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ABC Scolds 'Incendiary' GOP Ad, 'Many See Racial Overtones' --10/26/2006


1. ABC Scolds 'Incendiary' GOP Ad, 'Many See Racial Overtones'
A night after the NBC Nightly News tried to discredit as racist an RNC ad against the Democratic Senate candidate in Tennessee, Harold Ford, ABC joined the effort. On Wednesday's World News, Dean Reynolds asserted: "Drawing on Ford's attendance at a Playboy magazine Super Bowl party last year, the national GOP has been running this commercial, with what many see as racial overtones. First, people lampoon Ford's positions, and then a woman in a suggestive pose says this:" The woman: "I met Harold at the Playboy party." Reynolds: "And after a few more digs, she adds this just to drive the point home." Woman again: "Harold, call me." Reynolds then declared: "To many, the message is clear, and in some parts of Tennessee, potentially incendiary." In case anyone missed the supposed implications, a professor explained: "He's talking about interracial sex, interracial relations."

2. CBS Evening News to Showcase Michael J. Fox Interview on Thursday
Katie Couric touted, on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, how her Thursday broadcast will feature an interview with actor Michael J. Fox. It will air just three days after conservatives denounced as misleading and distorted his TV ads, about stem cell research, against Republican Senate candidates. In a spot for Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, for instance, Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, charged in reference to the Republican incumbent: "Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope." Couric's plug for the Fox interview followed a piece from Cynthia Bowers on the battle in Missouri with competing ads about stem cells, a story which failed to address the accuracy of the Fox ads. Couric plugged the Fox appearance as an "exclusive" interview: "By the way, tomorrow we'll have an exclusive interview with Michael J. Fox on the stem cell legislation and Rush Limbaugh." No word on when CBS might give equal time to someone with a different view.

3. Sawyer Ridiculously Suggests Conservatives Want to Silence Fox
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer contended Michael J. Fox's plight -- suffering from Parkinson's disease -- should make him immune from criticism, a line of thinking which presumed Rush Limbaugh and others who pointed out inaccuracies in Fox's anti-Republican candidate TV ads wanted him censored when they were just treating him like anyone else who joins the political fray. Sawyer pressed guest Sean Hannity: "What is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?...Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson's disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?" When Hannity suggested some vindication for Limbaugh's suggestion that Fox may have been off his meds in order to look as bad as possible, citing how Fox had done that before congressional testimony, Sawyer retorted: "He didn't say that. He didn't talk about the congressional testimony." In fact, he did write about that in his book.

4. Today Show Advances 'Vast Right Wing' Gas Price Conspiracy Theory
On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Carl Quintanilla floated the kooky conspiracy theory that the oil companies lowered gas prices to help the GOP. Today co-host Meredith Vieira at the top of the show even postulated: "You know the good news is that gas prices are down, but do the elections have anything to do with it? In other words, are we being manipulated?" Co-host Matt Lauer fed the conspiracy, when he introduced the segment: "This morning on 'Today at the Pump,' falling gas prices fueling conspiracy theories. The price of a gallon of gas, the average price, is way down to about $2.21 a gallon just in time for the midterm elections. Is it a coincidence? Some people say no."

5. ABC News Political Chief Admits Media More Favorable to Liberals
Picking up on Monday's item in "The Note," the weekday ABCNews.com political compilation, titled "How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election," FNC's Bill O'Reilly brought aboard ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, who confirmed his belief that conservatives have good reason to view the media as hostile to their views. Halperin conceded: "If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We've got to make sure we do better so conservatives don't have to be concerned about that. It's just, it's not fair." And, he amazingly admitted: "The mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted..." AUDIO&VIDEO


ABC Scolds 'Incendiary' GOP Ad, 'Many
See Racial Overtones'

A night after the NBC Nightly News tried to discredit as racist an RNC ad against the Democratic Senate candidate in Tennessee, Harold Ford, ABC joined the effort. On Wednesday's World News, Dean Reynolds asserted: "Drawing on Ford's attendance at a Playboy magazine Super Bowl party last year, the national GOP has been running this commercial, with what many see as racial overtones. First, people lampoon Ford's positions, and then a woman in a suggestive pose says this:" The woman: "I met Harold at the Playboy party." Reynolds: "And after a few more digs, she adds this just to drive the point home." Woman again: "Harold, call me." Reynolds then declared: "To many, the message is clear, and in some parts of Tennessee, potentially incendiary." In case anyone missed the supposed implications, a professor explained: "He's talking about interracial sex, interracial relations."

The October 25 CyberAlert recounted: Another campaign, another opportunity for the mainstream media to discredit a Republican campaign ad as racist. On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams declared: "Tonight some are saying that one commercial in particular in one very close Senate race has now crossed a racial line." Andrea Mitchell proceeded to critique the RNC ad attacking Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford and she highlighted how "the NAACP said the ad, quote, 'plays to pre-existing prejudices about African-American men and white women'" and "advertising experts like Jerry Della Femina, a Republican, says it is a blatant racial appeal." See: www.mediaresearch.org

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the October 25 World News story:

ABC anchor Charles Gibson: "Back to politics, and the midterm elections are 13 days away. And one of the fiercest fights is taking place in Tennessee, a bitter contest that might determine the control of the Senate. It has just about everything -- hints of sex, allegations of racism, and the possibility that a Southern state could elect a black Senator for the first time since Reconstruction. ABC's Dean Reynolds reports tonight from Tennessee."

Dean Reynolds: "Bob Corker should be coasting. A Republican running in a conservative red state that was carried twice by President Bush, his prospects should be looking good."
Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican Senate candidate: "What people really want in the United States Senate is somebody who thinks like they think."
Reynolds: "But his Democratic opponent, Congressman Harold Ford, has proven to be a more adept campaigner, insinuating at every stop that Corker's undeniable wealth includes ill-gotten gains, and tying Corker to an unpopular war and an unpopular President."
Harold Ford, Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate: "I'm running as an American that wants to help provide better leadership in Washington."
Reynolds: "Faced with the loss of a must-win Senate seat, the Republicans decided to downshift away from Ford's politics to his persona. Drawing on Ford's attendance at a Playboy magazine Super Bowl party last year, the national GOP has been running this commercial, with what many see as racial overtones. First, people lampoon Ford's positions, and then a woman in a suggestive pose says this:"
Woman in ad: "I met Harold at the Playboy party."
Reynolds: "And after a few more digs, she adds this just to drive the point home."
Same woman whispering in ad: "Harold, call me."
Reynolds: "To many, the message is clear, and in some parts of Tennessee, potentially incendiary."
Prof. John Geer, Vanderbilt University: "I mean, he's talking about interracial sex, interracial relations, relationships. I mean, it's really quite amazing. And it's not the kind of ad you'd expect somebody to be running if they thought they were ahead or at least in a tie."
Reynolds: "Corker, the man the ad was supposed to benefit, says it should be withdrawn."
Corker: "We've taken the high road in this race, and I think the ads are tacky."
Reynolds: "Ford said all of this means one thing."
Ford: "Our message is resonating. Otherwise, they wouldn't be running these ads."
Reynolds: "Late today, officials at the Republican National Committee acknowledged that the ad in question has received a lot of negative attention, and they have decided to stop running it here. In a few days, they'll know if the ad did its job or was a risk they should never have taken. Dean Reynolds, ABC News, Knoxville."

CBS Evening News to Showcase Michael
J. Fox Interview on Thursday

Katie Couric touted, on Wednesday's CBS Evening News, how her Thursday broadcast will feature an interview with actor Michael J. Fox. It will air just three days after conservatives denounced as misleading and distorted his TV ads, about stem cell research, against Republican Senate candidates. In a spot for Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill, for instance, Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, charged in reference to the Republican incumbent: "Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us the chance for hope."

Couric's plug for the Fox interview followed a piece from Cynthia Bowers on the battle in Missouri with competing ads about stem cells, a story which failed to address the accuracy of the Fox ads. Couric plugged the Fox appearance as an "exclusive" interview: "By the way, tomorrow we'll have an exclusive interview with Michael J. Fox on the stem cell legislation and Rush Limbaugh." No word on when CBS might give equal time to with a different view.

[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For more on the distortions in Fox's ads, see the October 25 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

From Missouri, Bowers, who began her story with how conservatives have countered the Fox ad with one of heir own featuring famous actors and a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, expressed astonishment in her October 25 story about the impact of criticism of the Fox ad:

"Amazingly, [Democratic Senate candidate Claire] McCaskill credits conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh" for raising money for her "because what originally had been a limited ad campaign targeting a few Senate races in a few key states like his one, where stem cells are an issue, suddenly went national when Limbaugh suggested Fox was exaggerating the symptoms of his Parkinson's disease."

After a clip of Limbaugh suggesting "he is moving all around and shaking, and it's purely an act," Bowers concluded: "Limbaugh later apologized. But with the spotlight now glaring on the Missouri Senate race, the Republican party quickly channeled an extra $2 million into the Show Me State, trying to offset an ad that may do more than pull on heartstrings. It just might pull voters into the polls."

Sawyer Ridiculously Suggests Conservatives
Want to Silence Fox

On Wednesday's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer contended Michael J. Fox's plight -- suffering from Parkinson's disease -- should make him immune from criticism, a line of thinking which presumed Rush Limbaugh and others who pointed out inaccuracies in Fox's anti-Republican candidate TV ads wanted him censored when they were just treating him like anyone else who joins the political fray. Sawyer pressed guest Sean Hannity: "What is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?...Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson's disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?" When Hannity suggested some vindication for Limbaugh's suggestion that Fox may have been off his meds in order to look as bad as possible, citing how Fox had done that before congressional testimony, Sawyer retorted: "He didn't say that. He didn't talk about the congressional testimony." In fact, he did write about that in his book.

Raising the RNC's ad in the Tennessee Senate race (see item #1 above) the media are tying to discredit as racist, Sawyer proposed: "Harold Ford looks nice, isn't that enough? Does this read as desperation by the Republicans?"

The MRC's Megan McCormack provided a transcript of the interview with Sawyer's assertions and radio talk show host and FNC host Sean Hannity's tough retorts on the October 25 GMA:

Diane Sawyer: "And let's turn now to ABC talk radio host Sean Hannity, who's gotten up early to come in this morning."
Sean Hannity: "I have. It's always good to see you."
Sawyer: "Okay. Rush Limbaugh, your friend-"
Hannity: "My friend, absolutely."
Sawyer: "Rush Limbaugh. What, what is going on here? Attacking Michael J. Fox?"
Hannity: "Well, there's a little behind the scenes here that I don't think most people are aware of. Michael J. Fox admits now, its come out in his book, that he stopped taking his medication prior to testifying before Congress-"
Sawyer: "Wait. But, Sean, this is the reality of Parkinson's disease."
Hannity: "I agree."
Sawyer: "That is the reality."
Hannity: "I, listen, the reality is that. And, you know, what's so sinister about this ad, first of all, it's an 11th hour ad. It comes out, Michael J. Fox knows he's, well, he wants to defeat these Republicans. That's why two weeks out of an election he's come in here. Michael J. Fox, the issue of the medication came up because of that. Look, there are some factual inaccuracies in the ad and need to be debated. And I think, you know, unfortunately, he wants to create an impression here Republicans don't care about the health of people, they don't want to cure Parkinson's, this is only about the funding of federal stem cell issues."
Sawyer: "Well, but Rush Limbaugh, even in his apology, said that Mike Fox was allowing his illness to be exploited, shilling for a Democratic candidate. If you have Parkinson's disease, and you believe embryonic stem cell research is the, is the answer, a possible answer, a possible cure, don't you have a right to speak up?"
Hannity: "You have a right to speak up, but he also has a right to be criticized. He's a guy that is very political. He wants to defeat of these candidates. You know, there is some, a little hypocrisy here. He's supporting a guy in Maryland, Ben Cardin and Ben Cardin voted the opposite way of which he wanted. Why isn't he running ads against the Democrat? He supported John Kerry. He supported Chuck Schumer. He wants these guys defeated. It doesn't, he's not immune from any criticism."
Sawyer: "But, bottom line, did Rush Limbaugh go too far for you?"
Hannity: "I think'€"my take on what Rush said, is Rush was referring to Michael J. Fox's own admission in his own book where he said he stopped taking the medication-"
Sawyer: "He didn't say that. He didn't talk about the congressional testimony-"
Hannity: "That's my understanding. I, I didn't hear the comments. But my understanding is that Michael J. Fox had admitted that. But, you know something, Diane, everybody wants Michael J. Fox to get well. Every Republican I know, every Democrat. Everybody wants a cure for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson's. It is an insidious, difficult disease. What's unfortunate and deceiving about the ad, though, this is important, is that this is about the federal funding of embryotic stem cells. Stem cell research is legal in Missouri. It's being funded, and it's going on in state universities and that's not put in the ad."

(In fact, as cited in the October 25 CyberAlert, in his 2002 book, Lucky Man, Fox recalled: "I had made a deliberate choice to appear before the subcommittee without medication. It seemed to me that this occasion demanded that my testimony about the effects of the disease, and the urgency we as a community were feeling, be seen as well as heard. For people who had never observed me in this kind of shape, the transformation must have been startling." See: www.michaeljfox.org )

Sawyer: "Well, there's a big difference between adult and embryonic, as we know."
Hannity: "Yes."
Sawyer: "But, anyway, I want to come back to Harold Ford, Democratic candidate in Tennessee, the Republican ad run against him. I'm going to run another part of that ad. It's the top part of, of this ad which even his Republican opponent said was too tacky for him. Listen."
Campaign ad, woman: "Harold Ford looks nice, isn't that enough?"
Woman #2: "Terrorists need their privacy."
Man: "When I die, Harold Ford will let me pay taxes again."
Sawyer: "Harold Ford looks nice, isn't that enough? Does this read as desperation by the Republicans?"
Hannity: "You know, I, I got to be honest. You know, we talk up a lot about select moral outrage as conservatives. We have a race, an African-American Republican candidate in the state of Maryland, Michael Steel. Michael Steel was called a token by a Democrat, Steny Hoyer, was, in his particular race, he said he has a slavish mentality to the Republican party. The only thing that bothers me is there seems to be selective moral outrage by Democrats. They have not spoken out about those outrageous comments. They've defended them. So, look, if you go back and you want to talk about the race card historically in elections, a Missouri ad ran in '€˜98 that said if you elect Republicans, black churches will burn. We know the controversy over the James Byrd NAACP ad. Al Gore once said in an African American church in 2000, Republicans don't want to count you in the census. You know, lot of incendiary things have been said over the years and-"
Sawyer: "Yeah, but we're, that's over the years, we're talking about right now, and-"
Hannity: "Talking about right now. Bob Corker didn't want the ad, wants it pulled and, and had nothing to do with it."
Sawyer: "Well, if he wants it pulled, it should be pulled."
Hannity: "I agree with you. I agree."
Sawyer: "Okay, quickly, from you. We know the latest poll from ABC, 54 percent think the Democrats in their congressional district should be elected, 41 percent the Republicans."
Hannity: "Right."
Sawyer: "What's going to happen, thirteen days?"
Hannity: "Boy, if I, if I could pick those, I think I'd be a pretty wealthy guy. You know, look. It's always the sixth year of an election, as you know, is always tough for the party in power. But I sense, being on radio and talking to people three hours a day and television one hour a night, that there's been a momentum shift. I think this Michael J. Fox ad is going to backfire. I think there's, I believe it will backfire in the end cause there's false information in it. I think, you know, I think if the Democrats want to play the race card, I think that'll backfire. And I think the race ultimately is going to be decided on issues. National security, immigration, taxes, and when people focus on that, I think that benefits the Republicans."

Today Show Advances 'Vast Right Wing'
Gas Price Conspiracy Theory

On Wednesday's Today show, NBC's Carl Quintanilla floated the kooky conspiracy theory that the oil companies lowered gas prices to help the GOP. Today co-host Meredith Vieira at the top of the show even postulated: "You know the good news is that gas prices are down, but do the elections have anything to do with it? In other words, are we being manipulated?"

Co-host Matt Lauer fed the conspiracy, when he introduced the segment: "This morning on 'Today at the Pump,' falling gas prices fueling conspiracy theories. The price of a gallon of gas, the average price, is way down to about $2.21 a gallon just in time for the midterm elections. Is it a coincidence? Some people say no."

The story featured loony consumers at the pump buying into the myth and liberal Air America radio host Rachel Maddow saying to her listeners: "People do worry that maybe there's a conspiracy."

Near the end of the piece, Quintanilla did air a soundbite from a skeptical trader and ran a quote from Shell Oil's President, but concluded the story, parroting the infamous "conspiracy" line from Hillary Clinton: "Others see a vast right wing conspiracy that leads right from the pump to the booth. For Today, Carl Quintanilla, NBC News, New York."

[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

NBC's story echoed an October 16 CBS Evening News piece. An October 17 CyberAlert item, "CBS Takes Seriously Conspiracy About Bush Manipulating Gas Price," recounted:

Although a Monday CBS Evening News story included a soundbite from an expert dismissing the idea as "preposterous," the newscast treated a far-left conspiracy theory -- about how the Bush administration is somehow manipulating the pump price for gas to help in the election -- as credible and worthy enough to deserve a broadcast network story. Citing how the price of a gallon of gas has fallen to the lowest all year, anchor Katie Couric wondered: "Is this an election year present from President Bush to fellow Republicans?" Over a shot of a "GOP: Grand Oil Party" bumper sticker laying on a dashboard, reporter Anthony Mason asserted: "Gas started going down just as the fall campaign started heating up. Coincidence? Some drivers don't think so." The man in the car insisted "I think it's basically a ploy to sort of get the American people to think, well, the economy is going good, let's vote Republican." Over headlines from Daily Kos and Huffington Post, Mason conceded you can "call the conspiracy theory crazy," but he touted how "it's spreading through Internet blogs and over the airwaves."

For more: www.mrc.org

The following is the full segment that aired in the 7am half hour of the October 25 Today:

Matt Lauer: "This morning on Today At the Pump falling gas prices fueling conspiracy theories. The price of a gallon of gas, the average price, is way down to about $2.21 a gallon just in term for the midterm elections. Is it a coincidence? Some people say no. CNBC's Carl Quintanilla has that story."

[On screen headline, over video of Bush and Rove on the White House lawn: "Gas Conspiracy? Oil Prices Fall As Election Nears"]

Carl Quintanilla: "As conspiracy theories go this one's a doozy. It says the price of gas, now at its lowest level of the year, has actually been forced, manipulated by oil companies to benefit the President and his party ahead of the election now just two weeks away. The rumor running rampant from Internet blogs to liberal talk radio."
Rachel Maddow, Air America host: "What we're hearing from our listeners is I think a lot of what you're seeing in the blog world too, that people do worry that maybe there's a conspiracy."
Quintanilla: "Even a topic at gas stations themselves."
Woman in car: "The coming election might have something to do with it."
Man in car: "Just think that after the election I think the prices are gonna go up again."
Quintanilla: "It's true political popularity often centers around energy prices. Jimmy Carter learned that the hard way."
Jimmy Carter: "All of us must learn to waste less energy."
Quintanilla: "But they've been good news for President Bush. Gas prices are down 82 cents from their highs back in August thanks to plenty of supply and a weak hurricane season. No surprise the President's approval rating on the economy is up, now 44 percent and he didn't hesitate to mention the benefits to the consumer in an interview Monday with CNBC."
George W. Bush: "His health care costs are still high but his gasoline prices are low, lower. And when you couple all that with the tax cuts he's got more money in his pocket."
Quintanilla: "So could anyone have made gas prices fall?"
Eric Bolling, independent trader: "It's not [the] administration, it's not a country, it's not a government that's forcing the price higher or lower it's simply a function of supply and demand."
Quintanilla: "Even if it were a grand scheme it would be a long shot. A recent NBC poll shows gas prices are overshadowed this year by other issues like Iraq, health care and moral values. But already Big Oil's on the defensive. In a speech, Monday, the president of Shell Oil said, 'We simply do not talk to each other about issues like pricing. We would not talk to the White house about pricing.' Strong denials, even as others see a vast right wing conspiracy that leads right from the pump to the booth. For Today, Carl Quintanilla, NBC News, New York."

ABC News Political Chief Admits Media
More Favorable to Liberals

Picking up on Monday's item in "The Note," the weekday ABCNews.com political compilation, titled "How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election," FNC's Bill O'Reilly brought aboard ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin, who confirmed his belief that conservatives have good reason to view the media as hostile to their views. Halperin conceded: "If I were a conservative, I understand why I would


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More See & Hear the Bias

feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We've got to make sure we do better so conservatives don't have to be concerned about that. It's just, it's not fair." And, he amazingly admitted: "The mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted..."

Halperin suggested the mainstream media must do better if they want to survive: "If you want to thrive like Fox News Channel, you want to have a future, you better make sure conservatives find your product appealing if you're going to do the right thing. You got to do it."

An excerpt from the top of the October 23 The Note:

How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election:

1. Glowingly profile Speaker-Inevitable Nancy Pelosi, with loving mentions of her grandmotherly steel (see last night's 60 Minutes), and fail to describe her as "ultra liberal" or "an extreme liberal," which would mirror the way Gingrich was painted twelve years ago.

2. Look at every attempt by the President to define the race on his terms as deluded and desperate; increasingly quote Republican strategists saying that the President is hurting the party whenever he enters the fray.

3. Refuse to join the daily morning Ken Mehlman-Rush Limbaugh conference calls, despite repeated invitations.

4. Imbue every Democratic candidate for whom Bill Clinton campaigns with a golden halo.

5. Paint groups that run ads or do turnout for Republican candidates as shadowy, extreme, corrupt, and illegitimate; describe their analogues on the left as valiant underdogs, part of a People's Army (with homage to Rich Lowry).

6. Care more about voter disenfranchisement than voter fraud.

7. Take every Republican quote expressing some trepidation about the outcome and banner it.

8. Drop any pretense of covering good news from Iraq or good news about the economy, including some upcoming positive macro numbers (Quick, Note readers: name the current Secretary of the Treasury.).

9. Amplify Obama-mania as a metaphor for the Democratic Party being the party of excitement and the future.

10. Fail to follow Bob Novak's analysis of the difference between Democratic and Republican oppo plants.

11. Lock in the CW (which, shockingly, could be wrong) that the winner of two out three Senate races in Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri will control the Senate.

12. Carefully document what appears to strategists in both parties to be the case -- while a few incumbent Republicans are clawing their way back into contention (including and especially, perhaps, Tom Reynolds), the number of endangered Republican-held seats is growing, not shrinking....

END of Excerpt

For the October 23 The Note:
abcnews.go.com

[Matthew Sheffield of the MRC's blog NewsBusters caught the interview. For his blog item on it, with video rendered by the MRC's Michelle Humphrey which will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to produce this transcript of the segment on the October 24 The O'Reilly Factor on FNC:

Bill O'Reilly: "'Factor Followup' segment: Tonight a somewhat surprising ABC News Internet posting. It's entitled 'How the Liberal Old Media Plans to Cover the Last Two Weeks of the Election.' Article was written by Mark Halperin, the political director of ABC News, and also the co-author of a brand new book called The Way to win: Taking the White House in 2008. Mr. Halperin joins us now from New York. This is a very tough piece of analysis that you wrote. I'm surprised; I'm not stunned because you are a gutsy guy. You have done this before. But let's walk through it. Who is the liberal old media?"
Mark Halperin: "Well, Bill, as you know, in this country, we've got these old news organizations, the major networks, ABC, where you used to work, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organizations have been around a long time, and for 40 years conservatives have looked with suspicion at them. I think we've got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances, we're going to try to do better, but these organizations still have incredible sway, and conservatives are certain that we're going to be out to get them. We've got to fix that."
O'Reilly: "All right, so you're actually admitting, you, the political director of ABC News, that CBS News, maybe your own network, tilts left?"
Halperin: "We write in The Way to Win, John Harris and I, that over the years there are a lot of examples, what CBS News did in the 2004 election with the President's National Guard record, lot's of examples. If I were a conservative, I understand why I would feel suspicious that I was not going to get a fair break at the end of an election. We've got to make sure we do better so conservatives don't have to be concerned about that. It's just, it's not fair."
O'Reilly: "So you're the fairness police at ABC News? You're the fair police now?"
Halperin: "No, we should be impartial. We should use this last two weeks as an opportunity to help rebuild our reputation with half the country so conservatives can-"
O'Reilly: "Okay, I'm liking it. Now, what is the strategy of the old liberal networks, and you've defined them as CBS, maybe ABC, NBC, CNN, the major urban newspapers. What's the strategy?"
Halperin: "You know how this works, one of the things we wrote in 'The Note' is there are no strategy calls. We're not on the phone with Howard Dean and George Soros in the morning getting our marching orders, but the mindset at ABC, where you and I used to be colleagues at, at the other big news organizations, it's just too focused on being more favorable to Nancy Pelosi, say, than Newt Gingrich, being more down on the Republicans' chances than perhaps is warranted, singling out, you're seeing here a 60 Minutes piece about Nancy Pelosi. I don't remember Newt Gingrich getting a piece that favorable in 1994."
O'Reilly: "Do you think CBS is in the tank for Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats?"
Halperin: "I think everybody in the old media better be watching pieces like that, reading profiles of Nancy Pelosi, and saying, 'Are we being fair to everybody involved in the American political process?' Even if you don't believe the argument, Bill, that we make, in The Way to Win, that there are some examples over the years that are pretty significant, of showing why conservatives are aggrieved, even if you're a liberal and you don't believe that, believe that half the country feels that way. And as an economic model, if you want to thrive like Fox News Channel, you want to have a future, you better make sure conservatives find your product appealing if you're going to do the right thing. You got to do it."
O'Reilly: "I think you're absolutely correct. I mean, all I want is fairness in the media. Now, your book is fascinating because it basically lays out a road map for success to whoever wants to be President. Give me the headline of the book."
Halperin: "The headline of the book is we interviewed Bill Clinton and Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. But Clinton and Rove, the chief strategists in American politics, what do they know about the way to win? They have a lot of theories in common. They admire each other and their skills, but they look at things differently in terms of policy. We also say, 'What does Hillary Clinton know? Why is she such a strong candidate?' Dick Cheney said today people better believe she can win. We explain what Hillary Clinton's political operation is like. It's more like Bush and Rove than it is like her husband's."
O'Reilly: "Yeah, I mean, she's more fluid and she's got tons of money."
Halperin: "It's more than that, Bill."
O'Reilly: "Yeah, what else?"
Halperin: "She just knows that Karl Rove and George Bush had five years of success by being organized, by coming to the new media, by giving the stiff arm to the old media, to some extent, and also by having a disciplined staff that works to try to improve her chances rather than fighting with each other. She's more Bush and Rove in many ways than she is Clinton. That's what makes her formidable."

-- Brent Baker