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Al Gore Benefits from the McCain Frenzy

Media Suggest Bush's S.C. Victory Tilts Him to the Far Right, But Ignore Gore's Attention from Far Left

While most media eyes have been misting over at John McCain's campaign against the Republican "Death Star," Al Gore has cemented his hold on the Democratic nomination with important solicitations of the party's hard left.

Media outlets came out of Saturday's South Carolina primary warning that George W. Bush's dramatic win with help from the "far right" would cost him in the fall. But would reporters pay equal attention to Gore and the far left? No.

Gore and the Human Rights Campaign. On February 11, Gore was endorsed by the nation's largest gay left lobby. The HRC press release stated that while "Bradley has taken honorable stands on gay issues, Gore earned the endorsement through his long, well-documented history of tangible actions in support of equality."

Media coverage? Zero on ABC, CBS, and NBC. It wasn't featured in Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News. The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today reported on it, as did CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. None of these reports called the HRC "liberal."

Gore and Sharpton. On February 13, Gore stealthily met race-baiting black activist Al Sharpton at the apartment of his daughter Karenna. The New York Times noted Gore's staff lied to reporters: "The press corps that normally follows Mr. Gore were told by aides that the meeting with Mr. Sharpton was not happening and that his visit to his daughter's apartment was strictly personal." The Times also added Jesse Jackson urged Sharpton to endorse Gore.

Media coverage of the meeting? Zero on ABC, CBS, and NBC. CNN's Chris Black gave it a fragment on Inside Politics ("the often controversial Reverend Al Sharpton had a low-key visit with Gore"). It wasn't featured in Time or Newsweek, although a "Washington Whispers" blurb in the February 21 U.S. News was headlined "Sharpton has 'em genuflecting." USA Today and the Los Angeles Times devoted less than 60 words to the story. Only the New York Times and The Washington Post noted the subterfuge with the press.

Gore and NARAL. On February 15, Gore was endorsed by the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. NARAL boss Kate Michelman took her anger out on Bill Bradley for harping on Gore's record: "The freedom to choose is far too important to be squandered as merely a wedge between pro-choice candidates. The threat from Republican anti-choice presidential candidates is too real."

Media coverage? CBS and NBC ignored it. It wasn't featured in USA Today, Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News. ABC's World News Tonight noted it briefly, along with stories on CNN's Inside Politics and FNC's Special Report. The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post covered it. None of the reports called NARAL "liberal," and like the HRC nod, no reporter wondered if Gore could be risking his appeal to "independent voters" with a "hard line" on their issues.

Important far-left interest groups have endorsed Gore before Bill Bradley can get momentum. He will owe them if elected. But unlike Bush after South Carolina, the media are saving Gore from guilt by association. - Tim Graham