Global Warming Report Distorted; "Have to" Have Price Caps?; Washington Post Ombudsman Scolded Paper on Civil Rights Leak
1) CBS's Bob Schieffer advocated electricity price caps
as the only rational policy, telling Tom Daschle: "Don't you just
almost have to do that as a short-term solution?" Face the Nation
co-host Gloria Borger also pushed from the left, demanding:
"Democrats are going to revisit this tax cut at some unspecified
point in the future. What are you waiting for? Why not do it now?"
2) Freedom of speech is vital, but only for members of the
media. On Sunday, Bob Schieffer delivered an impassioned defense of the
media's First Amendment protections. But back in March Schieffer cheered
on McCain's campaign speech regulatory bill.
3) Catching up with ABC and CBS, on Friday night NBC ran a
story distorting the NAS global warming report. While NBC's David
Gregory declared that it found "humans are playing a large role"
in global warming, on the same day the Reason Public Policy Institute
contended: "The real news in the NAS report is their admission that
there isn't enough scientific data to unequivocally link humans and
4) The Washington Post "didn't distinguish
itself" in how it handled the leak of the U.S. Civil Rights
Commission Report, ombudsman Michel Getler concluded. Getler noted how,
unlike the Post, the New York Times pointed out that the Republican
members hadn't seen the draft, "quoted one of the Republican
appointees as saying the evidence does not support the conclusions"
and that he tied to findings to the chairwoman who supported Al Gore.
5) Eight days after ABC's Good Morning America devoted a
prominent 7am half hour segment to the drinking by the Bush daughters,
GMA's Diane Sawyer scolded People magazine for putting Jenna and Barbara
on its cover: "Give them a break, give them a life."
6) "I want them to get into big trouble," the
Austin restaurant manager told police when asked what she wanted them to
do about underage drinking by the Bush daughters, the Austin
7) Though John Danforth averaged only a 61 percent
conservative rating and a 29 percent rating from a liberal group, New York
Times reporter Richard Berke maintained: "Former Senator Jack
Danforth, who's a pretty respected conservative, told me 'I'm
worried that the party is becoming too narrow.'"
8) A new suggested sign off announced Friday night by Dan
Rather: "I'm Dan Rather. And I made up the last three
you just almost have to" impose price caps on California electricity
prices "as a short-term solution?" So argued CBS's Bob
Schieffer in advancing the liberal thinking as reasonable and inevitable
in an interview with Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle on Sunday's Face
Schieffer's assertion came after Daschle
suggested that instead of having the Senate pass a price caps bill, the
Senate should pass the Feinstein bill, which says to the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC), 'look, do what you're supposed to do.'
Come in and regulate this in a way that allows adequate supply and some
Schieffer followed up: "I want to go back
to this price caps. As Gloria pointed out, you have said this is not a
panacea, but if FERC, if the energy regulatory agency does not do
something in the meantime in between time, don't you just almost have to
do that as a short-term solution?"
Daschle agreed: "Well, Bob, I don't think
you probably have much choice at that point, but I do think that we've got
to force FERC to do its job. That's what they're there for. Why have a
FERC if it doesn't do its job in crises like this? But certainly if that
fails, I really don't know if there's much other choice."
Co-host Gloria Borger's next question also
pushed Daschle from the left to do something liberal sooner: "There's
a lot of talk that Democrats are going to revisit this tax cut at some
unspecified point in the future. What are you waiting for? Why not do it
of speech is vital, but only for members of the media. Or so it seems that
is Bob Schieffer's reasoning. Compare his impassioned defense of media
rights against any infringement with how just two-and-a-half months ago he
praised the Senate for taking up McCain's campaign finance reform bill
which would put restrictions on who could run television ads before
He concluded the June 10 Face the Nation with
his tribute to the First Amendment:
"Finally today, this summer marks some
important anniversaries for free speech that should not go unremarked. It
was 30 years ago this week that the Supreme Court told the Nixon
administration it could not stop The New York Times from publishing the
Pentagon Papers. To rule otherwise, the court said, would give the
government the ability to block, or at least delay, publication of
anything it found offensive or even unflattering. A month later, Harley
Staggers, the Democratic chairman of the House committee, ordered CBS News
to turn over film clips it had not used in a documentary called 'The
Selling of the Pentagon.' Staggers said that was the only way he could
determine if the documentary had been fairly edited. Frank Stanton, the
president of CBS News, said he'd go to jail before he'd comply with
Staggers' subpoenas, and allow the government to go rooting around in
reporters' desks. The House of Representatives agreed, turned on one of
its most senior chairmen, and backed Stanton.
"I thought of all this as I was reading how
one of the first actions the government of Nepal may take in the wake of
those brutal murders of its royal family is to court-martial a witness to
the shooting who gave an unauthorized account of how it happened. In
America, of course, such shenanigans couldn't happen thanks in part to the
courage of people like Frank Stanton and Arthur Sulzberger, the Times
publisher in the Pentagon Papers era. My great teacher, Eric Sevareid,
once told me, 'Always remember, freedom of speech is the one freedom we
need to defend all of the others.' That's really all I need to know about
Except, apparently, when the powerful
congressional leader in question is just trying to silence those outside
Back on March 25 Schieffer cheered on the
efforts to pass McCain's campaign finance regulatory scheme:
"Republican leaders have always blocked
campaign finance reform from coming to a final vote, but in a Senate
divided 50-50, that's no longer possible. So with a filibuster no longer a
question, individual amendments are being debated and voted on. No one
knows which amendments will be considered until they're introduced on the
floor. So the debate has been spontaneous and compromises are being struck
and legislation is being written, well, like it's usually portrayed in the
movies. What has surprised the Senators is that they love it. It's been so
long since they've had a real debate, they had forgotten how much fun it
can be. I'm with them. I don't know how this one is going to come out, but
campaign finance is finally getting the airing it deserved and the Senate
has never looked better."
over-hyped and distorted take on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
global warming report, on Friday night the NBC Nightly News caught up with
ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News which had run
similarly exaggerated stories on Thursday night that advanced the liberal
While NBC's David Gregory declared that the
report concluded "humans are playing a large role" in global
warming, on the same day the Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI)
announced that it "applauded a report by the National Academy of
Sciences for its willingness to go against the tide of political
correctness and point out the many weaknesses in the current scientific
understanding of climate change." Dr. Kenneth Green, Director of
Environmental Programs at RPPI, contended: "The real news in the NAS
report is their admission that there isn't enough scientific data to
unequivocally link humans and climate change. The NAS report is the first
mainstream report that doesn't soft-peddle uncertainty."
But none of that uncertainty made it into
NBC's story. To read the analysis from the RPPI, which the MRC's Rich
Noyes brought to my attention, go to: http://www.rppi.org/rr103.html
To refresh yourself about the liberal
environmentalist line espoused on June 7 on ABC and CBS, go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010608.asp#4
Tom Brokaw introduced the June 8 NBC Nightly
News piece of propaganda:
"Extreme weather is just one of the dire
predictions contained in a report out this week from the National Academy
of Sciences which was requested by the Bush White House. It says that
global warming is real. This message comes on the eve of the President's
first trip to Europe, where many are critical of his environmental
David Gregory laid out the dire prediction in
a one-sided story: "The President's latest environmental headache --
what to do about global warming -- proving to be a migraine. This week's
report shows the dramatic climate change caused by the emission of
heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide from cars and industrial sites is
worsening. And scientists conclude humans are playing a large role. The
potential effects daunting, including more severe weather from excessive
rain and flooding to severe drought, which could affect agricultural
production and food prices."
John Wallace, National Academy of Sciences:
"Global warming is real and it's something that needs to be taken
into account very seriously in policy decisions."
Gregory helpfully pointed out a factor he was
simultaneously making happen: "And it's an issue that provides more
fodder for Bush's environmental critics. The President withdrew from the
Kyoto Global Warming Treaty, mandating a reduction of the so-called
'greenhouse emissions' that contribute to climate change. Bush broke a
campaign promise to limit carbon dioxide emissions. And critics charge the
Bush energy plan, with an emphasis on energy production, could make global
warming worse. Bush will face angry reaction from European leaders during
his visit next week."
Philip Clapp, National Environmental Trust:
"What he's going to face is a group of leaders who have strong
political pressure at home to act on global warming. And he's likely to
face demonstrations all across Europe."
Gregory: "But Monday, advisers say, Bush
will announce a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. His likely
policy? Only voluntary limits, because he believes mandatory caps, as in
the Kyoto accord, could hurt the U.S. economy. Why all the concern over
environmental policy? Recent polls show it's an issue hurting the
president's job approval ratings. And advisers fear the criticism may hurt
him most with key swing voters, like independents and particularly women.
What aides call an effort to neutralize the damage -- a recent green
offensive -- takes Bush from California's Sequoia National Forest to the
Florida Everglades, where he promised new protections. But these photo-ops
have not changed his environmental image, an image he'll spend much of his
first overseas trip defending."
An image he wouldn't have to defend but for
this kind of ongoing distorted reporting.
National Review Online has posted an
illuminating piece by Paul Georgia in which he expressed concern about how
the NAS analysis has been reported: "It is 23 pages of linguistic
trickery that when parsed says little. It is likely to alarm those who
don't understand scientific methodology or the nuances of the global
warming debate, i.e., most of the public. Judging by the way it has been
reported in the press, this is clearly an area of concern."
Georgia concluded: "There is no smoking
gun here. The best available evidence still suggests that the amount of
warming likely to occur over the next 100 years will be trivial."
To read Georgia's analysis, go to:
Washington Post's ombudsman took the newspaper to task for how it
advanced the political agenda of liberals on the U.S. Civil Rights
Commission by running a front page story based on a draft report about the
Florida election. Michael Getler noted how, unlike the Post, the New York
Times pointed out that the Republican members hadn't even seen the
draft, "quoted one of the Republican appointees as saying the
evidence does not support the conclusions; he linked the findings to the
political agenda of the chairwoman, Mary Frances Berry, who supported
former Vice President Al Gore."
Getler, who even acknowledged that the
Washington Times wasn't as gullible as the Post, concluded the
"Post didn't distinguish itself" in how it handled "the
stupid and destructive leak."
For a rundown of television network coverage
of the report's premature release, along with excerpts from the
Washington Post and New York Times stories, refer back to the June 6
Now, an excerpt from Getler's June 10
....Last week the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and The Post
demonstrated the pitfalls of leaking and reporting on leaks....
On Tuesday's front page, The Post reported that the commission had
concluded, in its "167-page final draft report obtained by The
Washington Post," that Florida's electoral conduct was marked by
"injustice, ineptitude and inefficiency" that unfairly penalized
minority voters, and that Gov. Jeb Bush and State Secretary Katherine
Harris had allowed disparate treatment of voters.
As it turns out, The Post "obtained" the draft report along
with the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. But readers in the
Washington area who looked at the New York Times found a different
treatment of the report. The Times, under a headline noting that this was
a "divided" civil rights panel, reported that not all members of
the eight-member commission were involved in putting together the report
and that the two Republican-appointed members had not been consulted. The
Times quoted one of the Republican appointees as saying the evidence does
not support the conclusions; he linked the findings to the political
agenda of the chairwoman, Mary Frances Berry, who supported former vice
president Al Gore. The other Republican described the timing of the leak
-- before consultation with other commissioners -- as "a procedural
In case you missed the New York Times, you could have read the
Washington Times. Its reporters didn't obtain the report but, not
surprisingly, knew of the budding controversy.
The next day, while The Post was catching up, but not on the front
page, with the dissident Republican-appointed members of the commission
(which has a majority of four Democrats, with the others Republicans and
independents), the New York Times had moved on to Gov. Bush's scathing
letter to the commission denouncing its findings. Not a word in The Post.
By Wednesday, the handling of the report was also front-page news in the
Washington Times and the subject of a critical editorial in the Wall
The cynical reader might say: "Well, what else is new about that
line-up?" But that is way too cynical. The question of what really
happened to Florida's minority voters is one of the most important and
profound issues still lingering from the unprecedented confusion of the
2000 election. This was a stupid and destructive leak, no matter where it
originated. It undermines the credibility of the commission and
politicizes and diverts attention from what should have been an
authoritative and inclusive final report. It also may diminish and distort
the coverage that comes after the official release.
The Post didn't distinguish itself either. It should have done more
reporting about this certain-to-be controversial report and, in a case
like this, should not have been a party to nondisclosure about who did the
END of Excerpt
For Getler's column in full, go to:
publicize the underage drinking of the Bush daughter, but you shouldn't.
Eight days after ABC's Good Morning America devoted a full and prominent
7am half hour segment to the Bush daughters, complete with interviews with
two guests, GMA co-host Diane Sawyer scolded People magazine for featuring
Jenna and Barbara on its cover. Sawyer bemoaned how People "put
presidential daughters on the cover and I always think, give them a break,
give them a life." Colleague Charles Gibson agreed.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this
exchange on the June 8 broadcast:
Sawyer: "People magazine, talk about
'Oops! They Did It Again,' which is what they call the cover of the
magazine on the Bush daughters. Oops, People magazine did it again and put
presidential daughters on the cover and I always think, give them a break,
give them a life, and you?"
Gibson: "I disagreed with you heartily
about, when People magazine put Chelsea Clinton on the cover because I
thought she had become a story when her parents -- I don't want to use the
word used her because that sounds negative."
Sawyer: "Injected her into the-"
Gibson: "Injected her into the story when
they walked with her out to the plane after the affair became public. In
this case, I don't think they should."
Rewind the videotape to Thursday, May 31, a
morning when Elizabeth Vargas was filling in for Sawyer. Vargas announced
just minutes into the show:
"For the second time in two months,
President and Mrs. Bush are dealing with a problem many parents know all
too well: a teenager, their daughter, in a brush with the law involving
alcohol. With this second incident, Jenna Bush's story is moving beyond
the tabloids into mainstream media. The question this morning is, is this
really anyone's business?"
For Vargas the answer was an emphatic yes as
she proceeded to outline what happened before interviewing Dallas Morning
News reporter Wayne Slater about it as well as Lisa Caputo, the former
Press Secretary to First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Sawyer should be looking closer to home for
someone to criticize if she thinks common teenage activities by the Bush
daughters should not be news.
of the case of the Bush daughters, the MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to a
story in Friday's Austin American-Statesman which revealed that when a
police officer asked the restaurant manager, who had already taken the
unusual action of calling 911, what she wanted the police to do about
Jenna and Barbara, she responded: "I want them to get into big
The disclosure is buried deep within a lengthy
June 8 story by Jonathan Osborne. An excerpt:
....According to police reports obtained Thursday by the Austin
American-Statesman, the party sat down at a table on the lower level of
the bar. The bartender recognized Jenna Bush and told the waitress to ask
everyone at the table for identification.
The three women -- the Bush twins and 20-year-old Jesse Day-Wickham --
handed their driver's licenses to the waitress, the reports said. After
the waitress questioned the license presented by the girl in the halter
top -- later identified as Jenna Bush -- she asked [Mia] Lawrence, the
restaurant manager, to double-check the identification. Lawrence told
Jenna Bush she would not be served alcohol....
The waitress brought three margaritas and three tequila shots to
Barbara Bush, Day-Wickham and an unidentified man with them, according to
The bartender told police he kept "vigil on the table...to make
sure they did not slip parts or all of any drink to Jenna Bush."
After other patrons pointed out that Jenna Bush's twin sister, Barbara,
was at the table and was drinking, Lawrence called 911.
By the time the first officer was dispatched at 10:34 p.m., "the
tequila shots were all gone and...each of the three margaritas were at
least partially consumed," the waitress told police.
[Clay] Crabb and fellow officer Clifford Rogers met Lawrence at the
entrance to the restaurant and were headed inside when the Secret Service
agent tapped Crabb on the shoulder and asked "if there was a
disturbance that they needed to know about," the reports state....
He [a Secret Service agent] brought the group out the front door of the
restaurant, and they were getting into the Jeep when the officers told
them to stop.
Rogers asked Jenna Bush for the identification she used when she
attempted to purchase the margarita. The report says she handed it over
and started crying.
"She then stated that I do not have any idea what it is like to be
a college student and not be able to do any thing that other students get
to do," Rogers wrote in his report.
[Austin police sergeant Rodney] Keene wrote in his report that he asked
Lawrence what she wanted police to do.
"She said, 'I want them to get into big trouble,'" Keene
Keene wrote that he told Lawrence "we would handle the situation
the same way we would for any person under those circumstances, which was
to confiscate the fake ID and turn them loose."...
To read the entire story, go to: http://www.austin360.com/statesman/editions/friday/news_1.html
For the raw text of the Austin Police
Department reports: http://www.austin360.com/local/partners/aas/metro/060801/apdreport.html
Republican Senator John Danforth a "respected conservative"
authority? He is from the perspective of New York Times Washington Bureau
Chief Richard Berke.
On Friday's Washington Week in Review on
PBS, Berke held up Danforth as an expert on where the GOP should go:
"Former Senator Jack Danforth, who's a pretty respected
conservative, told me I'm worried that the party is becoming too
Just how "conservative" was Danforth
in the Senate? In his last year in office, 1994, he earned mere 48 percent
rating from the American Conservative Union while the group assessed
Missouri colleague Kit Bond at 83 percent. ACU does not have a lifetime
average for Danforth on its Web site, so I totaled his ratings from 1989
to 1994, divided by six and determined his average stood at 61 percent
over his last term, hardly a conservative score.
While his successor, John Ashcroft, earned a
measly rating of 3 percent from the left-wing Americans for Democratic
Action, the group approved of Danforth's voting 29 percent of the time
over his Senate career.
on CBS's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn on Friday night, Dan Rather
read aloud some suggested "Ratherisms" and uttered another wacky
one himself before Kilborn got him to announce a possible new sign-off
about making up stories.
Rather read aloud these Ratherisms proposed by
-- "This election is tighter than Al
-- "As they say in Texas, big dogs make big
-- "The NASDAQ is dropping faster than my
wife's dress after three mi tais."
Kilborn wondered: "Which one would you
Rather replied with his own Ratherism: "Well
I tell you, I wouldn't use that last one. I'd be so far back in the
dog house you'd have to ship me daylight by FedEx."
Kilborn soon reminded Rather how he once
signed off with the word "courage." Rather updated Kilborn,
explaining he now ends the CBS Evening News: "And that's part of
our world tonight."
Off of a card, Rather then enunciated this
recommended sign off: "I'm Dan Rather. And I made up the last three
On some nights that's not far off. -- Brent Baker
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