Bush Hindered by Conservatives; Brokaw Pushed McCain's Agenda; "Ideologically Motivated" SCOTUS Made Bush President
1) Conservatives, as epitomized by Tom DeLay, are an impediment to George Bush. ABC asserted the "firebrand conservative" will cause Bush more "difficulty" than any Democrat. CBS's Gloria Borger insisted Bush's first "test" is whether he shuts down DeLay, whom CBS tagged as "ultra-conservative."
2) Brokaw's first question to John McCain after Bush spoke: "I saw or heard nothing in this speech about campaign finance reform..." Second question: "You were critical of the Governor's tax plan when you were contesting with each other during the primaries. Do you think he ought to have that high on his agenda?"
3) We had eight boom years with Democrats in charge so, Dan Rather wondered, "What is it that you can make us think that things will be better with Republicans in charge of virtually all the levers of power?"
5) ABC's reporters fell over themselves in gushing about Gore's speech: "remarkably statesmanlike....incredibly gracious.... beautifully written, it touched on history....what aptness, even grace, and at times bordering on nobility of expression." CBS and NBC also praised Bush's performance.
6) Dan Rather discredited Bush's victory, opening the CBS Evening News by relaying the spin that the "politically and ideologically motivated U.S. Supreme Court...handed the presidency to Bush." Rather also assumed the court had ruined its reputation.
7) ABC on the Supreme Court: "Two hundred years ago Alexander Hamilton wrote that the court without an army or a vast treasury had only its judgment. There are many people who worry tonight that that precious commodity has been diminished."
Within seconds of George W. Bush making his first appearance as President-elect ABC and CBS had already begun to nudge him left by identifying Tom DeLay, the "firebrand conservative," as the impediment to success and an enemy greater than any Democrat. Earlier, CBS's Phil Jones claimed Bush's win "may not be all good news" for "the ultra-conservatives, like Republican whip Tom DeLay."
Near the end of ABC's 10pm ET half hour special
for Bush's Wednesday night address, Peter Jennings asked Linda Douglass
on Capitol Hill: "Linda, I want a quick prediction from you if I may.
Who is the new President going to have more difficulty with? Democrats or
In case the identity of the trouble-makers was not clear, Jennings stressed: "Thanks very much. In other words, the Republicans in the conservative wing of the party."
During CBS's live coverage, Dan Rather turned to
Gloria Borger of CBS and U.S. News and asked if the Bush team is ready to
take over running the government. She contended they are but warned that
how he deals with DeLay will determine his success:
Earlier, on the CBS Evening News, Phil Jones warned:
"The arrival of Cheney and Bush may not be all good news for some
Republicans, especially the ultra-conservatives, like Republican whip Tom
Imagine a network treating any other group as some kind of alien force identified as "people like."
ABC and CBS launched their effort to discredit any allegiance to conservative policies by trying to damage Tom DeLay, but NBC's Tom Brokaw instead rudely used Bush's big night as another opportunity to promote John McCain's liberal campaign finance reform agenda as he also invited McCain to denounce Bush's tax plan.
Brokaw's very first question to Senator John
McCain following Bush's speech during NBC's 90-minute 9 to 10:30pm ET
No, he answered. He plans to bring it up soon.
Brokaw's second question to McCain: "The Governor once again repeated tonight what he believes is the need for broad uniform tax relief for this country. The economy is slowing. You were critical of the Governor's tax plan when you were contesting with each other during the primaries. Do you think he ought to have that high on his agenda?"
McCain suggested Bush concentrate on areas where he can reach consensus, such as estate taxes.
Memo to Brokaw: McCain lost. Memo to McCain: You lost worse than Gore.
in charge of everything: There go the good times. Check out this loaded
question from Dan Rather to John McCain as CBS showed a live shot of Al
Gore exiting the Old Executive Office Building at about 9:22pm ET:
Let's re-write Rather's assumption: "Many Americans, most of them journalists..."
Al Gore's dire warnings about global warming "are a wonderful contribution to alarm us about," ABC's Sam Donaldson oozed after Gore's speech Wednesday night.
Peter Jennings asked Donaldson to identify Gore's
"greatest contribution" during the campaign. Donaldson's
How typical of liberal thinking. It's not accuracy that matters, it's that he cares.
The CBS and NBC anchor teams gushed with effusive praise for the speeches delivered by Al Gore and George Bush, but while ABC's reporters and analysts saluted Gore's address, after Bush spoke the network avoided reviewing his performance and moved on to assessing his chances for political success.
None of the three networks offered a syllable of criticism Wednesday night for how Gore behaved over the last five weeks. Instead, ABC's reporters described Gore's talk as "remarkably statesmanlike....incredibly gracious, almost could have been written by Governor Bush's speech writing staff....beautifully written, it touched on history....what aptness, even grace, and at times bordering on nobility of expression."
Dan Rather dubbed it "a classy concession" while NBC's Tim Russert asserted: "That was the perfect tone Tom. It was personal and poignant and credible." Russert offered equally enthusiastic praise for Bush: "It was a presidential speech. He was sincere and forceful."
Here are the December 13 prime time broadcast network assessments, most of which were transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
-- ABC News on Gore:
Peter Jennings: "You know, that is the most
relaxed and the most personal and the calmest I have seen Al Gore almost
in the entire campaign."
ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin: "I don't think there was a single word in there that anyone in Austin, Texas, would have been bothered by. Incredibly gracious, almost could have been written by Governor Bush's speech writing staff...."
Cokie Roberts: "You know, one of the things that's so interesting, Peter, is often after a presidential race when we look at the loser, we say, 'Why couldn't he have been like that during the campaign?' And I think that that was the case with Al Gore tonight. He was, he came on and so often during the campaign when he came on TV he was annoying. There was nothing annoying about this. It was gracious, it was beautifully written, it touched on history..."
Sam Donaldson: "Peter, I don't think I've ever heard a more gracious concession speech. In the last forty years, I've covered a lot of elections, I've covered a lot of losers. I've never heard one like this....I think he did a wonderful thing toward trying to unite this country."
Terry Moran: "I must say I concur with my colleagues. What good humor, what aptness, even grace, and at times bordering on nobility of expression. What touch and grasp of the undercurrents and the yearnings in this political moment. This was a political act of excellence that we have not seen from Al Gore throughout this campaign...."
Dean Reynolds: "Well, I agree with what Mark Halperin just said, Peter. They could have written it themselves. This speech was extremely gracious. It's the kind of speech that Governor Bush will really truly appreciate..."
-- CBS News on Gore:
Dan Rather: "A classy concession" and a "gracious address."
Bob Schieffer: "I think it would be hard to say that you could find a more gracious speech."
-- CBS News on Bush:
Dan Rather: "A strong speech, strongly delivered, confidently delivered by the new President."
Bob Schieffer: "I thought it was a very good speech....Let's hope he succeeds. It will be the best thing for the country and I thought it was the right tone and the right kind of speech for tonight."
-- NBC News on Gore:
Tom Brokaw to Tim Russert: "It would be hard to
improve on that as a statement of reconciliation and support for the new
-- NBC News on Bush:
Tom Brokaw: "Tim, again another graceful speech
from the new President-elect talking about the issues, specifically,
around which Democrats would have a hard time not uniting."
Discrediting Bush's victory by attributing it to a disreputable Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). On Wednesday night Dan Rather highlighted how "some say" a "politically and ideologically motivated U.S. Supreme Court...handed the presidency to Bush."
Rather opened the December 13 CBS Evening News: "Good evening. Texas Governor George Bush tonight will assume the mantle and the honor of President-elect. This comes 24 hours after a sharply split and, some say, politically and ideologically motivated U.S. Supreme Court ended Vice President Gore's contest of the Florida election and, in effect, handed the presidency to Bush."
Later, during CBS's prime time coverage of the
Gore and Bush speeches, Rather posed a question to legal analyst Jonathan
Turley which assumed the Supreme Court has damaged its reputation:
They wouldn't need to, if they really do, if it weren't smeared by journalists like Dan Rather who incorporate partisan political spin into news copy.
Speaking of assuming the reputation of the Supreme Court has been ruined just because liberals don't like a decision, Wednesday's World News Tonight dedicated a whole story to giving credibility to attacks on the court from Mario Cuomo and a supposed "conservative legal scholar."
Reporter Aaron Brown countered Justice Clarence Thomas's insistence that politics played no role in the decision: "That may be a hard sell to many Americans who see politics written all over the court's 5-4 ruling." Brown concluded that in its Bush v Gore decision "many people" worry that the court's "precious commodity" of judgment "has been diminished."
Before ABC got to Brown's story, Gore beat reporter Terry Moran told viewers that Gore's top aides are really mad at the justices: "There is deep, deep anger and resentment and bitterness. It is not too little to say that Gore's inner-circle feels that they were robbed of this election by the Supreme Court of the United States."
ABC's Aaron Brown began his December 13 story, as
transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "His meeting with students
was arranged weeks ago, but Justice Thomas's words seemed especially
news event is ever complete without some wackiness from Dan Rather and he
came through again Wednesday night. Wrapping up the 9pm half hour
dedicated to Gore's concession speech, Rather shared this with his
Is there really a statute in Central Park of Daniel Webster with those words?
Finally, from the December 13 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Headlines We're Likely to See in the Next Four Years." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. "49 States Vote Florida out of the Union"
If only #1 were a real possibility. -- Brent Baker
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