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NBC Promotes Al Gore's Attack on Bush's Environmental Record --1/16/2004


1. NBC Promotes Al Gore's Attack on Bush's Environmental Record
Thursday's NBC Nightly News, in the guise of explaining why the environment has not become an issue yet in the campaign, delivered a one-sided assault on the Bush administration's environmental record. Anchor Tom Brokaw began by showcasing how Al Gore "accused Bush of consistently putting the interests of big campaign contributors in the oil, coal, utility and mining industries ahead of the public interest." After a clip of Gore accusing Bush of being a "moral coward," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell provided a story which featured soundbites from three, unlabeled, liberal environmental activists, two of which came from Sierra Club operatives on the very day that special interest group launched an anti-Bush TV ad campaign. O'Donnell also proclaimed: "The League of Conservation Voters grades the President with the first 'F' in the group's 34-year history."

2. Couric Challenges Kennedy on How Democrats Failed to Oust Saddam
Couric gets tough with Kennedy. Though NBC's Katie Couric gave Senator Ted Kennedy a chance to agree with the proposition that the Iraq war was "payback for the first Bush administration's failure to go all the way" and for "an assassination attempt that did not bear fruit against President George W. Bush's father," on Thursday's Today she also pointed out to him how "the notion of removing Saddam Hussein from power was not invented by this current administration" since "the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act...was passed unanimously by the Senate and near unanimously by the House, so Saddam remained." She challenged Kennedy with this unusual take for anyone in the media: "Why weren't the Democrats able to oust him and should this President be given credit for doing the job that the Democratic administration could not?"

3. Record Low Temps, Yet USA Today Plugs Movie on Global Warming
The definition of bad timing: Warning about "global warming" on a day when record-low temperatures are being set in some parts of the nation. It happened to USA Today on Thursday when a front page headline announced, "Bitter cold bores into East," but the front page also featured a plug in the top corner for a "Life" section preview of a movie with a plot about how global warming destroys the Earth.


NBC Promotes Al Gore's Attack on Bush's
Environmental Record

NBC's Tom Brokaw Thursday's NBC Nightly News, in the guise of explaining why the environment has not become an issue yet in the campaign, delivered a one-sided assault on the Bush administration's environmental record. Anchor Tom Brokaw began by showcasing how Al Gore "accused Bush of consistently putting the interests of big campaign contributors in the oil, coal, utility and mining industries ahead of the public interest."

After a clip of Gore accusing Bush of being a "moral coward," NBC's Kelly O'Donnell provided a story which featured clips of Democratic presidential candidates and soundbites from three, unlabeled, liberal environmental activists, two of which came from Sierra Club operatives on the very day that special interest group launched an anti-Bush TV ad campaign. O'Donnell did not mention how her story helped give a boost to that effort. The Sierra Club press release relayed how they "today announced the first in a series of advertising blitzes to educate the public about the Bush Administration's dismal environmental record."

But the Sierra Club was not the only liberal group O'Donnell promoted. She proclaimed: "The League of Conservation Voters grades the President with the first 'F' in the group's 34-year history." In a story which included just one sentence in defense of the Bush policies, O'Donnell relayed a series of left-wing environmental claims, such as: "Mr. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto global warming treaty. Environmentalists say harm has been done." O'Donnell, naturally, failed to remind viewers how President Clinton never even submitted the treaty to the then Democratically-controlled Senate since he knew it would be rejected.

Brokaw set up a Gore clip on the January 15 NBC Nightly News: "Former Vice President Al Gore today gave a speech on the Bush administration's stewardship of the environment, and he was harshly critical, accusing the President of reneging on campaign promises on everything from global warming to mercury emissions. Gore accused Bush of consistently putting the interests of big campaign contributors in the oil, coal, utility and mining industries ahead of the public interest."
Al Gore on stage at a MoveOn.org event in New York City: "The real truth is that in the presence of his large financial contributors he is a moral coward [over applause], so weak that he seldom, if ever, says no to anything that they want to do no matter what the public interest at stake is!"
Brokaw elaborated: "The former Vice President also ridiculed President Bush's idea for a new Moon mission, saying, 'instead of spending huge sums on a retread idea to make a bit of the Moon inhabitable, he should focus on keeping the Earth habitable for future generations.'"

Brokaw then yearned for a time when the environment takes center stage: "The environment has not exactly been a hot topic during the political primary season. But as NBC's Kelly O'Donnell tells us tonight, it could heat up in the general election as yet another area where there are stark differences between the Democrats and the Republicans."

O'Donnell began, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Some call it the biggest divide and best opportunity between all those Democrats and President Bush. The environment. Consider this: The League of Conservation Voters grades the President with the first 'F' in the group's 34-year history."
Deborah Callahan, League of Conservation Voters: "You don't get an 'F' because you got one or two questions wrong when you're tested. You get an 'F' because across the board you've failed."
O'Donnell: "Mr. Bush withdrew from the Kyoto global warming treaty. Environmentalists say harm has been done."
Margaret Conway, Sierra Club, Political Director: "They are weakening our clean air laws. They're weakening our clean water laws."
O'Donnell: "A perceived vulnerability that's off the radar now while Democrats fight for survival in the primaries. Why? Because they agree too much to distinguish themselves to voters."
John Kerry, Democratic presidential candidate: "Reduce the pollution for future generations."
O'Donnell: "They all have environmental plans. And on the stump, they do talk about renewable fuel, alternative energy, and so on."
Joseph Lieberman, Democratic presidential candidate: "We can develop clean home-grown energy sources."
O'Donnell: "But speaking green has become another way to top foreign policy. Independence from Middle East oil."
Howard Dean: "The United States must reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil."
O'Donnell: "Environmental activists argue Republicans have tried to blunt criticism by how they market policy that impacts business with labeling like the 'Healthy Skies Initiative.' In its defense, the Bush administration argues it has sought to strike a better balance [video goes from field to moose walking in a river to some wild flowers to a tire stuck in ice in a waterway] between protecting the environment and economic needs, and favors local control over federal regulation. Where do voters fall?"
Kurt Ehrenberg, Sierra Club member in New Hampshire: "The environment is clearly one of the top voting issues here in New Hampshire."
O'Donnell concluded: "But pollsters see things differently, saying voters respond to the environment when they can afford to, but are much more motivated by the economy, the war, and health care. So unless you see the candidates in person, this race won't get green until the general election after Democrats have whittled down the field. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Des Moines."

The League of Conservation Voters' (LCV) page on Bush displays the group's ideological hostility:
"After carefully reviewing the actions of President Bush and his Administration, LCV announced that he has failed the environment.
"Deceptively named initiatives such as 'Healthy Forests' and 'Clear Skies,' mask the Bush Administration's agenda of allowing industry to increase their profits at the expense of environmental protection and public health. In particular, the Bush Administration has attacked, weakened or undermined laws providing clean air, clean water, and toxic waste cleanups." See: www.lcv.org

For the LCV's press release: www.lcv.org

On the very day NBC News so helpfully promoted the Sierra Club's political agenda, the club announced a TV ad campaign. An excerpt from the January 15 press release:

Sierra Club Ads Target Bush Administration on Mercury Launches Campaign to Highlight Bush Administration Environmental Record

Washington, DC: The Sierra Club today announced the first in a series of advertising blitzes to educate the public about the Bush Administration's dismal environmental record. Starting on Thursday, January 15 the Sierra Club will have a combination of TV and print ads in nine states and D.C. highlighting the Bush Administration's contradictory and dangerous positions on toxic mercury.

Television ads will run in Tampa, FL; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, WI; Las Vegas, NV; Columbus, OH; Portland, OR; Pittsburgh, PA and New York, NY. Print ads will also run next Tuesday in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Washington Post, Roll Call and La Opinion.

"During the State of the Union address, President Bush will gloss over how his administration puts our communities at risk to benefit corporate polluters," said Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. "We're making sure the public knows the Bush Administration consistently favors polluting industries over health and safety."...

The ads released today point out that "On December 10th, the Bush administration joined 45 states warning Americans not to eat fish with high mercury levels that can cause birth defects and learning disabilities. But days later, the administration said it wanted to give power plants permission to shower more mercury onto our lakes and streams for 10 years longer than the law allows."...

Since taking office the Bush administration has weakened or stopped enforcing key sections of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Acts. They have allowed corporations to escape their responsibility for cleaning up the damage they cause and shifted those costs to taxpayers. And the Bush administration has opened millions of acres of wilderness including some of America's most environmentally sensitive lands to logging, mining, oil and gas drilling....

END of Excerpt

For the Sierra Club's press release in full: www.sierraclub.org

Sounds eerily like an NBC News story.

Indeed, the NBC Nightly News delivered back-to-back biased stories on December 3 which assumed the liberal environmentalist position was beyond reproach. "Mercury rising," Tom Brokaw warned at the top of the NBC Nightly News, "A new Bush administration plan on dangerous mercury emissions. Critics call the plan a gift to polluters." But the networks provided a gift to liberal environmentalists in how they framed an expected decision to require reductions in mercury output through a "cap and trade" system. See: www.mediaresearch.org

Another CyberAlert item about the December 3 NBC Nightly News relayed how five months after President Bush issued an executive order to allow oil and gas drilling in some Western federal lands, NBC found it suddenly newsworthy -- just as soon as they located a single Republican guy in Montana upset about it. "If it passes as written, it could open up some pristine Rocky Mountain areas to oil and gas drilling," NBC anchor Tom Brokaw warned before noting how NBC's Jim Avila found "that has stunned even some of the President's supporters in those areas." Avila showcased "a lifetime Republican, one of the Westerners who helped George Bush win all but five Western states" who is "now changing parties because of Bush energy policies." See: www.mediaresearch.org

In the January/February Columbia Journalism Review, Brokaw seemed to be referring to the daily drumbeat from CyberAlert when he called the documentation of liberal bias put out by the MRC "a little wearying" and charged that "most of the cases are pretty flimsily made." Brokaw kvetched: "What I get tired of is Brent Bozell [president of the Media Research Center] trying to make these fine legal points everywhere every day. A lot of it just doesn't hold up. So much of it is that bias -- like beauty -- is in the eye of the beholder." For more on Brokaw's comments: www.mediaresearch.org

When it comes to the environment, it's NBC which beholds the biased agenda.

Couric Challenges Kennedy on How Democrats
Failed to Oust Saddam

Couric gets tough with Kennedy. Though NBC's Katie Couric gave Senator Ted Kennedy a chance to agree with the proposition that the Iraq war was "payback for the first Bush administration's failure to go all the way so to speak and for an attempted assassination or an assassination attempt that did not bear fruit against President George W. Bush's father," on Thursday's Today she also pointed out to him how "the notion of removing Saddam Hussein from power was not invented by this current administration" since "the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act...was passed unanimously by the Senate and near unanimously by the House, so Saddam remained." She challenged Kennedy with this unusual take for anyone in the media: "Why weren't the Democrats able to oust him and should this President be given credit for doing the job that the Democratic administration could not?"

On the January 15 Today, Couric noted how "on Wednesday Kennedy slammed the Bush administration for the war in Iraq, calling it a ploy to win elections."

MRC analyst Amanda Monson took down Couric's questions to Kennedy, who appeared via satellite from Washington, DC:

-- "In response to your speech White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan asserted Wednesday, that President Bush exhausted all diplomatic means before taking the crucial step of going to war and said the world is, 'a safer and better place because Saddam Hussein was removed from power.' Would you agree with that statement, at least the latter half Senator Kennedy, that the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein?" (Kennedy: Iraqi people safer, but distracted us from war on terror)

-- "Senator Kennedy, the notion of removing Saddam Hussein from power was not invented by this current administration. In fact in 1998 President Clinton was in office and regime change, as you well know, in Iraq became part of U.S. policy. It was the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, it was passed unanimously by the Senate and near unanimously by the House, so Saddam remained. Why weren't the Democrats able to oust him and should this President be given credit for doing the job that the Democratic administration could not?"

-- "House Majority Leader -- let me, I'm sorry to interject. House Majority Leader Tom Delay said Wednesday, 'you have insulted the President's patriotism.' What's your reaction to that?" (Kennedy: "Tom DeLay hasn't read the speech and that's garbage.")

-- "In the first Gulf War, as you know, coalition forces ousted Iraq from Kuwait, but stopped short of ousting Saddam from power. Some critics have asserted that this is payback for the first Bush administration's failure to go all the way so to speak and for an attempted assassination or an assassination attempt that did not bear fruit against President George W. Bush's father. Do you concur with that?" (Kennedy: "I think that was certainly part of it.")

-- "Let's switch gears if we could for a moment because as you know on Wednesday President Bush announced a vision for United States returning to the moon as early as 2015 and using it as a stepping stone to Mars and beyond. Of course your brother when he was President energized the nation with a goal to put a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. What do you think about this new plan of space exploration?" (Kennedy: "Need to deal with the problems here at home.")

-- "And Senator Kennedy in closing, the Iowa Caucus is just 4 days away. I know you're supporting John Kerry, he has pulled ahead in the latest poll, but many people believe that George W. Bush is simply unbeatable. The economy is improving, people are reluctant to change leadership during a time of war, and of course his campaign war chest dwarfs all of his opponents. Do you think that he's beatable?" (Kennedy: "Oh very much so.")

Record Low Temps, Yet USA Today Plugs
Movie on Global Warming

The definition of bad timing: Warning about "global warming" on a day when record-low temperatures are being set in some parts of the nation. It happened to USA Today on Thursday when a front page headline announced, "Bitter cold bores into East," but the front page also featured a plug in the top corner for a "Life" section preview of a movie with a plot about how global warming destroys the Earth.

Those looking at the January 15 front page of USA Today saw in the top right corner, in the space just to the right of the blue USA Today banner, a picture of people fleeing an ocean wave crashing on shore. Beneath, this text: "'Day After' to redefine disaster "Forget aliens. Global warming's the enemy in film. 8D"

But a bit lower on the front page, a headline in the right side Newsline column, noted: "Bitter cold bores into East."

That plugged a story on page 3A headlined: "Extreme lows strike NE." The story reported: "Extreme cold froze much of the Northeast on Wednesday, with extra-low temperatures expected to stick around into the weekend. New York City and Philadelphia also expected to get as much as 5 inches of snow Wednesday night. New York's wind chill was expected to drop to 20 below zero late Thursday. Syracuse, N.Y., hit a record low Wednesday of minus 18."

In the ill-timed page 8D story, reporter Andy Seiler previewed a new movie expected out in May, when maybe it will be warm, The Day After Tomorrow, a film directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed Independence Day.

An excerpt from Seiler's description of the film:

While aliens were the enemy in Independence Day, in The Day After Tomorrow, the enemy is us. The film is a nightmare story not about what could happen but what will happen if global warming worsens and world leaders look the other way, Emmerich says.

And so, in The Day After Tomorrow, tornadoes rip apart Los Angeles; a snowstorm buries New Delhi; hail the size of grapefruit batters Tokyo; and in New York City, the temperature swings from sweltering to freezing in one day. Dennis Quaid plays a paleoclimatologist trying to save his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) from the new ice age.

"A catastrophe where nature is going wild has a totally different feel to it," Emmerich says. "I read a couple of books, and I said to myself, this could happen. You have to make it as entertaining as possible, but you still want to raise a warning flag."

END of Excerpt

For the USA Today article in full: www.usatoday.com

-- Brent Baker