CyberAlert -- 01/10/2000 -- Abortion Mantra

Printer Friendly Version

Abortion Mantra; Brian Williams Booed; Debate Sponsor Condemned Russert

1) Sam Donaldson pressed Bob and Elizabeth Dole from the left on how GOP opposition to abortion turns off women. On Fox, Tony Snow approached Bill Bradley from the right on social spending.

2) During Friday's GOP debate shown by MSNBC the candidates were hit from the left and the audience booed Brian Williams. Margaret Carlson condemned attendees for "waving and cheering and stomping the most simple-minded statements."

3) MSNBC's Brian Williams criticized GOP candidates for offering "red meat for conservatives," saying they uttered positions which were "rather strident." The Union Leader co-sponsored the debate, but its publisher blasted Tim Russert for how he moderated it.

4) Friday night ABC caught up with Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile's race-mongering insult of Colin Powell and J.C. Watts, but NBC only gave it a few seconds on Saturday and failed to quote her exact words.

5) Nackey Loeb, who from 1981 to 1999 guided a conservative institution, The Union Leader, died Saturday.

>>> Latest issue of Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media, is now online thanks to Eric Pairel and Kristina Sewell. Amongst the quote headings in the January 10 edition: "Time: Heroic Clinton & Eleanor"; "Backward Winston Churchill"; "Can We Have Another Camelot?"; "Reagan, Thatcher Mattered? No"; "Gumbel the Great"; "Cuban Kids Fear U.S Kidnappers"; "The Berlin Wall Suddenly Fell, But Germany's Far Ahead of America"; "Hillary Knocks My Socks Off"; "Clinton's Like a Fine Sports Car"; "Another Christmas Saved By the Heroic Federal Toy Regulators". To read the issue, go to: <<<


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)From the left, as usual, on This Week. From the right, in a very unusual angle, on Fox News Sunday. On Sunday's This Week ABC's Sam Donaldson hit Bob and Elizabeth Dole from the left on abortion, but in a rare television event, Fox's Tony Snow posed a question from the right, about the ineffectiveness of government spending, to Bill Bradley.

-- On the January 9 This Week Cokie Roberts asked Elizabeth Dole: "Governor Whitman in New Jersey has never carried the women's vote. Do you think that being on the ticket would bring the women's vote?"

Seconds after Roberts had pointed out how Whitman, a "pro-choice" woman who even refused to outlaw partial-birth abortion, failed to capture the women's vote, Sam Donaldson presented the case that a Republican presidential candidate will never win female support if the party opposes abortion. He told Bob Dole:
"I want to explore the business about women. Senator Dole, you want to pay close attention to this, I want to read a portion of the Republican platform of 1996. And here it is, on the subject of abortion [on screen]: 'The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children.' Now Senator, among political reporters who covered you back then it's no secret that you might have wanted a little different plank. Do you think the Republicans in the year 2000 should have in their platform a plank which says we want a constitutional amendment which in effect would ban abortion?"

Donaldson followed up: "Mrs. Dole, what do you think? You know what the polls say about this in this country."

And: "Do you think a human rights amendment to ban abortion should be in the platform in the year 2000?"

-- During a Fox News Sunday interview with Bill Bradley, host Tony Snow posed a type of question rarely, if ever, heard on network TV as he raised the failure of the welfare state:
"For the last three decades we've spent trillions of dollars on the so-called war on poverty, on Medicare and Medicaid and all these entitlements and you're telling me things are getting worse. Why if we shovel more money into it are those problems not going to continue to get worse?"


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)williams0110.gif (12938 bytes)Another Republican debate televised Friday night by MSNBC found the GOP candidates again hit by the moderators from the left with questions designed to make them look as extremist as possible. In a turnabout for MSNBC's Brian Williams and a local South Carolina NBC affiliate's reporter, both were booed loudly by the audience.

On Saturday, CNN, FNC, C-SPAN and PBS all showed a 1pm CT Democratic debate in Iowa sponsored by the Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Television. Unlike the Republican treatment at the hands of NBC, Al Gore and Bill Bradley were never challenged from the opposite ideological position on anything, in their case the right, as they were largely served up topics to discuss in questions which lacked an agenda. In fact, neither were asked about their stand on gays in the military, the controversy which emerged from their January 5 debate in New Hampshire. PBS and the Register will sponsor a Republican debate to be held this coming Saturday in Iowa. If they are consistent, the questioners will not hit Republicans from the left nor raise any controversies, such as McCain's letters to regulators. (More on this debate in a future CyberAlert before the GOP forum.)

Time's Margaret Carlson declared Democrats the winners of the South Carolina Republican debate, asserting on CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday:
"The idea who won the Republican debate last night is that the Democrats won, because they looked like they were at their convention in Houston, which is the -- you know, there's the crowd like it's happy hour at the Holiday Inn, waving and cheering and stomping the most simple-minded statements. And this comes across as, you know, intolerant. And they're not right on the issues that people care about. And, you know, they've got to play outside that room in South Carolina. And they're not going to with that stuff."

It was the moderators of Friday's debate which caused the audience anger by posing hostile questions. The 8pm ET gathering took place in front of an audience of 3,000 South Carolina Republicans after they completed a fundraising dinner inside a former Lowe's store in West Columbia. MSNBC showed it live and C-SPAN played it later in the evening. Brian Williams of MSNBC and Dave Stanton of Columbia's NBC affiliate, WIS-TV, served as co-moderators.

The first question came from Stanton: "Ambassador Keyes, last night you asked where all the conservatives have gone. If you had a choice between eight more years of a Democratic President or eight years of a pro-choice Republican, which would you choose?"

Next, Williams asked McCain about his letters to the FCC. Then Stanton posed a classic liberal agenda question to Gary Bauer: "If someone in your family was raped and became pregnant and wanted an abortion, and after a discussion with you they were adamant in their decision to have an abortion, would you support that decision or would you try to prevent it?"

Now we get to the booing as Williams put George Bush into the positions of either appearing to be a racist or angering South Carolina conservatives:
"Governor Bush, a few blocks from here on top of the State Capitol building, the Confederate flag flies with the state flag and the U.S. flag. [Boos.] It is, as you can hear from the reaction of tonight's [boos], as you can hear from the reaction of tonight's crowd of 3,000 people from South Carolina, a hot button issue here. The question is: Does the flag offend you personally?"
Bush: "The answer to your question is -- and what you are trying to get me to do is to express the will of the people of South Carolina, is what you are trying to get me to do."
Williams: "No, I am asking you about your personal feelings."
Bush: "I believe the people of South Carolina -- [applause, cheers] -- Brian, I believe the people of South Carolina can figure out what to do with this flag issue. It's the people of South Carolina's decision to make. [Applause.]"
Williams: "If I may --"
Bush: "I don't believe, I don't believe it's the role of someone from outside South Carolina and someone running for president to come into this state and tell the people of South Carolina what to do with their business when it comes to the flag. [Applause, cheers.]"
Williams wouldn't relent: "As an American citizen, do you have a visceral reaction to seeing the Confederate flag? [Boos.]"
Bush: "As an American citizen, as an American citizen, I trust the people of South Carolina to make the decision for South Carolina. [Applause, cheers.]"

After that exchange, Stanton hit Steve Forbes from the left with a question about a supposed need to spend more: "There are many people on fixed incomes with health problems. And by the time they say their medications have been paid for, they don't have money for food or clothing or other necessities. Do you think people like this need some help, and from what source should that help come?"

Following an e-mail question about veterans benefits, Williams requested all the candidates on stage address this leading inquiry: "Has affirmative action made America a better nation?"

Things remained fairly quiet through questions about state-sponsored gambling, supporting farmers and how much each candidate gives to charitable causes.

At this point Stephanie Trotter of WYFF-TV, the NBC affiliate in Greenville, stood up and attempted to pose a question, but it displeased the audience. Their loud boos forced her to repeat it three times before all the candidates on stage understood it:
"I'm curious. As an adult, what is the biggest mistake that you've made, and what lesson did you learn from it?"

Though Williams never asked any other candidates about the Confederate flag during the debate, and avoided the issue in post-debate interviews with McCain and Bauer, the only two candidates he interviewed other than Bush, he pressed Bush about it again during the live interview after the debate. As Bush repeated his previous non-committal, a seemingly astonished Williams declared: "So you have no reaction to the sight, as an American citizen, of that flag?"

Compare NBC's agenda-rich approach listed above, as well as on Thursday night as detailed in the January 7 CyberAlert, with how ABC's Peter Jennings treated Bradley and Gore in the January 5 New Hampshire debate shown by MSNBC. He did challenge them some, but not with ideologically-driven questions which suggested they are too far to the left:

-- "Let me try you both first on votes and quotes. It is, as you both know, common in some campaigns, for a candidate to take either his opponent's vote or a quote out of context. I would like to ask you first, both of you, for one word answer. Mr. Bradley, has Mr. Gore ever taken a vote of yours or a quote out of context?"

-- "Mr. Bradley, Mr. Gore brought up this question of doing without television advertising. Can you tell us what you really thought in the last debate when he held out his hand to you?"

-- To Gore, about Bradley: "Can I just ask if you think -- rather simply. Do you think he has the experience to run?"

-- After Gore claimed Bradley made "mistakes" in votes for Reaganomics and against welfare reform, Jennings asked: "Can I ask you, though, how large, how large a mistake is a President allowed to make? Mr. Bradley, Mr. Gore, either one of you."

-- Fifty minutes into the debate came the subject which later generated some controversy, but notice how far from suggesting the favoring of an open policy toward gays in the military might be extreme, Jennings challenged them to proclaim their support for it:
"I'd like to ask you both a question about a litmus test, if I may. Mr. Bradley used the phrase, and you've both talked about gays in the military. You both believe that gays should have the right to serve openly in the military. President Clinton's had great difficulty. The Joint Chiefs as well as the Congress have been a principal obstacle to that particular policy. If you become president -- I'll ask you one at a time, you first Mr. Gore -- if you become President, would you nominate members of the Joint Chiefs who only support your gay policy? In other words, will it be a litmus test?"

The only question that could be remotely characterized as coming from the right was posed by Union Leader reporter John DiStaso, who asked: "It's another area where you both agree totally. On campaign finance. You both admitted that you benefited from some overzealous mistakes back in '96, and perhaps in excesses back in New Jersey. But what exactly, Mr. Gore, were some of these mistakes that so concerned you back in '96? And Mr. Bradley, let's finally take on head on this question of pharmaceutical industry contributions and tax loopholes for that industry."

+++ Hear Brian Williams get booed. Monday morning the MRC's Andy Szul will post a video clip, on the MRC home page, of Williams getting booed as he pressed George Bush about the Confederate flag. To see the video via RealPlayer, go to:
Also viewable: Go to and click on "Media Bias Videos" to watch a clip of Tim Russert after Thursday's debate pressing Bush from the left about his religious views and tax cut plan.


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)Another example of hostility to what network stars consider the too conservative stands taken by Republicans at the January 6 debate and the publisher of The Union Leader, which co-sponsored the debate, apologized Friday for how Tim Russert moderated the forum.

-- As detailed in the January 7 CyberAlert, NBC's Tim Russert and Brian Williams were fixated during and after the January 6 Republican debate on the candidate's religious views and support of tax cuts. MRC analyst Mark Drake caught an additional bit of invective from Brian Williams.

During the January 6 News with Brian Williams, which aired an hour after the debate ended, Williams asked Newsweek's Howard Fineman: "Howard, who are the Republicans who are not happy with the way this event looked tonight and similar groupings of these six, meaning, and it's red meat for conservatives, the positions rather strident tonight: anti-gay, pro-Jesus, and anti-abortion and no gray matter in between?"

-- The morning after the New Hampshire GOP debate Union Leader publisher J.W. McQuaid blasted Tim Russert for how he moderated the confab the paper sponsored along with New Hampshire Public Television and New England Cable News. In the January 7 editorial featured on the front page, headlined "We Apologize," McQuaid complained:

If readers or New Hampshire viewers of last night's Republican event in Durham are upset this morning, it is no more so than this newspaper.

We co-sponsored this presidential primary program, as we did Wednesday night's Democratic one.

Unfortunately, last night's moderator did exactly what many of his brethren in the national media often try to do -- decide the contest before the New Hampshire voters have a chance to do so. NBC's Tim Russert apparently decided to make this his own two-man show with candidates George Bush and John McCain, virtually ignoring the four others for much of the questioning. No wonder the two are ahead in the polls!

The national media have it all figured out for us. Bush the name versus McCain the hero.

No others need apply. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy! But as candidates Orrin Hatch and Steve Forbes attempted to remind us, the real poll will be taken Feb. 1 by New Hampshire voters. As they have done many times before, we hope the voters will set the national media straight. That's the New Hampshire way.

END reprint of editorial


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes)Catching up with CBS, which ran a short item read by Dan Rather Thursday night (see the January 7 CyberAlert), Friday night ABC aired a full story on Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile's race-mongering insult of Colin Powell and J.C. Watts. ABC's John Cochran even reminded viewers of how she was fired from the Dukakis campaign. CBS ran another item Friday night. NBC didn't get to the story until Saturday and reporter Claire Shipman didn't even tell viewers the actual quote of what Brazile charged.

-- ABC's World News Tonight, January 7. John Cochran explained how Brazile "told an interviewer on the Internet that two well-known black Republicans have let themselves be used as political props. She said 'Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no program, no policy. They'd rather take pictures with black children than feed them.' Powell and Watts fired off angry letters to Gore, Powell accusing Brazile of 'playing the polarizing race card,' Congressman Watts fuming that 'her racist remarks are appalling.' Today, the Republican front-runner, George Bush, said he would get rid of anyone in his campaign who made such remarks.

Bush asserted: "It's slash and burn politics. That's unacceptable for her to have done that to, to good people."

Cochran recalled some history ignored by CBS and NBC: "Brazile has been in trouble before. In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis fired her from his campaign. Brazile had urged reporters to pursue rumors that then Vice President Bush was having an affair. Today, Gore not only refused to fire her but said she's doing a great job as campaign manager. Privately, some of Gore's aides say she was right to bash the Republican Party, but went too far in going after the popular Colin Powell."
He concluded: "Even the Gore aides who think Brazile is a loose cannon say firing her would be too harsh, and would bring down the wrath of African American voters on Gore."

Over on Friday's CBS Evening News John Roberts relayed:
"CBS News has learned that the Vice President telephoned General Powell tonight to discuss comments made by his campaign manager Donna Brazile. In a recent interview, Brazile had stated that 'Republicans bring out Powell because they have no program, no policy. They would rather take pictures with black children than feed them.' Those comments prompted an angry response from the General who stated that he was 'disappointed and offended' by Brazile's remarks, and accused her of 'playing the polarizing race card' in the campaign.
"A Gore campaign spokesperson today said that the two had a good personal conversation and that the Vice President said he has great respect for the General. Earlier in the day Brazile had called to talk with Powell while the campaign says she did not phone to apologize, sources close to the general say she repeatedly used the words, 'I'm sorry.' Dan."

On Saturday NBC finally got to the story, as Claire Shipman gave it a few seconds in the middle of a January 8 piece on the Democratic debate earlier in the day in Iowa:
"....Gore was also forced to explain remarks by campaign manager Donna Brazile. In an interview she accused Republicans of using black members of their party, like General Colin Powell and Representative J.C. Watts, to send a positive image while offering no real support for African-Americans. After an angry letter from Powell, both Brazile and Gore placed apologetic phone calls to him yesterday."

Without the quote NBC viewers didn't gain an indication of Brazile's mean-spirited hostility.


cyberno5.gif (1443 bytes)Nackey Loeb, who guided New Hampshire's conservative voice, The Union Leader, from 1981 when William Loeb died through last year, died Saturday. As noted in the AP obituary, she remained tough to the end, writing a front page editorial last February, when Bill Clinton visited the state, headlined: "Mr. President, You're a Disgrace!"

Below is an editorial tribute to her by publisher J.W. McQuaid run in the January 9 New Hampshire Sunday News, the Sunday version of The Union Leader:

Nackey S. Loeb, 1924-2000:

We were very lucky to have her in our midst

We are not sure that her employees, her friends, or her New Hampshire readers will ever fully understand how lucky we all are that Nackey Scripps Loeb walked among us.

"Walk" is an odd term, we realize, to describe a person who became a paraplegic and spent the last 22 years of her life in a wheelchair. But Mrs. Loeb (we would never think to call her anything less formal) was never "confined" to her chair. Her spirit, her will, her very being would not allow a mere accident to keep her down.

We were lucky to have her because her commitment to maintain an independent voice caused her to not only hang onto The Union Leader and Sunday News after William Loeb's death but to invest in their future and to do the hard work of leading us there.

We were lucky to have her because her fighting spirit (we never heard a word of complaint from her about her physical status) was, truly, an inspiration.

We were lucky to have her because her unabashed love of people, of New Hampshire, and of this country was such a fine example in an age and a business that are all too cynical.

We were lucky to have her because she had an easy laugh, a wicked sense of humor, and a gentle but firm hand with a bunch of wild and sometimes crazy newspaper types.

Author Mary Baures profiled Mrs. Loeb in her book, "Undaunted Spirits, Portraits of Recovery from Trauma" (The Charles Press, 1994). The book also featured chapters on CBS newsman Mike Wallace and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, among others.

"I'm not scared of dying...I think dying is a natural process, and I'll hang in there as long as I can," she told Baures. "I think there's a God who is playing an important part in deciding our fate," Mrs. Loeb said. "We are not captains of our ship, nor are we masters of our soul. There has to be a blind acceptance and we're not allowed to know the reason why things happen. For instance, it doesn't bother me that I don't know why I had the accident and why I was wedged under the dashboard. It happened, so I've accepted it. That acceptance carries me through."

In the book, she said of her newspaper workers, "It was up to me to convince these people that it wasn't the end of the world when Bill died."

Mrs. Loeb did that. She hung in there with grit and determination and remarkable grace and it is those things that we, her friends and employees, will remember as we now try to convince ourselves that the world will continue without her. But right now, that is hard, very hard.

END reprint

With so few newspapers still run by independent owners willing to deliver a conservative voice in the community, it's sad to lose one of the most famous, but she has fortunately left the paper in the hands of a conservative publisher. -- Brent Baker

>>> Support the MRC, an educational foundation dependent upon contributions which make CyberAlert possible, by providing a tax-deductible donation. Use the secure donations page set up for CyberAlert readers and subscribers:

>>>To subscribe to CyberAlert, send a blank e-mail to: mrccyberalert-subscribe
. Or, you can go to: Either way you will receive a confirmation message titled: "RESPONSE REQUIRED: Confirm your subscription to" After you reply, either by going to the listed Web page link or by simply hitting reply, you will receive a message confirming that you have been added to the MRC CyberAlert list. If you confirm by using the Web page link you will be given a chance to "register" with Topica. You DO NOT have to do this; at that point you are already subscribed to CyberAlert.
To unsubscribe, send a blank e-mail to:
Send problems and comments to:

>>>You can learn what has been posted each day on the MRC's Web site by subscribing to the "MRC Web Site News" distributed every weekday afternoon. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail to: Or, go to:<<<