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 Media Reality Check

For Immediate Release: Katie Wright (703) 683-5004 -  Thursday, January 27, 2000

Media Leaped on Rumors of Bush Cocaine Use Without Any Accuser, But Gore Accuser Gets Little Play

Little or No Interest in Gore and Marijuana

Last August, national media outlets leaped on rumors of cocaine use by George W. Bush, even though reporters searching for people to accuse Bush of drug use could not find an accuser. Now longtime Gore friend John Warnecke claims Gore used marijuana regularly, right up to his 1976 run for Congress, four years later than Gore has claimed he stopped. Warnecke also claims Gore asked him to "stonewall" on the issue during the 1988 campaign. But the media aren't exactly riveted: 

ABC has aired nothing, even though This Week jumped on the Bush allegations and Ted Koppel devoted a whole August 24, 1999 Nightline to it. 

CBS has aired nothing.

CNN has aired nothing in its news programming.

NBC Today host Katie Couric asked Gore about the allegations on Tuesday, both about the claims of almost-daily use and Gore's request for a stonewall. In a taped interview on the same show, NBC's David Bloom asked Bush if the story was fair.

Fox raised the issue with Sen. John Kerry on Fox News Sunday and aired interview segments on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes [see box]. 

Time, U.S. News, and Newsweek have not touched it, although Newsweek created the issue by spiking a second excerpt of Bill Turque's forthcoming Gore book detailing drug use, spurring Warnecke to talk. 

Newsweek's Howard Fineman was the first to ask George W. Bush in the November 16, 1998 issue: "If you're asked specifically about marijuana or cocaine [use in your past], what's the answer?" 

The New York Times printed a 260-word piece Monday on Page C11 detailing Newsweek's delayed excerpt, with no mention of Warnecke's allegations of stonewalling. 

Associated Press put out a 134-page dispatch Monday with no mention of Newsweek or a stonewall.

The Washington Post ran a story Tuesday on Page A9 mentioning both the Newsweek delay and the stonewall allegations. 

The Los Angeles Times published a front-page story on Gore Tuesday which arrived at marijuana in paragraph 33. The story did not mention Newsweek or a stonewall. 

USA Today gave it 84 words on A6 Tuesday with no mention of Newsweek or a stonewall. 

National Public Radio ruined the Supreme Court nomination of Douglas Ginsburg in 1987 by reporting his marijuana use, but Guy Raz whimsically reported on Wednesday night's All Things Considered about a recent Gore interview on MTV: "Gore reveals he was the Cheech Marin of the leading contenders." -- Tim Graham



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