CBS: Edwards Won, ABC: Cheney; CBS Says Cheney "Scares" Voters --10/6/2004
2. CBS Grouses Cheney "Nasty," Iraq Untenable; MSNBC Praises Cheney
3. NBC Tries to Prove Cheney Saw "Connection Between Iraq and 9/11"
4. CNN Analysts Differ on Cheney Attack, Brown Reminded of Vietnam
5. Stephanopoulos Presses to Prove Cheney Had Met Edwards Earlier
6. Reporters Saw Bush as Debate Winner, But Swayed by Media Line
7. CBS: Cheney the "Least Popular U.S. Politician Since Nixon"
8. NBC Calls "ILIE" Complaints "Silly," But With 2000 "RATS" Ad...
Corrections: The October 5 CyberAlert Special, with an update on how Drudge picked up on, and NBC News responded to, the MRC's catch of the "ILIE" lettering next to President Bush's face, in one paragraph misquoted the lettering as "ILIED." NBC displayed "ILIE," without a "D." The October 5 CyberAlert had quoted the sign, from which NBC got "ILIE," as declaring: "TAX RELIEF FOR AMERICAN WORKING FAMILIES." In fact, the sign did not include the word "American." Another October 5 CyberAlert item, about how NBC Nightly News used, as an expert on nuclear arms to criticize the Bush administration, Joseph Cirincione, who is a Kerry donor, correctly spelled his name several times. But it was misspelled in the paragraph which directed readers to perform a search for his name on the Center for Responsive Politics' Web site.
For the second debate in a row, CBS's narrow group of 178 "uncommitted voters" declared the Democrat the winner Tuesday night with 41 percent calling Senator John Edwards the victor, 29 percent seeing Vice President Cheney as triumphant and 29 percent deciding it was a tie. CBS's Anthony Mason stressed how "Cheney had an image problem to overcome" since "nearly 60 percent of the uncommitted voters we surveyed said they did not personally like him. When asked how they'd feel if Cheney became President, 24 percent said 'scared.' Only two percent said 'excited.'" ABC's wider survey of 500 registered voters made Cheney the winner by 43 percent to 35 percent over Edwards, but Peter Jennings discounted the finding by stressing how the poll sample was weighted toward Republicans and then he dismissively described the survey as the "who won thing."
-- Just past 10:50pm EDT, about 12 minutes after the vice presidential debate ended, Mason joined Dan Rather at the New York desk to outline the survey by Knowledge Networks in which participants entered their opinions via the Internet during the debate.
On screen, CBS displayed this finding:
Mason explained: "Dan, our panel of uncommitted voters has scored John Edwards the winner of tonight's debate. Here are the numbers: 41 percent believe John Edwards won this debate, 29 percent give it to Dick Cheney, 29 percent call it a tie. Now, throughout the debate, we monitored the reactions of some 200 registered but uncommitted voters across the country. Moment by moment they recorded their approval or disapproval of the candidates on a sliding scale. [video of a guy sitting on the floor tapping a keyboard] This was a scientific sample of uncommitted voters selected by the high tech research firm, Knowledge Networks.
Mason picked up: "Now, Vice President Cheney had an image problem to overcome. Going into tonight's debate, nearly 60 percent of the uncommitted voters we surveyed said they did not personally like him. When asked how they'd feel if Cheney became President, 24 percent said 'scared.' Only two percent said 'excited.' But men responded more positively to Cheney than women did. Watch as the female response actually goes negative here when the Vice President starts attacking Kerry's record on defense..."
Mason asked: "So at the end of the night had the opinions of these uncommitted voters changed about the vice presidential candidates? Principally about the Vice President, opinions did not change much. 31 percent said their opinion of Cheney got better, 14 percent worse, but over half said there was no change."
On screen, CBS put up slightly different numbers for the "uncommitted voters":
"Opinion of Dick Cheney:"
Mason added: "As for John Edwards, nearly half said their opinion improved of the Democratic candidate.
Jennings was quick to point out: "Our director of our polling unit, Gary Langer, tells us that it is slightly weighted towards Republicans in terms of who we actually polled, but that's, there's the who won thing today. Vice President Cheney 43 percent, Senator Edwards 35 percent and a tie for 19 percent."
Later, on Nightline, Langer noted that "while somewhat more of a Republican audience tuned in, the Vice President simply got more help from his side, his friends, if you will. Among people who support the Republican ticket, 80 percent said the Vice President won. Among those who support the Democratic ticket, fewer, 69 percent, picked John Edwards as the winner."
For the ABCNews.com posting of the poll numbers: abcnews.go.com
Following the Tuesday night vice presidential debate in Cleveland, CBS's John Roberts groused about how Dick Cheney was "downright nasty," a thought echoed by ABC's Mark Halperin in a PBS appearance in which he chastised Cheney for being "gratuitously mean." CBS's Bob Schieffer contended that "the administration has got to find another way to argue and justify this war. The arguments that Vice President Cheney was making tonight clearly did not take" and Dan Rather admired how "for the first time I think in the whole campaign, Enron was mentioned tonight." Rather wondered if the Edwards attack "about Halliburton and Enron will take any traction?"
CNN's analysts saw at least a draw for Edwards and thus a win for him. CNN analyst Carlos Watson went further and argued that "Edwards landed some real blows" and so if you were an undecided voter, "I think you're going to take another look on Friday at what John Kerry has to say. I think that the Vice President and Edwards both did their jobs, but I think Edwards probably did a better job with persuadable voters."
CNN anchor Judy Woodruff recited the opinions of reporters, whom she ridiculously asserted "one assumes" are "coming at this from the center," and how in their opinion, "if Dick Cheney was hoping to put away John Edwards, by virtue of the Vice President's considerable experience, he didn't do that tonight."
Staying in touch with reality, MSNBC's Chris Matthews wondered: "Will the liberal press admit that Cheney won?" Matthews analogized Edwards versus Cheney to "a water pistol against a machine gun." Andrea Mitchell opined: "I think Dick Cheney did awfully well at, first of all, putting John Edwards in his place." Even Ron Reagan decided the "stature gap" was "to Cheney's advantage." And Joe Scarborough declared: "Edwards got obliterated by Dick Cheney."
FNC's analysts largely praised Cheney for documenting Kerry's "dovish" record and weakness on Iraq policy.
ABC and NBC came down somewhere in the middle with pro and con on both candidates, though ABC's Peter Jennings cautioned: "Anybody who thought that Senator Edwards was going to be rolled by the experienced Vice President, I think will have a second thought." Jennings displayed inconsistency in labeling as he noted how Cheney plays "particularly well with the so-called conservative base of the Republican Party," but he neglected to add an ideological tag in referring to Edwards' "Democratic base."
ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, the MRC's Tim Graham noticed, popped up at about 11:30pm EDT on PBS's Charlie Rose where he took this shot at Cheney: "You know, Cheney was very aggressive. The Vice President not only did not back off his aggressive attacks, but he was almost, and sometimes I thought, gratuitously mean in saying that, well, the attendance record was bad, repeatedly saying Edwards was wrong, but that is his style, and he carries it off very well."
NBC didn't really have much noteworthy in its 10:40 to 11pm EDT coverage, other that the Brian Williams "fact check" on Cheney detailed in item #3 below. NBC wrapped up with quick remote appearances from two bloggers: From Annapolis, Ana Cox of Wonkette.com, and from Apple Valley, Minnesota, John Hinderacker of PowerlineBlog.com. Brokaw described Wonkette as "a must-read site for political junkies," but for PowerlineBlog, Brokaw added an ideological tag, calling it "one of the most popular conservative blogs."
(Because of a baseball playoff game, Fox did not air the debate live, but did air it late shortly before 1am EDT, but without any post-debate analysis.)
Now, a fuller rundown of the post-debate analysis, starting at 10:40pm EDT. (All the broadcast anchors stayed in New York City while MSNBC and CNN broadcast from the debate site, Case Western Reserve University):
-- ABC News.
# Peter Jennings: "Anybody who thought that Senator Edwards was going to be rolled by the experienced Vice President, I think will have a second thought. But perhaps those people who were disposed to the President, will think that Mr. Bush did well today and those who are disposed towards Mr. Kerry will think that Mr. Edwards did well."
# George Will: "I think both the men did what they were supposed to do. And indeed they did something they were not supposed to do, which was show the top of each ticket how this was done."
# Jennings to Will: "We know that Vice President Cheney plays, particularly well with the so-called conservative base of the Republican Party. And you could hear him talking to the base in many respects here. Do we hear Senator Edwards talking to the Democratic base in a way that you think might energize some of the so-called movable voters?"
# Mark Halperin, from the spin room, called it "pretty much of a draw." He elaborated: "A top official from both campaigns came over to us where I was sitting, separately. One right after the other, and the first phrase out of their mouths was something I can't repeat in full. But it's a phrase familiar to our viewers and it starts with, 'he kicked his-.' They both said the exact same thing. I think you'll see them both claiming -- unlike in Florida where the President's supporters didn't claim, for the most part, he had won..."
# Bob Schieffer: "I'll tell you, Dan, this was not the vice presidential debate that we saw in 2000 when you had the avuncular Uncle Cheney trading good natured barbs with a whimsical Joe Lieberman. This was a very testy debate. The Vice President tonight had the unfortunate task of defending a war that does not appear to be going very well these days on the very day that the former top civilian official in Iraq was making a speech saying that we went about it in the wrong way. That was a tall hill for the Vice President to climb tonight, and he had to explain it as best he could. And he was going up against a very good trial lawyer who did what trial lawyers do: He began to poke holes in Cheney's arguments, he began to probe. Mainly, it seemed to me, that his strategy tonight was simply to raise questions about the credibility of this administration, and on a day when the former top official in Iraq was saying they've gone about the war in the wrong way, it seemed to me that he had an easier task tonight."
# John Roberts in Cleveland: "It got downright nasty there for a little while. I mean there was a point here where I thought that these two really looked like they didn't like each other, they were going at each other, John Edwards very pointedly saying to Dick Cheney, 'let me remind you of the casualties in Iraq, Mr. Vice President.' And then Cheney turning around and criticizing Edwards' record, saying that 'you were Senator Gone.' But the whole thing did seem to melt a little bit, Dan, when John Edwards said those nice things about Dick Cheney's daughter."
# Rather to Bob Schieffer, after the rundown of the poll numbers recounted item #1 above: "If you had to write the lead for tomorrow mornings newspaper or tonight's late newscast, what would the lead be out of this joint appearance?"
# Wolf Blitzer, on site: "I think it's clear that if you were a Bush-Cheney supporter, you certainly thought Cheney won. If you're a Kerry-Edwards supporter, you thought Edwards won, whereas in the first debate, even if you were a Bush-Cheney supporter, you probably thought the President didn't necessarily win."
# Carlos Watson: "But Wolf, I think in the first half when they talked about terrorism and they talked about national security issues, I think Edwards landed some real blows. I think if you're an undecided voter, or even frankly if you're a soft voter, I think you're going to take another look on Friday at what John Kerry has to say. I think that the Vice President and Edwards both did their jobs, but I think Edwards probably did a better job with persuadable voters."
# Judy Woodruff, from the spin room, just before 11pm EDT: "I've talked also to reporters, who, you know, one assumes they're coming at this from the center, in their opinion, this debate was close to a draw, and what they go on to say, though, is that if the Republicans, if Dick Cheney was hoping to put away John Edwards, by virtue of the Vice President's considerable experience, he didn't do that tonight. John Edwards came back, he parried, he, there was no charge that laid on the table that wasn't responded to. Having said that, there is a consensus that it was a draw. But we will see. It is still early in the reaction time down here."
# Blitzer, reacting to Woodruff: "If, in fact, it was a draw, isn't that effectively a win for John Edwards, the newcomer, as opposed to the Vice President?"
# Fred Barnes: "I thought this debate was interesting. I thought what mattered was the first half of the debate, and that was foreign policy and 9/11 and the war on terrorism and Iraq. And Cheney won that part because he did two things. One, he brought up this question or spoke strongly on this question of a global test that Republicans are raising a question about whether Kerry-"
# Morton Kondracke: "I thought that the Vice President's most potent, one of his most potent points was the allegation that Edwards and Kerry are demeaning the allies in Iraq, the idea that this repeated statement that 90 percent of the casualties are American eliminates the sacrifice of the Iraqis, and there have been far more Iraqi soldiers killed and Iraqi policemen killed than there have Americans, so, and I thought that was an effective counterpunch that Cheney took."
# Bill Kristol: "And one aspect of that win was he seemed hawkish on the war on terror. He said he was going to be as tough as the President, tougher and more effective in killing the terrorists. I don't know that that's so easy to sustain after tonight. I thought Cheney was extremely strong at reminding people about Kerry's voting record and consistent record, basically consistent record on national defense and security issues, which is dovish. Edwards, I don't think sounded like Kerry, if you go back and compare the transcripts. Edwards was, 'We didn't have to go to war in Iraq,' he never seemed to acknowledge we have to finish the job in Iraq, that we have to win in Iraq, that we have to kill Zarqawi. Cheney hit all that stuff, and Edwards was just, 'It was a diversion, it was a diversion.'"
# Andrea Mitchell: "I think Dick Cheney did awfully well at, first of all, putting John Edwards in his place, saying that, 'I've been presiding over the Senate and I didn't meet you until tonight.' Talking about his not having been on the job was pretty devastating."
# Ron Reagan: "This time I think the chattering classes and I include all of us among them will come out on the side of there was a stature gap there and it was to Cheney's advantage. I'm not sure that, that stature gap, is gonna be quite so apparent though to the general public."
# Matthews: "I think the, the allegory I thought would be, the, an analogy would be a water pistol against a machine gun. I mean every once in a while he'd take a squirt at the Vice President and then he'd just and then the Vice President would just turn the, the Howitzer on the guy. I mean it was, all the points about attendance record. The tremendous amount of homework the Republican candidate for VP did here, the incumbent. I don't think this well-rehearsed and well-briefed senator from North Carolina was ready for the assault."
NBC and MSNBC set out to disprove Vice President Cheney's claim during the debate that he has "not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11," but the video clip played by Brian Williams, to undermine Cheney, did no such thing. Chris Matthews soon harangued Ben Ginsberg of the Bush campaign about it.
Williams narrated nearly identical segments during NBC's 10:40pm EDT 20 minutes and then again on MSNBC at about 11:20pm EDT. Geoff took down the MSNBC version:
Williams: "So much was said tonight. How do you separate facts from assertions, gray areas, things like did the two men meet? We have narrowed down some of these subject matters and you're right we watched tonight with our own experts by our side checking these facts as they came out. And the first exchange we're gonna show you came during the second round of questions. What you're about to see is Vice President Dick Cheney, who Senator Edwards charged tonight has repeatedly Iraq linked Iraq to the 9/11 attacks. This was the Vice President tonight in his own defense."
But that doesn't contradict what Cheney said in the debate since in 2003 Cheney was simply arguing that Iraq lies in an area of the world which spawns terrorists, including those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11, not that the Iraqi regime specifically contracted the attack.
Chris Matthews soon harangued Ben Ginsberg of the Bush campaign about it, pounding him incessantly:
-- Matthews: "Finally and I think most, the greatest difficulty here is Brian Williams did dig up the tape of the Vice President saying on Meet the Press that the reason we went to Iraq is because it is at the very base of the war on terrorism which has attacked us at 9/11 and other occurrences. Why would he deny that tonight? That very assertion?"
-- Matthews: "But you're not answering mine. Why would the Vice President deny something still is on public record? We've got the tape to show it! He has connected 9/11 to Saddam Hussein, he has said it, we have it on tape and he denied it tonight. That's not honest is it?"
-- "Well you help me, you help people, you help me, Ben you help me get the story straight right now. Was Iraq involved with 9/11?"
-- Matthews: "No there weren't, no there weren't, no there were not. I'm sorry Ben, I gotta correct you here. There's no evidence of any direct connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. There is no such evidence and that's why this is a hot issue in this, in this debate. If there was a connection between 9/11. Excuse me. If this country knew that Saddam Hussein had a role in attacking us 9/11 there would be no debate over the Iraq war and you know that. Right? Tell me I'm right!"
-- "Okay we're arguing over the facts because the facts are unclear. But in some case you have to go with the fact if you can't find evidence you haven't been able to find evidence and the Vice President has yet to do that. He tonight denied he ever asserted a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. We showed the tape thanks to the reporting of Brian Williams and the, and the engineers went back and the producers went back and found that tape. The only reason we know tonight that the Vice President asserted a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 is we at NBC dug up the tape. He couldn't dig up the memory! And that is a problem. Even if he won the debate tonight he's not accurate on that one."
CNN versus CNN. And the positions of the candidates reminded Aaron Brown of Vietnam. CNN analyst Bill Schneider denigrated Dick Cheney's admonishment of John Edwards for ignoring the deaths of Iraqis when he claimed that 90 percent of those killed in Iraq have been Americans. Schneider maintained: "It's an odd usage to include the Iraqi losses alongside the losses of those who invaded Iraq." But ten minutes later on the midnight NewsNight, Time's Joe Klein, a CNN regular, praised Cheney for making a "really important point" and a "really strong point" as Klein scolded Edwards for "dissing the Iraqis who are fighting for their own freedom."
When Klein chided both parties for refusing to acknowledge that more troops must be sent to Iraq, anchor Aaron Brown exclaimed: "My goodness, I hate to be the one to say it again, but that sounds, for those of us of a certain age, an awful lot like the way politicians talked before elections during Vietnam."
During a fact check segment at about 12:20am EDT, Bill Schneider upbraided Cheney: "He also specifically said that 90 percent figure is wrong. That 90 percent figure wasn't wrong. Cheney is simply, the Vice President is simply using a different figure because he's including Iraqi security forces, which were not part of the Coalition, and it would be, it's an odd usage to include the Iraqi losses alongside the losses of those who invaded Iraq."
Ten minutes later, however, as tracked down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, Joe Klein argued: "Cheney made a really important point, though, when he criticized Kerry and Edwards for essentially dissing the Iraqis who are fighting for their own freedom, which they've done a couple of times in the last few weeks. That's very sloppy on Kerry and Edwards' part, and it was a really strong point by Vice President Cheney."
Klein soon complained: "But there is danger here for John Kerry and John Edwards because if they are saying that we never had enough troops there and the next question is, 'Do we have enough troops there now?' they are on the brink of saying maybe we should have some more troops there, or at least that's a logical question to ask them. Seems to me, in talking to military people and intelligence people, that neither campaign is telling the truth about this crucial issue, which is that if we're going to salvage the situation there or have any hope of salvaging it, we're gonna need more American troops."
That prompted the above-quoted reference by Brown to Vietnam. Klein agreed, but put it in starker terms: "That's exactly right, with one difference. There were no greater strategic consequences to Vietnam. When we lost Vietnam, nothing terrible happened to the United States. If we lose in Iraq, if we have to withdraw, we are leaving, A, chaos, B, a possible al-Qaeda state, and, C, a possible civil war. The stakes here in terms of geo-strategic issues could not be higher. This is a huge, huge issue."
Anchoring Nightline, ABC's George Stephanopoulos became obsessed with disproving Vice President Cheney's assertion that, though he is "the President of the Senate" and visits every Tuesday, the "first time" he ever met Senator John Edwards was when he "walked on this stage tonight." Stephanopoulos twice pressed Liz Cheney about how Elizabeth Edwards insisted her husband met Cheney at a 2001 prayer breakfast. Stephanopoulos demanded: "Does the Vice President now accept, and did he tell Mrs. Edwards that yes they did indeed meet in the past?" Later, he repeated Mike McCurry's assertion: "So you're saying it's flat out untrue that they've never met." Stephanopoulos didn't have any video to undermine Cheney, but about an hour later, CNN played a video clip which showed Cheney sitting beside Edwards on a dais.
The MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed that just before Nightline began on ABC, at about 11:34pm EDT, MSNBC's Chris Matthews touted how "NBC News has learned that after the debate Senator Edwards' wife Elizabeth told Vice President Cheney that he had in fact met her husband at a national prayer breakfast. I'm not sure that's gonna soften the wound at all."
On Nightline, Stephanopoulos pressed Liz Cheney who appeared from Cleveland, site of the VP debate:
Later, Kerry surrogate Mike McCurry appeared from Englewood, Colorado. Stephanopoulos cued him up: "One of the things we saw was that Vice President Cheney took dead-aim at Senator Kerry's Senate record, something that President Bush didn't do too much of the other night. Did you see anything he said about Senator Kerry's record that was a distortion?"
At about 12:50am EDT during a late NewsNight, CNN located a clip of John Edwards sitting at a dais, at a 2001 prayer breakfast in Cleveland, next to Dick Cheney. Aaron Brown observed: "So, in fact, he had met him, and was sitting reasonably close to him, and tomorrow there'll be a fair amount of talk about the fact that while it was a very good zinger, it wasn't true. It's not exactly the biggest issue in American life."
It is to Stephanopoulos.
The power of the media's spin: Newsweek's Evan Thomas and NBC's David Gregory conceded on Imus in the Morning this week that they thought George W. Bush won the debate last week, but changed their mind in the face of the media line. "I was quickly informed I was wrong and that Kerry had won," Thomas quipped Monday morning. Thomas said that while "Kerry did well," he "didn't think that Bush was as terrible as everybody else did." Gregory stated that he "initially" saw Bush as the winner, but then "there was kind of a debate in the press corps, those of us who were watching in the main filing center where we were watching the pool feeds, as opposed to watching some of the other networks that had the reaction shots and the split screens."
The MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed the comments made by phone on the Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC.
On Monday morning, October 4, Thomas, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor, revealed: "I thought it was a good debate. I initially thought that it was pretty much of a tie, but I was quickly informed I was wrong and that Kerry had won. You know, maybe I'm used to Bush's peevish side, but it sort of didn't surprise me. You know, I thought Kerry did well, I thought he did himself a lot of good, but I didn't think that Bush was as terrible as everybody else did."
On Tuesday morning, October 5, Imus observed: "I thought he won the debate, by the way -- President Bush."
On the Tuesday morning shows before the VP debate, the networks differed on how harshly to portray the contrast between Vice President Cheney and Senator Edwards. CBS's Jim Axelrod ridiculously charged that Cheney "may be the least popular U.S. politician since Richard Nixon," while Edwards "must look seasoned and ready to lead." NBC's Campbell Brown suggested that "the charming upbeat style of John Edwards" will be "matched tonight against the serious and sometimes dour Dick Cheney." NBC pundit Tim Russert predicted an attempt to be the "gentler, kinder Cheney" in order to "neutralize the image of him that has been cast in the papers. I saw one description as Darth Vader, Doctor Death, all those kinds of things." By contrast, ABC's Claire Shipman was more even-handed: "In one corner, the Quiet Man: silver-haired, savvy, political pro. In the other, the Breck Boy: silver-tongued, sentimental political star."
[The MRC's Tim Graham submitted this item for CyberAlert.]
On CBS's The Early Show, Jim Axelrod asserted: "While Mr. Cheney, the administration's attack dog, may be the least popular U.S. politician since Richard Nixon, in his debate with Joe Lieberman four years ago he seemed cordial and collegial....Somber and reasonable...Senator Edwards must looked seasoned and ready to lead. No matter how many millions he won in the courtrooms of North Carolina, he is still just a one term senator with little foreign policy experience. Historically, vice president debates have had the excitement of watching paint dry."
Can there be a more vaguely worded attack than "may be the least popular U.S. politician since Richard Nixon"? Worse than Jimmy Carter? Earlier this year, Gallup's Joseph Carroll reported: "Compared with other vice presidents, Cheney's term average is quite similar to Al Gore's (62% for Cheney and 63% for Gore), but is much higher than Dan Quayle's, who averaged only 47% during George H.W. Bush's administration." For more, see question #1 at: www.gallup.com
Over on NBC's Today, reporter Campbell Brown began her taped piece this way: "The charming upbeat style of John Edwards."
A few minutes later, Matt Lauer asked Tim Russert if the seated roundtable format favors Cheney. Russert said yes: "But sitting at a table in an avuncular way, he hopes to neutralize the image of him that has been cast in the papers. I saw one description as Darth Vader, Doctor Death, all those kinds of things. He's going to try to be the gentler, kinder Cheney, and yet make a very full-front attack against John Kerry in an intellectual rather than emotional way."
On ABC's Good Morning America, Claire Shipman was more even-handed in her presentation of the two candidates: "The showdown. In one corner, the Quiet Man: silver-haired, savvy, political pro. In the other, the Breck Boy: silver-tongued, sentimental political star. Don't bet against either man."
Update: Drudge picked up MRC CyberAlert's look at NBC's "ILIE" lettering next to Bush's face, NBC News responded and on his show on Tuesday Rush Limbaugh discussed the NBC incident. [For those on the e-mail list, this item substantially matches what was sent as a "CyberAlert Special" at 6:23pm EDT on Tuesday. The Limbaugh portion is new.]
As anyone trying to access the MRC's Web site on Tuesday afternoon probably guessed, we were inundated with efforts to reach our site after the DrudgeReport (www.drudgereport.com) linked to Tuesday's CyberAlert item #3. Drudge's headline over the MRC's screen shot of what NBC displayed: "NBC Nightly News Puts 'ILIE' in Graphic Next to Bush's Face."
The CyberAlert summary:
Late Tuesday afternoon, NBC News responded to Matt Drudge who posted this response on his home page:
Indeed, the CyberAlert described as "inadvertent" the NBC screen shot of the "ILIE" by Bush's face, an angle not captured by the other networks. But, in a September 12, 2000 NBC Nightly News story on the "RATS" lettering in the Bush ad for a single frame, a fraction of the time NBC displayed "ILIE," then-NBC reporter Claire Shipman (now with ABC) was much less forgiving of the Bush ad team than NBC expects viewers to be of its "ILIE" display. Back then, Shipman ominously warned: "A marketing expert on the effects of so-called subliminal advertising says in his experience this sort of word flash is not accidental and it can be effective."
# Video clip. The MRC's Mez Djouadi has posted a RealPlayer video clip of the 20 seconds with the graphic in question on screen during Monday's NBC Nightly News.
To watch the video or to see two still shots -- one full screen and one a zoom-in on the lettering and Bush's face -- as well as to read the October 5 CyberAlert item in question: www.mediaresearch.org
# Rush Limbaugh: Near the end of his last hour on Tuesday, at about 2:50pm EDT, Limbaugh picked up on the Drudge posting. Limbaugh informed his listeners:
That would be us at the MRC who noticed it.
For the RushLimbaugh.com transcript in full, as well as audio of Limbaugh's comments and the screen shot captured by the MRC: www.rushlimbaugh.com
-- Brent Baker, with the overnight team of Geoff Dickens and Brad Wilmouth