Morning Shows Hugged Hillary; NBC's Shipman Tough on Gore; Army General Gore Imagined by Stephanopoulos -- Back to today's CyberAlert
1) NBC's Claire Shipman delivered a fairly tough interview on Today with Al Gore. She tossed some softballs but mainly stuck to pressing him about the accuracy of counting dimples and how legitimate his win would be if based only on votes from select counties.
4) Hugging Hillary. ABC's Robin Roberts wondered to Hillary: "What was the moment like...when you knew you had won?" NBC's Katie Couric wanted to know "What are you most looking forward to?" in the Senate, given "the array of possibilities before you." She also empathized: "Wasn't it hard to balance being an activist First Lady and the responsibilities of a more traditional First Lady?"
5) Media Reality Check. "Networks Stumped: Is Al Gore More like a Military Hero or Teen Crush? MSNBC's Banfield Is Excited by All-Democrat Phone Fest" and ABC's Stephanopoulos imagined Gore as a General on horseback commanding his troops.
Claire Shipman came out of character on today's Today and delivered a fairly tough interview with Al Gore. In the interview taped the night before, Shipman pressed him repeatedly about changing the rules to count dimples and when he might give up. She asked him to respond to the view that the "Gore campaign has essentially cherry-picked throughout Florida finding counties that are heavily Democratic to rack up those votes and that's not a fair representation of the vote either."
She did toss in a couple of softball, such as: "Tell us a little bit about this kind of presidential limbo that you're in. What that's like. You've worked so hard to be President and this must feel like some kind of divine torture. What is it like everyday?" And she wondered: "How does it feel to be called a sore loser?"
Here are all of Shipman's inquiries as taken down by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
-- "Did you win this election?"
Shipman wrapped up: "And we also asked the Vice President a question a lot of people had been wondering about. If he doesn't prevail now would he do it all over again in 2004. He said no comment, he wants to get the 2000 election over with first."
Tuesday morning Today hit both VP candidates with devil's advocate points on vote counting, though Katie Couric argued a bit with Dick Cheney about the vote counting standard in Texas.
On the November 28 show Couric asked Republican Dick Cheney about the transition and his health, but took a few minutes to press him with the Democratic case on counting: "Let me play devil's advocate for a moment. The Democrats say how can we explain to schoolchildren that every vote counts if we don't count every vote. What is the harm in taking, Mr. Secretary, those 10,700 votes in Miami-Dade County that the machine didn't register and looking at them by hand to see if in fact someone voted? What's, what's the harm?"
Couric followed up, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Geoffrey Dickens: "But with, with such a close margin of victory, 500
plus votes, why not give an opportunity and you said they've been counted
by machine but these votes have never been looked at by hand. These 10,700
votes with a 500 plus vote margin and 10,700 votes even Governor Bush
supported a law in Texas that said manual recounts were a good idea."
Couric later suggested: "Are you worried about legitimacy Secretary Cheney? You know many people have said, whoever wins, there will be, it will be questionable. Does that concern you?"
During the 8am half hour Matt Lauer talked to Joe Lieberman and asked him to respond to Cheney: "Dick Cheney was on the program talking to Katie in the first half hour and he said the process by which you are asking the Florida courts to now overturn the certified vote totals in that state he called them inappropriate and unfair. What's your comment on that?"
Lauer outlined the Republican case: "Here's what appears to bother some people Sen. Lieberman, and I know you understand this. The Democrats keep saying, 'we want to count every vote. We just want every vote to count.' Yet you've chosen to go back and manually recount votes in predominately Democratic counties. And I know the offer was made at one point to go to all the counties, but, but basically you've been spending all your time, meaning the Democrats, in these four heavily Democratic counties. That doesn't seem fair."
Before getting too carried away with Today's flirtation with balance the last few days, let's go back to Monday morning when Newsweek reporter Jonathan Alter used his Today air time to argue that Al Gore has a good grievance over how counties counted ballots.
Katie Couric asked on the November 27 broadcast::
"Jonathan, do you think the Gore camp does have some legitimate
grievances about the way this whole thing was carried through? The fact
that Miami Dade sort of stopped its recount midstream, actually before
they got to the halfway mark? The fact that the Palm Beach County manual
recount was not even included in the state's final tally?"
Hillary hype and hugs. ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today gave Hillary Clinton significant air time Tuesday morning for interviews live from the White House tied to the release of a new book, carrying her name as the author, about White House parties.
Neither ABC's Robin Roberts or NBC's Katie Couric posed a single tough question to the Senator-elect.
Roberts wondered "What was the moment like...when you knew you had won?" and whether Bill Clinton would attend Senate spouse meetings.
Couric wanted to know "What are you most looking forward to?" in the Senate, "obviously getting to work. But when you think of the array of possibilities before you." She raised Trent Lott's comment that Hillary "will be one of a hundred and we won't let her forget it." Couric empathized: "Didn't sound as if he was putting out the welcome mat for you did he?"
Another of her empathetic offerings: "You obviously enjoyed the domestic aspects of your role as First Lady but wasn't it hard to balance being an activist First Lady and the responsibilities of a more traditional First Lady?"
Charles Gibson set up the November 28 GMA segment, as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "Well, as everyone knows, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the first First Lady to win an elected office, but there are human moments going on in her life right now. She's packing her bags, leaving the White House, her home of eight years, to go onto the Senate. She's written a book about all this with some marvelous pictures -- I have it right here in my hand. It's called An Invitation to the White House, and she is joined in the state dining room of the White House this morning by our own Robin Roberts to talk about that and other things."
Roberts gushed: "Good morning, Charlie, and yes, it is a great book, as he was talking about. Mrs. Clinton, good morning."
Amongst the questions posed by Roberts:
Today dedicated nearly a half hour to Couric with Hillary Clinton. Couric gushed: "We're going to talk lots about your book. But first of all we have to say congratulations on your victory in New York."
Amongst Couric's questions, as transcribed by MRC
analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
The trilogy is complete. The network stars loved Hillary before she ran for the Senate, during her campaign and now after she's won.
MSNBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield analogized looking forward to seeing Gore talk on a phone to awaiting a call asking for a date in high school and ABC's George Stephanopoulos compared Gore to a General on horseback commanding his troops.
Both quotes were featured in a Campaign 2000 Media
Reality Check "Quick Take" compiled this afternoon by the
MRC's Rich Noyes. To view the fax online as an Adobe Acrobat document,
The text of the Media Reality Check Quick Take:
NETWORKS STUMPED: IS AL GORE MORE LIKE A MILITARY HERO OR TEEN CRUSH? MSNBC'S BANFIELD IS EXCITED BY ALL-DEMOCRAT PHONE FEST
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, ABC's George Stephanopoulos tempted his audience to picture Al Gore as a general on horseback leading the charge. Really.
Stephanopoulos told Diane Sawyer: "You know, last week, the first couple of weeks of election day, Al Gore stayed mostly in the command center of the U.S. Naval Observatory....huddled behind his computer console, e-mailing members of Congress, reporters, really directing his legal fight from behind the scenes. But now the General's decided to go out on horseback and really lead the charge himself."
It is unclear whether Stephonopoulos was trying to get viewers to picture Gore as a latter day General Washington, or a General George Custer.
Silly as it was, Stephanopoulos's image-making was no match for MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield. On Monday, awaiting a public conference call between Gore, Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle (sort of a photo-op with no photos), Banfield cracked to correspondent Norah O'Donnell: "The last time I was this excited about a two-minute warning for a telephone call was when I was waiting for my prom date to call and invite me to the prom - and I'm not going to tell you how many years ago that was."
Teenage girls who get a thrill out of eavesdropping while middle-aged Democrats repeat talking points to each other might want to think about a post-prom career with MSNBC.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check Quick Take
To watch a RealPlayer clip of the Banfield boast, go
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