Media Miss Mark Concerning President Bush and the G-8's Climate Change Statement

On Thursday, a NewsBusters headline asked “G-8 Statement Regarding Climate Change: Will Media Use It to Bash Bush?

The answer: Most definitely.

From print to television, the formal declaration published by the group of eight most developed nations emanating from their summit in Germany was depicted as a winner for the host country’s chancellor Angela Merkel, while George W. Bush was the big meanie standing in the way of progress against the liberal bogeyman known as global warming.

For instance, NBC’s David Gregory said the following on Thursday’s “Nightly News”:

German chancellor Angela Merkel announced an agreement on a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half by mid-century. Nothing mandatory, but the best she could get out of the president who today stressed different priorities.

ABC’s Charlie Gibson said this on Thursday's "World News with Charlie Gibson":

And the eight leaders at that summit agreed to work towards substantial reductions in the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. They did not set a concrete target for reductions or set a deadline to achieve them, largely because the Bush administration has resisted both.

On the print side, USA Today really took aim at the President on Friday (emphasis added):

Greenpeace and other groups blamed Bush, who has long favored voluntary reductions, for blocking the 50% cut sought by Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

[...]

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington, called Bush "the skunk at the garden party" for rejecting the Merkel-Blair targets. Daniel Weiss, the center's director of climate strategy, said Bush's global warming plan amounts to "more talk, less treatment."

As you might imagine, no conservative think tanks or organizations were cited to balance "the skunk at the garden party" depiction of the most powerful man on the planet.

Also as would be expected, the New York Times went even further in an article published Friday which hysterically began (emphasis added):

The United States agreed Thursday to “consider seriously” a European plan to combat global warming by cutting in half worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, averting a trans-Atlantic deadlock at a meeting here of the world’s richest industrial nations.

“Consider seriously.” Isn’t that great? What that means is that Merkel and the Kyoto supporters didn’t come close to getting what they wanted out of this meeting which was firm emissions caps and targets agreed upon by all attendees.

In fact, the Washington Post, which must be applauded for actually coming closer to reporting the facts about this issue than most other media outlets, noticed this distinction in an article published Friday (emphasis added):

The agreement to fight rising temperatures, reached at a summit on the Baltic Sea coast, notes the promises of European Union nations, Canada and Japan to cut emissions in half by 2050. But the United States and Russia would not be bound by that pledge.

Instead, in a concession to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other advocates of mandatory reduction goals, the agreement provides for the United States and Russia to "seriously consider" achieving similar cuts.

Alas, that’s not the take of the Times:

Nevertheless, Mrs. Merkel, the host of the Group of 8 meeting, proclaimed it a major victory. She had placed climate change at the top of the agenda for the gathering, and put heavy pressure on Mr. Bush in recent days to relax his opposition to mandatory cuts in emissions, though he ultimately did not. “If you think of where we were a few weeks ago, and where we have reached today, this is a big success,” a visibly relieved Mrs. Merkel told reporters in this Baltic Sea resort.

[…]

The 11th-hour deal came after weeks of intense diplomacy by Mrs. Merkel — first to marshal support for her plan from other Group of 8 leaders, then to persuade Mr. Bush to edge toward her position.

Unbelievable nonsense. In fact, as no caps were agreed upon, the declaration appeared to draw more from the June 1 proposal by Bush himself. As such, the net result of this compromise was Merkel and the greens throughout the European Union moving towards the White House and away from Kyoto.

Certainly, this was how the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel saw this compromise as published Friday in an article entitled “Bush 1, Greens 0” (emphasis added throughout):

Just call him George W. Bush, star international diplomat. Don't snicker, don't spit out your coffee. Instead, read over the final document on climate change released yesterday by the Group of Eight.

Yes, it's a major shift in how the world will address the supposed threat of global warming. It's also largely the vision put forth years ago by none other than George W. Bush--that international cowboy--even if few European politicians will admit it.

Don't expect anyone to admit it. When Mr. Bush unveiled his new climate framework last week, calling on the world's powers to reduce greenhouse emissions, it was portrayed as a capitulation. He'd removed the last "obstacle" to world unity on this issue, and seen the error of his ways. At this week's Democratic presidential debate, every candidate vowed to fix the damage Mr. Bush had done to America's international reputation, his Kyoto failure the obvious example.

There's been a capitulation on global warming, but it hasn't happened in the Oval Office. The Kyoto cheerleaders at the United Nations and the European Union are realizing their government-run experiment in climate control is a mess, one that's incidentally failed to reduce carbon emissions. They've also understood that if they want the biggest players on board--the U.S., China, India--they need an approach that balances economic growth with feel-good environmentalism. Yesterday's G-8 agreement acknowledged those realities and tolled Kyoto's death knell. Mr. Bush, 1; sanctimonious greens, 0.

A little different take, wouldn’t you agree? However, clearly one dealing with the facts of what actually occurred in Germany on Thursday instead of the distortions from the rest of the global warming alarmists in the media who obviously were reporting what they wished had happened rather than the truth.

Yet, maybe the best piece on this summit came from Benny Peiser, editor of the international science-policy network CCNet. As published in Friday’s National Post (emphasis added throughout):

When the history of Europe's waning pre-eminence and the rise of Asia's new superpowers is written, the German G8 summit that has just ended in the Baltic seaside town of Heiligendamm will be regarded as a momentous turning point. It will also be seen as the moment when the Western powers decided to bury their hatchets over Kyoto and start exerting pressure on their Asian challengers.

The failure of Germany and its European Union partners to push through their key goals stands for a diplomatic defeat that epitomizes Europe's shrinking influence in international climate negotiations.

Not what the American media led the citizenry to believe, wouldn’t you agree? Yet, Peiser was just getting warmed up:

German and European diplomats were taken aback during the negotiations inthe [sic] run-up to the summit; not only the United States, but Japan, Canada and even Russia opposed Europe's concept of unilateral G8 targets. Germany's original plan, to push for ambitious goals with the aim of isolating President George W. Bush, fell short as even China and India came out against the idea of mandatory emission caps.

Sound like what ABC, NBC, USA Today, and the Times said? Almost like those outlets had reporters at a different summit, wouldn’t you agree?

Yet, Peiser wasn’t through:

But nothing caused Angela Merkel bigger upset and sheer dismay than the refusal of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, to back Germany's position when she visited Berlin just days before the summit. No words of support from Al Gore either. Instead, the U.S. Democrats showed Merkel and the EU the cold shoulder - implicitly at least.

The snub demolished almost overnight the commonly held assumption that the impasse over a post-Kyoto deal would be overcome with a new president in the White House. For those who still don't get Ms. Pelosi's and Mr. Gore's veiled message, Tony Blair made it perfectly plain why a Democratic U.S. president would not yield either: "Whoever U.S. president is in office, they will not agree to a climate-change deal which doesn't have China part of it."

Exactly. In fact, an honest media would point out that then Vice President Al Gore said the exact same thing in 1997 when Kyoto was first being discussed: “We will not submit this for ratification until there`s meaningful participation by key developing nations.”

For some reason, this is unimportant to our media. Peiser continued:

On the back of his own climate initiative and the G8 agreement, Mr. Bush has now taken on the role of a suave intermediary between Europe and Asia. To the dismay of European diplomats, Mr. Bush has recast the United States as a "green" bridge-builder between Europe on the one hand and developing countries like India and China on the other - all in the name of ensuring global reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions.

The G8 summit of Heiligendamm has brought to an end the era when European leaders would wag their fingers at the United States and demand action over climate change. Now, Mr. Bush has decided to don Europe's traditional role as a green champion. Now, it's the United States that is demanding more action on climate change - from China, India and other major emitters.

Are there any questions as to why America’s media didn’t report it this way?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.