CyberAlert -- 10/13/2000 -- Lauer Lambasted Lieberman

Lauer Lambasted Lieberman; Clinton Nobel Lobbying?; The Contender Film Made Pro-Gore?; Biased Fox News -- Back to today's CyberAlert

1) On Friday's Today Matt Lauer pressed Joe Lieberman repeatedly on how the Gore-Lieberman attacks on Bush as a "bumbler" and on his Texas record contradict the promise of a positive campaign.

2) Clintonistas hired a PR firm in Norway to lobby for Bill Clinton to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Fox News Channel's Rita Cosby disclosed Thursday night.

3) Actor Gary Oldman has accused Clinton-supporting film producers of turning The Contender into a pro-Gore "piece of propaganda." He plays a Republican Senator who grills a female VP nominee about her sex life. Katie Couric declared: "Gary Oldman's character was so revolting."

4) USA Today's TV critic complained about "how slanted Fox's news coverage tends to be."


Today's Matt Lauer grilled Democratic VP contender Joe Lieberman this morning, October 13, about how his attacks on Bush and his Texas record contradict the Gore-Lieberman promise to run a positive campaign.

After discussing the Middle East situation for a few minutes, Lauer switched to the campaign. MRC analyst Paul Smith took down how Lauer pressed Lieberman:

Lauer: "You're in Texas on what is being called a 'failed leadership tour.' Failed leadership tour, is this what Al Gore promised us in the way of a campaign that was focused on the positive?"
Lieberman answered: "Well, the important point here is that Al and I have said we are not going to issue a negative personal attack on either of our opponents. As he said in the debate the other night, George Bush is a good man but we think his priorities as reflected in his record here in Texas are bad."
Lauer countered: "Not a personal attack. Let me read you a couple of words and phrases that have come out of the Gore-Lieberman campaign in the last couple of days. 'Bush's bumbling babblings,' 'Bush lite,' 'Bush bloopers.' These are all part of advertisements, Web sites or documents from the Gore-Lieberman campaign in the last week."
Lieberman: "Well, you know, it's a big campaign. I have not said any of those words and I won't because they certainly border on the personal. Of course on the other side..."

Lauer pressed again: "But does it makes sense for you to say you won't say them when you know the campaign is saying them?"
Lieberman: "Well, look, look at what the Republicans have been saying about Al Gore. They take the slightest misstatements and Governor Bush and Al both in the heat of the campaign missed a fact or two here and make it into a challenge to his credibility...."

Lauer's last question: "On health care, health care, during the debate, Vice President Gore said that Texas ranks 49th in the number of uninsured women and children, which may be true, but further checking also shows that the number of uninsured people in the country as a whole has increased during the time President Clinton and Al Gore have been in office so is this a case of the pot calling the kettle black?"

A refreshingly tough approach, but Lieberman still has yet to be quizzed by any morning show about the contradiction between his denouncements of Hollywood's products and his praising, at fundraisers, of their work.


Did Clintonistas pull a faux pas and lobby for Bill Clinton to get the Nobel Peace Prize? The Fox News Channel reported so Thursday night.

On the October 12 Special Report with Brit Hume reporter Rita Cosby disclosed: "Two Norwegian public relations executives and one member of the Norwegian parliament tell Fox News that they have been contacted by the White House, or those working on behalf of the White House, to help campaign for President Clinton to receive this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his work in trying to negotiate peace in the Middle East."

Cosby explained the problem: "Members of the parliament, along with other leaders around the world, can officially nominate candidates but it is considered highly unethical in Norway to actively campaign for a peace prize candidate, especially to contact the five members on the current peace prize committee."

White House Press Secretary Jake Siewert, Cosby noted, denied any White House officials were involved in any such lobbying. But what is the value of a White House denial?


New movie made more anti-Republican and more pro-Gore? Gary Oldman, star of the movie The Contender, has accused the DreamWorks studio, operated by Clinton donors Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, of turning the film into a "piece of propaganda" by forcing the writer to make it conform to their pro-Gore agenda.

Former MRC analyst Clay Waters alerted me to this item posted Thursday on about the film which debuts today:

Oldman Says Studio Democrats Ruined Contender

Cantankerous actor Gary Oldman is openly badmouthing his new movie, The Contender, just one day before its release date -- which happens to fall on Friday the 13th, with a full moon in the sky. Will tomorrow be the film's unlucky day?

Oldman, a British citizen and a real-life conservative, is fuming about editing cuts made to The Contender, which he alleges were made due to the studio's Democratic leanings. In the new issue of Premiere magazine, Oldman and his manager, Douglas Urbanski, accuse DreamWorks honchos Steven Spielberg, David Geffen, and Jeffrey Katzenberg -- all Democrats -- of turning the political drama upside down to make it mesh with their pro-Al Gore agendas.

"If your names are Spielberg, Katzenberg, and Geffen," Urbanski declares, "you can't have a film with a Republican character...who is at all sympathetic ... being released on Oct. 13 [less than a month before the presidential election]."

The Contender focuses on a female presidential candidate (Joan Allen) who comes under fire when her opponent, a Republican congressman (Oldman), reveals a scandalous skeleton in her closet. Oldman says when DreamWorks bought the film rights, the company forced director-writer Rod Lurie to turn The Contender into an unbalanced, Democrat-friendly tale. Urbanski cuts to the chase by alleging that the film is a "piece of propaganda" on par with that produced by Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

DreamWorks spokesman Walter Parkes denies the charges. "There's no indication to me whatsoever that Rod [Lurie] ever felt pressured," he said.

"One only has to look at the coverage of the [Democratic] convention to see that the owners of this company have sympathies with the Democratic Party. Did those sympathies enter into the editorial process...or the decision to buy the movie? Unequivocally, no."

Aside from Oldman's disgust, much of The Contender's pre-release buzz has been positive, with many industry folks speculating on the film's Oscar potential.

END Mr.Showbiz item

This story is posted at:

The home page for the Disney site:

NBC's Katie Couric this morning seemed to confirm Oldman's warning as she declared Gary Oldman's character, a Republican Senator, "was so revolting."

On this morning's Today, MRC analyst Paul Smith noticed, Couric set up a interview segment with actress Joan Allen:
"She has a starring role in a new film called The Contender. In it, Allen plays Lane Hanson, an embattled vice presidential nominee who has a face, who has a faceoff with a snarly congressional committee chairman played by Gary Oldman."

Today then played a scene of the Oldman character grilling the Allen character about whether she's ever committed adultery. After the clip, Couric shrugged in disgust: "Ughhhh, Joan Allen, good morning how are you? I had such a hard time, in fact I actually hissed. I don't usually do that at movies. You know, I am not into audience participation but Gary Oldman's character was so revolting. I mean did you have a hard time, he was brilliant in the movie I thought."


It's always amazing how members of the media who cannot see any liberal bias at their outlet can detect and whine about the slightest supposed conservative tilt anywhere else. And it comes out in the strangest places. In the latest case, in the "Critic's Corner" box above the TV listings in Wednesday's USA Today.

In the October 11 item, TV critic Robert Bianco described how upcoming debate coverage that night "airs on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN and C-SPAN -- but not on Fox, which is busy with baseball. Then again, considering how slanted Fox's news coverage tends to be, baseball may be the best choice for that network."

Actually, Fox broadcast the debate after local affiliates ran a post-baseball newscast, but Fox's Brit Hume didn't get any time for his awful slant since he said about 20 words in total in introducing and concluding the video replay. -- Brent Baker

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