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CyberAlert -- 07/26/2001 -- Bush Chided for Vacating Treaties

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Bush Chided for Vacating Treaties; CBS on Why CPSC Pick "Should be Recalled"; "Non-Partisan" Stephanopoulos & Fiancee; Rivera Cited MRC

1) ABC's Peter Jennings lamented how "the Bush administration has today refused to support yet another international agreement," prompting "a lot of people are asking what's going on here." ABC's Martha Raddatz assumed all the treaties are worthy. But as FNC's Brit Hume pointed out, the supposed international unity on Kyoto only occurred when the nations agreed to not enforce penalties for not meeting targets, a fact buried in newspaper accounts.

2) Dan Rather promised a look at "why opponents think" Bush's nominee for Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission "should be recalled." Wyatt Andrews took Democratic concerns seriously as he failed to point out, as did FNC's Brit Hume, that she has already been twice "nominated for the commission by Presidents of both parties and confirmed by the Senate."

3) CNN's Jonathan Karl resurrected the false liberal claim about what Newt Gingrich once said, reporting that Democrats see "a home run political issue" in Bush's Social Security Commission, "kind of reminiscent of what happened when Newt Gingrich talked about Medicare withering on the vine."

4) Alexandra Wentworth to George Stephanopoulos on GMA: "Honey, you can touch me, we're getting married....I'm not Janet Reno, I'm your fiancee." Media Reality Check: "'Completely Non-Partisan' Stephanopoulos: Diane Sawyer Praised Objectivity of Former Clinton Aide Currently Auditioning for Morning Host Job."

5) Movie reviewer Roger Ebert displayed his liberal side in a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed in which he assumed anyone who knows anything about the world would be appalled by Bush's policies. Noting that before taking office Bush had made only two overseas trips, Ebert opined: "No wonder he wants to beak the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming...Why go to Australia when you have the Outback Steakhouse right here at home?"

6) We've reached Geraldo, who cited an MRC study: "I heard something on Fox that, that really made an impression on me. They, they had a survey, one of their right-wing pundit guys had a survey of how few times the mainstream media has mentioned the fact that Condit is even a Democrat."


1
"The Bush administration has today refused to support yet another international agreement," ABC anchor Peter Jennings bemoaned Wednesday night, claiming that "a lot of people are asking what's going on here." ABC answered with a piece by Martha Raddatz who approached the topic from the assumption that the treaties are worthy and so the Bush team should be on the defensive.

Jennings introduced the July 25 World News Tonight story, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
"The Bush administration has today refused to support yet another international agreement. And that is five times since Mr. Bush took office. Today it was an agreement on germ warfare that was being negotiated in Switzerland, and a lot of people are asking what's going on here. ABC's Martha Raddatz is at the State Department."

Raddatz began: "From germ warfare to global warming, the Bush administration finds itself virtually alone against the world."
Joseph Cirincione, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: "Officials are very clear they have a disdain, even a contempt, for these treaties."
Raddatz: "In six months, the U.S. has expressed such disdain for five major international accords [on screen: "Kyoto Protocol," "International Criminal Court Treaty," "ABM Treaty," "Small Arms Agreement," "Biological Weapons Treaty"]. In today's case, the rest of the world wanted on-site inspections to be sure that countries are not producing biological weapons. Only the U.S. refused."
Donald Mahley, Biological Arms Control Negotiator: "In our assessment, the draft protocol would put national security and confidential business information at risk."
Raddatz: "On the Kyoto agreement, it was 178 nations voting in favor of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and one nation voting against: the United States. Same story with the international criminal court. The rest of the world wanted a way to track international war criminals. The United States said American soldiers overseas might be open to frivolous charges. And the U.S. rejected an outright ban on small weapons, too, saying American gun manufacturers might suffer. The Bush administration has found most of these accords fatally flawed."
John Hulsman, Heritage Foundation: "They're saying that it isn't the process that matters so much as the outcome. Will the outcome better the United States or not? And that should be the first criterion."
Richard Butler, Council on Foreign Relations: "There has to be international cooperation on these major issues. Fighting the world instead of working with it, no matter how powerful you are, will not work."
Raddatz concluded: "For now, the Bush administration seems content to stand alone."
Raddatz asserted midway through her diatribe: "On the Kyoto agreement, it was 178 nations voting in favor of curbing greenhouse gas emissions and one nation voting against: the United States." Or, you could look at is as 178 nations, including the United States, which have yet to ratify it, versus only one which has ratified it: Romania.

And as FNC's Brit Hume pointed out on Tuesday, the supposed unity achieved over the weekend in Bonn on the Kyoto Protocol only occurred when the 178 nations agreed to not enforce any penalties for not meeting Kyoto targets, a fact buried in newspaper accounts. Hume relayed in the "Political Grapevine" segment on the July 24 Special Report with Brit Hume:
"That agreement reached in Bonn, Germany, without U.S. participation, to salvage the Kyoto Treaty on global warming is being hailed in major American newspapers as, in the words of The Los Angeles Times quote, 'a display of international cohesion and commitment.'
"One must read until the next to last paragraph of The Washington Post story to learn that the deal was reached only after quote, 'Japan was satisfied that penalties against countries that failed to meet the Kyoto targets would not be legally binding,' end quote. The New York Times never mentions that in its stories, and The L.A. Times does not note it until the 21st paragraph."

But that's still sooner and more coverage than this little fact has earned on the networks. On Tuesday's Good Morning America, for instance, ABC's Terry Moran checked in from Kosovo:
"This is the last stop on the President's trip to Europe, which has been partially overshadowed by the continuing controversy over global warming. Yesterday 178 nations agreed to enforce limits on greenhouse gases, thus completing the Kyoto Accords, which Mr. Bush -- isolating the United States -- has vowed never to adopt."

2

The CBS Evening News decided that Democratic opposition to President Bush's nominee to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was worth a story as Dan Rather promised a look at "why opponents think the nominee should be recalled."

Reporter Wyatt Andrews took Democratic concern seriously as he failed to even hint at the possibility Democrats are just trying to use their muscle to embarrass Bush. He failed to point out, as did FNC's Brit Hume, that "her willingness to seek voluntary cooperation with industry, instead of mandatory regulation of industry, did not prevent her from being twice being nominated for the commission by Presidents of both parties and confirmed by the Senate."

Rather introduced the July 25 CBS Evening News report: "As for President Bush's choice to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, CBS's Wyatt Andrews is covering the nomination battle in Congress and why opponents think the nominee should be recalled."

Andrews began, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth: "Mary Sheila Gall has been on the Consumer Product Safety Commission for ten years reviewing dangerous products, but her Senate hearing today on her bid to be Chairman may have brought the most danger she's ever seen. Democrats arrived angry charging that on key votes -- baby bath seats, baby walkers, and wide-rail bunk bids -- Gall would not push manufacturers toward changes that would have saved lives."
Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA: "And yet, when we try to educate parents about placing their children in adult beds, you not only oppose it, but you write a letter to the editor, and you condemn the commission staff."
Andrews: "The most contentious issue is Gall's record of blaming the users of consumer products for accidents, a record she defends. Gall has pointed out, for example, that 75 of 78 deaths in baby bath seats happened when adults left toddlers unattended."
CPSC Commissioner Mary Sheila Gall: "I believe that we need to take a look at products, and we also need to take a look at behavior."
Andrews: "Gall brushed off the accusation that she is big business's best friend."
Gall: "I have voted with the majority 97 percent of the time in matters of enforcement. Clearly, I think this is a record of someone who is committed to consumer protection."
Andrews: "Still, Democrats weren't finished. They brought out victims of unsafe products to argue for a more aggressive commission, and they brought out the newest leader of the anti-Gall campaign."
Senator Hillary Clinton at an outdoor media event: "This is a consumer protection agency. It should not be too much to ask that the person who chairs it will actually protect consumers."
Andrews concluded: "Republicans defend Gall as the kind of common sense regulator that Washington needs, but Democrats smell blood. Even if they don't defeat the Gall nomination, they'll try to use it to paint the White House as pro-industry."

CBS viewers could have put Senator Clinton's rhetoric into better perspective if Andrews had mentioned what reporter Brian Wilson told FNC viewers Tuesday night, that it was Hillary's Clinton's "husband who appointed Gall to her current term on the commission."

As for how right wing Gall may be, her bio on the CPSC Web site reveals that back before Reagan's election she chose to work for the Republican establishment's anti-conservative presidential choice: "Director of Research in the George Bush for President Campaign during 1979-1980." For this bio and a picture of her, go to: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/bios/gall.html

3

Dredging up old false liberal political charges and stating them as fact. In a Tuesday night story on Democratic reaction to Bush's Social Security Commission, CNN's Jonathan Karl resurrected the false charge that Newt Gingrich once hoped Medicare "would wither on the vine."

Karl asserted on the July 24 Inside Politics: "Democrats clearly think that they've got a home run political issue here, kind of reminiscent of what happened when Newt Gingrich talked about Medicare withering on the vine, and we saw it endlessly in those ads by the Democratic Party back in 1996."

Yes, we saw it endlessly, but that doesn't make it accurate.

As even Washington Post reporter Michael Weisskopf wrote in an October 7, 1996 story fact-checking a presidential debate: "Clinton also alluded twice to Republican plans to let Medicare 'wither on the vine,' an oft-repeated misrepresentation of a Gingrich reference to the Health Care Financing Administration, which runs Medicare, not the program itself."

In a letter to the editor in the November 2, 1995 Washington Post then-Speaker Gingrich recited what he really said in an address to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association:
"You know, we tell Boris Yeltsin -- Get rid of centralized command bureaucracies. Go to the marketplace. Okay, what do you think the Health Care Financing Administration is? It's a centralized command bureaucracy. It is everything we're telling Boris Yeltsin to get rid of. No, we don't get rid of it in round one because we don't think it's politically smart. We don't think that's the right way to go through a transition. But we believe it's going to wither on the vine because we think [seniors] are voluntarily going to leave it, voluntarily."

4

Diane Sawyer on Tuesday morning praised George Stephanopoulos: "You've been completely non-partisan in covering the news."

Her affirmation of his supposed lack of any partisan agenda came during a segment caught by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson in which Stephanopoulos appeared with his fiancee, bit-part actress Alexandra Wentworth, who had declared herself a Democrat after affectionately telling Stephanopoulos: "Honey, you can touch me, we're getting married....I'm not Janet Reno, I'm your fiancee."

Stephanopoulos is co-hosting GMA all this week as part of a tryout to be the permanent co-host, as the July 24 CyberAlert noted in citing a USA Today story.

Below is a rundown of the exchange during which Sawyer made her claim, followed by a Media Reality Check fax report the MRC distributed on Wednesday which recalled just a few of the most recent partisan comments from the former Clintonista.

Wentworth, who has appeared in the "Soup Nazi" episode of Seinfeld, a couple of episodes of Felicity and who has had small roles in movies such as Jerry McGuire, sat in with Stephanopoulos and Sawyer on July 24 for a few segments on wedding planning. Just past 8:30am Stephanopoulos reached over to hold her hand, prompting this exchange:

Wentworth: "Honey, you can touch me, we're getting married.... I'm not Janet Reno, I'm your fiancee."
Sawyer: "I have to tell everybody something else, because your Mom was Social Secretary in the Reagan administration and so does this mean that politics is a staple of your conversation?"
Stephanopoulos: "She swears she's a Democrat."
Wentworth: "Yes. Well what am I going to say?...I'm a Democrat, I grew up around politics and I swore I would never, ever marry anybody involved in politics -- but like they say in the Godfather, 'just when I thought I was out they pull me back in.'"
Sawyer: "And we should say, I mean, George being a Democrat, but I, watching you and watching you cover the news over the past year, you are so much about passion for politics and it doesn't matter to you, I mean -- I really mean this."
George Stephanopoulos: "Thank you."
Sawyer: "You've been completely non-partisan in covering the news."
Wentworth: "That's true."

The Internet Movie Database Web site identifies Wentworth's mother as Mabel Cabot Wentworth, "First Lady Nancy Reagan's social secretary in the White House. Her father, Eric Wentworth, was a reporter for the Washington Post." For more on the younger Wentworth's career, go to: http://us.imdb.com/Name?Wentworth,+Alexandra

To watch a RealPlayer video of the above exchange, go to the MRC home page where the MRC's Andy Szul has already posted it: http://www.mrc.org

Sawyer's preposterous claim about Stephanopoulos led the MRC's Director of Media Analysis, Rich Noyes, to produce a Media Reality Check on Wednesday with some of his more partisan jabs of late. It was titled, "'Completely Non-Partisan' Stephanopoulos: Diane Sawyer Praised Objectivity of Former Clinton Aide Currently Auditioning for Morning Host Job."

To view it as fax recipients saw it, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version:
http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/pdf/fax0725.pdf

The pull-out quote in the middle of the page, headlined: "Once a Spin Doctor, Always a Spin Doctor." "Gore exaggerated a little bit. You saw him backtrack on whether or not he was really with James Lee Witt in Texas last night...but there were no big, big lies or distortions."
-- ABC "truth squad" analyst George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, October 4, 2000, downplaying the importance of Al Gore's false debate claim that he visited a Houston, Texas disaster site with then-FEMA Director James Lee Witt.

Now an excerpt of the July 25 Media Reality Check:

....[Stephanopoulos has] "been completely non-partisan in covering the news." Oh, really?

> Remember Al Gore's unctuously aggressive first debate performance last year, later lampooned by Saturday Night Live? Stephanopoulos claimed he loved it: "Gore dominated the debate," he gushed. "Even the way that he would interrupt Jim Lehrer and say, 'Listen, I want one more word.' He looked like he was dominating and, then again, the issues that the time was spent on -- prescription drugs, education, Social Security, even the RU-486 and abortion issue -- all of those favor Gore." (ABC's post-debate coverage, October 3, 2000.)

> He was equally "non-partisan" when it came to analyzing then-President Clinton's speeches. "Virtuoso, Peter," he exclaimed after the 2000 State of the Union address. "The address of a proud President, a tireless policy wonk and a very shrewd political strategist." (ABC's post-State of the Union coverage, January 27, 2000.)

> During the primaries, he insisted on labeling both Gore and Bill Bradley as "basically centrist Democrats. I think they have one huge fundamental policy difference, over the issue of health care." (Good Morning America, January 6, 2000.)

But when it came to labeling the Republican candidates, Stephanopoulos crowed that "Democrats are pretty happy right now....They had decided they would rather run against George W. Bush, especially because he's had to move so far to the right. He's now the kamikaze conservative, with all the positions he's had to take here in South Carolina - against choice, going to Bob Jones University, really locking himself in on that huge tax cut." (This Week, February 20, 2000.)

> During the Florida mess, it was hard to tell where David Boies ended and George Stephanopoulos began. "There is no question, or very little question, that Al Gore won the votes cast in the state of Florida," he baldly asserted a week after the election. "The question is, will he win the votes counted?" (This Week, November 12, 2000.)

> Stephanopoulos has also proved a tireless proponent of McCain-Feingold, although that hardly distinguishes him from the Washington press corps. Reacting to billionaire Warren Buffett's endorsement of so-called campaign finance reform, Stephanopoulos lectured that "Warren Buffett is showing the common sense that made him a wealthy man." (This Week, March 18, 2001.)

As a liberal Democratic "spin doctor," Stephanopoulos recognized that the best spin combines a few factual statements to establish credibility with self-serving analysis and labels like "kamikaze conservative" that shove your opponents into an ideological drawer. ABC has labored to transform his image from Democratic boy wonder to an allegedly neutral journalist, but their efforts - and Sawyer's shameless claim that he's completely non-partisan - are belied by his incessant liberal spin.

END Excerpt of Media Reality Check

5

Roger Ebert, movie reviewer by night, liberal political crusader by day. Several CyberAlert readers alerted me to a July 24 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed by Ebert, ostensibly concerned with criticizing President Bush's daughter Barbara for wearing "demins" when she visited the Queen of England last week. But his piece soon degenerated into a bashing of President Bush's intellect as Ebert equated Bush's lack of interest in the world with his off-base conservative policies.

Noting that before assuming office President Bush had made only two overseas trips, Ebert opined: "No wonder he wants to beak the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming and reinstall Russia and China as enemies: Those foreign countries scarcely exist in his imagination. Why go to Australia when you have the Outback Steakhouse right here at home?"

As if anyone with extensive world travel could not or does not support those conservative policies adopted by Bush. We are not all movie reviewers who get annual all-expenses paid trips to Cannes and other international film festivals.

An excerpt of Ebert's July 24 op-ed, titled: "Give her dad credit for a 'yob' well-done."

The British have a useful word, "yob," which the dictionary defines as an "uncouth, ignorant, loutish youth." The word is traditionally applied to males, but in these liberated times can also refer to females, and might have been in use last week at Buckingham Palace when Barbara Bush, the President's daughter, appeared for lunch wearing denims....

But perhaps denims are Barbara's native garb. It is perfectly appropriate for a Japanese woman to wear a kimono to the palace, or an Indian a sari. Perhaps Texans wear jeans as their traditional costume. Using the same loophole, she could have added a Dale Earnhardt T-shirt....

Meanwhile, her father was having his own difficulties, appearing at lunch with a wet suit and shoes after being drenched in a sudden shower. That the President of the United States cannot get himself from his bulletproof Cadillac limousine to lunch with the queen without being caught in the rain is perhaps an insight into his need for a missile shield.

Barbara's grandparents, so much more widely traveled than the President, no doubt cringed with embarrassment that their grandchild turned up at the palace in jeans. Did Barbara's father and mother speak with her about her fashion sense? This is, I realize, a "family matter," but yob culture begins at home.

George W. Bush was so indifferent to the world that in the years before he became President he made only two overseas trips, both for business, neither for curiosity. No wonder he wants to beak the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming and reinstall Russia and China as enemies: Those foreign countries scarcely exist in his imagination. Why go to Australia when you have the Outback Steakhouse right here at home?

Our previous President studied at Oxford. This one was given a sightseeing tour of London and said it was "diverse and clean."

The Times also said Bush gave a "pep talk" to children about the advantages of reading over television. The children did not ask him to name the last book he had read. Just good manners, I guess.

END Excerpt

To read Ebert's snotty, shall we say yob-like, diatribe in full, go to:
http://www.suntimes.com/output/otherviews/cst-edt-ebert24.html

6

The MRC is succeeding in "reaching out" to "find common ground" on media bias. The evidence: Geraldo Rivera, yes Geraldo Rivera, on his CNBC show on Tuesday night cited an MRC study and conceded it "really made an impression on me."

MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed that during a July 24 Rivera Live segment on Chandra Levy/Gary Condit with Lanny Davis, Arianna Huffington and Jerry Falwell, Rivera told Falwell:
"You know I, I heard something on Fox that, that really made an impression on me. They, they had a survey, one of their right-wing pundit guys had a survey of how few times the mainstream media has mentioned the fact that Condit is even a Democrat. And when you hear the silence of the Democratic party, Reverend Jerry Falwell, I have to agree that they, they have been really so reticent to speak out that it makes me embarrassed for them."

"Left-wing pundit" Geraldo's identification of his source as a "right-wing pundit" leads me to guess he was referring to Cal Thomas on Fox Newswatch, but he also could have meant MRC President Brent Bozell, who recited the numbers one morning on FNC's Fox & Friends -- as did Brit Hume on his Special Report with Brit Hume.

To read the MRC's study which Geraldo cited, "In 92 Percent of Levy Stories Networks Refused to Label Gary Condit as a Democrat," go to the July 12 Media Reality Check:
http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/fax20010712.html
Adobe Acrobat PDF version:
http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/reality/2001/pdf/fax0712.pdf

We've reached Geraldo, so who could be next? Jonathan Alter, Dan Rather? We can only dream. -- Brent Baker


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