CyberAlert -- 02/01/2002 -- "Right Into Cheney's Office"
"Right Into Cheney's Office"; Bush's "Assault on Women's Rights"; Gumbel Pushed King Abdullah to Denounce Bush; GMA Fond of Fonda
1) On Thursday night NBC insisted the Enron scandal leads "right into Vice President Cheney's office." Setting up a story on how Enron supposedly influenced reaction to California's power problems, Tom Brokaw referred to charges that Enron kept "energy prices artificially high during the power crisis" by convincing the Bush team to not impose price controls on wholesale electricity prices. The free market is "artificial"?
2) A new study from the far-left U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), documented how the campaign finance reform bills pushed by journalists would have had little impact on Enron's recent donations, but don't expect many reporters to mention the PIRG study which undermines the media's case.
3) CBS on Thursday night framed a story around the pro-abortion agenda. Dan Rather: "There's a growing political storm over a new policy by President Bush that expands prenatal care for the poor but also reignites arguments about a woman's right to choose abortion." John Roberts noted the decision would "play well with conservatives," but that "abortion rights advocates" call it "an assault on women's rights under the guise of compassion."
4) When Jordan's King Abdullah refused to denounce the Bush administration for shunning Yasser Arafat and not helping the Palestinians, CBS's Bryant Gumbel repeatedly pressed him to do so. Plus, Gumbel wanted to know "how big a mistake" would it be for the U.S. to move "aggressively against Iraq?"
5) NBC's Today gave liberal advocate Ann Brown, Clinton's head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a platform from which to lobby the agency she formerly headed. Ann Curry really piled it on, praising her regulatory efforts: "Ann Brown, working so hard to protect us from faulty products."
6) "You need to hear what she has to say," declared Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer before a laudatory profile of Jane Fonda and her crusade to counter conservatives as she advocates access for minors to contraceptives. After Fonda scolded Americans to "take your head out of the sand," ABC's Nancy Snyderman enthused: "Telling words from a woman and icon who went from acting to activism..."
to the News Media. The MRC ended its "Dishonor Awards: Roasting the
Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2001," with a
ten-minute video tribute to network coverage of September 11th and its
immediate aftermath. You can now view the stirring video, produced for the
MRC by Horizons Television, online. MRC Webmaster Mez Djouadi has added it
to the Dishonor Awards page. To watch it via RealPlayer, go to:
NBC on Thursday night maintained the Enron scandal "paper trail" leads "right into Vice President Cheney's office." While ABC and CBS focused their Enron stories on the revelation that the board of directors had been informed about how the company was hiding losses in artificial partnerships, and ABC added a story about Enron's continued use of expensive corporate jets, NBC insisted upon portraying Enron as a Bush administration scandal.
Setting up their story of how Enron supposedly influenced Bush administration reaction to the California power problems, anchor Tom Brokaw referred to allegations that "the Houston company kept California's energy prices artificially high during the power crisis last year" by convincing the Bush team to not impose price controls on wholesale electricity prices.
So, by Brokaw's reasoning, government-mandated price controls are natural and the free market is "artificial"?
In the subsequent story, reporter Jim Avila recounted all the money Enron had donated to the Bush family and then relayed the claims of unnamed liberal activists: "Critics charge that investment bought Enron access and say this memo obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle, from Ken Lay to Vice President Dick Cheney during a private meeting April 17th of last year, is exhibit A."
Brokaw introduced the January 31 NBC Nightly
News story, as taken down by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
Avila began, over video of Lay talking to
George H.W. Bush as they stood a few feet behind George W. Bush in the
stands of a stadium: "Ken Lay, long-time friend to the first
President Bush, and together with Enron, the single largest political
contributor to the second, donating nearly $800,000 over the last seven
years to George W.'s campaigns and inauguration. Critics charge that
investment bought Enron access and say this memo obtained by the San
Francisco Chronicle, from Ken Lay to Vice President Dick Cheney during a
private meeting April 17th of last year, is exhibit A."
Despite that obviously point undermining the
premise of NBC's conspiracy, Avila plowed ahead: "But the complaint
from Californians who wanted price caps was that they didn't get to make
their case and Enron did. Even California's senior Senator, Democrat
Dianne Feinstein, says she tried three times during the crisis to talk to
President Bush and was rebuffed."
Maybe she should have sent a memo.
Avila continued: "Vice President
Cheney's staff tells NBC News he does not remember receiving the memo,
and that there's no record of it at the White House. His spokeswoman,
Mary Matalin, tells NBC News the administration has always been against
To read the San Francisco Chronicle story:
For the supposed smoking gun memo in question,
access this less than succinct Web address where the newspaper has posted
Speaking of charges Enron bought political influence, liberals, echoed by the Washington press corps, insist that the Enron case demonstrates the need to get corporate influence-buying out of politics by enacting "campaign finance reform."
A new study, however, by the far-left U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), documented how the bills to curb soft money donations would have had little impact on Enron's recent donations. But don't expect many in the media, who regularly cite PIRG when the group denounces conservative policies, to mention the PIRG study which undermines the media's case for McCain-Feingold and Shays-Meehan. (PIRG advocates much more drastic hard money donation limits.)
The AP wrote a story on January 30 about the PIRG numbers and USA Today ran a short story on page 3 of the Money section on January 31.
On its Web site PIRG listed its key findings:
-- "More than 62 percent of Enron's and Arthur Andersen's combined $11.2 million in political contributions since the 1990 election cycle were made with 'hard money.' The Shays-Meehan bill significantly increases hard money limits."
-- "Kenneth and Linda Lay gave $882,580 in hard and soft money combined since the 1990 election cycle. Under Shays-Meehan's and McCain-Feingold's increased contribution limits, the Lays would have been able to give $975,000 in hard money alone during that period."
-- "Enron employees have made $508,000 in $1,000 contributions since the 1990 election cycle. Arthur Andersen's employees made $294,000 in $1,000 contributions during the same period. McCain-Feingold's increased contribution limits would allow these wealthy executives to double their contributions."
-- "Through giving to state parties, issue groups, or independent expenditures, Enron and Andersen could have spent the same amount of soft money under Shays-Meehan as they did previously."
-- "Since 1997, Enron's and Andersen's lobbying expenditures dwarfed their campaign contributions. Enron has spent more than $7.5 million on lobbying since 1997, nearly double their $3.8 million in campaign contributions over the same period. Andersen spent $9.6 million on lobbying, compared to $2.8 million on campaigns over the same period."
For the PIRG report: http://www.uspirg.org/newsroom/democ/020130dem.htm
As recounted in the January 28 CyberAlert, CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Katie Couric on Friday used the Enron scandal as an excuse to push for campaign finance "reform."
Rather pleaded: "In tonight's Eye on America, CBS gives you an in-depth look at the sudden revival of congressional interest in legislation that's been killed more times than Dracula: Legislation for serious campaign finance reform. In the wake of the Enron fiasco, will Congress finally put its votes where its mouth is?"
Earlier Friday, Today co-host Katie Couric conveyed her wishes to MSNBC/CNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews: "What does this portend for, for campaign finance reform? Could this be the straw that breaks the camel's back that makes people say, 'Enough is enough! This has got to happen! We don't care what those folks on Capitol Hill say?'"
So far, not a word on either show about the evidence that more regulation would have done nothing to curb what Rather and Couric find so disturbing. If the media ever do take up the PIRG analysis, however, they'll probably use it not to show how another regulatory scheme won't solve anything but that, as PIRG maintains, the current bills don't propose enough new regulation.
When liberals complain, CBS usually jumps. As they did Thursday night in framing an entire story around the agenda of pro-abortion groups upset that the Bush administration has dared to let states include unborn children in a health care program for the poor.
Dan Rather intoned: "There's a growing political storm over a new policy by President Bush that expands prenatal care for the poor but also reignites arguments about a woman's right to choose abortion." John Roberts noted how the decision would "play well with conservatives," but that "abortion rights advocates see it in sharply different terms, what they call an assault on women's rights under the guise of compassion."
Over on ABC, World News Tonight held itself to this short item read by Peter Jennings: "The Health Secretary says that fetuses will be classified as unborn children and eligible for government health care. This will help low income women, but it concerns supporters of abortion rights. They don't want the Bush administration to classify fetuses as human beings."
What a nefarious scam, to "classify fetuses as human beings." As opposes to what?
Back to the January 31 CBS Evening News,
Roberts began the story which Rather had introduced: "In a move bound
to reignite the abortion debate, the Bush administration today declared
that a developing fetus may be classified as an unborn child and eligible
for federally funded health care."
Not a liberal in sight.
When Jordan's King Abdullah refused to denounce the Bush administration for shunning Yasser Arafat and not helping the Palestinians, CBS's Bryant Gumbel repeatedly pressed him to do so.
On Thursday's Early Show, MRC analyst Brian Boyd observed that Gumbel recounted how a Saudi Prince "chastised the Bush administration for doing nothing to help the Palestinians -- their words -- 'suffering at the hands of Israel,'" asked Abdullah if Palestinians have "a right to blame the Bush administration for doing little or nothing to help them?" and, noting how "this administration has shunned Yasser Arafat," wanted to know if Abdullah thought "that's a mistake?"
Gumbel set up the top of the 7am half hour interview with Abdullah, who appeared via satellite from Washington, DC: "Tomorrow morning Jordan's King Abdullah will meet with President Bush for a working breakfast at the White House. Hostilities in the Mideast as well as the war on terrorism will be atop the agenda. His Royal Highness is already in Washington. Your Majesty, good morning...What do you hope to accomplish tomorrow morning in your meeting with the President?"
After Abdullah talked about exchanging views on the deterioration of relations between Palestinians and Israel and looking at reducing the violence, Gumbel inquired: "Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia this week chastised the Bush administration for doing nothing to help the Palestinians -- their words -- 'suffering at the hands of Israel.' Is his outrage warranted?"
Abdullah agreed that the "Arab street" is frustrated at seeing the "suffering of Palestinians" and that the recent woman bomber shows the "level of desperation" of Palestinians.
Gumbel pressed Abdullah to blame the U.S.:
"But have they a right to blame the Bush administration for doing
little or nothing to help them?"
Gumbel moved on: "Let me speak of some other matters with you, one of Jordan's key roles since 9/11 has been the sharing of intelligence information because you have very good human information on the ground. What is your view about how many countries, if any, have been implicated in the al Qaeda network?"
Gumbel followed up: "Well, I ask you that
because, as you know, on Tuesday night in his State of the Union message
the President singled out Iraq along with Iran and North Korea as being
part of what he called an 'axis of evil.' Your nation has very close
relations with Iraq. Do you think there is merit to the
Not only did NBC's Today hire the liberal regulatory advocate Ann Brown, Clinton's Chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as a reporter, on Thursday morning Today gave Brown a platform from which to lobby the agency she formerly headed. Today's Ann Curry really piled it on, praising her activist efforts to impose more regulations: "Ann Brown, working so hard to protect us from faulty products."
Curry's endorsement of Brown's regulatory
zeal came after Today aired a story by Brown about the recall of some
humidifiers. MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that Today co-host Curry
then gave Brown a forum to publicize her personal efforts to lobby the
agency she formerly oversaw. Curry noted: "We should also mention
that your non-profit organization is trying to do something even further.
Is proposing legislation so that more people are protected from faulty
And you wonder why liberals love campaign finance "reform." While they and the Washington press corps fret over undue influence of corporate donations and former government officials lobbying the insiders they once directed, they have the news media to promote their liberal policy prescriptions.
"You need to hear what she has to say," declared Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer before a laudatory profile on Thursday of Jane Fonda and her crusade to counter conservatives as she advocates access for minors to contraceptives.
Fonda argued: "In this country, you
think, 'Oh my gosh, if we tell kids how to avoid getting pregnant, it's
going to make them have sex.' Come on! I mean, take your head out of the
sand. Come on! It is so disrespectful to young people."
Sawyer set up the January 31 profile caught by the MRC's Jessica Anderson: "And Jane Fonda joins us now, provocative as ever, talking about President Bush, talking about her celebrated and now-ended marriage to the high-voltage Ted Turner, and her passion for improving the lives of young girls around the world." Sawyer insisted: "You need to hear what she has to say."
Nancy Snyderman handled the pre-taped interview: "This is the Jane Fonda you thought you knew. This is the Jane Fonda you need to know, working with young women in Third World countries, giving them information about basic human rights, sexuality, self-worth."
Snyderman to Fonda: "At this stage in
your life, having done so much, you're now an activist really fighting for
young women around the globe. Why?"
Snyderman concluded: "Change seems the
only thing constant in Jane Fonda's life. Today at 64 and with a mission,
she is a reluctant celebrity, but she knows it is her celebrity that will
further her cause."
Sawyer oozed: "Again, Jane Fonda, who has polarized us in her history and been provocative all along and talking about change."
From the January 31 Late Show with David Letterman, as read by crew members on the US Navy destroyer Thorn based in Norfolk, Virginia, the "Top Ten Reasons Why I Love America." Copyright 2002 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Even after 225 years, it still has that new-country smell
9. Some of our best presidents were American
8. You're never more than 200 feet from a Dunkin' Donuts
6. Years of scientific research have made it possible for us to have
our eyeglasses ready in about an hour
5. What other country has both a South
Dakota and a North Dakota?
4. If somebody ever teaches a chimp to drive a car, it'll probably be
3. The uniforms look damn good
2. None of our current or former leaders live in a cave
1. Where else could a geek like Letterman get his own show?
Tonight is Letterman's 20th anniversary hosting a late night show. His NBC program first aired on February 1, 1982. -- Brent Baker
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