Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, AM Edition
1) Powell Appearance Used to
Rebuke GOP: "Have to Think About Minorities...Not Just Every Four
Years." Peter Jennings suggested Powell's appearance provided the GOP
with an "unusual sense of inclusion" and during Nightline he asked
Powell: "Do you ever feel used by the Republican Party?"
2) Bush, Cheney & Platform Too
Conservative: GOP Interviewees Hit With Liberal Agenda Questions on MSNBC.
Claire Shipman on abortion: "What would you say to women who are worried
that George W. Bush will appoint people to the Supreme Court who might try to
take away that right?"
3) Cheney Challenged from Left.
"Why would women voters be attracted to this ticket?" Gloria Borger
asked on Face the Nation.
4) Delegates Scolded as Too White
& Too Male; Not Enough Women or Blacks to Satisfy Networks.
5) Sidebar stories: Rhyming
Ratherism; "Rigidly Right" Cheney Tag Avoided By Avoiding Press;
Cheney-Backed Tax Cuts Caused Deficits; Cheney's "Militia Moms."
page story. Powell Appearance Used to Rebuke GOP: "Have to Think
About Minorities...Not Just Every Four Years."
Though network reporters Monday night
agreed that Colin Powell received a warm reception, his address provided
correspondents with an opportunity to take shots at Republicans and
conservatives for not doing enough for minorities. Peter Jennings
suggested Powell's appearance provided the GOP with an "unusual sense
of inclusion" and during Nightline he asked Powell: "Do you ever
feel used by the Republican Party?"
Just after Powell's speech concluded at
11:03pm ET, Ed Bradley told CBS viewers "the speech sure played
really well" with "no catcalls" as happened in 1996. Bob
Schieffer called the speech, which CBS picked up in progress during 48
Hours, a triumph: "When a black man can stand before an almost
hundred percent white audience of Republicans and tell them they're
responsible for some of the cynicism of the black community and make them
like it and they did seem to like it. I think that's a pretty gutsy thing
and I think they got out the message they wanted to tonight."
Earlier, NBC's Tom Brokaw had rebuked
Republicans, previewing on MSNBC: "General Colin Powell, the most
influential African-American in the Republican Party will be talking to
these delegates, reminding them that they have to think about minorities
everyday, not just every four years."
During ABC's 10pm ET hour of coverage,
Jennings observed: "But there is a real enthusiasm and an unusual
sense of inclusion." Jennings castigated the convention because
"Kweisi Mfume, the head of the NAACP, wanted to speak...here and he
was turned down. They said they could come here and be seen, they'd be
very welcome to that, but not necessarily heard. And they wanted us to say
tonight, as they want everybody to understand tonight, that they had been
Jennings pushed Powell to denigrate
himself, arguing on Nightline: "Most famous black man in America,
probably, and they push you into the front position all the time. Do you
ever feel that maybe this is the professional wing of the party trying to
two article. Bush, Cheney & Platform Too Conservative: GOP
Interviewees Hit With Liberal Agenda Questions on MSNBC
The broadcast networks decided not to offer
multi-hour coverage, but viewers were not spared the liberal tilt of
network stars as NBC's were showcased all night on MSNBC. From the start
of prime time coverage at 8pm ET co-anchored by Tom Brokaw and Tim Russert
until they threw it to Brian Williams and Chris Matthews just past 11pm
ET, MSNBC delivered relentless badgering from the left about how
Republicans were too conservative and would scare away voters.
It all started at about 8:10 ET as MSNBC
went to David Bloom on the floor, who challenged former Senator Bob Dole:
"But the Democrats say, 'look this is a man who voted against the
Clean Water Act, he voted against the creation of the Department of
Education, he voted against a ban on cop-killer bullets.' His pick, they
say, says a lot about Governor Bush."
Next, Andrea Mitchell demanded of New York
Governor George Pataki: "We just heard Bob Dole defending Dick
Cheney's record. Dick Cheney's conservative record. Democrats are
attacking it. How is being against a ban on cop killer tickets, uh,
bullets gonna go down in New York state, with New York voters?" She
followed up: "How does that broaden the appeal of the party? You're
talking here tonight about being more inclusive, yet 59 percent of the
people here describe themselves as conservative. And you're not appealing
to a broader base with this nominee."
Back on the air a bit later, Mitchell
suggested to Senator Chuck Hagel: "Other people are criticizing
what's going on here on the floor and on the podium as a lot of packaging.
That it looks like an inclusive party, but it isn't any kinder or gentler
when you get down to specifics."
Mitchell threw it to Claire Shipman who
argued to Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn: "There's one issue that is
very important to a lot of women. That's the issue of abortion. And you,
with a couple of notable exceptions, are pro-choice. With the exception of
federal funding to support abortion and a ban on late-term abortions,
which you support. What would you say to women who are worried that George
W. Bush will appoint people to the Supreme Court who might try to take
away that right?"
Up in the booth, Brokaw identified a
scapegoat for why Bush did not pick Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge,
telling Ridge: "A whole lot of people think that you did not get the
pick by George W. Bush because of the Catholic Church's opposition to your
stand on abortion. Do you think that there ought to be more tolerance for
abortion in this country, in terms of the point of view, in exchange of
that." Brokaw pressed him to favor another liberal policy: "This
is a key industrial state, obviously, for George Bush. President Clinton
is already challenging the Republicans to raise the minimum wage. If
George Bush came out for raising the minimum wage, would that help him in
And these questions all aired just in
MSNBC's first hour, 8 to 9pm ET.
[On Tuesday morning, MRC Webmaster Andy
Szul, will post a RealPlayer clip of a couple of MSNBC's aggressive
interviews. Go to: http://www.mrc.org]
Story at the top of page three. Cheney Challenged from Left: "Why
Would Women Voters Be Attracted to This Ticket?"
As detailed in Monday morning's Media
Reality Check, on Sunday Dick Cheney was grilled by ABC's Sam Donaldson
over his conservative voting record. Cheney got the same hostile reception
on CBS's Face the Nation.
Bob Schieffer demanded to know: "Well,
what about this business of cop-killer bullets? That seems a pretty,
pretty tough one to me, to vote against that. Why did you do that?"
Co-host Gloria Borger didn't see how Bush
gained anything by his pick: "Governor Bush today has said that he is
looking to attract independent voters to vote for him in this election.
What do you bring to the ticket with this kind of a very conservative
voting record that would attract independent voters to the ticket?"
Borger followed up, wondering how any women
wouldn't be turned off: "Well, another constituency that, that both
Governor Bush and Al Gore are looking at are women voters. And, again,
going back to your record, you voted against the Equal Rights Amendment;
you have a stronger position, if you will, against abortion than Governor
Bush, with no exceptions. And the question is, I guess, why would women
voters be attracted to this ticket?"
Of course, if the ERA were so universally
popular, it would have been ratified.
Story on the bottom half of page three. Delegates Scolded as Too White
& Too Male: Not Enough Women or Blacks to Satisfy Networks
To counter media condemnations of previous
GOP conclaves for being too intolerant, Bush's operatives decided to
present a convention which reached out to minorities, but the network
reporters weren't satisfied. "Of all the groups that are
under-represented here, it has to be said that women are," declared
Michel Martin during ABC's 10pm ET hour of coverage Monay night. Martin
added: "You know, men, according to an Associated Press poll, 61
percent of the delegates are male, only 34 percent are female, when of
course in the general population it's the opposite. Fifty-one percent of
the general population is female, and only 49 percent is male."
Earlier, Ed Bradley told CBS Evening News
anchor Dan Rather that many "admit" being successful: "If
you used a broad brush to paint these delegates, you'd say they're
overwhelmingly conservative, white and well off. About a quarter of them
admit that they're millionaires. Fewer than 10 percent say their family
income is under $50,000 a year."
Over on the Fox News Channel, CBS News
veteran Paula Zahn warned in prime time: "What is going to become
abundantly clear to anybody watching this convention tonight, the
delegates and the alternates are overwhelmingly white, and you wonder how
genuine the symbolism will appear to those who are watching this tonight
of, of this diversity the Republican Party is trying to show off."
sidebar articles run alongside pages two and three: Rhyming Ratherism;
"Rigidly Right" Cheney Tag Avoided By Avoiding Press;
Cheney-Backed Tax Cuts Caused Deficits; Cheney's "Militia Moms"
"Republicans tonight open a $60 million plus show, emphasizing
television imagery and the politics of pleasantry," Dan Rather opened
Monday's CBS Evening News from the convention floor as he com-bined rhyme
with his caution to viewers.
"Much of the money comes from big
corporations and other special interests," he warned before not
forgetting to note how "the same will be true of the Democratic
convention to follow in Los Angeles."
"Rigidly Right" Cheney Tag
Avoided By Avoiding Press
Bill Whitaker, the most prolific labeler in the network media of Dick
Cheney, revealed how Cheney escaped being tagged ideologically one day
last week. In a July 28 CBS Evening News story on the warm crowds which
greeted the GOP ticket on Friday, Whitaker tossed out another loaded label
in acknowledging that "the campaign seemed almost desperate for a day
like this, with images like this after their four-day drubbing over
Cheney's rigidly right record."
"They avoided the whole issue,"
Whitaker added, "by holding no press conferences today."
In other words, "their four-day
drubbing" was fueled not by some widespread concern in the populous
about Cheney's record but by the agenda of liberal reporters.
Cheney-Backed Tax Cuts Caused Deficits
On Sunday's Late Edition on CNN Steve Roberts of U.S. News challenged Dick
Cheney's contention that he opposed a Head Start bill for spending too
much in the deficit era.
Roberts argued: "There is a hypocrisy
level here and, for instance, on the question of Head Start. Dick Cheney
says well I'm sorry about those votes but you got to remember it was the
'80s, we didn't have money, we had a big budget deficit. First of all, one
of the reasons we had the deficit was because of the tax cuts that he
voted for. And secondly it wasn't as if Dick Cheney was struggling to find
money for Head Start and couldn't find it in the budget. He and other
conservative Republicans were saying let's close the Department of
Education, let's reduce the federal role..."
Cheney's "Militia Moms"
Time's Margaret Carlson took a swipe at Dick Cheney on Saturday's Capital
Gang on CNN. She contended that while Dick Cheney won't earn the support
of the pro gun control "Million Mom" marchers he will get other
moms: "Bush has kind of morphed into Clinton and left Al Gore in the
dust in between Bob Jones University and now. The only mistake he may have
made is by choosing Cheney, which reminds people -- the million moms are
not going for Dick Cheney. The militia moms will."
Quote of the Night: "You said you
ended up with a more conservative platform than you originally drafted.
How disappointed are you?" -- NBC's Maria Shriver to platform
committee chairman Tommy Thompson, during MSNBC's Monday night coverage.
END Reprints of Media Reality Check
A video of Monday afternoon's Quote of the
Morning is now up on the MRC's Campaign 2000 page. The quote, CBS Early
Show co-host Jane Clayson to J.C. Watts about Dick Cheney: "I have to
ask you, as an African-American, if you have any difficulty supporting a
man who voted against releasing Nelson Mandela from prison?" Go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/campaign2000/welcome.html
This "Conventions 2000: Media Reality
Check" compiled by me with the late night work of MRC analysts
Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Anderson, Paul Smith and Brad Wilmouth. Plus
Andy Szul loading up the Web page. Pizza and donuts provided by Rich
Noyes. In Philadelphia: Tim Graham, Liz Swasey and Joyce Garczynski. -- Brent Baker