Plan from "Two Former Oil Men"; Stephanopoulos and Then for the Democratic View...; More Bogus Rather Claims; Rather: "Woo-Woo!"
1) CBS and NBC relayed how Democrats claim the Bush
energy plan does not do enough to solve the short term problem of higher
gas prices. But in concluding with forecasts of lower prices this summer
neither noted how that undermines the Democratic attack. Instead they used
the prediction to make sure viewers understood any such eventuality would
have nothing to do with Bush.
2) ABC's Terry Moran surmised the Bush White House is
"playing defense against the impression that this is an energy plan
developed by two former oil men that excessively benefits the oil
industry." Linda Douglass relayed as fact how Democrats are
"going to capitalize on voter suspicions that the Bush White House is
too closely tied to the energy industry."
3) ABC's Good Morning America first had former Clinton
operative George Stephanopoulos examine the Bush energy policy and then
went to Claire Shipman for the Democratic view. Really. Diane Sawyer pined
for the good old Carter years: "Nobody's willing to come out and do
the Jimmy Carter thing, and say, 'Tighten your belts, turn off the lights
and get real here.'"
4) ABC's Peter Jennings told Larry King: "I think
bias is very largely in the eye of the beholder." Jennings insisted
that ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC "are largely in the center without
particular axes to grind, without ideologies..."
5) In addition to calling Bill Clinton "an honest
man," Dan Rather dismissed the Juanita Broaddrick charge as a
"private matter," falsely claimed his show had reported the
corruption allegations against Jesse Jackson and made others the scapegoat
for why the CBS Evening News reported drug use charges against George W.
Bush as he pointed out how he was on vacation that week.
6) Dan Rather on George W. Bush: "He's beginning to
take some criticism, such things as rolling back environmental protection
and conservation measures, in favor of what many people see as big
business, big oil....But I would say that those who felt that he would
just fall on his face...they've been disappointed."
7) Ending Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dan Rather
imitated a train whistle, "woo-woo."
Roberts spent more time on Wednesday's CBS Evening News highlighting how
"environmental groups are already hammering the President for
catering to big oil and coal," than outlining Bush's expected energy
Both Roberts and NBC's Campbell Brown relayed
how Democrats claim the Bush plan does not do enough to solve the short
term problem of higher gas prices, but both concluded by passing along
forecasts of lower prices this summer. Instead of stressing how that
undermines the Democratic attack, however, both instead used the
prediction to make sure viewers understood any such eventuality would have
nothing to do with Bush policy. Brown concluded her NBC Nightly News
piece: "Now, many economists believe that gas prices will drop this
summer, but the reason they say is an increase in supply from overseas,
not because of anything the President will propose tomorrow."
Roberts began his May 16 report by noting how
Bush "declared help is on the way" with 105 specific proposals,
42 directed at conservation, renewable energy or alternative fuels, but
with most aimed to increase supplies. After a Bush soundbite, Roberts
warned: "Environmental groups are already hammering the President for
catering to big oil and coal."
NRDC ad: "The oil and coal lobby contributed
millions to its new leader. Problem is, he's also our President."
Roberts: "Tomorrow, with a pointed new ad campaign, the greens will
declare all out war on the White House."
Phil Clapp, National Environmental Trust:
"Environmental organizations are going to mount the biggest campaign
we have ever mounted to try to get this energy policy to address the
concerns of consumers and to protect the environment and not to weaken
major environmental protections."
Roberts: "The administration is also fending
off attacks that there is nothing in the plan to immediately address the
growing electricity crisis and the high cost of gasoline. Just the fact
that there is now an energy policy will instill confidence in the markets,
they said. Supplies will go up, prices will come down."
After a clip of Bush maintaining his is the
first comprehensive energy policy in many years, Roberts concluded by
undermining the relevance of whatever Bush proposes: "Even without
the Bush plan, industry is expected to bring on enough supply that the
price of gasoline, natural gas and electricity is forecast to decrease in
the next ten years."
Confirming media-fueled spin. ABC's Terry Moran on Wednesday night
highlighted an ABC News poll which found more want conservation than
increased energy production before he surmised "they're also playing
defense against the impression that this is an energy plan developed by
two former oil men that excessively benefits the oil industry."
Colleague Linda Douglass relayed as fact how
Democrats are "going to capitalize on voter suspicions that the Bush
White House is too closely tied to the energy industry and the suspicions
that the energy industry is being allowed to shape the energy plan as
payback for big contributions."
Moran previewed Bush's plan, as transcribed by
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Today the President told federal
regulatory agencies to keep a sharp eye out for any evidence of price
gouging by energy companies. That's all part of an aggressive
administration effort to sell this plan as pro-consumer. The President,
proudly brandishing one of the first copies of his energy plan, had a
simple message for beleaguered consumers: Help is on the way."
Following a couple of Bush clips, Moran
cautioned: "But Mr. Bush faces a skeptical public. An ABC News poll
shows only 39 percent of Americans approve of the way the President has
handled the energy problem so far -- 43 percent disapprove. And by a big
margin of 56 to 35 percent, Americans favor increased conservation as a
solution over more fossil fuel or nuclear power production. That's why
administration officials have been retooling the plan to emphasize
conservation more. And at the White House today, officials labored to back
up the President's claim that his plan will bring down prices in the short
Moran showed a soundbite of Ari Fleischer
insisting Bush's plan will help lower prices. Moran asserted: "But
industry analysts aren't holding their breath."
Kit Konolige, Morgan Stanley Energy Analyst:
"I wouldn't be looking for a major impact on energy prices tomorrow
as a result of something that the administration might say."
Moran concluded: "Administration officials
are counting on the President's personal abilities as a salesman to rally
support for this plan, but, Peter, they're also playing defense against
the impression that this is an energy plan developed by two former oil men
that excessively benefits the oil industry, and that's why
they're re-casting it as pro-conservation and pro-consumer."
Next, anchor Peter Jennings turned to Linda
Douglass on Capitol Hill for the Democratic take, as if Moran had not
already delivered it. Douglass suggested: "They want to capitalize,
and they're going to capitalize on voter suspicions that the Bush White
House is too closely tied to the energy industry and the suspicions that
the energy industry is being allowed to shape the energy plan as payback
for big contributions. Now, the energy industry, led by oil and gas and
utilities and mining, did give $64 million in the last election cycle --
75 percent of that went to the Republicans, $2.8 million of that went to
President Bush, so the Democrats are saying that does affect his
Good Morning America on Wednesday first had former Clinton operative
George Stephanopoulos examine the Bush energy policy and then went to
Claire Shipman for the Democratic view. Really.
Stephanopoulos rued how "President Bush's
21st century conservation means never having to say sacrifice" while
Shipman focused on how Democrats complain about the "administration's
longstanding ties to the oil industry and auto makers."
Wrapping up the segment, GMA co-host Diane
Sawyer pined for the good old Carter years: "But George, nobody's
willing to come out and do the Jimmy Carter thing, and say, 'Tighten your
belts, turn off the lights and get real here.'"
Stephanopoulos bemoaned: "It really is a
free lunch strategy on both sides. Neither party wants to say we have to
sacrifice, we have to cut back. They're all promising these new
technologies are the way out."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the May
16 segment which Sawyer introduced: "We're going to take a look at a
political issue that really matters to you, with these rolling blackouts
heading toward us all this summer. We're going to take a sharp look at the
dueling approaches to how to fix the whole problem, and we're going to
start with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos, who is here, and he's going
to tell us what the Bush people say, we'll fix it all, and answering him
will be Senior National Correspondent Claire Shipman, who's going to take
us through the Democratic alternatives. So George, you're on. Hit
Stephanopoulos summarized the expected Bush plan:
"Diane, from his first days in office, Bush has been warning that the
energy shortage is a real long-term threat to the economy. Tomorrow, he
starts to do something about it. For what he's called an energy crisis,
President Bush tapped his top gun."
After a clip of Vice President Cheney,
Stephanopoulos continued: "And Vice President Cheney's report will
call for more of everything: more oil and gas, by encouraging drilling in
federal parks, and relaxing regulation of pipelines and refineries; more
coal by easing environmental rules; and more nuclear power by streamlining
licensing for new plants. The goal? Up to 1,900 new power generators,
building one every week for the next 20 years."
Michael Rothman, Sr., energy market specialist:
"The reality is that for all major areas of power and energy, we have
to look at adding capacity. There's no way to get around that issue."
Stephanopoulos: "On the conservation side,
Bush proposes tax credits for renewable energy and high-tech tools, like
motion sensors that shut off the lights when you leave the room, and he
promises consumers long-term relief: lower prices, fewer blackouts,
insurance against recession, but he won't be copying the last President
who faced a fuel crisis."
President Carter: "All of us must learn to
waste less energy."
Stephanopoulos: "President Bush's 21st
century conservation means never having to say sacrifice. But the White
House knows that the Bush's 'buy more, save less' approach really isn't
selling with the public yet, so they're putting him out on a three-day
road trip to Minnesota and Iowa to show he really cares about
conservation, and as Claire will show, the environmentalists are already
touting their alternative."
Claire Shipman picked up: "Well George,
that's right. Democrats are saying despite all of this talk by the
President about conservation, don't be fooled about Bush's plan. They say
the focus is largely on supply, and they say, that's because of his
administration's longstanding ties to the oil industry and auto makers.
Democrats and conservationists say there is another way out. This could be
your future, hybrid cars that run on part gas, part battery -- they're
already getting drivers 50 miles to the gallon -- and battery-powered city
buses. Chicago's using them."
Philip Clapp, National Environmental Trust:
"We are literally going to have automobiles within the next 10 to 20
years that will go from Washington to Los Angeles on one tank of
Shipman: "Today's conservation, according to
Democrats, is more about solar panels than bundling up in big sweaters. It
doesn't have to mean sacrifice, but they say government has to lead the
way, that Bush's energy plan focuses too much on drilling in the wilds of
Alaska and not enough on efficiency."
Bill Richardson: "There has to be a
combination of fuel efficient vehicles, conservation measures, energy
efficiency, and drilling more and getting more natural gas. We can do
both, but it has to be a proper balance."
Shipman: "Environmentalists are outraged,
for example, that Bush is rolling back a Clinton standard to improve air
conditioner efficiency from 30 percent to 20 percent. They say that means
139 more power plants will be needed in peak times. Most important, Bush
is ignoring what they say could stem an energy crisis, requirements for
auto makers to make more fuel efficient cars."
Daniel Becker, Sierra Club: "For $935, you
can add more efficient engine, transmission, aerodynamics to a Ford
Explorer, the best-selling SUV, move its fuel economy from 19 to 34 miles
per gallon and save $5500 at the gas pump."
Shipman: "Democrats and conservationists are
also fond of saying these days it can be as easy as changing a light bulb.
They say that if every American were to change four standard 100-watt
bulbs for energy efficient bulbs, we as a country would be able to save
the output of 30 power plants. Diane."
Sawyer talked with both reporters, starting
with Shipman: "Alright, Claire. Going to be a big slugfest here, and
who's going to win? Is the Bush administration going to have to start
talking conservation talk?"
Shipman: "Well, they clearly already feel
that pressure and they've been doing it over the last couple of weeks, but
again, I think Democrats see this as a real vulnerability for the Bush
administration and they plan to keep hammering on it, so don't look for it
to let up anytime soon."
Sawyer: "George, the Alaska oil drilling
really hits a nerve with a lot of people. Is it going to pass?"
Stephanopoulos: "I don't think so. Bush has
already gotten a lot of signals from moderate Republicans, particularly in
the Northeast, saying, 'Don't go there. We don't need this fight,' and
it's kind of a free vote against Bush for these moderate Republicans.
Another big fight, though, coming up right this summer, Diane, deals with
California. The people in California, Democrats are saying Bush must
impose price caps on wholesale electricity to avoid blackouts this summer.
Bush says there's no way he's going to do it."
Sawyer: "And this whole issue of
deregulation and tax incentives sounds expensive. Is the administration
paying business to do something they're going to do anyway?"
Stephanopoulos: "Well, there is some
evidence of that. You look at, this weekend's newspapers show that there
could be an energy glut, that power companies are already building power
plants at a record rate because the market incentives are there. They're
saying that when there's incentive in the market, we need refineries,
we're going to build 'em. When there isn't, we're not. The regulation's
kind of a bonus."
Sawyer: "And so Claire, are Democrats
saying, 'We can get something tomorrow, next week, we can change
Shipman: "No, they don't really have that
hope, and frankly, one thing everybody agrees on is just how bad it's
going to be this summer. You know, talking about California, they're
expecting 260 hours of blackouts there this summer, and some places every
day. And Democrats know when you have sort of situation and rising gas
prices again this summer, it's going to be tough to convince people that
you don't need to do anything about supply."
Sawyer: "But George, nobody's willing to
come out and do the Jimmy Carter thing, and say, 'Tighten your belts, turn
off the lights and get real here.'"
Stephanopoulos: "It really is a free lunch
strategy on both sides. Neither party wants to say we have to sacrifice,
we have to cut back. They're all promising these new technologies are the
by Larry King about bias, ABC's Peter Jennings countered: "I think
bias is very largely in the eye of the beholder" and that "good
journalists work very hard to leave their bias beside the typewriter, or
the computer as it may be." He insisted that ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC
"are largely in the center without particular axes to grind, without
ideologies which are represented in our daily coverage."
King elicited the bias denials during the May
15 Larry King Live on CNN. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught these
-- King: "Do you resent the criticism of
Jennings: "I don't resent the criticism for
bias, because I, you know, I watch television like anybody else. I watch
you some nights and want to throw a shoe through the set, and I'm sure
this is true of other people. I think bias is very largely in the eye of
the beholder. I think we are all biased human beings. I am a white,
middle-aged guy who came from a certain kind of background, and I carry a
lot of emotional, political, geographic, social baggage around with me. I
just think if people watch you over a length of time, they may still think
you're biased in certain ways, sometimes their issue, not yours. But I
think that good journalists, if that's not too self-serving, good
journalists work very hard to leave their bias beside the typewriter, or
the computer as it may be."
-- King: "Do you hate the term or dislike
the term 'mainstream media' when those critics say, oh, 'the mainstream
Jennings: "Well, and the euphemism or the
synonym for that is the establishment media. I think it's because we have
been around. I think there is a mainstream media. CNN is mainstream media,
and the main ABC, CBS, NBC are mainstream media. And I think it's just
essentially to make the point that we are largely in the center without
particular axes to grind, without ideologies which are represented in our
daily coverage, at least certainly not on purpose."
So all the bias is by accident?
Rather's other claims and comments to Bill O'Reilly. Spurred by the May 15
CyberAlert Extra about how on that night's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC Dan
Rather had insisted that Bill Clinton is an "honest man," the
MRC's Rich Noyes reviewed the rest of the interview and found some other
notable comments which he culled together Wednesday afternoon for a Media
Reality Check fax report.
Rich and MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed how
Rather dismissed the Juanita Broaddrick charge as a "private
matter," that "Rather also wrongly insisted that the CBS Evening
News had reported the corruption allegations swirling around the Reverend
Jesse Jackson's misuse of donations to his non-profit organization,"
and that instead of defending how the CBS Evening News reported
uncorroborated drug use charges against George W. Bush, Rather made others
the scapegoat as he pointed out how he was on vacation that week.
Below is the text of the May 16 Media Reality
Check titled, "Rather Praises Clinton As An 'Honest Man'; CBS's
Top Watchdog: 'I Think You Can Be an Honest Person and Lie About Any
Number of Things.'"
Appearing on the Fox News Channel's The
O'Reilly Factor Tuesday night, Dan Rather insisted he had no "inner
bias...that goes easy on a Clinton and hard on somebody from the
Republican side." But in his answers, Rather revealed that he sees
the world through liberal-tinted lenses. Highlights from Rather's FNC
-- Rape is a private matter: "I don't
remember all the details of Juanita Broaddrick," Rather dismissively
commented in reference to the Arkansas woman who alleged that Clinton
raped her in 1978, "but I will say that -- and you can castigate me
if you like -- when the charge has something to do with somebody's private
sex life, I would prefer not to run any of it."
-- Bill Clinton has an honest core: "I
think he's an honest man," Rather told O'Reilly. "Do you,
really?" the FNC host incredulously retorted, reminding him that
Clinton lied to the country about Monica Lewinsky. "I think at core
he is an honest person," Rather absurdly insisted. "I think you
can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."
-- Mistakes were made: After Rather claimed
that CBS "did do quite a bit on campaign finance," O'Reilly
recalled that the anchorman had refused to bring it up when he interviewed
the President: "When you interviewed Clinton himself in 1999, we have
a transcript of the interview, you didn't ask him anything about the
campaign finance stuff." Instead of defending his glaring omission,
Rather shrugged, "Look, I'm not a perfect interviewer."
-- Phantom transcripts: Rather also wrongly
insisted that the CBS Evening News had reported the corruption allegations
swirling around the Reverend Jesse Jackson's misuse of donations to his
non-profit organization, a story aggressively pursued by FNC. "We
nailed Jesse Jackson to the wall because of his abuse of non- profit
money. You guys haven't touched him," O'Reilly confronted Rather.
"You didn't do anything!"
"Oh, we have. Bill, that's just simply
not true and I'll be happy to send the transcript over to you,"
That would be some trick. An MRC review shows
that, of all of the major evening news shows, only the CBS Evening News
entirely refused to report any allegations of financial misconduct against
the two-time Democratic presidential candidate. (Even ABC and NBC covered
a Jackson press conference held on March 8 in which the liberal activist
denied using his charities to enrich himself.) Rather's CBS Evening News
limited itself to a single January 18 report about Jackson's confession of
an illegitimate daughter.
-- Blame Bob and Russ: Rather said he
"never gave any real credence to any of these allegations [of past
drug use] by George Bush....There's no documented evidence anywhere, no
credible testimony." When O'Reilly showed him that Evening News had
run numerous stories detailing those charges when he was on vacation in
1999, Rather immediately pointed his finger at weekend anchor Russ
Mitchell and substitute anchor Bob Schieffer. "Let me stop you right
there," Rather interjected. "You're talking about Russ
Mitchell's program, not Dan Rather's program....I did not want to run it
on my show." Way to take one for the team, Dan.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check by Rich
For all of what Rather said about Clinton's
honesty, refer back to the May 15 CyberAlert Extra: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010515_extra.asp
As noted above, O'Reilly pointed out how
during his 1999 interview with Bill Clinton Rather had avoided campaign
finance abuses, a touchy-feely March 31 interview aired on both the CBS
Evening News and 60 Minutes II detailed in the April 1, 1999 CyberAlert,
Dan Rather plays nice with Bill Clinton.
Forget Chinese espionage or Juanita Broaddrick or Monica Lewinsky's
assertion that Clinton satisfied her, which undercuts his basis for his
claim about not having sexual relations. No, instead in an exclusive
interview CBS News landed, after some questions about the war in Kosovo,
Dan Rather tossed kiss-up questions, such as light-heartedly promoting the
Hillary for Senate distraction: "Could you describe for me what you
believe to be the responsibilities of the husband of a United States
End excerpt from the April 1, 1999 CyberAlert
For more, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990401.html#1
The CyberAlert also features a RealPlayer clip
of this portion of the interview:
Following an ad break, Rather progressed to a
more pleasant topic for Clinton: "Could you describe for me what you
believe to be the responsibilities of the husband of a United States
Senator?" Clinton, laughing, explained that he'd be willing to be a
caseworker in Hillary's New York office.
Clinton ruminated about how after Hillary
aided his career for 22 years he will spend the next 22 years helping her,
prompting Rather to seek reassurance: "And you expect to do that
together as man and wife?" Clinton: "Oh, absolutely."
Up next, instead of demanding Clinton address
what he put the country through, Rather sympathetically inquired about how
"our First Family" is doing: "Mr. President, you know
Americans like to know that the First Family is okay, that they're doing
alright. Given the year plus what you and our First Family have been
through, tell us what you can about how the three of you are doing."
Clinton assured Rather they are "doing reasonably well" since
"we do love each other very much," adding that Hillary's trip to
Africa has been good for the country.
Rather's next question: "How about
yourself? We're here in a room with pictures of Lincoln, Washington,
Continental Congress. When you look back over this year plus, what's the
moral of it? Does it have a moral?"
END second excerpt from the April 1, 1999
exactly a ringing endorsement of President Bush from Dan Rather, a man
impressed by Bill Clinton's honesty.
Asked by Larry King on CNN Monday night
"how is Bush doing?", Rather replied:
"So far, so good, from his standpoint. I
don't know of anybody who gives him really low marks overall for the way
that he's stepped in. Certainly, he's beginning to take some criticism,
such things as rolling back environmental protection and conservation
measures, in favor of what many people see as big business, big oil, that
kind of thing. But, you know, so far, so good. But it's still early in his
presidency. But I would say that those who felt that he would just fall on
his face right from the beginning, and there were some people, they've
I'd count Rather among the disappointed.
Dan "Woo-Woo" Rather. Ending Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dan
Rather imitated a train whistle, something he's only done publicly before
on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Updating viewers on the runaway freight train
in Ohio from the day before, Rather wrapped up the May 16 CBS Evening
"So how did the train escape in the first
place? Turns out the engineer meant to set three brakes as he got off in a
Toledo switching yard, but one of them turned out to be the throttle. And
so it was woo-woo and good-bye train. That's part of our world
A fresh reminder that Dan Rather is sometimes
as weird as, to adopt one of his imaginations, "if a frog had side
pockets he'd probably wear a handgun."
-- Brent Baker
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