Rather's Specious Powell Scoop; Cheney Praised & Tagged "Ultraconservative"; "Lick Bush"
1) Though Dan Rather's scoop,
about how George W. Bush and his father were in "deep negotiations"
with Colin Powell for VP, had been proven fallacious, Rather wasn't dissuaded.
In an interview with Bush he pressed the candidate to concede he pursued
2) Tom Brokaw lamented how Tom
Ridge, "a guy with a great record," was rejected "immediately
[by] the Catholic Church and Jesse Helms." Claire Shipman passed along
charges, from unnamed sources, that Bush used "inappropriate
maneuvering" to pass his tax cut.
3) "Republicans and Democrats
agree the 59-year-old Cheney is one of the most competent, most respected,
most liked men in his party," NBC's Lisa Myers asserted. ABC and CBS also
ran approving profiles, but all also made sure viewers knew he's conservative.
"compassionate" conservatism is in conflict with Dick Cheney's votes
"for all the Reagan budget cuts," Gloria Borger argued on Face the
Nation. She also tagged Cheney as an "ultraconservative."
5) "Lick Bush." That's
the bumper sticker on Chevy Chase's BMW spotted in the Hamptons, the New York
6) "How much better could we
spend $60 billion in this country than on an iffy missile shield? How about
providing health insurance for the 44 million Americans still not
covered?" So argued ABC's Carole Simpson in a quote featured in the
7) FNC's Brit Hume suggested an
example of liberal bias: "There was a lot of reporting...that suggested
Elian Gonzalez's life in Cuba might really be better than the life he would be
offered here in the United States."
8) Letterman's "Top Ten
Shocking Facts About Dick Cheney."
Dan Rather and CBS News refused to concede Monday night that their
afternoon story, on how George W. Bush and his father were in "deep
negotiations" to make Colin Powell the running mate, had been proven
ignoring the discredited story CBS News had posted on its Web site and
trumpeted on its hourly radio news, CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts
asserted the news about the selection of Dick Cheney came "after the
Bush camp made one last failed attempt to get Colin Powell on the
ticket." From Austin, Dan Rather, in order to salvage some part of
his scoop, then misrepresented what he had reported earlier to suggest
that he had only revealed how Alma Powell no longer opposed her husband
accepting the position. In an interview with Bush, Rather seemed to try to
wish his scoop true as he pressed Bush: "True or untrue, that you
wanted General Colin Powell, and you made a real effort to get him to run
with you?" Rather was unfazed by Bush's denial.
embarrassment occurred just five days after the CBS Evening News featured
a piece on the unreliability of Internet stories. As Rich Noyes, Director
of the MRC's Free Market Project reminded me, on July 19 anchor Bob
Schieffer warned: "The Internet is a tremendous resource. You can
find information on just about everything. But unlike other media, much of
the information is unedited, meaning it's not necessarily accurate, and in
some cases flat-out wrong and potentially damaging. Tonight, Wyatt Andrews
reports the new electronic rumor mill in Eye on America." Andrews ran
through canards about how the FCC wants to ban religious broadcasts, a
plan for a five-cent tax on e-mails and how a Navy missile shot down TWA
Let's take the
day's CBS News reporting in sequence, starting with the early afternoon
posting of this story which was also highlighted on the hourly CBS Radio
news, complimented by comments from Dan Rather. Here's an excerpt,
preceded by the headline and three subheads:
Bush Woos Powell For VP Slot
Texas Governor Makes Last-Minute Pitch
General Has Long Expressed Lack Of Interest In Job
Cheney Waits In The Wings If Powell Declines
Is a big surprise in the works in the GOP
Veepstakes? CBS News Anchor Dan Rather has learned that George W. Bush and
his father, former President Bush, are in "deep negotiations"
with Colin Powell, trying to convince the Gulf War hero to accept the
number two spot on the Republican ticket.
Powell has repeatedly said he is not
interested in the job, due in part to his wife Alma's reluctance to have
him run. But the sources tell Rather she has given her permission and if
he wants to run she would not be opposed to it.
But Powell's office has denied that have
been any talks between the retired general and the Texas governor
regarding the vice presidency. "There is absolutely no substance to
Mr. Rather's report. Gen. Powell's position remains unchanged. There have
been no conversations of the kind suggested by Mr. Rather," Powell's
office said in a statement.
The sources stress that while no deal with
Powell still has been struck, the discussions have intensified over the
past 48 hours....
This story was
posted, but may have been pulled down by CBS: http://cbsnews.cbs.com/now/story/0,1597,218136-412,00.shtml
At 2:44pm ET
Reuters discredited Rather's scoop in this dispatch by Alan Elsner:
A wave of dizzy speculation flashed through
Republican ranks on Monday that Texas Gov. George W. Bush might pick
retired Gen. Colin Powell for vice president but the story quickly died
after Powell shot down the rumors.
CBS News anchor Dan Rather reported that
Bush and his father, former President George Bush, were trying to persuade
Powell to join the ticket and that Powell's wife, Alma, had dropped her
But Powell's office issued a statement
denying the report. Powell would have been the first black American to run
on the presidential ticket of one of the two major parties.
"There is absolutely no substance to
Mr. Rather's report. General Powell's position remains unchanged. There
have been no conversations of the kind suggested by Mr. Rather," said
Powell spokeswoman Peggy Cifrino.
But that didn't
deter CBS. Anchor John Roberts opened the July 24 CBS Evening News by
insisting the Cheney decision came only "after the Bush camp made one
last failed attempt to get Colin Powell on the ticket."
From in front of
the Governor's mansion in Austin, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad
Wilmouth, Dan Rather then tried to salvage his scoop, not mentioning the
Powell camp's rejection of his report:
"Very obvious right straight the way through
that both Governor Bush and his father the former President believe that
Colin Powell would be the best running mate on a Bush-Powell ticket.
Efforts were made right up to the very end, at least through
intermediaries, to try to make that happen. One report broadcast on CBS
News was that Colin Powell's wife Alma had finally and reluctantly in
effect said, 'Well, if he wants to do it, okay.' But Colin Powell never
changed. Consistently he said, 'I'll serve if asked perhaps in a Bush
administration, but I'm not interested in elective politics and don't make
me say no,' so in the end it was no deal. I talked to Governor Bush in a
candid one-on-one conversation just a few minutes ago back here in the
perfunctory questions ("What can you tell me about your selection of
Vice President? Anything at all?"; "Have you made up your
mind?" and "Give us an insight. When did you make your
decision?"), Rather bore in to prove Bush really did pursue Powell:
"Well, true or untrue, that you wanted General Colin Powell, and you
made a real effort to get him to run with you?"
Bush answered that Powell made it clear early on
that he didn't want to be VP, but if he hadn't Bush would have given
serious consideration to him.
followed-up: "Governor, I have to believe if it isn't true, tell me
it isn't true, that somewhere along the line that you said to Colin Powell
one way or the other, 'You know, you and I together could change the
Bush replied: "I never quite got that far.
That would have been definitely part of the conversation. I got to tell
you Dan he made it clear, and when this fellow makes it clear he makes it
+++ Watch Rather
press Bush about Powell. Tuesday morning the MRC's Eric Pairel and Brandon
Rytting will post a RealPlayer clip of this portion of the interview. Go
NBC's Tom Brokaw lamented the political infeasibility for Bush to pick a
"pro-choice" VP. Before George W. Bush sat down with Dan Rather
in Austin he spent some time with Brokaw at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Brokaw praised Tom Ridge, "a guy with a great record," but who
was rejected "immediately [by] the Catholic Church and Jesse
Helms." Soon after Brokaw's interview aired on the NBC Nightly News,
the show featured a piece by Claire Shipman on how sources told NBC that
Bush used "inappropriate maneuvering" to pass his tax cut and to
pay for it "hundreds of millions of federal welfare dollars were
shifted, against regulations, to a state program."
queries to Bush:
-- "A lot of people are going to say if you
pick Dick Cheney, well he had to pick somebody who knew something about
foreign policy and defense matters and running the White House because
that's where he's weak."
-- "Isn't it
a political reality if you chose a vice presidential candidate who is
pro-choice you would have a revolt on your hands in Philadelphia?"
Bush: "Not necessarily, but there's a lot of
political choices I've got to make."
Brokaw: "Well you put Tom Ridge out there
for example, the Governor of Pennsylvania, big and important state, a guy
with a great record, pro-choice, immediately the Catholic Church and Jesse
Helms said no way."
profile piece on Cheney, Claire Shipman checked in with Gore's latest
attack on Bush's Texas record. She summarized his claim about a budget
shortfall and allowed the state comptroller to insist there is still a
surplus. Shipman declared that there was some overspending, but it will be
covered by the surplus.
Then, without any
substantive retort, she launched into a recitation of charges from unnamed
sources: "And new charges tonight: NBC News has talked with a group
of current and former state officials who have asked not to be identified.
They claimed inappropriate maneuvering last year to get George Bush's $1.7
billion tax cut through. And they say that hundreds of millions of federal
welfare dollars were shifted, against regulations, to a state program for
children in order to pay for the tax cut. Republicans insist there was no
impropriety and Bush says he welcomes the scrutiny."
Bush: "We've got a good record in Texas. My
answer is bring him on."
Shipman concluded: "But Gore is hoping that
the issue of the Texas budget will reinforce what advisers think is his
best shot at victory -- casting doubt on Bush's ability to mange the
Likely Bush VP pick Dick Cheney earned approval on Monday from the
networks as all delivered positive profile pieces. Each made sure viewers
realized Cheney's conservative record. ABC referred to him as
"reliably conservative" and a "strong conservative,"
CBS tagged him an "intellectual conservative" while NBC labeled
him "very conservative." Nothing necessarily wrong with these
labels as long as the networks are equally vigilant next month during
speculation over Gore's VP and regularly describe candidates like John
Kerry as a "strong liberal" and "very liberal."
-- ABC's World
News Tonight, July 24. Joining Morton Dean's profile just after he
reported Cheney's election to Congress from Wyoming: "From a reliably
conservative state his voting record was reliably conservative. Opposed
abortion and gun control, supported prayer in the schools."
delivered this upbeat assessment: "Colleagues and friends say he is
not only comfortable in high places, but is basically an unpretentious
-- ABC's Good
Morning America, July 24. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this line
from Diane Sawyer: "For 11 years, Congressman on Capitol Hill, famous
for a strong conservative voting record and being king of
-- CBS Evening
News, July 24. Bob Schieffer with the "Real Deal" on Cheney.
Schieffer began: "He may not be a household name, but I cannot think
of any segment of the Republican Party that would be offended by Dick
Cheney. He is an intellectual conservative and, first of all, he is a very
wrapped-up: "Some will say that because he is so safe, so
conventional and so solid he is just not very exciting."
-- NBC Nightly
News, July 24. Lisa Myers delivered the most glowing review of Cheney:
"He's known as the quiet man from Wyoming. And today Republicans and
Democrats agree the 59-year-old Cheney is one of the most competent, most
respected, most liked men in his party."
Myers later noted
that in the House "his moderate manner softened a very conservative
voting record and enabled him to work well with Democrats."
Reaganism and compassion in conflict? Dick Cheney an
"ultraconservative"? Two more examples from over the weekend, to
add to those cited above and in the July 24 CyberAlert, of network
reporters and analysts describing potential Bush VP pick Dick Cheney as
Here are two
question from July 23 Face the Nation substitute host Gloria Borger. She
asserted to Bush campaign manager Karl Rove: "But Bush is portraying
himself as a compassionate conservative. If he's running with somebody who
voted for all the Reagan budget cuts, for example, wouldn't that prove a
bit of a problem?"
And later to guest
Bill Bennett: "He's very conservative. George W. Bush is not
portraying himself as an ultraconservative. Wouldn't that be a
"Lick Bush." Letting it all hang out in the Hamptons, the swank
summer retreat on Long Island for the celebrity crowd. The New York
Observer last week spotted the risque anti-Bush bumper sticker on the back
of Chevy Chase's car, a sticker the liberal comedian/actor commanded the
reporter not mention.
Former MRCer Clay
Waters, now with Bridge News, alerted CyberAlert to the relevant passage
in the story in the July 17 edition of the New York City weekly headlined,
"The Perfect Swarm: A Hamptons Weekend." Reporters Andrew
Goldman, George Gurley, Deborah Schoeneman and Rebecca Traister related
their observations from their day in the resort area on July 7. Here's the
6:17 p.m.: Bridgehampton train station
Chevy Chase, the comic actor and Maidstone
Club member, stood by the pay phones as the Bridgehampton train station
platform became a chaotic mass of people swinging luggage and looking for
their rides. Mr. Chase, dressed in shorts, a polo shirt and sunglasses,
was waiting for his own house guests. When asked if he noticed that the
Hamptons seemed to be an angrier place these days, he said: "I've
been coming out here since 1949. I've been angry since 1960."
Mr. Chase walked through the parking lot to
his BMW 735i and opened the trunk to stow his guests' luggage. "When
we're at our house, nobody bothers us, we stay inside with our kids."
Before he got behind the wheel, Mr. Chase called attention to his pro-Al
Gore bumper sticker. "Don't mention that," he said, quite
seriously. The bumper sticker read, "Lick Bush."
To read the entire story, go to:
A world without missile defense but with even more taxpayer money spent on
new entitlements and other liberal pet projects in urban areas. That's the
dream of Carole Simpson, anchor of ABC's World News Tonight/Sunday, and is
one of the quotes featured in the just-posted latest edition of Notable
Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous,
sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media.
MRC analyst Jessica
Anderson caught Simpson's July 9 ABC News Web site-posted commentary,
which advocated in part:
"How much better could we spend $60 billion
in this country than on an iffy missile shield? How about providing health
insurance for the 44 million Americans still not covered? Or helping the
elderly pay for their prescription drugs? How many children could be
immunized against childhood diseases?
"Couldn't it be used to completely reform
public education? How many crumbling public schools could be renovated?
Could that money find a cure for cancer, heart disease and stroke? Could
it be used to build affordable housing? Could it ease poverty and
homelessness? Wouldn't the money go a long way to repairing the
infrastructures of our aging Northeastern cities? Proponents of NMD say
the system is an insurance policy to safeguard the nation's security. But
like every other form of insurance, if it doesn't pay the dividend, what
good is it?"
short-sighted reasoning, virtually all insurance is a rip-off.
For her complete commentary, go to:
Amongst the other
quote headings in the July 24 Notable Quotables: "A Warning About
Media Bias?"; "Quicksilver Spin of the Day"; "Clinton:
Horny Man of Peace"; "Celebrating Another Entitlement";
"Criticizing Hillary: Implicitly Sexist"; "Caring vs.
Conservative"; "Let's Take the Surplus and Apply It to Our
Liberal Wish List"; "Fear the Soviets? Ha Ha Ha!";
"Heartwarming Democratic Unity vs. Nasty Republican Fratricide"
and "See the Slums! Become a Liberal."
To read the issue
as posted by the MRC's Eric Pairel, go to:
For a the PDF
version which matches the layout of the hard copy edition, go to:
For a link to Adobe's download page for a
free copy of Adobe's Acrobat Reader so you can view PDF files through your
browser, go to: http://archive.mrc.org/notablequotables/2000/archive.asp
Coverage of Elian demonstrated liberal media bias, FNC's Brit Hume told
television critics during last week's summer press tour in Pasadena,
In a July 24 New
York Post story pegged to Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes telling the
Television Critics Association that Fox broadcast stations will carry Fox
News coverage on election night, reporter David Li noted the presence of
Washington Managing Editor Brit Hume to promote FNC. Li relayed:
"Answering a question about alleged liberal
bias in news media, Hume took a shot at journalists who covered the Elian
Gonzalez story, claiming reporters, editors and producers sugar-coated
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro's brutal human rights record.
"'There was a lot of reporting...that
suggested Elian Gonzalez's life in Cuba might really be better than the
life he would be offered here in the United States,' Hume said.
"'I think that reflects a bias,' he added.
'It's unmistakable. And I think millions of people see that and are
offended by it.'"
The MRC and
CyberAlert provided plenty of examples. For the three most on Hume's point
about portraying life as great in Cuba, check out the transcripts and
RealPlayer video for these three examples:
-- June 30 CyberAlert: Dateline NBC painted a
glowing picture of what awaits Elian. Keith Morrison insisted: "Elian
is more likely to become a healthy adult in Cuba than in any other Third
World country." Elian will enjoy Cuba's "universal free
education" and the Pioneers are "very much like the Cub Scouts,
camping trips and all." Go to:
-- April 19
CyberAlert: NBC marveled at how the house where Castro will put Elian is
"a mansion by Cuban standards" while CNN marveled at how
"even by American standards" it's "luxurious." Both
portrayed the placement as benign. Only FNC raised the issue of communist
re-education. Go to: http://archive.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000419.asp#1
-- April 5
CyberAlert: The "Cuban good life" awaits Elian, promised NBC's
Jim Avila who predicted his family would get "perks like five free
gallons" of gas and a monthly bag full of beans, shampoo and
deodorant. Go to:
-- Plus, for a
compete overview of media coverage of the Elian case, check out the MRC's
Special Report by Tim Graham, "Back to the 'Peaceable' Paradise:
Media Soldiers for the Seizure of Elian." Go to:
From the July 24 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten
Shocking Facts About Dick Cheney." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants,
10. To make himself more appealing to Bush,
executed 47 people in Wyoming
9. Once dressed up as a bellhop to meet 'N Sync
8. Recently caught scribbling "George + Cheney" during strategy
7. Accused of conflict of interest after voting in favor of tax cut for
6. For brief 6-month period in 1974, known as Rita Cheney
5. As Secretary of Defense, approved "Arms For Gyros" deal with
4. He's fat
3. Told Bush only place he plans on campaigning is "Margaritaville"
2. Spends 17 hours a day at "Big Brother" website looking at
1. Picks up chicks by claiming to be Alan Greenspan
Okay, a somewhat
lame list, as it probably must be to be understood by most in the audience
who have no idea who Cheney even is, but certainly topical.
-- Brent Baker