CBS Incessantly Applies 'Conservative' Label: 44 in Two Hours --2/6/2008
2. Liberal and Conservative CNN Analysts Chastise Conservatives
3. Voters Not as Enthralled with Kennedy Endorsement as the Media
4. Newsweek Touts an Eisenhower with 'Obama Fever,' an 'Obamacan'
5. Attending CPAC? Meet Bozell, He'll Sign His Book Thursday Morning
6. Letterman's 'Top Ten Ways to Make Super Tuesday More Exciting'
Opposition to John McCain from conservatives is clearly a proper topic of news analysis on an election night, but during its two hours of EST/CST prime time coverage of Super Tuesday, the CBS News team managed to apply the "conservative" label at least 44 times -- in several instances beyond anything about the conservative split with McCain -- yet never once uttered the term "liberal" during a night when two liberals faced off on the Democratic side. Jeff Greenfield and Bob Schieffer each tagged the same Senator, 25 minutes apart, with Greenfield calling Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn the "most conservative Senator" and Schieffer referring to him as "very conservative." Schieffer characterized the fissure between conservative activists/talk show hosts and McCain as a "split between...the very conservative establishment and the Republican Party." Schieffer later warned that McCain must "put out this fire" the "very conservative Republicans are waging."
No state, not even Massachusetts or New York, was liberal to the CBS crew, but shortly before 10 PM EST Couric announced "John McCain has won the deeply conservative state of Oklahoma" and she later listed McCain's win in the "very conservative state." In the next hour, Greenfield described California as "a conservative state for Republicans." (Announcing Obama's win in Connecticut a little past 10 PM EST, Couric simply said the state "has a strong anti-war sentiment.")
In that Schieffer comment quoted above about how the "very conservative establishment" opposes McCain, Schieffer saw an up side to being disliked by conservatives:
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
(From my observations, CBS clearly issued conservative labels at a much faster pace than the other networks. My 44 liberal label count is based on the closed-captioning text and my live and later review of much of the 9 to 11 PM EST coverage on CBS. Checking the closed-captioning against the video, I found a couple of missed conservative labels (plus a reference to "the right") and noted that seven were uttered by Mike Huckabee in his victory speech or in a subsequent interview with Katie Couric, so did not count those. It is possible I missed a liberal label, but there's none in the closed-captioning and I never heard one in watching most of the two hours live and then reviewing hunks of it later to produce the transcript below.)
Highlights of the conservative labeling, with the tags in ALL CAPS, in CBS's 9 to 11 PM EST February 5 Super Tuesday coverage:
# 9:25 PM EST:
KATIE COURIC: One of the big questions, I think, tonight, gentlemen, is something that's been looming over John McCain for the last month or so. Can he put together a winning coalition? Can he attract CONSERVATIVES? What are you seeing?
# 9:32 PM EST:
SCOTT PELLEY: McCain is doing well among people who call themselves CONSERVATIVE in the Northeast.....Moving over to Connecticut now, let's have a look at how John McCain is doing among CONSERVATIVES in the northeast. In Connecticut, voters who said they are CONSERVATIVE, John McCain just edges out Mitt Romney nearly dead even. But look at this, among people in Connecticut who called themselves moderates, John McCain wins handily over Mitt Romney. So McCain doing well among those who call them themselves CONSERVATIVE in the Northeast but, Katie, not doing so well in that group in the South, particularly in Tennessee where he lost them badly.
# 9:33 PM EST:
JEFF GREENFIELD, on McCain: He's got a whole lot of CONSERVATIVES on his side, ranging from Jack Kemp, the Godfather of supply-side economics, to Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Senator, maybe the MOST CONSERVATIVE Senator on a lot of grounds. But there are these people, particularly in the media, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingarham folks, who have no truck with him. James Dobson, the head of Focus on the Family, BIG CONSERVATIVE GROUP, has said in so many words, 'I will not vote for John McCain'"...
# 9:55 PM EST:
COURIC: CBS News, by the way, can now estimate that John McCain has won the DEEPLY CONSERVATIVE state of Oklahoma, which is a good sign for McCain who has had some difficulty wooing CONSERVATIVE VOTERS because they feel that some of his positions on being opposed to the Clinton [Bush?] tax cut, his positions on immigration reform and on CONSERVATIVE judges have turned them off. But this is a good sign for him, isn't it, Bob?
# 10 PM EST:
COURIC: CBS News projects McCain the winner in four winner take all northeastern states. Remember, it's all about the delegates. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware plus he takes Oklahoma, a VERY CONSERVATIVE STATE, a good sign of his ability to attract CONSERVATIVES.
COURIC TO HUCKABEE: But Governor Huckabee, haven't a lot of CONSERVATIVES and CONSERVATIVE TALK SHOW HOSTS and radio hosts really kind of crucified you for a variety of reasons, for raising taxes, for proposing college tuition for the children of illegal immigrants. You have your own problems with the CONSERVATIVE members of your party, don't you?
During CNN's Super Tuesday election coverage, both liberal and conservative commentators took shots at conservatives as liberal Paul Begala declared that Mike Huckabee "don't believe in evolution or photosynthesis or gravity or anything," and liberal Carl Bernstein declared that Republican candidates were "trying to satisfy Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham rather than the people of the country," while conservative Bill Bennett quipped that conservative opposition to John McCain is a "kind of Trotskyism," and a "purification" of the Republican party.
At about 8:15 PM EST, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper brought up the subject of "very personal attacks against" McCain from Focus on the Family's James Dobson, who declared his unwillingness to vote for the Arizona Senator earlier in the day. As Bennett explained that McCain would reach out to conservatives, he criticized fellow conservatives: "Frankly, I think these folks, and a lot of them are my best friends, need to move a little forward on their own. There's a kind of Trotskyism going on here, you know, purification of the party." Bennett went on to point out inconsistency in conservative talk radio hosts praising Democrat Joe Lieberman and inviting him into the Republican party, even though he is more liberal than McCain, while being tougher on the Arizona Senator.
At about 9:45 PM EST, former Bill Clinton advisor and current Hillary Clinton supporter Paul Begala talked about the tendency of Republicans primaries to usually feature a conservative and moderate candidate challenging each other before taking a shot at Huckabee, declaring: "Nobody is more conservative than Huckabee. He don't believe in evolution or gravity or photosynthesis or anything."
At about 11:15 PM EST, in response to a question from anchor Lou Dobbs' question about whether the Republican race was "over," CNN contributor Bernstein declared McCain the likely winner and criticized Republicans for trying to make conservative talk radio hosts happy: "McCain is going to get the nomination ultimately, but the question is: One, what is it worth? What does it mean? And all of these candidates are trying to satisfy Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, rather than the people of the country. And so the question becomes, is the Republican party going to come out of this thing in a kind of shambles that either Obama or Hillary Clinton can really exploit...."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of CNN's February 5 coverage of Super Tuesday:
# 8:15 PM EST:
ANDERSON COOPER: The battle for John McCain, moving forward, if he does very well tonight, I mean, there were some very personal attacks against him today. James Dobson on the Laura Ingraham radio show saying, "I'm convinced Senator McCain is not a conservative, and, in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has at times sounded more like a member of the other party. I cannot and I will not vote for Senator John McCain, as a matter of conscience." How does he make inroads among those conservatives?
# 9:45 PM EST:
PAUL BEGALA: Here's the thing where McCain is lucky. Always in the Republican party, it seems to me, there's a fight between a conservative and a moderate. There's Goldwater and Rockefeller. There's Reagan and Bush. There's Bush and McCain. This time, there's one moderate, McCain, and two conservatives. And so Romney wants to be the conservative, and the conservative poobahs like Limbaugh and Coulter and Dr. Dobson of Focus on the Family, they've all anointed Romney to try to stop McCain, but the voters got in the way. I love it. Sometimes voters just don't listen to the big shots.
LOU DOBBS: First of all, Carl, give us your thoughts. Is the Republican race, in your judgement, over?
Journalists were giddy with excitement last week over Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama, but a Rasmussen poll taken in the days afterward, which FNC's Brit Hume highlighted early Tuesday night, discovered more said the endorsement made them less likely than more likely to back Obama. Hume relayed how "34 percent of Democrats surveyed said Kennedy's support would make them less likely to vote for Obama. Thirty-three percent said it had no impact. Only 30 percent said it would make them more likely to support the Illinois Senator." And "if you throw in the Republicans and independents with the Democrats, the endorsement looks even more damaging" with 46 percent saying "the Kennedy nod makes them less likely to support Obama" and only 16 percent saying it made them more likely to vote for Obama.
The night of the endorsement, ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how "today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot." NBC's Lee Cowan radiated over how "the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters org: newsbusters.org ]
Hume's lead "Grapevine" item on the February 5 Special Report with Brit Hume about the national poll of 1,000 conducted January 30-31 for Washington, DC's Fox station, WTTG-TV, and the Washington Times:
Tuesday's Washington Times article on the survey, "Kennedy delivers little to Obama," by Stephen Dinan: www.washingtontimes.com
The broadcast network anchors and reporters were almost as giddy as Barack Obama over liberal Democrat Ted Kennedy's endorsement of the presidential candidate. ABC, CBS and NBC all led Monday night with it and ABC's David Wright adopted campaign slogans as he enthused about how "today the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny. The Kennedy clan anointed Barack Obama a son of Camelot." CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric teased, "Passing the torch: Barack Obama is tapped as the candidate to continue the Kennedy legacy." NBC's Lee Cowan, who earlier this month conceded "it's almost hard to remain objective" when covering Obama, showed he also has a soft spot for the Kennedys as he radiated over how "the endorsement brought the Kennedy mystique to this campaign, not in a whisper, but a roar." Viewers then got a soundbite of Kennedy yelling during the event at American University.
Later, on Nightline, with "New Son of Camelot" on screen over video of Obama and Ted Kennedy, anchor Terry Moran trumpeted the "new son of Camelot. Ted and Caroline Kennedy pass the torch to Barack Obama to carry the legacy of JFK." Moran soon hailed how "the political world was transfixed by the spectacle of the most powerful Democratic family of the 20th century christening a new torch bearer for the 21st." David Wright repeated his "the audacity of hope had its rendezvous with destiny" line before championing the "merging ideals from two different eras" as "Obama is now an adopted son of Camelot."...
For the previous CyberAlert article in full: www.mrc.org
"Barack + GOP = 'Obamacans'" declared the headline over a February 1 Newsweek online story with the subhead: "Some prominent Republicans have caught Obama fever." The topic of Richard Wolffe's article was a little like Vegetarians for McDonald's, with the star of the piece "dedicated" Republican Susan Eisenhower, a granddaughter to the distinctly non-ideological President of the Fifties. There are two problems. First, she's not much of a Republican. Second, this is the second time she's starred in an anti-GOP Newsweek piece in this election cycle.
[This item is adapted from a Tuesday posting, by the MRC's Tim Graham, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Susan Eisenhower is more than just another disappointed Republican. She is also Ike's granddaughter and a dedicated member of the party who has urged her fellow Republicans in the past to stick with the GOP. But now Eisenhower, who runs an international consulting firm, is endorsing Barack Obama. She has no plans to officially leave the Republican Party. But in Eisenhower's view, Obama is the only candidate who can build a national consensus on the issues most important to her'€"energy, global warming, an aging population and America's standing in the world.
"Barack Obama will really be in a singular position to attract moderate Republicans," she told NEWSWEEK. "I wanted to do what many people did for my grandfather in 1952. He was hugely aided in his quest for the presidency by Democrats for Eisenhower. There's a long and fine tradition of crossover voters."
END of Excerpt
For Wolffe's piece in full: www.newsweek.com
But Richard Wolffe (the frequent guest of Keith Olbermann) is having a little problem with definitions. Isn't it contradictory to be both a "dedicated" Republican and a "crossover voter"?
In fact, Susan Eisenhower is not really a "dedicated" Republican, if that means someone who always stands by her party. From the golden-oldies file, from the Los Angeles Times (October 26, 1986), a story by Marylouise Oates reported that Ike's granddaughter supported California ultraliberal Rep. Mel Levine. (His ACU scores at the time: 1985, zero, and 1986, five percent out of 100.):
The congressman, a former Republican who once campaigned for Nelson A. Rockefeller, has set up a committee of GOP voters to support his reelection bid, headed by honorary chairs Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of the late President, and Wickes Co. Chairman Sanford Sigiloff of television commercial fame.
The Republicans for Levine committee includes several City Council and school board members from Inglewood, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and other cities, along with former county Supervisor James Hayes, former Los Angeles Police Chief Tom Reddin and former Sheriff Peter J. Pitchess.
END of Excerpt
This is not even the first time in this presidential election cycle that Newsweek touted Susan Eisenhower as proof the Republicans were tanking. From the May 14, 2007 Newsweek, an article by Michael Hirsh began:
Susan Eisenhower is an accomplished professional, the president of an international consulting firm. She also happens to be Ike's granddaughter -- and in that role, she's the humble torchbearer for moderate "Eisenhower Republicans." Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency -- and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers -- is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP. Eisenhower says she could vote Democratic in 2008, but she's still intent on saving her party. "I made a pact with a number of people," she tells NEWSWEEK. "I said, 'Please don't leave the party without calling me first.' For a while, there weren't too many calls. And then suddenly, there was a flurry of them. I found myself watching them slip away one by one."
It ended with Eisenhower, too:
Even so, Eisenhower and other lifelong Republicans say they haven't heard much yet from the leading Democratic candidates that persuades them. "I can't tell you how many Republicans I've talked to who are thinking along radical lines" about deserting in '08 if they hear the right message, says Eisenhower. "It's a buyer's market. Make my day."
END of Excerpt
That's online at: www.prnewswire.com
As long as Hirsh mentioned the "international consulting firm," it should also be noted that Eisenhower was married in 1990 to Roald Sagdeev, an aide and space-program adviser to Soviet dictator/reformer Mikhail Gorbachev. If you're nerdy enough to want to see this "lifelong Republican" kvetch from the left in 1994 against Yeltsin and Clinton and about how Russia's fallen apart now that Gorby was gone, see an old PBS transcript here: www.cdi.org
Special Invitation to CPAC 2008 Attendees: Visit the Exhibit Hall on Thursday, February 7th at 11:30am to meet L. Brent Bozell III, MRC President and author of the recently published book, Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will. Brent will be there in person to sign your copy of Whitewash and to answer your questions about what he and co-author Tim Graham uncover in the pages of their acclaimed book:
# Sean Hannity: "This is the defining book that needed to be written on Hillary Clinton, and anybody who votes in 2008 needs to examine this thoroughly."
# Phil Brennan of Newsmax: "With this invaluable expose, Brent Bozell has broken through the soft curtain the media has kept between Hillary Clinton and the American people."
If you are planning to attend CPAC 2008 in Washington, DC, don't miss this chance to meet Brent Bozell in person and get your autographed copy of this fast and fascinating read, Whitewash: What the Media Won't Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will.
Amazon's page for the book: www.amazon.com
From the February 5 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Ways to Make Super Tuesday More Exciting." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. Pull the level and a delicious Milky Way bar comes out
9. One lucky voter wins a romantic Bahamas getaway with Mitt Romney
8. Add a Showcase Showdown
7. Postpone it 24 hours so you can rename it Super Hump Day
6. Replace Mike Huckabee with his cousin Huck Mikeabee
5. Ballot-countin' monkeys
4. Eat poopy
3. Halftime entertainment by Dennis Kucinich
2. Invite Sean Young to appear at victory speech
1. Put a Manning on the ballot
For video of Letterman reading the list, with a clip of Kucinich singing: www.cbs.com
-- Brent Baker