Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, Monday AM Edition
-- Visit Convention 2000 Media Bias (More) --
1) Lieberman Let Off Easy Sunday
Morning: Cheney Grilled on Votes, Lieberman by CBS About Cheney's Pay. Gloria
Borger grilled Dick Cheney about his abortion view but though a poll found
most disagree with Lieberman on partial-birth she avoided the subject.
2) Case Studies in Dan Rather's
Bias: Introduced Republicans With Attacks; Democrats With Own Spin. Dan Rather
led by stressing Al Gore's plan to help "mainstream" Americans, but
on the night before the GOP convention he emphasized how Dick Cheney "was
dogged by questions" about "his very conservative voting
3) ABC News Cultivated Cheney
Controversy: Seven Times More Time for Cheney Pay Than Playboy Fundraiser.
4) Tony Snow Pressed Quotas &
"Inclusiveness": Fox News Reporters Raised Points Ignored by Other
5) Sidebar stories: Liberal
Realizes Pro-Lieberman Media Bias; Hopeful Thinking?; Sam: Bush & Gore
Good; "Unguarded Moment" in Front of TV Cameras; CBS: "Snipers
6) Quote of the Weekend. George
Stephanopoulos on why Clinton made his "confessional" remarks:
"He was with his pastor in a church and I think...the spirit moved
page story. Lieberman Let Off Easy Sunday Morning: Cheney Grilled on
Votes, Lieberman by CBS About Cheney's Pay
Two weeks ago
Republican VP pick Dick Cheney was portrayed on ABC's This Week and CBS's
Face the Nation as too conservative to attract independent voters or women
and was quizzed about past votes on everything from fighting gun control
to voting against the Older Americans Act to opposing abortion. But this
Sunday, while network hosts on all five interview shows pressed Democratic
VP nominee Joe Lieberman about his policy differences with Al Gore, none
demanded he explain his positions on issues where he is just as far to the
left as Cheney is to the right.
Back on the July
30 Face the Nation, CBS's Gloria Borger wondered "what do you bring
to this ticket with this kind of very conservative voting record?"
She assumed women would be turned off: "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?"
News/Washington Post poll reported in the August 12 paper revealed that
when informed Lieberman "voted to keep late-term or partial birth
abortions legal," 57 percent of registered voters had a "less
favorable" view of him while 37 percent had a "more
favorable" view. But no Sunday show raised that issue with Lieberman,
and on Sunday's Face the Nation Borger instead focused three of her four
questions on Cheney's finances:
Lieberman, we learned yesterday that Dick Cheney has received a retirement
package from his energy company totaling some $20 million and he has not
given up his stock options in that company yet. Do you see anything wrong
-- She followed
up: "Senator, Governor Bush says that he will not ask Dick Cheney to
recuse himself on issues relating to the oil industry. What do you think
about that?" Keeping her emphasis on the Republican ticket, Borger
next inquired if Lieberman thought George Bush and Dick Cheney should
"release their tax returns?"
two article. Case Studies in Dan Rather's Bias: Introduced Republicans
With Attacks; Democrats With Own Spin
Sunday night Dan
Rather led the CBS Evening News by stressing Al Gore's plan to help
"mainstream" Americans, but two weeks earlier on the night
before the GOP convention opened he emphasized how Dick Cheney "was
dogged by questions" about "his very conservative voting
"Starting here tomorrow it's the Democrats' turn to present their
version of a tightly scripted convention television show. Al Gore says it
will be long on specifics, including in-depth proposals on health care and
other help targeted to mainstream middle income Americans. Today's
pre-convention script also had a big speaking role for running mate
Senator Joseph Lieberman. CBS's John Roberts begins tonight's coverage of
the road to Los Angeles."
July 30: "The
stage is set down below and right behind me for a well-orchestrated,
pre-scripted, week-long infomercial designed to sell the Republican
presidential ticket and get corporate donors to pony up more for the fall
campaign. Expect much the same from the Democrats later in August. But as
George Bush's running mate Richard Cheney arrived here today, he still was
dogged by questions about what Newt Gingrich says is his very conservative
voting record in the Congress. Cheney says he might vote differently today
on some issues. Abortion rights is not among them. Republican delegates
here and George Bush himself out on the road, are playing from the same
script: accentuate warm and fuzzy. No ad-libbing please and no
controversy. Against that backdrop CBS's Bill Whitaker is covering
Governor Bush's pre-convention barnstorm through key and closely contested
states, including today's stop in Ohio."
-- The night of
the official Dick Cheney VP announcement Rather relayed the negative
Democratic spin against the GOP ticket. But two weeks later Rather
highlighted the Democratic ticket's boasts about themselves with a sly dig
"Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore officially introduced his
history-making running mate today, Senator Joseph Lieberman of
Connecticut. History-making because Lieberman is of Jewish heritage and
faith. The two started running right away. In their first joint appearance
they gave a preview of the Gore-Lieberman fight-back, come-back strategy.
Their message: They represent the future, not the past, and they are the
ticket of high moral standards most in tune with real mainstream
July 25: "In
the presidential campaign, the official announcement and first photo-op
today of Republican George Bush and his running mate Richard Cheney.
Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as quote 'two Texas oilmen'
because Cheney was chief of a big Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate.
They also blast Cheney's voting record in Congress as again quote,
'outside the American mainstream' because of Cheney's votes against the
Equal Rights for Women Amendment, against a woman's right to choose
abortion -- against abortion as Cheney prefers to put it -- and Cheney's
votes against gun control. Republicans see it all differently, most of
them hailing Bush's choice and Cheney's experience. CBS's Bill Whitaker in
Austin Texas has the context on choosing Cheney."
Watch videos of
the two contrasts. Go to http://www.mrc.org
and click on "Campaign 2000"
Article on top half of page three. ABC News Cultivated Cheney Controversy:
Seven Times More Time for Cheney Pay Than Playboy Fundraiser
pressure-tactics from Democratic officials, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez
gave in and canceled her fundraiser for Hispanic candidates set to take
place at the Playboy Mansion, but ABC's World News Tonight cared a lot
more about how much money Dick Cheney will receive from the company he
ran. Saturday's show dedicated three minutes and ten seconds to Cheney,
but a piddling 24 seconds to Sanchez even though there were plenty of
angles to explore, such as Democratic hypocrisy in keeping Hugh Hefner's
Anchor Aaron Brown
opened: "By tomorrow the political focus will turn to the Democrats
and their convention in Los Angeles. Tonight the spotlight remains on the
Republican ticket and sometimes the spotlight is uncomfortable. Republican
vice presidential nominee Dick Cheney will receive roughly a $20 million
retirement package when he formally leaves the oil services giant
Halliburton next week. That's $4 million for each year he ran the company
and appears to be much more than the company was obligated to pay."
John Cochran tried
to create a controversy: "While Cheney's aides confirm that his
retirement package is roughly $20 million, other questions remain. Did
Cheney get a special deal? Many companies require executives to work until
age 62 before they can get full retirement. Cheney is 59 and will still
get full benefits...."
by predicting the Bush campaign will "be fairly comprehensive in
revealing the details" of the final package since "they know
this is a big problem. They know that the Democrats are going to be
harping on this." Democrats don't have to. The media are doing the
harping for them.
Article on bottom half of page three. Tony Snow Pressed Quotas &
"Inclusiveness": Fox News Reporters Raised Points Ignored by
Fox News raised
issues over the weekend not addressed by other networks.
-- Gore counts
Bush years in economic boasts. In an interview on FNC's August 11 Special
Report with Brit Hume, Jim Angle told Al Gore: "You count in the
longest expansion that you often mention, the longest expansion in
American history, you count 21 months of the Bush administration."
delegate quotas and how Senator Joseph Lieberman's religion contradicts
"inclusion" were both raised on Fox News Sunday:
-- Host Tony Snow
to Senator Joe Lieberman after Lieberman insisted the Democrats, unlike
the Republicans, will show real diversity: "But isn't it also true
that for your convention you have quotas?"
-- Snow to Gore
campaign chairman Bill Daley: "There's a lot of talk about
inclusiveness this week. Mr. Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew. Orthodox
Judaism mandates the separation of sexes in synagogue, it doesn't support
the mixture of sexes in the military, it opposes homosexuality, does not
recognize so-called mixed marriages, that is marrying outside the
religion. My question to you is what's inclusive about that?"
Sidebar stories along the sides of pages two and three. Liberal Realizes
Pro-Lieberman Media Bias; Hopeful Thinking?; Sam: Bush & Gore Good;
"Unguarded Moment" in Front of TV Cameras; CBS: "Snipers
Pro-Lieberman Media Bias On Saturday's CNN Capital Gang liberal columnist
Mark Shields conceded the media held Dick Cheney to a different standard
than they applied to Lieberman: "The press has been in Joe
Lieberman's pocket. I mean let's be honest about it. Let's just point one
thing out: All of us commented, myself among them, on Dick Cheney's
student deferments. I mean, I have seen one story written on Joe
Lieberman's student deferments and his lack of military service."
Clinton's so-called "confessional" is
good for the Al Gore campaign? ABC's Terry Moran outlined in a Friday
World News Tonight story how Clinton keeps "overshadowing" Gore
with his remarks which reminded people of the Lewinsky scandal and his
planned fundraising over the weekend in the L.A. area. Moran concluded:
"Some Gore staffers see a silver lining to all this. As one aide put
it, Bill Clinton is the best political mind in a generation, so he must
know what he's doing."
Sam: Bush &
"I think we have two fairly good
choices," ABC's Sam Donaldson asserted on the August 9 Late Show with
David Letterman. "This year if you elect one or you elect the other
it may be bore and boringest, but still I think the country would be in
Moment" in Front of TV Cameras
NBC's Claire Shipman opened a Friday Today
profile of Al Gore by showing him swinging his grandson on a hammock as
she gushed: "An unguarded moment with Al Gore, utterly relaxed in the
company of his one-year-old grandson. It's a side the public doesn't get
to see much, but family has always been a haven for the reserved Gore, a
place that both sustains him and helps explain him..."
Only FNC picked up Thursday night on CBS's
apology for a joke which advocated the killing of George W. Bush. It aired
Friday, August 4, on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. Fox Report
anchor Shepard Smith, over video of the graphic, reported:
"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 spokes-person saying the candidate
accepts the apology."
To see this story
and the CBS graphic, go to the MRC Web page and click on "Media Bias
Videos." Direct address:
Quote of the Weekend:
Elizabeth Vargas: "Why does he keep speaking so publicly about
something so painful?"
George Stephanopoulos: "He was with his
pastor in a church and I think, you know, to coin a phrase, the spirit
-- Exchange about Bill Clinton's
"confessional," Friday's Good Morning America on ABC.
END Reprint of
Media Reality Check newsletter
This "Conventions 2000: Media Reality
Check" compiled by me with the Sunday work of MRC analysts Jessica
Anderson and Brad Wilmouth. Plus Andy Szul loading up the Web page at
sunrise. -- Brent Baker