CyberAlert -- 09/21/2000 -- Leno Covered Gore Gaffe That Brokaw Spiked

Leno Covered Gore Gaffe That Brokaw Spiked; Will Media Challenge Gore "Profiteering" Charge? -- Back to today's CyberAlert

Two items this afternoon:

NBC's news shows refused to inform viewers of a Gore gaffe -- singing a union song he claimed to have learned as a child though it was not written until he was 27-years-old -- but the entertainment division provided viewers with more information than Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams or Katie Couric.

And Jay Leno managed to do it despite the Olympics cutting his Tonight Show down to barely five minutes at 12:35am ET/PT, 11:35 CT/MT as an intro to late night Olympics coverage.

Here's part of Leno's monologue from Wednesday night as caught by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:

"Bob Costas said today because of the tape-delay NBC is having to put an emphasis on storytelling. You know, kinda like Al Gore.
"Well Al Gore is in trouble again. You know, we love Al, but you know he does tend to exaggerate. He was in Vegas the other day and he told the Teamsters, he told the Teamsters, that his mom used to sing him the song when he was a little kid: 'Look for the Union label.' You know that song? You know that song? He says a childhood lullaby, his mother would rock him to sleep going, 'Look for the Union label.' The only trouble is the song was written in 1975, when Al was 27-years-old! Oh man. You got Bush can't remember his college years, Gore can't remember his own childhood. What drugs are these guys on? Oh he also said when he was a kid his favorite singer when he was a little boy, Eminem."

NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams ignored Gore's union tale Wednesday night despite the fact Wednesday's USA Today prominently reported it. Not a word either Wednesday or Thursday morning on Today.

For more details on what Gore said, which outlets did report it and to see a RealPlayer video clip of CNN showing and then correcting the remarks, go to:

The text of a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check "Quick Take" written by Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project, and distributed this afternoon by fax:


Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Vice President Al Gore today repeated his politically-motivated charge that oil companies are "profiteering" at the expense of U.S. consumers. The TV networks let Gore get away with that bogus claim back in June, when the public was outraged by sharp gasoline price increases in Chicago and Milwaukee. On the defensive, the Clinton-Gore EPA launched a showy investigation into oil company pricing, only to be embarrassed weeks later when an internal Energy Department memo showed that the EPA knew its own environmental regulations were to blame for the price spike. (The Washington Times, July 14, 2000.)

Back in June, the naive networks treated the Clinton-Gore investigation seriously. "The White House has now put the oil industry on notice," CBS's Bob Orr warned on June 12. "If any evidence of price gouging surfaces, regulators will come down hard."

Gore says oil industry profits have risen in the past year, but that's hardly proof of gouging and he fails to add that oil prices were at historic lows in 1999 - so low, in fact, that Energy Secretary Bill Richardson implored OPEC to cut back its production to boost prices. (* See note below)

Rich Noyes, Director of MRC's Free Market Project, comments that "Until the networks either ask Gore to back up his claims, or investigate the truth for themselves, they're allowing themselves to be used by a presidential campaign that's made business-bashing one of its main themes."

* "According to former Saudi Arabian oil minister Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the United States, through Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, played a significant role in the OPEC-plus producer agreements to cut production that led to oil price recovery earlier this year." -- The Oil Daily, September 17, 1999.

END Reprint of Media Reality Check Quick Take

The video of the supposedly "racist" independent expenditure ad CBS News focused on last night is now up on the MRC Web site in RealPlayer format. Go to: -- Brent Baker

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