CyberAlert -- 03/29/2001 -- Turner Mocked Reagan
"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."
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
More detail on the full stories run Wednesday night, March 28, on CBS and NBC:
-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather set it up:
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."
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
-- 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."
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:
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:
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:
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."
"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'
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."
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:
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:
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:
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
-- 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
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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