Plan from "Two Former Oil Men"; Stephanopoulos and Then for the Democratic View...; More Bogus Rather Claims; Rather: "Woo-Woo!"
1) CBS and NBC relayed how Democrats claim the Bush energy plan does not do enough to solve the short term problem of higher gas prices. But in concluding with forecasts of lower prices this summer neither noted how that undermines the Democratic attack. Instead they used the prediction to make sure viewers understood any such eventuality would have nothing to do with Bush.
2) ABC's Terry Moran surmised the Bush White House is "playing defense against the impression that this is an energy plan developed by two former oil men that excessively benefits the oil industry." Linda Douglass relayed as fact how Democrats are "going to capitalize on voter suspicions that the Bush White House is too closely tied to the energy industry."
3) ABC's Good Morning America first had former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos examine the Bush energy policy and then went to Claire Shipman for the Democratic view. Really. Diane Sawyer pined for the good old Carter years: "Nobody's willing to come out and do the Jimmy Carter thing, and say, 'Tighten your belts, turn off the lights and get real here.'"
4) ABC's Peter Jennings told Larry King: "I think bias is very largely in the eye of the beholder." Jennings insisted that ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC "are largely in the center without particular axes to grind, without ideologies..."
5) In addition to calling Bill Clinton "an honest man," Dan Rather dismissed the Juanita Broaddrick charge as a "private matter," falsely claimed his show had reported the corruption allegations against Jesse Jackson and made others the scapegoat for why the CBS Evening News reported drug use charges against George W. Bush as he pointed out how he was on vacation that week.
6) Dan Rather on George W. Bush: "He's beginning to take some criticism, such things as rolling back environmental protection and conservation measures, in favor of what many people see as big business, big oil....But I would say that those who felt that he would just fall on his face...they've been disappointed."
John Roberts spent more time on Wednesday's CBS Evening News highlighting how "environmental groups are already hammering the President for catering to big oil and coal," than outlining Bush's expected energy plan.
Both Roberts and NBC's Campbell Brown relayed how Democrats claim the Bush plan does not do enough to solve the short term problem of higher gas prices, but both concluded by passing along forecasts of lower prices this summer. Instead of stressing how that undermines the Democratic attack, however, both instead used the prediction to make sure viewers understood any such eventuality would have nothing to do with Bush policy. Brown concluded her NBC Nightly News piece: "Now, many economists believe that gas prices will drop this summer, but the reason they say is an increase in supply from overseas, not because of anything the President will propose tomorrow."
Roberts began his May 16 report by noting how
Bush "declared help is on the way" with 105 specific proposals,
42 directed at conservation, renewable energy or alternative fuels, but
with most aimed to increase supplies. After a Bush soundbite, Roberts
warned: "Environmental groups are already hammering the President for
catering to big oil and coal."
After a clip of Bush maintaining his is the first comprehensive energy policy in many years, Roberts concluded by undermining the relevance of whatever Bush proposes: "Even without the Bush plan, industry is expected to bring on enough supply that the price of gasoline, natural gas and electricity is forecast to decrease in the next ten years."
Confirming media-fueled spin. ABC's Terry Moran on Wednesday night highlighted an ABC News poll which found more want conservation than increased energy production before he surmised "they're also playing defense against the impression that this is an energy plan developed by two former oil men that excessively benefits the oil industry."
Colleague Linda Douglass relayed as fact how Democrats are "going to capitalize on voter suspicions that the Bush White House is too closely tied to the energy industry and the suspicions that the energy industry is being allowed to shape the energy plan as payback for big contributions."
Moran previewed Bush's plan, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Today the President told federal regulatory agencies to keep a sharp eye out for any evidence of price gouging by energy companies. That's all part of an aggressive administration effort to sell this plan as pro-consumer. The President, proudly brandishing one of the first copies of his energy plan, had a simple message for beleaguered consumers: Help is on the way."
Following a couple of Bush clips, Moran cautioned: "But Mr. Bush faces a skeptical public. An ABC News poll shows only 39 percent of Americans approve of the way the President has handled the energy problem so far -- 43 percent disapprove. And by a big margin of 56 to 35 percent, Americans favor increased conservation as a solution over more fossil fuel or nuclear power production. That's why administration officials have been retooling the plan to emphasize conservation more. And at the White House today, officials labored to back up the President's claim that his plan will bring down prices in the short term."
Moran showed a soundbite of Ari Fleischer
insisting Bush's plan will help lower prices. Moran asserted: "But
industry analysts aren't holding their breath."
Next, anchor Peter Jennings turned to Linda Douglass on Capitol Hill for the Democratic take, as if Moran had not already delivered it. Douglass suggested: "They want to capitalize, and they're going to capitalize on voter suspicions that the Bush White House is too closely tied to the energy industry and the suspicions that the energy industry is being allowed to shape the energy plan as payback for big contributions. Now, the energy industry, led by oil and gas and utilities and mining, did give $64 million in the last election cycle -- 75 percent of that went to the Republicans, $2.8 million of that went to President Bush, so the Democrats are saying that does affect his credibility."
ABC's Good Morning America on Wednesday first had former Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos examine the Bush energy policy and then went to Claire Shipman for the Democratic view. Really.
Stephanopoulos rued how "President Bush's 21st century conservation means never having to say sacrifice" while Shipman focused on how Democrats complain about the "administration's longstanding ties to the oil industry and auto makers."
Wrapping up the segment, GMA co-host Diane
Sawyer pined for the good old Carter years: "But George, nobody's
willing to come out and do the Jimmy Carter thing, and say, 'Tighten your
belts, turn off the lights and get real here.'"
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson took down the May
16 segment which Sawyer introduced: "We're going to take a look at a
political issue that really matters to you, with these rolling blackouts
heading toward us all this summer. We're going to take a sharp look at the
dueling approaches to how to fix the whole problem, and we're going to
start with ABC News's George Stephanopoulos, who is here, and he's going
to tell us what the Bush people say, we'll fix it all, and answering him
will be Senior National Correspondent Claire Shipman, who's going to take
us through the Democratic alternatives. So George, you're on. Hit
After a clip of Vice President Cheney,
Stephanopoulos continued: "And Vice President Cheney's report will
call for more of everything: more oil and gas, by encouraging drilling in
federal parks, and relaxing regulation of pipelines and refineries; more
coal by easing environmental rules; and more nuclear power by streamlining
licensing for new plants. The goal? Up to 1,900 new power generators,
building one every week for the next 20 years."
Claire Shipman picked up: "Well George,
that's right. Democrats are saying despite all of this talk by the
President about conservation, don't be fooled about Bush's plan. They say
the focus is largely on supply, and they say, that's because of his
administration's longstanding ties to the oil industry and auto makers.
Democrats and conservationists say there is another way out. This could be
your future, hybrid cars that run on part gas, part battery -- they're
already getting drivers 50 miles to the gallon -- and battery-powered city
buses. Chicago's using them."
Sawyer talked with both reporters, starting
with Shipman: "Alright, Claire. Going to be a big slugfest here, and
who's going to win? Is the Bush administration going to have to start
talking conservation talk?"
Asked by Larry King about bias, ABC's Peter Jennings countered: "I think bias is very largely in the eye of the beholder" and that "good journalists work very hard to leave their bias beside the typewriter, or the computer as it may be." He insisted that ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC "are largely in the center without particular axes to grind, without ideologies which are represented in our daily coverage."
King elicited the bias denials during the May 15 Larry King Live on CNN. MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth caught these noteworthy exchanges:
-- King: "Do you resent the criticism of
-- King: "Do you hate the term or dislike
the term 'mainstream media' when those critics say, oh, 'the mainstream
So all the bias is by accident?
Dan Rather's other claims and comments to Bill O'Reilly. Spurred by the May 15 CyberAlert Extra about how on that night's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC Dan Rather had insisted that Bill Clinton is an "honest man," the MRC's Rich Noyes reviewed the rest of the interview and found some other notable comments which he culled together Wednesday afternoon for a Media Reality Check fax report.
Rich and MRC analyst Brian Boyd noticed how Rather dismissed the Juanita Broaddrick charge as a "private matter," that "Rather also wrongly insisted that the CBS Evening News had reported the corruption allegations swirling around the Reverend Jesse Jackson's misuse of donations to his non-profit organization," and that instead of defending how the CBS Evening News reported uncorroborated drug use charges against George W. Bush, Rather made others the scapegoat as he pointed out how he was on vacation that week.
Below is the text of the May 16 Media Reality Check titled, "Rather Praises Clinton As An 'Honest Man'; CBS's Top Watchdog: 'I Think You Can Be an Honest Person and Lie About Any Number of Things.'"
Appearing on the Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor Tuesday night, Dan Rather insisted he had no "inner bias...that goes easy on a Clinton and hard on somebody from the Republican side." But in his answers, Rather revealed that he sees the world through liberal-tinted lenses. Highlights from Rather's FNC appearance:
-- Rape is a private matter: "I don't remember all the details of Juanita Broaddrick," Rather dismissively commented in reference to the Arkansas woman who alleged that Clinton raped her in 1978, "but I will say that -- and you can castigate me if you like -- when the charge has something to do with somebody's private sex life, I would prefer not to run any of it."
-- Bill Clinton has an honest core: "I think he's an honest man," Rather told O'Reilly. "Do you, really?" the FNC host incredulously retorted, reminding him that Clinton lied to the country about Monica Lewinsky. "I think at core he is an honest person," Rather absurdly insisted. "I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."
-- Mistakes were made: After Rather claimed that CBS "did do quite a bit on campaign finance," O'Reilly recalled that the anchorman had refused to bring it up when he interviewed the President: "When you interviewed Clinton himself in 1999, we have a transcript of the interview, you didn't ask him anything about the campaign finance stuff." Instead of defending his glaring omission, Rather shrugged, "Look, I'm not a perfect interviewer."
-- Phantom transcripts: Rather also wrongly insisted that the CBS Evening News had reported the corruption allegations swirling around the Reverend Jesse Jackson's misuse of donations to his non-profit organization, a story aggressively pursued by FNC. "We nailed Jesse Jackson to the wall because of his abuse of non- profit money. You guys haven't touched him," O'Reilly confronted Rather. "You didn't do anything!"
"Oh, we have. Bill, that's just simply not true and I'll be happy to send the transcript over to you," Rather scolded.
That would be some trick. An MRC review shows that, of all of the major evening news shows, only the CBS Evening News entirely refused to report any allegations of financial misconduct against the two-time Democratic presidential candidate. (Even ABC and NBC covered a Jackson press conference held on March 8 in which the liberal activist denied using his charities to enrich himself.) Rather's CBS Evening News limited itself to a single January 18 report about Jackson's confession of an illegitimate daughter.
-- Blame Bob and Russ: Rather said he "never gave any real credence to any of these allegations [of past drug use] by George Bush....There's no documented evidence anywhere, no credible testimony." When O'Reilly showed him that Evening News had run numerous stories detailing those charges when he was on vacation in 1999, Rather immediately pointed his finger at weekend anchor Russ Mitchell and substitute anchor Bob Schieffer. "Let me stop you right there," Rather interjected. "You're talking about Russ Mitchell's program, not Dan Rather's program....I did not want to run it on my show." Way to take one for the team, Dan.
END Reprint of Media Reality Check by Rich Noyes
For all of what Rather said about Clinton's honesty, refer back to the May 15 CyberAlert Extra: http://www.mrc.org/news/cyberalert/2001/cyb20010515_extra.asp 
As noted above, O'Reilly pointed out how during his 1999 interview with Bill Clinton Rather had avoided campaign finance abuses, a touchy-feely March 31 interview aired on both the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes II detailed in the April 1, 1999 CyberAlert, which began:
Dan Rather plays nice with Bill Clinton. Forget Chinese espionage or Juanita Broaddrick or Monica Lewinsky's assertion that Clinton satisfied her, which undercuts his basis for his claim about not having sexual relations. No, instead in an exclusive interview CBS News landed, after some questions about the war in Kosovo, Dan Rather tossed kiss-up questions, such as light-heartedly promoting the Hillary for Senate distraction: "Could you describe for me what you believe to be the responsibilities of the husband of a United States Senator?"
End excerpt from the April 1, 1999 CyberAlert
For more, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/cyberalert/1999/cyb19990401.html#1 
The CyberAlert also features a RealPlayer clip of this portion of the interview:
Following an ad break, Rather progressed to a more pleasant topic for Clinton: "Could you describe for me what you believe to be the responsibilities of the husband of a United States Senator?" Clinton, laughing, explained that he'd be willing to be a caseworker in Hillary's New York office.
Clinton ruminated about how after Hillary aided his career for 22 years he will spend the next 22 years helping her, prompting Rather to seek reassurance: "And you expect to do that together as man and wife?" Clinton: "Oh, absolutely."
Up next, instead of demanding Clinton address what he put the country through, Rather sympathetically inquired about how "our First Family" is doing: "Mr. President, you know Americans like to know that the First Family is okay, that they're doing alright. Given the year plus what you and our First Family have been through, tell us what you can about how the three of you are doing." Clinton assured Rather they are "doing reasonably well" since "we do love each other very much," adding that Hillary's trip to Africa has been good for the country.
Rather's next question: "How about yourself? We're here in a room with pictures of Lincoln, Washington, Continental Congress. When you look back over this year plus, what's the moral of it? Does it have a moral?"
END second excerpt from the April 1, 1999 CyberAlert
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of President Bush from Dan Rather, a man impressed by Bill Clinton's honesty.
Asked by Larry King on CNN Monday night
"how is Bush doing?", Rather replied:
I'd count Rather among the disappointed.
Updating viewers on the runaway freight train
in Ohio from the day before, Rather wrapped up the May 16 CBS Evening
A fresh reminder that Dan Rather is sometimes as weird as, to adopt one of his imaginations, "if a frog had side pockets he'd probably wear a handgun."
-- Brent Baker 
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