Rivera Jubilant; Brokaw: Public Disgusted with Attacks on Clinton
2) Only CNN and FNC ran soundbites from conservatives on the GOP loss. ABC and NBC contended moderation is the way to go and Tom Brokaw found a "clear message: disgust with Republican attacks on the White House scandal."
>>> The November 2 MediaWatch is now up on the MRC home page thanks to MRC Webmaster Sean Henry and research associate Kristina Sewell. Articles include a front page piece "Shut Up Before You Kill Again! Violence Tied to Pro-Life Advocates, But Not to Green Groups"; a Review by the MRC's Tim Graham on the Matthew Shepard murder and how the "networks promote gay left's guilt by association"; a Back page story by MRC analyst Clay Waters on how the networks refuse to cover the scandal of missile technology going to China while complaining about the sex scandal; and an On the Bright Side piece by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson titled "No Prying About Limo Talk: Only FNC Corrects Hit on Starr." Plus, Newsbites: "Walt's Love Boat" by MRC analyst Brian Boyd on Cronkite denigrating Ken Starr, "Feingold's Medal" by MRC analyst Mark Drake on ABC's tribute to Senator Feingold, and "Hawks Shut Out," an item by analyst Geoffrey Dickens on how neither ABC or CBS ever told viewers that many conservatives opposed the budget deal. <<<
Geraldo Rivera is the happiest man on TV. He opened the November 4 Rivera Live on CNBC by rejoicing in the election results:
"Appalled by the hard-right's grossly inept handling of zippergate, yesterday the voters hurt the Republican Party in historic fashion. They made them pay for their obsession with punishing the President. From Faircloth to D'Amato he voters pounded some of the President's most vocal critics. For the first time since the roaring '20s, the party in the White House gained strength at mid-term. While last week the world wondered whether Clinton would survive, now it's Newt Gingrich who's looking over his shoulder...."
His first question to a guest: "Tony Blankley, I love you but you got your ass kicked last night."
On election night, November 3, Rivera celebrated D'Amato's loss and, MRC news analyst Ross Adams noticed, tied it to his attacks on Hillary Clinton: "D'Amato going down. A big, big win for the Democrats. D'Amato hurt by who knows what, maybe his participation in those Whitewater hearings in which he practically pilloried Hillary Clinton and hung her out to dry. Whatever it was New Yorkers have voted and they have voted Al D'Amato out of office."
A bit later on his CNBC show Rivera trumpeted: "Listen up. There is no Monica mandate. There is no mandate for impeachment."
Network message to Republicans: Go moderate. Every network led Wednesday night with the election results. ABC and NBC stressed how moderates won and the voters rejected the GOP strategy of pushing impeachment. NBC's Tom Brokaw proclaimed that moderation was "the preferred passage of both successful moderate Democrats and pragmatic Republicans" as the public sent a "clear message: disgust with Republican attacks on the White House scandal."
CBS focused on how Republicans must learn "that in tight races minorities matter" and Bob Schieffer highlighted Newt Gingrich's change in spin from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning. CNN led with rumblings about dumping Gingrich. Only CNN and FNC aired soundbites from any conservative saying the Republicans lost because they had no agenda. Both featured clips of the Christian Coalition's Randy Tate and the Family Research Council's Gary Bauer.
Here are some highlights from the Wednesday, November 4, evening shows:
-- ABC's World
News Tonight led with John Cochran, who began: "White House aides say
that privately the President was ecstatic over the results. Publicly, he
would say only that voters chose practical issues over partisanship."
Viewers then saw a
clip of Michael Pappas on the House floor singing "Twinkle, Twinkle
Little Starr" as Cochran noted that he lost. Cochran concluded with
Next, Lynn Sherr summarized the exit polls: "What voters across the country had to say was: simply enough. Forget about impeachment Ms. or Mr. Lawmaker and get back to work."
Jennings then talked with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. Donaldson reported that the White House is pleased and hopes the Republicans back off on impeachment. Roberts explained that the process will go on since no one knows how to get out of it and that many Republicans are disgruntled about their leaders.
Following an ad break Dean Reynolds looked at how Texas Governor George Bush has been thrust into the 2000 presidential race with what Bush calls "compassionate conservatism." Reynolds portrayed him as the kind of conservative even media liberals can tolerate: "And while the Governor opposes abortion and favors the death penalty and school prayer, he doesn't sound strident."
Rather then opened
after the theme music:
Bob Schieffer ran
through the winners (Boxer, Schumer, Murray, Edwards, Hollings, Fitzgerald
and Bunning.) Then he highlighted changing spin from Gingrich: "Last
night the House Speaker was trying to spin the whole thing as good news
for his side."
Scott Pelley next told viewers: "Dan, at the White House last night there was literally cheering out loud." Pelley delivered the White House reaction and read a statement from Henry Hyde about the duty to proceed with the impeachment inquiry as the allegations have not changed: "This was just as true before the election as it is today. Our duty has not changed because the Constitution has not changed."
introduced a piece of the role of minorities by declaring: "Three of
the most important factors on election night were turnout, turnout and
turnout, especially with labor, blacks and older people."
CNN also ran a piece on Ventura and Brooks Jackson highlighted how the GOP ads on Lewinsky did not work.
Claire Shipman relayed Clinton's reaction about getting back to business before Anne Thompson explained how woman, blacks and Hispanics were the winning coalition for Democrats. Supporting Brokaw's spin, Gwen Ifill then asserted that those who won were "Governors who bill themselves as problem-solvers." Same with the new ones: "Governors elected in Florida, South Carolina and Alabama -- all elected emphasizing education, health care and modest tax cuts."
(Catching up on
Wednesday's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens observed that
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter pushed the line that Republicans were too
conservative and moderation wins, ignoring the conservative analysis that
Republicans had no agenda:
A Reality Check on Tom Brokaw's "a clear message: disgust with Republican attacks on the White House scandal." The VRS exit poll shows otherwise. As detailed in the November 4 CyberAlert, only 5 percent of voters considered the scandal the most important issue and 59 percent said "Clinton was not a factor" in casting their ballot while 19 percent said they voted to express support, matched by a nearly identical 20 percent who said they wanted to show opposition.
During ABC's election night coverage, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed, Sam Donaldson repeated the media's off-base assessment. He asked Trent Lott: "Senator, the voters seem to be saying they don't want the impeachment process to go forward. Are you going to try to short circuit it now?"
But just a few
minutes later ABC corrected he record.
Barely 20 hours later, as noted in #2 above, Sherr seemed to contradict herself, asserting on the November 4 World News Tonight:: "What voters across the country had to say was: simply enough. Forget about impeachment Ms. or Mr. Lawmaker and get back to work."
One more Ratherism, caught on CBS election night coverage by the MRC's
Buzzard-gagging is a favorite image for Rather. On election night in 1996 he intoned: "Our CBS News estimates is in one of the nastiest, smelliest campaigns of them all -- a lot of people thought the stench from this would gag a buzzard -- Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Attorney General, has beaten back the effort of state senator Roger Bedford, to fill the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Howell Heflin."
And in 1990: "Let's go down to Texas and let me show you actual votes in and tabulated. This was a race considered so nasty it would gag a buzzard....This race is so close that everybody's having a 4,000-calorie attack down there."
Rather needs to expand the range of his analogies. -- Brent Baker 
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