Gibson Argued with Dole; Lawsuit Plaintiffs Praised; Military Personnel Voting Via Absentee Ballot Denounced as "Tax Dodgers"
-- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer posed challenging
questions to Bill Daley but didn't follow up. With Bob Dole minutes later,
however, Charles Gibson argued with him. "Well, now wait a minute,
Senator," Gibson demanded, "I mean, isn't saying Mr. Gore should
step aside pretty premature?"
2) Media Reality Check. "No Media Skepticism of Florida
Ballot Challengers: So Far, National Reporters Haven't Examined the
Background of Palm Beach Trio Suing For a Re-Vote." On ABC's GMA the
co-hosts thought the plaintiffs delivered the "most eloquent testimonials
about American democracy we've ever heard."
3) Time's Margaret Carlson deplored how, in reference to
Florida absentee ballots from the military claiming residency in the state
without an income tax, "we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers
deciding the election."
to Daley, demanding of Dole. Friday morning on Good Morning America ABC's
Diane Sawyer posed challenging questions to Bill Daley but didn't follow up
on them. With Bob Dole minutes later, however, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
noticed that Charles Gibson didn't like some of his answers and so argued
with him. "Well, now wait a minute, Senator," Gibson demanded,
"I mean, isn't saying Mr. Gore should step aside pretty premature?"
When Dole predicted the overseas absentee ballots would favor Bush, Gibson
scolded: "You don't know that, you don't know that."
Sawyer asked Daley for his response the Karen Hughes's
assertion that the re-count proved Bush won Florida and requested that he
react to how Democratic Senator John Breaux said he's questioning the Gore
campaign's wisdom in challenging the Palm Beach result while Democratic
Senator Robert Torricelli said that though he wants Gore to win the election,
he wants somebody to win the election, suggesting sooner is really important.
She moved on to raise how a Washington Post editorial
asserted Daley took a reckless step in suggesting in so many words that the
election will be illegitimate if in the end Bush is declared the winner, that
it was poisonous to suggest something like that in these circumstances and
that Gore should disown what he said. Finally, she noted how a New York Time
editorial worried that this could go on and on and so she wondered how long it
can go before damaging the country?
Daley disagreed with the suppositions of the points
raised by Sawyer, but she didn't castigate him or question his responses, a
favor not extended to Bob Dole in the very next interview segment.
Dole asserted up front: "It's always good to hear
from Bill Daley from Chicago, where even the dead vote on a regular basis for
Democrats and where Gore carried Chicago nine to one. Maybe we ought to take a
look at Chicago where the same ballots were used to see if people understood
that. But I think it's time for Al Gore to saddle up and sort of ride off into
the sunset, and say, 'You know, I'm an honorable man. We don't want to start
another political campaign -- that's what's happening in Florida. The election
is over. I abide by the recount. Let's get on with the business.'"
Gibson, taken aback,
countered: "Well, now wait a minute, Senator. Wait a minute. The election
is not over. I mean, what we have so far is an AP canvas, an Associated Press
canvas and there are still votes to be counted in Florida that have to come in
on absentee ballot and there are hand counts that have been ordered in a
couple of counties. So this is not over. I mean, isn't saying Mr. Gore should
step aside pretty premature?"
Dole: "Well, what
do you call premature? I think you just had that discussion with Mr. Daley,
but we've had the election, we've had a count, now we've had a recount -- AP,
which is unofficial. And I think technically, yes, we've got to wait for the
overseas ballots, but they'll be 60, 70 percent Republican, but I assume
technically you'd have to wait for that."
Gibson chided him:
"You don't know that, you don't know that."
Dole: "Well, we
don't know that, but I think that history would probably bear that out, but I
think, I guess the point I would make is it's time to stop the street
demonstrations and trying to rev up a campaign and incite people on both
sides. I mean, you know, there are a lot of people who missed the vote because
the networks made an early call, and they went home and they didn't vote for
George Bush. How many of those people are out there?"
Gibson finally got to a question: "Do you believe
this first recount that will be reported with finality at the end of next
week, do you think this first recount should end it without court challenge
even if Governor Bush loses in that recount?"
Dole: "I think so.
I mean, I think that's what they've agreed to. We've agreed to say, 'Okay,
let's have the recount,' but how many recounts are we going to have? I think
there ought to be some limit to that, and I think my view is that, I think the
bottom line is let's, don't carry this out to the extent where it taints the
presidency. I mean, I ran for President, I lost, there wasn't any need for a
recount, but I haven't spent my life trying to go out and criticize Bill
Clinton or Vice President Gore. But if Vice President Gore has any future in
politics or public life, he doesn't want to carry this to an extreme. The
campaign ended on Tuesday. It's time to get on with the business of the
country and let President-elect George Bush go to it."
displeasure with his answer: "Well, in all fairness, don't you think
that's exactly what's Chairman Daley was saying? You're just disagreeing as to
how long this thing can drag on before it begins to taint the presidency, and
he's saying no, there's a time that this process can carry on."
Dole: "Well, that's
what he says. I think the American people will be the final judge and we keep
telling the American people the system works. I don't blame Vice President
Gore for asking for the recount. Now he's had the recount. Now he wants four
counties counted by hand. Next it'll be something else, just trying to delay
it, string it out. If he wants to wait for the overseas ballots, and they all
pretty much know what the outcome will be, I guess that's legitimate, but
let's not, let's get the people off the streets and trying to incite people,
let's stop the rallies. The campaign ended. Let's have a little dignity here
and let's not turn it over to the courts and the lawyers. This is the people's
business. We live in America. Let's let the American people decide this
election as they have in the past."
Gibson argued: "But
let me come back to that, Senator, because you are a good partisan. Wouldn't
you, if you were on the other side, on the Democratic side, wouldn't you be
fighting like hell if you believed that the will of your voters had been
thwarted by a confusing and even perhaps illegal ballot in one county?"
Dole: "I think
that's a good point, but I'd go back to Richard Nixon in 1960, where it was
obvious there were irregularities all over Illinois, and particularly Chicago,
and he chose not to do that. He said the country's more important than the
election, and the same with John Ashcroft last week in this terrible, tragic
case in Missouri. He said, 'Let's end this, the election is over,' and there
were polls that were kept open after normal polling hours, a lot of things he
could have done to challenge it, and he didn't do that. And I think it's time
for the Gore crowd to show the same decency and let's put an end to this.
Okay, let's wait for the overseas ballots. Let's stop the court
CBS's The Early Show provided a better model of
balance with Jane Clayson pressing Daley and Dole with the same type of
questions. MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down her inquiries:
To Bill Daley:
-- "Well, the
unofficial recount numbers are in and the Bush camp is claiming victory this
morning. Do you accept that?"
-- "But how far are
you willing to take this? At what point are you ready to say enough is enough,
let's move on?"
-- "But even some
Democrats are quietly suggesting that it might be best for you not to push
this into the courts. Would you agree with that?"
-- "What about all
the demonstrations in the streets down in Florida, many of which called by the
Democratic Party. Is that a bit excessive?"
-- "At what point
though, Mr. Daley, does this all become detrimental to our country?"
To Bob Dole:
-- "Your reaction
this morning to the Gore camp that they still might challenge results in
-- "Isn't it
possible though that some of the voting irregularities are egregious enough to
cause concern and overturn this election at least in Florida?"
-- "There's been
talk of the Bush camp requesting recounts in other states, Wisconsin and Iowa,
is that dead now?"
-- "Has there been
talk within the Bush camp about how all of this will affect the credibility of
a Bush presidency?"
three plaintiffs in the lawsuit demanding a re-vote in Palm Beach County
because they were confused by the ballot and thus failed to vote for Al
Gore, are all veterans of political activities. But the media have yet to
question the accuracy of their claims given their years spent in politics.
In fact, this morning, Good Morning America not only brought all three
aboard and failed to cast any doubt on their stories or raise their
political experience, but Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson admired them for
their "most eloquent testimonials about American democracy we've ever
During the 8am half hour, Andre Fladell, Lillian
Gaines and Alberta McCarthy were interviewed by Charles Gibson. His
-- "Mr. Fladell,
let me turn to you. I now know your voting record. You vote a lot. You are
a very conscientious voter. Tell me what happened with you on
-- "So you
thought you had voted for Al Gore."
-- "So you know
you voted for the wrong person."
-- "Alright, so
you proceed in court. I wonder, just very quickly, Andre, what your
reaction was last night. A judge in a similar lawsuit -- another lawsuit,
not yours -- said the election can't be certified until that case is
heard. Did that give you some hope?"
Later in the hour, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
noticed, Diane Sawyer prompted Gibson: "Say publicly again what
you've been saying all morning, the people filing the lawsuits, the people
in the street are the most eloquent testimonials about American democracy
we've ever heard."
Gibson confirmed his
view: "People care about their vote and that it be counted. Those
people spoke eloquently at the beginning of the half hour."
In a Campaign
2000 Media Reality Check this afternoon, the MRC's Rich Noyes
tracked down the real political backgrounds of the three plaintiffs who
should have been able to figure out how to follow an arrow. The report,
distributed by fax this afternoon, was titled, "No Media Skepticism
of Florida Ballot Challengers: So Far, National Reporters Haven't
Examined the Background of Palm Beach Trio Suing For a Re-Vote."
To see it online as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, go to
where MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted it:
First, the text of the pull-out box:
Was Fladell Really Baffled by the Ballot?
volleyball Fladell's favorite sport is politics, and he plays it the
same way he has since leading antiwar protests in the late '60s - with
a ruthless drive to win. When he's not realigning patients' spines and
stomping volleyball opponents, he's advising candidates and elected
officials in Palm Beach County, mostly Democrats, on how to crush their
election foes and steer government decisions their way." -- from
"Politics as Blood Sport," a profile of Palm Beach political
consultant Andre Fladell, New Times Broward-Palm Beach, December 16, 1999.
To read the entire newspaper profile, go to:
Now to the text of the November 10 Media Reality
Are the plaintiffs demanding an unprecedented re-run of the
presidential election in Florida's Palm Beach county really befuddled
oldsters who were confused by a two-column ballot? Or are they really
sophisticated local activists who assume that their protests against the
election's integrity is Al Gore's last, best chance to be awarded the
The national media have repeatedly relayed citizens' complaints about
the supposedly baffling ballot, but the networks haven't looked at the
backgrounds of the three plaintiffs who have put their names on the
lawsuit hanging over the presidential election.
A Nexis search of Florida newspapers shows all three plaintiffs --
Alberta McCarthy, Lillian Gaines and Andre Fladell -- are savvy activists
with political experience, not the sort of voters who'd be stymied by a
ballot layout. Yet as the plaintiffs at the center of a historic suit,
each plans to testify that they personally voted for Patrick Buchanan when
they were aiming to vote for Al Gore:
-- Lillian Gaines says she's mortified that she might have voted for
Buchanan. "I went to the polls for one specific reason, to vote for
Gore. I hit the second hole. I am sure I did," she told the
Associated Press. "Somehow my right to vote had been taken away from
But Gaines, now a homemaker, was for several years a member of the
Children's Services Council, a big-budget, taxpayer-financed group in
Palm Beach County. Gaines popped up in local newspapers in 1993 when she
defended the group's expenditure of $6,000 in taxpayer money on a
beachside retreat. "From time to time, an organization needs to look
at themselves," she told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel as a reason
why taxpayers should put her and her fellow council members up in a resort
-- Alberta McCarthy also claims she cast the wrong vote, but she's a
Delray Beach City Commissioner -- hardly a political naif and presumably
someone who can navigate a ballot.
-- Andre Fladell, with lawyer Howard Weiss, was a guest on CNN's
Larry King Live Thursday night. "I had no idea that in this country
you have to read zig-zag and diagonal to know who you're voting
for," he complained. "I didn't go there to take a test. I went
in to vote for President." He told CNSNews.com
that when it came to voting, "I wasn't too bright."
But Fladell, dim as he may be, is more than just the chiropractor which
many news accounts say he is. He's also a political consultant and
Democratic activist, who celebrated his hardball approach in a 1999
interview. "Politics is the greatest challenge," Fladell
proclaimed to local journalist Harris Meyer. "It's where the best
and worst in people comes out. You get the adrenaline of war without
having to physically hurt anyone."
In his piece, Meyer likened Fladell to Machiavelli, but the notorious
pol says he was confounded by the ballot. As one of three plaintiffs, the
truthfulness of his claim is crucial to any decision to trigger an
unprecedented re-run of a presidential election. But, so far, reporters
haven't seemed particularly skeptical of Gaines, McCarthy or Fladell,
despite the obvious importance of their claims.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
Margaret Carlson deplored Wednesday morning how, in reference to Florida
absentee ballots from the military, "we will have possibly a bunch of
tax dodgers deciding the election." Catching
up on this item from two days ago, MRC analyst Paul Smith went back today
to track it down from Imus in the Morning on MSNBC and he noticed that
Imus was none too pleased with her shot at service members for choosing
Florida, a state without an income tax, as their residence.
On the November 8 radio show, simulcast on MSNBC the
morning after the vote, former Time reporter and current Time columnist
Carlson regretted: "Here we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers
deciding the election."
Don Imus: "I
don't think we want to refer, we want to refer to people serving in the
military as tax dodgers do you?"
back down: "No, but they've chosen a state of convenience like
going to the Cayman Islands...I mean this is just taking this whole tax
issue a little too far."
Imus: "I mean
people who are serving in the military, Ms. Carlson, are already grossly
underpaid. Trying to take advantage of the tax laws in Florida, I think
can hardly be referred to as tax dodging. God, what the hell has happened
Carlson tried to
align herself with George Bush: "Well, when John McCain was making
the point that the military was underpaid and possibly President-elect
Bush was arguing with him over that point saying how when you put
everything together, in fact, that most of them do just fine."
wonder people hate liberals, hate the press, you know-"
no but state of convenience, the people who are going to decide chose this
place as a state of convenience, it's a wonderful phrase. I'm sorry, I
just woke up. It just struck me. I have to tell you, you know, exactly
what comes to mind."
A very nice admission
that the first thing which popped into her mind was a liberal shot at Army
privates for daring to do something to avoid a tax. -- Brent Baker
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