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CyberAlert -- 04/06/2001 -- Bush Tax Cut Means No Help for Winnie

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Bush Tax Cut Means No Help for Winnie; New Dan Rather Web Page; Letterman's Rather "Top Ten"; Time's Global Warming Crusade

1) Winnie is back! Gore's can-collecting poster oldster for a new prescription entitlement program was resurrected Thursday night by NBC Nightly News. Jim Avila formulated a story so that Skinner and another "older American" could denounce Bush for putting his tax cut ahead of their needs. The fresh woman complained that Bush only wants to give a "break" to "the wealthy people."

2) Now on the MRC Web site: A new page devoted to several dozen of Dan Rather's most obnoxious liberal outbursts over the years. Plus, video clips, his denials of any bias and "Ratherisms."

3) Letterman's "Top Ten Signs Dan Rather Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore."

4) Time magazine abandoned any pretense of balance in devoting 15 pages this week to denouncing Bush's decision on Kyoto and to advancing dire global warming forecasts: "Vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt, raising sea level more than 30 ft. Florida would be history, and every city on the U.S. Eastern seaboard would be inundated." Walter Cronkite was among the signers of a letter to Bush demanding he take action.


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Winnie is back! Winnie Skinner, the Gore campaign poster oldster for a government entitlement program to cover prescription drugs, whom the networks during the campaign turned into a cause celeb, was resurrected Thursday night by NBC Nightly News. Reporter Jim Avila, who last September championed Skinner's misleading tale about having to collect cans to pay for her pills, formulated a story so that Skinner and another "older American" could denounce Bush for putting his tax cut ahead of their needs.

Last year, FNC's John Du Pre discovered: "Fact is, Winifred doesn't have to collect cans to pay for her medication. Just ask her son, a wealthy Iowa horse rancher and business consultant" who "says his mother collects cans more to assert her independence than to make ends meet." For more details on how FNC unmasked the Skinner sham, go to the October 6, 2000 CyberAlert:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20001006.html#8

Undeterred by reality, on Thursday night Avila repeated how during the campaign she "went public with a very personal story, picking up cans seven days a week to buy her pills." He also featured John Rother of the AARP, who warned that if tax cuts "are too large then there won't be enough for prescription drugs." Avila, of course, didn't bother with any contrary point of view as he let an old woman who pays a piddling $30 a month for a prescription complain about how President Bush only wants to give a "break" to "the wealthy people."

Here, in its entirety, is Jim Avila's one-sided advocacy piece as aired on the April 5 NBC Nightly News:

Avila: "Winnie Skinner today, still paying $200 a month for the prescription drugs that keep her blood pressure down."
Skinner: "We'll get it changed one of these days. If Bush don't change it maybe we'll get somebody that will."
Avila: "Discouraged because during the presidential campaign she went public with a very personal story, picking up cans seven days a week to buy her pills, confronting the Vice President [video of Al Gore hugging her] and quickly becoming the living symbol of older American's number one issue: prescription price relief."
Skinner at a September 27, 2000 Gore event: "I just called in for my prescriptions for this month and they're going to be $200, between $230 and $250."
Avila: "Both Gore and Bush responded to Winnie and 39 million other older Americans on Medicare. Candidate Bush promising to make it a priority."
George W. Bush, date not listed: "Immediate prescription drug help for all seniors will be my second bill."
Avila bore in on what's blocking implementation of a massive transfer program: "But what has happened since? The tax cut, clearly emerging as the Bush administration's number one focus, White House sources conceding a comprehensive prescription drug plan is unlikely to be passed this year. Why not? Cost, drug prices rising so fast government estimates from the campaign already outdated. In 2000 the Congressional Budget Office projected a ten year cost of the Bush prescription drug plan of $153 billion. Today, same plan, $200 plus billion -- little room for both a presidential tax cut and a new, expensive program."

But instead of picking up on the inevitable soaring spending as a potential problem, Avila focused on the size of any tax cut as he turned to John Rother of the AARP: "If the bidding war on Capitol Hill results in tax cuts that are too large then there won't be enough for prescription drugs."
Avila found another selfish elderly woman who thinks its her right to force others to pay for her needs: "75-year-old Eve Waldman, paying $30 a month for her blood pressure pills, sees it as a matter of priorities."

$30 a month is some kind of outrageous burden? A mere $1 a day. She pays more than that for cable TV.

Waldman whined: "He's talked about only the wealthy people who've been paying taxes and wants to give them a break."

Imagine that. I bet those undeserving "wealthy people" pay a lot more than $30 a month in income tax.

Avila concluded with a warning shot to Bush: "And, say Eve and Winnie, forcing older Americans to make choices, like which bill to pay and how to vote next time around."

CyberAlert coverage of network fawning over Winnie Skinner last September:

-- ABC, CBS and MSNBC eagerly hyped the Gore issue agenda promoted by an elderly woman at a Gore event who claimed she has to pick up cans along roadsides to pay for her prescriptions. ABC's Terry Moran enthused about her "poignant" story: "This is the way campaigns are supposed to work. A candidate, a voter and a big issue." MSNBC's Chip Reid: "Wow, is it resonating." Go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000928.html#1

-- Picking up on last night's stories celebrating 79-year-old Winifred Skinner, NBC's Jim Avila brought to Today "a simple, sweet story, driving home what for seniors is shaping up as a cornerstone issue." And she was "embraced by her country's Vice President." Go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000928_extra.html#1

-- ABC's Good Morning America interviewed Skinner live about her plight. Charles Gibson opened the program: "Outrage over the cost of prescription drugs in America has a new face today. How will the drug companies defend their prices now?" Go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000928_extra.html#2

-- Last night, MSNBC's Brian Williams pronounced the "Gore campaign could not have scripted a better moment," but the Des Moines Register reported this morning that "union representatives" prodded Mrs. Skinner to tell her story. Go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000928_extra.html#3

-- Making it so, Tom Brokaw Thursday night admired how Winnie Skinner's plight has turned into "more than 15 minutes of fame." Jim Avila insisted: "Her neighbors say her story is totally genuine." She lives in a house, but he claimed that drug companies aren't doing enough to "take this great grandmother off the streets." And how does she afford a Tommy Hilfiger jacket? Go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2000/cyb20000929.html#1

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New Dan Rather section on the MRC's Web site. With Dan Rather in the news this week for headlining a soft money fundraiser for the Travis County, Texas Democratic Party committee, MRC Communications Director Liz Swasey put together a new Web page with over 60 of Rather's most obnoxious liberal pronouncements, "20 Years on the CBS Evening News: Dan Rather's Outrageous Liberal Bias." The page also features a collection of his nonsensical "Ratherisms," his denials of any liberal bias and some video clips of his more egregious comments.

Check it all out at:
http://www.mrc.org/news/rather/danrather20thAnniversary.htm

It's a pretty impressive collection, but since there are so many Rather quotes from which to choose I'm sure Liz will be adding more quotes and links to additional videos in the coming days.

The page showcases one of my favorite contrasts, one made more relevant by Rather's recently revealed fundraising efforts on behalf of Democrats. It's how he introduced Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman as the running mates last summer. Read and compare:

-- Rather on the July 25, 2000 CBS Evening News: "In the presidential campaign, the official announcement and first photo-op today of Republican George Bush and his running mate Richard Cheney. Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as quote 'two Texas oilmen' because Cheney was chief of a big Dallas-based oil supply conglomerate. They also blast Cheney's voting record in Congress as again, quote, 'outside the American mainstream' because of Cheney's votes against the Equal Rights for Women Amendment, against a woman's right to choose abortion -- against abortion as Cheney prefers to put it -- and Cheney's votes against gun control. Republicans see it all differently, most of them hailing Bush's choice and Cheney's experience."

versus:

-- Rather on the August 8, 2000 CBS Evening News: "Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore officially introduced his history-making running mate today, Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. History-making because Lieberman is of Jewish heritage and faith. The two started running right away. In their first joint appearance they gave a preview of the Gore-Lieberman fight-back, come-back strategy. Their message: They represent the future, not the past, and they are the ticket of high moral standards most in tune with real mainstream America."

To play side-by-side RealPlayer video clips of these quotes:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/Fax200103082.html

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From the April 5 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by Dan Rather's appearance at a Democratic fundraising event, the "Top Ten Signs Dan Rather Doesn't Give a Damn Anymore." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. He's changed his name to D. Riddy
9. Coming back from commercials he's in no hurry to put away the Gameboy
8. Refers to all foreign leaders as "Senor Slim"
7. Told viewers each time he says name "Kofi Annan" everyone does a shot
6. Every night a story about Peter Jennings' alleged hooker addiction
5. His "If Jack Nicholson did the news" was barely funny the first time
4. During broadcast answers his cell phone, "What up dog?"
3. Attended recent fundraiser wearing swan dress
2. Throws a quarter at the camera and screams, "You want news? Buy a damn paper!"
1. Frequently says, "I'm Dan Rather and I'd rather be gettin' it on"

4

This week's Time abandoned any pretense of balance or objectivity on global warming as the magazine's editors decided to use their voice to promote liberal demands for action on global warming and to denounce President Bush's decision to not pursue the Kyoto Treaty.

Time Managing Editor James Kelly argued the issue was too important to bother with any journalistic conventions: "Every so often, my colleagues and I think a public-policy issue is so urgent that we should give it special treatment in the magazine." Time's cover featured the Earth as an egg in a frying pan with this accompanying text: "Climbing temperatures. Melting glaciers. Rising seas. All over the earth, we're feeling the heat. Why isn't Washington?"

Inside, a Time writer warned that thanks to Bush's inaction, "vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt, raising sea level more than 30 ft. Florida would be history, and every city on the U.S. Eastern seaboard would be inundated."

On the up side, that would take care of the inability of many Florida citizens to vote properly.

On its back page Time featured a short letter to Bush, demanding government action, signed by, among others, Walter Cronkite and Mikhail Gorbachev.

Time's left wing crusading in its April 9 issue is the focus of a new MediaNomics article from the MRC's Free Market Project, "Earth in the Frying Pan: Time's Pushy Promotion of Global Warming Fears."

Below is the text, or you can read it online at:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/fmp/medianomics/2001/mn20010405.html

The text of the article put together by MRC analyst Paul Smith and Rich Noyes, Director of the Free Market Project:

Thanks to Time magazine, it's now perfectly clear: President George W. Bush doesn't just want to bust the federal budget with his too-big, pro-rich, anti-poor tax cut at the same time he poisons our children with the same arsenic-tainted water that we've all consumed for the past half century. As the April 9 edition of Time made clear, Bush is also eager to doom all of humanity -- and the entire planet -- to a hellish global warming made virtually certain by his decision to abandon the 1997 Kyoto Protocol -- an international regulatory scheme that would, if ratified, force the United States to cut its carbon dioxide emissions back to 1990 levels.

"The global reaction was swift and furious," claimed Time's senior writer Jeffrey Kluger as part of the magazine's 15-page "Special Report" on global warming (which included a nifty "What You Can Do" section. One tip: run your dishwasher only when full). "Governments condemned the President's stance as uninformed and even reckless, noting with outrage that the U.S. is home to 4% of the world's population but produces 25% of its greenhouse gases. French President Jacques Chirac called on all countries to implement Kyoto -- never mind Washington. China's Foreign Ministry called U.S. actions 'irresponsible.'" Not until the reader has flipped a couple of pages does Kluger add the potent fact that the Kyoto negotiators exempted China, classifying it as a "developing" country.

"Every so often, my colleagues and I think a public-policy issue is so urgent that we should give it special treatment in the magazine," enthused Managing Editor James Kelly in a letter to readers. "We explore at length the reasons President Bush abandoned the Kyoto accord and the ensuing uproar, but we devote the first part of the package to a meticulous account of the scientific research that shows the world is getting warmer."

It's a heavy sell: On the cover, Time featured the Earth as an egg in a frying pan; the accompanying text set the tone: "Climbing temperatures. Melting glaciers. Rising seas. All over the earth, we're feeling the heat. Why isn't Washington?" Inside, the magazine likened climate change to "nuclear war or a collision with an asteroid" in terms of global warming's "potential to damage our planet's web of life."

Evidently, readers are supposed to get the fact that the scientific debate on warming is over (no more questions, please), and that Bush's decision to kill a moribund treaty was reckless and short-sighted. Time apparently thinks the administration's rejection of environmentalists' preferred treaty is proof that Bush's campaign pledges of concern were a cynical tease. "When it comes to the environment in general," Kluger lectured, "the President must answer charges that his campaign sales pitch was little more than bait and switch."

In the main cover story, "Life in the Greenhouse," Michael Lemonick, treated a recent United Nations' report on climate change as the Holy Grail, while his text frequently echoed the talking points of the radical environmental groups. While Lemonick briefly mentioned the views of two more skeptical scientists, Richard Lindzen and John Christy, he portrayed them as doubting only "how much -- and how high temperatures will go." But the point made by scientists such as Dr. Fred Singer, of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, is that the data fails to support the dire predictions of global warming believers who are insisting on immediate changes in public policy.

"The evidence against a warming trend is overwhelming," Singer wrote in a recent op-ed. "Weather satellite observations, the only truly global measurements, independently confirmed by weather balloon data, show little if any rise in mean temperature. The well-maintained network of U.S. stations, after removal of urban heat-island effects, shows no appreciable rise since about 1940! Non-thermometer data from various 'proxies,' like tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, etc., all show no warming trend in the past 60 years."

All of which would be news to Time's readers, who were told that the case for global warming has already been made: "A decade ago...evidence that the climate was actually getting hotter was still murky," Lemonick wrote. "Not anymore. As an authoritative report issued a few weeks ago by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes plain, the trend toward a warmer world has unquestionably begun." Lemonick's article was decorated with factoids "making the case that our climate is changing." Among the worrisome trends alarming Time: Washington, D.C.'s cherry blossoms bloom seven days earlier in the spring than they did in 1970. Tourists, mark your calenders!

If even the most mild of the U.N. panel's predictions came to pass, the consequences would be severe -- frequent and intense storms, droughts, coastal erosion, and agricultural disruptions, Lemonick warned. "But if the rise is significantly larger, the result could be disastrous. With seas rising as much as 3 ft., enormous areas of densely populated land -- coastal Florida, much of Louisiana, the Nile Delta, the Maldives, Bangladesh -- would become uninhabitable. Entire climatic zones might shift dramatically, making central Canada look more like central Illinois, Georgia more like Guatemala. Agriculture would be thrown into turmoil. Hundreds of millions of people would have to migrate out of unlivable regions."

"Public health could suffer," he continued. "Rising seas would contaminate water supplies with salt. Higher levels of urban ozone, the result of stronger sunlight and warmer temperatures, could worsen respiratory illnesses. More frequent hot spells could lead to a rise in heat-related deaths."

Lemonick approvingly cited the views of a prominent left-wing environmental activist: "But if temperatures reach the IPCC's worst-case levels and stay there for as long as 1,000 years, says Michael Oppenheimer, chief scientist at Environmental Defense, vast ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica could melt, raising sea level more than 30 ft. Florida would be history, and every city on the U.S. Eastern seaboard would be inundated."

The point of all of this doomsaying, of course, is to urge immediate action to cut back on the industrial activity that Time blamed for global warming. But there's no indication of the price to be paid -- in lower living standards, increased financial strain, and diminished rates of technological innovation - if the

United States and other developed nations actually swallowed this cure and curtailed their economic activity. Yet, Lemonick conceded, "in the short run, there's not much chance of halting global warming, not even if every nation in the world ratifies the Kyoto Protocol tomorrow."

And, if there is doubt that Time meant to add its weight into the current political debate, the "Essay" on the magazine's back page would put it to rest. In an open letter to President Bush, several liberal luminaries, organized by Time and including Walter Cronkite, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter and billionaire George Soros (last seen attacking Bush's proposal to repeal the estate tax), call on him to deal with what they call the "momentous" threat of global climate.

"No challenge we face is more momentous than the threat of global climate change. The current provisions of the Kyoto Protocol are a matter of legitimate debate," the group conceded. "But the situation is becoming urgent, and it is time for consensus and action." Editor Kelly, in his letter to readers, recounted the ingenuity displayed by his colleagues in reaching all members of this group. It took a cell phone call to reach Gorbachev in Italy, it turns out, while "tracking down Jimmy Carter required the assistance of Time's Hugh Sidey," Kelly explained.

Doubtless, Planet Earth appreciates Time's efforts.

END Reprint of MediaNomics analysis

To access all the polemical articles in Time's April 9 cover story package, go to:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,104617,00.html

To read the letter to President Bush which Time featured on its back page, go to:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,104774,00.html

The letter concluded: "We urge you to develop a plan to reduce U.S. production of greenhouse gases. The future of our children -- and their children -- depends on the resolve that you and other world leaders show."

It was signed "respectfully" by:
Jimmy Carter
Mikhail Gorbachev
John Glenn
Walter Cronkite
George Soros
J. Craig Venter
Jane Goodall
Edward O. Wilson
Harrison Ford
Stephen Hawking

Cronkite's signature demonstrates that Dan Rather isn't the first CBS Evening News anchor to use his prestigious position to advance liberal causes. --Brent Baker


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