Bush Pushed Right Out of Mainstream; Clinton: Victim of Teen Oral Sex Culture
1) To win in Iowa, NBC's stars contended Monday night, George Bush moved right, which will hurt with the wider electorate. "Bush had to run with Jesus Christ," remarked Brian Williams. Tim Russert expressed concern about how Forbes pushed Bush into a big tax cut.
2) Katie Couric griped about how "Forbes has forced George W. Bush to...turn right...on taxes and abortion." When Forbes said that his policies have "broad-based" appeal, Bryant Gumbel scoffed: "Do you really expect to win moderate votes in this country?"
>>> Latest Notable Quotables newsletter now online thanks to the
MRC's Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul. Notable Quotables is a bi-weekly
compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the
liberal media. Amongst the quote headings in the January 24 edition:
"Stop That Scary Religious Talk"; "Feeding Red Meat To the
Right"; "Tim the Tax Man"; "CBS's Global Warming
Mantra"; "Centrist Dems, Hard Right GOP"; "ABC's Toobin
Agrees with Hillary"; "Avoiding 'Partial-Birth Abortion'"; and
"224-Year-Old Bias." To read all the quotes in the issue, go to:
George W. Bush won the Iowa caucus Monday night, but NBC's stars argued that in securing his victory he had to sell his soul, consorting with religious types and conservatives, which Tim Russert warned, "could hurt" Republicans "with a mainstream electorate in a general election."
Network analysts could just as easily point out how Al Gore was driven left by pressure from Bill Bradley to propose universal health coverage and from teacher unions to hold a hard line against voucher programs, thus pushing Democrats out of the mainstream. But viewers didn't hear that kind of interpretation last night nor, as previous CyberAlerts have detailed, in recent weeks as the networks have only portrayed Republican candidates as the targets of ideological pressure.
Monday night MSNBC anchor Brian Williams asserted that to win "George Bush had to run with Jesus Christ. George Bush invoked Christ's name during a debate, labeled him as a philosopher in so doing. He posed in front of a mural of Jesus Christ and talked about the topic of abortion in order to appeal" to religious conservatives. Later, Russert contended that because of the strong challenge from Steve Forbes, "George W. Bush had to put forward a tax cut plan of over a trillion dollars over a ten-year period. He had to agree with Steve Forbes on the language in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions."
In fact, as National Review's John J. Miller and
Ramesh Ponnuru pointed out in the magazine's Washington Bulletin e-mail report
on Monday, Bush hasn't moved right on abortion:
As for putting forward a "trillion dollar" tax cut, proposing a tax cut that over ten years totals only a fraction of one year's federal budget hardly makes one an extremist conservative who is out of the mainstream.
MRC analysts Geoffrey Dickens and Mark Drake stayed late Monday night at the MRC and their MSNBC-viewing tag team caught these assessments from Williams, Tom Brokaw and Russert:
-- Brian Williams to Tim Russert during MSNBC's
8pm ET special, hour early, edition of The News With Brian Williams:
-- At the top of MSNBC's 10pm ET "Decision
2000" special, host Tom Brokaw asked John McCain via satellite in New
-- Near the end of the 10pm ET hour, Tim Russert
told Brokaw how Bush had been pushed to the right and out of the mainstream:
The media tenet that other Republicans pushed George W. Bush to the right, and thus made him less appealing to the general electorate, was also reflected on the ABC and NBC morning shows on Monday, January 24. Meanwhile, CBS's Bryant Gumbel countered Steve Forbes' claim that he has a broad message, caricaturing his conservative positions and then asking in bewilderment: "Do you really expect to win moderate votes in this country?"
-- NBC's Today talked to The Weekly Standard's
Bill Kristol about the upcoming Iowa caucus. MRC intern Ken Shepherd observed
that after questions about how the caucus system works, what a big Gore win
would mean for Bradley and whether Bush should be concerned about complacency,
Katie Couric hit him with this ideologically-loaded statement in the form of a
-- Over on ABC's Good Morning America Diane Sawyer
hit William Bennett with the same argument, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson
noted. Previewing the caucus with Bennett and former Clinton Press Secretary
Dee Dee Myers, Sawyer pressed Bennett:
-- Bryant Gumbel sure doesn't find any appeal in the Steve Forbes platform. Interviewing the GOP candidate on The Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed that Gumbel vehemently countered the idea that Forbes may have "broad-based" appeal.
Responding to Gumbel's doubts about his ability to
win over the wider electorate, Forbes asserted that many of his positions have
"broad-based" appeal. Gumbel shot back:
Forbes replied that people want to keep more of what they earn, which is a position he offers. Gumbel quickly jumped in and talked over him, declaring: "But on a social agenda, you can't win without moderates."
Going live from a remote location isn't as easy as CNN makes it look, at least judging by some flubs committed live from Iowa by ABC and NBC.
-- During the 6:30pm ET feed of Monday's World News Tonight the show switched from a shot of anchor Peter Jennings outdoors in Des Moines to a taped piece by him on the caucus tradition, but the video did not have sound for about its first ten seconds. During that time viewers could hear an exasperated Jennings ask: "What happened, did this camera crap out?"
-- Sunday night during the 6:30pm ET feed NBC Nightly News twice switched briefly to a live shot of Tom Brokaw in Des Moines, only Brokaw was not supposed to be on in those moments and so was caught looking away.
People are avoiding ABC's This Week without Bill Kristol and CBS's The Early Show with Bryant Gumbel, new ratings figures show. According to the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz in December, ABC News President David Westin cited a 25 percent drop in ratings for the Sunday interview show as the reason for dropping Kristol from the roundtable. So far, the move hasn't improved things.
Though he didn't cite any specific numbers, in
Monday's "Inside TV" column for USA Today, reporter Peter Johnson
relayed the downward trend for both programs:
While on Peter Johnson's reporting, an update on how time has proven him correct about Kristol. The January 11 CyberAlert noted how on January 10 Johnson had reported that Kristol appeared the day before on NBC's Meet the Press. CyberAlert pointed out that though he appeared on the January 2 Face the Nation, he did not show up on the January 9 Meet the Press.
Well now he has. And on Today too. On the January 23 Meet the Press Kristol appeared during the roundtable segment along with Tom Brokaw and Joe Klein. Monday morning he got a solo spot on Today to discuss the Iowa caucus with Katie Couric. Since ABC dumped him he's also shown up frequently on FNC, including during FNC's Monday night caucus coverage.
Endorsing a liberal political cause. At the top of the 8am hour on Monday's Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, praised the efforts of the poster oldster for "campaign finance reform."
Introducing "Granny D," who walked
across the country to promote campaign finance reform, Gibson paid homage to
Teenagers are supposedly increasingly participating in oral sex, but it's not because they decided to experiment after hearing so much about it during the Lewinsky scandal. No, it was Bill Clinton who was induced into it by them. Talk magazine's Lucinda Franks seriously suggested to FNC's Bill O'Reilly on Friday night that "the teenage culture caused the President's behavior."
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught this gem of reasoning uttered on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on January 21. O'Reilly brought aboard Franks, most famous for her fawning interview last summer with Hillary Clinton, to discuss her new article in the magazine about teenage sexual activity. She explained how she learned, from interviews with 12 to 18 year-olds, that oral sex is now part of "mainstream life" for 13 year-olds with girls performing oral sex two to three times a weekend now considered acceptable behavior among young teens.
At this point O'Reilly wondered if Clinton's
behavior might have made oral sex seem more acceptable: "But do you
believe this has anything to do with the President, now I'm not saying this in
a gratuitous, I'm not asking a gratuitous or cheapshot question here, but
because the publicity of the Monica Lewinsky thing was so all pervasive, this
had to seep into the culture somewhat-"
"Friendly to the Clintons," indeed. As
detailed in the August 3, 1999 CyberAlert, Franks appeared on the August 2
Good Morning America, along with Talk Editor Tina Brown, to plug the premiere
issue's interview with Hillary. Amongst Franks' adoring comments about Bill
-- And: "People who are close to them see this kind of chemistry. I mean, it's a real love."
-- ABC's Diane Sawyer asked: "Did you talk to her about any specific women and specific allegations? Kathleen Willey." Franks saw Elvis in Clinton: "I did not. I did not feel, I felt that that part of it was an invasion of her privacy. I felt, you know, ethically, as a journalist, that this had been covered and covered and covered and covered, and I also feel that many of these encounters are, began way back in Arkansas when women would throw themselves at him. Even at Yale, I mean, he's a very handsome man, and he looked like a Beatle back in Yale, you can see pictures of him, I mean, he was gorgeous. You had women, even stars, who tried to get what they could out of being close to him, pretending they had an affair with him, so a lot of this is, has been taken with a grain of salt, I think."
One thing remains constant with Franks: It's never Bill's fault.
To read more of what Franks said on GMA last
August, go to:
Me, Me me! Tell me how to get other people's money and I'll vote for you. For a story wrapping up the January 24 CBS Evening News, Dan Rather looked at the apathy of young people toward politics. Rather featured one unusual Iowa college student involved in politics who cares deeply....deeply about getting other people's money.
Rather played this clip of Drake University junior
Scott Horrigan expressing his frustration with politicians: "They don't
look at issues that relate to younger voters. They're not telling me how I can
get federally subsidized loans to help pay for my school. I pay $10,000 in
loans a year. That's incredible."
Maybe apathy isn't such a bad thing. -- Brent Baker 
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