2. Skepticism on Global Warming Appalls Chris Matthews
3. Toobin: McCain on Global Warming 'Like Acknowledging Gravity'
4. Rove Not Being Devil 'Complicates World View' of Newsweek Editor
5. Stephanopoulos, Not Rove, NYT's 'Thinking Woman's Sex Symbol'
6. ABC Showcases Hapless Woman Who Skips Breakfast to Afford Gas
This was all too much for fellow guest host Pat Buchanan. One of the few conservatives on MSNBC, he first laughed and then alluded to the fact that West Virginia has been almost exclusively controlled by Democrats: "What an indictment! What an indictment of your party, Chris!" Matthews snidely responded by claiming his remarks indicated "a suggestion of understanding the geography of America." He followed up by jokingly referring to Buchanan's previous presidential runs and not-so subtlety asking: "How did you do in West Virginia? Pretty good, huh?"
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted, with video, Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 6:15am EDT on May 13:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: [On West Virginia]: Well, I'm not sure how we're going to play it tonight.
Towing the "Green is Universal" corporate line, MSNBC's Chris Matthews seemed shocked that anyone would dare question whether climate change is a dire threat. During a discussion about John McCain's eco-friendly rhetoric the Hardball host was dismayed when conservative radio talk show host Heidi Harris called it a move "to the left," as Matthews decried: "You think climate change is an ideological issue?!"
[This item, by Geoffrey Dickens was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following exchange occurred on the May 13 edition of Hardball:
HEIDI HARRIS, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: But, but here's the ultimate thing Republicans never get credit for going over to the left. This happens all the time. They try to pander to the left. Going a little more-
To read more about NBC Universal pushing its environmental agenda, see: www.mrc.org
NBC's site: www.nbc.com
[This item, by Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Earlier in the segment, which began at the bottom of the 6 pm Eastern hour, Jack Cafferty chided McCain for poor environmental voting record in the Senate during the past year. "Yes, he's going to be the next Al Gore, right? I don't think so....If you look at his record and his absence on, what was it, 15 votes on various environmentally-related pieces of legislation in the last year, I think he got one of the lowest ratings by one of the watchdog agencies of any member of Congress, as in zero." Of course, the "absences" Cafferty referred to are largely explained by the Arizona Senator's campaigning for President. The same "watchdog agency" that rated McCain, the liberal League of Conservation Voters, noted that both Obama and Clinton's ratings decreased between 2006 and 2007, due to absences from votes.
League of Conservation Voters' "scorecard" of members of Congress for 2007: www.lcv.org
Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer asked third member of the panel, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger: "Does he [McCain] have an opening here, Gloria?" Borger responded: "I think he does have an opening. You know, all during the primaries, John McCain has been talking about global warming. I think it's a way for him, believe it or not, not only to attract independent voters, but maybe even -- even some younger voters, who may be Republican and be looking at him on that particular issue."
The full transcript of the panel discussion from the Monday, May 12 Situation Room:
WOLF BLITZER: Let's talk about this and more with our senior political analyst Gloria Borger, our own Jack Cafferty, and our CNN senior analyst Jeff Toobin. Jack, you know, in a lot of states, there are more registered independents, if you will, than Republicans or Democrats, and McCain sees an opening here on this issue of global warming.
FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted how "some in the media elite have found that Karl Rove, in his new role as a commentator" for Fox News and writer for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, "is, to their apparent astonishment, a pretty good guy." Hume cited the admission, by an unnamed Newsweek editor, that realizing Karl Rove is not the devil portrayed by the media "complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove."
Picking up on the Monday New York Times story by Jim Rutenberg and Jacques Steinberg, "The Pundit Analyzing Obama? Some TV Upstart Named Rove," Hume noted how the article reported that Newsweek's top editor, Jon Meacham, revealed "Rove had been received surprisingly well in the magazine's newsroom, where he has been a reliable colleague who files his articles on time and works diligently with fact checkers." After one editor dealt with him, Meacham told the newspaper: "The editor called me and said, 'This just complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.'"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The May 12 New York Times story: www.nytimes.com
Hume's lead "Grapevine" item on the Tuesday, May 13 Special Report with Brit Hume:
Some in the media elite have found that Karl Rove, in his new role as a commentator, is, to their apparent astonishment, a pretty good guy. Rove is now a Fox News contributor and also writes for the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. The New York Times quotes Newsweek editor Jon Meacham as saying the former Bush political strategist is getting positive reviews from the staff.
The Times writes, quote: "Mr. Meacham said Mr. Rove had been received surprisingly well in the magazine's newsroom, where he has been a reliable colleague who files his articles on time and works diligently with fact checkers." After one editor dealt with him, Mr. Meacham said, quote: "The editor called me and said, 'This just complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.'"
The New York Times on Monday made belated front-page news out of Bush strategist Karl Rove's advice offerings on Fox News and in Newsweek, but he's no "thinking woman's sex symbol," as the Times described George Stephanopoulos when he joined ABC News in 1997.
Times reporters Jim Rutenberg and Jacques Steinberg landed on Monday's front page by reporting a light-hearted piece on Karl Rove offering free political advice to the Democrats on the Fox News Channel. Then they quoted Obama press secretary Bill Burton: "Wouldn't taking his advice be a little like getting health tips from a funeral home director?"
Undertaker analogies aside (something the media usually save for Dick Cheney), do the bigwigs at the New York Times ever consider that's how Republicans greet their incessant advice about how the Republicans should campaign and govern?
The headline was "The Pundit Analyzing Obama? Some TV Upstart Named Rove." Former CBS newsman Marvin Kalb typically furrowed his brow about how the media's preferred participant is not the journalist, but "the political activist, the Karl Rove type." To which Rutenberg and Steinberg replied: "There are 'Karl-Rove-types,' and then there is Karl Rove, who helped to define the modern era of hardball politics..." The Times didn't devote any space to try to prove precisely which heinous commercials or campaign tactics were masterminded by Rove.
Most likely, outraged liberal journalists would cite Rove's role in discussing Valerie Plame's CIA job with reporters in the summer of 2003. Rutenberg and Steinberg mention that after he was hired to write little pieces for Newsweek, the magazine reported through "detailed secondhand accusations" that Rove may have tried to "force out" Plamegate special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.
But journalists remain scandalized that Newsweek, a feisty force against Team Bush on the Plamegate story, would then embrace Mr. Rove as a columnist. Liberal bloggers will no doubt inveigh against the lovable-Karl talk that emerges:
Mr. Meacham said Mr. Rove has been received surprisingly well in the magazine's newsroom, where he has been a reliable colleague who files his articles on time and works diligently with fact checkers.
"After one editor dealt with him," Mr. Meacham said, "the editor called me and said 'This just complicated my world view. I may like Karl Rove.'"
The May 12 article: www.nytimes.com
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site where he's filling in this week for Clay Waters: www.timeswatch.org ]
Rutenberg and Steinberg mentioned this path has been walked before, citing the case of George Stephanopoulos making an abrupt switch from Bill Clinton's White House to ABC News. But that wasn't exactly scandalous front-page news to the Times back in 1997.
Max Frankel kvetched in the New York Times Magazine on January 19, 1997 on the verge of the second Clinton inauguration in a piece that also ludicrously painted Rather, Brokaw, and Jennings as the essence of media nonpartisanship. Frankel conceded that the new ABC News man was intelligent and telegenic, and declared he needed to "recover his chastity" to be respected in the "news" business:
If he is serious about academia and journalism, Stephanopoulos will in time outgrow his youthful ardors and escapades, recover his chastity and qualify as a professional student and observer of public affairs. But if television news is serious about its reputation for disinterested analysis, it had better cement those walls.
On February 26, 1997 Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller wasn't scandalized about a revolving door letting in "hardball" operatives. She was cooing in a B-1 story about Stephanopoulos, the single "thinking woman's sex symbol." The headline was "The Pleasure of His Company; A Whirl Beyond the White House for Stephanopoulos." She began:
Not every 36-year-old freshly arrived in Manhattan is immediately invited to dinner (and provided with a tuxedo) by Ralph Lauren, or to a lunch given by the Vogue editor Anna Wintour for Katharine Graham, or to an opening of the Byzantium exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, or to an evening of pizza with a clutch of New York intellectuals pondering the future of American labor. And, of course, not every 36-year-old new to town says he would like to run for United States Senate someday.
But not everybody is George Stephanopoulos, the former Presidential adviser and thinking woman's sex symbol, who is withdrawing from what he has called "the most powerful drug I've ever experienced" -- the 7:30 A.M. White House staff meeting -- to start a new life, more or less, in New York.
Nobody from the Republican side was quoted in the story bemoaning how Stephanopoulos "types" shouldn't be allowed on the set.
Once at his office, he makes his morning calls to [author Eric] Alterman, [then-ABC colleague Mark] Halperin, the political strategist James Carville and Rahm Emanuel, the White House's new George Stephanopoulos. "Just check in, see what's going on," he said. The conversations help give voice to his liberal and generally pro-Clinton point of view, prompting many journalists to question how he can be a true analyst of politics for ABC when he is so closely tied to the President.
I'm not pretending not to have a point of view," Mr. Stephanopoulos said. "Just because I defend Clinton doesn't mean I'm wrong. And if I believe the administration is making a mistake, I'll say so."
So far Mr. Stephanopoulos has not specifically criticized the Clinton Administration for its campaign fund-raising practices, preferring to say instead that "the whole system stinks."
A week after ABC focused a story on two pitiable Minnesota families living in the dark because higher energy and food prices mean they "can no longer afford to pay for electricity," Tuesday's World News highlighted the replies from sad case stories solicited on ABCNews.com, starting with a woman who says she must skip breakfast to put $4 a day toward gas. ABC displayed "FEELING THE PAIN" on screen as Charles Gibson set up the story that David Muir started by fretting about "the price of a gallon of gas jumping more than a dime in just the last week" -- which is a piddling $2 more to fill a 20-gallon tank. Nonetheless, he asserted "the e-mails we've received show the pain is being felt far and wide. Single mother Caroline Saunders wrote to us from New Jersey." He read aloud from her e-mail with her quote on screen: "I now skip breakfast to save the extra $4 per day. That gives me an extra $20 added to my gas budget."
Muir proceeded to recite two less ridiculous complaints, a trucker upset about a 60 percent hike in diesel fuel over the past in two years and a woman who found a job that requires $110 a week in gas to commute 140 miles round trip.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Must breakfast cost $4? What is the price of one morning's worth of cereal from a large box and of that portion of a gallon of milk? Or of one banana and a muffin bought in a bunch and box at the grocery store? To say nothing of wondering how there must be some other expense one could reduce other than eliminating an entire meal.
Saunders lives in New Jersey and drives a Corolla, which means she pays about 33 cents per gallon in combined federal and state taxes per gallon -- or about $5 per 15-gallon fill-up in taxes, so eliminating those taxes would allow her to eat breakfast once a week at least! Gas tax data: www.gaspricewatch.com
The May 7 CyberAlert item, "ABC Adds to Parade of Hapless Economic Victims, Now No Electricity," began:
Four days after NBC centered a story around an elderly couple forced to move "into their van, sleeping on a mattress in the back" while "high food costs have meant" they've "gone hungry," ABC's World News caught up Tuesday night with a nearly as silly anecdotal report on how families in Minnesota can no longer afford electricity. In the first of two families she showcased, reporter Gigi Stone relayed Julie Tkachuk's plight: "After paying for more expensive gas and groceries, Julie had no money for the heating bills left over from the winter." Then Stone described the predicament of a family whose father "says business at his moving company is down 35 percent this year. There just wasn't enough money for the power bill."
Referring to the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Stone acknowledged that "there's federal assistance for people who can't afford their utility bills," but she ominously intoned, "the number of applicants reached the highest point in 16 Years." ABC then aired a soundbite from Mark Wolfe of the National Energy Assistance Director's Association, an advocacy group for LIHEAP spending. The group's April 25 press release hyping "the number of households receiving LIHEAP funds this year is the highest in 16 years" also, however, disclosed a fact ABC didn't mention -- that increase is merely 3.8 percent over fiscal year 2007 with the number of households on the dole in Minnesota rising from 120,765 to 126,500, hardly a huge jump.
For the entire May 7 CyberAlert article: www.mrc.org
From the top of the story on the Tuesday, May 13 World News on ABC:
CHARLES GIBSON: In recent weeks we've been looking at economics at the kitchen table, and asking you to send your stories to ABCNews.com. And hundreds of you have written us about gas prices. So, we take "A Closer Look" tonight at what you've told us. Here's David Muir.
DAVID MUIR: With the price of a gallon of gas jumping more than a dime in just the last week, the e-mails we've received show the pain is being felt far and wide. Single mother Caroline Saunders wrote to us from New Jersey [text on screen]: "I now skip breakfast to save the extra $4 per day. That gives me an extra $20 added to my gas budget." We went to meet Caroline today.
-- Brent Baker