Better prepare yourselves for an alternate reality, folks, because the shocks came early and often in this piece (emphasis mine throughout): “Sex scandals involving politicians are as old as Thomas Jefferson, but the outcome seems to depend on which party you represent. In recent years, for the most part, Democrats have been able to survive their sordid escapades while Republicans have paid with their political lives.”
Can’t be the Washington Post, right? Checking that link about now? The article miraculously continued after briefly discussing the current scandal involving Rep. Mark Foley (R-Florida):
It is beyond easy – it is mandatory – to denounce Congressman Mark Foley for his sexually charged electronic mail and Internet messages to teenage males who worked as pages in the House of Representatives. He was right to resign. I hope he’s prosecuted.
It is also beyond easy to recognize how the Democrats have decided to make national political hay out of this ugly sex scandal – as far as we know, a sex talk scandal. On Monday morning, the network news shows were predicting excitedly that this could be a killer issue for Democrats.
“But this is more than just one man’s downfall,” insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. “It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections.” NBC’s story then carried angry soundbites from outraged Democrats.
“Any legislative leader that knew ahead of time and did nothing should resign,” thundered Rep. Sherrod Brown. Then came Sen. Dick Durbin pointing the accusatory finger at the GOP leaders: “The fact that they didn’t stop him, the fact that they didn’t bring in law enforcement -- I think they have to be held accountable.” Both ABC and CBS asked Tony Snow on Monday morning whether Republican House leaders should resign.
Stop. Since when have the Democrats ever insisted a politician be held accountable for a sex scandal involving a staffer, let alone the politician’s party leaders? Take Senator Durbin. Did he vote on any impeachment counts against President Clinton for perjury or obstruction of justice over Clinton’s sexual relations with intern Monica Lewinsky?
Did Democrats – the party of feminism, the party that hates sexual harassers – demand accountability when President Clinton was accused of putting Kathleen Willey’s hand on his crotch as she asked for a job? Or demand accountability when President Clinton was accused of dropping his pants in front of Paula Jones and asking that state employee to kiss his genitalia?
You know the answers. Let’s continue.
Did Democrats – who must have chortled at the 1996 GOP convention when NBC anchor Tom Brokaw suggested the Republicans don’t think much about “women’s issues” like rape – demand answers from President Clinton when Juanita Broaddrick tearfully recounted to NBC in 1999 how Bill Clinton raped and brutalized her in a Little Rock hotel in the late 1970s?
Go beyond Clinton to see the media-Democrat complex and its partisan standards on sex scandals. On August 25, 1989, The Washington Times revealed Rep. Barney Frank’s male-prostitution scandal. Frank’s lover, Stephen Gobie, ran an illicit gay sex ring out of Frank’s home and Frank fixed his local parking tickets. Did Frank resign? No. Was there a wave of media pressure on this lawmaker with law-breaking going on in his own home? No. He’s still in the House today.
The press was equally complicit in the politics of silence. The New York Times and the Washington Post did a few stories on inside pages in August, no national partisan disaster. The three networks left a vacuum of silence from August 26 until September 12, when CBS and NBC, but not ABC, mentioned the ethics committee decision in brief, almost meaningless anchor items. Not one ran a full story.
In 1994, news emerged that Democratic Rep. Mel Reynolds had a consensual sexual relationship with Beverly Heard beginning when she was 16. Heard said Reynolds gave her cash at each meeting and supplied her with his pager number and apartment keys. In taped phone conversations, they even plotted group sex with a 15-year-old Catholic high school girl Heard had said wanted to have sex with him. The infamous Reynolds reply: "Did I win the Lotto?" He asked Heard to take photos of the girl’s private parts. Reynolds was convicted of criminal sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and solicitation of child pornography. The networks barely touched on this story as it broke in 1994, and ended with conviction in 1995, which is why, dear reader, I bet you don’t even remember it.
Did the Democrats believe in holding Reynolds accountable? Bill Clinton pardoned him as he left office in 2001. He then went to work as a consultant for Jesse Jackson.
Don’t forget 1983, when Republican Rep. Daniel Crane and Democratic Rep. Gerry Studds were censured by the House for sexual affairs with teenage pages (Studds with a male). Crane was defeated in 1984; Studds arrogantly continued in Congress another thirteen years. On July 14, 1983, when the House ethics committee recommended action, ABC’s Peter Jennings made sure the viewers at home knew Daniel Crane was a hypocrite, who vowed to stand up for the “God-fearing” people when Congress considered legalizing most sex acts in the District of Columbia. He had no embarrassing old quotes for Studds.
The hypocrisy here is as nauseating as the Foley e-mails.
NBC anchor Brian Williams was criticized for skipping out on the Congressional Medal of Honor ceremony that he had agreed to MC. He had another engagement: a two-minute appearance on Saturday Night Live.
“NBC Nightly News” nabob Brian Williams came under fire yesterday after he reportedly beat a hasty retreat from his MC duties at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society soiree in Boston to appear on “Saturday Night Live.”
One event participant griped to the Track that the newsie “was there for the reception, then kicked off the program around 7:30 and was out of there by 8:30.”
Today's starter: The latest Rasmussen poll says the Senate is a toss-up, meanwhile, the sports betting sites I mentioned earlier are trading GOP House retention a good deal lower than before. Who will control Congress in 2007?
I'm also pleased to welcome our latest NB sponsor, HistoryShots. They make attractive posters tracking various historical moments such as the emergence of political parties and the race to land on the moon.
Monday's online chat sessions with Washington Post reporters found some typical Democrat-defending responses. The daily political chat, hosted Monday by Shailagh (that's Shay-la) Murray, included a defense of the woman the Democrats already call "Speaker Pelosi" on the Bill Jefferson scandal:
Arlington, Va.: Do you think Nancy Pelosi will ever understand that investigating House members for "crimes" must come equally hard upon all Democrats as well? Has she done anything to investigate William Jefferson in Lousiana or blocked him from being on the ballot? Did Nancy Pelosi have as much anger in the 1980's when a Republican and a Democrat in Congress treated pages inappropriately? How does Nancy Pelosi feel about Mel Watts, who served time in prison for sex crimes with a minor? Why is he a member of Congress? Sounds like Pelosi is a hypocrite, or do you think that term is too harsh?
When it comes to the Foley scandal, the MSM is definitely keeping its eyes on the prize: the Democratic takeover of Congress. In this NB item, I described how the New York Times editorialized this morning that it doesn't care what else flows from the scandal. So long as the Dems re-take power, the Foley flameout "will have done its job."
Over at 'Today' this morning, Matt Lauer fretted that the fallout might not come fast enough to swing the election to the Dems. Interviewing Tim Russert, Lauer said "the most cynical scenario, the worst-case scenario for Republicans is that they kept this under wraps because Foley's seat was important to holding control of the House at a time when the entire control issue is up for grabs in the mid-term elections." Matt didn't bother painting a more innocent scenario.
Give the New York Times an 'A' for honesty. In this morning's editorial, the Gray Lady openly admits the only thing it cares about resulting from the Foley scandal is the takeover of congressional power by the Democrats.
Oh, to be sure, the Times huffs and puffs about the Republican majority reaching the "point of decayed purpose so thoroughly, so fast." It also makes this startling claim: "a long, depressing pattern: When there is a choice between the right thing to do and the easiest route to perpetuation of power, top Republicans always pick wrong."
But when it gets to the editorial's bottom line, the Times makes no bones as to what this is all about for them:
It didn't take the Democrats long to exploit the sleazy Mark Foley scandal with their own sleazy political commercial, produced in record time. In just the brief period since the Mark Foley scandal broke on Friday, a Democrat candidate from Louisiana's 1st Congressional District has already produced a campaign commercial trying to tie his Republican opponent, Bobby Jindal, in with Mark Foley. It's quite a stretch but as you can see in this campaign commercial produced for Democrat Stacey Tallitsch (pictured), the Foley connection is only part of the overall sleaziness of the video. Also included are images of a man with his head up his butt and President Bush portrayed as giving a Nazi salute. Overall, the commercial comes off as looking like it was produced by a group of crazed juveniles from the Democratic Underground.
Appearing on Monday's Tonight Show, MSNBC's Chris Matthews predicted Democrats will win the House since “I don't know how you can lose to this crowd,” declared that he's “rooting for” a Democratic Senate candidate because of the candidate's race, went on a rant against Dick Cheney over the false premises behind the Iraq war and argued that since President Bush “won't tell the truth about this war,” the “only solution...is an election.” Jay Leno began the segment by asking about the Mark Foley scandal, but soon moved to whether Democrats will take over the House. Matthews predicted they will win the House, but not the Senate, adding of a Democrat who is black: “I'm rooting for Harold Ford in Tennessee for a reason. I think we need a little diversity up there on Capitol Hill. That would be nice.” Apparently Maryland Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele, who is also black, would not add the proper “diversity.”
Matthews charged that Donald Rumsfeld “wants all the power in the world, but he doesn't want any responsibility.” As for Bush, Matthews contended: “The President won't talk to anybody who said he's made a mistake. He won't admit any mistakes, and in the end, he won't tell the truth about this war over there. And that's the problem we got with the President. The only solution to this is an election.” Matthews earned applause from the audience in Burbank when he urged both parties to declare “we're getting out of there [Iraq] at the end of this President's term.” (Transcript follows)
Since last week, MSNBC's Countdown show has reached new levels in displaying personal insults as host Keith Olbermann, as well as regular guest Craig Crawford of Congressional Quarterly, have repeatedly made fat jokes about the subjects of their conversation. Both their targets were conservatives – Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes and Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert. While Ailes was at the receiving end several times last week, once directly called "fat ass" by Olbermann, on Monday's show guest Crawford took a cheap shot at Hastert's weight. While discussing the possibility that Republicans would "throw Hastert under the bus" by forcing him to resign over his handling of the Mark Foley sexual abuse scandal, Crawford quipped: "Well, if he fits, if the bus has a lot of clearance." (Transcripts follow)
Did Aaron Sorkin finally realize that singling out Christians for mockery on his new show wasn't fair (or particularly brave)? We did criticize him pretty severely for his two-dimensional stereotyping of Christians in the opening show, and again, when he expanded on the slurs in "Studio 60"'s second week.
This time, "Studio 60" featured a skit on this show about a show that mocked not only Christians, but also "Meir Kahane" Jews, the Taliban, Tom Cruise the Scientologist, and a witch. They were all contestants in a skit about a show that denies science. This is certainly an improvement compared to singling out one religion. But does it mean that Sorkin and his writers are responding to critics?
If there was a competition on Monday morning to see who would give Bob Woodward the most free publicity, NBC's Today was the hands-down winner. Between the introductory promos, an Andrea Mitchell report, a Tony Snow interview, and a Bob Woodward interview, NBC gave "State of Denial" 15 minutes of publicity in the first half hour of Monday's show. In those 15 minutes, NBC viewers saw the book's red cover displayed on the screen six times, the title was mentioned at least five times, and the on-screen graphics carried the title for most of those 15 minutes.
After Matt Lauer promoted the Mark Foley story, he added: "Counterpunch. The Bush administration fights backs, fights back against explosive claims in Bob Woodward's new book that it bungled the war in Iraq." Seconds later, Meredith Vieira added: "And another big story out of Washington, that bombshell book from legendary investigative journalist Bob Woodward paints a scathing picture of the Bush administration's handing of the war in Iraq, that goes as far as to say the White House is deliberately misleading the public."
No, this isn't a joke. Of all the possible photos available of Joe Negron, the Florida state representative who has replaced Mark Foley as the GOP congressional candidate in the 16th CD, the top one here is the one the Associated Press chose to accompany its article: FL GOP picks Foley replacement.
Congressmen come and congressmen go. But the Associated Press's liberal bias goes on forever.
UPDATE: Reuters has pulled a similar stunt. Here's the photo it chose to accompany its article on Negron's nomination.
Hat tips to Free Republic members Behind Liberal Lines re AP and bitt re Reuters.
Note: The AP can of course always change the photo accompanying an online article. It's always possible that by the time an NB reader clicks on the link provided above to the AP article, a responsible editor will have done so, perhaps even embarrassed by this NB item exposing AP's bias. But the photo displayed here was the one accompanying the AP article as originally posted. I saved it to our NB server.
“It could be too late for damage control,” CBS anchor Katie Couric intoned Monday night in painting the worst-possible scenario for continued GOP control of the House in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal. Reporter Gloria Borger declared: "There is no getting around it: The unraveling of the page scandal could be the undoing of some House Republican leaders, if not their hold on Congress.” With the words on screen, she highlighted how “one senior House Republican tells CBS News that this scandal 'could be the congressional equivalent of Katrina'” and “'our base is moral conservatives, and we look like a bunch of hypocrites who just didn't want another scandal before the election.'”
Over on ABC's World News, George Stephanopoulos unequivocally stated: “This issue became the number one issue in every congressional race in the country. And both Republicans and Democrats say it has the potential to cost Republicans the Congress.” Anchor Charles Gibson noted how House Speaker Dennis Hastert “says, 'Well, I was deceived.'” Gibson then suggested Hastert be held accountable: “Harry Truman had a sign on his desk that said: 'The Buck stops here.' What is the jeopardy of the House Republican leadership?" Stephanopoulos replied, "The question is: How much more did they know? And why didn't they act on what they knew? That's what Democrats are going to push.” And the Washington press corps, too.
Did you see Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) suggest last week what her husband would have done if he had received the August 6, 2001, Presidential Daily Brief concerning bin Laden? Touching, wasn’t it? If only there was an ounce of truth to it.
To refresh everyone’s memory, after former president Bill Clinton’s meltdown during an interview with Chris Wallace on September 24, the junior senator from New York felt compelled to come to his rescue:
“I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled `Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside United States,’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team,” Hillary Clinton said. [emphasis added]
In the wake of Rep. Mark Foley's sudden resignation over ABC finding his sexually charged electronic messages to teenage male House pages, Monday's broadcast network morning shows all began with Foley, and the networks presented doom-laden scenarios of a crumbling Republican majority and some demands for Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republican House leaders to resign. "But this is more than just one man's downfall," insisted Matt Lauer on NBC. "It could be a major blow to the Republican Party, desperately trying to hold on to control of Congress in the coming midterm elections." ABC's Robin Roberts wondered, "this morning, newly revealed e-mails, the denials, dealings of a Congress in chaos. Could the Foley scandal cost the Republicans the House? "
ABC's Chris Cuomo and CBS's Julie Chen each pushed Tony Snow to suggest Hastert and others should resign. Chen also asked if Republican leaders should be questioned "under oath." ABC's George Stephanopoulos dramatically called the scandal "a Category Three hurricane and it's picking up steam." When CNN's Soledad O'Brien then tried to suggest she was "certainly not rushing for anybody's resignation," Snow protested: "Sure you are." None made historical comparisons with Democrats caught in sexual relationships with House pages or other teenagers.
Day One: Suspicious-but-not-explict emails. Day Two: Explicit instant messages, but no evidence Foley met with boys. Day Four: Instant message indicating Foley was indeed seeking to meet and possibly had already met with a boy.
Foley deserves what he's gotten and what is likely to come. But it seems increasingly plausible that the timed release of information - of ever-escalating seriousness - is part of a calculated campaign to keep the story in the news and inflict maximum political damage on the GOP.
That would seem the logical inference in light of the latest information promulgated this afternoon by ABC News. An article written by Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer, E-mails Show Foley Sought to Rendezvous with Page, contains the text of an instant message session in which Foley expressly tells a boy "I want to see you." Foley also mentions "I miss you a lot since San Diego," suggesting that perhaps they had already met.
Those of you who have been following the bin Laden’s-Still-Alive Blame Game since it started in September are aware of a gentleman named Michael Scheuer. He is a retired CIA agent that used to be the head of the agency’s bin Laden unit, and has been communicating with me for several weeks regarding what the intelligence community did and didn’t do concerning the hunt for al Qaeda’s leader. Scheuer was invited on “Fox News Sunday” on October 1 – along with Daniel Benjamin of Clinton’s National Security Council, and Lawrence Wright, author of “The Looming Tower” – to specifically address some of the statements made by former president Clinton during his September 24 rant on the same program.
What ensued was a fabulous discussion (video link and full transcript follow) that coincidentally did not include former “Terrorism Czar” Richard Clarke who refused an invitation to join the panel – makes one wonder why. Regardless, Scheuer made his feelings on this subject crystal clear:
“Before Fox,” the AP's David Bauder relayed in a weekend article about the tenth anniversary of the Fox News Channel, “many in the media scoffed at the notion of a liberal bias and figured only a handful of people really believed that, said Erik Sorenson, former MSNBC President.” Sorenson, the President of the Secaucus, New Jersey-based MSNBC from 1999 through early 2004, where he re-hired Keith Olbermann in 2003 to replace Phil Donahue's show which he had created, told Bauder: "Fox proved it's a much larger group than anybody realized." Many realized it earlier, just not very many inside MSNBC -- or CBS News, where he served as Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News from 1991 to 1995. So he should know how Rush Limbaugh was banned from the newscast back then. Indeed, Bauder related how "the very idea that Rush Limbaugh would appear on a CBS Evening News segment called 'Free Speech,' heavily promoted on Katie Couric's first night as anchor, would have been unfathomable a decade ago, Sorenson said."