Bush Drew Viewers to ABC; More on Clinton Speech; Russert to Bloomberg: GOP Too "Extreme"? Hunt’s Marxism; Rather on Alligators
1) By showing President Bush’s address on Thursday night
ABC doubled its normal audience for the time slot and captured more than
twice as many viewers as did Fox. Six million tuned in on the cable news
channels, with half deciding to watch on FNC.
2) National Review and OpinionJournal.com decided Bill
Clinton’s speech last week, in which he had insisted, "Those of us
who come from various European lineages are not blameless," wasn’t
as bad as that quote made it seem. James Taranto found the address
"incoherent," but "far from seditious."
3) Michael Bloomberg is a lifelong liberal Democrat, but
now that he’s won the mayoralty of New York City as a Republican, on
Meet the Press Tim Russert adopted the rhetoric of liberal opponents of
conservatives as he asked him to evaluate the GOP: "Do you think the
Republican Party has been too conservative, even extreme on some
4) On Capital Gang, Al Hunt denounced President Bush from
the left: "The President gets a lot more passion about tax cuts for
his rich country club friends than he does about any aid to the people who
have been thrown out of work these past couple months." That prompted
Bob Novak to observe: "You sound like Karl Marx when you talk about
the rich class getting too many benefits."
5) Who else could say this but Dan Rather: "You don't
taunt the alligator till you cross the creek, and they still have plenty
of creek to cross." But only radio listeners to a Dallas Cowboys game
got to hear it.
6) Letterman’s "Top Ten Suggestions the Public Made
to Fight Terrorism." Plus, tonight’s PC terrorism-related plot on
CBS’s Family Law.
a winner for ABC. Many more people watched Survivor on CBS or Friends on
NBC last Thursday night, but by showing President Bush’s address from
Atlanta, ABC doubled its normal audience for Whose Line is It Anyway? in
the time slot. The Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes reported that
ABC’s airing of Bush also garnered more than twice the audience of the
Family Guy on Fox and racked up relatively big numbers on the cable news
channels -- with FNC grabbing the most viewers.
In her November 10 story, de Moraes noted how
"Bush delivered ABC's best number in the time period since Bush's
prime-time news conference on Oct. 11."
Noting how Fox had considered asking
affiliates to carry the speech, de Moraes relayed: "Fox execs may
wish they had compelled stations to carry the Fox News Channel feed of
Bush's speech after all, because he might have delivered to the premiere
of The Tick a better lead-in audience than did the return of Family Guy.
The resuscitation of that series scored less than half the audience Bush
did on ABC -- and Bush even snagged more young viewers than did the
allegedly hip animated sitcom."
On the cable news channels, "Fox News
Channel carried him and registered nearly 3 million; nearly 2 million
preferred to watch him on CNN; and nearly 1 million caught him on
But most Americans preferred regular shows:
"Altogether, Bush averaged an audience of nearly 19 million from
8-8:30 Thursday night. That is about as many folks as chose the fifth
episode of Survivor 3 on CBS instead. But the president was no match for
the lovely and pregnant Rachel: About 24 million tuned in to NBC's
I’d assume all these numbers are nationwide
totals. Since Bush only got prime time carriage in the eastern and central
time zones, viewership of his speech would have been a bit greater, and
Friends and Survivor a little smaller, if Bush had aired opposite them on
ABC at 8pm PST, 7pm MST.
comment on the Clinton speech at Georgetown University discussed in the
November 9 CyberAlert which had quoted from a Washington Times story on it
and a look at it by the panel on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume. In
his November 7 speech Clinton insisted: "Those of us who come from
various European lineages are not blameless."
National Review’s Washington Bulletin on
Friday concluded that "Clinton didn't make excuses for
terrorism," but that "real trouble with the speech is its
overemphasis on the need ‘to reach out and engage the Muslim world in a
In his "Best of the Web" column for
OpinionJournal.com, James Taranto decided "the Washington Times
account" was "unfair" since "Clinton expressed support
for America in the war effort, and not in the equivocal
I-don't-mean-to-minimize-Sept.-11-but manner that's common among the
blame-America bunch." After quoting a passage, however, Taranto
asserted: "This is incoherent -- Clinton manages to expand the
definition of terrorism to the point of meaninglessness -- but it's far
from seditious. Still, if the ex-president is going to go around giving
speeches in a time of war, would it be too much to ask that he hire a
tough editor so that his words will end up making sense?"
An excerpt from the November 9 Washington
Bulletin e-mail from National Review's John J. Miller and Ramesh Ponnuru:
....The main problem is not the lines for which he has been criticized
-- the ones in which he was taken to be suggesting that the West had
received its comeuppance on September 11 for slavery, the Indian wars, and
the Crusades. In context, all Clinton appears to be saying is that 1)
these events could be seen as examples of terrorism, 2) we are still
paying a price for them, as when bin Laden uses the Crusades as a
propaganda point against us. These points are arguable. Clinton uses a
definition of terrorism so loose, for example, that he at one point
suggests that it is terrorism when some drunken loser beats up a gay guy.
And his version of collective historical guilt is noxious. ("Those of
us who come from various European lineages are not blameless," he
says-as though any student in today's academy could imagine otherwise.)
But Clinton didn't make excuses for terrorism....
The real trouble with the speech is its overemphasis on the need
"to reach out and engage the Muslim world in a debate." There is
no question that the war we are in includes a cultural and intellectual
component -- a propaganda war, to put it crudely. But from Clinton's
speech you would think that all the war involved was talk: an
international version of his "dialogue" on race. What Clinton
will apparently never understand is that there are some problems you can't
talk your way out of.
For NR’s Washington Bulletin online, go to http://www.nationalreview.com
-- An excerpt from the November 9 "Best
of the Web" on OpinionJournal.com:
....We weren't able to get though the whole thing (it's over 7,600
words!), but we read enough to convince us that the Washington Times
account, which we noted yesterday, was unfair. Clinton expressed support
for America in the war effort, and not in the equivocal
I-don't-mean-to-minimize-Sept.-11-but manner that's common among the
blame-America bunch. And he clearly did not say, as the Times may have
left the impression he did, that Sept. 11 was the "price" for
America's sins. Here's the full passage in question:
"Terror, the killing of noncombatants for economic, political, or
religious reasons has a very long history as long as organized combat
itself, and yet it has never succeeded as a military strategy standing on
its own, but it has been around a long time. Those of us who come from
various European lineages are not blameless. Indeed, in the first Crusade,
when the Christian soldiers took Jerusalem, they first burned a synagogue
with 300 Jews in it, and proceeded to kill every woman and child who was
Muslim on the Temple Mount. The contemporaneous descriptions of the event
describe soldiers walking on the Temple Mount, a holy place to Christians,
with blood running up to their knees. I can tell you that that story is
still being told to today in the Middle East and we are still paying for
"Here in the United States, we were founded as a nation that
practiced slavery and slaves were, quite frequently, killed even though
they were innocent. This country once looked the other way when
significant numbers of Native Americans were dispossessed and killed to
get their land or their mineral rights or because they were thought of as
less than fully human and we are still paying the price today. Even in the
20th century in America people were terrorized or killed because of their
race. And even today, though we have continued to walk, sometimes to
stumble, in the right direction, we still have the occasional hate crime
rooted in race, religion, or sexual orientation. So terror has a long
This is incoherent -- Clinton manages to expand the definition of
terrorism to the point of meaninglessness -- but it's far from seditious.
Still, if the ex-president is going to go around giving speeches in a time
of war, would it be too much to ask that he hire a tough editor so that
his words will end up making sense? If he gives muddled speeches, not only
his enemies but America's can read their own meaning into them; see, for
example, this Arab News account, which interprets Clinton's speech more or
less as the Washington Times did. Like President Bush's unfortunate use of
the word "crusade," this is the kind of thing that can feed
enemy propaganda efforts.
For the "Best of the Web" column
daily, go to: http://opinionjournal.com
For a full transcript of Clinton’s November
7 address, go to where Georgetown
University has posted it.
To watch it via RealPlayer or Windows Media
Player, go to:
Bloomberg is a lifelong liberal Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton for
Senate and has been a big donor to Democratic causes, but now that he’s
won the mayoralty of New York City as a Republican, on Sunday’s Meet the
Press Tim Russert considered him to be a qualified judge of Republican
Party policy: "Do you think the Republican Party has been too
conservative, even extreme on some issues?"
It’s one thing to inquire about how he views
the policies of his new party, but did Russert really need to adopt the
"extreme" term which liberals employ to discredit conservatives?
Bloomberg ran as a Republican so he could
avoid the crowded Democratic primary and then go head-to-head with the
winner of the Democratic primary.
Russert’s question to Bloomberg on the
November 11 show, taped in New York City, came after Russert played a clip
of Rudy Giuliani promising after his 1993 election to work to move the GOP
leftward on abortion and gay rights.
On the November 28, 1993 Meet the Press
Russert had inquired:
"Mayor-elect Giuliani, will you press your party to change its
platform to allow abortion rights and gay rights?"
assured Russert: "Sure. I have already. I'd like to see the
Republican Party have a broad base, reach out to everyone on the basis of
Russert followed up with Bloomberg: "You
are now the Republican mayor of New York. Will you be an active spokesman
trying to shape Republican Party policy, particularly on issues like
abortion rights and gay rights?"
promised: "Absolutely. I think, you know, my views have been
well-known. In 59 years I haven't had to reinvent myself once. I've been
consistent. And there are things that I believe in that I would like to
have the Republican Party follow. You've got to understand that in New
York City this is fundamentally a nonpartisan city, even though the
electorate is 5 to 1 Democrat over Republican. But I think that what Rudy
said eight years ago, those values are still things we've got to fight
wondered: "Do you think the Republican Party has been too
conservative, even extreme on some issues?"
basically agreed: "Well, I don't agree with some of the more
conservative issues. I am pro-choice. I am pro-gay rights. I am in favor
of gun control and against the death penalty, as are most people in New
York City. And I will try to convince others the error of their ways if
they disagree. They have a right to their views, but this is what I
believe in and this is what I would support."
Though Bloomberg’s answer showed he is quite
liberal, he wouldn’t admit it to Russert, who asked: "How do you
deal with this idea of labeling -- liberal, conservative, moderate? Where
do you see yourself?"
"My background is as an engineer. If I'm partisan to anything, it's
to New York. I look at a problem and say, ‘How can you get it done?’,
not ‘What are you called?’ And I've never been terribly sensitive to
that, which, of course, gets me into trouble with the press occasionally
who wants to categorize. But, look, we have problems. There are views on
both sides. The art of good politics is to find something in the middle
that satisfies most and be as unobtrusive as possible to the extremes, and
you have to make a decision. But my job in the end is to listen to
everybody and then say, ‘Okay guys, I was elected to be the mayor. This
is what we're doing.’"
About the only area where Bloomberg is not a
doctrinaire liberal is on taxes, where he currently opposes a tax hike for
New York City. But since he backed Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, he did all
he could to block Bush’s tax cut.
Saturday’s Capital Gang, Al Hunt denounced President Bush from the left:
"The President gets a lot more passion about tax cuts for his rich
country club friends than he does about any aid to the people who have
been thrown out of work these past couple months." That prompted Bob
Novak to observe: "You sound like Karl Marx when you talk about the
rich class getting too many benefits."
On the November 10 CNN show Hunt, the Wall
Street Journal’s Executive Washington Editor, charged: "I think
President Bush's views on this are basically undistinguishable from my
friend Bob Novak, who has said on this program that war on terrorism or no
war on terrorism, we shouldn't be spending money on the unemployed and
jobless because they are just going to spend it on beer and cigarettes.
Instead, we should be giving big, permanent tax cuts to the very rich,
because they are the productive elements of society.
happen to think that that is Darwinian social policy, that's class warfare
and bad economics, but I admire Bob's candor. I wish President Bush would
be just as candid. The president gets a lot more passion about tax cuts
for his rich country club friends than he does about any aid to the people
who have been thrown out of work these past couple months or about public
investments in public health, and FBI and customs and other places we
needed for homeland security."
A few minutes later, columnist Bob Novak
suggested: "If you could listen to yourself and read the text, you
sound like Karl Marx when you talk about the rich class getting too many
"Ratherism" or, if you prefer, "Danism," but one only
radio listeners in Texas heard: "You don't taunt the alligator till
you cross the creek, and they still have plenty of creek to cross."
Back on November 4, when the Dallas Cowboys
played the New York Giants, Dan Rather sat in the Cowboys radio booth in
the New Jersey stadium and offered commentary on the game. Jim Romenesko's
picked up late last week on a Web-posted account of Rather’s
An excerpt from the account by Peter King of
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Midway through the third quarter in the Dallas
Cowboys Radio Network booth nine stories above the Giants Stadium turf,
play-by-play man Brad Sham asked one of his analysts
what he thought the Giants would do on first-and-10 from the Dallas 34.
"I think they're going long," his graying color man said.
"I think they'll go for it."
Kerry Collins dropped back and threw a 34-yard strike to Joe Jurevicius.
On the next possession, three plays later, Sham wondered aloud what the
Cowboys would do on third-and-7 from the Giants' 48. "Button
hook," the analyst said. "Ten, maybe 11 yards downfield."
Clint Stoerner dropped back. Joey Galloway streaked up the left side and
curled back in, just as Stoerner fired the ball into him. Completion.
"HE'S GOT GALLOWAY ON A BUTTON-HOOK!" Sham shouted.
With five minutes left in the game and the Giants threatening to score
the go-ahead touchdown at the Dallas 5-yard line, the color man said the
Cowboys sure needed a turnover right now.
"Dayne, with the carry ..." Sham said. "FUMBLE!"
Dallas ball. In came Ryan Leaf for his first Dallas outing. Second
down. Leaf fades back. "Turn it loose, Leaf!" yelled the
analyst. Leaf, as if on cue, wound up and threw a deep bullet that Rocket
Ismail, diving, caught.
Now you know about Dan Rather's NFL broadcasting debut.
"You are being wasted in news," the permanent color guy, Babe
Laufenberg, said. "You've got to come over to sports!"
"Can we take you to Atlantic City with us?" Sham asked.
I listened to most of the Cowboys' 27-24 overtime loss to the Giants,
with Sham and Laufenberg and their guest analyst, Rather, the 71-year-old
CBS News anchor, on a wireless headset in the press box. And let me tell
you: Rather was good. Very good. I'm serious when I say this: Dan Rather
should do this more often. The credibility he brings with those pipes is
already formidable. But he knows the game from couch-potatoing on most
fall Sundays through the years, and he has an excellent sense of the flow
of the game. He's not intrusive, and he knows when to shut up, two skills
a lot of color men have never mastered....
-- On the Cowboys celebrating once Dallas jumped to a 17-7 lead: "You
don't taunt the alligator till you cross the creek, and they still have
plenty of creek to cross."
-- At halftime, with the Giants down 24-7: "You play this poorly in
New York, and you're lucky you don't get run out of the county."
-- After a Dallas interception was returned for a touchdown: "Did you
see Giants coach Jim Fassel? He leaped up like somebody stuck him with a
-- On early Dallas domination: "The Cowboys have beaten the Giants
like a rented mule."...
For all of the posting by King, go to:
"He's not intrusive, and he knows when to
shut up..." If only Rather had shown those qualities on the CBS
Evening News for the last three decades.
November 8 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Suggestions
the Public Made to Fight Terrorism." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide
10. "If you meet Osama Bin Laden -- sucker punch the bastard"
9. "Special hotline to report anyone who looks 'shifty'"
8. "Offer Taliban free HBO, instead of cable guy send Jackie
7. "Two words: spy monkeys"
6. "Go to every K-Mart and announce over P.A.: 'Will Osama Bin Laden
report to the manager's office?'"
5. "What are we waiting for -- call Batman"
4. "Give terrorists brightly wrapped fruitcake, but inside there's a
3. "Make Taliban leaders easier to spot by sending them all bright
2. "Fight terrorism with love!" (the guy who suggested this was
beaten to a pulp by an angry mob)
1. "Do another 'Hands Across America' -- that worked before"
> Tonight on CBS at 10pm EST/PST, 9pm
CST/MST, a very PC-sounding plot on Family Law. As described in the
Washington Post’s TV Week: "The entire firm is placed on the case
of a U.S. citizen who is arrested and charged with espionage after a
neighbor reports him as a suspicious-looking Arab."