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Brokaw Disrespect for '94 GOP Win, Insists Reagan Short on AIDS --11/30/2004


1. Brokaw Disrespect for '94 GOP Win, Insists Reagan Short on AIDS
Tom Brokaw, who in 1994 dismissed the Contract with America as "long on promises and short on sound premises," in his two-hour Friday night Dateline special, Tom Brokaw: Eyewitness to History, gave a mere ten seconds to the 1994 GOP congressional takeover as he focused the entirety of the brief segment on showing himself asking Newt Gingrich: "Do you regret saying that the Clinton administration is the enemy of normal people?" Brokaw gave just as much time to touting Clinton's booming economy, though he didn't mention anything about Reagan's economic rebound and instead asserted that "even Ronald Reagan's close friends and advisors will say on the issue of race, for example, he was stuck in the late 1930s, early 1940s. He could be stubborn, sometimes to a fault. He was much too slow to respond to the AIDS crisis."

2. Olbermann Touts Jackson's Ohio "Fraud" Claim, Spouts More Rumors
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann just won't let go of conspiracy theories related to the Ohio presidential vote. Olbermann touted at the top of Monday's Countdown: "The F-word. Jesse Jackson uses it in Ohio. The new F-word: Fraud." After reciting Jackson's claims, Olbermann pounded away at Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell with a series of six questions which presumed Blackwell was standing in the way of the truth. Olbermann, who ignored how a Miami Herald review determined nothing unusual in how some Northern Florida counties with Democratic registrations went for Bush, a subject on which Olbermann focused earlier this month as proof of how Kerry votes were not counted, demanded that Blackwell "refute or confirm one of the Internet's favorite stories that no one seems to have gotten an answer, that you had a meeting with President Bush on the day of the election in Ohio?"

3. Fineman: "Mainstream Media Abused Its Privilege"; & He Does Too
NBC's Norah O'Donnell insisted on the Chris Matthews Show over the weekend that "there is still a standard that you get on network news that you may not get on cable news where there is a desire, especially at NBC, to make sure that we are as objective as possible," but Newsweek's Howard Fineman countered that "the mainstream media has no right to complain about the lack of belief in the idea of objectivity anymore because a lot of the mainstream media abused its privilege over the last 20 years....When Walter Cronkite said, 'That's the way it is,' it wasn't always the way it was." Yet a few days after taping the Matthews show, Fineman reflected that skewed agenda of the mainstream media. Appearing on Monday's Today, he denounced the "the Afghanistan of the Republicans which is, which is in the House" blocking the intelligence reform plan.

4. "Top Ten Signs Tom Brokaw Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore"
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Tom Brokaw Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore."


Brokaw Disrespect for '94 GOP Win, Insists
Reagan Short on AIDS

NBC's Tom Brokaw in 1975 Tom Brokaw, who in 1994 dismissed the Contract with America as "long on promises and short on sound premises," in his two-hour Friday night Dateline special, Tom Brokaw: Eyewitness to History, gave a mere ten seconds to the 1994 GOP congressional takeover as he focused the entirety of the brief segment on showing himself asking Newt Gingrich: "Do you regret saying that the Clinton administration is the enemy of normal people?" Brokaw gave just as much time to touting Clinton's booming economy, though he didn't mention anything about Reagan's economic rebound and instead asserted that "even Ronald Reagan's close friends and advisors will say on the issue of race, for example, he was stuck in the late 1930s, early 1940s. He could be stubborn, sometimes to a fault. He was much too slow to respond to the AIDS crisis."

The MRC's Megan McCormack tracked down these comments from Brokaw in the November 26 at 9pm EST/PST special in which Brokaw recalled major events he covered, starting with the civil rights movement and Vietnam in the late 1960s when he was with KNBC-TV in Los Angeles. NBC mixed Brokaw's current recollections, made in front of river and White House backdrops, with archival video and contemporary soundbites from those involved in the historic events.

Tom Brokaw: Eyewitness to History will replay Sunday night at 8pm EST/PST on MSNBC.

NBC's Tom Brokaw About a half hour into the two-hours Brokaw got to Ronald Reagan's presidency. After noting how some saw him as a "knight in shining armor" for getting the hostages released and acknowledging that he had "extraordinary political talents," Brokaw maintained over clips of Reagan and himself with Reagan:
"Ronald Reagan put a sunny disposition on conservatism. He is the Godfather of the modern political conservative movement in this country. It drove liberals crazy that he could be as successful as he was. Even Ronald Reagan's close friends and advisors will say on the issue of race, for example, he was stuck in the late 1930s, early 1940s. He could be stubborn, sometimes to a fault. He was much too slow to respond to the AIDS crisis. But on balance, if you look at how the nation responded to Ronald Reagan's death, an entire week of celebration and mourning, that tells you a lot about what you need to know about Ronald Reagan's place in our contemporary history."

Arriving at 1994 about 40 minutes later, Brokaw took 15 seconds to highlight the OJ trial, then gave ten seconds to the Republican takeover of the House and Senate. Over three seconds of 1994 video of Newt Gingrich walking into room with a cheering crowd and a zoom in on a "Sweep the House" sign, viewers heard audio from an archived Brokaw interview with Gingrich followed by video of Gingrich's reply. Brokaw had asked: "Do you regret saying that the Clinton administration is the enemy of normal people?" Gingrich answered: "Yes, truth is occasionally [slaps hand on forehead], I'm not very smart."

(Time has apparently not improved Brokaw's opinion of the Contract with America. Here's how he introduced a September 27, 1994 NBC Nightly News preview of it: "Today, GOP congressional candidates were summoned to Washington and given a battle plan. However, as NBC's Lisa Myers tells us tonight, it is long on promises and short on sound premises.")

Brokaw devoted several minutes to the Lewinsky scandal, but having skipped Reagan's economic boom, reviewing 1998 he offered up this vintage news clip of himself: "There was some very good news out of Washington and the American economy."
Bill Clinton at Rose Garden event: "The budget surplus will be $39 billion this year."
Brokaw: "That's the result of record low unemployment, and the tax revenue that goes with it."

On screen, a 1998 graphic with a picture of Bill Clinton beside these statements:
- Fiscal Year 1998 surplus: $39 billion
- First since 1969
- Record Low Unemployment

Olbermann Touts Jackson's Ohio "Fraud"
Claim, Spouts More Rumors

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann MSNBC's Keith Olbermann just won't let go of conspiracy theories related to the Ohio presidential vote. Olbermann touted at the top of Monday's Countdown: "The F-word. Jesse Jackson uses it in Ohio. The new F-word: Fraud." After reciting Jackson's claims, Olbermann pounded away at Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell with a series of six questions which presumed Blackwell was standing in the way of the truth. Olbermann told Blackwell that critics say "there is an attempt to make the window for a recount in Ohio so narrow as to make a recount meaningless" and that since he was the honorary co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in Ohio, "as Reverend Jackson put it, you may or may not agree with his presence there, but the phrase is certainly interesting: 'Mr. Blackwell cannot be both the owner of the team and the umpire.'"

Olbermann, who ignored how a Miami Herald review determined nothing unusual in how some Northern Florida counties with Democratic registrations went for Bush, a subject on which Olbermann focused earlier this month as proof of how Kerry votes were not counted, demanded that Blackwell "refute or confirm one of the Internet's favorite stories that no one seems to have gotten an answer, that you had a meeting with President Bush on the day of the election in Ohio?"

Olbermann made Jackson's rant the second half of his #3 story, following a look at the situation with the vote in the Ukraine. Olbermann teased up top, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "The F-word. Jesse Jackson uses it in Ohio. The new F-word: Fraud. Republicans strike back at what they call an unnecessary recount there. Ohio's top election official, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, joins us tonight."

Later, with "Jackson Questions the Ohio Vote" as his on-screen heading, Olbermann asserted: "Here the prospective recount in Ohio now has cousins out West. The Green and Libertarian parties have today filed for recounts in Nevada and New Mexico. The complaints are based largely on the absence of paper trails for electronic voting in each state. Back at the ranch, the word 'fraud' has been used on the record by a former Democratic presidential candidate about the voting four weeks ago tomorrow in Ohio. In turn, the man who used the word was described by local Republican leaders as a, quote, 'professional publicity hound.' Reverend Jesse Jackson spoke this morning in Cincinnati. He had addressed a rally in Columbus yesterday, saying voting irregularities disenfranchised many of Ohio's citizens. He also told reporters, quote, 'The playing field is uneven. The rules are not public. The goals are not clear."
Jesse Jackson: "We want everybody to vote and their vote to count. We can live with winning and losing. We cannot live with fraud and stealing. Most Americans must know the election in Ohio has not been certified. This is 28th of November -- 26 days later the election has not been certified because there are patterns of irregularities that are impeding the process."
Olbermann: "While Jackson reiterated the Democratic Party line that a different outcome is, at best, an unlikely result of a recount, Jackson had earlier told reporters that he spoke with Senator John Kerry on Friday and that Kerry, quote, 'supports the investigation. His lawyers are observing it closely.' But the Baltimore Sun quoted Kerry's chief Ohio attorney, Daniel Hoffheimer, saying, 'Our eyes are wide open, and to this date, we've found no evidence of confirmed fraud.' Asked why, if Ohio had problems meriting the recount, Senator Kerry had conceded the election on November 3rd, Jackson was quoted by the Cincinnati Enquirer as saying, 'Kerry was inclined to believe what he was told, and he was told the election was over. But now we're unearthing information that did not surface at first. I suppose the more information Kerry gets, the more you will hear from him.'
"Republicans today responded with a news release headlined: 'Democrats struggle to justify unnecessary recount,' noting it will cost Ohio taxpayers $1.5 million, and quoting state GOP chairman Bob Bennett as saying, 'Jackson has a stellar reputation for ignoring the facts and distorting the truth.' The focus of criticism of the Ohio count and legal actions about it, and a recount, is the state's top election official, it's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell, who joins us now from Cincinnati."

Olbermann's questions for Blackwell:

-- "When the Green and Libertarian parties filed for the recount, I didn't hear anybody in Ohio's government jumping up and down and applauding, but I also didn't hear anybody accusing them of being professional publicity hounds or of ignoring facts. Why the harsh reaction towards the Reverend Jackson?"
Blackwell: recount process already underway, Jackson getting ahead of moving train

-- "One of his suggestions and that of some of your critics has been that there is an attempt to make the window for a recount in Ohio so narrow as to make a recount meaningless. How would you respond to that criticism, sir?"

-- "Then again, as your law gives you the right to certify under the conditions that you mentioned, your laws also say how much a candidate is charged per precinct. It's not like these are the prices, the prices aren't being set for the candidates?"

-- "As it plays into the recount, though, sir, are you saying that your office does not anticipate taking any steps to try to prevent a recount in Ohio?"

-- "As part of that scrutiny, one of the criticisms regarding the campaign and the election in Ohio that was directed at you personally, that as the state's top election official, it is a conflict of interest or, minimally, it is the appearance of a conflict of interest for you to have also been the honorary co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. As Reverend Jackson put it, you may or may not agree with his presence there, but the phrase is certainly interesting: 'Mr. Blackwell cannot be both the owner of the team and the umpire.' Should those two jobs not be mixed?"

-- "Last question, sir, can you refute or confirm one of the Internet's favorite stories that no one seems to have gotten an answer, that you had a meeting with President Bush on the day of the election in Ohio?"

Blackwell scoffed at the notion any such meeting took place.

Olbermann skipped over a Sunday Miami Herald story which prompted a national AP dispatch: "Review Finds Fla. Counties Voted for Bush." An excerpt from the November 28 AP article:

A newspaper's review of ballots cast in three north Florida counties where registered Democrats heavily outnumber Republicans showed just what officials reported: The counties' voters did on Election Day as they often do, voting for a Republican for president.

The Miami Herald review goes against Internet-fed rumors questioning whether there was a conspiracy against Sen. John Kerry in those counties....

Reporters for the newspaper went over more than 17,000 optical scan ballots cast in three rural counties mentioned by doubters: Suwannee, Lafayette and Union. All three are overwhelmingly Democratic in registration, but chose President Bush.

The Herald said they found minor differences with the official results in each county, most involving a few ballots that had been discarded as unreadable by optical scan machines but which reporters felt made the voters' intent clear. Since there was no official recount, those ballots weren't counted for either candidate.

In Union County, where more than 75 percent of voters register as Democrats, The Herald counted 3,393 votes for Bush, 1,272 for Kerry and 15 that couldn't clearly be counted. The official Union County total: 3,396 for Bush, 1,251 for Kerry and a few dozen that couldn't be counted....

The Herald counted just under 60 percent of the votes in Suwannee County, where nearly 64 percent of the voters are registered Democrats. The newspaper's total from those precincts essentially matched the county's official total: 6,140 votes for Bush and 2,984 for Kerry.

In Lafayette County, 83 percent of voters are registered Democrats. But it too, is heavily conservative and deeply religious. There, the paper found 2,452 votes for Bush and 848 for Kerry, with 20 that couldn't be clearly counted.

END of Excerpt

For the AP dispatch in full: story.news.yahoo.com

On the November 8 Countdown Olbermann repeated the ridiculous claims of a few bloggers which were easily undermined by look at how the same counties went for Bush in 2000 and Dole in 1996:
"And the Ohio numbers are straightforward compared to Florida. Their county totals in Tuesday's election might be attributable largely to largely Democratic districts suddenly switching sides and all voting for Mr. Bush at the same time, except that the 29 counties in which that happened were among the 52 in the state that tallied their votes using paper ballots that were optically scanned by machines produced by the Diebold Corporation, the Sequoia Company or Election Systems and Software."
With the numbers on screen, Olbermann recited some figures: "All this data here is from the office of Florida's secretary of state. Baker County, Florida, on the Georgia border, for instance: 69 percent of voters registered Democrats, 24 percent Republicans. Yet President Bush got 7,738 votes, and Senator Kerry just 2,180. In Holmes County, in the Panhandle, seven Democrats for every two Republicans in the district. Bush beat Kerry 6,410 to 1,810. In Dixie County, 77.5 percent registered Democrats. Bush, 4,433. Kerry, 1,959. Lafayette County, 83 percent Democratic, Bush, 2,460. Kerry, 845. In Liberty County, Bristol, Florida, 88 percent of registered voters there are Democrat, 8 percent Republican. Bush, 1,927. Kerry, 1,070.

See the November 9 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Fineman: "Mainstream Media Abused Its
Privilege"; & He Does Too

NBC's Norah O'Donnell NBC's Norah O'Donnell insisted on the Chris Matthews Show over the weekend that "there is still a standard that you get on network news that you may not get on cable news where there is a desire, especially at NBC, to make sure that we are as objective as possible," but Newsweek's Howard Fineman countered that "the mainstream media has no right to complain about the lack of belief in the idea of objectivity anymore because a lot of the mainstream media abused its privilege over the last 20 years....When Walter Cronkite said, 'That's the way it is,' it wasn't always the way it was." Yet a few days after taping the Matthews show, Fineman reflected that skewed agenda of the mainstream media. Appearing on Monday's Today, he denounced the "the Afghanistan of the Republicans which is, which is in the House" blocking the intelligence reform plan.

On the Chris Matthews Show, carried on Sunday morning in most markets, Matthews raised the subject of the rise of alternative news sources such as talk radio and cable. Norah O'Donnell of NBC News asserted: "It does represent a fundamental shift in American journalism where people-"
Matthews: "To what?"
O'Donnell: "From network news to cable news. However, let me say that I do think that the networks and the newspapers still drive all of the coverage on cable television. And I think as someone who does a lot of network news, as well, there is still a standard that you get on network news that you may not get on cable news where there is a desire, especially at NBC, to make sure that we are as objective as-"
Matthews: "Sure."
O'Donnell: "-possible, but the facts are clear and there is less commentary."

Later, O'Donnell argued: "Can I point out something, though? Can I, can I point out that the network news and Tom Brokaw's program still gets between nine and 10 million viewers a night. On the Today show we still get six, five to six million viewers. That multiplies by many degrees what cable gets. But let me tell you why, and that is because people still want to be able to see what the facts are, what the news story is, then they like to go over to the cable and find people they like to talk about it and find a forum for that. And it's still important, however, that the White House still first and foremost always plays to the networks and the major newspapers more so than they do the cable."

Fineman, chief political correspondent for Newsweek, soon piped in: "A lot of the mainstream media has no right to complain about the lack of belief in the idea of objectivity any more because a lot of the mainstream media abused its privilege over the last 20 years of the post-war consensus in this country. When Walter Cronkite said, 'That's the way it is,' it wasn't always the way it was. And for a long time the three networks and the New York Times ran the deal. They don't run it any more."

On Monday's Today, Fineman illustrated that lack of objectivity in the mainstream press. During a discussion with Katie Couric about the intelligence reform plan stalled by House Republicans, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, Fineman charged:
"But, you know, now George Bush ironically, has his, the first big political test of his second term to be in his own party. And with, I think, a group within his own party that's gonna be giving him fits for years which are the sort of you know, the Afghanistan of the Republicans which is, which is in the House."
Couric: "And tell me a little bit more about this group that you say will be giving the President fits."
Fineman: "Well of course it's led by Tom DeLay the conservative of Texas but right now the two front line figures are Duncan Hunter of California and Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. They're Chairmen of two committees of the Armed Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee. They don't want to give up their power, they have objections to this bill. Sensenbrenner wants no illegals to be allowed to have drivers license, Duncan Hunter's carrying the water of the Pentagon on this but the President has been making some calls but as we report in the magazine so far he hasn't gotten tough with Sensenbrenner or any of these other people yet."

"Top Ten Signs Tom Brokaw Doesn't Give
a Damn Anymore"

From the November 29 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs Tom Brokaw Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Lead story is always how much he won that day at the dog track.

9. New sign-off: "That's all I got, losers."

8. He's done the last few newscasts from his hot tub.

7. Refers to all countries as "Belgium."

6. Last week reported there's a treasure map on the Declaration of Independence.

5. Reads news with a mouthful of Cool Ranch Doritos.

4. Already sold his anchor desk on E-Bay.

3. His rambling editorial about the lousy service at Quiznos.

2. Begins telecast by "setting the mood" with Luther Vandross.

1. During exclusive interview, he sucker-punched Ron Artest.

-- Brent Baker