"Terrorist" U.S. Navy?; With "Reforms" Gore Would Have Won; Rather Didn't Correct 2000 Error; Toobin Unswayed; Saved from Lesbianism
1) Terrorist U.S. Navy. Peter Jennings related how the
President of Iran told him the U.S. shooting down of an Iranian commercial
jet in 1988, the same model which had just crashed in Queens, was
"terrorism for Iranians." Instead of pointing out differences
from the September 11 attacks, Jennings simply remarked: "Just to
show you how many connections are made on a day like this."
2) Different spins on the latest Florida recount. The New
York Times reported "Bush would have won" even if the U.S.
Supreme Court "had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes
that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward." The LA
Times subhead put hope ahead of reality: "An exhaustive ballot review
indicates more people tried to vote for Gore, and he might have won had
pending reforms been in effect."
3) Back in 2000 Dan Rather maintained that "a
politically and ideologically motivated U.S. Supreme Court...handed the
presidency to Bush." But instead of noting how the consortium's
re-count disproved that, Rather stressed how it "found that if there
had been a re-count of all disqualified ballots statewide it might have
produced a narrow Gore victory."
4) NBC's Today devoted 75 percent more time two weeks
ago to Jeffrey Toobin's claim, that Gore really won in Florida, than on
Monday to the new media re-count which disproved that. "The wrong man
was inaugurated on January 20th, 2001," CNN's Paula Zahn quoted
Toobin before asking: "Do you still agree with what you wrote?"
Toobin remained unswayed: "Oh absolutely."
5) Despite a denial issued last week by an NPR VP, Chicago
Tribune television columnist Steve Johnson stands by his quotation of NPR
foreign editor Loren Jenkins about revealing the location of a secret U.S.
6) "If she hadn't met George Stephanopoulos,
Alexandra Wentworth would have become either a slut or a lesbian."
>>> Now online, the November 12
edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the
latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Thanks
to the MRC's Mez Djouadi and Kristina Sewell, it's posted at:
To access the Adobe Acrobat PDF, go to:
terrorists too. During live ABC News coverage of the plane crash on Monday
morning, Peter Jennings related how the President of Iran told him the
U.S. shooting down of an Iranian commercial jet in 1988, the same model
which just crashed in Queens, was "terrorism for Iranians."
Instead of pointing out how that accidental tragedy in a war zone was
different from the deliberate September 11 attacks, Jennings simply
remarked: "Just to show you how many connections are made on a day
When the American Airlines plane crashed,
Jennings was at the United Nations interviewing Iranian President Moammar
Khatami. Jennings managed to leave the UN before it was locked down.
At about 11:48am EST on November 12 Jennings
observed during an ABC News Special Report:
really interesting looking at a piece of wire copy this morning that five
other Airbuses have crashed since 1988. And the last one was an Iran
airplane that was mistakenly shot down by a U.S. Navy plane. And this
morning when we were asking the Iranian President about U.S.-Iranian
relations and terrorism, he said 'you define terrorism in one way, but
when someone shoots down one of our commercial aircraft that's terrorism
for Iranians as well.' Just to show you how many connections are made on
a day like this."
July 3, 1988 incident was the earliest of the last five and a missile
fired from a Navy ship, not a Navy plane, shot it down.
For the list of deadly incidents involving the
Airbus 300, go to: http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/airbus.htm#A300
For the event referred to by Jennings, it
states: "3 July 1988; Iranair A300; Persian Gulf, near Straits of
Hormuz: Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the
American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers
Florida re-count released late Sunday night by the consortium of CNN and
several newspapers determined that George W. Bush still would have won
under either legally possible re-count scenario which could have occurred:
The Florida Supreme Court ordered re-count of undervotes statewide or
Gore's request for a re-count in certain counties.
The New York Times led its Monday front page
story: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from
last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have
won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide
manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to
But the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and
Associated Press all delivered spins which gave equal or greater emphasis
to how Gore really won the Florida vote. "Florida Recounts Would Have
Favored Bush," read the Washington Post headline. The subhead,
however, argued: "But Study Finds Gore Might Have Won Statewide Tally
of All Uncounted Ballots."
The Los Angeles Times subhead put hope ahead
of reality as the newspaper emphasized: "An exhaustive ballot review
indicates more people tried to vote for Gore, and he might have won had
pending reforms been in effect."
Below are excerpts from the beginnings of the
New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and AP stories on
Monday about the re-count. Since all four outlets were part of the
consortium and, therefore, had full access to all of the same data, it's
an illuminating example of how different reporters can convey contrasting
meanings to the same set of facts.
-- November 12 New York Times story headlined:
"Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the
Deciding Vote." Reporters Ford Fessenden and John M. Broder led:
A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last
year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won
even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual
recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go
Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have
charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr.
Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination
of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin
over Mr. Gore if the Florida court's order to recount more than 43,000
ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.
Even under the strategy that Mr. Gore pursued at the beginning of the
Florida standoff -- filing suit to force hand recounts in four
predominantly Democratic counties -- Mr. Bush would have kept his lead,
according to the ballot review conducted for a consortium of news
But the consortium, looking at a broader group of rejected ballots than
those covered in the court decisions, 175,010 in all, found that Mr. Gore
might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all
the rejected ballots. This also assumes that county canvassing boards
would have reached the same conclusions about the disputed ballots that
the consortium's independent observers did....
For the story in full, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/12/politics/recount/12VOTE.html
-- Washington Post story headlined:
"Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush." Subhead: "But
Study Finds Gore Might Have Won Statewide Tally of All Uncounted
Ballots." Reporters Dan Keating and Dan Balz began their front page
In all likelihood, George W. Bush still would have won Florida and the
presidency last year if either of two limited recounts -- one requested by
Al Gore, the other ordered by the Florida Supreme Court -- had been
completed, according to a study commissioned by The Washington Post and
other news organizations.
But if Gore had found a way to trigger a statewide recount of all
disputed ballots, or if the courts had required it, the result likely
would have been different. An examination of uncounted ballots throughout
Florida found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore the
narrowest of margins.
The study showed that if the two limited recounts had not been
short-circuited -- the first by Florida county and state election
officials and the second by the U.S. Supreme Court -- Bush would have held
his lead over Gore, with margins ranging from 225 to 493 votes, depending
on the standard. But the study also found that whether dimples are counted
or a more restrictive standard is used, a statewide tally favored Gore by
60 to 171 votes....
For the entire story, go to:
-- Los Angeles Times story headlined:
"Bush Still Had Votes to Win in a Recount, Study Finds." The
subhead, "Project: An exhaustive ballot review indicates more people
tried to vote for Gore, and he might have won had pending reforms been in
effect." Reporters Doyle Mcmanus, Bob Drogin and Richard O'Reilly
opened their front page report from Washington, DC:
If the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed Florida's courts to finish their
abortive recount of last year's deadlocked presidential election,
President Bush probably still would have won by several hundred votes, a
comprehensive study of the uncounted ballots has found.
But if the recount had been held under new vote-counting rules that
Florida and other states now are adopting -- rules aimed at recording the
intentions of as many voters as possible -- Democratic candidate Al Gore
probably would have won, although by an even thinner margin, the study
The study provides evidence that more Florida voters attempted to vote
for Gore than for Bush -- but so many Gore voters marked their ballots
improperly that Bush received more valid votes....
For the rest of the story, go to:
-- "Florida Review Shows Narrowest
Margin," announced the Associated Press headline over a dispatch by
Robert Tanner and Sharon L. Crenson. They began:
A vote-by-vote review of untallied ballots in the 2000 Florida
presidential election indicates George W. Bush would have narrowly
prevailed in the partial recounts sought by Al Gore, but Gore might have
reversed the outcome -- by the barest of margins -- had he pursued and
gained a complete statewide recount.
Bush eventually won Florida, and thus the White House, by 537 votes out
of more than 6 million cast. But questions about the uncounted votes
Almost a year after that cliffhanger conclusion, a media-sponsored
review of the more than 175,000 disputed ballots underscored that the
prize of the U.S. presidency came down to an almost unimaginably small
number of votes.
The new data, compiled by The Associated Press and seven other news
organizations, also suggested that Gore followed a legal strategy after
Election Day that would have led to defeat even if it had not been
rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Gore sought a recount of a relatively
small portion of the state's disputed ballots while the review indicates
his only chance lay in a course he advocated publicly but did not pursue
in court -- a full statewide recount of all Florida's untallied votes....
For the AP story in full, go to:
The consortium of news organizations
sponsoring the NORC Florida ballot project conducted by the National
Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago: The New York
Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post Co., Tribune Publishing,
CNN, Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post."
The AP noted: "The New York Times owns The Boston Globe, the Sarasota
Herald-Tribune, and the Lakeland Ledger among others. Washington Post Co.
owns The Washington Post and Newsweek. Tribune, based in Chicago, owns the
Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among others."
For a full rundown of the findings, go to: http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/fl/index.asp
summarizing the consortium's findings (outlined in item #2 above), CBS
Evening News anchor Dan Rather gave equal weight to a scenario which never
could have occurred, a statewide re-count of all overvotes in which the
intent of the voter would have been intuited, as to how Bush would still
have won in the only legally possible scenario, a re-count of undervotes.
In the second half of the hour-long CBS
Evening News on Monday night, Rather announced:
consortium of news organizations today released their joint findings on
the disputed Bush/Gore presidential election results from Florida. They
suggest the limited hand re-count of votes requested by Democrat Al Gore
would still have given Florida and the presidency to George W. Bush. But
this study also found that if there had been a re-count of all
disqualified ballots statewide it might have produced a narrow Gore
As Monday's New York Times headline clearly
stated, "Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not
Cast the Deciding Vote," but Rather failed to correct his earlier
reporting. At the top of the CBS Evening News back on the December 13,
2000, Rather had declared:
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."
World News Tonight nor the NBC Nightly News, both of which remained the
usual half-hour on a busy news day on Monday, mentioned the latest media
effort at a Florida re-count.)
of time that NBC's Matt Lauer spent Monday morning on Today discussing
the latest media re-count in Florida which demonstrated again that Bush
won under any legal scenario, as measured by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
four minutes and 24 seconds. Amount of time Today devoted on October 30 to
interviewing Jeffrey Toobin about his book in which he contended Gore was
robbed of the election: seven minutes and 17 seconds.
Today's Monday segment with Washington Post
reporter Dan Keating occurred during the 7:30am EST half hour, well before
the plane crash, so that's not a factor.
Back on October 30, Katie Couric quoted from
Toobin's book: "'The wrong man was inaugurated on January 20th
2001 and this is no small thing in our nation's history. The bell of this
election can never be un-rung and the sound will haunt us for some
charged: "Katherine Harris' office was a wholly owned subsidiary of
the Republican campaign and they decided that they did not want all the
votes to be re-counted because of the potential peril to the Republican's
chances." For more, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011031.asp#3
But now that another media re-count has shown
that fear to be unfounded, thereby also undercutting Toobin's belief
that if the Florida Supreme Court re-count had not been stopped Gore would
have won, Toobin refused to concede anything or let any facts get in the
way of his predisposition.
Toobin, who is a New Yorker writer and was
through early this year, and still may be, legal analyst for ABC News,
though he hasn't appeared on ABC in months, did appear Monday morning on
Anchor Paula Zahn pointed out to him: "If
Al Gore had gotten what he wanted, which was a statewide manual recount or
a recount of those four specific counties, George Bush still would have
won. So I wonder and I'm going to put up on the screen now a paragraph
from your book where you once said, 'The wrong man was inaugurated on
January 20th, 2001 and this is no small thing in our nation's history.'
Do you still agree with what you wrote?"
Toobin remained unswayed: "Oh absolutely. I
mean remember this is just about the undervotes and overvotes. There were
thousands of votes that were clearly mistakenly passed. Democracy is about
the intent of the voters. There are 3400 votes in Palm Beach for Pat
Buchanan. Obviously those people did not intend to vote for -- did not
intend to vote for Pat Buchanan. There were thousands of military absentee
ballots that were not accurately counted or cast appropriately. There were
7,000 votes in Duval County in Jacksonville, that were clearly intended
for Al Gore. I mean you know the irony here is that the exit polls, the
much maligned exit polls, but -- which really do manifest the intent of
the voters -- they were clearly correct that Al Gore won a very narrow
Zahn wondered in the interview, the transcript of
which was checked and corrected by MRC analyst Ken Shepherd,
"Jeffrey, how can you say that? How can you say that given the
conclusion of this analysis that Candy has set out in great detail that
had Al Gore gotten the manual recount with the standards that everybody
seemed to agree to in this analysis, that George Bush would have won and
he would have won if he had done the manual recount of the four specific
Toobin insisted: "The poll said if there was
a statewide recount, if there was a statewide recount under every scenario
Gore won the election. I mean ask Candy, isn't that right Candy? Under
every scenario for a statewide recount it shows Gore won the
Candy Crowley then pointed out: "Jeffrey is talking about one thing
and that is overvotes that under no Florida law would have been allowed. I
mean I don't, you know, they're invalid. Now you can draw, you know
obviously there's some obvious conclusion to be drawn, but if you're just
looking purely statistically, which is what this study tried to do, you
can't count those votes."
a denial issued last week by an NPR VP, Chicago Tribune television
columnist Steve Johnson stands by his quotation of NPR foreign editor
Loren Jenkins about revealing the location of a secret U.S. commando unit.
After NPR insisted Jenkins never meant to say
that NPR would imperil the lives of servicemen, MRC Communications
Director Liz Swasey contacted Johnson. She distributed this "Media
Bias Alert" e-mail late last week to her list of media critics:
NPR's senior foreign editor, Loren Jenkins, was quoted in "The Fog
of War," an Oct. 12 column about war coverage by the Chicago
Tribune's Steve Johnson that featured numerous quotes from media
luminaries -- and this:
"Jenkins has some 13 reporters in the area of Afghanistan and the
Middle East, in the kind of all-hands-on-deck approach typical of news
organizations' response, and he says his marching orders to the troops are
to try to find where the Americans are.
"'The game of reporting is to smoke 'em out,' he says. Asked
whether his team would report the presence of an American commando unit it
found in, say, a northern Pakistan village, he doesn't exhibit any of the
hesitation of some of his news-business colleagues, who stress that they
try to factor security issues into their coverage decisions.
"'You report it,' Jenkins says. 'I don't represent the government.
I represent history, information, what happened.'"
On Tuesday, November 6, Bruce Drake, Vice President of NPR News and
Information, released a statement carried on U.S. Newswire that said, in
part: "Loren Jenkins neither believes nor intended to suggest that
NPR would engage in reporting that would put in peril the lives of U.S.
military personnel....NPR would never knowingly compromise the security or
safety of American military or national security operations by reporting
information that would endanger them. "
Sure could have fooled us.
When asked today about NPR's statement, the Chicago Tribune's Steve
Johnson told the MRC he stands by his Oct. 12 column, confident in
"the accuracy of these quotes and accuracy of these quotes in
context," adding "NPR has not contacted me or, to the best of my
knowledge, the Tribune seeking a retraction or correction."
In response to the MRC e-mail, Jeffrey Dvorkin,
NPR's ombudsman, e-mailed Liz a statement, which read in part:
the Chicago Tribune columnist was either foolish or wickedly clever in
asking what is a hypothetical question. Jenkins was sucker punched and led
with his chin. As an experienced journalist, Jenkins should have sensed
even coming close to that 'issue' would end badly.
the eagerness of reporters and columnists to repeat second and third hand
information without bothering to call NPR is truly astounding. Only one
out of 30 newspapers called Drake to verify the quotes. For the record,
the lone newspaper to follow a basic journalistic principle was The Union
Leader in Manchester, N.H. This speaks badly about the standards and
practices of some journalists and the newspapers that employ them.
Columnists have more license to speculate, but this should not be at the
expense of fairness or the facts."
But as Johnson told the MRC's Swasey, NPR
never contacted him to complain about the accuracy of his column.
For an excerpt from Johnson's October 12
column, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011013.asp#5
For the column in full:
For NPR VP Bruce Drake's November 6
statement, go to: http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/Current_Releases/1106-122.html
item of the day: ABC's George Stephanopoulos saved his wife-to-be from a
life of either philandering and/or lesbianism. From Monday's "Page
Six" column in the New York Post by Richard Johnson with Paula
Froelich and Chris Wilson:
hadn't met George Stephanopoulos, Alexandra Wentworth would have become
either a slut or a lesbian. 'I had accepted the fact that I would
probably just have a series of relationships... and produce children from
a multitude of partners,' Wentworth told Glamour. 'I would be the
female Mick Jagger...before meeting George, I pondered a future with an
adopted baby or a lesbian lifestyle.' As it turned out, Wentworth met
her future hubby on a blind date and within three months was engaged to
the Clinton administration stud."
For a picture and RealPlayer video of
Wentworth, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010726.asp#4
Might Bill Clinton, Stephanopoulos's old
boss, be jealous? Did he ever convert a woman from lesbianism? -- Brent Baker
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