2. Cafferty Hails Conyers on Bush Causing 'Constitutional Crisis'
3. Dan Rather Concedes Media's Hezbollah 'Moral Equivalence' Problem
4. WPost Tags Lamont 'Fiscal Conservative, Foreign-Policy Moderate'
5. Geraldo Rivera's Ode to Castro the 'Charismatic Commie'
6. More Examples of Journalists Cheering Castro's Communism
Using the very same expert the CBS Evening News cited on Monday, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News made -- as its second story of the night -- the case that the current heat wave can be blamed on global warming. Anchor Brian Williams set up the piece by ruminating about how "you hear a lot of people saying it didn't used to be like this, didn't used to be this hot, and because of global warming we've done this to ourselves." Reporter Tom Costello asked: "So is our current heat wave a symptom of global warming?" Jay Gulledge of the self-interested Pew Center on Climate Change confirmed "this heat wave" is "completely consistent with what we expect to become more common as a result of global warming," before Costello noted there have been heat waves in the past, but insisted that "experts say our current heat wave is unique."
Costello soon cautioned that "scientists want to see whether this heat wave is part of a pattern of longer more intense heat waves before declaring it all part of a bigger global warming phenomenon." Costello concluded, however, without any doubt, as he referred to "the concern that in the coming decades 100 degrees may be the new summertime norm."
Home page for the Pew Center on Climate Change: www.pewclimate.org
[This item was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
On the July 31 CBS Evening News, a story from reporter Bob Orr featured this soundbite from Gulledge: "Things are getting hotter and climate scientists definitely say that the average global temperature is getting hotter because of global warming." Orr elaborated, without any counterpoint: "Gulledge says there's no longer any serious debate. Glaciers are melting, the oceans are warming, and it seems relentless rains alternate with droughts on an increasingly regular basis. Taken together it all adds up to global warming."
Today show weather reader Al Roker was a lot less certain Wednesday morning than Orr or NBC colleague Costello, telling Matt Lauer that the current heat wave "is not unusual" and it "doesn't support nor negate global warming." The exchange, as the two stood by a weather map:
Matt Lauer: "You hear people put up with the heat and then they say global warming. This is global warming. What do you think?"
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video for the August 2 NBC Nightly News story. Brian Williams introduced it:
Tom Costello began, with his list on screen: "The debate over global warming has been raging for years. But here's what most scientists say is certain: The earth is warming, 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1920; the icecaps are melting and sea levels are rising; 10 of the last 12 years were the warmest since 1850; and the first six months of 2006 were the hottest on record. So is our current heat wave a symptom of global warming?"
As for scientific certainty, in a July 13 report for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, "Global Warming FAQ: What Every Citizen Needs to Know About Global Warming," Iain Murray laid out some basic facts. An excerpt:
Q: Isn't there a scientific consensus that global warming is real and bad for us?
A: There is no "scientific consensus" that global warming will cause damaging climate change. Claims that there is such a consensus mischaracterize the scientific research of bodies like the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS).
Q: What do scientists agree on?
A: Scientists do agree that: 1) global average temperature is about 0.6?Celsius'€"or just over 1? Fahrenheit'€"higher than it was a century ago; 2) atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) have risen by about 30 percent over the past 200 years; and 3) carbon dioxide, like water vapor, is a greenhouse gas whose increase is likely to warm the Earth's atmosphere.
Q: Doesn't this mean we should be worried?
A: As Richard Lindzen of MIT summarized it in The Wall Street Journal, "These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming."
Q: What don't scientists know yet?
A: Scientists do not agree on whether: 1) we know enough to ascribe past temperature changes to carbon dioxide levels; 2) we have enough data to confidently predict future temperature levels; and 3) at what level temperature change might be more damaging than beneficial to life on Earth.
Q: Didn't the National Academy of Sciences say greenhouse gases cause global warming?
A: The National Academy of Sciences reported in 2001 that, "Because of the large and still uncertain level of natural variability inherent in the climate record and the uncertainties in the time histories of the various forcing agents'€'a causal linkage between the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the observed climate changes during the 20th century cannot be unequivocally established." It also noted that 20 years' worth of data is not long enough to estimate long-term trends.
Q: Hasn't the Earth warmed precipitously over the past 100 years?
A: The temperature rise of 0.6?C over the last century is at the bottom end of what climate models suggest should have happened. This suggests that either the climate is less sensitive to greenhouse gases than previously thought or that some unknown factor is depressing the temperature...
END of Excerpt
For a PDF of the entire report: www.cei.org
Setting up his "Cafferty File" question in the 5pm EDT hour of Wednesday's Situation Room on CNN, "A top House Democrat says the Constitution is in crisis. Do you agree?", Cafferty hailed how "somebody's finally worked up the nerve to say it out loud. We have a constitutional crisis in this country." Cafferty trumpeted how Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, charges there's "an alarming pattern by the Bush administration of operating outside the law and with no meaningful oversight." Cafferty helpfully listed some of the supposed offenses, including "misleading Congress and the American people about the decision to go to war in Iraq; manipulating intelligence about the justification for the war; encouraging torture and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iraq; allowing inappropriate retaliation against critics; and approving unlawful domestic surveillance."
From about 5:10pm EDT on the August 3 Situation Room:
Cafferty: "Well, somebody's finally worked up the nerve to say it out loud. We have a constitutional crisis in this country. So says Congressman John Conyers of Michigan. He's the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. And in an upcoming report, he describes what he calls an alarming pattern by the Bush administration of operating outside the law and with no meaningful oversight by Congress.
Appearing on FNC's The O'Reilly Factor on Wednesday night, former CBS News anchor Dan Rather conceded there's a "problem" with America's media in its treatment of Hezbollah and Israel with "moral equivalence," even including himself as part of the problem. As host Bill O'Reilly brought up the topic, stating his criticism that "some networks give moral equivalency to Hezbollah in the reporting of this war," Rather voiced agreement and went on to acknowledge the media's reluctance to label Hezbollah as a "terrorist organization." Rather: "It's a problem that those of us in journalism have been reluctant to address -- I do not exclude myself from this criticism -- reluctant to address that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization. It's committed to the destruction of Israel. It isn't committed to trying to just gain territory. It's committed to its destruction."
[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Wednesday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Below is a transcript of the relevant exchange on the August 2 The O'Reilly Factor:
Bill O'Reilly: "But here's the problem with American reportage. Some networks give moral equivalency to Hezbollah in the reporting of this war."
David Segal of the Washington Post profiled Ned Lamont and his hard-left crusade against Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Style section Wednesday. Segal avoided the liberal and left-wing labels most of the time -- and certainly the ultra labels his backers deserve. The headline: "True Blue or Too Blue?" But this sentence is the laugh-out-loud one, trying to nudge Lamont's image to the right by writing up his Web site position paragraphs: "They are the views of a fiscal conservative, a social liberal and a foreign-policy moderate. He is a few degrees to the right, generally speaking, of the bloggers who have championed him."
[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
But go to nedlamont.com and you find strong support for abortion on demand, so-called gay marriage, universal health care, universal pre-school, racial quotas, higher CAFE standards to fight "disastrous" carbon dioxide emissions and tough labor-and-environment language in trade agreements, not to mention strong support for censuring Bush for terrorist surveillance and saluting the "wisdom and patriotism" of John Murtha for supporting a quick withdrawal from Iraq. ("Foreign-policy moderate," are we?)
I'm assuming the "fiscal conservative" part would include Lamont supporting higher taxes for all these health and education and infrastructure programs he supports. But I didn't see any mention of a tax hike in those mini-position papers.
Fidel Castro is a brutal dictator but you wouldn't know it from listening to many of the current reports about his health. Time and time again members of the U.S. media fall over themselves in describing Castro in poetic terms. On Tuesday's Geraldo At Large, Fox News' Geraldo Rivera went over board in his final commentary about Castro's legacy with such flowery descriptions of the man as "the iron man of revolutionary rhetoric," "romantic revolutionary," and "charismatic commie." An awe-struck Rivera recalled: "He is a towering historic figure and meeting and interviewing him was one of the most memorable experiences of a young reporter's life."
[This item, by Geoff Dickens, was posted Wednesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Rivera acknowledged how "to some" he's "a ruthless and absolute dictator," but when he countered that he is also "loved and admired by many," Rivera engaged in that game of moral equivalency so often played by liberal reporters where, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."
Rivera noted many in Miami don't like the dictator because he took their property, but that explanation almost diminishes Castro's critics as it ignores the fact that many of those Cuban exiles lost not just their homes but many family members and friends as well. In fact, Rivera's piece left viewers with the impression it was only a petty few in Little Havana that had a problem with Castro but that within Cuba and around the world he was a beloved figure. Rivera professed: "He is loved and admired by many Latin Americans, especially among the poor," and "the announcement of his frail and possibly failing health was grim news on the streets of Havana where many prayed for his recovery."
Rivera even went back into his video vault to unearth a 1977 interview he had with Castro complete with video of a younger, awe-struck, grinning Rivera in front of the Cuban dictator. Rivera reminisced: "He is a towering historic figure and meeting and interviewing him was one of the most memorable experiences of a young reporter's life."
Rivera opened the piece by portraying Castro in heroically defiant terms: "The man whose iron rule launched a million boatloads of refugees bound to the United States has survived numerous assassination attempts, an American sponsored invasion and has so far outlasted nine American presidents." Rivera later returned to that imagery at the conclusion of his piece: "The promise of improved U.S./Cuban relations was of course never realized and during Castro's life probably never will be but after Castro fainted during a 2001 speech and later fell and shattered an arm and kneecap in 2004 people on both sides of the Fidel divide started thinking about life after the charismatic commie who successfully defied the world's greatest power for almost half a century. Love him or hate him there is no denying that Fidel Castro has had a great run."
The following is a complete transcript of the August 1 segment on Rivera's syndicated half-hour show:
A CyberAlert Special distributed Wednesday afternoon relayed the text of a new Media Reality Check, "Decades of Cheering Castro's Communism: Sounding Like Cuban Propagandists, U.S. Journalists Praised 'Great Success' of Castro's Red Regime." The MRC's Rich Noyes could only fit so many quotes in the one-page fax, so below are 15 more quotes from the MRC's archive which illustrate the fawning attitude toward Castro displayed by journalists since the MRC's founding.
# "According to a United Nations study, Cuba's regular schools rank at the top in Latin America. Old mansions were converted to classrooms. Under pictures of gun-toting revolutionaries, children are taught Cuban history along with computer skills, English and all the basics. For a developing nation, the literacy rate is exceptional, at 96 percent according to the UN."
# "Elian will almost certainly rejoin the Pioneers as almost all Cuban children do. It's very much like the Cub Scouts, camping trips and all, but with a socialist flavor and a revolutionary spin. But besides politics, what will he learn? Cubans boast about their universal free education...."
# "The school system in Cuba teaches that communism is the way to succeed in life and it is the best system. Is that deprogramming, or is that national heritage?"
# "Like these young dancers, Carlos [Acosta] benefited from Cuba's communist system because it not only recognizes physical talent, it nurtures it, whether it's baseball, boxing, or ballet."
# "The one thing that most, that I've learned about Cubans in the many times that I have visited here in the last few years, is that it is mostly a nationalistic country, not primarily a communist country."
# "Elian might expect a nurturing life in Cuba, sheltered from the crime and social breakdown that would be part of his upbringing in Miami....The education and health-care systems, both built since the revolution, are among the best in the Americas, despite chronic shortages of supplies....The boy will nestle again in a more peaceable society that treasures its children."
# "Welcome to Fidel Castro's playground, Cuba's Caribbean paradise few have seen, a Cuba the commandante is now inviting the world to enjoy. In the last two years alone, Cuba and its sultry beaches has become a major vacation hot spot...While tourism may be changing the landscape of Cuba's Caribbean shores, Fidel Castro is banking on it to save his workers' paradise from becoming a paradise lost."
# "The government points out rightly that Cuba's standard of living is better than in many other countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. There are no filthy children scrambling over garbage heaps to compete with vultures for scraps of food, as in El Salvador. There are no death squads preying upon the weakest and poorest, as in Guatemala. There is none of the festering disease and crushing poverty that is on display in any village in Haiti or Honduras or Nicaragua. The violent crime, random killing, and manic drug trade that are Colombia's scourge, and Jamaica's, are practically unknown in Cuba."
# "The Roads Are Potholed and the Luxuries Few, Yet Many People Say They're Better Off"
# "You have brought a new system of government, obviously, to Cuba, but the Cuban people do, I think, think of you as their father. One day you're going to retire. Or one day, all of us die. Won't there be a great vacuum there? Won't there be something that will be difficult to fill? Can they do it on their own?"
# "If nothing else, the Cuban revolution has eliminated abject need. The cost may be generalized poverty and zero political pluralism, but, even with shortages, there is no starvation here. Education and medical care are assured for all. And, unlike in most of Latin America, you don't see naked or even shoeless children in the streets. When Castro speaks of the need to defend the gains of revolution, he means a level of social welfare rare in the underdeveloped world."
# "Fidel touched this young machine adjuster, and the man enjoyed a mild ecstasy. I know the feeling."
# "While Castro is an odd man out in a hemisphere increasingly headed by young free-market democrats, he still commands respect and awe."
# "He [Castro] said he wants to make a better life for Cuba's poor. Many who lived through the revolution say he succeeded....Today even the poorest Cubans have food to eat, their children are educated and even critics of the regime say Cubans have better health care than most Latin Americans."
# "Now half of the Cuban population is under the age of 25, mostly Spanish speaking, and all have benefited from Castro's Cuba, where their health and their education are priorities....If you ask Cubans how they benefit most from their form of government, they're likely to tell you about buildings like this one in Havana. It is a Polyclinic, and it is the heart of a health care system which has been called a 'revolution within a revolution.' Of all the promises made by Fidel Castro in 1959, perhaps the boldest was to provide quality health care free for every citizen. Did he deliver? In many ways the answer is yes!"
-- Brent Baker