Stephen E Philion philion at
Thu Aug 17 14:38:23 PDT 2000

not a good sign for Gore. The media had the similar complaints about Carter vs. Reagan...


Stephen Philion Lecturer/PhD Candidate Department of Sociology 2424 Maile Way Social Sciences Bldg. # 247 Honolulu, HI 96822

On Thu, 17 Aug 2000, Doug Henwood wrote:

> Financial Times - August 17, 2000
> Avenue of the Americas: Tale of two press corps
> There is no more popular pursuit among the press corps covering the
> campaigns of Al Gore and George W. Bush than sniping at their
> colleagues on the rival campaign.
> For the Bush media, the Gore press are a miserable bunch, moaning
> about their lack of access to a dreary candidate. For the Gore media,
> their Bush counterparts are inexperienced lapdogs, swallowing every
> word from their candidate without question.
> One thing is not in dispute. Both sides agree that the Texas governor
> comes across more warmly and positively than the vice-president, and
> that is reflected in their rapport with reporters.
> Of course, the candidates themselves must bear at least half the
> responsibility for their sharply differing relationships with the
> correspondents covering them on the trail. But the Gore press corps
> goes one step further, questioning their colleagues' ability to road
> test their candidate.
> The consensus is that the vice-president is being stalked by
> experienced White House reporters, who have covered previous
> elections and are therefore tougher on their man. In contrast, the
> Bush media are younger reporters covering a campaign for the first
> time. According to this argument, their eagerness to report on the
> White House means they fail to be sufficiently critical of the Bush
> campaign.
> One Gore reporter, covering his second presidential campaign, said:
> "Our Bush reporter said to me I should drop by their campaign
> sometime because they were having so much fun. That should not be
> your priority on a campaign. They just want to have fun."
> However the Gore media, for all its experience, sometimes appears to
> step over the line in its pursuit of critical coverage.
> At the heart of the press corps are three reporters, known to their
> politically-incorrect colleagues as the "Spice Girls". The three are
> perhaps the most influential reporters on the Gore campaign, having
> covered the vice-president almost without break this year: Ceci
> Connolly of The Washington Post, Katharine Seelye of The New York
> Times and Sandra Sobieraj of the Associated Press. They can also be
> the most hostile to the campaign, doing little to hide their contempt
> for the candidate and his team.
> Connolly expressed her feelings most dramatically on last month's
> plane trip to North Carolina where the Gores were taking their
> pre-convention vacation. To lighten the mood on board, the campaign
> had given reporters beach accessories including plastic water pistols.
> According to several witnesses, when Gore came back to chat to with
> the press on his plane, Connolly put her arm around the
> vice-president's shoulder and held the gun to his head. It might have
> been a joke. But for the secret service agents on board, as well as
> the Gore campaign, there were no smiles.
> Seelye may not go that far. But New York Times reports sometimes take
> a personal edge about Gore which is absent from its coverage of Bush.
> Take one example in its coverage last week of the official
> announcement of Joe Lieberman's candidacy as the vice-presidential
> candidate, jointly written by Seelye and Kevin Sack.
> It was astonishingly hot in Nashville's war memorial plaza, where the
> event was staged outdoors in front of around 1,000 supporters. Gore,
> Lieberman and the entire press corps were drenched in sweat well
> before Lieberman finished speaking. In fact the Connecticut senator
> twice reached for a towel to wipe the streams of sweat from his face,
> joking that he was just getting warmed up.
> But the Times took a different view of the heat. It reported that the
> "sweltering 97-degree heat . . . left Mr Gore's drenched shirt stuck
> to his back (Mr Lieberman was wise enough to wear an undershirt)".
> When a working relationship is reduced to the wisdom of
> undergarments, you know the Gore campaign has trouble on its hands.

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