McCain Lashed Out Live; Brokaw Named Hsia; Gore "Mainstream" & Bush "Extreme"
2) Interviewing Al Gore CBS's Dan Rather refused to say the name "Maria Hsia," but NBC's Tom Brokaw focused on her after hitting Laura Bush from the left on abortion, questioning if Bush "can continue to win the support of women." Brokaw contended that soft money TV ads for Bush negate attacks on Gore's temple fundraising.
3) The "right" controls the GOP but liberals don't control the Democratic Party; Bush must "repair" damage done in SC; obsessing over McCain calling Bush "Clintonesque"; and though seeing no need for Gore to moderate, insisting Bush must move "to the middle."
5) Focusing on liberal marchers against Jeb Bush's efforts to eliminate Florida's racial quota system, CBS's Byron Pitts imbued them with the same moral authority as "the demonstrators in Selma 35 years ago who were beat back with night sticks and tear gas."
Shhh on Hsia in the news magazines too. The latest MagazineWatch, about the
March 13 editions, is now online thanks to MRC Webmaster Andy Szul. The first
item in the issue compiled by the MRC's Paul Smith with a late update from
Tim Graham: U.S. News & World Report and Time only briefly mentioned the
conviction of Al Gore's Buddhist temple fundraiser Maria Hsia. Newsweek
wrote nothing even though Howard Fineman focused on the GOP's plans to run
ads about the temple event. Time mentioned Hsia only as a loser in its
"Winners and Losers" feature with the message: "Gore ally found
guilty. Get ready for an autumn of Buddhist temple ads."
Correction: The March 7 CyberAlert relayed that when asked on Lifetime about going grocery shopping Hillary Clinton answered that "it's 'neat' to see the new stuff and meet her neighbors." In fact, Hillary did not use the word "neat." She actually replied in part: "It is so much fun for me to just go up and down those aisles and see what's out."
A display of John McCain's anger, live on MSNBC. As he walked through a crowd on his way to delivering his concession speech Tuesday night, NBC's Maria Shriver asked him "how do you feel?" McCain spun around and sternly commanded Shriver: "Please get out of here." The rebuke stunned MSNBC anchor Brian Williams.
The incident occurred at about 8:20pm PT/11:20pm ET. While Lisa Myers was answering a question from Williams he cut her off to go to Los Angeles and Shriver just in time to catch McCain and his wife walking through a crowd. As they did a 180 in order to go down some stairs they passed Shriver, who asked: "Senator how do you feel?" McCain replied: "What?" Shriver raised her voice at McCain who had passed her and again asked: "How do you feel?" followed by what sounded like "How does it feel?" though her exact words were muffled. At that point, just before he hit the stairs, McCain spun around to look back at Shriver, brusquely ordering: "Please get out of here."
McCain proceeded down the stairs and out of camera range as Shriver told Williams: "Well, there you heard it." A stunned Williams, clearly assuming McCain was seriously angry, observed: "Okay, a sharp rebuke there from Senator John McCain who I guess we can assume knew the circumstances and the correspondent there and nonetheless asked 'please get out of here' to our Maria Shriver posted in that hallway as John McCain goes into address the crowd there."
McCain could not have picked a much better media target to upbraid as far as conservatives are concerned. During 1992 Democratic convention coverage Shriver suggested President Reagan should be blamed for AIDS deaths. She asked AIDS sufferer Elizabeth Glaser: "You place the responsibility for the death of your daughter squarely at the feet of the Reagan Administration. Do you believe they're responsible for that?"
You can watch a video clip of that Shriver question on
the MRC's Dishonor Awards Web page. Go to:
If only McCain had re-directed his anger away from the Religious Right and toward the liberal media he might have won a few more primaries Tuesday night.
++ See how McCain lashed out at Shriver. Wednesday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a video clip, in RealPlayer format, of the McCain-Shriver confrontation as seen live on MSNBC. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
In prime time interviews Tuesday night with George and Laura Bush followed by Al Gore, CBS's Dan Rather went gentler on Gore than Bush as he refused to say the name "Maria Hsia" even as he raised 1996 fundraising abuses. NBC's Tom Brokaw uttered the first mention of Hsia's name on the network, outside of Meet the Press, since her conviction last week, pressing Gore about it. But he hit Laura Bush from the left on abortion: "Your husband is strongly anti-abortion. Do you think he can continue to win the support of women in the fall despite that?"
Brokaw contended that TV ads paid for by Bush donors negated his ability to criticize Gore over the temple fundraising. Carl Bernstein agreed: "He's lost the ability to really hammer away at the Buddhist temple because his sheets are not quite so clean."
CBS dedicated the last few minutes of the 9pm ET/8pm CT
60 Minutes II to back-to-back interviews with the winners of the night. As
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth, Dan Rather posed these questions to
Mr. or Mrs. Bush:
Next, Rather interviewed Gore, but note the somewhat gentler tone as he didn't suggest to Gore that the party nominated the "wrong guy." One foreign policy question just like he approached Bush, but no explicit question demanding he reply to Bush criticism of his policy record and the fundraising question was vague:
-- "Mr. Vice President, thank you for doing this
tonight. Is there too much bad blood between you and Bill Bradley to consider
him now for the Vice Presidential nomination?"
Less than an hour later Tom Brokaw interviewed both men,
plus Mrs. Bush, in a portion of the 10pm ET Dateline NBC simulcast on MSNBC.
Brokaw's questions to the Bush couple, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Next, Brokaw took on Al Gore:
As noted in the last three CyberAlerts, NBC Nightly News and Today have yet to mention Hsia's conviction last Thursday on five counts related to funneling donations through straw donors.
Dateline switched back to its regular tabloid fare and
Brokaw soon turned up on MSNBC to discuss his interviews with Chris Matthews,
who reminded Brokaw that Gore "seemed to be a bit caught in the
headlights when you asked the question about that infamous Buddhist temple
visit from '96."
Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame reinforced Brokaw's
(ABC landed the two winners for Nightline. Ted Koppel spent most of the Bush interview pressing him about Gore's gimmick idea of stopping all TV ads and debating twice a week. Interviewing Gore, Koppel asked if he would unilaterally disarm by not using soft money and then devoted most of the rest of the chat to questioning Gore about whether he really thinks Bush will accept the no TV ad offer.)
The "right" controls the GOP while liberals don't control the Democratic Party; Bush must "repair" damage done in South Carolina; CNN's Judy Woodruff obsessed over McCain's shot at Bush for being "Clintonesque"; and Tom Brokaw saw no need for Gore to moderate his views but insisted Bush must move "to the middle."
Here are some of the bits of bias picked up Super Tuesday night, March 7, by the MRC's super team of analysts on the nightbeat: Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Anderson, Paul Smith and Brad Wilmouth:
-- Al Gore is no liberal. Bill Schneider on CNN at about 7:10pm ET: "McCain has been challenging conservative domination of the GOP and conservatives are not going to give up without a fight. On the other hand, Bradley tried to rally liberal opposition to Clintonism in the Democratic Party and he got nowhere. The right holds sway over the Republican party while in the other party New Democrats reign supreme."
Maybe that's because Gore is already over on the left on most issues.
-- During a ten minute long Super Tuesday update aired
by ABC at 9pm ET, viewers heard this exchange about how Bush must
"repair" supposed damage from South Carolina and appeal to
McCain's liberal voters.
-- In the 10pm ET hour George Bush was pressed twice by
CNN's Judy Woodruff about how McCain denigrated him as "Clintonesque." Woodruff inquired:
Woodruff kept up the drumbeat: "But when Senator McCain says your campaign is so Clintonesque it's scary, that it sounds more and more like the Clinton campaign. There was a point not so long ago when you said that was just unacceptable coming from him."
-- Bush must move "to the middle." Tom Brokaw
never suggested that Al Gore may have to moderate his liberal views, but at
about 10:45pm ET he argued that Bush must. Referring to exit polls in
California, Brokaw maintained:
Gore strategy matches the media spin against Bush. On Tuesday night's evening shows two reporters outlined how the Gore team plans to beat George Bush.
On the NBC Nightly News David Bloom explained: "Even if he wins the Republican nomination the brutal primary fight has taken a heavy toll, bleeding Bush of his huge cash advantage over Gore. And McCain's charges that Bush is a captive of the religious right and ill prepared to be commander in chief are sure to be exploited by Gore this fall."
Over on the CBS Evening News John Roberts relayed:
"But with the campaign machine on autopilot his closest advisers are
already posturing for the general election, spinning Gore as the mainstream
candidate and George Bush as extreme."
Funny, the Gore plans seem to overlap quite well with the anti-Bush spin which has dominated reporting over the last few weeks.
imbued a pro-quota rally against Florida Governor Jeb Bush with the moral
righteousness of those in the 1960s who marched for voting rights. Anchor Dan
Rather introduced a March 7 CBS Evening News piece:
Pitts began: "Men, women and children by the thousands took a page out of history when they took to the streets of Tallahassee this morning." Pitts reminded viewers that the march in Selma for the right to vote took place 35 years ago. After showing a guy at a podium shouting "no more Bush, no more Bush, no more Bush," Pitts claimed that with 10,000 marchers it was the "largest demonstration in state history."
Viewers then saw a soundbite of Jesse Jackson denouncing Jeb Bush for issuing an executive order ending racial preferences in state college admissions and in the awarding state contracts. Pitts did acknowledge that polls show most Floridians support Jeb Bush's decision and Pitts played a clip of Bush in his state of the state address asserting that the number of minorities in colleges and receiving state contracts last year was higher than the year before.
But Pitts concluded by equating the Florida protesters with those in Selma: "Backed by a Republican-led legislature, few believe Bush will be swayed by the protests and passions of people who didn't put him in office in the first place. But like the demonstrators in Selma 35 years ago who were beat back with night sticks and tear gas, those who gathered today said they'll be back here or in court."
Pitts failed to point out any of the major differences in the two causes. Thirty-five years ago people marched against the policies of a Democratic Party-controlled state government in a quest to gain a basic civil right. Those protesting Tuesday were marching against a Republican Governor's efforts to reduce state-sanctioned racial discrimination.
Did network news coverage of the McCain and Bush tax cut plans favor McCain's agenda. Yes, determined a just-released study from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP). It found that in the six months leading up to the New Hampshire primary the "evening news broadcast quotes from 58 talking heads, but only one expert -- the director of a liberal public policy group" while no conservative was given a soundbite and "network reporters frequently labeled Bush's plan as 'big' and 'huge,' language that bolstered McCain's charge that a large tax cut was fiscally irresponsible."
Here's the executive summary of the study conducted by FMP Director Rich Noyes:
When Bigger Isn't Better
It's puzzled pundits and confounded commentators: Why have many Republicans been eager to embrace the candidacy of Sen. John McCain, who makes a great show of the fact that he's proposed the smallest tax cut of any major Republican presidential candidate in a generation? Could it be because the national media have portrayed tax cuts as all risk and no reward?
To shed some light on the issue, the Media Research Center's Free Market Project reviewed every story on the ABC, CBS or NBC evening news that either featured or referenced the GOP tax-cut debate during the six months leading up to the New Hampshire primary (August 1 to January 31). The total sample consisted of 36 stories -- 31 field reports and five anchor-read briefs -- most of which aired during the final four weeks of the GOP primary campaign.
The key findings:
-- One Liberal Expert: The evening news broadcast quotes from 58 talking heads, but only one expert -- the director of a liberal public policy group who bashed George Bush's tax-cut plan;
-- Zero Conservative Experts: No conservative experts were quoted or cited in any GOP tax-cut story;
-- The Forbes Shut Out: Steve Forbes's flat-tax proposal, which was mentioned in 96 evening news stories four years ago, got just two passing references this year;
-- Bigger Is Badder: Network reporters frequently labeled Bush's plan as "big" and "huge," language that bolstered McCain's charge that a large tax cut was fiscally irresponsible;
-- No Room for Optimism: No network correspondent questioned whether McCain's budget projections were too low, even after the notoriously pessimistic CBO upped its surplus estimates by $1 trillion in late January.
"As it was shown on the evening news, the debate seemed to be about whether Bush's plan cut federal revenues too much, creating the possibility of future deficits. According to this framework, McCain's approach seemed prudent, and Bush's seemed risky. The fact that reporters themselves often echoed the same concern's about Bush's plan gave McCain an advantage in that debate," writes Richard Noyes, Director of MRC's Free Market Project.
END reprint of executive summary
For the full study, complete with quotes and graphs, go
Look in the March 20 Fortune magazine for an article about this analysis. -- Brent Baker
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