Did Clinton "Bare His Soul"?; Cheney vs. Lieberman Contrast in AM; Anti-Semitic Bush Voters; "Snipers Wanted"
1) The networks bought Bill
Clinton's supposed, in the words of Katie Couric, "candid
confessional." "It's not often that you get to hear a President bare
his soul," ABC's Charles Gibson heralded.
2) CBS's Bill Whitaker refused to
label Ralph Nader a liberal as he tagged Lieberman a "moderate."
CNN's Bill Schneider insisted Gore and Lieberman "represent the most
conservative Democratic ticket in fifty years." Meanwhile, Americans for
Democratic Action described Lieberman's 77 percent rating as "pretty
3) Joe Lieberman has already
abandoned two of the three positions which supposedly made him a moderate,
FNC's Brit Hume noted, but ABC, CBS and NBC still furthered the myth that
Lieberman and Gore disagree on significant matters.
4) Unlike with Dick Cheney,
morning show interviewers did not demand Joe Lieberman defend any
"outside the mainstream" votes. Back on July 27 Cheney's
conservative record was portrayed as a hindrance to attracting independent and
women voters, a concern the same interviewers did have for Lieberman's liberal
5) Carl Bernstein: "Those
people who would refuse to vote for a Jewish candidate probably would be
inclined...to vote for the Bush ticket." Newsweek's Evan Thomas agreed.
But the first anti-Semitic blast came from the black far-left and CBS turned
to Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson for expert comment on enlightened
6) More media fretting over Bush
and the death penalty. "One of the issues that has dogged Governor Bush
throughout the campaign is the number of executions in his state," Katie
Couric asserted, claiming a particular execution "has many
7) "Snipers Wanted." The
Fox News Channel showed a clip of and noted CBS's apology for those words over
video of George W. Bush during a joke last week on the Late Late Show with
GOP Convention NQ. The August 7 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's
bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes
in the liberal media, is now online after a bit of a production delay
caused by our convention analysis last week. Among the quote headings in
the issue which provides a compact collection of the worst bias from
Republican convention coverage: "Mandela Imprisoned by Cheney?";
"Churlish Cheney Charges"; "Platform Failed to Please
Liberals"; "Powell: GOP's Uncle Tom"; "Blacks Should
Still Fear GOP"; "Tolerance Held Hostage"; "Cheney:
'Hard Right' Isn't Sexy"; "Lashing Out at Loony Lynne" and
"Bush's 'Compassion' Claims Contradicted By Conservatism." To
read the issue, go to:
For the issue in life-like Adobe Acrobat PDF format, go
Correction: Wednesday night on FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume corrected an item from Tuesday's show
which the August 9 CyberAlert had quoted: "Last time we reported that
despite Al Gore's insistence in an interview with Tom Brokaw that he
agreed at the time with Joe Lieberman's famous speech calling President
Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky quote, 'immoral,' we could find no
such agreement. Further research, however, has shown that he called the
President's conduct, said Mr. Gore, quote, 'indefensible' in September,
even before Lieberman's speech, and that he called it quote, 'wrong' the
next month. We stand corrected." So does CyberAlert and we withdraw
our quip about Tom Brokaw.
not often that you get to hear a President bare his soul," ABC's
Charles Gibson dramatically announced at the top of Thursday's World News
Tonight as if Bill Clinton had really revealed some inner secrets. The
substitute anchor soon explained how, at a forum earlier in the day in
Illinois, Bill Clinton had exposed his "personal struggle for
CBS and NBC also
allocated unchallenged time to playing some of Clinton's comments before a
group of ministers, though CBS held itself to a regular-length soundbite
while ABC and NBC aired lengthy clips totaling about a minute and a half,
an eternity in TV time. CBS's Russ Mitchell helpfully spun it to the Gore
camp's delight as Clinton "taking blame and distancing Gore from the
Monica Lewinsky case." Clinton delivered a "candid confessional
about what he's gone through since the Monica Lewinsky scandal,"
insisted NBC Nightly News anchor Katie Couric.
None suggested a
political motivation behind his comments though all featured his claim
that "no fair-minded person would blame" Gore "for any
mistake that I made."
Here's how the broadcast
network evening shows of August 10 handled the event:
-- ABC's World News
Tonight led with it. Anchor Charles Gibson opened the broadcast:
"Good evening. It's not often that you get to hear
a President bare his soul. At DePaul University in Illinois today
President Clinton made some rather incredible remarks to a large group of
evangelical ministers. Mr. Clinton spoke for the first time in a long
while about his mistake in the Monica Lewinsky affair. He also spoke about
Al Gore's role in his administration and Mr. Clinton's personal struggle
for religious redemption."
Reporter Jackie Judd
didn't get to say much as her piece showed a compilation of comments from
Clinton which totaled 1:31.
-- CBS Evening News.
About half way through the newscast, which led with the wild fires in the
West, anchor Russ Mitchell handled the short item:
"In Illinois today President Clinton started doing
what some in the Gore campaign hoped he would do, help Gore fend off
attacks by Republicans by taking blame and distancing Gore from the Monica
Lewinsky case and other troubles. Here's an excerpt from the President's
'it was me not Gore' mea culpa."
Clinton: "I used to say this about Al Gore all the
time, I used to say this when I was being criticized, it was like you know
'he doesn't get enough credit for what we did together that is good, and
surely no fair-minded person would blame him for any mistake that I
Mitchell followed up:
"The President also said he is still coming to terms with his
failings and still seeks forgiveness for them."
-- NBC Nightly News went
first with an FAA report on how flight delays are actually declining.
Later, anchor Katie Couric set up an "In Their Own Words"
segment devoted to Clinton: "President Clinton visited a group of
evangelical ministers outside Chicago today and his visit turned into a
very personal and candid confessional about what he's gone through since
the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Clinton's 1:26 of NBC airtime began:
"I feel much more at peace than I used to. I'm now in the second year
of a process of trying to totally rebuild my life from a terrible mistake
I made. I have to come to terms with a lot of things about the fundamental
importance of character and integrity...."
understatement of the year.
Lieberman is a "moderate," declared CBS's Bill Whitaker as well
as MSNBC's Forrest Sawyer and, asserted CNN's Bill Schneider, he makes up
half of "the most conservative Democratic ticket in fifty
Even as some columnists
dug out more evidence about how Joe Lieberman is much more liberal than
moderate, the networks have continued to distort his record. Here are some
fresh examples since the ones listed in the August 9 CyberAlert:
-- In an August 10 CBS
Evening News story on George Bush campaigning in California with John
McCain as a poll shows a tight race in the Golden State, Bill Whitaker
asserted: "With the selection of moderate Joe Lieberman and staging
the convention in Los Angeles, Vice President Al Gore is signaling he's
putting up a big fight for this biggest state."
Concluding the story,
Whitaker refused to describe Ralph Nader as liberal: "And then
there's the Ralph Nader factor. A recent California poll showed the Green
Party candidate grabbing about ten percent of the vote here, and almost
all of that siphoned away from Vice President Al Gore."
"moderate" tag for Lieberman with how he painted Dick Cheney.
The day Bush officially announced Cheney, July 25, Whitaker managed three
different adjectives, tagging Cheney "a bedrock conservative"
and "a rock-solid conservative" with a "a solidly
conservative voting record." Whitaker also relayed how Democrats are
"planning to paint him as too far right and wrong for the
country." The next night he referred to "Dick Cheney's rock
solid conservative record." The night of Bush's convention address
Whitaker recalled "Dick Cheney's rigid-right congressional
-- On CNN's Inside
Politics on Thursday from inside the Staples Center, CNN political analyst
Bill Schneider ruminated: "The most interesting thing about Clinton
is he's a real hero in Hollywood. They love this guy. It has nothing to do
with his politics. His politics, in a way he's betrayed liberals at every
turn: welfare reform, the death penalty, balancing the budget, which they
don't care much about. What they love him for is his values. He's a child
of the '60s, the first President to come out of the culture of the '60s.
That's why a lot of people in Hollywood love him and that's why most
conservatives hate him. But in Hollywood he's a hero. Gore and Lieberman
are not heroes to Hollywood. They represent the most conservative
Democratic ticket in fifty years."
I thought Clinton-Gore
in '92 were the media's "conservative" ticket.
-- MSNBC anchor Forrest
Sawyer, filling in this week on The News with Brian Williams, keeps
tagging Lieberman as a "moderate," MRC analyst Paul Smith
noticed. Monday night he preposterously referred to "the socially
conservative, politically moderate Senator." Tuesday night he
observed: "Remarkably, the politically moderate Senator has entered
the campaign to general praise from both parties." That led into the
same Claire Shipman piece which the August 9 CyberAlert had quoted from
the August 8 NBC Nightly News: "Lieberman quoted from the Bible,
praised Al Gore as a man of character and took a jab at George W. Bush and
his suggestion that Lieberman's conservative Democratic views are close to
Wednesday night Sawyer,
unlike CBS's Whitaker, realized how Nader stands on the left, but still
refused to apply the same label to Lieberman: "In a tight race with
George W. Bush, Al Gore could lose some important swing votes to the more
liberal Nader especially now that Gore has chosen a more conservative Joe
Lieberman as his running mate."
"moderate" is Lieberman? As detailed in the August 8 CyberAlert,
he earned a lifetime "Liberal Quotient" of 77 from the Americans
for Democratic Action (ADA) for his votes since 1989. As a way of
comparison, House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt has received 71 percent
approval from the liberal group over his congressional tenure. In 1999,
Lieberman was assessed 95 percent from ADA while the American Conservative
Union (ACU) gave him a zero for that year, making him one of the Senate's
eight most liberal Senators in 1999. His lifetime ACU rating: 19 percent.
Picking up on that 77
percent ADA number, Washington Times columnist Donald Lambro quoted
"ADA chief Amy Isaacs" on Thursday as proclaiming that rating
"is pretty liberal...It's higher than Gore's."
Robert Novak argued in
his column in the August 10 Washington Post that while Lieberman talks
"the moderate talk, he walks the liberal walk. The news media
description this week of a centrist, moderate or even conservative
misrepresented a party regular who more often than not is a conventional
Indeed, Novak pointed
out that "while Lieberman's comments occasionally infuriate the
National Education Association, the teachers' union rated his 1999 voting
record at 90 percent. That compares with a 100 percent report card by the
National Abortion Rights Action League."
For additional ratings
data and examples of the media mislabeling Lieberman, check out all three
items in the August 8 CyberAlert:
And item #5 in the
August 9 CyberAlert:
the myth of Joe Lieberman as a "centrist" or a
"moderate" requires him to appear to disagree with Al Gore on
some major issues, a duplicitous effort the broadcast networks compliantly
played along with Wednesday morning and night. (See item #4 below for
details on the morning show interviews.)
But, as Brit Hume
pointed out on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Wednesday night,
Lieberman has already switched to the left-wing position on two major
issues. Hume explained on August 9: "So far Senator Joseph Lieberman
appears to have abandoned two of the positions on which he disagreed with
Vice President Gore. His staff is now saying he's moved away from support
for experimental school vouchers. He has clearly dropped his support for
partial privatization of Social Security. Lieberman claim he had already
abandoned that position before Gore tapped him and aides are passing out
an article by Lieberman to prove. The article, though never published, was
supposedly written in June."
Nonetheless, that same
night ABC, CBS and NBC touted Lieberman's disagreements with Gore as an
asset to the ticket and a tribute to Gore's political courage.
ABC anchor Charles
Gibson introduced an August 9 World News Tonight story: "In Tennessee
today Al Gore and his running mate Joe Lieberman hit the campaign trail.
Mr. Gore said he's not afraid to have a Vice President who disagrees with
him on some issues which Senator Lieberman does."
CBS Evening News anchor
Dan Rather declared that "Gore and Lieberman again stressed that
their shared values, including tolerance, matter more to mainstream
Americans than any differences they've had over the years on issues."
Over on the NBC Nightly
News, Katie Couric noted how Al Gore said he's "not afraid of
disagreements" with his running mate.
morning Gore and Lieberman appeared together, from a Nashville rooftop, on
all three morning shows, but unlike Dick Cheney, the network hosts did not
dig back into Lieberman's record and demand he defend any "outside
the mainstream" votes. Back on July 27 the morning interviewers also
portrayed Cheney's conservative record as a hindrance to attracting
independent and women voters, a concern the same interviewers did have for
Lieberman's liberal record.
"People are talking
about your conservative record while a Congressman from Wyoming and saying
that perhaps that conservative record will not help to attract swing
voters like minorities and women," Today's Matt Lauer told Cheney
before going down a list of votes which upset liberals and demanding
Cheney explain each, as if there was something wrong with holding such
conservative views. Similarly, CBS's Jane Clayson hit Cheney from the left
on The Early Show: "When you were in Congress you had a very
conservative voting record, how will you and Governor Bush appeal to the
more moderate Republicans and perhaps more importantly independents?"
She tagged him "a hardline conservative."
For more on the
hostility toward Cheney, go to:
Now compare their
approach with Cheney to how they treated Lieberman on August 9. On the
upside, ABC and NBC did raise the issue of a double standard on mixing
religion and politics between the reaction to Lieberman citing God and
what would have happened had Bush done the same:
Jack Ford's questions on
Good Morning America:
-- "Mr. Vice President let me ask you the first
question if I might. We understand that in your phone conversation with
the Senator when you invited him to join you on to the ticket that he
prayed after hearing that invitation. What was your response to his
-- "Senator there as been an extraordinary focus
on your religion the last few days. What do you think the role of faith
should be in pubic policy making?"
-- "Question on the minds of some people is would
your faith, the teachings of your religion ever dictate public policy
decisions on your part?"
-- "Senator what about this during the course of
your speech yesterday, again being a man of strong faith you mentioned
your God a number of times, you mentioned your faith a number of times but
do you think that if the Republicans had chosen a Christian conservative
as a Vice President and that Christian conservative had given a speech
where they also mentioned repeatedly God. Don't you think that members of
the Democratic party would be expressing some concern and perhaps even
alarm over a possible mingling of religion with politics?"
-- "Let me ask the Senator about some issues if I
might quickly. The Vice President said you have shared values but of
course you have differed with regard to certain significant issues. For
instance affirmative action you have opposed it in the past, gays in the
military -- you have said that you're in favor gays being able to serve
openly. Will you now Senator be required to change your positions on many
of these issues?"
Bryant Gumbel on CBS's
The Early Show, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
-- "The two of you are now running mates. Talk to
me about your longstanding relationship. Up to this point what have you
been: peers, friends, confidants, like-minded thinkers, what?"
-- "Senator, we know quit a bit about the man
you're running with, but what do you want Americans to get to know about
you between now and November?"
-- "Senator, your wife Hadassah was visibly moved
Tuesday by the week's events, how emotional have recent days been for
-- "Mr. Vice President, between now and November
7, realistically how much of a difference do you really expect Joe
Lieberman to make?"
-- "You talked about the New Guard and the Old
Guard, what about the Present Guard? You haven't seen this morning's Daily
News, but the headline on it is 'Bill Who?' It makes note of the fact that
neither one of you even mentioned Bill Clinton's name yesterday, how
Katie Couric on NBC's
Today, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
-- "Senator Lieberman let's talk about issues
first. I know that you support the notion of vouchers, using federal money
for people to send their kids to private schools. That's something that
Vice President Gore does not support. So how are you going to settle your
differences and why do you feel that this is a good thing?"
-- "One other area where you two disagree is
parental notification for minors who, for getting abortions at federally
funded clinics. Why do you feel strongly about that Senator, why do you
support that?" [Lieberman reaffirmed his hardline view: "My
overall record has been pro-choice."]
-- "Moving on I wanted to ask you all. Neither of you mentioned
President Clinton once, yesterday. Vice President Gore was that a
conscience decision on your part?"
-- "Senator Lieberman it's been well documented that you were the
first Democrat in Congress to slam President Clinton because of his
behavior with Monica Lewinsky. Using words like 'embarrassing' and
'disgraceful.' How can you convince voters that it's not time for a little
housecleaning? That they don't need to make a change when you were so
vocal about President Clinton and his behavior?"
-- "At the same time Vice President Gore you said that Bill Clinton
will be remembered as one of our greatest presidents."
-- "Senator Lieberman let's talk about religion. Of course there's
been much discussion about that. You're an orthodox Jew, you prefer
observant Jew, do you think there's been too much focus on your religion
-- "Senator you talked about your faith and religion yesterday and of
course Governor Bush has spoken quite eloquently about the importance of
Jesus in his life. And he has been criticized by some for that. I'm just
curious. What role do you think religion should have in a presidential
Journalists have been casting aspersions all week at how Gore's pick of
Joseph Lieberman won't hurt Democrats because anti-Semites are Republicans
who already plan to vote for Bush. The slimey shot at Lieberman by an
NAACP official, however, confirms a fact noted in the August 9 CyberAlert
that a poll showed how there's a large pocket of anti-Semitism among
CyberAlert reported that while interviewing liberal former New York
Governor Mario Cuomo on Tuesday, Bryant Gumbel slyly inquired: "Do
you fully expect Republicans, however quietly, however strategically, to
try to make it [Lieberman's Jewish faith] an issue?"
The very next day
Lee Alcorn, head of the Dallas chapter of the NAACP, said in a radio
interview: "I think we need to be very suspicious of any kind of
partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level because we know that
their interest primarily has to do with money."
All the networks
featured that soundbite Wednesday night, but only CBS followed up with the
epitome of tolerance, Jesse Jackson. Immediately after the Alcorn bite, on
the CBS Evening News John Roberts played this clip from Jackson:
"We're going to hear more expressions of darkness but we'll also hear
more expressions of light because there are some people who are not
Huh? Didn't he
once refer to New York City as "Hymietown"? Now he's CBS's
expert on enlightened tolerance.
Tuesday night on
CNBC's Rivera Live veteran reporter Carl Bernstein of voter.com assumed
all anti-Semites are on the right:
"I think the anti-Semitism that might figure
in this election is very slight because among other things I think that
those people who would refuse to vote for a Jewish candidate probably
would be inclined, and I don't mean to cast an aspersion here, to vote for
the Bush ticket in the first place."
Lieberman was picked Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas
claimed he wouldn't cost Gore any liberal votes. Check out this exchange
from Inside Washington over the weekend:
Thomas: "I thought the anti-Semites weren't
going to vote for him anyway. They're not in the swing vote."
Charles Krauthammer: "They vote Republican,
Thomas: "Yeah, yeah. They do. They're not in
the swing vote."
There's no evidence voters care about the Texas death penalty, but the
media sure do. The impending Wednesday night executions of two men, the
lawyer for one of whom claimed he was mentally retarded, set off another
round of impassioned network segments.
Today featured a story and interview segment while ABC's Good Morning
America ran just an interview segment. That night, both networks aired
stories tied to the Texas case while CBS ignored the whole matter.
introduced the August 9 NBC Nightly News report: "One of the issues
that has dogged Governor Bush throughout the campaign is the number of
executions in his state, Texas. Tonight, two more inmates are scheduled to
die, the 27th and 28th this year. And there's plenty of controversy."
That morning she
complained on Today, as observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
"Two convicted killers are set to be put to death tonight in Texas as
the nation's busiest death chamber. But the execution of one of them has
Reporter Jim Cummins opened his piece: "Even
for the Texas death chamber it's unusual. Two inmates scheduled for
separate executions by lethal injection in Huntsville tonight. The first,
Brian Roberson has drawn little notice. But the case of Oliver Cruz has
raised new questions about who is executed in Texas. Supporters say Cruz
is mentally retarded."
picked up Thursday night on CBS's apology for a very bad joke which
advocated the killing of George W. Bush. It aired last Friday on the Late
Late Show with Craig Kilborn. "Snipers Wanted" read text in the
bottom left corner of video of Bush delivering his convention address the
night before as Kilborn made a joke about the speech during his "In
the News" segment.
The AP's Lynn Elber
reported Wednesday night: "'This graphic, which was not accompanied
by any remarks from Mr. Kilborn, should not have been included in the
telecast and is not consistent with our broadcast standards,' CBS said in
"The network called the display 'an inappropriate
and regrettable graphic,' adding that it and program producer Worldwide
Pants Inc. 'deeply regret this incident.' The company said it would take
"A Bush spokesman said the candidate accepted the
apology.... Worldwide Pants, David Letterman's production company, also
produces Late Show with David Letterman, which airs immediately before
Kilborn's daily show."
On Thursday's Fox Report
anchor Shepard Smith, over some video of the offending graphic, read a
brief item on the apology:
"A bit of convention humor that lacked a lot of
it. So unfunny a major television network, CBS, issued an apology. The
other night on the Late Late Show, host Craig Kilborn was doing one of his
fake news segments on the Republican convention and beneath the picture of
George W. Bush at the podium, a graphic with the words 'Snipers Wanted.'
There you see it, right across the bottom of the screen. CBS apologized,
calling the joke quote, 'inappropriate and regrettable,' a Bush
spokesperson saying the candidate accepts the apology."
+++ See the
"Snipers Wanted" footage from the CBS late night program as
shown by FNC. Friday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a
RealPlayer clip of FNC's brief report. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
(Even if you don't have
RealPlayer, you can still see a picture of the footage with the
"Snipers Wanted" graphic.)
This incident reminded
me of Alec Baldwin's "I'm going to stone Henry Hyde to death!"
outburst on the December 11, 1998 Late Night with Conan O'Brien on NBC. To
watch that video, go to:
David Letterman is
trying to get Bush agree to a debate on his show. Al Gore has already said
yes. This incident on a program produced by Letterman's company certainly
won't help. -- Brent Baker