Not Enough to Spend; Will Reno Run on Clinton "Accomplishments"?; Regulations Led to Shark Attacks?; Blitzer's Odd Labeling
1) Federal spending has soared 22 percent since 1995, but the Washington press corps continues to relay how Democrats blame Bush's tax cut for eliminating the surplus and worry about how there's not enough money for Democratic and Republican-pushed new spending plans.
2) On Tuesday's Good Morning America ABC's Terry Moran drew a less than respectful analogy between school kids and the President: "But for Mr. Bush, as for school children everywhere, the fun is over and now the fall promises a lot of hard work."
3) In brief items Tuesday night about how Senator Phil Gramm is bowing out of elective politics while Janet Reno is getting back in, Dan Rather only offered a negative take on why Gramm may have decided to not run again.
4) Bryant Gumbel still holds some bitterness toward Al Gore. In a Tuesday interview about Janet Reno's run for Governor of Florida, he asked: "Do you see her running on the many accomplishments of the Clinton administration or actually running from Clinton, a la Al Gore?" NBC's Tim Russert maintained Reno "is someone who's hard to pigeonhole in terms of her various policies."
5) Government regulation behind shark attacks? The CBS Evening News gave air time to a conservative analyst who suggested fishing limitations and sanctuaries for sharks have increased their numbers and may have led to this year's attacks on humans.
7) Back anchoring the NBC Nightly News on Tuesday night after ten weeks off, Tom Brokaw described how he spent his summer fishing, mountain hiking, going to weddings and funerals, and attending a baseball game.
>>> New RealPlayer video clip up on the MRC home page, thanks to Webmaster Mez Djouadi. Diane Sawyer last week to Anne Marie Smith's lawyer who is seeking to penalize Gary Condit for proposing a false affidavit: "In the New York Times this morning, the fact that you are joined in this request for a grand jury by Judicial Watch, according to the New York Times says, 'adds a decidedly political edge to the case.' Is this a Republican vendetta of some kind? A right-wing vendetta?" To view the RealPlayer video, go to the MRC home page, or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010829.asp#4  <<<
To Washington reporters the problem is how the tax cut has wiped out the surplus, which means there's no money left to be spent. But, as the National Taxpayers Union reported a few weeks ago, spending has already soared, a pattern scheduled to continue. Since 1995 federal spending has risen 22 percent and it will rise another 20 percent by 2006. Last fall, NTU pointed out, "Congress voted to bust the budget caps by a whopping $52 billion over the previous year's caps and $26 billion over the inflation adjustment."
Yet on Sunday's This Week ABC's Sam Donaldson reflected the mind set of the press corps as he pointed out that because of reduced revenue CBO figures show spending will dip $30 billion into the Social Security surplus over the next four years and, he told Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, those numbers "do not take into account the new spending both the White House and Members of Congress of both parties want. No missile defense in that, no new Pentagon supplemental, nothing more for the farmers, nothing more for drug prescription. Those are just based on the old spending figures. What are you going to do about that Senator Conrad?"
How about cutting back elsewhere or questioning the necessity of the new spending advocated by both parties?
Tuesday night on ABC's World News Tonight Terry Moran relayed, without pointing out how spending is spiraling upward, how Democrats blame the tax cut for eliminating the surplus, noting that Conrad claims "the drastic reduction in revenue is the result of the President's tax cut."
From the White House on September 4, Moran
warned viewers that "it's getting ugly here. This war of words over
the budget is much more than just a rhetorical battle. What is at stake is
much of the President's fall agenda...and his and the Republicans in
Congress's congressional political future. So today, the President came
out swinging, saying in a meeting with Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott
that the biggest threat to the surplus comes from Congress."
Of course, conservatives would contend a capital gains cut would increase, not decrease, federal revenue.
Absent from all this media blaming of the tax cut for wiping out the deficit and worries about how there's not enough money left for new spending, is any mention of how spending is already soaring.
An excerpt from an August 22 press release from the National Taxpayers Union:
As Congressional critics pointed to the recently-passed tax cut for shrinking federal surplus projections released today by the Office of Management and Budget, research from the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has identified the true culprit -- a relentless onslaught of spending programs aided and abetted by lawmakers themselves.
"The blame for lower budget windfalls rests squarely on the shoulders of big-spenders, not tax cutters," said NTU Director of Congressional Relations Eric V. Schlecht. "The idea that tax reductions are somehow responsible for revised budget projections, while spending has been rising and continues to soar, is the height of fiscal folly." Among Schlecht's findings:
-- Total federal outlays in 1995 were $1.51 trillion. In 2001 they are scheduled to be $1.86 trillion. That is an increase of 22%. Average inflation during that period was 2.5% per year. On its way out of town last fall, Congress voted to bust the budget caps by a whopping $52 billion over the previous year's caps and $26 billion over the inflation adjustment.
-- The spending spree is scheduled to continue. Between 2001 and 2006 total federal outlays are scheduled to increase by 20%, from $1.8 trillion to $2.2 trillion. If all the bills introduced in both chambers during the last Congress had passed, they would have increased spending by $973 billion a year. In other words, the Bush tax cut will save taxpayers $511 billion between 2002 and 2006, while the 106th Congress proposed to spend $4.9 trillion over the same period -- thereby reducing the surplus by nearly 10 times that amount....
-- Non-defense discretionary spending was $147 billion in 1986. If this spending had been held to the rate of inflation over the past 15 years, its level in 2001 would $228.8 billion instead of $325.7 billion (i.e., the surplus would be $96.8 billion larger). If non-defense discretionary spending growth had been held to 2.5% per year during the Clinton era, the "on-budget" (non_Social Security) surplus would be $51.1 billion larger in 2001.
For more, go to: http://www.ntu.org/news_room/press_releases/pr_082201.php3 
"But for Mr. Bush, as for school children everywhere, the fun is over," warned ABC's Terry Moran on Tuesday's Good Morning America as he drew a less than respectful analogy between school kids and the President.
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson caught how Moran began a September 4 piece on GMA: "On the last day of his summer break, President Bush pressed the flesh at a Teamsters picnic and took some carpentry lessons in Green Bay, but for Mr. Bush, as for school children everywhere, the fun is over and now the fall promises a lot of hard work and bitter battles with Democrats in Congress. First, there's the shrunken budget surplus. Democrats blame Mr. Bush's tax cut, but the President says the real culprits are congressional spenders....All this shows how quickly the political landscape has shifted on President Bush, who came into office with a huge surplus and a Republican Senate. Seven months into his presidency, Mr. Bush is finding out just how hard the job can be."
In brief items Tuesday night about how Senator Phil Gramm is bowing out of elective politics while Janet Reno is getting back in, Dan Rather only offered a negative take on why Gramm may have decided to not run again.
Rather announced on the September 4 CBS Evening News: "There is another story tonight with economic and political implications. A Republican veteran of the budget battles in Congress, Senator Phil Gramm of Texas, announced he will not run for a fourth term. Gramm, who is 59, said he'd accomplished his goals, including tax and spending cuts. Democrats suggested another factor: Gramm lost his Banking Committee chairmanship when Democrats took Senate control in June. Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno officially opened a campaign account today in her home state of Florida. She said she will seek the Democratic nomination for Governor in a bid to unseat Republican Jeb Bush."
Bryant Gumbel still holds some bitterness toward Al Gore, it seems. During a Tuesday interview about Janet Reno's potential run for Governor of Florida, he asked a guest: "Do you see her running on the many accomplishments of the Clinton administration or actually running from Clinton, a la Al Gore?" Gumbel also sought assurance: "And whatever happens, Katherine Harris won't be around to certify the results, right?"
The same morning, NBC's Tim Russert predicted that "if blacks turn out, if seniors turn out and if the economy is still in trouble I think Janet Reno has a better than even chance of winning." Russert claimed "she is someone who's hard to pigeonhole in terms of her various policies" and while "the Bush people will try to make her a Clinton redux," Russert admired her "moxy."
MRC analyst Brian Boyd took down some of Gumbel's questions, on the September 4 Early Show, to Mark Silva, the political editor for the Orlando Sentinel.
Gumbel wondered: "How much, if at all, does she figure to be hurt by some of the things she did as Attorney General, particularly the Elian affair?"
His next concern: "Do you see her running
on the many accomplishments of the Clinton administration or actually
running from Clinton, a la Al Gore?"
Gumbel asked about her Democratic primary
opposition and then asserted: "If she is jumping in, she obviously
thinks she can win. Is Jeb Bush considered that vulnerable?"
After raising "how much of an issue...her
battle with Parkinson's" may become, Gumbel wrapped up by
resurrecting anger at Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris:
"And whatever happens, Katherine Harris won't be around to certify
the results, right?"
Over on NBC's Today, MRC analyst Geoffrey
Dickens observed, Tim Russert saw a bright future for Reno. Asked by Katie
Couric about her prospects, Russert replied:
Government regulations have led to shark attacks on humans? The CBS Evening News on Tuesday night, amazingly, gave air time to a contention expressed by a conservative group about how federal and state limits on shark fishing may have increased the shark population near where people swim.
The story by reporter Bobbi Harley featured Sean Paige of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He first broached the subject in early August for a piece on National Review Online and has since appeared on the Fox News Channel to make his case.
Dan Rather introduced the September 4 CBS
Evening News story which also acknowledged there may not really be any
increase in shark attacks, just more media hype:
Harley began, as transcribed by MRC analyst
Brad Wilmouth: "For years, the federal government has believed the
shark population is in trouble. That's why it imposed regulations
restricting fishing along the Atlantic seaboard. The shark catch is now
down 50 percent, but some worry that's causing other problems."
(In the interest of full disclosure, I'd note that Paige was once a entertainment media analyst for the Media Research Center, making him, I'd bet, the first ex-MRCer to ever make it onto the CBS Evening News.)
An excerpt from Paige's August 8 piece for National Review Online, "The Jaws of Government: Are the feds to blame for the shark attacks?" Paige, the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Warren Brookes fellow, explained:
....Since 1993, strict limits have been placed on the number of sharks that can be taken from U.S. waters by both commercial and sport fishers. The commercial shark-fishing season has been shortened accordingly. Four-thousand-pound "trip limits" made it a losing business proposition for the largest U.S. shark boats, ensuring that sharking became a small-boat industry. Commercial shark permits issued by the feds were cut tenfold, from around 2,000 before 1999 to around 200 today. And nearly 20 types of sharks -- including Whites, some types of Makos, and Caribbean Reef sharks -- have been declared off-limits to commercial harvest.
Also jumping on the shark-protection bandwagon, Florida in 1992 instituted a strict, 1 shark per person (or 2 shark per boat, maximum) bag limit on sharks in state waters (which extend 3 miles from the beach on the Atlantic Ocean, and nine miles from the shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico). Gillnetting and long lining, two common techniques for snaring sharks, were also banned. Though sharks are still caught in state waters, these restrictions severely reduce the number taken closest to shore. This has effectively created a sanctuary in the area where human-animal interactions are most prone to occur, and which at least one type of shark famous for its attacks upon humans -- the Bull Shark -- is known to frequent.
All of these tactics have resulted in a steep drop in the number of sharks caught in U.S. coastal waters: from 17.2 million lbs. in 1989, at the apogee of the shark fishing boom (spurred on, in large part, by the high prices paid for shark fin soup), to 8.5 million lbs. in 1999 -- or a 49 percent cut. Translating those weights into actual numbers, one government report indicates that shark kills fell from an estimated 350,000 fish (in 1989) to 113,100 fish (in 1999). Comparable reductions have occurred in recreational shark fishing.
In Florida, where the vast majority of shark fishing (and U.S. shark attacks) occurs, more than 7.4 million lbs. of shark was hooked or netted off the coast in 1990, according to U.S. fishery statistics. By 1999, due to government regulation, the total catch had plummeted by more than 86 percent, to just over 1 million lbs.....
For the entire analysis, go to: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-paige080801.shtml 
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt is a "conservative Democrat"? That would be a logical label if you follow the reasoning applied by CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
On Sunday's Late Edition, MRC analyst Ken Shepherd noticed, during an interview with Congressman Harold Ford, a Democrat from Tennessee, Blitzer contended: "Like Congressman Condit, you're a so-called Blue Dog, Democratic conservative Democrat, you're from Tennessee..."
Previous CyberAlerts have already refuted this conservative description of Condit, pointing out how congressional vote ratings put him in the center ideologically, but he certainly is to the right of the very liberal Ford.
Ford's career rating from the American Conservative Union: 13 percent. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action have approved of 84 percent of his votes through 2000. That puts him one point to the left of Dick Gephardt, who has earned a lifetime 83 percent from the ADA.
ten weeks off, Tom Brokaw returned Tuesday to anchor the NBC Nightly News.
He concluded by filling viewers in on what he did all summer:
Sounds a little more relaxing than Bush's vacation.
-- Brent Baker