In a brief item Monday evening about Jack Kemp's passing, the NBC Nightly News delivered an obit on Kemp's life, but while Brian Williams didn't find room in his 37-second update to mention how Kemp was behind the successful, supply-side Regan tax cuts, he decided it was newsworthy to point out how “Kemp was a conservative purist who, in a letter to his grandchildren months before his death, said the election of Barack Obama was proof that we live in a great country.”
So, was Williams just trying to make Kemp look good -- or was he trying to impugn other conservatives who weren't so excited about Obama's victory or, third option, was it a way for Williams to convey to his liberal audience and the Manhattan social circuit that Kemp really wasn't one of those awful conservatives the media so often denigrate? Or all of the above? I ask, you decide.
The short report, in full, from the Monday, May 4 NBC Nightly News:
A private memorial being set for later this week for Jack Kemp, the former star pro quarterback, veteran Congressman from Buffalo, cabinet secretary and Republican vice presidential nominee. Jack Kemp was diagnosed with cancer this just past winter and he died on Saturday. He was remembered fondly by a friend today as “a bleeding heart conservative” who wanted the GOP to be a big tent. Kemp was a conservative purist who, in a letter to his grandchildren months before his death, said the election of Barack Obama was proof that we live in a great country. Jack Kemp was 73 years old.
On Sunday night, ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News ran short item on Kemp's passing, though sans the part about Obama. (Double-overtime NHL playoff hockey meant there was no NBC Nightly News on Sunday in the EDT and CDT zones.) Neither ABC nor CBS mentioned Kemp on Monday night.
(Hat tip to the MRC's Brad Wilmouth for alerting me to the Williams item. I attended the Capitals game -- another victorious playoff game!)
My Saturday night NewsBusters post, “Flashback: In Backhanded Bias, Kemp Choice
Spurred 'Haters' Talk,” recalled:
Back in 1996, Bob Dole picked him as his vice presidential running mate, and some in the news media exploited the selection of Kemp to deliver backhanded insults about the "haters" who comprised the rest of the Republican Party. CNN's Bill Schneider: "He is a rare combination -- a nice conservative. These days conservatives are supposed to be mean. They're supposed to be haters." And: "Most conservatives these days come across as mean [video of Newt Gingrich] or intolerant [video of Pat Buchanan] or grouchy [video of Bob Dole]. Kemp is tolerant and inclusive. He has an excellent relationship with minorities. He showed real courage two years ago when he came out against Proposition 187, the punitive anti-illegal immigration measure in California. Kemp is not a hater."
ABC's Cokie Roberts: "He's also very inclusive, reaching out to minorities, to women, being for immigration, for affirmative action. And I think that's very important for this particular convention, Peter, and this party, which is seen somewhat dour, and somewhat mean in its ways."