to choose is going to be threatened ever again."
"You just think it will stick no matter what?"
think a woman's resolve is a woman's resolve, and I think we've
evolved to a place where it's never going to be taken away
So much for "tolerance." In media land
pro-lifers must tolerate and grow to accept pro-choicers, but it's
considered peculiar for a pro-choicer to associate with anyone who
might be pro-life. -- Brent Baker
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