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CyberAlert -- 07/09/2002 -- Bush "'Partner-in-Chief' With Big Business"

Bush "'Partner-in-Chief' With Big Business"; Hunt: Patriotism "the Last Refuge of Scoundrels"; ABC & CBS: Cars Cause Global Warming; Bush "Failed Miserably" on Conservation

1) CBS's Wyatt Andrews snidely adopted liberal spin Monday night in describing President Bush as "the same President who, for most of his term, has been 'partner-in-chief' with big business." ABC's Claire Shipman heralded how the administration "has a decidedly pro-business stance on tax issues and regulatory issues" so "people are now starting to raise questions about President Bush's role on the board of directors of one energy company, Harken."

2) During a CNN interview with Bob Dole, Al Hunt let loose with his personal vindictiveness toward Newt Gingrich for daring to criticize the left-wing policies espoused by George McGovern's political allies. Hunt scolded: "Like you, he was one of the genuine heroes of World War II. Yet some critics like Newt Gingrich have lambasted McGovern Democrats as symbolizing a lack of patriotism or anti-Americanism. Is patriotism too often, as Samuel Johnson famously said, the last refuge of scoundrels?"

3) The contention that fossil-fuel burning is causing global warming is in hot dispute in the scientific community, but not at ABC News or CBS News which announced as fact last week that car emissions are exacerbating global warming. Peter Jennings asserted: "Cars emit an estimated 60 percent of California's greenhouse gases." CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell argued: "Car crazy California has seized the initiative from Capitol Hill when it comes to curbing auto emissions to fight global warming."

4) Tom Friedman of the New York Times is still upset that Bush has made the U.S. bad "global citizens" for not adopting the Kyoto Protocols: "When we tell the world, 'We couldn't care less about Kyoto, but we need you for our war on terrorism and sign up here,' people say, 'Wait a minute.'" Friedman scolded Bush for having "failed miserably at tapping" the American people's energy "for a great national project," namely, energy conservation.


1

CBS's Wyatt Andrews snidely adopted liberal spin Monday night in stating as fact that "the same President who, for most of his term, has been 'partner-in-chief' with big business, now wants to recast himself as the toughest cop on the street."

Over on ABC's World News Tonight, Claire Shipman heralded how the administration "has a decidedly pro-business stance on tax issues and regulatory issues" so "people are now starting to raise questions about President Bush's role on the board of directors of one energy company, Harken. And at the same time, the SEC is looking at another energy company, Halliburton, which Vice President Dick Cheney used to run. Now, needless to say, this has the Democrats salivating. They have an attack ad ready to go on the air tomorrow."

And, once again, when the media's favorite Senator speaks, at least some reporters jump. Jennings trumpeted how "a lot of people, including a Republican Senator today, John McCain, called for the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, appointed by Mr. Bush, to be removed."

All three broadcast network newscasts led Monday night, July 8, with Bush's plan to be announced Tuesday regarding corporate practices and his activities with Harken Energy stock back in the 1980s, the subject of several questions at a late Monday afternoon press conference in the White House briefing room.

-- Substitute CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts introduced the lead story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Back from a holiday break, President Bush and the Congress plunged head-on into a hot election year issue -- the corporate corruption that has seen stock prices plummet, investments wiped out, and retirement nest eggs crushed. Previewing a speech that he'll deliver on Wall Street tomorrow, the President vowed to punish the guilty and restore confidence in the financial markets. As for questions about his own corporate stock dealings, the President insisted there's no there there and accused Democrats of playing politics. Wyatt Andrews begins our coverage."

Andrews began with a loaded description: "The same President who, for most of his term, has been 'partner-in-chief' with big business, now wants to recast himself as the toughest cop on the street."
George W. Bush: "We have a duty to every worker, shareholder, and investor in America to punish the guilty, to close loopholes, and protect employee pensions. And we will."
Andrews: "The President's toughest proposals are aimed at companies and CEOs that lie to investors and the public on purpose..."

After hitting the highlights of the Bush proposal, Andrews noted: "Democrats, though, have signaled this 'get tough' image won't stand."
Clip of ad: "Remember the saying about foxes guarding the hen house-"
Andrews: "Raising a major election issue, Democrats in this TV ad are blaming the President and Vice President for permissive practices when they were in-" [The CBS tape jumped at this point] The ad refers to an $850,000 stock sale Mr. Bush executed when he was a director of Harken Energy just two months before the company announced a major loss, the SEC investigated but declined action. The Vice President's ex-company, Halliburton, faces a current SEC investigation on accounting practices while Mr. Cheney was in charge. The President brushed off the Harken flap as old news."
Bush: "You've got the documents. You've got the finding where the guy said there is no case here. And it's just, the way I view it, this is old-style politics."
Andrews concluded by coming full circle, back to how Bush only helps business: "But for all of the President's new tough talk on this, most of what he is proposing has the backing of big business, largely because big business is terrified at the loss of economic confidence. Cracking down on corporate misbehavior, in other words, right now is as pro-business as it gets."

-- Peter Jennings opened the July 8 World News Tonight: "Good evening, everyone. We're going to begin in Washington tonight. At the White House and in the Congress, the number one topic of the day was greed and corruption in American business, and dishonesty and standards in corporate America. Today the Congress held hearings on the scandal Worldcom -- we'll have more on that in a moment -- and the President held a news conference on the general subject. He is going to give a full-length speech on it tomorrow, but today many of the questions, it turned out, were about the President's own business past. He was asked on one case why he was slow in reporting some stock sales at a company called Harken Energy where he had been a director about a decade ago, and here was his answer:"
George W. Bush at the Monday afternoon press conference: "There was no malfeasance involved. This was an honest disagreement about accounting procedures. And the SEC took a good look at it and decided that the procedures used by the auditors and the accounting firm needed to, were not the right procedure in this particular case or the right ruling, and therefore asked Harkin to restate earnings, which it did."
Jennings: "The President also said that his White House will, in terms of corporate responsibility, vigorously pursue people who break the law, and he will have more to say about that at length in a speech he intends to give on Wall Street tomorrow. Mr. Bush as a businessman himself may be in a sensitive position when it comes to policing corporate America. You hear a little bit of it in that answer there, but ABC's Claire Shipman joins us from Washington tonight. I hope to answer another question. Why does the White House want to give a news conference today about a subject which the President intends to talk about at length tomorrow?"
Claire Shipman answered: "Peter, the timing was indeed odd, but White House officials want President Bush to stay on top of this issue because they believe he's vulnerable. And frankly, they didn't like some of the headlines they were seeing suggesting as much. Republicans are always accused of caring more about big business than the little guy, and this administration, in particular, has a decidedly pro-business stance on tax issues and regulatory issues. And as you just mentioned, people are now starting to raise questions about President Bush's role on the board of directors of one energy company, Harken. And at the same time, the SEC is looking at another energy company, Halliburton, which Vice President Dick Cheney used to run. Now, needless to say, this has the Democrats salivating. They have an attack ad ready to go on the air tomorrow."
Jennings: "We learned something even more pertinent than that today. A lot of people, including a Republican Senator today, John McCain, called for the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, appointed by Mr. Bush, to be removed."
Shipman: "Indeed. And what was interesting about that is it was President Bush's nemesis, John McCain, who called for Pitt's resignation, Harvey Pitt's resignation, in the New York Times today. Democrats have called for his resignation as well, saying he's too soft on the accounting industry. This, apparently, we're told, frustrated President Bush. He was determined to defend Mr. Pitt in public, which he did, Peter."

2

In the midst of a relatively gentle CNN interview with Bob Dole about patriotism on the occasion of the Independence Day celebration, the Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt let loose with his personal vindictiveness toward Newt Gingrich for daring to criticize the left-wing policies espoused by George McGovern's political allies.

In a pre-taped interview on Saturday's Capital Gang, Hunt proposed to Dole: "Senator, you had many friends who were political opposites. One was George McGovern. I recently read Stephen Ambrose's book, The Wild Blue. Lieutenant George McGovern in 1944, 1945 piloted 24 hazardous B-4 missions over Nazi Germany and Austria. Like you, he was one of the genuine heroes of World War II. Yet some critics like Newt Gingrich have lambasted McGovern Democrats as symbolizing a lack of patriotism or anti-Americanism. Is patriotism too often, as Samuel Johnson famously said, the last refuge of scoundrels?"

That's the way a liberal would look at it. A conservative might look at it from the point of view forwarded by Bob Novak on the same show last year when McGovern appeared in the interview slot: That during the 1972 presidential campaign the McGovern campaign and his political allies never touted his war service because they were ashamed of it.

Hunt soon added in the subsequent roundtable session on the July 6 program: "When it comes to character...I think he believes without question that George McGovern is far preferable to Newt Gingrich. So do I."

Hunt's zinger at Gingrich and conservatives followed a series of non-attack questions from the Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal:
-- "Senator, our first Fourth of July since 9/11. What's the state of patriotism in America today?"
-- "Patriotism is about esteem and love of country. Yet many of Americans' institutions, the Catholic Church, the Red Cross, big business, politics, are viewed with increasing cynicism. Is there a certain contradiction here?"
-- "The World War II memorial, which you've been so active and it's long overdue, but critics say, 'Yeah, but it shouldn't be in the Mall.' Your feeling about the memorial and its placement?"
-- "It used to be that military service was the requisite to run for President. Our last two presidents have not been military men. Have we reached the point where military service is irrelevant politically?"
-- "One other military question. Is there a danger that after the Gulf War and Kosovo and Afghanistan, that Americans are lulled into believing in military engagement as virtually risk-free or casualty-free?"

3

Global warming mantra. The contention that fossil-fuel burning is causing global warming is in hot dispute in the scientific community, but not at ABC News or CBS News which announced as fact last week that car emissions are exacerbating global warming.

Peter Jennings announced on the July 2 World News Tonight: "California's state assembly has passed legislation that would force the car manufacturers to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It will be the first law to address the impact of a vehicle's exhaust on global warming. Cars emit an estimated 60 percent of California's greenhouse gases."

On Saturday night, while ABC was featuring a story about how global warming is melting glaciers, CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell set up a story: "Car crazy California has seized the initiative from Capitol Hill when it comes to curbing auto emissions to fight global warming."

Reporter Bill Whitaker soon relayed as fact beyond dispute: "Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are believed responsible for climate warming. Emissions from cars and light trucks account for 40% of the greenhouse gases produced in California."

Whitaker, possibly disappointed, soon noted that the new rules don't "mean sport utility vehicles will disappear anytime soon if ever. Automakers have plenty of time to adjust, the new emission standards wouldn't go into effect until the 2009 car models." Whitaker went on to tout a woman who likes her hybrid car.

Mitchell introduced the July 6 CBS Evening News story checked against a transcript by the MRC's Brian Boyd: "Car crazy California has seized the initiative from Capitol Hill when it comes to curbing auto emissions to fight global warming. Bill Whitaker has more on the bill that has the auto industry fuming."

Bill Whitaker began his one-sided story: "Declining snowpacks, rising ocean levels, all signs of global warming say scientists and now California legislators. To curb it, this week they passed the country's first law restricting greenhouse gas emissions from cars."
Nancy Ryan, Environmental Defense: "We're not just regulating the conventional pollutants, we're regulating the global warming gases that are contributing to the greenhouse gas problem."
Whitaker: "Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are believed responsible for climate warming. Emissions from cars and light trucks account for 40% of the greenhouse gases produced in California. If signed into law the new standards would force car makers to produce more fuel efficient models that pollute less."
Fran Pavley, State Assemblywoman (D): "We figured if California passed this bill, we would not stay as the only state that required this new kind of technology."
Whitaker: "And that say automakers is the problem. To meet new standards for California, the nation's largest car market, would require the redesign of all models. Leaving consumers nationwide with fewer choices."
Gloria Bergquist, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: "It's very likely that vehicles will be smaller, lighter, less powerful, fewer options, more expensive and some popular models may very well be eliminated for sale in California."
Whitaker: "This doesn't mean sport utility vehicles will disappear anytime soon if ever. Automakers have plenty of time to adjust, the new emission standards wouldn't go into effect until the 2009 car models. For some drivers the future is now. In California, Francis Anderton owns a hybrid car which combines gas and electric engines producing far less carbon dioxide. She gets 50 miles to the gallon."
Frances Anderton, hybrid car owner: "I refill with gas once or maybe twice a month. I almost forget sometimes I need to go to the gas station."
Whitaker: "Hybrid technology is one pollution solution and production slowly is rising."
Anderton: "I think, it's the most fantastic car."
Whitaker concluded: "Governor Davis is likely to sign the bill. Environmentalists hope other states will follow suit, and automakers are pledging to fight."

That same night, ABC viewers heard reporter Ned Potter, who never noted how many scientists credit natural temperature variations for melting glaciers, declare as fact that global warming is to blame with the clear implication it is not a natural event.

World News Tonight/Saturday anchor Bob Woodruff set up the July 6 story as transcribed by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson: "Finally, the lake that wasn't there a year ago. High in the Italian Alps this week, engineers are about to drain a 34-acre lake that has formed because a giant glacier is melting. It's a shrinking act in a much larger drama. Here's ABC's Ned Potter on a world-wide melt down."

Potter began: "The local mayor called it 'the fleeting lake' when it first appeared last fall because it looked like a puddle that would soon dry up. But as the Belvedere Glacier melted, the lake grew large enough in just the last two weeks that Italian authorities feared it would flood a nearby town of 700. So now they're installing hoses and pumps to drain the water. 'The situation is not as serious as one may assume,' says this engineer."
David Rind, NASA: "However, this particular glacier, the fact that it's melting is consistent with what's happening all around the world."
Potter: "David Rind, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, says glaciers that had been stable for 10,000 years are now receding, one more sign of global warming. Look at this one in Iceland seen by satellite as its edges melted from 1997 to the year 2000. And visit Glacier National Park in Montana, which had 150 glaciers a century ago. Now, it's down to 37."
Narrator from an old black and white documentary: "Kilimanjaro, resplendent in eternal snows, crowns the African continent."
Potter picked up: "It turns out those snows are not so eternal. Mount Kilimanjaro has lost 82 percent of its ice cap in the last 90 years."
Rind: "A glacier is an unambiguous signal that something has changed, and in particular, since glaciers are melting all over, that the globe really is warming up."
Potter concluded from New York: "Meanwhile, back in the Italian Alps, officials concede their new lake is a bit less fleeting and the glacier is a bit less permanent than they had always thought."

4

Speaking of global warming, former New York Times reporter and current columnist Tom Friedman is still upset that President Bush has made the U.S. bad "global citizens" for not adopting the Kyoto Protocols: "When we tell the world, 'We couldn't care less about Kyoto, but we need you for our war on terrorism and sign up here,' people say, 'Wait a minute.' You know, Kyoto, global warming, environmental issues, these are really important for us. If we are going to be successful in this war on terrorism, we darn well better be perceived and be, indeed, the best global citizens we can be."

Friedman's advocacy of signing Kyoto came on Tim Russert's CNBC show in the midst of Friedman scolding President Bush for having "failed miserably at tapping" the American people's energy "for a great national project." Naturally, a liberal quest: "To me, that national project would have been real energy conservation, a real move toward greater energy independence that not only would make us safer by de-linking us from the vulnerabilities of this part of the world, but, Tim, would have made us look like better global citizens."

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens caught this exchange on the June 29 Tim Russert show on CNBC:

Russert: "You do believe, however, the President should ask more of us as citizens."
Tom Friedman: "Absolutely."
Russert: "Talk about that."
Friedman: "Well, you know, I believed from the very beginning that Americans, this was a hugely important event, September 11th, the biggest event in, in the lives of many of us, I believe, of, of our generation. And for journalists, it was our Watergate moment. For Americans, it was their World War II moment. And I think people truly wanted to be mobilized, to be asked by the president to contribute to this war effort in some way or in any way that they could, whether through national service or some other way. I believe the President failed, and failed miserably, at tapping all of that energy for a great national project. To me, that national project would have been real energy conservation, a real move toward greater energy independence that not only would make us safer by de-linking us from the vulnerabilities of this part of the world, but, Tim, would have made us look like better global citizens. When we tell the world, 'We couldn't care less about Kyoto, but we need you for our war on terrorism and sign up here,' people say, 'Wait a minute.' You know, Kyoto, global warming, environmental issues, these are really important for us. If we are going to be successful in this war on terrorism, we darn well better be perceived and be, indeed, the best global citizens we can be.
"And I believe we've squandered that opportunity, and in the end, it makes us more vulnerable by continuing to make us vulnerable to the energy gluttony that we've hooked ourselves on and the energy coming from these countries. But it's made us more vulnerable because fewer people around the world, at the end of the day, are going to want to work from us, work with us, excuse me, if our attitude is, you know, 'You're going to have to fight our war, but your issues, the environment, the world, we're not interested.'"

Of course, it didn't occur to Friedman that not enforcing Kyoto rules will save Europe from the inevitable disastrous economic consequences. -- Brent Baker


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