Daisy Ad Over Anti-Bush Scare Call; 2.7% GDP Good News This Year But Bad News for President Bush in 1992
1) As they played it Friday night,
ABC conceded the creator of the "Daisy II" ad designed it to get
media attention without having to buy any spot time. Like NBC, ABC gave it far
more prominence than an official Democratic scare call against Bush. CNN and
FNC gave equal time to each. On FNC, Fred Barnes marveled at how the networks
have ignored the DNC's phone call scaremongering.
2) A rundown of the text and visuals in the much-condemned
"Daisy II" commercial.
3) The NAACP ad finally got a bit of non-FNC cable attention
Thursday night, but only because Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating raised it on
4) Peter Jennings highlighted Al Gore's condemnation of
special interest groups for "scaring people into believing that he wants
to take away their firearms."
5) The 2.7 percent 3rd quarter GDP growth announced Friday was
identical to the rate announced on the same date in 1992. Dan Rather suggested
this year's number may be "good for the economy to keep it from
overheating." ABC and NBC ignored the plunge, but eight years ago when it
represented the sixth quarter of growth, all three stressed bad news.
"That is more than economists had projected, but in many cases, less than
meets the eye."
guy in Texas produced an anti-Gore TV ad designed, ABC's Aaron Brown
conceded Friday night in a story which fulfilled the producer's plan,
"to get attention for nothing" spent money-wise. ABC, CNN, FNC,
MSNBC and NBC Friday night all ran clips and condemnations of the
so-called "Daisy II" ad made by a man working out of a mail drop
in a strip mall while ABC and NBC gave far less attention to
officially-sanction Democratic Party scare phone calls placed into
Michigan which blame Bush's policies for causing a man to die in a
nursing home. The CBS Evening News avoided the campaign altogether -- see
item #4 below.
On Friday's World News Tonight, ABC's Aaron
Brown admitted that on the "Daisy II" ad: "We've been
able to confirm only four stations that have actually run the ad at a cost
of about a thousand dollars. Nevertheless, the ad has received
extraordinary attention." Attention the networks decided to give it
while continuing to ignore the ad produced by the NAACP, a group closely
aligned with the DNC, which features James Byrd's daughter claiming of
Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill: "It was like my father was
killed all over again."
NBC Friday night failed to credit the scare phone
calls to the Democratic Party, as David Gregory referred only to
"phone calls being made to Michigan voters," but Claire Shipman
falsely described the "Daisy II" commercial as a "new
Republican attack ad," only later noting that it was not produced by
the Bush campaign.
CNN's Candy Crowley gave equal time to both the
anti-Bush phones calls and anti-Gore ad and properly identified who was
responsible for each, though she also passed along the unsubstantiated
Democratic charge that the Daisy II "ad comes from friends of their
favorite enemy: Newt Gingrich."
Only FNC's Jim Angle pointed out how Gore was
issuing blame for the "Daisy II" ad without evidence: "The
Gore campaign gave it plenty of publicity on its own and with no
particular evidence, blamed it on Bush cronies." On FNC, Fred Barnes
marveled at how the networks hyped an independent ad that has never aired
while ignoring official party phone calls which are ongoing.
MSNBC played the "Daisy II" ad numerous
times during the day Friday.
Now the details from Friday night, October 27,
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Over ad video of a
girl plucking flower pedals in the new "Daisy II" ad, labeled
on-screen as "Anti-Gore Ad," Aaron Brown began ABC's only full
campaign story of the night: "Every ad is designed to get your
attention. This one attacks Al Gore. It says he sold out to China for
Ad video with
portion showing girl with voice of LBJ from the 1964 ad booming:
Brown picked up as
the ad video continued to play, ending with an atomic bomb explosion:
"It mimics a 1964 ad on whether Republican Barry Goldwater could be
trusted with nuclear weapons. In '64 the ad's sponsors never intended
to pay much money to place it on television. It ran only once. The news
media gave it all the play, and here we go again."
No one forced ABC News to give it publicity.
Brown continued, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth: "We've been able to confirm only four stations that have
actually run the ad at a cost of about a thousand dollars. Nevertheless,
the ad has received extraordinary attention. It was the subject of an
article in today's New York Times. It aired in part on Good Morning
America and on cable channels, and it's all part of a plan by its
producer, Carey Cramer, to get attention for nothing."
"There have been fifty news stations that have received copies of the
Bush campaign has asked that the ad be pulled. Cramer's group, whose
address is a Texas mail drop, will decide tonight. By then, the ad will
have been seen by millions for free and without much analysis."
Whose fault is that?
Brown turned to the always annoying Kathleen Hall
Jamieson, Dean of Annenberg School for Communication: "It's hoping
that by getting aired without commentary about its inaccuracy and its
hyperbolic nature, that the ideas will seep through in news and thus have
Brown then finally got to the official Democratic
calls against Bush: "Here is another way voters are being
George W. Bush:
"If you can forget all the phone calls that are coming into this
state trying to scare people-"
phone calls he referred to go like this:"
Woman's voice in
phone call: "My husband passed away nearly four years ago-"
for by the Democratic Party, the caller suggests that her husband would be
alive if not for a bill signed by the Governor that partially deregulated
nursing homes in Texas."
Governor Bush to stop breaking promises."
Bush campaign's response:"
"We think it's just despicable."
Seeing no difference between some guy on his own in
Texas and an officially party-sanctioned effort, Brown concluded:
"You can expect more of this as we get closer to election day as
groups with political agendas see how much they can get away with."
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw announced the latest
MSNBC/Reuters poll now had Bush up 44 to 43 percent over Gore. He then
went to back-to-back reports from his correspondents with Bush and Gore.
David Gregory in South Bend ran through Bush's
travel itinerary before getting to how "both campaigns and their
parties are also stepping up the attacks. In a highly unusual move,
Republicans now showcase an opponent -- Ralph Nader featured in a new ad
to air in Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin -- where the consumer advocate
now threatens the Vice President."
"Republican Leadership Council" ad: "What's Al Gore's
Nader in ad:
"Eight years of principles betrayed and promises broken."
Gregory then offered a very mild description of the
anti-Bush phone call, failing to mention how it blames Bush for a death or
credit it to the Democratic Party: "And the Bush campaign today
complains about phone calls being made to Michigan voters accusing the
Governor of weakening nursing home standards in Texas."
Woman's voice in
telephone call, with words on screen: "Tell Governor Bush to stop
breaking promises and start fighting to protect American seniors."
Up next, Claire Shipman in Pittsburgh outlined
Gore's appearance strategy to concentrate on Pennsylvania, Michigan and
Florida. Shipman then arrived at the new ad for which she falsely
attributed the source: "And as they plot their strategy, the Gore
campaign also loudly complaining today about this new Republican attack ad
accusing the Clinton-Gore administration of giving China nuclear
"Republican Campaign Ad" above the ad re-play graphic. Ad
narrator: "Our security has been sold to communist Red China."
Shipman, over ad
video of girl plucking flower pedals, video soon changes over to 1964
black and white video with atomic explosion: "It's a re-make of the
infamous 1964 'Daisy' ad that Lyndon Johnson used against Barry
Goldwater, suggesting Goldwater might get the nation into a nuclear war.
That 1964 commercial created such an uproar it was pulled off the air
after just one showing. Now today's commercial wasn't created by the
Bush campaign but by an independent organization. The Bush campaign says
it doesn't condone it and has asked that it be pulled off the air as
-- CNN's The World Today. Candy Crowley gave equal
time and weight to the anti-Bush and anti-Gore tactics and properly
labeled the source of each, though she also gave air time to the Gore
campaign's unsubstantiated speculation blaming the anti-Gore ad on
"shadowy special interests" tied to Newt Gingrich.
Crowley reported that Bush's "aides are
steaming over a series of taped phone calls the Democratic Party is making
across Michigan. One features a Texas woman whose husband died four years
ago in a nursing home."
Over call credited
on-screen to the "Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign," the
audio of a woman in a phone call: "He could be alive today if it
weren't for the neglect he experienced. When George W. Bush ran for
Governor, he promised to improve the quality of life for nursing home
residents. But Governor Bush broke that promise when he signed legislation
that weakened nursing home standards."
communications director Karen Hughes slammed the phone calls as the
exploitive use of an elderly woman's tragedy, wrong on the facts,
despicable, and, she says, typical."
"This is an officially sanctioned ad that proves that Vice President
Gore's campaign will sink to the absolute depths in their effort to do
anything and say anything to win election."
aides say the phone messages are absolutely accurate and fair. And while
they were on the subject, they had a complaint of their own: this ad
suggesting the Clinton-Gore administration made deals with China that put
the U.S. in danger."
CNN's on-screen graphic properly attributed the ad
to "Aretino Industries." CNN played a clip of the ad narrator
and video of girl plucking flower pedals: "In exchange for campaign
contributions, Red China was given access and sold vital technology that
will now give China the ability to threaten our homes with long-range
showing in a number of battleground states, the ad is an echo of one of
the most famous political ads of the TV age."
CNN then played a
bit of the original 1964 ad with LBJ's voice: "Five, four, three,
two, one, zero. These are the stakes."
Crowley passed along
unsubstantiated speculation: "The Gore people say those people
responsible for the 2000 ad are 'shadowy special interests' trying to
save George Bush. Other Democrats suggest the ad comes from friends of
their favorite enemy: Newt Gingrich. In truth, it's not clear who put this
out. But their political persuasion seems obvious. The Bush campaign says
there is no comparison between Democratic phone calls and the anonymous TV
ad, which it is trying to track down."
"Governor Bush condemns those type of anonymous attack ads. Our
campaign has called this morning -- our campaign political strategist,
Karl Rove, has called the individual who was quoted in the newspaper about
that ad and urged that group, whoever they are, to pull down that
-- FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. Jim Angle
played a bit of the "Daisy II" ad, properly attributed to "Aretino
Industries," before highlighting how the Gore camp had no evidence
for its charges: "The Gore campaign went nuts over this amateurish ad
reminiscent of a famous one LBJ ran against Barry Goldwater. It isn't
even clear if the ad has run anywhere, but the Gore campaign gave it
plenty of publicity on its own and with no particular evidence, blamed it
on Bush cronies. Gore himself just talked about how 'they' use special
Gore at rally:
"-to put misleading advertisements on the TV screen every few minutes
to try to make you think that up is down and black is white and outside is
Angle noted how Bush's campaign had asked the ad
maker to cancel it and that they suggested Gore's complaints are meant
to distract attention from Gore's anti-Bush phone calls. FNC played a
clip of the phone call: "My husband passed away nearly four years ago
from an illness that his nursing home attendants failed to notice. He
could be alive today if it weren't for the neglect he experienced."
Later, in the panel segment, Fred Barnes of the
Weekly Standard, marveled at media fixation on the "Daisy II"
ad: "I'm amazed that that is the issue today and not these three
taped phone messages that are being phoned, particularly to voters in
Michigan, that are sponsored not by somebody that neither campaign has any
control over but by the Democratic National Committee and thus Al Gore has
control over them."
Barnes listed the three scare calls as the nursing
home one plus two which have yet to get network attention: One in which a
woman claims Houston is so smoggy her kid can't go outside to play and
another one taped by Ed Asner which falsely charges that "George W.
Bush has a proposal that would undermine Social Security, even threatening
Barnes argued the media have no excuse for not
denouncing the phone calls: "The Bush campaign has taped all of these
messages. They deliver the tapes to reporters and so reporters are whipped
up about some ad that has never appeared? These phone calls are going on.
I would think if there's going to be any indignation about dirty pool by
any of these campaigns, the indignation of the press ought to be geared
towards these phone calls rather than some ad that hasn't even been on
So you'd think, but the media's guy seems to be
public service, since it's being talked about so much but largely only
being shown in part, here's a complete rundown of the so-called
"Daisy II" commercial produced by some enterprise calling itself
"Aretino Industries." I have no idea who they are and they did
not provide me with a transcript. I produced this one myself off a
complete running of the ad on Friday's Equal Time on MSNBC.
Male narrator voice over white text on black screen
"The Republicans Ended the Cold War": "Under Republican
leadership and vision the Cold War was ended, securing our children from
the threat of a nuclear confrontation."
Video switches to
girl plucking flower pedals as she says: "One, two, three."
Narrator, over text
"Clinton/Gore Sold Our Security": "Now under eight years of
Clinton-Gore, our security has been sold to communist Red China. In
exchange for campaign contributions ["...for Campaign
Contributions" added on screen], Red China was given access and sold
vital technology that will now give China the ability to threaten our
homes with long-range nuclear warheads."
Back to girl:
"Four, five, six."
Narrator, as video
changes from girl to on-screen graphic of "Can We Really Afford Eight
More Years?": "If Clinton-Gore are capable of selling our
children's security what else are they capable of? Can we really afford
to take that chance?"
Back to the girl
once again: "Seven, eight, nine."
As the girl says
"nine," camera zooms in on girl's face and voice changes to
LBJ in the original 1964 ad booming: "Nine, eight, seven, six, five,
four, three, two, one."
Video cuts to
original 1964 ad of black and white image of atomic bomb exploding which
fades to on-screen graphic: "Don't take a chance. Please Vote
NAACP ad finally got a bit of non-FNC cable attention Thursday night,
but only because a guest raised it and MSNBC still didn't show it.
Jesse Jackson suggested there would not be an NAACP anti-Bush ad if he
had just "embraced" the Byrd family.
MRC analyst Paul Smith caught the exchange on
Thursday's The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC between Oklahoma
Governor Frank Keating and Jesse Jackson over the NAACP ad in which,
over video of chains being dragged behind a pick-up truck, James
Byrd's daughter claims of Bush's opposition to a hate crimes bill:
"It was like my father was killed all over again."
Keating: "That NAACP ad was a disgrace. I'm
the former counsel to the NAACP in Oklahoma and it was a libel on
George Bush, a wonderful, decent, honorable person that doesn't have
one ounce of prejudice, one ounce of racism in him and I hope that
Jesse Jackson tonight calls Al Gore and tells him to pull that awful,
disgraceful, unfair and inaccurate ad.
"Rev. Jackson, your reaction."
mentioned when a girl is saying her father was dragged to death and he
was lynched. Senator Hutchison was at the funeral. I was at the
funeral. George Bush did not come to the funeral. But when that family
went to George Bush and asked him to support the hate crimes
legislation, he did not. He said he stood with the man who had lost
his home because of a flood and they cried together. We can't stop
floods but we can stop and mention he never embraced the Byrd family
so the family is expressing the fact that he is not to them
"The point is that is utterly false. In 1993 a hate crimes law
was passed before George Bush became governor of Texas. In 1997, he
signed a hate crimes law to increase the penalties for misdemeanors.
These individuals were tried under the law in Texas. Two got the death
sentence and one got life in prison. You can't do any more than that
to make a statement against hate and crime and he did absolutely the
suppose that when a family is grieving, to embrace the family whose
father was lynched is just as compassionate as embracing the man whose
home was lost in a flood. They did appeal to him for a stronger-"
"All of us embraced that family!"
"-for a stronger hate crime legislation and of course he did not
support it just as he did not support a patients' bill of right when
he said he did. He vetoed the patients'-"
"That is also false."
To see the NAACP ad as played and evaluated by
FNC, view the RealPlayer clip at:
Peter Jennings on Friday night highlighted Al Gore's condemnation of
special interest groups for "scaring people into believing that
he wants to take away their firearms." CBS ignored both the
"Daisy II" ad and the phone calls Friday and touched on the
campaign only to explore the impact of a smaller surplus on campaign
Leading into the Aaron Brown ad story detailed
in item #1 above, World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings offered a
brief summary of the candidate themes of the day:
campaign trail today, Al Gore was stumping in West Virginia and
Pennsylvania. But he made a rare mention of guns, accusing special
interest groups of scaring people into believing that he wants to take
away their firearms. He said he only wants to take guns away from
people who use them illegally. George W. Bush was in Michigan and
Indiana today. He continues to campaign under the theme of
'responsible leadership' and he has been working today on his plan
for tax cuts."
On the CBS Evening News, John Roberts picked up
on the Concord Coalition's forecast that spending now being approved
by Clinton and Congress could cut the surplus by up to 60 percent. If
they fulfill their campaign promises Roberts warned, "both
candidates would drown in a sea of red ink." So they'll have
"tough choices: raise taxes, go back to the days of running
deficits, or renege on some of those remarkable campaign
2.7 percent 3rd quarter GDP number announced Friday was identical to
the number announced on the same date in 1992, but the three broadcast
networks treated the news quite differently eight years apart I found
by pulling some tapes from the MRC's video archive.
The 2000 number represented a drop of more than
half from the previous quarter, but Friday night, October 27, Dan
Rather assured viewers: "There is a school of thought that says
this is overall good for the economy to keep it from
overheating." ABC's World News Tonight and the NBC Nightly News
ignored the plummeting GDP report.
But back on October 27, 1992 when an identical
2.7 GDP number for the 3rd quarter represented the sixth straight
quarter of economic growth under President George H. W. Bush, all
three networks led with the number but quickly dampened the good news
for the senior Bush:
more than economists had projected, but in many cases, less than meets
the eye," Peter Jennings cautioned on October 27, 1992.
"There is some doubt about the accuracy of the figures," Dan
Rather warned before adding how "it was also announced
today" that "consumer confidence in the economy continues to
fall." Tom Brokaw said the 2.7 percent rate was "well above
what most economists predicted, but in this unusual economy that's
not enough, not with another report out today showing a sharp drop in
No doubt fueled by this kind of reporting.
-- CBS. Friday night, October 27 this year, CBS
Evening News anchor Dan Rather asserted: "The government reported
today a slowdown in the U.S. economy. New figures indicate the economy
was growing in the just ended third quarter at an annual rate of 2.7
percent. That is less than half the rate of the red hot second quarter
[5.6 percent]. There is a school of thought that says this is overall
good for the economy to keep it from overheating, but many analysts
disagree with that."
Eight years ago, on October 27, 1992, which was
the Tuesday before election day, Rather opened the CBS Evening News:
week before the election and the Bush administration says the U.S.
economy has turned the corner and started expanding again. But there
is some doubt about the accuracy of the figures and, even if they are
accurate, they may be too little too late to help President Bush
because, it was also announced today, consumer confidence in the
economy continues to fall, down now to its lowest level since
In the subsequent story Susan Spencer cautioned
that Bush "crowed today at upbeat news of a third quarter growth
rate of 2.7 percent, though some economists warn that rate may not
In fact, it soared in the next quarter, jumping
5.4 percent in the 4th quarter of 1992.
Don't take any stock tips from Spencer.
My source: The Web site for the Department of
Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis. Its table lists
quarter-by-quarter growth rates in something called "chained 1996
dollars." For the 3rd quarter of 1992 it shows a 3.1 percent
growth rate, but this same column lists the 2.7 percent growth rate
for 3rd quarter 2000 announced Friday, so I think it's the correct
table to cite and probably just means a later revision or mathematical
recalculation upped the 1992 figure a bit. For this table, go to:
-- ABC's World News Tonight didn't utter a
word about the GDP Friday night, but back in 1992 Peter Jennings led
the broadcast by defining GDP and
third quarter of the year it went up by an annual rate of 2.7 percent.
That is more than economists had projected, but in many cases, less
than meets the eye."
Reporter Bob Jamieson followed: "The
increase in economic growth was driven by a surge in consumer
spending. The best news came from spending for big appliances and
furniture, which rose by nearly nine percent. But many economists say
the report is not proof the economy is taking a sharp turn for the
As if that were not enough, Jennings returned
the next night to further dampen the good news: "The President
may complain about the news media, but the economic growth figures
which he is so pleased about are not that definitive, according to a
great many independent economic analysts...The government reports that
personal income and consumer spending were up in September, but orders
for durable goods, for such long-lasting items such as cars and
household appliances, were down for the third straight month. And all
over the country, millions of people hardly need any statistics to
tell them what is happening."
-- NBC Nightly News. Like ABC, zilch Friday
night. Tom Brokaw started the October 27, 1992 show by explaining away
the relevance of the GDP growth:
President tonight finally has an economic number that he can brag
about, but at the same time consumers were checking in today and
they're yet to be persuaded that this economy is turning around. The
good number is the Gross Domestic Product, that's the rate of
economic growth, July through September. It hit 2.7 percent. That's
well above what most economists predicted, but in this unusual economy
that's not enough, not with another report out today showing a sharp
drop in consumer confidence."
Another example of why viewers should have
little confidence in network consistency. -- Brent Baker
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