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The 2,804th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
9:45am EST, Thursday January 15, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 10)

 
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1. Couric Presses Obama on Effectiveness of Tax Cuts Not Spending
Federal spending is already at a record level, but instead of asking President-elect Barack Obama about the effectiveness of his proposed additional deficit spending, in an "exclusive" interview excerpted Wednesday night, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric hit him on the tax cut component: "Forty percent of your stimulus package relies on tax cuts with the hopes that people will invest that money or put it back into the economy. But some critics have said, 'hey, that didn't really happen the last time.' Why will it this time?"

2. AP: Bush's Inaugural 'Extravagant,' Now It's Spend, Baby, Spend
Four years ago, the Associated Press and others in the press suggested it was in poor taste for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush's inauguration. AP writer Will Lester calculated the impact that kind of money would have on armoring Humvees in Iraq, helping victims of the tsunami, or paying down the deficit. Lester thought the party should be cancelled: "The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?" Fast forward to 2009. The nation is still at war (two wars, in fact), and now also faces the prospect of a severe recession and federal budget deficits topping $1 trillion as far as the eye can see. With Barack Obama's inauguration estimated to cost $45 million (not counting the millions more that government will have to pay for security), is the Associated Press once again tsk-tsking the high dollar cost? Nope. "For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy," a Tuesday AP headline advised.

3. Network Evening Shows Downplay Geithner Tax-Evasion Speed Bump
The network evening shows didn't have much of an appetite for Democratic hypocrisy among the team they hailed as a "superstar Cabinet" on Tuesday night. Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary, a man who would oversee the IRS, failed to pay $42,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes -- and waited to pay more than half of that amount -- $26,000 only after Obama decided to nominate him. On top of that, one of Geithner's household employees failed to renew her green card. Only ABC mentioned Geithner in their introductions, and featured no report, just an interview with George Stephanopoulos, who said it was a mere "speed bump" and "fairly common." CBS and NBC spent little more than a minute on Geithner, and NBC's screen featured the Obama team's claim in quotes. Under Geithner's picture were the words "Honest Mistakes."

4. Most Networks Skip Story of Obama's Socialist Global Warming Czar
The Fox News Channel on Wednesday morning continued to be one of the very few media outlets covering the fact that Barack Obama's new "global warming czar" has ties to socialist groups. While all three network morning shows ignored the story, Fox News Live host Megyn Kelly interviewed climate change skeptic Senator James Inhofe on the subject. After noting that appointee Carol Browner was a member of the Socialist group Commission for a Sustainable World Society, Kelly seemed puzzled as to how such a person could be given a prominent position in the Obama administration. "And she's pretty openly committed to these socialist policies....How does that happen? Is there going to be an uproar about it," the Fox News host wondered.

5. Olbermann: Unlike Palin, Pitbull Can 'Keep Its Mouth Closed'
On Tuesday's Countdown on MSNBC, after a segment with the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson at the end of the program in which he and host Keith Olbermann lambasted Sarah Palin over her recent interview with Esquire magazine, the Countdown host made a crude joke at Palin's expense as he introduced the Rachel Maddow Show. Olbermann: "But, apropos of Palin, I can't remember who said this, but it came to mind: What's the difference between a governor of Alaska and a pitbull? You can train a pitbull to occasionally keep its mouth closed. Do you know who said that? Because I can't remember."

6. ABC's Chris Cuomo Actually Grills Nancy Pelosi on Accountability
Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a surprisingly tough interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, grilling her on the lack of accountability for how 2008's financial bailout money has been spent. He told the powerful Democrat: "...I think there are a few issues that unite Americans like this. Don't waste our money, especially right now." Regarding the news that Congress doesn't know how much of the $350 billion T.A.R.P has been spent, Cuomo challenged, "Why didn't savvy lawmakers like yourself, like Barney Frank, say, 'We're not going to just release this money with no strings. We'll build it in the law. We'll build in accountability?' Why didn't you do that?"

7. Bravo Reality Show Contestant Wears Hammer & Sickle Shirt
On Wednesday's episode of Bravo's Top Chef: New York reality show, "cheftestant" Stefan Richter could be seen wearing a red T-shirt with a gold hammer & sickle -- the emblem of Soviet totalitarianism which oppressed hundreds of millions and murdered tens of millions -- inside a gold-outlined Red Army star, matching the colors and symbols on the Soviet flag. In the scene on the NBC-owned Bravo cable channel, Richter, owner of Stefan's European Catering in Santa Monica, California, was lighting up a cigarette as he argued with some other chefs in his contestant group over the elements of a meal menu. This wasn't the first time an NBC show has featured someone sporting the pro-Soviet communist shirt. Back in April of 2006, an entertainment reporter wore the very same shirt over two nights on the NBC-produced Access Hollywood.


 

Couric Presses Obama on Effectiveness
of Tax Cuts Not Spending

     Federal spending is already at a record level, but instead of asking President-elect Barack Obama about the effectiveness of his proposed additional deficit spending, in an "exclusive" interview excerpted Wednesday night, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric hit him on the tax cut component: "Forty percent of your stimulus package relies on tax cuts with the hopes that people will invest that money or put it back into the economy. But some critics have said, 'hey, that didn't really happen the last time.' Why will it this time?"

     Couric did at least raise how "your nominee for Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, failed to pay some taxes, and did so only after he learned he would be tapped as Treasury Secretary. How embarrassing do you think this is for a future Treasury Secretary who will be overseeing the IRS?" Otherwise, the excerpt covered Couric's inquiries about Osama bin Laden and the situation in Gaza. A longer portion will air Tuesday night during a prime time special, "Change and Challenge: The Inauguration of Barack Obama."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The tax cuts also most-concerned ABC's George Stephanopoulos when Obama sat down with him. On Sunday's This Week, Stephanopoulos demanded: "Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs?" He soon yearned: "But you might give up on some of the business tax cuts?" Details in the January 12 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     The tax cut exchange as aired on the Wednesday, January 14 CBS Evening News, the only section aired which related to the "stimulus" plan:

     KATIE COURIC: And let me just end by asking you about the stimulus package. Forty percent of your stimulus package relies on tax cuts with the hopes that people will invest that money or put it back into the economy. But some critics have said, "hey, that didn't really happen the last time." Why will it this time?
     BARACK OBAMA: Well, there are a couple of things. First of all, I think it's important to understand that the majority of our spending is direct government spending on critical infrastructure that will set the table for long-term economic growth. We're gonna double alternative energy. We're gonna rebuild our schools and community colleges and public universities. We're gonna invest billions of dollars in health information technology so that we can drive down costs for average families. So that's where the majority of the money's going.
     Now, are some people gonna just pay down their credit cards or save some of that money? Absolutely. And if Congress has better suggestions where they can show me that one approach is gonna be better than another approach, I'm happy to take it. I don't have pride of authorship here. But the general framework, the general outlines of the plan are ones we have run by economists from the left and the right, conservative, liberal. This is a package that I think is gonna make sense. I have every confidence that it's gonna work. But it's gonna take some time. And we've gotta do it with some speed. So my main message to Congress right now is "get it done."
     COURIC: And if it doesn't work?
     OBAMA: Failure is never an option. Not in America.

     CBSNews.com's transcript of what aired on the CBS Evening News, along with a video clip of Obama's comments on capturing or killing bin Laden: www.cbsnews.com

 

AP: Bush's Inaugural 'Extravagant,' Now
It's Spend, Baby, Spend

     Four years ago, the Associated Press and others in the press suggested it was in poor taste for Republicans to spend $40 million on President Bush's inauguration. AP writer Will Lester calculated the impact that kind of money would have on armoring Humvees in Iraq, helping victims of the tsunami, or paying down the deficit. Lester thought the party should be cancelled: "The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?"

     Fast forward to 2009. The nation is still at war (two wars, in fact), and now also faces the prospect of a severe recession and federal budget deficits topping $1 trillion as far as the eye can see. With Barack Obama's inauguration estimated to cost $45 million (not counting the millions more that government will have to pay for security), is the Associated Press once again tsk-tsking the high dollar cost?

     Nope. "For inaugural balls, go for glitz, forget economy," a Tuesday AP headline advised.

     [This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     In her lede, reporter Laurie Kellman argued for extravagance:

So you're attending an inaugural ball saluting the historic election of Barack Obama in the worst economic climate in three generations. Can you get away with glitzing it up and still be appropriate, not to mention comfortable and financially viable?

To quote the man of the hour: Yes, you can. Veteran ballgoers say you should. And fashionistas insist that you must.

"This is a time to celebrate. This is a great moment. Do not dress down. Do not wear the Washington uniform," said Tim Gunn, a native Washingtonian and Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne, Inc.

"Just because the economy is in a downturn, it doesn't mean that style is going to be in a downturn," agreed Ken Downing, fashion director for Neiman Marcus.

And if anyone does raise an eyebrow at those sequins, remind them that optimism is good for times like these. "Just say you're doing it to help the economy," chuckled good manners guru Letitia Baldridge.

     END of Excerpt

     For the January 13 AP item in full, go to: www.google.com

     That spin is a far cry from four years ago, when the AP seemed interested in spurring resentment of the Bush inaugural's supposedly high cost. Of course, displays of Republican wealth are routinely slammed by the media as elitist or aristocratic, while reporters seem to consider rich Democrats as stylish paragons whom we all should copy.

     To get a real feel for the contrast, here's an excerpt of Lester's January 13, 2005 piece (as recounted in the MRC's CyberAlert), starting with a lede designed to rain all over Bush's parade and including the suggestion from two liberal Democrats that Bush eat cold chicken salad and pound cake instead:

President Bush's second inauguration will cost tens of millions of dollars -- $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?

- 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.

- Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in regions devastated by the tsunami.

- A down payment on the nation's deficit, which hit a record-breaking $412 billion last year....

The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?

New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat, suggested inaugural parties should be scaled back, citing as a precedent Roosevelt's inauguration during World War II.

"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake," according to a letter from Weiner and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. "During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."...

Billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks, voted for Bush -- twice. Cuban knows a thing or two about big spending, once starring in ABC's reality TV show, "The Benefactor," in which 16 contenders tried to pass his test for success and win $1 million.

"As a country, we face huge deficits. We face a declining economy. We have service people dying. We face responsibilities to help those suffering from the...devastation of the tsunamis," he wrote on his blog, a Web journal.

Cuban challenged Bush to set an example: "Start by canceling your inauguration parties and festivities."

     END of Excerpt

     January 17, 2005 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     Obviously, that's not the media's message to Barack Obama this year. And no one in the press is going to argue that, with the nation at war, the new President should be satisfied with cold chicken salad and pound cake.

 

Network Evening Shows Downplay Geithner
Tax-Evasion Speed Bump

     The network evening shows didn't have much of an appetite for Democratic hypocrisy among the team they hailed as a "superstar Cabinet" on Tuesday night. Timothy Geithner, Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary, a man who would oversee the IRS, failed to pay $42,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes -- and waited to pay more than half of that amount -- $26,000 €" only after Obama decided to nominate him. On top of that, one of Geithner's household employees failed to renew her green card. Only ABC mentioned Geithner in their introductions, and featured no report, just an interview with George Stephanopoulos, who said it was a mere "speed bump" and "fairly common." CBS and NBC spent little more than a minute on Geithner, and NBC's screen featured the Obama team's claim in quotes. Under Geithner's picture were the words "Honest Mistakes."

     [This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     ABC's World News at least put the Geithner scandal in its opening seconds. Anchor Charles Gibson declared: "Tax trouble. Questions are raised about Barack Obama's choice for Treasury Secretary, and his failure to pay some taxes." About four minutes into the show, the story was aired:

     CHARLES GIBSON: Next, we turn to the transition, and questions being raised today about Tim Geithner, Barack Obama's choice to be Treasury Secretary. The man who will have supervision over the IRS and hundreds of billions of dollars in funds to invigorate the economy failed to pay some of his taxes. Didn't pay them for years. So George Stephanopoulos, host of This Week, is joining us. So, George, what do we know about this?
     GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We know that Tim Geithner worked at the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004 and failed to pay about $34,000 in self-employment payroll taxes. In 2006, he was audited and told to pay two years of those taxes, but didn't have to pay the two other years. After he was chosen by Barack Obama, tax accountants went through his returns again and said, €˜you know what, you better pay the first two years, as well.' That was all given to the Senate Finance Committee, Geithner met with the Senate Finance Committee today and this is a speed bump on his road to the confirmation.
     GIBSON: Does it imperil his confirmation?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: I don't think so, Charlie. Democrats are standing behind Tim Geithner right now. They say this was just an honest mistake, fairly common at non-governmental organizations. Some Republicans are more troubled, including the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, Charles Grassley. But Geithner has the support of key Republicans, like Orrin Hatch, who says 'I still stand behind him. He's a very, very competent guy.'

     To his credit, Gibson pressed a bit harder on the subject:

     GIBSON: But George, as I said in the introduction, this is not somebody who was nominated to be veterans affairs secretary or at interior or whatever, this is the guy that will handle the Internal Revenue Service and hundreds of billions of dollars in financial rescue funds. Don't they expect some sort of public reaction about this, if he doesn't pay his taxes?
     STEPHANOPOULOS: That's very possible, Charlie. And some are waiting to see what the public, how the public does react. Geithner himself is embarrassed about this. He told the committee he should have known. He should have paid the taxes. He's embarrassed by it and he's sorry.
     GIBSON: All right, George Stephanopoulos reporting from down in Washington.

     The CBS Evening News devoted the least time to the story, 63 seconds sandwiched on both sides of a Chip Reid story on Hillary Clinton's confirmation hearings:

     KATIE COURIC: It's a bit warmer in Washington, especially for Hillary Clinton, who faced few tough questions today at her Senate confirmation hearing. But Chip Reid reports another cabinet nominee may be in trouble.
     CHIP REID: Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner, the man who would be in charge of the Obama administration's economic recovery plan, failed to pay about $34,000 in taxes between 2001 and 2004, and briefly employed a housekeeper whose immigration papers had expired. President-elect Obama is standing by him, a spokesman describing the errors as honest mistakes that were quickly addressed. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid agrees.
     HARRY REID: There's a few little hiccups but that's basically what they are. I am not concerned at all.
     CHIP REID: Some Senate Republicans say it's too early to say if Geithner's errors are nothing to worry about, and intend to question him at his confirmation hearing.

     Later, after a few minutes on the Hillary Clinton hearing, Couric returned briefly to Geithner:

     COURIC: And Chip, in talking to people up there, how much trouble do you think Geithner faces?
     REID: Well, senators really like him. He's very popular, he's highly respected. Most of them would really like to have him in the job, Republicans and Democrats. But some republicans say they're a little worried. This is the man who will be overseeing the IRS, after all, and if this is a sign of sloppiness, that's not a quality you want in somebody who's going to be overseeing a trillion dollars in spending. At this point, though, it doesn't look like it's going to block his confirmation.

     NBC Nightly News offered 77 seconds with reporter Kelly O'Donnell and the words "Honest Mistakes" on screen.

     BRIAN WILLIAMS: The man Barack Obama wants to be his next Treasury Secretary may have, of all things, a tax problem. He is Tim Geithner, head of the New York Federal Reserve. This has to do with money he once owed, and it's a problem the Obama transition team brought to the attention of senators who must now take on Geithner's nomination. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell's on Capitol Hill tonight with more on this still-developing story. Kelly, good evening.
     O'DONNELL: Good evening, Brian. Tim Geithner could soon become the country's top money man, and today he was here to explain to senators why he failed to pay some of his own taxes and had a household worker whose green card once expired on the job. Now, officials say Geithner paid no Social Security taxes when he was working for the International Monetary Fund. And the IMF didn't take that out of his paycheck automatically. The mistake was caught in November, before he was officially nominated. And Geithner paid the back taxes and interest of more than $42,000. Now, the Obama team says this was just an honest mistake. Republicans aren't saying much at all. And Brian, Senate Democrats say this is serious, but probably not enough to disqualify Geithner from becoming the next Treasury Secretary.
     WILLIAMS: Okay, Kelly O'Donnell on the Hill tonight. We'll keep an eye on it.

     The networks all avoided casting this scandal in a more skeptical light. Take this report in Politico (headlined "Can Obama Save Geithner?") by Craig Gordon and Amie Parnes:

Geithner's tax problems surfaced publicly Tuesday -- but Obama's team has known about them for at least six weeks, waging a behind-the-scenes campaign to push him through the Senate Finance Committee, despite the blemishes on his record, according to documents from the committee.

The episode raises questions about whether Geithner's nomination will survive, despite early soundings of support from Democrats, and perhaps, more importantly, a larger question: What was Obama thinking?

Obama's choice of Geithner flirts with an issue that has deep-sixed Cabinet picks before €"his former housekeeper's immigration status lapsed briefly while she was in his employ.

Also, Obama's choice to oversee the IRS flubbed his own tax returns -- some of which he had personally prepared €" to the tune of $42,700 in back taxes and penalties.

And Geithner decided to pay more than half that amount -- $26,000 -- only after Obama decided to nominate him, according to finance committee documents.

Obama's team calls them "honest mistakes." And in the end, Geithner had the only supporter that mattered -- Obama himself. One source familiar with Geithner's vetting says Obama knew about Geithner's tax problems and decided to push ahead with the nomination anyway because he "still wanted him."

"At the end of the day, Barack decided that he was the best person for a really important job," the source said.

     Politico story: www.politico.com

 

Most Networks Skip Story of Obama's Socialist
Global Warming Czar

     The Fox News Channel on Wednesday morning continued to be one of the very few media outlets covering the fact that Barack Obama's new "global warming czar" has ties to socialist groups. While all three network morning shows ignored the story, Fox News Live host Megyn Kelly interviewed climate change skeptic Senator James Inhofe on the subject.

     After noting that appointee Carol Browner was a member of the Socialist group Commission for a Sustainable World Society, Kelly seemed puzzled as to how such a person could be given a prominent position in the Obama administration. "And she's pretty openly committed to these socialist policies....How does that happen? Is there going to be an uproar about it," the Fox News host wondered.

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     She later added, "Okay, but I think the viewers watching this are wondering what does it mean when you've got someone who advocate these socialist policies and has been an open member of this group?" (Browner's name has since been removed from the group's web page.) Kelly also suggested viewers take a look at the organization's website, which she suggested some would find "extreme." (The group advocates global government and aggressive economic penalties on countries such as the U.S. to reduce global warming.)

     Defining the possibility of what could happen if environmental policies are adopted, Senator Inhofe explained, "What we've got to do is make sure people understand that this isn't cheap. If you want to have a cap-and-trade system for Co2, you're talking about an annual tax increase of $300 billion a year." (A version of the so-called cap and trade plan will be considered by Congress this year.) He elaborated, "This is the wrong time to try to push something. But all of them are all together on this and will make every effort to do it. Just remember that."

     ABC's Good Morning America, NBC's Today show and CBS's Early Show have all yet to address the topics discussed by Ms. Kelly and Senator Inhofe.

     A transcript of the January 14 segment, which aired at 9:36am EST, follows:

     MEGYN KELLY: Well, she is our new global warming czar. And new questions arising this morning about her socialist ties. Until last week, Carol Browner was listed as a leader of a socialist group called Commission for a Sustainable World Society. Now, this group advocates global governance, believing that rich countries like the United States have an obligation to shrink their economies and their energy use to limit global warming. The group has also been harshly critical of various U.S. policies. Browner's name and her bio were scrubbed from the group's web site just last week. And now some are wondering if she is an appropriate choice for this newly created post. Joining us now, the top Republican on the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe. Senator, good morning to you.
     JAMES INHOFE: Hi, Megyn.
     KELLY: What concerns do you have about Carol Browner?
     INHOFE: Well, you know, I was with Carol Browner for the years that she was the EPA director under, under Clinton. And I got to know her pretty well. And, of course, we did a lot of combat. And it's kind of- the humorous part of this is in the last meeting that we had before Bush was elected, I said something, I said, "You know, Carol, this is the last on the two of us will be in the same room together. And she said, "I don't know which one of us is happier." Now she is back. Carol Browner- I do not know what her role is because we have never had a czar of energy and the environment before. It does concern me. And you very accurately talked about this Commission for Sustainable World Society. But there's another which was involved in, that's the Socialist International, which is an umbrella group of all the socialist groups. So, she is, you know, pretty extreme in my eyes in terms of her liberal leanings. And she is in an awkward situation though, Megyn, than what she was when she was there. Because back during the Clinton administration, most of this science was on this side of global warming. In other words, man-made gases was causing global warming. Now it is completely reversed. And if anyone questions that, we have a list of 650 of the most prominent scientists that now have changed their position on this thing. And besides that, we're in a cooling period. So, her work is cut out for her.
     KELLY: How you get a person who is, who is- She is one the 14 leaders of this socialist group- appointed to a position that is the essentially the cabinet-level? She will be attending cabinet meetings.
     INHOFE: She will be.
     KELLY: And she's pretty openly committed to these socialist policies, a least according to these published reports in the Washington Times, in the Washington Examiner. And even according to the group's own web site. How does that happen? Is there going to be an uproar about it?
     INHOFE: Well, there is an uproar about it. I think people- At least I'll say this, they're being honest about it. You and others are talking about this. It is a fact that she has belonged to these organizations. In fact, under the Clinton administration, when she was EPA director, they didn't want- they kind of hid that. Now, she made an attempt to take her name off of the two organizations that we've already talked about. But, it's heavy lifting out there. However, I look at it this way. They consider me an extremist because I am ranked as maybe the most conservative member of the United States Senate, but they're in a position- Where do you draw the line between an extreme liberal and a socialist? It's, you know- Everyone has a different view of that. I have other problems with Carol Browner. There's another organization that a lot of people don't realize. It's called the Center for American Progress- This report that came out- this is the group trying for the fairness doctrine, trying to, I think, dramatically offend the First Amendment and try to stop talk radio and talk TV for being conservative. And so, I consider that to be-
     KELLY: And she was a member of the group? Yes. She's a member of that group. It's called the Center for American Progress. John Podesta put this together. A year and a half ago, they came out with the report I just referenced.
     KELLY: But do we care, senator? If she's going to be the climate czar, she's not going to have to do with the Fairness Doctrine or the FCC. Is she?
     INHOFE: Well, she is in on all the meetings, the highest level meetings. Let's keep in mind, she's an appointment, not the nominee, so there's no confirmation. We're having a confirmation hearing of Lisa Jackson and Nancy Sutler just in a few minutes right now to be the head of the EPA and the CEQ.
     KELLY: Right. So you get to vet these people. You get to ask questions. Not so in her case. But, let me ask you this, because I think to viewers watching this-
     INHOFE: Well, I'm going to ask- I am going to ask questions as to what Carol's role will be.
     KELLY: Okay, but I think the viewers watching this are wondering what does it mean when you've got someone who advocate these socialist policies and has been an open member of this group? And I invite people to look at their website to see just how they feel about climate change and what needs to be done to cut back to stop it. By most standards, some would say it is a little extreme. But what is this going to mean for the United States, our energy consumption, and the, sort of, regulations that we could expect to see under her as our climate czar?
     INHOFE: Well, we have had- It goes back to the Kyoto treaty. Since then, we have had two major pieces of legislation that would do this. What we've got to do is make sure people understand that this isn't cheap. If you want to have a cap-and-trade system for Co2, you're talking about an annual tax increase of $300 billion a year. This is extremely expensive. We're going to be talking about this, along with the change in science. This is the wrong time to try to push something. But all of them are all together on this and will make every effort to do it. Just remember that.
     KELLY: Well, a lot of people on Capitol Hill are against cap-and-trade. Interestingly, the group she was apart of is also against it but because they think it will be too harsh on American businesses, but because they think it does not go hard enough. They think that it is too flexible. It does not clamped down hard enough on U.S. businesses and so on. So, one wonders what is going to happen.
     INHOFE: Yeah. Let's keep in mind, Megyn, even if you are a believer that man made gas has caused all of this, which I am not, but if you are, what good does it do us unilaterally in the United States of America to have some real punitive thing economically speaking and then our jobs, they go to countries were there are no emission requirements: China, Mexico and other places? So it would have a net increase worldwide of Co2 if we did this. So, logic is just not- They have got their work cut out for them. I don't think they're going to pull this off.
     KELLY: Well, we invite Ms. Browner to come on and elaborate on her position and her connection with this group. We love to hear from her or the Obama administration on this at anytime. Senator, in the meantime, our best to you.

 

Olbermann: Unlike Palin, Pitbull Can
'Keep Its Mouth Closed'

     On Tuesday's Countdown on MSNBC, after a segment with the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson at the end of the program in which he and host Keith Olbermann lambasted Sarah Palin over her recent interview with Esquire magazine, the Countdown host made a crude joke at Palin's expense as he introduced the Rachel Maddow Show. Olbermann: "But, apropos of Palin, I can't remember who said this, but it came to mind: What's the difference between a governor of Alaska and a pitbull? You can train a pitbull to occasionally keep its mouth closed. Do you know who said that? Because I can't remember."

     After laughing hysterically, Maddow responded: "No, I can't. No, that's new to me. Is that the safe thing to say here?"

     [This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night, with video added by Ken Shepherd, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Below is a complete transcript of the exchange from the Tuesday, January 13, Countdown on MSNBC:

     KEITH OLBERMANN: It's Rachel's turn. Barbara Boxer her special guest tonight on the Clinton confirmation hearings. But, apropos of Palin, I can't remember who said this, but it came to mind: What's the difference between a governor of Alaska and a pitbull? You can train a pitbull to occasionally keep its mouth closed. [RACHEL MADDOW LAUGHS] Do you know who said that? Because I can't remember.
     RACHEL MADDOW: No, I can't. No, that's new to me. Is that the safe thing to say here?
     OLBERMANN: I think so. I didn't, that's not mine. That's somebody else's.
     MADDOW: Thank you, Keith.
     OLBERMANN: Thank you, Rachel.

 

ABC's Chris Cuomo Actually Grills Nancy
Pelosi on Accountability

     Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo conducted a surprisingly tough interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday, grilling her on the lack of accountability for how 2008's financial bailout money has been spent. He told the powerful Democrat: "...I think there are a few issues that unite Americans like this. Don't waste our money, especially right now."

     Regarding the news that Congress doesn't know how much of the $350 billion T.A.R.P has been spent, Cuomo challenged, "Why didn't savvy lawmakers like yourself, like Barney Frank, say, 'We're not going to just release this money with no strings. We'll build it in the law. We'll build in accountability?' Why didn't you do that?"

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     When the Speaker of the House attempted to pass blame off to President Bush, the ABC journalist retorted, "Are you saying that you can promise the American people, that going forward, with your president and your party, things will be different? That they will know where the money is?" During a discussion of the possible distribution of the second $350 billion funds, Pelosi again blamed Bush. Regarding that money, Cuomo proclaimed, "I guess the way to say it, this will be on Obama's account. Not on Bush's account, how this money is spent."

     After Cuomo called for no more pointing at the administration and saying, "Well, they screwed up T.A.R.P.," a unrepentant Pelosi attacked back, "Well, they did. But they did." The GMA news anchor closed out the discussion by again instructing, "Now, it's you. It really is you by any other definition."

     Cuomo did offer some softball questions for the liberal congresswoman. On the topic of a children's health care program, he blandly wondered, "With everything that's going on, this is a very important first step for you. You want this high on the agenda. Why?" The network host followed up with the equally uninteresting query: "So, what is the message that you're hoping to send by bringing this up early? And I guess, with your hopes, getting passage, with a President Obama?" But, overall, Cuomo should be commended for pressing the House Speaker on accountability.

     A transcript of the January 14 segment, which aired at 7:15, follows:

     CHRIS CUOMO: We have an exclusive interview for you this morning, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. About to enter a new era with a Democrat in the White House. The big issue, of course, is the economy and the problem the government has had managing the use of your tax dollars. What went wrong with the first $350 billion? What will be different going forward? That's where we started with the speaker in her Capitol Hill office. Why didn't savvy lawmakers like yourself, like Barney Frank, say, 'We're not going to just release this money with no strings. We'll build it in the law. We'll build in accountability?' Why didn't you do that?
     HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI: Well, we did build it in, by having an oversight committee and an inspector general. But that- the next thing we could do was to go down to Pennsylvania Avenue with a set of handcuffs and say to them you're no longer allowed to enforce this law because you're not doing it right. Instead, we had an election. And we changed the country. And now we have a new president.
     CUOMO: But, Congress passed the law.
     PELOSI: Right. We passed the law. The President-
     CUOMO: You could have put in the conditions. There were other things in there.
     PELOSI: We did put in the conditions. We did put in conditions.
     CUOMO: But now you know in retrospect they aren't enough, right?
     PELOSI: Well, you don't expect somebody to give somebody tens of billions of dollars and say, don't tell me how you're going to spend it. There was a purpose for the money, but they did not insist upon it.
     CUOMO: I mean, I think there are a few issues that unite Americans like this. Don't waste our money, especially right now. And a situation you all have to deal with the new president is, you have Citibank, Morgan Stanley thinking about merging. It just gets slipped out in the news that they're reserving $2 to $3 billion, for retention payments. We both know that word means one thing. Bonuses.
     PELOSI: Bonuses. Well, let me say this: There's nobody more disappointed than how the Bush administration executed the T.A.R.P. law, than the members of Congress who sent the bill to them. And so, yes. When people see bonuses under any name, whatever they want to call them, they're fighting words for the members.
     CUOMO: Haven't heard anybody complaining about the Citigroup/Morgan Stanley, $3 billion in retention payments. Barney Frank, he's no shrinking violet. Haven't heard him come out about this. You know, where's the outrage?
     PELOSI: Well, the- You talk anecdotally about one thing or another. There's tremendous outrage about CEO compensation in general.
     CUOMO: Are you saying that you can promise the American people, that going forward, with your president and your party, things will be different? That they will know where the money is?
     PELOSI: Things will be different because we will have a president who will enforce the law. And, again, with the light of transparency that will be built into any new- if there is to be anymore T.A.R.P. funding.
     CUOMO: Well, he's asking for $350 billion.
     PELOSI: President Bush has sent over the request. He sent it over yesterday.
     CUOMO: For Obama. It's not that it's being asked for by Bush. He wants it. He asked for it.
     PELOSI: No, no. The official request has been made by President Bush.
     CUOMO: Because he's the president.
     PELOSI: That's right.
     CUOMO: But, he's asking for it because President-elect Obama wants it.
     PELOSI: Well, he's asking for it because he wants President Obama to be identified with it. But we're comfortable with that because President Obama will enforced the law in a completely different way.
     CUOMO: This money- I guess the way to say it, this will be on Obama's account. Not on Bush's account, how this money is spent.
     PELOSI: Absolutely.
     CUOMO: And the responsibility is on the Democrats, because there will be no more just pointing at the administration and saying, 'Well, they screwed up T.A.R.P.' 'Well, they got us in this mess.'
     PELOSI: Well, they did. But they did.
     CUOMO: Now, it's you. It really is you by any other definition.
     PELOSI: And you will see a difference.
     CUOMO: Pelosi could not be more confident about better days to come under President-elect Obama, an administration whose first legislative achievement won't deal with the economy, but health care. A program the speaker and President Bush were at odds over. This state child health insurance program. With everything that's going on, this is a very important first step for you. You want this high on the agenda. Why?
     PELOSI: Over 11 million children will have access to health care cause of this legislation. In the previous administration, President Bush said we couldn't afford it. It would cost 40 days in Iraq to insure over 10 million children for one year. Certainly, we can afford it.
     CUOMO: So, what is the message that you're hoping to send by bringing this up early? And I guess, with your hopes, getting passage, with a President Obama?
     PELOSI: Well, that a new day has dawned. President Bush objected. President Obama supports it. And supports providing health care for our children. It's a shared value that we have in a bipartisan way in the Congress. And now, with the president of the United States.
     CUOMO: Thank you very much for taking the time to do the interview.
     PELOSI: My pleasure.
     CUOMO: Appreciate the opportunity.

 

Bravo Reality Show Contestant Wears Hammer
& Sickle Shirt

     On Wednesday's episode of Bravo's Top Chef: New York reality show, "cheftestant" Stefan Richter could be seen wearing a red T-shirt with a gold hammer & sickle -- the emblem of Soviet totalitarianism which oppressed hundreds of millions and murdered tens of millions -- inside a gold-outlined Red Army star, matching the colors and symbols on the Soviet flag. In the scene on the NBC-owned Bravo cable channel, Richter, owner of Stefan's European Catering in Santa Monica, California, was lighting up a cigarette as he argued with some other chefs in his contestant group over the elements of a meal menu.

     This wasn't the first time an NBC show has featured someone sporting the pro-Soviet communist shirt. Back in April of 2006, an entertainment reporter wore the very same shirt over two nights on the NBC-produced Access Hollywood.

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Wednesday night, with screen shots, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Bravo's bio for Richter reports he's a native of a country long in the shadow of Soviet communism: "Stefan was born in Finland but spent the majority of his childhood in Germany" and in 1998 he was "part of the creative team for the opening of the Bellagio Hotel, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas."

     The April 18, 2006 CyberAlert item, posted with video, "Soviet Communism as Fashion Statement -- Again," recounted:

On Monday, for the second straight weekday, Access Hollywood's New York correspondent, Tim Vincent, a veteran of the BBC, sported a hammer and sickle T-shirt as he introduced a story. Just as on Friday's show, as documented in an April 15 NewsBusters item, though he wore a jacket over the red shirt with the symbol of the regime which murdered tens of millions and oppressed hundreds of millions more for decades, a gold hammer and sickle was clearly visible inside a gold-outlined red star which, sans the hammer and sickle, would match the Soviet's Red Army emblem...

     Full rundown: www.mediaresearch.org

     Stefan Richter's European Catering in Santa Monica: stefanscatering.com

     Bravo's page for the show: www.bravotv.com

     Bravo's page on Richter: www.bravotv.com

     Image of the Soviet flag: flagspot.net

-- Brent Baker

 


 


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