Flashback: On Election Night 2000, NBC News Staffers Were 'All Cheering for Gore'

The MSNBC staffers who booed President Bush in 2003 were just following the tradition set in 2000 when those at the NBC News flagship cheered on Al Gore. In the wake of Joe Scarborough's revelation Thursday morning that on his first day at MSNBC, on the night of President Bush's 2003 State of the Union address, “people in the newsroom...were booing the President basically from the beginning to the end” (Mark Finkelstein's post), a look back at how on the night of the 2000 election, NBC News employees were openly “cheering for Gore.”

As the MRC's Rich Noyes reminded me, the MRC's August 31, 2001 CyberAlert recounted:
On the election night, the NBC News control room was full of people “all cheering for Gore,” retiring General Electric CEO Jack Welch told Vanity Fair as he denied he pressured anyone to call the election for Bush, “and two or three of us cheering for George Bush.”

Welch’s revelation about the candidate preference of most NBC News staffers came in reaction to, as the Names & Faces column in the August 29 Washington Post reported, "rumors that he asked the men supervising computer projections, 'What would I have to give you to call the race for Bush?' Rep. Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, is threatening to subpoena a video recording of that night from NBC." (General Electric owns NBC.)

The Post quoted Welch as calling that "a crazy story." An August 28 Reuters dispatch quoted from the interview in the upcoming October issue of Vanity Fair as Welch, apparently referring to at least NBC News President Andy Lack, maintained: "To think you could ever influence two old pros who wouldn't call an election for anyone if their lives depended on it, is just plain silliness. The facts are there was a room there (at NBC on election night) of young kids all cheering for Gore and two or three of us cheering for George Bush. That's all that happened."

As anyone who has seen appearances by Welch on C-SPAN knows, he describes his 20-something and 30-something employees as "young kids."
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center