"New and Nastier Bush Campaign"; Today's Lauer Took on Buffalo's Bauerle
1) Peter Jennings opened his show by hinting at a surprise showing for John McCain: "Delaware didn't ignore him. Quite the contrary." But NBC's David Bloom insisted: "Tonight Governor Bush is expected to coast to victory in the little-noticed Delaware primary."
3) Taking a shot at Today's Matt Lauer, who condemned his questions to Hillary Clinton, Buffalo's Tom Bauerle asserted: "I don't let people get away with explaining things away with a vast right wing conspiracy theory." In Hillary's last two appearances Today didn't ask any tough questions and gushed over her.
>>> Now online, the February 7 edition of
Notable Quotables, the MRC's "bi-weekly compilation of the latest
outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media." Amongst the
quote headings: "Tilting Right: A Political Disaster"; "Forbes,
You're Far Out"; "CBS Finds the Far Right"; "An
'Evolving' Reactionary"; "Clinton: Victim or Martyr?";
"President Clinton, Racial Healer" and "How Dumb Are We,
Larry?" To read this issue posted by Andy Szul from text provided by
Kristina Sewell, go to:
Correction/Additional Info: The February 7 CyberAlert stated: "Hollywood TV and movie stars have lined up overwhelmingly in favor of Hillary Clinton over Rudy Giuliani for Senate in New York, judging by FCC contribution records reviewed by USA Today." FCC should have read FEC, as in Federal Election Commission. The item noted how only one celebrity as traditionally defined, Charlton Heston, had donated to Giuliani. As one CyberAlert reader pointed out, during his appearances on the Sunday interview shows, Giuliani named Bette Midler as a donor to his campaign.
Based upon exit poll numbers he did not relay to viewers at 6:30pm ET, ABC's Peter Jennings opened Tuesday's World News Tonight by hinting at unexpected success in Delaware for John McCain, slyly noting how "Delaware didn't ignore him. Quite the contrary." In contrast, over on the NBC Nightly News David Bloom assured viewers: "Tonight Governor Bush is expected to coast to victory in the little-noticed Delaware primary."
Meanwhile, all three broadcast networks played niceness cop, scolding the two campaigns for airing negative ads. ABC charged that a new Bush ad aired the "harshest charges against his opponent so far." NBC's Tom Brokaw claimed the two Republicans "are going after each other as if it's now a blood feud" while David Bloom suggested Bush is going negative in hopes of dissuading independents from voting.
Here are some highlights of the campaign stories from the Tuesday, February 8 evening shows:
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings opened the
program with dramatic news about McCain:
Linda Douglass reported that figures provided by the
McCain campaign indicated he would come in second, but lose by less than Bush
lost New Hampshire. In fact, Bush beat him 51 to 25 percent, a 26 point margin
while McCain topped Bush in New Hampshire by 19 points.
Next, Dean Reynolds checked in from the Bush camp,
explaining how Bush had thought Forbes was his true opponent in Delaware but
McCain emerged as a player even though he skipped the state. Reynolds then
moved to Bush's new ad:
-- CBS Evening News led with an Alaska Air update. On
the campaign, Dan Rather hinted that McCain was doing better than anticipated
in Delaware. From South Carolina Byron Pitts ran through the attacks leveled
on each other by Bush and McCain, noting: "So now a tight race in South
Carolina is turning mean. The weapon of choice for both men has become
negative TV ads."
-- NBC Nightly News also led with Alaska Air and then
got to the campaign. Anchor Tom Brokaw announced:
David Bloom reported that "leading
Republicans" want McCain to stop calling Bush untrustworthy as in a new
ad McCain said of Bush: "His ad twists the truth like Clinton."
Bloom added: "Even McCain supporter Bill Bennett" has asked McCain
to pull the ad. After playing a clip of Bush's ad attacking McCain, Bloom
Monday night both CBS and NBC led with the Republican presidential battle. CBS's Dan Rather highlighted "the new and nastier Bush campaign" while NBC's Tom Brokaw announced that "Governor George Bush has come out swinging." NBC reporter David Bloom corrected Bush's charge that McCain has raised more money from lobbyists than any candidate.
Here are some highlights of campaign coverage from the broadcast network evening shows of Monday, February 7:
-- ABC's World News Tonight led with the budget and didn't touch the campaign until well into the show when it took "A Closer Look" at negative advertising. Bob Jamieson looked at how Bush is now portraying McCain as a Washington insider and himself as a "reformer with results." Bush, Jamieson relayed, has produced a new ad attacking McCain for first breaking the no negative advertising pledge.
Linda Douglass reviewed McCain's latest ads, referring to one as delivering McCain's "harshest attack yet" on Bush. In it, the announcer asks: "Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?"
But for all the network anxiety over negative ads, liberal analyst and network favorite, Katherine Hall Jamieson, told Jennings the ads so far this year are "tamer" than in past years.
-- CBS Evening News. Dan
Rather began the show:
Pitts explained: "George W. Bush didn't simply
rest over the weekend, he re-loaded. He showed up in Dover, Delaware today
energized, angry and armed with a new slogan."
Pitts relayed McCain's counter-punch and played a clip of the McCain ad attacking Bush: "Do we really want another politician in the White House America can't trust?"
-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw intoned at the top of
David Bloom began: "Tonight Texas Governor George W. Bush stops just short of calling John McCain a hypocrite. The Arizona Senator launches a scathing new television ad calling Bush untrustworthy, and it's clear the two leading Republican candidates have all but abandoned their pledge to run a positive campaign..."
Bloom then outlined and shot down a Bush attack:
"Bush says McCain, quote, 'preaches campaign finance reform and then
passes the plate.'"
Turning to McCain, Bloom relayed: "Tonight, amid
charges and countercharges about who's distorting whose record, McCain
launches the most personal attack yet, accusing Bush of reneging on his pledge
to run a positive campaign."
NBC's Today on Tuesday morning brought aboard the media-made-infamous Buffalo radio talk show host, Tom Bauerle, to defend his mid-January questions to Hillary Clinton about an affair with Vince Foster and past drug use. (See the January 20 , 21  and 24  CyberAlerts for details.)
Lauer treated Bauerle's questions as illegitimate and when the WGR Radio host suggested it would be appropriate to ask Hillary if she believes Juanita Broaddrick's rape charge, Lauer countered: "Her opinion on that subject, why does that make her a good or bad candidate for Senate?" Lauer later tried to discredit Bauerle: "Do you think that any perhaps pre-existing dislike for Mrs. Clinton or the Clintons on your part influenced your question asking during that interview?" Bauerle wrapped up one question by taking a shot at Lauer, who conducted the famous January 1998 interview with Hillary Clinton, but Lauer either missed or ignored the meaning of Bauerle's comment: "I don't let people get away with explaining things away with a vast right wing conspiracy theory."
This was Today's second look at the Bauerle interview. In a segment on it back on January 21, Lauer asked Newsweek's Jonathan Alter: "So if it's out bounds for a member of the press to say were you unfaithful to your husband, you must have really squirmed in your seat when it got more specific and it said what about with Vince Foster?" Alter agreed: "Yeah, it's just real, real low."
Here's a rundown of the questions Lauer posed to Bauerle on February 8, as transcribed by MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens:
-- "You are gonna hate me for asking you this but
what were you thinking when you asked those questions to the First Lady?"
Bauerle answered by raising subjects the mainstream
media have not raised and that he also didn't raise with Hillary: "Well
you're asking me to comment on a wide spectrum in a large continuum of
possible questions. I would like to see somebody ask Hillary Clinton about you
know $1000 to $100,000. I'd like to see somebody ask Hillary Clinton about
Juanita Broaddrick and does she or does she not believe that her husband raped
Juanita Broaddrick? I'd like to hear answers to those questions. Again we get
back to credibility, we get back to character."
-- After Bauerle made a point about asking questions
related to a candidate's credibility, Lauer queried: "And is that why
then you went on further and you actually asked Mrs. Clinton whether she had
used pot or cocaine, does that relate in your opinion to drug policy and the
impact that a Senator might have on that policy?"
-- Lauer then asked: "Do you think that any perhaps
pre-existing dislike for Mrs. Clinton or the Clintons on your part influenced
your question asking during that interview?"
-- Lauer didn't address the point and ended the interview with this question: "It's a long campaign ahead, Tom. Would you expect that the First Lady would submit to another interview at your hands during this campaign?"
+++ See the face of the man behind Buffalo's
controversial radio voice. Wednesday afternoon MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will
post a RealPlayer clip of the second half of this Today interview. Go to:
Today can hardly be proud of how they've treated Hillary, but they probably are. She last appeared on the show on June 10, 1999, and Today failed to press her about any scandal or controversial matters, nor about Broaddrick though the NBC exclusive on Dateline had aired just a couple of months earlier. The appearance was so promotional that it prompted a special CyberAlert Extra, which reported:
This morning, June 10, NBC's Today brought aboard Hillary Rodham Clinton to promote its week-long effort to help the VH1 music cable channel publicize its "Save the Music" campaign to give used instruments and money to schools for music education.
Co-host Katie Couric asked Hillary about the Knicks and gave Hillary a platform to blast conservatives as "out of touch with the mainstream."
The 8am ET live half hour of Today opened with over two minutes of Hillary collecting musical instruments from the crowd outside the studio. Co-host Matt Lauer promised that "we are going to take those instruments and donate them to schools so we can return music education to public schools," as if it has been taken away.
Then it was inside for a nine-and-a-half-minute session of Katie Couric interviewing Hillary and VH1 President John Sykes. Hillary got plenty of time to explain the value of music education as Sykes stressed how "children and education" are "high on her list" of priorities and "she's been amazing."....
Couric soon got to what's really important, asking her: "Are you a big Knicks fan? Are you rooting for them?"
And the interview did not stick to the frivolous: Couric gave Hillary a chance to take a political shot at Republicans: "I think when you look at what's happening in the country today a Democrat is going to win this Senate seat to replace Senator Moynihan which is as it should be. Because the Democratic Party as we saw again yesterday with the way the Republicans treated the gun laws in the House of Representatives is much more in touch with the mainstream, not only of America but particularly of New York."
Couric failed to challenge her indictment of the GOP....Instead of pressing her with a challenging question Couric moved on to how she would present a $1 million grant later in the day to a school. As the segment ended Hillary got another opportunity to affirm: "And for kids. That's what really counts."
For more details on this 1999 appearance, go to:
And Today's 1999 kid-glove treatment of Hillary was
hardly atypical. Her previous appearance on the show occurred on July 16, 1998
when Maria Shriver accompanied the First Lady on her "National Treasures
Tour." But her gushing questions aboard a bus did not stick to that
narrow topic, as she asked such things as:
For more on this scintillating interview, go to:
This approach by shows like Today are why we must rely on a small city radio talk show host to do the job the network big boys and girls refuse to perform. It would have been better if Bauerle concentrated on Broaddrick, Whitewater, billing records and futures trading instead of an affair, but at least he sees his job as something other than promoting Hillary Clinton's causes and career. -- Brent Baker 
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