Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check, Monday PM Edition
-- Visit Convention 2000 Media Bias (More) --
1) Invisible Donna Brazile
Reappears on Morning Shows; CBS Host Praises Political Ascent of
2) Gumbel Deplores Democratic
"Centrism;" Early Show Anchor Pleads for Return to Kennedy Era
3) Democrats Embrace
"Centrist Policies;" Morning Shows Have Little to Say About
4) Clinton Gains From Time's
Distorted History; Who Deserves Credit for Longest Economic Boom Ever in U.S.?
Time's Eric Pooley claimed the boom did not begin before Clinton took office.
5) CNN: Business-Bashing Delegates
"Principled"; Democrats "Have the Interests of the Workers In
6) Sidebars: GOP Response to
Lieberman; No Sense of Humor?; CBS: "Least Liberal Convention";
Russert: "Very Liberal" Convention
7) Quote of the Morning.
page story. Invisible Donna Brazile Reappears on Morning Shows; CBS Host
Praises Political Ascent of "Unapologetic Liberal"
chief Donna Brazile suddenly appeared today on the networks' morning
shows, but faced mostly soft questioning. No one was rude enough to
mention that she hasn't been interviewed on network TV in seven months,
since she implied in January that Gen. Colin Powell was a token:
"Republicans bring out Powell because they have no program, no
policy. They would rather take pictures with black children than feed
them." By contrast, her white subordinate, consultant Bob Shrum, has
appeared for six network interviews, including four Sunday morning shows.
-- On CBS, Bryant
Gumbel complained to Brazile, "You're an unapologetic liberal. Al
Gore is a self-described centrist. Why doesn't that disconnect disturb
you?" He praised her political ascent: "You were a story in and
of yourself, the first African-American woman to head a major presidential
campaign. What's the significance of that for you?" He added:
"At the risk of embarrassing you, you're a more considerable story
than that. Your mother was a maid, your father was a janitor, yet here you
sit running a presidential campaign. What's that say about you?"
Without citing examples, Gumbel did tell Brazile that "you have
gained a reputation as someone who leads with their mouth. Do you regret
some of the things you've said?"
-- On ABC, Charles
Gibson trumpeted Gore's strengths, asking: "Here's a guy running with
an economy that's humming along, a foreign policy that's in great shape,
no foreign crises, and you're down significantly in the polls. Why hasn't
he been able to connect?" Then he gave Brazile the chance to run down
the opposition: "Your sense about the Republican convention and its
image of inclusiveness."
-- At 7:30 a.m.,
CNN's Carol Lin asked Brazile a pile of puffy questions, except for one
about CNN's latest poll: "Nearly half of the likely voters polled say
that there is no chance whatsoever...that they would vote for Gore under
any circumstances...What creates that resistance?"
Two Mondays ago,
CBS ‘s Jane Clayson pressed GOP Reps. J.C. Watts and Henry Bonilla about
how "the [GOP] delegate count still reflects a very white
population," but this morning none of Brazile's interviewers pressed
her about the rigid quotas for Democratic delegates.
Top of page two article. Gumbel Deplores Democratic "Centrism;"
Early Show Anchor Pleads for Return to Kennedy Era.
Gumbel showed just how much he admires the Democrats' old liberal roots.
In an interview this morning with Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy
Townsend on The Early Show this morning, he pressed her as to whether the
modern Democrats have lost the faith. "Is this your father's
party, your uncle's party philosophically?" he asked. "Is this
the same party?"
When Townsend said
the Democrats were offering new solutions, Gumbel seemed mournful.
"It's much more of a, we're using labels here, much more of a
centrist party than it was," Gumbel said, "which begs the
question, why is it more of a centrist party when the needs are just as
great as they ever were?"
In contrast to
media grumblings that George W. Bush's nomination was rooted in nepotism,
Gumbel summoned positive images of the liberal Kennedy dynasty: "The
Kennedy name will be front and center here. You'll be speaking on Tuesday,
your cousin Caroline will be speaking Tuesday night. Your Uncle Ted will
be speaking. Is it just for nostalgia purposes?" He asked Townsend
whether it was "a burden" to be viewed "as the most
promising of a new generation of Kennedys."
Three times Gumbel
pushed Townsend about her political future. "[DNC Chairman] Ed
Rendell said ten years from now he could see himself being chief of staff
to President Kathleen Kennedy Townsend," Gumbel told his guest.
Bryant Gumbel --
Bottom half of page twp story. Democrats Embrace "Centrist
Policies;" Morning Shows Have Little to Say About Democratic Platform
In contrast to
their negative comments about the "hard line" GOP platform, none
of the morning shows paid much attention to the Democratic platform,
although both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times labeled it a
According to Janet
Hook, writing in today's Los Angeles Times, "The Democratic platform,
the party's election-year statement of its agenda for the nation, this
year continues a march from liberal orthodoxy to the political center that
has been the hallmark of the Clinton era. Despite some modest concessions
to the party's traditional liberal interests, the platform that will be
approved by the convention Tuesday is a monument to how much the Clinton
administration has shifted the party on key issues."
The headline on
Hook's story: "Democratic Platform Set in the Middle of the
Road," while this morning's New York Times carried a similarly-titled
story, "Platform is Centrist, Like GOP's, but Differs in
Details," in which James Dao wrote that the Democratic document
"warmly embraced the centrist policies of the Clinton administration
and lavishly credits them for the prosperity of the last seven
Odd that today's
headline would label the GOP platform as "centrist." On July 28,
the New York Times's subhead on its GOP platform story stressed that
"Influence of Rightists Holds Firm."
Top of page three story. Clinton Gains From Time's Distorted History; Who
Deserves Credit for Longest Economic Boom Ever in U.S.?
In the August 14
edition of Time, Eric Pooley scolded George W. Bush for allegedly
tampering with history. "To deny Democrats credit for the prosperity
and accuse them of driving the country ‘downhill,' he backdates the boom
and pretends it began before Clinton took office," Pooley wrote.
But Pooley's the
one fooling around with history -- not even the liberal New York Times
buys into the idea that economic prosperity began on Jan. 20, 1993.
"Though unrecognized at the time, the current recovery began in March
1991, long before Bill Clinton defeated President George Bush on the
assertion that he did not know how to manage the economy, concluded the
Times in a February 7, 2000 editorial.
Actually, as Rich
Noyes, Director of MRC's Free Market Project wrote in the August 11
edition of MediaNomics, the positive growth "was recognized at the
time -- President Bush tried to draw attention to that fact, but few in
the media noticed."
article also noted "The Times, not normally considered a conservative
newspaper, also pointed out in February that ‘except for a mild
recession at the beginning of the 1990s, the American economy has enjoyed
uninterrupted growth for almost 18 years.'" Let's see if the networks
point any of this out tonight, as the Democrats attempt to claim credit
for historic growth that began 21 months before they arrived in the White
To read the entire
report from the MRC's MediaNomics, "Be Wary of the News Media's
Election-Year Economic Lessons," go to:
of page three article. CNN: Business-Bashing Delegates
"Principled"; Democrats "Have the Interests of the Workers
In Their Souls"
There wasn't a
trace of skepticism in a report from CNN's Maria Hinojosa this morning
about Democratic delegates who joined in anti-business protests in Los
Angeles. Instead, the delegates were given free airtime to promote their
party as a haven for workers' rights.
politics to protests," introduced anchor Daryn Kagen at 10:35 this
morning, "some delegates to the Democratic convention join street
demonstrations protesting corporate excesses. CNN's Maria Hinojosa says
that for some delegates, it's a matter of principle." Of course, if
GOP delegates embraced a leftist cause, CNN might say they were
four Democrats who were part of a protest targeting what she termed
"the excesses of the corporate establishment." The delegates all
relayed positive comments about their party and the cause of workers'
rights, one saying, "We need a counterweight to the privileged and
the powerful in this country."
"Some of the
Democratic delegates may have the interests of the workers in their
souls," Hinojosa applauded. Balance? Her story included no quotes
from business sources -- not even from the hotel targeted by the protests
-- nor did it include any hint that the Democrats' embrace of the
protesters strategically echoes the recent Gore campaign theme of
"whose side are you on?"
stories along the sides of pages two and three. GOP Response to Lieberman;
No Sense of Humor?; CBS: "Least Liberal Convention"; Russert:
"Very Liberal" Convention
No GOP Response to
On the Sunday before the GOP convention, Meet the
Press's Tim Russert followed up an interview with VP choice Dick Cheney
with a panel that included Gore partisan James Carville, who laid into
Cheney. "I think Mr. Cheney went a long way toward dispelling any
questions about his health," Carville crowed. "He was running so
fast from his record...,it looked like Maurice Greene going 100 meters or
Russert had no Republican around to talk about Lieberman running from his
Two weeks ago,
Carville also claimed that military service was important: "Look at
what Al Gore was doing during the Vietnam War and what Dick Cheney and
George W. Bush were doing during the Vietnam War....Where was Dick Cheney
during the Vietnam War?" Yesterday, Russert did not ask Lieberman
about his lack of military service.
No Sense of Humor?
On Monday's Imus in the Morning, Don Imus
protested MSNBC's decision to not pay for Imus sidekick Bernard McGuirk
and a camera crew to go to Los Angeles. McGuirk, who conducts humorous
interviews and created the whimsical "Gumbel Aid" to help pay
for Bryant Gumbel's divorce, is perhaps too loose a cannon, but Imus
pledged to help his radio station WFAN pay for the camera crew if MSNBC
continues to refuse.
On Sunday night's CBS Evening News, Dan Rather
found another sign of Democratic centrism: "And the torch being
passed to Gore also highlights a shift in the views of the delegates to
this Democratic convention. This is reflected in new findings from a CBS
News/New York Times survey of the delegates. Bob Schieffer is down on the
convention floor. Bob, what's the difference in the delegates this
reported: "Dan, the main difference is this is the least liberal
collection of Democrats that's been assembled in almost a quarter of a
century. CBS News/New York Times started polling these delegates back in
1976. Well, for the first time, a clear majority -- 56 percent -- call
themselves moderates. Only 36 percent call themselves liberals -- that's
the smallest number ever."
On NBC's Today program this morning, Tim Russert
offered a totally opposite view of the delegates than had been pushed by
liberal than the average American," Russert told host Matt Lauer.
"These are very liberal activists, Matt. Half the group are women,
more than a third minority. They are very much anti-death penalty,
anti-voucher schools [sic]. It's a very liberal constituency."
Makes you wonder
if they're at the same convention.
of the Morning: "You talked about Hollywood squares. You could have
been talking about Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. They don't really fit. How's
Hollywood viewing the ticket?" -- CBS's Bryant Gumbel to the
Hotline's Craig Crawford, The Early Show, August 14.
END Reprint of
Media Reality Check newsletter
"Conventions 2000: Media Reality Check" compiled by Rich Noyes
and Tim Graham with the assistance of daytime shift analysts Brian Boyd,
Ken Shepherd and Ted King. Plus, Kristina Sewell sending the fax and
taping the coverage with Eric Pairel and Brandon Rytting loading up the
Web page. -- Brent Baker