"Terrorist" U.S. Navy?; With "Reforms" Gore Would Have Won; Rather Didn't Correct 2000 Error; Toobin Unswayed; Saved from Lesbianism
1) Terrorist U.S. Navy. Peter Jennings related how the President of Iran told him the U.S. shooting down of an Iranian commercial jet in 1988, the same model which had just crashed in Queens, was "terrorism for Iranians." Instead of pointing out differences from the September 11 attacks, Jennings simply remarked: "Just to show you how many connections are made on a day like this."
2) Different spins on the latest Florida recount. The New York Times reported "Bush would have won" even if the U.S. Supreme Court "had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward." The LA Times subhead put hope ahead of reality: "An exhaustive ballot review indicates more people tried to vote for Gore, and he might have won had pending reforms been in effect."
3) Back in 2000 Dan Rather maintained that "a politically and ideologically motivated U.S. Supreme Court...handed the presidency to Bush." But instead of noting how the consortium's re-count disproved that, Rather stressed how it "found that if there had been a re-count of all disqualified ballots statewide it might have produced a narrow Gore victory."
4) NBC's Today devoted 75 percent more time two weeks ago to Jeffrey Toobin's claim, that Gore really won in Florida, than on Monday to the new media re-count which disproved that. "The wrong man was inaugurated on January 20th, 2001," CNN's Paula Zahn quoted Toobin before asking: "Do you still agree with what you wrote?" Toobin remained unswayed: "Oh absolutely."
5) Despite a denial issued last week by an NPR VP, Chicago Tribune television columnist Steve Johnson stands by his quotation of NPR foreign editor Loren Jenkins about revealing the location of a secret U.S. commando unit.
>>> Now online, the November 12
edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the
latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Thanks
to the MRC's Mez Djouadi and Kristina Sewell, it's posted at:
We're terrorists too. During live ABC News coverage of the plane crash on Monday morning, Peter Jennings related how the President of Iran told him the U.S. shooting down of an Iranian commercial jet in 1988, the same model which just crashed in Queens, was "terrorism for Iranians." Instead of pointing out how that accidental tragedy in a war zone was different from the deliberate September 11 attacks, Jennings simply remarked: "Just to show you how many connections are made on a day like this."
When the American Airlines plane crashed, Jennings was at the United Nations interviewing Iranian President Moammar Khatami. Jennings managed to leave the UN before it was locked down.
At about 11:48am EST on November 12 Jennings
observed during an ABC News Special Report:
Actually, that July 3, 1988 incident was the earliest of the last five and a missile fired from a Navy ship, not a Navy plane, shot it down.
For the list of deadly incidents involving the Airbus 300, go to: http://www.airsafe.com/events/models/airbus.htm#A300
For the event referred to by Jennings, it states: "3 July 1988; Iranair A300; Persian Gulf, near Straits of Hormuz: Aircraft was shot down by a surface to air missile from the American naval vessel U.S.S. Vincennes. All 16 crew and 274 passengers were killed."
The Florida re-count released late Sunday night by the consortium of CNN and several newspapers determined that George W. Bush still would have won under either legally possible re-count scenario which could have occurred: The Florida Supreme Court ordered re-count of undervotes statewide or Gore's request for a re-count in certain counties.
The New York Times led its Monday front page story: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward."
But the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and Associated Press all delivered spins which gave equal or greater emphasis to how Gore really won the Florida vote. "Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush," read the Washington Post headline. The subhead, however, argued: "But Study Finds Gore Might Have Won Statewide Tally of All Uncounted Ballots."
The Los Angeles Times subhead put hope ahead of reality as the newspaper emphasized: "An exhaustive ballot review indicates more people tried to vote for Gore, and he might have won had pending reforms been in effect."
Below are excerpts from the beginnings of the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and AP stories on Monday about the re-count. Since all four outlets were part of the consortium and, therefore, had full access to all of the same data, it's an illuminating example of how different reporters can convey contrasting meanings to the same set of facts.
-- November 12 New York Times story headlined: "Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote." Reporters Ford Fessenden and John M. Broder led:
A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward.
Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court's order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.
Even under the strategy that Mr. Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida standoff -- filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties -- Mr. Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted for a consortium of news organizations.
But the consortium, looking at a broader group of rejected ballots than those covered in the court decisions, 175,010 in all, found that Mr. Gore might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all the rejected ballots. This also assumes that county canvassing boards would have reached the same conclusions about the disputed ballots that the consortium's independent observers did....
For the story in full, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/12/politics/recount/12VOTE.html
-- Washington Post story headlined: "Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush." Subhead: "But Study Finds Gore Might Have Won Statewide Tally of All Uncounted Ballots." Reporters Dan Keating and Dan Balz began their front page piece:
In all likelihood, George W. Bush still would have won Florida and the presidency last year if either of two limited recounts -- one requested by Al Gore, the other ordered by the Florida Supreme Court -- had been completed, according to a study commissioned by The Washington Post and other news organizations.
But if Gore had found a way to trigger a statewide recount of all disputed ballots, or if the courts had required it, the result likely would have been different. An examination of uncounted ballots throughout Florida found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore the narrowest of margins.
The study showed that if the two limited recounts had not been short-circuited -- the first by Florida county and state election officials and the second by the U.S. Supreme Court -- Bush would have held his lead over Gore, with margins ranging from 225 to 493 votes, depending on the standard. But the study also found that whether dimples are counted or a more restrictive standard is used, a statewide tally favored Gore by 60 to 171 votes....
For the entire story, go to:
-- Los Angeles Times story headlined: "Bush Still Had Votes to Win in a Recount, Study Finds." The subhead, "Project: An exhaustive ballot review indicates more people tried to vote for Gore, and he might have won had pending reforms been in effect." Reporters Doyle Mcmanus, Bob Drogin and Richard O'Reilly opened their front page report from Washington, DC:
If the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed Florida's courts to finish their abortive recount of last year's deadlocked presidential election, President Bush probably still would have won by several hundred votes, a comprehensive study of the uncounted ballots has found.
But if the recount had been held under new vote-counting rules that Florida and other states now are adopting -- rules aimed at recording the intentions of as many voters as possible -- Democratic candidate Al Gore probably would have won, although by an even thinner margin, the study found.
The study provides evidence that more Florida voters attempted to vote for Gore than for Bush -- but so many Gore voters marked their ballots improperly that Bush received more valid votes....
For the rest of the story, go to:
-- "Florida Review Shows Narrowest Margin," announced the Associated Press headline over a dispatch by Robert Tanner and Sharon L. Crenson. They began:
A vote-by-vote review of untallied ballots in the 2000 Florida presidential election indicates George W. Bush would have narrowly prevailed in the partial recounts sought by Al Gore, but Gore might have reversed the outcome -- by the barest of margins -- had he pursued and gained a complete statewide recount.
Bush eventually won Florida, and thus the White House, by 537 votes out of more than 6 million cast. But questions about the uncounted votes lingered.
Almost a year after that cliffhanger conclusion, a media-sponsored review of the more than 175,000 disputed ballots underscored that the prize of the U.S. presidency came down to an almost unimaginably small number of votes.
The new data, compiled by The Associated Press and seven other news organizations, also suggested that Gore followed a legal strategy after Election Day that would have led to defeat even if it had not been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Gore sought a recount of a relatively small portion of the state's disputed ballots while the review indicates his only chance lay in a course he advocated publicly but did not pursue in court -- a full statewide recount of all Florida's untallied votes....
For the AP story in full, go to:
The consortium of news organizations sponsoring the NORC Florida ballot project conducted by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post Co., Tribune Publishing, CNN, Associated Press, St. Petersburg Times and The Palm Beach Post." The AP noted: "The New York Times owns The Boston Globe, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the Lakeland Ledger among others. Washington Post Co. owns The Washington Post and Newsweek. Tribune, based in Chicago, owns the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among others."
For a full rundown of the findings, go to: http://www.norc.uchicago.edu/fl/index.asp
In summarizing the consortium's findings (outlined in item #2 above), CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather gave equal weight to a scenario which never could have occurred, a statewide re-count of all overvotes in which the intent of the voter would have been intuited, as to how Bush would still have won in the only legally possible scenario, a re-count of undervotes.
In the second half of the hour-long CBS
Evening News on Monday night, Rather announced:
As Monday's New York Times headline clearly
stated, "Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not
Cast the Deciding Vote," but Rather failed to correct his earlier
reporting. At the top of the CBS Evening News back on the December 13,
2000, Rather had declared:
(Neither ABC's World News Tonight nor the NBC Nightly News, both of which remained the usual half-hour on a busy news day on Monday, mentioned the latest media effort at a Florida re-count.)
Amount of time that NBC's Matt Lauer spent Monday morning on Today discussing the latest media re-count in Florida which demonstrated again that Bush won under any legal scenario, as measured by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens: four minutes and 24 seconds. Amount of time Today devoted on October 30 to interviewing Jeffrey Toobin about his book in which he contended Gore was robbed of the election: seven minutes and 17 seconds.
Today's Monday segment with Washington Post reporter Dan Keating occurred during the 7:30am EST half hour, well before the plane crash, so that's not a factor.
Back on October 30, Katie Couric quoted from
Toobin's book: "'The wrong man was inaugurated on January 20th
2001 and this is no small thing in our nation's history. The bell of this
election can never be un-rung and the sound will haunt us for some
But now that another media re-count has shown that fear to be unfounded, thereby also undercutting Toobin's belief that if the Florida Supreme Court re-count had not been stopped Gore would have won, Toobin refused to concede anything or let any facts get in the way of his predisposition.
Toobin, who is a New Yorker writer and was through early this year, and still may be, legal analyst for ABC News, though he hasn't appeared on ABC in months, did appear Monday morning on CNN.
Anchor Paula Zahn pointed out to him: "If
Al Gore had gotten what he wanted, which was a statewide manual recount or
a recount of those four specific counties, George Bush still would have
won. So I wonder and I'm going to put up on the screen now a paragraph
from your book where you once said, 'The wrong man was inaugurated on
January 20th, 2001 and this is no small thing in our nation's history.'
Do you still agree with what you wrote?"
Despite a denial issued last week by an NPR VP, Chicago Tribune television columnist Steve Johnson stands by his quotation of NPR foreign editor Loren Jenkins about revealing the location of a secret U.S. commando unit.
After NPR insisted Jenkins never meant to say that NPR would imperil the lives of servicemen, MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey contacted Johnson. She distributed this "Media Bias Alert" e-mail late last week to her list of media critics:
NPR's senior foreign editor, Loren Jenkins, was quoted in "The Fog
of War," an Oct. 12 column about war coverage by the Chicago
Tribune's Steve Johnson that featured numerous quotes from media
luminaries -- and this:
"'The game of reporting is to smoke 'em out,' he says. Asked whether his team would report the presence of an American commando unit it found in, say, a northern Pakistan village, he doesn't exhibit any of the hesitation of some of his news-business colleagues, who stress that they try to factor security issues into their coverage decisions.
"'You report it,' Jenkins says. 'I don't represent the government. I represent history, information, what happened.'"
On Tuesday, November 6, Bruce Drake, Vice President of NPR News and Information, released a statement carried on U.S. Newswire that said, in part: "Loren Jenkins neither believes nor intended to suggest that NPR would engage in reporting that would put in peril the lives of U.S. military personnel....NPR would never knowingly compromise the security or safety of American military or national security operations by reporting information that would endanger them. "
Sure could have fooled us.
When asked today about NPR's statement, the Chicago Tribune's Steve Johnson told the MRC he stands by his Oct. 12 column, confident in "the accuracy of these quotes and accuracy of these quotes in context," adding "NPR has not contacted me or, to the best of my knowledge, the Tribune seeking a retraction or correction."
In response to the MRC e-mail, Jeffrey Dvorkin,
NPR's ombudsman, e-mailed Liz a statement, which read in part:
But as Johnson told the MRC's Swasey, NPR never contacted him to complain about the accuracy of his column.
For an excerpt from Johnson's October 12 column, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011013.asp#5
For the column in full:
For NPR VP Bruce Drake's November 6 statement, go to: http://www.usnewswire.com/topnews/Current_Releases/1106-122.html
item of the day: ABC's George Stephanopoulos saved his wife-to-be from a
life of either philandering and/or lesbianism. From Monday's "Page
Six" column in the New York Post by Richard Johnson with Paula
Froelich and Chris Wilson:
For a picture and RealPlayer video of Wentworth, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010726.asp#4
Might Bill Clinton, Stephanopoulos's old boss, be jealous? Did he ever convert a woman from lesbianism? -- Brent Baker