ABC Goes Live in Prime Time to Carry Triumphant Obama Speech --6/4/2008
2. Couric Provides Forum for Female Clinton Backers to Vent
3. 'High Level' MSNBC Source: Olbermann Tainting 'Face of NBC News'
4. With Exit From Race, ABC's GMA Fawns Over 'Iconic' Clintons
5. Gergen on CNN: Magazine Story on Bill Clinton Skips Good Works
6. NBC's Engel Charges in New Book: U.S. 'Invaded the Wrong Country'
7. Harris Responds to HBO Film: Gore Fought Statewide Recount
8. Top Ten Things Overheard at Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters
ABC, which on May 14 was so excited about the John Edwards endorsement of Barack Obama that its 6:30 PM EDT feed of World News went live to Obama introducing Edwards -- complete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage -- on Tuesday night cut into Boston Legal at 10:08 PM EDT/9:08 PM CDT to go live for 14 straight minutes of a triumphant Barack Obama at a rally in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. (CBS stuck with Without a Trace and NBC with Law & Order: SVU, though both ran Special Reports earlier to report Obama had secured the Democratic nomination.) After cutting away from Obama, ABC aired just over two minutes of excerpts from Hillary Clinton's earlier non-concession address and then a minute-and-a-half from Republican John McCain.
Anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted at the start of the Special Report: "You're looking at a picture from St. Paul, Minnesota, the Xcel Center, in Minnesota, Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, have just been introduced to a rather raucous rally there to greet him on what is an historic night. On this night, June 3rd, 2008 an African-American has been nominated to be, or will be nominated to be, candidate of a major party for President of the United States....It is just over 50 years since America officially desegregated its schools. And now, an African-American nominated for President."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At 9:00 PM EDT, NBC's Brian Williams declared Obama the "presumptive nominee" and hailed it as "the stuff of history tonight." Tim Russert agreed: "History's the most important and operative word, Brian, the first time a major political party in the United States of America has nominated an African-American..."
A few minutes later, CBS's Katie Couric announced: "This is a pretty historic day."
The May 15 CyberAlert item, "Nets Excited by 'Major' Edwards Endorsement to 'Create One America,'" recounted:
Trumpeting the "major endorsement" from John Edwards for Barack Obama, the day after Obama was trounced by 40 points in West Virginia all three broadcast network evening newscasts led Wednesday night with the "dramatic" announcement of the "political prize" that gives Obama a "major boost." Katie Couric returned at the end of the 6:30 PM EST CBS Evening News feed to reiterate "our top story tonight" as she effused over live video of Edwards speaking at the rally: "John Edwards endorses Barack Obama, saying he's one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, not two."
ABC was so excited that its 6:30 PM feed of World News went live at about 6:40 PM to Grand Rapids, Michigan for 90 seconds of Obama introducing Edwards, complete with a Bruce Spingsteen song as Edwards bounded on stage. Gibson then acknowledged: "Timed for maximum exposure, timed to coincide with the evening newscasts, timed to give Barack Obama a needed boost after his bad defeat yesterday in West Virginia. George Stephanopoulos, this is the kind of publicity that you can't buy."
Indeed, no need to pay for it when ABC News is eager to give it to you for free. Gibson had teased his show: "Tonight, political prize. Barack Obama win a major endorsement from John Edwards." Couric had hailed "a major endorsement for Barack Obama" before asserting "Obama took back the spotlight this evening dramatically when he won an endorsement both candidates wanted badly." On NBC, Brian Williams touted: "Tonight, the campaign of Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination has received a major boost."
For the entire previous CyberAlert rundown: www.mrc.org
With the end of liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton's "historic campaign for the presidency" seemingly very near, CBS anchor Katie Couric devoted more than four minutes Tuesday night to wondering: "What will the many women who supported her do?" (Based on her reporting, that likely includes her.) Noting that "women helped propel Clinton to a big win in Pennsylvania," Couric explained: "We asked seven of her supporters from that battleground state about her campaign and what they're thinking now."
Amongst the comments featured from the seven liberals, a teacher blamed media hostility toward Clinton -- "It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had" -- for how "young men or other young women" inexplicably "say, 'I hate Hillary,' and just the venom that comes out of them." Couric inquired of the group: "What has Hillary Clinton's candidacy taught you?" several saw sexism, as one woman replied: "We still have a long ways to go when it comes to sexism, and we will have a female President in the near future." Another didn't see any hope for women candidates: "If she doesn't win this time, I don't know when -- at least, it won't happen in my lifetime -- when there would be any other candidate who would be as well qualified."
To illustrate, the unfair media treatment of Senator Clinton, CBS played some soundbites from cable news, including Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, "When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs," and this from Chris Matthews, long-ago made "infamous" by Clinton operatives: "The reason she's a U.S. Senator, the reason she's a candidate for President, the reason she may be a frontrunner, is her husband messed around."
After the taped segment with the liberal women, Couric highlighted how a CBS News poll found more think Hillary Clinton than Barack Obama faced impediments: "We asked, 'Who faces more obstacles in presidential politics?' -- 46 percent said a woman candidate, 32 said a black candidate."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Couric has certainly pitched in to advance Hillary Clinton's cause. Check out these CyberAlert posts from earlier this year documenting some of her efforts:
The March 5 CyberAlert item, "Couric Scolds Voter Disturbed by Clinton's 'Emotional Outbursts,'" recounted:
On Tuesday's CBS Evening News, in a taped piece in which Katie Couric spoke with Columbus, Ohio-area "blue-collar" voters, she talked to the husband and wife owners of a restaurant and scolded the husband when he cited Hillary Clinton's "emotional outbursts" as a reason to not vote for her. The man observed that "Hillary's made emotional outbursts" and worried what would happen "if she's put in a tragic situation where, God forbid, we have another terrorist attack or something like that." To which, Couric retorted: "But some of the male candidates, like Mitt Romney, have gotten misty eyed as well."
And as she walked inside a Honda plant, Couric described Ohio's "working class" voters as "often culturally conservative -- against abortion rights, gun control, and hawkish on defense." Of course, she could just as easily have phrased that as "against abortion rights and for gun rights" or "pro-life and pro-gun."...
The February 11 CyberAlert posting, "Couric Injects Silly Girl Talk in Clinton Interview on 60 Minutes," reported:
60 Minutes on Sunday night ran back-to-back interview segments with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and while Steve Kroft's session with Obama provided a friendly forum in which Kroft admired how "through twelve long months of mind-numbing, muscle-aching, adrenaline-fueled monotony and exhaustion, there has been barely a misstep" by Obama, it was devoid of anything approaching the giddy girl talk about mainlining coffee and high school boys Katie Couric put into her segment with Clinton.
Couric set up the story by trumpeting how Clinton "remains focused, energized and anything but defeatist." She soon wondered: "How do you do it? I mean, the satellite interviews, the speeches, the travel, the debates, the schmoozing, the picture taking, 24/7?" In seeming awe, a giggling Couric followed up: "But I'm talking about pure stamina" and marveled: "Do you pop vitamins, do you mainline coffee?" Later, as the two stood in a high school classroom, Couric cooed: "What were you like in high school? Were you the girl in the front row taking meticulous notes and always raising your hand?" Clinton denied that, prompting this exchange full of laughs and giggles:
COURIC: Someone told me your nickname in school was Miss Frigidaire. Is that true?
CLINTON: Only with some boys. [laughs] COURIC: [giggling] I don't know if I want to hear the back story on that!
CLINTON: Well, you wouldn't want to know the boys either. [bursts out laughing]...
For more: www.mrc.org
The January 10 CyberAlert item, "Couric Urges 'Humanized' Clinton to 'Reveal More of Yourself,'" relayed:
Telling Hillary Clinton "some observers believe" that when she got "emotional" -- as "your voice cracked and your eyes welled up" -- that "humanized you and made you much more attractive to women voters," CBS's Katie Couric on Wednesday night cooed: "Will you be willing now to reveal more of yourself and be less reserved?" As if the "emotional" moment Monday in New Hampshire exposed the real, sensitive Hillary Clinton while the "reserved" Hillary persona of the last 15-plus years doesn't match reality. For the interview aired on the CBS Evening News, Clinton invited Couric to her home in New Castle, New York. Clinton described the incident as "Hillary unplugged" and insisted it showed "I don't see politics as a game," but as a way of "getting in a position to actually help people."
Couric did, at least, challenge a Clinton premise: "How can you be a real change agent when you were involved in a two-term administration in the '90s. You're yesterday's news, they think in a way?"...
For the rest of the article: www.mrc.org
Online version of the session with the women, with video and text (with some portions that aired and missing some portions which aired): "Where Will Sen. Clinton's Supporters Turn? Katie Couric Speaks With Seven Clinton Supporters About the Campaign." See: www.cbsnews.com
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided a transcript of what aired on the Tuesday, June 3 CBS Evening News:
KATIE COURIC: Turning again to politics now, with Hillary Clinton looking at the end of her historic campaign for the presidency, what will the many women who supported her do? In the Democratic primaries before tonight, Clinton won more than half the female vote. Women helped propel Clinton to a big win in Pennsylvania. So we asked seven of her supporters from that battleground state about her campaign and what they're thinking now.
SANDRA MILLER, FORMER COUNTY COMMISSIONER CLIP #1: I think from the very beginning she's been mistreated.
CLIPS FROM TV SHOWS:
KATHLEEN O'DELL, SALES MANAGER: I think we have a little different standard with sexism than we do with, say, racism. I mean, there have been people who go to her rallies and stand up, the guy who stood up and said, "Hey, iron my shirt."
A "high level source inside MSNBC" tells the TVNewser blog that network stars like Tim Russert and Chris Matthews are "upset" and "pissed" that the far-left Keith Olbermann is tainting the network's credibility with his "activism," such as blogging for the hard-left Daily Kos site. "What's it going to be like in the general election now that everyone knows we're the in-house network of Barack Obama," TVNewser's Steve Krakauer quoted the MSNBC insider as fretting. The source suggested Olbermann was allowed to get away with his activism because the network fears the Countdown host would quit: "They are convinced that he will walk. He behaves like a man who has nothing left to lose. He is not central to MSNBC, he is the center of the MSNBC ratings strategy. We hang the entire schedule on him."
[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A network spokesperson dismissed the complaint, telling TVNewser: "Your source is ill-informed and the assertions are laughable."
Excerpts from the June 3 posting, which went up before Tuesday night's primary coverage began:
Tonight may be the last of the primaries, but the discussion of the cable news coverage will no doubt continue for months to come. MSNBC has bore the brunt of much of the criticism, from a candidate, a competitor, and many voices in between. Now, TVNewser speaks with a high level source inside MSNBC, who sheds light on some of the inside rumblings.
"Every Tuesday night Keith is up there as the face of NBC News. That's a problem," says our source. "[Tim] Russert is upset about it. Russert has spent 20 years building credibility. All of a sudden he's taking questions from Keith Olbermann, the Daily Kos blogger?"
The insider says Olbermann's election night partner has reservations as well: "Chris Matthews is quite pissed about it. He knows a lot about politics and he takes it seriously. He's so close to it that he's not that political. He's not an activist '€" Keith's an activist. That's the difference."
With the primaries finished, the focus moves to the general election. "What's it going to be like in the general election now that everyone knows we're the in-house network of Barack Obama?" asked our insider.
"There's a huge difference between rooting for one side in a Democratic primary, and another one to take sides in a general election and go out and openly root for a candidate. You can't do that," said the insider. "You think Russert is going to put up with that? Election night coverage in November with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann?
"The key is his willingness to quit," says our source about Olbermann. "And he means it. He has convinced management of that. They are convinced that he will walk. He behaves like a man who has nothing left to lose. He is not central to MSNBC, he is the center of the MSNBC ratings strategy. We hang the entire schedule on him."
TVNewser's post, with a denial from NBC News Senior Vice President Phil Griffin: www.mediabistro.com
Co-host Diane Sawyer and reporter Kate Snow each separately lauded this as a "tender moment." In a second segment, Sawyer seemed entranced as she played the video again and haltingly narrated: "When we see that iconic scene on the plane where he's reaching out to her and she's so tired -- she's so clearly tired there." Former top Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos appeared on the program to shill for the "dream ticket" of Obama/Clinton. Perhaps having some kind of inside information, the This Week host asserted he's been "betting" on such a pairing all year. Advocating for the wife of his old boss, Stephanopoulos proclaimed: "I think it's the best ticket for the Democrats. I think if Barack Obama picks her, they have the best chance of winning."
See the May 27 CyberAlert for more examples of GMA touting the "dream ticket." Go to: www.mrc.org
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Both Sawyer and Stephanopoulos preemptively trotted out the historic nature of Obama's nomination. Stephanopoulos announced, "It is a moment of history," while Sawyer later concurred "It is a historic day." Undoubtedly, the first African American presidential nominee is historic. But it hasn't happened yet and the ABC reporters just seemed giddy that the nasty Democratic fight will soon be over.
During a preview for the two segments, Sawyer and news anchor Chris Cuomo had an exchange that summarized the tone of the show's reporting. Speaking of Obama, Cuomo enthused, "What an exciting moment for his campaign." Sawyer, referencing the end of the New York senator's presidential bid, reflected sadness: "And also, of course, while [Obama] celebrates, what about the Clintons?" This was one of the many times that GMA proceeded to play the "tender moment" between Bill and Hillary Clinton.
DIANE SAWYER: This morning, does a chapter of history close today and a new one begin? Is this Barack Obama's morning?
CHRIS CUOMO: And for the race, it all comes down to this. Barack Obama is now 36.5 delegates from the finish line. What an exciting moment for his campaign. And those delegates are expected to come in today. So, our team will have all of the angles covered for you.
CUOMO: But let's begin with the race to '08 and the official end of the Democratic primary season. The question now is, what will Hillary Clinton do and when will she do it? Our Kate Snow traveled back to New York overnight with the Clintons. She's outside their home this morning in Chappaqua. Good morning, Kate.
DIANE SAWYER: And for the bottom line, let's go now to chief Washington correspondent, host of This Week, George Stephanopoulos. So, George, is it going to happen? Is Senator Obama going to declare victory in the primaries?
During a segment on Monday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN senior political analyst (and former Clinton adviser) David Gergen, responding to Todd Purdum's just-released article in the July issue of Vanity Fair on Bill Clinton, acknowledged that the former President "does have a temper, and he goes off like Mount Vesuvius," but then went on to criticize Purdum's article, complaining it "does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector," specifically referring to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton called Purdum, formerly with the New York Times, a "scumbag," "sleazy," and a "really dishonest reporter." He also accused the Vanity Fair editor of trying to "nail Hillary for Obama. It's the most biased press coverage in history."
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For Purdum's piece, "Bubba Trouble: The Comeback Id," go to: www.vanityfair.com
Gergen participated in a panel discussion which included CNN correspondent Candy Crowley and another of CNN's senior political analysts, Gloria Borger. Host Anderson Cooper asked Gergen for his thoughts on Clinton's "lashing out" in response to the Vanity Fair article. After acknowledging the former President's "Mount Vesuvius" temper, he explained that Bill Clinton "typically, in the past, has done it in private. And I think this -- in this campaign, for the first time, we have seen him do it in public or two or three occasions." Despite these outbursts, Gergen thought that the idea of Barack Obama/Hillary Clinton "dream ticket" "makes more sense than I originally thought it did, but...comments like this really do not help"
All three panelists unanimously extolled the journalistic credibility of Purdum at some point during the segment, which began at the top of the 10 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. Gergen suggested that Clinton "really doesn't feel that way of Todd Purdum, of The New York Times, after all, Todd Purdum, who is married to his first press secretary, Dee Dee Myers." Crowley, during her answer on the matter, stated that she knew Purdum and that "he's a great reporter." Borger replied: "I agree with everyone here that Todd Purdum is a very -- you know, is a very serious journalist."
After all three had weighed in on the matter, Gergen tried to sympathize with Clinton concerning one key point that, as Tim Graham noted in his earlier blog, the former President has claimed that he "helped save the lives of 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency:"
GERGEN: Let me just say one other thing, Anderson, if I might.And that is, the article, I do think -- I do think the Clinton people have -- and Bill Clinton's people have a fair point that the article does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector. The Clinton Global Initiative is actually an extraordinarily important initiative, very similar to what Jimmy Carter has done, in a different way, in his own way. I think it has provided enormous help in places in Africa. I think -- I think he's thrown himself into this. And what we have seen of Bill Clinton on the trail is only a piece of who Bill Clinton has become, you know, the pieces we have seen of him campaigning for Hillary, and I think he has thrown himself into this race for Hillary. But he has had this other portfolio.
Invited on to promote his new book, War Journal, NBC's Middle Eastern correspondent Richard Engel claimed, on Tuesday's Today show, that it wasn't "an opinion piece." However, in the book, Engel reveals a definite point of view as he called the Iraq war "a war of opportunity," and charged: "The U.S. invaded the wrong country....I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it."
Engel tried to deny the book's slant in an exchange with Today co-host Meredith Vieira:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know this is not a political treatise, but you do take a position about the war. You call it "a war of opportunity." And you write: "The problem was that the U.S. invaded the wrong country, destroying an odious government that was not responsible for 9/11. I don't know how you recover from invading the wrong country, no matter how you spin it." As a journalist, did you worry that you were crossing a line when you said that?
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org
A little later in the interview, Vieira did point out that Engel writes in the book that things are "getting better" in Iraq, but oddly enough that's a bit of news that's rarely reported on NBC News' airwaves. In fact, neither NBC's Today show or Nightly News, as the June 3 CyberAlert noted, has yet reported that in May the fewest number of U.S. servicemen were killed in Iraq in any month since the war began. See: www.mrc.org
The following is the full interview as it occurred in the 8:30am half hour of the June 3 Today show:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: Fighting the war in Iraq is tough business. So is covering it.
VIEIRA: For the first past five years, NBC's Middle East bureau chief Richard Engel has lived in a war zone. As a reporter on the front lines, there is little that he hasn't seen.
For how Engel confronted the President on the Iraq war: www.mrc.org
In an appearance on Monday's Hannity and Colmes on FNC, former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, and the attorney who represented her during the 2000 legal actions, Joe Klock, responded to the HBO movie Recount, about the 2000 Florida recount of the presidential election, as she charged that the movie ignored Harris's early attempt to implement a statewide recount in Florida, a move which was fought by the Al Gore campaign. According to Klock, Gore "wanted no part of" a statewide recount, instead preferring to "count in their four carefully-selected counties," which were predominantly Democratic.
The segment began with a clip of actress Laura Dern negatively portraying Katherine Harris in the movie Recount. Harris responded: "I'm quite accustomed to being mocked in terms of my appearance, but when the truth is so flagrantly disregarded...we had to respond. In fact, in the closing scene of this film, when two of Gore's lead campaign consultants were leaving by the airplane, they said, 'You know, we should have gone after that statewide recount at the beginning.' Had the author of this film...bothered to do the research, then, perhaps, he would have learned that indeed we did that from the very start."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Sean Hannity elaborated: "In a nutshell, you had ordered and asked the Florida Supreme Court, if I recall, and you tell me if I'm wrong here, to order a statewide recount. You wanted them to use uniform counting standards. You did so one week after election day. But it was the Gore campaign that, you know, cherry-picked four heavily Democratic districts that wanted different standards of deciding. Isn't that true?"
Klock answered: "We filed that action at 3:00 in the morning on November 15, and by 9:00 in the morning, the Gore people were all over it. They wanted no part of that. They only wanted to count in their four carefully-selected counties. There was such an outrage about it, and then later that day, the Supreme Court dismissed it without prejudice."
Harris added: "If Al Gore had allowed us, and if the Florida Supreme Court had not intervened and rewritten the law, which they're not supposed to do, we could have certified, which is a mere procedural action, and then after that, they could have petitioned any justice for a recount statewide, with uniform standards. And they would have had the time to complete the statewide recount, which we wanted to do."
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, June 2 Hannity and Colmes on FNC:
KATHERINE HARRIS, FORMER FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I'm quite accustomed to being mocked in terms of my appearance, but when the truth is so flagrantly disregarded -- Joe Klock, who was actually the attorney during the recount -- we had to respond. In fact, in the closing scene of this film, when two of Gore's lead campaign consultants were leaving by the airplane, they said, "You know, we should have gone after that statewide recount at the beginning." Had the author of this film, who was the actor in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bothered to do the research, then, perhaps, he would have learned that indeed we did that from the very start.
SEAN HANNITY: This is too important, now. I didn't see the movie before I interviewed Kevin Spacey, but I did pick up from the trailer and other parts that they had attacked you, and I asked him about that. After seeing the movie, it was so biased and so radically left wing, I want to bring Spacey back and tell him where he was wrong because here's the truth: In a nutshell, you had ordered and asked the Florida Supreme Court, if I recall, and you tell me if I'm wrong here, to order a statewide recount. You wanted them to use uniform counting standards. You did so one week after election day. But it was the Gore campaign that, you know, cherry-picked four heavily Democratic districts that wanted different standards of deciding. Isn't that true?
From the June 3 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Things Overheard at Hillary Clinton Campaign Headquarters." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. "I can't believe the campaign's over already"
9. "Hillary's changing into her concession pantsuit"
8. "This is more depressing than a Mets game" - He did not say that!
7. "So they're nominating the guy with the most delegates, superdelegates, and states won? Outrageous!"
6. "Did you hear -- the marquee melted on Letterman"
5. "Help us, Iron Man!!"
4. "The Senator is in intense negotiations with Jim Beam"
3. "There's a guy here to repossess the watercooler"
2. "It's not the end -- you can always get fat and make a global warming documentary"
1. "Is Obama still hiring?"
-- Brent Baker