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CyberAlert -- 12/07/2000 -- Legislature's "Hammer"

Legislature's "Hammer"; Hillary's "Deference" to Conservatives?; Geraldo Promised No Honeymoon for Bush; Gore's Loss Elian's Fault

1) David Bloom thundered on NBC Nightly News: The Florida legislature "brought down the hammer tonight" in planning to name electors so "Democrats are seething," claiming "Jeb Bush and his friends" want "to take the decision away from the people."

2) CBS adopted the language of the plaintiffs about how in Seminole County "Republican operatives were allowed to alter absentee ballot applications." CBS's John Roberts volunteered that Gore's aides insist "he's not delusional."

3) Though conservatives see Hillary Clinton as "a symbol of an administration they despise," ABC's Linda Douglass maintained "her aides believe she will win them over with hard work and, most importantly, with deference."

4) Bryant Gumbel played "what if" with Michael Dukakis over what would have happened had he won in 1988. Gumbel soon realized that would have meant no Clinton, but to a chuckle from Gumbel, Dukakis reminded him: "There wouldn't have been any Bushes either."

5) NBC's Today gave the Miami Herald's Tom Fiedler a platform on Wednesday to expound on his treatise that Bush should show "humility" and admit more voted for Gore than him in Florida.

6) "I agree" said Geraldo Rivera to Alan Dershowitz's demand that "we not have a honeymoon" and launch a "many month investigation into the circumstances that lead to this presidency."

7) "Conservatives to Lead Senate" declared the top of the front page New York Times headline. Naturally, the paper did not tag Senate Democratic leaders as liberal.

8) Gore's loss in Florida: Elian's fault. Only NBC noted Wednesday night Elian's 7th birthday celebration in Cuba, but Jim Avila moved on to how Gore lost Cuban-American votes. "Who's to blame? Democratic sources say it's South Florida's former Hispanic golden boy Alex Penelas, Mayor to two million in Miami-Dade."

9) MediaNomics: "NBC's Today Again Promoted Wacky Tree-Climbing Activist" as Matt Lauer asked about a tree with a name, and "Iron-Fisted Soviet Union Still Gets Good Press From The New York Times."


>>> MagazineWatch, an analysis by the MRC's Tim Graham about this week's editions of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News, is now up on the MRC home page. The table of contents:
1. Newsweek previewed incoming Bush chief of staff Andy Card as "hard as Texas dirt," a man never reluctant to fire people, even at McDonald's.
2. U.S. News scribe Roger Simon recounted Gore's bizarre televised claim that supermarket scanners require hand-written corrections. He added that with that "compelling" anecdote, Gore's TV abilities are now considered "one of his greatest strengths."
3. Some minorities are apparently more equal than others. Newsweek featured an op-ed by black Rep. John Lewis comparing Bush's lawyers to the violent police assault at Selma, while Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball fussed over the power Cubans may have wielded in Miami-Dade.
4. Newsweek left-wing legend Jonathan Alter continued his campaign to get Gore elected, employing all the DNC spin lines and adding that the new President will be seen as a "bastard."
5. Time's Jack E. White threatened to exceed Alter in vitriol, suggesting Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are Uncle Toms. John Cloud found vituperative haters at the Supreme Court.
To read these items, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/magwatch/mag20001206.asp <<<

Correction: The December 6 CyberAlert quoted Scott Pelley of CBS News referring to "Congressman Army." His name is spelled Armey.

1

Republican legislators in Florida "brought down the hammer tonight," thundered NBC's David Bloom as NBC Nightly News led with Wednesday night with the announcement the Florida House and Senate will hold a special session and name a slate of electors if court suits are not settled. "Not surprisingly," Bloom stressed, "the Democrats are seething tonight" over the move "to take the decision away from the people."

ABC and CBS offered only brief and mild descriptions of the possible action. On ABC's World News Tonight, for instance, Erin Hayes related how Florida legislators "are anxious, see too many legal fires still smoldering. Part of their motivation: Democrats determination to fight on and fight hard."

Tom Brokaw opened the December 6 NBC Nightly News: "Good evening. In Florida tonight the Bush team remains confident it will prevail when the recount controversy moves back to the State Supreme Court tomorrow, but the Republican-controlled state legislature is taking no chances. It's now scheduled a special session to name electors just in case the process is stalled or the State Supreme Court rules against Governor Bush. All of this on a day when Vice President Gore did win one legal battle while continuing two others."

Bloom opened the top story: "The Republicans here in Tallahassee brought down the hammer tonight, essentially telling Vice President Gore that unless he wins a clear-cut uncontested victory in the courts in the next week, they'll award this state's presidential electors to Governor Bush. Not surprisingly, the Democrats are seething tonight. A senior Gore advisor telling NBC News quote, 'The American people will not accept the decision by Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his friends in the Florida legislature to take the decision away from the people and the independent courts'...

After reviewing the absentee ballot trials Bloom returned to the legislature: "So today, even as hundreds of pro-Gore demonstrators rally outside the State Capitol, Republican lawmakers announced they will hold an extraordinary special session of the state legislature beginning Friday. Unless all of the court cases are resolved, Republicans say, they will name a pro-Bush slate of presidential electors next week."

Bloom ran a soundbite of State Senate President John McKay saying he just wants to ensure Florida is counted by the Electoral College, but Bloom countered: "Democrats charge that the Republican-controlled legislature is effectively moving to try to deny Vice President Gore the presidency under any circumstances."
State Representative Lois Frankel (D): "Sadly, I have to say that I believe this is orchestrated and the only thing missing from the proclamation today was the post mark from Austin, Texas."

2

CBS adopted the language of the plaintiffs about "Republican operatives" in the Seminole County absentee ballot case as Jim Axelrod asserted it's "a case where both sides agree Republican operatives were allowed to alter absentee ballot applications." Wednesday night on CBS John Roberts took up the issue of Gore's mental state, volunteering that his advisers insist "he's not delusional" and has accepted "he could either lose or simply run out of time."

For the first time since before the election, Wednesday's CBS Evening News ran its regular opening plugging a series of stories -- sans any "Campaign 2000 Battle for the White House" graphic and announcement or cold open. Nonetheless, Dan Rather still intoned: "If this extraordinary battle for the American presidency is finally moving toward a conclusion, it still may not be a swift one. Pivotal court cases are yet unfolding and the legislature in Florida has started to move."

Jim Axelrod picked up and used Democratic case language: "The absentee ballots of Seminole County dominated today, a case where both sides agree Republican operatives were allowed to alter absentee ballot applications, supplying missing voter ID numbers on applications that otherwise would have been rejected." Axelrod did also take a shot at Gore: "Ultimately, Al Gore's survival may depend on a judge deciding to punish the voter, not the violator, a thin thread for the Gore campaign says Democratic election expert John French."

Checking in from the Gore camp, John Roberts picked up on concerns about whether Gore is in touch with reality: "The Vice President's advisers say Al Gore strongly believes that the world may be a very different place in 48 hours, that he believes he stands a good chance to win at the Florida Supreme Court. Those advisers add, however, that he's not delusional in that thinking, that he has come to accept the idea that he could either lose or simply run out of time."

3

Conservatives see Hillary Clinton as "a symbol of an administration they despise," maintained ABC's Linda Douglass, but Douglass relayed, "her aides believe she will win them over with hard work and, most importantly, with deference."

For Wednesday's World News Tonight Douglass reviewed reaction to the reality of Hillary Clinton as a Senator as she goes through orientation. Douglass began her piece: "She is whisked into the Capitol like a visiting dignitary, but in the United States Senate Hillary Clinton is a beginner."

Douglass warned: "Already, other Senators are resentful that reporters surround her. She was greeted warmly by the 12 other women Senators, but one said she had better not see herself as first among equals."

After passing along complaints about her bringing the Secret Service into the Capitol and how many Senators don't want her on their committees for fear she will hog the spotlight, Douglass outlined her plan to win over conservatives:
"For conservatives Mrs. Clinton is a lightning rod, a symbol of an administration they despise. But her aides believe she will win them over with hard work and, most importantly, with deference."

From "vast right-wing conspiracy" out to smear her and her husband to respect and deference? Don't count on it.

Douglass concluded: "For now she is living in two worlds -- working in a cramped basement office in the Capitol, switching back to her role as First Lady, today putting presidential books into a time capsule, including the last one she wrote about decorating and serving meals at the White House."

4

Bryant Gumbel played "what if" with Michael Dukakis over what would have happened had he won in 1988. Gumbel soon realized that would have meant no President Clinton, but to a chuckle from Gumbel, Dukakis reminded him: "There wouldn't have been any Bushes either."

MRC analyst Brian Boyd picked up on the exchange at the end of a Wednesday interview on CBS's The Early Show about how Dukakis handled his loss and how he now has a fulfilling life as a college teacher:
Gumbel: "And you never ever think about, hey, what might have been if only for seven million votes?"
Dukakis joked: "Yeah, I think about it but you can't dwell on it. I mean wouldn't the country have been infinitely better off if Mike Dukakis had been elected in 1988?"
Gumbel: "Hey you know what, look, I mean, there could then be an argument that if you had been there might not have been a President Clinton too, so who knows what."
Dukakis: "There wouldn't have been any Bushes either."

An amused Gumbel uttered a quick chuckle as he then thanked Dukakis for appearing.

5

NBC's Today gave the Miami Herald's Tom Fiedler a platform on Wednesday to expound of his treatise that George W. Bush should show "humility" and admit that "it's probably true that more people went to the polls on November 7th intending to vote for my opponent. Because of the law, because of the rules, because of their own mistakes that didn't happen."

Fiedler, the paper's former top political reporter best known for the Gary Hart/Donna Rice episode, now runs the paper's editorial page. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this exchange on the December 6 Today:

Katie Couric: "Tom, you know you wrote in your last column that if he wins George W. Bush should admit he did so by accident. What exactly did you mean and what kind of response has that elicited?"
Fiedler: "Well I think what I was, the point that I was making is that if this plays out as it appears it will I think that it's very important for him, if he wants to unite the country, to, to accept victory with a real sense of humility. To stand before the public and say look, 'It's probably true that more people went to the polls on November 7th intending to vote for my opponent. Because of the law, because of the rules, because of their own mistakes that didn't happen. I'm the winner. I'm not ashamed of that but also I recognize that I'm taking office here with some humility.' And I think that, that, that kind of straight talk is, is really important and perhaps necessary for him to at least reach out and, and to recognize that he's, he is an accidental, he could be the accidental President."

6

It is not over and we will not let it be over even when it is over. So warned Geraldo Rivera on CNBC Tuesday night in an exchange with Alan Dershowitz caught by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens.

On the December 5 Rivera Live on CNBC Dershowitz urged: "I think it's really important that when and if a concession comes from Gore that we not have a honeymoon, that we not put this behind us, that this be the beginning of at least a many, many month investigation into the circumstances that lead to this presidency."
Rivera's reaction: "Oh, I agree."

The more relevant question is, how many of Rivera's media colleagues agree?

7

While Wednesday's Washington Post offered the calm and dispassionate inside headline, "Senate GOP Re-elects Leaders," New York Times readers were greeted with this headline across the top of the front page: "Conservatives to Lead Senate." Naturally, the Times did not tag Senate Democratic leaders as liberal.

Under the December 6 headline, New York Times reporter Alison Mitchell began: "Republicans selected Senator Trent Lott and a conservative leadership team today to preside over a new Senate that will be balanced on a knife edge, and they gently but quickly rebuffed the Democrats' demands for power sharing, including co-chairmen."

Mitchell first cited a Democratic Senator in her fourth paragraph, but failed to add an ideological label: "On one side were some Democrats so adamant about equal control that they refused to concede that their own newly elected leader, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, would have the title minority leader. On the other side were Republicans determined to maintain their prerogatives."

8

Gore's loss in Florida: Elian's fault. Only the NBC Nightly News took note Wednesday night of the 7th birthday celebration in Cuba for Elian, but NBC's Jim Avila quickly moved on to how Cuban-American anger cost Gore votes in Florida. Avila zeroed in on the target of the Gore team's anger: "Who's to blame? Democratic sources say it's South Florida's former Hispanic golden boy Alex Penelas, Mayor to two million in Miami-Dade."

From Cardenas Cuba, over video of Elian at one point running up to Fidel Castro and hitting his leg, Avila began his report as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Elian Gonzalez one year later, celebrating his 7th birthday, this time on Cuban soil, serenaded by his classmates, family and Fidel Castro, on a nationwide broadcast. Elian's birthday now an unofficial state holiday. The lone American invited, Joan Brown Campbell, whose National Council of Churches orchestrated and funded his return to Cuba."
Campbell: "I have a feeling that he's doing extremely well, that he's adjusted well."
Avila: "Here in Cuba the government effectively used the Elian story to both unify and distract a troubled country, the hard life, commonly referred to here as 'The Struggle.' But across the Florida Straits, a different story. Miami was split over Elian. Some politicians lost their future, and some people say the presidency was determined. The political fallout, Democratic hopes of inroads among the largely Republican Cuban-Americans of Miami vanish when U.S. Marshals return Elian to his father. 1996: Bill Clinton carries Miami-Dade with 57 percent of the vote. November 2000 Al Gore wins, but 53 percent. Translation say some experts: 40,000 lost votes."
Ramon Saul Sanchez, The Democracy Movement: "I think if Elian Gonzalez's case had been handled differently, perhaps Mr. Gore would have been President today."
Avila zeroed in on the target of Gore's wrath: "Who's to blame? Democratic sources say it's South Florida's former Hispanic golden boy Alex Penelas, mayor to two million in Miami-Dade, a lone high-profile Democrat in a sea of Cuban American Republicans."
Mayor Alex Penelas: "The reality is that I don't think, you know, one person could have changed the outcome of an election."
Avila: "But Democratic sources say the Gore campaign is angry, not only that Penelas sat out the hot Florida campaign, traveling to Spain the final two weeks before the election, but also blaming him for making himself virtually invisible when the Democratic election board in his county decided not to recount 10,000 critical disputed votes."
Jim Defede, Miami New Times reporter: "They feel that Penelas has abandoned them, that Penelas has used them."
Over matching video, Avila concluded: "Elian, one year ago, wrapped in an American flag in Miami on his 6th birthday. Today turning seven wrapped in Cuban patriotism, a little boy at the center of a political divide still splitting two countries."

9

A fresh edition of MediaNomics, the online publication from the MRC's Free Market Project (FMP), is now up on the MRC Web site. The two articles by FMP Director Rich Noyes:

-- NBC's Today Again Promoted Wacky Tree-Climbing Activist
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, 36 million American homes will be adorned with a real Christmas tree this December. It's probably just a matter of time before NBC's Matt Lauer sits down with Julia "Butterfly" Hill to rue this mass Yuletide slaughter.
Last week Lauer seemed overwrought by the tree's plight. "I know this is not the interview you wanted to do with me," he sympathetically told Hill before inquiring, "You went and saw Luna. How hard was that for you?"

To read the article, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/medianomics/2000/mn20001206.asp

-- Iron-Fisted Soviet Union Still Gets Good Press From The New York Times
Freedom may be hazardous to your health - at least that was the implicit message in a December 5 New York Times article which documented the tuberculosis epidemic that is ravaging Russia and which is beginning to leak into the rest of the world. Writing from the Russian city of Voronezh, correspondent Abigail Zuger actually waxed nostalgic about the old Communist regime's ability to control threats to the general health of the public.

For the article in full, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/medianomics/2000/mn20001206b.asp

> Finally, MRC Webmaster Andy Szul has posted a RealPlayer excerpt of Scott Pelley's 60 Minutes II interview with George W. Bush, detailed in the December 6 CyberAlert, in which Pelley pressed Bush about naming his brother Jeb the Attorney General. "He didn't go to law school," Bush observed. Pelley imagined Alan Greenspan would say "an across the board tax cut is probably bad for the economy" and demanded of Bush, so "will you listen?"

For the video clip, go to:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20001206.asp#1 -- Brent Baker


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