In a glowing tribute to radical left-wing commentator Gore Vidal on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams could barely contain his adoration for the "prolific writer" who was "unquestionably brilliant." Williams further gushed that Vidal, "got his larger wish in life, to be remembered as both a polemicist and a man of letters. One of the most active and agile minds of his generation."
Compare that fawning eulogy to the shots Williams took at conservative icon William F. Buckley, upon his death in 2008: "Buckley paid dearly for some of his words: His defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, his early views on race and remarks he made about AIDS, saying those with AIDS should be tattooed to prevent its spread."
William F. Buckley, Jr., founding father of the modern conservative movement, famously asserted his doctrine of voting for the most conservative candidate who is electable.
Let me presume to add an analytic codicil: The GOP and the conservative movement have tended to support the most conservative policies only when they are understood to be conservative and are plausibly supportable by the conservative half of the electorate.
It’s a discussion for another day as to why those entrusted with the delivery of news so stubbornly refuse to cover the very deadly war being waged at this very moment against Christianity in the Middle East. The aggressors are radical Islamists, the victims Christians, especially those wearing the cloth. Every week another report detailing another attack seeps through the wall of non-information, of men condemned to death in Saudi Arabia for the crime of conversion, of Catholic churches bombed in Baghdad on Christmas Day, of Coptic congregations slaughtered in Egypt, and the like.
Sad and troubling to be sure, but it’s over there…over there. Do you have any recollection of the story fifteen years ago of the small community of Trappist monks in Algeria kidnapped in a prisoner-exchange plot, and then murdered? To the extent I was aware of the brutal story it was something I quickly filed away in the memory banks under, “Oh, dear.” Nothing more.
French filmmaker Xavier Beauvais challenges us to remember. He has delivered the hauntingly beautiful “Of Gods and Men,” winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. “Schindler’s List” was aimed at your heart; “Of Gods and Men” captures your soul.
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, George Will this weekend lambasted Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee about separate comments the two have made regarding Barack Obama's background and upbringing.
On Monday, during his fifth day in a row on this subject, MSNBC's Chris Matthews actually compared Will's column to William F. Buckley Jr. banning anti-Semitic writers from the National Review in the '50s (video follows with transcript and commentary):
"I've been looking for years to find a man like him.... I've combed the whole goddam country. There are lots of good journalists around, but they're all cockeyed left-wingers."
That's how publisher Eugene C. Pulliam praised M. Stanton Evans in 1960, when he tapped the 26-year-old conservative Yale graduate and close friend of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. to edit the Indianapolis News.
On MSNBC Friday, anchor John Harwood spoke with New York Times Week in Review editor Sam Tanenhaus about the health care debate, wondering: "...you know an awful lot about the patron saint of modern conservatism William F. Buckley. What do you suppose Bill Buckley would think of the nature of the arguments that are being made against the Obama health care plan right now, death panels and all the rest?"
Harwood, hosting the 2:00PM ET weekly New York Times Edition broadcast, was asking about Tanenhaus’s upcoming book, ‘The Death of Conservatism.’ Tanenhaus argued: "Well, you know, one of the great contributions Bill Buckley made to conservatism was to move it toward the center. And one way he did that was to repudiate in a very forceful way what was then called the lunatic fringe."
At that time, Harwood interjected: "The John Birch Society." Tanenhaus continued: "And they weren’t necessarily a dangerous group, but what they did was discredit serious conservative arguments." He then made the comparison to the current health care debate: "...and we may see in the days ahead where serious responsible Republicans and conservative thinkers say if they’re going to make a forceful argument the country can accept, they’ll have to cut themselves off from this more extreme view."
Harwood concluded: "Well, it’s an interesting point. It’s – I don’t see right now anybody cutting off that extreme view all that much."
Like choosing Rosie O'Donnell to vouch that someone isn't a 9-11 conspiracy nut?
Of all the people Mika Brzezinski might have selected as a character reference for her father when he was portrayed as a problem for Obama with Jewish voters, Pat Buchanan isn't the first one who springs to mind. Yet that's who Mika [subbing as host for Joe Scarborough, home in Florida awaiting the birth of a baby] called on to defend her dad on today's Morning Joe.
The odd endorsement came at about 6:35 AM EDT today, after Mika highlighted an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal by Global View columnist [and former Jerusalem Post editor] Bret Stephens entitled Obama and the Jews. Stephens's item contained these lines [emphasis added]:
Thirty years ago I was fresh out of college, with no particular career path chosen, and decided I'd like to be a nationally-syndicated columnist. I'd learn rather quickly that before being one, one has to become one, and to qualify on that caliber one has to demonstrate a talent which this young man didn't possess.
Bill Buckley told me so. I'd penned a couple of practice pieces, one having something to do with Jimmy Carter's choice of Muhammad Ali as his ambassador-at-large to Africa, another on something equally memorable, and sent them to Bill, asking for his critique.
It looks like Time magazine has dispensed with the quaint custom of showing at least a little respect for the recently deceased. This story by Richard Corliss begins a long sneer in the direction of William F. Buckley, Jr. starting with its very title, "William F. Buckley: Mandarin of Right-Wing TV." From that low point, Corliss continues his descent into his ill-mannered septic tank as he blames Buckley for inspiring what Corliss describes as "partisan political harangue as infotainment" following an appearance on the Jack Paar show in 1962:
ABC, CBS and NBC on Wednesday night delivered laudatory tributes to the late William F. Buckley, Jr., but while ABC's Charles Gibson, as well as Katie Couric and Richard Schlesinger on CBS, stuck to the positive and his many achievements as an editor, author and TV show host, NBC anchor Brian Williams couldn't resist including a political slap from the left on the day Buckley passed away at age 82:
Buckley paid dearly for some of his words: His defense of Senator Joe McCarthy, his early views on race and remarks he made about AIDS, saying those with AIDS should be tattooed to prevent its spread.
ABC anchor Charles Gibson hailed how “Buckley loved debate. Loved to provoke. And love him or hate him, agree or disagree with him, no one could deny he was one of the country's finest minds....His message was, in essence, an intellectual war on big government. And a passion for the free market. Delivered with dazzling language and a bone-dry wit.”
In the course of offering a tribute to William F. Buckley, Jr. on this afternoon's Hardball, Chris Matthews made a surprising revelation: that he came to political consciousness as a WFB conservative.
You'll find the transcript of the Hardball host's remarks below, but I'd encourage you to view the video, here. See if, like me, you're struck by the heartfelt nature of his comments.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you want to influence someone, get to him or her in high school. It's my experience that people at that age are the most impressionable, the most searching for guidance, for example, for purposes. It was in high school that I came under the charm and the influence of William F. Buckley, Jr., the dashing, charismatic young conservative who wrote God and Man at Yale, McCarthy and His Enemies, and founded the wistful, precocious, companionable monthly, National Review. As a high schooler, I could tell you which drugstore got National Review first. I went to hear Bill Buckley at a meeting of the Montgomery County Young Republicans. It was from National Review that I gained my early affection and appetite for political philosophy and argument.
Lumping Rush Limbaugh in with Michael Savage, CBS News Washington Producer Ward Sloane lamented in a Wednesday afternoon CBSNews.com “Couric & Co.” blog entry how “it’s sad that people like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage are today’s mouthpieces for conservatism” when “Buckley was not a hate monger” like them. Sloane then contended:
The conservative movement in this country is badly in need of somebody who can make a point without demeaning and demonizing liberals and moderates. Surely there are better “uniters” than Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly. Are there any conservatives who think that the Limbaugh-ization of conservatism may have something to do with its fractiousness? After all, one man’s hate is not necessarily another’s. This is not William F. Buckley’s conservatism.
In honor of William F. Buckley Jr. -- the man who quipped about standing athwart history yelling "Stop!" -- perhaps we might recall a few old Buckley snippets on the liberal media, long a persistent force on the national political scene. Here are a few samples from the 1971 paperback Quotations from Chairman Bill (compiled by David Franke), by the topic used in the book:
On Friday May 15 Walter Cronkite telephoned Gettysburg to see if couldn’t talk Mr. Eisenhower into denouncing the Horrible Extremism of Senator Goldwater. People had tried before, but Cronkite isn’t just people, he’s Cronkite, known to the General as "Walter," and to J. Walter Thompson as "The Anchor Man." By the time General Eisenhower was through with Walter, he was so perturbed that he can never again be described as imperturbable: more correctly, he is imperturbable except on those occasions when he sets out to do Goldwater political harm and has to sit there and take it when Goldwater instead reaps political gain. – NR, June 2. 1965, p. 435.