Weirdest Moment in HBO Film: 'Jennings & Brokaw Have Bald Spots!'

HBO's 'Recount' movie which premiered Sunday night, and will re-run on Monday evening, certainly lived up to the admission of actor Kevin Spacey, who played Gore operative Ron Klain, that it presented the 2000 Florida election aftermath through the eyes of the “underdog” Democrats fighting to “count every vote” despite being frustrated by Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris who was portrayed as an easily-manipulated dolt. But Tom Wilkinson as James Baker came off as an in-command strategist and the movie delivered some anti-Democratic points rarely heard in the news media:
First, Bob Balaban, as Bush-Cheney lawyer Ben Ginsberg, reacting to Gore-Lieberman campaign Chairman Bill Daley whose father was Mayor of Chicago in 1960: “His daddy stole it for JFK and now he's going to steal it for Gore.” Second, from Wilkinson as James Baker: “Who knows how many votes we lost when the networks called Florida for Gore before all the polls were closed on election night.”

But the weirdest moment came in a scene of a protest held outside the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee. A man, holding a Bush-Cheney sign, chanted: “Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw have bald spots! Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw have bald spots!”

UPDATE: Weird, but close to reality. In 'Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency,' the 2001 book by Jake Tapper now with ABC News (Tapper's Political Punch blog), Tapper reported on page 139: “A guy with a sign saying 'God Made Bush President' appears. Another, hyping the Web site Newsmax.com, starts shouting out that 'Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw have bald spots.' This guy has a bald spot, too.”

For details on how Bush really did win despite the implication of the movie that the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an accurate vote count, check my earlier NewsBusters posting, “Reminder: Bush Won in Florida Recounts Conducted by the Media.

The film was fun to watch if only for the archival footage from ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN (most of whose anchors and reporters -- Judy Woodruff, Bernard Shaw, Greta van Susteren and Bob Franken -- have moved on) on election night and afterward, including a reminder of Dan Rather's goofy “Danisms/Ratherisms.”

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