Another Hot Summer, Another Chance to Blame 'Man-Made Warming' --8/8/2007
2. In Two Segments, CBS's Harry Smith Raises Global Warming Alarm
3. Newsweek Cover Story Screed Against 'Denial Machine' on Warming
4. Olbermann Poses Contrarian Questions at Democratic Debate
5. Two NBC Shows Feature Liberal Goodwin's Defense of Sen. Clinton
NBC has apparently abandoned any doubt about the formulation that bad or hot weather in the summer proves man-made global warming since just two years after NBC Nightly News pointed out how "three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s," Tuesday's newscast showcased a UN report to contend "extreme weather" and an August heat wave demonstrate man-made global warming. Back on the July 25, 2005 NBC Nightly News, after a man on the street declared that "it seems like each summer is a little warmer than the one before," reporter Carl Quintanilla countered: "Actually, that's not right." He noted that "three of the five warmest summers on record were in the 1930s. Climate experts like Kevin Trenberth say the one-degree increase in temperature this century is no reason to break a sweat."
(For the CyberAlert item at the time which began with panic from CNN's Lou Dobbs: "Record heat and drought in the United States and Europe. New fears tonight that it's all the result of global warming. Is the Earth witnessing a massive environmental change?", go to: www.mrc.org )
Two years later, on Tuesday night, fill-in NBC anchor Ann Curry segued from a summer heat wave story to how "a new report out from the UN says we are in an extreme weather year all over the globe and the question tonight: Is global warming to blame?" Citing "a worldwide path of destruction," Anne Thompson asserted that "global land surface temperatures in January and April were likely the warmest since records began 120 years ago, extremes scientists say are consistent with an increase in carbon dioxide, man-made global warming." Thompson moved on to a report from the left-wing, though naturally unlabeled, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on how heavy rains caused by global warming "churn up pollution in waterways, ruining beach plans."
AP dispatch on the UN report: news.yahoo.com
[This item was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
For more, including video, go to: www.mrc.org
Transcript of the Tuesday, August 7 NBC Nightly News story:
ANCHOR ANN CURRY: As millions of Americans hope for that break in the weather, a new report out from the UN says we are in an extreme weather year all over the globe and the question tonight: Is global warming to blame? Here's NBC's chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson.
ANNE THOMPSON: A worldwide path of destruction: The first documented cyclone in the Arabian Sea batters Iran and Oman; snow in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the first time in 90 years; temperatures in southeastern Europe soar as high as 113 degrees. Just some of what the UN today says are this year's record-breaking weather events. Global land surface temperatures in January and April were likely the warmest since records began 120 years ago, extremes scientists say are consistent with an increase in carbon dioxide, man-made global warming.
The NRDC's report: www.nrdc.org
CBS's Harry Smith led the charge Tuesday morning against "global climate change," first with billionaire airline founder and activist Richard Branson and then in the Early Show's health segment. Near the end of the 7:30am half hour, Smith hosted the health segment on how to handle the heat with the current heat wave that is affecting much of the eastern half of the United States. With many Americans baking in the hot conditions, Smith appealed to their emotions with this editorial comment: "Before we do anything else, there is in fact, global climate change. It really affects some climates much more than others, and it's really caused some real serious problems."
Resident physician Emily Senay affirmed Smith's claim: "It has, absolutely. And the last five to ten years we've seen serious illness and death, heat related. And, honestly, I mean, I think it's a sign of the times. We all need to get familiar with what happens during this, and do our best to prevent anything bad from happening to us."
Earlier in that half hour, at 7:31, Harry Smith spoke with Sir Richard Branson about his new Virgin America airline. Through the course of the interview, Smith hailed Branson's attempts to fight global climate change.
[This item is adapted from a posting, by Justin McCarthy, on the MRC's NewsBusters blog: newsbusters.org ]
This was not the first time Smith saw Branson as a hero. The February 12 CyberAlert item, "CBS: Gore/Branson 'Dynamic Duo,' Smith Asks: 'Is Gore a Prophet?'", recounted:
To trumpet Al Gore's latest global warming partnership with Virgin Group Chairman Richard Branson who is offering a $25 million reward to a scientist who can determine how to remove carbon from the atmosphere, CBS sent Early Show host Harry Smith all the way to London to conduct an "exclusive" interview with whom an on-screen graphic, promoting the upcoming segment, touted as the "Dynamic Duo." CBS put "Saving the Planet" on screen throughout the subsequent taped interview session, aired Friday, during which Smith championed Gore to Branson: "You've only known each other about a year or so as I understand it. Is Al Gore a prophet?" Smith also seemingly urged Gore to run for President: "Would you not be better off trying to affect this change from the White House as opposed to doing it in a sort of 'Johnny Appleseed' way?" See: www.mrc.org
The relevant portion of August 7 interview with Branson:
SMITH: It's interesting to me, because we've had occasion to talk several times over the last six months or so. Talk about global warming, of climate change, and everything else. Are you as passionate about business as you ever have been, or are these other issues more important to you now?
Using the term "deniers" for those who haven't bought into the media-fueled panic over global warming, a term which harkens to dishonorable Holocaust deniers, this week's Newsweek delivered a one-sided cover story broadside ("THE TRUTH ABOUT THE DENIAL") against those who dare to examine the science and fresh evidence. "Global Warming is a Hoax*" read the headline on the cover of the August 13 issue, with this explanation in the corner for the asterisk: "*Or so claim well-funded naysayers who still reject the overwhelming evidence of climate change. Inside the denial machine." Newsweek's thought police, Sharon Begley with Eve Conant, Sam Stein, Eleanor Clift and Matthew Philips, who employed the belittling term "denial machine" 14 times in their screed in the guise of a news story, fretted: "Since the late 1980s, this well-coordinated, well-funded campaign by contrarian scientists, free-market think tanks and industry has created a paralyzing fog of doubt around climate change."
But as Marc Morano, of the minority staff of the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works, noted in a Sunday night posting: "The only problem is Newsweek knew better. Reporter Eve Conant, who interviewed Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the Ranking Member of the Environment & Public Works Committee, was given all the latest data proving conclusively that it is the proponents of man-made global warming fears that enjoy a monumental funding advantage over the skeptics. (A whopping $50 BILLION to a paltry $19 MILLION for skeptics -- Yes, that is BILLION to MILLION.)"
And that's not counting the impact and value of the media's one-sided campaign as illustrated by Newsweek.
Morano also pointed out: "Newsweek's editorial rant attempts to make it appear as though the science is getting stronger in somehow proving mankind is driving a climate catastrophe. There are, however, major problems with that assertion. Scientists are speaking up around the globe to denounce Gore, the UN and the media driven "consensus" on global warming. Just recently, an EPW report detailed a sampling of scientists who were once believers in man-made global warming and who now are skeptical. [See May 15, 2007 report: Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming -- Now Skeptics: Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research: epw.senate.gov ]"
For Morano's August 5 posting, "Newsweek's Climate Editorial Screed Violates Basic Standards of Journalism," go to: epw.senate.gov
# "But outside Hollywood, Manhattan and other habitats of the chattering classes, the DENIAL MACHINE is running at full throttle -- and continuing to shape both government policy and public opinion."
# "A new NEWSWEEK Poll finds that the influence of the DENIAL MACHINE remains strong."
# "ICE and the Global Climate Coalition lobbied hard against a global treaty to curb greenhouse gases, and were joined by a central cog in the DENIAL MACHINE: the George C. Marshall Institute, a conservative think tank."
# "In what would become a key tactic of the DENIAL MACHINE -- think tanks linking up with like-minded, contrarian researchers -- the report was endorsed in a letter to President George H.W. Bush by MIT meteorologist Richard Lindzen."
# "Faced with this emerging consensus, the DENIAL MACHINE hardly blinked."
# "To reinforce the appearance of uncertainty and disagreement, the DENIAL MACHINE churned out white papers and 'studies' (not empirical research, but critiques of others' work)."
# "'There was an extraordinary campaign by the DENIAL MACHINE to find and hire scientists to sow dissent and make it appear that the research community was deeply divided,' says Dan Becker of the Sierra Club."
# "In April 1998 a dozen people from the DENIAL MACHINE -- including the Marshall Institute, Fred Singer's group and Exxon -- met at the American Petroleum Institute's Washington headquarters."
# "The GOP control of Congress for six of Clinton's eight years in office meant the DENIAL MACHINE had a receptive audience."
# "But the science was shifting under the DENIAL MACHINE."
# "With the Inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001, the DENIAL MACHINE expected to have friends in the White House."
# "Especially when the DENIAL MACHINE had a new friend in a powerful place. In 2003 James Inhofe of Oklahoma took over as chairman of the environment committee."
# "Killing bills in Congress was only one prong of the DENIAL MACHINE's campaign."
# "Still, like a great beast that has been wounded, the DENIAL MACHINE is not what it once was."
For Newsweek's screed in full, the August 13 issue cover story: www.msnbc.msn.com
Keith Olbermann a "fair and balanced" journalist for a day? Did the sweltering Chicago temperatures somehow get to him? The MSNBC host who is notorious for anti-Bush, anti-conservative rants employed a more balanced approach when he moderated Tuesday's 90-minute plus Democratic presidential debate, hosted by the AFL-CIO, from Chicago's Soldier Field. While audience members posed numerous left-leaning questions to the candidates, Olbermann asked a number of challenging or contrarian questions, a few even from the right. Olbermann not only wondered "what should we not be funding" to find the money for repairs to infrastructure, without even suggesting a tax increase, but the MSNBC host also asked about the possibility of an al-Qaeda takeover in Iraq: "If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al-Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?"
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On Friday's Countdown show, Olbermann had blamed the Minneapolis bridge collapse on Iraq war spending and the unwillingness of conservatives to raise taxes to repair infrastructure. Check the August 6 CyberAlert item, "Olbermann Hails 'Sane, Reasoned' Discussions About Raising Taxes," online at: www.mrc.org
But, as Olbermann began Tuesday's debate, live on MSNBC from 6 to 7:36pm CDT, with a series of questions about repairing the nation's infrastructure, his very first question, posed to Senator Chris Dodd, seemed to come from the right: "What should we not build? What should we not be funding to see to it that our highways and our bridges and our tunnels and our mines are all properly maintained?"
Noting that every candidate had spent time as a member of Congress, the MSNBC host further queried whether they had "dropped the ball" on the issue of infrastructure funding during their time in Congress.
At the beginning of the second half hour, Olbermann turned to the subject of Iraq, and posed his first question from the right, directed to all the candidates: "Here is something that an Iowa voter has asked answered: If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al-Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?" Olbermann later rephrased the question by referring to the possibility of an al-Qaeda takeover as being "against all prediction." Olbermann: "Senator Dodd, how do you handle this situation where we get out, you get us out of Iraq, and al-Qaeda does, against all prediction, take over?"
Near the end of the debate, Olbermann asked questions to Senators Clinton and Obama regarding their views on and relationships with lobbyists, and to Senator Edwards about the trial lawyers who have contributed to his campaign.
The only questions Olbermann asked that came close to inviting attacks on President Bush were his question to Governor Richardson about what kind of person he would choose for Vice President, and his question to Senator Biden about whether he would stop no-bid contracts. He also asked about NAFTA and China, which gave the candidates the chance to sound off on the trade issue.
Below is a transcript of some of the more notable questions Olbermann posed that challenged the candidates during the Tuesday, August 7 Democratic debate on MSNBC:
# 7:03pm EDT, KEITH OLBERMANN, first question, to Senator Chris Dodd: Obviously, in the light of what happened in Minnesota last week, maintaining infrastructure requires spending. And how tax dollars are spent is a matter of priorities. What should we not build? What should we not be funding to see to it that our highways and our bridges and our tunnels and our mines are all properly maintained?
# 7:08pm, OLBERMANN, to Senator Joe Biden: This is not to direct this personally to you, but the case could be made that the nation's bridges, perhaps particularly that one in Minnesota, have been deteriorating for more or less the period of time you've spent in the Senate and all of your colleagues have spent with you there. Every member of this panel is either a current or former member of our legislative branch. You have personally voted on hundreds of funding bills. Did you guys drop the ball on infrastructure?
# 7:37pm, OLBERMANN, to all the candidates: Here is something that an Iowa voter has asked answered: If you get us out of Iraq and somehow al-Qaeda takes over anyway, what will you do then?
OLBERMANN, rephrased to Dodd: Senator Dodd, how do you handle this situation where we get out, you get us out of Iraq, and al-Qaeda does, against all prediction, take over?
# 8:21pm, OLBERMANN: Senator Clinton, this past Saturday, you defended taking money from lobbyists, and the quote was this: "A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans. They actually do." Why, though, do these lobbyists make more money, by and large, than average Americans?
OLBERMANN: Senator Obama, I know you and Senator Edwards have taken a firm stand against accepting money from lobbyists, yet you allow them to raise money for you and, as the phrase goes, bundle it. What's the difference between those things?
OLBERMANN: Senator Edwards, I have a question for you. You made your substantial fortune as a trial lawyer. Trial lawyers are now contributing significantly to your campaign. How is that any better than lobbyists?
Whenever NBC News needs someone to put the current presidential campaign into historic context they usually go to liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and in recent days, on two different NBC News outlets, Goodwin has delivered liberal perspective on Hillary Clinton.
On Tuesday's Today show, NBC's Andrea Mitchell went to Goodwin for a critical take on Hillary, but even when asked to find a negative about the Senator from New York, Goodwin couldn't help but fill her critique with superlatives as she determined Hillary may need to soften her "articulate" and overly "prepared" image by intentionally making a mistake.
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following analysis was aired on the August 7 Today show:
Andrea Mitchell: "So far, Clinton has scored points in debates by showing she is knowledgeable. Now experts say she may also have to prove she's likable."
As any student of recent history knows, Hillary is more than capable of making un-calculated mistakes. Perhaps Goodwin believed her disastrous attempt to socialize health care and her infamous "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies" remark were all part of an ingenious strategy to humanize the "so prepared" Hillary.
In fact, judging from Goodwin's comments from her appearance on Tim Russert's CNBC show, back on July 28, Goodwin seems to have developed an image of Hillary as an innocent victim who has been forced to overcome the mistakes of others. When Russert asked Goodwin to rate the '08 candidates' ability to overcome adversity, Goodwin noted Hillary's great accomplishment of having "withstood" such public trials as Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky:
A little later in the show Goodwin, who accepted a Hillary invite to sleep over at the White House, insisted Hillary was "much warmer, more affectionate," in person. Goodwin also blamed Hillary's reaction to how the press "screwed" her over on Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky for the candidate not being more "open" in public:
-- Brent Baker