Gibson Argued with Dole; Lawsuit Plaintiffs Praised; Military Personnel Voting Via Absentee Ballot Denounced as "Tax Dodgers" -- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer posed challenging questions to Bill Daley but didn't follow up. With Bob Dole minutes later, however, Charles Gibson argued with him. "Well, now wait a minute, Senator," Gibson demanded, "I mean, isn't saying Mr. Gore should step aside pretty premature?"
2) Media Reality Check. "No Media Skepticism of Florida Ballot Challengers: So Far, National Reporters Haven't Examined the Background of Palm Beach Trio Suing For a Re-Vote." On ABC's GMA the co-hosts thought the plaintiffs delivered the "most eloquent testimonials about American democracy we've ever heard."
3) Time's Margaret Carlson deplored how, in reference to Florida absentee ballots from the military claiming residency in the state without an income tax, "we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers deciding the election."
Deferring to Daley, demanding of Dole. Friday morning on Good Morning America ABC's Diane Sawyer posed challenging questions to Bill Daley but didn't follow up on them. With Bob Dole minutes later, however, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that Charles Gibson didn't like some of his answers and so argued with him. "Well, now wait a minute, Senator," Gibson demanded, "I mean, isn't saying Mr. Gore should step aside pretty premature?" When Dole predicted the overseas absentee ballots would favor Bush, Gibson scolded: "You don't know that, you don't know that."
Sawyer asked Daley for his response the Karen Hughes's assertion that the re-count proved Bush won Florida and requested that he react to how Democratic Senator John Breaux said he's questioning the Gore campaign's wisdom in challenging the Palm Beach result while Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli said that though he wants Gore to win the election, he wants somebody to win the election, suggesting sooner is really important.
She moved on to raise how a Washington Post editorial asserted Daley took a reckless step in suggesting in so many words that the election will be illegitimate if in the end Bush is declared the winner, that it was poisonous to suggest something like that in these circumstances and that Gore should disown what he said. Finally, she noted how a New York Time editorial worried that this could go on and on and so she wondered how long it can go before damaging the country?
Daley disagreed with the suppositions of the points raised by Sawyer, but she didn't castigate him or question his responses, a favor not extended to Bob Dole in the very next interview segment.
Dole asserted up front: "It's always good to hear
from Bill Daley from Chicago, where even the dead vote on a regular basis for
Democrats and where Gore carried Chicago nine to one. Maybe we ought to take a
look at Chicago where the same ballots were used to see if people understood
that. But I think it's time for Al Gore to saddle up and sort of ride off into
the sunset, and say, 'You know, I'm an honorable man. We don't want to start
another political campaign -- that's what's happening in Florida. The election
is over. I abide by the recount. Let's get on with the business.'"
Gibson finally got to a question: "Do you believe
this first recount that will be reported with finality at the end of next
week, do you think this first recount should end it without court challenge
even if Governor Bush loses in that recount?"
CBS's The Early Show provided a better model of balance with Jane Clayson pressing Daley and Dole with the same type of questions. MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down her inquiries:
To Bill Daley:
To Bob Dole:
The three plaintiffs in the lawsuit demanding a re-vote in Palm Beach County because they were confused by the ballot and thus failed to vote for Al Gore, are all veterans of political activities. But the media have yet to question the accuracy of their claims given their years spent in politics. In fact, this morning, Good Morning America not only brought all three aboard and failed to cast any doubt on their stories or raise their political experience, but Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson admired them for their "most eloquent testimonials about American democracy we've ever heard."
During the 8am half hour, Andre Fladell, Lillian
Gaines and Alberta McCarthy were interviewed by Charles Gibson. His
Later in the hour, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
noticed, Diane Sawyer prompted Gibson: "Say publicly again what
you've been saying all morning, the people filing the lawsuits, the people
in the street are the most eloquent testimonials about American democracy
we've ever heard."
In a Campaign 2000 Media Reality Check this afternoon, the MRC's Rich Noyes tracked down the real political backgrounds of the three plaintiffs who should have been able to figure out how to follow an arrow. The report, distributed by fax this afternoon, was titled, "No Media Skepticism of Florida Ballot Challengers: So Far, National Reporters Haven't Examined the Background of Palm Beach Trio Suing For a Re-Vote."
To see it online as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file, go to
where MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted it:
First, the text of the pull-out box:
Was Fladell Really Baffled by the Ballot?
To read the entire newspaper profile, go to:
Now to the text of the November 10 Media Reality Check:
Are the plaintiffs demanding an unprecedented re-run of the presidential election in Florida's Palm Beach county really befuddled oldsters who were confused by a two-column ballot? Or are they really sophisticated local activists who assume that their protests against the election's integrity is Al Gore's last, best chance to be awarded the White House?
The national media have repeatedly relayed citizens' complaints about the supposedly baffling ballot, but the networks haven't looked at the backgrounds of the three plaintiffs who have put their names on the lawsuit hanging over the presidential election.
A Nexis search of Florida newspapers shows all three plaintiffs -- Alberta McCarthy, Lillian Gaines and Andre Fladell -- are savvy activists with political experience, not the sort of voters who'd be stymied by a ballot layout. Yet as the plaintiffs at the center of a historic suit, each plans to testify that they personally voted for Patrick Buchanan when they were aiming to vote for Al Gore:
-- Lillian Gaines says she's mortified that she might have voted for Buchanan. "I went to the polls for one specific reason, to vote for Gore. I hit the second hole. I am sure I did," she told the Associated Press. "Somehow my right to vote had been taken away from me."
But Gaines, now a homemaker, was for several years a member of the Children's Services Council, a big-budget, taxpayer-financed group in Palm Beach County. Gaines popped up in local newspapers in 1993 when she defended the group's expenditure of $6,000 in taxpayer money on a beachside retreat. "From time to time, an organization needs to look at themselves," she told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel as a reason why taxpayers should put her and her fellow council members up in a resort hotel.
-- Alberta McCarthy also claims she cast the wrong vote, but she's a Delray Beach City Commissioner -- hardly a political naif and presumably someone who can navigate a ballot.
-- Andre Fladell, with lawyer Howard Weiss, was a guest on CNN's Larry King Live Thursday night. "I had no idea that in this country you have to read zig-zag and diagonal to know who you're voting for," he complained. "I didn't go there to take a test. I went in to vote for President." He told CNSNews.com that when it came to voting, "I wasn't too bright."
But Fladell, dim as he may be, is more than just the chiropractor which many news accounts say he is. He's also a political consultant and Democratic activist, who celebrated his hardball approach in a 1999 interview. "Politics is the greatest challenge," Fladell proclaimed to local journalist Harris Meyer. "It's where the best and worst in people comes out. You get the adrenaline of war without having to physically hurt anyone."
In his piece, Meyer likened Fladell to Machiavelli, but the notorious pol says he was confounded by the ballot. As one of three plaintiffs, the truthfulness of his claim is crucial to any decision to trigger an unprecedented re-run of a presidential election. But, so far, reporters haven't seemed particularly skeptical of Gaines, McCarthy or Fladell, despite the obvious importance of their claims.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check
Time's Margaret Carlson deplored Wednesday morning how, in reference to Florida absentee ballots from the military, "we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers deciding the election." Catching up on this item from two days ago, MRC analyst Paul Smith went back today to track it down from Imus in the Morning on MSNBC and he noticed that Imus was none too pleased with her shot at service members for choosing Florida, a state without an income tax, as their residence.
On the November 8 radio show, simulcast on MSNBC the
morning after the vote, former Time reporter and current Time columnist
Carlson regretted: "Here we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers
deciding the election."
A very nice admission that the first thing which popped into her mind was a liberal shot at Army privates for daring to do something to avoid a tax. -- Brent Baker
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