Today's starter: Not only have the media completely ignored the history of firing U.S. attorneys, they also are ignoring the substance. As Patterico reports, attorney Carol Lam was "targeted" for dismissal long before she became a political problem.
CBS finally picked up the Clinton administration’s record of firing 93 federal prosecutors, but they still rushed to Clinton’s defense with false assertions. On the March 15 edition of "The Early Show," reporter Bill Plante sought to make this distinction between the Bush and Clinton firings.
"Mr. Bush isn't the first president to fire US attorneys and replace them with his own appointments. At the beginning of his first term, President Clinton cleaned house, ousting all 93 US attorneys. Not unusual, they serve at the pleasure of the president. The difference this time, the charge that politics played a role in their dismissal."
What in heaven's name has gotten into Sam Harris? The Los Angeles Times regularly lends its op-ed page to the atheist activist. In God's Dupes, Harris took advantage of the opportunity today to make a bizarre and slanderous accusation against American Christians.
He began by equating conservative Christians with Jihadist murderers: "Within every faith one can see people arranged along a spectrum of belief. Picture concentric circles of diminishing reasonableness: At the center, one finds the truest of true believers — the Muslim jihadis, for instance, who not only support suicidal terrorism but who are the first to turn themselves into bombs; or the Dominionist Christians, who openly call for homosexuals and blasphemers to be put to death."
Imagine you're skimming the news and come across a story entitled "Democrats Work to Smooth Iraq Tension." What would you assume the article was about? That those caring Dems had tried to ease sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shias, perhaps? I'd say that would be a fair inference. But read the story, and you'll discover that it is an account of a behind-closed-doors shouting match between Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the tart-tongued congresswoman from California.
According to the body of the article, "tempers flared on Iraq among Democrats on Tuesday as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fielded criticism from an anti-war congresswoman over liberals' concern that the party is not doing enough to end the war. Pelosi's behind-closed-doors exchange with Rep. Maxine Waters of California [was] described as heated."
What's the harm, you might ask? After all, the full story is there for those who read it. But that's just the point. Frequently people read only the headlines. Consider, for example, this excerpt from a writer's guide:
"In search engines, newsfeeds (RSS), and other external environments . . . users often see only the headline and use it to determine whether to click into the full posting. Even if users see a short abstract along with the headline (as with most search engines), user testing shows that people often read only the headline. In fact, people often read only the first three or four words of a headline when scanning a list of possible places to go.
Video clip: Real (3.06 MB) or Windows (2.55 MB) plus MP3 (1.19 MB) Mr. Bozell should also be on FNC's Fox & Friends Thursday morning to discuss the same topic. He's scheduled for 6:13am EDT. That's 5:13am CDT, 4:13am MDT and 3:13am PDT.
When the Clinton administration in 1993, in a then-unprecedented decision, gave all 93 U.S. Attorneys ten days to leave their offices, including Jay Stephens who was in the midst of investigating House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, ABC's World News Tonight and the CBS Evening News didn't utter a syllable about it. But on Wednesday night, the evening newscasts on both networks led with Republican Senator John Sununu's call for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as both highlighted different U.S. Attorneys who were amongst the eight replaced late last year by the Bush administration, painting both as victims of nefarious political maneuvering.
“The pressure on the Attorney General of the United States to resign is growing,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted, “for the first time, a Republican Senator has said Alberto Gonzales must go.” Focusing on the fired U.S. Attorney for San Diego, Carol Lam, reporter Pierre Thomas suggested she was removed for pursuing a case against a GOP Congressman and relayed how “Democrats pointed out that most of the eight fired U.S. attorneys had excellent performance reviews.” On CBS, Sandra Hughes delivered a “CBS News Exclusive” about how “John McKay was fired in December for reasons he now believes had nothing to do with the way he did his job, but very much to do with Washington politics.” Hughes passed along how “it was what he didn't do that McKay believes got him fired. In the 2004 gubernatorial race in Washington state, the Democratic candidate won by just a couple of hundred votes. McKay didn't call a grand jury to investigate questions of voter fraud.” But as Wall Street Journal editorial on Wednesday noted, McKay ignored very real evidence of voter fraud.
From a March 14 Washington Post live chat with Post associate editor Robert Kaiser (h/t Howard Mortman of extrememortman.com). Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Washington: How is the lobbying system not legalized bribery, and
wouldn't ending lobbying by the rich empower the rest of us and
revitalize our democracy?
Robert G. Kaiser: How would you end it? Isn't lobbying a form of speech? Isn't speech protected by the First Amendment?
keep in mind, though many lobbyists do represent rich corporations,
there are also many representing labor unions, teachers, non-profits,
environmental groups, civil liberties advocates and so on. Even
newspapers have lobbyists.
"A new drug that proved to be so effective so quickly, the approval process was sped up," lauded CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric on March 13.
Couric and other reporters had reason to praise the newly FDA-approved drug Tykerb. The drug is approved for treatment of a specific kind of breast cancer, called HER-2 positive, and is showing tremendous promise.
Cancer patient Marsha Brekke told ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" that the drug was her last chance. Brekke has been cancer free for more than a year.
But what all three networks, ABC, CBS and NBC, left out of the evening newscasts on March 13 was any mention of the company that developed this breakthrough drug.
Last night, ABC "World News with Charles Gibson," and CBS "Evening News" both blamed increased foreclosures on lending companies and mentioned tightened regulation instead of discussing the issue of personal choice. NBC "Nightly News" was the only network to bring individual choice into the story on March 13.
"Mortgage companies were lending to people with questionable credit," said ABC's David Muir.
But it is not as if lending companies run around just handing out money to bad credit risks, people actually have to apply for home loans because they want to buy a home. Both ABC and CBS missed that.
Instead Muir's "World News" report pitied one couple "fighting to hold on."
On the March 14 edition of "Imus in the Morning" guest and "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney discussed the possibility of a draft with Don Imus. In that exchange Rooney, like Senator Kerry and Congressman Rangel, implied that those who volunteer to serve do so out of desperation rather than patriotism.
DON IMUS: Tell me about your thoughts on re-instituting the draft.
ANDY ROONEY: Well, I think a draft produces a better army than the one we would have with all volunteers. Because I think you get average Americans if you, if you have a draft. And if it’s an all volunteer army, you get people who join up because of some problem in their own lives. They don’t have anything else to do, they don’t have a job, or they can’t find what they want to do, so they join the Army. And it doesn’t produce the best army.
The media’s historical omission of Clinton’s mass dismissal of 93 U.S. Attorneys has led to demands on the MRC archive for footage of Janet Reno’s declaration of the act – and our staff found an April 12, 1993 CNN special report where reporter Ken Bode called it a “one-day clean sweep.” Reno declared: “I have asked for their resignations at the request of the President…It’s important that we build a team that reflects our desire to have a Justice Department marked by excellence, marked by diversity, marked by professionalism, and integrity. I want teamwork where we’re both interested in achieving justice throughout America.” Video clip: Real (1.7MB) or Windows (1.9MB) plus MP3 (295KB).
Call it confirming the obvious, but a poll released today by the Zogby organization, conducted in conjunction with the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet, reveals that a vast majority of Americans believe that the media is biased. 83% of likely voters said the media is biased in one direction or another, while just 11% believe the media doesn’t take political sides.
Of particular significance: "nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias."
If Stephen Colbert is going to pretend to be a conservative, perhaps he shouldn’t play along when a guest compares President Bush to a genocidal dictator like Adolf Hitler. On the March 13 edition of "The Colbert Report," the Comedy Central host had University of Missouri professor Dr. Donald Shield on to discuss the (media generated) controversy over the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys.
Shields was appearing to tout a study claiming that federal prosecutors investigated Democrats over Republicans by a five-to-one margin. However, the discussion quickly degenerated into Nazi comparisons with Colbert happily joining in:
Stephen Colbert"...The Republicans are in power so they're using the full force of the federal government to target the Democrats specifically to make sure they get all the corrupt ones out of there. I mean, that's government efficiency."
Dr. Donald Shields: "Well, that's kind of the way Hitler started out in Nazi Germany, isn't it?"
Colbert: "Well, I mean, he started out efficiently. He got bad later. But first it was about making the trains run on time. You gotta give me that. You gotta give me that!"
CBS legal pundit Andrew Cohen is back at it again with a new blog post at Katie's e-sandbox, "Couric & Co.":
always, thank you for taking the time to read my post and to write a
response. The more dialogue and discussion and debate we have on this
topic the better. It is true that Janet Reno, as her predecessors
before her had done, asked for the resignations of U.S. Attorneys. This
is standard operating procedure designed to allow the President to have
in place his own federal prosecutors. What is different about this
current episode is that a Republican White House sought to replace
Republican-appointed federal prosecutors mid-stream who were by all
accounts doing precisely what they had been asked to do. We now know,
from last week’s testimony, why in some cases this was so and the
answers we got make it clear that the reasons were not high-minded or
Newsbusters reported several times that the mainstream media is pounding the Bush administration for firing eight US attorneys, but ignored the Clinton administration firing 93 US attorneys early in its term. CBS’s Harry Smith was no exception, but also of note was his interview style of partisan Democrat Joe Wilson versus Republican Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Tim Graham reported that after the "Scooter" Libby verdict, Smith gave a very soft interview to Ambassador Joe Wilson. One week later, on the March 14 edition of "The Early Show," Smith put Attorney General Gonzales in the hot seat interrupting the attorney general several times, and coming close to echoing Democratic talking points. The CBS anchor seemed concerned about the "perception" the attorneys were fired for political reasons. He was also outraged that Carol Lam, who prosecuted "Duke" Cunningham, was among those eight, as if one case guarantees job security. The transcript is below.
Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy condescended to the great unwashed of the District of Columbia in his March 14 column as he dismissed the desire to exercise one's 2nd Amendment rights as lethal childishness. Milloy was reacting to a federal court ruling that invalidated D.C.'s gun ban on Friday.:
Perhaps it's my inner child, but a part of me secretly cheers the
libertarian. Especially those wild and crazy guys at the Cato
Institute. The Washington think tank thinks government ought not try to
stop people from using whatever drugs they want -- cocaine, heroin,
alcohol, cigarettes, you name it -- or from gambling or watching porn
And now it's won its argument to let you keep a handgun
in your home in the District, one of the most violent cities in the