Cheneys Fought Back; Tauzin's Bias Charge Picked Up; NBC Boosted Boies as a "Legend in His Own Time"; ABCNews.com Spiked by ABC-TV
-- Weekend Edition
1) Lynne and Dick Cheney fought
back against ABC reporter Jack Ford in prime time Thursday night, countering
his assumption about how the public wants "fairness" over finality
and using the air time to denounce how the networks on election night had
"distorted the process" through their missed and early state calls.
2) CBS and NBC denied it but both
ran stories on Congressman Billy Tauzin's contention, as outlined by CBS's
Bob Schieffer, that "the networks may have delayed calling victories in
states where Bush was narrowly ahead to make it appear that Gore was sweeping
3) Boosting Boies. "He's a
legend in his own time," NBC's Tom Brokaw gushed in introducing a
tribute to the Gore lawyer Thursday night. Reporter Jim Avila oozed about the
"impressive track record" of "New York super lawyer David Boies."
Avila promoted how he's "high on skill, low on pretense."
4) ABC spiked its own national
scoop. ABCNews.com reported that "police in Palm Beach County confiscated
a ballot-box mechanism from the car of a well-known local Democrat." But
no ABC News TV show touched the story, leaving it to FNC to give it TV time
where Carl Cameron mentioned it as well as how Carol Roberts opposed a hand
count for a Republican who lost by 11 votes.
5) Even a Democratic political
consultant sees media bias. Pat Caddell noted that of 27,000 ballots not
counted in Duval County, "15,000 were in precincts where George Bush
carried by 75 percent or more but we don't have any media or anybody running
up to protect those people."
a live prime time interview Thursday night, Lynne and Dick Cheney fought
back against ABC reporter Jack Ford, countering his assumptions and using
the air time to denounce how the networks on election night had
"distorted the process" through their missed and early state
When Ford asserted that "polls have told us
that the public is more interested in fairness and accuracy than
speed," Lynne Cheney cut him off: "Wait a second. The polls
don't show that at all." Later, Dick Cheney contended the media
caused more of a problem than any confusing ballots: "I think the
network call early on with the polls still open in Florida had probably a
bigger impact than anything else that's happened."
The comments from the Cheneys came in a live
interview in Austin aired at the top of ABC's 10pm ET/9pm CT (on tape
elsewhere) Primetime Thursday hosted by Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer.
At one point Ford tried to convince Dick Cheney to agree to a state-wide
hand count: "Let's say we'll carefully monitor, maybe a
super-monitoring team -- former Presidents Carter and Ford have offered
their services. If it could be done that way, what's wrong with doing it
Jack Ford began by asking for Dick Cheney's
reaction to the Florida Supreme Court ruling imposing no legal impediment
to hand counts. Ford next challenged him with the Democratic spin:
your position about the counts that have already been taken, do you really
want to win the presidency and the vice presidency in your situation,
without being absolutely certain that every vote that could possibly be
counted has been counted?"
Next, Ford wondered: "On a personal note here,
it's been nine days since election day. How difficult have these nine
days of uncertainty been for you, Mrs. Cheney?" He followed up by
asking what they said to each other when they thought they'd won and
what did Bush say to Gore when he called to withdraw his concession.
Ford then arrived at the supposition which upset
up now with some of the events that have taken place over the last nine
days. Just recently, Vice President Gore came out and made a proposal
saying that, 'Look, here's what we'll do. We can hand count the
entire state of Florida. We will agree to be bound by that, we'll
withdraw any litigation, the election will be over.' Governor Bush said
no to that. Now polls have told us that the public is more interested in
fairness and accuracy than speed-"
Lynne Cheney jumped
in: "What a second, wait a second. The polls don't show that at
whatever they're worth, people are saying-"
identified on screen as "Lynn," talked over Ford as her husband
looked on bemused: "What polls show is people want it over with by
this weekend, the plurality of people do. And when you pose the question,
do you want fairness or speed, of course you would choose fairness. But
the point is that's a false choice. The choice is not between fairness
and speed, the choice is between-"
let's say you can get them all."
"Fairness and speed, let's do it by this weekend."
question then would be why not say, 'okay, we'll hand count the entire
state?' Takes away the concern about selective hand counting by the
Democrats. Let's say we'll carefully monitor, maybe a super-monitoring
team -- former Presidents Carter and Ford have offered their services. If
it could be done that way, what's wrong with doing it that way?"
Dick Cheney answered that the ballots are designed
for machine counting and have already been counted.
Ford's next question fired up Dick Cheney:
"Are you concerned, given the extraordinary circumstances here, that
if you win this election, you become President and Vice President, that
still in the minds of many people out there, not necessarily rapid
partisans, there's going to be a taint on this election?"
Dick Cheney predicted the American people will rally
around whoever takes office. He then used the question as an opportunity
to take on the media: "I really think there are serious questions
about the way the media reported this election the first night. In effect
we had an early call in Florida. The polls in Florida were still open, all
of Western Florida, the Panhandle, Republican area, conservative area, was
in effect told, before they voted in many cases, that the decision was
already made in Florida. One estimate is that at least 10,000 Bush voters
never went to the polls because of that early call. That early call held
for over two hours. That probably depressed our vote in the Western part
of the United States, then it was reversed late in the evening, and then
finally it came back to us. So, if you want to look at what distorted the
process, I think the network call early on with the polls still open in
Florida had probably a bigger impact than anything else that's
Wouldn't it be great to have a Second Couple who
would use TV interviews to bash the media?
Cheney's 10,000 vote estimate came from John R.
Lott Jr., a senior research scholar at the Yale University Law School
best-known for his studies on how guns prevent crime, who outlined his
estimates in an op-ed published Tuesday in the Philadelphia Inquirer. An
By prematurely declaring Gore the winner shortly before polls had closed in Florida's conservative western
Panhandle, the media ended up suppressing the Republican vote. Bush
obtained over 65 percent of the vote in
the affected area. With only 329 votes separating the two candidates
Friday morning, even a few hundred discouraged
votes in addition to the 379,000 cast in Florida's western panhandle could
have made a crucial difference.
Congressman Billy Tauzin (R., La.) promises congressional hearings to
look into the impact, although the discussion is focusing on California's
razor-thin Republican congressional losses and the very tight Senate race
Unfortunately, more than a few Florida votes were also affected. An
examination of past Republican presidential votes by county in
Florida from 1988 to 2000 shows that while total votes declined, the
Republican voting rate in the western panhandle was significantly
suppressed relative to the non-Republican vote. The 4 percent greater
reduction in Republican votes averages about 1,000
votes per county, 10,000 Republican votes for all 10 counties in the
western Panhandle. This holds true even after accounting
for the average differences in voting rates across counties as well as the
changes in voting rates from one election to another.
This conservative estimate of 10,000 votes is more than the any
additional votes that Gore might pick up from the manual recounts in
counties like Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade....
To read Lott's entire analysis, go to:
Back to the Cheney interview, Ford moved on to a
more agreeable question: "Do you think, given what the Democrats are
trying to do in the state of Florida, that the Gore campaign and the
Democrats are trying to steal this election?"
Ford ended the segment by asking if the Secretary of
State certifies Bush the winner on Saturday will they declare themselves
the new President and Vice President? When Cheney answered in the
affirmative, a bewildered Ford countered: "Even if there's a hand
count going on in some counties?"
Primetime Thursday moved on to non-political topics,
such as HMOs which don't inform their clients of doctor suspensions, but
the show ended with Charles Gibson interviewing Gore team lawyer David
Boies live via satellite from Tallahassee.
Gibson's last question to Boies: "I know you
say that you hope she does not do this, but is it your nightmare scenario
that she does announce George Bush the winner this weekend while the hand
Congressman who chairs a subcommittee with power over the networks on
Thursday castigated the networks for possible bias in election night
coverage, but instead of ignoring such a complaint as they do routinely,
probably prompted by U.S. Representative Bill Tauzin's position, both
CBS and NBC ran stories summarizing his case. Of course, both networks
denied any wrongdoing.
On the November 16 CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer
told Dan Rather, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"Well Dan, in
yet another complication, Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin, the House
Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman, suggested today the networks may
have delayed calling victories in states where Bush was narrowly ahead to
make it appear that Gore was sweeping the night. He said that may have
convinced many Bush supporters not to vote. CBS News officials deny the
charge saying decisions were delayed only when there was insufficient data
to make an accurate call. In a statement, CBS News President Andrew
Heyward said: 'The accusation that there was bias in CBS News's
reporting of the election night results is completely without
foundation.' Tauzin spoke on Capitol Hill as he announced plans to
investigate network procedures."
"By calling the Al Gore states early and delaying the calls on the
George W. Bush states, you receive a picture of America believing that Al
Gore was sweeping the country, that George W. Bush was having trouble
carrying his states."
officials said the calls that were made quickly for Gore came only when
there was heavy statistical evidence to support them. In cases like
Gore's home state of Tennessee and West Virginia, where Bush eventually
scored upset wins, analysts waited for more data because those victories
went against past voting patterns. Missing the Florida call means the
networks have plenty to answer for, says media critic Tom Rosenstiel, but
he dismissed the idea they tried to manipulate results."
"The risk of doing something to help one candidate and harm another,
it's just too great a risk to take. It doesn't make sense."
"In the meantime, CBS News has brought in an outside expert to help
us find out what went wrong on the Florida call and how to correct
CBS News President Andrew Heyward's denial of bias
in this one instance doesn't carry much weight when you realize he
doesn't think CBS ever displays a liberal bias. Appearing on C-SPAN back
on July 30, in response to a caller who asked about liberal media bias
documented by the Media Research Center and Accuracy in Media,
Heyward was dismissive: "Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I do
deny that we have a bias, and I'm familiar with the work that [Brent]
Bozell and [Reed] Irvine do. They are activists and extremists of the
Returning to Thursday night, over on the NBC Nightly
News, Tom Brokaw read a shorter item on the same subject: "On Capitol
Hill today, Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana accused the
television networks, including NBC, of bias, favoring Vice President Gore
on election night. Tauzin is the Chairman of the House Commerce
Telecommunications Subcommittee. He said the timing of the winner
projections in different states discouraged Republican voters in Florida
and also in other states."
presumptive conclusion that I think any reasonable person will reach after
reviewing this evidence, is that there must have been, there probably was
bias in the reporting of the election on election night by the major
networks of our country."
"Congressman Tauzin says he'll be calling congressional hearings on
his charges. NBC News already has announced that we are conducting a
thorough review of our election night procedures as well as those of the
Voter News Service, VNS, which provided that exit poll data. We'll be
reporting on those findings when we have them finished."
a legend in his own time," NBC's Tom Brokaw gushed in
introducing a panegyrical profile Thursday night of Gore team lawyer
David Boies. NBC has yet to air any glowing profile of any Bush team
lawyer, but NBC reporter Jim Avila oozed about the "impressive
track record" of "New York super lawyer David Boies, now Al
Gore's Florida advocate, the top of his career, the fight of his
life." Avila promoted how he's "high on skill, low on
pretense, say colleagues." But he puts his country first: "A
lawyer who believes he can win, but not at any cost."
Tom Brokaw introduced the nearly
three-minute-long NBC Nightly News tribute: "As the battle in the
Florida arena shifted to the legal arena, the Gore campaign brought in
a heavyweight, a New York lawyer with an enviable record and a quirky
personal style. The Gore team hopes he'll do for them what he did to
Bill Gates. His name is David Boies, and he's a legend in his own
Jim Avila began, as transcribed by MRC analyst
hundred dollar an hour fees, two hundred dollar suits. Today in court
for the Democrats wearing black tennis shoes and an impressive track
record, the litigator-in-chief. New York super lawyer David Boies, now
Al Gore's Florida advocate, the top of his career, the fight of his
"I think it's a proud moment. We are dealing with a very
difficult issue of how do you transfer political power in an instance
in which the country is razor thin divided."
"Last year's lawyer of the year, according to the National Law
Journal, profiled in Vanity Fair and People magazine. High on skill,
low on pretense, say colleagues."
George Washington University Law School: "His style is very
unassuming. He doesn't dress pretentiously. He doesn't speak
pretentiously in the courtroom."
biggest courtroom moment till now, the Microsoft trial, the showdown
with Bill Gates. Hired to break up the company, Boies confronted Gates
and used this videotaped deposition to make the richest man in the
world seem detached from his powerful software company. [clip of tape
gate I don't know] And now a different battlefield. Just as
competitive, but not a ruthless, says Boies. Difficult legal
questions, public relations challenges, political demands, and in this
case, winning cannot be everything."
of these men is gonna become President of the United States. One of
these men is gonna be the President of all of us, and we want to be
able to unite behind whoever the ultimate winner is."
he wants Al Gore to be that winner, and Boies' strength in the
courtroom, say other lawyers, is that he simplifies complicated
issues, representing big clients, like CBS in the Westmoreland trial,
IBM in the anti-trust trial, and Napster on the Internet, piercing
motions and legalese, by telling stories that distill arguments into
one or two sentences."
people have voted, the votes have been cast. Now are we gonna count
them or not."
"Based in Westchester, New York, where he lives with his third
wife and two of his six children, what does this super-lawyer in mail
order clothes bring to Al Gore in the end? Supporters say the Vice
President's only chance."
"If he doesn't overturn the result of the original balloting,
he will know that he gave it his very best possible shot."
"With a lawyer who believes he can win, but not at any cost. Jim
Avila, NBC News, Tallahassee."
News spiked its own national scoop. Picking up on a revelation from a
Palm Beach Post columnist, ABCNews.com reported Wednesday that
"police in Palm Beach County confiscated a ballot-box mechanism
from the car of a well-known local Democrat." The "Votomatic,"
ABCNews.com related, is "a device used on some types of ballot
boxes to punch votes through ballot cards, which are then tallied by
But no ABC News TV show touched the story,
leaving it to FNC to give it TV time. Zilch on Good Morning America,
Nightline and World News Tonight Tuesday night through Thursday night.
FNC's Carl Cameron mentioned the development in a larger story in
which he also related how Palm Beach County's Carol Roberts, who is
now leading the charge for a hand count, opposed one in September for
a Republican who lost a race by 11 votes.
But first, an excerpt of the November 15 story
on ABCNews.com which ABC TV skipped. Chris Vlasto and David Ruppe
Several days after presidential votes were tallied in what has
become the hotbed of Florida's post-election confusion, police in
Palm Beach County confiscated a ballot-box mechanism from the car of a
well-known local Democrat.
The mechanism, called a "Votomatic," did not contain any
ballots. It's a device used on some types of ballot boxes to punch
votes through ballot cards, which are then tallied by computers.
According to a police report filed at the Palm Beach County
sheriff's office and obtained by ABCNEWS, Irving Slosberg, 53,
pulled the mechanism from his car and handed it over to police on Nov.
11 after denying to a county government employee that he had it.
When told of the incident, Palm Beach County's supervisor of
elections, Theresa LePore, declined to press charges, according to the
report. "She noted that this incident did occur during the hand
count of the presidential election and LePore stated she did not wish
to pursue further this matter at this time due to extenuating
circumstances," it said. No further action was taken.
Slosberg, a 53-year-old resident of nearby Boca Raton who owns a
handbag company, recently won a seat in the state Legislature amid
allegations he tried to buy his election.
The officer who filed the report, Deputy Sheriff Daniel Grose, had
been working a special elections detail when he was contacted by
Denise Cote, director of public affairs for Palm Beach County. Cote
said she believed Slosberg had an official Palm Beach County ballot
box, according to the police report. Cote told the deputy she first
wanted to speak with Slosberg alone to convince him to give the
machinery back, but she asked the officer to stand by. Ten minutes
later, Cote returned to the officer and said Slosberg had become
confrontational and denied having the mechanism. "I asked Mr.
Slosberg to return it to me, and he said no, he intended to use
it," Cote told ABCNEWS.com.
She said Slosberg did not say how he wanted to use it and he
declined to say how he had obtained it. "I was told by the
county's attorney's office that it must have been taken from a
voting booth, because there was no other way that he could have
obtained it," Cote said.
When the officer asked Slosberg whether he had the item, Slosberg
led the officer to his car and handed over the Votomatic, according to
the police report....
A Palm Beach Post political columnist wrote Monday that Slosberg
had been "schlepping" the mechanism around the county
government center "like a traveling election equipment
"He was happy to provide a demonstration of the county's
ballot problems for anyone with a TV camera last week," wrote
columnist George Bennett. But Slosberg was no longer toting the visual
aid Saturday night, after Mary McCarty, a Palm Beach County
commissioner, demanded to know how he got his hands on a piece of
official county voting machinery, Bennett wrote. "It
disappeared," Slosberg said Sunday when asked about the Votomatic.
To read the entire article, go to:
Thursday night on FNC's Special Report with
Brit Hume, reporter Carl Cameron picked up on that revelation as well
as two other interesting charges made against the chief canvasser in
Palm Beach County and pressure applied by the Gore-supporting Attorney
General. He explained, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
week, the canvassing board had been waiting for legal word on whether
going forward with a manual recount would be lawful, but even before
word came, the board's most controversial and pro-Gore member had
been demanding one get started."
Canvassing Board Commissioner: "The longer we wait, the less
chance it seems to me that we might actually accomplish that."
an issue of hypocrisy I've not seen reported anywhere else:
"But eight weeks ago, Roberts led the fight against a manual
recount in this woman's GOP bid for Florida's legislature. Beverly
Green lost by 11 votes and having been denied a manual recount then,
now accuses Roberts and others of operating under a double standard to
help Al Gore."
"They really outsmarted themselves because they forgot that eight
weeks ago they had already really made a decision that carries some
precedent here eight weeks later. The precedent was established in my
race eight weeks ago."
Cameron pointed out a double standard in how
Katherine Harris is portrayed: "Some Florida Democrats want
Harris disqualified for contributing to and co-chairing Florida's
Bush campaign as well as conferring with partisan Bush operatives, but
the allegations against the chairman of Florida's Gore campaign who
has pushed for manual recounts and also happens to be the state's
Attorney General are more serious. Bob Butterworth allegedly used his
office to pressure the Volusia County canvassing board for a manual
recount. The board chairman was quoted as saying he felt it was
inappropriate. And at this point Butterworth has yet to comment on
those allegations or the conversation that he allegedly had."
Cameron then gave air time to the ABCNews.com
story: "The Palm Beach County police just on Wednesday night
actually pulled over another Democratic election official, and in his
car they found a mechanical voting machine. Wasn't supposed to be
there. No ballots on hand and no charges filed, but with each day it
seems there is more evidence of potential irregularities raising more
questions about the integrity of this whole process, Brit."
Brit Hume raised
charges against Roberts: "Well Carl, these charges that have been
made against Carol Roberts by Republicans are fairly serious, I mean
they've charged, for example, that she's actually manipulated the
ballots. What do we know about the charges and the validity of those
explained: "Well, so far there have been five sworn affidavits
filled out by Republican observers of this process, one of them from a
gentleman by the name of Mark Climmick (sp?), and we have it here, and
in it, he asserts that several ballots were approved by Ms. Carol
Roberts of the canvassing board, which displayed only minor
indentations, which under this canvassing board's own rules, should
not be counted as votes.
Climmick goes on in his sworn affidavit to say, 'I personally
observed canvassing board counters and Ms. Roberts twisting and
otherwise manipulating the paper ballots in an attempt to dislodge the
chads,' the dangling pieces of paper. 'I personally requested that
Ms. Carol Roberts review several ballots that were counted as valid
Gore votes, despite the fact that there existed no hanging chads, and
she refused,' and finally, and this is perhaps the most explosive of
this gentleman's allegations, again in a sworn affidavit, 'I
observed Ms. Carol Roberts picking up numerous ballots from the
questionable pile and the Gore pile and then interspersing ballots
between the piles,' meaning ballots that would probably not have
been counted by those who had looked at them, according to this
affidavit, were picked up by Ms. Roberts and put into the tally that
should have gone into the Gore column."
the media are all focused on missed Gore votes in Democratic counties,
Bush may have lost more votes in a big Republican county, Democratic
consultant Pat Caddell contended in taking on the media's bias
Wednesday night on MSNBC's Hardball. He
discovered that of 27,000 rejected ballots in Duval County,
"15,000 were in precincts where George Bush carried by 75 percent
or more but we don't have any media or anybody running up to protect
MRC analyst Paul Smith took down Caddell's
words from the November 15 Hardball live MSNBC and played back later
on CNBC. Caddell pointed out:
look at the voting systems where we have this punch card, in the rest
of the places that are not being counted, and I know that the media
only thinks that Palm Beach and Miami exist in Florida, but most of
the people live outside of it and there are huge numbers of advantage.
Almost sixty percent of the people in the 20 counties that have the
same voting systems we're talking about, voted for George Bush. If I
had been the Bush people I would have asked for a recount. This idea
that we've really carried the state and somehow we're really
finding out doesn't stand up to the numbers."
Caddell went on to explain: "Let me tell
you what happened in Duval County which the media, for everybody
running down to save the poor people of Palm Beach, in Duval County
which had voted 300,000 people, in Jacksonville where I actually
started my political, well my polling career and I know pretty well, I
went through every precinct there last night. What you find is that
nine percent, twice as many people proportionate were banned, were
knocked out of the election because they had a two page ballot and by
the way, of those 27,000 people knocked out of Duval County, 15,000
were in precincts where George Bush carried by 75 percent or more but
we don't have any media or anybody running up to protect those
people. I mean, this has been so disproportionate. I don't blame the
Democrats. They have a game which is pretend its all in our court but
I blame the media for not having more balance in this and the people
of Florida, by the way, have apparently overwhelmingly figured this
Maybe so too has Katherine Harris. -- Brent Baker
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