Hillary, Victim of Venomous Bias
"Given Mrs. Clinton's high profile, given the Mayor's nature, given the venomous bias of some of the local papers, how ugly a race are we going to see?"
- CBS The Early Show co-host Bryant Gumbel to Hillary Clinton campaign manager Bill deBlasio, February 4.
Gore's A Boaster, Not A Liar
"Braggadocio is a fairly common malady among politicians. And some of this stuff, he has a perfectly adequate record, he ought not to embellish. And on the abortion question he ought to say yes, I anguished over this. I think he is just so damned competitive that he has to stomp out the questions. But this is such minor stuff. To call this spectacular lies is really reaching."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift reacting to charge Al Gore lied about his record on abortion, creating the Earned Income Tax Credit, and sponsoring the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, February 5 McLaughlin Group.
Media Like Unsubstantiated Tale
"The Republican presidential campaign has just got a lot nastier. One of the dirtiest secrets of political attack strategies hit the spotlight today, something called push polling. Push polling involves political pollsters who are not seeking voter opinions, but trying to sway them under the guise of polling. In this case it's reportedly a pro-Bush line of attack aimed at John McCain in South Carolina."
- Dan Rather opening the Feb. 10 CBS Evening News.
"At a McCain town hall meeting this morning, one more sign that this Republican race is getting uglier than anyone imagined. A Spartanburg, South Carolina woman, Donna Duren, describes how her son idealized the former Navy pilot and POW until the 14-year-old Boy Scout took a phone call last night, allegedly from a Bush pollster."
- David Bloom, February 10 NBC Nightly News.
Ken Starr = POW Torturer
"More important, McCain's life story can be told to their children, an important selling point for women voters too. The whole 'straight talk' campaign is predicated on McCain's being the ultimate anti-Clinton. Instead of the blue dress, theres the tattered wash rag that for years was prisoner McCain's only possession. Instead of Ken Starr, there's 'The Cat,' McCain's wily and vicious North Vietnamese interrogator."
- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, February 14.
We're Pro-McCain: Deal With It
Host Chris Matthews: "First of all, the press seems to be totally pro-McCain, totally pro-McCain. Everybody I know seems to be pro-McCain."
NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell: "Completely."
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter: "There's a lot of that."
Mitchell: "I mean we have a race, and we love the straight talk bit."
- CNBC's Hardball, January 31.
"McCain has worked the press constituency just brilliantly. He really has. And the Bush people keep waiting for the press to turn on John McCain and treat him rough, and I don't know when it's gonna happen, but if they keeping waiting for that, they're gonna be in trouble."
- Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman on Imus in the Morning simulcast on MSNBC, February 2.
"You could argue that no candidate since Bobby Kennedy in 1968, a long time ago, has so opened himself up to the press corps and so won over the press corps. The Bobby Kennedy press corps, and Jack [Germond] was on the plane, was pretty enthusiastic about Bobby Kennedy by the end of it. The difference of course was that Bobby Kennedy was pretty much always off the record on the airplane. You didn't report what was going on. Whereas McCain, and this is an act of phenomenal political courage, will spend two, three, four hours on the record with reporters."
- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, February 5 Inside Washington.
If He Was Conservative, Forget It
"I had a conversation last week actually, two different conversations with two of the more prominent reporters who are covering the campaign and who spent a lot of time with McCain, and both told me in so many words the same thing. As one of them put it: 'You know, we know McCain is pandering on gun control and abortion, and we know he really doesn't believe that stuff, but he has to say it. But at least when McCain panders like that, he sort of kind of lets us know so we know he knows, and he's not that hard-edged and he's really a good guy.' To which I responded, well, you know, that seems to be the story. If Mr. Straight Talk is pandering, isn't that more significant even than whatever his position is on abortion or gun control or anything else?"
- Content founder Steve Brill, Feb. 8 Crossfire on CNN.
Pampered Under Communism?
"In the good old days, the Communist Party found a job for everyone. Now young people have to fend for themselves.... The future of the Communist Party may be in doubt if it can't ease the pain felt by the once pampered work force."
- NBC reporter Chris Billing from Beijing on the February 13 NBC Nightly News.
Birthday Shot at Reagan
"His presidency ended more than a decade ago, but politicians, Democrat and Republican, still talk about Ronald Reagan. Al Gore has an ad noting that in Congress he opposed the Reagan budget cuts. He says that because Bill Bradley was one of 36 Democratic Senators who voted for the cuts. Gore doesn't point out that Bradley also voted against the popular Reagan tax cuts and that it was the tax cuts that piled up those enormous deficits, a snowballing national debt."
- Bruce Morton on CNN's Late Edition, February 6.
Our Hero Hillary vs. Loutish Lott
"It was hard in the summer of 1992 for a young woman to stay objective and not become enchanted by the promise of Hillary. I had spent my formative professional years undercover in the dark age of Reagan-Bush. Those were the days when women were not allowed to wear pants in the White House. Anita Hill had just been whomped. Anti-abortion judges were packing the Supreme Court. And here was a woman who had kept her own name!...."I'll be voting for her just to make sure Trent Lott doesn't get another foot soldier for his holy war."
- Former Time reporter Nina Burleigh, who once said she would give Bill Clinton oral sex for keeping abortion legal, in the February 14 New York Observer.
Good Grief, What A Blockhead
"Charlie Brown, you see, was a misfit. But who wasn't in the '60s and '70s? Remember hoping to find yourself? Hoping that maybe happiness really was that warm puppy? And then the '80s came, and we forgot about Charlie Brown for awhile, as we tried to take over the world and make pots and pots of money. Of course we had doubts, which we'd never admit. So it was kind of comforting to see Charlie Brown still out there, still kicking at that football, still missing it every time. And then, as we got older, we knew we weren't taking over the world. But that was okay. There were other things, like raising children, and we had time for Charlie Brown again. And then he had to leave us."
- Anne McDermott on CNN's The World Today, Feb. 14.
CBS: Clueless Bob Schieffer
Host Howard Kurtz: "Bob Schieffer, the Bush campaign has a radio ad up now which says that McCain's election will benefit the liberal media. Is this an effective Republican argument, that if the press likes a candidate, he can't be very good?"
CBS reporter Bob Schieffer: "Does that mean well, I mean, what does that mean? That our ratings will go up if John McCain is elected?"
Kurtz: "Well, it has to do with campaign finance reform and whether the press will have more power. But it's also an increasing charge made by Bush aides and campaign surrogates that raising questions about, they would say, the candidate and the Fourth Estate."
Schieffer: "Now that sounds a little whiny to me. I'm not sure of what I would make of it."
- CNN's Reliable Sources, February 12.
Unlabeled Allies Clear McCain
ABC News reporter Barry Serafin: "McCain says he has to work within the system to change it. A campaign watchdog group agrees and says McCain is not a hypocrite."
Scott Harshbarger, President of Common Cause: "Senator McCain has been among the first to say that it's the system that's corrupt and taints everyone in it. We've never asked anybody to unilaterally disarm."
Serafin: "In fact, the Center for Responsive Politics says Bush has raised far more money than McCain from a number of special interests. Fifteen times as much from lawyers, nearly twenty times as much from the banking industry, and 58 times more than McCain from the oil and gas industry.....Whatever his misgivings, McCain will continue to seek money wherever the system allows just like his opponent."
- ABC's World News Tonight, February 10.
Victims of Delayed Buffalo Wings
CBS News reporter Ray Brady: "At America's restaurants they're feeling those low unemployment numbers. Waiters, waitresses, even chefs are hard to find. And there's an added price: consumers are feeling the shortage too. Ask Mike McConnell. He and his family waited for over an hour at TGI Fridays in St. Louis."
McConnell: "No one telling us anything, you know just telling us 'we're going to seat you, we're going to seat you, we're going to seat you' and then-"
Brady: "No seats."
- February 4 CBS Evening News story.