Nets Jumped on Bush "Deception"; ABC's Liberal Spin on Bush's Tax Cut; Bush Flub; Cher Distressed by Bush; Streisand's ABC Soapbox
-- Extra Edition and
1) FNC reported the Bush drunk
driving arrest before MSNBC or CNN, but it consumed most of prime time on
those two cable channels. The Portland TV reporter who first disclosed the
arrest told Ted Koppel her source was a delegate to the Democratic convention.
On Today, Matt Lauer noted Bush has accused Gore of "deception" and
wondered if Bush is just as guilty.
2) ABC's John Martin described Bush's tax cut as would a
liberal, calling it "a massive tax cut of $1.3 trillion over ten years
for all taxpayers, but especially the richest." And he showcased a
Republican who "is not sure massive tax cuts are wise."
3) Thursday night CBS and NBC highlighted a rhetorical flub by
George Bush over whether Social Security is a federal program. Both portrayed
an "upbeat" Gore team benefitting from Democratic
"enthusiasm." Only NBC touched how Clinton said electing Gore is the
next best thing to a third Clinton term.
4) Bush will make "old people" eat dog food, Cher
opined in expressing her fear that Bush might win. "Has everyone lost
their f--king minds? Doesn't anybody remember the illustrious Reagan-Bush
years when people had no money and no jobs?"
5) Barbra Streisand's ABC's soapbox for Gore. Tonight
20/20 carries the interview with Streisand which the New York Post reported
Streisand agreed to only if she got time "to explain why she is
supporting Al and Hillary."
6) Media Reality Check. "Cole-Call Outrage vs. Beirut
Tragedy Milking: Hillary's Outraged Media Supporters Don't Extend the Same
Rules of Civility to Conservative Leaders."
>>> "Lions vs. Lambs: The media set the tone." The
latest daily analysis of campaign coverage by the MRC's Tim Graham, this
time about how the networks burden conservative candidates with questions
about their tone, is now up on National Review Online: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment110200f.shtml
news that George W. Bush had been arrested in 1976 for drunk driving broke
too late for the ET/CT feeds of the broadcast network evening newscasts,
but it became the topic for Nightline on which the Portland, Maine
reporter who was first given the information told Ted Koppel her source
was a delegate to the Democratic convention.
The revelation first made national news on the Fox
News Channel at about 6:05pm ET on Special Report with Brit Hume when Carl
Cameron, traveling with the Bush campaign, tacked it onto the end of a
packaged report. Hume made it the first topic for discussion by his panel
at 6:48pm or so ET. Nearly an hour-and-half after FNC had calmly relayed
the revelation, MSNBC broke into their Imus in the Evening clip show at
7:32pm ET with the "Breaking News." CNN caught up during
Crossfire with the "Breaking News" at 7:48pm ET.
The 24-year-old drunk driving case then consumed
most of the 8pm ET hour on both CNN and MSNBC as well most of MSNBC's
9pm ET The News with Brian Williams. CNN went to a live Larry King Live at
9pm ET with Ross Perot who announced his support of George W. Bush, but
went live at about 9:20pm ET to show George W. Bush's remarks to
reporters about the matter. At 10pm ET CNN returned to Bush's plight and
MSNBC aired a live Hardball focused on it.
ABC's Nightline opened with lengthy excerpts from
the briefing for reporters by Karen Hughes and Bush's comments.
Nightline had Fox affiliate WPXT-TV reporter Erin Fehlau, who first
reported the story, drive down from Portland to Kennebunkport so they
could get the live visual of her standing in front of a police car marked
Fehlau recounted for Koppel how, while at the
Cumberland County courthouse to cover an arson trial, a female police
officer whom she knew told her how she had overheard a lawyer and a judge
talking about how George W. Bush had been convicted of drunk driving many
years earlier. Later in the afternoon, as Fehlau stood outside the
courthouse, she said she saw the lawyer leaving the building. She
recounted how she ran over to him and he confirmed he had a 24-year-old
"docket sheet" recording the arrest and offered to go to his
office to retrieve it for her. He did so and she made some phone calls to
corroborate its accuracy.
Fehlau then confirmed the lawyer did have political
ties, fresh information not reported on either CNN or MSNBC earlier, at
least not through 10:15pm. She informed Koppel: "The lawyer that I
did talk to, he was a delegate to the Democratic convention. But I want to
make it very clear that he did not hand this to me. It was something that
this police officer overheard, talked to me about it and I just ran and
asked him about it."
Fox affiliated WPXT-TV broadcasts on channel 51.
This is probably the first major national campaign story ever broken by a
channel so high up on the UHF band in such a small market.
One unanswered question: Kennebunkport is in York
County. So if the arrest took place in Kennebunkport by the local police,
why are a lawyer and judge in a neighboring county courthouse so familiar
All the morning shows led today with the Bush story
and Fehlau appeared on at least ABC's GMA and NBC's Today. Matt Lauer
asked Tim Russert on Today: "One of the problems is that over the
past couple of months, the Bush campaign has been labeling Al Gore as
deceptive and now it appears that they have not been completely
forthcoming with this story. Does that backfire?"
Later today the CyberAlert Extra will provide a
complete run down of morning show coverage.
the media became obsessed with Bush's drunk driving, there was
old-fashioned policy bias on ABC's World News Tonight. Assessing the tax
cut plans proposed by each candidate, Thursday night ABC reporter John
Martin's language matched the Gore spin as he emphasized the dollar
amount benefit to the rich and twice referred to Bush's tax cut as
Martin stated that Bush has proposed "a massive
tax cut of $1.3 trillion over ten years for all taxpayers, but especially
the richest Americans." And he showcased a "Republican with a
daughter in college" who "is not sure massive tax cuts are
The November 2 World News Tonight opened with Dean
Reynolds in Glen Ellyn, Illinois summarizing Bush's day: "The
Governor was promoting his prescription drug benefit plan today as well as
health care coverage in general, issues on which our polling shows he may
be vulnerable. At large rallies in Midwest battleground states, Bush
sought today to assure older voters his plan to reform Medicare will help,
Next, Jackie Judd delivered a review of the Bush and
Gore prescription drug plans before Terry Moran encapsulated Gore's day.
Referring to tax cuts, Moran reported from Chicago: "This is an issue
that Al Gore has been talking about for months, but these days his stump
speeches are shorter and sharper. Gone are the dense policy arguments and
reams of statistics. Instead he's trying to boil down his pitch to the
essentials: attack Governor Bush and fire up Democrats, especially when it
comes to the issue of taxes. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, this morning, Gore
called Bush a threat to the prosperity of the Clinton-Gore years."
ABC showed this
lengthy soundbite from Al Gore: "He wants to change the very best
things about the economic course we're on. He wants to go back. Do you
want to go back to the way it was eight years ago? He wants to use our
surplus to give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest of the wealthy, and I
wanna be plain. I favor a smaller overall tax cut than Governor Bush so
that we can pay off our debt and invest in the future, and I want to
target the tax cuts to middle class families."
Moran concluded by evaluating the Gore campaign
mood: "There's no sense of defeatism or desperation, but there is
urgency and even nervousness."
ABC then aired a story by John Martin who used
employees at an Ohio company to illustrate who would benefit from the Bush
or Gore tax cut plans. He began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth: "Times are good for Bob Dieckman's manufacturing company
in Mason, Ohio. It sells as many as ten luxury shower doors week for up to
$5,000 a piece."
"I personally would do better with George Bush's tax cuts."
Martin affirmed that
assumption as he used a raw number instead of a percentage reduction:
"That's because Bush's plan calls for a massive tax cut of $1.3
trillion over ten years for all taxpayers, but especially the richest
Americans who, Bush points out, pay the most taxes. A married couple with
one wage-earner making $450,000, for example, would save more than $12,000
in taxes under the Bush plan."
Martin failed to note how percentage-wise that would
be smaller reduction than someone making $40,000 would get.
Martin then showed how lower income earners would
benefit from Gore: "The Gore tax plan calls for about $500 billion in
tax cuts over ten years, much of it targeted to moderate and low income
workers. Workers like Jennifer Newport, a single mother of two children.
She earns $16,000 a year. Under the Gore plan, if she can put $500 in a
savings account, the government would add $1500 so she could buy a home or
send a child to college."
"I can use every little bit of extra money that I can get."
Martin: "So who
do voters favor? An ABC News poll shows that among likely voters who say
taxes are the most important issue, Bush has a big lead. Still supervisor
Pat Burch, a Republican with a daughter in college, is not sure massive
tax cuts are wise."
"There's only so much money to go around. I would much rather see
them take the tax money that they're talking about, a tax cut, and
let's pay off the debt."
Having highlighted a Republican opposed to Bush's
plan but not any Democrat upset by how citizens will have to comply with
Gore's spending choices in order to qualify for a tax credit, Martin
concluded: "Paying off the national debt is not a priority to Bush,
who favors across the board cuts which he believes will keep the economy
growing. Gore believes such cuts could lead to massive deficits."
Does anyone really believe that's why Gore opposes
a tax cut? Might it not have something more to do with his liberal view
that government knows best what to do with people's money?
NBC took days to inform their viewers about Gore's false story about how
a prescription drug cost more for his mother-in-law than his dog, but
Thursday night both immediately highlighted a rhetorical flub by George
Bush over whether Social Security is a federal program.
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather opened the November
2 show by stressing the negative: "The presidential campaign is
closing hot, tight and negative. Texas Governor George Bush is closing
attacking, by questioning Vice President Gore's character. Gore shot
back today, questioning whether Bush is up to the job of President."
Bill Whitaker in Glen Ellyn, Illinois observed:
"As election day gets closer Bush's crowds get bigger and more
enthusiastic, inspired by the belief that after eight years a Republican
might actually re-capture the White House."
After a clip of Bush in St. Louis accusing Gore of
being a big spender, Whitaker asserted: "The Bush crowd there was so
fired up it gladly overlooked a factual fumble."
want the federal government controlling the Social Security like it's
some kind of federal program."
him: "Now it is a federal program that Bush hopes to partially
privatize, but for his partisan crowds that doesn't matter."
From Chicago, John Roberts delivered the Gore line
on the day: "Al Gore is still trailing in most national polls, but
today he declared he has the Texas Governor right where he wants
Roberts noted that both campaigns claim their
internal polls put their candidate ahead in the battlegrounds states.
Roberts suggested: "There is one potentially significant number to
take note of tonight. In just the past week there's been an up-tick in
Democratic voters enthusiasm for the Vice President. And in an election
where turnout will be key, that could be a deciding factor."
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw relayed how the
latest MSNBC/Reuters tracking poll had
Bush at 45 percent and Gore at 42 percent but, he cautioned, "state
by state it remains an up and down contest."
Claire Shipman portrayed an upbeat Gore team:
"Tom, the Gore campaign is heartened by numbers that give them an
edge in many battleground states, and now their final days are about some
very precise targeting." Over video of Gore throwing a football in an
aisle, Shipman gushed: "An upbeat Al Gore on Air Force Two today as
his team faces its final play."
From Illinois, David Gregory showed some Bush rally
clips before zeroing in: "And on another matter today, Bush, who is
so eager for workers to be able to privately invest a portion of their
Social Security payroll tax, today misstates who controls Social Security
in the first place."
George W. Bush:
"This frightens some in Washington because they want the federal
government controlling the Social Security like it's some kind of
federal program. We understand differently, though. You see, it's your
money, not the government's money."
an aide clarified that Bush indeed realizes Social Security is a federal
program. It's just he believes through the private accounts it should
also be private property."
Gregory added: "Also, by the way, Bush did not
comment on the latest flare-ups in the Middle East today. Reporters were
not allowed to question him about it as he does not hold press conferences
any longer on the road."
Next, Brokaw conducted his daily interview with Gore
and focused on the topic raised by Gregory, the Middle East. After some
questions about putting in U.S. peacekeeping troops and whether he fueled
the Nader effort by going "too far" on global trade, Brokaw
brought up a Clinton comment not mentioned by ABC or CBS: "Today,
President Clinton speaking to an African-American radio audience, said he
can't run for a third term but if they elect you it's the next best
thing. Is that how you would characterize this election?"
"I am proud of his endorsement and he and I have worked together to
bring about policies that have led to the lowest African-American
unemployment in history, the strongest economy in history, the biggest
surpluses instead of the biggest deficits, the 22 million new jobs, lower
interest rates. Listen, we need to keep the prosperity going and extend it
everyone lost their f--king minds?" Cher is so concerned that
George Bush might win that she's delayed a London recording session
so she can stay in the U.S. to fight for Al Gore, the music Web site
Wall of Sound reported in a story highlighted Thursday by the Drudge
An exasperated Cher asked: "Doesn't anybody
remember the illustrious Reagan-Bush years when people had no money
and no jobs? What has happened to people's memories? It's like they
have Alzheimer's or something." She also called Bush
"stupid" and "lazy" and worried that after his
Supreme Court appointments, "The Jerry Falwells of this world
will be right in your back pocket. You won't have one f--king right
left." She even claimed a Bush presidency would force "old
people" to eat dog food.
Here's an excerpt from the Wall of Sound story
posted Tuesday night, October 31, in which Deborah Wilker recounted a
phone conversation she had with Cher:
She dislikes politics and says she's not a registered Democrat. But
Cher is so panic-stricken at the thought of Texas Gov. George W. Bush
leading the free world that she's delayed the London recording
sessions for the follow-up to Believe so she can do whatever possible
to keep him out of office.
"Has everyone lost their f--king minds? Doesn't anybody
remember the illustrious Reagan-Bush years when people had no money
and no jobs? What has happened to people's memories? It's like they
have Alzheimer's or something."
The ageless Oscar-Grammy winner was on the phone to Wall of Sound
from her Malibu, Calif., home Friday to discuss her stark 1994 CD Not
Commercial, which she is just now releasing independently on the
Internet at cher.com....
"I don't like Bush," she said of George W. "I don't
trust him. I don't like his record. He's stupid. He's lazy. Some woman
said to me she was voting for him because she liked his dad, and I
said, 'Good, because that's what you're getting.' If somebody's claim
to fame is that they signed a law so that you can carry a gun to
church -- oh, give me a break."....
"If you're black in this country, if you're a woman in this
country, if you are any minority in this country at all, what could
possibly possess you to vote Republican? If you think the President is
an ass, fine -- after four years you can vote him out. But the Supreme
Court -- that's 30 years! The Jerry Falwells of this world will be
right in your back pocket. You won't have one f--king right
"I'm passionate about this because I'm just so scared,"
she said. "I want people to know what's at stake. I'm so nervous
about this election, I was supposed to go to Europe in September to
work, but I just can't leave."
Since summer, when she visited the Democratic convention, Cher has
appeared at several Democratic fundraisers, including a Gore gala in
New Jersey, at least two events for Hillary Rodham Clinton's New York
Senate run, and one to raise money for a Clinton presidential
She said she stays in touch with the issues, partly just by talking
with people wherever she goes.
"I have been traveling this country for 37 years," she
said of her wide-ranging career. "I know what's going on more
than many of these [politicians] know. I don't want to see what
happened years ago, happen again. The idea of old people eating dog
food doesn't appeal to me. Call me old-fashioned. I just don't like
For the complete story, go to where Drudge
Or, to the original Wall of Sound posting: http://wallofsound.go.com/news/stories/cher103100.html
of celebrities bashing Bush and gushing over Gore, tonight 20/20 may
well deliver ABC's in-kind contribution to the Gore-Lieberman effort
as it will feature an interview conducted by Barbara Walters with
Barbra Streisand. Neil Travis disclosed in the October 17 New York
Post that Streisand "insisted" that in the interview
"she would be given room to explain why she is supporting Al and
Hillary and the Democratic platform."
Here's an excerpt from the October 17
"Neal Travis' New York" column, picked up from the October
18 CyberAlert Extra:
Yesterday in Manhattan, Barbara Walters began taping an interview
that could become the Democrats' "November surprise." The
ABC ace spent several hours chatting with uber-liberal Barbra
Streisand for a 20/20 show that will air on the Friday before the Nov.
Make no mistake: Diva Streisand, who has an enormous following, is
using this nationwide forum to promote the candidacies of Democrats Al
Gore and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her remarks could be enough to push
both of them over the top in what are shaping up as very close
I understand that, as a quid pro quo for doing the interview at a time when she has nothing personal to
promote, Streisand insisted that
she would be given room to explain why she is supporting
Al and Hillary and the Democratic platform. It could be the most
important political performance the star, who has raised many millions
of dollars for the party, has ever given.
"Babs is enormously popular in Middle America, where the
election will be decided," says one person who claims to know why
she's doing the Walters show at this crucial time. "All those
undecideds out there -- if they can hear one idol telling another what
a great guy Gore is, you know it's going to swing a lot of
text of a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check titled, "Cole-Call
Outrage vs. Beirut Tragedy Milking: Hillary's Outraged Media
Supporters Don't Extend the Same Rules of Civility to Conservative
Leaders." For this report distributed by fax on Thursday, Tim
Graham, the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, culled the MRC
archives for examples of how "the surprise bombing of Marine
barracks in Beirut in 1983 was a tragedy media people easily exploited
in an attempt to sully Ronald Reagan's reputation."
To see this report in the format fax recipients
received, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF file:
Now the text of the November
2 Media Reality Check:
Media shock at the rough New York GOP phone calls which linked
Hillary Clinton's Hamas-boosting supporters with the terrorist
attack on the U.S.S. Cole is one-sided. Is it beyond the pale to link
terrorist bombings to the political record of our leaders? The
surprise bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983 was a tragedy
media people easily exploited in an attempt to sully Ronald Reagan's
-- "In this hall tonight you'll hear nothing of Iran/Contra,
or Meese, or Deaver, or Nofziger, or the tragedy in Beirut." --
NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw, beginning a night of 1988 GOP convention
-- "The Reagan years had their accomplishments, especially
abroad. But by many measures, the Reagan Administration was a failure.
It left us with a huge debt and an unfocused domestic policy. It got
us in a moral mess with Irangate and a military disaster in
Lebanon." -- NBC News President Michael Gartner on Lou Cannon's
book President Reagan: Role of a Lifetime in The Washington Post,
April 21, 1991.
-- "[Reagan's] good-natured pre- and post-surgical quips so
endeared him to the nation that practically nothing, including the
deaths of 241 U.S. Marines in a Beirut barracks, stuck to the Reagan
presidency. As a result, the nation smiled benignly when....he
burdened the working poor and middle class by raising Social Security
taxes while calling for cuts in the capital gains tax. Such policies
widened the gap between rich and poor and contributed to the
psychological chasm between haves and have-nots. In this atmosphere,
Wall Street stock manipulator Michael Milken earned $550 million in
1987, and ghetto teens unable to find jobs joined gangs instead."
-- Houston Chronicle reporter Steven Reed, August 16, 1992 news story
during the GOP convention.
-- "America is cheering [for Forrest Gump]. Much as it cheered
Ronald Reagan, who more than Schweik or Candide, is the real proto-Gump.
Reagan too was relentlessly upbeat. Reagan too was extraordinarily
lucky. And his luck, like Gump's, was often built on the backs of
people who suffered off-screen. Forrest had bankrupt shrimpers,
martyred Vietnam buddies, and his wife, whose death was remarkably
demure, considering her ailment. Reagan scored points off America's
poor; somehow managed to cloak himself in heroism while apologizing
for a needless screw-up that killed 241 servicemen in Beirut..."
-- Essay by Time Associate Editor David Van Biema, August 29, 1994.
-- Thomas Friedman, New York Times reporter and columnist:
"Governor, I'm kind of a foreign policy wonk, and it scares the
bejesus out of me to have someone as President of the United States,
Commander-in-Chief, and finger on the nuclear button who is such an
outsider to Washington and American foreign policy."
Lamar Alexander: "Did Ronald Reagan scare you, Tom?"
Friedman: "He sure did."
Alexander: "Did he? He didn't scare me. I thought he was the best
national defense and Commander-in-Chief and foreign policy President
we've had since Eisenhower."
Friedman: "Ask 245 Marines in Beirut about that." --
Exchange on CBS's Face the Nation, March 5, 1995.
Media people no doubt think it uncivil to link President
Clinton's defense policies to the Cole tragedy. But political
junkies ought to have an axiom: however mean you think a candidate can
get, the media will feel free to be meaner, and often at the same time
they decry the tone of the candidates.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
Looks like a full day of Bush-bashing on the
cable networks followed by Gore-gushing on 20/20. -- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
readers and subscribers:
>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a
blank e-mail to:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to email@example.com."
After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply
hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been
added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page
link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You
NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by
subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday
afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: email@example.com.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe