Media Reality Check

Convention organizers may have designed a conclave geared toward showing off an inclusive party, but Tuesday night the networks made sure home viewers realized the charade. "Inclusive"? No way, CBS's Bill Whitaker assessed as he even raised the ghost of Willie Horton. "When you see the faces on the stage and hear the rhetoric," Whitaker asserted over video clips of Bush on the campaign trail, "you get the message of a party of inclusion, but turn the camera and the sea of faces sends a different message." In his CBS Evening News piece, Whitaker contended: "It's the rare crowd with... continue reading
All three of the broadcast networks' morning news programs showed interviews with VP selection Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne, this morning, and both ABC's Charles Gibson and NBC's Katie Couric showed deep skepticism about Mrs. Cheney's conservative views. "There's been a lot of interest in you," Couric informed Mrs. Cheney. "Many people have described you as the true right-wing warrior of the family. You're a staunch conservative, you've spoken out against feminism, multiculturalism, you oppose trigger locks for guns..." Couric then tried to tell Cheney that she was a humorless ideologue. "You have been described by Ken Adelman, a former arms... continue reading
Though network reporters Monday night agreed that Colin Powell received a warm reception, his address provided correspondents with an opportunity to take shots at Republicans and conservatives for not doing enough for minorities. Peter Jennings suggested Powell's appearance provided the GOP with an "unusual sense of inclusion" and during Nightline he asked Powell: "Do you ever feel used by the Republican Party?" Just after Powell's speech concluded at 11:03pm ET, Ed Bradley told CBS viewers "the speech sure played really well" with "no catcalls" as happened in 1996. Bob Schieffer called the speech, which CBS picked up in progress during... continue reading
NBC didn't show Colin Powell's speech or provide any other coverage of the first night of the Republican Convention, but the gang on Today spent its first half hour questioning the sincerity of the GOP's Monday night program. "It's the face of the new GOP, or at least it's the made-for-TV image Republicans want to project: women, blacks and Latinos taking center stage in Philadelphia," reported David Bloom. Matt Lauer wondered whether conservatives could even tolerate the convention program. "You're listening to a more moderate message from speakers on the floor, yet the delegates on the floor, the people listening... continue reading
The pounding away at VP nominee Dick Cheney over conservative House votes members of the media consider bizarre continued during his Sunday talk show appearances, especially on ABC's This Week and CBS's Face the Nation . Last week network reporters had tagged Cheney as "hard right" and a "very hardline conservative." Sam Donaldson read off the Democratic tip sheets as he demanded on This Week that Cheney explain certain votes: "You were a strong advocate against so-called gun control, and you voted against the armor-piercing bullet measure in 1985. You also voted against a measure which would have required 3.75... continue reading
Despite the fact that you'll see little of the GOP convention in their prime time line-up tonight, all three of the broadcast networks' morning news shows - ABC's Good Morning America , CBS's The Early Show , and NBC's Today - spent most of their first half-hour talking about the Republicans. But don't actually pay attention to the convention, CBS warned. "What you should expect to see from here," correspondent Bill Plante told viewers, "is a sort of warm and fuzzy infomercial, which they hope will have no surprises and which they plan to have no partisan attacks." Plante then... continue reading
"A close look at his ten years in Congress reveals that Cheney was one of its most conservative members, say analysts who have looked at his record." - ABC's Linda Douglass, July 25 World News Tonight. Vs. "That's the ticket. Not a liberal in sight, and that's the picture Clinton wants the convention to leave with the country, Democrats happily moving from their liberal past to their centrist future." - ABC's Jim Wooten, July 13, 1992 World News Tonight . continue reading
The broadcast networks had weeks to demand that the Clinton administration show some proof to back their highly-publicized "price gouging" charges against the nation's oil companies. Now, two of the three broadcast networks are burying evidence showing the government's accusations - that Big Oil, not EPA regulations, were responsible for June's huge gas price run-up - were knowingly false. On July 14, the Washington Times reported: "An internal Energy Department memo reveals that the Clinton administration knew its own environmental regulations were a major reason gas prices jumped to record highs in the Midwest last month, even as officials publicly... continue reading
Did Bryant Gumbel call a socially conservative expert a "f--ing idiot" when he thought he was off camera on yesterday's edition of The Early Show ? Robert H. Knight of the Family Research Council appeared to address the Supreme Court's decision to allow the Boy Scouts of America to exclude homosexual activists from its leadership ranks. Gumbel fought and talked over Knight, and when the interview was over, Gumbel subtly made a face. Then he turned the show over to weatherman Mark McEwen. When McEwen gestured back at Gumbel, the camera revealed Gumbel shaking his head, saying what clearly looks... continue reading
For most people, higher gas prices are a nuisance. For TV reporters they're an opportunity for hyperbole and finger-pointing. "All across America these days, a fill-up can seem more like a stickup," announced CBS's Cynthia Bowers on the June 7 Evening News . "Drivers in Chicago feel their pockets are really being picked." "Helping fuel the rise, new EPA guidelines went into effect last week requiring 16 cities with poor air quality to sell cleaner-burning reformulated gas," reported Bowers. "It costs more to refine and, with supplies tight, prices are soaring." Three weeks ago, that was also common knowledge in... continue reading