To read their bios, there are some remarkable similarities between Ken Starr and Pat Fitzgerald. But not in their media treatment.
Starr was born into humble circumstances, the son of a part-time barber who worked his way through college, got an Ivy League degree along the way, and went on to a brilliant legal career. He clerked for a Supreme Court justice, was a judge on the federal Appeals Court [the level just below the Supreme Court] and served as the United States Solicitor General. Viewed as a brilliant, moderate conservative, earlier in his career he was frequently mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee.
Pat Fitzgerald also came from a modest background, the son of a doorman in Brooklyn, and went on to Amherst and Harvard Law. After serving as an Assistant US Attorney in New York, he was later named US Attorney for Northern Illinois, a key position with jurisdiction over the Chicago area.
There the parallels end. Starr became the object of a relentless campaign of MSM scorn and criticism in which he was portrayed as a ruthless bully with a vengeful puritanical streak.
But judging from a segment on this morning's Today show, the liberal media are according Fitzgerald an altogether different treatment, portraying him as a brilliant, courageous, almost saintly scourge of criminals in high places.
What would explain the difference in treatment for two men who would appear to have so much in common?
The answer should be obvious. Ken Starr made the fatal mistake of investigating liberal hero Bill Clinton, whereas Fitzgerald is looking for possible crimes on the part of senior aides in the administration of George W. Bush.
NBC reporter Jamie Gangel narrated the segment, which largely consisted of clips of a variety of former Fitzgerald colleagues singing his praises.
Fitzgerald was variously described as:
"Brilliant." "A stand-out." "Incredibly dedicated to doing the right thing." "Scary smart."
He was portrayed as a modest man, almost a saintly one, living like a virtual monk.
And in case anyone had any doubts as to his integrity and the rightness of his cause, there was this description of him: "Elliot Ness with a Harvard Law degree and a sense of humor."
We were assured that Fitzgerald won't be afraid of going after top White House offiicals. And as a former colleague vouched: " If you're doing your job right there are going to be a lot of people who don't like you."
Funny - I don't recall the MSM reminding us that the fact that a lot of people didn't like Ken Starr was evidence that he was doing his job right, do you?
Finkelstein has degrees from Cornell, SUNY Buffalo and Harvard. He lives in Ithaca, NY where he hosts "Right Angle," a local political talk TV show. He is currently seeking a publisher for his anti-terrorism thriller, "Albergue Olimpico."