CyberAlert -- 02/01/2000 -- Can't Agree on Bradley
Can't Agree on Bradley; Reporter Stumbled into Liberal Admission
1) ABC and NBC reported that Bill Bradley laid off his attacks on Al Gore, but CBS's Dan Rather didn't agree. NBC's David Bloom contrasted how a "relaxed Bush has been frolicking across New Hampshire" while "McCain slogs from one rally to the next."
3) In an unusual approach, NBC's Tim Russert pressed John McCain from the right about supporting rape and incest exceptions on abortion, but then devoted twice as much time to hitting him from the left about how he wants to return to "back alley abortions."
4) Tom Brokaw acknowledged that with Gore "there's this kind of fiction that goes out there and then there's the reality," citing Gore's tobacco hypocrisy and Internet invention claim. But Brokaw has failed to tell Nightly News viewers about either.
February 1 edition of MagazineWatch, about the February 7 issues of Time,
Newsweek and U.S. News, is now up on the MRC home page. The subjects addressed
in this week's edition compiled by the MRC's Mark Drake and Tim Graham:
The three broadcast network evening news shows all led Monday night with previews of the impending New Hampshire primary, at least the ET/CT feeds did before news of the Alaska Air crash broke at about 5pm PT. That news consumed the entirety of prime time on CNN, FNC and MSNBC from 8pm ET forward, well into the early morning hours.
On the New Hampshire front, while ABC and NBC reported that Bill Bradley laid off his attacks on Al Gore, CBS's Dan Rather insisted: "Bill Bradley pressed ahead today with his new strategy of challenging Al Gore's character and credibility."
Despite polls showing a ten point plus lead for Gore, ABC's Peter Jennings characterized the primaries in both parties as "very close contests." World News Tonight also featured a segment with George Stephanopoulos talking with Jennings about turnout. CBS's Bill Whitaker explored the reason's behind McCain's success in the Granite State. NBC's David Bloom contrasted how a "relaxed Bush has been frolicking across New Hampshire" while "Senator McCain slogs from one rally to the next." NBC colleague Lisa Myers checked the validity of Bradley's charges against Gore.
Here are some notes and quotes from the January 31 evening shows to give you a feel for the coverage. All three delighted in showing the video of Gary Bauer falling off the stage during a pancake flipping appearance. First, the contrast over Bradley's statements and then some notes on each show:
-- Bradley backing off or boring in?
Claire Shipman on the NBC Nightly News: "After a weekend of stinging attacks on Al Gore, Bill Bradley turns down the volume today."
But in introducing a CBS Evening News story by Bill Whitaker on Democratic fears over the impact of Bradley's attacks on Gore's credibility, Dan Rather maintained: "Bill Bradley pressed ahead today with his new strategy of challenging Al Gore's character and credibility. Republicans love it. So some Democratic leaders are warning Bradley he is helping Republicans in the long run."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened the
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather described the Bush-McCain contest as "too close to call" before Bob Schieffer alerted viewers to the obvious: "With one day to go I think it boils down to Bill Bradley and John McCain fighting for their political lives."
Rather recited the latest CBS poll, which placed McCain at 39 percent, Bush at 35 percent and Forbes at 10 percent, before Bill Whitaker looked at McCain's strategy. Whitaker asserted: "He started off last summer as Senator Who but in this state with the motto 'Live Free or Die,' the image he crafted, a war-tested Harry Truman-like straight shooter, found an audience."
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw began by citing NBC's latest poll which put McCain over Bush by 38 to 32 percent and Gore over Bradley by 49 to 37 percent.
Looking at the Republican race, David Bloom portrayed it as a battle between a laid back Bush and a hard-working McCain: "For days now relaxed Bush has been frolicking across New Hampshire, dancing, snowmobiling, a photo-op with mom and dad. Meanwhile, Bush's chief rival, Senator McCain, slogs from one rally to the next, increasingly convinced that younger, less ideological voters, and the veterans who support him, will propel him to victory here."
Claire Shipman examined the Democratic battle and picked
up on Bradley's theme as she asked Gore on his bus: "Is there a
tendency on the part of Al Gore to sometimes stretch the truth?"
Shipman didn't contradict that, but soon cautioned: "Experts warn the infighting might do permanent damage."
Lisa Myers evaluated the charges against Gore leveled by
Bradley, using the always grating Kathleen Hall Jamieson, identified on-screen
as an "independent political analyst," as her expert. Myers and
Jamieson decided that Bradley was correct on both of his assertions: His claim
that Gore distorted his disaster relief votes and that Gore once opposed
abortion. Myers concluded by again raising concerns about how Bradley's
attacks could benefit Republicans:
Friday night, of the broadcast networks, only ABC reminded viewers of Bill Clinton's "liberal" slip of the tongue in his State of the Union address the night before, and ABC's Mike Von Fremd portrayed it as a boost to Al Gore. CBS's Bob Schieffer offered a glowing review of Clinton's proposals, but at least did note their expense.
On Saturday night, both ABC and CBS (NBA basketball bumped NBC) picked up on Bradley's charge that Al Gore has not always been pro-choice on abortion. CBS's John Roberts marveled at the subject matter on the January 29 Evening News: "The one thing voters here never thought they'd hear Democrats arguing with each other about is the issue of abortion." Indeed, the media fuel the story on the Republican side while having long ignored Gore's denial of a flip-flop on abortion. As Roberts noted, back in the mid-1980s Gore declared in a letter: "It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong."
ABC's Mike Von Fremd concluded a January 28 World News
Tonight piece, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
But you won't ever catch a reporter on his own referring to Gore as liberal.
On the CBS Evening News the same night, as transcribed by he MRC's Brian Boyd, Bob Schieffer painted a glowing picture of Clinton's proposals: "It was classic Clinton. Even his enemies call him one of the most adroit politicians ever, and he was on his game. As always he brought Congress a package of programs to solve most every problem. From HMO reform to prescription drugs for seniors, to stiff new gun controls, and help for education. All of it mixed with a passel of tax breaks including a proposal to end the marriage tax penalty."
Schieffer did later acknowledge: "Since the government prints only about $600 million worth of new money a day, Republicans joke that if all the President's programs pass, he'd literally be spending money faster than the government can print it."
In a refreshing and unusual approach for a major media figure, on Sunday's Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert hit John McCain from the right on abortion, but then he undercut his potential for a balanced presentation by spending twice as much time haranguing McCain on the issue with the standard arguments from the left.
During the January 30 show, Russert asked McCain:
This exchange and McCain's complete answer consumed 1:50. Russert then took nearly four minutes to press McCain with the usual liberal arguments relayed so often by reporters:
Russert: "A constitutional amendment to ban all
After McCain's lengthy answer, Russert countered:
The debate continued on for a bit more before Russert turned to the Elian Gonzalez case.
Later on the same Meet the Press Tom Brokaw agreed with Bill Bradley that Al Gore has trouble with the truth, but Brokaw has failed to inform viewers of his show about two whoppers from Gore that he cited as examples.
Talking about Bradley's criticisms of Gore for
distorting his record and denying an obvious flip-flop on abortion, MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed how Brokaw asserted during the January 30
show's roundtable segment:
Too bad Brokaw didn't bother to tell his viewers about either Gore claim at the time he uttered the preposterous assertions. Gore made the tobacco claim during the Democratic convention in August of 1996, but Brokaw didn't mention the reality that night nor on subsequent editions of NBC Nightly News. The Today show didn't alert viewers to Gore's hypocrisy until a January 24, 1997 interview with Gore conducted by Katie Couric.
Gore made his claim, "I took the initiative in creating the Internet," during a March 9, 1999 interview on CNN's Late Edition, but Brokaw didn't mention the outlandish boast on Nightly News contemporaneously and I don't believe has at any time since.
To see video clips of Gore's convention comments about
tobacco and/or his Internet claim, go to:
The second edition of the Web-posted MediaNomics report, from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), is now online. For the January 28 issue, FMP Director Rich Noyes filed two stories:
-- "CNN Earns Dunce Cap for Biased Newsroom Report. Two liberal public policy groups, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), got a lot of attention recently when they released a report alleging a sizeable and growing income gap between rich and poor workers. Their report received little critical media coverage, but perhaps none was as glowing as a pair of reports on CNN's Newsroom, a half-hour cable news program produced for use in classrooms all over the world....."
-- "Kudos...to CNN's Charles Feldman. All too often, it seems, the media fall into the trap of equating dollars with progress. But MRC news analyst Paul Smith caught CNN's Charles Feldman offering a contrarian position in a report that aired on The World Today on January 13...."
To read the entirety of either or both stories, just go
Time's Michael Duffy stumbled into admitting that he's a "liberal" as he endorsed, as making "a lot of sense," a Clinton proposal which he seconds earlier had said "liberals had to love."
Reviewing Clinton's State of the Union address on
Friday's Washington Week in Review on PBS, Time reporter Michael Duffy
asserted that much of it pushed "centrist" ideas. He then contended:
Let's have spending programs to equalize every inequality and let's start with subsidizing the TV careers of all print journalists so they have equal air time. After all, why should only some have the advantage of a soapbox on PBS from which to spout their opinions? -- Brent Baker
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