Bush Hindered by Conservatives; Brokaw Pushed McCain's Agenda; "Ideologically Motivated" SCOTUS Made Bush President
1) Conservatives, as
epitomized by Tom DeLay, are an impediment to George Bush. ABC asserted
the "firebrand conservative" will cause Bush more
"difficulty" than any Democrat. CBS's Gloria Borger insisted
Bush's first "test" is whether he shuts down DeLay, whom CBS
tagged as "ultra-conservative."
2) Brokaw's first question to John McCain after Bush
spoke: "I saw or heard nothing in this speech about campaign
finance reform..." Second question: "You were critical of the
Governor's tax plan when you were contesting with each other during
the primaries. Do you think he ought to have that high on his
3) We had eight boom years with Democrats in charge so,
Dan Rather wondered, "What is it that you can make us think that
things will be better with Republicans in charge of virtually all the
levers of power?"
4) Al Gore's "greatest contribution"?
ABC's Sam Donaldson claimed his dire warnings about global warming
"are a wonderful contribution to alarm us about."
5) ABC's reporters fell over themselves in gushing
about Gore's speech: "remarkably statesmanlike....incredibly
gracious.... beautifully written, it touched on history....what aptness,
even grace, and at times bordering on nobility of expression." CBS
and NBC also praised Bush's performance.
6) Dan Rather discredited Bush's victory, opening the
CBS Evening News by relaying the spin that the "politically and
ideologically motivated U.S. Supreme Court...handed the presidency to
Bush." Rather also assumed the court had ruined its reputation.
7) ABC on the Supreme Court: "Two hundred years ago
Alexander Hamilton wrote that the court without an army or a vast
treasury had only its judgment. There are many people who worry tonight
that that precious commodity has been diminished."
8) Dan Rather: "'United We Stand, Divided We
Fall' is carved in stone on a statue of Daniel Webster not far from
this building in New York's Central Park. With that in mind...."
9) Letterman's "Top Ten Headlines We're Likely
to See in the Next Four Years."
seconds of George W. Bush making his first appearance as President-elect
ABC and CBS had already begun to nudge him left by identifying Tom DeLay,
the "firebrand conservative," as the impediment to success and
an enemy greater than any Democrat. Earlier, CBS's Phil Jones claimed
Bush's win "may not be all good news" for "the
ultra-conservatives, like Republican whip Tom DeLay."
Near the end of ABC's 10pm ET half hour special
for Bush's Wednesday night address, Peter Jennings asked Linda Douglass
on Capitol Hill: "Linda, I want a quick prediction from you if I may.
Who is the new President going to have more difficulty with? Democrats or
Douglass named DeLay:
"My prediction is he'll have more trouble with the
conservatives...My prediction is Tom DeLay in the House, the firebrand
conservative who has a lot of followers and doesn't want to give an
In case the identity of the trouble-makers was not
clear, Jennings stressed: "Thanks very much. In other words, the
Republicans in the conservative wing of the party."
During CBS's live coverage, Dan Rather turned to
Gloria Borger of CBS and U.S. News and asked if the Bush team is ready to
take over running the government. She contended they are but warned that
how he deals with DeLay will determine his success:
"I think they
are ready to hit the ground running Dan and I think they also understand
that one of their first tests may not just be how they behave with
Democrats like Chuck Schumer, but how they behave with their own
Republicans. Obviously there's a very conservative caucus, particularly
running the House of Representatives. Tom DeLay one of the leaders of the
House of Representatives, he said, 'look, this is the first time we've
controlled the Congress and the White House in 50 years and we want a
conservative agenda.' So George Bush is going to have to make a very
strategic decision, and that is does he have a discussion with Tom DeLay
and does he say 'look, I think we need to sit down with Democrats
because we need to achieve something early.'?"
Earlier, on the CBS Evening News, Phil Jones warned:
"The arrival of Cheney and Bush may not be all good news for some
Republicans, especially the ultra-conservatives, like Republican whip Tom
Jones to Congressman
John Porter: "What is a President Bush going to have to say to people
like Tom DeLay?"
going to have to say that I'm the President, I've been elected to lead
this country, I can't lead by associating only with a wing of my
Imagine a network treating any other group as some
kind of alien force identified as "people like."
CBS launched their effort to discredit any allegiance to conservative
policies by trying to damage Tom DeLay, but NBC's Tom Brokaw instead
rudely used Bush's big night as another opportunity to promote John
McCain's liberal campaign finance reform agenda as he also invited
McCain to denounce Bush's tax plan.
Brokaw's very first question to Senator John
McCain following Bush's speech during NBC's 90-minute 9 to 10:30pm ET
"I saw or heard
nothing in this speech about campaign finance reform. It is your great
passion, of course. Tim Russert talked about a honeymoon. Are you going to
give the President-elect a honeymoon on campaign finance reform?"
No, he answered. He plans to bring it up soon.
Brokaw's second question to McCain: "The
Governor once again repeated tonight what he believes is the need for
broad uniform tax relief for this country. The economy is slowing. You
were critical of the Governor's tax plan when you were contesting with
each other during the primaries. Do you think he ought to have that high
on his agenda?"
McCain suggested Bush concentrate on areas where he
can reach consensus, such as estate taxes.
Memo to Brokaw: McCain lost. Memo to McCain: You
lost worse than Gore.
in charge of everything: There go the good times. Check out this loaded
question from Dan Rather to John McCain as CBS showed a live shot of Al
Gore exiting the Old Executive Office Building at about 9:22pm ET:
"Many Americans, not all of them Democrats, will be thinking we went
through eight pretty good years certainly economically and many other
ways. But with a Democrat in the White House and Republicans controlling
the Congress. Now we're moving to a period where the Republicans control
the White House, the House of Representatives and, with Dick Cheney's
vote coming, the Senate and the Republicans have a majority of, a decisive
majority, in the Supreme Court. What is it that you can make us think that
things will be better with Republicans in charge of virtually all the
levers of power?"
Let's re-write Rather's assumption: "Many
Americans, most of them journalists..."
Gore's dire warnings about global warming "are a wonderful
contribution to alarm us about," ABC's Sam Donaldson oozed after
Gore's speech Wednesday night.
Peter Jennings asked Donaldson to identify Gore's
"greatest contribution" during the campaign. Donaldson's
"I think his
environmental stance. People like to deride him about it, his critics like
to laugh a bit about it, but global warming and a whole host of issues,
Peter, Al Gore has been the signal carrier in the night of the warning
that if we don't do something about this, we're all gonna perish.
Sounds silly, but it's a wonderful contribution to alarm us about."
How typical of liberal thinking. It's not accuracy
that matters, it's that he cares.
and NBC anchor teams gushed with effusive praise for the speeches
delivered by Al Gore and George Bush, but while ABC's reporters and
analysts saluted Gore's address, after Bush spoke the network avoided
reviewing his performance and moved on to assessing his chances for
None of the three networks offered a syllable of
criticism Wednesday night for how Gore behaved over the last five weeks.
Instead, ABC's reporters described Gore's talk as "remarkably
statesmanlike....incredibly gracious, almost could have been written by
Governor Bush's speech writing staff....beautifully written, it touched
on history....what aptness, even grace, and at times bordering on nobility
Dan Rather dubbed it "a classy concession"
while NBC's Tim Russert asserted: "That was the perfect tone Tom.
It was personal and poignant and credible." Russert offered equally
enthusiastic praise for Bush: "It was a presidential speech. He was
sincere and forceful."
Here are the December 13 prime time broadcast
network assessments, most of which were transcribed by MRC analyst Brad
-- ABC News on Gore:
Peter Jennings: "You know, that is the most
relaxed and the most personal and the calmest I have seen Al Gore almost
in the entire campaign."
Stephanopoulos: "Calm as if a burden has been lifted not only from
the country, Peter, but from him because he knows that he has fought for
the principles he said that he believed in over the course of the
campaign. Also remarkably statesmanlike, Peter..."
ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin: "I
don't think there was a single word in there that anyone in Austin,
Texas, would have been bothered by. Incredibly gracious, almost could have
been written by Governor Bush's speech writing staff...."
Cokie Roberts: "You know, one of the things
that's so interesting, Peter, is often after a presidential race when we
look at the loser, we say, 'Why couldn't he have been like that during
the campaign?' And I think that that was the case with Al Gore tonight.
He was, he came on and so often during the campaign when he came on TV he
was annoying. There was nothing annoying about this. It was gracious, it
was beautifully written, it touched on history..."
Sam Donaldson: "Peter, I don't think I've
ever heard a more gracious concession speech. In the last forty years,
I've covered a lot of elections, I've covered a lot of losers. I've
never heard one like this....I think he did a wonderful thing toward
trying to unite this country."
Terry Moran: "I must say I concur with my
colleagues. What good humor, what aptness, even grace, and at times
bordering on nobility of expression. What touch and grasp of the
undercurrents and the yearnings in this political moment. This was a
political act of excellence that we have not seen from Al Gore throughout
Dean Reynolds: "Well, I agree with what Mark
Halperin just said, Peter. They could have written it themselves. This
speech was extremely gracious. It's the kind of speech that Governor
Bush will really truly appreciate..."
-- CBS News on Gore:
Dan Rather: "A classy concession" and a
Bob Schieffer: "I think it would be hard to say
that you could find a more gracious speech."
-- CBS News on Bush:
Dan Rather: "A strong speech, strongly
delivered, confidently delivered by the new President."
Bob Schieffer: "I thought it was a very good
speech....Let's hope he succeeds. It will be the best thing for the
country and I thought it was the right tone and the right kind of speech
-- NBC News on Gore:
Tom Brokaw to Tim Russert: "It would be hard to
improve on that as a statement of reconciliation and support for the new
was the perfect tone Tom. It was personal and poignant and credible. The
Vice President said he disagreed with the Supreme Court decision, he's
disappointed about losing, he said he doesn't know what he's going to
do now. But he was extremely gracious and it was imperative that he step
up and do just this and he did it extremely well."
-- NBC News on Bush:
Tom Brokaw: "Tim, again another graceful speech
from the new President-elect talking about the issues, specifically,
around which Democrats would have a hard time not uniting."
"Absolutely Tom. It was a presidential speech. He was sincere and
forceful. It's quite interesting to me how both Al Gore and George W.
Bush realized the significance and importance tonight for the country and
for history. They realized it was a moment bigger than they were and they
both stepped up and in an extraordinary way I think have taken a very
significant, extraordinary step in pulling the nation together."
Bush's victory by attributing it to a disreputable Supreme Court of the
United States (SCOTUS). On Wednesday night Dan Rather highlighted how
"some say" a "politically and ideologically motivated U.S.
Supreme Court...handed the presidency to Bush."
Rather opened the December 13 CBS Evening News:
"Good evening. Texas Governor George Bush tonight will assume the
mantle and the honor of President-elect. This comes 24 hours after a
sharply split and, some say, politically and ideologically motivated U.S.
Supreme Court ended Vice President Gore's contest of the Florida
election and, in effect, handed the presidency to Bush."
Later, during CBS's prime time coverage of the
Gore and Bush speeches, Rather posed a question to legal analyst Jonathan
Turley which assumed the Supreme Court has damaged its reputation:
"In the wake of
the Supreme Court decision where does the court go from here in rebuilding
its prestige and reputation?"
They wouldn't need to, if they really do, if it
weren't smeared by journalists like Dan Rather who incorporate partisan
political spin into news copy.
of assuming the reputation of the Supreme Court has been ruined just
because liberals don't like a decision, Wednesday's World News Tonight
dedicated a whole story to giving credibility to attacks on the court from
Mario Cuomo and a supposed "conservative legal scholar."
Reporter Aaron Brown countered Justice Clarence
Thomas's insistence that politics played no role in the decision:
"That may be a hard sell to many Americans who see politics written
all over the court's 5-4 ruling." Brown concluded that in its Bush
v Gore decision "many people" worry that the court's
"precious commodity" of judgment "has been
Before ABC got to Brown's story, Gore beat
reporter Terry Moran told viewers that Gore's top aides are really mad
at the justices: "There is deep, deep anger and resentment and
bitterness. It is not too little to say that Gore's inner-circle feels
that they were robbed of this election by the Supreme Court of the United
ABC's Aaron Brown began his December 13 story, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "His meeting with students
was arranged weeks ago, but Justice Thomas's words seemed especially
Thomas addressing high school students in video provided by C-SPAN:
"I wish that there was a way for the people who are citizens of this
country to see the seriousness and the angst of the members of the court
when we sit in conference room-"
Brown: "And the
question of the day."
"How does party affiliation influence decision-making in the Supreme
may be a hard sell to many Americans who see politics written all over the
court's 5-4 ruling."
Mario Cuomo: "A
lot of them won't just see a five to four decision. They'll see five
so called conservatives against four so called liberals."
it's not just liberal Democrats like Mario Cuomo. Law professor Tarrance
Sandalow (sp?) is a conservative legal scholar."
majority's decision can only be justified on the basis of the party that
they favored, the man they wanted to be President, not on the basis on
Brown: "If the
country adopts such a harsh view, the court's legitimacy will surely be
Provost Kermit Hall,
North Carolina State University: "Political questions ultimately get
translated into legal controversies. When that happens and the court
doesn't have sufficient legitimacy, then it throws all of public policy
into a kind of tangle of conflict."
happened before, the court's split decision legalizing abortion seemed
to only fuel a ferocious public debate. And not even unanimity guarantees
acceptance. In 1954 a unanimous court ordered the end of school
segregation. Brown vs. the Board of Education was widely ignored. In the
end, the court's position may be spared because these are good and
"If this had happened in 1968, we would have had riots in the streets
because there all of the institutions, the legitimacy of all of the
institutions of government were being questioned by many people."
Brown concluded with
an admonition: "Two hundred years ago Alexander Hamilton wrote that
the court without an army or a vast treasury had only its judgment. There
are many people who worry tonight that that precious commodity has been
news event is ever complete without some wackiness from Dan Rather and he
came through again Wednesday night. Wrapping up the 9pm half hour
dedicated to Gore's concession speech, Rather shared this with his
in 1776 wrote: 'Then join hand in hand brave Americans all. By uniting
we stand, dividing we fall.' And 'United We Stand, Divided We Fall'
is carved in stone on a statue of Daniel Webster not far from this
building in New York's Central Park. With that in mind, after a long and
bitter campaign for the presidency that lasted five weeks past election
day, Vice President Al Gore has just officially ended his campaign for
this year and asked the American people to unite behind the new President,
Is there really a statute in Central Park of Daniel
Webster with those words?
from the December 13 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Headlines We're Likely to See in the Next Four Years." Copyright
2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "49 States Vote Florida out of the Union"
9. "Supreme Court Justices Given Bitchin' Ferraris by Anonymous
8. "W. Asked to Veto Bill...Bush Hires Guy Named 'Vito' to Beat
7. "Cowboy Hat and Tennis Racket Stocks Soar"
6. "President Comes Away Empty-Handed from 'Celebrity Who Wants to
be a Millionaire?'"
5. "In Shortest State of the Union Ever, President Declares, 'We
4. "Warren Christopher Turns 187"
3. "Dave and Oprah Letterman Honeymoon in Bahamas"
2. "Katherine Harris Returns to Job as Ramada Inn Cocktail
1. "CNN, MSNBC, CNBC All Go Out of Business Admitting 'We Got
If only #1 were a real possibility. --
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