Not Enough to Spend; Will Reno Run on Clinton "Accomplishments"?; Regulations Led to Shark Attacks?; Blitzer's Odd Labeling
1) Federal spending has soared 22 percent since 1995, but
the Washington press corps continues to relay how Democrats blame Bush's
tax cut for eliminating the surplus and worry about how there's not
enough money for Democratic and Republican-pushed new spending plans.
2) On Tuesday's Good Morning America ABC's Terry Moran
drew a less than respectful analogy between school kids and the President:
"But for Mr. Bush, as for school children everywhere, the fun is over
and now the fall promises a lot of hard work."
3) In brief items Tuesday night about how Senator Phil
Gramm is bowing out of elective politics while Janet Reno is getting back
in, Dan Rather only offered a negative take on why Gramm may have decided
to not run again.
4) Bryant Gumbel still holds some bitterness toward Al
Gore. In a Tuesday interview about Janet Reno's run for Governor of
Florida, he asked: "Do you see her running on the many
accomplishments of the Clinton administration or actually running from
Clinton, a la Al Gore?" NBC's Tim Russert maintained Reno "is
someone who's hard to pigeonhole in terms of her various policies."
5) Government regulation behind shark attacks? The CBS
Evening News gave air time to a conservative analyst who suggested fishing
limitations and sanctuaries for sharks have increased their numbers and
may have led to this year's attacks on humans.
6) CNN's Wolf Blitzer ludicrously tagged Congressman
Harold Ford as a "conservative Democrat." By the ADA's
ratings, he's actually one point to the left of Dick Gephardt.
7) Back anchoring the NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night
after ten weeks off, Tom Brokaw described how he spent his summer fishing,
mountain hiking, going to weddings and funerals, and attending a baseball
>>> New RealPlayer video clip up on
the MRC home page, thanks to Webmaster Mez Djouadi. Diane Sawyer last week
to Anne Marie Smith's lawyer who is seeking to penalize Gary Condit for
proposing a false affidavit: "In the New York Times this morning, the
fact that you are joined in this request for a grand jury by Judicial
Watch, according to the New York Times says, 'adds a decidedly political
edge to the case.' Is this a Republican vendetta of some kind? A
right-wing vendetta?" To view the RealPlayer video, go to the MRC
home page, or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010829.asp#4
Washington reporters the problem is how the tax cut has wiped out the
surplus, which means there's no money left to be spent. But, as the
National Taxpayers Union reported a few weeks ago, spending has already
soared, a pattern scheduled to continue. Since 1995 federal spending has
risen 22 percent and it will rise another 20 percent by 2006. Last fall,
NTU pointed out, "Congress voted to bust the budget caps by a
whopping $52 billion over the previous year's caps and $26 billion over
the inflation adjustment."
Yet on Sunday's This Week ABC's Sam
Donaldson reflected the mind set of the press corps as he pointed out that
because of reduced revenue CBO figures show spending will dip $30 billion
into the Social Security surplus over the next four years and, he told
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, those numbers "do not
take into account the new spending both the White House and Members of
Congress of both parties want. No missile defense in that, no new Pentagon
supplemental, nothing more for the farmers, nothing more for drug
prescription. Those are just based on the old spending figures. What are
you going to do about that Senator Conrad?"
How about cutting back elsewhere or
questioning the necessity of the new spending advocated by both parties?
Tuesday night on ABC's World News Tonight
Terry Moran relayed, without pointing out how spending is spiraling
upward, how Democrats blame the tax cut for eliminating the surplus,
noting that Conrad claims "the drastic reduction in revenue is the
result of the President's tax cut."
From the White House on September 4, Moran
warned viewers that "it's getting ugly here. This war of words over
the budget is much more than just a rhetorical battle. What is at stake is
much of the President's fall agenda...and his and the Republicans in
Congress's congressional political future. So today, the President came
out swinging, saying in a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott
that the biggest threat to the surplus comes from Congress."
George W. Bush: "Congress is going to just
have to adjust their appetites and realize they can't spend their way
out of town. But Senate Democrats fired back, saying the drastic reduction
in revenue is the result of the President's tax cut."
Senator Kent Conrad, Chairman of the Budget
Committee: "So those who have gone around saying the problem is
spending, no it's not. That's not factually correct. The problem is
the size of the tax cut, it's too big."
Moran lamented: "The budget numbers tell a
grim story. Both the White House and congressional estimates show the
surplus, excluding Social Security revenues, has virtually vanished.
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, emerging from a meeting with the
President, insisted Mr. Bush spell out precisely where and what he would
cut from the budget."
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle: "Any
president owes it to country and to the Congress to give its guidance on
how you maneuver through the fiscal obstacles that in large part you're
Moran correctly pointed out: "But the
President's fall agenda is filled with items that would cost more money,
a lot more money. Defense: The administration wants a big boost this year
and more money for missile defense next year. Education: The President and
Congress have both proposed major new spending on schools. Prescription
drugs: The President has promised to deliver a plan to help pay for drugs
for the elderly. Energy: Mr. Bush and Vice President Cheney continue to
push a package with billions of dollars in new tax breaks for exploration
and conservation. And there's more: Farm programs, retirement security
for railroad workers, and even a potential capital gains tax cut that
congressional Republicans want and that Mr. Bush said today that he's
open-minded about. The bottom line, Peter, is that the President and
Congress are eyeball-to-eyeball over the budget, waiting to see which one
Of course, conservatives would contend a
capital gains cut would increase, not decrease, federal revenue.
Absent from all this media blaming of the tax
cut for wiping out the deficit and worries about how there's not enough
money left for new spending, is any mention of how spending is already
An excerpt from an August 22 press release
from the National Taxpayers Union:
As Congressional critics pointed to the recently-passed tax cut for
shrinking federal surplus projections released today by the Office of
Management and Budget, research from the non-partisan National Taxpayers
Union (NTU) has identified the true culprit -- a relentless onslaught of
spending programs aided and abetted by lawmakers themselves.
"The blame for lower budget windfalls rests squarely on the
shoulders of big-spenders, not tax cutters," said NTU Director of
Congressional Relations Eric V. Schlecht. "The idea that tax
reductions are somehow responsible for revised budget projections, while
spending has been rising and continues to soar, is the height of fiscal
folly." Among Schlecht's findings:
-- Total federal outlays in 1995 were $1.51 trillion. In 2001 they are
scheduled to be $1.86 trillion. That is an increase of 22%. Average
inflation during that period was 2.5% per year. On its way out of town
last fall, Congress voted to bust the budget caps by a whopping $52
billion over the previous year's caps and $26 billion over the inflation
-- The spending spree is scheduled to continue. Between 2001 and 2006
total federal outlays are scheduled to increase by 20%, from $1.8 trillion
to $2.2 trillion. If all the bills introduced in both chambers during the
last Congress had passed, they would have increased spending by $973
billion a year. In other words, the Bush tax cut will save taxpayers $511
billion between 2002 and 2006, while the 106th Congress proposed to spend
$4.9 trillion over the same period -- thereby reducing the surplus by
nearly 10 times that amount....
-- Non-defense discretionary spending was $147 billion in 1986. If this
spending had been held to the rate of inflation over the past 15 years,
its level in 2001 would $228.8 billion instead of $325.7 billion (i.e.,
the surplus would be $96.8 billion larger). If non-defense discretionary
spending growth had been held to 2.5% per year during the Clinton era, the
"on-budget" (non_Social Security) surplus would be $51.1 billion
larger in 2001.
For more, go to: http://www.ntu.org/news_room/press_releases/pr_082201.php3
for Mr. Bush, as for school children everywhere, the fun is over,"
warned ABC's Terry Moran on Tuesday's Good Morning America as he drew
a less than respectful analogy between school kids and the President.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught how Moran
began a September 4 piece on GMA: "On the last day of his summer
break, President Bush pressed the flesh at a Teamsters picnic and took
some carpentry lessons in Green Bay, but for Mr. Bush, as for school
children everywhere, the fun is over and now the fall promises a lot of
hard work and bitter battles with Democrats in Congress. First, there's
the shrunken budget surplus. Democrats blame Mr. Bush's tax cut, but the
President says the real culprits are congressional spenders....All this
shows how quickly the political landscape has shifted on President Bush,
who came into office with a huge surplus and a Republican Senate. Seven
months into his presidency, Mr. Bush is finding out just how hard the job
items Tuesday night about how Senator Phil Gramm is bowing out of elective
politics while Janet Reno is getting back in, Dan Rather only offered a
negative take on why Gramm may have decided to not run again.
Rather announced on the September 4 CBS
Evening News: "There is another story tonight with economic and
political implications. A Republican veteran of the budget battles in
Congress, Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, announced he will not run for a
fourth term. Gramm, who is 59, said he'd accomplished his goals,
including tax and spending cuts. Democrats suggested another factor: Gramm
lost his Banking Committee chairmanship when Democrats took Senate control
in June. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno officially opened a
campaign account today in her home state of Florida. She said she will
seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in a bid to unseat Republican
Gumbel still holds some bitterness toward Al Gore, it seems. During a
Tuesday interview about Janet Reno's potential run for Governor of
Florida, he asked a guest: "Do you see her running on the many
accomplishments of the Clinton administration or actually running from
Clinton, a la Al Gore?" Gumbel also sought assurance: "And
whatever happens, Katherine Harris won't be around to certify the results,
The same morning, NBC's Tim Russert
predicted that "if blacks turn out, if seniors turn out and if the
economy is still in trouble I think Janet Reno has a better than even
chance of winning." Russert claimed "she is someone who's hard
to pigeonhole in terms of her various policies" and while "the
Bush people will try to make her a Clinton redux," Russert admired
MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down some of
Gumbel's questions, on the September 4 Early Show, to Mark Silva, the
political editor for the Orlando Sentinel.
Gumbel wondered: "How much, if at all,
does she figure to be hurt by some of the things she did as Attorney
General, particularly the Elian affair?"
His next concern: "Do you see her running
on the many accomplishments of the Clinton administration or actually
running from Clinton, a la Al Gore?"
Silva answered: "Well, she tells people that
Clinton is one of the most brilliant people she ever met. I think she will
run as herself, there are many big issues in Florida that she will try to
stake out as the issues uniquely to this race."
Gumbel asked about her Democratic primary
opposition and then asserted: "If she is jumping in, she obviously
thinks she can win. Is Jeb Bush considered that vulnerable?"
Silva set him straight: "No. It's actually
an uphill race against Jeb Bush. The polling would suggest that she has a
very difficult race against Jeb Bush. He's popular, he's the incumbent,
he's going to have a lot of money."
Gumbel: "Are Florida voters anxious to see
or likely to see a Reno/Bush match-up as some kind of a symbolic sequel to
what happened last November?"
Silva: "A lot of Democrats would like to
portray it that way. Terry McAuliffe, the Chairman of the DNC, wants to
take Florida as a showcase heading into 2004. However, there's a lot of
Democrats who don't want to see this race, they don't think she can beat
him and there are some senior Democrats have tried to dissuade her from
After raising "how much of an issue...her
battle with Parkinson's" may become, Gumbel wrapped up by
resurrecting anger at Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris:
"And whatever happens, Katherine Harris won't be around to certify
the results, right?"
Silva assured Gumbel, who laughed in response:
"No, Katherine Harris will be retired. Her office disappears. She
will be running for Congress, however."
Over on NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens observed, Tim Russert saw a bright future for Reno. Asked by Katie
Couric about her prospects, Russert replied:
"She's a gritty, unorthodox candidate and I
think she has a very good chance of winning the primary. Katie, you don't
need a majority vote to win the primary in Florida. Whoever gets the most
votes wins, even if it's only a plurality. And then against Jeb Bush it's
all in turnout. If blacks turn out, if seniors turn out. And if the
economy is still in trouble I think Janet Reno has a better than even
chance of winning. Right now she's a good 15 points behind Jeb Bush. But
she is someone who's hard to pigeonhole in terms of her various policies.
The Bush people will try to make her a Clinton redux, bring up Waco, bring
up Elian Gonzalez. But I think she has a little bit more moxy than to get
caught down in some of those issues."
Couric: "A lot of the African-American
voters down there are pretty fired up about what happened during the
presidential elections, so they might turn out in droves."
Russert: "And because of Jeb's, Governor
Bush's policy on affirmative action. You just don't know. There's a little
unpredictability if Janet Reno becomes the Democratic nominee. Something
the Bush people don't like. They're confident but they understand that she
can wage the kind of campaign that could pull a surprise."
regulations have led to shark attacks on humans? The CBS Evening News on
Tuesday night, amazingly, gave air time to a contention expressed by a
conservative group about how federal and state limits on shark fishing may
have increased the shark population near where people swim.
The story by reporter Bobbi Harley featured
Sean Paige of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He first broached the
subject in early August for a piece on National Review Online and has
since appeared on the Fox News Channel to make his case.
Dan Rather introduced the September 4 CBS
Evening News story which also acknowledged there may not really be any
increase in shark attacks, just more media hype:
"Going strictly by the numbers, there were
53 shark attacks in U.S. waters last year. Experts say this year's
attacks rate is running below that. This raises the possibility that shark
attack stories are being overplayed by news organizations. But, on the
other hand, there are other aspects to keep in mind. CBS's Bobby Harley
puts this in perspective for you."
Harley began, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth: "For years, the federal government has believed the
shark population is in trouble. That's why it imposed regulations
restricting fishing along the Atlantic seaboard. The shark catch is now
down 50 percent, but some worry that's causing other problems."
Sean Paige, Competitive Enterprise Institute:
"There are likely more shark attacks because there are more sharks in
the water because of deep reductions in the amount of commercial and
Harley: "It's still not clear if the
government program is working, but what has increased this season is the
public's perception of what may be lurking in the water."
Unnamed woman: "Most of my friends don't
go to the water now because they're afraid of sharks."
Harley: "It's no wonder with images like
these: A shark pack hundreds strong in the waters of northern Tampa; near
Pensacola, a shark ripping the arm off a little boy; in the Bahamas, an
American man losing his leg. In just one week, at New Smyrna Beach
Florida, sharks taking bites out of ten swimmers."
George Burgess, International Shark Attack File:
"The reality is from an international and a national perspective,
we're going to fall well short of last year's figures."
Harley: "Yet, this is the summer of shark
frenzy. An ad campaign by the animal rights group PETA, which blamed the
bites on revenge, was pulled after the weekend's deadly attacks. But
shark experts do blame people, in part, because there are more swimmers
than ever in the ocean. Here in Florida, where almost half of all the
shark attacks worldwide last year took place, there's even more of a
Harley allowed Paige to elaborate: "A series
of regulations have been put in place in the state of Florida since 1992
that basically create shark sanctuaries in state waters. Those happen to
be the waters that are closest to where the people recreate."
Harley concluded with a question: "And that
remains the ultimate dilemma: How to protect sharks while protecting
(In the interest of full disclosure, I'd
note that Paige was once a entertainment media analyst for the Media
Research Center, making him, I'd bet, the first ex-MRCer to ever make it
onto the CBS Evening News.)
An excerpt from Paige's August 8 piece for
National Review Online, "The Jaws of Government: Are the feds to
blame for the shark attacks?" Paige, the Competitive Enterprise
Institute's Warren Brookes fellow, explained:
....Since 1993, strict limits have been placed on the number of sharks
that can be taken from U.S. waters by both commercial and sport fishers.
The commercial shark-fishing season has been shortened accordingly.
Four-thousand-pound "trip limits" made it a losing business
proposition for the largest U.S. shark boats, ensuring that sharking
became a small-boat industry. Commercial shark permits issued by the feds
were cut tenfold, from around 2,000 before 1999 to around 200 today. And
nearly 20 types of sharks -- including Whites, some types of Makos, and
Caribbean Reef sharks -- have been declared off-limits to commercial
Also jumping on the shark-protection bandwagon, Florida in 1992
instituted a strict, 1 shark per person (or 2 shark per boat, maximum) bag
limit on sharks in state waters (which extend 3 miles from the beach on
the Atlantic Ocean, and nine miles from the shoreline on the Gulf of
Mexico). Gillnetting and long lining, two common techniques for snaring
sharks, were also banned. Though sharks are still caught in state waters,
these restrictions severely reduce the number taken closest to shore. This
has effectively created a sanctuary in the area where human-animal
interactions are most prone to occur, and which at least one type of shark
famous for its attacks upon humans -- the Bull Shark -- is known to
All of these tactics have resulted in a steep drop in the number of
sharks caught in U.S. coastal waters: from 17.2 million lbs. in 1989, at
the apogee of the shark fishing boom (spurred on, in large part, by the
high prices paid for shark fin soup), to 8.5 million lbs. in 1999 -- or a
49 percent cut. Translating those weights into actual numbers, one
government report indicates that shark kills fell from an estimated
350,000 fish (in 1989) to 113,100 fish (in 1999). Comparable reductions
have occurred in recreational shark fishing.
In Florida, where the vast majority of shark fishing (and U.S. shark
attacks) occurs, more than 7.4 million lbs. of shark was hooked or netted
off the coast in 1990, according to U.S. fishery statistics. By 1999, due
to government regulation, the total catch had plummeted by more than 86
percent, to just over 1 million lbs.....
For the entire analysis, go to: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-paige080801.shtml
Minority Leader Dick Gephardt is a "conservative Democrat"? That
would be a logical label if you follow the reasoning applied by CNN's
On Sunday's Late Edition, MRC analyst Ken
Shepherd noticed, during an interview with Congressman Harold Ford, a
Democrat from Tennessee, Blitzer contended: "Like Congressman Condit,
you're a so-called Blue Dog, Democratic conservative Democrat, you're from
Previous CyberAlerts have already refuted this
conservative description of Condit, pointing out how congressional vote
ratings put him in the center ideologically, but he certainly is to the
right of the very liberal Ford.
Ford's career rating from the American
Conservative Union: 13 percent. The liberal Americans for Democratic
Action have approved of 84 percent of his votes through 2000. That puts
him one point to the left of Dick Gephardt, who has earned a lifetime 83
percent from the ADA.
To access these ratings numbers, check these
pages: For the ACU: http://www.conservative.org/ratings2000.htm
For the ADA: http://adaction.org/voting.html
ten weeks off, Tom Brokaw returned Tuesday to anchor the NBC Nightly News.
He concluded by filling viewers in on what he did all summer:
"Since I feel like this is the first day of
school after a long break, I do have my term paper ready. What I did on my
summer vacation. First, I made a list: Read Shakespeare, listen to
language tapes, take bridge lessons, write every day. Every morning, I'd
look at the list and go fishing, catching and releasing a lot of beautiful
trout. I made it up a couple of mountains and went back to the Missouri
River of my childhood, which still conjures up images of Lewis and Clark,
Sitting Bull and Crazyhorse.
"The news where I spent most of my time was
much more about the drought, wildfires, and hay prices, than about Gary
Condit, the Middle East, or yes, sharks. I mourned the loss of three
friends and celebrated the weddings of two young couples, and the brides
are the big winners in this family. I had many magical moments with our
granddaughters, including a Giants game in San Francisco where we didn't
let a hot dog or a cotton candy vendor pass us by. In the back country,
the Rockies, Meredith and I measured how far we'd traveled since we set
out together 39 summers ago and how reassuring it is to see the country
from the ground up. As for Shakespeare, well, I'm sure he'll be around
Sounds a little more relaxing than Bush's
-- Brent Baker
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