McCainís Gore Attack Ignored; 3rd Clinton Term; Clintonís "Hump and Bump"
1) John McCain attacked Al Gore on Tuesday over campaign
finance reform, an event FNCís Brit Hume said "disappointed"
reporters. Indeed, ABC, CBS and NBC ignored McCainís criticism of Gore.
2) ABC and NBC skipped McCainís attack on Gore, but Tuesday
night the networks looked at Indiaís software programmers and potholes back
home. Dan Rather honored the Pope, proclaiming he "comes at a time of
hope with a message of peace."
3) Bryant Gumbel mused about the appeal of a third term for
Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, ratings for The Early Show hit a new low.
4) Left and Right West Wing. NBC's The West Wing delivered
scenes linking census sampling opponents to the Constitution's definition of
blacks as 3/5ths a person and aired a candid admission that liberals don't
trust people to spend their money correctly.
5) The Third Watch cops spent a shift bashing Hillary.
"If the prosecutors hadnít wimped out on that Whitewater thing, sheíd
be making license plates instead of speeches."
to the Senate on Tuesday John McCain lashed out not at George W. Bush but at
Al Gore for his hypocrisy on campaign finance reform, a development FNCís
Brit Hume suggested possibly "disappointed many of the reporters"
following his arrival on Capitol Hill. But, surprise, surprise, while CNN and
FNC noted McCainís attack on Gore, ABC and NBC didnít even mention McCain
Tuesday night while in a short item on the CBS Evening News Dan Rather avoided
the Gore hit, instead stressing how McCain said "that meaningful campaign
finance reform is still a must with the U.S. public."
Introducing a piece on the March 21 Special Report with
Brit Hume, FNCís Hume announced:
largest turnout of journalists ever to cover a losing presidential candidate
was present on Capitol Hill to witness John McCainís first full day back in
the Senate. As many had anticipated, before the day was out, the Arizona
Senator was on the attack again, and the subject was campaign finance reform.
What may have surprised, and possibly even disappointed many of the reporters,
was the target of the attack."
FNCís Brian Wilson revealed McCainís target, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "On a day when all of
Washington was waiting to see what was on his mind, John McCain focused his
attacks not on Congress or his former opponent, but on Vice President Al Gore.
McCain is angry that Gore has attempted to adopt the campaign finance reform
issue as his own. Before he can claim to be a reformer, McCain says, the Vice
President should submit to an independent investigation of 1996 Clinton-Gore
John McCain, to a group
of reporters: "The Vice President of the United States has no credibility
on his assertion that he is in favor of campaign finance reform until there is
a full and complete investigation and he renounces unilaterally the use of
Wilson proceeded to
re-cap the rest of McCainís day: "Earlier it was the jocular John
McCain who emerged from his office joshing with reporters, waving at well
wishers, on the trip from his office to the Senate floor...."
As noted above, neither ABCís World News Tonight or
the NBC Nightly News uttered a word about McCain, but from Jerusalem, CBS
Evening News anchor Dan Rather read this item which repeated McCainís usual
call for campaign finance reform while missing the new anti-Gore angle:
"John McCain made his return to the floor of the U.S.
Senate today, to tell his colleagues the same thing heíd been telling voters
during his presidential bid, that meaningful campaign finance reform is still
a must with the U.S. public."
McCain on the Senate
floor: "I intend to do what I can, working with my congressional
colleagues -- Republicans and Democrats -- to help bring about the changes to
the practices and institutions of our democracy that they want and
Rather added: "McCain had asked his Republican
Senate colleagues not to give him any special welcome back and they
instead of picking up on John McCainís attack on Al Gore, what were the
networks looking at Tuesday night?
For the second night in a row ABCís Peter Jennings
anchored from New Delhi while CBSís Dan Rather and NBCís Tom Brokaw
showed up from Jerusalem in time to cover the Popeís arrival. All ran
full stories on Bill Clinton in India, the Pope in Israel, the Supreme
Court ruling that the FDA does not have jurisdiction to regulate tobacco
as well as a federal court ruling that the Attorney General does not have
to allow an asylum hearing for Elian Gonzalez.
NBC Nightly News also found time for full reports on
how rising interest rates benefit investors and a survey of which cities
have roads with the most potholes. ABC kept its feature stories related to
Jenningsí location, offering a peek at Indiaís "Silicon
Plateau," where U.S. companies employ thousands of English-speaking
and computer savvy Indians to write computer programs. Jennings ended with
a look at a village Jimmy Carter visited in 1978, the last time a U.S.
President traveled to India.
Admirers of the Pope couldnít have asked for more
reverential treatment from Dan Rather, who opened the CBS Evening News
Itís a long-awaited moment, the first official visit of Roman Catholic
Pope to the Jewish state of Israel. Pope John Paul II is here in Jerusalem
tonight, a holy city for three religions and the crux of war and political
struggle for thousands of years. The Pope comes at a time of hope with a
message of peace. Slowly, carefully, with the dignified grace he has shown
so often as his health has declined, the Pope descended under heavy gray
skies to stand in the nation of Israel, to kiss the soil of the Holy Land,
to be greeted by Israeli leaders. John Paul had spoken of this moment more
than twenty years ago, in his first Christmas homily as Pope, of his
desire to make a pilgrimage of peace to this place where so much blood has
been shed in the name of God."
Bush and Gore, Bryant Gumbel thinks many want a third term for Bill
Clinton. And he sounded Tuesday morning like he might be among them.
During the 7:30am half hour on the March 21 Early
Show Gumbel interviewed Hotline Editor-in-Chief Craig Crawford about the
"Hotline Bullís Eye Poll." Crawford reported the results of a
four-way match up: Bush 36 percent, Gore 31 percent, McCain 22 percent and
Nader 3 percent. Why didnít you add Buchanan, Gumbel wondered. Crawford
explained that was because they assumed in the poll scenario that McCain
would be the Reform Party nominee, but in another question, Crawford
recalled, Buchanan got about 4 percent.
Crawford proceeded to suggest that McCainís 22
percent shows "there are a lot of voters out there looking for an
alternative." That led to this exchange:
Gumbel, cracking a
smile at the end of his question: "Donít you wonder what would have
happened, hypothetically, if you said Bush, Gore or four more years of
"That will be interesting. I think, at some point weíre going to
test the Clinton third term scenario and see what people really feel about
that. I think Gore may benefit from some sentiment for a Clinton third
I think youíre right."
Probably a strong sentiment in the halls of CBS
And a sentiment viewers continue to avoid. CBSís
morning news show ratings are down from a year ago when This Morning
filled the time slot. The March 13 "Inside TV" column by Peter
Johnson in USA Today relayed: "From February ratings sweeps. No. 1
rated NBCís Today is up 4% in viewers from last year at this time.
Meanwhile, ABCís rebounding Good Morning America is up 21%, but CBSís
revamped Early Show is down 10%."
On March 20 Johnson drove home how CBSís $5
million annual salary for Gumbel isnít doing them any good:
"CBSís revamped The Early Show continues to struggle. For the week
of March 6-10, Early posted its lowest ratings yet, deep in third place
behind No. 2 ABCís Good Morning America and No. 1 NBCís Today."
Time to bring back Thalia Assuras and Jane Robelot.
to the politics in prime time TV portion of todayís CyberAlert.
Actually, more like the politics in two NBC dramas portion of todayís
CyberAlert. This item looks at how opposition to census sampling was
overcome on The West Wing once the showís stars pointed out to a black
Congressman that the Constitution only counted him as 3/5ths of a person,
and how the same show offered a candid conversation about Democratic
opposition to a tax cut. The next item examines some surprisingly strong
Bill and Hillary-bashing on this weekís Third Watch.
The March 27 Weekly Standard cover story takes a
look at West Wing in a piece by John Podhoretz headlined, "Left Wing:
TVís West Wing is the Ultimate Hollywood Fantasy -- the Clinton White
House Without Clinton."
Indeed, the Wednesday at 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT/MT drama
about the staff for Democratic President Josiah Bartlet, played by Martin
Sheen, regularly champions liberal causes. For a sampling, check out two
previous CyberAlerts and the accompanying RealPlayer video clips from the
-- The September 29
CyberAlert described and showed how actor Martin Sheen, as the President,
told leaders of the Religious Right, who are called anti-Semitic, to get
their "fat asses out of my White House." Go to:
-- The January 27 CyberAlert this year outlined how
in crafting his State of the Union address the President abandoned
"the era of big government is over" theme and agreed
"government can be a place where people come together and where no
one gets left behind....an instrument of good." Go to:
With the census now underway and in the news I
thought Iíd review a politically charged scene from an episode of The
West Wing shown last fall but repeated on March 8, an episode which also
offered an unusually candid assessment of how Democrats donít trust
people to spend their own money correctly.
First, the census scene for which youíll have to
suspend your political knowledge: Three "swing votes" on the
House Commerce Committee come to the White House to hear arguments about
why they should drop an amendment prohibiting census sampling. Among the
three, and this is where you must suspend your knowledge, is a black man
-- his race is relevant as youíll soon learn -- who tells those
assembled: "My wife was Janice Willis. She passed away last month so
Iíve taken over her seat in Congress." In Hollywood, they donít
think you need an election to be a Member of Congress, you just move in
and take over. Indeed, "Joe Willis" later states:
"Well this is my first and likely my only vote
in the House of Representatives." Got to get out before the elected
Congressman wants his voting card.
As the three Congressman sit on one side of a table,
viewers see two White House staffers use the race card to win their
argument. MRC intern Ken Shepherd transcribed the scene.
Actress Moira Kelly as "Mandy," a Mandy
Grunwald-type, asserts: "In the last census, eight million people,
mostly black, werenít counted. And in the same census, four million
people, mostly white, were counted twice."
Director "Toby Ziegler," played by Richard Schiff, piles on:
"Sampling will give a count that bears a much greater relationship to
reality. And it will do it to the tune of four billion dollars less than a
door-to-door head count."
"Sampling will cost 2.7 billion and an inaccurate head count will
single expert including the Census Bureau itself, which is a bipartisan
commission [again suspend knowledge], has said sampling is better."
Congressman: "Weíve heard these arguments many times but in this
country we have a Constitution."
Toby: "We are
aware of that."
Congressman: "The Constitutionís very clear on this."
donít think it is."
Congressman: "Until the Court rules that sampling is
article is arcane."
Congressman: "Oh, come on, Toby, the article is not arcane."
take a look at it."
Congressman: "No, no, we we donít have time to-"
take a look at it."
"Toby! None of us is a constitutional scholar and we honestly
not going to take long."
staff managed to unearth a copy."
"Toby come on weíve been here for six-"
would you read please from Article I, Section 2."
"This is silly."
in all it is the ownerís manual and we should read what it has to
"Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the
several states which may be included within this Union according to their
respective numbers which shall be determined by adding the whole number of
persons including those bound to service for a term of years."
Congressman: "Well you said it right there. It says which shall be
determined by the whole number of persons. The whole number of persons.
The whole number of persons. Not, not the end of an equation that some
statistician got of a computer. It says so right there."
Now we get to the
dramatic twist. Toby: "Actually thatís not what it says."
Congressman: "What do you mean?"
left out a few words didnít she, Mr. Willis."
Willis teaches 8th grade social studies and Mr. Willis knows very well
what the Article says. It says Ďwhich shall be determined by adding the
whole number of free persons. And 3/5ths of all other persons.í 3/5ths
of all other persons, they meant you, Mr. Willis, didnít they."
Willis, you are asking to enact a law which will limit the ability of
those people who need to be counted the most to be counted as people at
all and their only refuge is the argument that Article I, Section 2, is
"Well I think weíre through here. I can report back to the chairman
of my committee but I really donít think that either he or the
leadership is going to allow any one of us to change our votes."
"Congressman, you are talking about tying up an appropriations
Congressman: "You donít need to tell us what weíre talking about
Toby. And waiting til the 11th hour to call us."
is this, the fourth time that weíve arranged this meeting and by the
Then another dramatic
moment. Willis, jumping in: "I will."
think we should drop it."
"Thatís my choice, right?"
Congressman: "Joe, Joe, the chairman of our committee recommends that
Willis: "No, I
saw what he recommended and I appreciate his help but itís still my
"Absolutely, sir, it is your choice."
then I change my mind, I think we should drop the census amendment and let
the appropriations bill go through as is."
the Court rules on whether the sampling amendment is constitutional."
Congressman: "Well, looks like you snuck one in the back door, ay,
Toby: "I go
through whatever door is open to me."
After the two white Congressmen leave Toby concedes
to Willis: "There were some things I did not mention. First of all,
it is partisan. Second of all, Iím not wild about the precedent."
"Whatís to stop us from saying we donít need elections, weíll
just use polling data. 1150 people with a sampling error of plus or minus
three will decide who runs the country."
thought about that."
"Itís okay by me as long as itís not the same people who decide
whatís on television."
++ See a hunk of this scene via RealPlayer.
Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post it on the MRC home
page. Go to: http://archive.mrc.org
But the show, for which Carter guru Patrick Caddell
and Clintonís first Press Secretary, Dee Dee Myers, serve as
consultants, is not 100 percent liberal. Just check out these scenes on
the same March 8 repeat in which Deputy Chief-of-Staff "Josh
Lyman," played by Bradley Whitford, walks down a hallway with his
Assistant: "We have a $32 billion budget
surplus for the first time in three decades. The Republicans in Congress
want to use this money for tax relief, right?"
"Essentially what theyíre saying is we want to give back the money.
Why donít we want to give back the money?"
"But itís not the governmentís money."
Josh: "Sure it
is. Itís right there in our bank accounts."
"Thatís only because we collected more money than we ended up
"Isnít it great?"
want my money back."
Later, they pick up the argument:
"Whatís wrong with me getting my money back?"
wonít spend it right."
"What do you mean?"
say your cut of the surplus is $700. I want to take your money, combine it
with everyone elseís money, and use it to pay down the debt and further
endow Social Security. What do you want to do with it?"
"Buy a DVD player."
"But my $700 is helping employ the people who manufacture and sell
DVD players, not to mention the people who manufacture and sell DVDs.
Itís the natural evolution of the market economy."
problem is the DVD player you buy might be manufactured in Japan."
"Iíll buy an American one."
donít trust you."
exasperated: "I want my money back."
"You shouldnít have voted for us."
Thatís a better explanation of the market economy
and the true motivation of liberals than Iíve seen yet on NBC News.
An "all new" episode of The West Wing airs
tonight, Wednesday March 22, at 9pm ET/PT, 8pm CT/MT.
NBC drama, Third Watch, on Monday night delivered a show featuring four
cops debating the merits of Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary Clinton, but
viewers heard a lot more cutting hits at Bill and Hillary than at Hillary.
Third Watch, Mondays at 10pm ET/PT, 9pm CT/MT,
revolves around some New York City police officers and paramedics who work
the 3 to 11 shift. In the March 20 episode they are assigned to an
imaginary Hillary-Rudy dinner and debate at a big hotel. The paramedics
spend the show in the parking garage talking about their divorces and past
calls while the four starring officers pull kitchen duty.
Bored as they guard the kitchen their talk soon
turns to the Senate race. The two white male officers, named "Bosco"
and "Sully," along with a black male officer, "Davis,"
take up Rudyís cause while white female officer "Faith Yokas"
is left to defend Hillary alone.
While she gets in a few good shots, such as
complaining about how "heís got us working extra shifts arresting
the homeless for sleeping on the sidewalks," the three guys get in a
lot more Clinton bashing. Bosco asks: "Tell me what sheís done
thatís so great -- besides letting her husband use the White House for a
little hump and bump while she bakes cookies." And he contends:
"If the prosecutors hadnít wimped out on that Whitewater thing,
sheíd be making license plates instead of speeches." Sully
suggests: "Low is her husband scoring oral cop in the broom closet
while weíre paying his salary."
Here are some excerpts from the surprisingly
anti-Hillary tilted exchanges which animated the NBC show, as transcribed
by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
-- Bosco: "Thousand a plate to get
get chicken, but they also get their picture taken with Hillary
Bosco: "And Giuliani?"
"Whoíd want their picture taken with Giuliani?"
put the city back on its feet. Iíd be proud to have my picture taken
with Rudolph Giuliani."
we agreed not to argue about this. Iím sorry I said anything."
me what sheís done thatís so great -- besides letting her husband use
the White House for a little hump and bump while she bakes cookies."
right, you know what, Boz, low one, even for you."
you canít do it. You canít even name one thing."
know what, you like Rudy, and I like Hillary. Itís a gender thing."
can it be a gender thing. She ainít a woman."
-- Yokas: "Just admit that you cannot handle a
strong woman? Sheís just riding her husbandís coattails."
Yokas: "Oh, I
know. Sheís only the brains behind the whole administration. She
-- Bosco: "How can
Hillary Clinton be the Senator from New York? Sheís not even a New
right, save it Boz."
couldnít even find her way to LaGuardia with one of those tourist maps
because thatís what she is -- a tourist. One thing you gotta admit.
Rudy, Rudy is a New Yorker."
Vote for him."
will. I canít wait. Best man the city ever had. Taxes are down. Streets
are cleaner. Crime? Crime is way the hell down."
Sully, reading a
New York Post-looking newspaper: "Seventy percent since he came in.
Says right here."
thatís because of him? Thatís because of us out there bustiní our
humps. And what about these pay raises that we were promised? Tookíem
three years to raise us a nickel, and heís got us working extra shifts
arresting the homeless for sleeping on the sidewalks. Somebody please tell
me what kind of sense does that make?"
about the fact that decent people can walk through the park without
stepping over bodies."
right, you know what. Right here. Excuse me...[taking newspaper to read
from it] ĎRaking up families that are homeless is wrong. Locking people
up for a day will not take a single homeless person off the streets.í
Hillary Rodham Clinton."
"ĎWeíre the capital of the world againí. Rudolph Giuliani. Can
I have my paper, please?"
womanís lucky sheís even running. If the prosecutors hadnít wimped
out on that Whitewater thing, sheíd be making license plates instead of
of a good point, Faith."
Yokas: "No, it
isnít. Itís just another low blow."
Iíll tell you what low is. Low is her husband scoring oral cop in the
broom closet while weíre paying his salary."
Yokas: "Oh, so
thatís a switch. So you two are coming out against oral sex?"
"Thereís a time and a place for everything. My dad used to say
his dad used to say that. His dad, the sensitive student of human nature.
The dad I had a girl and she was mine dad?"
the guyís the President of the United States. He has a responsibility
Yokas: "Oh, a
guy is a guy. Just like youíre a guy. And I wanna know when any of you
guys know when to keep your pants zipped up?"
Third Watch certainly
isnít written by any ex-network news producers or former reporters for
major media outlets. In Hollywood they realize it wouldnít be plausible
to have a bunch of NYC cops praising Hillary.