Gumbel Blind to Gore's Race-Baiting; Rosie O'Donnell Played Barbra's Anti-Bush Diatribe -- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Media Reality Check. "What If Bush Called His Opponent 'Evil'? Vice President's Outrageous Rhetoric Is Largely Unrebuked During Campaign's Final Hours." CBS's Bryant Gumbel interviewed Al Gore Monday morning but didn't mention how Gore had likened Bush to an evil, slave-holding racist.
3) Rosie O'Donnell today played the complete pro-Gore diatribe from Barbra Streisand, which 20/20 had only shown in part. The singer proclaimed: "Let's face it, this is a war against bigotry, against discrimination of every kind -- racism, sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia."
4) New "MediaWatch" columns on National Review Online by the MRC's Tim Graham: "Turn out the Lights: Gore's breaking media hearts"; "Too Kind to Kin? The double standard in using politicians' kids" and "Barbra's Bust: Lining up behind the Democrats."
Bryant Gumbel blind to Gore's race-baiting and over the line negativity. Picking up on coverage of two Saturday Gore remarks -- about how "good overcomes evil" and how Bush's promise to appoint "strict constructionists" to the Supreme Court reminded him of how when the Constitution was written that same approach meant "some people were considered three-fifths of a human being" -- were ignored by Bryant Gumbel in interviewing Al Gore this morning while NBC's Matt Lauer asked about one remark and only ABC's Charles Gibson demanded he defend both.
Clarification: This morning's CyberAlert noted how neither remark was mentioned on the two broadcast network evening shows which aired in the east Sunday night, ABC and NBC. I've since learned that while he made the "three-fifths" comment Saturday night, he uttered the "evil" comment Saturday morning, not Sunday morning. However, a check of Saturday's NBC Nightly News, the only broadcast network show not bumped by college football, determined that while Chip Reid showed clips from the prayer breakfast he did not play the "evil" comment.
Now to the Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check by the MRC's Rich Noyes. Distributed this afternoon, it's titled, "What If Bush Called His Opponent 'Evil'? Vice President's Outrageous Rhetoric Is Largely Unrebuked During Campaign's Final Hours."
To see it as a life-like Adobe Acrobat PDF file, go to:
First, here's the pull-out quote in the middle of the page:
Is This What Brazile Meant By Gore's "Sense of Style and Grace"?
"I believe, as I stand here in Memphis, that America has a rendezvous
with redemption. I believe that we are moving toward the nation that we are
intended to be. But we've got work that lies just before us, and we've got to
recognize the obstacles that need to be cleared away, and they too are
obstacles of the spirit. Deep within us, we each have the capacity for good
and for evil. I am taught that good overcomes evil if we choose that outcome.
I feel it coming. I feel a message from this gathering that on Tuesday we're
going to carry Tennessee and Memphis is going to lead the way."
Now the text of the November 6 Media Reality Check:
At the end of his losing presidential campaign in 1992, President George Bush caught a lot of flak from the networks for calling Al Gore "Ozone Man" and declaring that "my dog, Millie, knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos." Network correspondents were appalled that the Democratic ticket would be likened to a pair of clowns.
Trailing in the final pre-election polls, Gore this weekend likened his opponent to an evil, slave-holding racist, but few TV reporters had the same outrage they manifested eight years ago.
-- Gore begged worshipers at a Memphis prayer breakfast to support him. "Good overcomes evil if we choose that outcome," he said, and "Tennessee and Memphis is going to lead the way." Gore denied that he meant to say that George W. Bush was evil, FNC's Jim Angle later reported.
Broadcast coverage? NBC's Chip Reid covered the prayer breakfast on Saturday's Nightly News, but skipped over the "evil" comment. While it was a topic of discussion on the Sunday morning interview shows, neither ABC nor NBC mentioned the comment Sunday night. Gore appeared on all three Monday morning shows via satellite from Iowa; ABC's Charles Gibson and NBC's Matt Lauer both asked Gore about that line, but CBS's Bryant Gumbel ignored it.
-- Later in Pittsburgh, Gore pushed the idea that Bush would subjugate African-Americans: "When my opponent, Governor Bush, says he'll appoint strict constructionists to the Supreme Court, I often think of the strictly constructed meaning that was applied when the Constitution was written -- how some people were considered three-fifths of a human being."
Neither CBS nor NBC touched the three-fifths comment this morning, nor did any of the evening news programs bring it up last night. But ABC's Gibson asked Gore: "Do you really, honestly think that Governor Bush would take us back in civil rights 225 years?"
-- Gibson also voiced bewilderment that Gore should be trailing at all. "When you look at this objectively," he told the Vice President, "the incumbent party is dealt a very strong hand here. We have full employment in the United States, we have unparalleled prosperity in terms of wealth created, we have low interest rates, we have low inflation, we have few perils to our nation overseas. So you were dealt a very strong hand coming into this election, and yet it's still close. Why?"
On Today, Katie Couric consulted Doris Kearns Goodwin, NBC's resident historian, about the hardships of defeat. "It'll be much harder for Gore because he has to say goodbye to his staff, he has to leave his house, he has to leave the place where he's been in such a long period of time." She added, "At least Mr. Bush is going home to the house that he's had. He's going back to a job. He'll have structure in his day."
Sunday's Washington Post quoted Gore manager Donna Brazile as saying that by the third debate she knew "Al Gore was quite ready to finish this race with a sense of style and grace." Reporters should ask Gore if it's really classy to brand your opponents evil racists.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
CyberAlert bonus: All the questions posed this morning to Al Gore in his final pre-election morning show interviews. George Bush declined network invitations.
Bryant Gumbel did pose one interesting question to Gore: "You campaigned in Tennessee this weekend, I'm confused about something, you told people that, I'm using your words here, 'I need your help to take this country back.' Back from whom?"
Otherwise, see if you sense that the networks stars think Gore's campaign might be a lost cause.
>ABC's Good Morning America. Charles Gibson's inquiries to Gore and Tipper under an umbrella in Waterloo, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
-- "So with all that as set up, joining us now, Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper from one of the final stops on the campaign trail, Waterloo, Iowa. And by the way, we should mention again we also asked Governor George W. Bush to join us personally this morning, but he declined our invitation. Mr. Vice President, 24 hours from now, people are going to be voting, so what one thing can you say at this point that will totally change the political landscape?"
-- "This is breathtakingly close election. Can you give me three states you're going to particularly closely watch tomorrow night?"
-- "Let me ask you both, and I'll start with you, Mr. Vice President, why is this election so close? When you look at this objectively and as people looked at it six months ago, the incumbent party dealt a very strong hand here. We have full employment in the United States, we have unparalleled prosperity in terms of wealth created, we have low interest rates, we have low inflation, we have few perils to our nation overseas. So you were dealt a very strong hand coming into this election, and yet it's still close. Why?"
-- "Mrs. Gore, what would you say to that question?"
-- "Mr. Vice President, you have used very strong rhetoric in the last weekend of this campaign. You said in a Memphis church on Saturday, and I'm quoting you now, 'I am taught that good overcomes evil if we choose that outcome.' Is this election about good versus evil in your mind?"
-- "Also on the subject of civil rights, in that same address, you said that your opponent had shown indifference to the dragging death of James Byrd, the black man who was dragged to death in the state of Texas, and you said that your opponent would appoint Supreme Court justices who would take us back to a time reminiscent of when blacks were only three-fifths of a human being, going back to the original language of the Constitution. Do you really honestly think that Governor Bush would take us back in civil rights 225 years?"
-- "Mrs. Gore, quick question. What about this election has surprised you more than anything else?"
> CBS's The Early Show. Bryant Gumbel's questions to the Gores, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brian Boyd:
-- "Mr. Vice President, let me start with you if I might. I saw where you said yesterday you are feeling confident about tomorrow. On what evidence are you basing that confidence?"
-- "You've seen the poll numbers, the New York Times/CBS poll actually showed the Governor widening his lead over the weekend, why aren't you more troubled?" [poll graph of Bush leading 47 to 42 percent]
-- "You mentioned President Clinton by name for the first time in a while in Philadelphia yesterday, how should we interpret that?"
-- "Mrs. Gore, I don't want to leave you out of
this and you are hardly unbiased in this, but what are you feeling out
-- "How do you view President Clinton's statement last Thursday that a vote for your husband is the next best thing to a third Clinton term?"
-- "Mr. Vice President, when you campaigned in Tennessee this weekend, I'm confused about something, you told people that, I'm using your words here, 'I need your help to take this country back.' Back from whom?"
-- "Mr. Vice
President, you made a point this weekend also of seeing that your
opponent's statement that Social Security was not a federal program was
more than just a slip of the tongue. Was it to your mind evidence that
he's not qualified?"
-- "In our final seconds before we let you get out of the rain, any final words this morning for those Nader supporters?"
> NBC's Today. Matt Lauer's queries, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens.
-- "On this final morning before election day Vice President Gore and his wife Tipper are in Waterloo, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Gore good morning to you. I can see it's raining a little bit for you there. Let me ask you Mr. Vice President. Tomorrow's the day you've been working toward your whole life, without sounding, too dramatic. In terms of sheer butterflies and nerves how are you feeling today?"
-- "But the race has come down to a razor thin margin. I mean you have to be feeling some butterflies on this day before election day."
-- "Mrs. Gore is it possible that this is more nerve-wracking for you than it is for your husband?"
-- "Vice President Gore let me ask you about a couple of topics. You spoke at a prayer breakfast recently and you talked about that you'd been taught that good can overcome evil, if we choose that outcome. And you had the feeling that we were about to choose that outcome. Were you suggesting that you're good and, and Governor Bush is the evil?"
-- "You talk about issues. Over the weekend some polls were taken that show the revelation of George Bush's, George W. Bush's drunk driving arrest 24 years ago is going to have little or no impact in this election, then would you say that's a good thing, that you're happy that voters aren't concentrating on the past, they're looking to the future?"
-- "This has been a heavyweight fight Mr. Vice President. You and Governor Bush have traded punches, you've given it out, you've taken it. What would you say to your opponent on this day before the election?"
-- "Mrs. Gore real quickly. What would you say to Mrs. Bush this morning?"
Rosie's last-minute Gore campaigning. On Friday's 20/20 Barbara Walters didn't show enough of Barbra Streisand promoting Al Gore to satisfy Streisand or Rosie O'Donnell. So on her syndicated daytime show today, O'Donnell played Streisand's on-stage polemics for Gore announced at a recent Gore-Lieberman fundraiser, only the first 44 words of which were shown by ABC.
In her Friday 20/20 interview of Streisand, Barbara Walters allowed Streisand to defend Bill Clinton and then outlined the liberal views behind her backing of Gore. She played this clip of Streisand on stage in front of Gore: "The first three reasons to vote for Al Gore are the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Court. Our whole way of life is at stake when you consider that the next President will make three or even four appointments during his term."
For more on the forum 20/20 provided Streisand and
for a video clip of it, go to where MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted a
But those 44 words weren't enough for O'Donnell,
Timna Tannrrs of Reuters reported Sunday in a story highlighted by the
Drudge Report: "A close friend of Streisand, O'Donnell offered to air
the endorsement of Gore after Streisand expressed disappointment with an
interview conducted by Barbara Walters, where the singer's political views
Today, Rosie O'Donnell played video of Streisand singing "Send in the Clowns," followed by Streisand's full diatribe. O'Donnell set up the excerpt: "Tomorrow is election day. She had some thoughts on this election. I thought I'd share them with you, too. Take a look."
O'Donnell's clip began where 20/20 started, but
continued for another 1:15. Here it is from the start, as transcribed by
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
Since Friday, National Review Online has posted three fresh pieces of campaign coverage analysis by the MRC's Tim Graham. Working backward from today:
-- Monday's "MediaWatch" report.
"Turn out the Lights: Gore's breaking media hearts." It began:
"Network morning shows were trying to keep hope alive today for Al
Gore as time runs out, but their hearts weren't quite in it. They want to
portray the race as 'tick-tight' in Dan Rather lingo, but they sound
like they don't really believe it. You could dub it 'Don't Demoralize
Democrat Turnout Day.'"...
-- Sunday's piece. "Too Kind to Kin? The
double standard in using politicians' kids." Graham opened the
article: "Who's more dangerous on the road? A 30-year-old man
crossing the blood-alcohol limit driving too slowly in the middle of the
night, or an 17-year-old boy driving 97 miles per hour on an interstate
highway in broad daylight?
-- Saturday's report. "Barbra's Bust:
Lining up behind the Democrats." It began: "Newspapers,
including the New York Post, spread the news a few days ago: ABC's 20/20
had made a deal with the diva Barbra Streisand for an interview three
nights before Election Day to press her case for the public to vote for Al
Gore. Why would ABC News promote their plans to make another stale
celebrity endorsement part of their 'news' magazine show? In every
election cycle, the denizens and dilettantes of Hollywood line up behind
Just one more night of media coverage before the vote begins. -- Brent Baker
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