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National Media Avoid IDing Levy Murder Suspect as an Illegal --3/4/2009


1. National Media Avoid IDing Levy Murder Suspect as an Illegal
CBS, CNN, FNC and the AP on Tuesday all failed to identify Ingmar Guandique, for whom an arrest warrant was issued for the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy, as an illegal alien. In a full story on the CBS Evening News, reporter Bob Orr described him simply as a "Salvadoran immigrant." During CNN's Situation Room, Zain Verjee benignly called him "a laborer from El Salvador" and later, on Anderson Cooper 360, news reader Erica Hill referred to him as "a U.S. prison inmate from El Salvador." (In between, the contrarian Lou Dobbs did identify Guandique as "a criminal illegal alien.") FNC's Bret Baier, on his 6 PM EST show, cited the new charge against "a Salvadoran immigrant" while multiple dispatches from the AP's Brian Westerly described Guandique as "an imprisoned Salvadoran immigrant."

2. WashPost Reporter on MSNBC: GOP Nominee Must 'Stand Up to Rush'
At the top of the 12PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage on Tuesday, anchor David Shuster spoke with Washington Post reporter Keith Richburg about the recent divide between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chair Michael Steele. Richburg observed: "You know, it's fascinating. It's like the circular firing squad. I mean, maybe this is what Rush had in mind when he was talking about 'Operation Chaos.'" Shuster later asked Richburg: "I mean, when Rush Limbaugh says that all Republicans want President Obama to fail. What's so difficult with somebody saying, 'no, no, we think that his policies may fail, but we don't want them to fail.' What's so difficult about that?" Richburg replied: "...it almost seems like the Republican Party needs a 'Sister Soljah' moment...It seems like the Republicans need somebody who's willing to stand up and say Rush doesn't represent all of the views of the Republican Party and then not rush and apologize to him...I'll bet you whoever does that could end up as the, you know, the nominee of the party or at least the major party."

3. CNN's Jack Cafferty Confesses His 'Crush on Michelle Obama'
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty flat out admitted in a CNN.com commentary on Tuesday that he is "developing a crush on America's first lady," Michelle Obama: "Michelle Obama is more compelling than her husband. He's good, but she's utterly fascinating....Mrs. Obama has blown away the stale air in a White House musty from eight years of the Bushes. It's like the sun came out and a fresh spring breeze began wafting through the open windows."

4. CBS's Early Show Discusses Future of GOP with Liberal Journalists
During a 6-minute segment on the Saturday Early Show on CBS, co-host Erica Hill spoke with liberal journalists Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report, and Steven Kornacki of the New York Observer, about the future of the Republican Party. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Leslie Sanchez was also part of the panel discussion, but was only allowed 44 seconds to speak during the segment, frequently being cut off by Hill, Zuckerman, and Kornacki. Zuckerman described the future of the GOP this way: "Obama's popularity is surging and the support for the Republican Party is declining, in part because if there is any symbol of the Republican Party, it was Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, speaking after President Obama, and articulating a philosophy that was so completely discredited under the Bush administration that it's hard to imagine that they think they're going to do anything other than consolidate their support in a very small number of arch-conservative districts in the United States."

5. ABC Skips Key Facts, Continues to Fret About No Ice at North Pole
Despite evidence to the contrary, Tuesday's Good Morning America continued to hype the idea that there could soon be no Arctic sea ice at the North Pole. Co-host Robin Roberts began a segment on the subject by fretting: "But, can you imagine going to the beach and finding it's not there? Sounds like science fiction." Referencing a group of scientists who are traveling 600 miles across the Arctic to test ice thickness she added, "Well, a new expedition is under way to find out if this could happen in the not-so-distant future." However, Good Morning America has been wrong on this issue in the past. On the June 28, 2008, GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow introduced a story on polar bears by worrying, "You know, the polar bear has become the iconic face of climate change and this summer scientists are saying the North Pole could be without ice, another symptom of a warming planet." Yet, by the fall of last year, the Arctic ice caps had grown by 150,000 square miles (which, while still low, is not the same as disappearing.)


National Media Avoid IDing Levy Murder
Suspect as an Illegal

CBS, CNN, FNC and the AP on Tuesday all failed to identify Ingmar Guandique, for whom an arrest warrant was issued for the 2001 murder of Chandra Levy, as an illegal alien. In a full story on the CBS Evening News, reporter Bob Orr described him simply as a "Salvadoran immigrant." During CNN's Situation Room, Zain Verjee benignly called him "a laborer from El Salvador" and later, on Anderson Cooper 360, news reader Erica Hill referred to him as "a U.S. prison inmate from El Salvador." (In between, the contrarian Lou Dobbs did identify Guandique as "a criminal illegal alien.") FNC's Bret Baier, on his 6 PM EST show, cited the new charge against "a Salvadoran immigrant" while multiple dispatches from the AP's Brian Westerly described Guandique as "an imprisoned Salvadoran immigrant." An AP story: news.yahoo.com

Wednesday's front page Washington Post article cited the murder suspect's immigration status, but not until the third paragraph: "Guandique, who entered the United States illegally in 2000 and had trouble scraping together a new life in Washington..." Post story: www.washingtonpost.com

In contrast, the free Washington Examiner put the relevant fact in the lead of its story for the Wednesday paper: "Nearly eight years after the disappearance of congressional intern Chandra Levy dominated national headlines, D.C. authorities charged with murder an illegal immigrant who had been questioned in the early stages of the investigation." See: www.dcexaminer.com

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Tuesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Neither ABC's World News nor the NBC Nightly News mentioned the arrest warrant. Bob Orr began his piece for the March 3 CBS Evening News: "Police identified the killer of Chandra Levy as Ingmar Guandique, a Salvadoran immigrant who's already in a California prison for assaulting two other women in the same Washington park where Levy was murdered..."

WashPost Reporter on MSNBC: GOP Nominee
Must 'Stand Up to Rush'

At the top of the 12PM EST hour of MSNBC news coverage on Tuesday, anchor David Shuster spoke with Washington Post reporter Keith Richburg about the recent divide between Rush Limbaugh and RNC Chair Michael Steele. Richburg observed: "You know, it's fascinating. It's like the circular firing squad. I mean, maybe this is what Rush had in mind when he was talking about 'Operation Chaos.'" Shuster later asked Richburg: "I mean, when Rush Limbaugh says that all Republicans want President Obama to fail. What's so difficult with somebody saying, 'no, no, we think that his policies may fail, but we don't want them to fail.' What's so difficult about that?" Richburg replied: "...it almost seems like the Republican Party needs a 'Sister Soljah' moment...It seems like the Republicans need somebody who's willing to stand up and say Rush doesn't represent all of the views of the Republican Party and then not rush and apologize to him...I'll bet you whoever does that could end up as the, you know, the nominee of the party or at least the major party."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Richburg went on to describe the problem with the Republican Party: "One of the main problems they have is they're almost like the British conservative party was after Tony Blair took over in 1997. They're looking out of touch. They're older. They're whiter. They're more regionally based in south than ever before. And they're in danger of irrelevance unless they can find some way to do really what Ronald Reagan did, which was appeal to moderates, appeal to Democrats, appeal to those Macomb County, Michigan suburbs. And, you know, if you just go for a straight base strategy, conservative strategy like Rush Limbaugh is saying, you're going to lose that, kind of, center ground there."

Here is the full transcript of the March 3 segment:
12:00PM TEASE:
DAVID SHUSTER: Following the latest Republican Party civil war. A complete about-face by Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, after calling Rush Limbaugh's show 'ugly' and 'incendiary.' Steele's now apologized in the face of a withering attack from the radio host.

12:04PM SEGMENT:
CONTESSA BREWER: Rush Limbaugh isn't happy with his party's new chairman. He's not keeping quiet about it. David Shuster has that story from the politics desk. Hey, David.
DAVID SHUSTER: Contessa, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is having second thoughts about taking on conservative power house Rush Limbaugh. Steele is apologizing for calling the radio host a mere 'entertainer,' who's show is sometimes 'ugly' and 'incendiary.' Limbaugh did not take to kindly to Steele's criticism, he lashed out at Steele on his radio show yesterday.
RUSH LIMBAUGH: I'm not in charge of the Republican Party and I don't want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in a sad sack state that it's in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party given the state that it's in, I would quit.
SHUSTER: Keith Richburg is New York bureau chief for The Washington Post. Keith, what do you make of all of this?
KEITH RICHBURG: You know, it's fascinating. It's like the circular firing squad. I mean, maybe this is what Rush had in mind when he was talking about 'Operation Chaos.' What you're seeing is a fight, really, for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. On the one hand, you've got Michael Steele, who's trying to re-brand it, if you will, make it more palatable to minorities, make it more diverse, make it more appealing to moderates, and on the other hand, you have Rush Limbaugh, who gave that fiery, incendiary speech to the conservative wing of the party, basically saying 'no, we don't want to change. We want to be, you know, true to our beliefs.' And that -- and whoever wins that fight is going to determine, kind of, which direction the party goes.
SHUSTER: I'm a little bit surprised. I mean, you can -- you can criticize narrowly, I would think, some of what Rush says, right?
RICHBURG: Absolutely.
SHUSTER: I mean, when Rush Limbaugh says that all Republicans want President Obama to fail. What's so difficult with somebody saying, 'no, no, we think that his policies may fail, but we don't want them to fail.' What's so difficult about that?
RICHBURG: Absolutely. And it shouldn't be. I'm really surprised about the Steele apology, because there's nothing he said in there that I found particularly outrageous. Rush Limbaugh's on the radio, he's an entertainer. Some of the things he said is ugly and incendiary. Exhibit A is 'Barack the magic Negro' that got air time on Limbaugh's radio station. And you know, it almost seems like the Republican Party needs a 'Sister Soljah' moment, you know, when Bill Clinton was able to stand up and break with the far left of the Democratic Party by criticizing rap music on Sister Soljah. It seems like the Republicans need somebody who's willing to stand up and say Rush doesn't represent all of the views of the Republican Party and then not rush and apologize to him.
SHUSTER: And who is that person? I mean, is it a Ron Paul, is it somebody who's perhaps a little more self-confident of themselves? I mean, who is it?
RICHBURG: That's a really good question. And you know the -- you know, we don't predict in this business, but I'll bet you whoever does that could end up as the, you know, the nominee of the party or at least the major party. You know, the problem -- they almost -- you know, we're talking about Gordon Brown. One of the main problems they have is they're almost like the British conservative party was after Tony Blair took over in 1997. They're looking out of touch. They're older. They're whiter. They're more regionally based in south than ever before. And they're in danger of irrelevance unless they can find some way to do really what Ronald Reagan did, which was appeal to moderates, appeal to Democrats, appeal to those Macomb County, Michigan suburbs. And, you know, if you just go for a straight base strategy, conservative strategy like Rush Limbaugh is saying, you're going to lose that, kind of, center ground there. So that's what this is all about. Which way does the party go to recover? The same way the British conservative party took a dozen years to try to figure this out.
SHUSTER: Keith Richburg, New York bureau chief of The Washington Post. Keith, thanks for coming on.
RICHBURG: Thank you.

CNN's Jack Cafferty Confesses His 'Crush
on Michelle Obama'

CNN commentator Jack Cafferty flat out admitted in a CNN.com commentary on Tuesday that he is "developing a crush on America's first lady," Michelle Obama: "Michelle Obama is more compelling than her husband. He's good, but she's utterly fascinating....Mrs. Obama has blown away the stale air in a White House musty from eight years of the Bushes. It's like the sun came out and a fresh spring breeze began wafting through the open windows."

Such high praise for a member of the Obama family isn't something new for Cafferty. Almost a week earlier, the CNN commentator gushed over President Obama's seeming calm in the midst of all the serious issues that the country faces: "...[O]ur president seems remarkably unruffled by all of this, serene in an inner confidence that he's got what it takes to lead this country back into the sunlight."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For more on Cafferty's recent praise of President Obama, particularly related to his address to a joint session of Congress, see the February 27 CyberAlert item, "CNN: Obama Leading U.S. 'Into Sunlight' & 'Up to Mountaintops,'" at: www.mrc.org

After admitting his crush and comparing her to fair weather, Cafferty pushed Mrs. Obama's populist credentials, compared to past First Ladies: "It's the people's house, and Michelle Obama totally gets it. So much so that she has taken to inviting people in from the streets to see her home. Nice touch -- one completely lacking in her recent predecessors."

The commentator then focused the next few paragraphs to how well people react to the current First Lady, all the time exuding his admiration for her: "Watch her when she visits a local school and you see the warmth and affection she instantly triggers in people. Kids are pretty much totally honest with very good BS-detectors. If they sense you're a phony, forget it. But around the first lady, they want to hug her and laugh with her and tell her stories."

He also extended this admiration to the entire Obama family: "You can see the same qualities these kids recognize in her daughters. She is the consummate mother as evidenced by the poised, polite smiling children she and her husband are raising. I have four daughters, and trust me -- they don't turn out like the Obama children without devoted parents....The Obamas bring a humanity and humility to their tasks which sets them far apart from the run-of-the mill phonies who populate Washington. It's exactly what the doctor ordered for this wounded nation."

He concluded his commentary by recounting how his colleagues in the fashion media are likewise raving over Mrs. Obama:

Michelle Obama's unassuming, but dead-on, sense of style has the fashion press gushing all over itself.

Her arms are becoming the stuff of legend. Who appears sleeveless on the cover of Vogue, let alone in front of a joint session of Congress while her husband delivers one of the most important speeches of his life? And the reviews were rave.

Cindi Leive, the editor of Glamour magazine gushed, "Oh my god! The first lady has bare arms in Congress in February at night!" If she keeps it up, Seventh Avenue will soon stop making women's clothes with sleeves.

Ok, I admit it. When it comes to the first lady, I'm smitten.

END of Excerpt

For Cafferty's March 3 posting: www.cnn.com

The only conclusion you can draw from this is that Jack loves Michelle Obama as much as he loathes Sarah Palin.

For more on Cafferty's loathing of Sarah Palin, see the October 1 CyberAlert item, "CNN's Jack Cafferty's Palin Derangement Syndrome Reaches New Heights," at: www.mrc.org

CBS's Early Show Discusses Future of
GOP with Liberal Journalists

During a 6-minute segment on the Saturday Early Show on CBS, co-host Erica Hill spoke with liberal journalists Mort Zuckerman, editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report, and Steven Kornacki of the New York Observer, about the future of the Republican Party. Republican strategist and CNN contributor Leslie Sanchez was also part of the panel discussion, but was only allowed 44 seconds to speak during the segment, frequently being cut off by Hill, Zuckerman, and Kornacki. Zuckerman described the future of the GOP this way: "Obama's popularity is surging and the support for the Republican Party is declining, in part because if there is any symbol of the Republican Party, it was Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, speaking after President Obama, and articulating a philosophy that was so completely discredited under the Bush administration that it's hard to imagine that they think they're going to do anything other than consolidate their support in a very small number of arch-conservative districts in the United States."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Kornacki shared a similar view, suggesting Republicans give up on conservative principles and simply follow Democratic Party ideals: "Republicans in Congress, the Republicans on talk radio, on Fox News, Republicans who are dominating the party and driving the philosophy of their party right now and they are denying reality...2008 was a revolt against the excesses of the Reagan philosophy, and the Republicans right now seem to be saying...'we got to click our shoes together three times, repeat our favorite Reagan catch phrase and poof, we're going to be good again.' It's not going to work. The public is looking for people who want government to take a leading, active, and aggressive role. Republicans aren't even speaking to that."
Zuckerman responded to Kornacki by declaring: "The American people today say 'we think government is part of the solution.' It is the philosophy of the previous administration, that was the part of the problem." Kornacki added: "And nothing better symbolizes that than Bobby Jindal's statement on Tuesday night, or whenever it was, when he said, 'you know, government -- people say government solves problems but those of us who went through Katrina have our doubts.' The lesson the American people took from that, however, was not that government was the problem, that incompetent government administered by people who don't believe government has a role is the problem."

Sanchez attempted to counter those arguments: "But you know there's a -- I think that's simplifying it. This massive expansion of government is what people fear. They want efficient government. They want government that's going to make a difference." Kornacki replied: "Isn't this massive expansion of government Republicanesque?" Sanchez began to respond: "No, no, I-" but he cut her off: "$6 trillion in debt." Sanchez attempted to continue: "I think there's fault on either side, I don't think -- there's mud on both boots." She was then silenced by Hill, who gave Zuckerman the last word: "Mort, I want to end with a final thought from you."

Here is a full transcript of the February 28 segment:

9:00AM TEASE:
ERICA HILL: Budget bashing, the Republicans fighting the President's $3.5 trillion budget, but do they have a strategy to take on the popular president and win?

9:01AM TEASE:
HILL: We want to tell you about something new we are starting this week, a brand new segment called 'The Early Line' where we are going to take you behind the headlines of some of the best journalists, the best minds in this country, to take a look at the top issues and the top stories affecting you every day.

9:04AM SEGMENT:
ERICA HILL: Our new segment this morning is called 'The Early Line.' Every Saturday we're going to bring together a panel of experts to discuss the big news story of the week. And the topic this week, how does the Republican Party come back? To help us answer that question, Steve Kornacki is a political columnist for the New York Observer, Leslie Sanchez is a Republican strategist and CNN contributor, and the chairman and editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report Mort Zuckerman, who is also publisher of the New York Daily News. Good to have all of you with us in the studio this morning. Mort, I want to start with you on this question, it seems in some ways that the strategy of the Republican Party as of late has been to say no to President Obama. Is that an effective strategy that could work heading forward?
MORT ZUCKERMAN: I think they've had one of the least successful strategies of any party in our memory, because they've lost dramatically both houses of Congress, they lost the presidency, part of the largest vote, and Obama's popularity is surging and the support for the Republican Party is declining, in part because if there is any symbol of the Republican Party, is was Bobby Jindal, the Governor of Louisiana, speaking after President Obama, and articulating a philosophy that was so completely discredited under the Bush administration that it's hard to imagine that they think they're going to do anything other than consolidate their support in a very small number of arch-conservative districts in the United States.
HILL: Which obviously isn't going to be enough to just simply consolidate that support.
ZUCKERMAN: Absolutely not.
HILL: So Leslie, then, heading forward there's been a lot of talk, too, about Rush Limbaugh, is he sort of the new voice of the Republican Party and people can go back and forth on this all day. But heading forward as a party, what is your message going to be? How do you bring that back together and bring more people in?
LESLIE SANCHEZ: Well no, I think recovery begins where denial ends. There's no doubt about it. The Republican Party has become increasingly white, evangelical. I mean, if you saw the base of Senator McCain's support came from that constituency. Unless we broaden that in very much the way the Reagan coalition did, expand it to different things, other ethnic minorities, other suburbanites, we lost suburbanites and we lost people that had a bit of a higher education, we have to bring them back.
HILL: Mike Steele talked about that, talking about having sort of a hip-hop strategy, wanting to go after young Latino and African-American voters. Is there really a solid strategy in place, though, to say to these young folks, and to minorities, there is a place for you in what's known as the 'Grand Old White Party' to many people?
SANCHEZ: Well, it's not only about race, it's about solutions, it's looking at what the real role of government's going to be, but what are -- we're not talking about education, we're not talking about health care. Those tend to be issues that more centrists or moderates want to talk about. We're going to have to expand that and have solutions that look like good contrast to the Democrats.
HILL: Steven, it sounds all well and good, pointing out what needs to be done. You wrote this week that 'Republicans are their own worst enemy.' So then, how do you reverse course and become your own best supporter?
STEVE KORNACKI: Well, Leslie is honest. I mean, you acknowledge reality. And I am looking at Bobby Jindal this week, the Republicans in Congress, the Republicans on talk radio, on Fox News, Republicans who are dominating the party and driving the philosophy of their party right now and they are denying reality. Something profound happened in 2008, something as profound in 2008 as in 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected. Ronald Reagan was elected by sort of channeling a public mood against government, government was too big, it was suffocating, government was the enemy. That drove a conservative revolution in this country. 2008, and it was years in the making, but 2008 was a revolt against the excesses of the Reagan philosophy, and the Republicans right now seem to be saying, I didn't hear this so much from Leslie, but I heard, I hear this from every single Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, are basically saying 'we got to click our shoes together three times, repeat our favorite Reagan catch phrase and poof, we're going to be good again.' It's not going to work. The public is looking for people who want government to take a leading, active, and aggressive role. Republicans aren't even speaking to that.
SANCHEZ: Okay, I don't know-
ZUCKERMAN: What Reagan famously said was government is a part of the problem, not a part of the solution. The American people today say 'we think government is part of the solution.' It is the philosophy of the previous administration, that was the part of the problem.
KORNACKI: And nothing better symbolizes that than Bobby Jindal's statement on Tuesday night, or whenever it was, when he said, 'you know, government -- people say government solves problems but those of us who went through Katrina have our doubts.' The lesson the American people took from that, however, was not that government was the problem, that incompetent government administered by people who don't believe government has a role is the problem.
SANCHEZ: But you know there's a -- I think that's simplifying it. This massive expansion of government is what people fear. They want efficient government. They want government that's going to make a difference.
KORNACKI: Isn't this massive expansion of government Republicanesque?
SANCHEZ: No, no, I-
KORNACKI: $6 trillion in debt.
SANCHEZ: I think there's fault on either side, I don't think -- there's mud on both boots.
HILL: And the American people would likely agree that there is probably mud on both boots, especially these days. Mort, I want to end with a final thought from you. Because we're talking about Reagan and looking to the past, but the New York Times Sunday magazine, coming out tomorrow, actually has a huge cover story, a picture of Newt Gingrich, and in this article they say 'is the future of the Republican Party in the past?,' in looking at Newt Gingrich. Could he in some way be a savior for the party?
ZUCKERMAN: Well, If his ideas were beginning to be adopted by the Republican Party, yes. He's one of the most intelligent and thoughtful people in all of American politics and he really is trying to fashion a whole set of ideas, and principles, and politics, that address some of the issues we were talking about before in health care, in education, in the way government is involved in our lives, but nobody's paying that much attention to him, frankly. I think he's a brilliant man and I think he would be a vastly better leader, and would have been a vastly better speaker for the Republican Party, had he been the person who followed Barack Obama rather than Bobby Jindal.
HILL: Bobby Jindal is having a tough time for this one, taking a lot of flack for it. We have to leave it there, I'm sorry. But such a pleasure to have you all here and we look forward to having you back. Mort Zuckerman, Leslie Sanchez, Steve Kornacki, thanks again. Chris, back over to you.
CHRIS WRAGGE: Erica, thank you. Love the new segment.

ABC Skips Key Facts, Continues to Fret
About No Ice at North Pole

Despite evidence to the contrary, Tuesday's Good Morning America continued to hype the idea that there could soon be no Arctic sea ice at the North Pole. Co-host Robin Roberts began a segment on the subject by fretting: "But, can you imagine going to the beach and finding it's not there? Sounds like science fiction."

Referencing a group of scientists who are traveling 600 miles across the Arctic to test ice thickness she added, "Well, a new expedition is under way to find out if this could happen in the not-so-distant future." However, Good Morning America has been wrong on this issue in the past. On the June 28, 2008, GMA weekend anchor Kate Snow introduced a story on polar bears by worrying, "You know, the polar bear has become the iconic face of climate change and this summer scientists are saying the North Pole could be without ice, another symptom of a warming planet." Yet, by the fall of last year, the Arctic ice caps had grown by 150,000 square miles (which, while still low, is not the same as disappearing.)

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Additionally, Discovery News reported on March 2 of this year that global warming may be on hold. On the Discovery Channel web site, Michael Reilly wrote: "Earth's climate continues to confound scientists. Following a 30-year trend of warming, global temperatures have flatlined since 2001 despite rising greenhouse gas concentrations, and a heat surplus that should have cranked up the planetary thermostat." See Discovery News: dsc.discovery.com

And Bloomberg reporter Alex Morales noted on February 20 that a satellite glitch had resulted in scientists underestimating the amount of Arctic sea ice by 500,000 square kilometers. See Bloomberg: www.bloomberg.com

Yet, ABC's on-screen graphic didn't mention any of this and instead asked, "Explorers Begin North Pole Trek: Is all the Ice Disappearing?"

GMA reporter Nick Watt featured no opposing views and only stated: "Their [Arctic scientists] data might tell us how soon the polar ice could disappear completely." ABC viewers should expect more of this type of reporting, as the correspondent explained that in a few weeks, Good Morning America would be joining the expedition and will track the progress of the scientists investigating the level of sea ice.

The ABC morning show has developed quite a reputation for global warming alarmism. Weatherman Sam Champion famously hosted a segment on January 31, 2007 that featured a hyperbolic graphic which screamed: "Will Billions Die from Global Warming? New Details on Thirst and Hunger." See a February 1, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the March 3 segment, which aired at 7:37, follows:

ROBIN ROBERTS: But, can you imagine going to the beach and finding it's not there? Sounds like science fiction. Well, a new expedition is under way to find out if this could happen in the not-so-distant future. It's an expedition to the North Pole that will take a look at the ice caps. And our Nick Watt went along for the ride.
NICK WATT: This daring expedition has taken five years of planning and training.
UNIDENTIFIED EXPLORER: Here we are in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. Safely landed.
WATT: The two men and one woman are excited to be on their way.
PEN HADDOW (explorer): We're also very anxious because this is a huge challenge we've set ourselves to do the journey and the surveying on top in the world's most extreme environment.
WATT: They're expecting temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees. They'll have to swim part of the way, where the ice has melted.
ABC GRAPHIC: Explorers Begin North Pole Trek: Is all the Ice Disappearing?
ANN DANIELS (explorer): We will have to deal with potential polar bear attacks, open water, thin ice, moving ridges and, of course, surviving in the terrible temperatures.
WATT: This awesome adventure has a serious purpose. The team will progress this radar 600 miles to the North Pole. Every few inches, it measures the ice thickness. And ten times a day, the team drill through the ice pack, which is melting at an alarming rate. Their data might tell us how soon the polar ice could disappear completely.
HADDOW: Some scientists say this sea ice loss could occur in just four years from now.
WATT: Those polar bears the team are afraid of would lose their natural habitat and global weather patterns would change. This trek will take three months. And in just a few weeks, we'll be joining the team, out there on the ice and bringing you an update from their progress. For "Good Morning America," Nick Watt, ABC News, London.
ROBERTS: My goodness. And we're truly looking forward to Nick Watt reports from out there.

-- Brent Baker