For five years I've hosted a local, community-access political TV talk show, 'Right Angle.' We've had hundreds of guests, many of them college students, with a good smattering of high school students and even a handful of middle-schoolers.
But for sheer embarrassing, puerile, vapidity, none of them has been the equal of the utterly unwatchable Ellen Ratner, the short, and liberal, half of "The Long & the Short of It" feature on Fox & Friends Weekend.
Try this on, for utterly vacuous 'political commentary,' from this morning's just-completed episode. Responding to conservative counterpart Jim Pinkerton's prediction that Roberts would acquit himself well as Chief Justice, Ratner had this to say:
"Oh, Jim, you just wait. [Roberts] will be so right-wing that you won't even know he has a left-wing."
ABC, Times use new study on Arctic’s seasonal ice shifts to sound global-warming alarm.
The global warming alarmists are out again. The polar ice caps aren’t leaving us forever, but ABC and The New York Times seized a new study this week about seasonal change to proclaim the end of the North Pole and the polar bears’ habitat.
ABC’s Bill Blakemore reported for three straight days on a NASA study of Arctic ice patterns that found less ice at the end of the 2005 summer than in years past. On the September 29 “World News Tonight,” Blakemore spoke of creatures living in the icy water – creatures anchor Bob Woodruff described as “in enormous peril.” Woodruff introduced the segment as part of ABC’s reporting on “the serious concern among scientists that the polar ice caps have been melting,” and Blakemore said of the Arctic sea ice: “before the end of the century, it could all be gone.”
But the truth is, scientists on both sides of the global warming debate agree that the ice cap isn’t in “peril.” As Myron Ebell, director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute said, the Arctic is experiencing “natural cycles of warming and cooling.” Yet, on the September 27 “World News Tonight,” ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas introduced him with “a staggering headline tonight about the planet getting warmer.” “Researchers say the summertime ice cap, which covers the North Pole, could be gone in 100 years,” Vargas said. Blakemore then declared that “the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean is melting away,” warning that “villages are tumbling into the sea.”
“Good Morning America” continued the hype on September 28. Diane Sawyer said NASA’s study provided “startling and alarming images” – “brand-new satellite photos showing the ice pack around the North Pole melting and shrinking. Stark proof that the world is getting warmer.” Blakemore appeared again, lamenting: “These vast fields of ice of the frozen Arctic Ocean are so immense, so beautiful, with such a huge silence, it’s hard to imagine them ever disappearing. And yet, that is exactly what some scientific scenarios say could well happen before the end of the century.”
Blakemore did admit that he was talking about “summer sea ice,” but that was halfway through his report, and the overall tone was alarmist. He ended by linking hurricanes, summer heat waves and global warming. Sawyer asked him, “Is this the final proof about global warming?” Blakemore replied, “It’s the latest, it’s the latest very strong proof. The scientists are quite worried about it.”
Not all scientists are as worried as Blakemore was. In fact, scientists on different sides of the global warming debate even agreed that reporting on the study has been overblown. The missing point, they said, is that NASA’s study, in conjunction with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), provides information about the seasonal melting that occurs in summertime – which doesn’t mean the ice caps will be gone during the rest of the year.
“The Arctic Ocean was ice-free at the end of the summer for 40 percent of the last 7,000 years. What’s the big deal?” said Pat Michaels, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia.
Michaels said he didn’t see how “the conditions that dominated three millennia can be construed as some type of disaster.” “If the issue is that human beings are capable of changing the climate – they’ve been doing that for thousands of years,” he said. “So what’s new?”
Mark Serreze, a senior research scientist with the NSIDC at the University of Colorado-Boulder, said he and Michaels would disagree on many points on climate change, but they agree that the media have been missing the point of the Arctic story.
“The media are trying to simplify this or don’t understand what we’re talking about,” said Serreze, who was quoted in The New York Times’ September 29 article about the study. He said the media, in his experience, are “not necessarily trying to find your story – they’re trying to get their story.”
The Times story, by Andrew C. Revkin, skipped straight to global warming in the second paragraph, stating that the shift in summer ice “is hard to explain without attributing it in part to human-caused global warming, the team’s members and other experts on the region said.”
Revkin wrote, “One of the most important consequences of Arctic warming will be increased flows of meltwater and icebergs from glaciers and ice sheets, and thus an accelerated rise in sea levels, threatening coastal areas. The loss of sea ice could also hurt both polar bears and Eskimo seal hunters.”
But Serreze told the Free Market Project that there is an important distinction the media often don’t clarify – the difference between ice in the ocean and ice on the land. Melting sea ice “has essentially zero effect on sea level,” he said, another point on which he and Michaels agreed. Both scientists gave the example of a glass of ice water: if ice cubes in the glass melt, the water level in the glass remains the same.
It’s ice melting from land into the sea that causes ocean levels to rise – but even so, Serreze said that “right now, the sea level rise that we observe is quite modest.” He said the rate could increase in the future, though that is debatable depending on forecasts.
In the meantime, the media continue to trot out natives of the Arctic region, whether human or animal, in support of a global warming disaster theme.
Harlingen, Texas, September 30, 2005: By now it must be clear to those who follow political events that all factions liberal are chanting a new mantra. You can hear the words over and over again by any champion of the Left who has entry to print media, appears on television or moves in front of a radio microphone…”The Republicans are corrupt.” “The Republicans are criminal.” “The Republicans are in decline.” “The Republicans have failed the American public.”
There are other verses to the same song. Some of them speak to the dropping poll numbers of the President. Some address the poor choice of governmental appointments. Others point out the legal entanglements of conservative congressional leaders. In point of fact, the words don’t really matter as long as liberal elements in our society can continue painting their opposition as failing and falling into steep decline. To achieve this objective, a biased media appears to be a willing accomplice and ready to use any opportunity, no matter how distant, to continue the drum beat of doom.
Despite John Roberts being confirmed today by a very strong 78-22 margin to be our nation's new Supreme Court Chief Justice, America Online (AOL) is blaring across its home page, "A Rough Week for Republicans."Here is the screen shot of AOL's home page from 3:31 pm PDT today (Thursday, September 30, 2005). According to AOL, the troubles of Senators Frist and DeLay are enough to signal a "rough week" for the Republican Party.
AOL also solicits viewers to vote in a poll asking, "Which Party Is Stronger Now?" Ugh.
Let's see: An overwhelming Supreme Court confirmation and very good news today about the nation's economy. Yeah, a really "rough week" ... (roll eyes). Nice try, AOL.
IT STRIKES me as odd. I mean Vince Fumo, the Prince of Philadelphia, a fixture of power and influence, reportedly under investigation for stuff involving a non-profit group, doggedly pursued by the Inky for what seems years, stepping forward to save 100 jobs at that same Inky and this Daily News. Since when, I wonder, does a politician, especially one in a newspaper's crosshairs, seek to help newspapers? Strange, no?
Gee, why would a Democrat want a typical urban American newspaper to stay just as it is? I can't figure it out either. Hold on, hold on, I think I have it.
Federal District Court Judge Richard J. Leon ruled Tuesday that the privacy rights of illegal aliens convicted here of crimes, including the most serious felonies, are more important than the public's right to know data needed to assess how the government is complying with the law that requires such aliens to be escorted out of the country upon their release from jail.
The ruling is in the case of CEI Washington Bureau Inc. v United States of America Department of Justice, Civ. No. 03-2651 (RJL). CEI is Cox Newspapers Washington Bureau, which earlier this year asked Leon to overturn a Justice Department denial of a Freedom of Information Act request for data, including the names, dates of birth and their FBI case numbers of several hundred thousand illegal aliens.
The aliens had been convicted in domestic courts of various crimes, including many of the most serious felonies such as rape and murder, and had served time in local or state jails. Federal law requires that federal officials meet such aliens on their release from jail and escort them out of the country.
Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s “The Situation Room,” had Angelina Jolie on yesterday. After a discussion on the Katrina disaster and her reaction to the newly discovered “poverty” there, the topic shifted to her relief work in Africa and HIV/Aids issues, and eventually, of course -- to funding. Wolf Blitzer, jumping on an opening, had the following line ready to go [emphasis added] - brief disussion followed:
BLITZER: Bono, another star who has been deeply involved in trying to help people around the world. He was quoted in "Time" magazine in June as saying, "the most important and toughest nut is still President Bush. He feels he's already doubled and tripled aid to Africa, which he has, but he started from far too low a place."[Here is the point from which the interview should develop. Clinton admin. was doing way too little, now we are doing much more. How much more?] Are you getting involved in the politics here in Washington, as well, trying to excite people, Democrats and Republicans?
As I began to read Martel’s critique of the show I was amazed to see that Martel took issue with a show that was designed to help people. To begin with Martel begins by characterizing the whole idea of the show and how it is presented as a “traveling ministry, with revival tents pitched in a different small town every week”, thereby insulting any and everyone who has ever attended a revival meeting of some sort.
Story compares caffeine to Steroids, but leaves out how commonplace it is.
A new energy drink for kids, KickStart Spark was treated as a gateway drug and as bad as steroids on the September 26 ABC “World News Tonight.”.
ABC’s problem with the beverage was the amount of caffeine it contained – less than a cup of coffee. While the report mentioned that children already consume a lot of caffeine from soft drinks and chocolate, it exaggerated the danger and downplayed the benefits of KickStart Spark.
Reporter Dan Harris began the story by linking the drink to a major drug controversy. “There's been growing concern about the use of performance-enhancing substances by young people since baseball’s steroids scandals.”
ABC then interviewed Einstein Medical College dietician and nutritionist Keith Ayoob on the drink and heard his fears it will lead to more hazardous behavior. He explained, “It worries me that first it starts out with caffeine, and then it goes on to other things that could be even more dangerous.” The report didn’t explain what would be worse.
If caffeine were a gateway drug, then this nation would be in peril. The average American consumes 1.64 cups of coffee per day. Fifteen percent of the average beverage consumption per person was coffee and tea in 2004. Worldwide, more than 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year.
No one who liked the drink or anyone from the company, Advocare, was shown in the report. The company’s Web site was displayed on the screen, and quoted twice. The first time was a simple statement of what the product does – “provides focused and long-lasting energy that's just right for children.” The second time the company’s statement was quickly refuted.
Advocare stated that KickStart Spark “contains vitamins and minerals essential for children's balanced nutrition.” Harris quickly responded that “nutritionists say children can get those vitamins without the caffeine, just by eating healthy foods.” While a true statement, no mention if getting vitamins and minerals with caffeine is worse than no vitamins at all. According to Advocare's Web site, only 8% of children are getting all of the daily recommended nutrients.
This was on the second segment on last night's Hardball with Chris Matthews. Rep. King mowed Chris over once again:
KING: Chris you want me to answer the question. Just because the President doesn't watch you on television doesn't mean he's not doing his job. Franklin Roosevelt wasn't hired to listen to radio accounts of D-Day. You're hired to do the job and the President can do his job without having to listen to Chris Matthews or Andrea Mitchell or Tim Russert or any of the others. He is doing his job.
Rene Syler delivered this little blurb at 8:01 today on the Early Show:
In upstate New York, a plea deal in a teacher sex case. Beth Geisel, a former Catholic school teacher, will be sentenced in November for having sex with a 16-year old student. The 42-year old mother of four will serve six months in jail.
Maybe I'm missing something, but why is Geisel's status as a "mother of four" included? The woman is a self-confessed rapist, having had sex with a minor, and what's more a minor under her care and responsibility as a school teacher. But with the news item delivered as it was, it sounds almost like we should feel sorry her for her being kept from her kids from the next six months just because she had a tryst with some guy.
From Tom Shales's WaPoreview this morning of the new Geena Davis vehicle, "Commander-in-Chief":
But when she gets tough, she's formidable, even if "the issues" in the pilot are not exactly earth-shaking. Chief among them is the case of a young woman in Nigeria who, by local custom, is to be buried up to her neck in sand and stoned to death for the crime of having sex and giving birth before marriage.
Maybe such things really happen, but by leading off the series with it, Lurie suggests that the show won't be about a female president and her problems of adjustment but instead about a myopic busybody who sees herself as a feminist first and leader of the people second (or third).
At the top of the Today show Katie Couric attempted a guilt by association jab at Bush when she was teased upcoming stories: "But first this is the President's seventh, seventh trip to the hurricane zone and the former oilman is getting a real firsthand look at the devastation that's there."
The "oilman" reference set up the David Gregory piece on Katrina cleanup bids where he implied companies with ties to the administration were getting sweetheart deals:
At 7:10am the suddenly frugal David Gregory reported: "As you know the federal government has begun to shell out hundreds of millions of dollars everyday to rebuild the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The question now who's getting the cash and are taxpayers getting ripped off? It's the splurge after the storms, the costly job of cleanup. Debris has to be cleared, temporary housing put in place, billions in storm work contracts signed by FEMA alone so far. A quarter billion for travel trailers. $27 million for catering. Even $700 for safety boots. The President has promised a huge reconstruction effort."
Editor and Publisher drags out Jimmy Carter's arms control nabob to try to keep the big media crew on message: forget correcting flasehoods, forget being fair to the barbarians at Fox News, just focus on Rove, Plame, WMD (or lack thereof), and John Bolton.
All credibility was shot when he didn't ask that the Times both correct their falsehoods and investigate Miller.
Rep. Peter King was interviewed by Hardball's Chris Matthews, and Radioblogger has the blow-by-blow of this very one-sided battle. Decision by a knockout to Rep. King. Here's the final comment by King which ended the match:
"Chris, you won't give me a chance to answer the questions. Just because the president doesn't watch you on television, it doesn't mean he's not doing his job. You know, Franklin Roosevelt wasn't hired to listen to radio accounts of D-Day. You're hired to do the job, and the president can do his job without having to listen to Chris Matthews or Andrea Mitchell or Tim Russert, or any of the others. He is doing his job. Now I agree the military should have been brought in sooner, but that was primarily the fault of the local government not being more responsive, and then the president did the best he could.
Steve Malzberg at NewsMax.com has reported in his new column that HBO host Bill Maher compared First Lady Laura Bush to "Hitler's dog." I guess that would make President Bush, according to Maher, like Hitler himself!
On the Friday, September 23, 2005, episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, as part of a "comedy" bit, Maher was displaying a series of doctored photos to "show" that the President had resumed drinking. (This story has been reported in the, um, National Enquirer.) One such "photo" portrayed Mrs. Bush with a black eye and a bandage over her eyebrow. According to Malzberg, guest Christopher Hitchens objected to the photo and challenged Maher. (The following is re-formatted from Malzberg's column:)
HITCHENS: "It must be to his credit he (the President) got Laura Bush to marry him. She's an absolutely extraordinary woman."
MAHER: "Oh, come on. That's like Hitler's dog loved him. That is the silliest reason ..."
Roy Hallums, the American hostage rescued September 7, 2005 appeared on 60 Minutes to discuss how life was when he was held captive and when he returned home. Lesley Stahl conducted the interview and tried ever so hard to get Roy to give an anti-Bush remark.
STAHL: Has anyone from our government called you, like our President? HALLUMS: No STAHL: Senator? HALLUMS: No STAHL: Congressman? HALLUMS: No STAHL: Noone? HALLUMS: No STAHL: Nothing? HALLUMS: No, no one has called me. STAHL: How do you feel about that? (with a huge grin) HALLUMS: If nobody calls thats small potatoes compared to what I was in. You know, I'm just happy to be back.
Ever since the dust and debris had been cleared away from where once stood the World Trade Center, a cultural fight has ensued these many months over what kind of memorial should be erected in honor of the victims of 9/11, and the memory of that fateful day.
Today (25 September) the NY Times ran an editorial, “The Hard Bigotry of No Expectations.” It excoriates the Bush Administration for two principal “failures,” the bad response to Hurricane Katrina and the defective Iraq Constitution. Instead, the Times demonstrated that its entire staff is incompetent.
Regarding Katrina, the Times opines, “Four years after 9/11, Katrina showed the world that performance standards for the Department of Homeland Security were so low that it was not required to create real plans to respond to real disasters.”
The Times has dozens of its reporters and editors working on various aspects of hurricane coverage. Apparently, none of these crack “journalists” have yet discovered what the blogosphere has known for two weeks. There WAS an existing Evacuation Plan for Southern Louisiana. It was dated 1 January, 2000. It required (paragraph 5, page 13) the use of “public buses” for those citizens who “do not have, or cannot afford” private transportation.
The Clintonoids at Media Matters are accusing Brent Bozell of spouting lies. The headline on their home page this week was "Conservative media spout economic falsehoods." The odd thing is: Bozell actually sort of sidestepped a statistical battle, and they pasted him anyway. In his interview with George Stephanopoulos, Clinton claimed, "We moved 100 times as many people out of poverty in eight years as had been moved out in the previous 12 years." Bozell said: "That’s too comical to correct – and for Stephanopoulos, too delicious to challenge."
I think Brent's use of "comical" means that Clinton was not intending to cite chapter and verse of the Census charts. He was doing the petulant policy equivalent of nanny-nanny-boo-boo, I was so much better than you. He didn't mean LITERALLY he was 100 times better, bringing charts and graphs like Ross Perot. But to the Media Matters crowd, everything Clinton says is automatically a statement of verifiable fact. Simon Maloy of MMFA, who perhaps should be known by his economic guru ("In Paul Krugman, We Should Trust") contended: