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CyberAlert -- 05/01/2001 -- Bush Caused "Permanent Damage"

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Bush Caused "Permanent Damage"; Daschle Wants to Poison Kids Too; Missile Defense "Feared and Reviled"; Media "Sucking Up" to Bush

1) Without contradiction, NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Monday night featured a left-winger who made the preposterous claim that in its arsenic decision "the Bush administration is really risking millions of lives by not implementing the new standards." Instead, Mitchell focused on how "Republicans worry" about "the more permanent damage to the environment" Bush has caused.

2) "What is it about poisoning the nation's children that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle enjoys?" National Review Editor Rich Lowry asked in employing the media's overheated rhetoric as he pointed out how last year Daschle voted to give the EPA "more time to implement a new rule on arsenic in drinking water." FNC's Brit Hume picked up on Lowry's disclosure.

3) Tom Brokaw on Bush's missile defense proposal: "This is a concept that's at once feared and reviled, from Beijing to Moscow, from within Washington, D.C. to European capitals."

4) Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief Jim Warren complained after Saturday's White House Correspondents Association Dinner: "It was the perfect example of all the sucking up to Bush that's been going on every day in this town since he was elected." Speaking of sucking up, with a wax Bush figure "many of the women took the opportunity to position themselves so they could compromise Bush in Clinton-esque ways."

5) Los Angeles Times television critic Howard Rosenberg relied on a religious proponent of Armageddon as a media bias source and evaluated Bush coverage by watching CBS's This Morning, a show cancelled long before Bush took office.


1

NBC News provided a forum Monday night for unlabeled left wing environmentalists to denounce President Bush's environmental policies, but in presenting a distorted story the network deserved a lower grade than the ones liberal activists assigned to Bush. NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw set up the review of Bush's environmental record by declaring, without any consideration for conservative environmental groups, that "environmentalists...take a dim view of President Bush's first one hundred days in office."

Reporter Andrea Mitchell, in a piece also aired on MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams, relayed how "Bush's decision to suspend and probably relax new standards Bill Clinton set for arsenic in water outrages environmentalists." FNC's David Shuster reported last Friday, as detailed in the April 30 CyberAlert, that the Clinton administration projected their lower arsenic level would save only 28 lives per year, but Mitchell did not challenge an environmental extremist who made the preposterous claim that "the Bush administration is really risking millions of lives by not implementing the new standards." Instead, Mitchell found a "past supporter" of Bush's who has decided that "his policy is bad." She concluded by relating how some "Republicans worry Bush may have already lost pro-environment Republicans and independents," but she ominously added, that's "to say nothing...of the more permanent damage to the environment."

NBC tied its story to Vice President Cheney's speech in Toronto previewing the administration's energy policy plan to soon be announced, an event both ABC's World News Tonight and, surprisingly, the CBS Evening News, managed to cover in an unbiased manner. Both ran pieces (ABC's by Terry Moran and CBS's by John Roberts) Monday night which relayed Cheney's main points and featured a critical soundbite from a liberal environmentalist.

On the April 30 NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw used Cheney to segue to Mitchell's distorted report: "Vice President Cheney gave a preview of the administration's energy policy today, saying more production, not conservation, is the answer to problems such as the energy crisis in California. And he also said that one new power plant will needed to be added each week for the next twenty years to meet the rising demand. That probably will not sit well with many environmentalists who take a dim view of President Bush's first one hundred days in office."

Mitchell began her review with the media's favorite subject: "Albuquerque, New Mexico: rich in arsenic and ground zero for the battle over the Bush environmental record. Here arsenic seeps naturally from the rocks into the water supply. Bush's decision to suspend and probably relax new standards Bill Clinton set for arsenic in water outrages environmentalists."
Jeanne Bassett, New Mexico Public Interest Research Group: "The Bush administration is really risking millions of lives by not implementing the new standards."
Mitchell: "No one questions that arsenic causes cancer, but Bush wants proof that the new limit needs to be as low as Clinton ordered. Albuquerque's Mayor agrees."
Viewers then heard from Mayor Jim Baca (D) who did not make any point about safety or science, just cost: "It would cost us $150 million a year and double the water rates for the citizens of the city."

Having failed to note how Clinton's rule would not have gone into effect until 2006 and without raising any question about the soundness of the science, Mitchell only hinted at how Clinton didn't get around to it until his last week in office: "Arsenic only the best known in a series of Bush steps reversing last-minute Clinton environmental rules."
Robert Kennedy. Jr., Natural Resources Defense Council: "His record is one of the worst of any President's in our history, in modern history."
Mitchell: "During the campaign Bush sounded like an environmentalist."
Bush, June 1, 2000: "It's our duty to use the lands well, and sometimes not use them at all."
Without shame Mitchell evaluated Bush from the liberal environmentalist scorecard: "And early on he upholds Clinton restrictions on diesel fuel pollution, but since then Bush suspends a ban on new roads in national forests, proposes canceling new mining rules, reconsiders Clinton wilderness designations, considers opening the Arctic wilderness to oil drilling, reneges on a campaign promise to lower carbon dioxide emissions and now is about to cancel a plan to save endangered grizzlies by re-introducing them to wilderness areas out West, a concession to Idaho's Governor. Bush's argument for all his decisions:"
Bush, April 24: "We're going to make decisions based on sound science, not some environmental fad."
Mitchell countered: "Even this past supporter says, overall, his policy is bad."
Theodore Roosevelt IV, League of Conservation Voters: "I'd probably give him a C-/D+ right now."
Mitchell concluded: "The political fallout in the polls, dramatic. So lately, damage control. Bush approves stricter monitoring of lead, a treaty restricting toxic chemicals, wetlands protection. But concerned Republicans worry Bush may have already lost pro-environment Republicans and independents, voters crucial to the success of his presidency. To say nothing, they say, of the more permanent damage to the environment."

Come on, nothing Bush has decided has yet gone into effect or changed any condition that would exist if Gore had taken office on January 20, so could not possibly have in any way "have already" caused "more permanent damage to the environment." NBC News has embarrassed itself by becoming a conduit for heated rhetoric from liberal political activists without any reality check.

Check out item #2 below for Democratic hypocrisy on arsenic which NBC naturally skipped.

2

"What is it about poisoning the nation's children that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle enjoys?" National Review Editor Rich Lowry asked in employing the media's overheated rhetoric as he pointed out how "Daschle was one of 18 Democratic Senators in October 2000 who voted to give the Environmental Protection Agency more time to implement a new rule on arsenic in drinking water."

Monday night FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume picked up on the bit of liberal hypocrisy otherwise ignored by the networks in gleefully relaying Democratic condemnation of Bush's decision to further evaluate Clinton's rule to lower arsenic levels in five years. Hume noted during his "Grapevine" segment:
"It turns out that none other than Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle was among 18 in his party who voted last October to postpone the effective date of new arsenic regulations from January until late June of this year. But after the Bush administration delayed the date Daschle has been complaining that, quote, 'now we have to fear arsenic in our drinking water.'"

An excerpt from Lowry's April 27 piece for National Review Online:

Daschle's Love Affair with Arsenic

What is it about poisoning the nation's children that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle enjoys?

Daschle was one of 18 Democratic senators in October 2000 who voted to give the Environmental Protection Agency more time to implement a new rule on arsenic in drinking water. Barbara Boxer had offered an amendment to the VA-HUD appropriations bill that would have forced the EPA to finalize its new rule by January 1st, 2001, instead of giving it until June 22, 2001.

If one accepts the terms in which Democrats have attacked Bush on arsenic recently, the Boxer amendment would have meant six fewer months for innocent Americans to drink corrupted and dangerous water. Yet, 18 Democrats -- 42 percent of the caucus -- voted against it.

Yes, there were procedural reasons for the Democrats to oppose the amendment -- any changes might have killed a House-Senate deal -- but what are such considerations when the nation's health is at risk? And 25 Democrats voted for Boxer.

Of course, there were substantive reasons as well to oppose the Boxer amendment, reasons that will sound familiar to defenders of the original Bush arsenic decision. Cut to an account of the debate produced at the time by the Republican Policy Committee:

"In 1996, Congress set a schedule under which the EPA was to update the arsenic standard for drinking water. The EPA is behind schedule in developing that rule. It is currently required to issue its final rule by January 1, 2001, but it says it will not be ready until April or May, 2001. It has not had time to evaluate the concerns that have been expressed about the proposed rule it issued this summer (6 months behind schedule). Many small communities are especially worried about that proposal because, if it were implemented, it would prove prohibitively expensive for their customers. For instance, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality found that the cost of water for residents in the Heartland Mobile Home Park would be $230 per month per customer under this proposed rule. It is very likely that in some areas this rule would just end town water service and people would drill their own wells, and end up drinking water that was much less safe for them."....

END Excerpt

To read all of Lowry's piece, go to:
http://www.nationalreview.com/lowry/lowry042701.shtml

3

The environment wasn't the only topic on which NBC Nightly News offered a hostile reception to President Bush's conservative policies on Monday evening. Previewing Bush's expected Tuesday speech on missile defense, anchor Tom Brokaw stressed how it's an idea which is simultaneously "feared and reviled."

Brokaw announced on the April 30 program: "President Bush is preparing a major speech on another controversial space program, the so-called missile defense shield designed to shoot down incoming missiles in space. This is a concept that's at once feared and reviled, from Beijing to Moscow, from within Washington, D.C. to European capitals."

And, apparently, from within NBC News.

4

The Washington press corps is being too nice to President Bush, complained Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief Jim Warren after Saturday's White House Correspondents Association Dinner. Warren complained to Inside.com: "It was the perfect example of all the sucking up to Bush that's been going on every day in this town since he was elected." He lamented how "we've made a virtue out of his shortcomings."

Jim Romenesko's MediaNews, http://www.poynter.org/medianews/, highlighted the Inside.com report from David Carr which carried the heading, "White House Correspondents Dinner: Pushing Through the Existential Gloom of a Post-Clinton Era; They came, they bloviated, they cackled like loons, but this year's event and after-party demonstrated the brutal bereftness of a Bill-less Beltway."

Carr's piece ended:
"But it was all very much well intended -- a little too well intended for the taste of Jim Warren, Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune. 'It was the perfect example of all the sucking up to Bush that's been going on every day in this town since he was elected,' he said, working on a cigar of his own. 'I mean, c'mon, the comedian didn't even have the balls to take a single shot at Bush.'
"'We have been effectively emasculated,' he said. 'It's a natural tendency of people, including reporters, to want to be liked, and that, combined with some pretty impressive early discipline from the Bush people, means that he is having a great honeymoon. So far, we've made a virtue out of his shortcomings."

There might have been more anti-Bush comedy if the association had secured as its entertainment the Saturday Night Live performer who impersonates Bush instead of Darrell Hammond, who impersonates Gore and who used the dinner as a waning opportunity to make fun of Gore.

The paragraph preceding the two graphs quoted above, however, revealed at least some journalists and/or their quests enjoyed some bawdy anti-Bush humor at a post-dinner party, as Carr seemed to suggest some mock fellatio poses:
"The closest anybody has gotten to the 43rd President of the United States may have been the wax likeness of Bush imported for the Bloomberg party from Madame Tussaud's Times Square museum. Pictures with the life-size George were given away as party favors, and many of the women took the opportunity to position themselves so they could compromise Bush in Clinton-esque ways. I won't go into specifics because some of the posers were drunk as goats, but let's just say that the wax version of George W. is a pretty frisky guy. Not to be left out, Bill Press of CNN slipped a martini glass into the mannequin's outstretched hand before getting his shot."

To read all of Carr's piece, go to: http://www.inside.com/jcs/Story?article_id=29657&pod_id=7

5

Whether the media are biased for or against George Bush, the television critic for the nation's fourth largest circulation paper would have no idea since he relied on a religious expert on Armageddon as a media bias source and evaluated Bush coverage by watching CBS's This Morning, a show cancelled long before Bush took office.

In an April 30 piece for the Los Angeles Times, the paper's TV critic, Howard Rosenberg, cited an Armageddon promoter's claim about media bias against Bush and then sarcastically denigrated the concept by reviewing TV coverage on one single morning which was two mornings after the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows aired their interviews with Bush, the kind of content any credible reviewer would have included in any assessment.

The MRC's Rich Noyes alerted me to the column highlighted by Jim Romenesko's MediaNews. An excerpt from Rosenberg's diatribe:

It's 100-day scorecard time for the president and those who are determined to destroy him.

That would be the leftist media. You know, the anti-capitalist Marxist revolutionaries working for companies owned by some of the biggest, richest corporations in the U.S.

Yup, us again. We're all in it together, pinking up the news and conspiring as a group to undermine George W. Bush and the democratic nation he was elected to serve. Caring only about pushing our subversive agenda, we've given him 100 days of grief.

I learned this Thursday night from that unimpeachable source, Hal Lindsey, author of "The Late Great Planet Earth" and other books preaching an Armageddon theology....

He does it in a smooth, low-key, scholarly manner, most visibly during "International Intelligence Briefing," his weekly half-hour on the Santa Ana-based Trinity Broadcasting Network....

He reserved his strongest words about the media, though, for their reporting on domestic matters, charging them with "nonstop negative coverage" of Bush. Mentioning the president's high job-approval ratings in the polls, he added: "It seems the harder the press tries to make him look bad, the higher his ratings go."

Surely Lindsey would cite examples of the media huffing and puffing to make Bush "look bad." But he didn't, so I decided to find some myself Friday.

I went first to "CBS This Morning" and immediately discovered exactly the kind of insidious bias that Lindsey must have had in mind. By craftily filling much of its news hole with nonstop talk about "Survivor II," the program was leaving no room for the accomplishments of Bush, a de facto indictment of his performance in the White House.

Suspend excerpt

There is no program on CBS titled "CBS This Morning," an error I'm sure Rosenberg would make fun of if made by anyone claiming there is liberal bias since it would raise a question about how attentive they are about TV news content. CBS This Morning was replaced in October of 1999 by CBS's The Early Show.

Resume excerpt:

The situation was about as ugly on ABC's "Good Morning America," which spent so much time quizzing Barbara Walters about her interview that night with Denise Rich that Bush's own historic achievements were excluded.

I switched to NBC's "Today," where William Bennett, co-director of Empower America, was responding to Bush critics charging that the president had gone back on his campaign pledge and stiffed environmentalists. Bennett said: "Only from somebody who is the most biased toward the environment could you say George Bush has not been accommodating."

There it was, subtle yet devilish, an endorsement of Bush on NBC so ungrammatical that it was bound to rub off on the president and undermine his own credibility. Satan clearly had the left in his hip pocket.

Would CNN be as prejudiced against Bush? Would it ever. I was just in time for a story with Bush making fun of his own malapropisms while speaking at a literacy benefit in Houston. "In my sentences," he said, "I go where no man has gone before. The way I get it, I'm a boon to the language by coining new words." He mentioned one: "Misunderestimate."

Lindsey was right again. While pretending to make Bush look good, CNN was making Bush look bad by televising him making himself look bad when he was trying to look good.

Would the coverage be as malodorous on the Fox News Channel, which is owned by famously conservative Rupert Murdoch and boasts of reporting the news fairly, and letting "you decide"?

I clicked on in time to hear Bush's first 100 days being debated by a Democrat and a Republican, with the Fox host aggressively siding with the Republican, making it 2 to 1 for the president. There also was a promo for that evening's Fox assessment of Bush's first 100 days, three of four announced panelists being Elizabeth Dole, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Gary Bauer, former president of the Family Research Council....

END Excerpt

To read the entirety of Rosenberg's wacky reasoning, go to: http://www.latimes.com/print/calendar/20010430/t000036395.html

For a more reasoned look at TV network hostility to Bush's conservative policies, with actual evidence cited, refer back to #1 above or any CyberAlert this year.

-- Brent Baker


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