CyberAlert -- 08/11/2000 -- Did Clinton "Bare His Soul"?
Did Clinton "Bare His Soul"?; Cheney vs. Lieberman Contrast in AM; Anti-Semitic Bush Voters; "Snipers Wanted"
2) CBS's Bill Whitaker refused to label Ralph Nader a liberal as he tagged Lieberman a "moderate." CNN's Bill Schneider insisted Gore and Lieberman "represent the most conservative Democratic ticket in fifty years." Meanwhile, Americans for Democratic Action described Lieberman's 77 percent rating as "pretty liberal."
3) Joe Lieberman has already abandoned two of the three positions which supposedly made him a moderate, FNC's Brit Hume noted, but ABC, CBS and NBC still furthered the myth that Lieberman and Gore disagree on significant matters.
4) Unlike with Dick Cheney, morning show interviewers did not demand Joe Lieberman defend any "outside the mainstream" votes. Back on July 27 Cheney's conservative record was portrayed as a hindrance to attracting independent and women voters, a concern the same interviewers did have for Lieberman's liberal record.
5) Carl Bernstein: "Those people who would refuse to vote for a Jewish candidate probably would be inclined...to vote for the Bush ticket." Newsweek's Evan Thomas agreed. But the first anti-Semitic blast came from the black far-left and CBS turned to Jesse "Hymietown" Jackson for expert comment on enlightened tolerance.
6) More media fretting over Bush and the death penalty. "One of the issues that has dogged Governor Bush throughout the campaign is the number of executions in his state," Katie Couric asserted, claiming a particular execution "has many outraged."
GOP Convention NQ. The August 7 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's
bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes
in the liberal media, is now online after a bit of a production delay
caused by our convention analysis last week. Among the quote headings in
the issue which provides a compact collection of the worst bias from
Republican convention coverage: "Mandela Imprisoned by Cheney?";
"Churlish Cheney Charges"; "Platform Failed to Please
Liberals"; "Powell: GOP's Uncle Tom"; "Blacks Should
Still Fear GOP"; "Tolerance Held Hostage"; "Cheney:
'Hard Right' Isn't Sexy"; "Lashing Out at Loony Lynne" and
"Bush's 'Compassion' Claims Contradicted By Conservatism." To
read the issue, go to:
Correction: Wednesday night on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, Hume corrected an item from Tuesday's show which the August 9 CyberAlert had quoted: "Last time we reported that despite Al Gore's insistence in an interview with Tom Brokaw that he agreed at the time with Joe Lieberman's famous speech calling President Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky quote, 'immoral,' we could find no such agreement. Further research, however, has shown that he called the President's conduct, said Mr. Gore, quote, 'indefensible' in September, even before Lieberman's speech, and that he called it quote, 'wrong' the next month. We stand corrected." So does CyberAlert and we withdraw our quip about Tom Brokaw.
"It's not often that you get to hear a President bare his soul," ABC's Charles Gibson dramatically announced at the top of Thursday's World News Tonight as if Bill Clinton had really revealed some inner secrets. The substitute anchor soon explained how, at a forum earlier in the day in Illinois, Bill Clinton had exposed his "personal struggle for religious redemption."
CBS and NBC also allocated unchallenged time to playing some of Clinton's comments before a group of ministers, though CBS held itself to a regular-length soundbite while ABC and NBC aired lengthy clips totaling about a minute and a half, an eternity in TV time. CBS's Russ Mitchell helpfully spun it to the Gore camp's delight as Clinton "taking blame and distancing Gore from the Monica Lewinsky case." Clinton delivered a "candid confessional about what he's gone through since the Monica Lewinsky scandal," insisted NBC Nightly News anchor Katie Couric.
None suggested a political motivation behind his comments though all featured his claim that "no fair-minded person would blame" Gore "for any mistake that I made."
Here's how the broadcast network evening shows of August 10 handled the event:
-- ABC's World News
Tonight led with it. Anchor Charles Gibson opened the broadcast:
Reporter Jackie Judd didn't get to say much as her piece showed a compilation of comments from Clinton which totaled 1:31.
-- CBS Evening News.
About half way through the newscast, which led with the wild fires in the
West, anchor Russ Mitchell handled the short item:
Mitchell followed up: "The President also said he is still coming to terms with his failings and still seeks forgiveness for them."
-- NBC Nightly News went first with an FAA report on how flight delays are actually declining. Later, anchor Katie Couric set up an "In Their Own Words" segment devoted to Clinton: "President Clinton visited a group of evangelical ministers outside Chicago today and his visit turned into a very personal and candid confessional about what he's gone through since the Monica Lewinsky scandal." Clinton's 1:26 of NBC airtime began: "I feel much more at peace than I used to. I'm now in the second year of a process of trying to totally rebuild my life from a terrible mistake I made. I have to come to terms with a lot of things about the fundamental importance of character and integrity...."
That's the understatement of the year.
Joe Lieberman is a "moderate," declared CBS's Bill Whitaker as well as MSNBC's Forrest Sawyer and, asserted CNN's Bill Schneider, he makes up half of "the most conservative Democratic ticket in fifty years."
Even as some columnists dug out more evidence about how Joe Lieberman is much more liberal than moderate, the networks have continued to distort his record. Here are some fresh examples since the ones listed in the August 9 CyberAlert:
-- In an August 10 CBS Evening News story on George Bush campaigning in California with John McCain as a poll shows a tight race in the Golden State, Bill Whitaker asserted: "With the selection of moderate Joe Lieberman and staging the convention in Los Angeles, Vice President Al Gore is signaling he's putting up a big fight for this biggest state."
Concluding the story, Whitaker refused to describe Ralph Nader as liberal: "And then there's the Ralph Nader factor. A recent California poll showed the Green Party candidate grabbing about ten percent of the vote here, and almost all of that siphoned away from Vice President Al Gore."
Compare Whitaker's "moderate" tag for Lieberman with how he painted Dick Cheney. The day Bush officially announced Cheney, July 25, Whitaker managed three different adjectives, tagging Cheney "a bedrock conservative" and "a rock-solid conservative" with a "a solidly conservative voting record." Whitaker also relayed how Democrats are "planning to paint him as too far right and wrong for the country." The next night he referred to "Dick Cheney's rock solid conservative record." The night of Bush's convention address Whitaker recalled "Dick Cheney's rigid-right congressional votes."
-- On CNN's Inside Politics on Thursday from inside the Staples Center, CNN political analyst Bill Schneider ruminated: "The most interesting thing about Clinton is he's a real hero in Hollywood. They love this guy. It has nothing to do with his politics. His politics, in a way he's betrayed liberals at every turn: welfare reform, the death penalty, balancing the budget, which they don't care much about. What they love him for is his values. He's a child of the '60s, the first President to come out of the culture of the '60s. That's why a lot of people in Hollywood love him and that's why most conservatives hate him. But in Hollywood he's a hero. Gore and Lieberman are not heroes to Hollywood. They represent the most conservative Democratic ticket in fifty years."
I thought Clinton-Gore in '92 were the media's "conservative" ticket.
-- MSNBC anchor Forrest Sawyer, filling in this week on The News with Brian Williams, keeps tagging Lieberman as a "moderate," MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed. Monday night he preposterously referred to "the socially conservative, politically moderate Senator." Tuesday night he observed: "Remarkably, the politically moderate Senator has entered the campaign to general praise from both parties." That led into the same Claire Shipman piece which the August 9 CyberAlert had quoted from the August 8 NBC Nightly News: "Lieberman quoted from the Bible, praised Al Gore as a man of character and took a jab at George W. Bush and his suggestion that Lieberman's conservative Democratic views are close to Bush's."
Wednesday night Sawyer, unlike CBS's Whitaker, realized how Nader stands on the left, but still refused to apply the same label to Lieberman: "In a tight race with George W. Bush, Al Gore could lose some important swing votes to the more liberal Nader especially now that Gore has chosen a more conservative Joe Lieberman as his running mate."
So how "moderate" is Lieberman? As detailed in the August 8 CyberAlert, he earned a lifetime "Liberal Quotient" of 77 from the Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) for his votes since 1989. As a way of comparison, House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt has received 71 percent approval from the liberal group over his congressional tenure. In 1999, Lieberman was assessed 95 percent from ADA while the American Conservative Union (ACU) gave him a zero for that year, making him one of the Senate's eight most liberal Senators in 1999. His lifetime ACU rating: 19 percent.
Picking up on that 77 percent ADA number, Washington Times columnist Donald Lambro quoted "ADA chief Amy Isaacs" on Thursday as proclaiming that rating "is pretty liberal...It's higher than Gore's."
Robert Novak argued in his column in the August 10 Washington Post that while Lieberman talks "the moderate talk, he walks the liberal walk. The news media description this week of a centrist, moderate or even conservative misrepresented a party regular who more often than not is a conventional liberal."
Indeed, Novak pointed out that "while Lieberman's comments occasionally infuriate the National Education Association, the teachers' union rated his 1999 voting record at 90 percent. That compares with a 100 percent report card by the National Abortion Rights Action League."
For additional ratings
data and examples of the media mislabeling Lieberman, check out all three
items in the August 8 CyberAlert:
And item #5 in the
August 9 CyberAlert:
Maintaining the myth of Joe Lieberman as a "centrist" or a "moderate" requires him to appear to disagree with Al Gore on some major issues, a duplicitous effort the broadcast networks compliantly played along with Wednesday morning and night. (See item #4 below for details on the morning show interviews.)
But, as Brit Hume pointed out on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume on Wednesday night, Lieberman has already switched to the left-wing position on two major issues. Hume explained on August 9: "So far Senator Joseph Lieberman appears to have abandoned two of the positions on which he disagreed with Vice President Gore. His staff is now saying he's moved away from support for experimental school vouchers. He has clearly dropped his support for partial privatization of Social Security. Lieberman claim he had already abandoned that position before Gore tapped him and aides are passing out an article by Lieberman to prove. The article, though never published, was supposedly written in June."
Nonetheless, that same night ABC, CBS and NBC touted Lieberman's disagreements with Gore as an asset to the ticket and a tribute to Gore's political courage.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson introduced an August 9 World News Tonight story: "In Tennessee today Al Gore and his running mate Joe Lieberman hit the campaign trail. Mr. Gore said he's not afraid to have a Vice President who disagrees with him on some issues which Senator Lieberman does."
CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather declared that "Gore and Lieberman again stressed that their shared values, including tolerance, matter more to mainstream Americans than any differences they've had over the years on issues."
Over on the NBC Nightly News, Katie Couric noted how Al Gore said he's "not afraid of disagreements" with his running mate.
Wednesday morning Gore and Lieberman appeared together, from a Nashville rooftop, on all three morning shows, but unlike Dick Cheney, the network hosts did not dig back into Lieberman's record and demand he defend any "outside the mainstream" votes. Back on July 27 the morning interviewers also portrayed Cheney's conservative record as a hindrance to attracting independent and women voters, a concern the same interviewers did have for Lieberman's liberal record.
"People are talking about your conservative record while a Congressman from Wyoming and saying that perhaps that conservative record will not help to attract swing voters like minorities and women," Today's Matt Lauer told Cheney before going down a list of votes which upset liberals and demanding Cheney explain each, as if there was something wrong with holding such conservative views. Similarly, CBS's Jane Clayson hit Cheney from the left on The Early Show: "When you were in Congress you had a very conservative voting record, how will you and Governor Bush appeal to the more moderate Republicans and perhaps more importantly independents?" She tagged him "a hardline conservative."
For more on the
hostility toward Cheney, go to:
Now compare their approach with Cheney to how they treated Lieberman on August 9. On the upside, ABC and NBC did raise the issue of a double standard on mixing religion and politics between the reaction to Lieberman citing God and what would have happened had Bush done the same:
Jack Ford's questions on
Good Morning America:
Bryant Gumbel on CBS's
The Early Show, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
Katie Couric on NBC's
Today, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
Journalists have been casting aspersions all week at how Gore's pick of Joseph Lieberman won't hurt Democrats because anti-Semites are Republicans who already plan to vote for Bush. The slimey shot at Lieberman by an NAACP official, however, confirms a fact noted in the August 9 CyberAlert that a poll showed how there's a large pocket of anti-Semitism among blacks.
The last CyberAlert reported that while interviewing liberal former New York Governor Mario Cuomo on Tuesday, Bryant Gumbel slyly inquired: "Do you fully expect Republicans, however quietly, however strategically, to try to make it [Lieberman's Jewish faith] an issue?"
The very next day Lee Alcorn, head of the Dallas chapter of the NAACP, said in a radio interview: "I think we need to be very suspicious of any kind of partnerships between the Jews at that kind of level because we know that their interest primarily has to do with money."
All the networks featured that soundbite Wednesday night, but only CBS followed up with the epitome of tolerance, Jesse Jackson. Immediately after the Alcorn bite, on the CBS Evening News John Roberts played this clip from Jackson: "We're going to hear more expressions of darkness but we'll also hear more expressions of light because there are some people who are not enlightened."
Huh? Didn't he once refer to New York City as "Hymietown"? Now he's CBS's expert on enlightened tolerance.
Tuesday night on
CNBC's Rivera Live veteran reporter Carl Bernstein of voter.com assumed
all anti-Semites are on the right:
Lieberman was picked Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas
claimed he wouldn't cost Gore any liberal votes. Check out this exchange
from Inside Washington over the weekend:
There's no evidence voters care about the Texas death penalty, but the media sure do. The impending Wednesday night executions of two men, the lawyer for one of whom claimed he was mentally retarded, set off another round of impassioned network segments.
Wednesday's Today featured a story and interview segment while ABC's Good Morning America ran just an interview segment. That night, both networks aired stories tied to the Texas case while CBS ignored the whole matter.
Katie Couric introduced the August 9 NBC Nightly News report: "One of the issues that has dogged Governor Bush throughout the campaign is the number of executions in his state, Texas. Tonight, two more inmates are scheduled to die, the 27th and 28th this year. And there's plenty of controversy."
That morning she
complained on Today, as observed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
"Two convicted killers are set to be put to death tonight in Texas as
the nation's busiest death chamber. But the execution of one of them has
FNC picked up Thursday night on CBS's apology for a very bad joke which advocated the killing of George W. Bush. It aired last Friday on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn. "Snipers Wanted" read text in the bottom left corner of video of Bush delivering his convention address the night before as Kilborn made a joke about the speech during his "In the News" segment.
The AP's Lynn Elber
reported Wednesday night: "'This graphic, which was not accompanied
by any remarks from Mr. Kilborn, should not have been included in the
telecast and is not consistent with our broadcast standards,' CBS said in
On Thursday's Fox Report
anchor Shepard Smith, over some video of the offending graphic, read a
brief item on the apology:
+++ See the "Snipers Wanted" footage from the CBS late night program as shown by FNC. Friday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post a RealPlayer clip of FNC's brief report. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
(Even if you don't have RealPlayer, you can still see a picture of the footage with the "Snipers Wanted" graphic.)
This incident reminded
me of Alec Baldwin's "I'm going to stone Henry Hyde to death!"
outburst on the December 11, 1998 Late Night with Conan O'Brien on NBC. To
watch that video, go to:
David Letterman is trying to get Bush agree to a debate on his show. Al Gore has already said yes. This incident on a program produced by Letterman's company certainly won't help. -- Brent Baker
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