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CyberAlert -- 02/09/2000 -- "New and Nastier Bush Campaign"

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"New and Nastier Bush Campaign"; Today's Lauer Took on Buffalo's Bauerle

1) Peter Jennings opened his show by hinting at a surprise showing for John McCain: "Delaware didn't ignore him. Quite the contrary." But NBC's David Bloom insisted: "Tonight Governor Bush is expected to coast to victory in the little-noticed Delaware primary."

2) Monday night CBS's Dan Rather focused on "the new and nastier Bush campaign" while NBC's David Bloom corrected Bush's charge that McCain has raised more money from lobbyists than any hopeful.

3) Taking a shot at Today's Matt Lauer, who condemned his questions to Hillary Clinton, Buffalo's Tom Bauerle asserted: "I don't let people get away with explaining things away with a vast right wing conspiracy theory." In Hillary's last two appearances Today didn't ask any tough questions and gushed over her.


>>> Now online, the February 7 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's "bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media." Amongst the quote headings: "Tilting Right: A Political Disaster"; "Forbes, You're Far Out"; "CBS Finds the Far Right"; "An 'Evolving' Reactionary"; "Clinton: Victim or Martyr?"; "President Clinton, Racial Healer" and "How Dumb Are We, Larry?" To read this issue posted by Andy Szul from text provided by Kristina Sewell, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/notablequotables/2000/nq20000207.html
For other issues from this year and a link to the archive, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2000/welcome.html <<<

Correction/Additional Info: The February 7 CyberAlert stated: "Hollywood TV and movie stars have lined up overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton over Rudy Giuliani for Senate in New York, judging by FCC contribution records reviewed by USA Today." FCC should have read FEC, as in Federal Election Commission. The item noted how only one celebrity as traditionally defined, Charlton Heston, had donated to Giuliani. As one CyberAlert reader pointed out, during his appearances on the Sunday interview shows, Giuliani named Bette Midler as a donor to his campaign.

1

1Based upon exit poll numbers he did not relay to viewers at 6:30pm ET, ABC's Peter Jennings opened Tuesday's World News Tonight by hinting at unexpected success in Delaware for John McCain, slyly noting how "Delaware didn't ignore him. Quite the contrary." In contrast, over on the NBC Nightly News David Bloom assured viewers: "Tonight Governor Bush is expected to coast to victory in the little-noticed Delaware primary."

Meanwhile, all three broadcast networks played niceness cop, scolding the two campaigns for airing negative ads. ABC charged that a new Bush ad aired the "harshest charges against his opponent so far." NBC's Tom Brokaw claimed the two Republicans "are going after each other as if it's now a blood feud" while David Bloom suggested Bush is going negative in hopes of dissuading independents from voting.

Here are some highlights of the campaign stories from the Tuesday, February 8 evening shows:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened the program with dramatic news about McCain:
"Good evening. A funny thing happened on the way to South Carolina, the Republican presidential primary in the state of Delaware. It's never been politically important, but this year it's the backdrop for a Republican contest, McCain versus Bush, which was getting nasty yesterday and today is downright personal. John McCain didn't campaign in Delaware, didn't set foot in the state and while it's another small state, Delaware didn't ignore him. Quite the contrary."

Linda Douglass reported that figures provided by the McCain campaign indicated he would come in second, but lose by less than Bush lost New Hampshire. In fact, Bush beat him 51 to 25 percent, a 26 point margin while McCain topped Bush in New Hampshire by 19 points.
Douglass proceeded to note how McCain vowed to hit back at Bush aggressively and that Republicans are "alarmed" at a McCain ad comparing Bush to Clinton. McCain grew angry at Bush, she relayed, when Bush appeared on stage with a vet who claimed McCain doesn't care about vets, a move seen by many Republicans as real "blunder by Bush."

Next, Dean Reynolds checked in from the Bush camp, explaining how Bush had thought Forbes was his true opponent in Delaware but McCain emerged as a player even though he skipped the state. Reynolds then moved to Bush's new ad:
"Today in a new commercial the Governor leveled the harshest charges against his opponent so far."
Bush ad: "McCain solicits money from lobbyists with interests before his committee and pressures agencies on behalf of contributors. His conservative hometown paper warns: 'It's time the rest of the nation learns about the McCain we know.'"
Reynolds then concluded: "There was a time when South Carolina was seen as an easy win by the Bush campaign, but all that has changed and there's no clearer sign of that than the harsher and newer tone that the Governor has adopted."

-- CBS Evening News led with an Alaska Air update. On the campaign, Dan Rather hinted that McCain was doing better than anticipated in Delaware. From South Carolina Byron Pitts ran through the attacks leveled on each other by Bush and McCain, noting: "So now a tight race in South Carolina is turning mean. The weapon of choice for both men has become negative TV ads."

-- NBC Nightly News also led with Alaska Air and then got to the campaign. Anchor Tom Brokaw announced:
"It's clear the race for the Republican presidential nomination has dropped any pretense of politeness. Senator John McCain and Governor George W. Bush are going after each other as if it's now a blood feud."

David Bloom reported that "leading Republicans" want McCain to stop calling Bush untrustworthy as in a new ad McCain said of Bush: "His ad twists the truth like Clinton." Bloom added: "Even McCain supporter Bill Bennett" has asked McCain to pull the ad. After playing a clip of Bush's ad attacking McCain, Bloom contended:
"If the attacks and counterattacks turn off voters, that's precisely the point according to some political analysts who say Bush is trying to discourage independents and Democrats from crossing over and voting for McCain."
Following a soundbite from analyst Charlie Cook, Bloom concluded:
"Tonight Governor Bush is expected to coast to victory in the little-noticed Delaware primary, but South Carolina is the real Republican contest and in the past 24 hours this contest has gone from bare knuckles to brass knuckles."

2

2Monday night both CBS and NBC led with the Republican presidential battle. CBS's Dan Rather highlighted "the new and nastier Bush campaign" while NBC's Tom Brokaw announced that "Governor George Bush has come out swinging." NBC reporter David Bloom corrected Bush's charge that McCain has raised more money from lobbyists than any candidate.

Here are some highlights of campaign coverage from the broadcast network evening shows of Monday, February 7:

-- ABC's World News Tonight led with the budget and didn't touch the campaign until well into the show when it took "A Closer Look" at negative advertising. Bob Jamieson looked at how Bush is now portraying McCain as a Washington insider and himself as a "reformer with results." Bush, Jamieson relayed, has produced a new ad attacking McCain for first breaking the no negative advertising pledge.

Linda Douglass reviewed McCain's latest ads, referring to one as delivering McCain's "harshest attack yet" on Bush. In it, the announcer asks: "Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?"

But for all the network anxiety over negative ads, liberal analyst and network favorite, Katherine Hall Jamieson, told Jennings the ads so far this year are "tamer" than in past years.

-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather began the show:
"Good evening. Republican George W. Bush re-emerged today from seclusion in Austin with an image and message makeover -- this includes tougher attacks on the surging candidacy of Senator John McCain. McCain's reaction: ridicule of the new Bush line, which he calls quote 'desperation.' This comes amid fresh polls, if you believe them, showing McCain now not only cutting into Bush's lead in South Carolina but also in California. This after McCain's double-digit blowout over Bush in New Hampshire. CBS's Byron Pitts has the facts on the new and nastier Bush campaign."

Pitts explained: "George W. Bush didn't simply rest over the weekend, he re-loaded. He showed up in Dover, Delaware today energized, angry and armed with a new slogan."
Bush: "In this race there's only one person who can stand up and say 'I'm a reformer with results.'"

Pitts relayed McCain's counter-punch and played a clip of the McCain ad attacking Bush: "Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?"

-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw intoned at the top of the show:
"Good evening. The race for the Republican presidential nomination will all but certainly be decided in the next thirty days, ending with Super Tuesday, March 7, when more than a third of the convention delegates will be chosen, and tonight it is clear that George Bush and John McCain have dropped any pretense of a friendly fight. Following McCain's big win in New Hampshire, and with South Carolina now less than two weeks away, Governor George Bush has come out swinging."

David Bloom began: "Tonight Texas Governor George W. Bush stops just short of calling John McCain a hypocrite. The Arizona Senator launches a scathing new television ad calling Bush untrustworthy, and it's clear the two leading Republican candidates have all but abandoned their pledge to run a positive campaign..."

Bloom then outlined and shot down a Bush attack: "Bush says McCain, quote, 'preaches campaign finance reform and then passes the plate.'"
Bush: "....he's raised more money than anybody from lobbyists and insiders."
Bloom: "But on that count Bush appears to be wrong. In fact during the first three quarters of last year McCain raised less than $100,000 from lobbyists, Bush raised five times as much, almost half a million according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

Turning to McCain, Bloom relayed: "Tonight, amid charges and countercharges about who's distorting whose record, McCain launches the most personal attack yet, accusing Bush of reneging on his pledge to run a positive campaign."
After a clip of the "Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?" ad, Bloom noted:
"To bolster his charge that Bush is desperate in going sharply negative, McCain points to Bush's own pollsters who are calling voters in South Carolina, reminding them that McCain was reprimanded for his involvement in the so called 'Keating Five' scandal."

3

3NBC's Today on Tuesday morning brought aboard the media-made-infamous Buffalo radio talk show host, Tom Bauerle, to defend his mid-January questions to Hillary Clinton about an affair with Vince Foster and past drug use. (See the January 20, 21 and 24 CyberAlerts for details.)

Lauer treated Bauerle's questions as illegitimate and when the WGR Radio host suggested it would be appropriate to ask Hillary if she believes Juanita Broaddrick's rape charge, Lauer countered: "Her opinion on that subject, why does that make her a good or bad candidate for Senate?" Lauer later tried to discredit Bauerle: "Do you think that any perhaps pre-existing dislike for Mrs. Clinton or the Clintons on your part influenced your question asking during that interview?" Bauerle wrapped up one question by taking a shot at Lauer, who conducted the famous January 1998 interview with Hillary Clinton, but Lauer either missed or ignored the meaning of Bauerle's comment: "I don't let people get away with explaining things away with a vast right wing conspiracy theory."

This was Today's second look at the Bauerle interview. In a segment on it back on January 21, Lauer asked Newsweek's Jonathan Alter: "So if it's out bounds for a member of the press to say were you unfaithful to your husband, you must have really squirmed in your seat when it got more specific and it said what about with Vince Foster?" Alter agreed: "Yeah, it's just real, real low."

Here's a rundown of the questions Lauer posed to Bauerle on February 8, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:

-- "You are gonna hate me for asking you this but what were you thinking when you asked those questions to the First Lady?"
-- "So you really wanted to know personally as an individual if Mrs. Clinton had an extramarital affair? That's something that is of great concern to you?
-- "Well let's just get more specific then. Do you think a large number of people who may vote in this Senate race really want to know if Mrs. Clinton has ever had an extramarital affair?"
-- "On February 2nd I guess it was or February 3rd Marist College conducted a poll of likely voters in the senate race and they asked if questions about the marriage of either candidate and I guess they are assuming Rudy Giuilani makes it official, if questions about their marriage are appropriate, almost 75 percent of the people who were asked that question said, no, they are not appropriate."
-- "Tell me about the response from your listeners. What kind of response have you had since the interview was conducted?"
-- "What's off limits, Tom and now that we're gonna move this forward and get away from your particular interview, as this campaign continues what do you think might be off limits?"

Bauerle answered by raising subjects the mainstream media have not raised and that he also didn't raise with Hillary: "Well you're asking me to comment on a wide spectrum in a large continuum of possible questions. I would like to see somebody ask Hillary Clinton about you know $1000 to $100,000. I'd like to see somebody ask Hillary Clinton about Juanita Broaddrick and does she or does she not believe that her husband raped Juanita Broaddrick? I'd like to hear answers to those questions. Again we get back to credibility, we get back to character."
Lauer countered: "But I guess, let me hone in on that a little bit because the Juanita Broaddrick question for example. Her opinion on that subject, why does that make her a good or bad candidate for Senate?"
Bauerle noted her role as a feminist icon before Lauer moved on: "Would you ask the same questions you asked Mrs. Clinton to Rudy Giuliani?"

-- After Bauerle made a point about asking questions related to a candidate's credibility, Lauer queried: "And is that why then you went on further and you actually asked Mrs. Clinton whether she had used pot or cocaine, does that relate in your opinion to drug policy and the impact that a Senator might have on that policy?"
Bauerle reminded Lauer of the media's interest in Bush's drug use: "Well it seems to me that everybody except the sacrosanct Hillary Rodham Clinton has had to answer questions about possible substance experimentation in the past. Certainly you guys aren't gonna let Governor Bush get away with it. You guys hammer him every chance you get on that. So why should Hillary Rodham Clinton be any different just because she's the First Lady. Look I'm very honest with my audience and I'll tell you right now, say it on national TV I have smoked pot, I have never done cocaine. And I believe that if I were running for senate I would say the exact same thing. I would let people know exactly what they are getting, exactly what I've done and let them make a determination as to whether or not that is important enough, my faults, are important enough to vote against me."

-- Lauer then asked: "Do you think that any perhaps pre-existing dislike for Mrs. Clinton or the Clintons on your part influenced your question asking during that interview?"
Bauerle took a shot a Lauer: "Matt, I'm a talk show host, I am a talk show host. I have interviewed over the past almost 20 years thousands of people. And I have asked a number of those guests some very difficult and very tough questions. I don't lob softballs. And when somebody gives me an answer I try to follow up on that answer. I don't let people get away with explaining things away with a vast right wing conspiracy theory."

-- Lauer didn't address the point and ended the interview with this question: "It's a long campaign ahead, Tom. Would you expect that the First Lady would submit to another interview at your hands during this campaign?"

+++ See the face of the man behind Buffalo's controversial radio voice. Wednesday afternoon MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of the second half of this Today interview. Go to:
http://www.mrc.org
In the meantime, you can see Bill Clinton tell Roger Ebert his feelings for Ingrid Bergman: "God I wish I'd known that woman....She's just riveting." Remember, all our videos can be accessed at:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/biasvideo.html

Today can hardly be proud of how they've treated Hillary, but they probably are. She last appeared on the show on June 10, 1999, and Today failed to press her about any scandal or controversial matters, nor about Broaddrick though the NBC exclusive on Dateline had aired just a couple of months earlier. The appearance was so promotional that it prompted a special CyberAlert Extra, which reported:

This morning, June 10, NBC's Today brought aboard Hillary Rodham Clinton to promote its week-long effort to help the VH1 music cable channel publicize its "Save the Music" campaign to give used instruments and money to schools for music education.

Co-host Katie Couric asked Hillary about the Knicks and gave Hillary a platform to blast conservatives as "out of touch with the mainstream."

The 8am ET live half hour of Today opened with over two minutes of Hillary collecting musical instruments from the crowd outside the studio. Co-host Matt Lauer promised that "we are going to take those instruments and donate them to schools so we can return music education to public schools," as if it has been taken away.

Then it was inside for a nine-and-a-half-minute session of Katie Couric interviewing Hillary and VH1 President John Sykes. Hillary got plenty of time to explain the value of music education as Sykes stressed how "children and education" are "high on her list" of priorities and "she's been amazing."....

Couric soon got to what's really important, asking her: "Are you a big Knicks fan? Are you rooting for them?"

And the interview did not stick to the frivolous: Couric gave Hillary a chance to take a political shot at Republicans: "I think when you look at what's happening in the country today a Democrat is going to win this Senate seat to replace Senator Moynihan which is as it should be. Because the Democratic Party as we saw again yesterday with the way the Republicans treated the gun laws in the House of Representatives is much more in touch with the mainstream, not only of America but particularly of New York."

Couric failed to challenge her indictment of the GOP....Instead of pressing her with a challenging question Couric moved on to how she would present a $1 million grant later in the day to a school. As the segment ended Hillary got another opportunity to affirm: "And for kids. That's what really counts."

END Excerpt

For more details on this 1999 appearance, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990610a.html

And Today's 1999 kid-glove treatment of Hillary was hardly atypical. Her previous appearance on the show occurred on July 16, 1998 when Maria Shriver accompanied the First Lady on her "National Treasures Tour." But her gushing questions aboard a bus did not stick to that narrow topic, as she asked such things as:
-- "Do you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually different when you get out of Washington, get on the road?"
-- "You and I spoke right at the beginning of this second term. Now, with two years left, is it something you look forward to? Do you get out there and say 'I want to keep going out, I want to meet people, I have more stuff I want to do,' or do you look and go 'Oh, my God, two more years!'?"
-- "There's so much speculation now about what you're going to do. What Hillary Clinton's life is going to be after the presidency. Do you find that takes away from what you're going to do, or do you just like slough it off and pay no attention?"
-- "I've talked to several people and they came up and said 'She's so different than I thought she would be. She's so much more of a people person. She's funny, she's nice.' Do you think that, like, people don't get you? I mean you get out there and people see a different side of you."

For more on this scintillating interview, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1998/cyb19980717.html#3

This approach by shows like Today are why we must rely on a small city radio talk show host to do the job the network big boys and girls refuse to perform. It would have been better if Bauerle concentrated on Broaddrick, Whitewater, billing records and futures trading instead of an affair, but at least he sees his job as something other than promoting Hillary Clinton's causes and career. -- Brent Baker


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