Harris Handing Election to Bush; Boies Boosted; Baker's "Fear Stick"; Holocaust Invoked; Rivera's Back; ABC Pressuring Electors?
-- Extra Edition
1) The networks Tuesday night,
especially ABC and NBC, refused to call a judge a Democrat as they continued
to serve as conduits for the Democratic effort to discredit Katherine Harris
as a partisan hack. Linda Douglass: "Two Democratic legislators who
praised her yesterday, told ABC News they now think she is trying to hand the
election to George Bush."
2) The networks boosted David Boies. CBS: "The Gore
campaign today rolled out master litigator David Boies." ABC:
"...biggest legal guns in the country." NBC: "One of the
nation's top litigators."
3) Dan Rather ominously suggested that by citing
"uncertainty in financial markets," James Baker had unleashed a
4) NBC's Claire Shipman invoked the Holocaust for the Gore
cause, passing along the claim that Lieberman is "encouraging Gore to
keep fighting" because he was "quite moved by stories that Holocaust
victims...may have voted for the wrong man."
5) One-fifth of Americans want the whole election done over
again, a Dateline NBC poll discovered. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll
found most are willing to wait for a re-count, even if it takes several weeks.
6) CBS Gave a sentence to how "Republicans contend that
the vote in the Milwaukee area was tainted by Democratic bribes of cigarettes
to homeless voters and a college prank that saw some students vote more than
7) Geraldo's back in his game. Rivera denigrated lawyer Ted
Olson as "a card-carrying member of the old anti-Clinton cabal" as
he whined that "the same party that supported a reckless five-year-long
wild goose chase into Bill Clinton's personal life is now" resisting
"a full and fair re-count."
8) Federal Judge Donald Middlebrooks has contributed to
Democrats since the late 1970s, the National Legal and Policy Center
disclosed. Recipients included not only the Gore campaign, but Clinton back in
9) ABC News pressuring Bush electors to consider voting for
Gore? A Denver newspaper
related how elector Mary Hergert "said the caller said he was 'Ed from
ABC News' and asked if she would ever consider voting for Al Gore, then said
it is unconstitutional for her to be bound by state law to follow Colorado
voters' preference for Bush."
networks continued to serve Tuesday night as a conduit for the Democratic
effort to discredit Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris as they
focused again on her Republican partisanship while ignoring the Democratic
status of state judge Terry Lewis who ruled Tuesday on her 5pm deadline
decision. On the NBC Nightly News, for instance, David Bloom displayed the
double standard: "Today, Tallahassee state court judge Terry Lewis
ruled that Florida's Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris,
was wrong to say...."
CBS refrained from passing along the Democratic spin
during the CBS Evening News, but after Harris's 7:40pm ET announcement
of certified vote totals which put Bush ahead by 300, Dan Rather alerted
viewers during a CBS News special report: "Underscoring as has been
the case before, but as a point of information, the Secretary of State is
a Republican and was an active worker for George Bush and in the George
Bush campaign. She did not recuse herself from her official position and,
therefore, she has a lot to say and much control over this present
Just before Harris spoke, ABC's Peter Jennings
described her: "Katherine Harris, 43-years-old, a supporter of George
W. Bush but deemed by many of her colleagues as a very fair woman."
Earlier, on ABC's World News Tonight, Linda
Douglass profiled Harris and passed along partisan criticism: "Two
Democratic legislators who praised her yesterday, told ABC News they now
think she is trying to hand the election to George Bush."
Here's a rundown of her treatment Tuesday night,
November 14, by ABC and NBC:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings
referred to a ruling by an unnamed and unlabeled "circuit judge"
on the 5pm deadline Harris said state law made clear. Jennings added:
"The Gore campaign doesn't like the Republican Secretary of State,
Katherine Harris. She will be under tremendous pressure for the next
several days at least."
Later, Jennings went to Linda Douglass for her third
look in 24 hours at Harris's partisanship as Douglass provided similar
stories for an ABC Monday night special and Tuesday's Good Morning
America. She noted that Republicans respect her, but "Democrats
continued questioning Harris's motives. Two Democratic legislators who
praised her yesterday, told ABC News they now think she is trying to hand
the election to George Bush. Gore officials kept up the attacks."
Following a soundbite from Warren Christopher,
Douglass ran through the Harris resume: "Harris was the state
co-chair of George Bush's presidential campaign. Today Governor Jeb Bush
said she's doing a good job." After a matching clip from Jeb Bush,
Douglass came to her defense: "Political insiders say there is no
evidence Harris is being manipulated by the Bush's. She is known to care
deeply about her job which will abolished by law in 2002."
Douglass soon returned to Democratic attacks:
"Democrats complain that Harris is keeping state Republicans in the
loop as she makes her moves." Her defenders point out that she's
following the advise of a law firm with ties to prominent Democrats,
Douglass acknowledged before concluding: "Harris has only held
statewide office for two years. She is not part of any political machine
in the state, though people around here call her a good Republican. If her
decision is seen as handing the presidency to George Bush, she will be a
famous Republican too."
-- NBC Nightly News. David Bloom warned: "If
Florida's top election official, a Republican, gets her wish this race
will be over in four days."
Bloom reviewed the
ruling by a judge who did not label, though he labeled Harris twice:
"Today, Tallahassee state court judge Terry Lewis ruled that
Florida's Republican Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, was wrong
to say categorically that any late returns will not count. That's
'not the exercise of discretion,' Judge Lewis wrote, 'it is the
abdication of discretion.' But, in what may be a huge legal victory
for Governor Bush, Judge Lewis went on to say quote, 'the Secretary
of State may ignore any such late filed returns, but may not do so
arbitrarily.' Bottom line: Katherine Harris, a Republican, gets to
decide what votes count."
Kelly O'Donnell later profiled Harris, calling
her a "Bush supporter" who is a multi-millionaire thanks to
family money. She was "criticized for spending taxpayer money on
a get out the vote spot with Bush supporter General Norman Schwarzkopf."
O'Donnell recalled how she once worked in real estate and for IBM
and though Jeb Bush backed another candidate for her job she
campaigned in New Hampshire for George Bush. O'Donnell concluded by
passing along attack material provided by Democrats:
so pivotal, Democratic operatives passed around critical information
about her this week. One example: Citing Florida newspapers that weeks
ago suggested if Bush wins Harris could be in line for an
ambassadorship. Now Harris's own political future may well be on the
line. Her decisions, her independence, her loyalties put to the
After Harris made her 7:40pm ET announcement,
Bloom asserted during an NBC News special report: "The Secretary
of State, Katherine Harris, is far too polite or deferential to say
this, but this is truly the Republicans in this state drawing a line
in the sand. Because what she's making clear is that they'll
follow the usual practice which would mean, as her lawyer said earlier
this afternoon, certifying this election, barring some unforeseen
circumstance which would cause her to accept these amended returns,
prior to Saturday. Certifying these elections on Saturday."
Boies, superman. ABC, CBS and NBC offered effusive evaluations of the
skills lawyer David Boies brings to the Gore re-take the election
-- Erin Hayes on ABC's World News Tonight:
"They brought in today one of the biggest legal guns in the
country, David Boies. Boies made it clear the fight is still on."
-- John Roberts on the CBS Evening News:
"As a warning of what's ahead if Harris dismisses the hand
count, the Gore campaign today rolled out master litigator David Boies,
the man who fought Microsoft and won."
-- David Bloom on the NBC Nightly News:
"Not so fast, the Gore team said today, bringing in one of the
nation's top litigators, David Boies who won the Microsoft case for
Rather ominously suggested late Tuesday morning that by mentioning
"uncertainty in financial markets," James Baker had
unleashed a "fear stick" to "hit the Gore campaign over
the head with."
CBS broke into Price is Right in the eastern
time zone at 11am for a special report to show Bush team leader James
Baker live from Tallahassee. After Baker finished, Rather asked
reporter Bill Whitaker in Austin: "Jim Baker was talking,
raising, well I can't say raising fears, he was talking about quote
'uncertainty in financial markets' unquote and 'uncertainty
abroad.' Is this a fear stick that the Bush camp now intends to hit
the Gore campaign over the head with?"
the Holocaust for sympathy toward to Gore-Lieberman quest for hand
counts to pick up enough votes to put them over the top. Claire
Shipman passed along this story on Tuesday night's NBC Nightly News:
"Tonight, Tom, friends say that Gore is still in a fighting mood.
And one of them told me something interesting. That one of the people
most encouraging Gore to keep fighting, someone best known for his
caution, for his conciliatory nature, Joe Lieberman. Lieberman was
apparently quite moved by stories that Holocaust victims in Florida
may have voted for the wrong man, Pat Buchanan, and tonight neither
Gore nor Lieberman has given up on the idea of a longer court fight on
So much better to have voted for a man who met
secretly during the campaign with Al Sharpton and ran on the same
ticket in New York with a woman who supports a Palestinian state.
do the whole election over again. That's what one in five
respondents told pollsters for Dateline NBC. On Tuesday night's
show, co-anchor Stone Phillips relayed, "Another item from the
latest Dateline NBC poll: As far-fetched as it is to think of the
entire nation going back to the polls to vote again, one in five
Americans now think that's the best way to decide this disputed
Earlier, on the NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw
reported numbers from a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll which
found 55 percent are willing to wait for a re-count, even if it takes
several weeks, while 41 percent want a winner declared now. Is it a
Constitutional crisis? Yes said 8 percent, likely to become one
replied 32 percent and will be resolved thought 56 percent. An
identical 47 percent approved of how Bush and Gore are handling the
on Tuesday night gave a sentence to the corruption in Wisconsin
detailed in a full report Monday night on ABC by Brian Ross.
On the November 14 CBS Evening News reporter
Jeffrey Kofman looked at how Republicans in Wisconsin, where Gore is
ahead by just 6,000 votes, are preparing for a re-count. Kofman
explained their concern: "Republicans contend that the vote in
the Milwaukee area was tainted by Democratic bribes of cigarettes to
homeless voters and a college prank that saw some students vote more
than once, including one registered as Mickey Mouse."
Kofman then allowed University of Wisconsin
professor Don Kettl to suggest it's unlikely a re-count would change
the outcome and that Bush people are raising the possibility as a
warning shot to Gore.
For more about the Monday World News Tonight
story from Brian Ross, go to the November 14 CyberAlert:
deja vu, it's like impeachment all over again with Geraldo Rivera
impugning anyone on the GOP side who once opposed Clinton in any way.
Monday night on CNBC, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed, Rivera
denigrated lawyer Ted Olson as "a card-carrying member of the old
anti-Clinton cabal." Rivera complained that "the same party
that supported a reckless five-year-long wild goose chase into Bill
Clinton's personal life is now howling that time is so of the
essence that we can't afford the days or weeks necessary for a full
and fair re-count."
Rivera opened his Rivera Live show Monday night,
November 13, on CNBC:
was that articulate attorney representing the Republican interests in
this hand-to-hand combat in federal court? It's none other than Ted
Olson, a card-carrying member of the old anti-Clinton cabal. A friend
and former partner of Ken Starr. A conservative activist who in the
midst of impeachment welcomed those attending a Federalist Society
conference to what he called the vast right wing conspiracy. In
bare-knuckle politics, ladies and gentlemen, the more things change
the more they stay the same. Hi everybody, I'm Geraldo Rivera. Sorry
to bring up the ghosts of scandals past but not many others will make
out, will point out that the same party that supported a reckless
five-year-long wild goose chase into Bill Clinton's personal life is
now howling that time is so of the essence that we can't afford the
days or weeks necessary for a full and fair recount. That's what
some of those Florida condo residents who inadvertently voted for Pat
Buchanan might call chutzpah. Anyway that's my Constitutionally
During the show famed reporter Carl Bernstein
attacked Katherine Harris from the partisan Democratic left:
a naive person, at least I don't think of myself as one. But I'm
astonished at what's going on. This looks to me like an old
Democratic machine of the '40s and the '50s and early '60s. This
is ward-heeling on a huge presidential scale that the Bush people
appear to be engaging in. I, I'm truly astonished. After a campaign
about restoring trust and reaching across to the other party, this,
I'm astonished and I think a lot of people are which is why there
are these polls that now show people want a real recount and they are
willing to take some time to do it."
Rivera and the rest of the media are more interested in damaging the
reputation of Bush lawyers and the elected Secretary of State, but a
conservative group on Tuesday disclosed how the federal judge who
rejected a Bush request on Monday is an active contributor to many
Democrats, including Al Gore.
As noted in the November 14 CyberAlert, neither
ABC or CBS mentioned the political affiliation of Judge Donald
Middlebrooks. NBC's Dan Abrams relayed how Middlebrooks was
nominated by President Clinton and "donated $1,500 to the
Clinton-Gore campaign in '92 and '96." But Abrams explained
away any significance of Middlebrooks's politics as Abrams insisted
those who know him said "they thought he would decide this case
on the law, not on politics" since he is "really known as an
Peter Flaherty, President of the National Legal
and Policy Center (NLPC), argued in a Tuesday press release:
District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of
Florida has given over $19,000 to Democrats including $1,000 to Al
Gore. Given these political donations, he should have recuse himself
and allowed one of his colleagues on bench to hear
the hand-recount case. Judges must adhere to high standards of ethics
and integrity -- even more so when the judge is required to
effectively pick the next President of the United States."
NLPC provided a "chronological list of
Judge Middlebrooks's political donations since January 1, 1979,
according to the Federal Election Commission." The check
determined "that 98.72 percent of the $19,480 went to Democratic
candidates and committees. Note further that his only Republican
donation, $250 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee,
occurred the year before the
Republican-controlled Senate confirmed his appointment by Bill Clinton
to the federal bench in 1997."
The recipients of
Middlebrooks's generosity included Senator
Bob Graham, Clinton/Gore '96, Democratic Senatorial Campaign
Committee, Senator Robert Kerrey, Bill Clinton's presidential
committee back in 1991, Senator Carl Levin, Senator Joe Biden, Ted
Kennedy's 1980 presidential bid and about five U.S. House Democrats
For the complete list, go to: http://nlpc.org/media/2000/111400.htm
News pressuring or harassing Bush electors or just doing some honest
reporting about their understanding of their Constitutional options?
Mary Hergert, a Colorado elector for Bush, told the Denver Rocky
Mountain News, in a story to which a CyberAlert reader alerted me,
about how she felt intimidated by an ABC News staffer. The paper
explained: "Hergert said the caller said he was 'Ed from ABC
News' and asked if she would ever consider voting for Al Gore, then
said it is unconstitutional for her to be bound by state law to follow
Colorado voters' preference for Bush."
Here's an excerpt from the November 12 Denver
Rocky Mountain News story by reporter Ann Imse, titled,
"Colorado's Electoral College voters start feeling
The eight Colorado members of the Electoral College are suddenly
finding themselves under the lights, not to mention under pressure.
One elector, Mary Hergert, found questions from ABC News more like
veiled intimidation than journalistic inquiry. So she checked her
caller ID to make sure the call really was from ABC News.
On Dec. 18, the 538 people elected to once-obscure ceremonial posts
may find themselves in a 271-269 vote if George W. Bush wins
Florida over Al Gore, and Gore holds onto microscopic leads in New
Mexico and Oregon.
State law requires Colorado electors to vote for Bush as the victor
of the Colorado balloting. But electors in 26 other states are not
legally bound to follow their voters' wishes, according to the
National Archives and Records Administration.
So even if Bush wins Florida, Gore could become president if just
two electors switch their votes to the candidate who won the popular
vote. The electors vote on Dec. 18 but their sealed ballots are not
opened until Jan. 6.
And that has politicians starting to worry, and news organizations
asking pointed questions.
"You couldn't have written a script this weird," says Bob
Beauprez, an elector and chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.
Hergert said the caller said he was "Ed from ABC News"
and asked if she would ever consider voting for Al Gore, then said it
is unconstitutional for her to be
bound by state law to follow Colorado voters' preference for Bush.
"It was bothersome," said Hergert, who served as Bush's
Weld County campaign chairman. And in reality, the Constitution says nothing on the subject.
A second Colorado elector, Rob Dieter, also mentioned a call from
ABC News when the Denver Rocky Mountain News asked if anyone had tried
to influence his vote.
ABC News spokeswoman Su-Lin Nichols apologized for any confusion
caused when a group of staffers called electors across the country
with a series of identical questions in preparation of a possible
story on the Electoral College vote.
"We feel they acted professionally," she said.
Nichols refused to release the exact questions. But she insisted
they were questions, not statements, dealing with the electors' knowledge of legal restrictions on their
Hergert was not happy. "I think the mainstream media has
enough to answer for," she said, referring to the television
networks repeated reversals of
results in Florida....
To read the whole article, go to:
If ABC News doesn't want to become the focal
point of the nation's wrath for the next four years, it better make
sure its staffers are not doing anything that any elector could even
misinterpret as pressure to change allegiance from one candidate to
another. -- Brent Baker
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