Noel Sheppard said there’s more to the Frost/Nixon fallout with Ron Howard. Over at Foxnews.com, Jim Pinkerton blogged that Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace "threw a fair-and-balanced apple of discord" into the liberal Dubya-as-Nixon theorizing at a Monday night panel discussion after the movie was screened at the National Geographic Society. The Q&A was moderated by liberal historian Robert Dallek, and included director Ron Howard, screenwriter Peter Morgan, and James Reston Jr., son of the liberal New York Times columnist of the same name and a Frost researcher featured in the film. Reston said the film was a metaphor for Bush, and Wallace pounced:
"To compare George W. Bush to Richard Nixon is to trivialize Nixon’s crimes and is a disservice to Bush," Wallace said. Recalling that 3,000 people were killed on 9/11, and noting that there hadn’t been any attacks on U.S. soil since, Wallace suggested that something had been done right. That’s why, he said, "we are all sitting here tonight so comfortably"—and not afraid of another terrorist attack.
Moreover, Wallace said, "Richard Nixon’s crimes were committed solely for his own political gain, whereas George W. Bush was trying to protect the American people." To suggest otherwise, Wallace insisted, "was a grave misrepresentation of history, then and now." And, amazingly, Wallace received a smattering of applause.
Seemingly not wanting to get into a fight with the TV newsman, Dallek answered that we knew full well of Nixon’s criminality because of the Watergate tapes, but that no similar documentary record existed yet for Bush. Only when such information comes out, Dallek suggested, would the full horror of Bush’s presidency become visible. Which, of course, proved Wallace’s point: It was not fair to equate proven facts about Nixon with mere allegations about Bush.
"You make suppositions on no facts whatsoever," Wallace concluded.
"Do you read The New York Times?" Dallek countered. That might not have been the strongest comeback ever, but it worked just fine with this audience. And with that, the Q & A session resumed its liberal course for the rest of the evening.
Pinkerton also noted the liberal audience eating up the Bush comparisons included "former CBS News reporter Daniel Schorr, now in his ninth decade, who proudly recollected for the audience that he was 'number fourteen on Nixon’s enemies list,' and former Watergate Committee counsel Richard Ben-Veniste, who resurfaced in 2004 as one of the 9/11 Commissioners."