Thursday, June 09, 2005

Daily Show Scores Again, Exposing Bush Spin On Global Warming

It's no surprise that young Americans turn to Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart to stay abreast of the news of the day.

Stewart does a better job identifying and exposing government spin than the bombastic and self-important hosts that dot the cable dial. Historically, that has made Stewart non-partisan -- he has been willing to point out the bombast and hypocrisy of both those on the left and right.

But with the daily escapades of the Republican Party's conservative wing dominating, if not controlling, the daily news flow, Stewart has reacted accordingly, focusing the spotlight on Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, McClellan, DeLay, Frist and the rest.

***

Last night was no different, as Stewart with laser-like precision identified how empty President Bush's words are on global warming. In roughly two minutes, he produced "journalism" that you won't see elsewhere on the cable dial, where cable hosts either want to discuss "news stories" like Michael Jackson or the "Runaway Bride," or -- in the case of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Joe Scarborough -- how liberals are destroying America.

Which is more important: Stewart shining a bright light on our elected leaders, or Chris Matthews interviewing Saturday Night Live cast member (and Matthews impersonator) Darrell Hammond for the umpteenth time (as he is scheduled to do this week)?

Here is an unofficial transcript of the June 8 Daily Show, during which Stewart discusses President Bush's June 7 meeting with Tony Blair:

STEWART: (I)n another area of concern, there was less of a consensus.

BLAIR (at news conference): On climate change, I think everyone knows that there are different perspectives on this issue.

STEWART: Blair added: "For example, I believe the problem exists."

Now, as far as the president is concerned, you may remember the issue of global warming came up as far back as the 2000 presidential debates.

(Video of Bush at the second 2000 presidential debate, Winston-Salem, N.C.)

QUESTIONER: What about global warming?

BUSH: I think it's an issue we need to take very seriously, but I don't think we know the solution to global warming yet. And I don't think we've got all the facts before we make decisions.

STEWART: Year 2000, we need to know more about it. Now in the intervening five years, the president has learned enough about stem cell research, cloning, war and supply-side tax reform to make those decisions. So in those five years, what's his position now on global warming?

BUSH (at press conference with Blair): We want to know more about it. It's easier to solve a problem when you know a lot about it.

STEWART: Wow! Apparently, not only have we learned nothing about global warming, he hasn't even found new words to (expletive) about it with. Why has it taken us so long to learn about global warming?

Well, one reason may be all the money and all the scientists studying the problem had to pass their research through a Bush aide named Philip Cooney (chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality), who before working for Bush was employed by the lobbying group, the American Petroleum Institute.

According to the New York Times, Cooney's White House job was to vet reports for links between global warming and fossil fuel emissions, and then to make changes to those reports so as to make that link go "bye bye."

***

For what it's worth, the White House denied that Cooney had watered down the impact of global warming.

"That's false," spokesman Scott McClellan said. "The reports are based on the best scientific knowledge that we have at this time."

Right, Scott, whatever you say ...

If you didn't see the Times report, you can read all about it on MSNBC.com -- the web site affiliated with the employer of Matthews and Scarborough. If you wanted to find out about the story on MSNBC on June 8, however, you needn't bother watching Chris or Joe -- they had more important things to bluster about.

No, on MSNBC, you had to turn to Keith Olberman -- who conservatives consider a "liberal." (Conservatives consider Matthews a liberal, too, but JABBS readers know better.)

And in case you were wondering, you can't find the story on FoxNews.com (where "Rice Noted for Her Diplomatic Flair" is among the top headlines). Doesn't really fit in with Sean or Bill's agenda, huh?

23 Comments:

Blogger Michael said...

Writing from London, I can say that Blair is popularly seen as having sold-out to Bush on the Invasion of Iraq question. This is why his party lost a large number of parliamentary seats in the last election, and why Blair will almost certainly be replaced before his term is over.

In my opinion Blair calculated that giving in to Bush would be more adventageous than harmful and is now finding out that his loyalty was misplaced: his political strength has been sapped and he has earned no sway over Bush.

As Janeane Garofalo aptly put it: "siding with the bullies doesn't mean you won't end up getting your as kicked too."

The Global Warming issue can be argued and spun anyway you want, especially when non-scientists are presenting the information to the public-at-large. But I find it ironic that the far-off potential problems of social security funding is presented as "urgent", but the similarly framed problem of global warming is presented as something to patiently study with a doubtful eye.

The only consistency in either position is that both are particularly helpful to the profits of big business. hmmmm....

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a problem with the creative editing of the reports mentioned.

However, I have no problem whatsoever in continuing to study the issues involved. Global warming may or may not exist, and so far, the science behind it comes to different conclusions. I guess the single most salient point is, if it does exist, whether or not it is a result of man's actions.

Personally, I suspect that mother earth has been undergoing climate changes throughout her existence, and minor increases over a limited period of time fail to demonstrate the existence of a "crisis", and most importantly, fail to show that this is a result of man.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

There is a great IMAX film about the effects of global warming on coral reefs in the South Pacific.

Anyone who doubts global warming exists should watch the film. See how the ecosystem has been destroyed in a generation. Every scientist familiar with this particular reef blames rising ocean temperatures.

Global warming has been studied for 100 years. There's lots of data showing that temperatures have steadily risen, helped along by the industrial revolution.

Bush doesn't want to admit global warming exists, because then he'd have to do something, like stand up to the industry bigwigs who support the GOP.

It's the same discussion as JABBS had a few posts ago, with regard to perchlorate in the water supply. Bush could do the right thing and follow his own EPA's guidelines -- better to be safe than sorry -- or he could go with an industry-sponsored report, which obviously is going to put industry needs (and costs) ahead of public health. Corporations do that all the time -- remember the movie Erin Brockovich?

It's all a matter of priorities. Bush's top priority -- on the environment, tax policy, energy policy, etc. -- is to look out for his corporate friends. The average American isn't given the same consideration.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to be repetitive because it appears the above poster misread the argument. Is that the conservative response, if you don't like the argument change or distort it?
I point of Jabbs is that Bush has shown no interest or difference of opinion over the last five years on global warming, and not whether global warming should continued to be studied.
And this is suspicious because a Bush frontman on the issue is an advocate of the petroleum industry and because Bush has found time to become knowledgeable on other issues he has expressed more of an interest in, i.e. issues that don't cost big corporate America money. The other point was that Bush stabbed Blair in the back after Blair has risked political suicide in standing behind Bush on Iraq.
For my two cents on this issue, Bush should be identifying what he doesn't like about the available science and whether he is pushing for any urgency on finding the answers he claims are needed. The evidence suggests protecting corporate America over the air we breath has a much higher priority.

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know what's sad? Olbermann is considered a "liberal," I suppose in part because he is willing to talk about a "liberal" issue like global warming.

But just because Bush doesn't want to acknowledge it, does global warming have to be a liberal issue? How does embracing science make you a liberal?

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes, a problem can best be approached by considering "what if you're wrong" and the consequences thereof. You can smoke a cigarette while filling your tank with gas and the odds may be in your favor as to causing an explosion, but the results are catastrophic if you're wrong. The same holds true for global warming. It's been suggested that the survival of the planet, as we know it, may depend upon the actions taken to address the issue. This, versus the monetary, economic and life-style changes that may need to be made.

So, on which side should we caution?

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it sad the Keith O is considered a liberal. I think by any definition, and even if you asked him, he is one. So what, stand up and be proud. I like Keith, liberal conservative or plain old sarcastic sportscaster.

Bush and the republicans even before him have been intentionally avoiding the issue of global warming and that is pathetic. Unfortunately, govt does this all the time on a myriad of issues. THey dont see it as a near term concern, and see no political advantage in spending money on it, so they leave it be. Sad but that is american politics, especially when so severely divided. American politics is so pathetic on both sides right now.

PS: Yes, Blairs party lost considerable power due to his backing of Bush and the US. However, there was an unwritten agreement that no matter what the outcome, so long as his party remained in power, that Gordon Brown (the treasurer who has grown in popularity for years now)would likely take control during this Blair term....this is British politics at its best.

7:36 PM  
Blogger New American Patriot said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like that "what if I am wrong" style of decison making. Now, riddle me this. Apply your proposed decision making process to Saddam Hussein? Would you still have been willing to wait, and just take him at his word?

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to "Apply your proposed decision making process to Saddam Hussein? Would you still have been willing to wait, and just take him at his word?"

I would have been willing to wait - after all, we had inspectors on the ground for months before Bush invaded. They came up with exactly what Saddam said they would find - nothing. And after two years of occupying Iraq, the final official US report is "There were no WMD."

In this case, Saddam told the truth and Bush lied. More importantly, we knew Saddam was telling the truth even before the invasion, because of on-site inspections.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

like so many on the far left you ruin a strong argument with one show your true colors statement. complete hogwash that we "knew" hussein "was telling the truth" pre invasion. Say what you want about the war, about what we have learned since, about how it is being operated, or even about whether or not we could have waited longer to go in. But please dont insult everyone's intelligence suggesting we all knew the truth before going in. Even the opponents to the war thought he had the WMDs.....you are rewriting history.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous lemon314 said...

The answer to any question in a function of the probability that you are wrong times the magnitude of the negative consequences. If we are to avoid passing the planet over to twinkie eating cockroaches who will laugh at how our brains were only marginally more powerful than those of the dinosaurs, we must error on the side of caution. My dad used to tell me that gasoline, in severe sub-zero temperatures, will not ignite. Lighting a log with a match is tough, but if you cut it into shavings, it is easy. Likewise, you can, in cold weather, throw matches into a bucket of gasoline, and since there are no fumes, it will not ignite. My dad never demonstrated this... and died of old age.

1:18 AM  
Blogger The Wizard said...

Who is this 'anonymus character, anyway? He's doing a good job of spreading ghe bushista line on global warming.
1) 90% of all environmental scientists are convinced that global warming is real, man-caused and can be corrected, if we act now.
2) The depths of the oceans are about 1.5 deg Centigrade warmer than ever before. That translates into much warmer surface temps. Additional date suggests that the Gulf Stream is about to either slow drastically or shut down entirely. This would result in much harsher winters in Europe and the eastern US & Canada. Global warming is real and more important than Chimpys' (the usurper Bush, for those not in the know) stupid statements to the contrary.
3) Just becasue someone claims that x=y does not make it so. I have looked at the evidence of global warming and it is convincing that there is a severe problem caused by, primarily, human activities - much of which is produced here in the US. It is known that the US produces 25% of greenhouse gasses - more than any other nation on the planet. Most of that comes from our love of the gasoline engine and the failure of Detroit (the American auto industry) to produce engines that get decent fuel mileage while reducing emissions. This result was predicted 40 years ago, but the Repugnicans have resisted all efforts to ameliorate the effects. Look at who is behind the efforts to stop any efforts to increase gas mileage requirements - all Repugnicans, all wealthy, all white. The thieves of our nation are the Repugnicans. They are stealing our children's future while lining their pockets with our hard-earned cash.
To support the people that are intent on destroying the nation (indeed the world is at peril) (see the Neo-Con agenda, and also the religious agenda from the far right fringe freaks who believe that Christ is coming back, just as soon as the christians can force all the jews into Israel, so God can destroy them immediatly before the so-called "Rapture" (another lie to foster dependance by the believers)). The Neo-Cons (better described as Fascist Theocrats) got us into Iraq, will take us into Iran, Syria, N Korea, and any where else they think they have to go to "defeat the enemy in the War on Terror."
Global warming denial is just one symptom of their disease - the desire to dominate no matter what or who gets in the way.
Don't sit on your tail arguing - get up, organize an anti-war rally, put your neck on the line for true freedom, demand your rights back, demand the repeal of the Patriot act. Demand that the Bush Administration pay for their lies and crimes. Proscecute a Bush today, for freedom!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Rich said...

The Wizard makes the point that I was about to write on, that Anonymous is uffering from a case of on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand-ism. There is no serious scientific case against global warming and hasn't been for over a decade. What keeps the "debate" going are the financial interests that benefit from the lack of action.

As to Iraq, I read Bush's speech at the UN in September 2002 from beginning to end and concluded he was so full of it his eyes were turning brown. After going over all of the contrary opinions up until the war started, I concluded that there might have been chem or bio weapons, but that Iraqis had no way of delivering them beyond their borders. It was clear well before the "major combat operations" were concluded that even those didn't exist.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had hoped to convince one of the Republicans that I work with that GWB is no friend of the environment by sharing the Daily Show segment where GWB repeats his 2000 statement in 2005. I did not know if I should have laughed or banged my head against the wall at the response, “See, that’s what I like about our President, he is consistent and stays the course.”

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with one of the above commenters -- I was as much against going into Iraq as anyone, and I agree with the premise that had we let the inspectors continue to do their job, a rational leadership would have ultimately recognized that the intelligence about WMDs, mushroom clouds, etc., was incorrect.

But it was certainly not universal that Saddam had no WMDs. There were pieces of "intelligence" that Bush and Cheney were touting that were disputed elsewhere, but not the entire concept of Iraqi WMD.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the above commenter with the Republican friend: priceless.

You have to love people who basically say, "I know what I know. Don't confuse me with the facts."

10:01 AM  
Anonymous lemon314 said...

I feel I should object to the "Chimpy" reference to pResident Bu$h, but to do so would be negative and strident.

2:34 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Pagan said...

i think that no examination of bush's ignoring of the facts on global warming is complete without taking into account his religious worldview. evangelical christians, as a whole, don't believe that protecting the earth from the ravages of man is a concern, as they make it their business to ravage the planet, suck every possible dime of profit out of it, before jesus comes back and takes them all away, leaving a withered sack of a planet for the rest of us sinners to deal with.

yep, i know it sounds completely insane, and it is, but there are millions of these folks roaming about and they all think that what happens to the planet is of no concern at all. unfortunately, bush is one of them. as far as he's concerned, the earth is his footstool and he can destroy it without a thought.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous lemon314 said...

Ahhhhh... blame it on the Rapture Republicans who feel no need to conserve for a far off day since any day now God will rip them from their cloths and raise them up immediately to heaven. However, scoffing at the lunatic 5% fringe doesn't win elections, particularly if you are talking from the opposite lunatic fringe of the Broom Brigade.

9:11 PM  
Blogger The Liberal Pagan said...

lemon! sweetie! do you really think only 5% of the republican party is made up of evangelicals? recheck the data. the loons have taken over.

1:35 AM  
Blogger The Liberal Pagan said...

anyway, the point is not how many radical evangelicals make up the republican party these days...the point is that the president is a self-proclaimed radical evangelical, that he himself has these beliefs, not how many voters share them.

2:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see that this "discussion", like most of the ones here on jabbs, has quickly disintegrated into the evil theological Republicans wishing ill to all that encounter them. If there ever was an echo chamber, this would be a great example.

I like how the above posters simply dismiss the science that disputes their assertions as being not serious science, choosing to simply rely on the studies that confirm what they believe to be true.

9:18 AM  

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