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CyberAlert -- 03/29/2001 -- Turner Mocked Reagan

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"Controversial" Kyoto "Rollback"; Tax Cut "Bankrolled" on Backs of Kids; ABC Ecstatic McCain Might Win; Turner Mocked Reagan

1) A Senate resolution rejected the Kyoto treaty 95-0 and Clinton never submitted it for ratification, but CBS and NBC painted Bush's decision to not push ratification as, in Dan Rather's words, "another rollback, another reversal in U.S. environmental policy." Tom Brokaw cited "another controversial decision on the environment." Campbell Brown bemoaned how Bush had pulled "the U.S. out of a landmark international...treaty."

2) Dan Rather characterized Bush's budget which passed in the House as including "his big tax cut plan, partly bankrolled, critics say, through cuts in many federal aid programs for children and education."

3) "Few thought campaign finance reform would get even this far," exclaimed ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas to Linda Douglass who held out hope that the media dream will be realized: "People on both sides of this fight are now saying that John McCain's legislation appears to have a very good chance of passing." NBC's Lisa Myers explored the evils of soft money which makes Senator Zell Miller feel like "a cheap prostitute on a busy day."

4) The ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 58 percent think Bush's tax cut plan is "about right" or "too small," a finding World News Tonight ignored, also determined that twice as many of those who said the Bush plan was "about right" in size "prefer" that it be bigger as think it should be smaller.

5) Ted Turner's latest: North Korea poses "about as much threat to us as an ant does to an elephant. I mean, anybody that's worried about North Korea is really, really sick." He made fun of Ronald Reagan as the "conqueror of Grenada," denigrated missile defense as "the dumbest thing I ever heard of" and charged: "The military industrial complex backed this administration to the hilt and they're getting paid back with big contracts."


1
The Senate voted 95 to zero in a resolution against considering the ratification of the Kyoto treaty to lower carbon dioxide emissions and, as FNC's Jim Angle uniquely recalled on Wednesday night, back in 1997 then-"Vice President Gore, who signed the treaty, said the administration wouldn't even ask the Senate to ratify it without changes." Indeed, the Clinton administration never sent the treaty to the Senate for ratification.

But if you relied on CBS, CNN or NBC newscasts you'd have thought that by announcing how the administration would not push for ratification of the treaty President Bush was leading an extremist crusade against the environment. You'd have no idea about such overwhelming rejection of the treaty by Democratic Senators or how even the Clinton administration realized it was considered non-viable on a bi-partisan basis. Instead, CBS and NBC painted the Bush decision as another "controversial" attack on the environment as they relayed how Democrats assailed Bush.

"President Bush is ordering another rollback, another reversal in U.S. environmental policy," intoned CBS's Dan Rather. John Roberts put it in apoplectic terms, implying Bush alone is risking the survival of humans: "Global temperatures on the rise, glaciers retreating, storms more frequent and severe, a looming crisis, say many scientists, of the Greenhouse effect. Yet claiming potential harm to the economy, the White House today confirmed it will abandon the global accord to curb emissions of carbon dioxide." Oh, and one more thing: "Tomorrow the Chancellor of Germany will be at the White House to ask the President just what the world's largest polluters plans to do about global warming."

NBC's Tom Brokaw referred to "another controversial decision on the environment from the Bush administration." Reporter Campbell Brown portrayed the decision as exacerbating a broken campaign promise: "After first promising during the campaign to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, a key contributor to global warming, then reversing his campaign promise, the President today takes the reversal a step further, pulling the U.S. out of a landmark international global warming treaty."

Neither ABC's World News Tonight or MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams mentioned the topic on Wednesday night. On CNN's 8pm EST Wolf Blitzer Reports, Blitzer read this short item:
"Democrats and environmentalists are blasting Mr. Bush for abandoning an international treaty aimed at curbing global warming. The 1997 Kyoto Treaty calls for industrial nations to reduce pollution. The President today said he refuses to implement the pact because it does not bind developing nations to the same restrictions."

More detail on the full stories run Wednesday night, March 28, on CBS and NBC:

-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather set it up:
"President Bush is ordering another rollback, another reversal in U.S. environmental policy. This time it amounts to abandoning support for an international treaty designed to reduce emissions linked to global warming. CBS's John Roberts has more about the heat this is generating, environmental and political."

Roberts proposed a dire forecast, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Global temperatures on the rise, glaciers retreating, storms more frequent and severe, a looming crisis, say many scientists, of the Greenhouse effect. Yet claiming potential harm to the economy, the White House today confirmed it will abandon the global accord to curb emissions of carbon dioxide, the number one Greenhouse gas."
Christine Whitman, EPA Administrator: "And there isn't a single industrialized country in the world that has endorsed that particular treaty."
Roberts put the decision into a larger image of an anti-environment administration: "It is the latest rollback of Clinton era environmental standards from water quality to mining regulations. The White House may even give free reign back to snowmobiles in Yellowstone Park."

Horrors. Out of control snowmobilers.

Roberts then played a clip from Democratic House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt: "The new President came to town saying he would change the tone and change the climate in Washington. I guess we didn't realize it was the actual climate that he wanted to change."
Without bothering to mention the rejection of the treaty by over 40 Democratic Senators, Roberts relayed the Democratic spin of the day: "Democrats and environmentalists put on a show on Capitol Hill today, warning the President not to reverse another Clinton rule that keeps sixty million acres of national forest off limits to development or go ahead with plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."
Bill Meadows, Wilderness Society President: "The American people are asking for a change. We do not want these regulations rolled back, and we're gonna make this a political issue."
Roberts measured appropriate policy against a liberal activist standard: "The White House rejects charges it is environmentally unfriendly, pointing to new regulations on diesel emissions and its intent to crack down on pollutants that cause acid rain."
Whitman: "This is an administration that's going to surprise everybody with how much progress we're going to make."
Roberts concluded by again endorsing the liberal premise that man is fueling global warming, as he warned: "It's not just Democrats and environmental groups that are piling on. Tomorrow the Chancellor of Germany will be at the White House to ask the President just what the world's largest polluter plans to do about global warming."

-- NBC Nightly News. Tom Brokaw announced: "Now to another controversial decision on the environment from the Bush administration today, which announced that the President considers a worldwide treaty on global warming worthless. The United States, after all, was a leading force for that 1997 Kyoto Treaty, which is aimed at limiting Greenhouse gases that are thought to be a major cause of global warming. NBC's Campbell Brown joins me now from the White House with this latest battle."

Brown portrayed the move as a further abandonment of a campaign promise: "Tom, tonight the White House is calling the global warming treaty bad for the economy, but the decision to abandon it is giving new ammunition to Democrats. After first promising during the campaign to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, a key contributor to global warming, then reversing his campaign promise, the President today takes the reversal a step further, pulling the U.S. out of a landmark international global warming treaty."
Without telling viewers how every Senate Democrat who voted had voted for the resolution condemning the treaty, Brown played the same soundbite as had CBS from Gephardt: "The new President came to town saying he would change the tone and change the climate in Washington. I guess we didn't realize it was the actual climate that he wanted to change."

Brown painted Whitman as a victim: "An embarrassing decision for Bush's EPA administrator, who sources say was essentially left out of the loop, and only weeks earlier, based on Bush's campaign pledge, was telling U.S. allies Bush supported limits on carbon dioxide emissions. And yet Whitman is now taking the heat for the President on this and other controversial decisions. Today on Capitol Hill defending the EPA's move to postpone setting new standards for cancer-causing arsenic in drinking water, while promising the environment remains an administration priority."

Following the same Whitman clip as CBS ran ("This is an administration that's going to surprise everybody with how much progress we're going to make"), Brown's conclusion also matched the theme with which Roberts ended:
"The outcry over the President's decision on global warming is not just coming from Democrats, but also U.S. allies, and the President is expected to hear more complaints tomorrow when he meets with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder."

Now contrast the CBS and NBC spins with the angle from which FNC approached the same story. Tony Snow, filling in as anchor of Special Report with Brit Hume, conveyed basic facts skipped by the other networks:
"President Bush is following through on a campaign pledge by putting a spike in an initiative strongly linked to Al Gore. The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the United States will not implement a 1997 global warming treaty signed in Kyoto Japan. The Senate had voted 95 to nothing against the Kyoto Accord anyway and the President's move simply seals the deal or non-deal. Despite all this some Democrats are vowing to fight."

Reporter Jim Angle explained how the treaty would not force reductions on big countries like China, but make the U.S. cut carbon dioxide output drastically by 2008. Following clips of Gephardt and Joe Lieberman blasting Bush's decision, Angle pointed out:
"The administration is formally abandoning the agreement, but officials argued they aren't killing the treaty, that it died a natural death some time ago and they're just burying it."

Senator Don Nickles outside the White House: "The Senate has already spoken on the Kyoto treaty and we had 95 votes that said that we wouldn't ratify the Kyoto treaty because it didn't apply to all countries."
Angle elaborated: "In fact, the vote was 95 to nothing. No wonder Vice President Gore, who signed the treaty, said the administration wouldn't even ask the Senate to ratify it without changes."
Al Gore in 1997: "We will not submit this agreement for ratification until key developing nations participate in this effort."

2
Dan Rather used House passage of Bush's budget as another opportunity to expound on how Bush's tax cut plan is being financed on the backs of children. Rather asserted the March 28 CBS Evening News:
"On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled House voted mostly along party lines tonight to pass President Bush's federal budget blueprint. This includes his big tax cut plan, partly bankrolled, critics say, through cuts in many federal aid programs for children and education."

3

"Few thought campaign finance reform would get even this far," exclaimed an ecstatic World News Tonight anchor Elizabeth Vargas to Linda Douglass who confirmed "that is absolutely true" before she held out hope that the media dream will be realized: "People on both sides of this fight are now saying that John McCain's legislation appears to have a very good chance of passing."

Douglass declared that "if this passes the President has indicated that he will sign it." But NBC's David Gregory offered more insightful analysis of White House strategy as he observed: "By pledging not to veto the bill, Mr. Bush can call the Democrats' bluff." NBC Nightly News also ran a full piece by Lisa Myers on the evils of soft money in which Senator Zell Miller claimed to feel like "a cheap prostitute on a busy day." As she did the night before, Myers again referred to "a system many Americans find corrupt."

Some notes about Wednesday night, March 28, coverage of campaign finance by ABC, CBS and NBC:

-- ABC's World News Tonight. Fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas was excited about prospects for more regulation and limits on free speech: "In the Senate, another major victory for John McCain's efforts at campaign finance reform. Senators passed an important amendment to his legislation. It raised the amount of so-called hard money a person can give politicians in a calendar year. We're joined now by ABC's Linda Douglass on Capitol Hill. Linda, few thought campaign finance reform would get even this far."

Douglass agreed: "That is absolutely true. Everyone is surprised by this. People on both sides of this fight are now saying that John McCain's legislation appears to have a very good chance of passing. This is a bill, of course, that would ban huge unregulated contributions from corporations and labor unions, contributions McCain says are corrupting. What they voted to do today was just raise those individual limits of contributions that go to campaigns that are already regulated by the government. So this was a big hurdle. They may vote on all of this tomorrow. There are other battles ahead, but if this passes the President has indicated that he will sign it."

-- CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer employed campaign finance "reform" advocacy language in describing soft money: "Dan, the campaign to outlaw this soft money, the unregulated, unrestricted backdoor contributions to political parties, took an unusual and ironic twist today. In order to smooth the way for getting rid of soft money, reformers agreed to raise the limits on individual contributions to individual candidates."

-- NBC Nightly News. David Gregory explained how Bush promised to sign reform if it passes, but that the White House doubts Democrats will support McCain-Feingold in the end: "By pledging not to veto the bill, Mr. Bush can call the Democrats' bluff."
Ari Fleischer, White House Press Secretary: "In the past people had free votes, they knew that they could posture on campaign finance reform because it didn't matter. Those days are over."
Gregory added: "Especially since Democrats, who finally have matched the Republicans at fundraising, need soft money more than ever. In the end campaign finance could again get bogged down in Congress and the White House believes the Democrats could be behind its demise. But then at least the President wouldn't be blamed for killing it."

Next, Lisa Myers looked at the evils of soft money fundraising, what Tom Brokaw called the "addiction to that form of campaign cash."

Myers focused on Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller and how he feels that over his forty year career in politics he's moved from "shaking hands to shaking people down" with an implied promise to look after their interests. He told Myers that when spending hours making phone calls asking for money he feels like "a cheap prostitute on a busy day."

Myers concluded: "Everyone agrees that if the Senate vote were secret soft money would stay by a big margin. But the vote isn't secret and many Senators are afraid to be seen supporting a system many Americans find corrupt."

4

The ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday night which found that 58 percent think Bush's tax cut plan is "about right" (48 percent) or "too small" (10 percent), a finding World News Tonight ignored on Monday night, also determined that 63 percent give a "high priority" to a tax cut. But on Tuesday's Good Morning America Antonio Mora, who also skipped the support for Bush's specific plan, quickly downplayed the relevance: "That's significantly fewer than say the same about Social Security [on screen graphic showed 83%] or education [89%]."

It also turns out that support for a bigger tax cut than offered by Bush is even greater than I reported in the March 28 CyberAlert as twice as many who said the Bush tax cut plan was "about right" in size "prefer" it be bigger as "prefer" that it be smaller.

The March 28 CyberAlert reported: "An ABC News/Washington Post poll discovered 58 percent think Bush's tax cut plan is 'about right' or 'too small' while just 36 percent consider it 'too big,' but instead of reporting that, on Monday night ABC's Terry Moran stressed how the public is 'becoming a little skeptical about some aspects of his leadership' as he has 'an anemic rating' for handling the economy and 'by a margin of two to one, 61 to 31 percent, Americans polled in our polls say that the President favors large business corporations over the interests of ordinary working people.'" For more details, go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010328.asp#3

The poll asked: "As you may know, Bush has proposed cutting taxes by one-point-six trillion dollars over 10 years. Do you think this tax cut is too big, too small or about right?" In reviewing the survey results as listed on the Washington Post Web site I noticed a follow-up inquiry to the 48 percent who had answered "about right." The ABC News/Washington Post poll takers then asked them: "Would you prefer it to be bigger, smaller, or what?" While 54 percent stuck with their "about right" response, 29 percent preferred that it be "bigger" compared to half as many, 15 percent, who wanted it to be "smaller."

For the Post's complete rundown of the survey results, go to:
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/vault/stories/data032701.htm

Tuesday morning, March 27, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson noticed that GMA, like World News Tonight the night before, skipped how ABC's poll discovered majority support for a tax cut the size of Bush's or larger. News reader Antonio Mora did pick up on another finding, but quickly dismissed it:
"A day after he said the economy is sputtering, President Bush is delivering a speech the White House bills as a major economic policy address. Mr. Bush will deliver the speech in Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the end of a three-state swing to push his tax cut plan. Despite talking about the economy's current weakness, the President also said it is fundamentally strong. Meanwhile, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds 63 percent of those surveyed give high priority to a tax cut, but that's significantly fewer than say the same about Social Security [on screen: 83%] or education [89%]."

5

Last Saturday night C-SPAN showed CNN founder Ted Turner's address to a forum at the Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts which took place, I believe, on March 13. During his rambling hour, the Vice Chairman of AOL Time Warner repeated many of his usual liberal pronouncements, but in reviewing the tape MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down some opinions you may not have heard before.

Turner dismissed any menace from North Korea, claiming "they pose about as much threat to us as an ant does to an elephant. I mean, anybody that's worried about North Korea is really, really sick"; made fun of Ronald Reagan as the "conqueror of Grenada"; and denigrated missile defense as "the dumbest thing I ever heard of and it doesn't work either." He went on to denounce President Bush's defense policies: "We have an administration that's committed to spending more money on defense and they have to have ideas on how to do it. The military industrial complex backed this administration to the hilt and they're getting paid back with big contracts."

Turner's quotes in full:

-- On North Korea on Reagan invading Grenada: "Now, let me tell you something about the armed forces and how safe things are, okay? Yesterday, we dropped a bomb on our own troops over in Iraq, okay? Remember that? And just a couple of weeks ago, the submarine came up and sank the Japanese -- we're doing, our military is causing more damage to ourselves and to our allies than it is to -- and besides, who are our enemies? North Korea? They have an economy that's smaller than the city of Detroit. I mean, they pose about as much threat to us as an ant does to an elephant. I mean, anybody that's worried about North Korea is really, really sick. I mean, I'm not even worried about Iraq, to tell you the truth. We could blow 'em away anytime we want to, you know? And that goes for any other country in the developing world, you know.
"I mean, I remember I was in California hiking in the woods one day and I came upon a small cabin that was uninhabited, and I walked inside just to see what was in there, and they had a picture of Ronald Reagan when he was young....And he was in a World War I outfit, you know, like -- he looked like Smokey the Bear, you know, with his little World War I army sergeant hat on with his hands on his hips. You all don't remember this, but the caption on the bottom of the photograph was, 'The Conqueror of Grenada.' You know, we invaded Grenada about 20 years ago when Reagan was President. I don't know why. They thought some students were dangerous because they had a Marxist government in Grenada, you know, I don't know, population of about 200 people or so."

-- Missile defense: "We could spend the whole hour, or even more, on missile defense. First of all, if you want to be safe from nuclear weapons, the best way to do it is very simple, let's just get rid of 'em. Let's get a treaty together and let's have the nuclear powers or all the countries have a debate at the United Nations and vote to get rid of 'em and then let's get rid of 'em. That's how to be safe from nuclear weapons, not building this nuclear missile defense. I mean, first of all, I mean, if a rogue state or a terrorist is going to bomb the United States with their one nuclear weapon, they're going to bring it in in a van through Canada; they're going to, you know, and like Timothy McVeigh did with Oklahoma City did. You know, you can put a bomb in a truck or you can put it in a little boat and bring it into New York Harbor or into Boston Harbor and blow Boston and New York up, because a missile, a ballistic missile, the only countries that have those are the most sophisticated countries. You can tell exactly where they're coming from, so, you know, it's the dumbest thing I ever heard of and it doesn't work either, that's the other thing.=
"It's just, you know, we have an administration that's committed to spending more money on defense and they have to have ideas on how to do it. The military industrial complex backed this administration to the hilt and they're getting paid back with big contracts, our money which is being wasted in that particular area, in my opinion."

It's been a busy foot in mouth month for Turner. Some earlier CyberAlert items on his latest outbursts:

-- Ted Turner to attendees at Bernard Shaw's retirement party on Ash Wednesday who had smudges on their foreheads, as reported by FNC's Brit Hume: "What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox." Go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010307.asp#3

-- Upset by Ted Turner's "Jesus freaks" remark, CNN Moneyline co-anchor Stuart Varney left CNN. The New York Post added: "Insiders say Varney believes the cable network has strayed from its middle-of-the road political coverage -- and has slanted heavily towards Democratic party positions." Go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010315.asp#5

-- Ted Turner declared the West "did not win the Cold War," claimed that "without the U.N. we wouldn't have made it through the Cold War" and argued that "the wrong man is President." But CNN's new chief insisted that FNC is "fairly extreme" while CNN is "right down the middle." Go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010319.asp#4

That last one includes a RealPlayer video clip of Turner claiming "the wrong man is President" as shown by FNC. --Brent Baker


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