McCain Lashed Out Live; Brokaw Named Hsia; Gore "Mainstream" & Bush "Extreme"
1) Live on MSNBC an angry John McCain, on the way to deliver
his concession speech, lashed out at Maria Shriver, responding to a shouted
question by demanding: "Please get out of here."
2) Interviewing Al Gore CBS’s Dan Rather refused to say the
name "Maria Hsia," but NBC’s Tom Brokaw focused on her after
hitting Laura Bush from the left on abortion, questioning if Bush "can
continue to win the support of women." Brokaw contended that soft money
TV ads for Bush negate attacks on Gore’s temple fundraising.
3) The "right" controls the GOP but liberals don’t
control the Democratic Party; Bush must "repair" damage done in SC;
obsessing over McCain calling Bush "Clintonesque"; and though seeing
no need for Gore to moderate, insisting Bush must move "to the
4) Gore’s strategists plan on "spinning Gore as the
mainstream candidate and George Bush as extreme." Just like the news
5) Focusing on liberal marchers against Jeb Bush’s efforts
to eliminate Florida’s racial quota system, CBS’s Byron Pitts imbued them
with the same moral authority as "the demonstrators in Selma 35 years ago
who were beat back with night sticks and tear gas."
6) A just-released study by the MRC’s Free Market Project
determined that network news evening show coverage favored McCain’s tax cut
plan over the one proposed by Bush.
Shhh on Hsia in the news magazines too. The latest MagazineWatch, about the
March 13 editions, is now online thanks to MRC Webmaster Andy Szul. The first
item in the issue compiled by the MRC’s Paul Smith with a late update from
Tim Graham: U.S. News & World Report and Time only briefly mentioned the
conviction of Al Gore’s Buddhist temple fundraiser Maria Hsia. Newsweek
wrote nothing even though Howard Fineman focused on the GOP’s plans to run
ads about the temple event. Time mentioned Hsia only as a loser in its
"Winners and Losers" feature with the message: "Gore ally found
guilty. Get ready for an autumn of Buddhist temple ads."
The other items in MagazineWatch:
2. Time and U.S. News found "it is Gore who now finds himself almost
exactly where he wants to be, while Bush scrambles madly to assure people he
barely knows Bob Jones."
3. Time was the only news magazine to note McCain’s comparison of Pat
Robertson and Jerry Falwell to anti-Semites Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton.
But Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter called that speech "a milestone" for
a new Republican Party.
4. In his "Washington Whispers" feature, U.S. News Senior Writer
Paul Bedard featured generals complaining that young officers are leaving at
record rates due to "Too much mandated diversity training, not enough war
training, and micromanagement from bosses ‘more
concerned with making sure nothing goes wrong on their watch.’"
To read these, complete
with links to the articles, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/news/magwatch/mag20000308.html
Correction: The March 7 CyberAlert relayed that when asked on Lifetime
about going grocery shopping Hillary Clinton answered that "it’s
‘neat’ to see the new stuff and meet her neighbors." In fact, Hillary
did not use the word "neat." She actually replied in part: "It
is so much fun for me to just go up and down those aisles and see what’s
display of John McCain’s anger, live on MSNBC. As he walked through a crowd
on his way to delivering his concession speech Tuesday night, NBC’s Maria
Shriver asked him "how do you feel?" McCain spun around and sternly
commanded Shriver: "Please get out of here." The rebuke stunned
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.
The incident occurred at about 8:20pm PT/11:20pm ET.
While Lisa Myers was answering a question from Williams he cut her off to go
to Los Angeles and Shriver just in time to catch McCain and his wife walking
through a crowd. As they did a 180 in order to go down some stairs they passed
Shriver, who asked: "Senator how do you feel?" McCain replied:
"What?" Shriver raised her voice at McCain who had passed her and
again asked: "How do you feel?" followed by what sounded like
"How does it feel?" though her exact words were muffled. At that
point, just before he hit the stairs, McCain spun around to look back at
Shriver, brusquely ordering: "Please get out of here."
McCain proceeded down the stairs and out of camera range
as Shriver told Williams: "Well, there you heard it." A stunned
Williams, clearly assuming McCain was seriously angry, observed: "Okay, a
sharp rebuke there from Senator John McCain who I guess we can assume knew the
circumstances and the correspondent there and nonetheless asked ‘please get
out of here’ to our Maria Shriver posted in that hallway as John McCain goes
into address the crowd there."
McCain could not have picked a much better media target
to upbraid as far as conservatives are concerned. During 1992 Democratic
convention coverage Shriver suggested President Reagan should be blamed for
AIDS deaths. She asked AIDS sufferer Elizabeth Glaser: "You place the
responsibility for the death of your daughter squarely at the feet of the
Reagan Administration. Do you believe they’re responsible for that?"
You can watch a video clip of that Shriver question on
the MRC’s Dishonor Awards Web page. Go to:
If only McCain had re-directed his anger away from the
Religious Right and toward the liberal media he might have won a few more
primaries Tuesday night.
++ See how McCain lashed out at Shriver. Wednesday
morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a video clip, in RealPlayer format,
of the McCain-Shriver confrontation as seen live on MSNBC. Go to: http://archive.mrc.org
time interviews Tuesday night with George and Laura Bush followed by Al Gore,
CBS’s Dan Rather went gentler on Gore than Bush as he refused to say the
name "Maria Hsia" even as he raised 1996 fundraising abuses. NBC’s
Tom Brokaw uttered the first mention of Hsia’s name on the network, outside
of Meet the Press, since her conviction last week, pressing Gore about it. But
he hit Laura Bush from the left on abortion: "Your husband is strongly
anti-abortion. Do you think he can continue to win the support of women in the
fall despite that?"
Brokaw contended that TV ads paid for by Bush donors
negated his ability to criticize Gore over the temple fundraising. Carl
Bernstein agreed: "He’s lost the ability to really hammer away at the
Buddhist temple because his sheets are not quite so clean."
CBS dedicated the last few minutes of the 9pm ET/8pm CT
60 Minutes II to back-to-back interviews with the winners of the night. As
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, Dan Rather posed these questions to
Mr. or Mrs. Bush:
polls show that John McCain beats Al Gore in the general election. They show
that you aren’t. Is the party nominating the wrong guy?"
would you offer the Vice Presidential slot to John McCain?"
-- "Several people
in Texas told me, Governor, that they expect you to ask General Colin Powell
to run with you. Any truth to that?"
speaking of issues, Al Gore has said that in Texas, where you’re Governor,
that among women with health care, Texas ranks number 49. Children with health
insurance, ranks number 50. Is that true and what does that tell us about you
-- "Mrs. Bush,
have you talked to Cindy McCain any time for any length of time?....What did
you talk about?"
-- "Governor, in
the short time we have left, the mainland Chinese have again threatened the
Taiwanese. You favor letting the mainland Chinese into the World Trade
Organization. What does that tell us about how you would handle the situation
as President and what you would do about human rights in China?"
-- "After the
shooting of the first grader by another first grader in Michigan, President
Clinton called for some new ideas on gun control. Now I know that in the main
that you are opposed to gun control. Do you have any new ideas to help solve
Next, Rather interviewed Gore, but note the somewhat
gentler tone as he didn’t suggest to Gore that the party nominated the
"wrong guy." One foreign policy question just like he approached
Bush, but no explicit question demanding he reply to Bush criticism of his
policy record and the fundraising question was vague:
-- "Mr. Vice President, thank you for doing this
tonight. Is there too much bad blood between you and Bill Bradley to consider
him now for the Vice Presidential nomination?"
-- "Mr. Vice
President, there seems to be some distance between you and President Clinton.
Do you plan to ask the President to join you on the campaign trail?"
-- "Mr. Vice
President, you’ve been point man in many ways for the United States
relations of, with what used to be the Soviet Union, now Russia. Your
Republican opponents criticize you constantly about that. For what that has
gone wrong do you take responsibility?"
-- "Mr. Vice
President, both of your main Republican opponents and Bill Bradley say that
you are vulnerable to the accusations about improprieties in the 1996
fundraising for Gore-Clinton. One, do you agree? Two, how are you gonna fight
Less than an hour later Tom Brokaw interviewed both men,
plus Mrs. Bush, in a portion of the 10pm ET Dateline NBC simulcast on MSNBC.
Brokaw’s questions to the Bush couple, as transcribed by MRC analyst
-- "Having said
all that one of the men who was the Republican presidential candidate in the
past, Bob Dole, said tonight your party is fairly badly divided in his
judgement. Is that your first priority to heal the wounds in the party?"
-- "Governor we
have done some analysis of the voting so far. And we’ve discovered that
among independents who voted for John McCain 40 percent of them said that they
would vote for Al Gore in the fall. In California among all the voters you
were the only candidate to get less than 50 percent when it comes to a
favorable rating. The Republicans have not done well with independents in the
last two election cycles. That must be your first priority."
-- "Mrs. Bush, as
you know women are critical in these presidential elections so far.
Republicans have not been doing well among women in the last few cycles in
large part because the whole question of choice. Your husband is strongly
anti-abortion. Do you think he can continue to win the support of women in the
fall, despite that?"
Next, Brokaw took on Al Gore:
-- "Mr. Vice
President let me begin by saying congratulations to you but also pointing out
that Governor Bush said earlier today that when he was looking forward to the
fall that in the Clinton administration you would rather fight than debate.
Are you willing to renew your debate proposal to Governor Bush in the fall to
debate, say every week?"
-- After Gore called on
Republicans to end "soft money," Brokaw queried: "Now that
you’ve raised the money issue Mr. Vice President aren’t you very
vulnerable on that very issue as well. Because just last week in a federal
court Maria Hsia, who was one of your principal fundraisers four years ago was
found guilty on five felony counts?"
-- "But Mr. Vice
President you only got religion after Maria Hsia and after Mr. Chung, Johnny
Chung and Charlie Trie. I mean four years ago the Democrats were every bit as
guilty in the soft money area as you’re claiming the Republicans are this
As noted in the last three CyberAlerts, NBC Nightly News
and Today have yet to mention Hsia’s conviction last Thursday on five counts
related to funneling donations through straw donors.
Dateline switched back to its regular tabloid fare and
Brokaw soon turned up on MSNBC to discuss his interviews with Chris Matthews,
who reminded Brokaw that Gore "seemed to be a bit caught in the
headlights when you asked the question about that infamous Buddhist temple
visit from ‘96."
Brokaw then equated
fundraising which resulted in a criminal conviction with Bush friends legally
funding ads: "Yeah everybody gets religion after they get their hands out
of the cookie jar. And in his case you’ve got Connie, I mean Johnny Chung
and Charlie Trie and Maria Hsia who was convicted last week of five counts of
felony violations of the federal campaign laws. So that could be an issue that
will come up in the presidential campaigns when they begin to debate next fall
if Al Gore raises his finger and begins to wag it at George Bush for the soft
money. And especially the Bush friends that he has in Texas going around
financing all those attack ads. So I think that, that may be a neutral issue
if you will between George Bush and Al Gore."
Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame reinforced Brokaw’s
"Cleaning up the
sleaze in politics generally. And that goes to the question of campaign
finance money. Dirty money. George Bush has taken an awful lot of that kind of
money. And I think one of the things that’s happened to Bush in this run-up
to the general election is he’s lost the ability to really hammer away at
the Buddhist temple because his sheets are not quite so clean. I think that
Bush’s winning this nomination had great cost. He’s gonna have to move
back to the center and that’s going to be seen as being expedient as opposed
to principled by a lot of people who are independents, who are Democrats. He
really is gonna need a lot from John McCain in the upcoming election."
(ABC landed the two winners for Nightline. Ted Koppel
spent most of the Bush interview pressing him about Gore’s gimmick idea of
stopping all TV ads and debating twice a week. Interviewing Gore, Koppel asked
if he would unilaterally disarm by not using soft money and then devoted most
of the rest of the chat to questioning Gore about whether he really thinks
Bush will accept the no TV ad offer.)
"right" controls the GOP while liberals don’t control the
Democratic Party; Bush must "repair" damage done in South Carolina;
CNN’s Judy Woodruff obsessed over McCain’s shot at Bush for being "Clintonesque";
and Tom Brokaw saw no need for Gore to moderate his views but insisted Bush
must move "to the middle."
Here are some of the bits of bias picked up Super
Tuesday night, March 7, by the MRC’s super team of analysts on the nightbeat:
Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Anderson, Paul Smith and Brad Wilmouth:
-- Al Gore is no liberal. Bill Schneider on CNN at about
7:10pm ET: "McCain has been challenging conservative domination of the
GOP and conservatives are not going to give up without a fight. On the other
hand, Bradley tried to rally liberal opposition to Clintonism in the
Democratic Party and he got nowhere. The right holds sway over the Republican
party while in the other party New Democrats reign supreme."
Maybe that’s because Gore is already over on the left
on most issues.
-- During a ten minute long Super Tuesday update aired
by ABC at 9pm ET, viewers heard this exchange about how Bush must
"repair" supposed damage from South Carolina and appeal to
McCain’s liberal voters.
"ABC’s Dean Reynolds covers the Bush campaign. He’s had a very good
day today, Dean, and he has survived the primary season. Where does he think
his repair jobs need to begin?"
"Well, I think he has to do some repairs of his image that came out of
South Carolina, Peter, that of a very, very conservative candidate, and he
allowed Senator McCain to, sort of, get the liberal to moderate vote; he needs
to go back and get some of that. Tonight when he was looking at the returns
coming in, he, his aides and the Governor were sort of strategizing about how
they could do that, and of course, there will be a greater emphasis on issue
like education, tax cuts and bringing the prosperity to all of the Americans,
including those who have been left out of the Clinton-Gore prosperity."
-- In the 10pm ET hour George Bush was pressed twice by
CNN’s Judy Woodruff about how McCain denigrated him as "Clintonesque."
some pretty tough words hanging out there if you will. John McCain saying over
the weekend he is not sure if you are ready for prime time because of those
breast cancer ads running in New York state. We also have Senator McCain
saying your campaign is so Clintonesque it’s scary. Again, a comment just a
few days ago. Can you heal the rift in the party with language like this still
coming from your opponent?"
Woodruff kept up the drumbeat: "But when Senator
McCain says your campaign is so Clintonesque it’s scary, that it sounds more
and more like the Clinton campaign. There was a point not so long ago when you
said that was just unacceptable coming from him."
-- Bush must move "to the middle." Tom Brokaw
never suggested that Al Gore may have to moderate his liberal views, but at
about 10:45pm ET he argued that Bush must. Referring to exit polls in
California, Brokaw maintained:
"I think in fact
if you put the collective pool together he gets a 44 percent approval rating.
So that’s more than half of the people say they do have an unfavorable
impression of him. Now in fairness he has a lot of time to make up for that
and he doesn’t have to pile back through Bob Jones University, South
Carolina and some of the other places that gave him so much difficulties as he
was trying to secure this nomination. But he has no greater challenge tonight
than to try to move back to the middle and get some of those independents to
vote for him. We’ll be hearing a lot more about the compassionate
conservative and the Texas governor whose been able to bring together all the
elements of that state during his term in office down there."
strategy matches the media spin against Bush. On Tuesday night’s evening
shows two reporters outlined how the Gore team plans to beat George Bush.
On the NBC Nightly News David Bloom explained:
"Even if he wins the Republican nomination the brutal primary fight has
taken a heavy toll, bleeding Bush of his huge cash advantage over Gore. And
McCain’s charges that Bush is a captive of the religious right and ill
prepared to be commander in chief are sure to be exploited by Gore this
Over on the CBS Evening News John Roberts relayed:
"But with the campaign machine on autopilot his closest advisers are
already posturing for the general election, spinning Gore as the mainstream
candidate and George Bush as extreme."
Bob Shrum, Gore
campaign advisor, spewed: "With a budget-busting tax cut that favors the
wealthy, with an extreme position against gun control and an extreme position
against a woman’s right to choose, I think we’ll do very well against that
kind of candidate."
Roberts concluded his
story: "Watch for Gore to play a little three-on-one with Bush, adopting
the best ideas from both the Bradley and McCain campaigns and wrapping them up
into one big ball of issues he hopes will slam dunk the Texas Governor."
Funny, the Gore plans seem to overlap quite well with
the anti-Bush spin which has dominated reporting over the last few weeks.
imbued a pro-quota rally against Florida Governor Jeb Bush with the moral
righteousness of those in the 1960s who marched for voting rights. Anchor Dan
Rather introduced a March 7 CBS Evening News piece:
"In Florida this
is not exactly a Super Tuesday for the other Governor Bush, George W’s
younger brother Jeb. His decision to scrap affirmative action programs in
Florida, sparked a massive protest today in the state capital. The Governor
calls his plan quote, ‘racial progress,’ but as CBS’s Byron Pitts
reports others call it rolling back the clock."
Pitts began: "Men, women and children by the
thousands took a page out of history when they took to the streets of
Tallahassee this morning." Pitts reminded viewers that the march in Selma
for the right to vote took place 35 years ago. After showing a guy at a podium
shouting "no more Bush, no more Bush, no more Bush," Pitts claimed
that with 10,000 marchers it was the "largest demonstration in state
Viewers then saw a soundbite of Jesse Jackson denouncing
Jeb Bush for issuing an executive order ending racial preferences in state
college admissions and in the awarding state contracts. Pitts did acknowledge
that polls show most Floridians support Jeb Bush’s decision and Pitts played
a clip of Bush in his state of the state address asserting that the number of
minorities in colleges and receiving state contracts last year was higher than
the year before.
But Pitts concluded by equating the Florida protesters
with those in Selma: "Backed by a Republican-led legislature, few believe
Bush will be swayed by the protests and passions of people who didn’t put
him in office in the first place. But like the demonstrators in Selma 35 years
ago who were beat back with night sticks and tear gas, those who gathered
today said they’ll be back here or in court."
Pitts failed to point out any of the major differences
in the two causes. Thirty-five years ago people marched against the policies
of a Democratic Party-controlled state government in a quest to gain a basic
civil right. Those protesting Tuesday were marching against a Republican
Governor’s efforts to reduce state-sanctioned racial discrimination.
news coverage of the McCain and Bush tax cut plans favor McCain’s agenda.
Yes, determined a just-released study from the MRC’s Free Market Project (FMP).
It found that in the six months leading up to the New Hampshire primary the
"evening news broadcast quotes from 58 talking heads, but only one expert
-- the director of a liberal public policy group" while no conservative
was given a soundbite and "network reporters frequently labeled Bush's
plan as ‘big’ and ‘huge,’ language that bolstered McCain's charge that
a large tax cut was fiscally irresponsible."
Here’s the executive summary of the study conducted by
FMP Director Rich Noyes:
When Bigger Isn't Better
ABC, CBS and NBC's Coverage of the GOP Tax-Cut Debate
It's puzzled pundits and confounded commentators: Why have many Republicans
been eager to embrace the candidacy of Sen. John McCain, who makes a great
show of the fact that he's proposed the
smallest tax cut of any major Republican presidential candidate in a
generation? Could it be because the national media have portrayed tax cuts as
all risk and no reward?
To shed some light on the issue, the Media Research Center's Free Market
Project reviewed every story on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening news that either
featured or referenced the GOP tax-cut debate during
the six months leading up to the New Hampshire primary (August 1 to January
31). The total sample consisted of 36 stories -- 31 field reports and five
anchor-read briefs -- most of which aired during the final four weeks of the
GOP primary campaign.
The key findings:
-- One Liberal Expert: The evening news broadcast quotes from 58 talking
heads, but only one expert -- the director of a liberal public policy group
who bashed George Bush's tax-cut plan;
-- Zero Conservative Experts: No conservative experts were quoted or cited
in any GOP tax-cut story;
-- The Forbes Shut Out: Steve Forbes's flat-tax proposal, which was
mentioned in 96 evening news stories four years ago, got just two passing
references this year;
-- Bigger Is Badder: Network reporters frequently labeled Bush's plan as
"big" and "huge," language that bolstered McCain's charge
that a large tax cut was fiscally irresponsible;
-- No Room for Optimism: No network correspondent questioned whether
McCain's budget projections were too low, even after the notoriously
pessimistic CBO upped its surplus estimates by $1 trillion in late January.
"As it was shown on the evening news, the debate seemed to be about
whether Bush's plan cut federal revenues too much, creating the possibility of
future deficits. According to this framework, McCain's approach seemed
prudent, and Bush's seemed risky. The fact that reporters themselves often
echoed the same concern's about Bush's plan gave McCain an advantage in that
debate," writes Richard Noyes, Director of MRC's Free Market Project.
END reprint of executive summary
For the full study, complete with quotes and graphs, go
Look in the March 20 Fortune magazine for an article
about this analysis.