Bush U-Turn After He “Conceded” Warming Reality; Conservative Upset with Bush Noted by ABC; Ashcroft Hit from Left; Rather Insisted He Was “Fair” to Ashcroft; ABC’s “Secret” Reported by NBC
1) In noting how President Bush distanced himself from an EPA report, NBC used terminology which assumed the liberal environmental line is beyond dispute. Tom Brokaw referred to how Bush was “acknowledging” that global warming is caused by human pollution and David Gregory insisted the EPA had “conceded” that reality. Gregory pointed out how Bush had “received a lot of political flak from conservatives, mainly talk show host Rush Limbaugh, over yesterday’s reports.”
2) ABC’s Good Morning America discovered what conservatives have been talking about for months: President Bush’s slide to the left. Prompted by conservative upset with the report from Bush’s EPA, Charles Gibson noted that “Bush yesterday caught some fierce fire...from the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.” Claire Shipman proceeded to outline how “some conservatives are indeed wondering just who is in the White House? Is he a true conservative?” Plus, why the EPA report is wrong.
3) Another example of how the networks only consider liberal concerns to be newsworthy. Last Friday, Charles Gibson hit Attorney General John Ashcroft only from the left on the new FBI guidelines. Gibson worried: “Aren't these changes really ripe for abuse?” Gibson falsely claimed the rules allow any agent to read someone’s e-mail and recalled the bad old days with “the enemies list in the Nixon days and the kind of eavesdropping that occurred with Doctor Martin Luther King.”
4) On CNN’s Larry King Live on Tuesday night Dan Rather refused to admit that he had irresponsibly hurled a reckless charge at John Ashcroft about protecting his personal security while not warning the public. Realizing his predicament, he noted: “When you're in a hole, you don't just keep digging.” But Rather did as he tried to justify his false charge: “I thought then and believe now, it's a fair question.” Rather also falsely claimed that he had never said Ashcroft tried to “sully up my reputation.”
5) ABC’s Peter Jennings told viewers Tuesday night that under an order from Attorney General John Ashcroft people coming to the U.S. from a “secret list” of countries “that the U.S. associates with terrorism” will be “registered and fingerprinted.” How “secret” are they? Apparently just to ABC News since on the NBC Nightly News reporter Pete Williams listed them.
>>> “Jesus” bleeped. Watch and hear what ABC did not let its West Coast viewers of The View hear: Joy Behar thanking Jesus. The MRC home page now features a RealPlayer clip of Behar, on the May 23 edition of the ABC daytime show, exclaiming about her diet plan coming to an end: "Yes, and thank you, thank you Jesus, is all I have to say! Goodbye to that damn scale and this whole diet. I'm sick of it!" But for the West Coast feed of that show, as Behar complained on May 28, ABC bleeped out the name “Jesus.”
The May 30 CyberAlert reported Behar’s complaint and that CyberAlert item, followed by a Media Bias Alert e-mail from MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey, has led to some coverage of ABC’s judgment. On the May 31 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Friday anchor Jim Angle cited it in the “Grapevine” segment. Angle relayed: “An ABC spokeswoman said the network bleeped Jesus because the word was not used in a religious matter.”
The “Inside Politics” column in the Washington Times picked up on it on Monday and Jerry Falwell penned a piece about it for WorldNetDaily.com which led to his appearance to discuss it Monday night on FNC’s Hannity & Colmes.
For the May 28 discussion on The View about ABC’s bleeping and to see a RealPlayer video, posted by the MRC’s Mez Djouadi, of what West Coast viewers were denied the ability to hear on the May 23 show, go to:
Once again, it was how the Bush administration “acknowledged” and “conceded” that humans are causing global warming.
ABC, CBS and NBC all used that spin on Monday night in reporting how the Bush administration’s EPA had issued a report adopting the most dire predictions of warming and linking it to human activity via fossil fuel-burning industry. On Tuesday, President Bush tried to distance himself from the report, but of the broadcast networks, only NBC mentioned it as David Gregory seemed to credit, or maybe it’s better to say blamed, Rush Limbaugh for the reversal.
For a rundown of Monday night coverage, see the June 4
(I can now confirm that CNN’s NewsNight did not mention the global warming report on Monday night.)
Tom Brokaw set up the Tuesday NBC Nightly News follow up story: “Back in Washington tonight, this story. Yesterday the Bush administration appeared to be making a major change and acknowledging that global warming is caused by human pollution. Tonight, another U-turn in the other direction.”
From the White House, David Gregory explained: “This is the second reversal in two days on global warming. Yesterday, as you say, for the first time the Bush administration, in a report to the United Nations, conceded that human beings, by releasing pollutants into the air, are largely to blame for global warming and its environmental consequences. Well today, the President dismissed that very report written by his own Environmental Protection Agency, saying quote: 'I read the report put out by the bureaucracy,’ suggesting there’s still some uncertainty on all of this...”
Instead of using the terms “acknowledging” and “conceded,” if NBC did not accept the liberal environmentalist line as beyond dispute they could have used other terms. Look at the change in meaning by altering those words to: “Yesterday the Bush administration appeared to be making a major change and claiming that global warming is caused by human pollution.” And, “the Bush administration, in a report to the United Nations, charged that human beings, by releasing pollutants into the air, are largely to blame for global warming.”
Gregory proceeded to note that Bush also repeated his opposition to Kyoto, before Gregory credited or blamed Rush Limbaugh: “Now the President, of course, received a lot of political flak from conservatives, mainly talk show host Rush Limbaugh, over yesterday’s reports so today, while White House aides were not interested in getting into the debate over what causes global warming, they did emphasize that the Bush approach is a voluntary one.”
Bush’s comments on Tuesday came during a brief Q & A with reporters as he toured the National Security Agency headquarters in Maryland. Asked about the EPA report, Bush noted how "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," adding that "I do not support the Kyoto treaty" since “the Kyoto treaty would severely damage the United States economy, and I don't accept that."
One network has suddenly discovered what conservatives have been talking about for months: President Bush’s slide to the left on several issues. Prompted by conservative upset with Bush’s EPA adopting the liberal view that industry causes global warming, on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday co-host Charles Gibson
noted that “President Bush yesterday caught some fierce fire...from the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh” over his administration’s new global warming stance.
Reporter Claire Shipman proceeded to outline how “some conservatives are indeed wondering just who is in the White House? Is he a true conservative? They're pointing to not just the global warming issue, but other presidential flip-flops recently.”
Gibson set up the June 4 story observed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "President Bush yesterday caught some fierce fire yesterday from the conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has 18 million listeners and was accusing the President yesterday of flip-flopping. Limbaugh specifically reacted after the White House said that global warming is indeed a problem and caused by humans. Here's what he said."
Audio of Limbaugh on his radio show: "George W. Al Gore anyone? What's left of the conservative agenda that has not been offered to the Democrats in compromise as a means of taking issues away from them?"
Gibson: "Well, has the President been flip-flopping on global warming and other issues? We're going to turn to ABC's Claire Shipman."
Shipman recited the subjects fueling conservative angst:
“Some conservatives are indeed wondering just who is in the White House? Is he a true conservative? They're pointing to not just the global warming issue, but other presidential flip-flops recently. For example, on the environment, Bush is looking positively green. He's supporting the end, suddenly, of offshore drilling in Florida. Of course, this is after he'd been pushing hard for oil drilling in Alaska. And on the issue of steel tariffs, suddenly this man who was a free trader during his campaign is supporting steep steel tariffs, traditionally something Democrats might do. And he looks like a big spender in terms of agricultural subsidies. He signed a farm bill recently that really would put Bill Clinton to shame -- it was nothing that Bill Clinton ever would have considered.
“On the Middle East, after vowing to avoid the job of a peacemaker, again not wanting to look like Bill Clinton, he's dived into that situation and his administration is heavily involved in that. And finally, campaign finance reform: On the campaign trail he said he thought campaign finance reform was unconstitutional and then he signed that into law.
"Conservatives are also pointing to things like research on embryos. On the campaign trail, he said he wasn't going to support that and he has to some extent, and also the fact that he backed away from supporting school vouchers in his education bill. So a lot of things that are making a lot of true conservatives very uncomfortable.
"Now, some people would say this is not really a new George W. Bush. What's happening is what happens to all Presidents when they get into office, he's become a pragmatist, and that a lot of these positions that he's taken have been urged by his top political advisor Karl Rove. For example, steel tariffs, the farm bill, very important in the Midwest, that's where a lot of votes are going to be for George W. Bush in just a couple of years. Charlie"
If conservatives are so concerned about Bush moving leftward and liberals think he’s too conservative, then a balanced media would give time and weight to both perspectives. But of course they don’t. On every issue cited by Shipman the media have concentrated totally or nearly so on liberal complaints while ignoring the conservative point of view.
The EPA report was just the latest example of that media bias. Even this story and the NBC piece by David Gregory who cited Limbaugh’s criticism (see item #1 above), included not one syllable about the substantive case against the EPA policy made by conservatives even though both networks have relayed the substantive liberal criticism.
For the substantive conservative criticism of the EPA report, see a piece on TechCentralStation.com by Dr. Sallie Baliunas, an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, whom Discover magazine honored as “one of America's outstanding women scientists.” She asserted: “The 'Third formal national communication’ to the U.N. Convention on Climate Change has created a field day for media and environmental activists to play
havoc again with the actual science of climate.”
Panicky media hyperventilation starts with the correct observation that worldwide surface temperatures rose between 1 degree and 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 20th century. That modest rise falls within the year-to-year variability of temperature change. More than that, though, the pattern of surface warming doesn't match the air's increased greenhouse gas content from human activities. The strongest period of warming began in the late 19th Century and peaked around 1940. Next, the temperature decreased from 1940 until the late 1970s. Only then did a third trend producing a modest warming from the late 1970s to the present.
Since about 80% of the carbon dioxide from human activities was added to the air after 1940, the early 20th Century warming trend had to be largely natural. So the surface temperature record is hardly conclusive....”
What does that mean? All models forecast that the surface warming must follow from an unmistakable warming of the layer of air just above the surface. According to the precise and validated measurements, that bellwether layer of air shows no meaningful human-made global warming trend. Ergo, the surface warming recorded since the late 1970s cannot be caused by humans.
Science demands that ideas be tested. And the testing of the human-made global warming hypothesis fails to survive the test by the scientific method. Yet, the media and now the Bush administration, rather than relying on scientific evidence that global warming is not occurring, have decided to succumb to fears -- rejected by science -- of calamitous U.S.-wide ecological effects caused by human-made global warming....
END of Excerpt
For the piece in full:
An example of how despite the conservative criticism they acknowledge exits of Bush policies (see item #2 above), the networks only consider liberal concerns to be newsworthy. Just as Sam Donaldson did on Sunday, last Friday his ABC colleague Charles Gibson had also pounded at Attorney General John Ashcroft only from the left on the new FBI guidelines.
As recounted in the June 3 CyberAlert, Donaldson pressed Ashcroft only from the left in questioning him about the FBI’s new operational guidelines, demanding he respond to charges the new rules will lead to the “trampling” of rights and to worshipers at Mosques being “intimidated.” For details:
Catching up with Ashcroft’s appearance on the May 31 Good Morning America, Gibson conveyed only liberal arguments and did not once raise complaints that the new guidelines do not go far enough.
Gibson worried: “Aren't these changes really ripe for abuse?”
He falsely claimed the rules allow any agent to read someone’s e-mail and recalled how before the about-to-be-overruled guidelines were put in place we had “the enemies list in the Nixon days and the kind of eavesdropping that occurred with Doctor Martin Luther King.”
Gibson introduced the May 31 segment: “Yesterday the Attorney General of the United States announced new investigatory guidelines for the FBI, guidelines that give the FBI much more muscle to spy on any American in the search for terrorists. It has some civil libertarians concerned. This morning's Washington Post writes: 'It is difficult to overstate the magnitude of these changes -- or their capacity for abuse.’ I spoke with the Attorney General, John Ashcroft, a moment ago.”
Gibson’s advocacy questions:
-- “Mr. Attorney General, in changing the investigative guidelines for the FBI a lot of civil libertarians worry that you are now free to read my e-mail, to follow me to church, to look at what books I buy on Amazon or take out of the library. Aren't these changes really ripe for abuse?”
Ashcroft called that “a total mischaracterization” since all the new rules do is let FBI agents go to open meetings of hate group and to surf the Internet.
-- Gibson maintained his argument: “But then I, but I'm not certain why that is then an overstatement of the case. I mean, from what you just said, listening carefully to what you just said you could read my e-mail, follow me to church, and check what books I take out of the library.”
Ashcroft had to explain the obvious to Gibson, that e-mail is not public and so no hurdles to that are being changed.
-- Gibson contended: “The old guidelines that were in effect came into being because there were abuses of the development of the enemies list in the Nixon days and the kind of eavesdropping that occurred with Doctor Martin Luther King. His tax records checked, people's tax records checked, that kind of thing. Doesn't this open, doesn't this open up the situation for that kind of thing again?”
-- Gibson’s last question: “Mr. Attorney General how do you reassure Arab Americans who say this is aimed right smack at them?”
Larry King asked Dan Rather on Tuesday night about his insinuation, just before Memorial Day weekend, that Attorney General John Ashcroft started flying on private aircraft last summer because he had warnings about terrorist hijackings he decided to keep secret. Rather, however, refused to admit that he had irresponsibly hurled a reckless charge, conceding only that “I don't know what the story is” but, realizing his predicament, he noted: “When you're in a hole, you don't just keep digging.”
But Rather did as he tried to justify his specious charge: “The point I was trying to make was a larger one that it's time for us to be asking tough questions.” Rather insisted: “I thought then and believe now, it's a fair question.”
But there’s a big difference between a tough question and hurling a charge of such a serious breach of human caring as Rather did without a scintilla of evidence for his invective.
Below is the exchange on the June 4 Larry King Live on CNN followed by what Rather actually said on the May 22 and May 24 Imus in the Morning programs.
King opened a segment: “Now it's time to clear something up with Dan Rather. Our mutual friend Imus is involved here. You were on Imus' show.”
Rather showed his uncomfortableness as he joked: “Waiter, may I have my check, please? Check please.”
King recounted: “It all starts with the 'I-man.’ On Imus last month, you said just before September 11th, John Ashcroft started to fly private planes, that would indicate that somebody somewhere was pretty worried. Why wasn't it shared with the public?
The Justice Department denounced it as irresponsible. Ashcroft came on this show last week and said the reason he was asked to fly private was there were some personal attacks against him, fears that they had, and so they asked him to fly private. And then you went back on and said 'maybe it would be better for him to spend a little less time trying to sully up my reputation and cover his own backside.’”
Rather falsely asserted: “I did not say that about him, that some of his people had attempted to do that.”
In fact, this is what Rather stated on the May 24 Imus in the Morning: “It probably would be better for him to spend a little less time trying to, you know, sully up my reputation in some way, cover his own backside, and a little more time in let’s get this thing straight.”
The “him” was quite clearly John
Back to King, he wondered: “What's the story?”
Rather: “I don't know what the story is. That when you're in a hole, you don't just keep digging. So you'll recognize my answer is in that spirit. I want the make it very clear, I have great respect for the Attorney General. I did when he was a senator. I do now. I'm very sensitive to the challenge in front of him and how hard he's working to help protect our country.
“And I've made that clear right the way through. The point I was trying to make was a larger one that it's time for us to be asking tough questions. It is for the press and it is for the American public. In a system such as ours or a government such as ours, it is absolutely critical. Now, I had talked to a number of people and I have talked to a number of people who were raising this question with me. It didn't just come, you know, out of my head and nobody dropped it over the transom.
“That some of the survivors of victims of September 11 have raised the question -- look, the government, never mind they didn't connect the dots. But they knew some things were out there moving around, and why didn't you let us know? I tried to raise this point in what I thought was a responsible way. By the way, they've never told me that they thought it was irresponsible. I never heard that until you just read it.”
King: “That was the Justice Department.”
Rather: “I attempted to call the Attorney General. Was told by staff, no, you just call us and talk to us. That's the way that was handled. Never talked to him. There's a line of communication open with him. I don't have any argument with the Attorney General, and whatever he said, I take it face value and I accept that.
“The larger point is that we need to be asking tough questions. Now, one of the questions, if you feel and the public feels he's answered the question, then that's fine by me. That we now can look back and piece some things together, and that he says that it was a threat assessment against him and I accept that. And when he got that assessment, he took the information and was able to make some protective moves for himself. I thought then and believe now, it's a fair question not so much for Dan Rather to ask, but for others to ask and for me to reflect it, well, when there was a threat assessment on the public, was as good a job done as could have been done and should have been done in letting the public knowing and let them decide whether they want to fly commercial aircraft or not?
“But I have no argument with the Attorney General. I did say and I do believe that, look, it's time for all of us -- it is not about me. It's about him and I think he would agree it is about the country.”
It doesn’t help the country to have one of its most prominent TV journalists irresponsibly hurling baseless charges that could undermine the authority of the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
Now, for what Rather said on the May 22 and May 24 editions of Imus in the Morning.
Appearing by phone on the May 22 Imus radio show simulcast on MSNBC, Rather charged:
“You can certainly give a new President the benefit of every doubt about what he knew. The, you know, the New York Post had this big headline, 'Bush Knew.' Well, you know, knew what? However, increasingly there are important questions that need to be asked, but again, until recently, I would say, until the last week, nobody was asking 'em.
“For example, the Attorney General of the United States before, just before September 11th, started inexplicably taking private aircraft to places where normally the Attorney General wouldn't take private aircraft, you know, government planes. Well, that would indicate that somebody somewhere was getting pretty worried, but if you're going to share that with the Attorney General, you know, why wasn't it shared with the public at large?”
Later in that show NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski had informed Imus that Ashcroft avoided commercial airlines in response to a threat on him personally.
In a follow up appearance on Friday, May 24, to answer complaints about his groundless charge, Rather repeated the underlying thrust of it: "Now, in other words, when the Attorney General heard a threat, it was decided that, immediately and expensively, he would be taken care of on a security front. Now, I'm okay with that. Now, what some people are asking, and this is what I reported on your program, and some of the people include the relatives of victims of September 11th. What they're asking is that, okay, then when there came threats about the American flying public, there were threats bubbling up all over the place, the public was not told about that and, therefore, could not make their own decisions about their security.”
For a complete rundown of what Rather spewed on May 24:
ABC’s Peter Jennings told viewers Tuesday night that under an order from Attorney General John Ashcroft people coming to the U.S. from a “secret list” of countries “that the U.S. associates with terrorism” will be “registered and fingerprinted.” But I know the names of the “secret” countries. How? By watching the NBC Nightly News on which Pete Williams listed them.
On the June 4 World News Tonight, Peter Jennings read this short item: “ABC News has learned that the Attorney General John Ashcroft is going to require that all people arriving in the U.S. from certain countries be registered and fingerprinted. The countries will be on a secret list of states that the U.S. associates with terrorism.”
But those watching the NBC Nightly News learned the names of the countries ABC couldn’t figure out. Pete Williams explained:
“NBC News has learned that concerns since September 11th about the lack of records on tourists, students and other visitors prompts the Attorney General to recommend registration for some high-risk visitors to the U.S. who plan to stay at least a month. The new plan would apply to visitors from Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria -- countries already listed as terrorist states -- but also from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Those visitors would have to fill out a registration form, allow INS inspectors to take their fingerprints and their photographs if they plan to stay in the country for 30 days or more. Under current rules, only visitors from four countries, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Sudan, must go through that process the moment they arrive.”
It seem that Jennings failed to “connect the dots.”
-- Brent Baker
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