Bush Parks "Stunt" Denounced; Humans Over Park "Residents"; Mea Culpa on Price Caps; "Mockery of Pledge to Leave No Child Behind"
1) Liberal environmentalists and the networks pounced on
Bush's parks policy. ABC, CBS and NBC highlighted how one group gave him
a "D." ABC's John Cochran relayed how "groups call Mr.
Bush's attempt to look green a 'stunt'" while Judy Muller
complained parks spending is aimed at "visitors...rather than the
residents," meaning animals. NBC's Tom Brokaw claimed Bush's
environmental record "was one of the issues that cost him control of
the Senate last week."
2) ABC and NBC, but not CBS, picked up on an investigation
of First Daughter Jenna for using an improper ID to obtain alcohol.
3) A mea culpa from Fortune's Jeff Birnbaum: "I
consulted my Economics 101 and I made a mistake last night when I
spoke...Price caps are definitely the wrong economic answer."
4) Emotion over reason. ABC's morning team was thrilled
with the Supreme Court ruling on golfer Casey Martin. Charles Gibson
proclaimed he "should ride and be able to -- it's the right
decision." Elizabeth Vargas agreed: "It's good for Martin. A
long victory, a long fight."
5) The same day the New York Times front page reported
that the House passed Bush's education bill with a 29 percent spending
hike, the editorial page under the paper's soon-to-be top editor
blasted: "Mr. Bush's rejection of increased education spending in the
budget has made a mockery of his pledge to 'leave no child behind.'"
Bush's announcement at a national park in California on Wednesday, that
he would enforce a Clinton mandate on reducing haze and would release $5
billion to fix up national parks, didn't go nearly far enough to satisfy
liberal environmentalists or the three broadcast networks. Wednesday night
each barely touched on what Bush said as both ABC and CBS devoted more
time to critics from the left, though unlabeled as such.
All three pointed out how one group gave Bush
a "D" grade for his oversight of parks and ABC and CBS listed
all of Bush's policies which offend "conservationists."
ABC's John Cochran noted how environmental
"groups call Mr. Bush's attempt to look green a 'stunt.'"
In a soundbite an activist complained about how Bush is "emasculating
our environmental laws." After listing Bush's awful policies,
Cochran then measured Bush's commitment on a liberal scale: "On the
other hand, while the President has not launched any major environmental
initiatives, he is strictly enforcing many measures from the Clinton
Of course, none of the networks gave a second
of consideration to any conservative who might be upset that Bush is going
too far in accepting Clinton's decisions.
ABC wasn't even satisfied with the $5
billion for parks. In a one-sided piece reporter Judy Muller focused on
complaints that the money will go to infrastructure instead of to
preserving "natural resources" and protecting species. "At
the same time," she snidely added, "the administration is
thinking of overturning controls on snowmobiles, which increase noise and
air pollution in Yellowstone." She concluded from the point of view
of bears: "Even the President's most vocal critics admit that some
money is better than none, even if it is aimed at visitors to the park
rather than the residents."
Over on CBS, John Roberts relayed how
"environmental groups are giving the President a 'D' for his
treatment of national parks. For every proposal he has made to preserve
the great forests and wilderness areas, they say, he has made another that
could threaten them."
NBC anchor Tom Brokaw tied Bush's record to
the Jeffords defection, as if he were more liberal on the environment
Jeffords would not have bolted: "President Bush has a political
problem... when it comes to the environment. It was one of the issues that
cost him control of the Senate last week."
Reporter Campbell Brown stressed how "the
real outrage is over the President's energy plan and its emphasis on
increasing supplies through more drilling and opening up protected areas
for exploration." She concluded by endorsing the perspective that it
is irrational to see Bush as an environmentalist: "Advisers insist
the President is here today because he's truly committed to the
environment. A tough sell, many say, but one Bush will keep trying to
Now, more detail on these May 30 stories which
led the ABC and NBC evening shows:
-- ABC World News Tonight. Anchor Peter
Jennings opened his broadcast, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"Good evening, everyone. We're going to
begin this evening in one of those truly magnificent parts of the country
with one of the hottest debates that George W. Bush has found himself in
since becoming President. Mr. Bush went to Sequoia National Forest in
California today to say that he is and he will be a good steward of the
environment. Mr. Bush has been a target of environmental activists from
the beginning. There, under those trees which have been standing as long,
even before Jesus lived, here's ABC's John Cochran. John?"
John Cochran: "Peter, the President was
tired of taking it on the chin from environmentalists, so he came to this
ancient forest to keep a campaign promise. Mr. Bush announced he is
releasing a backlog of $5 billion in maintenance funds for national parks,
including this one. And he will expand air quality rules to protect these
President Bush: "Our duty is to use the land
well and sometimes not to use it at all."
Cochran: "But environmentalists are
skeptical of Mr. Bush, even when he is trying to please them. The National
Parks Association today gave him a barely passing grade, D, even though it
admits his administration has barely begun. Other groups call Mr. Bush's
attempt to look green a 'stunt.'"
Charles Clusen, Natural Resources Defense
Council: "Unfortunately, they seem to be looking at this solely as a
political problem when they're trying public relations ploys like this
speech today where he's announcing that he's going to do something
that he's already announced."
Cochran: "Here is a look at his record as
President: He reneged on a promise to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants, refused to take part in a global warming treaty which the
Clinton administration wanted but did not fight for, called for oil and
natural gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, suspended a
Clinton era rule cutting the amount of arsenic in water, urged repeal of a
law forcing miners to pay for environmental damage they cause, and called
for changes in the Endangered Species Act, opposed by
Rodger Schlickeisen, Defenders of Wildlife:
"You do have to admit that this is an administration that gets right
to the heart of things when it comes to emasculating our environmental
Cochran: "On the other hand, while the
President has not launched any major environmental initiatives, he is
strictly enforcing many measures from the Clinton administration:
Restricting diesel fuel emissions, protecting wetlands, and reducing toxic
pollutants. Mr. Bush is also keeping 19 national monuments covering 3
million acres that Bill Clinton set aside for protection, but he has no
plans to put more land under federal protection. Still, Bush aides say
that because he is concerned about economic development, he can never
please all environmentalists."
Karl Rove, presidential adviser: "There are
some groups that we will never placate. That's true, but the American
people will come to understand that this is a man who focused on making
the air, the water and the land cleaner."
Cochran concluded: "But privately, Peter,
Bush aides admit he can never win the environmental issue. What he can do,
they say, is neutralize it and prevent it from causing him major political
Next, Judy Muller looked at the dire state of
national parks caused by increased congestion and no increased funding
over the years. She explained how Bush will have $5 billion spent over the
next five years to improve "roads, buildings and sewers" which
"are in disrepair." She cautioned, "the Bush administration
pledge is aimed at repairing that damage, but conservation groups are
Don Barry, Wilderness Society: "None of
it's for park operations, none of it's really for natural resource
Muller elaborated: "Natural resources, they
argue, are what the national parks were established to protect and yet the
Bush plan provides very little funding for protection of species whose
numbers have been dwindling. At the same time, the administration is
thinking of overturning controls on snowmobiles, which increase noise and
air pollution in Yellowstone. Some parks, like the Great Smokies, are
already in peril with air pollution reducing visibility by 80 percent. The
National Park Service reacted diplomatically, along the lines of
'don't look a gift horse in the mouth.' In a statement released
today the Park Service said if the President wasn't making parks a
priority, the parks would indeed be in dire straights. Even the
President's most vocal critics admit that some money is better than
none, even if it is aimed at visitors to the park rather than the
-- CBS Evening News. John Roberts began his
report: "All the way down to the color of his jacket, President Bush
was thinking green today. Walking amongst the giant trees in Sequoia
National Park, he pledged to fund badly-needed upgrades for the national
Bush: "Will spend $5 billion over five years
to clean up the backlog in maintenance and make our parks more inviting
and accessible to all citizens."
Roberts: "Mr. Bush also vowed to clear the
air over America's parks by approving Clinton era rules to crack down on
emissions from older power plants. Spectacular park vistas are often lost
in the smog and haze, says ranger William Tweed."
After the park ranger complained about how the
air looks like "an aerial sewer," Roberts proceeded to outline
the liberal attack: "Even with his promise to protect the world's
largest tree and other national treasures, environmental groups are giving
the President a 'D' for his treatment of national parks. For every
proposal he has made to preserve the great forests and wilderness areas,
they say, he has made another that could threaten them."
Phil Clapp, National Environmental Trust:
"This is another presidential PR stunt, and it's designed simply to
put band aids on a very, very wounded environmental record."
Roberts: "Environmentalists point to the
President's plan to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge and open more federal lands to logging and mining. And
they say his pledge to clear up the haze stands in stark contradiction to
proposals in his energy plan to ease restrictions on coal-fired power
Clapp: "The President likes to talk a lot
about national parks, but so far he hasn't even put his money where his
Roberts concluded: "President Bush is
determined to press on, planning next week to announce new protections for
Florida's Everglades, hoping to shed the image that his administration
favors big business over the big outdoors."
Substitute anchor Ed Bradley continued the
"Big Business" theme as he introduced the next story: "And
there were more complaints today that the President favors big business
over consumers in energy-short California."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Tom Brokaw opened
the show: "Good evening. President Bush has a political problem.
Perhaps a significant political problem when it comes to the environment.
It was one of the issues that cost him control of the Senate last week and
so now he's trying to stop the erosion. A recent national poll asked the
question: 'Is the President committed to protecting the environment?'
It was yes 39 percent, no 47 percent. Tonight, NBC's Campbell Brown with
the President in California where he's trying to undo the damage."
Brown asserted: "Under the soaring trees
of California's Sequoia National Park, President Bush tries to re-cast
himself as a protector of the environment, sending a message to his
harshest critics, the environmental community, to give his administration
Brown actually managed to run two Bush clips,
one about success through all seeking solutions and the other about how it
is the federal government's responsibility to be good stewards of the
land, as she outlined his two proposals. Then she caught up with
opponents: "But these steps are hardly enough to appease
environmentalists, who say events like today's and Bush's sunny
rhetoric are only meant to distract attention from other environmentally
Ron Tipton, National Parks Conservation
Association: "The kind of people that have been appointed in this
administration to take on their environmental agenda give us great
Brown: "Today the National Parks
Conservation Association gives the President's parks policy a D grade,
charging his initiatives don't go nearly far enough. But the real
outrage is over the President's energy plan and its emphasis on
increasing supplies through more drilling and opening up protected areas
for exploration. The image of the President at war with environmentalists,
analysts say, is already hurting him in recent polls and could be his
Achilles heal with key suburban swing voters."
Stuart Rothenberg, Rothenberg Report: "These
photo-ops are not aimed at the hard-core environmental activist. They're
aimed at suburban women, they're aimed at moderate voters."
Brown concluded: "Advisers insist the
President is here today because he's truly committed to the environment.
A tough sell, many say, but one Bush will keep trying to make."
Introducing NBC's next story, Brokaw
conceded other factors beside laws can impact the environment: "One
of the charges from environmentalists, that the Bush administration is
simply too protective of Big Oil and not tough enough on Detroit to
produce more energy-efficient vehicles. In fact, the market may be doing
Indeed, the subsequent story reported how SUV
sales are down 10 percent this year because of fears of high gas prices,
so consumers are switching to more fuel-efficient "cross-over
vehicles" like the Lexis RX 300 and Ford Escape.
But the concept of free-market incentives to
protect the environment was not touched in any of the stories on Bush's
proposals as none of the networks could see beyond the usual government
regulatory schemes favored by left-wing professional environmental groups.
record, since I don't see a left-right split on the topic, ABC and NBC
on Wednesday night, but not CBS, picked up on a criminal investigation of
First Daughter Jenna Bush who is, unlike Chelsea Clinton in her father's
first term, a legal adult.
On the May 30 World News Tonight, Peter
Jennings briefly announced: "The President's daughter has had
another brush with the law, about drinking underage. Police are
investigating if Jenna Bush ordered a drink with someone else's
NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw reported:
"And tonight the perils and the promise of being a presidential
offspring. President and Mrs. Bush, understandably, want their twin
daughters, Jenna and Barbara, to have as much privacy as possible during
their college years and for the most part their wishes have been honored,
but sometimes reality gets in the way of best intentions. Tonight, in
Austin, Texas police say they're investigating a complaint that Jenna
tried to buy a drink with an illegal ID and her sister Barbara was with
her. Last month Jenna, who's 19-years-old, was ticketed for underaged
beer drinking. The White House says this is a private family matter."
On the promise side Brokaw proceeded to note
how Chelsea Clinton may be headed to Oxford, just like her father.
overnight transformation as Fortune's Jeff Birnbaum realized that
"price caps are definitely the wrong answer" for electricity
shortages in California. As quoted in the May 30 CyberAlert, on the May 29
Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, the Washington Bureau Chief of
Fortune magazine argued that price caps "might help the blackouts
through this summer," contending that with them "you may also
have a chance of having more" electricity available.
Wednesday night, May 30, in the roundtable
portion of the same show Birnbaum expressed a mea culpa: "I consulted
my Economics 101 and I made a mistake last night when I spoke."
Brit Hume: "No apology required."
Birnbaum: "Price caps are definitely the
wrong economic answer. It could lead to a spreading energy gap and problem
beyond California's borders and a long term energy problem that would
clearly be a serious political and substantive problem for the Bush
If only liberal reporters could so quickly go
through such a realization on the many other liberal positions they
over reason. On Wednesday morning, after golfer Casey Martin was
interviewed on Good Morning America and ABC's Elizabeth Vargas raised
the concern that his case might open a Pandora's box of lawsuits to
allow those who claim a disability to change the rules of a sport, Charles
Gibson made clear he was pleased with the decision in which the Supreme
Court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act required the PGA to
change its rules to let Martin, who suffers from a degenerative
circulatory condition, to walk between holes.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this
exchange after the May 30 interview:
Vargas: "Of course critics now fear that
this will open a Pandora's box of litigation. Justice Scalia in the
dissent said that he envisioned parents of Little Leaguers with Attention
Deficit Disorder suing to get four strikes instead of three because their
child might be at a disadvantage."
Gibson: "Well, he might envision that, but
Casey Martin should ride and be able to -- it's the right decision, I
Vargas: "Well, it's good for Martin. A long
victory, a long fight."
shot from the left, which contradicted his own newspaper's reporting,
from soon-to-be New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines?
As highlighted by the "Scrapbook"
page in the June 5 Weekly Standard, last week Mickey Kaus of http://www.kausfiles.com/
caught this contrast in the New York Times over Bush's education bill:
"The House voted to approve...the legislation, which calls for a
29 percent increase in spending to $24 billion for next year. The measure
was written by Republicans and Democrats using President Bush's plan as a
blueprint...." -- New York Times, page A1, May 24.
"Mr. Bush's rejection of increased education spending in the
budget has made a mockery of his pledge to 'leave no child
behind'...." -- Howell Raines' New York Times editorial page, same
Raines is presently the editor of the
Kaus quipped: "It's lucky the guy who
produces that sort of unthinking hackneyed propaganda isn't taking over
the whole paper!"
But, of course, he is set to do just that this
For more about Raines and his Reagan-hating
record, refer back to the May 22 CyberAlert, which detailed how he once complained that "reporting on President Reagan's
success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white,
and healthy -- saddened me." During a TV interview he whined:
"The Reagan years oppressed me..." Go to:
Refreshing to see that Raines' left-wing
rhetoric is seen as "unthinking hackneyed propaganda" even by a
former Newsweek reporter like Kaus. -- Brent Baker
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