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CyberAlert -- 01/31/2002 -- Bush Plan: "Enron for Everybody"

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Bush Plan: "Enron for Everybody"; Bush's "Threat" to Daschle on Hearings; NPR Retracted Smear; Russert: "The Late Newt Gingrich"

1) Forget any concerns about methods or sources being exposed by public hearings into pre-September 11th failures by intelligence agencies. Noting the administration's suggestion it would not cooperate with such hearings unless they remain closed, ABC's Charles Gibson asked Tom Daschle: "Did you take that as something of a threat?"

2) Good Morning America focused on how Bush failed to mention Enron in his State of the Union address. Claire Shipman suggested "the scandal simply serves to remind the public of Bush's so-called negatives before 9/11, that he may be too cozy with business interests, that some people may think he prefers big corporations to the little guy."

3) Time magazine's Margaret Carlson whined on CNN about how President Bush "is not spending this huge popularity he has to do anything that is not in keeping with the conservative dreams of his party." She preposterously maintained that if Bush were to succeed in allowing people to invest a portion of their Social Security money in the stock market, "we'll simply make an Enron for everybody in the country."

4) NPR has conceded that it was "inappropriate" for reporter David Kestenbaum to have suggested that the Traditional Values Coalition was a suspect in the anthrax letters sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy.

5) NBC's Tim Russert referred to "the late Newt Gingrich, the late Speaker Newt Gingrich" during his appearance on Wednesday's Late Show. Concerned that viewers might think Gingrich had really died, after an ad break David Letterman assured his audience that Gingrich is "not dead, we just confirmed that."

6) Letterman's "Top Ten Surprises in Last Night's State of the Union Address."


Correction: Due to an error by a colleague in the early morning hours confusing two high-profile Davids in the media, which I did not catch, the January 30 CyberAlert mis-attributed two post-State of the Union comments on Nightline to Washington Post reporter David Broder. They were actually said by David Gergen, Editor at Large of U.S. News & World Report.
The Web-posted version of the January 30 CyberAlert has been corrected and a correction sent Wednesday afternoon to the CyberAlert list recounted the specific quotes in question.

1

The administration probably has some pretty reasonable concerns about procedures and sources being exposed by public hearings into the shortcomings of intelligence failures before September 11th, but ABC's Charles Gibson's portrayed the administration's wish, that such hearings be closed, and that they might not cooperate with open hearings, as a "threat" made against Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.

Gibson's last question to Daschle on the January 30 Good Morning America, the morning after the State of the Union address:
"There's a Newsweek report this week that Vice President Cheney called you directly to say that he didn't want public hearings on why intelligence in this country missed the signals on September 11th, and he seemed to indicate that if you did hold public hearings, the administration wouldn't cooperate. Did you take that as something of a threat? What did you see that to be?"

2

The morning following the State of the Union address, ABC News remained disturbed that President Bush had not mentioned Enron by name, MRC analyst Jessica Anderson observed.

Reporter Claire Shipman speculated: "The problem with the Enron scandal for Bush and the White House is less that the White House may have done something wrong or improper, and more that the scandal simply serves to remind the public of Bush's so-called negatives before 9/11, that he may be too cozy with business interests, that some people may think he prefers big corporations to the little guy."

On the January 30 show, co-host Charles Gibson wondered: "Claire, what struck you? He didn't mention Enron by name, but it was sure there indirectly."
Shipman replied: "It was there indirectly, Charlie, and it was interesting. An oblique reference to the protection of pension plans, but that was it. And that omission was quite deliberate because, look, the problem with the Enron scandal for Bush and the White House is less that the White House may have done something wrong or improper, and more that the scandal simply serves to remind the public of Bush's so-called negatives before 9/11, that he may be too cozy with business interests, that some people may think he prefers big corporations to the little guy. And indeed, if you dig behind his lofty poll numbers right now and ask specific questions about Enron, a sizable chunk of the population thinks the White House still isn't telling everything that it knows. So while the White House is trying to cast this as an equal opportunity scandal, I think it's going to be a much tougher one for the Republicans and George W. Bush knew that last night."

3

Time magazine's Margaret Carlson again denounced Bush's tax cuts during an appearance Wednesday afternoon on CNN as she whined about how "he is not spending this huge popularity he has to do anything that is not in keeping with the conservative dreams of his party." She also preposterously maintained that if Bush were to succeed in allowing people to invest a portion of their Social Security money in the stock market, "we'll simply make an Enron for everybody in the country."

Yes, everyone would then invest all their money in one company which would soon go bankrupt.

On Wednesday's Inside Politics, Carlson complained: "It was Bush that used the recession to justify tax cuts that don't really make very much sense. And, in listening to the speech last night, you cannot figure out a way for all this spending, including spending we were unprepared for on the military and to fight the war, and the deficits that we are now facing. The surplus is gone, deficit spending. And so, even if the recession is over -- and I think it is a huge if -- there is still going to be a spending crunch that is not going to justify the tax cuts that the President wants to stick with."

After praising Bush's remarks about fighting terrorism, Carlson turned critical -- from the left, of course:
"When he changed to the second half of the speech at about 9:40, it got vaguer. There was a list of things he wants to do, but no specifics about how to do it. And it looks as if he is not spending this huge popularity he has to do anything that is not in keeping with the conservative dreams of his party: tax cuts; privatizing Social Security.
"The biggest contradiction in the speech was to say that Enron -- in fact, without mentioning Enron -- as a result of that, we needed to look at 401(k)s and reform them, and then saying, 'But, at the same time, we should privatize Social Security,' in which we'll simply make an Enron for everybody in the country."

That comment prompted laughter from Tucker Carlson, the co-host of Crossfire with whom she appeared.

What more can you do than laugh at such liberal paranoid wackiness?

4

NPR has conceded that it was "inappropriate" for reporter David Kestenbaum to have suggested that the Traditional Values Coalition was a suspect in the anthrax letters sent to Senators Daschle and Leahy.

On the January 22 Morning Edition, Kestenbaum had reported: "Two of the anthrax letters were sent to Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, both Democrats. One group who had a gripe with Daschle and Leahy is the Traditional Values Coalition, which, before the attacks, had issued a press release criticizing the Senators for trying to remove the phrase 'so help me God' from the oath." Kestenbaum continued: "The Traditional Values Coalition, however, told me the FBI had not contacted them and then issued a press release saying NPR was in the pocket of the Democrats and trying to frame them. But investigators are thinking along these lines. FBI agents won't discuss the case, but the people they have spoken with will."

On Tuesday, CNSNews.com's Jim Burns reported that NPR's pull back was read during Tuesday's Morning Edition. NPR spokesperson Jess Sarmiento relayed the statement to CNSNews.com: "A story last week about the ongoing anthrax investigation mentioned the Traditional Values Coalition, whom we called to ask if they had been contacted by the FBI. They said they had not since there is no evidence that they were or should be investigated. It was inappropriate to name them on the air."

CNS.com's Burns noted, however, that "Rev. Lou Sheldon, Chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition wasn't impressed with NPR's statement. 'They have not apologized, neither have they retracted, neither have they said they were sorry. They have simply tried to further distance themselves from the wrong that they have done.'"

For the entire CNSNews.com story:
http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200201\NAT20020129e.html

In a column titled, "Those Dastardly 'Fundamentalists,'" MRC President Brent Bozell took up the NPR incident as well as a recent case in which a Washington Post reporter equated "religious conservatives" in the U.S. with the Taliban. To read the column:
http://www.mediaresearch.org/bozellcolumns/newscolumn/2002/col20020124.asp

5

"The late Newt Gingrich." Appearing Wednesday night on CBS's Late Show with David Letterman, NBC's Tim Russert referred to "the late Newt Gingrich, the late Speaker Newt Gingrich." Concerned that viewers might think Gingrich had really passed away, after an ad break Letterman assured his audience that Gingrich is "not dead, we just confirmed that."

Russert's reference to Gingrich came as the NBC News VP and Washington Bureau Chief began to recount a humorous tale about how after Russert had prayed as a Catholic to God for a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl victory, and yet the Bills still lost to the Dallas Cowboys, Tom Brokaw joked to Russert that God is a Southern Baptist.

Russert started his anecdote: "I have been to four Super Bowls. The last was at the Georgia Dome. The Bills were playing against the Dallas Cowboys. I was on Meet the Press -- I brought the program down there, interviewed the late Newt Gingrich, the late Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Sam Nunn the former Senator..."

After the commercial break, when Russert had left the set, Letterman cautioned: "I want to clarify a couple of things here. We talked this over and he said 'the late Newt Gingrich,' Tim Russert referred to him as 'the late Newt Gingrich,' meaning former Speaker of the House -- and he's not dead, we just confirmed that."

6

From moments later on the very same January 30 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Surprises in Last Night's State of the Union Address." Copyright 2002 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.

10. President's opener, "big ups to the peeps in my West Coast crew."
9. Due to a mix-up, teleprompter was loaded with Jimmy Carter's 1979 address
8. Disoriented Strom Thurmond kept screaming, "Who's cooking 'taters?"
7. Beach ball that bounced around -- started by Joe Lieberman
6. When clerk introduced "the President of the United States" Hillary started making her way up the aisle
5. The girl he pulled out of the audience and danced with on stage -- a young Courtney Cox
4. Whenever Bush said "economy," Supreme Court Justices did a shot
3. At same time, Al Gore delivered "State of My Condo" speech to his two kitties
2. Nobody passed out
1. Intern from Clinton's last State of the Union still under podium -- Brent Baker


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