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Now They Tell Us, 9/11 Reform "Could Leave Country Less Safe" --12/9/2004


1. Now They Tell Us, 9/11 Reform "Could Leave Country Less Safe"
Now they tell us, or at least NBC does. For weeks the networks painted the intelligence reform bill as a critical defense against another terrorist attack and portrayed conservatives opponents of it in the House as obstructionists. But with the House and Senate coming to a compromise to pass it, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News Andrea Mitchell informed viewers of its shortcomings: "Not everyone believes the plan will improve intelligence. Many worry the bill propelled by popular demand could leave the country less safe." Mitchell pointed out the "in September, eleven former officials, including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Sam Nunn, warned that 'racing to implement reforms on an election timetable is precisely the wrong thing to do.'" She concluded that "many worry that the changes may give America a sense of false security." That race to pass the bill and sense it would be a cure-all was propelled by media coverage, including NBC's. Examples below.

2. On Polar Global Warming, GMA Trusts Cute Seal Over Science
Using the plight of seals to confuse global warming with the claim the phenomenon is caused by man. Citing a conference in Argentina, on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asserted that "scientists say there are frightening new signs of an overheating planet: From the poles" where "rising temperatures caused a huge glacier to splinter off the ice shelf in 2000" and hurt the seal's habitat. Roberts warned that "researchers say climate change can be just as bad for people in the long term causing more violent storms and rising sea levels." She acknowledged that "some scientists...remain unconvinced about global warming. They point out the temperatures at the poles have been both lower and higher than today" and "the skeptics are even less convinced that human activity is to blame for global warming." But then, over a picture of a seal, Sawyer confused the arguments over global warming and whether it's man-made as she asked: "How can you not trust that face?"

3. Olbermann Gives Air Time to Ohio Vote Whining by a Few Democrats
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night, not surprisingly, devoted air time to a meeting of Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee who whined about the Ohio vote. Olbermann hyped its relevance: "Asked by his fellow Congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., if any members of the House were considering actually objecting to the Ohio votes in the Electoral College, John Conyers of Michigan answered, 'We are now.'" Reporter Monica Novotny recounted how "panelists ran through a laundry list of voting problems, focusing on minority voter suppression and computer glitches." She relayed how "Democrats here today insist the question is not 'Did their candidate win in Ohio?' but 'Did any Americans lose their right to vote on Election Day?'"

4. Olbermann Derides CyberAlert as "Crap List," Pines for Inclusion
Referring to the MRC's CyberAlert, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann wrapped up segment on Wednesday's Countdown: "I can't wait to see how far we reach on Mr. Bozell's crap list tomorrow. I'm thinking we may make number one." Nope, that didn't happen today. The shot came during an interview with Todd Shields of MediaWeek, who on Monday reported that "nearly all indecency complaints" to the FCC "in 2003 -- 99.8 percent -- were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group." MRC President Brent Bozell also founded the PTC, leading Olbermann, as he read from a visible piece of paper which was apparently Wednesday's CyberAlert, to point out that "his group puts out various daily e-mailings about purported liberal bias in the media. I made it to number four on his list today because last night I quoted the Green Party presidential candidate on the air."


Now They Tell Us, 9/11 Reform "Could
Leave Country Less Safe"

NBC's Andrea Mitchell Now they tell us, or at least NBC does. For weeks the networks painted the intelligence reform bill as a critical defense against another terrorist attack and portrayed conservatives opponents of it in the House as obstructionists. But with the House and Senate coming to a compromise to pass it, on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News Andrea Mitchell informed viewers of its shortcomings: "Not everyone believes the plan will improve intelligence. Many worry the bill propelled by popular demand could leave the country less safe." Mitchell pointed out the "in September, eleven former officials, including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Sam Nunn, warned that 'racing to implement reforms on an election timetable is precisely the wrong thing to do.'" She concluded that "many worry that the changes may give America a sense of false security."

NBC on-screen graphic That race to pass the bill and sense it would be a cure-all was propelled by media coverage, including NBC's. "Blame game. Anger on Capitol Hill and finger-pointing at the Pentagon over killing the 9/11 intelligence reform bill," anchor John Seigenthaler teased at the top of the Sunday, November 21 Nightly News. The next night, Tom Brokaw named a culprit: "President Bush's new push to rescue intelligence reforms from conservative Republicans." The following Sunday, November 28, Seigenthaler picked up on a Meet the Press appearance and intoned at the top of Nightly News: "Can President Bush get intelligence reform back on track? The 9/11 Commission Chairman says lives are at risk."

On his first night as anchor, December 2, Brian Williams asked Tim Russert: "If both parties in the House and Senate are for it, if the President's for it, if the commission's for it, why isn't it happening?" Then on the Sunday, December 5, NBC Nightly News, Rosilind Jordan declared that "this is a case where it seems nearly everyone agrees this bill should become law but there's no guarantee tonight Congress and the President can get this deal done. At Ground Zero, families of 9/11 victims today urged Congress to find a way to pass the bill." Beverly Eckert: "This bill that we so desperately need -- if this bill doesn't pass, I don't know that I'll ever be able to come here to Ground Zero again. I think I'll be too ashamed."

On Wednesday morning's Today, the MRC's Geoff Dickens noticed, politically-active 9/11 widows Kristen Breitweiser and Beverly Eckert came aboard to celebrate. Matt Lauer praised their efforts: "Should some credit belong on this couch right here and to other family members of those who lost their lives on 9/11? You smile but there's a lot of people who say this is the reason it passed. Right here." Lauer wanted conformation President Bush had been adequately enthusiastic about the bill: "When the bill first got stalled there was some criticism. Some people said President Bush while publicly endorsing the bill might not have been doing enough privately to gain its passage. Are you both satisfied with the President's involvement in this process?" (They were.)

Now, back to the Wednesday, December 8 NBC Nightly News. Anchor Brian Williams introduced the Mitchell piece: "In Washington tonight, it's a done deal. The U.S. Senate voted in favor of a bill that dramatically overhauls the structure of U.S. intelligence. But now the question, will the changes help? Here is NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell."

Mitchell, over video of 9/11 hijackers going through airport metal detectors: "This is what the reorganization is designed to prevent: 9/11 hijackers, including two on a terrorist watch list, passing through Dulles Airport on September 11th. Two hours later, they crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon."
John McCain on the Senate floor: "Without this legislation, I don't believe we could make significant progress."
Mitchell: "Another problem identified by the 9/11 Commission, the President getting bad intelligence. Mr. Bush was told the case for Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction was 'a slam dunk.'"
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI): "The CIA was telling the administration and the American people what it thought the administration wanted to hear."
Mitchell cautioned: "Now, a new director of national intelligence will coordinate 15 separate agencies, including the CIA. Not everyone believes the plan will improve intelligence. Many worry the bill propelled by popular demand could leave the country less safe. The bill creates a new layer of bureaucracy, leaving the CIA director, not the intelligence czar, controlling access to spies."
Winston Wiley, former CIA Deputy Director: "It separates the director of national intelligence from the people who do the work, both in Washington as analysts and in the field. And that is a problem."
Mitchell: "That also could affect the quality of the information the new intelligence director provides the President."
William Webster, former CIA and FBI Director: "It might undermine the confidence that the President has that the person really knows what he's talking about."
Mitchell, over a picture of a magazine article: "Finally, the Defense Secretary will still control 30 percent of the intelligence budget. In September, 11 former officials, including Henry Kissinger, George Shultz and Sam Nunn, warned that [words on screen] 'racing to implement reforms on an election timetable is precisely the wrong thing to do.'"
Mitchell concluded: "So why did it pass? The 9/11 families wanted it and were a powerful force. So were leaders of the 9/11 Commission, whose report was a national best seller. But despite improvements, tonight many worry that the changes may give America a sense of false security. Andrea Mitchell, NBC News, Washington."

As I said, now they tell us.

On Polar Global Warming, GMA Trusts Cute
Seal Over Science

Using the plight of seals to confuse global warming with the claim the phenomenon is caused by man. Citing a conference in Argentina, on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Robin Roberts asserted that "scientists say there are frightening new signs of an overheating planet: From the poles" where "rising temperatures caused a huge glacier to splinter off the ice shelf in 2000" and hurt the seal's habitat. Roberts warned that "researchers say climate change can be just as bad for people in the long term causing more violent storms and rising sea levels." She acknowledged that "some scientists...remain unconvinced about global warming. They point out the temperatures at the poles have been both lower and higher than today" and "the skeptics are even less convinced that human activity is to blame for global warming."

But then, over a picture of a seal, Sawyer confused the arguments over global warming and whether it's man-made as she asked: "How can you not trust that face?"

As for any consensus about industrialization causing global warming, a CNSNews.com story earlier this week began: "A Science Magazine essay claiming there is a 'scientific consensus' about human-caused 'global warming' was ridiculed Monday by a British scientist, who compared such a 'consensus' to the near-unanimous elections that existed in the old Soviet Union."

Robin Roberts Wrapping up the 7am half hour on the December 8 GMA, the MRC's Ken Shepherd observed, Diane Sawyer announced: "Well, this morning, Charlie, a major conference is under way in Buenos Aires. Trying to reach a final consensus on one of the key issues of our time: global warming. Is it real? Is it just an illusion as the trends shift? Well, Robin Roberts is here, this morning, because it turns out one key piece of evidence comes from something that can hold its breath a long time under water. Not human."

Roberts explained: "No. Not at all. Alright, Diane. Some scientists and politicians, including the Bush administration, believe too much is being made about global temperature fluctuations and the role that people play in climate change. But, at that conference that Diane was talking about in Argentina, most researchers say there is clear proof of global warming. Scientists say there are frightening new signs of an overheating planet. From the poles."
Terry L. Root, Stanford University senior fellow: "The glaciers are melting. And the thing that we really are concerned about right now is the fact that Greenland is, is melting."
Roberts: "To plants. "
Root: "They have been finding flowers and trees blooming about five days earlier per decade now than they used to."
ABC Graphic: wettle seals Roberts: "To animals like polar bears and possums whose search for cooler new habitats have taken them from the American south all the way to Canada. And then there are wettle seals. They're the only mammal that inhabits Antarctica year round. The coldest, windiest place on earth. Researchers strapped cameras to their heads and captured this [video of underwater footage]. Seals underwater, fighting over breathing holes. Their lifelines in the thick ice. Turns out rising temperatures caused a huge glacier to splinter off the ice shelf in 2000. It crashed into the seals' habitat, cutting off their breeding grounds and drastically reducing the number of breathing holes in the ice. Researchers say climate change can be just as bad for people in the long term causing more violent storms and rising sea levels."
Root: "Something like 30 percent of the population of the world lives along the coastal regions and certainly those areas are going to be greatly affected."
Roberts, over cuddly seal video: "A threat linking people and the only mammal that can survive year-round at the bottom of the world."
Roberts, back on camera after taped piece: "Ooooh. And now some scientists and politicians remain unconvinced about global warming. They point out the temperatures at the poles have been both lower and higher than today, and they say the temperature variations over the few decades don't mean much. The skeptics are even less convinced that human activity is to blame for global warming. So, the bottom line is, the debate is going to continue and continue. But the seals may be pointing toward something different."
Sawyer: "Alright, they may have the answer. And how can you not trust that face? Right?"
Roberts: "That's true."

An excerpt from a December 7 article, "Essay Claiming 'Scientific Consensus' for Global Warming is Ridiculed," by Marc Morano of the MRC's CNSNews.com:

A Science Magazine essay claiming there is a "scientific consensus" about human-caused "global warming" was ridiculed Monday by a British scientist, who compared such a "consensus" to the near-unanimous elections that existed in the old Soviet Union.

On Monday, Benny Peiser, a United Kingdom social anthropologist, called the Dec. 3 essay, "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change," a "disturbing" study.

"A one-hundred-percent record of 'scientific consensus' on anthropogenic climate change would be a sensational finding indeed. In fact, such a total result would be even more remarkable than any 'consensus' ever achieved in Soviet-style elections," Peiser noted sarcastically.

The Science Magazine essay analyzed 928 abstracts containing the keyword "climate change," all published in peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003. The essay found that not a single one of the studies showed climate change to be naturally occurring.

The essay was written by University of California professor Naomi Oreskes, a member of the University's Department of History and Science Studies Program.

According to Oreskes, "None of these (928) papers argued that [current climate change is natural]."

"This analysis shows that scientists publishing in the peer-reviewed literature agree with [United Nations] IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the National Academy of Sciences, and the public statements of their professional societies," Oreskes wrote.

"Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement, or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect," she added....

But Peiser, a senior lecturer in Social Anthropology & Sport Sociology at Liverpool John Moores University and the editor of CCNet (Cambridge Conference Network) webzine, labeled Oreskes' essay a "disturbing article.

"Whatever happened to the countless research papers published in the last ten years in peer-reviewed journals that show that temperatures were generally higher during the Medieval Warm Period than today, that solar variability is most likely to be the key driver of any significant climate change and that the methods used in climate modeling are highly questionable?" Peiser asked.

"Given the countless papers published in the peer-reviewed literature over the last ten years that implicitly or explicitly disagree with the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming, one can only conclude that all of these were simply excluded from the [Science Magazine] review. That's how it arrived at a 100 percent consensus!" he added....

Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the free market environmental group Competitive Enterprise Institute, also criticized the idea that there is a "scientific consensus" on "global warming."

"Publishing such an easily debunked falsehood in an erstwhile reputable, peer-review publication (Science Magazine) demonstrates either a new low in desperation or a new generation believing there are no checks and therefore no limits," Horner told CNSNews.com....

Iain Murray, a senior fellow in International Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, wrote a letter to the editor of Science Magazine questioning why the study was even published.

"I was surprised to see Science publish an article crowing over the existence of a scientific consensus on global warming and then advancing the non-sequitur that political action is therefore needed. Neither is a point worthy of consideration in an objective, scientific journal," Murray wrote in his letter to the editor, dated Dec. 6.

"...the message of the article -- that politicians must act on the basis of the science -- is clearly a political point rather than a scientific one," Murray continued....

END of Excerpt

For the CNSNews.com story in full: www.cnsnews.com

Olbermann Gives Air Time to Ohio Vote
Whining by a Few Democrats

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night, not surprisingly, devoted air time to a meeting of Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee who whined about the Ohio vote. Olbermann hyped its relevance: "Asked by his fellow Congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., if any members of the House were considering actually objecting to the Ohio votes in the Electoral College, John Conyers of Michigan answered, 'We are now.'" Reporter Monica Novotny recounted how "panelists ran through a laundry list of voting problems, focusing on minority voter suppression and computer glitches." She relayed how "Democrats here today insist the question is not 'Did their candidate win in Ohio?' but 'Did any Americans lose their right to vote on Election Day?'"

Olbermann set up his number three story on the December 8 Countdown, as taken down by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "The story of the 2004 election irregularities has been largely dismissed because of the extreme likelihood that none of them will actually impact the outcome of last month's presidential election. But at the end of a House Judiciary Committee unofficial forum this morning on Capitol Hill, that may have changed somewhat. Asked by his fellow Congressman, Jesse Jackson Jr., if any members of the House were considering actually objecting to the Ohio votes in the Electoral College, John Conyers of Michigan answered, 'We are now.' Our third story in the Countdown: Protests. Why just one group is reported to be responsible for 99 percent of those made to the FCC, and why a seemingly partisan protest in Washington might yet produce a full-scale political donnybrook. Washington first. That's where we sent Countdown's Monica Novotny to cover today's voting forum. Monica, good evening."

Novotny checked in: "Keith, good evening. Today Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee met here to address reports of Ohio voter irregularities, but just in case any information was left behind, Congressman John Conyers, the minority leader on the committee, made this announcement."
Rep. John Conyers of Michigan (D-House Judiciary Committee): "This committee will go to Ohio for hearings."
Novotny: "Rep. John Conyers stepping up to the challenge issued by Rev. Jesse Jackson in today's forum on Ohio's voting irregularities, saying he will hold hearings there."
Congressman Jesse Jackson of Illinois: "I urge Congress to come to Ohio immediately."
Novotny: "That was just the beginning. Over the course of two hours, panelists ran through a laundry list of voting problems, focusing on minority voter suppression and computers glitches."
Ralph Neas, People for the American Way: "Why were there so many people in line in urban poor areas."
Prof. Robert Fitrakis, Editor of The Free Press: "When machines cast a negative 25 million votes in Mahoning County, that bears investigation."
Novotny: "And no shortage of criticism for Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell."
John Bonifaz, National Voting Institute: "No secretary of state has the right to certify the presidential electors until a final determination of vote count is made."
Novotny: "Democrats here today insist the question is not 'Did their candidate win in Ohio?' but 'Did any Americans lose their right to vote on Election Day?'"
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX): "Voting is like the air we breathe. It does not work if it is not pure."
Novotny: "Republican members of the Judiciary Committee did not attend but did speak out today."
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): "There was an election and they lost. And there are not enough ghost votes, there are not enough miscounted or conspiracy votes to get them to where they want to be."
Novotny: "And the reality, though Congressman Conyers invited all Republican members of the House to this forum-"
Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC): "What was the response that Mr. Conyers received?"
Conyers: "Well, it was entirely in the negative, sir."
Novotny: "-without Republican support, there will be no official hearings."
Blackburn: "I think that the state of Ohio and the counties should deal with this."
Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA): "Our power is to just expose enough anomalies that people get embarrassed into taking action."
Conyers: "We can't let people by their abstention prevent us from doing what ought to be done."
Novotny: "Now, Congressman Conyers also told me he believes gaining Republican support is still a possibility. His hope is that these Ohio hearings will be a bipartisan effort. But the Republicans we spoke to say while there is room for improvement in the election process, they are confident Secretary of State Blackwell ran a fair election there. Keith?"
Olbermann: "Speaking of Secretary Blackwell, did Conyers and his colleagues get any response from that office?"
Novotny: "No, actually, the Congressman said that he personally placed several phone calls, a few yesterday, and even one as late as this morning because they hadn't received any sort of RSVP or response at all from the Secretary. He thought perhaps he might still show up, but he said he only got through to his assistant, and he just left his name and number, and that was it."

Olbermann Derides CyberAlert as "Crap
List," Pines for Inclusion

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann Referring to the MRC's CyberAlert, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann wrapped up segment on Wednesday's Countdown: "I can't wait to see how far we reach on Mr. Bozell's crap list tomorrow. I'm thinking we may make number one." Nope, that didn't happen today. The shot came during an interview with Todd Shields of MediaWeek, who on Monday reported that "nearly all indecency complaints" to the FCC "in 2003 -- 99.8 percent -- were filed by the Parents Television Council, an activist group." MRC President Brent Bozell also founded the PTC, leading Olbermann, as he read from a visible piece of paper which was apparently Wednesday's CyberAlert, to point out that "his group puts out various daily e-mailings about purported liberal bias in the media. I made it to number four on his list today because last night I quoted the Green Party presidential candidate on the air."

Olbermann charged that Bozell "is viewed within the television industry" as "kind of a poor man's Ted Kirkpatrick, the guy who ran Red Channels in the fifties and got the TV blacklist going."

Indeed, Olbermann was the #4 item in Wednesday's CyberAlert: MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Tuesday night found it newsworthy that David Cobb, who got a mere 186 votes in all of Ohio, "said something even the Democrats won't. Quoting him here, 'There is a possibility that George W. Bush did not win Ohio. If that is the case, it would be a crime against democracy for George Bush to be sworn into office,' unquote." See: www.mediaresearch.org

For the December 6 MediaWeek story: www.mediaweek.com

During the December 8 satellite interview with Shields, Olbermann wanted to make clear Bozell's political agenda as seen through CyberAlerts:
"The man behind this Council and behind the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell, if the viewer is unfamiliar with him, his group puts out various daily e-mailings about purported liberal bias in the media. I made it to number four on his list today because last night I quoted the Green Party presidential candidate on the air. And Matt Lauer was in at number two because he did a story this morning about the cheesiest lines in movie history, and he said he was baffled by the Mel Gibson line in Braveheart about freedom. So, I mean, I know about how Mr. Bozell is viewed within the television industry, kind of a poor man's Ted Kirkpatrick, the guy who ran Red Channels in the fifties and got the TV blacklist going, but did the FCC not know that he was running a factory that churned out form letter indecency complaints?"

Olbermann ended the session by yearning: "I can't wait to see how far we reach on Mr. Bozell's crap list tomorrow. I'm thinking we may make number one."

Well, he didn't make #1 today, but he did get two entire items, so maybe that makes up for it.

If Olbermann wishes to reminisce about earning the #1 slot, he can refer back to the last time he did so -- the Monday, November 15 CyberAlert:
On Friday, for the fifth straight night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann devoted a portion of his Countdown program to Internet-fueled rumors about massive vote fraud which benefitted President Bush and a guest compared Bush voters to embarrassed David Duke supporters. Olbermann highlighted one professor's claim that "the exit polls are usually so precise...that it was virtually statistically impossible for them to have been so wrong." Olbermann relayed the professor's insistence that the chance all the exit polls, which found Kerry won, would be wrong, was 250 million to one. Dismissing another professor's contention that there wasn't any "national pattern" of fraud, Olbermann proposed that "you would not need to fix every state to win the whole election." Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly and CBS suggested that the exit polls may have been wrong about Bush because of the "David Duke effect," an election in which he got many more votes than was reflected in what pollsters found because "people didn't want to admit to exit pollsters they'd voted for David Duke, the head of the Ku Klux Klan, because they didn't want to admit they were a racist. So perhaps a lot of voters didn't want to admit they voted for Bush." See: www.mediaresearch.org


Welcome to CyberAlert reading, Mr. Olbermann.


-- Brent Baker