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CyberAlert -- 06/12/2001 -- "Arrogance on Global Warming"

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"Arrogance on Global Warming"; Reality: "No Consensus" on Warming; Goldberg Shunned by Rather; "No...Publication of the Left" in U.S.

1) "The President has already managed to mispronounce the Spanish Prime Minister's name," Peter Jennings noted before asking about European demands on global warming. CBS's John Roberts relayed how "Europeans have been stunned by what they see as American arrogance on global warming."

2) Dan Rather declared as fact: "Just last week, a new White House study said yes, man-made pollution is heating up the planet." But in Monday's Wall Street Journal, Richard Lindzen, a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel, asserted the report made clear "there is no consensus...about long-term climate trends and what causes them."

3) ABC's World News Tonight relayed how a delegate to the Council of Europe castigated the U.S. for not paying as "much respect to human rights and human dignity as Europeans do." But as George Will noted on This Week, Europe's "contribution to politics in the last century was Lenin, Stalin, Franco, Hitler and Mussolini."

4) On C-SPAN, former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg disclosed that since taking CBS to task for liberal bias in 1996, Dan Rather has "never spoken to me." Time-Warner magazines chief Norman Pearlstine dismissed as "ridiculous" and "absurd" Goldberg's idea that anyone who considers the New York Times editorial page to be "middle of the road...doesn't have a clue." Pearlstine insisted: "There is no active, aggressive, important publication of the left in America."


>>> Now online, the June 11 Notable Quotables, the MRC's bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Amongst the topic headings: "Principled Jim Jeffords...Versus Abusive Conservatives"; "Excuse To Push GOP Left"; "Insisting Jeffords Is 'Moderate'"; "Of Course There's A Bias...But Tom & Dan Won't Admit It"; "Cheering Federal Intrusion"; " It's Just Pennies To Jennings"; "No Bias, Just Praise For McCain" and "More Shameful Than Bill's Cigar?"
Plus, now posted thanks to the MRC's Mez Djouadi, an online exclusive: "NQ Extra," a bunch more quotes which were NQ-worthy but that we couldn't squeeze into the printed issue. To access the regular issue as well as the NQ Extra, go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/nq/2001/nq20010611.html
For the Adobe Acrobat PDF of the NQ issue in the format seen by snail mail subscribers, go to:
http://www.mrc.org/news/nq/2001/pdf/jun112001nq.pdf <<<

1

On the eve of President Bush's trip to Europe, CBS pushed Bush to follow the agenda of left-wing European leaders. ABC's Peter Jennings on Monday night gratuitously noted that "the President has already managed to mispronounce the Spanish Prime Minister's name," before asking about European reaction to Bush on global warming. John Cochran replied that Bush has not gone far enough as "the Europeans want mandatory controls on these greenhouse gasses believed to contribute to global warming." (Naturally, neither ABC or CBS pointed out how none of the industrialized European nations had ratified Kyoto.)

CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather declared as fact: "Just last week, a new White House study said yes, man-made pollution is heating up the planet." But, as one of the panelists on that study wrote Monday, "there is no consensus...about long-term climate trends and what causes them." (See item #2 below for details.)

John Roberts proceeded to relay how "Europeans have been stunned by what they see as American arrogance on global warming." He warned that "what they have seen so far has created an image here of a go-it-alone gunslinger willing to do anything to make sure that America gets its way." Roberts even found dissent amongst White House staff over Bush's Monday morning comments: "There was concern among some administration officials that the statement was long on promises, short on substance."

NBC Nightly News only ran a short item by anchor Tom Brokaw about Bush's then-upcoming trip.

-- ABC's World News Tonight, June 11. Peter Jennings announced: "President Bush leaves tonight on his first overseas trip as President. His first stop is Spain and ABC's John Cochran is there already. John, the President has already managed to mispronounce the Spanish Prime Minister's name, but there are several serious issues he has to face. Talk first briefly about the European attitude toward capital punishment."

Cochran explained the bad timing with McVeigh's death and how it set off protests. Cochran helpfully added: "No country can join the European Union if it permits capital punishment."

Jennings next prompted Cochran: "He's going to be hassled a lot about his positions on global warming."
Cochran: "Yes, but he tried to disarm his critics today by saying well I'm against global warming, I'm for research, I'm for voluntary compliance. That's not enough, however, Peter. The Europeans want mandatory controls on these greenhouse gasses believed to contribute to global warming. They're still very far apart."

-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather intoned: "President Bush is flying to Spain tonight, his first overseas trip since taking office. Topping his agenda are European concerns over global warming. Just last week, a new White House study said yes, man-made pollution is heating up the planet. And, as CBS's John Roberts reports from Madrid tonight, many in Europe want Mr. Bush to feel that heat."

Roberts began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "With protesters in Europe promising massive demonstrations against his environmental policies, all President Bush could offer today was a commitment to more research on the causes of global warming and technology to combat it."
Bush: "My administration is committed to a leadership role on the issue of climate change. We recognize our responsibility and will meet it at home, in our hemisphere and in the world."
Roberts: "Europeans have been stunned by what they see as American arrogance on global warming, Mr. Bush's decision to unilaterally abandon the Kyoto treaty to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. Environmentalists found nothing in today's announcement to celebrate."
David Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council: "A vague set of promises to do more research is not what we need to protect the planet. We need to start cutting global warming pollution today."
Roberts: "The White House felt compelled to say something about global warming before the President's first European visit, but sources tell CBS News there was concern among some administration officials that the statement was long on promises, short on substance. European leaders are willing to listen but are looking for action."
John Gummer, British Parliament Member: "If the research is seen as merely a pretext for avoiding action, then I think President Bush will not get the support of the European leaders."
Roberts concluded: "The Europeans will be watching President Bush this week for a commitment to cooperation, not just on global warming but other issues as well. What they have seen so far has created an image here of a go-it-alone gunslinger willing to do anything to make sure that America gets its way."

As if there's anything wrong with that.

2

While the networks, as shown again in item #1 above, continue to portray the National Academy of Sciences report as conclusively concluding that industry is fueling global warming, and thus releasing the media from any obligation to consider another point of view, a scientist on the panel undercut the media mantra.

In Monday's Wall Street Journal, Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT who was a member of the National Academy of Sciences panel, asserted the report made clear "there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them."

An excerpt from the June 11 piece titled, "The Press Gets It Wrong: Our report doesn't support the Kyoto treaty."

....As usual, far too much public attention was paid to the hastily prepared summary rather than to the body of the report. The summary began with a zinger -- that greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise, etc., before following with the necessary qualifications. For example, the full text noted that 20 years was too short a period for estimating long-term trends, but the summary forgot to mention this.

Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled. We are quite confident (1) that global mean temperature is about 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than it was a century ago; (2) that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have risen over the past two centuries; and (3) that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the earth (one of many, the most important being water vapor and clouds).

But -- and I cannot stress this enough -- we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future. That is to say, contrary to media impressions, agreement with the three basic statements tells us almost nothing relevant to policy discussions.

One reason for this uncertainty is that, as the report states, the climate is always changing; change is the norm. Two centuries ago, much of the Northern Hemisphere was emerging from a little ice age. A millennium ago, during the Middle Ages, the same region was in a warm period. Thirty years ago, we were concerned with global cooling....

We simply do not know what relation, if any, exists between global climate changes and water vapor, clouds, storms, hurricanes, and other factors, including regional climate changes, which are generally much larger than global changes and not correlated with them....

What we do is know that a doubling of carbon dioxide by itself would produce only a modest temperature increase of one degree Celsius. Larger projected increases depend on "amplification" of the carbon dioxide by more important, but poorly modeled, greenhouse gases, clouds and water vapor.

The press has frequently tied the existence of climate change to a need for Kyoto. The NAS panel did not address this question. My own view, consistent with the panel's work, is that the Kyoto Protocol would not result in a substantial reduction in global warming. Given the difficulties in significantly limiting levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, a more effective policy might well focus on other greenhouse substances whose potential for reducing global warming in a short time may be greater....

Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens....It is a reprehensible practice that corrodes our ability to make rational decisions. A fairer view of the science will show that there is still a vast amount of uncertainty -- far more than advocates of Kyoto would like to acknowledge -- and that the NAS report has hardly ended the debate. Nor was it meant to.

END Excerpt

For Lindzen's analysis in full, go to: http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=95000606

3

Americans have "less respect" for "human rights and human dignity" than nations which let Hitler and Mussolini come to power?

World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Charles Gibson introduced a June 9 story on European reaction to the impending Tim McVeigh execution by pointing out how "the United States and Japan are the only major industrialized nations to enforce the death penalty." In the subsequent story, ABC's Jim Wooten found that "Europeans who oppose capital punishment have little to say about McVeigh, leaving the impression that they don't see his case as a good way to argue theirs, though some can't resist a generic slap at America."
ABC then ran this soundbite from Renate Wohlwend, a delegate to the Council of Europe: "They do not pay so much respect to human rights and human dignity as Europeans do."

Earlier in the day, on ABC's own This Week, roundtable panelist George Will mocked such European superiority: "Twenty years ago, Europe was full of talk about the gun-toting Western American ignoramus who didn't know anything. I don't know about the rest of you, but where do we get off being lectured by Europe on our political culture when their principal contribution to politics in the last century was Lenin, Stalin, Franco, Hitler and Mussolini?"

4

In a C-SPAN appearance on Friday morning, former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg disclosed that since his 1996 op-ed taking CBS to task for liberal bias, Dan Rather has "never spoken to me" and neither has reporter Eric Engberg, whose story Goldberg had critiqued, who at the time "said something I can't repeat on this channel or any other."

Two weeks earlier on C-SPAN, Time-Warner magazines Editor-in-Chief Norman Pearlstine denigrated as "ridiculous" and "absurd" Goldberg's contention that anyone who considers the New York Times editorial page to be "middle of the road...doesn't have a clue" since "the Times is a newspaper that's taken the liberal side of every important social issue of our time." Pearlstine maintained: "The New York Times is middle of the road. There is no active, aggressive, important publication of the left in America."

Not counting Time magazine, I guess.

As Goldberg reacted: "'I rest my case, your honor.' If the New York Times isn't a liberal editorial page, I'm totally confused."

MRC intern Lindsay Welter took down portions of Goldberg's appearance on the June 8 edition of C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss his May 24 Wall Street Journal op-ed.

For an excerpt from Goldberg's WSJ op-ed about how the media elite assume liberal positions are mainstream and so "don't even know what liberal bias is," go to: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010525.asp

On C-SPAN Brian Lamb read aloud a portion of Goldberg's op-ed in which he had written: "In 1996 after I wrote about liberal bias on this very page, Dan was furious and during a phone conversation he indicated that picking The Wall Street Journal to air my views was especially appalling given the conservative views of the paper's editorial page. 'What do you consider the New York Times?' I asked him, since he had written op-eds for that paper. 'Middle of the road,' he said. I couldn't believe he was serious. The Times is a newspaper that has taken the liberal side of every important social issue of our time, which is fine with me. But if you see the New York Times editorial page as middle of the road, one thing is clear: You don't have a clue."

Lamb wondered: "Now did Dan Rather call you after that piece or did you call him?"
Goldberg: "No, I called him. What happened was, the day before the piece came out, I called three people. I called Dan Rather the anchorman, Andrew Heyward the President of CBS News and Eric Engberg....Dan was not happy at all. He was in Des Moines, Iowa covering the caucuses out there. Andrew Heyward, my close friend Andrew Hayward, let's just say went ballistic. And Eric Engberg listened to what I had to say, which was there's nothing personal, there's no attempt at all to hurt you. He had done a piece about the flat tax, which I will contend is a conservative idea, even though some liberals have, have adopted it. And it was just, it was just an editorial masquerading as straight news and that was the catalyst for the Wall Street Journal piece in 1996. And I called him, he listened to my entire explanation and then he said something I can't repeat, on this channel or any other channel, hung up the phone and two of the three of those people have never spoken to me since. Andrew Heyward is the only one who has."

Goldberg recalled how his 1996 op-ed had been prompted by a "hatchet job" by Eric Engberg in a CBS Evening News piece on Steve Forbes and his flat tax idea:
"I looked at this tape, and I said, 'how in the world did this get on their air?' I mean it's one thing for a reporter to go off the deep end, but his producer had to go along with it. They send the story from Washington to New York on a satellite and it comes down on a TV monitor in New York at the CBS Evening News headquarters. So at least three or four producers at that end saw the story. It didn't faze anybody. Dan Rather is the managing editor of the program, granted he was in Iowa that day, but it didn't phase him, well he wasn't in Iowa that day as a matter of fact, I'm sorry, he was in New York. It didn't phase him. And I said, 'this is insane.' And I had been arguing against media bias for about seven years, in-house, quietly, you never heard one word from me publicly. And each time I was dismissed with, 'Oh, yeah, that's a good point. Thanks.' And this time I said, 'you know what, I'm sorry.' I sat down and wrote an op-ed piece, I didn't think about the consequences or frankly worry about the consequences. I bought the big lie that if there's one institution in America it's the media that is for the free exchange of ideas. How wrong I was on that."

The February 1996 MediaWatch, then a monthly newsletter published by the MRC, reviewed Goldberg's piece. Here's a reprint of that article, headlined, "Reality Check for Eric Engberg: CBS Reporter Bernard Goldberg Charges Colleague, Media with Liberal Bias."

This month MediaWatch planned to include an article about CBS reporter Eric Engberg's February 8 CBS Evening News "Reality Check" attack on Steve Forbes' flat tax. But one of Engberg's colleagues beat us to it. In an unprecedented February 13 Wall Street Journal op-ed, CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg said that "Mr. Engberg's report set new standards for bias." Reaction was swift: CBS News President Andrew Heyward tagged the charge "absurd."

Goldberg began by observing that one reason fewer people are watching network news "is that our viewers simply don't trust us. And for good reason. The old argument that the networks and other 'media elites' have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it's hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don't sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we're going to slant the news. We don't have to. It comes naturally to most reporters."

Reciting the story, he noted that Engberg showed Forbes saying the "economy can grow twice as fast if we remove 'obstacles,' starting with the tax code. Mr. Forbes may be right or wrong about this, so Mr. Engberg lets us know which it is. 'Time Out!' he shouts in his signature style. 'Economists say nothing like that has ever actually happened.'"

Next, Engberg showed Forbes asserting "A flat tax would enable the economy to grow. That would mean more revenue for Washington." To that "Engberg tells the audience: 'That was called supply-side economics under President Reagan. Less taxes equal more revenue. It didn't work out that way.'" Engberg then allowed an economist from the Brookings Institution, which he failed to label as liberal, to predict the same thing would happen again.

Goldberg wondered: "But haven't other experts argued that we wound end up with 'hideous deficits' not because of the tax cut but because of increased spending?"

Engberg offered this snide hit: "OK, how about Forbes' number one wackiest flat tax promise?" In a clip, Forbes explained how "parents would have more time to spend with their children, and with each other." Goldberg queried, "can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a network news reporter calling Hillary Clinton's health care plan 'wacky?'" Engberg concluded: "The fact is, the flat tax is one giant untested theory. One economist suggested that before we risk putting it in, we ought to try it out someplace, like maybe Albania."

"Reality Check," Goldberg explained, "suggests the viewers are going to get the facts. And then they can make up their mind. As Mr. Engberg might put it: 'Time Out!' You'd have a better chance of getting the facts someplace else -- like Albania."

END Reprint from MediaWatch

A month later MediaWatch detailed how Goldberg was castigated and shunned for speaking out. An excerpt from the March 1996 MediaWatch:

...."It's such a wacky charge....I don't know what Bernie was driving at. It just sounds bizarre," Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer told The Washington Post. "To accuse Eric of liberal bias is absurd," sniffed CBS News President Andrew Heyward. "The test is not the names people call you or accusations by political activists inside or outside your own organization," Rather told the New York Post in an insult to Goldberg's professionalism, insisting "I am not going to be cowed by anybody's special political agenda."

USA Today's Peter Johnson reported March 11: "Some colleagues supported him privately. But many others stopped talking to him, dismissing him as dead wrong, an ingrate, a nut or all of the above. Mostly, the big chill set in. Not-so-coincidentally, none of his commentary segments on the News, 'Bernard Goldberg's America,' has aired since the day his piece came out."

Johnson concluded that CBS has decided to bully the messenger: "Goldberg has spent the past month lying low, hoping animus toward him would die down. It hasn't, and all signs around CBS News are that it will continue until Goldberg shows interest in eating a healthy serving of humble pie."

The March 13 New York Post reported that Goldberg apologized to Engberg and is sorry if he "hurt anyone's feelings." But Goldberg felt he had to go public since, as he explained to the Post's Josef Adalian, he "tried for years and years to discuss this issue," but was "met with varying degrees of 'Who cares?'"

END Excerpt from MediaWatch

At another point during Goldberg's appearance on C-SPAN, Lamb played a videotape from the May 24 Washington Journal of the reaction of Time-Warner magazines Editor-in-Chief Norman Pearlstine to Goldberg's surprise in his op-ed that Dan Rather considered the New York Times editorial page to be "middle of the road" while he saw the Wall Street Journal's as "conservative." Goldberg ended his paragraph, as quoted further above: "But if you see the New York Times editorial page as middle of the road, one thing is clear: You don't have a clue."

Pearlstine responded: "That's ridiculous. The New York Times is middle of the road. There is no active, aggressive, important publication of the left in America. And so as a consequence, the New York Times when compared to the Wall Street Journal's editorial page may be considered to the left of it. But to call the New York Times left wing is absurd."

Back live on June 8, Goldberg reacted to Pearlstine: "I didn't call it left wing, number one. So he's says it's ridiculous and absurd. The New York Times has endorsed, you know my first reaction is, that the only people who think that's liberal and absurd must be even further to the left than the New York Times editorial page. But if you endorse every major liberal position of the 20th and early 21st century, if you're against the death penalty, and I know some conservatives are against the death penalty, if you're for abortion rights, including late term abortion, if you're for affirmative action, if you're for, it you're against 'big' tax cuts, these are liberal positions. And, and, if Norman doesn't see these as liberal positions, I'm not going to call him names, but if he doesn't see these as liberal positions, this makes my case. I mean, I'm tempted to say, 'I rest my case, your honor.' If the New York Times isn't a liberal editorial page, I'm totally confused."

Case closed. And so much for the liberal claim that media management is packed with conservatives. -- Brent Baker


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