CyberAlert -- 04/23/1998 -- Disreputable Right-Wing

Disreputable Right-Wing; Slamming Deregulation; Hot for Global Warming

1) NOW refused to help Jones, but only NBC highlighted their hypocrisy. CBS relayed NOW's attack on the "disreputable right-wing" and emphasized the cost and time of Starr's probe.

2) Phone "slamming" is a problem in "this age of deregulation," insisted Peter Jennings. Phone bill "cramming" too.

3) A petition signed by 15,000 scientists promised "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of...greenhouse gases is causing...catastrophic heating." But CBS, CNN and NBC ignored that, showcasing one scientist's claim about a hot 1997.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes)NOW decided on Wednesday against filing a brief on behalf of Paula Jones, but of the broadcast network evening shows ABC skipped the development and CBS simply relayed NOW's attack on "disreputable" right-wingers. Only NBC highlighted the hypocrisy of the women's group. For the second night this week, on Wednesday night the CBS Evening News led with the battle between Starr and the Clinton team over Secret Service testimony. But instead of focusing on how the Justice Department is delaying the probe CBS emphasized the length and cost of Starr's never-ending investigation. On ABC's World News Tonight Peter Jennings asked Jeffrey Toobin about the impact on Paula Jones of the sexual harassment case before the Supreme Court.

Here are some highlights from the Wednesday, April 22, evening shows:

-- CBS Evening News. Dan Rather launched the show:

"Good evening. The long-running, wide-ranging and multi-million dollar Ken Starr investigation of the Clintons is far from over, possibly running now beyond 1998. That's on top of the nearly four years and $30 to $40 million it's already taken."

Scott Pelley explained that the court battle over testimony from Secret Service officers could take over a year. In sealed documents, he reported, prosecutors say the officers have unique information: "One subpoena went to Officer Gary Byrne who worked near the Oval Office. Sources tell CBS News Byrne once wrote to Deputy Chief of Staff Evelyn Lieberman warning about Lewinsky's behavior. Sources say Lieberman was so concerned that she called Byrne at home and asked for a meeting. The next day Lewinsky was transferred to the Pentagon. A subpoena has also gone to Officer Brian Henderson. In their motion prosecutors say Henderson refused to identify officers who 'may have witnessed the President in a romantic situation or engaged in a sexual act.'...

After noting that former President Bush agrees that making the officers testify would endanger the lives of future Presidents, Pelley concluded by putting the burden on Starr, not the Clinton team's maneuvers, for elongating the probe:

"Tonight a senior Secret Service official tells CBS News that whatever the officers saw they did not witness a criminal act. He said using the Service in an attempt to build a perjury case would set a dangerous precedent."

Following a story on the sexual harassment case argued Wednesday before the Supreme Court, Dan Rather offered this polemic bashing conservatives in the guise of a news item:

"Paula Jones's lawsuit was rejected by a federal court judge. And today the National Organization for Women said it will not support Jones's appeal. The organization says it's not a good test case and its members don't want to work with quote, 'disreputable right-wing organizations and individuals,' unquote."

That was it. Nothing about NOW's hypocrisy in claiming to represent all women but refusing to aid one if it might hurt a liberal man.

-- CNN's The World Today at 8pm. Anchor Martin Savidge took a few seconds to note two developments. First, that David Hale is going on trial for lying to state insurance regulators, a development his attorneys claim is in retaliation for Whitewater. Second, Susan McDougal is back in Little Rock to appear before the grand jury later this week.

-- FNC's Fox Report at 7pm ET provided the only complete rundown of the day's Clinton scandal happenings. First, Steve Centanni reported on how NOW will not aid Jones and he allowed the Rutherford Institute's John Whitehead to criticize NOW's liberal politics. Second, Rita Cosby revealed that sources told her 10 to 12 Secret Service officers with info on Lewinsky "have been called into the Secret Service headquarters here in Washington and told by their superiors to quote, 'keep their mouths shut.'" Third, David Shuster checked in live from Little Rock with soundbites from David Hale denying that he got any money for his Whitewater testimony and asserting he's being charged with insurance fraud in retaliation.

-- NBC Nightly News led with the Supreme Court sexual harassment case. Then NBC actually portrayed NOW as hypocrites, emphasizing conservative criticism. Tom Brokaw introduced a piece from Andrea Mitchell:

"Supporters of the Paula Jones sexual harassment case tonight are accusing America's largest feminist organization of hypocrisy. NOW, the National Organization for Women, has decided not to support her legal appeal."

Mitchell featured NOW President Patricia Ireland denouncing "disreputable right-wing organizations," but also gave rare air time to a spokeswoman from the conservative Independent Women's Forum who asserted how this proves NOW does not represent all women.


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes)ABC's World News Tonight led April 22 with phone "slamming" which Peter Jennings insisted is a big problem "in this age of deregulation" as is phone "cramming."

Jennings announced:

"We begin tonight with something to think about later this evening. Your at home or in the office or the car and you go to make a phone call. What do you think the chances are that when you do you're going to be ripped off by the phone company. There are millions of complaints in this age of deregulation, millions. And it's a big enough problem for the Congress to take up tomorrow...."

In the next story reporter Judy Muller looked at "cramming," where additional services are fraudulently added to phones bills. Muller asserted: "Since deregulation phone bills have become increasingly complex. Most people just glance at the bill. If the total seems about right they don't examine it carefully..."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes)Earlier this week the Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) released a petition from 15,000 scientists around the world demanding the proposed Kyoto treaty be rejected, but Wednesday night CBS, CNN and NBC all skipped that repudiation of the liberal science behind the global warming scare. Instead, the three networks showcased full stories, without any contrasting views, on a study from one scientist claiming the Earth is now warmer than ever.

The petition from the scientists, including a past President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS), read in part:

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate."

The former NAS chief asserted: "This freely expressed vote against the warming scare propaganda should be contrasted with the claimed 'consensus of 2500 climate scientists' about global warming. This facile and oft-quoted assertion by the White House is a complete fabrication."

But network viewers learned none of that. Instead CNN and NBC relayed the liberal doom and gloom view as if there is no conflicting evidence. Only CBS even suggested the liberal contention is in dispute, but failed to provide any of the contrary evidence:

-- On the CBS Evening News Dan Rather announced: "To hear some researchers here on the ground tell it tonight, the latest read on global warming is cause for concern now and for the future. So is Mother Earth really running a temperature? CBS's John Roberts has the latest on this heated dispute."

Reporter John Roberts explained that University of Massachusetts researcher Michael Mann has found that 1995-97 are warmer than any years since 1400 with the average yearly temperature two degrees warmer than before the industrial revolution. Though Roberts conceded that "even Mann admits he isn't 100 percent certain," Roberts didn't bother with doubts and proceeded to highlight the threat:

"A two degree average rise in temperature may not seem like much, it's having a profound effect. Last week it was announced a piece of the Antarctic ice shelf the size of Washington DC broke off. In Alaska where temperature have risen five degrees in just the past two decades, the Great Bering Glacier (sp?) is slowly receding. It will take years of research to determine exactly what's behind this trend and what if any dangers it might pose, but one thing is certain, the heat is on. Global temperatures for the first three months of 1998 were the warmest on record."

-- Over on CNN's The World Today anchor Martin Savidge had no doubt about the threat, noting that in a report on the Kyoto treaty something called the U.S. Energy Information Administration "says even with the treaty worldwide levels of so-called greenhouse gasses will rise significantly in the next 12 years." Savidge contended: "Don't believe in global warming? Well this next story could change your mind. CNN's Ann Kellan reports on new evidence that we are changing the Earth's climate."

Kellan began: "If you think it's been hot the past few summers, you're right. Three of the past eight years have been hotter than any year since 1400 A.D. That's the word from scientists at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, who found a way around a problem that has frustrated climate researchers."

After a bite from Mann, Kellan explained how Mann calculated past temperatures: "Michael Mann and his colleagues turned to natural sources of information. Tree rings, coral reefs and ice cores all hold clues to the climate going back hundreds of years. The scientists matched those natural records with known climate data from the 20th century. That let them build a model that accurately estimates temperatures in the past. They found modest ups and downs over the centuries, then a spike."

Mann claimed: "But what was most striking was that the 20th century exhibited a warming trend, which is quite unprecedented in the context of our long-term reconstruction. The past 10 years were warmer by probably about a degree and a half Fahrenheit than the long-term average before industrialization."

Kellan promoted the Mann team's conclusions: "Looking back before 1900, they could link some of the warming to cyclical increases in the sun's brightness, and the cooling to volcanic eruptions that block sunlight. But the 20th century warming had another cause."

Mann took advantage of his CNN platform: "We found that that trend did not appear to be consistent or describable in terms of changes in -- for example -- the brightness of the Sun, but instead showed a very strong relationship with the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is attributed to human input."

Kellan concluded the one-sided story that abandoned basic journalistic rules of balance: "The scientists say if carbon dioxide levels keep rising at the current rate, the warming trend could get even stronger. They warn that global warming could cause problems ranging from drought to flooding caused by polar ice melting."

-- "Does is seem like the world is getting warmer? More hard evidence it's not just your imagination. In Depth tonight." So Tom Brokaw plugged an upcoming story on the April 22 NBC Nightly News. Like CNN, NBC had no time for real journalism and instead just relayed the Mann press release. Brokaw declared:

"Does it seem it's been warmer than usual where you live? Well it's not your imagination. Scientists have figured out ways to trace climate changes over hundreds of years now and their findings are out tonight. The world in fact is getting warmer."

Reporter Robert Bazell opened: "Terrible storms, floods, heat waves. Is something unnatural really happening to our weather? The answer is yes." Bazell explained that Mann looked at 600 years and discovered unprecedented warming of late: "The Earth has never been as warm as it is now. The reason: we burn things. And everything we burn, from a match to gasoline for cars to coal for plants that generate electricity, pours the invisible gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere where it traps the sun's heat -- the greenhouse effect."

Following soundbite from Mann Bazell warned: "And the problem is only getting worse. A Department of Energy report out today says greenhouse gas emissions will rise by as much as 80 percent in the next 20 years. So there seems to be little question but that the Earth will continue to get warmer, probably a lot warmer. But what does that mean for this environment that we all live in? Most scientists agree that oceans will keep rising and that a warmer atmosphere will hold more water and dump more moisture in storms in both winter and summer. And those storms will get more and more severe all over the world...."

Bazell concluded by giving a sentence to a possible upside, but countered by emphasizing potential calamity: "Scientists say some parts of the world could actually end up much better off with more water for farming and less need for heating fuel. Other places could face sustained heat and drought. He only certainty is a rapidly changing climate."

-- So, the networks jumped at study matching the liberal environmental agenda and made time for a government prediction of impending doom, but they ignored how a huge numbers of scientists have drawn a very different conclusion about global warming and the impact of fossil fuel burning. The Washington Times ran a story Tuesday about the petition cited above, but from what I've seen the rest of the media have ignored it. So, here are some excerpts from the Science and Environmental Policy Project press release. You can read the whole release and a list of signers on their Web site:

"FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA, APRIL 21, 1998 -- More than 15,000 scientists, two-thirds with advanced academic degrees, have now signed a Petition against the climate accord concluded in Kyoto (Japan) in December 1997. The Petition (see text below) urges the US government to reject the Accord, which would force drastic cuts in energy use on the United States....

"In signing the Petition within a period of less than six weeks, the 15,000 basic and applied scientists -- an unprecedented number for this kind of document -- also expressed their profound skepticism about the science underlying the Kyoto Accord. The atmospheric data simply do not support the elaborate computer-driven climate models that are being cited by the United

Nations and other promoters of the Accord as 'proof' of a major future warming. The covering letter enclosed with the Petition, signed by Dr. Frederick Seitz, President emeritus of Rockefeller University and a past President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, states it well:

"'The treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful. This freely expressed vote against the warming scare propaganda should be contrasted with the claimed 'consensus of 2500 climate scientists' about global warming. This facile and oft-quoted assertion by the White House is a complete fabrication. The contributors and reviewers of the 1996 report by the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) actually number less than 2000, and only a small fraction -- who were never polled -- can claim to be climate scientists. Many of those are known to be critical of the IPCC report and have now become signers of the Petition. The 'silent majority' of the scientific community has at last spoken out against the hype emanating from politicians and much of the media about a 'warming catastrophe.' The Petition reflects the frustration and disgust felt by working scientists, few of whom have been previously involved in the ongoing climate debate, about the misuse of science to promote a political agenda,' said Dr. Seitz.

"Dr. S. Fred Singer, President of The Science & Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) and author of Hot Talk, Cold Science:

Global Warming's Unfinished Debate, explained: 'Scientists are understandably upset when they see $2 billion per year devoted to research on climate change, much it irrelevant and concerned only with imaginary consequences of a hypothetical warming -- while other fields of science are starved.'...

"The Petition drive was organized by Dr. Arthur Robinson, director of the Oregon Institute for Science and Medicine (Cave Junction, OR) and a vocal critic of the shaky science used to support the Kyoto Accord....

"The full text of the Petition follows:

"'We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

"'There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.'"

End of excerpt.

This isn't the first time this year that when confronted with contradictory evidence about global warming the networks jumped on a report showing it and decided to deny their viewers information about the contrary data. Back on January 8 ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC ran with a NASA claim that 1997 was the hottest in years and ignored an analysis based on satellite data that showed it to be among the coolest since 1979. See the January 12, 1998 CyberAlert for details.

On global warming the networks have decided that a liberal political victory is more important than letting viewers know the case isn't as clear as Al Gore claims. -- Brent Baker

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