'An Absolute Disgrace': CNN's Parker Spitzer Finds Blast of Dissent Against Tax-Evading Rangel

While the "objective" network newscasts strenuously sought to hornswoggle the public into thinking everyone in Washington was sympathetic to unethical tax-evading liberal Rep. Charlie Rangel getting censured on the House floor for 45 seconds, CNN's Parker Spitzer asked about Rangel on Thursday night and received a dissenting blast from sports journalist Stephen A. Smith, who called him an “absolute disgrace” and said “I'm done with him.”

Former Air America host Sam Seder, so enraged by the corruption of the Bushies, was just as partisan in insisting Rangel didn't commit a crime and shouldn't receive a censure and was “open with the committee.” Eliot Spitzer didn't want to dwell too long on the ethical-politician subject:

SPITZER: All right, guys. Does he persuade you? Should Charlie be shown the exit or has Charlie persuaded you he deserves to continue on fighting for central Harlem?

SMITH: Well, I'm not going to sit there and say he deserves to be shown the exit, but he certainly hasn't convinced me. I think it's an absolute disgrace that he, of all people, conducted himself in this fashion.

He was on the Ways and Means Committee. I mean, to consider the way that he tried to evade the tax laws in this country, tried to get away with pretty much pocketed money, he can sit there and say that he didn't benefit the way he wanted to. But if you're not sitting there and reporting income, it is a personal gain to you. But more importantly than that, you're 80 years old, man. You've been in office for 40 years. You've got the president of the United States, the speaker of the House saying, you know what, you might want to step away. You want to be defiant, robust, claiming your innocent, and then you go from that to a weak -- lay the crime before Congress? I'm done with him. It's absolutely ridiculous. It's an utter disgrace that he found himself in this position and to not have the decency to walk away for the citizens of Harlem. They deserve better than that even though --

SPITZER: Wait, I'm going to come back to that thought. Elise, what do you say?

ELISE JORDAN, FORMER CONDI RICE SPEECHWRITER: I think he's just demonstrating such a sense of entitlement and his logic that he's a war hero and he should be off the hook, you know, he did this and that in the Korean War. So that means that any returning veteran has the license to commit crimes? I mean, I just -- I don't buy it and I think it's really disgraceful.

That was refreshing of CNN, to allow someone to be outraged at an unethical liberal. If Rangel were truly sorry, that would be one thing. But this wave of sympathy seems to avoid the spectacle of Rangel's absolutely shameless, imperious, and defiant reactions, especially in the press conference after the House's censure.

During the brief tenure of Air America Radio, leftist host Sam Seder was the scourge of the Bush team, even writing a book called FUBAR: America's Right-Wing Nightmare. But he was gentle as a lamb to poor Charlie Rangel:

Well, the point is he didn't commit a crime. I mean, he wasn't convicted of anything and there's no precedent to censure someone in this type of situation. Maybe a reprimand. But, I mean, he hasn't committed a crime. He didn't commit any fraud. He was open with the committee. He was open after the fact. And so, you know, I don't think it's because he's a war vet. I think it's just a question of precedents.

Let's not imagine that Seder can't be critical of another human. NB's Dave Pierre preserved one of Seder's lowest insults:

"Let's go to Brit Hume, the horrible scumbag, who many people consider somewhat responsible for the fact that his son committed suicide."

Brit Hume is a "horrible scumbag" who somehow deserves to be taunted over his son Sandy's death. But Charlie Rangel doesn't deserve a 45-second censure. Air America's stench lasts a long time after its demise.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis