Caving in on Global Warming Earns Bush No Praise from NBC: Too Little, Too Late

Reporting how President Bush “called on 15 other nations to join the U.S. in taking new steps to reverse climate change” by reducing “greenhouse gas emissions,” the NBC Nightly News demonstrated how caving in to liberal demands will not generate positive press coverage as NBC focused on those who complained Bush's plan “doesn't go far enough.” From Chicago, anchor Brian Williams marveled Thursday night at how “President Bush today underwent something of a conversion. He called for new action on global warming, something he resisted doing for a long time.” Williams proceeded to devote an entire report to how “the reaction to the President's global warming speech today was cold in some quarters.” Anne Thompson, identified as NBC's “chief environmental correspondent,” relayed how “environmental leaders I talked to today certainly weren't impressed. One said it was worse than too little, too late, and several agreed that it was a PR strategy, designed to keep President Bush from looking like an obstructionist at next week's G-8 meeting.”

Of the three broadcast network evening newscasts, NBC was the most aggressive in taking on Bush from the left over global warming.

A partial transcript from the May 31 NBC Nightly News:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Back in Washington, President Bush today underwent something of a conversion. He called for new action on global warming, something he resisted doing for a long time. In fact, the use of the term global warming has been frowned upon in some quarters of the Bush administration for years. Today the President called on 15 other nations to join the U.S. in taking new steps to reverse climate change. We get more on this story from our chief White House correspondent David Gregory.

DAVID GREGORY: Brian, you can imagine that critics are already saying this doesn't go far enough, but this is what is significant -- you've already said it: For the first time, this President has committed the U.S. to lowering the emissions that scientists insist cause global warming. It was an attempt today to end the administration's isolation on climate change. It comes just days before the President will meet allies in Europe who have long criticized the U.S. for failing to join the Kyoto treaty, an international agreement mandating a cap on greenhouse gas emissions....
Gregory ran a soundbite from Bush before moving on to other G-8 matters without including the views of anyone who thinks Bush is going too far. Williams then set up a second report with just the liberal point of view:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: The reaction to the President's global warming speech today was cold in some quarters. We get more on that tonight from NBC News chief environmental correspondent Anne Thompson, who's with us tonight from British Columbia, where she is on assignment. Anne, good evening.

ANNE THOMPSON: Good evening, Brian. Environmental leaders I talked to today certainly weren't impressed. One said it was worse than too little, too late, and several agreed that it was a PR strategy, designed to keep President Bush from looking like an obstructionist at next week's G-8 meeting. David Doniger of the Natural Resources Defense Council said that the world is full of lots of international meetings and summits, the question is whether you're ready to lead at home. Environmentalists want the President to get behind legislation that would mandate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists believe contribute to global warming. The United States is the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and environmentalists believe only after the U.S. makes cuts at home can it pressure countries like China and India to do the same. Brian?
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center