Bush Too Partisan; Nader's Threat to Gore; Afraid of Being Abandoned by Clinton; Exhibit of Dan Rather Odds & Ends
-- Extra Edition
1) The Gore campaign's worry
about the impact of Ralph Nader generated ABC, CBS and NBC stories Monday
night. ABC and NBC led Monday by stressing the closeness of the race. ABC's
Dean Reynolds rebuked Bush: "For all the talk about crossing partisan
lines, Democrats on Capitol Hill are hardly likely to appreciate Bush's
attack today on the issue of Social Security."
2) Arnold Schwarzenegger upbraided Matt Lauer on Today for
saying the race is even. He told Lauer about polls which put Bush well ahead
and suggested "NBC's a little bit behind."
3) Today's Matt Lauer and Tim Russert speculated Monday
about the possibility one candidate could win the electoral college and the
other the popular vote. Russert decided "it could" occur.
4) Time's Lance Morrow urged Al Gore to campaign with Bill
Clinton since the public's "biggest fear is that the Clinton years are
going to go away; they suffer from abandonment anxiety."
5) The Washington Post corrected its formulation which assumed
a 100 percent tax rate: "Someone making $200,000 might get a 10 percent
reduction in taxes, but that would mean $20,000 in tax cuts."
6) Actor James Garner on George W. Bush: "They're
bypassing over his lack of intelligence. I have trouble picturing Bush sitting
with the leaders of the world." And he liked Gore's sighing.
7) Boston University has opened an exhibit of oddities Dan
Rather has sent them, including "the gas mask and native garb he wore to
sneak into Afghanistan...in 1980." Deep in a story on the exhibit Rather
conceded he's not always objective.
>>> You can now see
what Katie Couric's sister Emily looks like. MRC Webmaster Andy Szul
added a still shot, from Emily Couric's Voters for Choice Virginia TV ad
in support of Democratic Senator Chuck Robb, to the posted version of
Monday's CyberAlert about her ad. For the picture and the ad text, go
also includes a link to Voters for Choice's RealPlayer formatted version
of the ad that you can play. <<<
and NBC led Monday night by stressing the closeness of the race and then
going to stories on Democratic concerns about how Ralph Nader could cost
Gore the election. It's "excruciatingly even in state after
state," Peter Jennings asserted. "Polls indicate this remains a
race too close to call," insisted Tom Brokaw who also maintained Gore
"is picking up." CBS reported a two-point Bush lead before
examining the threat to Gore from "independent
environmentalist-crusader Ralph Nader."
While ABC's Terry Moran passed along, without
criticism, the Gore strategy to overcome Nader, Dean Reynolds rebuked
Bush: "For all the talk about crossing partisan lines, Democrats on
Capitol Hill are hardly likely to appreciate Bush's attack today on the
issue of Social Security."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened
the October 23 broadcast: "Good evening. There is so much intensity
in the presidential campaign now the campaigns can feel it county by
county. Al Gore and George Bush excruciatingly even in state after state,
it could go either way. Crucial decisions being made almost hourly about
where to go, what to say to whom, where to spend money on television
advertising. There were eight major national polls released over the
weekend. George W. Bush has a narrow lead in seven of them. The latest ABC
News Washington/Post poll shows the race is now even -- 47 percent for Mr.
Gore, 47 percent for Mr. Bush, and three percent for Ralph Nader. And
we're going begin tonight with that three percent for Ralph Nader
because that's where Al Gore's mind was today as he campaigned in the
Terry Moran looked at how Gore realizes he must
convince Nader voters to back him or he could lose in the states of
Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Maine. His tactic:
Warn Democrats of the threat Bush would pose to the Supreme Court. Moran
highlighted the efforts of a group of former Nader's Raiders to convince
Nader to drop out since Gore is closer to Nader on the issues.
Next, Peter Jennings introduced a story on Bush's
day by claiming voters want to know of their candidate, "Is he up to
Dean Reynolds showed how Bush is answering that
worry: "For several days, leading Republican supporters have been
vouching for Bush's qualifications, and today it was Republican
governors who are campaigning alongside him and assuring audiences that he
is absolutely qualified to be President and is ready for the White House.
across the Midwest today, the Governor was running a carefully controlled
campaign. To guard against making mistakes on his chosen headline of the
day, Bush is now using Teleprompters more often. He's adopted an
uncommonly serious demeanor recently and is following a new determination
to avoid reporters. No press conferences to knock him off message. As a
consequence, Bush's words these days come through unfiltered, though
Clinton-Gore administration has blocked reform at every turn."
"Today the message was that Bush is a reformer who alone can end the
partisan bickering in Washington that blocks change."
"Reformers need partners, and I've got some of the best. I trust
these governors, and I thank'em for trusting me."
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, took on Bush's strategy:
"To accomplish reforms, Bush will need Congress as a partner, but
during this race, he has pointedly chosen not to campaign with
Congressman, even leading Republicans, because they may remind voters
of impeachment, and for all the talk about crossing partisan lines,
Democrats on Capitol Hill are hardly likely to appreciate Bush's
attack today on the issue of Social Security."
"Scare tactics, distortions, and yes, of course, exaggerations,
but that's all he's got left."
Reynolds concluded: "Now Peter, the Bush
campaign claims not to be concerned about these recent polls that show
Al Gore gaining ground. They say their own surveys indicate they're
up maybe five points nationally and holding."
-- CBS Evening News led in the east with what
probably became the ABC and NBC lead too in West coast feeds, the
terrorist alert for U.S. forces in Bahrain and Qatar.
Later, Dan Rather relayed how a CBS News/New
York Times poll put Bush ahead 44 to 42 percent. "Could handle an
international crisis?" Yes for Gore said 57 percent, yes for Bush
replied 45 percent.
John Roberts looked at Gore and Bush and found:
"Both of them are playing to their biggest strengths: their
opponents perceived weaknesses. Analysts says it's likeability
Next, CBS examined the Nader threat to Gore.
Rather announced: "The Gore battleground now also includes more
than a handful of states that could tip to Bush because of independent
environmentalist-crusader Ralph Nader."
Phil Jones found Nader's candidacy is
"looking like a real threat to Gore's chances." Jones
listed the same states in danger as did ABC's Moran and highlighted
the quest of former Nader's Raider Gary Sellers to get him to drop
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw led the show:
"Well now it's a sprint to the finish. Two weeks from tomorrow
America will select its first President of the 21st century. That
means 15 days until the election, 14 days of campaigning left. And all
the polls indicate this remains a race too close to call. Those same
polls also show a slight Al Gore pick up in the last few days.
According to the latest MSNBC/Reuters tracking poll, last week's
dead-even tie went to a four-point Bush lead over the weekend. But now
it's tightened back to a two-point lead for Bush today. Gore is
picking up. What that tells us more than anything else is that this
race is so close the lead is liable to change on the slightest
Brokaw played Bush and Gore soundbites from the
campaign trail before Lisa Myers zoomed in on how Gore has a "new
headache, consumer advocate Ralph Nader." Myers listed Bush as
ahead in 24 states with 209 electoral votes compared to Gore with 175
electoral votes from 12 states, with the rest toss-ups. Myers
continued: "Complicating Gore's task in six of those states,
the little-known Nader. He draws only about five percent of the vote
nationally, but his unabashedly liberal views are pulling enough votes
in Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Maine to
possibly tip those states to Bush."
Like ABC and CBS, she too cited the efforts of
ex-Nader's Raider Gary Sellers to convince Nader to drop out.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, media bias correcter? On Monday's Today when
Matt Lauer told Schwarzenegger that Bush and Gore "are neck and
neck," Schwarzenegger chastised Lauer and insisted Bush is way
ahead in the polls, though "NBC's a little bit behind in those
things." Lauer promised to show him other polls which prove the
race is tied.
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught the October
23 exchange during Today's new third hour. Schwarzenegger was
invited aboard to plug an auction of watches worn by celebrities to
benefit Muhammad Ali's Youth Center and a group called Inner-City
Near the end of the interview, Lauer raised the
campaign: "I've got just a few seconds left. I never let you sit
here without giving me a little word on politics. The candidates are
neck and neck two weeks to go. Why do you think neither guy has been
able to pull ahead?"
"I really love the way, the way you slip those things under. Well
first of all I think you should read the current news because he's, I
mean, George W. Bush is ahead 11 points."
no, no. That's one poll, Arnold!"
"No, no. There's every poll he's ahead."
have him up two points."
"But NBC's a little bit behind in those things. But let me just
tell you that, I mean, I think that, I think that the debates really
crystallized everything. Because I think you know, how many times can
you have a guy like Al Gore go and, and stretch the imagination or say
things that are not true. I mean that's how he gets busted. He's a
great, you know, campaigner and but he's beating himself right now and
that's the sad story for him."
you're, you're, you're reading the poll that has him up 11 points.
Which poll is Maria reading?"
"I think George W. Bush is going to win. I think he's going to be
terrific. I think the opportunities if the Republicans win the House,
Senate and the White House. They have a great opportunity in the next
four years to really take care of some of the issues that were not
done like health care, education reform and all those kind of things
and come up with a really good foreign policy."
"You're gonna talk to Al Roker in a little while before you get
out there I'm gonna show you a couple of other polls you can take with
you to read, alright?"
"Don't worry. Everything is under control."
+++ Watch Schwarzenegger take on Lauer. On
Tuesday afternoon MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip
of the above exchange. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
members of the media are so confident of a really close finish that
they are already speculating about the possibility a candidate might
win the electoral college but not the popular vote.
A couple of hours before his clash with Arnold
Schwarzenegger, NBC's Matt Lauer ruminated to Tim Russert, as noted
by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
more people these days, Tim, are starting to talk about a split
election. That's where one candidate would actually win the popular
vote but lose the electoral vote. What are the chances it
suggested it's possible: "It could. 1888. Grover Cleveland and
Benjamin Harrison, Matt. Take a look at this, as you'll see on our
board. While 5,438,000 Americans voted for Mr. Harrison, 5,540,000
voted for Cleveland and yet Harrison had 233 electoral votes, he
became the President. That also happened in 1876 with Rutherford B.
Hayes and Samuel Tilden. It has happened in our nation's
Gore campaign may think President Clinton is too politically
radioactive for their man to campaign with, but leading media
commentators do not agree." So noted FNC's Brit Hume on his
show Monday night before citing quotes from three media figures. He
relayed how New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote that Clinton
"may be the most popular and articulate leader in the world"
and Salon.com news editor Joan Walsh called Clinton, "a master
politician, the best Democrat since JFK."
Plus, in this week's Time magazine, Lance
Morrow described Clinton as "the Mozart from Arkansas...the
political genius of our time,"
and the public's "biggest fear is that the Clinton years are
going to go away."
That Morrow piece is worth more space, so below
is an excerpt from his story in the October 30 issue titled, "Why
Gore Should Embrace Clinton: Al may
not like the idea, but the only real humiliation is losing."
....Gore is the Salieri of American politics. He wants so
desperately to be a genius. He has mastered the techniques. He knows
everything. And yet the spark of genius is not in him. And there in
the Oval Office sits the Mozart from Arkansas, the natural, the
casually smutty debaucher of interns who is also the political genius
of our time.
So, the dilemma: Does Salieri, seeing that he is losing the
audience, invite Mozart to join the tour? My answer, if I were Gore's
manager, would be yes. Absolutely. Immediately. I would tell Gore,
What is humiliation, next to winning? The only humiliation is losing.
In this case, the humiliation is only in your
mind anyway, and in the spin of things.
Mobilizing Clinton need not be an affront to your own gifts. Turn
it into a positive. You have worked with him for eight years -- been a
crucial part of a successful Administration. Play to the theme of
continuation, play to the successes.
Americans have demonstrated an interesting maturity (or a
disgusting moral slackness, depending on your point of view) in their
willingness to separate Clinton's squalid personal behavior from his
official stewardship. Right now, their biggest fear is that the
Clinton years are going to go away; they suffer from abandonment
Therefore: Brag on the Clinton years! Promise more of the same!
Bring Clinton out to brag on you! He's a narcissist, to be sure, but
the smartest one in America. He knows what has to be done....
For Morrow's entire piece, go to:
Washington Post caught up Saturday with Thursday's CyberAlert which
had pointed out an error in a formulation a Post reporter had employed
to show how much more the wealthy would benefit from Bush's tax
In the October 18 Post, reporter Glenn Kessler
asserted that in the debate the night before Bush was
"misleading" since someone earning "$22,000 may get a
100 percent reduction in taxes...they only pay $110 in federal income
taxes," while "someone making $200,000 might get a 10
percent reduction in taxes, but that would mean $20,000 in tax
The October 19 CyberAlert pointed out that in
order for a person earning $200,000 to get a $20,000 reduction from a
10 percent tax cut they would have to be paying a 100 percent tax
The Washington Post agreed, as the October 21
paper included this correction: "An Oct. 18 article on the
candidates' statements in the presidential debate incorrectly stated
a hypothetical example. If a person has $200,000 in tax liability and
receives a 10 percent tax cut, they would pay $20,000 less in
Rockford" doesn't think George W. Bush is very intelligent.
Catching up with another item in the Washington Post from last week,
the Post's The Reliable Source column by Lloyd Grove and Beth
Berselli plugged actor James Garner's upcoming role in The Last
Debate, "a political thriller airing Nov. 5 on Showtime and based
on the novel by real-life moderator Jim Lehrer."
In their October 17 item, the day of the third
debate, they relayed Garner's assessment of the presidential
Democrat. I'm for Gore. I worry about Bush a lot. They're bypassing
over his lack of intelligence. I have trouble picturing
Bush sitting with the leaders of the world around a table. I watched
pieces of last week's debate, but I got so angry sometimes
that I'd have to turn it off. Bush was coached very well, but it was
As for Gore, he
liked the sighing: "I don't know what Gore needs to do tonight.
His personality is just so dull. I thought he was better when he was
making eyes and sighing or whatever, but just to sit there and take it
like he did last time, I don't think that was too smart. I just had to
flip it off. My wife listens to every word, but I guess I'll probably
just watch bits and pieces again. I just get too upset."
Rather has admitted that he's sometimes not "objective,"
but "I'm always trying to be." Rather's admission came
buried deep in an October 22 Boston Globe "Metro/Region"
section story on a previously little-know habit of Rather's over the
years. As summarized by Globe reporter Rick Klein:
years, Rather has sent some 250,000 items to Boston University --
everything from Emmy awards to paper scraps to press credentials. His
propensity to ship seemingly trivial items to the university became
something of a running joke among intimates; even his wife, he said,
would jokingly suggest that he send household trash to Boston."
Jim Romenesko caught this story and highlighted
it on his MediaNews Web page:
The Globe story was pegged to how BU has opened
an exhibit of the oddities Rather has sent to the university. Here's
an excerpt of Klein's story:
In close to half a century of journalism, Dan Rather has covered
presidents, dictators, wars, and summits -- just about every event to
touch the nation's consciousness during that time.
But yesterday, even with his personal papers going on display at
Boston University, the veteran CBS News reporter and anchorman
maintained that he had no interest in covering at least one subject:
Dan Rather's own place in history.
"If I did cover it, I would give it very short shrift,"
Rather said. "One paragraph would be fine."
His terse reportage wouldn't be for lack of material. Over 36
years, Rather has sent some 250,000 items to Boston University --
everything from Emmy awards to paper scraps to press credentials.
His propensity to ship seemingly trivial items to the university
became something of a running joke among intimates; even his wife, he
said, would jokingly suggest that he send household trash to Boston.
For a new exhibit on his life, BU archivists have culled a handful
of gems from boxes sitting along the 63 shelves of vault space
dedicated to Rather. Included are letters and photographs from
newsmakers and friends, boyhood photos, and even the gas mask and
native garb he wore to sneak into Afghanistan for a story in 1980.
The exhibit is called "Dan Rather: Reporter of History, Maker
of History," but Rather said he takes issue with the second part
of that title.
While he strives to be an "honest broker of information"
as well as a "reliable eyewitness," he said, "A maker
of history is too much for me."
Rather conceded that his reporting has at times strayed from the
totem of objectivity, a value he said he considers fundamental to
"I've made every mistake in the book at least five
times," said Rather, who turns 69 on Oct. 31. "Sometimes I'm
not [objective], but I'm always trying to be."....
A Texas native, Rather never attended the university or lived in
Boston, but BU has served as the repository for his personal items
since 1964. That year, the school's special collections director,
Howard Gotlieb, asked CBS's new White House reporter to allow BU to
keep his papers....
For the full story, go to:
Maybe we should organize a CyberAlert field trip
to Boston to check out the Dan Rather memorabilia. And if anyone in
Boston is willing to trek over to Commonwealth Avenue, maybe you could
provide a first hand field report on what you learn about "Gunga
Dan." -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
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