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The 2,723rd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
7:45am EDT, Thursday September 4, 2008 (Vol. Thirteen; No. 168)

 
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1. Stephanopoulos: 'A Little Too Ugly? A Little Too Derisive?'
Sarah Palin's Wednesday night Republican convention speech was widely greeted with praise from television commentators and the short break between her address and Rudy Giuliani's beforehand didn't leave much time for analysis of Giuliani's, but ABC's George Stephanopoulos managed to find a dark side to both while ABC's Nightline devoted a six-minute story to "new details tonight on a brewing controversy in Alaska," a "nasty family scandal that's come to be called trooper-gate." Following Giuliani's speech, Stephanopoulos declared it "far and away the toughest speech we've seen so far" at both conventions and ruminated: "What I wonder about is how it came across on television. A little too nasty? A little too ugly? I don't know." After Palin finished, he fretted that she "she also spent a lot of time attacking" and "that could come off as quite negative to some viewers." Issuing the Nightline "Report Card," Stephanopoulos, who a week earlier awarded Joe Biden and Democrats four A's, gave Giuliani and Palin three A's, a B and a C. For "Red Meat," he presented an A "for substance," but a C "on delivery" because he contended their repeated mention of how Barack Obama was a "community organizer" came across as "a little too derisive."

2. CNN's Martin Upset By GOP Attacks on Community Organizers
Minutes after Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin finished her speech on Wednesday night, CNN's Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin went on the offensive against the Alaska Governor. Co-host Anderson Cooper asked Martin for his reaction. He first stated that "she gave a solid speech" and then focused on Palin's dig at Barack Obama being a community organizer in Chicago: "...[S]he mocked community organizers, and this audience laughed at them. Don't be surprised if Obama and Biden says, you know what, it's community organizers who are keeping people from losing their homes in [the] sub-prime crisis....It's community organizers who are the ones trying to save your job. They're going to say the GOP does not give a flip about community organizers -- it means they don't care about you...."

3. Matthews, Olbermann and Brokaw Scoff at Palin's Slams on Media
During MSNBC's Wednesday night live coverage of the Republican National Convention Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Tom Brokaw and others scoffed at the idea they had an anti-Sarah Palin agenda. Brokaw depicted the charge of liberal bias as a mere "tactic" by the GOP, Matthews played it off as just "an old, old conflict," and even tried to write off the media's fascination of Obama, as just a mere fondness of "the new." Brokaw dismissed the contention of any real liberal bias: "This is a political tactic on their part. And the shorthand is, 'Let's go after the media.' And are they sorting out, for example, Fox or conservative blogs or others who have, in fact, been defending all of this? No what they want to do is just raise the specter that everything that America sees is controlled by a tiny band of Eastern liberal elites." And for her part NBC's Norah O'Donnell insisted: "There is one important thing to point out. The media is not attacking Sarah Palin. The media has done investigative pieces, in their job, about the way Sarah Palin was chosen."

4. Estrich and Ingraham Decry Media's 'Vicious Attacks' on Palin
During FNC's Republican Convention coverage Tuesday night, former Dukakis campaign manager and liberal FNC analyst Susan Estrich voiced her disapproval of the "vicious and mean-spirited attacks" on Sarah Palin by the media as she appeared late Tuesday/early Wednesday night with anchor Greta van Susteren. Estrich: "I've never seen anything this bad in my life...I was with Geraldine Ferraro in '84 -- and this is worse....I have never seen from some of my friends such vicious and mean-spirited attacks on her most personal choices, which is what they are."

5. CNN's Soledad O'Brien Denies Her Network Has Anti-Palin Bias
CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien disavowed any knowledge of a bias on her network against Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, particularly concerning the issue of her five children, during a segment on Wednesday's Newsroom program. She moderated a segment with two bloggers, a conservative and a liberal, both of them mothers. When the conservative, Rachel Campos-Duffy of "The Real World: San Francisco" fame, stated how "journalists even on this network say things like, you know, can she really -- is she up to be vice president because she has five kids," O'Brien replied: "I have not heard one journalist who works for CNN, if that's what you're talking about, say that at all. We've interviewed people who said that and ask some similar questions about, isn't that sexist? So I'm not sure exactly who you're referring to."

6. CNN's John King Self-Criticizes Media's 'Language' About GOP
When veteran journalist Carl Bernstein criticized Republicans, since in his view, the Alaska Governor's speech demonstrated "that the Republican Right is running this election," CNN correspondent John King pointed out how his comments reflected the very media bias seen by conservatives: "We do speak a different language when we talk about this party [the Republican Party], and I think that's why we're often criticized." He then scolded: "To say the Right is running the Republican campaign -- if that means these people are the Right, then Carl's exactly right. But we didn't say, during the Democratic convention, the teachers' unions and the SEIU and the AFL-CIO -- are they running the Obama campaign? And all those delegates down on the floor -- you know, many of them were members of the Left."

7. Pegged to Palin, Couric Quizzes Cindy McCain on Abortion
Reflecting the media's continued disdain for the pro-life position, interviewing Cindy McCain for Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric painted Sarah Palin as an extremist, zeroing in how "even Republicans" supposedly, "seemed surprised that Senator McCain picked a running mate who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest." Couric then turned the session into an interrogation about Mrs. McCain's personal views on abortion: "Where do you stand on abortion?"; "So, do you oppose it even in the cases of rape and incest?"; "Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?"; "Why not? Your husband does" and "So you do believe it should be overturned or shouldn't be?"

8. In AM, Nets Tout 'GOP Slamfest,' 'Hard-Edged Attack' on Obama
Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night's speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket. On Wednesday's Today, NBC's David Gregory had the GOP taking "swipes at Senator Obama's limited experience" and described Fred Thompson's speech as a "hard-edged attack on Senator Obama." But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton's speech as "rousing" and "playful," and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain.

9. Post's Quinn Slams Palin's Parenting: 'Rethink Her Priorities'
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had a roundtable discussion on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's ability to serve in office and be a mother: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?" Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn was part of the panel and responded: "...it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her...I think this is -- this is too much."

10. Gregory Wrongly Says Media Have Not Questioned Palin as Mother
On Wednesday's Today, NBC reporter David Gregory, against all evidence, suggested that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin will be able to balance being both Vice President and a mother. Referencing a earlier interview in which McCain surrogate Rudy Giuliani attacked reporters for doing exactly that, Gregory huffed: "That question has not been brought up by the media." Today co-host Meredith Vieira parroted, "Exactly." However, on August 30, Good Morning America weekend co-host Bill Weir challenged a McCain spokesman: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" On August 29, CNN Newsroom anchor John Roberts sniffed: "The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child."

11. Today Show Again Bashes Palin: Shortchange Family or America?
Less than an hour after reporter David Gregory incorrectly huffed on Wednesday's Today show that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin can balance motherhood with serving as Vice President, NBC correspondent Amy Robach explicitly did just that during a segment on how moms were reacting to the Alaska Governor. Operating under a loaded either/or premise, she derided: "The broader question if Sarah Palin becomes Vice President, will she be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country?"

12. Wednesday Morning Shows Grill Rudy Giuliani on Sarah Palin
Appearing on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani was inundated with questions about McCain vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, including one question by Meredith Vieira on NBC's Today: "So, what do you say to the people who are questioning the judgment of McCain in selecting her? He has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless." Meanwhile, on the CBS Early Show, Giuliani criticized the media for questioning Palin's parenting ability: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: "So you're saying you have no doubt and voters shouldn't either. That she can do it?" Giuliani fired back: "Where are the feminists? I mean, is it just -- there are all these feminist groups. Where are they?" Then Rodriguez argued that questioning Palin as a mother was fair game: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle."

13. 'Dr. Phil' Chastises Letterman's Deriding of Palin's Parenting
Guest "Dr. Phil" on Wednesday night chastised David Letterman's misunderstanding of teenage sexual behavior and parental influence after Letterman sarcastically complained that if a President McCain "drops dead...don't you want your President to have had the presence of mind to have chatted to her teenaged kids for five minutes about birth control?" (Letterman delivered the same belittling joke the night before too.) Referring to Letterman's almost five-year-old son, daytime TV host Phil McGraw, aka "Dr. Phil," informed Letterman: "If you are under the misapprehension that when Harry is 17 that you are going to have even a remote influence on what he decides in the back seat of a Chevy on a Saturday night -- I don't think old Dave's going to be popping in his mind at that point. It's not a 15-minute conversation. It's a dialogue that you need to have starting when he's about eight or nine."

14. On-Scene Video from St. Paul: Cal Thomas & Voight on Media Bias
Check out the on-scene reports this week, many with original video, from the MRC's NewsBusters blog team in St. Paul. Wednesday's posts, with video include: "Bolton Tells NewsBusters 'Palin Coverage Has Been Vile,'" "Cal Thomas Talks to NewsBusters Re: Palin Bias, MSNBC," Plus, from the MRC's CNSNews.com, "Jon Voight: MSNBC a 'Platform' for Democratic 'Left.'"


 

Stephanopoulos: 'A Little Too Ugly? A
Little Too Derisive?'

     Sarah Palin's Wednesday night Republican convention speech was widely greeted with praise from television commentators and the short break between her address and Rudy Giuliani's beforehand didn't leave much time for analysis of Giuliani's, but ABC's George Stephanopoulos managed to find a dark side to both while ABC's Nightline devoted a six-minute story to "new details tonight on a brewing controversy in Alaska," a "nasty family scandal that's come to be called trooper-gate."

     Following Giuliani's speech, Stephanopoulos declared it "far and away the toughest speech we've seen so far" at both conventions and ruminated: "What I wonder about is how it came across on television. A little too nasty? A little too ugly? I don't know." After Palin finished, he fretted that she "she also spent a lot of time attacking" and "that could come off as quite negative to some viewers."

     Issuing the Nightline "Report Card," Stephanopoulos, who a week earlier awarded Joe Biden and Democrats four A's, gave Giuliani and Palin three A's, a B and a C. For "Red Meat," he presented an A "for substance," but a C "on delivery" because he contended their repeated mention of how Barack Obama was a "community organizer" came across as "a little too derisive."

     (A week ago, Stephanopoulos hailed Biden's "red meat" performance: "Another A. And this was Joe Biden, and what he did tonight was lay out the case the Democrats have to make in the fall on both the economy, the necessity for change and foreign policy. For Democrats, they want to be arguing the question is not experience, but judgment." See: www.mrc.org )

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Over on CBS in prime time Wednesday night, Democratic analyst Joe Trippi, a veteran of the Dean and Edwards campaigns, could have been addressing the journalists hostile to Palin as he argued that "if you're the Democrats right now, you're taking this thing a lot more seriously." Trippi asserted: "She passed this test with flying colors, but this one was controlled, a crowd that adored her with a tele-prompter. Now she has to go out, face the press, answer their questions, see how she does against Joe Biden. But if you're the Democrats right now, you're taking this thing a lot more seriously. This woman handled the task at hand with flying colors."

     Tom Brokaw was generally positive in assessing Palin's performance on NBC's extended prime time hour, but he couldn't resist raising a controversy as he promised journalists will equally scrutinized the Democratic ticket:
     "We are learning more about her every day. She has been an enormously popular Governor up there, but, in fact, tonight when she talked about opposing the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' she was in favor of it until Congress decided that Alaska would have to pick up the rest of the tab. So there are those issues that legitimately need to be examined, just as there are with Joe Biden and Barack Obama, and we'll continue our role."

     Back to ABC, and its Wednesday night, September 3 hour-plus coverage starting at 10 PM EDT for which the MRC's Rich Noyes provided me with guidance:

     Stephanopoulos between the speeches by Giuliani and Palin: "The toughest of the last two weeks. Far and away the toughest speech we've seen so far. And Charlie, I have to say I'm of two minds listening to it I have to tell you. Reading those attacks on Barack Obama. Those are tough, well-thought out attacks. The Obama campaign is going to have to answer. What I wonder about is how it came across on television. A little too nasty? A little too ugly? I don't know."

     After Palin, Stephanopoulos conceded "there were a lot of beautiful and effective lines," but he warned: "There's a cost for Sarah Palin...In her first speech to the country, she spent a lot of time attacking. Even though she did connect with the small towns, she also spent a lot of time attacking. That could come off as quite negative to some viewers."

     (In contrast, CBS's Jeff Greenfield admired Palin's application of humor: "The use of humor was one of the most effective things. If you were to tear down an opponent you could do it like Rudy Giuliani, with a sword, with a knife, or you can do it like Governor Palin did with this touch. Every time she went, it was with humor, Katie. Very good technique.")

     The Nightline "Report Card" from Stephanopoulos on Wednesday night:

Winning Them Over: A (for Palin)

Filling in the Blanks: B (will Palin's Alaska record hold up?)

Red Meat: A for substance, C on delivery

Turning the Page: A (away from Bush)

Bells and Whistles: F (stage background scenes replaced by black in shot of speakers)

     His explanation for his "Red Meat" grades:

     STEPHANOPOULOS: They get two grades. A for substance, C on delivery. Here's what I'm talking about. Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin put a lot of tough attacks on the table tonight that Barack Obama is going to have to answer. What I wonder about is in the delivery sometimes did they go too far. Watch Rudy Giuliani on Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer.
     RUDY GIULIANI, IN CONVENTION SPEECH: On the other hand, you have are resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: They must have mentioned it five or six times. A little too derisive. My guess is that the Obama campaign is going to hit back and his allies will hit back very hard against it.

     Earlier in the program, Nightline devoted a lengthy six minutes to a Brian Ross report, couched as delivering "new details tonight" about the so-called "trooper-gate" story. The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a transcripts of the set up to the story and start of the piece:

     CYNTHIA McFADDEN: Imagine last week Sarah Palin was the popular Governor of Alaska, one of the least populated states in the nation. Tonight, she spoke as John McCain's candidate for Vice President. The crowd here in this arena tonight is almost twice the size of the town in which she was once the proud mayor. But, with a new status, comes a new scrutiny. ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross has new details tonight on a brewing controversy in Alaska. Brian?

     BRIAN ROSS: Cynthia, while Sarah Palin was speaking here, there were new developments in the state ethics investigation of the Governor back in Alaska. A state senate committee is looking into charges she abused her office and fired the state's public safety commissioner as part of a nasty family scandal that's come to be called troopergate. It's a local scandal that's become national news. A family feud and allegations of lies and cover-up that were big news in Alaska, but unknown to the rest of the country until Sarah Palin became a national figure. The trooper in troopergate is the ex-husband of the governor's sister, Mike Wooten, accused of making threats against his former in-laws. The allegation against the governor which she denies is that she wanted Wooten fired, and pushed the public safety commissioner to do it....

 

CNN's Martin Upset By GOP Attacks on
Community Organizers

     Minutes after Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin finished her speech on Wednesday night, CNN's Roland Martin and Jeffrey Toobin went on the offensive against the Alaska Governor. Co-host Anderson Cooper asked Martin for his reaction. He first stated that "she gave a solid speech" and then focused on Palin's dig at Barack Obama being a community organizer in Chicago: "...[S]he mocked community organizers, and this audience laughed at them. Don't be surprised if Obama and Biden says, you know what, it's community organizers who are keeping people from losing their homes in [the] sub-prime crisis....It's community organizers who are the ones trying to save your job. They're going to say the GOP does not give a flip about community organizers -- it means they don't care about you...."

     Two minutes later, co-host Wolf Blitzer went to Toobin for his reaction. The senior legal analyst for CNN first complimented Palin: "Well, let's just start with an obvious point that I don't think anyone has made yet. This speech was a heck of a lot better than Joe Biden's speech. I mean, it just was much more dramatic, much more interesting, much more entertaining." He then continued with a more blunt analysis of the speech: "But it was also, I thought, very smug, very sarcastic, very cutting. And you know what? The Republicans had been trying to portray her as a victim for the last couple days. Well, she's not going to be a victim anymore. She's going to be a target..." As if she hasn't been a target since John McCain announced her as his running mate?

     [This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted late Wednesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Toobin then tried to "fact check" Palin's stances on two issues: "...[L]et's start with some fact checking of some of the things she said in that speech, starting with the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' where she bragged about her efforts to cut pork barrel spending -- a project that, it turns out, she was in support of. Now, you know, that didn't -- that wasn't raised in the speech." Yes, Palin did support the proposed bridge between the town of Ketchikan in Alaska and Gravina Island when she campaigned for governor in 2006, but Toobin didn't mention the fact that she later cancelled the project in September 2007.

     For more about Palin's cancellation of the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' see the Associated Press report from September 21, 2007, "Alaska ends plan for 'Bridge to Nowhere'" at: www.msnbc.msn.com

     The senior legal analyst continued on the issue of taxes, and mouthed the Obama campaign's talking points: "She talks about taxes. You know, Barack Obama's proposal will cut taxes for 80% of the American people and raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. Those kind of things, I think, are appropriate to bring out at this point because she is no shrinking violet. She's no victim. She is a tough, effective pol, and, you know, game on." The "game on" slogan was also earlier used by Martin during his response to Palin's speech. CNN's senior political analyst Gloria Borger then added that she more or less agreed with Martin and Toobin's points about the Democrats' possible response to Palin.

     The transcript of Martin and Toobin's responses to Palin's speech, which aired at 48 and 52 minutes into the 11 pm Eastern hour of CNN's coverage of the Republican convention:

     # 11:48 pm EDT:

     ANDERSON COOPER: Roland Martin?
     ROLAND MARTIN: Yeah Anderson, first of all, she gave a solid speech, and look, same thing I said about -- last week about Senator Barack Obama to John McCain -- game on. Same thing, she basically threw down the gauntlet tonight. Now, all this talk about whether or not Joe Biden is going to be able to dance around the whole issue and going after her -- you know what, forget all of that. I expect the Democrats to go hard after her, hard after John McCain. When you listen to something -- talk about the mocking, those kind of things like that. But not only that -- my parents are watching, Reginald and Emelda Martin in Houston, Texas. And let me tell you something, they were community organizers, and this audience here -- she mocked community organizers, and this audience laughed at them. Don't be surprised if Obama and Biden says, you know what, it's community organizers who are keeping people from losing their homes in [the] subprime crisis. It's community organizers who are keeping people from -- having their lights turned on [sic]. It's community organizers who are the ones trying to save your job. They're going to say the GOP does not give a flip about community organizers -- it means they don't care about you. Watch them come out and hit them hard on that and say, you want to talk about small town values? Don't you dare criticize the people who fight for community people who have community issues. Expect them to come down tomorrow.

     # 11:52 pm EDT:

     WOLF BLITZER: All right. We're going to go down to the floor and check in with our reporters. But I want Jeffrey Toobin to weigh in. I know you've been itching to comment on what we heard tonight. Jeff, tell the viewers what you think.
     JEFFREY TOOBIN: Well, let's just start with an obvious point that I don't think anyone has made yet. This speech was a heck of a lot better than Joe Biden's speech. I mean, it just was much more dramatic, much more interesting, much more entertaining. But it was also, I thought, very smug, very sarcastic, very cutting. And you know what? The Republicans had been trying to portray her as a victim for the last couple days. Well, she's not going to be a victim anymore. She's going to be a target, and let's start with some fact checking of some of the things she said in that speech, starting with the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' where she bragged about her efforts to cut pork barrel spending -- a project that, it turns out, she was in support of. Now, you know, that didn't -- that wasn't raised in the speech. She talks about taxes. You know, Barack Obama's proposal will cut taxes for 80% of the American people and raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year. Those kind of things, I think, are appropriate to bring out at this point because she is no shrinking violet. She's no victim. She is a tough, effective pol, and, you know, game on.
     BORGER: The speech tonight -- the Democrats were kind of holding back on talking about Sarah Palin. They didn't want to kind of get in the way of the story. They thought -- they were, they were very nervous about attacking a woman. They didn't know what to do. I think after tonight's speech, they're not going to be so shy, because Sarah Palin has shown herself to be a very tough adversary, and I think the gloves are going to come off about her on the very issues that Jeff Toobin is talking about.

 

Matthews, Olbermann and Brokaw Scoff
at Palin's Slams on Media

     During MSNBC's Wednesday night live coverage of the Republican National Convention Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Tom Brokaw and others scoffed at the idea they had an anti-Sarah Palin agenda. Brokaw depicted the charge of liberal bias as a mere "tactic" by the GOP, Matthews played it off as just "an old, old conflict," and even tried to write off the media's fascination of Obama, as just a mere fondness of "the new."

     Brokaw dismissed the contention of any real liberal bias: "This is a political tactic on their part. And the shorthand is, 'Let's go after the media.' And are they sorting out, for example, Fox or conservative blogs or others who have, in fact, been defending all of this? No what they want to do is just raise the specter that everything that America sees is controlled by a tiny band of Eastern liberal elites."

     And for her part NBC's Norah O'Donnell insisted: "There is one important thing to point out. The media is not attacking Sarah Palin. The media has done investigative pieces, in their job, about the way Sarah Palin was chosen."

     [This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted early Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The following are just some of the anxious rebuttals from the MSNBC crew to Palin's charge that the media was biased against her, as they occurred on MSNBC's September 3 coverage of the Republican Convention:

     [7:03pm]
     CHRIS MATTHEWS: I have the sense that the Republican image-makers, the ballyhoo boys, know exactly what they're doing. They're setting up a David and Goliath in this sense. Governor Palin as David, us as Goliath. This is showbiz, they know what they're doing. It might work, we'll see. Big night, tonight for the Republicans and their ballyhoo boys.
     KEITH OLBERMANN: How long, if it works, can it work? You cannot maintain a permanent protest, you can't file a constant appeal to the refs that never ends. It must have a concluding point, must it not?
     MATTHEWS: Richard Nixon did it for many years. It can be done. You can put up, you can create a continual tension between your political party and what you describe as the establishment. You can continue to portray yourself as the underdog in a battle in which you, in fact, carry all the political weight of the government. It's been done before and I think they're gonna try it one more time tonight.

     [7:10pm]

     OLBERMANN: We're getting some of the excerpts now Andrea and I think it's fair to say there don't seem to be any excerpts anyway, any significant attacks on Obama or the Democrats, however guess who has been attacked? That would be probably us, as collective us. Let me read one before we go back to the floor at the Xcel Center. "Why She Is Going to Washington D.C." is the headline on this excerpt.
     "I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment, she says, and I've learned quickly these past few days that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, than some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here's a little newsflash for all those reporters and commentators, I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion, I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country."
     Who those reporters and commentators might be she does not say, at least not in the excerpt. It will be interesting to see if they're named in that speech. There's no one I can think of, off the top of my head, who did what she is apparently complaining of tonight, but she will be doing the complaining herself.

     [7:22pm]

     MATTHEWS: Pat I recognize a tactic here. Start a fight with the press. Establish your underdog status. Take them on. Win public approval. Is that what's going on here with the candidacy and nomination of Sarah Palin?
     PAT BUCHANAN: No I think it's utterly foolish to say that Sarah Palin has started a fight with the press. The press has been savage on her and feral on her. Ever since she was nominated she's been an obsession of the press. She's been attacked. Her daughter's pregnancy has got two or three stories on the front page of the New York Times. It has been a disgraceful performance by the press. Fred Thompson took it on last night and I certainly hopes she takes it on tonight. Because quite frankly it is a battle that the press started and the conservatives and the Republicans really ought to finish.
     MATTHEWS: Well it could be said, Pat, that your part of that strategy right now, because of what you're saying. Savagery is a strong word.

     ...

     MATTHEWS: It seems like this is old political tactics. Start a fight with the media, the establishment. Portray yourself as the underdog.
     EUGENE ROBINSON, WASHINGTON POST: Absolutely, absolutely. Look, who knew that Republicans were so sensitive and finely attuned to any whiff of sexism or ageism or anything like that? I wasn't aware that the Republicans were, were such hothouse flowers about all this stuff.

     ...

     NORAH O'DONNELL: There is one important thing to point out. The media is not attacking Sarah Palin. The media has done investigative pieces, in their job, about the way Sarah Palin was chosen.

     [7:43pm]

     OLBERMANN: The media mene has been so long established in this country, the running against the media idea, that the candidates often turn on a dime on this point. It was only in March, at an event for Newsweek magazine, that Governor Palin of Alaska, who then did not seem to be a national political figure by any stretch of the imagination was asked about Senator Hillary Clinton's complaints and her campaign's complaints about media coverage. She described Senator Clinton as "whining." And now we turn around, in a matter of months later to a totally reversed situation. Tom Brokaw is with us along side NBC News political director Chuck Todd inside the Excel Center. This is, I guess, a tradition as old as time itself Tom.
     TOM BROKAW: It is and it, and it has worked particularly well, I think, for the Republican Party, Keith because they always feel that this country is held captive or held hostage, if you will, by what they would call the "Eastern liberal press establishment." Let me read you what Governor Mitt Romney will say in his opening paragraph tonight.
     "For decades the Washington sun has been rising in the East, Washington has been looking to the Eastern elites, to the editorial pages of the Times and the Post and to the broadcasters from the coast."
     This is Mitt Romney, who was the head of Bay Capital, based in Massachusetts. He was the governor of Massachusetts. He became a man worth hundreds of millions of dollars by dealing with the Eastern establishment. So I think we're gonna see this pattern throughout that's been going on for a long, long time. And 1964 was probably the apotheosis of it at the Goldwater convention, when John Chancellor was led off the floor and had that memorable line, "John Chancellor reporting from somewhere in custody." We're grown-ups. We'll have to deal with all of this.

     ...

     MATTHEWS: Yeah I think, I think it's fair to say, without casting any moral judgment on it, that we're watching a political plan taking effect tonight. It's begun for the last couple of days. If you bring out a candidate for Vice President of the United States on quick notice, if you present that name off the usual list, you are guaranteeing that the major serious press in this country will go to work.
     The major editors of the major news organizations will make the assignments. The best reporters will be assigned, the news will develop. It is a very predictable phenomenon and it's a good one. If, however, you use that predictable phenomenon as the set-up for a political game you're gonna play, that's political gamesmanship, it should be seen as that. The major press has a job to do, it's to dig up stuff on people who would rule this country. We have to do it. The best reporters are the toughest at it. This is what we have.
     Thomas Eagleton was not discovered in his problem of having had electro-shock therapy by the, the man who put him up, George McGovern. Clark Hoyt broke that story. So somebody has to break these stories. It's not always popular to do so.
     But if something breaks bad about this nomination, if there is some problem out there with this nomination, it's not gonna come from the Republican National Committee. It's not gonna be issued as a press release. It's gonna be coming because some good reporter goes out and does the job. And the American people expect that to get done.
     And so this is a bit of a set-up here. But it's fair enough. It's politics. They want have an enemy, they want to take it on, fine. Better they fight a war in a phony sense than real war. That would be my thinking.

     ...

     OLBERMANN: Alright gentlemen. Let's stay with you for just a moment here about this, this dichotomy on the media and, and Sarah Palin and, and the, the picking of fights. Is there, first off, is there a collective media to assume responsibility for the, for the, for the slights perceived or, or created, I suppose is what I'm looking for here.
     BROKAW: Well this is not a legal argument, nor is this a laboratory experiment. This is a political tactic on their part. And the shorthand is, "Let's go after the media." And are they sorting out, for example, Fox or conservative blogs or others who have, in fact, been defending all of this? No what they want to do is just raise the specter that everything that America sees is controlled by a tiny band of Eastern liberal elites.
     This is the same convention, that tonight will hear from the mayor of the city, of the largest city, New York City. Rudy Giuliani will be speaking here tonight. John McCain was raised in a, in a great military establishment family. That they were raised a lot in the Washington D.C. area. He's been in the Senate for a long time.
     But I completely understand what the political strategy and the tactics are. Let's create something called, "The Eastern Media Elite," and go after them because we have to stitch together this party.
     CHUCK TODD: But a word of caution on this. Didn't work in '92. George H.W. Bush tried this. I remember. "Annoy the Media! Re-Elect Bush!"

     [8:18pm]

     MATTHEWS: Let's be clear about this, tremendous support from the Washington media. John McCain is an immensely popular figure among the Washington media. He used to say that the press was his base. I mean I'm sure we have that on tape, many places. Because he did enjoy, when he went out with the Straight Talk Express on his wonderful bus trips, I was on, among that happy band on occasion. There was tremendous camaraderie. What he deals with now is the reality that in, it doesn't have to do with party politics or ideology.
     But there is always a love of the new. There's always an appeal of the new. Let's face it. The governor of Alaska will benefit from some of that. Barack Obama's benefitted from that. The new kid on the block, whether it's Bill Clinton or it's, or it's Ronald Reagan, in a sense, back in '80. The new kid gets the appeal. The news business, I think, does like the new. It may like the young as well, although not always. Because I thought Ronald Regan got a fabulous press! And Pat Buchanan would even admit it, I think, under sodium pentothal. But the fact is that this-
     BUCHANAN: You think the media is in love with Sarah Palin?!
     MATTHEWS: I think the media is in love with the story Pat, because it's a fascinating story. And I'll tell ya this, if she gets up there tonight and gives a whale of a speech, you're gonna hear it like Sardie's after a big Broadway smash.
     BUCHANAN: Right.
     MATTHEWS: All tonight people will say how great she did. You can predict it.
     BUCHANAN: Alright.
     MATTHEWS: Nobody's going to deny her a successful night, if that's the case.
     BUCHANAN: Alright well let me ask you. Will you, will you say it sent a tingle up your leg?
     MATTHEWS: Pat I have always, a multifaceted reporter, and I do report fully on my experiences in the hall. And when you get a new line let me know, will ya buddy? It's a little tired by now, but it's a good one.
     David, we're, but let me go to David who's on the floor right now to get, to see if he has a full report. David is this the buzz right now? The incipient war between the almost, the old Goldwater establishment in terms of its attitude towards the Eastern media? As Tom Brokaw pointed out. This is an on, an old, old conflict and it may be a useful one to the Republican Party.

 

Estrich and Ingraham Decry Media's 'Vicious
Attacks' on Palin

     During FNC's Republican Convention coverage Tuesday night, former Dukakis campaign manager and liberal FNC analyst Susan Estrich voiced her disapproval of the "vicious and mean-spirited attacks" on Sarah Palin by the media as she appeared late Tuesday/early Wednesday night with anchor Greta van Susteren. Estrich: "I've never seen anything this bad in my life...I was with Geraldine Ferraro in '84 -- and this is worse....I have never seen from some of my friends such vicious and mean-spirited attacks on her most personal choices, which is what they are."

     A bit earlier at about 12:05am EDT, conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham had also complained of Palin's treatment. Asked by van Susteren if Palin was getting "fair treatment," Ingraham argued that Palin is being "reviled and hated" because she is conservative and pro-life. In response to van Susteren's question of "who's reviling her," Ingraham elaborated: "Did you read the New York Times today? Have you read some of the left-wing blogs about her? Have you heard some of the comments on our competitor networks? It's vile, it's nasty, it's vicious."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Estrich came aboard at about 12:15am, and van Susteren started by asking: "Is [Palin] getting an unfair grilling or is this part of the vetting process by the media?" The former Democratic Party strategist answered: "I've never seen anything this bad in my life, and, Greta, I was with Geraldine Ferraro in '84 -- and this is worse....I don't agree with Sarah Palin on the issues. I mean, she and I are very far apart, but I have never seen from some of my friends such vicious and mean-spirited attacks on her most personal choices, which is what they are. We ask that our choices be respected. Hers should be respected. And this questioning of whether she should as a mother of five be running for Vice President, I don't recall anybody saying that Arnold Schwarzenegger shouldn't run for governor of California because he's got four kids. I think this is just really unfair, really sexist, and very likely to provoke a backlash."

    

 

CNN's Soledad O'Brien Denies Her Network
Has Anti-Palin Bias

     CNN anchor Soledad O'Brien disavowed any knowledge of a bias on her network against Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, particularly concerning the issue of her five children, during a segment on Wednesday's Newsroom program. She moderated a segment with two bloggers, a conservative and a liberal, both of them mothers. When the conservative, Rachel Campos-Duffy of "The Real World: San Francisco" fame, stated how "journalists even on this network say things like, you know, can she really -- is she up to be vice president because she has five kids," O'Brien replied: "I have not heard one journalist who works for CNN, if that's what you're talking about, say that at all. We've interviewed people who said that and ask some similar questions about, isn't that sexist? So I'm not sure exactly who you're referring to."

     [This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Wednesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Well, let's refresh Ms. O'Brien's memory. As John McCain was getting to announce his choice of Sarah Palin on Friday, her colleague John Roberts asked correspondent Dana Bash about Palin's youngest son and how he might be neglected if the Governor became Vice President: "There's also this issue that on April 18th, she gave birth to a baby with Down's Syndrome....Children with Down's syndrome require an awful lot of attention. The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child?"

     See the September 2 CyberAlert item, "CNN's John Roberts: Palin Might Neglect Her Disabled Infant?" at: www.mrc.org

     Campos-Duffy and her counterpart, liberal blogger Erin Kotecki Vest, debated the issue of how sexism has crept into the discussion and news coverage surrounding Palin. As the two disagreed on the extent of sexism, O'Brien asked Campos-Duffy about Palin's experience: "...[D]iscussing someone's fitness for office -- we're going to have to assume for either vice presidential pick that they potentially could wake up one morning and guess what, you're now the president, because something terrible happened to the guy who was president -- is discussing someone's experience. Why is that considered sexist and off-bounds?"

     When Campos-Duffy insisted that Palin did have experience, O'Brien countered, "With all due respect, Rachel, everyone says, you know, she's got experience on a lot of issues, you know, governmental executive, and then it kind of stops. I mean, Alaska has 670,000 people and a $6 billion budget, which is small. You know, Governor Bush, which he was governor before he became president, that was 24 million people, right? I mean, in all fairness." Campos-Duffy countered by bringing up Obama's short list of experience, but O'Brien brushed that argument aside: "Yeah, but that's another argument. I'm talking about your candidate. Let's talk about your candidate, the V.P."

     After the conservative mother and blogger explained Palin's experience, Vest chimed in and brought up her concerns about the Alaska governor's knowledge of foreign affairs. Campos-Duffy replied to this by stating how she thought there was a double standard with Palin: "I think that the sexism comes because she's not being held -- she's being held to a higher standard because she's a mom than I think she would be otherwise." O'Brien asked her what she meant by that, and when Campos-Duffy brought up "journalists even on this network," O'Brien issued her denial.

     The transcript of the relevant portion of the segment, which began 9 minutes into the 10 am Eastern hour of Wednesday's Newsroom program:

     CAMPOS-DUFFY: ...I think that the sexism comes because she's not being held -- she's being held to a higher standard because she's a mom than I think she would be otherwise.
     O'BRIEN: So, okay. Let me get you to clarify. Why is that a higher standard? I mean, how is that a higher standard?
     CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well, I've heard -- well, I've heard journalists say, well, how can she -- I've heard journalists even on this network say things like, you know, can she really -- is she up to be vice president because she has five kids? You know, Senator Rick Santorum has six kids. I've never heard anybody ever say that --
     O'BRIEN: I have not heard one -- I have not heard one journalist who works for CNN, if that's what you're talking about, say that at all. We've interviewed people who said that and ask some similar questions about, isn't that sexist? So I'm not sure exactly who you're referring to.
     CAMPOS-DUFFY: Well, they're asking the question -- they're asking the question. Again, I've never heard senators or congressmen with lots of kids being asked that sort of question. I think it's something that's reserved for mothers.

 

CNN's John King Self-Criticizes Media's
'Language' About GOP

     When veteran journalist Carl Bernstein criticized Republicans, since in his view, the Alaska Governor's speech demonstrated "that the Republican Right is running this election," CNN correspondent John King pointed out how his comments reflected the very media bias seen by conservatives: "We do speak a different language when we talk about this party [the Republican Party], and I think that's why we're often criticized." He then scolded: "To say the Right is running the Republican campaign -- if that means these people are the Right, then Carl's exactly right. But we didn't say, during the Democratic convention, the teachers' unions and the SEIU and the AFL-CIO -- are they running the Obama campaign? And all those delegates down on the floor -- you know, many of them were members of the Left."

     [This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted late Wednesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Bernstein, after making his "Republican Right" comment, labeled Palin a "cultural warrior," and continued using the mantra in the press about the governor's qualifications: "[S]he showed she's going to be a great cultural warrior, which is something very different than a qualified vice president. She might be a great Republican Secretary of the Interior -- 'drill, drill, drill' -- but ask the question -- and I think the Democrats will ask this -- suppose something happens to -- were to happen to John McCain between now and the election. Would this be the Republicans' candidate for President of the United States? At some point, we're going to go back to the qualification question."

     The veteran journalist then issued a lament of the "culture warrior" aspect to Palin's speech: "A great cultural warrior speech -- the tragedy of this election might be that we have now returned in this country to the cultural warfare that John McCain, above all other politicians in this country, said had to end, as has Barack Obama, and now, it looks like we're really fighting it out."

     John King then made his "language" remark, and went into detail about his point: "To say the Right is running the Republican campaign -- if that means these people are the Right, then Carl's exactly right. But we didn't say, during the Democratic convention, the teachers' unions and the SEIU and the AFL-CIO -- are they running the Obama campaign? And all those delegates down on the floor -- you know, many of them were members of the Left."

     In response to King, co-host Anderson Cooper added an additional observation along the same lines, which CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger agreed with:

     ANDERSON COOPER: I will also say I didn't hear people talking about who was the speech writer for any of the Democrats' speeches.
     GLORIA BORGER: Right.
     COOPER: It seem we're only highlighting who the speech writer is for her speech.

 

Pegged to Palin, Couric Quizzes Cindy
McCain on Abortion

     Reflecting the media's continued disdain for the pro-life position, interviewing Cindy McCain for Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Katie Couric painted Sarah Palin as an extremist, zeroing in how "even Republicans" supposedly, "seemed surprised that Senator McCain picked a running mate who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest."

     Couric then turned the session into an interrogation about Mrs. McCain's personal views on abortion:

     - "Where do you stand on abortion?"

     - "So, do you oppose it even in the cases of rape and incest?"

     - "Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?"

     - "Why not? Your husband does."

     - "So you do believe it should be overturned or shouldn't be?"

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The latter half of the interview played on the Wednesday, September 3 CBS Evening News:

     KATIE COURIC: Some, even Republicans, seemed surprised that Senator McCain picked a running mate who opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest and believes creationism should be taught in schools and I'm just curious, do you agree with that?
     CINDY McCAIN: What I agree with is the fact that she is a social conservative, she is a reform-minded woman, she is someone that will shake the Washington up, which is exactly what we want to do. We differ on many issues. We differ across the board with people. We don't have to agree on every issue.
     COURIC: Where do you stand on abortion?
     McCAIN: I'm pro life. I'm on the record as being pro life like my husband.
     COURIC: So, do you oppose it even in the cases of rape and incest?
     McCAIN: No.
     COURIC: So that's where you two differ in terms of your position on that?
     McCAIN: Uh-huh.
     COURIC: Do you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned?
     McCAIN: No.
     COURIC: Why not? Your husband does.
     McCAIN: No, I don't think he does.
     COURIC: He believes it should be overturned. That's what he told me that and that it should go to the states.
     McCAIN: Well, in that respect, yes. I understand what you're saying. It is a states issue, absolutely. That I do believe.
     COURIC: So you do believe it should be overturned or shouldn't be?
     McCAIN: I believe it's a states issue. That I do believe.
     COURIC: How do you feel about creationism. Do you think it should be taught in schools?
     McCAIN: I think both sides should be taught in schools. I think the more children have a frame of reference and an opportunity to read and to know and to make better decisions and judgments when they're adults. So I think, you know, I don't have any problem with education of any kind.

     COURIC, BACK ON LIVE: After the interview, we contacted the McCain campaign to clarify Cindy McCain's position on abortion. They told us that, like Laura Bush, Mrs. McCain does not favor overturning Roe v. Wade which guarantees the legal right to an abortion.

 

In AM, Nets Tout 'GOP Slamfest,' 'Hard-Edged
Attack' on Obama

     Unlike the celebratory response to the opening nights of the Democratic convention a week ago, the three network morning shows offered restrained recaps of Tuesday night's speeches at the Republican convention, and continued to portray Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as a liability for the GOP ticket.

     On Wednesday's Today, NBC's David Gregory had the GOP taking "swipes at Senator Obama's limited experience" and described Fred Thompson's speech as a "hard-edged attack on Senator Obama."

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     But a week earlier, Gregory described Hillary Clinton's speech as "rousing" and "playful," and offered no negative adjectives as he replayed soundbites of Clinton attacking John McCain:

     GREGORY: Republicans are working to court Clinton supporters this week by reminding them of her attacks against Obama during the primaries....But Senator Clinton made her wishes clear.
     CLINTON: No way, no how, no McCain.
     GREGORY: She argued that a President McCain would represent more of the Bush years. More war, more job losses, more inadequate health care coverage.
     CLINTON: It makes perfect sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities, because these days they're awfully hard to tell apart.

     The most positive declarations about the GOP convention came from CBS's Early Show, where co-host Maggie Rodriguez declared it a "love-fest" for McCain, with Monday's silence at the Xcel Energy Center "replaced with a roar like you might hear when the hometown NHL team is playing here, except all the cheers were for John McCain."

     ABC's Diane Sawyer was far more muted, leading into her convention recap by noting "a new poll out showing that Senator Obama has hit the 50 percent mark for the very first time against Senator John McCain. It's about a five-point increase for Senator Obama, a little post-convention bounce there."

     For its part, CNN's American Morning went even further to portray the Republicans as mean-spirited, with on-screen graphics touting a "GOP Slamfest" and "GOP on the Attack." Beginning their 6am EDT hour, co-anchor John Roberts claimed that Senator Joe Lieberman "really took a strip off of Barack Obama," but supported that claim with a clip of Lieberman mildly suggesting that the "gifted and eloquent" Obama lacked the necessary experience:

     JOHN ROBERTS: We just heard from Joe Lieberman there extolling the virtues of John McCain and why he would be a good president. But he also -- and to some degree unexpectedly, because he didn't tell me yesterday morning when I talked to him he was going to do this -- really took a strip off of Barack Obama. Let's listen to what he said:
     SENATOR JOE LIEBERMAN: Senator Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man, who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead. But, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record. Not in these tough times for America.

     An hour later, co-anchor Kiran Chetry referred to the speakers as "ripping into Barack Obama's record," and Roberts told reporter Jessica Yelling that "it appears there's been lots of red meat thrown around and that the partisan tone returned here."

     Back on the broadcast networks, correspondents portrayed the convention as apprehensive about the nomination of Sarah Palin as the vice presidential candidate, with NBC's Gregory touting as important as a video "only now surfacing" of Palin speaking about her son's deployment to Iraq, exhorting worshippers to pray "that there is a plan and that plan is God's plan."

     CBS's Jeff Glor and ABC's Sawyer also portrayed Palin as beleaguered, with Sawyer suggesting Fred Thompson was "in full defense" last night, and Glor sought out David Gergen for a soundbite. "Some Republicans are nervous," Gergen opined. "Are there going to be any other rude surprises?"

     Now, more on how the big three broadcast networks set up the Palin story at the top of their Wednesday morning shows:


     # ABC's Good Morning America:

     ROBIN ROBERTS: What a night in St. Paul as the Republican Convention really got rolling especially with Fred Thompson's fiery speech and we know tonight a 44-year-old woman who proudly hails from the state of Alaska will take the stage right behind you, Diane, and give that speech of a lifetime.
     DIANE SAWYER: Another speech of a lifetime at a convention coming up tonight. Let's tell you a little bit about what's new this morning. There is a new poll out showing that Senator Obama has hit the 50 percent mark for the very first time against Senator John McCain. It's about a five-point increase for Senator Obama, a little post-convention bounce there. And even though we didn't see Governor Palin or her family in the convention hall last night, there are some new pictures out. We'll show you now, the cover of "People" magazine and also word that her future son-in-law Levi Johnston will be joining the family here in the hall tonight. Also, there are pictures that are out from yesterday with -- there she is, First Lady Laura Bush and also with Cindy McCain so we have the pictures to show you....

     SAWYER: But in every corner of the hall a buzzing conversation about the vice presidential nominee, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Former Senator Fred Thompson in full defense.
     FRED THOMPSON: She's a from a small town with small town values but apparently that's not good enough for some of the folks who are out there now attacking her and her family. When she and John McCain get to Washington they're not going to care how much the alligators get irritated. They're going to drain that swamp. SAWYER: And now the 44-year-old woman must introduce herself to the nation and prove herself ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency in one high stakes speech tonight.


     # CBS's The Early Show

     MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: I'm Maggie Rodriguez in St. Paul where the party finally gets started. Tonight, Sarah Palin has her moment.
     FRED THOMPSON: She's a courageous, successful reformer who's not afraid to take on the establishment.
     RODRIGUEZ: But can she calm the storms around her experience and her daughter's pregnancy....

     REPORTER JEFF GLOR: But on a night Republicans were trying to answer the question, who is John McCain, many were still asking who is Sarah Palin. McCain's vice presidential pick is here, though holed up, seen in this campaign released photo but nowhere else so far until tonight. All public appearances dropped. Following questions about her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, about her former involvement, if any, with Alaska's controversial independence party and especially about her family and the pregnancy of her 17-year-old daughter. The McCain campaign says they knew about all of it.
     JOHN MCCAIN: The vetting process was completely thorough, and I'm grateful for the results.
     GLOR: But is there more of it?
     ANALYST DAVID GERGEN: The reason that some Republicans are nervous now is they're not sure, is there anything else? Are there going to be any other rude surprises?

     # NBC's Today:

     MEREDITH VIEIRA: And tonight, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, will address this convention, certainly the speech of a lifetime for her. It comes as questions swirl about whether the McCain campaign knew enough about her before she was tapped for this very important job....

     DAVID GREGORY: Competing with the official program of the convention was the intense media scrutiny of Palin, whose only appearance was a private meeting with First Lady Laura Bush and Cindy McCain. News her 17-year-old daughter is five months pregnant has only heightened interest in her family. Bristol Palin and her boyfriend, the baby's father, Levi Johnston were seen along with other relatives boarding a plane in Spokane en route to St. Paul. In Ohio, Senator McCain was pressed on whether he did his homework on Palin.
     SENATOR MCCAIN: The entire process was completely thorough and I'm grateful for the results.
     GREGORY: But the Washington Post reports that McCain's top vetter only met with Palin the day before she was selected. The hurried nature of the background check raises questions about whether damaging details, both personal and political, were missed. As a political newcomer, Palin's public remarks are only now surfacing, including this speech Palin made at her former church about her son's deployment to Iraq.
     SARAH PALIN: Our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for. That there is a plan and that plan is God's plan.

     GREGORY: Senator Obama has said Palin's family is a private matter but he came up with a new argument for the experience question, citing management of his campaign.
     SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: My understanding is that Governor Palin's town of Wasilla has, I think, 50 employees. We've got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month.
     GREGORY: A senior McCain adviser tells us that in her speech tonight Governor Palin will provide new and interesting details about her life and her life experience. She will also make the case for why, in her view, Senator McCain is the only man prepared to lead America right now. Meredith?

 

Post's Quinn Slams Palin's Parenting:
'Rethink Her Priorities'

     On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez had a roundtable discussion on Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's ability to serve in office and be a mother: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?" Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn was part of the panel and responded: "...it's interesting that here I am, supposedly part of you know, the -- what one would call the liberal elite media. That's what we've been all -- the critics of Sarah Palin have been called. And yet, taking the position that a woman with five children, including one with special needs, and a daughter who is a 17-year-old child who is pregnant and about to have a baby, probably has got to rethink her priorities. It seems to me that there is a tipping point, and I think that she's crossed the tipping point. I believe that it's going to be very difficult for her...I think this is -- this is too much."

     Quinn made similar comments about Palin in a WashingtonPost.com "On Faith" blog posting last Friday, the day Palin was announced as McCain's VP. On March 26, Quinn told the Early Show's Harry Smith that the media should have gone after Chelsea Clinton more aggressively, Smith admitted: "We're not exactly watchdogs here" Well, CBS certainly seems to be a watchdog when it comes to Bristol Palin.

     For Quinn's Washington Post "On Faith" posting: newsweek.washingtonpost.com

     The March 27 CyberAlert on Quinn's comments about media coverage of Chelsea Clinton: www.mrc.org

     [This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The other members of the panel were Republican congresswoman Kathy McMorris Rogers and the daughter of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Sarah Huckabee, who earlier condemned the questioning of Palin as a mother: "I think it's a disgrace that the question's even being asked. I think as -- not only as a woman, but as somebody who's grown up in politics, I think that Sarah Palin €" Governor Palin has proven herself time and again that she has the capacity to lead. And I want to know why no one's asking you know, Barack Obama's got two kids. No body's asking him is he a good parent because he's running for president. That question hasn't come up and simply because of the fact that she's a woman, I think that, you know, the media should take the step that the rest of America has on both sides of the political aisle. We've seen Republicans and Democrats unite behind two fantastic women over this political season. And I think it's time that the media stops asking the question and follow America's lead and get behind the rest of the country in moving forward and seeing that women are capable to lead this country."

     At one point, Rodriguez asked Congresswoman Rogers: "She has five children. One has Downs Syndrome. You have a child with Downs Syndrome, right Congresswoman?...That -- special needs requires more attention. Does that factor into this at all?" Rogers replied: "She's proven that it can be done. She's currently the governor of a very important state in this country and at the time that we've been celebrating the fact that we have more women serving in Congress than ever. We have the first woman Speaker of the House, we had Senator Clinton running for president. I am excited about the candidacy of Sarah Palin for vice president. And I think she brings a valuable perspective as a wife, as a mother of five."

 

Gregory Wrongly Says Media Have Not Questioned
Palin as Mother

     On Wednesday's Today, NBC reporter David Gregory, against all evidence, suggested that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin will be able to balance being both Vice President and a mother. Referencing a earlier interview in which McCain surrogate Rudy Giuliani attacked reporters for doing exactly that, Gregory huffed: "That question has not been brought up by the media." Today co-host Meredith Vieira parroted, "Exactly."

     However, on August 30, Good Morning America weekend co-host Bill Weir challenged a McCain spokesman: "Adding to the brutality of a national campaign, the Palin family also has an infant with special needs. What leads you, the Senator, and the Governor to believe that one won't affect the other in the next couple of months?" See the September 2 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     On August 29, CNN Newsroom anchor John Roberts sniffed: "The role of Vice President, it seems to me, would take up an awful lot of her time, and it raises the issue of how much time will she have to dedicate to her newborn child." See: www.mrc.org

     Also on August 29, the Washington Post's Sally Quinn whined in an online column: "Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job?...Her first priority has to be her children. When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick what choice will she make?" See: newsweek.washingtonpost.com

     Not only have members of the media discussed this subject, they've done so repeatedly and with great enthusiasm. So, is David Gregory somehow unaware of this fact or was he simply being disingenuous?

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The segment which prompted Gregory's inaccuracy was a contentious interview with Rudy Giuliani. During that piece, the former New York mayor ripped into media coverage of Palin. After Vieira complained, "He [McCain] has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless," Giuliani let loose on what he saw as sexism:

     RUDY GIULIANI: I think that he selected a person who is one of our more distinguished governors. I think the fact that there is a woman on the Republican ticket has got the media in a- in a tizzy and they are asking questions they would never ask if there were a man there, including the question that I mentioned about whether, you know, she's going to have enough time to be- to be vice president and be a mother. Never asked a man that, ever. And I think the language they've pried into her personal life, honestly, my own opinion, it's indecent and disgusting and they should leave her daughter alone.

     A transcript of the September 3 segment, which aired at 7:07am, and later Gregory exchange, follow:

     MEREDITH VIEIRA: Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was Senator McCain's rival during the presidential primaries this year and he is scheduled to speak at the convention tonight. Good morning to you, Mr. Mayor. Nice to see you.
     RUDY GIULIANI: Good morning, Meredith. How are you?
     VIEIRA: Let's- I'm fine, thank you. Let's talk about the vetting process when it comes to Governor Palin. Because there have been so many questions raised. McCain camp says she was thoroughly scrutinized. Washington Post today is reporting that she wasn't, really throughly questioned until the day before she was selected. You've been in politics a long time. Does that sound like a thorough vetting to you?
     GIULIANI: Well, how would I know? I mean, you'd have to know what the questions were before they were asked.
     VIEIRA: But the day before, selected, is day they sat down with her? That's coming from the McCain camp. That isn't something we invented.
     GIULIANI: Well, first of all, it really depends on how many questions she was asked. If you're asking me if what has come out indicates there wasn't a thorough vetting, I'd say, no. Everything that's come out is almost silly. I mean, the whole thing about her daughter should just be off limits in the first place. I mean, that's just absurd for that to be some kind of a major, major issue. Unfortunately-
     VIEIRA: Well, I think it only became a major issue because of the way that it came out. It's not so much about the pregnancy.
     GIULIANI: What are you supposed to do? Announce it on the day you become the candidate? You're supposed to say, my daughter is pregnant and is she is going to get married. I mean, it's absurd the way that's been painted. This is a non-issue. The idea that -- the question she's been asked, you should find totally offensive. Questions like, can you be a mother and a vice president? Do they ever ask Barack Obama can you be a father and a president?
     VIEIRA: What about the questions whether you have enough experience to be vice president?
     GIULIANI: Of course that's a valid question. I'm talking about the ones that aren't valid. Of course that's a valid question. Of course she has enough experience. She's been a mayor and a governor. The day she became mayor, the first day she severed in office, she had more experience than Joe Biden and Barack Obama combined. She has-
     VIEIRA: And then Senator McCain as well. He has no executive experience.
     GIULIANI Senator McCain ran a military unit. I remember the debates when he explained his responsibilities in the military. He's led men in battle. He's had the responsibility of the lives of men in his hands.
     VIEIRA: Do you- Let me ask you-
     GIULIANI: Joe Biden has never had that. Barack Obama has never had that. She's been a governor of a state. She's one of our most successful governors right now. She is the most popular governor in the United States.
     VIEIRA: Mayor, give me an example that has laid it to rest for you, where you have seen her, some executive decision she has made that convinces you she should be a heart beat away from the presidency?
     GIULIANI: Going after the sitting governor of Alaska who was a Republican, going after the Republican chairman and throwing him out, taking on corruption head-on. Something I did when I was a United States attorney. I know how tough it is. This woman has got what it takes. She took on corruption in the Republican Party not just in the Democratic Party. She stood up to big oil. She has got accomplishments in her years in office that match the accomplishments that some two-term governors have and sometimes exceeded.
     VIEIRA: So, what do you say to the people who are questioning the judgment of McCain in selecting her? He has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless.
     GIULIANI: I think that he selected a person who is one of our more distinguished governors. I think the fact that there is a woman on the Republican ticket has got the media in a- in a tizzy and they are asking questions they would never ask if there were a man there, including the question that I mentioned about whether, you know, she's going to have enough time to be- to be vice president and be a mother. Never asked a man that, ever. And I think the language they've pried into her personal life, honestly, my own opinion, it's indecent and disgusting and they should leave her daughter alone.
     VIEIRA: What does she have to say tonight to quiet the questions around her? What- This is the biggest speech of her lifetime, potentially.
     GIULIANI: I'm not going to get to write her speech. If I were giving her speech I'd talk about what she's done as governor, as mayor, how she's taken on big oil and won, two battles and won them. Taken on Republican entrenched politicians who were unethical, or alleged to be unethical, turned that all around. How she's lowered the spending in Alaska by 15 to 20 percent already. I was a mayor, all the tough decisions I made were made in the first year I that I was in office. It's the key to being a good mayor, a good governor, a good president. She made all those tough decisions within the last year, year and a half.
     VIEIRA: You're going to be speaking tonight as well. I don't know -- She'll probably get a little more attention, but -- That's okay's she's- she's- she's the vice presidential candidate of our party. My job is to just explain my friendship for John McCain and why I think he should be president of the United States.
     GIULIANI: All right. Nice to see you.

     7:22am
     DAVID GREGORY: The issue has been for them changing the subject, getting it off the vetting and, frankly, going and taking on the media. Suggesting that it's their opponents in the Democratic Party and the media that are somehow panicked by her.
     VIEIRA: Well, that's what Fred Thompson was sort of saying.
     GREGORY: And, by the way, I mean, I think it's important to point out, Rudy Giuliani said questions have been asked about whether she can balance this with her kids. That question has not been brought up by the media.
     VIEIRA: Oh, exactly. All right. David, thank you.
     GREGORY: Yeah.

 

Today Show Again Bashes Palin: Shortchange
Family or America?

     Less than an hour after reporter David Gregory incorrectly huffed on Wednesday's Today show that the media have not questioned whether Sarah Palin can balance motherhood with serving as Vice President (see #10 above), NBC correspondent Amy Robach explicitly did just that during a segment on how moms were reacting to the Alaska Governor. Operating under a loaded either/or premise, she derided: "The broader question if Sarah Palin becomes Vice President, will she be shortchanging her kids or will she be shortchanging the country?"

     Labeling the segment "the mommy wars," Robach, a former beauty pageant contestant, went on point out that Palin is running despite having an infant child with Down's Syndrome and a pregnant 17-year-old daughter. She asserted that "the news has sparked both pride and condemnation." Robach also featured New York Times writer Jodi Kantor, who authored a piece on the subject in the September 2 edition of the paper. In a clip, Kantor discussed the fact that Palin went back to work only a few days after giving birth this past April. According to the journalist, "fellow mothers" found this "a little bit hard to fathom, a little bit hard to identify with."

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Co-host Meredith Vieira deemed it particularly odd that right leaning individuals were standing behind this working mom: "It seems like the conservatives who would probably advocate that moms stay home are backing Governor Palin and a lot of the other working moms are questioning her decision. Interesting twist." For a second segment on the topic, she brought in authors Leslie Morgan Steiner and Megan Basham.

     Ms. Steiner continued the GOP bashing. She whined that, for decades, the Republican Party "told us that you can't be a good mom if you work, even though the vast majority of moms in this country have to work. So it's an amazing thing that they are backing this woman who presents such a chaotic and messy and totally real picture of modern motherhood." (In fairness, Steiner did later point out the double standard in that Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden was encouraged to stay in the Senate after becoming a single parent after a tragic accident.)

 

Wednesday Morning Shows Grill Rudy Giuliani
on Sarah Palin

     Appearing on all three network morning shows on Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani was inundated with questions about McCain vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, including one question by Meredith Vieira on NBC's Today: "So, what do you say to the people who are questioning the judgment of McCain in selecting her? He has always been known as a maverick, but also as somebody who can veer towards the reckless side. Some see this as a decision that was made in haste, I.E., reckless." Meanwhile, on the CBS Early Show, Giuliani criticized the media for questioning Palin's parenting ability: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez replied: "So you're saying you have no doubt and voters shouldn't either. That she can do it?" Giuliani fired back: "Where are the feminists? I mean, is it just -- there are all these feminist groups. Where are they?" Then Rodriguez argued that questioning Palin as a mother was fair game: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle."

     On ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer was concerned with Palin's travel habits: "Has Governor Palin traveled? Where?" Giuliani replied: "I'm sure she has a real knowledge of what's going on in the world. I'm sure she's going to be able to demonstrate that, but all things that, you got to, in fairness, before everybody jumps on her, I mean, when Barack Obama started they certainly didn't all jump on him this way." Sawyer then wondered: "We had heard she that got her first passport in order to go to Kuwait once and then go to Germany and that's the extent of her travel. Bother you?" Sawyer went on to ask: "She's going to be speaking tonight. Everyone says it's high stakes. It is a kind of make-or-break night for her. Should she be nervous?"

     [This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     On the Early Show, Giuliani also raised the issue of the media not sufficiently vetting Barack Obama after Rodriguez declared: "There are questions about her [Sarah Palin's] experience, which I know have been raised about Barack Obama as well." Giuliani responded: "No, they haven't...Nobody's looked into his relationship with a foundation he was on. Nobody has looked into -- nobody has looked into the fact that he's never traveled -- never traveled south of the border." Rodriguez dismissed the charge: " I don't think that's true. In fact, I've even reported that...But let me tell you the difference. If Barack Obama...is elected president, it's because voters put him there...If Sarah Palin has to move into that slot, it'll be because God forbid something happened to the president. Do you think she's ready to step in?" Of course, people would have voted for Sarah Palin as well if she becomes vice president.

     On Today, in response to Vieira's suggestion that McCain's decision to pick Palin for VP was "reckless," Giuliani argued: "I think the fact that there is a woman on the Republican ticket has got the media in a- in a tizzy and they are asking questions they would never ask if there were a man there, including the question that I mentioned about whether, you know, she's going to have enough time to be- to be vice president and be a mother. Never asked a man that, ever. And I think the language they've pried into her personal life, honestly, my own opinion, it's indecent and disgusting and they should leave her daughter alone."

     On CNN's American Morning, co-host John Roberts stressed Giuliani's differences with Palin: "Now, she has conservative social views. You're a moderate. Are you comfortable with her pick on that front?" Giuliani replied: "Sure. Look, my part is a broad party. I understand that I'm part of a party that doesn't agree with me on everything. But, I agree on the main principles."

     Roberts then turned to Palin's church: "And she recently gave a speech at the Assembly of God Church in Wasilla, in which she talked about Iraq. And she appeared to talk about the deployment of U.S. forces in terms of carrying out almost a message from God. Let's take a listen to how she put it." A video clip of Palin was played: "Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure we're praying for. That there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan. So, bless them with your prayers." Roberts asked: "Mr. Mayor, what do you think of that statement, that she seems to suggest the deployment of troops is somehow related to a task from God?" That same clip of Palin was also featured at the top of NBC's Today on Wednesday.

     After broadcasting the clip to the world, Roberts went on to add: "But, as we know, there are a lot of sensitivities particularly in the Middle East, to that sort of talk. Remember when President George Bush talked about a crusade and got us in trouble."

 

'Dr. Phil' Chastises Letterman's Deriding
of Palin's Parenting

Guest "Dr. Phil" on Wednesday night chastised David Letterman's misunderstanding of teenage sexual behavior and parental influence after Letterman sarcastically complained that if a President McCain "drops dead...don't you want your President to have had the presence of mind to have chatted to her teenaged kids for five minutes about birth control?" (Letterman delivered the same belittling joke the night before too.) Referring to Letterman's almost five-year-old son, daytime TV host Phil McGraw, aka "Dr. Phil," informed Letterman: "If you are under the misapprehension that when Harry is 17 that you are going to have even a remote influence on what he decides in the back seat of a Chevy on a Saturday night -- I don't think old Dave's going to be popping in his mind at that point. It's not a 15-minute conversation. It's a dialogue that you need to have starting when he's about eight or nine."

     Undeterred from his contempt for Sarah Palin, Letterman asked: "Then why didn't they have the dialogue?" McGraw suggested: "Maybe they did. But when children get that age, at 17 -- see, here's the thing. The body's grown but the brain is not." Letterman soon sneered: "They don't sell Trojans in Alaska? Come on," prompting McGraw to point out: "Wasn't Barack's mother like 18 when he was born?" Indeed she was.

     Letterman made a big distinction between whether Bristol Palin is 17 or 18, and while there may be legal rights at 18 it hardly means that if you see 17 as too young to be pregnant all is great with being pregnant at 18: "If she's 18 we're not having this conversation. Because she's 17, it's a whole different deal."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted early Thursday morning, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Bio of McGraw: www.drphil.com

     Late Show's home page: lateshow.cbs.com

     The exchange, which matches the video, on the Wednesday, September 3 Late Show with David Letterman (video rendered by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey, transcript provided by Karen Hanna):

     DAVID LETTERMAN: ...Here's the first thing that came to my mind. Another poor John McCain drops dead in office. He gets elected; drops dead. It's happened. I think Grover Cleveland dropped dead in office -- I don't know. So now she's the President. So I'm thinking to myself, okay, she's the President, fine. But don't you want your President to have had the presence of mind to have chatted to her teenaged kids for five minutes about birth control?
     DR. PHIL: Let me tell you, let me tell you something, new dad.
     LETTERMAN: Yeah. (Laughter) uh-oh.
     DR. PHIL: If, if you are under the misapprehension that when Harry is 17 that you are going to have even a remote influence-
     LETTERMAN: Really, really?
     DR. PHIL: -on what he decides in the back seat of a Chevy on a Saturday night, I don't think old Dave's going to be popping in his mind at that point. It's not a 15-minute conversation. It's a dialogue that you need to have starting when he's about eight or nine.
     LETTERMAN: Then why didn't they have the dialogue?
     DR. PHIL: Maybe they did. But when children get that age, at 17 -- see, here's the thing. The body's grown but the brain is not. Your brain continues growing until you're 25.
     LETTERMAN: I agree with everything you say, and that's why she should have been counseled all along. Me being snarky about a five-minute conversation is inaccurate. You, of course, smarter than I am, completely accurate (Laughter). But I'm just saying, you know what? There's going to be a lot-
     DR. PHIL: I'm so getting set up here.
     LETTERMAN: No, no, no.
     DR. PHIL: I know what you're saying.
     LETTERMAN: What makes it sensitive is the fact that she's 17. If she's 18 we're not having this conversation. Because she's 17, it's a whole different deal. But here, take some protection for God's sakes. They don't, they don't sell Trojans in Alaska? Come on.
     DR. PHIL: Wasn't Barack's mother like 18 when he was born? 17, 18 when she got pregnant?
     LETTERMAN: I don't know. What's the difference? 17, 18-
     DR. PHIL: Have somebody look it up at the break because if it's not right, we need to take it out.
     LETTERMAN: 18 is fine, I have no problem with 18.

 

On-Scene Video from St. Paul: Cal Thomas
& Voight on Media Bias

     Check out the on-scene reports this week, many with original video, from the MRC's NewsBusters blog team in St. Paul. Wednesday's posts, with video include: "Bolton Tells NewsBusters 'Palin Coverage Has Been Vile,'" "Cal Thomas Talks to NewsBusters Re: Palin Bias, MSNBC,"

     Plus, from the MRC's CNSNews.com, "Jon Voight: MSNBC a 'Platform' for Democratic 'Left.'" For video, go to: www.cnsnews.com

     For all of the "Convention Watch" postings (analysis from the team at MRC HQ and those in St. Paul) on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org

     Direct addresses for the other posts highlighted above:

     For "Bolton Tells NewsBusters 'Palin Coverage Has Been Vile,'" go to: newsbusters.org

     For "Cal Thomas Talks to NewsBusters Re: Palin Bias, MSNBC," check: newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker, with the night team: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth and Matthew Balan, plus Michelle Humphrey and Karen Hanna on the DVRs

 


 


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