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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| Monday November 13, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 240) |

Counted "Fairly," Gore Won Florida; Hanging with Hillary on the Hill; Saturday Night Live Parodied Dan Rather's Goofiness -- Extra Edition

1) "If this race is counted fairly, Al Gore won more votes in Florida," declared ABC's George Stephanopoulos. On CNN Steve Roberts blasted the GOP effort to stop the selective hand-count to add Gore votes in Democratic areas: "I must say the going into court by Bush took hypocrisy to a new level." FNC's Brit Hume predicted Gore's Florida tally will come out ahead.

2) "It's gonna be a media circus up there 24-7," Newsweek's Howard Fineman boasted about media reaction to Senator Hillary Clinton. "Reporters like me are gonna want to go up and hang with Hill on the Hill" since she's "a possible presidential candidate," a "terrific politician" and "she's gonna be a powerhouse."

3) Saturday Night Live's parody of Dan Rather: "Now in Portland, where the men catch fish and the fish catch herpes....their calls are shakier than Ted Kennedy in a whorehouse with a full bar.... you can bet your mother's Maxi-Pad that we've called the winner."

4) Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Your Anchorman is Exhausted."


Sunday morning ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Steve Roberts on CNN took up the Gore campaign's cause. The Democrats have craftily moved to have hand-counts completed in Democratic-leaning counties in order to add to Gore's total while not having such vote-adding hand-counts done in areas Bush won, but instead of condemning the selective vote-adding or advocating that such a policy be followed state-wide, Stephanopoulos justified the maneuver as a way to achieve the proper result and Roberts castigated the GOP for "hypocrisy" in trying to stop it.

    On ABC's This Week, George Will pointed out how those "confused" in Palm Beach really have no idea how they voted and he predicted the Gore team will find the votes to have him certified the winner on Friday. On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume made the same point: "The hand re-count will furnish enough ballots for Al Gore to be ahead when it's finished." NPR's Mara Liasson predicted: "And then the Bush campaign will go to the mattresses in Wisconsin and Iowa."

    Representatives from both campaigns appeared on all the Sunday interview shows (James Baker and George Mitchell on Fox News Sunday, Baker and Warren Christopher on both Meet the Press and This Week, Baker and Daley on both Face the Nation and Late Edition) and from what I saw the interviewers did a fairly god job at treating each guest equally and pressed each with the strongest points made by the other side. James Carville appeared on Meet the Press with his wife Mary Matalin, but was eerily calm and rationale compared to usual. And it was Old Home Impeachment Week on CNN's Late Edition with Lanny Davis and Richard Thornburgh on together.

    -- ABC's This Week. At the top of the roundtable segment, George Will outlined how the Democrats have engineered a selective third re-count to locate more Gore votes. As for confusion by up to 3,400 Buchanan voters in Palm Beach County, Will pointed out how 421,000 county residents "managed to vote without confusion." Will then played a clip of a protesting man, the same man quoted last week in CyberAlert, who complained in the NBC video: "I cast a vote for Gore but at the same time I must have punched the Buchanan column as well." Will asserted: "He has no clue how he voted."

    Will's insistence that Bush has already won Florida was too much for ABC News analyst George Stephanopoulos, who countered that there's no question Gore won in Florida, it's just a matter of whether it will be stolen from him:
    "There is no question, or very little question, that Al Gore won the votes cast in the state of Florida. The question is: Will he win the votes counted? Look at the statistics. In the rest of the state of Palm Beach County [that's what he said, strike "of Palm Beach County" to make sentence accurate] Buchanan was strongest in the precincts where Bush was strongest. In Palm Beach he was strongest where Gore was strongest because they were right next to each other on the ballot. Even more important, in the rest of the state Buchanan got the same percentage of votes on the ballots as he did in absentees, in Palm Beach County he got four times more votes on this butterfly ballot than he did on absentees. Listen, if this race is counted fairly, Al Gore won more votes in Florida."

    But how do we know there weren't more Bush votes not counted by the machine count in Republican counties than Gore votes not machine-counted in Democratic areas?

    -- CNN's Late Edition. Instead of worrying about the never-ending road Gore has launched in which both sides will ask for hand-counts everywhere in order to try top pick up votes, Steve Roberts of U.S. News blasted the Bush effort to stop the hand counts in just Democratic precincts. During the panel segment he complained:
    "It never should have come down to this. If Al Gore had been able to win his home state, we wouldn't have had a problem. And I do think there's a lot of hypocrisy on both sides, but I must say the going into court by Bush took hypocrisy to a new level in at least four ways. Of course they said, they denounced the Gore people for entertaining a legal action as you said, they're the campaign that has always favored state power over federal power, and they're reversing that. They've always campaigned against activist federal judges and here they are asking a federal judge to intervene in a states matter. And George Bush signed a law as we all know which not only permitted but favored this exact procedure which he now says is unfair and illegitimate. If that's not hypocrisy I don't know what is."

    How about Democratic hypocrisy in now showing such respect for state's rights and local autonomy?


"Hang with Hill on the Hill." Newsweek Washington reporter Howard Fineman boasted Friday on Today that he and the rest of the Washington press corps are looking forward to hyping Hillary Clinton in the Senate, "it's gonna be a media circus up there 24-7. Reporters like me are gonna want to go up and hang with Hill on the Hill. Everybody is gonna be up there all the time. She is a possible presidential candidate in her own right and she's a terrific politician as she proved on her own in New York state. And she's gonna be a powerhouse."

    Sounds like a media-created self-fulfilling promise.

    Fineman's gushing for Hillary was even too much for Katie Couric, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, as she cautioned Fineman to "not get ahead of ourselves" since she will be a junior Senator. But Fineman dismissed Couric's concern and effused about how she's a leading presidential candidate.

    On the November 10 Today Couric asked Fineman: "Apparently Mrs. Clinton and Senator Orrin Hatch, a Republican had a very cordial phone call. He called her to congratulate her on her victory. But listen to what Trent Lott had to say about Hillary Clinton following her win, quote, 'I'll tell you one thing. When this Hillary gets to the Senate, if she does, maybe lightning will strike and she won't, she will be one of 100 and we won't let her forget it.' Not exactly the welcome wagon, huh?"
    Fineman agreed: "Well I think Senator Lott should probably wake up and smell the coffee because the world of the Senate is gonna change big time when Hillary arrives. As a matter of fact this would be the big story in Washington were it not for the little other matter you've been discussing all morning. And, you know, Hillary is gonna change things up there. It's gonna be a media circus up there 24-7. Reporters like me are gonna want to go up and hang with Hill on the Hill. Everybody is gonna be up there all the time. She is a possible presidential candidate in her own right and she's a terrific politician as she proved on her own in New York state. And she's gonna be a powerhouse."

    Couric tried to calm his excitement: "But Howard let's not get ahead of ourselves. I mean many people speculate on the other side of the coin that Mrs. Clinton is going to be smart and take her time and not come in like a bull in a china shop that she's going to have to understand that she is a junior Senator and that she is new to the Hill and, and all this discussion about her running for President in 2004, c'mon Howard isn't that a little premature?"
    Fineman wouldn't let go: "Absolutely not, Katie! It's not premature in the least. But be that as it may I think you make a good point. I think Hillary herself understands what she needs to do which is to be low key. It is true in the Senate. Any other Senator completely, can completely make your life miserable. Can stop any piece of legislation that she wants. Her first bill is going to be one to help upstate New York. If she wants that to go anywhere she's got to keep her own head down and her voice down. But I'm not talking about what she wants to do, I'm talking about the relatively uncontrollable situation she is going to face on the Hill whatever her intentions are. But yes she's extremely shrewd and smart and she knows she's got to build the relationships one by one. I'm sure she will be on the phone with Republicans and Democrats of all stripes saying, 'Look I do want to work with you. It's not my fault that all the reporters are hanging on my every word, etc. She will do her best but the Senate has changed also. It's not the club it used to be. It's not the men's club it used to be. It's gonna participate in the, as I say, the 24-7 media extravaganza that all of politics has become and that the presidential election, post election day has becomes as well."
    Couric: "Well I'll be interesting to see if Trent Lott will soften his rhetoric in the future."
    Fineman: "Probably."


Dan Rather's zany performance election night, with his odd analogies and too-early predictions of state results, prompted a NBC Saturday Night Live parody of Rather doing a CBS Sports update:
"Good evening folks, let's get right to the NBA because we've got more action than a pair of jumper cables at a Mexican funeral. In Phoenix, the Heat lead the Suns from Miami by the score 64-57 in the third quarter. CBS News now projects that the Phoenix Suns have won this game. When all the results are in the Suns will take this game and the Heat will take it where the sun don't shine and buddy, they're going to take it hard.
    "Now in Portland, where the men catch fish and the fish catch herpes, the Houston Rockets lead the Trailblazers 31-28 nearing the end of the first quarter. At this moment CBS News holds this game is too close to call. Too close, at the moment. Now, one of the other networks might be calling these games earlier, but trust me folks, some of their calls are shakier than Ted Kennedy in a whorehouse with a full bar. When CBS News calls this game you can bet your mother's Maxi-Pad that we've called the winner.
    "Hang on. Alright, we've got some very important information folks. Wake up the kids, this is a biggie. Break out the ticker tape in Salt Lake. CBS News is projecting that the Utah Jazz, based on our information, are the NBA Championships for the season. A big night in the Mormon state. It's got to be New Year's Eve, 4th of July and your first hand job all rolled into one right over there in Utah."


While on the subject of Dan Rather's goofiness, from the November 10 Late Show with David Letterman, inspired by Rather's election night performance, the "Top Ten Signs Your Anchorman is Exhausted." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. Says, "Good evening, I'm Peter Jennings." Only he ain't Peter Jennings
9. Spent six hours trying to pronounce "Bush"
8. At 2:00am, he loosens his tie....At 3:00am, he gets rid of pants
7. Draws a face on his right fist and holds heated discussion with "Bobby"
6. Keeps referring to Bush and Gore as "those bastards who won't let me sleep"
5. Number in corner of screen counts how close he is to 270 cups of coffee
4. Anytime someone mentions "Florida," he starts sobbing because his parents never took him to Disney World
3. The Florida election committee has officially declared him "not exhausted"
2. All night long he spews out nonsensical things like this: [The Late Show played this election night clip from Dan Rather: "They say California is the Big Burrito, Texas is the Big Taco, right now, if you want to follow that through, Florida is the Big Tamale. It's not only a hot tamale, it's the only tamale that counts up to now."]
1. Just past five in the morning, gives his own concession speech

    And, from the Late Show Web site, some of the extra entries that didn't make the final cut:

-- Stares at monitor showing red-and-blue-colored states, muttering "Pretty...So pretty."
-- He puts TV on his desk tuned to another news station and takes a nap
-- Seems distracted by something on the monitor, then yells, "Oh my God, I'm on the news!"
-- He's using Al Roker as a pillow

    Matt Lauer may already be doing that regularly. -- Brent Baker


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