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California Recall

California’s recall election, currently scheduled for October, promises to be the dominant political story of the late summer and early fall. This is a compilation of all MRC items about the election.

Schieffer Fixates on Arnold Raising Taxes
During Face the Nation, CBS’s Bob Schieffer displayed a fixation with getting his guests to agree that in order to fix California’s problems; Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger must rescind his no tax hike pledge. 
(CyberAlert, October 13, 2003)

Hunt Urges Arnold to Raise Taxes
On CNN’s Capital Gang, Al Hunt cited Ronald Reagan’s precedent in raising taxes in 1967 after being elected Governor of California and urged Arnold Schwarzenegger to follow the same path.
(CyberAlert, October 13, 2003)

Networks Push Arnold to Rescind Tax Pledge
The day after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory network reporters began their own recall campaign to have him rescind his no tax hike pledge. CBS and CNN even resurrected the derisive “voodoo economics” characterization as they worked to undermine the credibility of Schwarzenegger’s pledge to balance the budget by cutting spending while holding the line on taxes.
(CyberAlert, October 9, 2003)

Network Analysts Depict Recall as Bad Omen for Bush
Despite the fact that the California exit poll found that of those who approve of “the way George W. Bush is handling his job,” 86 percent favored the recall of Governor Gray Davis, network analysts were quick to suggest the recall of Davis represented widespread anger with incumbents and could specifically spell trouble for Bush next year. But the exit poll also determined that 78 percent of those who disapprove of Bush voted no on the recall.
(CyberAlert, October 9, 2003)

Jennings Emphasizes that Arnold Got Fewer Votes Than Recall
More people voted for Arnold Schwarzenegger than against the recall, thus creating a scenario in which Schwarzenegger became Governor with more votes than went to keeping Gray Davis in office, but instead of emphasizing how Schwarzenegger thus beat Davis head-to-head or his big 17 point margin over Democrat Cruz Bustamante, ABC’s Peter Jennings chose to open World News Tonight by stressing how 4.3 million voted to recall Governor Gray Davis while “a smaller number, 3.6 million, or 48 percent, voted to elect Mr. Schwarzenegger.”
(CyberAlert, October 9, 2003)

ABC’s Douglass Dismisses Recall as “Temper Tantrum”
What is it about ABC News personnel blaming temper tantrums when a popular revolt rejects the media’s preferred candidate? In 1994, when Republicans won control of the House and Senate, Peter Jennings dismissed the meaning of that voter choice by charged that “the voters had a temper tantrum last week.” The night after the election, ABC’s Linda Douglass, without citing any quote to support her contention, asserted that "Schwarzenegger acknowledged that the recall campaign was the result of a statewide temper tantrum.”
(CyberAlert, October 9, 2003)

GMA Gives Huffington Second Day to Blast Arnold
ABC’s favorite California analyst: the liberal Arianna Huffington, a vociferous critic of Arnold Schwarzenegger. After bringing her aboard Good Morning America on election day to attack Schwarzenegger, the day after the election GMA featured her in not one, but in two segments in two different hours of the program.
(CyberAlert, October 9, 2003)

Shields Drops an 18-Pack on the Recall
Columnist and PBS analyst Mark Shields owes a six pack to his CNN Capital Gang colleagues, all of whom on Saturday predicted the recall would win while he bet a six pack that it would not.
(CyberAlert, October 8, 2003)

Gergen Advises Arnold to Raise Taxes
Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger has won after a pledge to not raise taxes, what should he do? He should raise taxes, David Gergen of U.S. News & World Report advised on Nightline.
(CyberAlert, October 8, 2003)

Recall Used for “Nefarious Ends”
Hours before the polls closed, ABC’s Peter Jennings delighted in “the irony” of how the recall, which “conservative Republicans had engineered” to “get rid of a moderate Democratic Governor,” had led Gray Davis to sign “a lot of legislation pushed by liberals.” And when Jennings went to the streets, he found a man who told him that the recall mechanism had been “usurped for...nefarious ends.” 
(CyberAlert, October 8, 2003)

Williams Admits that Conservatives See Liberal Bias at L.A. Times
NBC News acknowledged conservative backlash against the liberal bias of the Los Angeles Times for launching a last minute hit piece on Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams couldn’t resist forwarding the usual media stereotypes about how only angry white men tune in to talk radio.
(CyberAlert, October 8, 2003)

ABC Uses Huffington as an Analyst
Arianna Huffington, who dropped out of the recall race, remained a vociferous critic of Arnold Schwarzenegger but, nonetheless, ABC’s Good Morning America brought her aboard to assess the campaign as if she were some kind of independent analyst.
(CyberAlert, October 8, 2003)

MNF Announcer Slams Huffington
Monday Night Football play-by-play announcer Al Michaels took an accurate shot at Arianna Huffington, commenting on how a player who zig-zagged through the other team’s defensive line to pick up nearly 20 yards had shown “more change of direction than Arianna Huffington,” an obvious crack at how she’s moved from right to left.
(CyberAlert, October 8, 2003)

Lying Expert Franken Distorts Schwarzenegger Comment
On NBC’s Tonight Show, Al Franken, author of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, distorted what Arnold Schwarzenegger said in the 1970s about Adolph Hitler. Franken falsely claimed that Schwarzenegger not only said “that he liked the way Hitler spoke and presented himself,” but also that “he said he liked what he did with it.”
(CyberAlert, October 7, 2003)

Morning Shows Obsess Over Sexual Assault Charges Against Arnold 
ABC and NBC morning show viewers started the week with network anchors Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s sudden scandal problems in taped interviews with the embattled candidate. ABC’s Brian Rooney mysteriously described Governor Gray Davis as leading a “mild-mannered campaign” while George Stephanopoulos asserted that Maria Shriver’s defense of her husband was “very similar to what Hillary Clinton did back in Bill Clinton's campaign.”
(CyberAlert, October 7, 2003)

CBS Points Out Hypocrisy of Women’s Groups on Schwarzenegger
CBS highlighted the hypocrisy of liberal groups which defended Bill Clinton from complaints about his sexual improprieties but now are campaigning against Arnold Schwarzenegger. “It wasn’t so long ago that boorish sexual behavior nearly brought down Bill Clinton’s presidency, but things are topsy turvy this time,” Bill Whitaker pointed out on the CBS Evening News, since “feminist groups that rallied around President Clinton” are now rallying against Schwarzenegger.
(CyberAlert, October 7, 2003)

Smearing Arnold So Democrats Don’t Have To
Arnold Schwarzenegger is no conservative, but the liberal media are smearing him as if he were. The same broadcast networks that flinched when faced with credible charges that Democratic darling Bill Clinton actually raped a woman during his 1978 Arkansas gubernatorial campaign are scrambling to give free airtime to women who charge Schwarzenegger with unwanted groping.
(Media Reality Check, October 6, 2003)

LA Times Gets Angry Reader Backlash
The Los Angeles Times has suffered some angry reader feedback over its series of last-minute stories about women who charge Arnold Schwarzenegger with inappropriate sexual advances toward them, allegations that go back decades. To its credit, on Sunday, the paper carried a story about its upset readership.
(CyberAlert, October 6, 2003)

ABC Failed to Note Depth in Schwarzenegger Misquote
Even though the New York Times corrected it in late Thursday editions and again on Friday, Linda Douglass of ABC News waited until Sunday before correcting, sort of, the inaccurate quote she highlighted on Thursday’s World News Tonight about how Arnold Schwarzenegger supposedly once asserted: “I admired Hitler, for instance, because he came from being a little man with almost no formal education, up to power. I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it.”
(CyberAlert, October 6, 2003)

Going to the Clinton “School”
Best line of the weekend. Charles Krauthammer, on Fox News Sunday, on Arnold Schwarzenegger accosting women: “He went to the Bill Clinton School of Courtship and graduated rather high in his class.”
(CyberAlert, October 6, 2003)

Celebrities Campaign to Keep Davis
Dozens of celebrities had their names listed Friday in a full page ad, in the Daily Variety trade newspaper, urging a “no” vote on the recall so Gray Davis can remain in office. "Join us," the AP reported that the read in bold letters, followed by: "Vote no on the recall." AP found that the list of 46 names included “actors, producers, writers and studio chiefs.”
(CyberAlert, October 4, 2003)

Couric Favorably Compares Arnold’s Reaction to Clinton’s
Today featured a session with the woman who remembered being touched once by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1975, E. Laine Stockton, and feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, but Today’s Katie Couric, in a very surprising question, favorably compared Schwarzenegger’s reaction to charges of sexual impropriety with how Clinton reacted and how Democrats then said sexual activity didn’t matter.
(CyberAlert, October 4, 2003)

ABC’s Rooney Exhorts Davis to be Harsher
California Governor Gray Davis just isn’t harsh enough for ABC’s Brian Rooney. When Davis, during an interview excerpted on Friday’s Good Morning America, refrained from denouncing Schwarzenegger over the groping and Nazi allegations, maintaining that it’s up to voters to “decide how much weight to put on it,” Rooney lectured Davis: "He denied some of it, admitted some of it and apologized. He may have admitted some things that are a criminal offense -- it's sexual assault."
(CyberAlert, October 4, 2003)

Media Eagerly Slime Schwarzenegger So Media Won’t Have To
Not slimed by dirty politics from Democrats but from the media which continue to highlight suspiciously revealed comments about Nazis and to troll for women to denounce Arnold Schwarzenegger.
(CyberAlert, October 4, 2003)

Media Weren’t as Interested in Broaddrick or Troopers
Tom Brokaw is not the only journalist or outlet to demonstrate a double standards and some hypocrisy in jumping on the allegations about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inappropriate sexual advances when those same journalists and outlets delayed or downplayed the more serious Juanita Broaddrick charge that Bill Clinton raped her and, in late 1993, the Arkansas troopers’ claims about procuring women for Bill Clinton -- stories which both broke no where near election time and, therefore, the media should have been less reticent to report than a charge raised days before balloting.
(CyberAlert, October 3, 2003)

Brokaw’s Hypocrisy: Jumped on Arnold but Ignored Broaddrick
Back in 1999 when his own colleague, Lisa Myers, landed an interview with Juanita Broaddrick, who accused President Clinton of raping her 20 years earlier (1978), Tom Brokaw refused to report it on the NBC Nightly News. But Brokaw jumped right on the Los Angeles Times story about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s inappropriate sexual advances, going back to 1975, three years before the Broaddrick claim, and which fell far short of rape.
(CyberAlert, October 3, 2003)

Media Hype Anti-Conservative Anti-Arnold Expose
A 3,700-word last-minute Los Angeles Times story, “Women Say Schwarzenegger Groped, Humiliated Them,” prompted stories on all the broadcast networks and then and in between on the cable news channels, but none of the ABC, CBS or NBC stories made any suggestion about anything being wrong with the timing of the story, dealing with claims going back 28 years, coming less than a week before the California gubernatorial recall vote.
(CyberAlert, October 3, 2003)

Perfect Storm of Anti-Conservative News Dominates Networks
The networks had a field day with last-minute charges against Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rush Limbaugh ESPN controversy.
(CyberAlert, October 3, 2003)

CBS Sees a Conservative but No Liberals
An Early Show description of the California gubernatorial debate included a conservative label for state senator Tom McClintock but nothing for liberals.
(CyberAlert, September 26, 2003)

Cruising Past Cruz’s Racial Controversies
Since mid-August, network TV reporters have been touting the leader-of-the-pack status of Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in the California recall, but ABC, CBS, and NBC showed no interest in the front-runner’s racial controversies.
(Media Reality Check, September 17, 2003)

Actor Martin Sheen Terms Recall “a Republican Grab for Power”
The West Wing star also claimed that the only Hollywood celebrity qualified to be a politician was liberal activist Rob Reiner. Sheen made these statements during an appearance on CBS’s Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.
(CyberAlert, August 27, 2003)

Liberal Celebrities Attack Schwarzenegger
Not all celebrities were happy to see Arnold Schwarzenegger enter the governor’s race. Carrie Fisher said she would rather move to England and Cybill Shepherd claimed Schwarzenegger doesn’t care about the poor.
(CyberAlert, August 22, 2003)

Refusal to Dismiss Tax Raise Seen as “Savvy”
CNN’s Kelly Wallace described Arnold Schwarzenegger’s refusal to make a “no new taxes” pledge as politically “savvy.”
(CyberAlert, August 21, 2003)

California’s Future First Lady?
Conservatives cringed when recall candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger added anti-tax cut investment icon Warren Buffett and liberal actor/activist Rob Lowe to his campaign brain trust. But without a doubt the biggest liberal in Schwarzenegger’s camp is his wife, NBC News star Maria Shriver, whom the Los Angeles Times said “has often functioned as a de facto personal manager” for her husband. 
(Media Reality Check, August 19, 2003)

Republicans or Conservatives?
The Arnold Schwarzenegger candidacy may become a classic contest for activists to decide whether they are Republicans or conservatives first, MRC President Brent Bozell wrote in his nationally syndicated column.
(Bozell News Column, August 19, 2003)

Questioning Economic Policy is “Dirty”?
CBS Early Show host Rene Syler thought a Bill Simon ad that criticized Arnold Schwarzenegger for taking advice from pro-tax advocate Warren Buffett was a sign of dirty politicking. “Is this going to get just really down and dirty,” she asked of a San Francisco newspaper editor.
(CyberAlert, August 19, 2003)

Journalists Hail Buffett Tax Hike Suggestion, Ignore Reality
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s economic adviser Warren Buffett suggested California property taxes were too low and journalists applauded it as a courageous remedy for the debt-ridden state. The pundits ignored the real cause of the California debt: the state’s spending was almost twice that of population plus inflation. 
(CyberAlert, August 18, 2003)

Koppel Gives Davis Gratuitous Plug
ABC’s Ted Koppel gave California Gov. Gray Davis a gratuitous plug when the embattled politician announced that the East Coast black out posed no threat to the Golden State.
(CyberAlert, August 15, 2003)

Early Show Highlights Marginal Candidates
The CBS Early Show host suggested that the California recall was “serious business” but that’s hardly how his show has treated it, highlighting several of the marginal candidates.
(Media Reality Check, August 14, 2003)

CNN: It’s Moderate Republicans Vs. the “Far Right”
CNN’s Aaron Brown attempted to marginalize Republicans who disagreed with Arnold Schwarzenegger, describing them as “far right” on three different occasions.
(CyberAlert, August 14, 2003)

Networks Praise Schwarzenegger Adviser Buffett
The networks were pleased to report that investor Warren Buffett, a liberal Democrat, had joined the Schwarzenegger campaign. NBC highlighted Buffett’s opposition to the Bush tax cuts and CNN’s Aaron Brown called the investor “an independent thinker.”
(CyberAlert, August 14, 2003)

CBS’s Smith Maintains Proposition 187 Lost But Later Corrects Himself
CBS’s Harry Smith, co-host of The Early Show, maintained that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s support of Proposition 187 showed that the candidate was out-of-step with Californians because the measure had failed. The measure actually passed 59 to 41 percent, a fact Smith noted the next day.
(CyberAlert, August 13, 2003)

Networks Condemn Schwarzenegger’s Support of Prop 187
Californians supported Proposition 187 by a wide margin, but Arnold Schwarzenegger’s support of the measure was controversial to both NBC and CBS. Brian Williams called it “a famous anti-immigration measure” despite the fact that the measure was aimed at illegal immigrants.
(CyberAlert, August 13, 2003)

Time Worried About Schwarzenegger’s Conservative Friends
Newsweek and Time put Arnold Schwarzenegger on their covers and both played up his liberal and or “libertarian” stances, although Time writer Richard Lacayo worried about Schwarzenegger’s friendship with conservative GOP Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
(CyberAlert, August 12, 2003)

Couric Savages Schwarzenegger, Scolds Simon
On the August 7 Today, Couric reminded viewers of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “baggage,” from “smoking marijuana” to being “the son of a Nazi Party member” to “allegations” that he’s “sexually harassed women and committed infidelity.” Four days later, she scolded Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon for the comments of a Simon strategist who promised to spotlight “[Schwarzenegger’s] raunchy past and liberal social views.”
(CyberAlert, August 11, 2003)

Lauer Worries About “Republican” Collusion, Sawyer About Deficit
Matt Lauer tried to undermine the recall effort by worrying about whether there’s “collusion in the Republican Party that goes all the way to the White House?” Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer reminded Arnold Schwarzenegger that he blames California Governor Gray Davis for the state’s $38 billion deficit and asked if he blamed President Bush for the federal deficit.
(CyberAlert, August 11, 2003)

Koppel Begs Panetta to Run
Nightline’s Ted Koppel practically begged former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta to enter the recall election. “Not to press the issue too much, but since it's gonna happen anyway, why not have a, you know, a good, strong, sensible politician like yourself to say, well, let's make the best of a bad deal,” Koppel pleaded.
(CyberAlert, August 11, 2003)

The Shrivers Have Moved Arnold to the Left
A Washington Post story reported that when Schwarzenegger came to the U.S. his politics were the “right of Genghis Khan.” Since marrying into the Shriver clan – Schwarzenegger’s wife is Maria Shriver, daughter of liberal Democrat Sargent Shriver and the niece of Ted Kennedy – his views have become liberal, according to the story. The actor told Fox News Channel’s Fox and Friends that his father-in-law, Sargent Shriver, had had a lot to do with is political outlook.
(CyberAlert, August 11, 2003)

Schwarzenegger is Like Reagan?
NBC correspondent George Lewis suggested that Arnold Schwarzenegger was acting like Ronald Reagan because he pretended not to hear a question about releasing his tax returns.
(CyberAlert, August 11, 2003)

ABC Blames “Well-Financed Conservatives” for Recall
Sounding eerily like Hillary Clinton’s claim of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas blamed “a determined group of well-financed conservatives” for the recall election.
(CyberAlert, August 8, 2003)

Gergen Campaigns for Panetta, Lauds Huffington
Former presidential adviser and current U.S. News Editor-at-Large David Gergen argued Leon Panetta would make a good candidate in California, crediting him with balancing the federal budget: “He did run the budget office, after all, for Bill Clinton, turned a deficit into a surplus, and...that's exactly what California needs right now.” Gergen condemned Schwarzenegger for a lack of experience but lauded Arianna Huffington, who he called a “a terrific columnist and a good voice.”
(CyberAlert, August 8, 2003)

Stephanopoulos Gives the Dems Game Plan
On August 7, the day after Arnold Schwarzenegger announced, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, a former Clinton aide and long-time Democratic operative, devoted nearly all of his analysis to how Democrats will undermine Schwarzenegger.
(CyberAlert Extra Edition, August 7, 2003)

Couric Hammers Schwarzenegger
Journalists normally prompt the professional political operatives to attack their opponents, but not Katie Couric. The Today host made the attacks herself, asking this “question” of a California politico: “Let me ask you about [Schwarzenegger], his baggage, if you will. He's admitted smoking marijuana, using steroids during his body- building career. He's the son of a Nazi Party member...”
(CyberAlert Extra Edition, August 7, 2003)

NY Times Goes for Snob Appeal
From the MRC's TimesWatch.org: The New York Times story on California's recall vote noted Senator Dianne Feinstein is out, while action-hero Arnold and "populist" Arianna are in, and offered its readers snob appeal: “Instead of talking about issues like nuclear proliferation and appropriations, as Ms. Feinstein did, Mr. Schwarzenegger made light of his decision to run...”
(CyberAlert Extra Edition, August 7, 2003)

A Republican Hollywood Likes
On Good Morning America, actress Jamie Lee Curtis said she thought her friend Arnold Schwarzenegger would make a good Governor. “Even though he pretends to be a Republican,” Curtis said, I think he's a social Democrat at heart.” (CyberAlert, August 7, 2003)


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