Media Reality Check

- On Wednesday's Good Morning America, ABC's George Stephanopoulos tempted his audience to picture Al Gore as a general on horseback leading the charge. Really. - Stephanopoulos told Diane Sawyer: "You know, last week, the first couple of weeks of election day, Al Gore stayed mostly in the command center of the U.S. Naval Observatory....huddled behind his computer console, e-mailing members of Congress, reporters, really directing his legal fight from behind the scenes. But now the general's decided to go out on horseback and really lead the charge himself." - It is unclear whether Stephanopoulos was trying to get viewers... continue reading
- Newsweek Washington bureau reporter and MSNBC analyst Howard Fineman let it slip out this morning: The liberal media's double standard is benefiting Al Gore as the Democrat tries desperately to spin his way from defeat to victory. - Fineman was a guest this morning on radio's Imus in the Morning, simulcast on MSNBC, when host Don Imus asked the question that most liberal reporters dread: What if the roles were reversed? - "What if Gore had won and Bush, what if the roles were reversed," Imus wondered. "How would, I wouldn't want to include you in this, but how... continue reading
- Katherine Harris may have certified George W. Bush as President-Elect last night, but don't expect the liberal media to concede this official result any faster than their friends in the Gore campaign will. Last night in live coverage on CBS, Dan Rather identified Harris as a Republican at least six times, and questioned the finality of her finding at least ten times: Rather began: "Nineteen days after the presidential election, Florida's Republican Secretary of State is about to announce the winner - as she sees it and she decrees it - of the state's potentially decisive 25 electoral votes... continue reading
- Racing through the numerical options for a Gore victory this morning, ABC's Political Analyst George Stephanopoulos announced on Wednesday's Good Morning America that his Democratic sources estimate that if a "looser standard" of counting votes is allowed in Florida, Al Gore would finally achieve a lead of a couple of hundred votes. - How loose is loose? The Democrats want "dimpled" ballots, or punch cards that have been neither punched nor perforated but which have a barely-detectable dent near what would be the right hole, added to Gore's count so that he, not Bush, would be President. - After... continue reading
-- Katherine Harris, the Republican Florida Secretary of State, repeated yesterday that the legal deadline for each of the state's 67 counties to certify their vote totals was 5:00 this afternoon. (That view was upheld this afternoon by a state judge who is a Democrat.) Shocked that Gore partisans wouldn't be able to continue collecting votes from selected Democratic precincts, the networks groused that Harris's decision was unfair and probably calculated by partisanship and her alleged ambitions for higher office. -- Monday morning, minutes after her decision was first announced, NBC's Tim Russert called it arbitrary and a prelude to... continue reading
Over the weekend, the network interview programs were dominated by discussions of the yet-to-be-decided presidential election. Liberal pundits took the opportunity to defend Al Gore's continuing challenge to Florida's initial vote counts, while pushing the idea that Republicans are using half-truths and dirty tricks to try to keep their White House hopes alive. Key talking points from the weekend: Mistakes Were Made on Election Day, But Gore Is Seeking the Right Remedies: "There's been a prima-facie case made that there have been mistakes in the ballot in Florida. Asking, even if you have to go to court, for a re-count... continue reading
- Are the plaintiffs demanding an unprecedented re-run of the presidential election in Florida's Palm Beach county really befuddled oldsters who were confused by a two-column ballot? Or are they really sophisticated local activists who assume that their protests against the election's integrity is Al Gore's last, best chance to be awarded the White House? - The national media have repeatedly relayed citizens' complaints about the supposedly baffling ballot, but the networks haven't looked at the backgrounds of the three plaintiffs who have put their names on the lawsuit hanging over the presidential election. - A Nexis search of Florida... continue reading
- The close outcome of Tuesday's presidential election was remarkable, but one liberal reporter - Newsweek writer and NBC talking head Jonathan Alter - urged that Gore be "certified" as the winner whether or not he has met the Constitutional burden of securing a majority of Electoral College votes. Here's what Alter told NBC viewers at approximately 3:30 Eastern Time this morning: - "If it turns out that Al Gore wins the popular vote nationally, there will be intense pressure in this country to have him become the President. Most people think the guy with the most votes wins. Recounts... continue reading
- At the end of his losing presidential campaign in 1992, President George Bush caught a lot of flak from the networks for calling Al Gore "Ozone Man" and declaring that "my dog, Millie, knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos." Network correspondents were appalled that the Democratic ticket would be likened to a pair of clowns. - Trailing in the final pre-election polls, Gore this weekend likened his opponent to an evil, slave-holding racist, but few TV reporters had the same outrage they manifested eight years ago. - Gore begged worshipers at a Memphis prayer breakfast to... continue reading
- Erin Fehlau, a reporter at WPXT-TV Channel 51 in Portland, Maine, was last night's featured guest on ABC's Nightline . Earlier that evening, she triggered a feeding frenzy by disclosing that George W. Bush was arrested and pleaded guilty to drunk driving in 1976. Ted Koppel asked her to declare that her story wasn't what it obviously was: a late-campaign Democratic smear plot. - "The way you tell the story, it certainly sounds as though you just stumbled into something and were smart enough to follow up on it," Koppel assured Fehlau. "But you also heard Gov. Bush say... continue reading