Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on FNC's 'Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

CBS: Angry Democrats and "Polarized" Voters Are Bush's Fault --3/4/2004


1. CBS: Angry Democrats and "Polarized" Voters Are Bush's Fault
Angry Democrats are Bush's fault. On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, John Roberts maintained that the "deeply polarized" electorate and "a Democratic Party invigorated as rarely before" are problems Bush "created himself." And CNN's Bill Schneider, admiring the "remarkable unity among Democrats," credited President Bush for it. Schneider pointed out how "President Bush is facing criticism from his fellow Republicans over deficit spending, and immigration reform," as well as "criticism from moderate Republicans" on gay marriage. So Schneider trumpeted the "spectacular irony" in how "President Bush has done a better job of uniting the Democratic Party than he has the Republicans."

2. Jennings Lists Kerry's "Combat Record" as Advantage Over Bush
ABC's Peter Jennings on Wednesday night resisted outright tagging John Kerry as liberal as he oddly referred to his "designated liberal votes" which, Jennings warned, "the President will use against him." But Jennings generously allowed as to how "when the war in Iraq is debated, if it matters, John Kerry has a combat record and the President does not."

3. McCain Running with Kerry is "Everybody's Wishful Thinking"
After Claire Shipman giggled on Wednesday's Good Morning America about how John Kerry picking liberal Republican John McCain as his running mate represents "everybody's wishful thinking that he might switch parties and join his Vietnam buddy," and "we can never stop talking about" Hillary Clinton as a possibility, George Stephanopoulos refused to label Kerry as a liberal, treating it as a debatable claim by Republicans, as he suggested another Republican for Kerry, Senator Chuck Hagel. Stephanopoulos noted how Kerry "likes to think of himself as a centrist" and selecting Hagel would "counter the Republicans calling him a liberal."

4. Describing Kerry as Liberal Has Nothing to Do With "Issues"?
To CBS's Bob Schieffer, citing policy positions in order to support an ideological description of a candidate, has nothing to do with talking about "issues." On Wednesday's Early Show, Schieffer told Harry Smith that though the Bush campaign team promises to "talk about the issues" in the campaign, "we all know that one of the first things they're going to do is not talk about the issues" since "they're going to define John Kerry, and they're going to try to paint him as a left-wing liberal who's out of touch with the rest of the country."

5. ABC's Random Group of "Very Intelligent Voters" All Against Bush
More Republicans disillusioned by Bush. ABC's Diane Sawyer sat down with a group of men and woman at a restaurant, whose views she maintained "reflected the national polls," and while she found that they see Senator Kerry as "electable," they "weren't sure that they'd have a great time with him at dinner." But, "Kerry would do very well against President Bush" amongst the group she touted as made up of "very intelligent voters," since while "all the men but one had voted for Bush the first time around," this time they "said they were not going to do it now, and their big problem was Iraq." One man claimed Bush "misled" him, a second man insisted Bush "looks confused" and the third castigated Bush for being "such a war monger now."

6. Liberal Ex-Senator Takes Over ABC, Reuters Dubs Him "Peacemaker"
A new left-wing chief at ABC News. In the wake of Disney Chairman of the Board and CEO Michael Eisner giving up his Chairman title, on Wednesday night the Disney board elected George Mitchell, the former Senate Majority Leader when Democrats controlled the chamber in the years of the George H.W. Bush presidency, as the new Chairman of the Board. Picking up on how he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to negotiate peace in Northern Ireland, Reuters headlined its story: "Peacemaker Mitchell Steps Into Disney Role." Imagine the media outcry if, say, ex-Senator Jesse Helms had been named to the post.

7. "Top Ten Things Governor Schwarzenegger Hears in a Typical Day"
As presented by members of Arnold Schwarzenegger's staff standing on the lawn in front of the California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Letterman's "Top Ten Things Governor Schwarzenegger Hears in a Typical Day."


CBS: Angry Democrats and "Polarized"
Voters Are Bush's Fault

CBS's John Roberts Angry Democrats are Bush's fault. On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, John Roberts maintained that the "deeply polarized" electorate and "a Democratic Party invigorated as rarely before" are problems Bush "created himself."

And CNN's Bill Schneider, admiring the "remarkable unity among Democrats," credited President Bush for it. Schneider pointed out how "President Bush is facing criticism from his fellow Republicans over deficit spending, and immigration reform," as well as "criticism from moderate Republicans" on gay marriage, though his supporting soundbite came from Lincoln Chafee, a very liberal Republican. So Schneider trumpeted the "spectacular irony" in how "President Bush has done a better job of uniting the Democratic Party than he has the Republicans."

In his March 3 CBS story, Roberts previewed the Bush-Kerry face-off: "President Bush is preparing for a tough fight against a challenger he sees as articulate, hard-charging and vulnerable on what officials describe as a voting record that's all over the lot. But in many swing states, critical to his second term, Mr. Bush is battling problems he created himself: An electorate deeply polarized by his policies and a Democratic Party invigorated as rarely before."

As Roberts referred to the "polarized" electorate, the video showed protesters, one holding up a sign which proclaimed: "Send Bush to Mars." Hard to see how someone with that attitude is Bush's fault.

Earlier, on CNN's March 3 Inside Politics, Judy Woodruff set up a Schneider piece to which the MRC's Ken Shepherd alerted me: "Our Bill Schneider has spent the entire night and this day studying the exit polling from the entire primary and caucus season so far. He's discovered that John Kerry and the Democrats owe a debt of gratitude to one man. Believe it or not, it's President Bush. Here's Bill to explain why."

Schneider: "Ten Democrats competed for their party's nomination this year. No Republican challenged President Bush. But right now, as the starting gun for the general election campaign goes off, the Democrats look more united than the Republicans. In primary after primary, overwhelming majorities of Democrats said they would be satisfied with John Kerry as the Democratic nominee."
Kerry: "I believe that in 2004, one united Democratic Party, we can and we will win this election."
Schneider: "What created such remarkable unity among Democrats? George W. Bush."
Howard Dean campaign clip: "I will do everything I can to beat George W. Bush. I urge you to do the same."
Schneider: "John Kerry's message that he was the best candidate to beat Bush rallied the Democratic Party base. In the New York primary, Kerry piled up huge majorities among seniors, Catholics, and Jewish Democrats. Kerry even beat Al Sharpton among New York's African-American voters, Sharpton's own constituency in his own state. Blacks are just like other Democrats. Their highest priority is beating Bush, not making a statement. There was no significant anti-Kerry vote, which is why John Edwards couldn't make any headway."
Schneider: "Kerry's biggest challenge is to appeal to voters outside the Democratic base. Southern whites, for instance. In Georgia, white voters went strongly for Edwards. Independents were also problem for Kerry. They, too, went for Edwards. Meanwhile, President Bush is facing criticism from his fellow Republicans over deficit spending, and immigration reform. The President tried to rally his conservative base by endorsing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, only to generate criticism from moderate Republicans."
Senator Lincoln Chafee, (R-RI): "Why, why, why are we going to take on the challenge of forbidding two people who love each other from getting married and going to the extraordinary lengths of amending our Constitution?"
Schneider concluded: "What a spectacular irony. President Bush has done a better job of uniting the Democratic Party than he has the Republicans -- Judy."

Jennings Lists Kerry's "Combat Record"
as Advantage Over Bush

ABC's Peter Jennings on Wednesday night resisted outright tagging John Kerry as liberal as he oddly referred to his "designated liberal votes" which, Jennings warned, "the President will use against him." But Jennings generously allowed as to how "when the war in Iraq is debated, if it matters, John Kerry has a combat record and the President does not."

Jennings' assessments on the March 3 World News Tonight came as he previewed the Bush versus Kerry race by running through how Kerry "stands up against the President as of today." Jennings listed what he saw as Kerry's "advantages" and "disadvantages" with each listed on-screen as Jennings spoke. The MRC's Brad Wilmouth took down Jennings' take:
"After sweeping the primaries, Kerry has several advantages with his own party, which is mostly united and eager to take the President on. His Democratic opponents didn't cut him up very badly, giving the President that ammunition. As of now, there is no significant 'character' question. Some of the most important states this year where many jobs have been lost may be receptive to the Kerry message that the President's economic plan will not bring those jobs back. And when the war in Iraq is debated, if it matters, John Kerry has a combat record and the President does not. [on screen: "ADVANTAGES: Kerry has a combat record"]
"Mr. Kerry has several disadvantages. His campaign needs money for all that television, and he will have to take the time to raise it. The President is $100 million ahead of him. Kerry has a long voting record in the Congress with lots of designated liberal votes which the President will use against him. And as of now, the 'likeability' question is still his to improve on. And the President has a huge edge with men."

McCain Running with Kerry is "Everybody's
Wishful Thinking"

After Claire Shipman giggled on Wednesday's Good Morning America about how John Kerry picking liberal Republican John McCain as his running mate represents "everybody's wishful thinking that he might switch parties and join his Vietnam buddy," and "we can never stop talking about" Hillary Clinton as a possibility, George Stephanopoulos refused to label Kerry as a liberal, treating it as a debatable claim by Republicans, as he suggested another Republican for Kerry, Senator Chuck Hagel. Stephanopoulos noted how Kerry "likes to think of himself as a centrist" and selecting Hagel would "counter the Republicans calling him a liberal."

Over on NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoff Dickens noticed, Tim Russert also painted Kerry's liberalness less as reality than what Republicans will charge in "attacks" on him. Russert observed: "The Bush campaign is going on television in 16 states with ads which say Bush is a strong, steady leader. Then it's gonna phase into part two, attacks on John Kerry's voting record saying he's a liberal from Massachusetts."

The discussion on the March 3 Good Morning America, about potential Kerry running mates, as caught by the MRC's Jessica Anderson, picking up after Claire Shipman named some names in a taped piece:

Charles Gibson: "Alright, Claire, you mentioned three names there, profiled them. You also mentioned Bob Graham. Give me the wild name that's in the back of your mind."
Shipman: "Well, those are always the most fun to discuss. Hillary Clinton, we can never stop talking about her, of course. She would be a base motivator -- there is a little bit of buzz about that possibility."
Gibson: "She'd be a base motivator for the Republicans, too."
Shipman: "She sure would, and John McCain. I think that's just everybody's wishful thinking that he might switch parties and join his Vietnam buddy, but he's a pretty loyal Republican, so that's unlikely, I think."
Gibson: "Alright, George, what do you think of all that?"
George Stephanopoulos: "I love the long-shot choice, but for somebody like John McCain, you know, you talked about sending a message. If John Kerry wanted to reinforce the things he wanted to say about himself -- Vietnam veteran, he likes to think of himself as a centrist to counter the Republicans calling him a liberal, national security credentials, helping the Midwest -- look for another Vietnam veteran Senator Republican, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska."
Gibson: "Hmm, there's a name that hasn't been thrown into the hopper much."
Stephanopoulos: "Throw it out there."

For more on network resistance to describing Kerry as liberal, see the MRC's March 3 Media Reality Check by Rich Noyes: "A Liberal Candidate Gets Media Makeover; Study: Networks Portray Kerry's Liberalism as a Partisan GOP Charge, Not a Well-Documented Fact." See: www.mrc.org

Describing Kerry as Liberal Has Nothing
to Do With "Issues"?

To CBS's Bob Schieffer, citing policy positions in order to support an ideological description of a candidate, has nothing to do with talking about "issues." On Wednesday's Early Show, Schieffer told Harry Smith that though the Bush campaign team promises to "talk about the issues" in the campaign, "we all know that one of the first things they're going to do is not talk about the issues" since "they're going to define John Kerry, and they're going to try to paint him as a left-wing liberal who's out of touch with the rest of the country."

The MRC's Brian Boyd caught the exchange, between Smith and Schieffer, on the March 3 early Show:

Smith: "Did you find it interesting that the President called John Kerry last night?"
Schieffer: "Well, I thought it was a gracious thing to do and maybe that's why he did it. I don't know why he did it but he said, you know, 'let's talk about the issues.' Well, we all know that one of the first things they're going to do is not talk about the issues-"
Smith: "Take the gloves off."
Schieffer: "They're going to define John Kerry, and they're going to try to paint him as a left-wing liberal who's out of touch with the rest of the country. But we may have a few issues creep in there. And I think when you get to the bottom line here, there'll be some rough stuff here at the front, but this election is going to be about issues. It's going to be about jobs and it's going to be about the war in Iraq. Those two things will drive this election."

ABC's Random Group of "Very Intelligent
Voters" All Against Bush

More Republicans disillusioned by Bush. ABC's Diane Sawyer sat down with a group of men and woman at a restaurant, whose views she maintained "reflected the national polls," and while she found that they see Senator Kerry as "electable," they "weren't sure that they'd have a great time with him at dinner." But, "Kerry would do very well against President Bush" amongst the group she touted as made up of "very intelligent voters," since while "all the men but one had voted for Bush the first time around," this time they "said they were not going to do it now, and their big problem was Iraq." One man claimed Bush "misled" him, a second man insisted Bush "looks confused" and the third castigated Bush for being "such a war monger now."

Sawyer's featuring of three of three men opposed to Bush doesn't match up with how her ABC News colleague, Peter Jennings, on Wednesday night noted how polls really show that "the President has a huge edge with men." See item #2 above.

(In digging up supposed Bush voters disillusioned with him from the left, ABC is just catching up with CBS. As recounted in the March 2 CyberAlert, less than a week after CBS's John Roberts filed two reports about how Republicans are "furious" at President Bush, Sunday's CBS Evening News, anchored by Roberts, showcased a story about a 50-something "Republican" couple in Ohio who are disillusioned by President Bush over his tax cuts, how he "lied" about Iraq and how he's focusing on gay marriage when there are "a million domestic problems" that are more pressing. Gretchen Carlson warned that "if what we found, talking to one Republican couple in Cincinnati this week, is any indication, the President faces some new challenges." She relayed how "they say they are fiscal conservatives" who "both voted for George Bush," but "both are disappointed with the direction he has taken the country." www.mediaresearch.org)

Sawyer didn't say where her session occurred, but since she was in Los Angeles and has been there since last Thursday, presumably it took place around there. MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the taped piece which aired during the 7:30am half hour on the March 3 program.

Sawyer set it up: "Well, since is the first day it's official Kerry versus Bush for the presidency this year, we thought we'd bring you a kind of political snapshot. I sat down with a group of people in a restaurant, randomly chosen -- a teacher, actor, butcher, writer, a publicist and stay-at-home mom -- and their views reflected the national polls, and we thought we'd just bring you a little of what they said. For instance, they showed, a number of them, that John Kerry would do very well against President Bush, and in fact, all the men but one had voted for Bush the first time around, but said they were not going to do it now, and their big problem was Iraq."

All but one of the group appeared to be a 20-something.

In the taped story, Sawyer asked the group: "How'd you vote last time?"
Man #1: "Actually, last time I voted for Bush."
Sawyer: "And how you're feeling now?"
Man #1, response edited: "It's, well, my opinion is, it's kind of changed because I just feel like, I don't trust him anymore. I feel like he really believes what he's doing is right, in his own way, but I just think he's kind of misled or something."
Man #2: "He looks confused, and he's just, his whole demeanor is not, like, that confident, you know, I can take care of the whole country. He just looks confused. He's not really sure."
Man #3, older: "His military service is suspect and, you know, he's such a war monger now, but you know, he didn't go. He could've gone."
Sawyer: "So if they're feeling that way, ambivalent about President Bush right now, what about John Kerry? Well, it turns out that many of the voters polled said that the most important thing about Kerry was his electability [ABC News exit poll appears on left side of screen: "1 in 3 voters think the most important attribute in a candidate is the ability to beat Bush"], and our group seemed to agree, agreed that Senator Kerry looks electable, but they weren't sure that they'd have a great time with him at dinner.
"I'm curious which of the faces of Kerry are the ones that strike you as most like the one you think of. In other words, is this [holds up photo of Kerry out hunting with a shotgun] the Kerry you know?"
Group: "No, no."
Woman #1: "Absolutely not, no. He's the Kerry who wants to be what the people want him to be."
[Sawyer holds up picture of Kerry playing guitar]
Man #1: "It looks like a publicity shot."
Woman #1: "Exactly, wanting to be President."
Man #3: "I can't imagine Bush with a guitar, by the way."
[Sawyer holds up picture of Kerry testifying before Congress in 1971, with a giant smile on her face]
Man #3: "I see Kerry like that, more than any other."
Man, off camera: "He stresses his past a lot."
Sawyer: "And they said, by the way, they don't want to see him playing guitars anymore, but a few jokes wouldn't hurt. And by the way, an opportunity for President Bush, they don't seem to know anything much about, and these are very intelligent voters, the details of Kerry's views on the issues and they still feel very optimistic about the country, so anything can happen. Just a footnote. We'll be back."

Liberal Ex-Senator Takes Over ABC, Reuters
Dubs Him "Peacemaker"

A new left-wing chief at ABC News. In the wake of Disney Chairman of the Board and CEO Michael Eisner giving up his Chairman title, on Wednesday night the Disney board elected George Mitchell, the former Senate Majority Leader when Democrats controlled the chamber in the years of the George H.W. Bush presidency, as the new Chairman of the Board. Picking up on how he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work to negotiate peace in Northern Ireland, here's how Reuters headlined its story: "Peacemaker Mitchell Steps Into Disney Role."

The Burbank-based Walt Disney Company is the parent company of the ABC broadcasting network. Eisner is a long-time, major contributor to Democratic candidates and liberal causes.

An excerpt from the March 4 Reuters story by Ben Berkowitz:

George Mitchell has helped broker peace in Northern Ireland and steered complex litigation through U.S. Senate debates -- useful credentials for overseeing the strife-torn Walt Disney Co. as its chairman.

Mitchell, 70, was elected chairman on Wednesday hours after a stormy shareholder meeting, taking on the role which was stripped from Chief Executive Michael Eisner.

Some 43 percent of shareholders at Disney's annual meeting in Philadelphia voted against the reelection of Eisner in a protest that was widely seen as a stinging rebuke to his leadership and the oversight of the company's board.

Mitchell, like Eisner, was the target of a no-confidence campaign waged by dissident former directors Roy Disney and Stanley Gold, and 24 percent of shareholders withheld their votes from his election to the board.

Mitchell has emerged as one of Eisner's most stalwart allies and the dissenting bloc of shares cast against him on Wednesday made it certain that his election as chairman would not placate many of the company's investors.

Mitchell, a former Senate majority leader, had been Disney's lead independent director since 2002, but critics have questioned whether he was capable of being truly independent since his law firm had done consulting for the company....

END of Excerpt

For the Reuters story, "Peacemaker Mitchell Steps Into Disney Role," in full: story.news.yahoo.com

For Disney's press release on its Eisner/Mitchell job title maneuver agreed upon during its annual meeting in Philadelphia: psc.disney.go.com

For photos of Mitchell and a bio, see this Bowdoin College page: library.bowdoin.edu

For a rundown of his accomplishments in the Senate, pretty much all liberal policies and causes: library.bowdoin.edu

Mitchell served as Senate Majority Leader, blocking conservative policies and nominees, from 1989 to 1994.

Remember "Chairman of the Board" George Mitchell the next time a liberal starts to claim that conservatives control the corporations which own the major news media outlets.

And imagine the media outcry if, say, former Senator Jesse Helms had been named Chairman of the Board of ABC's parent company last night. We'd be under an onslaught today of questions about the "independence" of ABC News.

"Top Ten Things Governor Schwarzenegger
Hears in a Typical Day"

From the March 3 Late Show with David Letterman, as presented by members of Arnold Schwarzenegger's staff standing on the lawn in front of the California State Capitol building in Sacramento, the "Top Ten Things Governor Schwarzenegger Hears in a Typical Day." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. "When are you going to drop the phony accent?"

9. "Read the Education Budget and then you can have some Strudel."

8. "Why does this place always smell like Baby Oil?"

7. "Are you driving the Hummer to the Earth Day rally?"

6. "Letterman on the phone again -- should I tell him you're still in a meeting?"

5. "The Governor will answer a few questions then show off his abs and delts."

4. "Relax, Governor -- I wasn't sent from the future to kill you."

3. "When shaking hands with assembly members, stop squeezing once you hear a crack."

2. "You gave up a $25 million salary to do this?!"

1. "Governor, please put the desk down."

I suspect the Wahoo Gazette, the Late Show's online newsletter, may feature a picture of the Schwarzenegger staff presenting the list. The edition for the March 3 show, however, has not yet been posted as of the time I'm writing this. Later today, check: www.cbs.com

-- Brent Baker