CyberAlert -- 07/14/2000 -- Bradley & Gore: Forget the Past
Bradley & Gore: Forget the Past; NARAL Test; Bush Scolded as Racist Lout
1) Back on May 9 CBS and NBC reminded viewers of how Bush and McCain attacked each other in the primary season as Tom Brokaw asked McCain if he'd "endorsed somebody who's not qualified to be President?" But Thursday night the two networks stuck to the rosy image and refused to show how Bradley once denounced Gore.
3) "Making Light of a Dixiecrat's Dark Past," intoned the scolding headline over a Washington Post story about how the Bush campaign put out a joking press release about how Strom Thurmond said: "I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman." But six years ago the Post ran a lighthearted piece on Thurmond.
the Gumbel stuff all on one page. MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has put together
all the latest Gumbel material, from video of his "What a f***ing
idiot" outburst to the MRC's July 11 newspaper ads about that to
his most recent examples of liberal comments on the Early Show to the
MRC's compilations of Gumbel's bias from his NBC days. Go to:
Back on May 9 the CBS Evening News didn't include a negative word about Al Gore from George Bush or John McCain as Bob Schieffer showed primary season clips of the two Republicans attacking each other. Thursday night, July 13, however, after Bill Bradley endorsed Al Gore, Dan Rather noted how "the George Bush camp today pumped out some old, unflattering Bradley quotes on Gore," but CBS refused to inform viewers of them as Rather eagerly relayed how the two said they "stand against what they call 'Bush tax cuts for the rich.'"
Thursday night NBC Nightly News simply showcased Gore and Bradley saying complimentary things about each other and how Democrats are better for the country. NBC failed to mention Bradley's vociferous attacks on Gore earlier this year, but the night McCain endorsed Bush the NBC show featured an interview with McCain in which Tom Brokaw asked if he were disappointed that Bush failed to "condemn" Pat Robertson for saying McCain's temper would make him a "dangerous" President and had he now "endorsed somebody who's not qualified to be President in terms of foreign policy?"
Meanwhile, on ABC's World News Tonight, Terry Moran at least did observe before playing one old primary quote: "It could not have been easy for Bradley who had accused Gore of lying about his record during the primaries and whose disdain for Gore was at times palpable." FNC's Jim Angle ran three examples of Bradley denouncing Gore during a January debate.
Now back to CBS and NBC contrasts:
-- CBS Evening News. Dan
Rather delivered the entirety of CBS's July 12 coverage, which did not
include any soundbites, but was read over video of the Democrats lakeside
in Green Bay:
Compare that to Bob Schieffer's May 9 story in which he reminded viewers: "Bush flew in knowing he needs McCain to woo independents, but in truth both men dreaded this meeting and why not. Remember: They once promised never to go negative and shook on it [video of shaking hands at a debate]. But within days, Bush had called McCain a hypocrite."
CBS then showed a
soundbite of Bush from February 7: "This is a man who made his
campaign on going after lobbyists and insiders and yet he's raised more
money than anybody in the campaign from lobbyists and insiders."
-- NBC Nightly News.
Anchor Brian Williams announced the July 13 development, sans any negative
Opening the May 9 broadcast, though it had taken McCain two fewer months to come around, Tom Brokaw had stressed McCain's distaste for the necessary announcement: "The Pittsburgh meeting had been on the calendar for some time, but it was only recently that McCain decided to endorse. What one reporter called, 'taking your medicine now, not later.'"
NBC didn't question Bradley's enthusiasm, but here was Brokaw's first inquiry in his taped interview with McCain: "You described what you did today as, 'taking your medicine now, rather than later.' That doesn't sound to me like a ringing and enthusiastic endorsement."
As detailed in the May
10 CyberAlert, Brokaw then brought up Pat Robertson: "On NBC's Meet
the Press last Sunday, the evangelist and political activist Pat Robertson
questioned McCain's stability."
-- ABC and FNC. Thursday
night, July 13, ABC anchor Peter Jennings acknowledged all has not been
rosy between the two liberals: "In presidential politics today, well,
it's just the way it is. Four months after they fought a nasty and
personal primary battle, former Senator Bill Bradley has taken his
medicine and endorsed his party's nominee Al Gore."
Moran also pointed how unlike McCain and Bush, Bradley and Gore avoided a press conference which could have exposed their "bitterness." Maybe, but it's doubtful CBS or NBC would have cared.
On FNC's Special
Report with Brit Hume, reporter Jim Angle took some time to show how
Bradley had once denounced Gore: "Bradley quoted coach Vince Lombardi
as saying that victory is a team sport as he called on all Democrats to
unite behind Gore. Even that much couldn't have been easy for Bradley.
During the primaries he was outraged by Gore's tactics, and said
Angle soon pointed out:
"And Gore repaid Bradley's endorsement by praising the same Bradley
positions that he ridiculed during the campaign."
+++ See what CBS and NBC refused to show. Late Friday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of the part of Angle's story with the Bradley clips from earlier this year. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
The left-wing litmus test on abortion and a former government official maintained the White House could produce the e-mails it has so far failed to turn over. Thursday night's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC reported two items I did not see elsewhere:
-- Brit Hume noted on
the July 13 show, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "NARAL,
that's the National Abortion Rights Action League, the national
organization that promotes universal access to abortion, has released its
report card on what the group thinks of the possible vice presidential
candidates for the Democrats and Republicans.
For the record, these Republicans earned an F: Dole, Engler, Hagel, Kasich, Keating, Fred Thompson and Tommy Thompson.
These Democrats got an A: Durbin, Feinstein, Kerry, Leiberman, Mitchell, Richardson and Shaheen.
-- A bit later Hume
introduced a story: "A former Clinton administration staff member
says the White House could have produced those missing e-mails. The
testimony came in another hearing on the matter in federal court in
Washington. But White House officials say technical problems are holding
up the retrieval process, and it could be months before any of the lost
It's okay for us to joke around about a politician's segregationist past, but if a Republican candidate does we'll portray him and his staff as insensitive racist louts. In a front page of the "Style" section piece on Thursday, the Washington Post berated the Bush campaign for a joking press release making fun of Al Gore being "Truman-like" in blaming Congress. The release quoted Senator Strom Thurmond as saying: "Mr. Gore, I knew Harry Truman. I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman."
"Making Light of a Dixiecrat's Dark Past," intoned the scolding headline. Post reporter Michael Powell recalled: "It is factually correct that Thurmond knew Truman. In 1948, he accused Truman of 'stabbing the South in the back' by integrating the armed forces. A few weeks later, Thurmond broke with Truman and the Democratic Party and announced a third-party presidential challenge. Thurmond's party dubbed itself the Dixiecrats. Its raison d'etre was a defense of Southern white supremacy against the forces of integration."
But six years ago the same section of the Post featured a lighthearted piece on a birthday party for Thurmond in which the reporter recounted the sight of Thurmond downing 11 oysters and admired his agility at his old age: "He stands erect. His voice is strong. His blue eyes are clear. He hears just fine, without the aid of technology. He remembers names of aides, generals and constituents. He remembers their children's names."
First, an excerpt of the Post's July 13 story by Michael Powell:
George W. Bush's presidential campaign had a clever idea this week. It released a statement by Republican Strom Thurmond, the century-old U.S. Senator from South Carolina.
"In Al Gore's latest reincarnation, he claims to be Truman-like, blaming Congress," Thurmond says. "Mr. Gore, I knew Harry Truman. I ran against Harry Truman. And Mr. Gore, you are no Harry Truman."
It is factually correct that Thurmond knew Truman. In 1948, he accused Truman of "stabbing the South in the back" by integrating the armed forces. A few weeks later, Thurmond broke with Truman and the Democratic Party and announced a third-party presidential challenge.
Thurmond's party dubbed itself the Dixiecrats. Its raison d'etre was a defense of Southern white supremacy against the forces of integration. "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches and places of recreation," Thurmond thundered....
His 1948 candidacy -- which received 39 electoral votes--would become a founding stone of the massive white resistance to the civil rights movement. And...[ellipses in Post story]
"Let me stop you right there," says Ari Fleischer.
Fleischer is Bush's campaign spokesman, and he has just listened to a recitation of these facts. It misses the point, he says. Thurmond and Bush, he says, were trying to nettle Gore. Reporters, he says, "laughed uproariously" when they read the senator's statement.
"We are in a day when people make light of their past," Fleischer says. "The only people who've complained are the partisans at the DNC. And you."
Humor-challenged? That's a distinct possibility. Another possibility is that in America, historical memory is the first thing to go. That our amnesia makes us complicit in what politicians would prefer that we forget.
Amnesia is central to the mannered theater that is life in Washington. You see Thurmond walk the Capitol's marbled corridors, and you mentally launder his reputation. Think: cute old codger, elder statesman. A Beltway grandee who presided over his U.S. Senate colleagues (97 percent of whom are white) at the impeachment of a president.
Don't think: former white supremacist and segregation's champion. And don't read the history books like "Ol' Strom: An Unauthorized Biography of Strom Thurmond," by Jack Bass and Marilyn W. Thompson, because you might find something like this:
In 1948 the Supreme Court threw out South Carolina's white primary, decreeing that the party could not bar blacks from voting. This outraged Thurmond, who complained that "every American has lost part of his fundamental rights."
A Thurmond-controlled party convention quickly adopted an oath requiring that primary voters swear allegiance to racial segregation in religious, social and educational affairs....
Fleischer would simply direct a reporter's attention to the bottom line. "Thurmond indeed ran against Harry Truman. What more can I tell you? There's no 'there' there to your story."
As it happens, candidate Bush spoke to the NAACP convention on Monday, the same day his campaign released the Thurmond statement. Bush gave a fine and eloquent speech, and in the fifth paragraph he quoted Lincoln on history and remembrance:
"President Lincoln pleaded to our divided nation to remember that 'we cannot escape history....We will be remembered in spite of ourselves.' "
To read the entire
story, go to:
But by the Post's standard, it too was guilty of allowing "amnesia" to make "us complicit in what politicians would prefer that we forget."
Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, used Nexis to dig up an illuminating December 6, 1994 "Style" section piece by Mark Fisher, kindly headlined, "Not Over The Hill: Strom Turns 92 With an Eye on '96."
Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the piece:
It has come to this: Strom Thurmond, who turned 92 years old yesterday, and who has already held fund-raisers for his 1996 reelection campaign, favors term limits.
"It might be good to have fresh blood up here," Thurmond said last night at his birthday party at the Reserve Officers Association on Capitol Hill. "I think, overall, limits would be best for the country. Everybody might not be as good a man as I am in the Senate."
He stands erect. His voice is strong. His blue eyes are clear. He hears just fine, without the aid of technology. He remembers names of aides, generals and constituents. He remembers their children's names.
The next chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he has indeed heard of his party's vaunted "Contract With America." "Now I haven't read that contract, but I like what I've heard," he said.
The senator stepped over to the buffet last night and, before an aide gently pointed out that the photographers were having a field day, Thurmond scarfed up 11 raw South Carolina oysters.
Suddenly, the oysters, which had been sitting untouched at one end while shrimp were being sucked up by the dozen at the other end, became the center of attention. When a healthy, alert 92-year-old man eats oysters, you can forget the warnings about deadly microorganisms. You eat the oysters.
"Senator," asked a perky TV
reporter from back home in South Carolina, "what's your secret?"
Not exactly a condemnaton of his racist past, though the story did later give a sentence to how he was once a "segregationist."
A photo caption in the July 13, 2000 story complained: "In 1948 Strom Thurmond was a champion of segregation, a fact hardly anyone seems to remember, or care about."
Speaking of not caring about the past, how many times during the South Carolina primary do you recall journalists reminding viewers or readers that current Democratic Senator Ernest Hollings was the Governor of the state in the early 1960s when the Confederate flag was placed atop the State House?
dare you use the term 'Amcrash derailments,'" an e-mail writer
chided CyberAlert after reading the July 11 CyberAlert item which quoted
CNN's Jeff Greenfield advocating that some of the surplus be allocated
to railroads. Greenfield complained about how the U.S. does not "have
a decent rail system. We are about forty years behind, thirty years behind
every other industrialized country." To read the item, go to:
I had jokingly ended the article: "Just what we need, more Amcrash derailments."
I don't normally share reader comments about CyberAlerts, but this one came in to the MRC's general e-mail address, so is probably not a CyberAlert subscriber, and is so hyperbolic that I'd thought readers would find it amusing. I won't reveal the writer's identity, just his reasoning.
The writer insisted he's no liberal but demanded the "freedom to choose what mode of transportation you want to use. You shouldn't be FORCED to drive or fly. That's immoral."
Here's the e-mail in full:
In response to your statement and what Jeff Greenfield said, how dare you use the term "Amcrash derailments" in your statement regarding Jeff Greenfield's stand on having better trains. I may not agree with what a lot of these liberals say but he's got a point that America has no business having an inefficient rail system.
I am one of the millions of Amtrak riders
myself and I've never been in an accident but I have been on late trains a
number of times because of freight traffic due to recent mega-mergers. But
regardless of what your politics is, America deserves a better rail
system. That's a fact. Down in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush derailed a
bullet train projects days, days after he took office. The train was being
developed with both public and private money.
Now you may say, "Why should railroads be subsidized?" Well, I and many people believe that if roads (which are more costly, environmentally degrading, and not solving the traffic problems) and aviation (which is also costly, environmentally degrading, and not solving air traffic) get billions, billions in government funds, then railroad projects (which are the least environmentally degrading, least costly when compared to the other two, and more pleasant to ride) certainly deserve to benefit from more government funding too. Railroad passengers shouldn't be written off.
Amtrak would be a much better rail system if our government hadn't gipped it. Amtrak would have faster and safer trains if they had their own tracks (meaning freight trains wouldn't increase wearing and tearing) separate from grade crossings but again, the only reason why our government writes it off is because Amtrak doesn't make political contributions like the highway and aviation lobbies do. It's not Amtrak's fault that impatient drivers break the law, go around crossings, and contribute to accidents. It is the transportation issue why I'm not a Republican anymore because I've been so heartbroken by their actions lately. I thought conservatives believed in more freedom. That should include freedom to choose what mode of transportation you want to use. You shouldn't be FORCED to drive or fly. That's immoral. Despite the numerous support Gov. Gray Davis has been giving to the railroads in California I will never turn Democrat because they had achance to do something when they controlled Congress for so many years.
So I just wanted to express my views on this and if you're going to continue to be biased towards the railroads please don't use the term "Amcrash" anymore. That's very crude.
END Reprint of e-mail letter
Okay, from now on it's Slamtrak. -- Brent Baker
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