CyberAlert -- 05/31/2001 -- Bush Parks "Stunt" Denounced
Bush Parks "Stunt" Denounced; Humans Over Park "Residents"; Mea Culpa on Price Caps; "Mockery of Pledge to Leave No Child Behind"
1) Liberal environmentalists and the networks pounced on Bush's parks policy. ABC, CBS and NBC highlighted how one group gave him a "D." ABC's John Cochran relayed how "groups call Mr. Bush's attempt to look green a 'stunt'" while Judy Muller complained parks spending is aimed at "visitors...rather than the residents," meaning animals. NBC's Tom Brokaw claimed Bush's environmental record "was one of the issues that cost him control of the Senate last week."
4) Emotion over reason. ABC's morning team was thrilled with the Supreme Court ruling on golfer Casey Martin. Charles Gibson proclaimed he "should ride and be able to -- it's the right decision." Elizabeth Vargas agreed: "It's good for Martin. A long victory, a long fight."
5) The same day the New York Times front page reported that the House passed Bush's education bill with a 29 percent spending hike, the editorial page under the paper's soon-to-be top editor blasted: "Mr. Bush's rejection of increased education spending in the budget has made a mockery of his pledge to 'leave no child behind.'"
All three pointed out how one group gave Bush a "D" grade for his oversight of parks and ABC and CBS listed all of Bush's policies which offend "conservationists."
ABC's John Cochran noted how environmental "groups call Mr. Bush's attempt to look green a 'stunt.'" In a soundbite an activist complained about how Bush is "emasculating our environmental laws." After listing Bush's awful policies, Cochran then measured Bush's commitment on a liberal scale: "On the other hand, while the President has not launched any major environmental initiatives, he is strictly enforcing many measures from the Clinton administration."
Of course, none of the networks gave a second of consideration to any conservative who might be upset that Bush is going too far in accepting Clinton's decisions.
ABC wasn't even satisfied with the $5 billion for parks. In a one-sided piece reporter Judy Muller focused on complaints that the money will go to infrastructure instead of to preserving "natural resources" and protecting species. "At the same time," she snidely added, "the administration is thinking of overturning controls on snowmobiles, which increase noise and air pollution in Yellowstone." She concluded from the point of view of bears: "Even the President's most vocal critics admit that some money is better than none, even if it is aimed at visitors to the park rather than the residents."
Over on CBS, John Roberts relayed how "environmental groups are giving the President a 'D' for his treatment of national parks. For every proposal he has made to preserve the great forests and wilderness areas, they say, he has made another that could threaten them."
NBC anchor Tom Brokaw tied Bush's record to the Jeffords defection, as if he were more liberal on the environment Jeffords would not have bolted: "President Bush has a political problem... when it comes to the environment. It was one of the issues that cost him control of the Senate last week."
Reporter Campbell Brown stressed how "the real outrage is over the President's energy plan and its emphasis on increasing supplies through more drilling and opening up protected areas for exploration." She concluded by endorsing the perspective that it is irrational to see Bush as an environmentalist: "Advisers insist the President is here today because he's truly committed to the environment. A tough sell, many say, but one Bush will keep trying to make."
Now, more detail on these May 30 stories which led the ABC and NBC evening shows:
-- ABC World News Tonight. Anchor Peter
Jennings opened his broadcast, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
John Cochran: "Peter, the President was
tired of taking it on the chin from environmentalists, so he came to this
ancient forest to keep a campaign promise. Mr. Bush announced he is
releasing a backlog of $5 billion in maintenance funds for national parks,
including this one. And he will expand air quality rules to protect these
Next, Judy Muller looked at the dire state of
national parks caused by increased congestion and no increased funding
over the years. She explained how Bush will have $5 billion spent over the
next five years to improve "roads, buildings and sewers" which
"are in disrepair." She cautioned, "the Bush administration
pledge is aimed at repairing that damage, but conservation groups are
-- CBS Evening News. John Roberts began his
report: "All the way down to the color of his jacket, President Bush
was thinking green today. Walking amongst the giant trees in Sequoia
National Park, he pledged to fund badly-needed upgrades for the national
After the park ranger complained about how the
air looks like "an aerial sewer," Roberts proceeded to outline
the liberal attack: "Even with his promise to protect the world's
largest tree and other national treasures, environmental groups are giving
the President a 'D' for his treatment of national parks. For every
proposal he has made to preserve the great forests and wilderness areas,
they say, he has made another that could threaten them."
Substitute anchor Ed Bradley continued the "Big Business" theme as he introduced the next story: "And there were more complaints today that the President favors big business over consumers in energy-short California."
-- NBC Nightly News. Anchor Tom Brokaw opened the show: "Good evening. President Bush has a political problem. Perhaps a significant political problem when it comes to the environment. It was one of the issues that cost him control of the Senate last week and so now he's trying to stop the erosion. A recent national poll asked the question: 'Is the President committed to protecting the environment?' It was yes 39 percent, no 47 percent. Tonight, NBC's Campbell Brown with the President in California where he's trying to undo the damage."
Brown asserted: "Under the soaring trees of California's Sequoia National Park, President Bush tries to re-cast himself as a protector of the environment, sending a message to his harshest critics, the environmental community, to give his administration a chance."
Brown actually managed to run two Bush clips,
one about success through all seeking solutions and the other about how it
is the federal government's responsibility to be good stewards of the
land, as she outlined his two proposals. Then she caught up with
opponents: "But these steps are hardly enough to appease
environmentalists, who say events like today's and Bush's sunny
rhetoric are only meant to distract attention from other environmentally
Introducing NBC's next story, Brokaw conceded other factors beside laws can impact the environment: "One of the charges from environmentalists, that the Bush administration is simply too protective of Big Oil and not tough enough on Detroit to produce more energy-efficient vehicles. In fact, the market may be doing just that."
Indeed, the subsequent story reported how SUV sales are down 10 percent this year because of fears of high gas prices, so consumers are switching to more fuel-efficient "cross-over vehicles" like the Lexis RX 300 and Ford Escape.
But the concept of free-market incentives to protect the environment was not touched in any of the stories on Bush's proposals as none of the networks could see beyond the usual government regulatory schemes favored by left-wing professional environmental groups.
For the record, since I don't see a left-right split on the topic, ABC and NBC on Wednesday night, but not CBS, picked up on a criminal investigation of First Daughter Jenna Bush who is, unlike Chelsea Clinton in her father's first term, a legal adult.
On the May 30 World News Tonight, Peter Jennings briefly announced: "The President's daughter has had another brush with the law, about drinking underage. Police are investigating if Jenna Bush ordered a drink with someone else's ID."
NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw reported: "And tonight the perils and the promise of being a presidential offspring. President and Mrs. Bush, understandably, want their twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, to have as much privacy as possible during their college years and for the most part their wishes have been honored, but sometimes reality gets in the way of best intentions. Tonight, in Austin, Texas police say they're investigating a complaint that Jenna tried to buy a drink with an illegal ID and her sister Barbara was with her. Last month Jenna, who's 19-years-old, was ticketed for underaged beer drinking. The White House says this is a private family matter."
On the promise side Brokaw proceeded to note how Chelsea Clinton may be headed to Oxford, just like her father.
An overnight transformation as Fortune's Jeff Birnbaum realized that "price caps are definitely the wrong answer" for electricity shortages in California. As quoted in the May 30 CyberAlert, on the May 29 Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, the Washington Bureau Chief of Fortune magazine argued that price caps "might help the blackouts through this summer," contending that with them "you may also have a chance of having more" electricity available.
Wednesday night, May 30, in the roundtable
portion of the same show Birnbaum expressed a mea culpa: "I consulted
my Economics 101 and I made a mistake last night when I spoke."
If only liberal reporters could so quickly go through such a realization on the many other liberal positions they believe.
Emotion over reason. On Wednesday morning, after golfer Casey Martin was interviewed on Good Morning America and ABC's Elizabeth Vargas raised the concern that his case might open a Pandora's box of lawsuits to allow those who claim a disability to change the rules of a sport, Charles Gibson made clear he was pleased with the decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act required the PGA to change its rules to let Martin, who suffers from a degenerative circulatory condition, to walk between holes.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught this exchange after the May 30 interview:
Vargas: "Of course critics now fear that
this will open a Pandora's box of litigation. Justice Scalia in the
dissent said that he envisioned parents of Little Leaguers with Attention
Deficit Disorder suing to get four strikes instead of three because their
child might be at a disadvantage."
A fresh shot from the left, which contradicted his own newspaper's reporting, from soon-to-be New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines?
As highlighted by the "Scrapbook" page in the June 5 Weekly Standard, last week Mickey Kaus of http://www.kausfiles.com/ caught this contrast in the New York Times over Bush's education bill:
"The House voted to approve...the legislation, which calls for a 29 percent increase in spending to $24 billion for next year. The measure was written by Republicans and Democrats using President Bush's plan as a blueprint...." -- New York Times, page A1, May 24.
"Mr. Bush's rejection of increased education spending in the budget has made a mockery of his pledge to 'leave no child behind'...." -- Howell Raines' New York Times editorial page, same day.
Raines is presently the editor of the editorial page.
Kaus quipped: "It's lucky the guy who produces that sort of unthinking hackneyed propaganda isn't taking over the whole paper!"
But, of course, he is set to do just that this September.
For more about Raines and his Reagan-hating
record, refer back to the May 22 CyberAlert, which detailed how he once complained that "reporting on President Reagan's
success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white,
and healthy -- saddened me." During a TV interview he whined:
"The Reagan years oppressed me..." Go to:
Refreshing to see that Raines' left-wing rhetoric is seen as "unthinking hackneyed propaganda" even by a former Newsweek reporter like Kaus. -- Brent Baker
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