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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| Wednesday December 6, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 259) |

Tax Cut "Bad for the Economy"; Hillary's "Modern Fairy Tale"; Gore Has Lost Gumbel & Rivera; Gore to Hijack Air Force Two?

1) CBS's Scott Pelley pressed George Bush on 60 Minutes II about naming his brother Jeb the Attorney General. "He didn't go to law school," Bush observed. Pelley imagined Alan Greenspan would say "an across the board tax cut is probably bad for the economy" and demanded of Bush, so "will you listen?"

2) CBS relayed Gore's claim that Democrats and Republicans were treated differently with absentee ballots, but FNC's Jim Angle pointed that "the local elections supervisor has given a sworn statement to the court that no Democratic ballot requests were thrown out and there is no such allegation in court."

3) NBC Nightly News on Hillary Clinton: "It's a modern fairy tale. From First Lady entertaining 20,000 guests at 26 Christmas parties to just another freshman Senator today arriving for orientation in an SUV, no limo....From foie gras to Senate bean soup."

4) FNC's Brit Hume highlighted how Slate's Jacob Weisberg undermined the Miami Herald calculation that Gore would have won a flawless vote by 23,000. More like by barely 400 when you eliminate the double votes.

5) George Stephanopoulos and Jonathan Alter offered foreboding predictions about a strategy to de-legitimize George Bush: Liberal groups will count Florida ballots themselves and declare Gore the true winner.

6) Gore has lost Bryant Gumbel and Geraldo Rivera. Gumbel: "Your best guess, when's Al Gore concede?" Rivera: "This thing is all over but the shouting."

7) NBC's Claire Shipman relayed how Gore's team is joking about how "they could always blockade the vice presidential residence or take off on Air Force Two and refuse to come down."


You don't have to be a lawyer to be Attorney General, but it would help. In a very odd series of questions, on 60 Minutes II Wednesday night CBS's Scott Pelley pressed George W. Bush about whether, like John Kennedy, he'd make his brother the Attorney General. Bush declined the opportunity, informing Pelley that Jeb "didn't go to law school." Pelley remained undeterred.

    Bush may not be ready yet to accept the title of "President-elect," but Pelley gave him a preview of how the networks approach Republican Presidents from the left on issues like taxes. Pelley imagined a situation in which Alan Greenspan would say "an across the board tax cut is probably bad for the economy." To which Pelley demanded: "Will you listen?"

    Earlier, Pelley pointed out Dick Cheney's public activities and demanded "Who's in charge?" He raised the complaint that it was "irresponsible" for Cheney to mention the possibility of a recession, pointed out that the Republican congressional leadership are "not your kind of Republicans and you're not their kind of Republican." Pelley also brought up how Bush would be the first President in 100 years to lose the popular vote, so "does that make a Bush presidency somehow less legitimate?"

    Pelley began his December 5 interview by asking if Bush considered Gore to be a sore loser, what would he say to Al Gore, can he imagine any scenario in which he loses and how did the election night concession retraction call unfold and was he "snippy" during it.

    Then Pelley arrived at his more politically charged topics: "In recent days and weeks we have seen your running mate Mr. Cheney holding news conferences, opening the transition office, moving things forward. We have not seen a great deal of you. Who's in charge?"
    Bush shot back: "Vice President-to-be Cheney is doing exactly what I've asked him to do..."

    Pelley followed up with criticism of Cheney: "Some people believe with the markets in the condition they're in, for Dick Cheney to go out and say we're on the front edge of a recession was irresponsible."

    After getting Bush to agree that Colin Powell is in line for a cabinet position, Pelley lunched his strange series of questions about Jeb Bush: "Are you giving any thought to making your brother Attorney General? John Kennedy did it for Bobby Kennedy."
    Bush: "Yes I've given it thought. I've spent about two seconds on it and the answer is no."
    Pelley, acting shocked, with his voice raised: "No!? Any role for Jeb Bush?"
    Bush: "First of all, he didn't go to law school and secondly he is a fine man but he needs to be in Florida doing the job of Governor of Florida. No he's not going to be asked and he doesn't expect to be asked and so no."
    Pelley: "There's no cabinet role for your brother?"
    Bush: "None."
    Pelley: "Sound pretty decisive about that. You're not sore about Florida are you?"
    Bush: "We're going to win Florida. I'm thrilled that we won Florida..."

    Pelley moved on to pointing out that by winning by a mere 537 votes he hardly has a sweeping mandate, so how will he pull the House and Senate together?

    Next, Pelley took on Republican leaders as too conservative: "You know the leadership in the Congress, the Republican leadership in the Congress: Senator Lott, Congressman Armey, Congressman DeLay -- they're not your kind of Republicans and you're not their kind of Republican."

    Pelley reminded Bush that Clinton embraced Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan. Bush replied that he is looking forward to working with Greenspan, prompting Pelley to turn on his liberal imagination: "If in that first meeting with Mr. Greenspan, the Chairman of the Fed, he says to you, 'Mr. President, I think an across the board tax cut is probably bad for the economy.' Will you listen?"
    Bush replied: "Of course I'll listen. It doesn't mean I have to agree with him because I happen to believe an across the board tax cut will be good for the economy..."

    (Wednesday morning on NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed, Katie Couric forwarded the same anti-tax cut theme. She told economist Alan Sinai: "Now you say though there are some things that can be done if the Fed acts appropriately and the government takes some steps. For example across the board tax cut possibly as Dick Cheney has recommended, that the economy can bounce back even though some economists say across the board tax cuts are not the answer, increased government spending is.")


Gore's fanciful imagination? During his appearance Tuesday before reporters on the White House driveway, Al Gore embraced the Seminole and Martin County lawsuits aimed at throwing out all the absentee ballots. The CBS Evening News relayed, without contradiction, Gore's claim that Democrats and Republicans were treated differently. But as Jim Angle pointed out on FNC: "The local elections supervisor has given a sworn statement to the court that no Democratic ballot requests were thrown out and there is no such allegation in court."

    ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News only showed Gore predicting the two absentee ballot cases would eventually end up in the Florida Supreme Court.

    On the December 5 CBS Evening News, John Roberts reported: "With options to count disputed ballots running out, Gore today turned about face and for the first time publicly embraced two other court cases that seek to throw out thousands of Republican absentee votes in Seminole and Martin counties."

    Roberts pointed out how Gore had stayed away from the cases because they run contrary to counting every vote, but "Gore today found a way to make them fit his philosophy by claiming that Democratic voters were treated unfairly."
    Gore: "There were more than enough votes to make the difference. [edit jump] More than enough votes were potentially taken away from Democrats because they were not given the same access that Republicans were."

    Jim Angle on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume played clips of Gore making the same claim, but Angle checked them against reality. FNC showed Gore claiming: "I'm not a party to that case or the Martin County case" and "there were more than enough votes to make the difference that were apparently thrown into the, the applications for ballots were thrown into the trash can by the supervisor of elections there."
    Angle informed viewers: "In fact, the local elections supervisor has given a sworn statement to the court that no Democratic ballot requests were thrown out and there is no such allegation in court. Nevertheless, Gore insists Democrats were hurt."
    Gore: "Democrats were denied an opportunity to come in, denied a chance to even look at the applications and those applications were thrown out."

    Later on the CBS Evening News, Jim Axelrod provided a full story on the Seminole case but failed to raise Angle's angle. Picking up on how Democratic lawyer Harry Jacobs is suing, Axelrod asserted: "He says the Republican supervisor there let Republicans tamper with absentee ballot applications. Dirty politics says his lawyer, and illegal." After letting a Bush lawyer call it a minor violation, Axelrod concluded by hitting both sides:
    "So tonight the survival of Al Gore's count every vote strategy may rest on some ballots being excluded and it is Republicans who are in the streets demanding every vote be counted. Poised for battle it is consistency that could be the first casualty."

     Axelrod failed to pick up on a connection between those bringing the absentee ballot lawsuit and the Democratic National Committee, FNC's Brit Hume highlighted Tuesday night:
     "The Orlando Sentinel, which earlier reported that the case was filed after consultation with Gore lawyer and fund raiser Mitchell Berger, now reports that Democratic National Committee lawyer Mark Herron also advised the plaintiff about his lawsuit before it was filed. Herron, you may recall, was also the guy who wrote the memo telling Democratic observers how to get military absentee ballots disqualified."

    To read the Orlando Sentinel article, go to:


Andrea Mitchell's fairy tale about Hillary Clinton's arrival in the Senate. On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News Mitchell effused her awe over Hillary Clinton's "modern fairy tale" transformation into a Senator as she reported on her first day of Senate orientation.

    Mitchell began her piece by gushing: "It's a modern fairy tale. From First Lady entertaining 20,000 guests at 26 Christmas parties to just another freshman Senator today arriving for orientation in an SUV, no limo. From America's finest antiques to unpacking boxes in a basement office. From foie gras to Senate bean soup. The Senator-elect goes to the Capitol."
    Hillary Clinton: "I hadn't spent much time in this building since 1974 when I worked for the Congress and 1968 when I was an intern."
    Mitchell continued, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Her husband tonight goes to his first official event, dinner at the Supreme Court, as a Senate spouse."
    Bill Clinton: "Thank you, Senator."
    Mitchell: "Friends say a tough transition for him leaving power, an uncertain future and a huge challenge for her."
    Trent Lott: "When she raises her hand and says 'I do,' she's a Senator. And she'll be treated accordingly."
    Mitchell: "A lot more welcoming than last month when Lott said quote, 'Maybe lightning will strike and she won't get to the Senate.'"
    Hillary Clinton: "I've had a number of very pleasant social occasions with Senator Lott and his very gracious and lovely wife."
     Mitchell: "To prevent resentments in the Senate, friends say they've told her to give up Secret Service protection, especially inside the Capitol."
     Bob Dole: "Maybe there's a very good reason for her to have Secret Service, but we have a very good police force in the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police do a great job."
     Mitchell concluded: "But friends say she plans to keep the Secret Service protection. And when Hillary Clinton starts making Senate speeches for $141,000 a year, her husband will make $100,000 a speech supporting his Senate wife in style."


If all were perfect not a 23,000 vote Gore win but a Gore win, maybe, by 409 votes. FNC's Brit Hume Tuesday night pointed out how a liberal reporter contradicted the claim of a one professor, whose analysis the Miami Herald plastered on its front page, that in a flawless election Gore would have won Florida by 23,000. ABC's World News Tonight ran a full story Sunday night on the theory, the December 4 CyberAlert detailed.

    Hume recalled on his December 5 show: "The Miami Herald reported over the weekend that by projecting the voting percentages which Bush and Gore got in each of Florida's counties against the number of votes not counted statewide because counting machines threw them out shows that Gore could have won the state by at least 23,000 votes."

    Hume then alerted viewers: "But Jacob Weisberg of the liberal online publication Slate notes that The Herald included ballots in that tally that were thrown out because they were marked twice or more for President. He points out that such ballots are never counted, recount or no recount, anywhere. He then did his own calculations of what would have happened if the same kind of manual recount that was done in Broward County, where a very liberal standard was used in determining voter intent, were done statewide, and determined Gore would still have come out 709 votes short."

     Since posting that analysis Monday night on Slate, Weisberg was forced to update it as readers found some errors in his calculation. Weisberg's revised guestimate posted Tuesday afternoon: "If all of Florida's counties had done a hand recount using the chad-counting rules employed by Broward County, Al Gore would not lose Florida by 709 votes, as I predicted yesterday. Gore would win Florida by 409 votes!"

    Of course, that means he still would lose using Palm Beach County standards for not counting dimples.

    And either way the professor's analysis legitimized by the Miami Herald was way off base.

    To read Weisberg's original piece, go to:

    For his revised analysis:

    Speaking of Hume, over a graphic of the ABC logo with this text below, "More Americans can't turn to ABC News for this story," Hume picked up and expanded on an item in Tuesday's CyberAlert:
    "The Supreme Court on Monday sent the Florida Supreme Court's ruling extending the deadline for recounts in Florida back to that court for clarification. But the high court also vacated -- that is to say, nullified the Florida court's order as you've heard. But you would have been hard-pressed to discern that from the coverage Monday night on ABC and NBC News. Neither network's evening news program ever said the Supreme Court had vacated the Florida court's order. And readers of The New York Times did not find that out until the fourth paragraph of The Times front page story."


Two liberals getting paid as reporters, George Stephanopoulos and Jonathan Alter, have offered foreboding predictions about a soon to be implemented strategy to de-legitimize George Bush after inauguration: Liberal groups will take advantage of Florida's sunshine laws to count ballots themselves and declare Gore the true winner.

    -- George Stephanopoulos. On ABC's Good Morning America on December 5 Charles Gibson asked: "Let me ask you sort of a very hypothetical question. Let's say that the Vice President loses in the Florida Supreme Court, it's over, George Bush is sworn in as President. Someday, somebody's going to look at those 14,000 votes."
    Stephanopoulos warned, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "Not so hypothetical, Charlie. Remember, Florida has sunshine laws. They say that everyone can come in, petition and examine the ballots. What is most likely is that you're going to have several different recounts in Florida. You'll have People for the American Way doing one recount that'll probably show that Al Gore won. You'll have Judicial Watch doing a recount that shows that Al Gore lost. But I think that over time, and one of the things that's fueling the Gore fight, they believe that when impartial historians look at those ballots, look at the votes, they'll say that Al Gore won the state of Florida, and that's helping him continue."
    Gibson: "It would make for a very strange situation, though, if they found that the votes were there and you had the other man serving as President."
    Stephanopoulos: "But there's nothing you can do at that point. It's past January 20th."

    -- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on CNBC's Rivera Live the night before. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed how Alter alerted Rivera: "The other thing to keep in mind Geraldo is with these 14,000 ballots or the 10,000 anyway in Miami-Dade. Eventually we will know. The Sunshine state has one of the most permissive sunshine laws, public access laws of any state in the union. So some kind of liberal legal gadfly, maybe you Geraldo, will eventually apply-"
    Rivera: "Could be. I'm a radical, I'm not a liberal."
    Alter: "-and a court will, a court will grant permission. It's almost inevitable that sometime in the next six months a court will grant permission to do what Larry Klayman did in Palm Beach. Go an review the ballots. So eventually we may find out that actually, it's conceivable that Gore won the election after all. Then what will [we] do when Bush is President? Will everybody go: 'whoops?!'"


The end must be near for Al Gore. Two of the media's biggest liberals, Geraldo Rivera and Bryant Gumbel, have lost faith that he can win.

    Bryant Gumbel opened a December 5 Early Show interview with the Hotline's Craig Crawford: "Gore didn't just lose in Leon County, he got trounced. Fair to say the decision was much worse than Gore or his advisors expected?"

    Gumbel also betrayed his lack of faith in Gore's cause in another question picked up by MRC analyst Brian Boyd: "What about the Supreme Court, I mean, realistically having had their wrists slapped in Washington is it realistic to think the seven justices on Florida's Supreme Court will be anxious to help Al Gore a second time?"

    Gumbel's last inquiry for Crawford assumed Gore will concede: "Final note, your best guess, when's Al Gore concede?"

    Monday night on his CNBC show Geraldo Rivera insisted Gore really did get more votes than Bush in Florida, but he's resigned himself to reality as he rued:
    "The rules are the rules, the other guy is the luckiest presidential candidate in the history of this country. He has squeaked in on a technicality. But I don't think there is any budging that reality that George W. Bush will, unless lightning strikes, be the next President of the United States. So I'm saying for our title tonight: 'Down for the Count?' I put the question mark on it because I want to be nice to my pals the Democrats but I think that this thing is all over but the shouting."


Gore joking about refusing to leave the VP residence or hijacking Air Force Two? Claire Shipman wrapped up a piece on Tuesday's NBC Nightly News by relaying:
"It's not all gloom and doom in the Gore camp. The Vice President, we're told, does joke about his situation. He and top aides recently kidding around, for example, about the fact that if they lose before Florida's Supreme Court they could always blockade the vice presidential residence or take off on Air Force Two and refuse to come down."

    Can we be sure he's really joking? -- Brent Baker


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