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Schieffer Overlooks MN Democratic Post-Crash Maneuvering -- 11/01/2002 CyberAlert


1.
Schieffer Overlooks MN Democratic Post-Crash Maneuvering
Media blinders to Democratic shenanigans. CBS's Bob Schieffer contended that Democrats turning the Wellstone memorial service into a political rally was no worse than how "even before they had separated and identified the remains in the plane crash that took Paul Wellstone's life, you had Republicans running polls and attacking Walter Mondale." But Minnesota and national liberals played politics too behind the scenes in drafting Mondale, maneuvering, columnist Bob Novak reported, which included rejecting as a candidate, because he is black, the highest vote-getting liberal in the state.

2. Scant Network Attention to New GDP Growth Rate
The broadcast network evening shows gave scant attention on Thursday night to the news of a strong third quarter Gross Domestic Product annual growth rate of 3.1 percent, more than double the rate in the second quarter. NBC's Tom Brokaw, a night after lamenting poor consumer confidence, ignored the number. ABC's Peter Jennings, two nights after highlighting how consumer confidence "is at a nine-year low" and marveling at why the poor economy isn't a bigger campaign issue, treated the good GDP number as nothing new or different: "The economy is still growing."

3. Gray Davis Campaign Web Site Features Martin Sheen
California Governor Gray Davis has signed up the West Wing's President, actor Martin Sheen, for his re-election effort. Sheen's image next to a shot of Davis alternates with a photo of Magic Johnson at the top of the Gray Davis campaign Web site.

4. Update on Coleman/Rather and Lutefisk
Two updates. First, Dan Rather condemned Norm Coleman for being interviewed "in front of a plane like the one in which the Senator died." But it turns out that Coleman did that in order to accommodate NBC's Today on Wednesday morning, Hotline revealed. Second, Aaron Brown's reference to "lutefisk" explained.

5. "Top Ten Things a Drill Instructor Would Never Say"
Letterman's "Top Ten Things a Drill Instructor Would Never Say"


Corrections: The October 30 CyberAlert Extra referred to Minnesota's Governor as "Rick Ventura." That should have read Jesse Ventura.
The October 30 CyberAlert cited CBS reporter Bob Simon's reference to discotheques in Omyorka. A CyberAlert reader explained that "Majorca" or "Mallorca" is a Spanish island south of Barcelona. The October 28 CyberAlert noted how NPR's Nina Totenberg said, "If we think we're going to fight the war on terrorism without some sort of significant gun control, we are crazy," quoted Charles Krauthammer as retorting: "Let me tell me assure you of one thing: Terrorists will find guns whether they're legal or not. It will make no difference. Al-Qaeda doesn't observe gun laws." That should have read: "Let me assure you of one thing..."

Schieffer Overlooks MN Democratic
Post-Crash Maneuvering

Democrats turning the Wellstone memorial service into a political rally was no worse than how "even before they had separated and identified the remains in the plane crash that took Paul Wellstone's life, you had Republicans running polls and attacking Walter Mondale," CBS's Bob Schieffer contended on Thursday's The Early Show.

But in trying to show a moral equivalence between the two, Schieffer had to deliberately overlook how Minnesota and national liberals spent the hours after the deadly crash playing politics behind the scenes in order to get the strongest candidate to ensure victory, maneuvering, columnist Bob Novak reported on Thursday which included rejecting as a candidate, because he is black, the highest vote-getting liberal in the state.

On the October 31 Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed,
Schieffer told Harry Smith:
"Well, you know, Harry, we always talk about how tragedy can bring out the best in people but we forget it sometimes brings out the worst. And that seems to be what has happened in Minnesota. Even before they had separated and identified the remains in the plane crash that took Paul Wellstone's life, you had Republicans running polls and attacking Walter Mondale who was believed to be the Democratic candidate even in those early hours. And now this disgraceful thing at the funeral where the funeral, memorial service for Paul Wellstone was turned into some sort of political rally where Republicans who had come there were booed, it was really just an awful thing. And it's bound to have some fallout, I think."

But Democratic political maneuvering before Wellstone's body was removed was not news to Schieffer since it was prominently displayed in his hometown paper, the Washington Post. "Minn. Democrats Look to Mondale" declared a front page headline the morning after the crash. The next day, the Sunday Post recounted Democratic politicking on Saturday, the day after the crash: "In Washington, Senate Majority Whip Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) was encouraging labor leaders and party activists close to Mondale to contact him and urge him to run. 'We're puling out all the stops,' a Democratic leadership aide said. 'We'd like to have him in Sunday.'"

In his latest column, Robert Novak reported:

The mourning for Paul Wellstone had barely begun last Friday when the coolly crafted plan to return Walter F. Mondale to the Senate after an absence of 26 years was already in place....

Strategists of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party envisioned a five-day non-campaign in which Mondale would sail into the Senate after Republican candidate Norm Coleman was constrained from saying anything substantive, even though control of the U.S. Senate may be at stake....

DFL chieftains immediately decided on Mondale, and quickly talked him into it. "I wonder whether there is such a dearth of new material that we have to recycle these old men," one veteran Democratic national operative told me. There was one other possibility: Alan Page, the 57-year-old former Notre Dame and Minnesota Vikings football star who has been an associate justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court since 1993. A law-and-order liberal, Page has led the state Democratic ticket in recent elections. According to Minnesota sources, he was eager to seek the Senate seat. But the DFL apparently did not want to risk running the African-American Page in an overwhelmingly Caucasian state, and Page was swiftly discouraged....

END of Excerpt

Don't expect to hear anything about that in the mainstream media. But can you imagine the media outcry if Republicans had rejected to desires of a high-ranking black official when a national seat came open?

To read Novak's column in full:
http://www.townhall.com/columnists/robertnovak/rn20021031.shtml

Scant Network Attention to New
GDP Growth Rate

What if the economy roared back but no one knew about it? That could happen given the scant attention the broadcast networks offered Thursday night to the news of a strong third quarter Gross Domestic Product annual growth rate of 3.1 percent, more than double the rate in the second quarter.

NBC's Tom Brokaw, a night after lamenting poor consumer confidence, ignored the number on the NBC Nightly News. ABC's Peter Jennings, two nights after highlighting how consumer confidence "is at a nine-year low," treated the good GDP number as nothing new or different: "The economy is still growing."

Only CBS's Dan Rather, about 20 minutes into the October 31 CBS Evening News and just before another story marveling at how the poor economy is not a bigger campaign issue, gave a brief yet complete rundown of the GDP trend:
"A report out today says the struggling U.S. economy is showing some signs of renewed strength in the third quarter of this year. It was growing at an annual rate of 3.1 percent, that's a considerable improvement over the 1.3 percent in the second quarter."

On Tuesday's World News Tonight, Jennings intoned: "In the national briefing tonight, consumer confidence at a nine-year low, down for the fifth straight month. Economists say a lot of people are worried about the weak job market and the threat of war with Iraq. Well, it is exactly a week before election day, and control of the House of Representatives and the Senate is very much at stake. As it turns out, when we look at all sorts of races all over the country, it is hard to grasp one dominant issue, including, to many people's surprise, very much, the economy. ABC's Betsy Stark is here to explain us, explain to us why that is."

But on Thursday's World News Tonight Jennings didn't see the new number as contradicting his gloomy outlook: "The economy is still growing. The Gross Domestic Product, considered the broadest measure of economic growth, was up three percent in the third quarter of the year."

No consideration, of course, about how maybe that demonstrates people aren't so worried about the threat of war with Iraq.

On Thursday night, NBC's Brokaw simply ignored the new upbeat GDP number, but the night before, on the October 30 NBC Nightly News, Brokaw showcased the impact of low consumer confidence: "The consumer confidence numbers out this week showing consumer sentiment at its lowest level in nine years. That has retailers understandably worried about the coming holiday season. They are already taking unusual measures to get people to buy more. Here's NBC's Anne Thompson."

Gray Davis Campaign Web Site
Features Martin Sheen

California Governor Gray Davis has signed up the West Wing's President, actor Martin Sheen, for his re-election effort. Sheen's image appears at the top of the Gray Davis campaign Web site, James Taranto noted on Thursday in his "Best of the Web" column for opinionjournal.com

To see it: http://www.gray-davis.com/

As Taranto pointed out, "the picture alternates with one of basketball great Magic Johnson," but you can alternate between the two by hitting "reload" in your browser. The direct address for the photo of Sheen's image next to a picture of Davis:
http://www.gray-davis.com/images/gd2002_home-graysheen.gif

4

Update on Coleman/Rather and Lutefisk

Two updates to items in the October 31 CyberAlert:

-- For October 31 item #1, about after noting how the Wellstone memorial service "was made into a partisan Democratic rally," Dan Rather added, as if it deserved equal condemnation, "and the Republican candidate poses for interviews in front of a plane like the one in which the Senator died."

The update: Dan Rather should have been upset at Matt Lauer and NBC News producers, not Norm Coleman. The Coleman interview was done in front of the plane in order to accommodate NBC's Today show, Hotline reported on Wednesday. The MRC's Liz Swasey alerted me to this item in the October 30 Hotline about Coleman's appearance that morning on Today:
"Coleman appeared in front of an airplane for the interview. GOP sources told the Hotline that the Today refused to conduct the interview unless Coleman appeared in front of an airplane. But Today show spokesperson Lauren Kapp told the Hotline 'that's absolutely false.' She said the show used the space available as Coleman was preparing to leave on a campaign swing after he was finished talking with Lauer."

I have reviewed the interview and learned that the backdrop did not bother Lauer since he didn't make any mention of it. And on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell, in the story quoted above, also made no mention of what Dan Rather considered so sinister.

To illustrate, the MRC's Mez Djouadi has added a still shot of Coleman being interviewed in front of the plane on Wednesday's Today on NBC. To see it:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2002/cyb20021031.asp#1

-- For October 31 CyberAlert item #2, about how CNN's Aaron Brown referred to Minnesotans eating "lutefisk":

The update: Several CyberAlert readers have kindly described "lutefisk" for me. It's a fish after it has been soaked in lye. One sent along this definition from dictionary.com's citation from the American Heritage Dictionary:
"A traditional Scandinavian dish prepared by soaking air-dried cod in a lye solution for several weeks before skinning, boning, and boiling it, a process that gives the dish its characteristic gelatinous consistency."

Sounds disgusting, but if you want to whip some up, another reader passed along a Web page describing how to make lutefisk: http://www.geocities.com/NapaValley/3227/recipes/luteing.htm

But don't on tasting it anytime soon. It takes two weeks.

5

"Top Ten Things a Drill Instructor
Would Never Say"

From the October 31 Late Show with David Letterman, as read by Marine drill sergeants, the "Top Ten Things a Drill Instructor Would Never Say." Late Show Web page: http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow

10. "Screw the 0400 crap -- I'm getting up at noon"
(Staff Sergeant Amee Prude)

9. "I'd be lost without my yoga"
(Staff Sergeant Dean Clark)

8. "For a zestier tuna salad, add a pinch of dill"
(Staff Sergeant Michael Reed)

7. "I'm yelling because I have self-esteem issues"
(Staff Sergeant Arnold Rendon)

6. "Dude, you're getting a Dell"
(Sergeant Brandey Catledge)

5. "Marine, you have the piercing blue eyes of a young Paul Newman"
(Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Cornell)

4. "With Pert Plus, I just wash...and go"
(Staff Sergeant William Bodette)

3. "When are the Tony Awards?"
(Staff Sergeant Rafael Rodridguez)

2. "Dr. Phil has changed my life"
(Gunnery Sergeant Adam Moore)

1. "I still live with my parents"
(Sergeant Louis Starnes)
-- Brent Baker


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