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Stephanopoulos Advocates 'Kind of Energy Tax You See in Europe' --12/4/2006


1. Stephanopoulos Advocates 'Kind of Energy Tax You See in Europe'
ABC's George Stephanopoulos has shown that he's bi-partisan when it comes to advocating tax hikes. Before the election, he lectured Republican Senate candidate Stephen Laffey: "If the deficit continued to grow, it's not responsible to say you're never going to raise taxes." On Sunday, he pushed Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democratic candidate for President, to call for higher taxes on energy. Stephanopoulos contended that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?" Stephanopoulos followed up by pointing to Europe as a model to emulate: "Couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"

2. FNC More Biased Than ABC? FNC Applies Extremist 'Far Right' Label
In a Friday night story on criticism of Pastor Rick Warren, for inviting Democratic Senator Barack Obama to the evangelist's annual "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" held at the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, ABC's Jake Tapper relayed how "many conservative Christian leaders...were furious with Warren for inviting Obama. Why? Because the Senator supports abortion rights." But on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, though anchored by Brian Wilson, reporter Anita Vogel added an extremist label: "Evangelist Rick Warren, famous for his best-seller A Purpose Driven Life, has taken a lot of heat from Christian conservatives and the far right for even inviting Obama to this conference because of the Democratic Senator's support for abortion rights. Pastor Warren says that kind of thinking won't solve anything."

3. ABC, CBS, NBC Avoid Coverage of 'Ferocious' Alcee Hastings Fight
It was surprising to learn from National Review's Byron York how little the New York Times and the Washington Post reported on Nancy Pelosi's struggle over whether to appoint 14-year Representative (and impeached federal judge) Alcee Hastings to lead the House Intelligence Committee. It might be a little less surprising to report that a look at morning and evening shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC found the networks have so far skipped that House fight as well, with the exception of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. In fact, the Big Three networks have barely mentioned or quoted Nancy Pelosi at all since Jack Murtha was defeated in the majority leader's race on November 16. It's odd for the networks to skip the Hastings fight, since Pelosi made "draining the swamp" of Republican corruption such a big campaign issue.

4. ABC Highlights Military Wives Who Still Support U.S. in Iraq
On Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Erin Hayes showcased military wives who voiced support for America's continued presence in Iraq and are worried that a troop withdrawal will come too soon. Hayes noted, "Some might assume that bringing all the troops home quickly and for good would be a great relief to those families. But that is not how many of them see it." Referring to the "war's eye view that convinced them there has been progress," Hayes played several soundbites of these wives making such assertions as "we do need to stay until it's done" and "I don't think that it would be in our best interest to just pull out right now." At one point Hayes commented, "And so the increase in violence has not diminished your resolve," to which one wife replied, "I think it's just proof that we need to be over there." Hayes relayed one wife's concern about "soldiers in Iraq who worry deeply whether the American people still believe in what they're doing there."


Stephanopoulos Advocates 'Kind of Energy
Tax You See in Europe'

ABC's George Stephanopoulos has shown that he's bi-partisan when it comes to advocating tax hikes. Before the election, he lectured Republican Senate candidate Stephen Laffey: "If the deficit continued to grow, it's not responsible to say you're never going to raise taxes." On Sunday, he pushed Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democratic candidate for President, to call for higher taxes on energy. Stephanopoulos contended that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?" Stephanopoulos followed up by pointing to Europe as a model to emulate: "Couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"

The September 5 CyberAlert recounted Stephanopoulos' Labor Day weekend trip to the Ocean State: In an "On the Trail" segment from Rhode Island on Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos lectured Stephen Laffey, the Republican primary challenger to incumbent Senator Lincoln Chafee, about taking a pledge to not raise federal income taxes: "If the deficit continued to grow, it's not responsible to say you're never going to raise taxes." When Laffey pointed out how Ronald Reagan's tax cuts "worked very well," Stephanopoulos retorted: "Ronald Reagan also increased taxes." After Laffey touted the benefits of the Bush tax cuts, an exasperated Stephanopoulos resignedly concluded: "So it's 'read my lips,' you're never going to vote to raise taxes?" For more: www.mrc.org

For the interview aired on the December 3 This Week, Stephanopoulos traveled to Concord, New Hampshire. The exchange about energy policy:

George Stephanopoulos: "You also have said that we have to have bold ideas for energy independence and your theme is 'courage to change.' Just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?"
Tom Vilsack: "Well, let me suggest that I'm not quite sure all of the experts necessarily agree with that. I think that there are three issues here. The first issue is Americans have to be encouraged to conserve more. And to do it in ways that will not necessarily disrupt the basic standard of living. We as a national government need to sit down with the auto industry and unions to figure out ways in which we can be best in class in mileage standards, not worst in class. There's no reason why we can't advance mileage standards in this country. We need to take a look at renewable fuels, and we need to basically create opportunities for the market to allow this industry to grow rapidly as we did in Iowa."
Stephanopoulos: "All valuable, but couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"
Vilsack: "Not necessarily. Not necessarily because people will end up making decisions to take other parts of their disposable income or discretionary income and shift it as they did when gas was at $3. There was a lot of griping about it but people still used their vehicles, so you have to recognize the reality of America today. There need to be new transportation systems. There needs to be urban planning and new materials used for airplanes and the like, but we need to motivate the economy to create these new opportunities and we're not doing that right now. We're just sort of -- we're just sort of continuing the status quo. We're locked and the reason we're locked is because we have an administration that is encouraging us to be fearful, to think about today, not to think about tomorrow..."

FNC More Biased Than ABC? FNC Applies
Extremist 'Far Right' Label

In a Friday night story on criticism of Pastor Rick Warren, for inviting Democratic Senator Barack Obama to the evangelist's annual "Global Summit on AIDS and the Church" held at the Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, ABC's Jake Tapper relayed how "many conservative Christian leaders...were furious with Warren for inviting Obama. Why? Because the Senator supports abortion rights." But on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, though anchored by Brian Wilson, reporter Anita Vogel added an extremist label: "Evangelist Rick Warren, famous for his best-seller A Purpose Driven Life, has taken a lot of heat from Christian conservatives and the far right for even inviting Obama to this conference because of the Democratic Senator's support for abortion rights. Pastor Warren says that kind of thinking won't solve anything."

[This item was posted Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Unlike Vogel, who aired only soundbites of Warren, Obama and Republican Senator Sam Brownback denouncing the criticism, on ABC's World News Tapper allowed viewers to learn of the reasoning behind the objections:

Senator Barack Obama, at the conference: "What binds us together is greater than what drives us apart."
Jake Tapper, with text on screen: "But that view is not shared by many conservative Christian leaders who were furious with Warren for inviting Obama. Why? Because the Senator supports abortion rights. Eighteen leading conservative Christian leaders wrote to Warren: 'If Senator Obama cannot defend the most helpless citizens in our country, he has nothing to say to the AIDS crisis. You cannot fight one evil while justifying another.'"
Rev. Bob Schenck, National Clergy Council: "Senator Obama, speaking from the pulpit with Rick Warren, would seem to indicate that evangelicals endorse Senator Obama's policies which the majority would not."

ABC, CBS, NBC Avoid Coverage of 'Ferocious'
Alcee Hastings Fight

It was surprising to learn from National Review's Byron York how little the New York Times and the Washington Post reported on Nancy Pelosi's struggle over whether to appoint 14-year Representative (and impeached federal judge) Alcee Hastings to lead the House Intelligence Committee. It might be a little less surprising to report that a look at morning and evening shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC found the networks have so far skipped that House fight as well, with the exception of ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

York's November 28 rundown: corner.nationalreview.com

[This item, by Tim Graham, was posted Friday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

In fact, the Big Three networks have barely mentioned or quoted Nancy Pelosi at all since Jack Murtha was defeated in the majority leader's race on November 16. It's odd for the networks to skip the Hastings fight, since Pelosi made "draining the swamp" of Republican corruption such a big campaign issue (and the exit polls suggested this as well.)

In the roundtable discussion on the November 26 This Week, Stephanopoulos said Pelosi was under "tremendous pressure" to name Hastings, although he said Hastings realized his chances weren't good. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne said "the politics are totally against her. This is a mess for her." Democratic consultant Donna Brazile said it was a "tough decision," but later praised Hastings as a "good and decent man" who has "acted in good faith" in seeking the job.

On the November 19 This Week, Stephanopoulos pressed incoming Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Hoyer would only say of Hastings, "Those who have served with him think he's a very able, credible candidate." He would not give a definitive answer when Stephanopoulos asked if the impeachment was disqualifying.

The NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show included another description of a big battle when from NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell on November 12:
Mitchell: "There is a ferocious fight going on already in the House side. Speaker Pelosi, Speaker-designate Pelosi, is not going to yield on Jane Harman on the Intelligence Committee, and a little-known decision known by Rahm Emanuel not to challenge an African-American Congressman for the whip post means that the Congressional black leadership will feel that they already have been mollified. This will take Alcee Hastings, an African-American, off the waiting list for Intelligence....and they're going to go to an Hispanic for Intelligence."
Chris Matthews: "Yeah. Well, Why is Pelosi so tough on Harman?"
Mitchell: "Feels she hasn't been tough enough on the Bush administration on intelligence issues, that she was too moderate, too centrist, even though she is the most credible Democrat on all of these issues and has a national following. And it is a really nasty fight among two powerful congresswomen."

NBC's Andrea Mitchell found a "ferocious...really nasty fight among two powerful Congresswomen," and ABC's George Stephanopoulos found "tremendous pressure," so why did these heavyweights not press their network bosses that this was a news story that should not be ignored? It looks like sensitivity to underlining examples of ethically challenged Democrats.

ABC Highlights Military Wives Who Still
Support U.S. in Iraq

On Thursday's World News with Charles Gibson, ABC correspondent Erin Hayes showcased military wives who voiced support for America's continued presence in Iraq and are worried that a troop withdrawal will come too soon. Hayes noted, "Some might assume that bringing all the troops home quickly and for good would be a great relief to those families. But that is not how many of them see it." Referring to the "war's eye view that convinced them there has been progress," Hayes played several soundbites of these wives making such assertions as "we do need to stay until it's done" and "I don't think that it would be in our best interest to just pull out right now."

At one point Hayes commented, "And so the increase in violence has not diminished your resolve," to which one wife replied, "I think it's just proof that we need to be over there." Hayes relayed one wife's concern about "soldiers in Iraq who worry deeply whether the American people still believe in what they're doing there." After showing a clip of that wife contending that "if you're willing to give your life, they wanna know that what they're fighting for and what they're dying and bleeding for is important," Hayes concluded: "And considered worth, they truly hope, all they've sacrificed for it."

[This item, by Brad Wilmouth, was posted Saturday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Below is a complete transcript of the story from the November 30 World News with Charles Gibson:

Charles Gibson: "Finally tonight, the human side of the debate over Iraq policy. As the options get discussed -- does the U.S. send more troops, stay the course, begin withdrawal? -- what gets overlooked is the effect that uncertainty about a future course has on the individual soldier and his or her family, for they are the ones with the most at stake. ABC's Erin Hayes went to Fort Hood, Texas, focusing on 'The Home Front.'"

Erin Hayes: "These soldiers, in Iraq for over a year, just came home."
Unidentified male soldier, holding his baby: "I feel like we did good things."
Hayes: "And they fully expect to go back next year, part of the rotation of a long and difficult war -- not easy for their families. Some might assume that bringing all the troops home quickly and for good would be a great relief to those families. But that is not how many of them see it."
Unidentified military wife #1: "I know all of us want our husbands home and everybody else who has family members over there, but I think we do need to stay until it's done."
Lynn James, military wife: "I don't think that it would be in our best interest to just pull out right now."
Hayes: "Lynn James' husband, Randy, is in his second deployment to Iraq, along with the husbands of many of her friends, who hear the debate over what to do in Iraq and worry what it may mean. So this political change, on some level, affects you, with the-"
James: "Absolutely."
Unidentified military wife #3: "Oh, most definitely."
James: "The debates make it difficult for us. Before we had a straight, steadfast path, and now we're kind of sitting on the fence post. We don't know which way it's gonna go. We don't know what's gonna happen."
Unidentified military wife #3: "I just hope they support what we're doing."
Hayes: "And so the increase in violence has not diminished your resolve."
James: "I think it's just proof that we need to be over there. This is not over."
Hayes: "They are aware many don't see Iraq the way they do, a war's eye view that convinces them there has been progress."
Wendy Fil, Wife of military officer: "And that's what I think keeps them going. The soldiers, they live that. They see that on a day-to-day basis, many things that Americans don't see."
Hayes: "Wendy Fil is married to Major General Joseph Fil, commanding soldiers in Iraq who worry deeply whether the American people still believe in what they're doing there."
Fil: "I think if you're working for something, you wanna see it through. If you're willing to give your life, they wanna know that what they're fighting for and what they're dying and bleeding for is important."
Hayes: "And considered worth, they truly hope, all they've sacrificed for it. Erin Hayes, ABC News, Fort Hood, Texas."

-- Brent Baker