Roll Back the Tax Cut?; Dangerous Home Schooling; Pollution Kills More Than Cars; Connie "Just Between You and Me" Chung
1) ABC's Charles Gibson advanced the Democratic spin
blaming the tax cut for supposedly "squandering the federal budget
surplus" as he demanded of Bush economic adviser Larry Lindsey:
"Would you advocate rolling back some of the tax cut?" Gibson
worried about not being able to spend more: "We can't afford a
prescription benefit on Medicare."
2) A busy morning for Gibson as he also tried to undermine
home schooling. As the public schools fail, he worried "about the
qualifications of family members to teach" and the lack of testing as
he warned that some of those who are home schooled "don't apply to
colleges, so we don't know, overall, how they're doing."
3) "More people are apparently being killed by
pollution from cars and trucks than by accidents involving them,"
warned ABC's Claire Shipman in highlighting a "study" also
publicized by CBS. But as two experts told CNSNews.com, the numbers are
baseless and not the result of any true scientific research.
4) With Connie Chung set to interview Gary Condit, recall
her infamous 1995 exchange with Newt Gingrich's mother in which she
urged Kathleen Gingrich to reveal her son's opinion of Hillary Clinton:
"Why don't you just whisper it to me. Just between you and me."
Chung was far nicer in 1993 to Bill Clinton's mom.
5) White House correspondent Helen Thomas made clear last
week that George W. Bush is her least favorite President, saying it would
take her a week to think of something good to say about him. She denounced
him "for junking global accords like the Anti-Ballistic Missile
Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol and installing 'retreads' from the Ford
and Reagan years." She also insisted: "I never once was
criticized for what I wrote."
Correction: The August 20 CyberAlert quoted Tim Russert as jumping in
to cut off Bob Novak by saying: "Woe, woe, woe." That should
have read: "Whoa, whoa, whoa."
the midst of the economic downturn, the federal government is running a
surplus of about $160 billion, but on Monday morning ABC's Charles
Gibson advanced the Democratic spin blaming the tax cut for supposedly
"squandering the federal budget surplus" as he demanded of White
House economic adviser Larry Lindsey: "Would you advocate rolling
back some of the tax cut?" Instead of showing concern for any
excessive spending, Gibson worried about not being able to spend more:
"With the surplus at zero, how can, you know, we can't afford a
missile defense system, can we? We can't afford a prescription benefit on
In fact, the surplus is at zero only if you
don't count Social Security revenue above ongoing pay outs, a
"surplus" which has always been counted in the past as part of
overall annual budget numbers.
Gibson set up the August 20 Good Morning
America interview, as taken down by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson, by
outlining the Democratic arguments:
"Watch your newspapers this week. You'll
find that the Democrats are going to be going on the warpath, charging the
Bush administration with squandering the federal budget surplus. That
surplus was once estimated at $125 billion for the year, not including
Social Security. The revised estimates? Around zero. So where did the
"Watch your newspapers this week"?
Gibson seems to have developed Ratheritis. I'm sure ABC News will make
viewers aware of the liberal attacks.
His first question to Lindsey: "You know,
the Democrats are going to be beating you up this week from one end of the
country to the other saying that tax cut that the Republicans and George
Bush were pushing was excessive, we told you it was excessive. The
Republicans said there was plenty of surplus to cover it, but now it's
gone. So how are you going to respond?"
Lindsey noted "that tax cut is there in
order to stop the economy from the free fall" and that much revenue
loss can be attributed to the economic decline.
Gibson countered any logic as suggested that
in the midst of a downturn that taxes not be reduced: "And that's
been responsible for a lot of the loss, but would you advocate rolling
back some of the tax cut?"
Lindsey: "No, absolutely not. You know, if
we did that, if we took those checks back from people, then consumer
spending, which is what's keeping this economy going, what's keeping
people employed, would stop....
Gibson lamented: "But Mr. Lindsey, with the
surplus at zero, how can, you know, we can't afford a missile defense
system, can we? We can't afford a prescription benefit on Medicare."
Gibson's next inquiry: "But the $125
billion surplus that was estimated for next year, $70 billion has gone in
the tax cut, $40 billion because of the slowdown and $15 billion in extra
spending -- down to zero."
Lastly, Gibson furthered the myth about
special money allocated just to Social Security: "There is money in
the Social Security surplus. The Republican staff director of the Senate
Budget Committee says you're going to have to go in there and take some of
the Social Security surplus. Can you promise you won't?"
schools are failing around the country with the NEA teachers union
protecting its membership from any real testing of their competence. But
on Monday morning, ABC's Charles Gibson didn't see home schooling as a
logical response. Instead, he expressed worry "about the
qualifications of family members to teach." And, while the education
establishment resists student testing, Gibson warned that some of those
who are home schooled "don't apply to colleges, so we don't know,
overall, how they're doing."
Furthermore, he lamented how "they don't
have athletics, they don't have school dances, they don't have the clubs
that schools have."
If only he would express such concern for
those stuck in terrible public schools.
Gibson did the NEA's bidding during an
August 20 Good Morning America interview segment, caught by MRC analyst
Jessica Anderson, which followed a piece profiling a home schooling
family. Gibson interviewed the co-writer of Time magazine's article on
homeschooling, John Cloud, and ABC's parenting contributor, Ann
Gibson's first question: "Ann, I worry
about -- this is obviously a very able family that you profiled -- but I
worry about the qualifications of family members to teach."
Murphy reassured Gibson: "Well, in fact,
it's legal. Anybody, you're right, anybody can do it. It's legal in all 50
states, but whether you're qualified to do it or not is another question.
However, you know, how do you measure success? If we look at their SAT
scores, in the year 2000, the average SAT score for a homeschooled child
was 1100, which is 80 points -- it's huge -- an 80-point advantage over
the typical child, you know, the average. On the other hand, there are
kids who fly under the radar, no question, depending on where they
Gibson warned: "Well, that's what I want to
talk to John about, about ways we can measure this. Ann points out it's
legal in 50 states, but do we know how they're testing? SATs, fine, they
may be testing higher for SATs, but some of them don't apply to colleges,
so we don't know, overall, how they're doing, do we?"
Gibson soon became upset: "So there are
no state-standardized tests where we know that somebody's qualified to go
from sixth grade to seventh grade to eighth grade?"
Cloud: "Well, some states do require and
other states don't. The regulations for home schooling are different in
Gibson soon expressed another criticism:
"I worry about the social aspects, too. You quote a Yale dean, I
think, in the article as saying these kids are very astute, but they often
have to learn how to live and get along with others."
Cloud: "Right. They, home schooling parents
will tell you that their kids learn to interact with people of all age
groups, older folks and their younger siblings also. But interacting with
kids their own age is a skill we also need to learn."
Gibson piped in: "They don't have athletics,
they don't have school dances, they don't have the clubs that schools
Cloud: "Some homeschooling families, more
and more in fact, are coming together to form their own groups and do that
themselves. Also, more and more homeschooling parents are working with
their public schools, some of which have lost so many students that
they're working with the homeschooling families just to get that per-pupil
Gibson: "Can the kids come in and play
basketball, for instance, or lacrosse?"
Cloud: "Sometimes. It's been a controversy
in a lot of states."
Kids aren't even being taught how to read in
public schools, but Gibson is worried about whether those home schooled
will be able to play lacrosse.
Gibson didn't mention that his wife is the
headmaster at a private school in New Jersey.
last week ABC and CBS considered newsworthy a "study" picked up
by the AP and Reuters which claimed pollution from cars and trucks kills
more people than traffic accidents. As two experts told CNSNews.com,
however, while the numbers may have exited the media, they are baseless
and not the result of any true scientific research.
Keeping with today's Charles Gibson focus,
we'll start with him. He announced on the August 16 edition of ABC's
World News Tonight, which he anchored: "A new study by Carnegie
Mellon University finds that car pollution kills more people than traffic
accidents. Researchers looked at four cities: New York, Mexico City,
Santiago and Sao Paulo. They estimate that reducing air pollution in those
cities alone could save 64,000 lives over the next 20 years."
Over on the CBS Evening News the same night,
anchor Bob Schieffer asserted: "Nearly 42,000 people died in traffic
accidents in the United States last year but researchers said today that
air pollution from cars and trucks may have killed even more. The study
concludes that tens of thousands of people die each year from heart
disease, asthma and other ailments caused by green house gasses, the same
fossil fuel pollutants blamed for global warming."
The next morning, during the 8am news update
on Friday's Good Morning America, ABC's Claire Shipman told viewers:
"More people are apparently being killed by pollution from cars and
trucks than by accidents involving them. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon
University looked at four cities: New York; Mexico City; Santiago, Chile;
and Sao Paulo, Brazil. They found that reducing air pollution in those
cities alone could save thousands of lives."
The network mentions were apparently prompted
by AP and Reuters stories. An August 16 dispatch by AP science writer Paul
"More people are being killed by pollution
from cars, trucks and other sources than by traffic crashes, researchers
estimate in a report that says cleaning up would prolong the lives of
thousands of people.
"The researchers, in a study in the journal
Science, said that cutting greenhouse gases in just four major cities --
Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mexico City; Santiago, Chile and New York City -- could
save 64,000 lives over the next 20 years.
"Greenhouse gases, principally carbon
dioxide or ozone, are those pollutants that tend to trap the sun's heat in
the atmosphere or to affect solar radiation.
"The gases have been blamed for causing
global warming, but the study's lead author, Devra Lee Davis, a professor
at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz School in Pittsburgh, said the
effects are not just long-term....
"She said that burning of fossils fuels,
such as gasoline in cars or coal in power plants, can create air
pollutants such as ozone, airborne particles small enough to be inhaled,
carbon dioxide and other gases. The pollutants, said Davis, can cause
people to die prematurely from asthma, breathing disorders and heart
"'It is our best estimate that more people
are being killed by air pollution...than from traffic crashes,' said
Only then did Recer offer any caveat:
"Some experts, however, say that the direct connection between air
pollution and death is not that clear, even in cities. Dr. Russell V.
Luepker, a cardiologist and professor at the University of Minnesota, said
that air pollution is not recognized as a significant cause of heart
disease in the United States...."
But Recer soon countered: "Dr. Jonathan
Patz of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said the study
by Davis and her co-authors draws 'an important conclusion.'
"'It shows that there are significant
health benefits to be had from reducing emissions from the burning of
fossil fuels,' he said.
"Carbon dioxide and other gases from the
burning of coal and oil have been blamed by many researchers for warming
of the climate. Some have predicted long-term and varied global effects,
including such phenomena as melting glaciers, rising sea levels and
recurring weather extremes."
In an August 20 story, John Rossomondo of the
MRC's CNSNews.com, contacted two experts who dismissed the credibility
of the study. An excerpt from his August 20 story headlined, "Air
Pollution Study Called 'Editorial,' Not Science."
....[C]ritics of the study say it has no credibility and one claims the
authors of the study pulled their conclusions "out of a hat."...
Dr. Pat Michaels of the University of Virginia's Department of
Environmental Science labels Davis' report "an editorial, not a
"The core of the [study] comes from non-referenced papers produced
by a lobbying organization," Michaels said. "Davis and her
colleagues don't even present their methodology."
Michaels also claims the Associated Press distorted the issue by
inaccurately reporting that Davis' study referred to carbon dioxide as a
pollutant. Michaels says he was unable to find such a claim in the study.
"I looked at the [Carnegie Mellon] article and looked for the word
carbon dioxide, and [it is] not in the article," he said. "Devra
Davis is a smart person, and she did not put carbon dioxide in her article
because she knows that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant."
A Cato Institute scholar rejects the study's link between premature
death and poor air quality. Steve Milloy, an adjunct fellow with Cato, has
written extensively on the epidemiology related to air pollution, and says
he has been unable to corroborate the scientific claims made in studies
similar to Davis'.
"There is [not an existing] study that credibly links air
pollution with premature death," Milloy said. "They've never
measured the amount of air pollution that any of the study subjects have
been exposed to. They are missing a lot of lifestyle [questions]. They are
very crude studies [that come up with] very weak statistical
Milloy also labels Davis' claim that 64,000 lives would be saved
through the installation of greenhouse gas abatement technologies,
"The studies have very weak statistics, and they are not
scientific studies," Milloy said.
He claims researchers such as Davis use causal connections between
mortality rates and the amount of air pollution to justify their results
without determining which deaths are actually linked to air quality
For the entire story, go to: http://www.cnsnews.com/Nation/archive/200108/NAT20010820a.html
Of course, as vehicular safety increases,
demagogues will be able to point to more things as causing more deaths
than traffic accidents.
"Just Between You and Me" Chung has landed the TV network
sought-after interview of Congressman Gary Condit, (D-CA). ABC News
announced on Monday that the "live-to-tape" 30-minute session
will air this week on Primetime Thursday.
Chung has been nearly invisible at ABC News
for the past couple of years, appearing only occasionally on 20/20
Downtown, though she popped up last Friday on the regular 20/20 where she
described Jesse Jackson as "the charismatic national symbol of human
rights." For more details, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010820.asp#4
But just a few years ago she was a CBS News
star, co-anchoring the CBS Evening News and hosting her own prime time
show, Eye to Eye with Connie Chung. It was on that show that her infamous
1995 exchange with Newt Gingrich's mother occurred in which she urged
Kathleen Gingrich to reveal her son's opinion of Hillary Clinton:
"Why don't you just whisper it to me. Just between you and me."
Mrs. Gingrich leaned forward and whispered: "She's a bitch."
With Chung set to interview Condit, the
MRC's Rich Noyes suggested that we post a RealPlayer clip of this
now-infamous incident for which Chung is best-known. So, by late this
morning ET, the MRC's Web team of Andy Szul and Mez Djouadi should have
up about a minute-and-a-half RealPlayer excerpt.
If you play the video, you'll be able to see
and hear this portion of the January 5, 1995 Eye to Eye with Connie Chung
on CBS during which Chung sat across a table from Newt Gingrich's
parents, Kathleen and Bob:
Connie Chung: "These are some of the
things that are said about your son: 'a very dangerous man.'"
Kathleen Gingrich: "Never."
Chung: "'Bomb-throwing guerilla
Kathleen: "That could be."
Bob: "Especially if you don't like him, then
he becomes very abrasive."
Kathleen: "Yeah, but who doesn't like
Bob: "Yeah, right."
Chung: "Which brings us back to the
battlefield. It's shaking up as the political heavyweight title fight. And
it's expected to run two bruising years."
Chung to parents: "Do you think that Bill
Clinton and Newt Gingrich can ever become friends?"
Bob: "I don't think so."
Chung: "Mrs. Gingrich?"
Kathleen: "I don't think so either."
Chung: "What does Newt tell you about
Bob: "The only thing he ever told me was
that he's smart, that he's an intelligent man. That he's not very
practical, but he is intelligent. That's all he's ever told me."
Chung: "Mrs. Gingrich, what has Newt told
you about President Clinton?"
Kathleen: "Nothing. And I can't tell you
what he said about Hillary."
Chung: "You can't?"
Kathleen: "I can't."
Chung, leaning forward: "Why don't you just
whisper it to me. Just between you and me."
Kathleen, leaning in and whispering:
"'She's a bitch.'"
Chung: "Really? That's the only thing he
ever said about her."
Kathleen: "That's the only thing he ever
said about her. I think they had some meeting, she takes over."
Chung: "She does?"
Kathleen: "Oh Yeah, yeah. But when Newtie's
there, she can't."
To view the RealPlayer clip, access the online
posting of this CyberAlert or just go to: http://www.mrc.org
At the time of that interview, the MRC's
MediaWatch newsletter recalled how Chung was far nicer in 1993 to Bill
Clinton's mother. An excerpt from an article in the January 1995
....Chung coaxed Kathleen Gingrich into telling what Newt thought of
Hillary Clinton. Posing the now infamous "Why don't you just whisper
it to me, just between you and me," Mrs. Gingrich whispered
"She's a bitch."
CBS was engulfed in criticism for using a statement which many thought
Chung made clear was "off the record." CBS News President Eric
Ober bizarrely complained to The Washington Post: "It's a legitimate,
very good interview that has unfortunately been reduced to one five-letter
summary." Chung introduced the actual piece on the January 5 Eye to
Eye by saying, "You may have heard one small portion of this
interview. Now you will see it in context." It seems both forgot it
was CBS which promoted the excerpt and showed it on CBS This Morning, CBS
Evening News and Up to the Minute.
Even in context, Chung's interview was very different than one she did
with Bill Clinton's mom in 1993. She questioned the motives for the
Gingrich family interview: "Newt knows you're talking to us,
right?... Some people out there would say he just wants the two of you to
talk to us, and talk to the American people, because he wants everybody to
know that he's just a homespun kind of guy." Chung dished some dirt:
"According to a friend at the time, Newt said he was divorcing
[then-wife] Jackie because she wasn't young enough or pretty enough to be
the wife of a President and besides she has cancer." She also ran
down a list for the Gingriches: "These are some of the things said
about your son -- a very dangerous man...visionary... bomb-throwing
A very different Chung interviewed President Clinton's brother Roger
and mother Virginia Kelley for the debut of Eye to Eye on June 17, 1993.
She elicited stories from them showing the President in a positive light:
how Bill Clinton protected them from his abusive stepfather, how he served
as a father figure to his brother.
She never asked about any negative traits of Bill Clinton's. In a
previously unaired portion of the interview on January 6, 1994, after
Kelley's death, Chung asked: "It seems that both of your boys have
this desire to be famous, and to be loved, and to be stars." She
never read a list of adjectives, three-fourths negative, to Kelley about
Clinton. The closest she came was "You always see the good and not
the bad anyway, don't you?"
UPI White House correspondent Helen Thomas, now a columnist for the Hearst
Newspapers, made clear during an interview last week that George W. Bush
is her least favorite President and that she has nothing good to say about
The Daily Progress newspaper in
Charlottesville, Virginia relayed how after praising Presidents Kennedy
and Johnson and labeling Clinton as "effective," she denounced
Bush "for junking global accords like the Anti-Ballistic Missile
Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol and installing 'retreads' from the Ford
and Reagan years in his administration."
MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth came across the
August 16 story on the Daily Progress Web site, though it is no longer
posted. Reporter Peter Savodnik recounted her comments in an interview
with Charles W. Sydnor Jr. of the University of Virginia and the host of
the PBS show For the Record. Savodnik reported the interview is
"slated to be broadcast sometime between November and March."
An excerpt from Savodnik's story about a
public forum which preceded the TV interview:
She made it clear that her favorite president is John F. Kennedy,
adding that she likes Lyndon Johnson's Great Society and thinks Bill
Clinton "tarnished" the White House but was, in the end, an
effective leader who oversaw prosperity. "He had a sense of
humor," Thomas said of Kennedy. "He used his wit to deflect a
lot of our questions...He had fun."
And she made it just as clear that her least favorite president is
George W. Bush. Asked by one attendee at the standing-room-only Miller
Center presentation if she had anything good to say about the current
administration, Thomas said she'd probably be able to come up with
something if she had a week.
In particular, Thomas lashed out at Bush's "isolationist"
foreign policy, castigating the president for junking global accords like
the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Kyoto Protocol and installing
"retreads" from the Ford and Reagan years in his administration.
"I think we are letting our leaders get away with too much,"
Thomas said, noting that President Bush has held only three press
conferences in his nearly eight months in office.
But for all her aggressive questioning of world leaders, Thomas seemed
a tad defensive when the spotlight briefly was turned on her. "I was
a straight reporter," she said, responding to queries whether her
self-described liberal politics influenced her journalism. "Fifty
years, I never once was criticized for what I wrote."
END of Excerpt
Wow, she is clueless. Maybe she never heard
much criticism since for many years her liberal sermons in the form of
questions have led most to not take her seriously as a reporter. And most
have never seen what she's written since it has appeared only in a small
number of newspapers.-- Brent Baker
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