November 3, 2004 |
The networks moved ever so slowly last night toward declaring a George Bush win, and by the time most viewers were in dreamland, TV reporters were still on their tiptoes. At 12:43 a.m. today, Fox News Channel called Ohio for President Bush, thereby declaring his victory almost certain. NBC followed at 1 a.m., but by press time, ABC, CBS and CNN had yet to declare a victor. For most of the night, the five major news organizations had treaded lightly around the close election returns, substituting esoteric exit polls, unduly optimistic party mouthpieces, and blowhard punditry for the hard facts that voters did not provide.
April 27, 2006 |
President Bush reached outside his inner circle yesterday for the first time in his current staff shake-up, naming a White House spokesman who recently called the president "something of an embarrassment. " The selection of Tony Snow, a conservative Fox News commentator, broke Bush's pattern of filling top jobs with trusted loyalists. As the public face of the administration, Snow will take a leading role in White House efforts to reverse Bush's slide in the polls. The job will give Snow a chance to put into practice his advice that Bush should be much more aggressive in confronting his critics.
February 19, 2006 |
To many on the outside, it looked like a mistake when Vice President Cheney failed to notify the White House press corps first of his shooting accident. But in the White House, it reflected a strategy of marginalizing the press. More than ever, the Bush White House ignores traditional news media and presents its message through friendly alternatives, such as talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. And when a reporter appears belligerent in a televised confrontation with the White House spokesman, as NBC's David Gregory did this week, the image helps the administration turn the story into one about the press, which energizes a Republican base that hates the mainstream media anyway.
February 16, 2006 |
Breaking four days of silence, Vice President Cheney accepted responsibility yesterday for shooting his hunting companion on Saturday, said alcohol was not involved, and defended his handling of the incident. Speaking with uncharacteristic emotion, Cheney said he was horrified when he realized he had wounded lawyer Harry Whittington while hunting quail in South Texas. Cheney spoke publicly about the incident for the first time about an hour after Whittington's doctors predicted a full recovery for the 78-year-old Austin man. "The image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind," Cheney told Fox News.
November 4, 1996 |
Please do not adjust your TV dial. Political difficulties, not technical difficulties, are causing the audio and video problems on your screen - that sputter and stutter and stuck-needle repetition of words, those flailing, fist-pumping gestures that seem badly out of sync with the soundtrack. "Where's the outrage? Where's the outrage?" Bob Dole is asking at a rally in Dallas. At least part of the outrage is that, in letting his own inner rage out, Dole has taken to bashing the media, which in fact have been serving as his messenger.
September 8, 1994 |
When fate buffets a man, he looks for friends who will listen politely, put on mournful faces and say, "If there's anything I can do . . . " Truly grim misfortune can cause him to reach even farther, beyond that inner circle and into the arms of unlikely Good Samaritans. Consider the sinkable Bill Clinton. He has labored earnestly as president but can't even get credit for a recovering economy and a hard-won crime bill. So in his despair, he has sought the aid of journalists. It's true.
May 25, 1990 |
It hardly approached the "Who Shot J.R.?" ratings. Wednesday's "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" Twin Peaks cliffhanger didn't even match the show's opening night. Peaks piqued peak interest April 8, with its two-hour premiere, which got a 21.7 rating, 33 percent audience share. The last episode drew only a 12.6/22. (Each ratings point equals 921,000 TV homes.) Wednesday's ratings were barely higher than the show's 12.4 average. The 1980 Dallas episode where we learned who shot J.R. Ewing gained a 53.3 rating, second among series episodes only to the final installment of M A S H (1983)
June 10, 1993 |
Having just plunged through an ocean of punditry on What's Wrong With Bill Clinton's Presidency, I emerge to suggest: maybe too many people running around telling us what's wrong with Bill Clinton's presidency? So far, telling against Bill Clinton, we find: The Haircut; Hillary's Hat; "going Hollywood"; lack of focus; the shift away from the center (actually, I'm the only one in the pundit corps who doesn't consider this a plus); Travelgate; Brit Hume being upset because all he got for breakfast on the White House press plane was yogurt and a cold croissant instead of hot cakes and ham omelette; Clinton's chief of staff is too nice; his new ex-press secretary doesn't know how to schmooze; his best friends, the Thomasons, are too rich; he hasn't spent enough time stroking Patrick Moynihan; Lani Guinier has joined the Zoe Baird Club; and Ross Perot gets really cheap haircuts.
June 16, 1993 |
President Clinton yesterday offered a passionate defense of his leadership, rejecting suggestions that he had hurt his popularity and his programs through indecision and a lack of commitment. "This is the most decisive presidency you've had in a long time on all the big issues that matter," he said during an impromptu news conference at the White House. The session came one day after Clinton angrily cut off another news conference when asked about "zigzag" decision-making on his Supreme Court nominee.
October 11, 1988 |
After the vice presidential debate Wednesday, the question of whether Dan Quayle is qualified to be president of the United States is no longer an issue. The last legitimate doubt he's left us is whether he's qualified to be a U.S. senator. The Republicans tried to put a happy face on Quayle's performance in the debate - they were quick to point out that he hadn't liberated Poland or placed Mexico north of Canada - but let's face it, folks, he was awful. From the opening bell, he looked like a scared rookie playing in a league two levels above his competence.