The presidential commission tasked with investigating the BP oil spill is so short on technical expertise and packed with left-leaning politicians and knee-jerk environmentalists that even the Associated Press's resident ClimateGate apologist Seth Borenstein is concerned.
On December 12, 2009, over two weeks after the ClimateGate e-mails first appeared, Borenstein wrote that "the exchanges don't undercut the vast body of evidence showing the world is warming because of man-made greenhouse gas emissions." What part of Kevin Trenberth's famous October 12, 2009 assertion that "The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t" did Seth not understand?
Nonetheless, non-skeptical Seth is somewhat taken aback at the lack of expertise in the spill commission's membership:
Obama spill panel big on policy, not engineering
The panel appointed by President Barack Obama to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is short on technical expertise but long on talking publicly about "America's addiction to oil." One member has blogged about it regularly.
If you take MSNBC's Luke Russert's words at face value, you would think the Democrats are going to win big this November–all thanks to Rep. Joe Barton's (R-Texas) comments on the Obama administration's treatment of BP, and their "shakedown" of the company via the escrow fund.
"A lot of Democrats see this as the ammunition they need to directly tie the Republican Party with that of big oil," Russert summarized.
Barton expressed his disapproval at the hearing for the White House's treatment of BP in forcing them to agree to the $20 billion escrow fund, calling it a "shakedown." MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer was visibly irritated during her news hour with the statement, and Russert called it a "really big blunder."
However, as NewsBusters reported, MSNBC's own Ed Schultz was ecstatic yesterday over the very actions of the White House, and spoke positively of the "shakedown."
In a satellite interview with Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) held shortly before 1 p.m. EDT today, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer criticized Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for denouncing the president for pushing BP to agree to a $20-billion escrow account for oil spill damages as a "shakedown":
So, there's Joe Barton calling the $20 billion in escrow a shakedown, and as you point out, there are people in your district who have lost their livelihoods! They wonder how they can feed their families!
But yesterday, Brewer's MSNBC colleague Ed Schultz used similar language to voice his giddy approval of President Obama's maneuvering [video embedded at right and available as WMV file here]:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) and MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan on June 17 joined forces to lambaste "Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough for continuing to defend President Barack Obama's handling of the BP oil spill.
Scarborough presented a litany of arguments in Obama's defense, but Giuliani and Ratigan countered with specific examples of the president's failed leadership. Regurgitating liberal talking points, Scarborough blamed the crisis on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
"We hear that we had the technology to stop this," Scarborough claimed. "In 2002, though, Dick Cheney and his energy task force said, 'No, we're not going to take an extra step.'"
Giuliani responded with an eviscerating counter punch: "It's important to know as part of the history of this but the reality is, he's been president now for 18 months. It's about time we stopped blaming Bush."
Despite widespread criticism of President Barack Obama's Oval Office address on the Gulf oil spill–including flak from MSNBC's left-wing posse of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and Howard Fineman–ABC's Terry Moran and George Stephanopoulos on the June 15 "Nightline" fawned over the president's speech and ignored its obvious shortcomings.
In recapping the address, Moran could not contain his adulation for Obama's ability to assert his presidential authority and inspire the nation:
"For the first time in the Oval Office, President Obama addressed the nation. A nation anxious and doubtful about his leadership on the environmental catastrophe that's unfolded in the Gulf for 57 days. So, the main goal tonight, show the country he's truly in charge."
"President Obama, who finished a two-day trip to the Gulf Coast this afternoon, clearly wanted to project power in his handling with the oil spill, and the most direct way to do that is to use the language of war of the commander-in-chief."
"As the cleanup efforts continue to grapple with the giant spill, residents all along the coast have grown more and more worried, more and more angry and the president spoke to that directly tonight, and he made a promise."
"At the end, like so many in the Oval Office before him, President Obama asked for prayers."
Plenty of prominent media figures were upset with President Obama over his substandard address to the nation last night (full text). While most are distraught, none seem to be doing what should be the essential journalistic task of the day: pointing out all of the factual misstatements the president made.
So, in absence of a serious attempt at fact-checking from the legacy media, let us undertake some of our own.
In all, the president misrepresented the federal government's--and especially his cabinet's--role in creating the conditions that led to the spill, the state of the nation's oil reserves, and his own administration's involvement with BP. Futhermore, his transition from discussing the Gulf spill to advocating "clean energy" legislation was a huge logical leap, and one that necessarily misrepresents the problems the nation faces with regard to energy.
Adler's chief complaint with last night's Oval Office address: Obama didn't call for massive tax hikes to push Americans to make more politically correct spending choices.
The Newsweek writer -- formerly a self-styled "propagandist" for the liberal Center for American Progress -- avoided the T-word until his last paragraph, but he made abundantly clear that he felt that a) American stupidity and short-sightedness was threatening to literally drown Manhattan in rising sea levels and b) Obama was not doing enough to make government force people to make better choices with their own money (emphases mine):
With the federal government - both on Capitol Hill and in the White House - beginning to take investigative and punitive action against BP (NYSE:BP), the future of the company, at least in the United States, is in peril.
On CNBC's June 14 "The Kudlow Report," John Kilduff, a CNBC contributor and the vice president of MF Global was asked by host Larry Kudlow about a potential debarment from eligibility to be awarded government contracts, which have been very lucrative for the embattled oil giant.
"John, this would effectively be debarment," Kudlow said. "This is something we talked about a week ago, and the prevailing attitude was there would not be debarment because that hardly ever happens in American commercial history. Is President Obama having this as a Sword of Damocles over BP?"
Ad hominem attacks supplanted thoughtful discussion yet again on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” On Monday, co-host Joe Scarborough chastised Republicans as “genuinely stupid” for criticizing President Barack Obama’s handling of the BP oil spill, adding that the GOP must think the American people are “dumb as hell.”
“The Republicans blaming Obama look genuinely stupid because of eight years of deregulation,” scolded Scarborough, who is developing a penchant for favoring personal attacks over rational debate.
“Is Mitt Romney suggesting he’s more hostile to the oil industry than Barack Obama?” Scarborough sardonically asked an amused Mike Allen, Politico’s chief political correspondent. “Do we want to go back and look at the money? And again, I’m not just knocking Mitt Romney, but when Republicans come out like Sarah Palin and suggest the president is too cozy with the oil industry, this suggests that they think the American people are dumb as hell.”
Reports are surfacing that BP is finally considering a suspension of its shareholder's dividend, but what could have been done differently to avert the public relations nightmare BP is facing? Two CNBC hosts had some ideas about that, and about what could have happened if BP chose not to play ball.
Jim Cramer and Erin Burnett shared their thoughts on the "Stop Trading" segment of "Street Signs" June 11. According to the "Mad Money" host, Obama could have set a foul precedent for multi-national businesses if BP (NYSE:BP) didn't agree to make some concessions on how it is handling its day-to-day operations in the wake of this ecological crisis.
"I think that this is a, a stock that represents great value but you're dealing with the government," Cramer said. "I saw that Nancy Pelosi, she's the second most powerful person in our country, saying that they shouldn't be paying a dividend. I mean, this is one of those situations where I know, the president's approval ratings are down and what you got to do is you got to go after BP if you're the president. I'm not saying I would do it but I'm saying if I were the president of the United States, BP is public enemy number one and you're not even going to listen to what the British say. You just gotta say, ‘Guys, here's the deal, we're not, we're not going to have any dividends here. And just you know, take it or leave it, partner, because this is a company that needs U.S. ball play."
If you ask the media, George W. Bush is to blame for everything from the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill to Al and Tipper Gore's broken marriage. What's more, the media are insisting, it's Democrat Hillary Clinton who deserves praise for paving the way for Republican women having success on Tuesday's primaries, not Sarah Palin.
That's just skimming the surface of the loopy stuff the liberal media have churned out recently and which NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell was brought on last night's "Hannity" to address.
Also discussed on the June 10 "Media Mash" segment, the media's sensitive treatment of disgraced columnist Helen Thomas, who abruptly "retired" following a controversy regarding her suggestion that Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go back to Germany and Poland [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]:
BRENT BOZELL: If I were Helen Thomas, I wonder, what is she more offended by, conservatives who call her a socialist and a radical, or her liberal friends who've all gone on national television to say she's senile? And if it is true that she is that senile, what was she doing in the White House all these years? Here's a woman who has spent decades with this anti-Semitic vicious vitriol that she spews out. And here they are all marching behind her.
We all know the BP oil spill is a huge mess. It's going to be costly to clean up - but just how much? And while some outspoken critics are calling for BP to eliminate its dividend, they probably aren't realizing the residual effects.
"Couple of things - I mean, it is water under the bridge, it is over and you will have to live with it," Gheit said. "BP will have to live with it. We have to remember one thing -- BP bought 10 years ago, Amoco, Arco, a very large American corporation with a lot of people working for BP today. And the retirees are pensioners from the Amoco and Arco days. So by cutting the dividend we're penalizing completely innocent people that worked very hard for many years. And now, the dividend is the way they support themselves. So, I don't understand."
Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds employed sarcastic irony this morning when he wrote that "Obama’s hate speech is promoting violence against BP." Well, it's at least clear that the blame game out of Washington isn't helping the situation.
Reynolds is referring to a report from TV station WREG in Memphis about an incident involving property damage at a local BP station, and other instances that have occurred in other parts of the country (video is at the link):
Bullets Shatter Glass at BP Gas Station
(Southaven, MS) -- Windows at the BP Gas Station on Highway 51 at Custer Drive were shot out overnight. Folks who work at the store believe the suspects were expressing anger over BP and how it's handling the oil spill.
"I believe that would be the reason," said Alex Saleh. "We don't have any enemies." He said nothing was taken from the store after the windows were destroyed.
On Wednesday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez twice highlighted how "several Republicans want to keep the cap on what oil companies pay for spills at $75 million" and how apparently that's about "how much they [oil companies] spend on campaign contributions to politicians each year," but omitted that President Obama was the top recipient of money from BP during the 2008 election cycle.
Sanchez first made those statements during a segment just after the beginning of the 3 pm Eastern hour, as he reported on left-wing organization Code Pink's interruption of a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee earlier on Wednesday. Before playing a clip of the protest, the CNN anchor stated how Diane Wilson "disrupted a Senate hearing this morning by pouring oil all over herself." He continued that Wilson "was arrested, but not before she interrupted Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is tied, many would argue, to big oil in Alaska."
I believe the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is the fault and responsibility of British Petroleum, and I believe they should be held accountable and made to pay for stopping the leak, cleaning up the water, beaches and wetlands, even if it takes every cent the company makes for the next ten years.
I believe that they should be sued by the feds, the state government and the families who are suffering from the millions of gallons of crude oil that's not only poisoning their waters but also threatening their very way of life.
And having said that, I want to say this.
Now is not the time for lawsuits, finger pointing, meaningless meetings and bureaucratic BS.
Now is the time for action and all energy should be focused on getting the spill stopped and the mess cleaned up.
The mainstream media seem to have boiled down the president's reaction to the Gulf spill to two caricatures: either he has failed to satiate public appetites by feigning outrage, or he is succeeding by acting angry. Whereas journalists rightly expected President Bush to do something about Katrina--and excoriated him when he supposedly didn't do enough--the media seem content listening to Obama speak.
That the president may not be doing everything in his power, like, say, meeting with the CEO of British Petroleum, seems not even to cross their minds. So the only critique of the president that remains is one of style. By focusing on what the president has said--rather than what he has done--and how he has said it, the media have diverted (albeit unintentionally) attention from the administration's actual response to the spill to its emotional and verbal response.
Obama and his predecessor both accepted responsibility for the spill and Hurricane Katrina, respectively. But the mainstream press took the former at his word; they rightfully held him accountable for his administration's actions. No such accountability is present in the media's reporting on Obama's response to the Gulf spill.
CNN anchor Dr. Sanjay Gupta refreshingly made an implicitly pro-life argument during a report about how toxic chemicals possibly affect the unborn children: "Here in the womb, enveloped in darkness and warmth, a baby's life begins in earnest. It is a sacred space: pristine, insulated, more than nine months of safe refuge from the world outside" [audio available here].
Dr. Gupta made that statement as he gave a voice-over for the first segment of his "Toxic Childhood" special, which first aired on Thursday evening at 8 pm Eastern. CGI of a baby in the womb played as he described the "sacred space." The anchor continued on this note in his first question to Dr. Frederica Perera of Columbia University: "We imagine a baby sort of nice and safe and tucked away in the womb, impervious to all the assaults that occur on the body. You say, not so fast?" So Gupta twice referred to the unborn human as a "baby."
MSNBC continued its defense of President Obama against “racist” critics Tuesday morning. The network’s show “Morning Joe” featured a panel of journalists discussing just how some opponents of President Obama’s agenda refuse to support him–because the President is either a Democrat or African-American.
After host Joe Scarborough and Time's Mark Halperin ripped the Drudge Report for its headline painting President Obama as “going street,” Dee Dee Myers and Norah O’Donnell jumped in to offer their two cents about racially-motivated oppositions to President Obama’s agenda.
First, Halperin mentioned poll numbers showing voters as distrustful of Obama’s ability to improve the economy from President Bush’s term.
“A lot of that is white working class voters who don’t have confidence in [Obama] because he’s a Democrat, but for some of them clearly also because he’s African-American,” Halperin said.
Scarborough then asked Myers, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair, if race was an indeed an issue in the backlash against Obama in the BP Oil Crisis. “Yes,” Myers affirmed.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour claims that the media's coverage of the Gulf oil spill is doing far more damage to his state's economy than the spill itself.
"The coast is clear," Barbour quipped on Fox News Sunday. "The truth is we've had virtually no oil." Barbour criticized media coverage generally, and Fox in particular. Shep Smith, whose show airs at 4pm and 7pm on weekdays, has been one of the loudest voices reporting on the spill.
Barbour claimed the media are responsible for "the biggest negative impact" on Mississippi. "The average viewer on this show thinks that the whole coast from Florida to Texas is ankle deep in oil," he added, and "of course it's very, very bad for our tourist season."
The roundtable panel for today's Morning Joe took a stab at President Obama's frustration with the media for being critical of his BP oil spill response. The segment began with a clip of President Obama's testy, self-defensive comment to NBC's Matt Lauer, wherein the commander-in-chief blustered that he was determined to learn "whose ass to kick" for the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Time magazine political analyst Mark Halperin found the President's anger at the media "ironic" because, "no one in the modern era has ever gotten into the Oval office with the press as glowing as Barack Obama did. For him, this is a new experience." [WMV video available here; MP3 audio available here]
Host Joe Scarborough seemed to share Halperin's sentiments and argued that the President needed to "grow a layer of skin" because: "If you're a Republican politician and a member of the press doesn't come up and like slap you in the face when you come to Washington, you're grateful. You're like a beaten dog. You'll take whatever crumbs they throw you. This guy gets adulation for years, years, and he hates the press. I just don't get it."
What's really staggering is that while some in the mainstream media are starting to realize how much the press have gone easy on Obama, they're announcing these revelations with a sense of detachment from the problem, as though it’s merely an observation, not an indictment.
The following exchange was aired during the June 8 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
How's this for outside-the-box thinking - use nuclear explosives to stop the BP oil spill that is ravaging the Gulf Coast?
According to some of the panelist on Fox News Channel's "Forbes on Fox," using nuclear materials would be a more expeditious way to solve this calamity.
"That's right, nuke it." "Forbes on Fox" host David Asman said on the show's June 5 broadcast. "Some scientists do advocate this. The Soviets apparently succeeded in doing it. Here is the video they say actually shows it. And now some at ‘Forbes' agree, nuke it.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine, was one of the strongest proponents of using nukes for fear that the relief well option could be thwarted by a hurricane.
The National Center for Atmospheric Research believes that oil from the leaking deep water rig in the Gulf of Mexico could impact much of America's East Coast by summer.
As reported by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Thursday, scientists using a detailed computer modeling program have created a video image of what they feel is possible in the coming months.
"'I've had a lot of people ask me, ‘Will the oil reach Florida?'" says NCAR scientist Synte Peacock, who worked on the study. 'Actually, our best knowledge says the scope of this environmental disaster is likely to reach far beyond Florida, with impacts that have yet to be understood'" (video follows with more of this report and commentary):
On the Wednesday edition of “Morning Joe,” host Joe Scarborough attacked Republican political strategist Karl Rove for his critique of the Obama administration’s delayed response to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Scarborough was irate at the “hypocrisy” of the statement because during his time in New Orleans in the middle of Katrina, he recalled, “a lot of people keeping their mouths shut because they didn't want to criticize President Bush.” [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]
This outburst was in response to Karl Rove’s statement on Fox News that, “The president and his people are in charge of this under the Oil Spill Liability Act and they don’t have a plan.” Scarborough then hastily asserted, “Just keep your mouth shut. I'm not saying don't criticize the president, but if you were involved in Katrina, keep your mouth shut.”
Of course, during a post-Katrina interview with “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, Scarborough felt no compulsion to keep his mouth shut in deference to the president. At the time, Scarborough asked if Williams found it an "ironic choice" to report “from a major American city where young children died of dehydration out on sidewalks, and now you've got the President of the United States delivering a speech to the nation from Jackson Square, an area largely untouched by Katrina's devastation.”
It was bound to happen and no one can really blame them for doing so, but someone eventually had to determine who the political winners and losers are for the tragic circumstances surrounding the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Looking forward to the upcoming election cycle, MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough determined the time was right to take a stab at it, although reluctantly on his June 2 broadcast.
"[W]e will stay with BP for one second but talk about presidential politics and I know this will be offensive to some people but it's just a reality that there is somebody in the White House, somebody in the Democratic Party, somebody in the Republican Party that's trying to figure out the political impact of this environmental tragedy. And we were talking with Chuck Todd last hour about how it ramps up when the oil starts washing on Florida shores, Chris. That makes this a much bigger political event in terms of presidential politics, like it or not."
Not letting a good crisis go to waste, MSNBC’s left-wing rabble-rouser Ed Schultz insisted on "Morning Joe" today that the BP oil spill reinforces the need for new legislation to restrict corporations from engaging in political speech.
“I really believe that this what is happening in the Gulf is a classic [example] of how we do need campaign finance reform,” implored Schultz. “It’s all interconnected.”
To provoke this remark, "Morning Joe" co-host Willie Geist tossed Schultz a softball while plugging the liberal activist’s new book.
“One of the things you talk about a lot on your show and write about in the book is the relationship between money and politics,” declared Geist. “So what you have essentially, you could say, is a form of legalized bribery. I contribute to you, Senator Schultz, and you carry out my interests in Washington. What do we do to change that? We all know that’s the problem. We all know people are acting on behalf of corporations and not people.”
"It took about three days" after Katrina's landfall in New Orleans for the media to attack the Bush administration for acting "too little, too late," but after April's oil spill it took "about four weeks before you heard any criticism of any substance on the networks," Media Research Center's Rich Noyes told Fox's Clayton Morris on the Saturday, May 29 "Fox & Friends." Noyes and MRC analyst Kyle Drennen wrote about that double standard three days earlier on NewsBusters.
Playing devil's advocate, Morris noted that in the initial aftermath the damage of the BP oil well blowout was grossly underestimated, perhaps accounting for the lack of critical response by the media.
Noyes granted that point, but argued that only explains about "the first week or so" of the media's silence. In fact, it took normally partisan Democrats like James Carville coming out to complain about the Obama administration's reaction before the media took up the torch on the issue, when "it should be the other way around," the MRC Director of Research argued.
For the full interview, click on the play button in the embed at right.
Media Research Center President Brent Bozell appeared again on last night's "Hannity" for the weekly look at the MSM's liberal pathology in a segment entitled "Media Mash."
The first topic: the liberal media are slowly waking up to the president's incompetent handling of the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Mr. Bozell compared that to how it took a mere 72 hours after Katrina's landfall in New Orleans for the media to slam then-President Bush.
The NewsBusters publisher also addressed how Sam Donaldson compared Mexican President Felipe Calderon's scolding Arizonans for their anti-illegal immigration law to how President George H.W. Bush rebuked the Communist Chinese after the Tiananman Square Massacre.
For the full segment, click the play button on the embed above at right.
The front of Thursday's New York Times Home section is dominated by a photo illustration by Josef Astor of someone in a white hazmat suit, accompanying Penelope Green's long article on detoxifying her home: "Domestic Detox: Cleaning to Extremes." Here's the text box for flavor: "Your lovely scented candles are polluting the air and the shower's spewing pathogens. Now what?"
I kept looking for the wink, the sign that Green was being facetious, or at least half-facetious. It never came. The hook: She invited "building biology" consultant Matthew Waletzke into her home to skillfully play on her sheltered liberal urbanite fears.
When Matthew Waletzke appeared at the door of my East Village apartment to evaluate my home for what he calls "toxic exposure" -- the alternative world's catch-all phrase for potential health hazards like mold, indoor air pollution, household chemicals and electromagnetic radiation (beware your Wi-Fi!) -- I half-expected to see a guy in an "Andromeda Strain"-era hazmat suit.
I had called Mr. Waletzke not because I'd gone all radioactive, like Julianne Moore's character in "Safe," the 1995 movie directed by Todd Haynes about a woman who becomes allergic to her life, but because his specialty seems like an idea whose time has come.
Pollution, we're learning, is personal.Each year brings reports of a new domestic horror, from the medical waste in the municipal water to the carcinogenic bacteria sprouting in your shower head. Your child's sippy cup is leaching the endocrine disrupter BPA into his milk (let's not even think about what's in his nonflammable pajamas), and there are phthalates in your shampoo (also your sex toys). And if your (bleached, pesticide-soaked cotton) bedding doesn't kill you, your clock radio just might, say those who classify electromagnetic frequencies as carcinogens.
CNN's Anderson Cooper first defended the Obama administration's initial response to the Gulf oil leak and then criticized him from the left on Tuesday's AC360: "A month ago, it seemed like the federal government was on top of this. They were beating back claims...that this was Obama's Katrina." He later continued that "it doesn't seem like there's much pressure being applied to [BP], if it's there at all."
Cooper brought on CNN senior political analyst David Gergen and liberal presidential historian Douglas Brinkley for a panel discussion on the environmental disaster 25 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour. The anchor included his apologetic of the early response by the administration in his first question to Gergen: "David, I mean, a month ago, it seemed like the federal government was on top of this. They were beating back claims by conservatives that this was Obama's Katrina, and now, it seems that may have been premature."