2. CBS and NBC Blame Global Warming for Stronger Hurricanes
3. CNN's Jack Cafferty on Tom DeLay: "Has He Been Indicted Yet?"
4. Bette Midler Cites Bush's Coke Dealer, Says "F***" RNC
In a Wednesday CBS Evening News story on shortcomings in FEMA's response to Hurricane Katrina, reporter Randall Pinkston cited "frustrations that reached as far away as the state of Maine, where officials received ice that was supposed to go to the Gulf Coast." Pinkston touted how "former President Jimmy Carter, who created FEMA, criticized the Bush administration's decision to strip the agency's independence." Viewers then saw a clip of Jimmy Carter from a Tuesday night forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta: "This obviously lowered FEMA's status so that they would have to go through four or five levels of bureaucracy even to reach the President, whereas FEMA used to deal directly with the President." Of course, that decision -- good or bad -- had bi-partisan support in Congress. (Neither ABC or NBC found Carter's remarks newsworthy.)
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias. To comment on this article, go to this NewsBusters node: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the September 21 CBS Evening News piece.
Anchor John Roberts: "With Rita on the way, President Bush today declared a state of emergency for Texas and Louisiana and pledged this time to be ready for the worst. Randall Pinkston reports FEMA and other disaster agencies are determined to show they learned the lessons of Katrina in time for Rita."
Randall Pinkston began: "This time, FEMA is leaving no stone unturned, no bus unchartered, to get ready for the next monster hurricane. With supplies, equipment and manpower in place from Florida to Texas, the official in charge of homeland security insists FEMA is ready."
For the Carter Center's page on its Tuesday forum with the former President: www.cartercenter.org
Some reporters are using a couple of big hurricanes as a hook to blame global warming, as if there were some policy which if enacted would have prevented them. On Tuesday night, without identifying the Union of Concerned Scientists as a far-left group, CBS's Bill Whitaker relayed how a spokesman for the group charged that damage to Louisiana's barrier islands is being "made worse...by global warming, as ice caps melt and oceans rise." Robert Bazell, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, acknowledged that "scientists say that one season, even like this one, cannot indicate anything about climate change." Yet he went on to showcase a fearmongering soundbite from a Stanford scientist: "At the moment, we've only warmed up one [degree]. What happens when we warm up three or five, which is projected in the next several decades to the end of the century?" Bazell concluded: "Warming that many experts say results partly from humans releasing greenhouse gases possibly creating even more violent storms in the future."
Left unsaid in these types of stories: Even if burning fossil fuels is causing global warming, and it's not just a natural part of a cycle, to whatever small extent the U.S. could reduce such emissions will be more than made up for by China's growing industrialization -- to say nothing of how those most animated about global warming are also the most opposed to the cleanest alternative to fossil-fuel power plants: nuclear.
Bazell's case came in the second half of a September 21 NBC Nightly News story on the high number of more powerful hurricanes this year.
Roberts Bazell: "Scientists say that one season, even like this one, cannot indicate anything about climate change. But those same measurements show that in the past 50 years, the oceans have warmed by one degree. That may not sound like much, but experts say it is a lot of energy. Indeed, recent studies show that worldwide, the number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled with that one-degree change, a source of worry."
Video of the exchange was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org. Check: newsbusters.org
The MRC's Megan McCormack caught the segment and checked the transcript against what aired a few minutes before 5pm EDT on September 21.
Jack Cafferty, in New York: "Congressional Republicans are suggesting ways for the government to save more than $500 billion over the next ten years to offset the costs of Hurricane Katrina. Cutting funding on programs from NASA to Medicare to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The question this hour is, what should be cut from the federal budget in order to pay for Katrina?"
With the text of the e-mails on screen, Cafferty read from a selection of them: "Andrea in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, writes, 'Bush's war in Iraq should be de-funded and the soldiers should be brought home. Let the oil companies, Halliburton and others with an interest in the Iraqi oil fields finance their own enterprises, it should not be a public expense.' John in Rohnert Park, California, 'NASA should be cut. It's outrageous that NASA would publicly and strategically announce that they want billions more of the American dollar so that a handful of geeks can go back to the moon and look at dust and rocks.' Sherrie in Camarillo, California, 'Oh no question about it. Congressional salaries, their underlings' salaries. And the President's salary too, while we're at it.' Maggie writes from New Smyrna Beach, Florida, 'they should cut all perks to oil companies, that bridge in Alaska, and all tax cuts to the rich folks. But knowing the way our government works, they'll end up cutting funding for the Army Corps of Engineers, the Centers for Disease Control, and to public services for lower-income Americans.' Michael in Plymouth, Minnesota, 'The bulk of the funding for the restoration of the Gulf Coast should come from the recently passed transportation bill. Even a blind man can see that there's enough pork in that bill to feed an army for several years over.' Wolf?"
Was Bette Midler serious or joking, when she said at a Tuesday night "From the Big Apple to the Big Easy" fundraising concert in New York City, as recounted in a Rolling Stone posting: "I got a letter from the Republican Party the other day. I wrote back, 'Go fuck yourself.' She then added, 'George Bush is a fan of mine -- he came to see me in the Seventies. His coke dealer brought him.'" Rolling Stone characterized that as an example of how some celebrities "angrily denounced government officials" and how Midler employed "even stronger words" than used by another singer. In contrast, however, the AP's Nekesa Mumbi Moody treated Midler's comments as comedy: "Except for a joke about President Bush by Bette Midler -- which promptly got her booed -- the evening's focus was not on the divisive politics of the tragedy, but on the music that has brought communities together in its wake." Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday played some audio clips from Midler's act and it's clear that she was not being lighthearted and that the audience did not boo her.
[A version of this article was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's NewsBusters.org blog. To share your thoughts, go to this NewsBusters node: newsbusters.org ]
Rolling Stone's un-bylined posting, which the DrudgeReport picked up, also noted, "There was nothing but love for one former Oval Office resident, however: Bill Clinton's surprise appearances at both concerts were greeted with long standing ovations."
Neither article said so, but I believe the two simultaneous Manhattan concerts -- at Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden, were carried on pay-per-view cable TV.
For the Rolling Stone story: www.rollingstone.com
For the Yahoo News posting of the article by the AP's music critic: news.yahoo.com
# "I could stand up here and talk for hours (cheering) about ineptitude, stupidity (louder cheering), blame, in-e-qual-i-ty, global warming (cheering), the dangerous destruction of the wetlands. But if I did, what will all those other people have to talk about? I'm telling you these are -- these are not just dangerous times, these are -- these times are disastrous. We're surrounded by disasters! The war, the hurricane, Fox News. (cheering) It just goes on and on. I get so depressed!"
# "A terrible thing happened to me. Today I got a letter from the Republican Party thanking me (boos) thanking me, thanking me for supporting this administration's policies. I did what any self-respecting American of integrity and class would do, I wrote 'Go [bleep] yourself!' (wild cheering) I sent it back! Postage due!"
# "I would never actually pick on George Bush, because, you know, he's a big fan of mine. He came to see me in the seventies, came to a show of mine in the seventies. A coke dealer of his, uh, got him some tickets, and... (cheers) Tonight we are here to be together, to help rebuild the Gulf coast, to help -- help rebuild the soul of America, the soul of America, New Orleans, New Orleans. We have to find a way to start listening to each other, to nature, and to the rest of the world, because who wants to live with so much danger."
-- Brent Baker