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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| Tuesday October 31, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 220) |

Bush Belied "Unite" Message; Bush "Obscured" His Pro-Life Stand; Wall Street Wins with Bush or Gore; Clinton Posed Like Lincoln -- Extra Edition

1) NBC's David Gregory contrasted how while Bush "promises to unite the country," he accused Gore "of appealing to people's quote, 'darker impulses.'" But NBC failed to rebuke the Gore campaign's attacks on Bush's ability to be President and NBC dedicated a whole story to how Bush's "critics say he's done his best to obscure his anti-abortion position."

2) "Now almost no one thinks Bush can truly win" in California, pronounced Bill Whitaker on the CBS Evening News. CBS decided to devote a story to how Delaware GOP Senator William Roth "may be a tradition the state can no longer afford."

3) ABC's Terry Moran used Gore's own rhetoric to tag as a "risky strategy" his plan to take on Bush's capacity to govern. Dean Reynolds decried Bush for not conceding "Republicans in Congress may share the blame for the gridlock." Betsy Stark found that "no matter who wins...there is money to be made" by Wall Street.

4) The author of the Esquire interview of Bill Clinton, with the "Monica's view" cover, told Today's Katie Couric the photo "most resembles Lincoln sitting in the chair" at the Lincoln Memorial.

5) Jay Leno gave George Bush a far friendlier forum than did David Letterman. Leno wondered: "You think if you get elected Gore will try to take credit for it?"

6) Letterman's "Top Ten Signs George W. Bush Is Getting Cocky."


George W. Bush is wrong in tone and substance, NBC Nightly News conveyed Monday night. David Gregory contrasted how while Bush "promises to unite the country," he accused Gore "of appealing to people's quote, 'darker impulses.'" But seconds later Claire Shipman, without negative judgment, relayed how the Gore team's attacks on Bush as too inexperienced is "a theme the Gore campaign thinks is resonating with voters." Instead of castigating Gore's negative tone, Tom Brokaw noted how his campaign was "raising real questions about Governor Bush's ability to lead the nation" and then asked: "Do you think that next week that this will be settled more on personalities than it will be on policies?"

    Later in the show NBC devoted an entire story not to how Gore is hiding his extreme pro-abortion views or trying to conceal his anti-gun positions as he boasts about protecting the rights of hunters, but to how Bush's "critics say he's done his best to obscure his anti-abortion position."

    Tom Brokaw opened the October 30 newscast by pegging Bush with 209 electoral votes compared to 175 solid for Gore and 154 in undecided states.

    From Burbank, California where Bush was set to tape the Tonight Show, David Gregory pointed out how a poll put Bush down 10 points, so "most people don't believe the Texas Governor can actually win here, he just wants to make Al Gore think he can."

    Gregory chastised Bush as a hypocrite: "Also today, as Governor Bush in these final days promises to unite the country, Bush accuses his opponent, the Vice President, of appealing to people's quote, 'darker impulses.'"
    Bush in Albuquerque: "If you try to win at any cost, the price is high. You lose your ability to inspire our people and lead a nation."

    Gregory moved on how Bush and Republicans plan to spend $2.5 million on TV ads in California.

    Up next, Claire Shipman checked in from Wisconsin with Gore. Without judgment, she relayed their plans to ridicule Bush's abilities: "Sources tell us that the Democrats are ready to spend the bulk of their advertising dollars in the final week, almost $12 million dollar's worth, on a series of commercials targeting Bush on the issue of experience. It's a theme the Gore campaign thinks is resonating with voters and Joe Lieberman was unusually blunt about it today."
    Lieberman in Green Bay: "Let me tell you honestly, George Bush is not ready to be President of the United States."

    Brokaw then explained how NBC had extended invitations to Gore and Bush to appear every night this week on NBC Nightly News and "after a due deliberation, the Bush campaign declined, the Vice President accepted."

    Brokaw's first two questions focused on education in interviewing Gore who appeared via satellite from Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. Brokaw's third inquiry raised his campaign's attacks on Bush, but Brokaw did not castigate their tone:
    "Mr. Vice President, today you were talking about health and prosperity, but the rest of your team were raising real questions about Governor Bush's ability to lead the nation as President of the United States, and your wife Tipper said this is not the Dating Game that we're talking about here. Do you think that next week that this will be settled more on personalities than it will be on policies? Is that why your team is out there attacking George Bush's record?"

    His first two questions took on Gore from the right:
    -- "Mr. Vice President, one of the major issues separating you and the Governor in the area of education, which we'll be talking about tonight, is this whole issue of vouchers. In Milwaukee, a Democratic mayor has successfully led the fight for vouchers that are financed with public money. You and the teachers groups that support you are opposed to that idea. How do you explain your position to a Milwaukee parent who has taken a child out of a failing school and put that child in a safe, secure learning center?"

    -- "Mr. Vice President, the head of the NEA, before it gave its endorsement to you, said the core issue for you: vouchers. No wavering, no wobbling. Does that mean that you'll remain opposed to vouchers during the four years if you're elected President of the United States?"

    Following an ad break, the NBC Nightly News "In Depth" segment looked at the presidential election's impact on the Supreme Court and how Bush is hiding his true abortion position. First, Pete Williams examined how a Gore or Bush win might change the Supreme Court as Ralph Neas of the People for the American Way, which Williams failed to label offered his prediction after which Williams noted how "conservative groups" disagreed before he ran a clip from Clint Bolick of the Institute for Justice.

    Second, Brokaw highlighted Bush's secret agenda: "Abortion is one of the topics that divides the court. As NBC's Lisa Myers tells us now, it is an issue that Governor Bush is not eager to raise. His critics say he's done his best to obscure his anti-abortion position."

    Of course, NBC came at the issue not from the right to explore how solid pro-life advocates find Bush far too accommodating of the media in soft-pedaling pro-life arguments and refusing to commit to appoint only pro-life judges, as Gore has done in the opposite direction, but from the left for how he's hidden his anti-abortion agenda.

    Lisa Myers began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Governor Bush rarely brings up the subject of abortion himself. Today he doesn't mention it at all. But when he does talk about this hot-button issue, Bush chooses his words and tone carefully -- critics say, trying to have it both ways."
    George W. Bush: "In terms of the abortion issue, I am pro-life. I recognize that this is an issue that is divisive in America. Good people disagree on the issue."
    Myers: "Would he push a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion"
    George W. Bush, November 21, 1999: "I would support a constitutional amendment with the exceptions of life, incest and rape. I wanna tell you something, though. The country is not ready for a constitutional amendment."
    Myers: "So instead Bush says he'd focus on reducing abortions by banning so-called partial birth abortion, requiring parental notification for minors, and making adoption easier. Beyond Bush's words, observers say there are other atmospherics designed to signal women need not worry. His popular mother Barbara is openly pro-choice, and his wife Laura hints she is, too."
    Myers to Laura: "Do you believe that a woman should have the right to choose an abortion?"
    Laura Bush: "This is what I believe. I agree with George that we should try to do what we can to reduce the number of abortions."
    Myers to Laura: "It sounds like you agree with mother-in-law Barbara Bush, that you're pro-choice?"
    Laura Bush: "Well, that's what you said, Lisa."
    Myers: "The impact of all this."
    Senator Susan Collins: "He is sending a reassuring signal to those of us who are pro-choice. I am confident that Governor Bush, as President, would not mount any kind of attack on a woman's right to choose."
    Myers: "Abortion rights advocates say Bush is trying to fool voters."
    Clip of NARAL ad: "Bush's goal: ending legal abortion."
    Myers: "Al Gore, who cast some anti-abortion votes himself twenty years ago, also accuses Bush of trying to fuzz the issue and today warns the stakes for women are high."
    Al Gore: "I believe in a woman's right to choose. I think it ought to be protected."
    Myers concluded: "But pollsters say so far Bush's strategy seems to be working, blunting abortion as a campaign issue. Though many voters say they trust Gore more on the issue, polls show it's not a deciding factor in their vote."

    What an assumption by Myers that "many voters say they trust Gore more on the issue" -- yeah, pro-abortion voters, not those who share Bush's reservations about abortion being too common.


"Now almost no one thinks Bush can truly win here in California," pronounced Bill Whitaker on Monday's CBS Evening News. John Roberts relayed, without negative judgment on its tone, the Gore campaign's strategy "to paint George Bush as not ready for prime time." Out of the blue, CBS decided to devote a whole story to how Delaware Republican Senator William Roth "may be a tradition the state can no longer afford."

    Dan Rather opened the October 30 show by asserting that 14 states are considered toss-ups with four more in play: Washington, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    Rather set up a look at Bush's day: "The Bush campaign, on themes of lower taxes, better schools and a better military, is now feeling so confident elsewhere it's making a last minute bid for California."

    Bill Whitaker outlined how Bush is so confident that he's pumped $5 million into ads in California and is reaching out to Latino voters, but Nader's support is what is actually making the Bush-Gore contest close. Whitaker put a damper on Bush's prospects: "Now almost no one thinks Bush can truly win here in California, but he has so much money and so much confidence, he's making Gore fight down to the wire for a state that should be his. And making the Vice President divert time and money away from those hotly contested battleground states."

    John Roberts in Wisconsin reviewed Gore's day and observed: "The strategy is to paint George Bush as not ready for prime time, but the Vice President was careful not to say that. He left it to running mate Joe Lieberman."
    Lieberman: "George Bush is not ready to be President of the United States."

    Roberts added that to attract Nader voters Gore has "adopted a more combative, populist tone."

    Next, Bob Schieffer narrated a story on the Delaware Senate race. He claimed Delaware likes tradition so many voters like Senator Roth and his 30 years of Senate seniority which allow him to chair the influential Senate Finance Committee, "but critics say he's lost a step in recent years, that he may be a tradition the state can no longer afford."

    Schieffer allowed Democratic candidate Tom Carper to tout his greater energy before showing a clip of the 80-year-old Roth fainting. Schieffer concluded: "Bill Roth, a Delaware tradition, but has he stayed too long at the party?"

    CBS ended its broadcast with a glowing profile by Rita Braver of Tipper Gore, but since CBS promised a profile tonight of Laura Bush I'll withhold any scrutiny unless there's a contrast between the tone and substance of the day apart profiles.


ABC's Terry Moran actually offered a negative take on Gore's attacks on Bush as he recounted how "the rhetoric was sharp, as when Gore portrayed Bush as a double-barreled threat to the environment and the economy." On Monday's World News Tonight he used Gore's own rhetoric to tag as a "risky strategy" Gore's plan to take on Bush's capacity to govern.

    Dean Reynolds excoriated Bush for blaming Washington gridlock on Gore, while not mentioning "that Republicans in Congress may share the blame for the gridlock."

    Betsy Stark probed who Wall Street hopes will win and decided that "no matter who wins the race for President, there is money to be made." She relayed how Wall Street experts say "the best way to ensure" the booming economy continues and to "keep any new administration in check, is to elect a divided government."

    Peter Jennings opened the October 30 World News Tonight by relaying how the latest ABC News poll found a tie between Gore and Bush at 47 percent with Nader at 3 percent. He added that 10 percent said they do not feel strongly about either Bush or Gore.

    Over video of Al and Tipper walking hand-in-hand along a lake front, Terry Moran observed: "In picturesque and strategic Muskegon, Michigan, Al and Tipper Gore headed into the campaign's final eight days hand in hand. But while the pictures were soft-edged, the rhetoric was sharp, as when Gore portrayed Bush as a double-barreled threat to the environment and the economy."
    Gore: "I don't believe we can build and sustain prosperity by spoiling our environment any more than we can balance the budget by giving massive tax cuts primarily to those at the top."
    Moran: "Then, across Lake Michigan in Green Bay Wisconsin, running mate Joe Lieberman bluntly raised the question of Bush's capacity to be President."
    Lieberman: "Let me tell you honestly, George Bush is not ready to be President of the United States. Maybe sometime."

    Moran stressed how Gore remains "above attacks on George Bush" as others make them for him while he denied NRA claims he's a threat to hunters. Moran concluded:
    "While the Vice President's stump speeches are still loaded up with specific policy proposals, his campaign has clearly decided to wage war in these last days on the issue of personal qualities. That's a risky strategy given that many voters seem to find Al Gore as well as George Bush, lacking."

    From Burbank, California, Dean Reynolds checked in: "In this final chapter of the campaign the Governor is distilling his message into one overriding theme, that America is a nation divided, beset by problems that have been ignored by the current administration and that only he can solve."

    Moran scolded Bush: "Bush lays much of the blame at the doorstep of Washington, where he rails against partisan stalemates. But today he did not mention, nor does he ever mention, that Republicans in Congress may share the blame for the gridlock. Instead he told his audience that Vice President Gore is the roadblock."

    Next, Peter Jennings credited Bush for an upsurge in the Dow, but soon dismissed the theory: "Analysts say that one reason the Dow was up was because George Bush was appearing to have a slight edge in many of the polls and Wall Street managers prefer Republican policies historically, though in this particular race, for Mr. Bush or Mr. Gore, many money managers believe there is money to be made."

    Betsy Stark explained: "From Wall Street's point of view, no matter who wins the race for President, there is money to be made."

    She outlined how analysts told her a Bush win would be good for Microsoft, tobacco and pharmaceutical stocks while a Gore victory would means opportunities in environmental services and clean energy as well as with computer companies because of his plans to put more computers in classrooms.

    Stark decided who wins, however, is not what's most important: "Whomever wins, what Wall Street most wants from Washington is a continuation of the budget surpluses, low interest rates, and fiscal discipline that have helped drive the economy and the stock market into the record books. And the view here is that the best way to ensure that status quo and keep any new administration in check, is to elect a divided government. Which is why professional investors hope whichever party wins the White House loses the Congress."

    And, Stark concluded, they want 4 more years of Alan Greenspan.


"Monica's view" or like the Abraham Lincoln pose inside the Lincoln Memorial?

Monday morning during Today's expanded 9am hour, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Katie Couric interviewed Michael Paterniti, writer of the December Esquire magazine interview inside the magazine which features a cover photo that Rush Limbaugh dubbed "Monica's view."

     As noted in the October 30 CyberAlert Extra, both Fox News Sunday and Meet the Press displayed the cover photo over the weekend. Like Russert, Couric tip-toed around what comes to mind when you see the angle of the photo: "Let me ask you about the photo on the cover. It's been, uh, sort of the subject of much discussion. Sort of, well people can see for themselves, and, and draw their own conclusions. What do you think of that photo?"

    Paterniti responded that he was "surprised" the photo has made as much news as it has since in the photo Clinton "most resembles Lincoln sitting in the chair" at Lincoln Memorial.

    With that upsetting thought, you'll never be able to look at the Lincoln Memorial the same way again.

    To read Paterniti's interview and/or to view the Esquire cover, go to:


George W. Bush received a more friendly forum from Jay Leno and his Burbank audience Monday night than he got a week and a half ago from David Letterman in New York City.

    The show opened with brief skit in which Bush repeatedly mispronounced the word "flammable" in warning Leno about a pumpkin with a candle inside, but then Bush pointed to a sign which read, "Warning: Highly Flammablebablebable."

    Later, during the actual interview appearance, when Bush told Leno that "the less time you spent in Washington, the more qualified you are," the Tonight Show audience erupted in applause as they did when Bush said that, other than his father, Reagan is his favorite President.

    Leno avoided any policy questions and offered up agreeable inquiries and quips. Leno asked Bush why Republicans are not making a bigger issue of Joe Lieberman running simultaneously for VP and for the Senate and wondered: "You think if you get elected Gore will try to take credit for it?"

    To refresh your memory about the issue grilling from the left Bush got from David Letterman, go to:

    Al Gore is scheduled to appear tonight, October 31, on NBC's Tonight Show.


Speaking of Letterman, from the October 30 Late Show with David Letterman the "Top Ten Signs George W. Bush Is Getting Cocky." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. Begins each rally by electrocuting one lucky audience member
9. Sent first warning letter to "Saddam Hussein, President of NASDAQ"
8. At press conference yesterday, deliberately pronounced "possible" as "possima-mossima-bullible"
7. Has started referring to all foreigners as "Chinese"
6. Spent last several days "campaigning" in Acapulco
5. For Halloween, he's dressing up as Al Gore's concession speech
4. He's already predicting that his dumbest son will someday become president
3. His tour schedule now suspiciously coincides with Korn's tour schedule
2. On to-do list: November 7th -- "Win election"; November 8th -- "Start nailing interns"
1. Now swearing when he knows the microphone is on

    And from the Late Show Web page, some of the "Top Ten Extras" -- proposed items that didn't make the final cut:

-- Running ads in Massachusetts saying, "Go ahead and vote for Gore -- we don't need you commies anyway"
-- Offered to donate 5% of his votes to Pat Buchanan "to make him feel better"
-- Called Gore and said, "Send me a resume, I'll see what I can do"
-- Five minutes into speech says, "Oh what the hell. It's not like I need any more votes"
-- This morning's campaign speech was just a long list of people he thinks are major-league assholes
-- Latest speech: "Remember what I promised I'd do in the debates? Well, I'm only gonna do about half that crap"

    As #2 in the aired list shows, even to the Bush-bashing Letterman writers Bill Clinton jokes trump all others. -- Brent Baker


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