At Presidential Press Conf, Reporters Push Bush to Raise Taxes --8/10/2007
2. As Limbaugh Predicted, CBS Ignores Study Casting Doubt on Warming
3. Today Showcases Union Stunt of Obama Playing Health Care Worker
4. GMA Gushes Over 'Incredibly Personal' Pics of Edwards Vow Renewal
At President Bush's Thursday morning press conference, an Associated Press reporter pressed Bush about raising the gas tax to pay for bridge repairs, an ABC News correspondent described Bush's refusal to hike taxes, while paying for the Iraq war, as in conflict with doing "justice" for "government needs" for bridges and housing and, afterward, CBS's Katie Couric rued how Bush "seemed to dismiss the notion of raising the federal gas tax." CBS reporter Jim Axelrod observed that Bush sees his "strong record as a tax cutter" as part of his legacy and "so even with something as pressing the imagery of the bridges and the infrastructure needs, he can't be seen as calling for a tax increase, even to address that."
In the first question at the 10:30am EDT session, the AP's Terry Hunt cited how House "Transportation Committee members are recommending an increase in federal gasoline taxes to pay for repairs. Would you be willing to go along with an increase in gasoline taxes of five cents a gallon or more?" Later, Ann Compton of ABC News reminded Bush it's "been clear you don't want to raise taxes. Can you do justice to the kind of programs the government needs for bridges, for housing, and also continue to spend as much as you do on the war in Iraq?" As for news reports that Bush wishes to cut corporate taxes, Mark Smith of Associated Press radio turned sarcastic: "Do you believe America's corporations are not making enough money these days?"
[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The MRC's Rich Noyes checked the White House transcript against the video for these questions, at the August 9 press conference, which conveyed liberal talking points:
# Terry Hunt, Associated Press: "Mr. President, former Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Republican Don Young, says there are about 500 bridges around the country like the one that collapsed in Minneapolis last week. And Young and other Transportation Committee members are recommending an increase in federal gasoline taxes to pay for repairs. Would you be willing to go along with an increase in gasoline taxes of five cents a gallon or more?"
# Jim Axelrod, CBS News: "Mr. President, I was talking with a journalist about an hour ago in Baghdad who says to be a cynic in Iraq is to be naive at this point, that there is discernable progress, undeniable progress on the battlefield, but there is just as discernable and undeniable lack of progress on political reconciliation. Given the premise of the surge is to give the Iraqi government breathing space to gets its business done, given that they're not getting their business done, are the American people entitled to hear from you more than, 'I've told Prime Minister Maliki he's got to do better?'"
# Peter Baker, Washington Post: "Thank you, sir. A two-part question. The New Yorker reports that the Red Cross has found the interrogation program in the CIA detention facilities used interrogation techniques that were tantamount to torture. I'm wondering if you have read that report and what your reaction to it is? And the second part of the question is, more than a year ago you said that you wanted to close the detention facility at Guantanamo, and a year later nothing has actually happened in that regard. Your Vice President, Attorney General and Homeland Security Secretary are reported to be resisting such a move. I wonder if you could tell us who's really in charge on this issue, are you doing anything about it, do you expect Guantanamo to be open or closed when you leave office?"
# Mark Smith, Associated Press Radio: "Mr. President, are you considering a plan to cut corporate taxes? Do you believe America's corporations are not making enough money these days?"
# Ann Compton, ABC News: "You've been clear about saying that you will veto overspending by Congress when they come back next month to do appropriations bills. You've also been clear you don't want to raise taxes. Can you do justice to the kind of programs the government needs for bridges, for housing, and also continue to spend as much as you do on the war in Iraq?"
# David Greene, National Public Radio: "Mr. President, I wanted to ask you about accountability. You're a big believer in it, you've talked about it with regard to the public schools. But given the performance of Iraqi leaders, given your decision to commute the sentence of Lewis Libby, you've also stood by the Attorney General recently -- there have been a lot of questions about your commitment to accountability. And I'm wondering if you could give the American people some clear examples of how you've held people accountable during your presidency?....If I could follow -- sorry. Given the decision to commute the sentence of Libby and given the performance of Iraqi leaders, is it fair for people to ask questions about your commitment to accountability?"
The White House's transcript of the entire news conference: www.whitehouse.gov
COURIC: Let's go to Jim Axelrod who is in the White House briefing room. Jim I'm surprised the President wasn't really pushed more on infrastructure questions, and he seemed to dismiss the notion of raising the federal gas tax to pay for some, what, quarter of the American bridges that are in desperate need of repair. Do you think the pressure will continue on him to do something about setting his spending priorities, or, or, setting different priorities when it comes to federal spending?
Two nights after NBC blamed hot summer temperatures on global warming, and on the very day a new scientific report cast doubt on a key assumption behind global warming forecasts, CBS on Thursday evening held global warming culpable for "oppressive August heat" that killed a man in East St. Louis. For an expert assessment, CBS reporter Kelly Cobiella turned only to the Weather Channel climatologist who last year suggested the American Meteorological Society should withhold credentials from any member who dares doubt the man-made global warming mantra: "Dr. Heidi Cullen is a climatologist for the Weather Channel, and sees a definite connection to global warming." Cullen maintained: "The heat wave that we're seeing now is completely consistent with what we expect in a warmer world because all of our models show us that heat waves will become intense, more frequent, and they'll last longer."
The CBS Evening News skipped, as Rush Limbuagh predicted the media would, a new study in which, as outlined in a press release, "the widely accepted (albeit unproven) theory that manmade global warming will accelerate itself by creating more heat-trapping clouds is challenged this month in new research from the University of Alabama in Huntsville." The posting on the university's site summarized the study published in a scientific journal: "Instead of creating more clouds, individual tropical warming cycles that served as proxies for global warming saw a decrease in the coverage of heat-trapping cirrus clouds, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in UAHuntsville's Earth System Science Center."
In highlighting the university's findings on Thursday, Limbaugh noted on his radio show that Spencer had received "no inquiries from the Drive-By Media" and predicted: "There probably won't be." CBS has provided early confirmation. RushLimbaugh.com transcript: www.rushlimbaugh.com
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, Anne Thompson asserted that "global land surface temperatures in January and April were likely the warmest since records began 120 years ago, extremes scientists say are consistent with an increase in carbon dioxide, man-made global warming." For more, check the August 8 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
On her blog back in December, Heidi Cullen created a bit of controversy when she suggested those who don't agree with her on the cause and likely acceleration of global warming should be discredited: "If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval." See: climate.weather.com
For more, check Marc Morano's January post, "The Weather Channel Climate Expert Refuses to Retract Call for Decertification for Global Warming Skeptics," on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee's "Inhofe Press Blog." See: epw.senate.gov
The widely accepted (albeit unproven) theory that manmade global warming will accelerate itself by creating more heat-trapping clouds is challenged this month in new research from The University of Alabama in Huntsville.
Instead of creating more clouds, individual tropical warming cycles that served as proxies for global warming saw a decrease in the coverage of heat-trapping cirrus clouds, says Dr. Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist in UAHuntsville's Earth System Science Center.
That was not what he expected to find.
"All leading climate models forecast that as the atmosphere warms there should be an increase in high altitude cirrus clouds, which would amplify any warming caused by manmade greenhouse gases," he said. "That amplification is a positive feedback. What we found in month-to-month fluctuations of the tropical climate system was a strongly negative feedback. As the tropical atmosphere warms, cirrus clouds decrease. That allows more infrared heat to escape from the atmosphere to outer space."
The results of this research were published today in the American Geophysical Union's "Geophysical Research Letters" on-line edition. The paper was co-authored by UAHuntsville's Dr. John R. Christy and Dr. W. Danny Braswell, and Dr. Justin Hnilo of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA.
"While low clouds have a predominantly cooling effect due to their shading of sunlight, most cirrus clouds have a net warming effect on the Earth," Spencer said. With high altitude ice clouds their infrared heat trapping exceeds their solar shading effect.
In the tropics most cirrus-type clouds flow out of the upper reaches of thunderstorm clouds. As the Earth's surface warms -- due to either manmade greenhouse gases or natural fluctuations in the climate system -- more water evaporates from the surface. Since more evaporation leads to more precipitation, most climate researchers expected increased cirrus cloudiness to follow warming....
The only way to see how these new findings impact global warming forecasts is to include them in computerized climate models.
"The role of clouds in global warming is widely agreed to be pretty uncertain," Spencer said. "Right now, all climate models predict that clouds will amplify warming. I'm betting that if the climate models' 'clouds' were made to behave the way we see these clouds behave in nature, it would substantially reduce the amount of climate change the models predict for the coming decades."...
When they tracked the daily evolution of a composite of fifteen of the strongest intraseasonal oscillations they found that although rainfall and air temperatures would be rising, the amount of infrared energy being trapped by the cloudy areas would start to decrease rapidly as the air warmed. This unexpected behavior was traced to the decrease in cirrus cloud cover.
The new results raise questions about some current theories regarding precipitation, clouds and the efficiency with which weather systems convert water vapor into rainfall. These are significant issues in the global warming debate.
"Global warming theory says warming will generally be accompanied by more rainfall," Spencer said. "Everyone just assumed that more rainfall means more high altitude clouds. That would be your first guess and, since we didn't have any data to suggest otherwise..."
"Until we understand how precipitation systems change with warming, I don't believe we can know how much of our current warming is manmade. Without that knowledge, we can't predict future climate change with any degree of certainty."
Spencer and his colleagues expect these new findings to be controversial.
"I know some climate modelers will say that these results are interesting but that they probably don't apply to long-term global warming," he said. "But this represents a fundamental natural cooling process in the atmosphere. Let's see if climate models can get this part right before we rely on their long term projections."
END of Excerpt
For the summary in full: www.uah.edu
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the August 9 CBS Evening News story:
KATIE COURIC: A layer of heat and moisture is hanging like a wet blanket over the Midwest and South. Heat advisories are up throughout those regions for what can be very dangerous conditions. We have two reports tonight, beginning with Kelly Cobiella.
On Thursday's Today show it was a tale of two candidates who have fallen behind in the polls. One was eulogized and left for dead, the other one was glowingly profiled. Can you guess which one was a Democrat and which one was the Republican?
First, Sen. John McCain sat down on the Today set and had to endure NBC's David Gregory burying his campaign in a set-up piece that was so tough Today co-host Matt Lauer awkwardly apologized: "It's always strange for me to be sitting here with a guy and we're running a tape that's a little bit like a political obituary there."
In contrast, NBC's Lee Cowan showcased Sen. Barack Obama playing health care worker for a day as he swept cobwebs from ceilings and fixed breakfast for an elderly man as part of a labor union staged photo-op meant to highlight the inability of health care providers to earn "a living wage." Cowan served up this softball: "What does it say about the state of our health care that you've got a 86-year-old man being taken care of by a 61-year-old woman and you put the two of them together and they probably don't have a living wage?"
And Today isn't done highlighting a left-wing union's publicity stunts. Lauer promised: "Hillary Clinton also took up the union's challenge and we're gonna tag along with her next week when she spends the day working as a nurse in a hospital."
[This item is adapted from a posting, by Geoffrey Dickens, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The following are the two candidate profiles as they aired on the August 9 Today show on NBC. First the Gregory burial of McCain, then the Obama tribute from Cowan:
Matt Lauer: "Now to the race for the White House. At one point Senator John McCain was considered the frontrunner to grab the Republican presidential nomination but recently his campaign has been faltering a bit. So the, can the outspoken Republican senator turn things around? We're gonna talk to Senator McCain, live, in a moment but first a little background from NBC's chief White House correspondent David Gregory. David, good morning to you."
Then, a little later in the 7am hour, Today aired this puff-piece on Obama:
Matt Lauer: "Barack Obama has a long list of jobs on his resume: community organizer, lawyer and of course, Senator. Well now you can add home health care worker to that list and it's all because of a challenge from one of the nation's largest unions. NBC's Lee Cowan has that story."
Lauer: "I like this concept and by the way, a note, Senator Hillary Clinton also took up the union's challenge and we're gonna tag along with her next week when she spends the day working as a nurse in a hospital. That's Tuesday, right here on Today."
On Thursday's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer gushed over new photos of 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards renewing his wedding vows with wife Elizabeth. Sawyer touted having "the very first pictures of a very personal backyard ceremony." Reporter David Muir also found the pictures to be "incredibly personal," despite the fact that the Edwards campaign provided them to both People magazine and ABC News as part of an obvious campaign publicity effort. And, of course, Sawyer couldn't resist mentioning the story, highly touted in the media, that the couple spends their wedding anniversaries at Wendy's. The GMA host enthused: "And we should say, however, they did also have their ritual anniversary Wendy's burger." This observation came only nine days after GMA's July 31 fawning over the Edwards's trip to Wendy's:
GMA co-host Robin Roberts: "It's an anniversary party of sorts at Wendy's. That, of course, presidential nominee John Edwards and his beautiful wife Elizabeth. 30 years. Their 30th anniversary."
Raving about the Edwards's apparent zeal for fast food is becoming quite the media cliche. During the 2004 campaign, Katie Couric, then a host of NBC's Today show, giddily asked the couple, "What do you say, 'One Frosty, two straws?'" See: www.mrc.org
[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A transcript of the August 9 GMA segment.
Diane Sawyer's tease: "And also in the news this morning, we have the very first pictures of a very personal backyard ceremony for John Edwards and his wife. Elizabeth Edwards is talking in a new chapter for her memoirs 'Saving Graces' about her life right now and the renewal of their vows. And we'll show you those pictures, walking down the aisle again."
7:19am, Diane Sawyer: "Let's turn now to our picture of the morning. And they are new pictures and David Muir is bringing them to us. You've been covering the Edwards campaign."
[During segment, a montage of photos of the Edwards renewal of vows could be seen on screen.]
David Muir: "Yeah and this is an incredibly personal photograph that we've now gotten a chance to see. It's the renewal of the vows, the backyard in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The former Senator and his wife Elizabeth there with their children Kate and the two little ones, Emma Claire and Jack. Apparently this was an idea that they decided to do while they were back at the doctor's office in the spring when they suspected the cancer had come back for Elizabeth. John Edwards asking her, turning to her in the doctor's office and saying, 'Will you marry me again?' And Elizabeth actually told him, she said, she asked back, 'Will you take another 30 years?' And he said, 'Absolutely.'"
-- Brent Baker