- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Media propaganda

"Last week, the National Academy of Sciences released a report on climate change, prepared in response to a request from the White House, that was depicted in the press as an implicit endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol," writes Richard S. Lindzen, a professor of meteorology at MIT.

"CNN´s Michelle Mitchell was typical of the coverage when she declared that the report represented 'a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room.´

"As one of 11 scientists who prepared the report, I can state that this is simply untrue. For starters, the NAS never asks that all participants agree to all elements of a report, but rather that the report represent the span of views. This the full report did, making clear that there is no consensus, unanimous or otherwise, about long-term climate trends and what causes them," Mr. Lindzen said in a commentary in the Wall Street Journal.

"Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled," he said, adding that "we are not in a position to confidently attribute past climate change to carbon dioxide or to forecast what the climate will be in the future."

Mr. Lindzen concluded his article this way: "Science, in the public arena, is commonly used as a source of authority with which to bludgeon political opponents and propagandize uninformed citizens. This is what has been done with both the reports of the [United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] and the NAS.

"It is a reprehensible practice that corrodes our ability to make rational decisions. A fairer view of the science will show that there is still a vast amount of uncertainty — far more than advocates of Kyoto would like to acknowledge — and that the NAS report has hardly ended the debate. Nor was it meant to."

Media propaganda II

"With an over-hyped and distorted take on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) global-warming report, on Friday night, the 'NBC Nightly News´ caught up with ABC´s 'World News Tonight´ and the 'CBS Evening News,´ which had run similarly exaggerated stories on Thursday night that advanced the liberal, environmentalist spin," the Media Research Center´s Brent Baker writes.

"While NBC´s David Gregory declared that the report concluded 'humans are playing a large role´ in global warming, on the same day the Reason Public Policy Institute (RPPI) announced that it 'applauded a report by the National Academy of Sciences for its willingness to go against the tide of political correctness and point out the many weaknesses in the current scientific understanding of climate change.´ Dr. Kenneth Green, director of Environmental Programs at RPPI, contended: 'The real news in the NAS report is their admission that there isn´t enough scientific data to unequivocally link humans and climate change. The NAS report is the first mainstream report that doesn´t soft-peddle uncertainty.´

"But none of that uncertainty made it into NBC´s story," Mr. Baker said.

Max Kennedy bows out

Matthew Maxwell Kennedy, the son of Robert F. Kennedy, said yesterday he has decided not to run for the Massachusetts congressional seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Joe Moakley.

Mr. Kennedy, 36, issued a statement saying he wanted to spend time with his young family, the Associated Press reports.

He said he and his wife, Vicki, had considered the "impact that serving in Congress would have on our lives and our children."

"Together, we have concluded that now is not the time for me to run for Congress," he said.

It was a sudden decision, said Kennedy spokesman Scott Ferson.

"He sat down with his family over the weekend and decided … this was not the appropriate time to do this," Mr. Ferson said.

Mr. Kennedy had been making appearances in Boston in anticipation of a possible run for Mr. Moakley´s 9th District seat and recently bought a house in the district.

Mr. Kennedy said he plans to continue his work with the Watershed Institute, a nonprofit environmental education organization he founded.

Polls released over the weekend found Mr. Kennedy would face a tight race with two fellow Democrats, state Sens. Brian Joyce and Stephen Lynch.

Miller eyes Judiciary

"In a move that could foil any potential Democratic attempts to block President Bush´s judicial nominations, Sen. Zell Miller, Georgia Democrat, is jockeying for the extra seat that is likely to open on the Judiciary Committee in the wake of the chamber´s power shift," Roll Call reports.

"The maverick senator, who has voted to approve every single Bush administration nominee so far, expressed interest last week in landing the additional seat on Judiciary, which is currently split 9-9, once Senate leaders hammer out a deal to reorganize committees," reporter Paul Kane writes.

The reporter added: "Democratic aides have already speculated that leadership will want the 10th spot on Judiciary to go to a loyal Caucus member, who they can be assured will go along with senior Democrats on the panel."

No majority

"We have now had three straight presidential elections and three straight House elections in which neither party has won 50 percent of the vote," Michael Barone writes in National Journal.

"The last time there were three straight presidential races without a majority was 1884-92. The last time there were three straight House races without a majority, aside from 1910-16 and 1890-98, when there were many third-party Progressive and Populist candidates, was apparently (data are not easy to come by) in the 1880s," Mr. Barone said.

"Both parties have strong incentives to amass a popular majority, and have striven mightily to do so. But in 2000 both failed. The Republicans failed to reproduce the Reagan-Bush majority, and the Democrats failed to produce a Clinton-Gore majority. At the beginning of the 1990s, it was conventional wisdom that the Republicans had a lock on the presidency and the Democrats had a lock on Congress. In 1995, some thought the Democrats had a lock on the presidency and the Republicans had a lock on Congress. Now, no one has a lock on either.

"That is evidence of strongly held partisan attachments on both sides. One of the unsung features of the politics of the 1990s and 2000 has been the re-emergence of straight-ticket voting, which is more pronounced than in any decade since the 1940s."

Mr. Quotable

"A few weeks ago, the pressing political question was 'Who is Jim Jeffords?´ Now it´s 'Who is Marshall Wittmann?´" Jane Mayer writes in the New Yorker.

"During the week that Jeffords, the senator from Vermont, defected from the Republican Party and altered the balance of power in the Senate, Wittmann was suddenly everywhere. He was the pundit of the hour, quotable on command, a Norman Ornstein for a new Washington," Miss Mayer said.

"There Wittmann was in the Financial Times ('Not only is the president´s honeymoon over, he now has a divorce on his hands.´), in the Seattle Times ('The question becomes why, and the answer is hubris.´), in the Detroit News ('Jeffords didn´t jump, he was pushed.´), and in the Philadelphia Inquirer ('It´s the "Field of Dreams" strategy: Act like you have a mandate and maybe it will come.´).

"Wittmann´s quotes also peppered The Washington Post, the National Journal, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the Dallas Morning News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and USA Today, among others. Readers of the New York Times were particularly blessed: four separate Marshall Wittmann quotes in four different stories in a single weekend."

Mr. Wittmann is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and a follower, and sometime adviser, of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

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