Legislature's "Hammer"; Hillary's "Deference" to Conservatives?; Geraldo Promised No Honeymoon for Bush; Gore's Loss Elian's Fault
1) David Bloom thundered on
NBC Nightly News: The Florida legislature "brought down the hammer
tonight" in planning to name electors so "Democrats are
seething," claiming "Jeb Bush and his friends" want
"to take the decision away from the people."
2) CBS adopted the language of the plaintiffs about how
in Seminole County "Republican operatives were allowed to alter
absentee ballot applications." CBS's John Roberts volunteered
that Gore's aides insist "he's not delusional."
3) Though conservatives see Hillary Clinton as "a
symbol of an administration they despise," ABC's Linda Douglass
maintained "her aides believe she will win them over with hard work
and, most importantly, with deference."
4) Bryant Gumbel played "what if" with Michael
Dukakis over what would have happened had he won in 1988. Gumbel soon
realized that would have meant no Clinton, but to a chuckle from Gumbel,
Dukakis reminded him: "There wouldn't have been any Bushes
5) NBC's Today gave the Miami Herald's Tom Fiedler a
platform on Wednesday to expound on his treatise that Bush should show
"humility" and admit more voted for Gore than him in Florida.
6) "I agree" said Geraldo Rivera to Alan
Dershowitz's demand that "we not have a honeymoon" and
launch a "many month investigation into the circumstances that lead
to this presidency."
7) "Conservatives to Lead Senate" declared the
top of the front page New York Times headline. Naturally, the paper did
not tag Senate Democratic leaders as liberal.
8) Gore's loss in Florida: Elian's fault. Only NBC
noted Wednesday night Elian's 7th birthday celebration in Cuba, but
Jim Avila moved on to how Gore lost Cuban-American votes. "Who's
to blame? Democratic sources say it's South Florida's former
Hispanic golden boy Alex Penelas, Mayor to two million in
9) MediaNomics: "NBC's Today Again Promoted Wacky
Tree-Climbing Activist" as Matt Lauer asked about a tree with a
name, and "Iron-Fisted Soviet Union Still Gets Good Press From The
New York Times."
>>> MagazineWatch, an analysis by the MRC's Tim Graham about
this week's editions of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News, is now up on the
MRC home page. The table of contents:
1. Newsweek previewed incoming Bush chief of staff Andy Card as "hard
as Texas dirt," a man never reluctant to fire people, even at
2. U.S. News scribe Roger Simon recounted Gore's bizarre televised claim
that supermarket scanners require hand-written corrections. He added that
with that "compelling" anecdote, Gore's TV abilities are now
considered "one of his greatest strengths."
3. Some minorities are apparently more equal than others. Newsweek
featured an op-ed by black Rep. John Lewis comparing Bush's lawyers to
the violent police assault at Selma, while Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball
fussed over the power Cubans may have wielded in Miami-Dade.
4. Newsweek left-wing legend Jonathan Alter continued his campaign to get
Gore elected, employing all the DNC spin lines and adding that the new
President will be seen as a "bastard."
5. Time's Jack E. White threatened to exceed Alter in vitriol,
suggesting Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are Uncle Toms. John Cloud
found vituperative haters at the Supreme Court.
To read these items,
Correction: The December 6 CyberAlert quoted Scott Pelley of CBS News
referring to "Congressman Army." His name is spelled Armey.
legislators in Florida "brought down the hammer tonight,"
thundered NBC's David Bloom as NBC Nightly News led with Wednesday night
with the announcement the Florida House and Senate will hold a special
session and name a slate of electors if court suits are not settled.
"Not surprisingly," Bloom stressed, "the Democrats are
seething tonight" over the move "to take the decision away from
ABC and CBS offered only brief and mild descriptions
of the possible action. On ABC's World News Tonight, for instance, Erin
Hayes related how Florida legislators "are anxious, see too many
legal fires still smoldering. Part of their motivation: Democrats
determination to fight on and fight hard."
Tom Brokaw opened the December 6 NBC Nightly News:
"Good evening. In Florida tonight the Bush team remains confident it
will prevail when the recount controversy moves back to the State Supreme
Court tomorrow, but the Republican-controlled state legislature is taking
no chances. It's now scheduled a special session to name electors just
in case the process is stalled or the State Supreme Court rules against
Governor Bush. All of this on a day when Vice President Gore did win one
legal battle while continuing two others."
Bloom opened the top story: "The Republicans
here in Tallahassee brought down the hammer tonight, essentially telling
Vice President Gore that unless he wins a clear-cut uncontested victory in
the courts in the next week, they'll award this state's presidential
electors to Governor Bush. Not surprisingly, the Democrats are seething
tonight. A senior Gore advisor telling NBC News quote, 'The American
people will not accept the decision by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his
friends in the Florida legislature to take the decision away from the
people and the independent courts'...
After reviewing the absentee ballot trials Bloom
returned to the legislature: "So today, even as hundreds of pro-Gore
demonstrators rally outside the State Capitol, Republican lawmakers
announced they will hold an extraordinary special session of the state
legislature beginning Friday. Unless all of the court cases are resolved,
Republicans say, they will name a pro-Bush slate of presidential electors
Bloom ran a soundbite of State Senate President John
McKay saying he just wants to ensure Florida is counted by the Electoral
College, but Bloom countered: "Democrats charge that the
Republican-controlled legislature is effectively moving to try to deny
Vice President Gore the presidency under any circumstances."
Lois Frankel (D): "Sadly, I have to say that I believe this is
orchestrated and the only thing missing from the proclamation today was
the post mark from Austin, Texas."
adopted the language of the plaintiffs about "Republican
operatives" in the Seminole County absentee ballot case as Jim
Axelrod asserted it's "a case where both sides agree Republican
operatives were allowed to alter absentee ballot applications."
Wednesday night on CBS John Roberts took up the issue of Gore's mental
state, volunteering that his advisers insist "he's not
delusional" and has accepted "he could either lose or simply run
out of time."
For the first time since before the election,
Wednesday's CBS Evening News ran its regular opening plugging a series
of stories -- sans any "Campaign 2000 Battle for the White
House" graphic and announcement or cold open. Nonetheless, Dan Rather
still intoned: "If this extraordinary battle for the American
presidency is finally moving toward a conclusion, it still may not be a
swift one. Pivotal court cases are yet unfolding and the legislature in
Florida has started to move."
Jim Axelrod picked up and used Democratic case
language: "The absentee ballots of Seminole County dominated today, a
case where both sides agree Republican operatives were allowed to alter
absentee ballot applications, supplying missing voter ID numbers on
applications that otherwise would have been rejected." Axelrod did
also take a shot at Gore: "Ultimately, Al Gore's survival may
depend on a judge deciding to punish the voter, not the violator, a thin
thread for the Gore campaign says Democratic election expert John
Checking in from the Gore camp, John Roberts picked
up on concerns about whether Gore is in touch with reality: "The Vice
President's advisers say Al Gore strongly believes that the world may be
a very different place in 48 hours, that he believes he stands a good
chance to win at the Florida Supreme Court. Those advisers add, however,
that he's not delusional in that thinking, that he has come to accept
the idea that he could either lose or simply run out of time."
see Hillary Clinton as "a symbol of an administration they
despise," maintained ABC's Linda Douglass, but Douglass relayed,
"her aides believe she will win them over with hard work and, most
importantly, with deference."
For Wednesday's World News Tonight Douglass
reviewed reaction to the reality of Hillary Clinton as a Senator as she
goes through orientation. Douglass began her piece: "She is whisked
into the Capitol like a visiting dignitary, but in the United States
Senate Hillary Clinton is a beginner."
Douglass warned: "Already, other Senators are
resentful that reporters surround her. She was greeted warmly by the 12
other women Senators, but one said she had better not see herself as first
After passing along complaints about her bringing
the Secret Service into the Capitol and how many Senators don't want her
on their committees for fear she will hog the spotlight, Douglass outlined
her plan to win over conservatives:
conservatives Mrs. Clinton is a lightning rod, a symbol of an
administration they despise. But her aides believe she will win them over
with hard work and, most importantly, with deference."
From "vast right-wing conspiracy" out to
smear her and her husband to respect and deference? Don't count on it.
Douglass concluded: "For now she is living in
two worlds -- working in a cramped basement office in the Capitol,
switching back to her role as First Lady, today putting presidential books
into a time capsule, including the last one she wrote about decorating and
serving meals at the White House."
Gumbel played "what if" with Michael Dukakis over what would
have happened had he won in 1988. Gumbel soon realized that would have
meant no President Clinton, but to a chuckle from Gumbel, Dukakis reminded
him: "There wouldn't have been any Bushes either."
MRC analyst Brian Boyd picked up on the exchange at
the end of a Wednesday interview on CBS's The Early Show about how
Dukakis handled his loss and how he now has a fulfilling life as a college
you never ever think about, hey, what might have been if only for seven
"Yeah, I think about it but you can't dwell on it. I mean wouldn't
the country have been infinitely better off if Mike Dukakis had been
elected in 1988?"
you know what, look, I mean, there could then be an argument that if you
had been there might not have been a President Clinton too, so who knows
wouldn't have been any Bushes either."
An amused Gumbel uttered a quick chuckle as he then
thanked Dukakis for appearing.
Today gave the Miami Herald's Tom Fiedler a platform on Wednesday to
expound of his treatise that George W. Bush should show
"humility" and admit that "it's probably true that more
people went to the polls on November 7th intending to vote for my
opponent. Because of the law, because of the rules, because of their own
mistakes that didn't happen."
Fiedler, the paper's former top political reporter
best known for the Gary Hart/Donna Rice episode, now runs the paper's
editorial page. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this exchange on the
December 6 Today:
Katie Couric: "Tom, you know you wrote in your
last column that if he wins George W. Bush should admit he did so by
accident. What exactly did you mean and what kind of response has that
I think what I was, the point that I was making is that if this plays out
as it appears it will I think that it's very important for him, if he
wants to unite the country, to, to accept victory with a real sense of
humility. To stand before the public and say look, 'It's probably true
that more people went to the polls on November 7th intending to vote for
my opponent. Because of the law, because of the rules, because of their
own mistakes that didn't happen. I'm the winner. I'm not ashamed of that
but also I recognize that I'm taking office here with some humility.' And
I think that, that, that kind of straight talk is, is really important and
perhaps necessary for him to at least reach out and, and to recognize that
he's, he is an accidental, he could be the accidental President."
not over and we will not let it be over even when it is over. So warned
Geraldo Rivera on CNBC Tuesday night in an exchange with Alan Dershowitz
caught by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens.
On the December 5 Rivera Live on CNBC Dershowitz
urged: "I think it's really important that when and if a concession
comes from Gore that we not have a honeymoon, that we not put this behind
us, that this be the beginning of at least a many, many month
investigation into the circumstances that lead to this presidency."
"Oh, I agree."
The more relevant question is, how many of
Rivera's media colleagues agree?
Wednesday's Washington Post offered the calm and dispassionate inside
headline, "Senate GOP Re-elects Leaders," New York Times readers
were greeted with this headline across the top of the front page:
"Conservatives to Lead Senate." Naturally, the Times did not tag
Senate Democratic leaders as liberal.
Under the December 6 headline, New York Times
reporter Alison Mitchell began: "Republicans selected Senator Trent
Lott and a conservative leadership team today to preside over a new Senate
that will be balanced on a knife edge, and they gently but quickly
rebuffed the Democrats' demands for power sharing, including
Mitchell first cited a Democratic Senator in her
fourth paragraph, but failed to add an ideological label: "On one
side were some Democrats so adamant about equal control that they refused
to concede that their own newly elected leader, Senator Tom Daschle of
South Dakota, would have the title minority leader. On the other side were
Republicans determined to maintain their prerogatives."
loss in Florida: Elian's fault. Only the NBC Nightly News took note
Wednesday night of the 7th birthday celebration in Cuba for Elian, but
NBC's Jim Avila quickly moved on to how Cuban-American anger cost Gore
votes in Florida. Avila zeroed in on the target of the Gore team's
anger: "Who's to blame? Democratic sources say it's South
Florida's former Hispanic golden boy Alex Penelas, Mayor to two million
From Cardenas Cuba, over video of Elian at one point
running up to Fidel Castro and hitting his leg, Avila began his report as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Elian Gonzalez one year
later, celebrating his 7th birthday, this time on Cuban soil, serenaded by
his classmates, family and Fidel Castro, on a nationwide broadcast.
Elian's birthday now an unofficial state holiday. The lone American
invited, Joan Brown Campbell, whose National Council of Churches
orchestrated and funded his return to Cuba."
have a feeling that he's doing extremely well, that he's adjusted
Avila: "Here in
Cuba the government effectively used the Elian story to both unify and
distract a troubled country, the hard life, commonly referred to here as
'The Struggle.' But across the Florida Straits, a different story.
Miami was split over Elian. Some politicians lost their future, and some
people say the presidency was determined. The political fallout,
Democratic hopes of inroads among the largely Republican Cuban-Americans
of Miami vanish when U.S. Marshals return Elian to his father. 1996: Bill
Clinton carries Miami-Dade with 57 percent of the vote. November 2000 Al
Gore wins, but 53 percent. Translation say some experts: 40,000 lost
Ramon Saul Sanchez,
The Democracy Movement: "I think if Elian Gonzalez's case had been
handled differently, perhaps Mr. Gore would have been President
Avila zeroed in on
the target of Gore's wrath: "Who's to blame? Democratic sources
say it's South Florida's former Hispanic golden boy Alex Penelas,
mayor to two million in Miami-Dade, a lone high-profile Democrat in a sea
of Cuban American Republicans."
Mayor Alex Penelas:
"The reality is that I don't think, you know, one person could have
changed the outcome of an election."
Democratic sources say the Gore campaign is angry, not only that Penelas
sat out the hot Florida campaign, traveling to Spain the final two weeks
before the election, but also blaming him for making himself virtually
invisible when the Democratic election board in his county decided not to
recount 10,000 critical disputed votes."
Jim Defede, Miami
New Times reporter: "They feel that Penelas has abandoned them, that
Penelas has used them."
Over matching video,
Avila concluded: "Elian, one year ago, wrapped in an American flag in
Miami on his 6th birthday. Today turning seven wrapped in Cuban
patriotism, a little boy at the center of a political divide still
splitting two countries."
edition of MediaNomics, the online publication from the MRC's Free
Market Project (FMP), is now up on the MRC Web site. The two articles by
FMP Director Rich Noyes:
-- NBC's Today Again Promoted Wacky Tree-Climbing
According to the
National Christmas Tree Association, 36 million American homes will be
adorned with a real Christmas tree this December. It's probably just a
matter of time before NBC's Matt Lauer sits down with Julia
"Butterfly" Hill to rue this mass Yuletide slaughter.
Last week Lauer
seemed overwrought by the tree's plight. "I know this is not the
interview you wanted to do with me," he sympathetically told Hill
before inquiring, "You went and saw Luna. How hard was that for
To read the article, go
-- Iron-Fisted Soviet Union Still Gets Good Press
From The New York Times
Freedom may be
hazardous to your health - at least that was the implicit message in a
December 5 New York Times article which documented the tuberculosis
epidemic that is ravaging Russia and which is beginning to leak into the
rest of the world. Writing from the Russian city of Voronezh,
correspondent Abigail Zuger actually waxed nostalgic about the old
Communist regime's ability to control threats to the general health of
For the article in full, go to:
> Finally, MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted a
RealPlayer excerpt of Scott Pelley's 60 Minutes II interview with George
W. Bush, detailed in the December 6 CyberAlert, in which Pelley pressed
Bush 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?"
For the video clip, go
-- Brent Baker
Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions
which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible
donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert
readers and subscribers:
>>>To subscribe to
CyberAlert, send a
blank e-mail to:
@topica.com. Or, you can go to:
Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE
REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to email@example.com."
After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply
hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been
added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page
link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You
NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by
subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday
afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: email@example.com.
Or, go to: http://www.mrc.org/newsletters.<<<
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe