At 100 Days, Time Called Bush an 'Eco-Villain'

Brent Bozell mentions in his new column that Time offered a cover story package complete with four pages of Joe Klein hosannas and ten pages of fanzine photos for Barack Obama’s first 100 days, while George W. Bush drew next to nothing. There was only a story on Bush guru Karl Rove and how he won with "the least experienced presidential nominee of modern times." (That’s no longer true, but you wouldn’t see that phrase laid on Obama.)

The April 30, 2001 article focused on Rove’s desperate attempt to clean up "W.’s anti-environment image." John Dickerson and James Carney (now Vice President Biden’s press secretary) began with accusations:

Bush abandoned a campaign pledge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, rejected the Kyoto global-warming treaty, suspended new arsenic standards for drinking water – and began to look suspiciously like the eco-villain Al Gore warned us about.

Dickerson and Carney gave Bush a barely passing grade: "Bush, while off to a smooth start, doesn't have all that much to hype." Rove’s greatest image failure was the environment, they announced. The Time writers taunted Rove for claiming Bush’s environmental initiatives were underplayed by the press. How lame it was that he would blame the media: "when it came to being green, he was as blind as Bush."

But what about the blindness of the Time writers? Their claims about Bush were deeply misleading. The "new" arsenic standards were a last-minute Clinton dirty trick, and Bush had merely left the arsenic standard where it stood for decades. The "rejected" Kyoto treaty failed on a 95-0 Senate vote under Clinton. Was there a Bush "campaign pledge" to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in 2000? Time never wrote about one. Bush explicitly denounced the unfairness of the Kyoto treaty in the second presidential debate and pledged to oppose efforts to force America to join something China and India could avoid with impunity.

In both cases, the 100-days article was just another day at the office for Time: another opportunity to trash Bush, another opportunity to glorify Obama.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis