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Out of Blue, ABC Hypes Attack on Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives --2/16/2005


1. Out of Blue, ABC Hypes Attack on Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives
Combine another opportunity to blame the Bush tax cut for hurting the poor with a shot at Republicans for being "indifferent towards the poor" and you've got a story ABC could not resist. ABC's World News Tonight on Tuesday gave Terry Moran time to highlight complaints, more than a year after he resigned, from David Kuo, the former Deputy Director of the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Moran ate up how Bush's faith-based initiatives "received only $500 million" because "Kuo says they were sacrificed by the White House during negotiations on the President's 2001 tax cut bill." Kuo blamed both parties: "I think that Democrats are tone-deaf to faith. I think that Republicans are indifferent towards the poor."

2. ABC Promotes GOP Back Bencher Attacks from Left on SS Reform
If you're a Republican Congressman and want to get on TV, at least on ABC News, all you have to do is oppose Bush's Social Security reform plan, preferably by attacking it from the left using the same arguments forwarded by liberals. On Tuesday's World News Tonight, Linda Douglass gave network air time to a little-known second termer: "Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter worries Mr. Bush's plan to divert payroll taxes into personal accounts will jeopardize future Social Security benefits." After a clip of McCotter, Douglass relayed how "Republican Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri wrote her constituents that she will 'oppose any cut in Social Security benefits' and said Social Security is 'nowhere near bankruptcy.'"

3. Olbermann Takes on "Faux News Channel," Guest Wants Hume Ousted
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who last October spent an entire segment distorting Vice President Cheney's remarks about Iraq and al-Qaeda, on Tuesday night dedicated a segment, punctuated with a mock "Faux News Channel" logo which matched the appearance of the real Fox News Channel graphic, to how FNC's Brit Hume supposedly took former President Franklin Roosevelt "out of context" and "twisted" FDR's words when he quoted him, as have others, as having advocated private investment in Social Security accounts. Olbermann brought aboard FDR's grandson, James Roosevelt Jr., who denounced Hume, unconvincingly, for committing "quite an amazing distortion." Roosevelt saw a hanging offense, claiming Hume's brief item "calls for a retraction, an apology, maybe even a resignation."

4. Gas Tax Revenue Falling? CBS Pushes Tax by the Mile Driven
A downside for liberals to hybrid cars? "As cars become more fuel efficient," tax revenue from the gas tax decreases, Dan Rather fretted on Tuesday night. But have no fear, CBS found a new tax to promote, "So now comes this idea: Instead of taxing drivers by the gallon, why not tax them by the mile?" Sandra Hughes reported that "as more and more hybrids hit the road, cash-strapped states are warning of rough roads ahead." She highlighted how researchers at an Oregon university have developed a GPS device to track milage and concluded with a positive plug for the idea: "Tax-by-mile advocates say it may be the only way to ensure that fuel efficiency doesn't prevent smooth sailing down the road."


Out of Blue, ABC Hypes Attack on Bush's
Faith-Based Initiatives

ABC's Terry Moran & David Kuo Combine another opportunity to blame the Bush tax cut for hurting the poor with a shot at Republicans for being "indifferent towards the poor" and you've got a story ABC could not resist. ABC's World News Tonight on Tuesday gave Terry Moran time to highlight complaints, more than a year after he resigned, from David Kuo, the former Deputy Director of the White House office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Moran ate up how Bush's faith-based initiatives "received only $500 million" because "Kuo says they were sacrificed by the White House during negotiations on the President's 2001 tax cut bill." Kuo blamed both parties: "I think that Democrats are tone-deaf to faith. I think that Republicans are indifferent towards the poor."

Moran failed to inform his viewers why ABC suddenly considered it newsworthy to look at what happened to Bush's faith-based ideas. It turns out that Kuo penned a piece posted Monday on the BeliefNet Web site and that generated a Tuesday article in the Los Angeles Times.

The BeliefNet home page plugged Kuo's piece: "The faith-based plan was going to radically help the poor. It hasn't, writes former Bush aide David Kuo. Why? Democrats' 'allergy' to faith, Republicans' 'snoring indifference' --and the White House's 'minimal commitment.'" See: www.belief.net

For Kuo's piece: www.beliefnet.com

"Faith-Based Plan Lacks Funds, Ex-Official Says," read the self-evident headline over the Yahoo posting of the February 15 LA Times news story by Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger. Their lead: "A former White House official on Monday accused the Bush administration of overstating its commitment to faith-based charities and failing to live up to the President's promise of 'compassionate conservatism.'"

For the LA Times article in full, as posted by Yahoo: news.yahoo.com

ABC and Moran were hardly a cheerleaders for Bush's faith-based plans revolving around federal funding for religious-based charities:

-- Just nine days into the Bush presidency, on the January 29, 2001 World News Tonight, Moran concluded a look at Bush's faith-based plans by warning: "But that very devoutness, which is at the core of Mr. Bush's world view, is precisely what alarms his critics. They fear, Peter, that under a Bush administration non-believers and members of minority religions could be rendered second class citizens."

-- On July 10, 2001, Peter Jennings approached from the left in introducing a piece from Terry Moran: "The Bush administration appears to have been caught again in the thorny political issue of gay rights. Today the White House backed off a plan it was considering which would make it easier for charities to discriminate against gays and lesbians. This is one way the Bush administration thought it could win support from religious groups for its controversial faith-based initiative."

Now, back to Moran's February 15 piece. From Denver, Peter Jennings set it up: "In the midst of the budget battle in Washington, a story from the White House tonight about priorities. Four years ago, President Bush launched a major push for organizations with some religious affiliation to help the poor and the disadvantaged. Now, a man who was at the center of the effort has criticized the administration. They had good intentions, he says, but no follow through. Here's our White House correspondent, Terry Moran."

Moran began over video of Kuo playing with his dog: "David Kuo joined the Bush administration in 2001 with high hopes as Deputy Director of the White House's faith-based initiative."
David Kuo, former White House aide: "It was one of the most ambitious social service programs that I've ever seen. I mean, it was really compassion with a deep bank account."
Moran pleaded with Kuo: "A deep bank account?"
Kuo: "Yes."
Moran: "There was money behind this proposal?"
Kuo: "There was significant money behind it."
Moran: "President Bush's original proposal for the faith-based initiative called for $6.3 billion in new tax incentives for charitable giving and $1.9 billion in funding for faith-based and other social service programs. Four years later, the results fall short. New programs have received only $500 million, and the tax incentives never passed. Kuo says they were sacrificed by the White House during negotiations on the President's 2001 tax cut bill."
Kuo: "The White House never made it a must-have. It was on a list of things that would be good to have. It was never on the list of things that the White House had to have."
Moran at least noted: "In response, the White House pushed back hard today, noting that Mr. Bush has signed two executive orders eliminating discrimination against faith-based charities in federal social programs, and those groups have gotten more than a billion dollars in funding. And officials blamed Congress and a knee-jerk resistance to the idea of supporting religious charities. David Kuo agrees to a point. What's the big roadblock in Washington to progress on this issue?"
Kuo: "I think that Democrats are tone-deaf to faith. I think that Republicans are indifferent towards the poor. I think that bringing those two, reconciling those two problems is the biggest obstacle."
Moran concluded: "David Kuo also says he believes President Bush is personally deeply committed to this issue. And he says the 9/11 attacks have changed priorities. Terry Moran, ABC News, the White House."

ABC Promotes GOP Back Bencher Attacks
from Left on SS Reform

Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter If you're a Republican Congressman and want to get on TV, at least on ABC News, all you have to do is oppose Bush's Social Security reform plan, preferably by attacking it from the left using the same arguments forwarded by liberals. On Tuesday's World News Tonight, Linda Douglass gave network air time to a little-known second termer: "Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter worries Mr. Bush's plan to divert payroll taxes into personal accounts will jeopardize future Social Security benefits." After a clip of McCotter, Douglass relayed how "Republican Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri wrote her constituents that she will 'oppose any cut in Social Security benefits' and said Social Security is 'nowhere near bankruptcy.'"

From Denver, Peter Jennings introduced the February 15 story: "And now to the news here at home, which, of course, is very much about Social Security. In Washington today, a number of prominent Republican Senators have publicly expressed doubt about President Bush's ability to get his plan for changing Social Security through the Congress. The Senators are worried, in a phrase, about public support. ABC's Linda Douglass is on Capitol Hill."

ABC's Linda Douglass Linda Douglass began, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Today, Senate leaders acknowledged there may not be enough support among voters to pass the President's Social Security plan this year."
Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader, in hallway meeting with reporters: "We'll see. Because until people recognize there's a problem, it's hard to get very far with either selling, explaining or describing solutions to the problem."
Douglass: "They said they do not want to bring the legislation up for a vote unless they think they can pass it."
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA): "I'm not saying that should be two months from now or six months from now or a year from now."
Douglass: "Some Republicans are questioning key parts of the President's proposal. Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter worries Mr. Bush's plan to divert payroll taxes into personal accounts will jeopardize future Social Security benefits."
Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), in interview with ABC News: "If you reduce the amount of money going into the system, you reduce the amount of money that goes out over time."
Douglass, with the quotes on screen next to a picture of Emerson: "Republican Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri wrote her constituents that she will 'oppose any cut in Social Security benefits' and said Social Security is 'nowhere near bankruptcy.' Democrats are turning up the pressure."
Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), on the Senate floor: "Set aside this privatization plan. It's headed nowhere. The American people aren't buying it."
Douglass: "Democrats will hold scores of town meetings next week bashing the President's plan. Republicans are arming their members for battle with a Powerpoint presentation to help convince audiences the Social Security system is collapsing. And ABC News has obtained a DVD they may use, a special presentation from the President."
George W. Bush, on DVD: "Personal accounts would allow younger workers to earn a higher rate of return than anything the current Social Security system could provide."
Douglass concluded: "Now, most Republicans say they will fight hard for the President's plan when they go out to campaign -- unless, of course, they learn that the voters really don't want it. And most of them do say, Peter, that they do not want to push through legislation that doesn't have at least some support from Democrats."

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter's home page: mccotter.house.gov

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson's home page: www.house.gov

Olbermann Takes on "Faux News Channel,"
Guest Wants Hume Ousted

MSNBC's Keith Olbermann MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, who last October spent an entire segment distorting Vice President Cheney's remarks about Iraq and al-Qaeda, on Tuesday night dedicated a segment, punctuated with a mock "Faux News Channel" logo which matched the appearance of the real Fox News Channel graphic, to how FNC's Brit Hume supposedly took former President Franklin Roosevelt "out of context" and "twisted" FDR's words when he quoted him, as have others, as having advocated private investment in Social Security accounts. Olbermann brought aboard James Roosevelt Jr., FDR's grandson, who denounced Hume, unconvincingly, for committing "quite an amazing distortion." Roosevelt saw a hanging offense, claiming Hume's brief item "calls for a retraction, an apology, maybe even a resignation."

The allegedly offending report aired during the February 3 "Grapevine" segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume:
"Senate Democrats gathered at the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial today to invoke the image of FDR in calling on President Bush to remove private accounts from his Social Security proposal. But it turns out that FDR himself planned to include private investment accounts in the Social Security program when he proposed it. In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, quote, 'Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age,' adding that government funding, quote, 'ought ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."

Nearly two weeks later, that set off Olbermann. He teased his February 15 Countdown program: "Privatizing parts of Social Security: Conservatives say President Roosevelt's speeches indicated he would have approved. President Roosevelt's grandson says that's taking his quotes way out of context. He'll join us."

Later, the MRC's Brad Wilmouth noticed, he plugged the upcoming segment: "Taken out of context and twisted for political gain: At least three conservative pundits, to say nothing of politicians, using part of an old speech to argue that President Roosevelt would have supported President Bush's reform of Social Security. FDR's grandson, a former associate commissioner for Social Security, begs to differ. He'll join us on Countdown."

Just past 8:30pm EST, Olbermann got to his #3 segment. Next to a graphic of FDR, the heading "Revisionist History" and "Faux News Channel" in a graphic which matched the real FNC logo, Olbermann intoned:
"President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, father of the New Deal and, at minimum, midwife to the Social Security system, would have endorsed President Bush's plan to partially privatize it. Our third story in the Countdown, that is the claim anyway of at least three conservative commentators and several Republican Congressmen, but it turns out those guys pretty much just made it up. In a moment, FDR's grandson, himself a former associate commissioner for Social Security, joins us to discuss the fraud.
FNC's Brit Hume on MSNBC's Countdown "First, the background. [video of Hume on FNC] It began on television with Brit Hume of Fox News taking quotes from the 'three principles of security for our old people' that FDR expressed to Congress on January 17, 1935 -- not all the quotes, mind you, just some of them, and out of context. I'm reading from the transcript on the Fox Web site [text on screen] of Mr. Hume's newscast of February 3. 'It turns out,' Hume said, 'that FDR himself planned to include private investment accounts in the Social Security program when he proposed it. In a written statement to Congress in 1935, Roosevelt said that any Social Security plans should include, quote, "Voluntary contributory annuities, by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age," unquote, adding that government funding, quote, "ought to ultimately be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans."'
"As promised I'm now joined by James Roosevelt Jr.... The argument is that Mr. Hume more or less twisted this entirely around. Can you explain it in layman's terms?"
James Roosevelt Jr., via satellite: "I think I can, and it's really quite an amazing distortion. What they did was they took a very simple statement that my grandfather made, which said that Social Security, when it was enacted almost 70 years ago, ought to, first of all, have a part that took care of people who didn't have time to build up a Social Security account, and the government should fund that out of general revenues. Secondly, Social Security should have a self-sustaining portion that was funded by contributions from both employers and employees. That's what we know and have known for 70 successful years as Social Security. And thirdly, those who wanted and who needed to, as many, almost everybody did, to have a higher income in retirement should have accounts where they could pay in voluntarily in addition to the guaranteed Social Security benefit. And then my grandfather said that eventually the self-sustaining portion of the guaranteed insurance would phase out the government-paid portion. That's because we'd have a fully functioning Social Security system as we do today. What Brit Hume and others have done is take portions of that paragraph and rearrange it so that it says something entirely different from what he intended."
Olbermann: "At the risk of doing a little too much reading, just to put it on the historical record, let me read the entire quote from which those quotes were pulled, the ones Mr. Hume pulled, only that he wanted to pull. [text on screen] 'In the important field of security for our old people, it seems necessary to adopt three principles: First, noncontributory old age pensions for those who are now too old to build up their own insurance. It is, of course, clear that for perhaps 30 years to come funds will have to be provided by the States and the Federal Government to meet these pensions. Second, compulsory contributory annuities which in time will establish a self-supporting system for those now young and for future generations. Third, voluntary contributory annuities by which individual initiative can increase the annual amounts received in old age.' That's one of the Hume quotes there. 'It is proposed that the Federal Government assume one-half of the cost of the old age pension plan, which ought ultimately to be supplanted by self-supporting annuity plans.' So where he raised the prospect of self-supporting annuity plans, that was not to replace Social Security, it was to replace the money the government was contributing to Social Security for the people who were born, say, in 1870 and earlier. Is that about it?"
Roosevelt: "That is exactly it, and he rearranged those sentences in an outrageous distortion, one that really calls for a retraction, an apology, maybe even a resignation."
Olbermann: "He may have been the only news reporter who did that. The other people who have made the comments on it were people like William Bennett, also in one of those live circus programs they have over on Fox, and John Fund from the Wall Street Journal online political commentary Web site. Of course, the President referenced this vaguely in the State of the Union. What do you make, generally speaking, of what we might fairly call revisionist history."
Roosevelt: "It's really quite amazing that all of the folks supporting privatization from the President on down keep invoking the name of my grandfather, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I think it's, in a way, it's flattering to him. It's a testimony to how successful the program that he put in place has been and continues to be, and there's, on the screen you just saw my Dad standing next to my grandfather many years ago."
Olbermann: "But you are convinced from all that you know and that if anyone actually, literally took all of the words of your grandfather and went through them with a fine tooth comb, they'd never find anything that suggested there was in his mind ultimate privatization in whole or in part of Social Security."
Roosevelt: "I'm definitely convinced of that, and I'm convinced he never intended to phase it out. That, indeed, is why some of the greatest supporters of Social Security initially said it ought to be paid for out of general tax revenues. And Secretary of the Treasury Morgan Faw, who headed the commission my father appointed, said no, it has to have a payroll tax that's dedicated to Social Security because if it doesn't, it'll either get to look like welfare or it will be traded off against other good things. And the dedicated Social Security tax has been very successful over the years in raising almost all of our elderly citizens out of poverty where half of them were in poverty before Social Security."

Hume didn't claim that FDR would back Bush's plan, just that "FDR himself planned to include private investment accounts in the Social Security program when he proposed it." And the quotes supplied, both Hume's abbreviated version and the full rendition read by Olbermann, support that interpretation.

Last October, however, Olbermann very clearly distorted the words of Vice President Dick Cheney. The October 7 CyberAlert recounted:
MSNBC's Chris Matthews refused to concede that he had distorted Dick Cheney's comments about a 9/11 link to Iraq and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann set out to prove that Cheney had drawn such a connection, but Olbermann selectively edited a series of Cheney remarks, leaving out Cheney's specific rejection of any such connection. In one Meet the Press interview excerpted by Olbermann, it was Tim Russert, not Cheney, who raised the question of a Saddam Hussein/al-Qaeda link. Cheney, in parts of his answer Olbermann didn't share with his viewers, declared that "with respect to the connections to al-Qaeda, we haven't been able to pin down any connection there," and he labeled as an "allegation" the report that hijacker Mohamed Atta met with Iraqi intelligence.

For more about that and three other quotes Olbermann selectively edited, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

Gas Tax Revenue Falling? CBS Pushes Tax
by the Mile Driven

CBS's Dan Rather A downside for liberals to hybrid cars? "As cars become more fuel efficient," tax revenue from the gas tax decreases, Dan Rather fretted on Tuesday night. But have no fear, CBS found a new tax to promote, "So now comes this idea: Instead of taxing drivers by the gallon, why not tax them by the mile?" Sandra Hughes reported that "as more and more hybrids hit the road, cash-strapped states are warning of rough roads ahead." She highlighted how researchers at an Oregon university have developed a GPS device to track milage and concluded with a positive plug for the idea: "Tax-by-mile advocates say it may be the only way to ensure that fuel efficiency doesn't prevent smooth sailing down the road."

Rather introduced the February 14 CBS Evening News story which was caught by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "More than 25 percent of what you pay at the pump goes to the government. But as cars become more fuel efficient, the government's take goes down. So now comes this idea: Instead of taxing drivers by the gallon, why not tax them by the mile? Sandra Hughes gives you the 'Inside Story' on this."

Hughes began: "College student Jason Just commutes an odometer-spinning 2,000 miles a month. His gas bill almost topped his car payment."
Jason Just: "Before I was paying about $500 a month."
Hughes: "So Jason bought a fuel efficient hybrid and said goodbye to his gas-guzzling BMW. So what kind of mileage do you get?"
Just: "The EPA estimate is 60 in the city, 51 highway."
Hughes, over video of her riding with him in his car: "Saving him almost $300 a month in gas. Great for Jason, bad for the roads he's driving on, because he also pays a lot less in gasoline taxes, the funds that fuel highway projects and road repairs. As more and more hybrids hit the road, cash-strapped states are warning of rough roads ahead. Officials in car-clogged California are so worried, they may be considering getting rid of the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called tax-by-the-mile. Seeing tax dollars dwindling, neighboring Oregon has already started road-testing the idea."
David Kim, Oregon State University: "Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it's as simple as that."
Hughes: "Engineer David Kim and his team at Oregon State University equipped this test car with a global positioning device to keep track of its mileage. Eventually every car would need one."
Kim: "So if you drive 10 miles, you will pay a certain fee, which will be, let's say, 1/10th of what someone pays if they drive 100 miles."
Hughes: "The new tax would be charged each time you fill up. A computer inside the gas pump would communicate with your car's odometer to calculate how much you owe. The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use. That's an idea that could break the bottleneck on California's freeways."
James Whitty, Oregon Department of Transportation: "We're getting a lot of interest from other states. They're watching what we're doing. Transportation officials across the country are concerned about what's going to happen with gas tax revenues."
Hughes: "Privacy advocates say it's more like Big Brother riding on your bumper, not to mention a disincentive to buy fuel-efficient cars."
Just: "It's not fair. For people like me who have to commute, and we don't have any choice but to take the freeways, we shouldn't have to be taxed."
Hughes concluded: "But tax-by-mile advocates say it may be the only way to ensure that fuel efficiency doesn't prevent smooth sailing down the road. Sandra Hughes, CBS News, Corvallis, Oregon."

For the online version of this story: www.cbsnews.com

If this is the new liberal logic, will we soon see stories on how wonderful SUVs are because of all the gas tax revenue they generate?


-- Brent Baker