Convention: Different reactions in booth and on floor

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

CBS News' Scott Pelley was succinct: "Bernie Sanders heals the breach."

That was his analysis after Sanders' speech to the Democratic national convention Monday, after a raucous first day filled with restive supporters of the Vermont senator and the controversy over leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee. Pelley's words were largely echoed by the pundit class.

ABC's David Muir and CNN's John King both said they noticed more cheers, and fewer boos, than Sanders drew when talking about Hillary Clinton earlier in the day.

"As a Hillary guy, I could not have asked for more from Bernie Sanders," said CNN's Paul Begala. His colleague Van Jones called it a "really, really incredible act of leadership."

Give credit to MSNBC, however, for sending reporters to the convention floor and talking to Sanders supporters, who were much less willing to follow their leader into the Clinton camp.

"Seeing him telling us she was the best choice was really hard for me to accept," said California delegate Bernadette Gomez. She said she's voting for the Green Party in November.

Vermont delegate Ashley Andrea also told MSNBC she wasn't swayed. "Maybe after Thursday my sentiments will change," she said. "I don't see it happening."

Minutes after the convention shut down for the night, Fox News Channel quickly brought in the opposing viewpoint. Republican Donald Trump and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appeared with Sean Hannity for interviews as delegates were filing out.

LORD HELP US: Commentator Jeffrey Lord, a Trump supporter, was responsible for a couple of uncomfortable moments in the CNN booth. After Jones and Begala praised a speech by an 11-year-old Latina girl on the immigration issue, Lord brought up the murder of a man by an illegal immigrant — a case cited in the Republican candidate's acceptance speech last week. Democrat Patti Solis Doyle took personal offense, noting her father was an illegal immigrant. "Coming here illegally was the only law my father ever broke. And you know why? It was important for his children to have a better life than he did." Later, after Jones and Begala said they didn't hear as much hate from the Democrats as they did from the Republicans, Lord accused Democrats of dividing the country by race.

COMMON GROUND: It almost sounded like a Republican convention. Bernie Sanders unleashed huge cheers by bashing the media.

FRANKEN'S TURN: You could catch the moment on CNN and MSNBC when Sen. Al Franken took the stage to announce, "I'm Al Franken, Minnesotan, senator and world-renowned expert on right-wing megalomaniacs Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and now Donald Trump." On Fox News, during "The O'Reilly Factor," a report on "Pokemon Go" was airing. Franken's speech didn't make the cut. Correspondent Jesse Watters, standing on the convention floor, told O'Reilly that Franken had mentioned his name. O'Reilly called Franken "perhaps the most dishonest individual I ever met in my entire life. So I'm glad he mentioned me. That's a compliment to me."

SILVERMAN: Fox also avoided Franken when he took the stage later with comic Sarah Silverman. Seemingly annoyed by shouting in the crowd, Silverman only increased the noise by playing the provocateur. "Can I just say to the Bernie-or-bust people — you're being ridiculous," she said.

SHRILL: NBC commentator Tom Brokaw provoked a Twitter protest when he discussed Clinton's speaking style on MSNBC. "It will be interesting to see what her demeanor is on this stage," Brokaw said, "because in big events she's often quite shrill and hectoring people. If she becomes a softer Hillary, it might help her." Chuck Todd tried to walk him back, noting that Clinton, as a woman, was sometimes held to different standards as a speaker than men. The damage was done. One media critic, Jennifer Pozner, dinged Brokaw on Twitter for "choosing lazy sexism."

FIRST LADY: Even though Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren had loud supporters, CNN's Wolf Blitzer said First Lady Michelle Obama's speech was by far the best of the night. ABC's George Stephanopoulos called it "polished, passionate and personal." NBC's Brokaw and Fox News' Juan Williams used the same phrase. "It was about as pitch-perfect an endorsement as you can get," Brokaw said. Williams said, "The framing of the speech in terms of her children was so pitch-perfect."