CyberAlert -- 06/15/2000 -- Gore Conceded He's No Computer Expert
Gore Conceded He's No Computer Expert; FNC: Baptists Blast Clinton; NYPD Can't Win; "Prosperity Tour"
1) Al Gore, who last year boasted how he "took the initiative in creating the Internet," denied any knowledge of how many of his subpoenaed e-mails were lost, conceding, during a Fox News Channel interview, "I'm not an expert on computers."
2) Al Gore's tenants complained the repairs haven't been made and that he reneged on the promise of other housing, FNC's Brit Hume relayed. Time, Newsweek and U.S. News all refused to inform their readers about the condition of Gore's rental property.
3) CBS focused on how the Southern Baptist Convention passed resolutions "critics say" show them "bent on exclusion." But FNC noticed the keynote sermon: "We have a Southern Baptist in the White House with the morals of an alley cat."
4) Wednesday night ABC featured Texas death row poster boy Gary Graham; CBS's Jim Axelrod acknowledged the belief that police "were too lax" at the Puerto Rican Day parade because they did not want "to appear heavy-handed" with an ethnic crowd; and NBC noted how Gore wants to shake up the race with early debates.
5) CBS and NBC on Tuesday night spotlighted Gore's "progress and prosperity" tour, though CBS's John Roberts noted how Gov. Pataki "claims Al Gore had little to do with the economic turnaround; it was old-fashioned American hard work, fueled by tax cuts."
As Sergeant Schultz always deflected on Hogan's Heroes, "I know nothing!" On Wednesday Al Gore, who last year boasted about how he "took the initiative in creating the Internet," denied any knowledge of how his subpoenaed e-mails were lost by conceding, during a Fox News Channel interview, "I'm not an expert on computers."
The background: Late last week, in a disclosure bannered across the front page of the June 9 Washington Times, but which was nearly completely ignored by the television media, the White House claimed that a problem with its computer back-up system meant e-mail sent to Gore's office between March 1998 and April 1999 could not be retrieved. No network show touched the revelation on Thursday or Friday. On Sunday, Tony Snow raised the development with Dan Burton on Fox News Sunday and Burton mentioned it on Meet the Press, but Tim Russert did not pursue the comment.
Now back to Wednesday,
June 14: On FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume reporter Wendell Goler
narrated a piece which provided excerpts from his interview earlier in the
day with Gore. Following a report on nuclear data missing from Los Alamos,
Hume segued to Goler's re-cap of an earlier interview:
Goler relayed live from
Washington, DC: "Brit, the guy who says he helped invent the Internet
says he's not a computer whiz, at least not enough to have picked up on
the fact that e-mails to his office weren't being saved in 1998 and
1999. Congressional investigators say those e-mails might have shed light
on Gore's involvement a number of their investigations, but in his first
broadcast comments on the subject Gore told Fox News that all he knew was
that the system briefly broke down."
Goler moved on to other subjects Gore is more used to talking about, such bashing Bush's tax cuts and the Los Alamos mess, but Gore was clearly uncomfortable in responding to the question about e-mail -- probably because no other reporter has queried him about the matter.
CNN, for instance, avoided the topic in its interview with Gore replayed on Wednesday's Inside Politics. Early in the show CNN showed Gore responding to a couple of questions from Jeanne Meserve about his campaign having to move a Pennsylvania event out of a Catholic hospital because a local Catholic leader objected to Gore's abortion stand. Later, viewers saw a nearly six-minute long excerpt of the interview, but not a word from Meserve about e-mail or his rental house. Instead, she asked about his efforts to gain credit for the good economy, if the surplus provides a rationale for Bush's tax cut, if the Los Alamos mess means Bill Richardson is off the VP list, and if he considers Ralph Nader a threat.
+++ Watch Gore's nervous chuckling, hesitation, head shaking, frowning and odd pauses in his answer. Thursday morning MRC Webmaster Andy Szul will post, in a RealPlayer format, an excerpt from FNC's story. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
invention claim came during a March 9, 1999 interview with CNN's Wolf
Blitzer on Late Edition/Prime Time. Blitzer didn't offer any challenge
when Gore bragged: "During my service in the United States Congress I
took the initiative in creating the Internet." To watch this exchange
via a RealPlayer clip, go to the March 12, 1999 CyberAlert:
Gore has yet to complete his promised repairs to his tenant's home, WTVF-TV
reported, but only FNC noticed. On the June 14 Special Report with Brit
Hume, the anchor of the same name related an item highlighted in Hotline:
Meanwhile, the rest of the media continue to make sure as few people as possible ever hear about how far Gore let his neighboring house deteriorate.
This week's MRC MagazineWatch, about the June 19 issues, discovered: "All three news magazines completely ignored any reference to a renter on Gore's family property calling him a 'slumlord' over inattention to the house's crumbling condition. At least U.S. News did mention, albeit briefly, the disappearance of more than a year of subpoenaed Gore e-mails announced last week."
Other items in the
MagazineWatch complied by Ken Shepherd and Tim Graham:
To read these items, go
"Critics say it's one more sign this gathering of believers is bent on exclusion," declared CBS's Byron Pitts in a Wednesday night story about how the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) passed resolutions on how only men can be pastors and condemning homosexuality. FNC sent a correspondent to the Orlando gathering and he also reported on the same resolutions, but only after pointing out how Baptist leaders condemned Bill Clinton and Al Gore for not being faithful to their religion.
CNN's The World Today also carried a full story on the convention by Mark Potter. He didn't mention the condemnation of Bill Clinton, but in relaying the resolutions on women as pastors and homosexuality he avoided CBS's loaded language about intolerance.
Byron Pitts began his
June 14 CBS Evening News report:
Viewers of FNC's
Special Report with Brit Hume got a much different take on the convention.
FNC's Bret Baier
opened his piece by showing Reverend Bailey Smith, in the "keynote
sermon," exclaiming from the stage: "We have a Southern Baptist
in the White House with the morals of an alley cat."
Wednesday night ABC featured clips from an interview with Texas death row convict turned anti-Bush/death penalty poster boy Gary Graham; a day after NBC Nightly News ran a story CBS picked up on the "wilding" in Central Park as Jim Axelrod actually acknowledged that some think the police "were too lax with those gathered" for the Puerto Rican Day parade because they did not want "to appear heavy-handed with such an ethnic crowd"; and NBC reported on how the Gore camp wants early debates in order to shake up the race because they are "supremely confident that when debates finally happen their candidate will prevail" on "maturity and experience."
The stock market scheme arrests of organized crime figures topped the June 14 World News Tonight on ABC and the NBC Nightly News while the CBS Evening News went first with the talks between North Korea and South Korea. For the second night in a row, all ran full stories on the nuclear data missing from Los Alamos.
-- ABC's World News
Tonight. Mike von Fremd narrated a piece about his interview with Gary
Graham, though he did point out that Graham, supposedly falsely convicted
for a murder at a grocery store, was also convicted of shooting two people
in other robberies, and he let Diane Clements of Justice for All warn that
if Graham is let out Texans better lock their doors. Von Fremd concluded:
Only because the national media have taken up his cause.
"Death Penalty Study: A Left-wing Scam," declared the headline over a frontpagemag.com piece, brought to my attention by a reader, on the death penalty study promoted by all the networks Monday night. In the June 12 Web site piece David Horowitz undermined the premise of those stories recounted in the June 13 CyberAlert:
On the front page of your paper this morning (June 12) you will find the latest left-wing academic-political scam, a Columbia University "study" of the death penalty which purports to show that "the system is broken."
Naturally the left-wing media (the New York Times, the LA Times, etc.) is presenting this political scam as solid evidence that 1) there are vast miscarriages of justice in death penalty cases and 2) George Bush is a heartless Republican. The New York Times' headline goes like this: DEATH SENTENCES BEING OVERTURNED IN 2 OF 3 APPEALS. WIDE REACHING STUDY. REVERSALS ARE ATTRIBUTED TO ERRORS BY DEFENSE LAWYERS, POLICE AND PROSECUTORS.
Nonsense. What the report actually does is to take the record of anti-death penalty appeals court judges who overturned sentences mainly for political reasons and then to present these statistics as though they reflected what would have been actual miscarriages of justice had the sentences been carried out.
For example, the Report records that 87% of the death penalty cases in California between 1973 and 1995 were "reversed." The implication is that the death sentences were wrongly imposed. But this is far from the truth. What these reversals represent is a political campaign by the left to subvert the death penalty - the law be damned. No one was executed in California after 1973 (Governor "Moon Beam" Jerry Brown was elected in 1972), until the anti-death penalty chief justice of the California Supreme Court (appointed by Brown) was removed....
To read the rest, go to:
-- CBS Evening News. Tuesday night CNN's The World Today and the NBC Nightly News ran pieces on the Central Park "wilding" and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani discussed it on Wednesday's Today. CBS caught up Wednesday night, but ABC's World News Tonight has yet to air a story on the incident which is filling hours on the cable news channels.
Anchor Dan Rather introduced the CBS story: "Police here in New York City, criticized in the past for overreacting in tense situations, are now under fire for allegedly under-reacting, being too blase, too passive. An investigation is underway to determine if police did ignore pleas from victims of a so-called 'wilding,' savagery in which thugs went on a rampage in Central Park."
Over amateur video, Jim
Axelrod opened by focusing on complaints about police inaction when told
men were tearing the clothes off innocent women in the park. He linked
that to killings: "So once again New York's police department is
under fire. This video joins a recent catalog of images surrounding
allegations of police brutality and insensitivity towards minorities. But
this time there's a twist. Some New Yorkers are wondering if the police
were too lax with those gathered here in Central Park for the Puerto Rican
Day parade -- not wanting to appear heavy-handed with such an ethnic
-- NBC Nightly News. Lisa Myers used Ted Forstman's promise, of $500,000 each to Gore and Bush for the charity for their choice if they agree to a debate on education, as a hook for a look at how each camp views debates. Bush wants to wait until the fall and then look presidential while Gore wants to debate during the summer in order to shake up the race and to get debates in before the Olympics and World Series crowd out politics. Myers concluded: "Tonight, Bush advisers say they've not totally ruled out early debates. The Gore camp claims to be supremely confident that when debates finally happen their candidate will prevail -- not necessarily on charm, but on maturity and experience."
NBC and CBS picked up Tuesday night on Al Gore's "progress and prosperity" tour. NBC's Claire Shipman did not challenge the premise that Gore deserves credit for the economy and in a list of Gore campaign problems she skipped e-mail and his Tennessee tenants, which I guess really aren't problems since the networks have made sure no one knows about them, but she did admit that "with big government surpluses predicted it's tough...for Gore to argue against a Bush tax cut."
CBS's John Roberts allowed Gore to tout himself, but unlike Shipman, Roberts raised questions about how much credit Gore deserves: "New York Governor George Pataki claims Al Gore had little to do with the economic turnaround; it was old-fashioned American hard work, fueled by tax cuts."
Anchor Tom Brokaw introduced the June 13 NBC Nightly News story: "And the new, kinder, gentler Vice President Al Gore tonight is starting a new phase of his campaign, promoting the economic record of the last eight years. His series of speeches coincide with the news that the federal surpluses are greater than ever."
Claire Shipman agreeably
began: "After a year of fits and starts, wardrobe changes and
personality makeovers, today, Al Gore comes back to the obvious: the
economy. Standing with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, he claims
prosperity as his major campaign advantage."
Shipman concluded: "Gore will spend the coming months pitching his theme of economic prosperity to a public that everyone agrees isn't paying much attention yet. And he's well aware if he can't get people to focus on their wallets, he'll have a hard time coming up with a better theme."
Over on the June 13 CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather announced the Gore strategy: "The U.S. economy has run so strong for so long, some Americans may take it as a given. And the Gore for President campaign feels the Vice President is not getting any of the credit and that he deserves some. So the Gore campaign is making this its latest selling point in what could be make-or-break industrial states on Election Day. CBS News chief White House correspondent John Roberts has more on the Gore strategy and the Bush camp's reaction to it."
"It brought him the vice presidency in 1992, yet it was only this
week that Al Gore's campaign woke up and realized, despite unprecedented
economic growth, it's still the economy, stupid."
After another Gore
soundbite Roberts allowed Bush backers to respond: "For their part,
the Bush campaign is ridiculing Gore's tour, saying he is now laying claim
to having invented prosperity. And in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania,
Republican governors complain the Vice President is bragging on himself
just a little too much."
But, of course, winning the economy really means winning the media to your side to portray the economy as booming and give you credit for it, and Gore's got a lot better chance of doing that than does Bush.
Wacky spin of the week. Here's how Tom Brokaw introduced a June 12 NBC Nightly News story: "And from the U.S. Supreme Court tonight a ruling that further restricts patient rights as they attempt to deal with their HMOs."
The court just refused to expand rights by rejecting a call for creating a new right to sue HMOs in federal court, so hardly a "restriction" of anything since, as Yogi Berra could have said, the status quo remains unchanged. -- Brent Baker
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