CHENEY TALKS ‘ENERGY’ WITH PUBLISHERS

By: Joe Nicholson and Steve Yahn

VP Addresses Newspaper Leaders At NAA Meeting


TORONTO – Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a major
address here Monday on U.S. energy policy at the annual
convention of American publishers.

Cheney said the U.S. must develop new sources of energy,
including the construction of at least 1,300 additional power
plants over the next two decades. At the same time, he said the
nation must provide environmental protection.

Speaking at the Associated Press luncheon during the annual
convention of the Newspaper Association of America, Cheney said
that an administration task force on energy policy that he leads
will present a comprehensive plan “in a couple of weeks.” Cheney
noted that gasoline had already reached $2 a gallon in Chicago.

Cheney answered written questions from publishers on other
topics. Asked the Bush administration’s biggest misstep, Cheney
changed the question slightly, saying its “biggest problem” was
the election return delay in Florida, which has left the
administration with “less than 40 of the senior people confirmed
that require Senate confirmation.”

He told the receptive audience of publishers that the
administration believes “getting rid of the ‘death tax’ is, for
example, an important benefit for small businesses.” The
newspaper industry has lobbied for the repeal of the estate tax,
saying that it is a burden on family-owned papers.

Cheney injected soft humor repeatedly, saying at one point that
he and Bush were delayed in entering the White House and that
“the rumor was [President Clinton] was upstairs signing the
executive orders.” After a pause, Cheney drew a laugh by adding,
“and other things.”

Newspaper executives responded to Cheney with warm applause and
in subsequent interviews, most praised him.

“I thought he did well. It had been leaked over the weekend in
Washington that he was going to have a comment here on energy,
and I thought he delivered a very straightforward, logical
presentation,” said Douglas McCorkindale, chairman, president,
and CEO of Gannett Co. Inc. He said newspaper publishers were “a
very logical audience obviously to get the message out.”

“The impression I get of Dick Cheney is that he is a really
honest, solid guy. I think his style is very low key, not very
exciting, not a lot of panache, but I think he gave a lot of
credibility as a result of the way he presents himself,” said
Steven Rossi, president of newspaper operations at Knight Ridder.

“I was very impressed by his style,” said Peter DeRose, publisher
of the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, Mass. “He
was clear and solid.”

“I thought the tone he struck was appropriate,” said Robert Mong,
president and general manager of The Dallas Morning News.

“There are no quick fixes in the energy business, as he pointed
out and as we all know,” said William S. Morris III, chairman and
CEO of Morris Communications Corp. in Augusta, Ga.

“I think the administration is wise to encourage the development
of new ways to conserve energy,” said Scott C. Schurz, president
of the Hoosier Times Inc. of Bloomington, Ind.

“He’s very articulate, easy to listen to, and he seems to be very
forthright … he handles himself well. He’s a very capable guy,”
said Charles Morris, president and chairman of Morris Multimedia
Inc. of Savannah, Ga.

“I think to some degree he was blowing smoke,” said Roger P.
Parkinson, president of the World Association of Newspapers and
former CEO, chairman, and publisher of The Globe and Mail
in Toronto. “Americans
pay less for energy than anywhere else in the world. Canadians
already pay $2 a gallon for gas … so why don’t they [the Bush
administration] support more ways to conserve energy? Because it
would be politically unpopular and they don’t have the balls for
that.”



Joe Nicholson (jnicholson@editorandpublisher.com) is an associate editor covering marketing and advertising for E&P.

Steve Yahn (syahn@editorandpublisher.com) is executive editor of E&P.



Copyright 2001, Editor & Publisher.

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