CyberAlert - November 15, 1996 - Dornan Loses Conservative District

Dornan Loses Conservative District; ABC to the White House?

Four items today:

1) Network stories reported that Loretta Sanchez beat Bob Dornan in a "heavily conservative" district that's a "bastion of Republican conservatism." But it's neither.

2) A new poll about Campaign '96 determined that the TV networks lost viewers to the Internet and radio; fewer think the media were fair to Dole than Clinton; voters are split on whether Congress has investigated Clinton scandals enough, but most want an investigation of donations to the Democratic Party.

3) Will an ABC News Executive Producer become the new Communications Director at the White House?

4) The November 18 edition of Notable Quotables.


The apparent defeat of conservative Congressman Bob Dornan by Democrat Loretta Sanchez has generated stories on all the networks which portray the result as a surprise since the district is so conservative. In fact, it's neither.

On the November 13 CBS Evening News Bob Schieffer reported:
"Sanchez didn't pull into the lead over Dornan until officials began to count absentee ballots, but if the lead holds, as expected, it's a win all the sweeter for Democrats coming as it does in heavily conservative Orange County at the expense of Congress's leading Clinton-basher."

On Good Morning America Thursday, November 14 reporter Carol Lin asserted:
"From the beginning this political novice bet that Orange County was ready for change. For the last 12 years this heavily Republican district has been represented by Bob Dornan's conservative opposition to abortion, communism and gay rights. And his unrelenting support of the military and bombastic attacks against President Clinton."

On Thursday's Today Katie Couric interviewed Loretta Sanchez. Couric asked: "As you know your district, which includes Orange County, is considered a bastion of Republican conservatism. How do you think a Democrat was able to get elected?"
Couric did note that "And truth be told the Democrats have steadily been making gains through the years in your district, isn't that right?" But then she wondered about a larger message: "You like the message that this sends out to the rest of the country about Orange County. What kind of message do you think it sends?"

So just what is the make-up of California's 46th CD? This "heavily Republican district" gave just 40 percent to George Bush in 1992. The 1996 Almanac of American Politics offered this description: "Overall, the district is 50 percent Hispanic and 12 percent Asian. For years this has been the least Republican part of Orange County, and from 1962 to 1982 redistricters carefully sculpted Democratic districts here." In fact, Dornan first won his seat in 1984 by beating a Democratic incumbent.

While Couric wondered about the message of the Sanchez victory in which she now stands 929 votes ahead of Dornan, since the election Today has not brought on Idaho's Helen Chenoweth who won by 6,000 votes despite an onslaught of labor attacks and extremist labels from the media.


The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press will release a new survey Friday. Among the findings of the poll taken November 7-10 of 1,012 registered voters:

- "Voters were less likely to get their news from television this year than they were in 1992 (72% vs. 82%)....The greatest fall off in network news consumption was among voters under 30 years of age. Radio use, on the other hand, increased (19% vs. 12% in 1992). Republicans were more likely than Democrats or independents to report tuning in to radio for campaign news. Fully 10% of voters said they went on-line for news about the campaign."

- "Almost three out of four voters (73%) thought the press was fair to the President. A smaller majority (65%) felt the media was fair to Dole....far fewer Republicans than Democrats said the media was fair to the GOP candidate (47% vs. 79%)."

- "Much as in 1992, voters split on whether news organizations had too much influence on the national elections (47% said too much, 46% said about right, and 4% said too little)."

- Are people, as the networks reported election night, tired of congressional investigations of Clinton? Pew discovered: "Nearly equal percentages said Congress has gone too far (30%) and not far enough (31%) in its ethics investigations, while 35% said it has handled the matter about right....54% of voters said a special congressional committee should be set up to investigate charges of improper campaign contributions to the Democratic Party."


Chief White House speechwriter Donald Baer, formerly an Assistant Managing Editor at U.S. News & World Report, is on his way out. Who will replace him? Possibly the former Executive Producer of several ABC News shows. From Peter Johnson's Inside TV column in the November 14 USA Today: "
Rick Kaplan has known President Clinton since the '70s. Plays golf with him. Slept in the Lincoln bedroom at the White House. He also knows the news business: He has produced Nightline, Prime Time Live and World News Tonight. Put em together and it's no surprise that George magazine thinks the imposing, bombastic 6-foot-7-inch Kaplan - who resembles the late Andre the Giant, the pro wrestler - may become White House communications director, replacing Don Baer. The buzz around ABC is that Kaplan would love the job. Less clear: whether he'll be offered it. Kaplan had no comment."


The November 18, 1996 edition of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. To subscribe for $19 annually by snail mail, send your address to the MRC's Peter Reichel and he'll send a sample issue and order form: - Brent Baker

November 18, 1996 (Vol. Nine; No. 24)

Conservatives' Deaths Greatly Exaggerated

"All the reporting that I've done suggests that Kate is absolutely right, and I think over 90 percent of the incumbents are going to be re-elected because it's a good year for incumbents. But my gut tells me that two dozen of those Gingrich robots, the freshmen, are going to bite the dust and the Democrats are going to pick up 25 seats. Mark I'm not sure I believe it, but it's my prediction and I'm sticking with it." - Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt, Nov. 2

CNN Capital Gang. Absentee counting and run-offs mean the final number is unknown, but so far 11 of 69 freshmen who ran lost.

Democrats gained 8 seats.

Al Hunt: "I think the Gingrich robots are going to pay a price. I mean Helen Chenoweth, the militia momma, is toast. She's gone. Absolutely."
Mark Shields: "Helen Chenoweth better start working on her concession speech."
Time's Margaret Carlson: "Oh absolutely. Toast. Yeah." - October 12 Capital Gang. U.S. Representative Helen Chenoweth of Idaho won re-election.

"He's a very conservative Senator in a state that's becoming more moderate. Most people on the national scene will recall him as the one that fought against abortion over the past three or four years and always brought all those graphic photos out to the Senate floor. But in our polling, our exit polling today we found that the moderate voters, 61 percent of them said that they voted for Dick Swett. This is a state that is simply becoming more moderate. When we ran this poll, I think that almost half of the people in New Hampshire told us that they now consider themselves moderate. This used to be a very conservative state but it got too moderate, I guess, for Bob Smith." - Bob Schieffer on why Senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.) lost, CBS election night coverage.Final returns showed he won.

Republicans Suffered from False Impressions We Created

"You think the campaign began here, at the Democrats' made-for-TV convention? No way. It really began with this year's State of the Union address. The President already knew he'd have no opponent in New Hampshire and the Republicans had just stumbled badly by shutting down the government." - CBS reporter Bill Plante, November 4 This Morning.

"Newt Gingrich has become sort of a logo for harsh Republican rhetoric. I don't think there's anybody who would tell you today that the Republicans maybe did not go a little too far in the harshness of their rhetoric. They really irritated a lot of people, poll after poll shows it, local officials will tell you that, when they shut down the government. They got the blame for that and I think in some ways it really kind of frightened people." - CBS reporter Bob Schieffer, November 3 Sunday Morning.

"The Republican Party actually helped William Jefferson Clinton in that comeback, especially when they voted to shut down Congress. The American people said the Republicans went too far. We did not send you to Washington to shut down the federal government." - CNN's Bernard Shaw on election night.

"I think this was set by two or three people. I think Alan Greenspan, who is the Fed Chairman, helped engineer an economy that worked and it worked for President Clinton. I think the Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich helped engineer a shutdown of the Congress twice, that scared the country and that worked against Senator Dole. It wasn't Senator Dole's fault...." - ABC's Sam Donaldson, election night, Nov. 5.

"Often abrasive, Gingrich never mastered the fine art of compromise. Less than a year after he rode into Washington in triumph, he was on the defensive. His gambit to shut down the government over the budget backfired. Seizing the moment, President Clinton quickly became the voice of centrist reason." - CBS reporter Troy Roberts on This Morning, November 6.

Don't Tie Down Our Boy

"How concerned is the President about the potential of his being, sort of, tied down as Gulliver was by the Lilliputians, by all this scandal investigation, ethics investigations that are bound to be unleashed?" - Dan Rather to Vernon Jordan election night, November 5.

"White House officials are under no illusions and still expect Republicans to vigorously pursue investigations on other fronts. But they're also encouraged that D'Amato's announcement [of no more hearings] may signal an end to any high profile political witch hunts." - Jim Miklaszewski, November 7 NBC Nightly News.

Wealthy Info-Babes Looking Out for Number One

"Affirmative action was a hotbed issue in this country, still a big race on that subject going on about that in California. Did you feel at times like we've turned back the clock on some of these issues?" - NBC's Maria Shriver to Jesse Jackson on California's Civil Rights Initiative which won, election night November 5.

"But that's sort of living in an ideal world. I mean, it's nice to say it on paper. If you look around at corporate offices in America and in CEO's offices, you're gonna see very few minorities and few women. Are we really ready to backtrack on civil rights now, or on affirmative action?" - CBS This Morning's Jane Robelot arguing with Civil Rights Initiative advocate Ward Connerly who just said it ensured equal treatment for all, Nov. 6.

Hillary's Extraordinary Aura

"From an early age, Hillary Rodham Clinton radiated an aura of extraordinary promise. But in the White House, that sense of promise has been shattered by relentless scrutiny, a barrage of accusations, the scent of scandal. Friends say the haze created by political opponents and a scandal-hungry media has obscured who Hillary Clinton really is. A traditional woman. A woman with a deep-seated desire to do good. A woman raised on American staples of family, hard work, and helping others." - Kathleen Slobogin in the CNN Presents: Democracy in America special on Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Dole, "They Don't Bake Cookies," Oct. 13.

May I Kiss Your Birthmark?

"It's likely that your view of Mikhail Gorbachev depends on your point of view. From the perspective of the West, the former President of the Soviet Union of course was a courageous, far-seeing prophet whose reforms set in motion the collapse of the Soviet dictatorship and the end of the Cold War."

"We always welcome you in this country, Mikhail Gorbachev. We're especially pleased to have you tonight on InterNight. And we offer our very best, of course, to Raisa Gorbachev and we hope that you'll have a long and happy life. Perhaps one day again we'll see you in political office in Russia. We know that you've devoted your life to peace and to changing your country and those of us who have gotten to know you count ourselves among the privileged." - Tom Brokaw opening and closing his October 29 MSNBC InterNight interview with former communist dictator Mikhail Gorbachev.

Takes Real Class to Call Someone a Wacko

"When I heard the quote it sounded to me like it was Limbaugh or Liddy or Ollie North. It was like wacko talk radio. It didn't sound like Brinkley. In other words, Brinkley's always been irreverent, but always kind of classy." - CNN's Larry King on David Brinkley's election night comments that Clinton is a "bore" and his speech delivered "more goddamn nonsense," November 7 Larry King Live.

Ratherisms '96

"Reelection of President Bill Clinton is as secure as a double knot tied with wet rawhide and here's why..."

"In New Hampshire, closest Senate race in the country, this race between Dick Swett and Bob Smith is hot and tight as a too small bathing suit on a too long car ride back from the beach."

"Now, we may see Michael Jackson's baby before we know the final outcome of this race for the House of Representatives tonight..." - Dan Rather during CBS News election night coverage, November 5.

- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Eugene Eliasen, Jim Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters, Media Analysts
- Kathy Ruff, Marketing Director; Peter Reichel, Circulation
Manager; Joe Alfonsi, Intern

- Brent Baker