Appearance Alert!
MRC President Brent Bozell to appear on FNC's Kelly File at 9:20 p.m. EST

NBC Showcases Sheehan, MSNBC Touts Her as Symbol of "Dissent" --8/12/2005


1. NBC Showcases Sheehan, MSNBC Touts Her as Symbol of "Dissent"
Cindy Sheehan got a full segment Thursday evening on the NBC Nightly News as anchor Brian Williams framed her protest in the context of how "so far, 1,846 Americans have died in Iraq, nearly 14,000 have been wounded. And it doesn't help that a woman who lost a son in Iraq vows to wait outside the President's ranch until the Commander-in-Chief agrees to speak with her." Reporter Kelly O'Donnell described Sheehan as "a media magnet," as if journalists have no ability to control that, but O'Donnell did at least note that "Sheehan also has some detractors." ABC's World News Tonight ran a clip of President Bush rejecting her demands, but then anchor Bob Woodruff relayed how Sheehan retorted that "all we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his...vacation to talk to us." MSNBC's Countdown featured an interview with her and Keith Olbermann insisted that "now her story is about more than just her protest, it's about the role of dissent in a country founded on the right to dissent."

2. Fred Barnes Calls Sheehan "Crackpot," Rues Media Focus on Her
During the panel segment on Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Fred Barnes recalled Joe Wilson and Bill Burkett as he wondered, "is there any left-wing publicity hound who the media won't build up?" Zeroing in on Cindy Sheehan, Barnes criticized both her and the media's treatment of her: "This woman wants to go in and tell the President that the war is about oil because the President wants to pay off his buddies. She's a crackpot, and yet the press treats her as some important protestor." with audio

3. Nets Falsely Cite "Record High" Gas Prices, Target Oil Profits
To reach a record high, the price of a gallon of gas would have to exceed $3 a gallon and oil would need to go over $90 a barrel, yet the media continue to erroneously hype lower price points, such as $2.37 for gas, as "record highs." On Thursday night, ABC anchor Bob Woodruff fallaciously cited "record high" gas and oil prices before Betsy Stark fretted that if "record" prices on home heating oil "comes on top of record gas prices, there will be lots of consumers with nothing left to spend after they've paid all those energy bills." Woodruff spun the story into an indictment of the energy industry: "Oil companies and oil-producing countries are making massive profits while American consumers are really feeling it." A second ABC piece featured two soundbites from far-left Naderite Joan Claybrook, whom ABC's David Muir innocuously described as a "consumer advocate." CBS's John Blackstone, who showcased $4 gas at a remote California station 65 miles from any other service station, proclaimed that "across the nation, gas prices went to record highs today." He also ridiculously asked: "Will it get to the point that only the privileged can afford gas?"

4. MSNBC Discourages GOP Candidate But Encourage Losing Democrat
Reprints of two postings Thursday by MRC news analyst Geoff Dickens on the MRC's new NewsBusters blog: "On MSNBC's Hardball Republican Candidate Is Discouraged While Losing Democrat Is Promoted" and "Today Show Funny: Bill Clinton's Wardrobe = Trustworthiness."


NBC Showcases Sheehan, MSNBC Touts Her
as Symbol of "Dissent"

Cindy Sheehan got a full segment Thursday evening on the NBC Nightly News as anchor Brian Williams framed her protest in the context of how "so far, 1,846 Americans have died in Iraq, nearly 14,000 have been wounded. And it doesn't help that a woman who lost a son in Iraq vows to wait outside the President's ranch until the Commander-in-Chief agrees to speak with her." Reporter Kelly O'Donnell described Sheehan as "a media magnet," as if journalists have no ability to control that, but O'Donnell did at least note that "Sheehan also has some detractors." ABC's World News Tonight ran a clip of President Bush rejecting her demands, but then anchor Bob Woodruff relayed how Sheehan retorted that "all we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his...vacation to talk to us." MSNBC's Countdown featured an interview with her and Keith Olbermann insisted that "now her story is about more than just her protest, it's about the role of dissent in a country founded on the right to dissent."

Olbermann argued that "it's a story now so big that even though Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld met with the President at his ranch today, the news from Crawford is mostly about Cindy Sheehan." Olbermann asked her about reports that her family opposes her protest. She blamed her in-laws and revealed a family estrangement: "When they supported George Bush in November and when they voted for the man who I consider killed their grandson, that's when, that was it. That to me was a betrayal of Casey, and it hurt me so deeply. I haven't spoken to them since."

# The CBS Evening News, which had already carried two full stories on Sheehan, on Thursday night held itself to this brief item read by anchor Bob Schieffer: "Turning now to the war, President Bush said today there will be no change in Iraq policy. After a meeting with his top advisors at his ranch where he is on vacation, the President said withdrawing U.S. troops would be a mistake and a terrible signal to the enemy. He also took notice of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist who lost her son in Iraq. She's been camping out near the ranch, demanding a meeting with the President."


# On ABC's August 11 World News Tonight, Bob Woodruff set up a clip from Bush's outdoor press conference in Crawford: "Now, to the war in Iraq. In Texas, President Bush responded for the first time to the mother who has been camped outside his ranch demanding answers for her son's death in Iraq, and demanding that U.S. troops be brought home. Cindy Sheehan wants a face-to-face meeting with Mr. Bush. The President said it would be premature to bring the troops home right now."
George W. Bush: "And I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her, about her position, and I thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others, which is 'Get out of Iraq now.' And it would be, it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations of peace in the long run if we were to do so."
Woodruff: "Mrs. Sheehan released a statement saying [text on screen], 'Our sons made the ultimate sacrifice and we want answers. All we're asking is that he sacrifice an hour out of his...vacation to talk to us.'"


# NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams worked Sheehan into his opening tease: "Defending the war: President Bush concedes the Iraq mission is tough. He says pulling out would embolden the terrorists, and he talks about the protesting mother demanding to meet him."

Williams also put her into his opening: "Good evening. This has been a tough and bloody summer where news from the Iraq battlefield is concerned. There has been no measurable change in U.S. forces, however -- they're motivated and in the fight, despite the loss of many of their own. The change has taken place at the White House -- specifically, these days, the western White House in Texas, where the vacationing President and his aides have now chosen a course of increased candor, apparently, mostly in the face of mounting numbers. So far, 1,846 Americans have died in Iraq, nearly 14,000 have been wounded. And it doesn't help that a woman who lost a son in Iraq vows to wait outside the President's ranch until the Commander-in-Chief agrees to speak with her. We have two reports tonight, beginning with NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory."

Gregory began his piece: "Since August 2, when the President left for a vacation on his Texas ranch, 38 American troops have died in Iraq. It is that grim reality of war that appeared to weigh on Mr. Bush today. Flanked by his national security team, he took pains to address the public's growing opposition to the conflict."

After Gregory's review of Bush's comments and critics of his Iraq policy, Brian Williams set up the second story, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Now to that woman outside the President's ranch in Texas. Cindy Sheehan lost a son in Iraq. She has met with the President before, but wants so badly to meet him and talk with him again, she's vowed to live outdoors, outside his Texas ranch, until she gets to see the President. Her story tonight from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell."

O'Donnell reported: "Day six at this improvised campsite, about a five-mile drive from the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, one mother's vigil."
Cindy Sheehan: "Why did George Bush kill my son?"
O'Donnell: "Morphed into a headquarters for anti-war demonstrators who erected hundreds of crosses today."
Unidentified woman playing guitar and singing: "Why does justice go so slow?"
O'Donnell, over video of mobs of media and video cameras: "A media magnet."
Sheehan: "Someone else tell me what camera to look at."
O'Donnell: "Forty-eight-year-old Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, California, lost her son, Army Specialist Casey, in Iraq 16 months ago."
Sheehan: "I am an angry mom, and I want answers to my questions."
O'Donnell: "She waits in the Texas heat, through hours of rain, and spends night after night. Sheehan, a registered Democrat and self-described peace activist, did meet the President with other families last year. She's here now demanding that U.S. troops come home, and she wants another personal visit with the President. The White House says President Bush has met with families of 272 fallen service members. Today, the President was asked specifically about Cindy Sheehan."
George W. Bush: "Listen, I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her, about her position, and she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has the right to her position."
O'Donnell: "The President did send two top aides to see her, but advisors say Mr. Bush does not plan to meet her himself. Sheehan also has some detractors."
Pat Buchanan, conservative commentator: "I think the longer she stays and the more she appears to be hectoring the President, I think it is of diminishing returns to her."
O'Donnell concluded: "But Sheehan says she will attempt to drive closer to the President's front door this weekend and may ultimately take her protest back to Washington. Kelly O'Donnell, NBC News, Crawford."


# MSNBC's Countdown. Keith Olbermann led: "Good evening. Cindy Sheehan may or may not have had a bonafide complaint that President Bush was refusing to see her to talk about Iraq and the deaths of young men and women there like her son. He had, after all, met with her before. But then somebody decided that Mrs. Sheehan had hit enough of a public nerve. Suddenly she had political enemies, and they were trying to discredit her. Our fifth story on the Countdown, now her story is about more than just her protest, it's about the role of dissent in a country founded on the right to dissent. It's a story now so big that even though Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld met with the President at his ranch today, the news from Crawford is mostly about Cindy Sheehan. She joins us in a moment. First our White House correspondent, David Gregory."

Following the same Gregory piece which aired on the NBC Nightly News, Olbermann asserted: "At about the same time the President spoke to the media today, the mother of Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, who died at Sadr City, Iraq, in April of 2004, held a news conference of her own joined by other military families. Cindy Sheehan pledged to stay camped outside that ranch for the duration of the President's August vacation, adding that if he does not talk with her there, she may to go to Washington in September. While the President did not talk with her directly today, he did finally address her presence and her purpose."
George W. Bush: "I sympathize with Mrs. Sheehan. She feels strongly about her, about her position, and she has every right in the world to say what she believes. This is America. She has a right to her position. And I thought long and hard about her position. I've heard her position from others which is 'Get out of Iraq now.' And it would be a, it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so."

Olbermann then introduced Sheehan: "As promised, joining us from her makeshift camp site in Crawford, Texas, Cindy Sheehan. Thank you for your time tonight."
Cindy Sheehan, standing outside in Texas: "Hey, Keith, no problem."
Olbermann: "You heard what the President said today at his news conference. You heard that clip of him just there. What's your response to that?"
Sheehan: "I don't want the President's sympathy, you know, I want to talk to him, and I want answers to my questions. And I want him to tell me the noble cause that my son died for. And I want him to stop using my son's name and the name of the other lost loved ones and Gold Star Families for Peace. We want him to stop using our children's name to justify the continued killing."
Olbermann: "As I mentioned earlier, as is well known here, you spoke with Mr. Bush last year, and your comments to your local newspaper in California about that meeting have made the rounds anew on the Internet this week, how you had said that you had felt he was sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis, that he had felt obviously some pain for your loss. Two questions about those quotes, first being your critics say they suggest that you have changed your stance on the war on Mr. Bush in the interim. Is that true or is it false?"
Sheehan: "No, it's false. If they had read the whole article or talked about the whole article, it would have shown that I was already having serious misgivings about the mission that keeps on changing all the time. And the other day -- I wonder if they blogged about this -- my home town newspaper said Cindy Sheehan has not changed her position, it's just become clarified, and it's become more focused, and her mission has become more important to her."
Olbermann: "Second question about the meeting in June of last year. What could you say to President Bush now that you could not have said to him then or why didn't you say then what you want to say now?"
Sheehan: "Good question. June of 2004 is a lot different than August of 2005. For one thing, in June of 2004, I was, had buried my son nine weeks before the meeting. I was a woman in a deep state of shock, in a deep state of grief. And you know what? I am still in a deep state of grief, and thanks to George Bush, I will be in a deep state of grief for the rest of my life. But I'm not in shock anymore. The Duelfer weapons of mass destruction report came out, the 9/11 Commission report came out, the Downing Street memos came out, the Senate Intelligence Committee report came out. These have all come out since my son was killed. They show categorically that my son was, his murder was premeditated, that there was no reason to invade Iraq. And that's what I want the answers to today in August of 2005."
Olbermann: "Another part of this story that has developed in terms of the criticism and this political flashpoint that has developed around you that seems so reminiscent of a lot of protests, I kept thinking about your camp there and it sort of being a parallel world to the whole Terri Schiavo protest situation. It just became a media phenomenon. There is an email that purports to be from members of your family that denounces your presence there in Crawford. It was sent to a right wing Web site. Is there any truth in it? Are there members of your family who are upset with what you're doing there?"
Sheehan: "There's members of my, they're my in-laws, and we have always been politically on the opposite sides of the fence. And we always kind of did it good-naturedly, you know, my father-in-law would call me Meathead, and I would call him Archie, and we would just fight about politics all the time. But you know what? When they supported George Bush in November and when they voted for the man who I consider killed their grandson, that's when, that was it. That to me was a betrayal of Casey, and it hurt me so deeply. I haven't spoken to them since. And our family, Casey's dad and my other three children are 100 percent behind me and agree with me philosophically about what's going on. I just talked to my husband, and he said, he said, 'Cindy, you know, I've always supported you philosophically. I know George Bush did the wrong thing, and I had nothing to do with what my sister wrote.'"
Olbermann: "Last question, it's pure politics, the nature of the media coverage you're getting now, the response from other families of soldiers killed in Iraq, all of that. From the perspective of your protest there, in a way, isn't it really better if President Bush doesn't meet with you?"
Sheehan: "I would think so, yeah. I think it's great, and if he would come out right now, it would really diffuse the momentum, and I don't want to give them any hints, and I think that's something they probably already thought about. But, you know, but we're here, we're committed, we're staying the whole month of August, and then we're moving to Washington, D.C., and we're going to have a 24-hour vigil on his front lawn to keep the pressure on. The pressure is there, 62 percent of Americans want our troops home, and this is giving them a voice to stand up and be counted and say, you know, we want our country back and we want our troops home."
Olbermann: "Cindy Sheehan, thanks much for taking time to join us tonight."
Sheehan: "You're welcome. Thank you."

To sound off on Sheehan coverage and/or comment on this CyberAlert item, go to the MRC's new blog site and look for the posting there of this article: www.newsbusters.org

Fred Barnes Calls Sheehan "Crackpot,"
Rues Media Focus on Her

During the panel segment on Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC, Fred Barnes recalled Joe Wilson and Bill Burkett as he wondered, "is there any left-wing publicity hound who the media won't build up?" Zeroing in on Cindy Sheehan, Barnes criticized both her and the media's treatment of her: "This woman wants to go in and tell the President that the war is about oil because the President wants to pay off his buddies.She's a crackpot, and yet the press treats her as some important protestor."


Listen to MP3 Audio
Text of clip + audio archive

[This item was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog: www.newsbusters.org. For this item, with a picture of Barnes, go to: http://newsbusters.org/node/236 ]

Chris Wallace hosted the August 11 Special Report and to set up comments on Sheehan he showed video of a row of video cameras pointed at Sheehan's chair at her protest site near Bush's ranch. Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the Weekly Standard, then observed:
"You pointed to that picture of all of the cameras are there, that's why those people are there. That's why Cindy Sheehan is there. She'd go home if you didn't have all the cameras and people. I read this long story in the L.A. Times by two otherwise serious reporters about her. I mean it was crazy. My view is, is there any left-wing publicity hound who the media won't build up? You have Joe Wilson, you have Bill Burkett, you know the guy that sold CBS on the story about Bush last fall and now you have this woman. This woman wants to go in and tell the President that the war is about oil because the President wants to pay off his buddies. She's a crackpot, and yet the press treats her as some important protestor."

"Mother's Protest at Bush's Doorstep Raises the Stakes," read the headline over the August 11 Los Angeles Times story by Edwin Chen and Dana Calvo, to which Barnes referred. Proving Barnes' point about media hype, the LA duo related: "Wednesday night, Sheehan had given so many interviews that she was sucking on lozenges to soothe an inflamed throat. Her ears were sore from cradling a telephone. Her media advisor, newly arrived from San Francisco, said Sheehan had developed a fever." See: www.latimes.com

In addition to #1 above, three previous CyberAlert items on how the networks have trumpeted Sheehan's cause:

# August 9 CyberAlert: The broadcast networks and CNN on Monday morning trumpeted the vigil outside of President Bush's Texas ranch by a virulent Bush-hater, but didn't really fully convey her hatred. NBC's Katie Couric showcased her at the top of Today: "And a mother's vigil. Her son died in Iraq. Now this woman is camping outside the Bushes' Texas ranch and demanding a meeting with the President today, Monday, August 8th, 2005." On CBS's Early Show, news reader Julie Chen snidely played off of Bush's vacation: "President Bush may be on vacation in Crawford, Texas, but one mom wants to make sure he doesn't forget there's a war going on in Iraq." On Saturday, CBS anchor Thalia Assuras had noted how "while President Bush has heralded the sacrifice of the fallen, his words were met with anger today." That story featured Cindy Sheehan's accusation: "I'm never going to be able to enjoy another vacation because he killed my oldest son." See: www.mediaresearch.org

# August 10 CyberAlert: Over video of Bush-hater Cindy Sheehan yelling at a Sheriff's deputy near Bush's Texas ranch, Charles Gibson opened Tuesday's Good Morning America by touting: "Standing her ground. She lost her son in Iraq, she opposes the war, now she's camped out at President Bush's ranch and says she won't leave until he meets with her. An exclusive interview on Good Morning America." Gibson at least forced her to react to a parent who wants the U.S. to complete the mission in Iraq and raised how she already had a meeting with President Bush, though he didn't point out how at the time, in June of 2004, she praised Bush. See: www.mediaresearch.org

# August 11 CyberAlert: The CBS Evening News on Wednesday devoted a second segment to promoting the vigil of Bush-hater Cindy Sheehan. Bill Plante noted the obvious as he provided more publicity: "She's gotten a lot of media attention by camping out on the road that leads to the President's ranch." He pointed out that she "understands that it's very difficult for the White House to dismiss anyone in her position" and touted how "she also knows she's not alone. One recent poll shows that one out of three people now say it's time to bring all the troops home." Anchor Bob Schieffer ridiculously asked: "I wonder why the President doesn't meet with her." Plante replied that "you'd think it would be an easy thing to do," but noted that would lead to him having to "meet with a lot of people." Plante did point out that Sheehan did meet Bush last year, but "she says that wasn't a satisfying meeting." Plante didn't note her praise then for Bush. www.mediaresearch.org

Nets Falsely Cite "Record High" Gas Prices,
Target Oil Profits

To reach a record high, the price of a gallon of gas would have to exceed $3 a gallon and oil would need to go over $90 a barrel, yet the media continue to erroneously hype lower price points, such as $2.37 for gas, as "record highs." On Thursday night, ABC anchor Bob Woodruff fallaciously cited "record high" gas and oil prices before Betsy Stark fretted that if "record" prices on home heating oil "comes on top of record gas prices, there will be lots of consumers with nothing left to spend after they've paid all those energy bills." Woodruff spun the story into an indictment of the energy industry: "Oil companies and oil-producing countries are making massive profits while American consumers are really feeling it." A second ABC piece featured two soundbites from far-left Naderite Joan Claybrook, whom ABC's David Muir innocuously described as a "consumer advocate." CBS's John Blackstone, who showcased $4 gas at a remote California station 65 miles from any other service station, proclaimed that "across the nation, gas prices went to record highs today." He also ridiculously asked: "Will it get to the point that only the privileged can afford gas?"

In the ABC story featuring Claybrook, Muir complained that the "oil companies are busy spending billions of their profits reinvesting in themselves." As if that's bad?

See the August 10 CyberAlert for past instances of media mis-reporting of rising gas and oil prices as "record" prices: www.mediaresearch.org

By the media's reasoning on gas and oil prices, every time movie theaters hike ticket prices by 50 cents we should see stories decrying the "record high cost" of seeing a movie. But we don't since in every other area the media aren't so stupid as to apply a nominal measurement when only an inflation-adjusted cost provides a relevant measure.

Friday's Washington Post features the factually false headline about a $2.38 a gallon average price for gas: "Gasoline Prices Climb Sharply, Hit New High." In the eighth paragraph, however, reporter Mark Chediak acknowledged: "Adjusted for inflation, oil prices peaked in 1981. Gas prices also peaked in 1981 at an inflation-adjusted $3.108, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration." For the August 12 Post article: www.washingtonpost.com

(The March 17 and subsequent CyberAlerts, relying on an AP story, had pegged the inflation-adjusted record high gas price at $2.97 a gallon. Since then, there has been some inflation, so the numbers may not be in conflict. See the March 17 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org )

Bad information was tossed around on Thursday morning too. On ABC's Good Morning America, the MRC's Brian Boyd noticed, Diane Sawyer claimed, "Today, oil and gas prices breaking all records," before David Muir referred to how "experts say there's an increased demand for gas here in the U.S. despite the record high gas prices." On NBC's Today, Matt Lauer erroneously told viewers: "Oil prices hit another new high overnight."

Now, a rundown of the inaccurate reporting on energy prices aired Thursday night, August 11, on ABC, CBS and NBC, as put together by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth:

# ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Bob Woodruff's opening teaser: "On World News Tonight, record profits for the oil producers, record prices at the pump. Tonight, a look at what's really behind the pain for American drivers."

Woodruff led his newscast: "Good evening, everyone. I'm Bob Woodruff. We begin tonight with the meteoric rise in the price of oil: why it's happening and what can be done about it. Oil closed at a record high today, near $66 a barrel. The price has nearly doubled since the beginning of last year. And the price at the pump is now an average of $2.37 a gallon, another record. There are a number of factors behind this -- most fundamentally, the demand in the world is growing faster than the supply. Oil companies and oil-producing countries are making massive profits while American consumers are really feeling it. ABC's Betsy Stark joins us now."

Stark, at the anchor desk: "Bob, when demand is so enormous and supplies are so limited, it doesn't take much to push prices higher. A fire at an oil refinery or a hurricane in the gulf can trigger a run to new highs. And we are seeing new highs in not only oil, but gasoline, diesel fuel, heating oil, natural gas, virtually every kind of fuel Americans consume. Gas prices have once again followed oil prices to a record high. And once again, Americans are angry."
Unidentified woman #1: "Yeah, I'm really pissed off. I think there should be cheaper."
Stark: "Fuel is now the fastest-rising expense in the family budget. While the cost of filling a grocery cart is up just one percent this year, the cost of filling a gas tank has jumped thirty-three percent."
Unidentified woman #2: "I feel powerless, I feel helpless, I feel frustrated, and I'm paying for it."
Stark: "For businesses that run on fuel, every new high is a new blow. Today, Delta Airlines, which is trying to avoid bankruptcy, and United, which is trying to get out of it, announced fuel surcharges of up to $10 a ticket. Jet fuel is now so expensive, carriers are buying as little as they can, leaving some airports at risk of running out."
John Armbrust, aviation consultant: "There will be locations in North America where planes might be canceled or where planes might be delayed because of a lack of fuel."
Stark: "In Miami yesterday, independent truckers converged on city hall to protest rising diesel costs. The longer energy prices stay this high, the more widespread the damage will be. But economists say the remarkable thing right now is that the damage has not been worse."
Mark Zandi, Economy.com: "It's been shocking to me that we haven't seen more of a fallout from these higher energy prices on the economy. The fact that the economy seems to have brushed these higher energy prices aside is very surprising."
Stark warned: "For some Americans, the tipping point may come this winter when they have to start paying record prices to heat their homes. If that comes on top of record gas prices, there will be lots of consumers with nothing left to spend after they've paid all those energy bills, Bob."
Woodruff: "And no sign of the prices coming down. Thank you, Betsy."
Stark: "Not yet."

With "Soaring Profits" on-screen over a graphic of an oil refinery, Woodruff set up a second story, a particularly slanted one: "Not everyone is upset by the surge in oil and gasoline prices. This is a great time to be a country like Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, sitting on huge petroleum reserves, or one of the big companies pumping the oil and selling it. Here's ABC's David Muir."

Muir asserted: "As American consumers increasingly feel the pinch at the pump, oil companies have watched their profits soar. The latest earnings reports show ExxonMobil up 32 percent over this time last year. That's more than $7.6 billion in profits. BP oil, up 38 percent to $6.7 billion. And Conoco Phillips up 56 percent, to more than $3 billion in profits."
Joan Claybrook, identified on screen as a "consumer advocate" and with Public Citizen: "These profits are enormous because the public is drastically overpaying for what the oil costs to produce."
Muir: "Even more eye-opening, the profits in Saudi Arabia, where the Saudis are making, on average, an extra $208 million a day since the runup in crude oil prices first began in December of 2003. The Saudis say the higher prices are not a reflection of their own policies, pointing to growing demand in India and China. They also point to the refinery woes here in the United States. But are any of those increasing profits both overseas and at home being spent to fix those refineries or to help solve the shrinking U.S. gas supply?"
Mike Rothman, Integrated Oil Research: "There has, in fact, been an increase in investment both for production of oil as well as refining, but the impact of those is not immediate."
Muir offered some economic illiteracy: "But analysts say they've yet to see any improvement, and oil companies are busy spending billions of their profits reinvesting in themselves. Consumer advocates say Congress has done nothing to help ease prices, passing an energy bill that gives enormous tax breaks to big oil instead."
Claybrook, with oil drilling derrick behind her: "They got $6 billion in the energy bill over ten years. That's a huge, huge amount of money. And you'd think with the price of oil at $65 a barrel, they didn't need any new incentives."
Muir: "Ultimately, will consumers have the final word? If so, they haven't spoken yet. They're buying more gas now than they were this time last year. David Muir, ABC News, New York."


# CBS Evening News. Bob Schieffer's opening teaser: "Good evening, I am Bob Schieffer. Gas prices are at record highs. Can they go even higher? Apparently so, say the experts. We'll examine the impact of that tonight."

Schieffer led by announcing: "The laws of physics say it clearly: What goes up must come down. But gas prices are not covered by the laws of physics, and they continue to go up. With another record set this week, the new figures show regular gasoline is now 80 cents a gallon more expensive than it was just a year ago. A gallon of regular, on average, costs $2.26 today in Houston, $2.42 a gallon here in New York, and if you're going to San Francisco, expect to pay the highest prices in America -- on average, $2.64 a gallon for regular, even higher at some stations. We start there tonight with John Blackstone."

Blackstone found the highest price he could, going to a rural location which surely has always had higher prices: "California's Highway 1 along the Pacific is famous for its scenery, but the most stunning sight today is at the last gas station for 65 miles, where a gallon of premium has broken the $4 barrier. [video zooms in on $4.099 price]"
Unidentified man #1: "At $4.04 a gallon for premium, he should be shot."
Unidentified man #2: "A little steep like the cliffs around here."
Blackstone wrongly claimed: "Across the nation, gas prices went to record highs today. At this station in San Francisco, a gallon of regular shot up to more than three dollars."
Unidentified woman: "This $3.09 for a gallon of gas is abuse."
Blackstone: "Not abusive, say those in the business, just the first rule of economics."
Steve L'Ecluse, truck stop owner: "Law of supply and demand. When you have more demand than you have supply, it's going to go higher."
Blackstone: "Gasoline supplies are tight because aging refineries are being pushed to capacity. That's brought break-downs and problems, like the explosion at a huge BP refinery near Houston last month. But the oil traders who feverishly drove a barrel of oil up to a record $66 today, were looking ahead, not back. They see possible supply disruptions growing from the Middle East, tensions with Iran, and a threatening hurricane season. So somebody pulls into this gas pump, pays more than $3 a gallon because of problems that might happen in the future?"
Sean Comey, California State Automobile Association: "It's called a fear premium. There's an amount of anxiety out there about what might happen in the future."
Blackstone: "Nowhere perhaps is the law of supply and demand more obvious than at that $4 a gallon station on Highway 1."
Joe Dorsey, gas station attendant: "Most people don't think of it, but it's a privilege to have gas here because you're out in the middle of nowhere."
Blackstone ridiculously concluded: "But will it get to the point that only the privileged can afford gas? Analysts say in part we have ourselves to blame. We keep using more and more gas despite higher and higher prices."


# NBC Nightly News. Brian Williams teased: "Pain at the pump: Oil hits another new high. Gasoline prices and airline ticket prices going up again, and there's no relief in sight."

Williams soon got to the topic: "Now to the economy -- the price of a barrel of oil, specifically, which is now exceeding most states' highway speed limits. Oil prices briefly rose above $66 a barrel in today's trading before settling at $65.80 a barrel. That's up almost a dollar from just yesterday. It is the highest close for oil since trading started on the New York Mercantile Exchange back in 1983. And now, of course, the question, will it go higher, and when do we all start feeling the real damage? Here is NBC's Martin Savidge."

Savidge began: "Just how high will oil prices go?"
Boone Pickens, independent oil producer: "Within a year from now, we'll see $75 oil."
Savidge: "$75 a barrel would translate into prices of $3.25 to $3.50 a gallon. Some experts fear anything above $3 would send a shock wave through the economy."
Unidentified man #1: "It's money out of my pocket."
Savidge: "Truck drivers outside Atlanta say with their trucks averaging five to seven miles per gallon, fuel over $3 would either force them to quit or go on strike."
Unidentified man #2: "The price of fuel makes the difference of how much you're going to make."
Savidge: "In California, where the price in some places is already above $3 a gallon, there are signs some drivers are cutting back, but most just keep on pumping."
Unidentified man #3: "I'm waiting for somebody to do something about it. That's, you know, nothing's happening. It's just going up and up."
Savidge: "Predictions were that at $2 a gallon we'd reduce driving. We didn't."
Geoff Sundstrom, AAA Spokesman: "Whatever that threshold of pain is, we've not hit it yet because consumption keeps going up, car sales keep going up, and Americans are still vacationing."
Savidge: "But in some cases, buying different cars. Kelly Balsley is purchasing her first hybrid."
Kelly Balsley: "By buying a hybrid, I'll probably be able to save up to $800 a year."
Savidge: "And these days, almost everyone that delivers is adding a surcharge for fuel, from the pizza parlor to UPS. Even the roads we drive on are getting more expensive."
Mike Acott, National Asphalt Pavement Association: "The material that we use is a byproduct in the crude oil manufacturing process, but we have seen an increase typically of about six to eight percent this year."
Savidge: "Despite all of this, some economists, so far, don't see trouble ahead."
Phil Flynn, oil analyst: "I think the economy has become like the Teflon don, you know, you can throw everything at it, it keeps bouncing off. It's been amazing."
Savidge: "At the end of the day, as one expert put it, it all comes down to a simple fact: Americans may be complaining, but they're also still driving. Martin Savidge, NBC News, Atlanta."

MSNBC Discourages GOP Candidate But Encourage
Losing Democrat

Reprints of two postings Thursday by MRC news analyst Geoff Dickens on the MRC's new NewsBusters blog: "On MSNBC's Hardball Republican Candidate Is Discouraged While Losing Democrat Is Promoted" and "Today Show Funny: Bill Clinton's Wardrobe = Trustworthiness."

# "On MSNBC's Hardball Republican Candidate Is Discouraged While Losing Democrat Is Promoted"

Posted by Geoffrey Dickens on August 11, 2005 - 17:22.

[View online at: newsbusters.org ]

On last night's [Wednesday] Hardball David Gregory questioned a Republican candidate's viability but enthusiastically asked a losing Democratic candidate if he'll run again. Gregory invited Rep. Katherine Harris and Democratic loser Paul Hackett on the August 10th show. The following is just a sample of the dispiriting questions to Harris:

Gregory: "Isn't it true, isn't it true that the White House and even the President`s brother, the Governor of Florida, have discouraged you from entering this race?"

Gregory: "One, one of the issues that I have detected from my own reporting at the White House is that the view within the White House is that you are simply too polarizing a figure in Florida to win."

Gregory brought up one of the left's favorite but tired talking points, about a possible fixing of the 2000 election when he asked: "Does the President owe you? Do you expect him to, to campaign with you down the stretch?"

An incredulous Harris responded: "Why in the world would you ask if the President owed me? I simply followed the letter of the law. That's it. And I'm very proud of that record."

In contrast Paul Hackett, got the "star" treatment from Gregory:

Gregory: "Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran whose unsuccessful bid for Congress in Ohio catapulted him on top of the headlines, and it certainly provided a wake-up call for Republicans after a tight fought race. Are you a new Democratic star, Paul?"

After Hackett feigned modesty Gregory pushed Hackett to think big: "But, seriously, what are the calculations about, this is a good run for you. Do you think you've got what it takes to run for the Senate in particular, against Senator DeWine, perhaps?....You have to consider it now. You've got, you know, a national spotlight from Democrats. Not everybody gets that."


# Today Show Funny: Bill Clinton's Wardrobe = Trustworthiness

Posted by Geoffrey Dickens on August 11, 2005 - 15:22.

[View online at: newsbusters.org ]

No bias directly from Al Roker this morning [Thursday] but he did let a guest's guffaw-inducing remark pass without comment. Esquire's Fashion Director Nick Sullivan was on to promote his magazine's Second Annual Best Dressed List. At approximately 9:40am this morning Roker asked Sullivan about one of the winners, Bill Clinton:

Al Roker: "When it comes to fashion what can we learn from somebody like, like Bill Clinton?"

Nick Sullivan, Fashion Director for Esquire: "Well Bill is one of those politicians that, politicians fall into two camps. Either they dress so that nothing about them gets noticed because they don't want to detract from it or they dress in a quietly elegant way which underlines their trustworthiness if you like. This is true of Kofi Annan and it's true of Bill and it's true of Tony Blair who made the list last year. There's something about it that's, that says, 'I'm serious about business.'"

Never mind the plethora of scandals in his years at the White House or the UN for Food Scandal in the case of Kofi Annan just look at how smart and snappy Bill and Kofi dress...you've gotta trust 'em!

END of two reprints from NewsBusters.org


# Have you checked out our new blog, NewsBusters, yet?. Many CyberAlert items will be posted there, allowing you to share your thoughts on the bias they document or how CyberAlert reported the bias. NewsBusters is designed to expose and combat liberal media bias -- but we need your input. Go to: www.newsbusters.org

-- Brent Baker