Washington Post Fact Checker Calls Out Kerry’s Exaggerated Climate Change Claims

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The Washington Post Fact Checker thinks that Secretary of State John Kerry may have a Brian Williams problem when it comes to the facts about his role in the first climate hearings when he was a senator.

Last week, Kerry gave a speech to the Atlantic Council about climate change in which he said the following:

Climate change is an issue that is personal to me, and it has been since the 1980s, when we were organizing the very first climate hearings in the Senate…. Al Gore, Tim Wirth, and a group of us organized the first hearings in the Senate on this, 1988. We heard Jim Hansen sit in front of us and tell us it’s happening now, 1988.

According to the Fact Checker, this wasn’t the first time Kerry had made this claim:

In 2007, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, he asserted, ‘I was privileged to be part of the first hearings that we held in the United States Congress on this subject, with Al Gore, on the Commerce Committee, where we sat together in 1987, 20 years ago.

In 2009, speaking at a Senate hearing at which Gore testified, Kerry said: ‘It’s well known that Al and I have a certain political experience in common. What is less well-known is that we also teamed up on the first-ever Senate hearing on climate change for the Commerce Committee back in 1988.’ (He also said something in yet another Council on Foreign Relations speech in 2009.)

In a 2010 article for The Huffington Post, Kerry wrote: ‘My bottom line: Al Gore and I held the Senate’s first climate change hearings in the Commerce Committee way back in 1988. Since then, precious little progress has been made and ground has been lost internationally, all while the science has grown more compelling.’

And, in a 2014 profile of Kerry in The Boston Globe, Andrew Holland of the American Security Project was quoted as saying Kerry ‘has had a personal interest in climate change going back to when he worked with Al Gore in 1988 on the first climate hearing on Capitol Hill.’ Holland told The Fact Checker that the source of this factoid was Kerry himself.

While Kerry is trying to claim credit for working with Gore on the “very first” Senate or Capitol Hill hearings on climate change, the facts are less clear according to Glenn Kessler, who writes the Fact Checker column.

Kessler tries to pinpoint when the first hearing actually did take place, by going back to the 1970s. He talked with some climate change experts and determined that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 23, 1988, that Kerry has repeatedly referred to, was what brought climate change to the attention of the public.

There’s just one problem with Kerry’s statement. Neither he nor Gore were at that hearing because they weren’t on Wirth’s committee.

When questioned about this, Kerry spokesman Alec Gerlach issued the following statement:

Secretary Kerry rightly referred to the work he contributed to in the Senate along with Senators Gore and Wirth beginning in 1988 and 1989 on the issue of climate change, a cause he’s been committed to for his entire career. As the Secretary made clear, these hearings were a turning point: the first to point to new research that made clear the human impact on increasing greenhouse gasses was connected to climate change and a warming planet. No prior congressional discussions had made that critical connection. Without that link to a human impact, the case for this generation to act to curb emissions is dampened, but as Secretary Kerry made clear in his remarks, since those hearings: ‘the science has been screaming at us, warning us, trying to compel us to act.’

That’s all well and good, except that Kerry’s statements repeatedly refer to one, not multiple hearings.

The Pinocchio Test

To be fair to Kerry, he has been involved in the debate about climate change for many years, as a member of the Senate. He can certainly claim to have been passionate about the issue for a long time. While he may have been a junior member of the Senate in the late 1980s, his role on the issue certainly grew as he gained seniority.

But his pattern of exaggeration about the congressional hearings is disturbing. On repeated occasions, he has said or suggested that he and Gore were responsible for the first congressional hearing on climate change–and that he was one of the Senators who participated in the pivotal 1988 Hansen hearing organized by Wirth.

Gore might have bragging rights about organizing one of the first hearings, but not Kerry. Kerry was not even a participant in the most important hearing of that time; he simply spoke at a hearing that took place the following year. And yet, like Brian Williams claiming to have come under fire in Iraq, Kerry has repeatedly placed himself at the center of the action—and the narrative.

He earns Four Pinocchios.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

NBC Fudges Ratings Numbers In Wake Of Brian Williams Scandal

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In an effort to stay atop the ratings in the aftermath of the Brian Williams scandal, NBC has begun airing rebroadcasts of the Nightly News in select markets between 2 and 4 a.m., according to Politico.

The network has been including the numbers from the rebroadcasts in its total ratings reports, boosting the total audience for the program.

Laura Nelson, the chief communications officer for ratings company Nielsen, said that NBC was following standard industry practice and that they were “operating within their guidelines.”

It may be standard industry practice, but as of now, only NBC is taking advantage of the rebroadcasts—thereby gaining additional viewers for its ratings—while ABC and CBS stand pat with the numbers from their original broadcasts.

Politico also noted the curious timing of the rebroadcasts, with NBC starting in one market the same week Williams apologized for lying about his Iraq experiences, and then adding three more markets the week Williams was suspended for six months. Since then, according to a Politico source, NBC has added rebroadcasts of its evening news show in at least 10 more markets—including Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Denver—in “major urban areas.”

NBC may be claiming that the Nightly News is doing just fine without Williams, but any ratings that are reported for the program should be taken with a grain of salt, since they are padded with the rebroadcast numbers.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Chuck Todd Admits Emailgate Has Democrats Worried

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NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd said on Sunday that Hillary Clinton’s email scandal has Democrats worried. He said that it’s more of the familiar Clinton drama, and that her “penchant for secrecy” will harm her expected presidential campaign:

And some Democrats are publicly and privately wringing their hands about the familiar drama. An often-contentious relationship with the press forged in the 1992 campaign. Lines of attack, powered by a familiar cast of characters, a habit of providing the bare minimum, even to defenders, and a penchant for secrecy.

Those familiar characters include Clinton lapdogs Lanny Davis and James Carville, who have fiercely defended Hillary’s actions with regard to her email account. They’ve said that she did nothing illegal and that there is no scandal here, despite the growing evidence that she knew she wasn’t in compliance with government regulations.

Yet if Clinton is indeed as innocent as they claim, then why did it take so long for her to respond once the story broke? And why won’t she let an independent third party inspect the private server she used for email while she was Secretary of State?

The media, to their credit, are keeping this story going while the excuses mount from the Clinton camp, much to the consternation of liberal Democrats. They are watching their carefully laid plans to crown Hillary as their nominee, and the next president, crumble before their eyes.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Liberal Media Commentators Weigh In On Hillary’s Latest Debacle

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Hillary Clinton, who desperately wants to be the next president, hit a serious speed bump yesterday with the revelation that she never had an official State Department email account while she was Secretary of State. Instead, she used an unsecured private email account to conduct official business, in violation of government record-keeping laws.

While the use of a private email account isn’t unusual for a Secretary of State, they should only be used for official business when the State Department servers are not working. Even then, the emails should be retained for government record-keeping purposes. Instead, Clinton exclusively used a private email account that is only accessible by her staff, and not by government employees.

This has predictably raised hackles from conservatives and Republicans, but it has also left liberals searching for an explanation as to how an experienced politician like Hillary could do this with a presidential race in her future.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow said there is a “real question” as to who is making the decisions about what records to release from Clinton’s tenure at the State Department. Her colleague, Lawrence O’Donnell, had stronger words, calling Clinton’s actions a “stunning breach of security” for Secretary of State.

Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski said it was “ridiculous,” and former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told the Today show’s Matt Lauer that he couldn’t honestly give him one good reason as to why Clinton did that, and said it was “highly unusual.”

Trying to do some damage control, Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill released the following statement today:

Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes.

Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved. As a result of State’s request for our help to make sure they in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them in line with its retention responsibilities.

So just because she emailed people to their government accounts, she’s covered? I don’t think so.

Coming on the heels of the revelations that the Clinton Foundation has been accepting money from foreign governments and routinely approved Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements without putting them through an ethical review, this only adds to the woes of a campaign that hasn’t been officially announced, but may now be mortally wounded.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

NBC Suffering With Williams Off The Air

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The debacle surrounding Brian Williams has not only cost NBC News much of its credibility, but based on the initial ratings since Williams was suspended without pay for six months, it is costing them a big chunk of their viewers.

According to Nielsen’s fast national data, viewership fell dramatically for the NBC Nightly News in the first week with Williams off the air.

Last Monday, Nightly News averaged 9.8 million total viewers, but by Thursday that had fallen to 8.6 million, a drop of more than 12 percent in just 3 days.

The main beneficiary of the tumult at NBC is ABC’s World News Tonight, anchored by David Muir. WNT beat Nightly News by 347,000 viewers on Wednesday, which was a huge difference from the previous week when WNT trailed them by 400,000 viewers.

NBC News has replaced Williams with Lester Holt for the time being, but he is facing the difficult task of not only replacing the top evening news anchor in America, but trying to restore the division’s credibility as more stories emerge about Williams’ long history of lying on the air.

In time, Holt may be able to regain some of the viewers lost during this debacle, since Americans tend to be creatures of habit in their television viewing. But restoring NBC News’ credibility will be a much longer process and can only truly occur if they fire everyone who enabled Williams to get away with lying for so long.

This article originally appeared at AIM.org and is reprinted here with permission.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom