2. Miller Tells Matthews to "Shut Up," Wishes to Arrange a Duel
3. Zell Miller's Segregationist Past Suddenly Relevant to Matthews
4. CBS Publicizes "Cheney & Halliburton Made Killing in Iraq" Sign
5. Gregory Tags Cheney "Dark Figure," Charges He Must Change Policy
6. Bush's Visit to Firefighters Has "Kind of Hokey Exploitive Feel"
7. CBS Lays Out Case that Bush's Anti-Terrorism Policies a Failure
8. CBS and ABC Stress How GOP Trying to Disguise True Agenda
9. Brokaw: GOP Platform Alienates Women, Convention Skips Bad News
10. After Tribute to Reagan, PBS's Lehrer Blames Deficit on Tax Cuts
Senator Zell Miller's speech reminded ABC and CNN reporters of Pat Buchanan's 1992 address -- and they didn't mean it as a compliment. ABC's George Stephanopoulos related how "as he was talking I was getting e-mails saying, you know, this reminds me of Houston, 1992 -- Pat Buchanan." CNN's Bill Schneider saw Miller as symbolic of a "very angry convention" and contended that "I've never heard such an angry speech." Aaron Brown inquired: "Do you think this was angrier than the Buchanan speech?" Schneider answered: "In a way, yes, I do." Joe Klein of Time magazine declared on CNN: "I don't think I've seen anything as angry or as ugly as Miller's speech." Brown also quipped: "There was enough red meat in Madison Square Garden to make the Atkins dieters happy for a year." On MSNBC, Andrea Mitchell didn't raise Buchanan, but she argued Miller went beyond "red meat" to "raw meat." Tom Brokaw suggested: "I think there is a question about whether Zell Miller went too far here tonight. The language was just too harsh?"
Even FNC got into the act. Morton Kondracke charged minutes after Cheney wrapped up: "I thought Zell Miller went over the line into demagoguery, frankly, when he implied that the Democrats are defaming American troops and have been doing so during the Cold War and the Korean War by declaring them to be occupiers and not liberators. I mean, that is something that the Democrats have not done, Kerry has not done, you know, he implied that to question Iraq policy is the same as questioning the war on terror, and that's not true."
Brit Hume delivered a quick retort, observed the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Let me ask you this question. Do you think if you took a vote of the delegates, Kerry delegates at that convention in Boston on whether we were occupiers or liberators, what do you think the outcome would likely be?"
Boston Globe reporter Nina Easton, however, reminded her hyperventilating fellow panelists on CNN that as to the Republican conclave becoming "angry," the Democratic convention had angry displays from Al Sharpton, Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy.
-- ABC News devoted most of its three minutes, following the conclusion of Cheney's speech, to Peter Jennings and George Stephanopoulos up in the booth. Jennings wondered: "Are you surprised that the Senator from Georgia went after John Kerry as vigorously -- and that's an understatement as we both know -- as he did?"
# Aaron Brown: "There was enough red meat in Madison Square Garden to make the Atkins dieters happy for a year. I'm not sure the Democrats are very thrilled. Quickly to Jeff Greenfield to start us off as we work our way around the convention floor and beyond...I don't know if anybody's going to remember the Vice President's speech tomorrow morning, honestly. They'll remember the Zell Miller speech. Will it matter, will it change the equation at all?"
# Bill Schneider complained: "They're having all these moderate speakers, but the moderate speakers, we discussed last night, aren't giving moderate speeches, they're giving speeches in which they're echoing a lot of this red meat. This is a very angry convention, it's a very belligerent convention. I mean, I've covered 16 conventions. Now, Jeff said in the past you had speeches like this. I've never heard such an angry speech."
# Brown to Schneider: "Do you think this was angrier than Buchanan speech?"
# Time's Joe Klein: "I've been doing this for a fair number of years and I don't think I've seen anything as angry or as ugly as Miller's speech."
Klein offered up his benign memory of the Democrats: "What you clearly have here is the Republicans appealing to their base, being over-the-top angry. What you really, what you saw with the Democrats a month ago was them being under-the-top, you know, uh, benign and positive, and that's because they believe their focus groups."
# Klein and Schneider were too much for Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief Nina Easton, who interjected some reality: "I just want to jump in, I have to disagree with some of what I've heard on the show earlier tonight about the anger at this convention. Yes, I thought Zell Miller's speech was over the top...but this question of whether the convention as a whole has been angry. I think back to the Democratic convention and even though the message was they were supposed to be positive, I remember Al Sharpton ripped up his speech, and he gave red meat to the audience. Jimmy Carter gave a very barbed, pointed critique at the administration's foreign policy. Ted Kennedy's speech was pretty angry. There was a lot of anger there, and you people forget that. Now people are going to remember the Zell Miller speech because it went so far."
# From the floor, Campbell Brown queried Congressman Johnny Isakson of Georgia: "It was a red meat speech though, really intended to rile this crowd. Was there too much anger in it given the moderate speeches, the moderates who have taken that podium prior to him?"
# Tom Brokaw, just past 11pm EDT: "Let's begin with Zell Miller. This is a crowd that's 95 percent of the people here are for the war in Iraq so he had a house audience, there's no question about that. But we had John McCain on the air shortly afterwards and it was plain that Senator McCain was quite uncomfortable with Zell Miller's choice of language and tone. And he said, he said, John McCain said to me that he believes that John Kerry is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief. He said, 'we're not enemies, we're, we're friends, Republicans and Democrats and that's the face that we have to turn to the world. So I think there is a question about whether John, whether Zell Miller went too far here tonight? The language was just too harsh. Dick Cheney, obviously, was rolling out his position as the attack dog for the Republican ticket although he did it in those avuncular terms, that kind of wry humor that he has...."
NBC skipped Lynne Cheney's introduction of her husband to make room for Brokaw to interview McCain about Miller. Brokaw's leading first question: "Was that going too far even given the license of a keynote speaker?"
Senator Zell Miller fought back against Chris Matthews Wednesday night, leading to a very animated interview session when Matthews pounded away at points Miller made in his convention speech. "I wish I was over there where I could get a little closer up into your face," Miller yearned from a position inside Madison Square Garden while Matthews remained at MSNBC's outdoor set. Miller shot back at another point: "You're saying a bunch of baloney that didn't have anything to do with what I said up there on the rostrum." An angry Miller soon opined, "I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a duel," and, recalling Michelle Malkin, he commanded: "Don't pull that kind of stuff on me like you did that young lady when you had her there brow-beating her to death." Matthews repeated his maliciously false claim that Malkin "was suggesting that John Kerry purposely shot himself to win a medal."
In fact, as recounted in the August 25 CyberAlert, Malkin had simply quoted how John O'Neill's book described some of Kerry's wounds as "self-inflicted," which does not mean deliberate. Matthews made up the "shot himself" slap at Kerry. See: www.mrc.org
The Matthews/Miller interplay, which began at 11:10pm EDT on MSNBC, lasted nearly 12 minutes and so space only allows for some highlights as cobbled together by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:
Matthews: "Which of those systems was effective in either Afghanistan or Iraq? The MX certainly wasn't, thank God. Nor was the Annis (?) Satellite system."
[Web Update: MSNBC.com has posted video of the Matthews/Miller argument, but only in MSN Video format: www.msnbc.msn.com]
It took a few years, but on Wednesday Al Hunt on CNN, and Chris Matthews on MSNBC, fulfilled a prediction made in the July 5, 2001 CyberAlert: That if Democratic Georgia Senator Zell Miller "becomes a Republican the national media will then suddenly find it newsworthy to highlight what they have so far skipped over -- his segregationist history."
Miller never became a Republican, but by delivering the keynote address at the Republican convention, he came close enough for Hunt and Matthews.
During a mini-Capital Gang segment, done from the convention floor a bit past 3:20pm EDT on Inside Politics, Hunt, Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal offered his low opinion of Miller: "Zigzag Zell. He was passionate when he was a racist 30 years ago, passionate when he was a populist Democrat. He was passionate when he was a new Democrat and now he's passionate as a Republican."
Just after Matthews began his six-hours of Hardball, which started at 6pm EDT, he previewed the upcoming speakers: "Round 2: Senator Zell Miller who earned his political spurs in the still segregationist South. He is expected to attack the party, the Democratic Party on which he rose to power in Georgia. The same Democratic Party that nominated and elected him to both the governorship of his state and the United States Senate."
The MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed that about an hour later, just past 7pm EDT, Matthews provided a little history: "Well he was Chief-of-Staff to [Governor] Lester Maddox when he was, Lester Maddox is an axe-handle wielding segregationist. He opposed the Civil Rights Act of '64, he opposed the voting rights act that came later. He is an old-time 'seggie' who has changed like most people. I'm not gonna hold that against him except to say that's where his roots are."
And two hours after that, at about 9pm EDT, Matthews asked Tom Brokaw: "How's he gonna do tonight, especially in light of the fact that he had come up politically in the old segregationist South and he was loyal to many of those old issues?"
Brokaw ignored the race angle and talked about how Miller is trying to sway independents.
A month ago, CBS delivered effusive praise for Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards' convention speech, as Byron Pitts admired how Edwards put a "youthful and hopeful" face on the Democratic Party as "he took this massive convention center and turned it into a courtroom," but following Vice President Dick Cheney's address Wednesday night, CBS provided no glowing assessment of his performance. Instead, Dan Rather relayed how a protester had held up a sign which proclaimed: "Cheney and Halliburton made a killing in Iraq."
Back on July 28, Pitts gushed about Edwards on CBS: "He took this massive convention center and turned it into a courtroom, some 15,000 people into 12 jurors, and he spoke to each one. If John Edwards put the face on the Democratic Party, youthful and hopeful, it will be Senator John Kerry's job tomorrow night to give it its soul." John Roberts passed along how one delegate told him they'd "fallen in love with John Edwards."
Five weeks later, while ABC and NBC provided about three minutes of post-speech commentary before signing off at 11pm EDT, CBS stayed with Rather for barely a minute before going to commercials. Rather used his limited time to highlight a protester in the hall, replaying video credited to CBS's Washington, DC affiliate, WUSA-TV, which CBS had shown live earlier of security people pushing her through a crowd and then down an entryway.
Rather explained: "Protesters have made it into this Republican convention for the third night in a row before being arrested by police and hustled out of the world's most famous arena. Earlier this evening a woman identified as Gail Murphy, 50 years old, from Washington, DC, who's said to have been to Iraq four times to spread the message of quote, 'peace.' Her banner said 'Cheney and Halliburton made a killing in Iraq,' unquote. Republicans are outraged, saying that is not only unfair but absolutely untrue."
"One of the obstacles for Dick Cheney tonight is the fact that he has become a dark figure," NBC News reporter David Gregory declared on MSNBC at about 8:40pm EDT. Gregory told Chris Matthews that "there are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this President down a path of recklessness." Becoming an advocate, Gregory contended: "It's not enough to say, 'we have to stick to it, we have no other choice but to fight this war.'"
Gregory, NBC's White House reporter, joined MSNBC's convention coverage thanks to President Bush's arrival Wednesday in New York City.
Talking to Chris Matthews from the convention floor at 8:38pm EDT, Gregory, the MRC's Geoff Dickens documented, launched into a lecture about Cheney: "One of the obstacles for Dick Cheney tonight is the fact that he has become a dark figure. And Karl Rove and the President's advisers understand this. He may have been the voice for reason, and the voice who put the war on terror in context. But he's also somebody that people disagree with. In other words everyone can believe in a war on terror. There are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this President down a path of recklessness. That maybe his approach, his dark approach to this constant battle against another civilization is actually the wrong approach for ultimately keeping America safe. Democrats will argue, there is another way! There were other choices! Not just the choices that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush put before this country. Notably extending the war on terror to include Iraq."
Gregory soon added: "What is Dick Cheney gonna do to speak to those people who are anxious about the choices this administration made in Iraq and the way they went about the war? It's not enough to say, 'we have to stick to it, we have no other choice but to fight this war.' There are people in this country, they may not be in this hall, but they want to find out what the, what the course is now. What the exit strategy is now and how they account for statements they made before the war that weren't born out by reality."
CNN's Aaron Brown on Wednesday night unsuccessfully tried to prod Bill Schneider into agreeing that President Bush's early evening meeting with some firefighters in Queens had "a kind of hokey exploitive feel to it."
During the 8pm EDT hour, Brown and political analyst Schneider, both in CNN's New York City facility, joined the coverage. Brown proposed: "One of the lines that the party, the Republicans have had to walk is at what point remembering 9/11 becomes exploiting 9/11 for political reasons. Is there a danger that being seen at a firehouse in the context of a political convention, creates a kind of hokey exploitive feel to it?"
CBS graded President Bush's foreign policy a failure. For a very tendentious CBS Evening News story Wednesday night, Barry Petersen relied on one left-wing critic as he pointed out how despite Bush's promise of "overwhelming victory," the "Taliban is still killing Americans, and Osama bin Laden lives to plan another 9/11." Petersen lamented how "many Iraqis still live in a misery of destruction that awesome American firepower left behind" while the Iraq war "may hinder, not help," winning the war on terrorism and "the price is being paid in blood -- almost a thousand Americans dead, nearly seven thousand wounded." Petersen ominously concluded: "Americans can be forgiven for doubting if the goals are still clear and for worrying that overwhelming victory -- indeed any victory -- is something we may never have."
From CBS's perch overlooking the convention, Rather introduced the September 1 story: "As we await President Bush's address to this convention tomorrow night, CBS News is taking a look back this week at promises President Bush made four years ago and what became of them. Tonight, the topic is war: How candidate Bush said he would and would not use military force. CBS's Barry Petersen in Baghdad has the 'Inside Story.'"
The networks want to make sure viewers realize the Republicans are trying to disguise the true conservative agenda of the party platform and views of delegates, a concern they did not express during the Democratic convention. John Roberts stressed on Wednesday's CBS Evening News how the GOP's "script aimed straight down center stage" is, "critics say," meant "to mask the deeper plot line of this Republican show -- a party platform calling for constitutional amendments against both abortion and same sex marriage, a ban on so-called 'civil unions' for gays, and limits on stem cell research." The night before on Nightline, Chris Bury picked up on how "Arnold Schwarzenegger is out of step with the party line on everything from abortion rights, to gay unions, to stem cell research" and contended that the Republicans "are striving to show a picture of diversity that the delegates themselves do not reflect."
(For the Tuesday NBC Nightly News portrayal of how the GOP platform is driving away voters, see:
ABC's Chris Bury took up the same theme Tuesday night on Nightline, the MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed. Bury asserted on the August 31 program:
Tom Brokaw on Wednesday continued to pursue his Tuesday complaints that the GOP platform is too conservative to appeal to women and that the convention speakers are ignoring bad news from Iraq. On his afternoon MSNBC show, Brokaw in New York, he cited "choice, stem cell research, and gay rights" as he pressed Dick Cheney's daughter, Liz: "Why does your party have so much trouble winning a majority of women?" Interviewing Senator Pat Roberts and former Senator Alan Simpson, Brokaw bemoaned how "there's been no talk" about the setbacks in Iraq. Brokaw also expressed concern about whether the anti-Kerry veterans are "being fair" to him?
When did a journalist last explore the Democratic gender gap with men?
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth tracked Brokaw's agenda on his 4pm EDT half-hour show conducted in MSNBC's skybox.
Brokaw began with Liz Cheney: "Your father is famous for his low profile and 'Silent Sam' style. But in the past several days we've seen him everywhere. You were with him at Ellis Island. He's been in the box here with your mother, your grandchildren have been around them. Is this an attempt to warm up the Vice President's imagery because he does have some difficulty with women according to all the polls. You may disagree with some of the numbers, but the fact is that his standing with women is not as strong, for example, as the other vice presidential candidate, John Edwards, or John Kerry."
Brokaw followed up: "Why does your party have so much trouble winning a majority of women when it comes to election time?" And he pressed again: "But when it comes to choice, stem cell research, and gay rights, the party platform this time is very strong, and those are issues that tend to skew very strongly toward women."
After contrasting her father's view of same-sex marriage with the Republican platform, Brokaw raised plunders in Iraq: "You used to work in the State Department. The President said recently that he miscalculated what the effects would be once major combat ended in Iraq. There was a very substantial State Department briefing before the war began about what could be expected there, the kind of chaos that we did see, in fact, the looting and a lot of the issues that came up. It didn't get the kind of attention a lot of people believed that it should have. Were you aware of that briefing?"
In another segment, with the "very solid conservative" Senator Pat Roberts and former Senator Alan Simpson, Brokaw quizzed them about Iraq, the swifties and Cheney's gender gap with women:
-- "Was the President far too optimistic when he went into Iraq about what he could achieve there and in what time frame?"
-- "But do you think we have more enemies in the world now, especially in the Islamic world, than we did before we went into Iraq?"
-- To Roberts: "Wherever you go in the Middle East, you and I saw each other in Qatar right before the war began when you were there with the Senate Intelligence Committee, there's been no talk about that at this convention whatsoever or about foreign policy and how we get to where we need to get to in that part of the world. Isn't that important for the American public to hear it?"
-- "Given what we now know about Iraq, no weapons of mass destruction that have been found, no collaborative relationship with terrorists, according to the 9/11 Commission, which you looked at very carefully, and all the other issues that have not come true, the threats that have not come true, if you were back in the Senate and the President came and asked you for authority to go to war under a blank check, would you give it to him?"
-- To Roberts: "Senator, you're a Marine, once a Marine, always a Marine. You served in the United States Senate with John Kerry, you continue to serve with him there. The President says he believes that he did not lie about his service record. The President also says he believes that John Kerry performed heroically in Vietnam. The Swifties, the veterans against John Kerry, continue to run their ads and continue to insist that he lied. Are they being fair to him, do you think?"
-- To Simpson: "May I ask you about your friend Dick Cheney, fellow Wyoming resident? He'll be speaking here tonight. He draws very sharp poll numbers, from women especially, doesn't do well in the so-called gender gap. He's a lightning rod for a lot of Democrats. Why is that?"
Brokaw on Tuesday, as recounted in the morning edition of the September 1 CyberAlert:
# Brokaw ended NBC's prime time hour on a sour note as he stressed how "things are not going well in many parts of the world for the United States. Despite the speeches tonight of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Laura Bush, this is a very difficult time in Iraq, the war on terrorism is an uncertain trumpet." See: www.mediaresearch.org
Following the Republican convention's Wednesday night tribute to the late Ronald Reagan, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer repeated the old liberal canard about how Reagan's "tax cuts resulted in a huge deficit." But Lehrer soon also cited how Reagan "cut a lot of federal programs," which would seem to be a way of reducing the deficit. Of course, Congress resisted and so no programs were cut and that was what led to the deficit, a point ignored by the PBS panel as Mark Shields charged that Reagan abandoned "fiscal sanity" and made the Republican Party "the party of deficits."
The MRC's Tim Graham alerted us to the comments and Brad Wilmouth tracked down the exchange from about 9:40pm EDT:
Jim Lehrer: "The taxes, the tax cuts, Mark, I mean, he gets a lot of credit for the tax cuts, but, of course, the tax cuts resulted in a huge deficit, and people do not remember."
-- Brent Baker, with the overnight team of Geoff Dickens, Brad Wilmouth and Ken Shepherd, plus Mez Djouadi handling the early morning posting duty