2. Olbermann Touts Jackson's Ohio "Fraud" Claim, Spouts More Rumors
3. Fineman: "Mainstream Media Abused Its Privilege"; & He Does Too
4. "Top Ten Signs Tom Brokaw Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore"
Tom Brokaw, who in 1994 dismissed the Contract with America as "long on promises and short on sound premises," in his two-hour Friday night Dateline special, Tom Brokaw: Eyewitness to History, gave a mere ten seconds to the 1994 GOP congressional takeover as he focused the entirety of the brief segment on showing himself asking Newt Gingrich: "Do you regret saying that the Clinton administration is the enemy of normal people?" Brokaw gave just as much time to touting Clinton's booming economy, though he didn't mention anything about Reagan's economic rebound and instead asserted that "even Ronald Reagan's close friends and advisors will say on the issue of race, for example, he was stuck in the late 1930s, early 1940s. He could be stubborn, sometimes to a fault. He was much too slow to respond to the AIDS crisis."
The MRC's Megan McCormack tracked down these comments from Brokaw in the November 26 at 9pm EST/PST special in which Brokaw recalled major events he covered, starting with the civil rights movement and Vietnam in the late 1960s when he was with KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. NBC mixed Brokaw's current recollections, made in front of river and White House backdrops, with archival video and contemporary soundbites from those involved in the historic events.
Tom Brokaw: Eyewitness to History will replay Sunday night at 8pm EST/PST on MSNBC.
About a half hour into the two-hours Brokaw got to Ronald Reagan's presidency. After noting how some saw him as a "knight in shining armor" for getting the hostages released and acknowledging that he had "extraordinary political talents," Brokaw maintained over clips of Reagan and himself with Reagan:
Arriving at 1994 about 40 minutes later, Brokaw took 15 seconds to highlight the OJ trial, then gave ten seconds to the Republican takeover of the House and Senate. Over three seconds of 1994 video of Newt Gingrich walking into room with a cheering crowd and a zoom in on a "Sweep the House" sign, viewers heard audio from an archived Brokaw interview with Gingrich followed by video of Gingrich's reply. Brokaw had asked: "Do you regret saying that the Clinton administration is the enemy of normal people?" Gingrich answered: "Yes, truth is occasionally [slaps hand on forehead], I'm not very smart."
(Time has apparently not improved Brokaw's opinion of the Contract with America. Here's how he introduced a September 27, 1994 NBC Nightly News preview of it: "Today, GOP congressional candidates were summoned to Washington and given a battle plan. However, as NBC's Lisa Myers tells us tonight, it is long on promises and short on sound premises.")
Brokaw devoted several minutes to the Lewinsky scandal, but having skipped Reagan's economic boom, reviewing 1998 he offered up this vintage news clip of himself: "There was some very good news out of Washington and the American economy."
On screen, a 1998 graphic with a picture of Bill Clinton beside these statements:
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann just won't let go of conspiracy theories related to the Ohio presidential vote. Olbermann touted at the top of Monday's Countdown: "The F-word. Jesse Jackson uses it in Ohio. The new F-word: Fraud." After reciting Jackson's claims, Olbermann pounded away at Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell with a series of six questions which presumed Blackwell was standing in the way of the truth. Olbermann told Blackwell that critics say "there is an attempt to make the window for a recount in Ohio so narrow as to make a recount meaningless" and that since he was the honorary co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in Ohio, "as Reverend Jackson put it, you may or may not agree with his presence there, but the phrase is certainly interesting: 'Mr. Blackwell cannot be both the owner of the team and the umpire.'"
Olbermann, who ignored how a Miami Herald review determined nothing unusual in how some Northern Florida counties with Democratic registrations went for Bush, a subject on which Olbermann focused earlier this month as proof of how Kerry votes were not counted, demanded that Blackwell "refute or confirm one of the Internet's favorite stories that no one seems to have gotten an answer, that you had a meeting with President Bush on the day of the election in Ohio?"
Olbermann made Jackson's rant the second half of his #3 story, following a look at the situation with the vote in the Ukraine. Olbermann teased up top, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "The F-word. Jesse Jackson uses it in Ohio. The new F-word: Fraud. Republicans strike back at what they call an unnecessary recount there. Ohio's top election official, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, joins us tonight."
Later, with "Jackson Questions the Ohio Vote" as his on-screen heading, Olbermann asserted: "Here the prospective recount in Ohio now has cousins out West. The Green and Libertarian parties have today filed for recounts in Nevada and New Mexico. The complaints are based largely on the absence of paper trails for electronic voting in each state. Back at the ranch, the word 'fraud' has been used on the record by a former Democratic presidential candidate about the voting four weeks ago tomorrow in Ohio. In turn, the man who used the word was described by local Republican leaders as a, quote, 'professional publicity hound.' Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke this morning in Cincinnati. He had addressed a rally in Columbus yesterday, saying voting irregularities disenfranchised many of Ohio's citizens. He also told reporters, quote, 'The playing field is uneven. The rules are not public. The goals are not clear."
Olbermann's questions for Blackwell:
-- "When the Green and Libertarian parties filed for the recount, I didn't hear anybody in Ohio's government jumping up and down and applauding, but I also didn't hear anybody accusing them of being professional publicity hounds or of ignoring facts. Why the harsh reaction towards the Reverend Jackson?"
-- "One of his suggestions and that of some of your critics has been that there is an attempt to make the window for a recount in Ohio so narrow as to make a recount meaningless. How would you respond to that criticism, sir?"
-- "Then again, as your law gives you the right to certify under the conditions that you mentioned, your laws also say how much a candidate is charged per precinct. It's not like these are the prices, the prices aren't being set for the candidates?"
-- "As it plays into the recount, though, sir, are you saying that your office does not anticipate taking any steps to try to prevent a recount in Ohio?"
-- "As part of that scrutiny, one of the criticisms regarding the campaign and the election in Ohio that was directed at you personally, that as the state's top election official, it is a conflict of interest or, minimally, it is the appearance of a conflict of interest for you to have also been the honorary co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. As Reverend Jackson put it, you may or may not agree with his presence there, but the phrase is certainly interesting: 'Mr. Blackwell cannot be both the owner of the team and the umpire.' Should those two jobs not be mixed?"
-- "Last question, sir, can you refute or confirm one of the Internet's favorite stories that no one seems to have gotten an answer, that you had a meeting with President Bush on the day of the election in Ohio?"
Blackwell scoffed at the notion any such meeting took place.
Olbermann skipped over a Sunday Miami Herald story which prompted a national AP dispatch: "Review Finds Fla. Counties Voted for Bush." An excerpt from the November 28 AP article:
A newspaper's review of ballots cast in three north Florida counties where registered Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans showed just what officials reported: The counties' voters did on Election Day as they often do, voting for a Republican for president.
The Miami Herald review goes against Internet-fed rumors questioning whether there was a conspiracy against Sen. John Kerry in those counties....
Reporters for the newspaper went over more than 17,000 optical scan ballots cast in three rural counties mentioned by doubters: Suwannee, Lafayette and Union. All three are overwhelmingly Democratic in registration, but chose President Bush.
The Herald said they found minor differences with the official results in each county, most involving a few ballots that had been discarded as unreadable by optical scan machines but which reporters felt made the voters' intent clear. Since there was no official recount, those ballots weren't counted for either candidate.
In Union County, where more than 75 percent of voters register as Democrats, The Herald counted 3,393 votes for Bush, 1,272 for Kerry and 15 that couldn't clearly be counted. The official Union County total: 3,396 for Bush, 1,251 for Kerry and a few dozen that couldn't be counted....
The Herald counted just under 60 percent of the votes in Suwannee County, where nearly 64 percent of the voters are registered Democrats. The newspaper's total from those precincts essentially matched the county's official total: 6,140 votes for Bush and 2,984 for Kerry.
In Lafayette County, 83 percent of voters are registered Democrats. But it too, is heavily conservative and deeply religious. There, the paper found 2,452 votes for Bush and 848 for Kerry, with 20 that couldn't be clearly counted.
END of Excerpt
For the AP dispatch in full: story.news.yahoo.com
See the November 9 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org
NBC's Norah O'Donnell insisted on the Chris Matthews Show over the weekend that "there is still a standard that you get on network news that you may not get on cable news where there is a desire, especially at NBC, to make sure that we are as objective as possible," but Newsweek's Howard Fineman countered that "the mainstream media has no right to complain about the lack of belief in the idea of objectivity anymore because a lot of the mainstream media abused its privilege over the last 20 years....When Walter Cronkite said, 'That's the way it is,' it wasn't always the way it was." Yet a few days after taping the Matthews show, Fineman reflected that skewed agenda of the mainstream media. Appearing on Monday's Today, he denounced the "the Afghanistan of the Republicans which is, which is in the House" blocking the intelligence reform plan.
On the Chris Matthews Show, carried on Sunday morning in most markets, Matthews raised the subject of the rise of alternative news sources such as talk radio and cable. Norah O'Donnell of NBC News asserted: "It does represent a fundamental shift in American journalism where people-"
Later, O'Donnell argued: "Can I point out something, though? Can I, can I point out that the network news and Tom Brokaw's program still gets between nine and 10 million viewers a night. On the Today show we still get six, five to six million viewers. That multiplies by many degrees what cable gets. But let me tell you why, and that is because people still want to be able to see what the facts are, what the news story is, then they like to go over to the cable and find people they like to talk about it and find a forum for that. And it's still important, however, that the White House still first and foremost always plays to the networks and the major newspapers more so than they do the cable."
Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek, soon piped in: "A lot of the mainstream media has no right to complain about the lack of belief in the idea of objectivity any more because a lot of the mainstream media abused its privilege over the last 20 years of the post-war consensus in this country. When Walter Cronkite said, 'That's the way it is,' it wasn't always the way it was. And for a long time the three networks and the New York Times ran the deal. They don't run it any more."
On Monday's Today, Fineman illustrated that lack of objectivity in the mainstream press. During a discussion with Katie Couric about the intelligence reform plan stalled by House Republicans, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, Fineman charged:
From the November 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Tom Brokaw Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Lead story is always how much he won that day at the dog track.
9. New sign-off: "That's all I got, losers."
8. He's done the last few newscasts from his hot tub.
7. Refers to all countries as "Belgium."
6. Last week reported there's a treasure map on the Declaration of Independence.
5. Reads news with a mouthful of Cool Ranch Doritos.
4. Already sold his anchor desk on E-Bay.
3. His rambling editorial about the lousy service at Quiznos.
2. Begins telecast by "setting the mood" with Luther Vandross.
1. During exclusive interview, he sucker-punched Ron Artest.
-- Brent Baker