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CBS: 'Down and Dirty' Palin Like Agnew w/ 'Nasty' Attack on Obama --10/6/2008


1. CBS: 'Down and Dirty' Palin Like Agnew w/ 'Nasty' Attack on Obama
A week-and-half before he'll moderate the third and final presidential debate, CBS's Bob Schieffer opened Sunday's Face the Nation by calling a foul on one team as he took sides and denounced Sarah Palin's daring to say, that "our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country," as a sign of "a campaign that's turned down and dirty," as well as "nasty," thanks to John McCain's "new attack dog" who "took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate." In the Washington press corps, a comparison to Agnew is no compliment. Later in the program, he fretted to New York Times columnist David Brooks: "Do you think it's going to get nastier and nastier? It does look as if McCain is really going on the attack. You saw what Sarah Palin said." Brooks assured Schieffer it would be an ineffective tactic. The AP's Douglass K. Daniel, in a Sunday "news analysis," alleged "her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext" since "in a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago" and thus "portraying Obama as 'not like us' is another potential appeal to racism."

2. Newsweek's Thomas: Palin 'Has a Little Bit of Huey Long in Her'
Evan Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek, on Friday night likened Sarah Palin to Louisiana's infamous demagogic Democrat of the 1920s, Huey Long. On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, Thomas reacted to Palin's suggestion in the VP debate that the Vice President has a legislative role: "Here's what's disturbing: Either she didn't know, because actually the legislative role is just about zero as Biden says, or scarier she has a little bit of Huey Long in her. The kind of -- you could see her being a demagogue, saying 'I got to do this, the rules are in the way, to heck with the rules, let's do it.'"

3. NBC's Today: After Week of Knocking Palin, No Debate 'Melt Down'
All week leading up to Thursday night's debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, NBC's Today show suggested that the Republican vice presidential nominee could be a disaster on stage, pointing out how "conservatives question her qualifications;" "the McCain campaign is worried;" "Palin stumbled again;" and "not ready for prime time." But on Friday morning, after Palin proved the hand-wringers wrong, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that the "melt down" expectations were never the right yardstick for pundits. Lauer asked Tom Brokaw: "Everything you read and hear about the debate this morning is going to say that Governor Palin exceeded expectations, but in your opinion did she exceed expectations simply because she didn't melt down on the stage or did she show the kind of grasp of the issues and the subjects required to hold the second highest job in the land?"

4. Post-Debate, Today Show Finds 'Undecided' Voters Against Palin
Despite Today's earlier praise of Sarah Palin's debate performance, Amy Robach managed to assemble seven "undecided voters" (and reported that five voted for Bush) who did not express high opinions of the Alaska Governor. On the October 3 edition, Robach found women voters she identified as undecided and from key battleground states. Although the discussion began with two of the women offering positive remarks about Governor Palin, the positive feedback ended there. Polling these seven women, Robach found "nearly every one" held a less favorable view of Sarah Palin after viewing the debate. One voter claimed Palin "has sealed the deal for me" and she "is in no way ready...to be Vice President." Another "made up [her] mind" because "Palin didn't do it for me." Curiously, one "undecided" voter wanted a candidate that would "end the war" and because of Biden's promise she was swayed to the Obama/Biden ticket.

5. Letterman Upset Palin in 'Passenger Seat,' Mocks 'How's My Hair?'
Perfectly encapsulating the coastal left's blind derision of Sarah Palin as an inexperienced "beginner" and thus unqualified, when the very same smart aleck cheap shots about her could be directed at the man with whom they have fallen in love, Barack Obama, David Letterman on Friday night asked guest Brian Williams if the nation can risk "a beginner in the passenger seat" (what about in the driver's seat?) and, in a sexist cheap shot, imitated Palin adjusting her hair during a 9/11 crisis as he impersonated her voice: "How's my hair?" That led an uncomfortable Williams to lean back and sigh, prompting Letterman to acknowledge "that's unfair. I'm sorry."

6. Sonnenfeld: Bush to Go Out by 'Destroying All Life on Earth'
Catching up with an item from a few days ago: Barry Sonnenfeld, a movie director (Men in Black) and now the Emmy-winning executive producer and director of ABC's dramady Pushing Daisies, predicted on Wednesday's Late Show that amongst the things he's "worried" President Bush will do before leaving office is "go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth." That was too much for David Letterman, hardly a Bush fan (in June he asked if Bush has "any humanity?"), who responded: "It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair." Sonnenfeld, who speculated about Bush hiding bin Laden, also wondered why Americans wouldn't vote for the "really smart" Barack Obama over John McCain who "finished second to last in his graduating class in college" and Sarah Palin, who "went to five different colleges," and so "I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence."

7. Ex-Newsweek Top Editor Osborn Elliott a Left-Wing Reagan-Basher
Osborn Elliott, the top editor of Newsweek from 1961 to 1976 and Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism from 1979 to 1986, passed away last Sunday, September 28, at age 83. He was retired when the Media Research Center was founded in 1987, but he didn't hesitate in 1992 and 1995 to express his hostility to conservatives and he serves as a reminder that the Angry Left populated the highest levels of the mainstream news media long before the blogosphere gave them new venues. He helped to organize a "Save Our Cities" rally in 1992 where he accused Republicans of having "savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services," denounced "Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery" and charged: "We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight." Three years later he equated "Reaganism" with "social Darwinism" as he castigated journalists for being too nice to Reagan: "By failing to...adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us."


CBS: 'Down and Dirty' Palin Like Agnew
w/ 'Nasty' Attack on Obama

A week-and-half before he'll moderate the third and final presidential debate, CBS's Bob Schieffer opened Sunday's Face the Nation by calling a foul on one team as he took sides and denounced Sarah Palin's daring to say, that "our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country," as a sign of "a campaign that's turned down and dirty," as well as "nasty," thanks to John McCain's "new attack dog" who "took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate." In the Washington press corps, a comparison to Agnew is no compliment.

Later in the program, he fretted to New York Times columnist David Brooks: "Do you think it's going to get nastier and nastier? It does look as if McCain is really going on the attack. You saw what Sarah Palin said." Brooks, whom Schieffer labeled as a "conservative columnist," assured Schieffer it would be an ineffective tactic since "Republicans have been using this attack -- too dangerous, too liberal" for "too long" and "you can't win that way anymore."

Sunday night, ABC reporter David Wright described Palin's reference to Bill Ayers as "incendiary" as he asserted on World News: "Today, in San Francisco, Sarah Palin defended her incendiary comments that Barack Obama has been 'palling around' with terrorists." Earlier in the day, ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos had scolded guest Tim Pawlenty about Palin's charge: "When Governor Palin says of Obama 'this is not a man who sees America as you do,' it sure does sound like she is questioning Senator Obama's patriotism."

The AP's Douglass K. Daniel, in a Sunday "news analysis," alleged "her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret." Daniel asserted that "in a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago" and thus "portraying Obama as 'not like us' is another potential appeal to racism."

An excerpt from the October 5 AP dispatch by the Washington bureau reporter:

By claiming that Democrat Barack Obama is "palling around with terrorists" and doesn't see the U.S. like other Americans, vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin targeted key goals for a faltering campaign.

And though she may have scored a political hit each time, her attack was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret....

Palin's words avoid repulsing voters with overt racism. But is there another subtext for creating the false image of a black presidential nominee "palling around" with terrorists while assuring a predominantly white audience that he doesn't see their America?

In a post-Sept. 11 America, terrorists are envisioned as dark-skinned radical Muslims, not the homegrown anarchists of Ayers' day 40 years ago. With Obama a relative unknown when he began his campaign, the Internet hummed with false e-mails about ties to radical Islam of a foreign-born candidate.

Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as "not like us" is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American.

Most troubling, however, is how allowing racism to creep into the discussion serves McCain's purpose so well. As the fallout from Wright's sermons showed earlier this year, forcing Obama to abandon issues to talk about race leads to unresolved arguments about America's promise to treat all people equally.

John McCain occasionally looks back on decisions with regret. He has apologized for opposing a holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. He has apologized for refusing to call for the removal of a Confederate flag from South Carolina's Capitol.

When the 2008 campaign is over McCain might regret appeals such as Palin's perhaps more so if he wins.

END of Excerpt

For the entire spiel: www.breitbart.com

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, is adapted from a Sunday night posting on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

From the Sunday, October 4 Face the Nation on CBS:

BOB SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation: the Palin factor, the bailout package and a campaign that's turned down and dirty. Down in the polls, the McCain campaign has found a new attack dog:
SARAH PALIN: The heels are on, the gloves come off.
SCHIEFFER: McCain's once embattled running mate, Sarah Palin. Will it work? And what about the bailout, will it make a difference in this campaign? All questions for Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; Representative Heather Wilson, Republican of New Mexico; House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri; and Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm. David Brooks will be here with a Campaign Quick Check, and I'll have a final word on the bailout. But first, the campaign turns nasty, on Face the Nation.

....

SCHIEFFER: Well, good morning again. We had two major events last week. First, Congress passed the bailout. We won't know for a while if it is going to work. What we do know is that we have a very hot presidential campaign, and we saw last week the second thing, the emergence of the -- Sarah Palin as the McCain camp's new attack dog. Yesterday she took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate. Listen to what she said in California.
Gov. PALIN: These are the same guys who think patriotism is paying higher taxes. Remember, that's what Joe Biden said. Now, this is not a man who sees America as you and I see America. We see America as a force for good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism. [reacting to crowd] Yes, USA! USA! Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.
SCHIEFFER: So, that was Sarah Palin yesterday out in California. Let's start with Congresswoman Heather Wilson. Do you agree with that line of attack, that Barack Obama does not see America as a force for good?
U.S. REP. HEATHER WILSON (R-NM): He has actually, you know, he goes over to Germany and talks to the Germans about America and the need to tear down the walls between the United States and our European allies as if it's all America's fault that we've, you know, we're in the situation that we're in. That's not what we expect from our President. We expect someone to stand up for America and to realize that America is a force for good in the world and has been for a century.
SCHIEFFER: Well, that sounds like you're saying that he's somehow unpatriotic, which seemed to be the underlying theme of what she said yesterday, Congresswoman.
WILSON: Well, he has talked down about America. And you know, we've always had this history of saying, "Well, you know, politics ends at the water's edge," and it didn't for Barack Obama. He's been critical not only of the President, but of American policy and hence of a -- has kind of a negative view of America in the world. That's not unusual, frankly, among liberals in kind of post-Vietnam America to say that America's the problem. I think Sarah Palin believes that America is part of the solution. We are an exceptional country, we are a force for good and we need to talk about the good things we do.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let's see what Senator Feinstein would say about that. The ad also suggested that he is the pal of a -- of a terrorist. That refers, of course, to Bill Ayers, who was part of the anti-Vietnam underground weather people, I think was the name of it. He's now a professor in Chicago. She suggested that they're pals. What about this whole thing, Senator?

...

SCHIEFFER: Do you think it's going to get nastier and nastier? It does look as if McCain is really going on the attack. You saw what Sarah Palin said.
DAVID BROOKS: Right. Liberal, and -- she botched -- there's a legitimate point in there, the belief in American exceptionalism, Americans can stand alone because we're an unusual nation. But she botched the argument of that. And I just don't think that's going to work this year. You know, Republicans have been using this attack -- too dangerous, too liberal, too liberal -- too long. They used it against Paul Wellstone, the Senator in Minnesota, about a decade ago. It's worked less and less each time. This economic crisis changes the climate of the country. We were in a conservative era where conservatives could win running conservative vs. liberal campaigns. Because of this economic crisis and a bunch of other stuff, we're no longer in a conservative era. You can't win that way anymore. You better win the way of this new era. And I'm afraid the Republicans are not adapting to this new era.

Newsweek's Thomas: Palin 'Has a Little
Bit of Huey Long in Her'

Evan Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek, on Friday night likened Sarah Palin to Louisiana's infamous demagogic Democrat of the 1920s, Huey Long. On Inside Washington, a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station, Thomas reacted to Palin's suggestion in the VP debate that the Vice President has a legislative role: "Here's what's disturbing: Either she didn't know, because actually the legislative role is just about zero as Biden says, or scarier she has a little bit of Huey Long in her. The kind of -- you could see her being a demagogue, saying 'I got to do this, the rules are in the way, to heck with the rules, let's do it.'"

Earlier on the October 3 show, Thomas, until 2006 Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor and before that the magazine's Washington bureau chief, contended she reflected the worst aspects of President George W. Bush: "The thing that worries me the most is she has this George Bush quality to make up her mind before she has the facts and she's dogmatic and, you know, she's impulsive, and the things that get you into trouble when you're President of the United States."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Answer.com's look at Huey Long: www.answers.com

Inside Washington's home page: www.insidewashington.tv

Newsweek's Thomas bio: www.newsweek.com

NBC's Today: After Week of Knocking Palin,
No Debate 'Melt Down'

All week leading up to Thursday night's debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin, NBC's Today show suggested that the Republican vice presidential nominee could be a disaster on stage, pointing out how "conservatives question her qualifications;" "the McCain campaign is worried;" "Palin stumbled again;" and "not ready for prime time."

But on Friday morning, after Palin proved the hand-wringers wrong, co-host Matt Lauer suggested that the "melt down" expectations were never the right yardstick for pundits. Lauer asked Tom Brokaw: "Everything you read and hear about the debate this morning is going to say that Governor Palin exceeded expectations, but in your opinion did she exceed expectations simply because she didn't melt down on the stage or did she show the kind of grasp of the issues and the subjects required to hold the second highest job in the land?"

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Brokaw admitted Palin had displayed a "winning" personality: "I rarely get into that who won and who lost and how far she raised the bar. I do think that she was winning for herself. She had winning ways on stage. And what she did was put aside all those low expectations that people had about her. Did she bring people across the line to the McCain campaign? That's the real test."

Correspondent Andrea Mitchell also admitted that Palin had performed well: "Sarah Palin stopped the bleeding with a performance that by most accounts should be enough to refocus this campaign on the main act, the candidates for president of the United States....Sarah Palin: confident....folksy....locking on to the camera, even on occasion winking to the audience -- clearly well-practiced, as she at times sidestepped questions to answer her own....Such a strong performance that supporters will love it even though critics will still find much to question."

Earlier this week, Today joined the chorus of those doubting Palin, largely as the result of her recent interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

# Monday, September 29, Matt Lauer began today: "Showtime, the pressure builds on Republican VP choice Sarah Palin as some conservatives question her qualifications."

Lauer asked former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney about Palin's abilities: "She's gotten some tough reviews in this interview with Katie Couric, this past week, and some have now called for her to step aside....Are you worried, at all, going into Thursday's debate that opposite Joe Biden, she's, she's not gonna look vice presidential, or presidential for that matter?"

# Tuesday, September 30: After running through an alleged gaffe by Palin regarding U.S. intervention in Pakistan, Andrea Mitchell summed up: "In fact the McCain campaign is so worried about Palin's ability to debate Joe Biden, she's gone home with the McCains, for debate camp in Arizona, supervised by McCain's own top strategists. Matt?"

# Wednesday, October 1: Lauer asked NBC political director Chuck Todd if the perceived missteps would somehow help Palin by lower expectations: "Let me start with tomorrow night's vice presidential debate and Sarah Palin, whose, whose critics have been tough on her for the interview she's or given over the last couple of days. Is it possible she's now lowered expectations so much that this will work to her benefit?"

Todd argued that regardless of what pundits expected, Palin would not be able to skirt by with a sub-par performance: "We play this game a lot and campaigns try to play the expectations game but she may have gone beyond that at this point. I mean, when you think about the fact that one out of three sitting vice presidents eventually become President of the United States, I think that she's not going to be able to get away with just being able to say, well, expectations are, you know, below the floorboards. That's fine for an interview with a news anchor. That's not gonna be fine for a 90 minute debate where she's gonna be expected to be on her toes for the entire 90 minutes. So I don't think the expectations game is what they ought to be playing here. It's about staying, staying on par and being a legitimate national candidate."

# Thursday, October 2: The morning of the debate, co-host Ann Curry said the question was "whether Palin is really up to the job," and reporter Andrea Mitchell highlighted how Palin "stumbled again" in an interview with Couric, and declared Palin the "decided underdog" in the debate:

ANN CURRY: Of course the economy will be a part, a major part of tonight's one and only vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Well, people around the nation are expected glue the to their sets with questions swirling about Biden's wild card reputation and whether Palin is really up to the job. NBC's Andrea Mitchell is in St. Louis this morning with a preview. Hey, Andrea, good morning.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning Ann. Well, as the candidates get ready for tonight's all-important debate, a new "Washington Post"/ABC poll reveals that confidence in Sarah Palin's readiness to serve is plummeting, even as Palin stumbled again in a newly released television interview. Sarah Palin, the decided underdog in tonight's matchup, took time out from cramming for the debate on John McCain's Arizona ranch to defend herself from critics on Sean Hannity's radio show....CBS also aired another segment of Palin's interview with Katie Couric who stumped Palin by asking her to cite Supreme Court cases.
KATIE COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
PALIN: Well, let's see. There's -- of course, in the great history of America, there have been rulings that there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there -- there would be others.
MITCHELL: In fact, Palin is no newcomer to debates, debating more than two dozen times in her run for governor....often scoring points with her personality....Still, even some conservative critics say she is not ready for prime time."...

Lauer asked GOP strategist Mike Murphy about Palin: "Some of the reviews for her interview appearances over the last couple of weeks have been withering. I mean, David Brooks, the conservative columnist, said a it was a catastrophe, that he couldn't watch it. He had to turn away. So what exactly does she have to do to walk out of this debate tonight with not only her head held high but with the chances for the Republican ticket intact?"

Friday morning, the spin was that Palin had knocked all such doubts away, but rather than concede that the media was guilty of drawing broad conclusions about Palin based on just a few minutes of videotape, NBC's analysts emphasized their speculation that the overall race still favored the Democrats.

Here are some highlights from Friday's coverage, as transcribed the MRC's Justin McCarthy:

MATT LAUER: Good morning. Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden square off in their first and only debate with no knock-out punches. Did either of them manage to sway any undecided voters?...

ANN CURRY: And this debate that everybody seemed to watch is now history. Both Joe Palin- or Joe Biden and Sarah Palin seemed to accomplish what they meant to do Matt.
LAUER: That's right. We have to be honest. In some recent TV interviews, Governor Palin has been a bit shaky, but last night, she appeared pretty confident. She peppered her comments with down-home phrases. Joe Biden for his part stayed away from attacking her and focused taking shots at John McCain instead. They sparred over the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, energy and a lot more. But, did either of them do anything to change the race? We're going to hear from all sides in a moment, as well as from some undecided voters, Ann....

CURRY: But let's begin with a spirited debate in St. Louis between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. NBC's Andrea Mitchell was there and she's got more for us this morning. Hey Andrea, good morning.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Good morning Ann. Well, Sarah Palin stopped the bleeding with a performance that by most accounts should be enough to refocus this campaign on the main act, the candidates for president of the United States....As was clear right from the beginning, it was a debate as much about style as substance....Sarah Palin confident....folksy...locking on to the camera, even on occasion winking to the audience -- clearly well-practiced ,as she at times sidestepped questions to answer her own.
GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN: I may not answer the questions that either you or the moderator want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record, also.....
MITCHELL: A strong performance by both '€" and by Palin, such a strong performance that supporters will love it even though critics will still find much to question, Matt.

LAUER: Tom Brokaw is moderator of "Meet the Press" and he'll be moderating the next presidential debate next Tuesday night. Tom, good morning to you....Everything you read and here about the debate this morning is going to say that Governor Palin exceeded expectations, but in your opinion did she exceed expectations simply because she didn't melt down on the stage or did she show the kind of grasp of the issues and the subjects required to hold the second highest job in the land?
BROKAW: Well, I think that that judgment is being made this morning in coffee shops and car-pools and in offices, people are making that kind of decision. I rarely get into that who won and who lost and how far she raised the bar. I do think that she was winning for herself. She had winning ways on stage. And what she did was put aside all those low expectations that people had about her. Did she bring people across the line to the McCain campaign? That's the real test of all. And, Matt, what she probably did was give the campaign an emotional boost just when they needed it. They abandoned Michigan yesterday, which was the real political news of the last 24 hours.
LAUER: Back to the debate for a second. You watched Joe Biden a lot over the years. Did you think he was a little rattled by her, that he was expecting in some ways to be standing across the stage from the same person he saw in Katie's interview last week and when he didn't see that he didn't quite know how to handle it?
BROKAW: Well, I think that going in he was very mindful of the fact that if he overpowered her or seemed to be condescending that would go south on him in a hurry. I was very surprised when she said you are raising the white flag of surrender. He didn't come back at that point talking about their policy for getting out of Iraq. But Senator Biden carried his brief very well. At the end of the debate I thought he was especially strong when as we just saw in Andrea's report when he said John McCain's been no maverick and he ticked off all the issues in which McCain has not been a maverick.
LAUER: So is perhaps that one thing that was accomplished in this debate last night, since there were no knock-out punches, that as Andrea mentioned, focus now goes back on John McCain and Barack Obama?
BROKAW: That was always going to be the case. We don't vote for vice president, we vote for president. There have been any numbers of instances over the year, Dan Quayle did not have a good debate at all and yet his ticket won. You remember four years ago everybody thought John Edwards would be able to clock Dick Cheney and he did not and they went on to win.
LAUER: Real, real, quickly, you're moderating next Tuesday night. Did you see anything in the way the debate was conducted last night that's going to make you change your approach next Tuesday night?
BROKAW: Mine next week is a combination of town hall and electronic questions and my questions. I think what was missing from last night, was a fuller discussion of the economy, which is what everyone is really concerned about these days, didn't talk about job creation, didn't talk about NAFTA, no talk about immigration in any of these debates yet. So we've got a lot of subjects that we'll get to on Tuesday night.

Post-Debate, Today Show Finds 'Undecided'
Voters Against Palin

Despite Today's earlier praise of Sarah Palin's debate performance, Amy Robach managed to assemble seven "undecided voters" (and reported that five voted for Bush) who did not express high opinions of the Alaska Governor. On the October 3 edition, Robach found women voters she identified as undecided and from key battleground states. Although the discussion began with two of the women offering positive remarks about Governor Palin, the positive feedback ended there.

Polling these seven women, Robach found "nearly every one" held a less favorable view of Sarah Palin after viewing the debate. One voter claimed Palin "has sealed the deal for me" and she "is in no way ready...to be Vice President." Another "made up [her] mind" because "Palin didn't do it for me." Curiously, one "undecided" voter wanted a candidate that would "end the war" and because of Biden's promise she was swayed to the Obama/Biden ticket.

[This item, by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The transcript of the segment in the 8am half hour of Friday's program:

ANN CURRY: One group watched last night's vice presidential debate very closely, undecided voters, especially women. Our national correspondent Amy Robach watched it last night with a group of them. Hey Amy.

AMY ROBACH: Hey Ann. That's right. And before the debate these women were truly torn about who they should vote for but when I spoke to them after it was all over last night some of them had their minds made up. We gathered together seven undecided women from swing states like Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. Five voters who in 2004 cast ballots for Bush, one for Kerry, and one who is going to the polls for the first time in 2008. So a lot of pundits thought tonight that it was very important for Sarah Palin, Governor Palin, to prove that she had a real understanding of the issues. How many people now have a more favorable view of her?
SARAH OEHLER, COLORADO VOTER: Both of them were able to really make some strong statements and go back to some specific issues because I hadn't seen Sarah Palin go to really specific voting records and tonight I saw her come back in force a couple times and that impressed me.
LORI SINGLETON, FLORIDA VOTER: She just seems like somebody that I could sit across the table from and just have this great conversation with. I mean, she's feisty and I like that.
ROBACH: By a show of hands, how many people were disappointed or have a less favorable view of Sarah Palin after watching her tonight? Nearly everyone.
MELANIE McCORMICK, FLORIDA VOTER: She avoided the questions that were clearly asked to her. I really do not feel that she's ready to lead this country.
ROBACH: How many people now have a more favorable view of Senator Biden post-debate?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I really like what Joe Biden said about what happened during the last four years. Our economy has gone down.
ROBACH: Has anyone here made a decision based on tonight? You have Terri.
TERRI WATSON, FLORIDA VOTER: She has sealed the deal for me. She is in, no way, ready to, you know, be the Vice President and potential President of the United States of America, not at all.
McCORMICK: I made up my mind tonight. I have one parent who is a Democrat and the other one who is a Republican. I was undecided because I was hearing two different sides of the story. Palin didn't do it for me.
ROBACH: Was there a moment that stood out to you the most?
SINGLETON: Biden said they would end the war and she said they would not. That's pivotal for me, pivotal.
DEBBIE FROMMER, PENNSYLVANIA VOTER: What bothered me the most is the way they keep talking about rebuilding Afghanistan, Iraq. Not once did anybody mention that our people here down in New Orleans and Texas and everything else that are still without homes from Katrina.
ROBACH: Earlier this week we heard in Geraldine Ferraro. She the only other woman in that position in our country's history and she supports the Obama/Biden ticket, but she said this: She says "I want Governor Palin to do well because it's important for little girls to see someone there who can stand toe to toe with a guy." Do you feel the same?
WATSON: I have two daughters myself. I wanted her to do well. You know, I needed her to do well, the world is watching.
OEHLER: I think she came out fighting and I hope there come as day you don't have to be a gentleman to debate a woman, that you can really come out with some punches. Why does this have to be a discussion?
ROBACH: And Ann it is the undecided voters in swing states like these women will be very influential on Election Day and will be watching each of these campaigns very closely over the next few weeks.

Letterman Upset Palin in 'Passenger Seat,'
Mocks 'How's My Hair?'

Perfectly encapsulating the coastal left's blind derision of Sarah Palin as an inexperienced "beginner" and thus unqualified, when the very same smart aleck cheap shots about her could be directed at the man with whom they have fallen in love, Barack Obama, David Letterman on Friday night asked guest Brian Williams if the nation can risk "a beginner in the passenger seat" (what about in the driver's seat?) and, in a sexist cheap shot, imitated Palin adjusting her hair during a 9/11 crisis as he impersonated her voice: "How's my hair?" That led an uncomfortable Williams to lean back and sigh, prompting Letterman to acknowledge "that's unfair. I'm sorry."

Letterman, however spent the first half of Friday's Late Show before Williams came out and most of his time with Williams ridiculing Palin, and McCain for choosing her. Though the NBC Nightly News anchor Williams tried to separate himself from the remarks, and made some gentle counter-points as he preferred to joke about how he's the only one of the three anchors yet to get an interview with Palin, Williams never made the obvious point that much of Letterman's upset over Palin's inexperience could be directed to the top of the competing ticket. Or certainly could have been when he emerged last year as a candidate, but was not.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Friday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The exchange on the October 3 Late Show:

DAVID LETTERMAN: How should a person feel about John McCain in having made this choice? To me it seems like we're in such a mess now, here at home and around the world, that do we really want a beginner in the passenger seat?
BRIAN WILLIAMS: That's part of the judgment voters get to make. There are two ways of looking at this: It is refreshing to millions of Americans not to watch a debate like the one we had last night and not to see two older white males on the stage. This is new and this is different and it's late for 2008.
LETTERMAN: It has gotten everybody's interest focused on the campaign again.
WILLIAMS: The other way of looking at it is it's September 11th, 2001. The President is airborne, the Secret Service won't yet let him land because we know that little about what has just happened to us. The Vice President has taken hold of the machinery of government. Inside the White House, he is in the secure tank. That's also the job description we're talking about here and that's part of this choice we get to make in 32 days.
LETTERMAN, RAISING HIS HANDS TO HIS HEAD AS IF ADJUSTING HIS HAIR: Well see, there you go, that's it perfectly. You've coalesced everybody's concern I think, you know, she's, you know, "How's my hair?"
[audience laughter]
WILLIAMS: (leans back and sighs.)
LETTERMAN: But ah, that's unfair. I'm sorry.

Sonnenfeld: Bush to Go Out by 'Destroying
All Life on Earth'

Catching up with an item from a few days ago: Barry Sonnenfeld, a movie director (Men in Black) and now the Emmy-winning executive producer and director of ABC's dramady Pushing Daisies, predicted on Wednesday's Late Show that amongst the things he's "worried" President Bush will do before leaving office is "go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth." That was too much for David Letterman, hardly a Bush fan (in June he asked if Bush has "any humanity?"), who responded: "It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair."

Sonnenfeld, who speculated about Bush hiding bin Laden, also wondered why Americans wouldn't vote for the "really smart" Barack Obama over John McCain who "finished second to last in his graduating class in college" and Sarah Palin, who "went to five different colleges," and so "I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence."

With some mix of seriousness and humor you can judge yourself by watching the video clip (though how funny is it to joke about the President as some kind of religious zealot out to murder millions?), Sonnenfeld told Letterman he's "worried since it's October that George Bush will do one of three things: Either find bin Laden, who've they've had somewhere for eight months waiting to bring out" or "let's start a war with Iran. That's always a possibility." Then:
"And here's the third thing -- and I don't know much about the Bible and I'm not a big rapture guy -- but I believe George Bush is and what better way, if your polls are so bad, than to go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewwsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Asked by Letterman, on the show the day before the VP debate, his take on that and the election, Sonnenfeld -- without actually naming any of the candidates, but with his targets and implications pretty clear -- expounded: "I'm very lucky and surround myself with people who are smarter than me. So, metaphorically, what I wonder is why don't Americans do that and actually vote for someone who is really smart, was a President of the Harvard Law Review; as opposed to two people, one who finished second to last in his graduating class in college and the other one, who I believe, went to five different colleges. Now, if I'm me and Chloe [his daughter] goes to five different colleges, I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence."

IMDb's page for Sonnenfeld: www.imdb.com

For the June 12 CyberAlert item on Letterman casting douby Bush has any "humanity," check: www.mrc.org

Late Show's rundown of the October 1 show: lateshow.cbs.com

The exchange on the Wednesday, October 1 Late Show with David Letterman on CBS:

BARRY SONNENFELD: Here's what I don't understand, Dave. I got the Emmy award for Pushing Daises in great deal because I surround myself with people smarter than me -- you know, the DP Michael Weaver, Michael Wiley, Brian, -- they're all much smarter than me, they're better than me. But I know I'm going to get all the credit. [audience laughter] And I did and I won the Emmy, and thank you very much and it was a thrilling moment.
DAVID LETTERMAN: But I know you're just being generous because you are a gifted director.
SONNENFELD: I'm very lucky and surround myself with people who are smarter than me. So, metaphorically, what I wonder is why don't Americans do that and actually vote for someone who is really smart, was a President of the Harvard Law Review; as opposed to two people, one who finished second to last in his graduating class in college and the other one, who I believe, went to five different colleges.
Now, if I'm me and Chloe [his daughter] goes to five different colleges, I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence. [audience applause and laughter]
So I'm worried about that, but I'm also worried since it's October that George Bush will do one of three things: Either find bin Laden, who've they've had somewhere for eight months waiting to bring out-
LETTERMAN: Crawford, at the ranch.
SONNENFELD: Crawford, at the ranch, you know, hacking up the brush. Or, you know, let's start a war with Iran. That's always a possibility. And here's the third thing '€" and I don't know much about the Bible and I'm not a big rapture guy '€" but I believe George Bush is and what better way, if your polls are so bad, than to go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth? [mixture of laughter and groans from audience]
LETTERMAN: Gosh, now, that's-
SONNENFELD: Then you got rapture thing and, by the way, if I'm wrong I can't -- I mean, if I'm right I can't come back on the show and say "See, Dave, I told you so," so I'm really screwed about it.
LETTERMAN: It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair. That's a little, boy oh boy.
SONNENFELD: By a lot you think it's bleak, or just do you think?
LETTERMAN: Well I think for you, it fits the package perfectly. But I mean, honestly, do you walk around with thoughts like this?
SONNENFELD: Those are on my good days, yeah.

Ex-Newsweek Top Editor Osborn Elliott
a Left-Wing Reagan-Basher

Osborn Elliott, the top editor of Newsweek from 1961 to 1976 and Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism from 1979 to 1986, passed away last Sunday, September 28, at age 83. He was retired when the Media Research Center was founded in 1987, but he didn't hesitate in 1992 and 1995 to express his hostility to conservatives and he serves as a reminder that the Angry Left populated the highest levels of the mainstream news media long before the blogosphere gave them new venues.

He helped to organize a "Save Our Cities" rally in 1992 where he accused Republicans of having "savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services," denounced "Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery" and charged: "We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight." (Screen shot, to be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, is from that Saturday, May 16, 1992 event.)

Three years later he equated "Reaganism" with "social Darwinism" as he castigated journalists for being too nice to Reagan: "By failing to...adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Monday, September 29 Washington Post obituary: www.washingtonpost.com

The two quotes from the archive of the MRC's Notable Quotables:

# "We hold accountable Republicans who have savaged our urban schools, our housing, our health care, our social services. We hold accountable Democrats who have collaborated in this butchery...We hold accountable those who waste our billions on a military with no enemy to fight." -- Osborn Elliott, Newsweek editor-in-chief from 1961-76, in his speech as co-chairman of the "Save Our Cities" rally, May 16, 1992.

# "By allowing a kind of social Darwinism -- aka Reaganism -- to go mostly unchallenged, and by failing on the other hand to adequately expose the inane contradictions of supply-side theories, aka Reaganomics, I believe journalism deserves some of the blame for ills that now afflict us. These include a deficit that hobbles us and a debt load that will bend us low for years to come." -- Former Newsweek Editor-in-Chief Osborn Elliott in the John Hershey Memorial Lecture, quoted in the March/April 1995 Columbia Journalism Review.

-- Brent Baker