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TV Journalists Relieved Obama 'Masterpiece' Took on McCain --8/29/2008


1. TV Journalists Relieved Obama 'Masterpiece' Took on McCain
Television journalists were nearly uniformly enthralled with Barack Obama's Thursday night acceptance speech, relieved he showed the toughness to take on John McCain directly, unlike, in their world view, all too-soft past Democratic nominees. Only FNC offered a contrarian view or mentioned the word "liberal" while David Gergen on CNN trumpeted the address as a "symphony" and a "masterpiece" with elements of Lincoln, MLK and Reagan. ABC's Charles Gibson insisted that "four years ago John Kerry" was "held accountable for not being tough enough on George Bush," and "Obama was obviously not going to make that mistake." On NBC, that network's political director, Chuck Todd, asserted: "Obama was basically sending a message to Democrats: I'm not going to be Michael Dukakis, I'm not going to be Al Gore, I'm not going to be John Kerry, I'm going to fight John McCain, I'm going to take him on. It was almost, it was almost him saying come on John McCain, let's drop the gloves." On CNN, Gloria Borger decided: "If anybody ever thought that Barack Obama was not tough enough to run against John McCain, this speech should really put an end to that." ABC's George Stephanopoulos hailed how "Obama really made an audacious choice tonight" to prove he is "tough enough to be commander in chief" by "going right on the attack against John McCain."

2. Chris Matthews: 'To Hell With My Critics,' Obama 'Inspires Me!'
Chris Matthews shook the proverbial fist at this detractors as he delivered praise for Barack Obama's acceptance speech during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, earning loud applause from the audience gathered by the channel's outdoor location. Leading into the Matthews outburst, Keith Olbermann oozed: "For 42 minutes not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement....I'd love to find something to criticize about it. You got anything?" Matthews: "No. You know I've been criticized for saying he inspires me and to hell with my critics!"

3. Gergen: Gore Speech Worth Reading, Compares Obama to Lincoln
CNN senior political analyst David Gergen gushed over Al Gore's speech at Invesco Field on Thursday evening during the network's coverage of the Democratic convention as he urged viewers to go back and read the text: "I think the Gore speech, he -- while it was way too rushed in delivery, had an awful lot to offer, and was one of the first times anybody in this campaign has spoken seriously to the nation about the potential catastrophe coming from global warming.... I think it's really was worth for a lot of people going back and actually reading the text of Al Gore's speech." He then mentioned Abraham Lincoln's "brief time in politics before he became president" in an indirect reference to Barack Obama's short political career.

4. Matthews Orders Sharpton to 'Beat' Unpatriotic 'Politics of Rove'
Chris Matthews has had it with Karl Rove, and he told the Reverend Al Sharpton, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, to "beat" Rove in Ohio "before we have the count." After Sharpton claimed the Democrats were "robbed" in 2000 and 2004, Matthews urged the Reverend not to let it happen again. "Well let's hope if you, for the purposes of your cause, Reverend Sharpton, that Karl Rove and Don King and the rest of them don't get together in Ohio again, like they did last time, and use the marriage issue to drum up a divisive vote, to take that state away. So you ought to keep your hands on that situation and beat them before we have the count, instead of joining in the pity thereafter."

5. Is GOP Platform 'Inclusive Enough' on Abortion, Matthews Demands?
During his normal Hardball program on MSNBC on Thursday afternoon, Chris Matthews pressed Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if the "Republican party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights." Hutchison, whose name has been floated as a possible vice presidential nominee for John McCain, didn't give a straight yes or no answer, and mentioned that in her view, "...both the Republican and the Democratic platform generally have areas that are not mainstreamed, and I don't think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety, and I think you just have to understand that a candidate's views are going to prevail and I think people choose the candidate."

6. Matthews Insults Rice and Powell as 'Showcase Appointments'
Contrasting how Barack Obama won the nomination of the Democratic Party to how Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell achieved their successes, Chris Matthews insulted the aforementioned as "showcase appointments," charging Thursday night: "It's important to point out, as we have not so far, Barack Obama was not given this nomination, he won it. He was not offered a nice title like Secretary of State, like Condoleezza Rice got from the Republicans. He was not offered the title of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as Colin Powell was, or Secretary of State. He won the nomination of a Democratic Party voting together. He defeated all other opponents and took the prize and took the leadership. He is the chosen leader of the Democratic Party. He is not some popular appointment or a showcase appointment."

7. 'Barack Hussein Obama' Now Okay with the New York Times
After admonishing conservatives and Republicans for calling Barack Obama by his full name, the New York Times has apparently judged it politically correct to use Obama's middle name "Hussein." In fact, the paper led with it on Thursday. Slate's "Today's Papers" column by Daniel Politi pondered: "Interestingly enough, the NYT chooses to refer to Obama by his full name, 'Barack Hussein Obama,' not only in its lead story but also in a profile of the nominee that runs on the front page. None of the other papers does this, and as far as TP can tell, it's the first time in the past year that the NYT has written Obama's middle name in a straight news story outside of a quote." Politi is correct. The first words from Adam Nagourney's August 28 lead story: "Barack Hussein Obama, a freshman senator who defeated the first family of Democratic Party politics with a call for a fundamentally new course in politics, was nominated by his party on Wednesday to be the 44th President of the United States."

8. Another Night, Another Round of Cheers for the Democrats
ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show led the praise for the third night of the Democratic convention, with ABC's George Stephanopoulos enthralled by how well it was going for Democrats. "I think every night in this convention has built on the one that came before," he exclaimed Thursday morning, adding: "The speeches have gotten better every night." CBS co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, who isn't even in Denver but rather back in The Early Show's New York studios, touted how Obama's speech at Denver's football stadium suggested "they're going to play the Super Bowl of politics there tonight." She enthusiastically remarked: "If the crowd went as wild as it did yesterday at the Pepsi Center when he [Barack Obama] showed up, just imagine what 75,000 screaming fans will sound like. It's going to be something."

9. Plouffe Your Pillow? Nets Go Easy On Obama Campaign Manager
ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC all interviewed Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Thursday morning. The name rhymes with fluff, and fluff consumed most of the interview questions, which focused on convention atmospherics and polls, and not on policy issues. CBS host Harry Smith summarized the trend by saying "Let's talk about the cosmetics." ABC and CBS competed to see who could be more promotional. Both compared it to a "Super Bowl atmosphere." Smith strangely asked: "Are the Republicans controlling this conversation, the conversation with the American people this week?" NBC's Matt Lauer, by contrast, threw three comparative hardballs at Plouffe about how the Republicans were mocking the Invesco Field speech and its "Temple of Obama" setting. He said the Republicans say "This is a place where we pay tribute to football stars and rock stars and maybe it shows, once again, this campaign is less about substance and more about the cult of personality."

10. Williams to Michelle Obama: 'What Makes You Angriest' at GOP?
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted an embarrassingly fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Wednesday's program regarding the subject of nasty Republicans and just how exciting the Democratic campaign is. At one point, he sympathetically questioned the politician's wife: "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you, you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?" More of the gushing interview aired on Thursday's Today show. During that segment, Williams cooed: "How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'" Neither piece featured any tough questions. More representative were softballs about whether Mrs. Obama knows her husband will win or simply thinks it might happen.

11. Matt Lauer Lauds Liberal Jon Stewart: 'Respected and Listened to'
Today host Matt Lauer scored an interview with Daily Show host Jon Stewart for Thursday's show and praised the liberal comic as "one of the most respected and listened to political voices in this country." Continuing his fawning profile, he attributed a rise in the number of young people voting, in part, to the work of Stewart. It was just after that exchange that the comedian jabbed at Republican John McCain. Stewart asserted the increase in young voters was due to the fact that in this election, "...It helps to have some candidates, you know, who are not necessarily Matlockian," referring to TV character Ben Matlock, played by Andy Griffith and popular with older Americans. Now, it's one thing to say that Stewart's funny, but respected? By liberals, perhaps, but it's obvious that much of his appeal to members of the media derives from his partisan, relentless bashing of conservatives and Republicans.

12. Pawlenty Corrects Diane Sawyer's Error on His Tenure as Governor
If a media personality is to attack a political figure for lack of experience one would expect the journalist to get the facts correct. That is what Diane Sawyer failed to do on Wednesday's Good Morning America. After guest Minnesota Governor and potential McCain running mate Tim Pawlenty noted Barack Obama's lack of experience, Sawyer sought to level the playing field claiming Pawlenty as a possible vice presidential candidate, has "only been Governor for two years." Pawlenty corrected Sawyer by reminding her that he has actually been a Governor for six years. Sawyer immediately offered: "Thanks for correcting me there. I meant to say six years and thank you for the truth squad there on your own."

13. CBS and NBC Spike Big GDP Jump, ABC Gives It 13 Seconds
The second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised upward Thursday by the Commerce Department from the initially estimated 1.9 percent to a robust 3.3 percent, but neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned the good news, while on ABC's World News anchor Charles Gibson, at Invesco Field, allocated 13 seconds to what he considered "surprisingly strong" economic news. NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw, however, was still presuming economic disaster hours after the new GDP number was released in the morning. Just past 2 PM MDT/4PM EDT on MSNBC, Brokaw asserted from Denver: "Beyond this arena, and this city, the American people are facing some of the greatest problems that they have faced, certainly in our lifetimes. Financial crisis, greatest since the Depression; energy crisis; two wars in two different countries; the Russian bear is crashing around in the woods again."

14. Late Show's 'Top Ten Democratic National Convention Pickup Lines'
Letterman's "Top Ten Democratic National Convention Pickup Lines."


TV Journalists Relieved Obama 'Masterpiece'
Took on McCain

Television journalists were nearly uniformly enthralled with Barack Obama's Thursday night acceptance speech, relieved he showed the toughness to take on John McCain directly, unlike, in their world view, all too-soft past Democratic nominees. Only FNC offered a contrarian view or mentioned the word "liberal" while David Gergen on CNN trumpeted the address as a "symphony" and a "masterpiece" with elements of Lincoln, MLK and Reagan.

ABC's Charles Gibson insisted that "four years ago John Kerry" was "held accountable for not being tough enough on George Bush," and "Obama was obviously not going to make that mistake." On NBC, that network's political director, Chuck Todd, asserted: "Obama was basically sending a message to Democrats: I'm not going to be Michael Dukakis, I'm not going to be Al Gore, I'm not going to be John Kerry, I'm going to fight John McCain, I'm going to take him on. It was almost, it was almost him saying come on John McCain, let's drop the gloves."

On CNN, Gloria Borger decided: "If anybody ever thought that Barack Obama was not tough enough to run against John McCain, this speech should really put an end to that." CBS's Dean Reynolds concluded that Obama demonstrated "the will" to take on McCain in "perhaps the most pugnacious speech I've ever heard him give." ABC's George Stephanopoulos hailed how "Obama really made an audacious choice tonight" to prove he is "tough enough to be commander in chief" by "going right on the attack against John McCain." Later presenting Nightline's "Report Card," on delivering "Red Meat" he awarded Obama an A.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted early Friday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Even the conservative Bill Kristol, on FNC, was impressed: "Barack Obama faced very high expectations tonight and, honestly, I think he met them and I honestly think he exceeded them."

Fred Barnes and Nina Easton actually uttered the word liberal, a term not heard on the other networks. Easton, of Fortune magazine, declared: "I thought it was a lost opportunity. I thought, the first half of it, I was looking at when he was talking about the economy, I'm thinking, 'How many times have I heard this same speech from liberal Democrats over 20 years, not just at this convention?' Then he switches gear and he dismisses worn-out ideas and politics of the past, which is what he's just engaged in with his worn-out ideas and the politics of the past in the way he's attacking McCain."

The Weekly Standard's Barnes agreed "Nina's right" as he saw "the same liberal speech" of past Democratic nominees, "only better delivered and it was quite magnificently delivered."

Gergen, checking in from Manhattan, glowed as he began with a "Kool-aid" reference prompted by Anderson Cooper observing that Paul Begala's effusive praise for the speech showed he had drunk the Kool-aid:
"Anderson, we're sharing the Kool-aid here tonight in New York. Listen, there are going to be people after this speech who are still fierce, fierce, fierce critics of Barack Obama. This opened up an important and legitimate debate the Republicans will carry on next week about issues, about the role of government in our lives. But as a speech, I was deeply impressed. In many ways it was less a speech than a symphony. It moved quickly, it had high tempo, at times inspiring, then it became more intimate, slower, all along sort of interweaving a main theme about America's promise, echoes of Lincoln, of King, even of Reagan and of Kennedy. It was -- it will not be in the -- I don't think it was as good as his civil rights speech, but as a political speech, it was a masterpiece."

The August 27 CyberAlert item, "Frustrated by Lack of 'Red Meat,' Not 'Hitting McCain Hard Enough,'" recounted the media's desire for tougher attacks on McCain: www.mrc.org

ABC, CBS and NBC post-speech on Thursday night, August 29:

# ABC News:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Charlie, plenty of fireworks in that speech. Barack Obama really made an audacious choice tonight. You know, the question hanging over him, is he tough enough to be commander in chief? Is he prepared? And he decided to answer it by going right on the attack against John McCain and tying him to President Bush. He is betting this election that on the question he can convince the American people that John McCain is running for a third Bush term.

...

CHARLES GIBSON: And four years ago John Kerry and a lot of Democrats were held accountable for not being tough enough on George Bush at this convention. And Barack Obama was obviously not going to make that move. He was not going to make -- if it was a mistake, not going to make that mistake.
STEPHANOPOULOS: There is absolutely no comparison. I think Barack Obama had something like 22 references to John McCain in this speech. Far more, five-times more than John Kerry had four years ago. But he did more as well: He defined the change tonight. He spelled out what he would do. And interestingly, at the end of the speech, he set up a defense against issues that have defeated Democrats -- on abortion, on gay rights, and on guns. We'll see over the next several months and over debates, whether it works.

# CBS News:

DEAN REYNOLDS: I think Barack Obama answered an important question tonight to Democrats. And that is does he have the will to bring this case to John McCain? This was perhaps the most pugnacious speech I've ever heard him give, and I've been covering him since November. Talking not only about McCain's judgment, but the temperament, does he have the temperament to be commander-in-chief? Tough words from Barack Obama.

# NBC News:

CHUCK TODD: I thought what was interesting is how Obama was basically sending a message to Democrats: I'm not going to be Michael Dukakis, I'm not going to be Al Gore, I'm not going to be John Kerry, I'm going to fight John McCain, I'm going to take him on. It was almost, it was almost him saying, come on John McCain, let's drop the gloves, let's go do this. Some Republicans are remarking at how negative they thought he was during this speech. It was tougher than they expected. And I'm guessing we're going to see quite the response next week when the Republicans take over and try to respond to this. This is a speech that a lot of Democrats have been waiting for, for months, particularly Hillary Clinton supporters who are wondering when is this guy going to define change and when is he going after McCain. He did both tonight very well.

Chris Matthews: 'To Hell With My Critics,'
Obama 'Inspires Me!'

Chris Matthews shook the proverbial fist at this detractors as he delivered praise for Barack Obama's acceptance speech during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, earning loud applause from the audience gathered by the channel's outdoor location. Leading into the Matthews outburst, Keith Olbermann oozed: "For 42 minutes not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement....I'd love to find something to criticize about it. You got anything?" Matthews: "No. You know I've been criticized for saying he inspires me and to hell with my critics!"

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted, with video rendered by the MRC's Karen Hanna and Michelle Humphrey, Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The following is a more extensive transcript of both Matthews and Olbermann's post-speech reaction from about 11 PM EDT:

KEITH OLBERMANN: And now at this hour Barack Obama is officially the Democratic Party nominee for President of the United States. Vote for him or do not but take pride that this nation can produce men and speakers such as that. For 42 minutes not a sour note and spellbinding throughout in way usually reserved for the creations of fiction. An extraordinary political statement. Almost a fully realized, tough, crisp, insistent speech in tone and in the sense of cutting through the clutter. Akin to the words that were given to the fictional title character in that Aaron Sorkin film, The American President, only this "cut the crap!" moment is not the stuff of fiction. This is the real thing out here. I'd love to find something to criticize about it. You got anything?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: No. You know I've been criticized for saying he inspires me and to hell with my critics!
(LOUD APPLAUSE)
MATTHEWS: I think what he said was about us and that's why we care about what he said. It was not about an ego, it was about a country. And when he said it at the end he rally challenged, I think the country to make a decision. He said, "Our strength is not in our money or our military or even in our culture," he said, "It's the American spirit. The American promise that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain, that binds us together in spite of our differences. That makes us fix our eye not on what is seen but what is unseen. That better place around the bend. That is America!"
And I think, I think that is, that's a challenge and it's an open challenge through the hearts and minds of the country. What they do with that challenge. They can choose him or the other guy. It's an open choice, it's a free election. But what he was saying is, choosing the unknown is what we did when we picked Roosevelt. It's what the, what happened when the country chose Reagan. It's what they chose, when they chose Clinton. Often times you have to take the unknowable and move away from the unacceptable. And in this case he's saying place your bets on the 90 percent. Not the ten percent where McCain disagrees with Bush.
I thought it was an amazing but, I've written speeches all my life. Of course nothing like this. And let me tell you what was great about it. What he did was, and it's a military practice. It's called attacking from a defensive position. It's how Henry won at Agincourt. It's how Alexander won. It's how Reagan kicked the butt of Jimmy Carter. And what you do is this, you take your opponent's best shot and you throw it back at 'em! "Are we a nation of whiners?" "If this is an ownership society, you own your failure!" "Was my upbringing a celebrity's upbringing?" "If your gonna follow Bin Laden to the gates of hell, how about going to his cave and getting him?!" "And how dare you say this election is a test of patriotism when we are all in this together." It was a great way of throwing back the other side's best shot and saying it's full of crap!
OLBERMANN: And there is one word from this, one word said more sharply and with more emotion than all the others, not to say the others did not contain emotion, but he took the last eight years of the Bush administration and shouted at America, "Enough!"

Gergen: Gore Speech Worth Reading, Compares
Obama to Lincoln

CNN senior political analyst David Gergen gushed over Al Gore's speech at Invesco Field on Thursday evening during the network's coverage of the Democratic convention as he urged viewers to go back and read the text: "I think the Gore speech, he -- while it was way too rushed in delivery, had an awful lot to offer, and was one of the first times anybody in this campaign has spoken seriously to the nation about the potential catastrophe coming from global warming.... I think it's really was worth for a lot of people going back and actually reading the text of Al Gore's speech."

He then mentioned Abraham Lincoln's "brief time in politics before he became president" in an indirect reference to Barack Obama's short political career.

[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Host Wolf Blitzer asked Gergen for his take on Gore's speech, as well as that of Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of President Eisenhower who has endorsed Obama. He praised both speeches, which came in the midst of extended musical performances by celebrity supporters of Obama such as Sheryl Crow: "Well, I must say, Wolf, that as much as all of us enjoy the music, I'm really glad that we've had Al Gore and Mrs. Eisenhower out here speaking so we have some substance to this..." After lauding Gore for taking global warming seriously, he chided both Obama and McCain for not being serious enough on the issue: "I don't think any -- either one of these candidates has really seriously addressed what has to be done, how much sacrifice is going to be required, how rapidly this is moving in on us."

After acknowledging that Eisenhower was a "long-time friend," Gergen rambled on about how both speakers apparently connected Obama to Martin Luther King and Lincoln: "It was interesting that both went back to Lincoln through -- on a night we honor King, went back through King to Lincoln, and helped us to frame these choices tonight." Just before this, he mentioned how both speakers referenced Lincoln's political career before becoming president: "Both of them...evoked memories of what Lincoln faced -- his brief time in politics before he became president, only eight years in the state legislature in Illinois, just one two-year term in the Congress. That's all the experience he had before he got to the Oval -- got to the White House and yet, became one our, you know, perhaps, our most historic president."

Gergen concluded by highlighting the "memorable" nature of the two speeches and making his recommendation about Gore's: "So I thought both speeches were memorable, and I think it's really was worth for a lot of people going back and actually reading the text of Al Gore's speech, because a lot of it went by so quickly." It must have been so "memorable" that the viewers didn't get a chance to absorb it the first time around.

The transcript of Gergen's remarks, which came 15 minutes into the 9 pm Eastern hour of CNN's Democratic convention coverage on Thursday:

WOLF BLITZER: Let me get some insight from David Gergen right now. Susan Eisenhower speaking at this convention -- what do you make of it, David?
DAVID GERGEN: Well, I must say, Wolf, that as much as all of us enjoy the music, I'm really glad that we've had Al Gore and Mrs. Eisenhower out here speaking so we have some substance to this too, on an evening, and what was -- I think the Gore speech, he -- while it was way too rushed in delivery, had an awful lot to offer, and was one of the first times anybody in this campaign has spoken seriously to the nation about the potential catastrophe coming from global warming. I don't think any -- either one of these candidates has really seriously addressed what has to be done, how much sacrifice is going to be required, how rapidly this is moving in on us. But -- it was also interesting to me to hear both Gore and Susie Eisenhower tonight -- and Susie is a long-time friend -- go back, on a night when we're all talking about Martin Luther King, and remembering that Martin Luther King stood that historic day at the feet of Abraham Lincoln. Both of them tonight have gone back to Lincoln in their speeches and to -- and have evoked memories of what Lincoln faced -- his brief time in politics before he became president, only eight years in the state legislature in Illinois, just one two-year term in the Congress. That's all the experience he had before he got to the Oval -- got to the White House and yet, became one our, you know, perhaps, our most historic president. It was interesting that both went back to Lincoln through -- on a night we honor King, went back through King to Lincoln, and helped us to frame these choices tonight. So I thought both speeches were memorable, and I think it's really was worth for a lot of people going back and actually reading the text of Al Gore's speech, because a lot of it went by so quickly.
BLITZER: Yes. He did rush through that speech.

Matthews Orders Sharpton to 'Beat' Unpatriotic
'Politics of Rove'

Chris Matthews has had it with Karl Rove, and he told the Reverend Al Sharpton, during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, to "beat" Rove in Ohio "before we have the count." After Sharpton claimed the Democrats were "robbed" in 2000 and 2004, Matthews urged the Reverend not to let it happen again. "Well let's hope if you, for the purposes of your cause, Reverend Sharpton, that Karl Rove and Don King and the rest of them don't get together in Ohio again, like they did last time, and use the marriage issue to drum up a divisive vote, to take that state away. So you ought to keep your hands on that situation and beat them before we have the count, instead of joining in the pity thereafter."

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

Before Matthews interviewed Sharpton he bemoaned the tactics of Rove as he yelled: "People really do hate the politics of Karl Rove!," and "I really do think that hurts our patriotism."

The following rants occurred around 12:03AM [EDT] on MSNBC about an hour after Barack Obama's acceptance speech:

KEITH OLBERMANN: And as the speech settles in, it sounds even better.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Right. I think the, people are gonna read this speech tomorrow morning and the papers and watch it again on television again and again. And I think they're gonna see parts of it. The, I thought Pat Buchanan hit it, the nail on the head. It wasn't a liberal speech. Of course it was a partisan speech. That's what it was meant to be. It took the fight to John McCain who is going to be one worthy adversary, in fact a formidable one, because of his war record and because of his veteran status. But it also had this other element that Pat talked to.
It's my hunch, and it's only gonna be a hunch until we see the election results, that not everybody, some people do love nasty partisanship. I think people really do hate the politics of Karl Rove! I think they really do hate, they really hate it! Because what it's based on is finding differences. Finding differences in orientation and making them into the biggest deals in the world. Taking states like Ohio, on the marriage issue, finding things that divide us just for the purpose of dividing us. I really do think that hurts our patriotism.

[12:21am]
MATTHEWS: You know in the Bible they talk about Jesus serving the good wine last, I think the Democrats did the same. And here on the last night of the Democratic convention, having just been served the good wine of rhetoric and what most people believe to be one of the great convention speeches of all time. Certainly that was Pat Buchanan's verdict tonight. Let's go right now to the Reverend Al Sharpton who has been cautiously and, and patiently waiting for us tonight to give his assessment.

...

MATTHEWS: Let me talk to you Reverend about something you're quite familiar with and quite exceptional at which is voter registration. It looks to me, that if you look at the big cities where we have highly contested state battles for electoral votes. Cleveland of course, Philadelphia of course. You look at those cities, will the Democratic Party be able to marshal a huge super-majority of voters? Something like I've been told that Philadelphia it has a quote of a 500,000 vote plurality it's expected to produce coming out of that night election. Do you think the African-American community will vote, in strong enough numbers, to offset those other communities where there will be resistance to this candidate?
AL SHARPTON: I, I think that, that, that not only African-Americans because Barack Obama is not running a black campaign. I think black-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinos, young whites, old whites, working class whites, I think you're gonna see a turnout because of the need for change. I think on the African-American side, one of the things we did this morning at the March on Washington breakfast, the leadership that is out here now in civil rights: Marc Morial and Martin Luther King III, myself and others.
We have talked about having a "Not This Time" campaign to not only register voters but to also to start going into mega-churches and into other places like colleges and have people check their registration because what tripped us up in 2000 and 2004 is a lot of people that thought they were still on the rolls found out they weren't. Found their site had changed. So we're gonna be doing some dramatic bus tours through Florida in two weeks. Then through Ohio. Called the, "Not This Time," campaign.
We feel we were robbed in 2000, but not this time. We feel we were robbed in Ohio 2004, not this time. This kind of activism, with student activism and the Democratic Party's initiatives I think is going to create a momentum that will have an unprecedented turnout that will offset not only what the right wing tries to bring out, but will also have the scrutiny there, where we won't see tens of thousands of voters just disappear from the rolls and we end up on your shows the next night with a pity party rather than the victory for the American people.
MATTHEWS: Well let's hope if you, for the purposes of your cause, Reverend Sharpton, that Karl Rove and Don King and the rest of them don't get together in Ohio again, like they did last time, and use the marriage issue to drum up a divisive vote, to take that state away. So you ought to keep your hands on that situation and beat them before we have the count, instead of joining in the pity thereafter. Thank you very much to Reverend Al Sharpton.

Is GOP Platform 'Inclusive Enough' on
Abortion, Matthews Demands?

During his normal Hardball program on MSNBC on Thursday afternoon, Chris Matthews pressed Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison if the "Republican party platform is inclusive enough on the issue of reproductive or abortion rights." Hutchison, whose name has been floated as a possible vice presidential nominee for John McCain, didn't give a straight yes or no answer, and mentioned that in her view, "...both the Republican and the Democratic platform generally have areas that are not mainstreamed, and I don't think that you can agree with either platform in its entirety, and I think you just have to understand that a candidate's views are going to prevail and I think people choose the candidate."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

One wonders if Matthews would ask pro-life Democrats if their party platform was "inclusive enough" on abortion, or if the party in general was "inclusive enough" or tolerant enough of pro-lifers.

Matthews Insults Rice and Powell as 'Showcase
Appointments'

Contrasting how Barack Obama won the nomination of the Democratic Party to how Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell achieved their successes, Chris Matthews insulted the aforementioned as "showcase appointments," charging Thursday night: "It's important to point out, as we have not so far, Barack Obama was not given this nomination, he won it. He was not offered a nice title like Secretary of State, like Condoleezza Rice got from the Republicans. He was not offered the title of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as Colin Powell was, or Secretary of State. He won the nomination of a Democratic Party voting together. He defeated all other opponents and took the prize and took the leadership. He is the chosen leader of the Democratic Party. He is not some popular appointment or a showcase appointment."

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

The following excerpt from Matthews occurred about 9:30 PM EDT during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, August 28:

Again he [Barack Obama] carries with him the history of tonight. And it's important to point out, as we have not so far, Barack Obama was not given this nomination, he won it. He was not offered a nice title like Secretary of State, like Condoleezza Rice got from the Republicans. He was not offered the title of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as Colin Powell was, or Secretary of State. He won the nomination of a Democratic Party voting together. He defeated all other opponents and took the prize and took the leadership. He is the chosen leader of the Democratic Party.

He is not some popular appointment or a showcase appointment. He is the victor here tonight. That's why he dictates the agenda. That's why he says, personally, what the Democratic Party will do if he's elected President. He is the leader of the party. He may be the leader of the country through a democratic process. It is so vital to understand the history being made here tonight. This is not something cute or wonderful. It is something compelling and powerful. This country has changed its history.

'Barack Hussein Obama' Now Okay with
the New York Times

After admonishing conservatives and Republicans for calling Barack Obama by his full name, the New York Times has apparently judged it politically correct to use Obama's middle name "Hussein." In fact, the paper led with it on Thursday.

Slate's "Today's Papers" column by Daniel Politi pondered: "Interestingly enough, the NYT chooses to refer to Obama by his full name, 'Barack Hussein Obama,' not only in its lead story but also in a profile of the nominee that runs on the front page. None of the other papers does this, and as far as TP can tell, it's the first time in the past year that the NYT has written Obama's middle name in a straight news story outside of a quote." See: www.slate.com

Politi is correct. The first words from Adam Nagourney's August 28 lead story: "Barack Hussein Obama, a freshman senator who defeated the first family of Democratic Party politics with a call for a fundamentally new course in politics, was nominated by his party on Wednesday to be the 44th President of the United States."

For the entire article: www.nytimes.com

[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Thursday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]

"Hussein" also cropped up in Jodi Kantor's front-page "Man In The News" profile Thursday in both the headline and the text. Having finally embraced the Democratic nominee's full name, will the paper now apologize for previously laying into Republicans for doing the same thing?

From a July 4 story by Patrick Healy quoting McCain aides: "At the same time, they said they were trying to be careful about overreaching, noting that Mr. McCain has pledged to run a 'respectful' campaign. They said Mr. McCain felt forced to distance himself from conservatives who sought to damage his opponent by using Mr. Obama's full name, Barack Hussein Obama, or by running a commercial that played up his ties to his former pastor, who has been criticized as making racially inflammatory remarks."

TimesWatch analysis: www.timeswatch.org

From a February 27 Michael Luo story: "Mr. Obama's middle name, which is Muslim in origin, comes from his late father, Barack Hussein Obama Sr., a Kenyan. [Radio host Bill] Cunningham, like some other conservative commentators, uses it frequently when referring to Mr. Obama, apparently to draw attention to his ancestry. Mr. Obama has been dogged by whispered rumors that he is a Muslim; he is a Christian."

TimesWatch analysis: www.timeswatch.org

For the latest daily on the skew of the New York Times, check TimesWatch: www.timeswatch.org

Another Night, Another Round of Cheers
for the Democrats

ABC's Good Morning America and CBS's Early Show led the praise for the third night of the Democratic convention, with ABC's George Stephanopoulos enthralled by how well it was going for Democrats. "I think every night in this convention has built on the one that came before," he exclaimed Thursday morning, adding: "The speeches have gotten better every night."

CBS co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez, who isn't even in Denver but rather back in The Early Show's New York studios, touted how Obama's speech at Denver's football stadium suggested "they're going to play the Super Bowl of politics there tonight." She enthusiastically remarked: "If the crowd went as wild as it did yesterday at the Pepsi Center when he [Barack Obama] showed up, just imagine what 75,000 screaming fans will sound like. It's going to be something."

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted early Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

NBC's Today was a tad more restrained in its review of Wednesday night's program but, like reporters on the other morning shows, correspondent David Gregory stressed the history-making nature of Obama's nomination and former President Bill Clinton's praise of the Democratic nominee:

GREGORY: In primetime, the stage belonged to former President Bill Clinton.
BILL CLINTON: I'm here, first, to support Barack Obama.
GREGORY: The former President showered praise on the man he had worked to defeat.
CLINTON: He has a remarkable ability to inspire people, to raise our hopes and rally us to high purpose. He has the intelligence and curiosity every successful President needs.
GREGORY: Above all, Clinton sought to erase his harshest critique of Obama that he lacked the experience to be President.
CLINTON: Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.

Only CBS's Jeff Greenfield suggested a phoniness to Bill Clinton's endorsing comments: "Bill Clinton said '€˜he has all these other qualities that, you know, that I couldn't -- maybe I didn't talk about or discover in the primary against my wife.'" In other words: forget everything you heard over the past ten months.

As he did Wednesday night on Nightline, ABC's George Stephanopoulos (a former Clinton campaign operative) was the most exuberant about declaring success for the Democrats, in a conversation with co-anchor Robin Roberts at around 7:14am EDT on Thursday:

ROBIN ROBERTS: Has this been a success thus far?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So far I think every night in this convention has built on the one that came before. You really saw Barack Obama's biography explained by Michelle Obama. You had that handover from the Clintons, both Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton last night. You had Joe Biden draw the contrast between the parties so the table has really been set for Barack Obama to come here tonight.

The only drawback, Stephanopoulos suggested, was that Obama might be handicapped by the fact that the previous speeches by Bill and Hillary Clinton have been so phenomenal: "In some ways the bar has been raised as well because the speeches have gotten better every night."

For "Nightline Awards Democrats 'Straight A's' for 'Perfect' Third Night," a look at Stephanopoulos on Wednesday's Nightline: www.mrc.org

On CBS's The Early Show, MRC analyst Kyle Drennen noted, correspondent Bill Plante stressed how the Democratic delegates "erupted in celebration" and how "the crowd went wild." CBS repeatedly emphasized how Obama would be accepting his nomination on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's 1963 March on Washington, further wrapping Obama in the cloak of history-maker. Here's the transcript of Plante's story, which was typical of all three networks' approach:

HARRY SMITH: First, history being made in Denver today. We're joined by CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante, who's out on the playing field this morning. Good morning, Bill.
BILL PLANTE: Good morning, Harry. A lot of behind-the-scenes drama went in to the nomination which will be celebrated so dramatically on that stage over there tonight. So Wednesday, the Democrats were busy soothing hard feelings.
CHICAGO MAYOR RICHARD DALEY: We yield to the great State of New York.
PLANTE: With Clinton and Obama both placed in nomination, the roll call was suspended and the New York delegation recognized.
UNIDENTIFIED NEW YORK DELEGATE: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton!
HILLARY CLINTON: I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this convention by acclimation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States.
PLANTE: The floor erupted in agreement and celebration. Only one question remained: would President Bill Clinton, who took his wife's loss very personally, really embrace the man who beat her?
BILL CLINTON: Hillary told us in no uncertain terms that she is going to do everything she can to elect Barack Obama. That makes two of us. Actually, that makes 18 million of us.
PLANTE: On the campaign trail this year, the former President repeatedly questioned Obama's qualifications for the presidency. Wednesday night, Clinton declared himself satisfied.
BILL CLINTON: Barack Obama is ready to be President of the United States.
PLANTE: Then it was Joe Biden's turn.
JOE BIDEN: Yes. Yes, I accept your nomination to run and serve with Barack Obama, the next President of the United States of America.
PLANTE: Biden launched immediately into his role as the attack dog against his friend, John McCain.
JOE BIDEN: John thinks that during the Bush years, quote, 'we've made great economic progress.' I think it's been abysmal. Again and again on the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong and Barack Obama has been proven right.
PLANTE: Then Barack Obama sauntered on to the stage in a surprise appearance.
OBAMA: I think the convention's gone pretty well so far, what do you think?
PLANTE: And the crowd went wild as Obama gave shout outs to Hillary and Bill Clinton, to his wife, and to the Bidens. And then explained his decision to speak tonight in the stadium:
OBAMA: And so, we want to open up this convention to make sure that everybody who wants to come can join in the party and join in the effort to take America back.
PLANTE: Now despite the grandiose setting, Obama's staff has been playing down expectations that tonight's speech will be anything like the one he gave in 2004, or, for that matter, anything like the 'I Have A Dream' speech Dr. Martin Luther King gave 45 years ago today. Instead, they're saying that it will be a way of outlining the differences between him and John McCain. Harry.

Plouffe Your Pillow? Nets Go Easy On
Obama Campaign Manager

ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC all interviewed Obama campaign manager David Plouffe on Thursday morning. The name rhymes with fluff, and fluff consumed most of the interview questions, which focused on convention atmospherics and polls, and not on policy issues. CBS host Harry Smith summarized the trend by saying "Let's talk about the cosmetics." ABC and CBS competed to see who could be more promotional. Both compared it to a "Super Bowl atmosphere." Smith strangely asked: "Are the Republicans controlling this conversation, the conversation with the American people this week?" NBC's Matt Lauer, by contrast, threw three comparative hardballs at Plouffe about how the Republicans were mocking the Invesco Field speech and its "Temple of Obama" setting. He said the Republicans say "This is a place where we pay tribute to football stars and rock stars and maybe it shows, once again, this campaign is less about substance and more about the cult of personality." CNN's John Roberts conducted a brief interview, and corrected Plouffe when he implied more people thought Obama would be a better commander-in-chief.

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For the most part, Plouffe was enabled to throw out his programmed talking points about how this event would be open and inspirational and focused on "average Americans." Here's a network breakdown:

# ABC. Co-host Robin Roberts offered no hardballs. Her only note of skepticism was that the unconventional setting was risky. Here are the questions:

1. "Senator Obama arrived in Denver shortly before the nomination became official. He was able to see it from his hotel room with his family. What was his reaction?"
2. "Tonight here, it's almost like a Super Bowl atmosphere. Is there fear that the message may be lost?" Plouffe replied: "Not at all. We think opening up the convention to average Americans is really important. Next week John McCain will choose to be with his insiders and lobbyists who are running his campaign."
3. "You talk about grass roots and people thinking about conventions from years past. You're in a convention hall. The balloons are coming down. There's a certain tradition that we won't have. There's a new tradition that you're starting. Is there a
4. "No doubt this is the bigge
5. "You had an idea probably coming into the convention what you wanted to accomplish. How do you judge how this convention has been received by the American people?"

# CBS. Leading into the interview on The Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez cooed: "It looks like they're going to play the Super Bowl of politics there tonight." Smith's interview with Plouffe began with one question noting the Republican criticism:

SMITH: You certainly have a big task ahead of you this evening. First thing's first, the bad press that has been created by the facade behind us. The Republicans are already calling it the 'Temple of Obama.' They're running ads talking about your candidate as 'the chosen one.' Are the Republicans controlling this conversation, the conversation with the American people this week?
PLOUFFE: Not at all. I think, first of all, this is a big election. The economy's in turmoil, we have threats around the world, the American people fundamentally want a new direction. It's a big election. The Republicans want to take it smaller and smaller every day...
SMITH: Well, let's talk about the cosmetics, at least for a second, though. Because we're looking at, can you explain just what that's supposed to be?
PLOUFFE: Well, it looks a lot like the backdrop President Bush had in 2004. It's a neutral backdrop. This is going to be an amazing sight tonight, you're going to have 80,000 Americans, an open convention, with grassroots people from all over the country waving American flags and celebrating their democracy and leading us to the fall...
SMITH: Let's talk about the speech itself. Hear it is, four years since many Americans first saw Barack Obama, where he swept on to America's consciousness with his amazing speech at the Democratic convention. And it's also the 45th anniversary of 'I Have A Dream.' How do you rhetorically walk that tight rope and communicate the message you were just talking about?

# NBC. Today co-host Matt Lauer was the toughest of the network anchors, sticking to the GOP criticisms.

'€" "Before we talk about what the senator is going to say tonight in his speech, let's talk a little bit about where we are. This football field, Invesco Field at Mile High. And already you're starting to hear some at the McCain campaign and at the RNC say, wait a second. This is a place where we pay tribute to football stars and rock stars and maybe it shows, once again, this campaign is less about substance and more about the cult of personality. How do you respond?" Plouffe said "It's ridiculous," and went back to the McCain's-lobbyist-stuffed-campaign line.
'€" "Let me ask you about symbolism though. What's the deal with the set here? The Greek revival pillars? You know, the McCain campaign or the RNC says it's the temple of Obama. Are the pillars supposed to remind us of the Lincoln Memorial and the I Have a Dream speech 45 years ago? Is that the idea?"
'€" "So, in specifics, that's what he's going to talk about? Because you've seen this campaign ad from the John McCain campaign using Hillary Clinton's own words saying, Barack Obama, I'm paraphrasing here, a little more than a speech from 2002. Will he get down to brass tacks tonight?"

Plouffe said yes, there will be substance (unlike most morning-show interviews). Lauer then took a more positive turn in the second half, praising the genius of Plouffe:

LAUER: Not to make you blush, David, you're widely regarded as somewhat of a genius when it comes to the numbers of a campaign, the polls, delegates, things like that. And you've said to the press there are 18 states that we are really concentrating on. Places like Ohio and Pennsylvania and the list goes on. In those states, how would you describe how well the voters there know Barack Obama?
PLOUFFE: I think they know him well. They need to know him better.
LAUER: What don't they know about him?
PLOUFFE: Well, I think a lot of the people who are undecided voters didn't participate in the primary, weren't paying as close attention. So, they're just checking in now. That's why Michelle Obama's speech was so important. That's why Senator Clinton's --
LAUER: In biographical terms or policy terms?
PLOUFFE: I think biographical terms. His accomplishments, his values and then where he wants to take the country....
LAUER: Let me say you the same question in the other direction. In those same 18 states that you have targeted and see as vital, how well do you think voters know John McCain in those states?
PLOUFFE: I think they know his biography better. I think they're going to get to know his agenda better, which is more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, none for the middle class a health care plan that will erode employer based health care, stay in Iraq and keep spending a billion a month and make abortion illegal in this country.
LAUER: The polls are tight. Over the last couple weeks, they have narrowed. They are tight. You're obviously hoping for a bump to come out of this convention. How worried are you that, A, so much concentration on the Clintons over the last three days and, B, the announcement from John McCain tomorrow morning about his vice presidential candidate will eat into any bump you might get?

# CNN. On American Morning, anchor John Roberts only asked three questions (or two questions and a factual challenge):
'€" "What can we expect tonight here at what some people are calling the Barackopolis with the ancient Greek columns? I have heard that there is going to be some influences from the past, speeches from Bill Clinton, as well as Ronald Reagan, and all the way back to 1960 and John F. Kennedy."
'€" "Over the last couple of days we have seen Hillary and Bill Clinton slowly lead the stage here at the Democratic National Convention with a big endorsement of Senator Obama last night from the former president. [Shows video clip of Clinton praise.] It was a pretty strong endorsement by anyone's measure last night. But then you still have these lingering comments from earlier in the primary season from him, from Hillary Clinton, that the McCain campaign is trying to use to its advantage. How can you counter that? Particularly when he is so far ahead on these issues of leadership and who would be the better commander in chief."

At least Roberts felt the need to correct Plouffe as he implied people felt Obama would be the better commander-in-chief:

PLOUFFE: And I think for anyone watching, and there has been a lot people watching, there's no question about who they believe would be the stronger commander in chief and the person best to get our economy back on track. And so, we think these three nights have been very important. They couldn't have gone better.
ROBERTS: But when we poll people across the country, the numbers are exactly the opposite of what you say.

Williams to Michelle Obama: 'What Makes
You Angriest' at GOP?

NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams conducted an embarrassingly fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Wednesday's program regarding the subject of nasty Republicans and just how exciting the Democratic campaign is. At one point, he sympathetically questioned the politician's wife: "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you, you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"

More of the gushing interview aired on Thursday's Today show. During that segment, Williams cooed: "How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'" Neither piece featured any tough questions. More representative were softballs about whether Mrs. Obama knows her husband will win or simply thinks it might happen.

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

In fact, after being told by the senator's wife that she tries to avoid reading and watching campaign news about her husband, Williams quietly murmured, "I understand."

During Wednesday's piece, attempting to wallow in identity politics, Williams awkwardly prompted Obama to expound on how historic it would be for her husband to move into the White House: "How do you begin to wrap your head around the bigger picture of, if you're successful, you'll move into a house where, when the Adams' moved in...slaves were finishing the plaster over the fireplace?" To this, Mrs. Obama remarked, "Oh, I don't go there too much. That's a lot. I mean, I'm aware of that history."

The Nightly News anchor's comments about sitting back and asking, "I can't believe this is happening?" seem remarkably similar to remarks made by ABC's World News host Charles Gibson. On a June 4 telecast, he asked Barack Obama whether he had sat alone and marveled, "Son of a gun, I've done this?" See the June 5, 2008 CyberAlert for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the August 28 Today segment and a partial transcript from the August 27 edition of Nightly News:

Today show:

MATT LAUER: Back now to Barack Obama's big speech tonight. His wife Michelle will be in the crowd pulling for her husband every step of the way. Then they'll go on a bus tour of three key swing states. NBC's Brian Williams spoke with Michelle Obama in Denver on Wednesday. They talked about the attacks on her husband, life on the campaign trail and Senator Obama's chances this November.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Where your husband's hoped for victory is concerned on your part, are you an optimist, meaning he'll win, I just know he will, or are you more of a fatalist? He'll win if it was meant to be?
MICHELLE OBAMA: It's more he'll win if it's meant to be. I just -- and I'm also a bit superstitious. I never claim it out loud. We just do the work. You know, I don't want to jinx it. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself.
WILLIAMS: How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'
OBAMA: It is hard to. And I don't know whether I just don't allow myself to do it or whether things are just so busy that there really isn't time.
WILLIAMS: Would you be watching the Republican convention?
OBAMA: It depends on what's going on. You know, I'm probably going to be on the campaign trail. I will probably be -- I think I've got a couple of stops next week. So, you know, I tend to stay away from TV.
WILLIAMS: I understand.
OBAMA: I think I've implemented that, that rule for myself over the last 19 months. Papers, TV. You know, I kind of like my information filtered.
WILLIAMS: What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you, you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?
OBAMA: You know, I think everything I want people to know about Barack and about our family, I think I've said. I try not to take this stuff personally. I mean, we're not new to politics, by any stretch of the imagination. We've been through a tough state senate run. We know that part of politics is shaping, recasting, all that stuff. And I know that this election isn't about me. So it's been, surprisingly, for me, I haven't gotten riled up. You know. You just stay focused on the messages that we've learned that America wants to know, they want to understand who the Obamas are, but they want to know that they can believe in Barack and trust that he gets the struggles that they're facing and will be a compassionate and focused and hard-working leader.

Nightly News:

....WILLIAMS: How do you begin to wrap your head around the bigger picture of, if you're successful, you'll move into a house where, when the Adams moved in-
OBAMA: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
WILLIAMS: -slaves were finishing the plaster over the fireplace?
OBAMA: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
WILLIAMS: How does that work?
OBAMA: Oh, I don't go there too much. That's a lot. I mean, I'm aware of that history.
WILLIAMS: You'll go there if you're forced to go there.
OBAMA: That's right. It's, again, my pragmatic nature says first things first. We got to get through this convention, do it well, get on the road, work very hard to make sure people know what's going on. And then, assuming that we are successful, because we will be successful, then I think at that time that's when I'll start taking all of that stuff in.

Matt Lauer Lauds Liberal Jon Stewart:
'Respected and Listened to'

Today host Matt Lauer scored an interview with Daily Show host Jon Stewart for Thursday's show and praised the liberal comic as "one of the most respected and listened to political voices in this country." Continuing his fawning profile, he attributed a rise in the number of young people voting, in part, to the work of Stewart. It was just after that exchange that the comedian jabbed at Republican John McCain.

Stewart asserted the increase in young voters was due to the fact that in this election, "...It helps to have some candidates, you know, who are not necessarily Matlockian," referring to TV character Ben Matlock, played by Andy Griffith and popular with older Americans. Now, it's one thing to say that Stewart's funny, but respected? By liberals, perhaps, but it's obvious that much of his appeal to members of the media derives from his partisan, relentless bashing of conservatives and Republicans.

Tom Brokaw, another NBC luminary, wrote a profile on the comic for the April 18, 2005 issue of Time in which he rather ridiculously referred to the Comedy Central host as "our Athenian, a voice for democratic ideals and the noble place of citizenship, helped along by the sound of laughter." See: www.time.com

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

This is the same Stewart who, on September 18, 2006, trashed conservative commentator Robert Novak as a "115-year-old vampire demon." See a September 20, 2006 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

In fact, on Thursday's program, Lauer highlighted a Daily Show clip in which Stewart played footage of media talking heads exhorting Michelle Obama to tout her patriotism for her speech to the Democratic convention on Monday. Lauer then played a bite of Stewart bitterly replying, "She's a Democrat! She must prove she loves America, as opposed to Republicans who everyone knows love America, they just hate half the people living in it!"

In between all the gushing, Lauer did not find time to ask about a Daily Show billboard that has been placed near the site of next week's Republican convention in Minneapolis. The sign features the smug image of Stewart next to the words: "Welcome, Rich White Oligarchs!" So far, it appears that there has been no similar billboard at the Democratic convention. See an August 26, 2008 NewsBusters posting for more: newsbusters.org

A transcript of the August 28 segment, which aired at 8:46am, follows:

MATT LAUER: And welcome back to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. You know, when they're not logging in on the internet, recent studies show 18 to 29-year-olds get most of their political news from the Daily Show on Comedy Central. So, I sat down with the show's host to talk about his program's growing influence.
JON STEWART:[Montage of Daily Show announcer introducing convention coverage.]: We've made it. Denver, Colorado, ladies and gentlemen. The Democratic National Convention.
LAUER: Third campaign you're covering, right, as host of the Daily Show?
STEWART: Third.
LAUER: Third. How would you say your approach to the campaign has changed?
STEWART: I don't think our approach has changed much except now we have floor passes. So, now, we're allowed a certain amount of access.
LAUER: It's funny you say that, because looking back to 2000 when you guys first dove into this, it was like you were the kid in the class with the spit balls.
STEWART: That's correct.
LAUER: Spitting at the powers that be. How would you describe your place in the class now?
STEWART: We have one of those automatic spitball fires, you know, that Nerf makes?
LAUER: It's Uzi?
STEWART: It fires, like, eight of 'em at a time.
[Brief clips of various anchors saying, "Is she patriotic" in relation to Michelle Obama.]
STEWART: She's got to! She's a Democrat! She must prove she loves America as opposed to Republicans who everyone knows love America, they just hate half the people living in it!
[End of "Daily Show" clip]
LAUER: You've been watching closely what's been happening in this convention and so far, we heard from the two most important women in Barack Obama's life, his wife Michelle and Hillary Clinton. For a second, can't you even admit to me that you wanted her in the middle of that speech to change her mind and say, "I'm not going anywhere. I'm throwing my hat back in the ring?
STEWART: No, I don't think I --
LAUER: Come on.
STEWART: Well, no. I think you always want something crazy to happen. I mean, I think it would have been great if she's come up and literally unleashed a set of profanity. To me, it doesn't matter-
LAUER: Like you do on your show.
STEWART: Exactly.
["Daily Show" clip]
STEWART: Senator Clinton's introduction lasted five hours and included 48 speakers. Leaving one observer slack jawed and on camera [Video of Bill Clinton appears.] for an uncomfortable amount of mouth breathing time.
LAUER: You have become one of the most respected and listened to political voices in this country. I'm curious. Is it what you set out to have happen, or did it happen by accident?
STEWART: Yes. Yes. Yes. No. I remember the meeting. You sat there. I believe we were watching -- it might have been David Frost. And I remember saying to myself, if we screw around enough, I think I could be that guy. And we all nodded and went, "Let's do it."
LAUER: If you look at the numbers of young people turning out during the primary season, nearly double what turned out in 2000, you have to think that some of those people are being turned on to politics by people like you. So, that's an important role.
STEWART: I don't doubt that humor can bring people into a system. I also think it helps to have some candidates, you know, who are not necessarily Matlockian. I also think events in the world have a tendency to bring in young people, because they feel now more of a responsibility. The '80s, there wasn't that sense of foreboding. There was more a sense of, "This Wall Street thing looks pretty hot." You know, now there's more a sense of, like, "Wait, Greenland just sunk?" You know, so I think that brings people in.

Pawlenty Corrects Diane Sawyer's Error
on His Tenure as Governor

If a media personality is to attack a political figure for lack of experience one would expect the journalist to get the facts correct. That is what Diane Sawyer failed to do on Wednesday's Good Morning America. After guest Minnesota Governor and potential McCain running mate Tim Pawlenty noted Barack Obama's lack of experience, Sawyer sought to level the playing field claiming Pawlenty as a possible vice presidential candidate, has "only been Governor for two years."

Pawlenty corrected Sawyer by reminding her that he has actually been a Governor for six years. Sawyer immediately offered: "Thanks for correcting me there. I meant to say six years and thank you for the truth squad there on your own."

[This item was adapted from the NewsBusters post by the MRC's Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]

Earlier in the interview when questioning McCain's potential running mate, Sawyer asked: "Do you think in your view that the vice presidential choice for John McCain must be pro-life?" Oddly, the mainstream media never seem to question Democrats if their vice presidential choice "must be pro-choice."

Partial transcript of the August 28 segment:

...DIANE SAWYER: You leave me very intrigued here. Just a quick question on this front because another question that was raised recently was the question of being pro-life or not. Do you think in your view that the vice presidential choice for John McCain must be pro-life?
MINNESOTA GOVERNOR TIM PAWLENTY: Well, I think Senator McCain has said he wants an administration particularly senior leaders that reflect his values and principles and vision for the country. He, of course, is a pro-life person. But he also has said we don't have litmus tests but does want an administration that reflects his priorities and values so that will be up to him and I think he'll pick people who share his agenda and his views.

....

SAWYER: But on the questions of resume, you know, some Democrats have said you're the same age as Barack Obama. You've been governor for just two years. You were in the state legislature. He was in the state legislature. Does this raise questions about your qualifications to be a heartbeat away from commander in chief?
PAWLENTY: Well, setting aside the issue of vice president, Diane, I've been governor for six years and commander in chief of the Minnesota National Guard for six years. When I was in the legislature I was also majority leader and did a variety of other things. But the questions continue to be, what have you done and what have you run? His accomplishments are nonexistent or essentially nonexistent and he hasn't run anything. He hasn't been an executive or been in charge of anything and lastly, the big problem or one of the big problems facing our country is the ability to work across party lines and get things done. John McCain actually has a record in that regard. Barack Obama does not. He has good oratory but when you shut the teleprompter off there's not much else there.
SAWYER: Thanks for correcting me there. I in meant to say six years and thank you for the truth squad there on your own. Let me ask you one more question about the stadium here. We heard earlier David Plouffe saying that they're here because they want to open up outside the party, bring other people in. In any sense, does the McCain camp think, "well, gee, we envy the enthusiasm of 70,000 people in an arena like this"?
PAWLENTY: Well, I think it just feeds right into what Americans are starting to realize that this is really about celebrity and not much substance. This Roman-like facade or facade with Roman columns is a perfect metaphor or icon for the point that it's an interesting production but behind it there's not much there and so, you know, it's almost like he wants to come out and be somebody called it the other day emperor like in the setting, at least the facade. So I think it feeds into the big hoopla, the big production that it's about celebrity, it's about entertainment but as with the facade there's not much behind it.
SAWYER: Well, thank you again for giving the McCain point of view this morning. Governor, good to talk to you. We'll be watching tomorrow.

CBS and NBC Spike Big GDP Jump, ABC Gives
It 13 Seconds

The second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was revised upward Thursday by the Commerce Department from the initially estimated 1.9 percent to a robust 3.3 percent, but neither the CBS Evening News nor NBC Nightly News mentioned the good news, while on ABC's World News anchor Charles Gibson, at Invesco Field, allocated 13 seconds to what he considered "surprisingly strong" economic news: "Other news, a surprisingly strong reading on the economy. The Gross Domestic Product grew at a rate of 3.3 percent in the second quarter, helped by those government stimulus checks and a jump in exports because the dollar is so weak."

NBC News veteran Tom Brokaw, however, was still presuming economic disaster hours after the new GDP number was released in the morning. Just past 2 PM MDT/4PM EDT on MSNBC, Brokaw asserted from Denver: "Beyond this arena, and this city, the American people are facing some of the greatest problems that they have faced, certainly in our lifetimes. Financial crisis, greatest since the Depression; energy crisis; two wars in two different countries; the Russian bear is crashing around in the woods again."

Brokaw offered the same dire take during NBC's Tuesday night prime time coverage of the Democratic Convention: "This country is facing very serious problems. We've got a financial crisis, the greatest financial crisis we've had probably since the Great Depression. Two wars abroad."

Thursday night, NBC had time for a full story on the potential demise of the Portland Press-Herald newspaper in Maine and on the CBS Evening News Katie Couric raised with Michelle Obama how racism will hurt her husband: "Do you worry about the people who haven't moved forward, who don't judge people by the content of their character but by the color of their skin?"

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Two months ago, when the reported second quarter GDP doubled to 1.9 percent, up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the CBS Evening News centered a story around "disappointing" news about the supposedly "struggling economy" -- while ABC and NBC, which on April 30 led with full stories on the news of a 0.6 percent first quarter GDP, didn't utter a syllable about the big GDP jump.

The Friday, August 1 CyberAlert item, "CBS Turns Doubled GDP into 'Disappointing' News, ABC & NBC Silent," recounted:

Second quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) doubled to 1.9 percent, up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter, the Commerce Department announced Thursday morning as consumer spending rose 1.5 percent in the quarter ending June 30, up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter, and U.S. exports soared 9.2 percent, way up from 5.1 percent in the first three months of 2008.

Yet the CBS Evening News centered a story around "disappointing" news about the supposedly "struggling economy" (with that on screen) -- while ABC and NBC, which on April 30 led with full stories on the news of a 0.6 percent (since revised to 0.9) first quarter GDP, didn't utter a syllable Thursday night about the big GDP jump. On the last day of April, ABC's Betsy Stark declared the economy had "flat lined" and NBC anchor Brian Williams warned "it's getting rough out there" as the new GDP number "stops just short of the official declaration of a recession." Thursday night, however, ABC's World News and NBC Nightly News made time for full stories on outrage over ExxonMobil earning "the largest profit ever made by a U.S. company." The "oil industry says it is not out of line, but some motorists feel otherwise."

CBS anchor Katie Couric, picking up on the 4th quarter 2007 GDP revision from 0.6 percent to a minus 0.2, stressed how "the government now says the economy was receding, not growing, in the final quarter of last year" though "it picked up a bit in the first quarter of this year." She then twisted the fresh news of a 1.9 percent jump into a negative: "But look at this: In the second quarter, when all those rebate checks were supposed to stimulate the economy, it grew less than two percent. Jeff Glor has more about the disappointing numbers."

Preferring an anecdote to factual data analysis, Glor started his story with how "you'll have a hard time convincing Paula Corletto the economy is growing" since "she and her eight-year-old daughter Leandra," both of whom CBS showed shopping for clothes, "now limit their shopping to only one day a week."...

For the full rundown: www.mrc.org

Late Show's 'Top Ten Democratic National
Convention Pickup Lines'

14) From the August 27 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Democratic National Convention Pickup Lines." Late Show home page: lateshow.cbs.com

10. Wanna form a more perfect union?

9. Something's rising and it's not the national debt

8. I'm stiffer than John Kerry

7. Let's go someplace and release our delegates

6. Care to join the wife and me for a little 'bipartisanship'?

5. I'll make you scream like Howard Dean

4. Now that's what I call a stimulus package

3. I'm gonna Barack your world

2. Wanna pretend we're Republicans and have gay bathroom sex?

1. Hi, I'm John Edwards

-- Brent Baker, with the night team: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth and Matthew Balan, plus Michelle Humphrey and Karen Hanna on the DVRs