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CyberAlert -- 11/12/2000 -- Media Pundits Back Gore Strategy

Media Pundits Back Gore Strategy; No "Wacko Right-Wing" Justices; Germond Told "Confused" Voters to Get a Life; Carlson Apologized

1) Three media liberals on the weekend talk shows took Al Gore's side and defended his decision to pursue hand counts in selected Democratic counties: Eleanor Clift, Margaret Carlson and Al Hunt. Hunt advocated a "re-vote" for the entire state of Florida.

2) Now we can get around those right-wingers. Newsweek's Evan Thomas wondered of George Bush: "Will he be brave enough" to "sack the right wing leadership" in Congress? James Warren of the Chicago Tribune effused that the divided Senate means no "wacko right-wing Supreme Court nominees."

3) Jack Germond about the confused old folk voters: "If they can't figure it out, get a life. They had plenty of time to figure it out."

4) "Did the media act responsibly on election night?", no said 79 percent. Dan Rather claimed that instead of being "inaccurate about anything," he'd....

5) The McLaughlin Group's predictions for who will take office on January 20: None picked Gore, but two declined to say and one suggested Denny Hastert.

6) Time's Margaret Carlson made herself her own "Outrage of the Week" on CNN's Capital Gang as she apologized for "a flippant remark about the military which offended many people." She didn't repeat it, but she had deplored how Florida absentee ballots from military personnel from the no income tax state will mean "we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers deciding the election."

7) ABC spotlighted complaints fueled by Jesse Jackson about blacks in Miami's "Little Haiti" turned away because they were not registered. But a Fox reporter heard in the same neighborhood that people were "intimidated" into voting for Gore.


1

Three of the most prominent media liberals on the weekend talk shows took Al Gore's side and defended his decision to pursue hand counts in selected Democratic counties. Eleanor Clift maintained "he is raising legitimate questions" as the courts are where the issues should be settled, Margaret Carlson saw nothing wrong with going to court to force more re-counts and Al Hunt blasted the idea that Gore is cheating and Hunt advocated the idea of a "re-vote" for the entire state of Florida.

In contrast, from the top of the show, Nina Totenberg, Evan Thomas and Jack Germond on Inside Washington condemned the hand counts in just Democratic counties and recommended that if hand counts are completed they must be done in all counties.

-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group: "The Republicans are acting as though Al Gore is trying to steal the election when he is raising legitimate questions about the ballot process in Florida. And it seems to me it is in every bit as much Governor Bush's interest to resolve this in a way so that people feel confident that the right person has been elected. And the notion that this is somehow unfair, the courts are our system of replay in this country. It's the sports equivalent when you get the replay maybe the losing side doesn't like it. But we have every right, I think, as Americans to see this process play out in the court of law."

-- Time columnist Margaret Carlson on CNN's hour-long special live Capital Gang on Saturday night: "There's been a prima-facie case made that there have been mistakes in the ballot in Florida. Asking, even if you have to go to court, for a re-count is not a constitutional crisis. We have a close election. They're looking at the ballots."

-- Al Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal, in an angry retort on CNN's Capital Gang to Bob Novak's assertion that Al Gore's team is cheating Bush out of his win: "There's an equal number of Americans right now who worry that they're being cheated on the other side and to suggest that one side is culpable here and not the other. There is no difference between what Bill Daley said and what Jim Baker said. Both have declared an end to this election before the process is finished. And Karl Rove is going out lying about various things and somehow that's acceptable. I'm sorry, you cannot say there's a difference in behavior here.

"Hunt added later: "I think we'd be much better off to have Florida re-vote."

2

On the up side, now we can get around those right-wingers. Newsweek's Evan Thomas wondered of George Bush: "Will he be brave enough" to "sack the right wing leadership" in Congress? James Warren of the Chicago Tribune effused that "one good thing about" the close election is it means no "wacko right-wing Supreme Court nominees" as "any nominee is going to have to be distinctly mainstream."

-- Evan Thomas, Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek, on Inside Washington: "Here's the thing that I'm interested in. If Bush gets in, will he be brave enough either to sack the right wing leadership or try to run a coup against them, or find a way around them using moderates."

-- Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren on the McLaughlin Group on how neither Bush or Gore will get major new tax cut or spending programs through the divided Congress: "If Bush is elected President some of the notions that have scared liberals about wacko right-wing Supreme Court nominees going through, it'll never happen. One good thing about this is it guarantees that any nominee is going to have to be distinctly mainstream."

-- Al Hunt delighted on Capital Gang in telling Bob Novak: "On any mandate for that tax cut, there may be a tax reduction, but Bob listen to me, read my lips: no big tax cut for you."

3

33

No sympathy from the old curmudgeon Jack Germond for the small number of voters supposedly confused by the ballot in Palm Beach County. On Inside Washington, syndicated columnist Germond argued: "On the business about the victimized old folks. The thing is, they're my age, so I can say this. If they can't figure it out, get a life. They had plenty of time to figure it out. They had all day, election officials would help them. They put the voting place right in the condo. Figure it out."

Later, in a discussion about how the networks called Florida for Gore at 6:50pm CT, Germond expressed the view that in Florida's panhandle, where polls were still open, "I'm sure it cost them [Bush] some votes."

4

44

CNN's Reliable Sources on Saturday dedicated its live half hour to network stars and producers discussing their miss-calls on election night. Two noteworthy items I caught:

-- Asked in a new CNN/Time poll, "Did the media act responsibly on election night?", no said 79 percent, yes replied a mere 17 percent.

-- CBS News anchor Dan Rather claimed: "I would rather walk through a furnace in a gasoline suit than be inaccurate about anything."

Rather must have a lot of burned skin.

5

The McLaughlin Group's predictions for who will take office on January 20:
-- Lawrence Kudlow: Bush
-- Eleanor Clift: "Too close to call."
-- Tony Blankley: "Either Bush or Speaker Denny Hastert."
-- James Warren: "I don't know...playing neutral journalist."
-- John McLaughlin: Bush

6

66

Time's Margaret Carlson made herself her own "Outrage of the Week" on CNN's Capital Gang as she apologized for "a flippant remark about the military which offended many people," but she didn't tell CNN viewers exactly what she had said. As quoted in the November 10 CyberAlert Extra, on Imus in the Morning the day after the election, she deplored how, in reference to Florida absentee ballots from military personnel claiming residency in the state without an income tax, "we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers deciding the election."

Saturday night on CNN she admonished herself: "My 'Outrage of the Week,' sadly, is me. I made a flippant remark about the military which offended many people, and I regret it. Whatever tax breaks people who risk their lives get, it's not enough. The military, the police and teachers should get paid the most, lawyers, investment bankers and pundits the least. My older brother worked for the Navy for 25 years, my father served in World War II and worked for the Navy for 30 years. I can't apologize to him, but I apologize to everyone else."

To read in full what Carlson argued by phone on the November 8 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC, go to:
http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001110_wknd.asp#3

77

ABC highlighted on Thursday night complaints fueled by Jesse Jackson about how blacks in Miami's "Little Haiti" who tried to vote but were turned away because they were not registered. The next night, however, a Fox reporter went to the same neighborhood to hear complaints about how residents were "intimidated" into voting for Gore as his supporters were improperly inside voting locations "telling voters what holes to punch, giving them sheets of paper with numbers to punch for a straight Democratic ticket."

On ABC's Primetime Thursday on November 9, Chris Wallace, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed, gave credibility to a Jesse Jackson publicity stunt:
"In Miami-Dade County, at a popular Creole radio show, the phones have been ringing off the hook with hundreds of Haitian-Americans telling stories of how they tried to vote and couldn't. There was a rally in this church to complain about irregularities. The Reverend Jesse Jackson believes there should not only be a re-count, but that these people should be able to vote again."
Jackson: "The playing field was not even. The rules were not public and the goals were unclear."

Huh?

Wallace continued: "Marlene Bastien has been an activist in the growing Haitian community for the past 15 years."
Bastien: "Some of them stood in line for two hours trying to vote and they were prevented from voting."
Wallace: "She and her staff were busy gathering stories from people who say they were turned away at the voting booth because they supposedly were not on the registration rolls. Jacques Marzan is one of the many registered voters who have come forward."
Marzan: "The clerk looked at that list and said I'm not registered. They said, I don't have mine in there."
Bastien: "It's not a question of who should be the next President. It's a question of respecting people's rights."
Wallace: "The whole world may be watching Florida, and the history of the country will depend on what happens there."

But on Friday night's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, reporter William LaJeunesse cited evidence of voter intimidation by Democrats. He noted how Gore had captured 93 percent of Florida's black vote, six points higher that Clinton got in 1996, a gain possibly attributable to Democrats making sure poor immigrant blacks knew for whom to vote.

LaJeunesse highlighted "questions that some voters were unfairly and illegally influenced, even intimidated at certain precincts in Little Haiti." LaJeunesse talked to local minister Phipps St. Hilaire and relayed his concerns:
"This prominent Haitian minister says he alone received about three dozen complaints from constituents that Democratic campaign workers violated the 50 foot rule around some precincts in Little Haiti. Some Gore supporters actually inside, telling voters what holes to punch, giving them sheets of paper with numbers to punch for a straight Democratic ticket."

Who do you believe? A local minister or Jesse Jackson who parachuted in to land in front of network TV cameras? -- Brent Baker


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