Previewing an upcoming story for NBC's Rock Center on Friday's Today, correspondent Ann Curry warned that tribes of the Amazon rain forest "are sharpening their spears and preparing their blow guns to fight Ecuador's new plan to auction as much as 8 million acres of the rain forest for oil drilling." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then cited Boston University biology professor Kelly Swing arguing that "America, a top importer of oil from Ecuador, shares responsibility for this coming conflict....And the toxic legacy of past oil drilling in other parts of the rain forest." A sound bite played of Swing declaring: "We're definitely guilty in this story."
MRCTV's Joe Schoffstall caught up with liberal actress Rosario Dawson yesterday at the Washington rally against the Keystone XL pipeline. Dawson insisted President Obama "could and should do more" for green energy, and the old "brown" kind somehow doesn't create jobs.
"This pipeline is not for the benefit of the American people," she said. "This pipeline is so that we can start selling to China and other places. Which they would say was about creating some jobs and it’s about bringing in money, but most of that money isn’t trickling down to anybody." She does favor hemp oil. (Video below)
CBS's Bill Plante inserted the oft-repeated media spin about the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina into his report on Monday's Early Show. Plante ignored the poor handling of Katrina at the state and local levels, spotlighting instead how "the stranded and homeless wandered the streets of New Orleans" as Bush flew overhead. But three days earlier, CBS brought on former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin as an "expert" on hurricane preparation without mentioning his failures.
Fill-in anchor Jeff Glor stated in his introduction for the correspondent's report that "Irene was not as bad as some thought it might be, but politicians were not taking any chances. They know what happens when government is ill-prepared for disaster." Plante began by spotlighting the Obama administration's response to Hurricane Irene:
[Update below:] Anderson Cooper last June had advertised CNN's telethon raising money for the Gulf oil spill through the National Wildlife Federation.
The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will be honoring CNN's Anderson Cooper as a "Wildlife Hero" at its 75th Anniversary celebration June 15. A spokesperson for the organization confirmed that Cooper will be receiving the award for his coverage of the Gulf oil spill last year.
The NWF identifies itself as "the nation's largest conservation organization," working through education, preservation of habitats and ecosystems and protection of wildlife.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. lobbed incendiary accusations at the coal industry on "Morning Joe" today in a segment that devolved into a nearly 10-minute advertisement for his new anti-coal documentary.
The left-wing environmental activist juxtaposed fossil "fuels from Hell" with "patriotic fuels from Heaven," though neither co-host Joe Scarborough nor Mika Brzezinski pushed back.
"Right now the rules that govern the American energy system were written and devised by the incumbents, by the carbon cronies, to reward the dirtiest, filthiest, most poisonous, most toxic, most addictive, and destructive fuels from Hell rather than the cheap, clean, green, abundant, wholesome, and patriotic fuels from Heaven," blathered Kennedy.
I’m a major Peter Fonda fan, think he’s one of the best character actors working today and can’t imagine life without “Easy Rider,” but this is way, way over the line. The sentiment is hard to disagree with and I’m no Obama fan, but he is the President of the United States and trashing him in this manner overseas at Cannes is hardly different than what all but ended the Dixie Chicks career.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd rattled off a list of reasons to explain the sharp rise in the price of oil – none of which included Barack Obama's offshore drilling moratorium – and was "confused" about why anyone would blame the president for the prospect of $4 per gallon gasoline.
On the April 28 "Daily Rundown," Todd suggested the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing measures and increases in global demand account for the dramatic spike in oil, but he absolved the president of any blame.
"I guess what I'm confused about, how is this an administration – what is it that the president could have done about the price of gasoline?" wondered Todd, interviewing Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.
In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.
The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.
They may not be officially celebrating "Green Week," but CNN was fully in the spirit of the week Wednesday morning. Anchor Carol Costello expressed her dismay that Congress has not acted in the last year to prevent another disaster like the BP oil spill, and seemed to want more safety regulations and laws for oil companies to follow in a disaster.
"Congress doesn't seem to be in charge," Costello lamented, on the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that began the massive oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico.
When CNN correspondent Brianna Keilar reported that House committees have been moving legislation to speed up drilling permits and open up new offshore drilling areas, Costello was troubled.
On April 20, 2010, a horrific oil spill took place in the Gulf of Mexico on British Petroleum's (BP) Deepwater Horizon rig. Since that day, gas prices have risen nearly $1-a-gallon to $3.83 per gallon. President Barack Obama's anti-oil policies, including a drilling moratorium are at least part of the reason for that dramatic spike. But you will rarely hear that from the mainstream media.
It certainly isn't the story the network evening news shows have told their viewers since the oil spill. Out of 280 oil price stories since the disastrous pill, just 1 percent (3 out of 280) mentioned any connection between Obama's anti-oil efforts, such as the drilling moratorium, and rapidly rising gas prices.
Thursday evening, NB's Ken Shepherd accurately pointed out how little establishment press interest there has been in prominently carrying an Associated Press report about how the Obama administration has been, in the words of the wire service's Dina Cappiello, "downplaying scientific findings, misrepresenting data and most recently misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited."
This is not to excuse those who have given her report short shrift, but the AP and Cappiello herself did their level best to try to minimize the significance of what was to come in their headline and first paragraph, respectively:
While network correspondents complain about the unfairness of independent advertising, they might ponder the unfairness of their habitual tendency to omit or downplay bad news for Team Obama, especially in the crucial last weeks of a campaign. Consider some of the latest stories that would have drawn much more attention and media hostility if the shoe was on the Republican foot:
With any luck, we're going to be seeing a lot more commentary like Jim Garrison's Aug. 31 Huffington Post piece. What's positive about it isn't the apocalyptic hysteria of his descriptions of "climate shock," entertaining as they are. Rather, it's his lamentation that President Obama, Al Gore and the global warming industry missed the perfect opportunity to dismantle the U.S. economy and severely curtail human freedom.
Garrison asserted that "the admixture of Copenhagen, the U.S. Senate Climate Bill, the BP oil spill disaster, and the climate itself" had created a "perfect storm," derailing the warming alarmists' agenda.
A president with close ties to an oil company helping hide the magnitude and damage of an oil spill would be big news, if he were a conservative. But it seems even when the environmentalists and the left are upset over President Obama's handling of the Gulf oil spill, the national news media barely notice.
That night two of the three network evening shows reported the widely disputed claim without question. Only NBC "Nightly News" included any people skeptical of the White House claim. The networks have only aired a few reports about scientists disputing the claim, and have ignored liberal outrage.
"[T]onight on these beaches some good news and relief," Matt Gutman told "World News" viewers. "A new government report says that 75 percent of that oil has been cleaned up either by man or Mother Nature. And it now seems this war against this oil is coming to an end."
Gutman's report on the success of the oil cleanup included President Obama and Browner, but not a single person who disagreed with the White House claim. The Boston Globe reported Aug. 20, that Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution mapped a 22-mile-long underwater oil plume back in June. Other scientists at University of Georgia estimate that 70 to 79 percent of the oil from the leak remains, contrary to the White House assertion.
On July 27th and 28th, the New York Times published the following headline: "The oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico appears to be dissolving far more rapidly than anyone expected." In the story that followed the headline, readers were informed: "The immense patches of surface oil that [once] covered thousands of square miles of the gulf after the...oil rig explosion are largely gone."
Ironically, the man who predicted this would be case was the much-maligned Tony Hayward, former Chief Executive of British Petroleum (BP). While being grilled on Capital Hill about the oil spill earlier this year, Hayward described it as a "relatively tiny" one in comparison to the "very big ocean" in which it had occurred. Although the backlash Hayward faced by Democrats was nasty, Rush Limbaugh concurred with the BP boss, and stories like the one I cited from the New York Times seem to demonstrate that Hayward and Limbaugh were both correct.
Yet, not only does BP continue to be the target of heavy criticism by Democrats and environmental groups, it has even found itself in the crosshairs of Brad Pitt, who recently "said he would consider the death penalty for those to blame for the Gulf oil spill crisis." According to the UK's Daily Mail, Pitt's exact words were: "I was never for the death penalty before - I am willing to look at it again."
Time magazine reported Thursday that Rush Limbaugh might have been right about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico not being the environmental disaster that everyone warned.
In an article surprisingly titled, "The BP Spill: Has the Damage Been Exaggerated?", author Michael Grunwald first insulted the conservative talk radio host:
The obnoxious anti-environmentalist Rush Limbaugh has been a rare voice arguing that the spill - he calls it "the leak" - is anything less than an ecological calamity, scoffing at the avalanche of end-is-nigh eco-hype.
Yet, in the very next paragraph, Grunwald shockingly changed his tune:
Democratic Congressman Ed Markey appeared on ABC and CBS's morning shows on Monday to talk about the Gulf Coast oil spill and didn't face a single question about the government's handling of the disaster. Instead, Good Morning America and the Early Show both kept the heat on BP.
Discussing the likely departure of BP's CEO Tony Hayword, GMA's Robin Roberts pressed, "And that when [Haywood] gave those evasive answers, you felt were evasive answers, when you grilled him on Capitol Hill last month- What do you think about this imminent change? Is it too late for you?"
It has become clear that the Democratic establishment does not have as much of an interest in press freedom as they would have the public believe. But what is even more telling is the media's spotty response to censorship efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.
On Wednesday, House Natural Resouces Democrats rejected an amendment that would ensure press transparency in the Gulf. The amendment came mere days after the Coast Guard rescinded a policy keeping journalists at least 65 feet from "essential recovery efforts."
Offered by Rep. Paul Broun, pictured right, the amendment stated: "Except in cases of imminent harm to human life, federal officials shall allow free and open access to the media of oil spill clean up activity occurring on public lands or public shorelines, including the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”
Since the amendment's defeat, the response from the mainstream press has been a deafening silence.
Efforts to make environmentalism its own sort of religion have been underway for some time now. But the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has sparked a new push to take what has been traditionally a political phenomenon, the American environmentalist movement, and make it part of the religious spectrum.
UPDATE - 7/13, 1:30 pm: In the face of criticism, the Coast Guard just rescinded this policy, allowing reporters free access to Gulf spill recovery efforts. Details below.
Effectively reporting on the Gulf oil spill is now a Class D felony, punishable by a fine of up to $40,000.
That's right, the most transparent administration in history has made it a felony, effective July 1, to get within 65 feet of what the Coast Guard determines are essential recovery efforts. According to Anderson Cooper, officials tried to up that number to 300 feet.
Cooper, who claimed federal officials prevented CNN on two occasions from taking photographs in the gulf, seemed frustrated when he reported on the new laws the day they went into effect. The press is "not the enemy here" he pleaded. The new policies, he said, make it "very easy to hide failure, and hide incompetence."
Cooper also let loose this zinger: "Transparency is apparently not a priority with [Coast Guard Commandant] Thad Allen these days." Ouch (full video and transcript below the fold - h/t Ron Robinson).
While the media have apparently given up -- if they ever seriously attempted -- on holding the Obama administration to account for its handling of the Gulf oil spill cleanup, Republican governors in the Gulf are a different story, particularly Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, a potential 2012 presidential hopeful.
In a short post at Time.com entitled "Battlefield General: Is Bobby Jindal Making Sense?", writer Alex Altman cast doubt on Jindal's handling of the oil spill cleanup while suggesting the conservative governor is hypocritical for his complaints about Obama's handling of the disaster at the federal level:
Perhaps it is frustration, as expressed by Anderson Cooper, with the new White House rules inhibiting reports about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that is now causing a big crack in the Mainstream Media wall which until recently mostly avoided direct criticism of the Obama administration response. However that crack has now turned into a flood of surprising criticism coming from formerly friendly outlets such as the Associated Press. Read this amazing AP report and keep in mind that it is no longer just conservative sources that are harsh in their criticisms of the Obama Gulf oil containment efforts:
NEW ORLEANS — BP and the Obama administration face mounting complaints that they are ignoring foreign offers of equipment and making little use of the fishing boats and volunteers available to help clean up what may now be the biggest spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Coast Guard said there have been 107 offers of help from 44 nations, ranging from technical advice to skimmer boats and booms. But many of those offers are weeks old, and only a small number have been accepted. The vast majority are still under review, according to a list kept by the State Department.
The White House Thursday enacted stronger rules to prevent the media from showing what's happening with the oil spill in the Gulf Coast.
CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that evening, "The Coast Guard today announced new rules keeping photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches -- 65 feet."
He elaborated, "Now, in order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans. You have to call up the guy. What this means is that oil-soaked birds on islands surrounded by boom, you can't get close enough to take that picture."
As the segment continued, Cooper expressed disgust with this rule repeating several times, "We are not the enemy here" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Cubachi via Hot Air):
The Washington Post and BP may seem like the oddest couple since Felix and Oscar, but they've been spending a lot of time - and money - together.
A Business & Media Institute study found that the Washington Post earned up to $455,652 on 17 BP ads during the month of June, or about $15,188.40 per day. All 17 ads were a full page in size, nine appeared on the back page, six ran in color, and three ran on Sundays. In short, that's a fairly high-end ad campaign. However, companies typically receive discounts off of the open rate for large ad buys or for long-term contracts, so that final total may well be lower.
BMI analyzed all 30 issues of the Post in the month of June and calculated the rates using the Post's 2010 General Ad Rates Position Premiums. Based on the position premiums, a back page ad costs $28,954 daily ($31,456 on Sundays), ads on pages A2, A3, and A5 cost $208 daily ($216) per column inch, and other specified pages cost $103 daily ($110) per column inch. full page ad is 6 x 21 inches or 126 inches. BP back page ads totaled $260,586 and the Sunday ads, which appeared on pages A5 and A15 respectively, totaled $103,716, with color costs included in premium pricing.
Jon Stewart on Monday asked David Axelrod a truly extraordinary question: has this government proven itself competent enough to regulate industry?
Speaking to President Obama's senior advisor on "The Daily Show," the Comedy Central star was in the middle of a rather interesting discussion when he surprisingly said, "It's clear that this administration believes that government can have a stronger hand in regulating Wall Street, in regulating energy, in doing these things."
"But, has government during this time proved itself competent? And are our only two choices sort of an incompetent bureaucracy that doesn't quite regulate properly or free market anarchy?" he asked.
When Axelrod predictably tried to blame all the problems in the country on the previous administration's supposed lack of regulation and oversight, Stewart wasn't having any of it (video follows with transcript and commentary, relevant section at 1:50):
Robert Redford, one of the most popular and succesful actors of our age, has joined with other entertainers, including Sir Paul McCartney and Rosie O'Donnell in encouraging the Obama administration to actively politicize the Gulf crisis and use it to push through on energy policy.
In an interview with ExtraTV, Redford said that Obama should "Grab this moment in history and get a decent energy policy." He also said "Here's a moment in our history where he [Obama] should grab leadership and run with it."
He said that "We blew it in the late seventies," referring to laws like the National Energy Act, National Energy Conservation Policy Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act made in the wake of the OPEC embargo and the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster.