McCain Aide Boasted of Media "Base"; Day Trading Will Kill You
1) CBS marveled at how Bush "is the first Republican
candidate who’s being held to account for the intolerance and bigotry"
of the Christian Right. ABC actually focused on McCain’s dissembling over
calls linking Bush to anti-Catholicism.
2) The McCain campaign used their "base," the news
media, to tar Bush in Michigan by linking him to Bob Jones and Pat Robertson,
a top McCain aide boasted to the Wall Street Journal. CBS claimed Bush’s
rhetoric was so "tough it made one McCain supporter cry."
3) The New Republic endorsed McCain because he’s
"seeking to remake his party into something other than the political arm
of the privileged few," so two parties pushing "the public
4) On Friday CBS claimed that "Bush found himself under
siege" over Bob Jones University. CBS’s story highlighted Bush’s
inarticulateness which will provide plenty of ammo for the media.
5) Carl Bernstein on Bush at BJU: "Probably the ugliest
political gesture by a presidential candidate since Willie Horton."
6) On FNC last week Michael Barone ruminated about media
hypocrisy on BJU versus Sharpton and interest in South Carolina’s
Confederate flag over the flags in other Southern states.
7) NBC highlighted a hearing on the supposed dangers of day
trading as Robert Hager claimed that one man "lured into the world of day
trading paid with his life."
8) In Investor’s Business Daily Michael Medved condemned the
A&E movie which denigrated the Revolutionary War’s fight against
taxation as killing "for profit."
"Look for the liberal label: If George W. Bush's appeals to conservative
voters will hurt him in the general election, as the media story line goes,
why won't Al Gore's embrace of liberal causes do the same?" This article
by the MRC’s Tim Graham appears in the March 4 edition of World magazine. To
read it, go to:
Bush’s acknowledgment Sunday that he should have spoken out earlier against
the policies of Bob Jones University led the ABC and CBS evenings shows on
February 27. (NBA basketball bumped the NBC Nightly News in the east.) CBS
took advantage of the opportunity to smear all Christian conservatives for the
"intolerance and bigotry" at the "core" of their cause,
but ABC decided to also give some air time to dissembling by John McCain in
denying involvement in phone calls clearly designed to suggest Bush is
After a story on Bush’s Sunday remarks about Bob Jones
University, Jacqueline Adams delved deeper into the meaning of his visit. She
began her CBS Evening News piece by noting how Republicans have been going to
the college for twenty years, everyone from Ronald Reagan to Bob Dole. The
visit hurt Bush in Michigan with Catholics, Adams relayed, before giving air
time to a left-winger to bash all religious conservatives:
"No one better
understands the political power of religion than the Reverend Doctor Calvin
Butts of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church."
"Religion is playing less of a role, or less of a direct role, than it
played, shall we say, in the election of Mr. Reagan."
Adams gave credibility
to his charge: "It’s ironic, Butts says, that the self-described
compassionate conservative is the first Republican candidate who’s being
held to account for the intolerance and bigotry which, Butts thinks, have
formed the core of the fundamentalist Christian crusade."
Butts sighed: "If
the evangelicals embraced him because he went to Bob Jones University, God
help us all."
Adams moved on to explaining how New York Congressman
Peter King switched allegiance from Bush to McCain and let King claim that
Bush had looked the "other way at a bigoted institution." Wrapping
up the story, Adams did at least let Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore denounce
the attacks on Bush over Bob Jones as "a smear tactic."
An inconvenient fact Adams and Butts ignored so they
could impugn the entire Christian Right: Bob Jones University is far from
typical. What other Christian college or Christian Right leader opposes
inter-racial dating, believes blacks are an inferior race, or equates the Pope
Over on ABC’s World News Tonight reporter John Yang
noted Bush’s regrets about not making clear earlier his disagreements with
the college, but then picked up on John McCain’s dissembling about phone
calls keying off BJU aimed at turning Catholics against Bush. Yang explained:
"First he personally approved calls to Catholic voters in Michigan."
ABC played a brief clip
of the audio of the phone call: "While Governor Bush has remained silent
while gaining the support of Bob Jones University."
Yang: "Then he
Clip of David Gregory
on NBC’s Today: "You had allies criticizing him."
McCain responding on
Today: "No, that’s not so."
Yang: "Only to
acknowledge it later. Today McCain said he denied the calls because of how
they were being characterized."
McCain earlier in the
day on ABC’s This Week where he was pressed about it: "Then they were
portrayed as some calls that were somehow accusing Governor Bush of being
anti-Catholic or a bigot. That’s not true and that’s not what I take
Yang: "Bush used
that defense to go on the attack."
McCain, when given the chance to set the record straight on TV, couldn’t
come to the truth."
"The Bob Jones visit could hurt Bush on Super Tuesday in New York, where
half the Republican voters are Catholic. But McCain’s handling of the issue
could tarnish him as well, making him look like just another mud-slinging
Wow. A bit of negative press for McCain.
As for whether the phone call was meant to lead
recipients to believe Bush is anti-Catholic, judge for yourself. Sunday
morning on Meet the Press, in a discussion/yelling match amongst Karl Rove,
Warren Rudman, Peter King and David Dreier, moderator Tim Russert played a
tape of the entire call:
"This is a
Catholic Voter Alert. Governor George Bush has campaigned against Senator John
McCain by seeking the support of Southern fundamentalists who have expressed
anti-Catholic views. Several weeks ago Governor George Bush spoke at Bob Jones
University in South Carolina. Bob Jones has made strong anti-Catholic
statements, including calling the Pope the anti-Christ and the Catholic Church
a satanic cult. John McCain, a pro-life Senator, has strongly criticized this
anti-Catholic bigotry, while Governor Bush has stayed silent while gaining the
support of Bob Jones University. Because of this, one Catholic pro-life
Congressman has switched his support from Bush to McCain, and many Michigan
Catholics now support John McCain for President."
Bush strategist Karl Rove reminded viewers that both of
McCain’s co-chairs in South Carolina have links to BJU: Lindsay Graham
accepted an honorary degree last year and the other is a graduate of the
school, a point also raised on Fox News Sunday on which Graham appeared.
So why did
the Bob Jones University appearance become such a major issue in the media?
Because, a top McCain aide confided to the Wall Street Journal, the McCain
campaign used their "base" -- the news media -- to make it into one.
In a February 25 editorial, the Journal admired how the
McCain team "turned a potentially fatal defeat in South Carolina into a
pyrrhic victory for George W. Bush." The editorial explained:
"The way they did
it was to spin a story line that made their candidate the victim of a vicious,
negative, horrifying right-wing hit job. This week we called Mike Murphy, Mr.
McCain’s megawatt strategist, to congratulate him on this megaspin, and he
appreciated it, adding, ‘They used their base, the Christian Right. So we
had every right to use ours, which is the media.’"
The Journal proceeded to outline how after Bush’s win
McCain’s team decided to try to cause a backlash in Michigan against how
Bush won in South Carolina:
"Top aide John
Weaver started the Sopranos theme music by telling reporters that, ‘Ralph
Reed, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are to be congratulated. We don’t know
if you can run as a Dixiecrat in Michigan, but we’ll find out.’....The
media bought this like a seaside Florida property. After his Iowa comeback, Al
Gore got credit for tenacity and toughness. After his New Hampshire upset, Mr.
McCain was the fresh-thinking insurgent. But after his rebound in Carolina,
Mr. Bush got credit for selling his soul to Pat Robertson."
Picking up on a quote from CBS News reporter Bill
Whitaker reported in the February 22 CyberAlert, the Journal observed:
"CBS paid Mr.
Weaver the ultimate spin tribute of wholesale theft, ‘reporting’ on Monday
that ‘the conservative with compassion had turned hard right down South,’
but that ‘whistling Dixie may not work in Michigan.’"
That CBS quote aired Monday night, February 21, and
reminded me of another Whitaker story slamming Bush’s tactics, a story not
yet mentioned in CyberAlert but worthy of attention. On the Friday, February
18 CBS Evening News, the night before the South Carolina primary, Whitaker
claimed Bush’s rhetoric was so "tough it made one McCain supporter
Whitaker portrayed McCain as a victim of a Bush
onslaught: "Bush has plowed well over $3 million into a relentless
barrage of radio and TV commercials, trying to blow up John McCain's campaign,
with anti-abortion surrogates firing from the sidelines. If compassion and
commercials don't turn you on to Bush, perhaps stealth mudslinging will turn
you off to McCain. The Bush campaign and groups that back him have made
hundreds of thousands of mailings and calls, blasting McCain with language so
tough it made one McCain supporter cry."
Woman in a crowd, in
tears: "I believe in you."
Whitaker provided a
less emotional retort: "Bush's response? McCain is blasting him with
nasty fliers, too."
nothing factual about this."
Whitaker then concluded
his loaded story: "Bush launched this all-out assault because he can't
afford to lose here. After New Hampshire, another failed primary could deal a
fatal blow to his presidential hopes."
the media as McCain’s "base," more evidence arrived in my mailbox
on Saturday: The March 6 edition of The New Republic, the ever more liberal
weekly political magazine popular with the national media. The cover features
a drawing of Gore and McCain to highlight endorsements of both.
McCain gained the magazine’s first ever endorsement of
a Republican in a primary. He earned it for pushing his party left, the
magazine made clear in the opening paragraph of its endorsement:
"This magazine has
never before endorsed a candidate in a Republican primary. We are breaking
precedent because, for the first time in recent memory, a serious Republican
presidential candidate is seeking to remake his party into something other
than the political arm of the privileged few. There are many issues on which
we think John McCain is wrong, and even more on which he has been so vague
that we cannot fully know. But his battle for the character of his party is so
important that all Americans concerned about the integrity and decency of our
political system should make his cause their own."
The magazine later approvingly noted how McCain
"represents the beginnings of an alternative to the plutocratic
conservatism that has defined the Republican Party for more than two
The last sentence of the endorsement from the magazine
owned by Gore friend Martin Peretz: "For, if his crusade succeeds,
America will have two parties advocating some reasonable approximation of the
public good rather than one."
CBS News still considered the Bob Jones appearance to be the most important
campaign issue of the day as Bush supposedly "found himself under
siege" over it. The story by reporter Phil Jones also illustrated
Bush’s inarticulateness, a problem that if not corrected will feed the media
with Dan Quayle-like ammunition all fall, assuming Bush makes it that long.
CBS Evening News anchor Dan
Rather introduced the February 25 story: "While the countdown to the
Super Tuesday batch of primaries on March 7th has top billing, George W. Bush
had his eye today on the immediate future, Virginia, early next week. But CBS'
Phil Jones reports Bush found himself under siege about events last week in
another Southern state."
Jones began: "George W. Bush was in Virginia today
looking ahead to the state's Tuesday primary. However, it was a past primary
that continued to haunt him. The problem: his appearance at Bob Jones
University in South Carolina. Bush was asked again today why he had not
denounced the university's attitudes against Catholics and interracial
Bush before a crowd at
AOL headquarters in Loudoun County, Virginia: "I did denounce it. I
denounced it. I denounced interracial dating. I denounced anti-Catholic bigacy
he had misspoken when he said he denounced interracial dating, Bush tried
Bush: "The Bob
Jones policy on interracial dating, I spoke out against that."
Reacting to a reporter
who could not be heard in the CBS story, Bush stumbled: "No. No, I, I, I,
I spoke out against interracial dating. I mean, I support inter, the policy of
Bob Dole-like, Jones
continued: "Whatever. Bush knows religious conservatives are powerful in
Virginia. In 1996, Republican voters were asked if they were a 'part of the
religious right.' Thirty-eight percent said yes. So he was trying not to
offend religious conservatives today when he was asked if he'd told the father
of the Christian Coalition, Pat Robertson, not to make anti-McCain phone calls
like he did in Michigan...."
Of course, Bush was only "under siege" from
reporters, not AOL employees or the general citizenry of Virginia.
a self-fulfilling prophecy, last Tuesday night veteran reporter Carl
Bernstein, of Watergate fame, promised that if Bush wins the GOP nomination
he’ll be "dogged" by his Bob Jones University visit. In the
ultimate media attack, Bernstein castigated the appearance as "the
ugliest political gesture.... since Willie Horton."
MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught Bernstein’s
remarks on the February 22 edition of CNBC’s Rivera Live:
"I think that if
George Bush is the nominee he is gonna be dogged by this to the point where it
might make it impossible for him to win. Because he crawled on his belly into
Bob Jones University. He didn’t make a peep about the intolerance of its
record, of its President. It’s probably the ugliest political gesture by a
presidential candidate since Willie Horton."
Would that be in releasing a murderer to kill again or
in creating a TV ad to inform the public about it?
Bernstein soon added a more reserved admonishment:
"George Bush is not a bigot. He is not a Catholic basher. What is so
disappointing and so horrible about what George Bush did is that for political
expediency he entered a bigoted, racist tinged citadel."
Saturday night, in stories on the Diallo verdict in New York, the broadcast
networks all ran soundbites from Al Sharpton. None, of course, pointed out his
history as a race-baiter and instigator of the Tawana Brawley fraud. Catching
up on another item I didn’t get to last week, on FNC last Tuesday Michael
Barone raised the issue of media hypocrisy in condemning Bush over going to
BJU while ignored ties between leading Democrats and Sharpton. Picking up on
media demands that Bush and McCain denounce the flying of the Confederate flag
over South Carolina’s state Capitol, Barone, a Senior Editor at U.S. News
& World Report, also challenged the media to press Democratic candidates
and Governors over elements of the Confederate flag featured in other state
On February 22 Barone was interviewed on FNC’s Special
Report with Brit Hume by the host of the same name. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth
checked this transcript against a tape for accuracy.
Barone noted: "It is interesting that the national
press has gone after George W. Bush, a candidate ninety percent of them surely
would not support for President, would oppose, on the grounds of his
association with people, they haven't gone after some of the other candidates
on their opposition. We've seen in the last few days Bill Bradley, Al Gore and
Senate candidate and probably future presidential candidate, if she wins,
Hillary Rodham Clinton, go and strain to beg leave to speak before Al Sharpton
of New York. Al Sharpton has a record certified in a court legal suit in
Dutchess County, New York, of having committed libel and slander in a
situation which was a racially inflammatory case. He is guilty of making
inflammatory remarks that led in time to the murder of shopkeeper -- a
non-black shopkeeper in Harlem. He's made all sorts of false statements and
rabble-rousing of different kinds. And stirring up trouble-"
Hume observed: "Well, there he was being recognized
-- the first person recognized in the Democratic debate in Harlem last night
as one of the organizers."
"I asked on a program last October what are Al Gore and Bill Bradley,
whose motives in these areas I think are genuinely good, doing meeting with a
character like Al Sharpton? And why is, where's the press, ninety percent of
whom backs the Democratic Party? Where is the press in asking questions, tough
questions, about what they're doing meeting with Al Sharpton? Is this seeking
racial reconciliation? Somebody who has been guilty, found guilty in a court
of lying about a highly racial charged situation? That's pretty, that's pretty
shocking sort of thing. Nor do we hear questions asked of candidates who speak
at other colleges which may have policies of racial segregation in the
dormitories, common in many Northeastern schools, a separate black dormitory,
that have racially segregated orientations, which have sanctioned racially
segregated dining hall tables. Now, they may not put that stuff on their Web
site, but it's not beyond the capacity of good reporters to find out what's
going on. And why don't they find out about those things and ask the
candidates, who are probably of both parties, whether or not they approve of
such policies? If the questions of George Bush and Bob Jones are fair, those
questions are fair, as well."
Later, Hume raised the flag issue and media interest in
going beyond South Carolina’s situation: "But what about those flags in
other states? What about the other states, Mississippi and Georgia, in
particular, where the Confederate battle flag is part of the actual emblem of
the state flag?"
Barone: "Well, I
guess you may have to go and, and you may have to explain that. Are these
people changing planes in Atlanta, Georgia, which has the Georgia state flag
as having part of the Confederate emblem on it, is changing planes in Atlanta,
Georgia, showing a disrespect for the spirit of equality and racial
they're all gonna go there and campaign, I presume, at some point."
Barone: "I would
assume they are. Perhaps we should ask them some questions about the flags
Hume: "Well, once,
do you think it has anything to do with the fact that the current governors of
those states do not happen to be Republicans?"
Barone: "Well, in
Georgia, you have the Democrats controlling both houses of the legislature and
the governorship, a very popular governor, Roy Barnes. In Alabama, you have
some division there, but the Democrat, they also have a Democratic governor
there, Don Siegelman. Be interesting to see if the press goes after Siegelman,
Barnes and the Democratic candidates and asks them when they're gonna change
Don’t count on it.
personal responsibility, day trading is so awful it caused a guy to be
murdered. Friday’s NBC Nightly News featured a story on a Senate hearing
chaired by Maine Senator Susan Collins about the dangers of day trading, as if
anyone is forced into the activity. While reporter Robert Hager did run a
soundbite from a day trading firm executive complaining of an
"ambush," he started with a government agency report on how it’s
hard to make money day trading and ended by allowing a mother to blame day
trading for getting her son murdered.
Anchor Tom Brokaw introduced the February 25 story:
"The popular and high risk form of dealing in stocks which is called day
trading, continues to get congressional attention. And the testimony is not
Robert Hager began: "What are your chances of
making money as a day trader? A longshot a Senate investigating committee
heard today, from the Securities and Exchange Commission's Laurie Richards.
Richards, SEC: "We
found that day trading is extremely expensive."
"SEC says by the time an average trader pays commissions and other
expenses, just to break even they have to make $200,000 a year. That's $17,000
a month just to break even. No surprise to the Senate committee's chair, Susan
"The best evidence we have is that 77 percent of all day traders will
lose some or all of their money."
Wenzel says her son, like many, thought he could beat the odds."
complained: "I don't think Scotty fully understood what it was all about.
In Scotty's mind the picture that was painted for him is that he was going to
Hager gave a few
seconds to a contrary view: "The day trading industry says the
committee's investigation is one sided. Harvey Houtkin heads a firm called All
"What it is, is a search-and-destroy mission. A crucifixion. An
"But the committee accuses firms of using flashy ads or Internet appeals
to entice customers, even altering documents to make it easier for customers
to trade. Alice Wenzel's son, lured into the world of day trading, paid with
his life. Murdered in that Atlanta massacre last July when another day trader
went on a shooting spree."
Wenzel, in tears:
"It's over for him."
concluded: "For many the penalty’s less severe, but Senate
investigators said today very often it's financial ruin."
Apparently the freedom to fail must be stopped. I hope
the penalty is less severe than just "for many" or we should be
having dozens of murders every day. As for day trading leading to a murder in
the workplace, by that logic we should have closed down the Post Office a few
publicity for a bit of historical bias highlighted by CyberAlert in January.
Friday’s Investor’s Business Daily featured an opinion piece by Michel
Medved titled, "George Washington: Hollywood Thinks He’s Just Another
Supply-Sider." If the subject seems familiar, you probably read about it
in the January 14 CyberAlert which detailed the same scene from an A&E
movie as Medved criticized.
The January 14 CyberAlert reported how in the cable
movie, The Crossing, about the Continental Army victory over the Hessians at
Trenton, Continental Army General Nathaniel Greene is sent to tell George
Washington he should see the Hessian commander, Colonel Rall, before he dies
from a gunshot wound.
As the two sit on
horseback beside each other, viewers hear this exchange between actor David
Ferry as General Greene and Jeff Daniels as Washington:
Greene: "General Washington, Colonel Rall is dying.
General Mercer says you cannot let him die without speaking to him. It’s a
courtesy of war."
"Courtesy? There are no courtesies of war, Nathaniel. This is not a
parlor game where I must pay my respects to that stinking mercenary who killed
five hundred of my men in Brooklyn. Slaughtered them when they tried to
surrender, skewered them in the backs with bayonets. You want me to weep for
those bastards, men who kill for profit?"
Greene: "Our own
cause is, at its heart, a fight against British taxation, is it not? In the
end sir, we all kill for profit -- the British and the Hessians, and us."
As Medved wrote, "to this asinine assertion, the
father of our country solemnly nods his assent and rides off to comfort his
Watch this scene from A&E’s movie. The MRC still
has posted a video clip in RealPlayer format. Go to: