What follows is a brief exchange from Friday's edition of the PBS NewsHour, during a discussion with liberal columnist Mark Shields and conservative New York Times columnist
The New York Times ran an op-ed this morning by controversial biographer Kitty Kelley. As the subject matter was George W. Bush, it should not be surprising that this article had nothing positive to say about the president:
“SECRECY has been perhaps the most consistent trait of the George W. Bush presidency. Whether it involves refusing to provide the names of oil executives who advised Vice President Dick Cheney on energy policy, prohibiting photographs of flag-draped coffins returning from Iraq, or forbidding the release of files pertaining to Chief Justice John Roberts's tenure in the Justice Department, President Bush seems determined to control what the public is permitted to know. And he has been spectacularly effective, making Richard Nixon look almost transparent.”
At issue this morning is an executive order that Bush signed in November 2001 concerning the release of any former president’s private papers. Kelley sees this as another sinister move by the president:
Only on fantasy television would anyone predict the New York Times would endorse a Republican presidential candidate, but that's what occurred on Sunday's episode of NBC's drama, The West Wing. On the October 9 show, the GOP nominee, California Senator “Arnie Vinick” (played by Alan Alda), lays out a series of proposals on immigration (such as doubling the border patrol), aimed to put his Hispanic Democratic opponent, Congressman “Matt Santos” (played by Jimmy Smits), in a box. In one scene, “Vinick” campaign advisor “Bruno Gianelli” (played by Ron Silver), a former campaign adviser to Democrats including the show's “President Bartlet,” walks into a meeting and declares: “The New York Times loves your guest worker program. Think we might have a shot at an endorsement." At least another campaign staffer points out the naivete of the Democratic operative who has switched sides: "Kiss of death for a conservative." But another adds: "New York has 31 electoral votes."
Liberal commentator Lawrence O'Donnell serves as Executive Producer of the series and Sunday's episode also featured "Vinick," who is Hollywood's dream of a Republican who is “pro-choice,” pro-minimum wage, environmentalist and anti-religious right, going on a rant against the head of the "American Christian Assembly." Vinick asserts: "Tell that lying little creep the United States Senate gets to advise and consent on judges, not the clergy." More on that scene, and links to past NewsBusters and MRC CyberAlert items on the liberal advocacy in the series, follows.
Regardless of all the carping and whining over hurricane-related contracts going to Halliburton and Shaw Group due to potential ties to the Bush administration, as well as some of the awards being “no-bid,” there seems to be no such outrage if a company has ties to former President Clinton’s administration.
Last month, I noticed after a few seconds of Googling that "novice protester" Patrice Cuddy of Kansas, highlighted by Washington Post reporter Petula Dvorak, was not a novice at all, and could be easily found marching against the war before it even began in 2003.
This Aesop-like fable will be played out next week on Oct. 17 at the National Press Club in Washington, when the Michigan State University school of journalism holds a "media bias symposium."
The event is also sponsored by the Newseum, the Poynter Institute, and the National Press Club.
The list of attendees:
Washington Post White House reporter Michael Fletcher's Sunday news analysis tackles the question of "Bush the Conservative vs. Bush the Pragmatist." Fletcher reported Bush is obviously conservative, but with pragmatic political instincts:
Both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported yesterday that the levees in New Orleans were not overtopped by flood waters related to Katrina. Instead, as was reported by NBC News on September 29, and here on September 30, these levees broke due to construction failures related to the instability of the soil beneath them. Moreover, one of the contractors involved in their construction warned the Army Corps of Engineers about this problem in the early ’90s, but these cautions were ignored.
As yesterday’s Times article stated: “The engineers said the findings, which they warned were preliminary, raised questions about the design of the levees and the testing of the relatively fragile soil during the construction of the walls. They also said that on the 17th Street Canal, the source of the flooding in much of the main part of the city, the flood wall broke in an area where a contractor had complained to the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers that the soil that anchored the wall was dangerously soft.”
And, yesterday’s Washington Post stated: “In the early 1990s, a New Orleans-based contractor filed a legal claim against the Corps alleging that the soil beneath the floodwall on the 17th Street Canal was poor. A judge dismissed the contractor's complaint in 1996.”
These revelations raise an interesting question: Why aren’t the Times and the Post apologizing to their readers for and/or retracting earlier reports by their respective papers that the levee problems in New Orleans were caused by budget cuts implemented by President Bush?
Tonight on CBS's 60 Minutes, former FBI Director Louis J. Freeh will be on to talk about his new book, "My FBI", which will apparently include a charge by Freeh about Bill Clinton, Saudi Arabia, and funding for Clinton's Presidential Library.
During the roundtable segment on Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC reporter Cokie Roberts charged that “I do think there's sexism here” and went on to approvingly cite a left-wing Democratic Senator: “I do think that there is a degree of sexism, as Barbara Mikulski has also said, and I do think that there is a certain Ivy League prejudice going on here.” Roberts contended that Miers’ “experience on the Dallas city council showed her to be a great pragmatist and that's what people are really worried about." Roberts soon gushed: “Praise the Lord she doesn't have a judicial philosophy." She cited Justice O’Connor’s approach as desirable: “You're presented with a case on the Supreme Court instead of an argument, and you decide the case and that's exactly what Sandra Day O'Connor did and that's exactly what makes conservatives angry."
When former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggested that “a lot of conservatives are worried that she is going to be another David Souter,” Roberts interjected: "A pragmatist." (So, Roberts sees the liberal Souter as merely a "pragmatist"? Or, maybe she was trying to correct Reich and just meant that conservatives are upset not by how Miers will be another Souter but by how Miers might be another "pragmatist.") She also lamented how “the people who are complaining about this didn't complain about Clarence Thomas, who was hardly a distinguished jurist when he was picked for the bench." To that, George Will shot back: “He was, however, a jurist on America's most distinguished appellate court.” (Transcribed excerpts from the October 9 This Week follow.)
Even though the big news event this week was the president’s nomination of Harriet Miers to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court, NBC’s Chris Matthews this morning, on a show that bears his name, chose to lead with Karl Rove’s upcoming testimony in front of a grand jury. To assist him, Matthews stocked his panel with the likes of Andrea Mitchell, Clarence Page, Judy Woodruff, and a lone “conservative” voice, Howard Fineman.
In Sunday's Washington Post, journalist Brian Faler provides what can only be described as a fawning push-piece aimed at exciting the liberal activist and elite--both state and nation-wide.
On the Saturday edition of the NBC Nightly News, anchored by John Seigenthaler, correspondent Lisa Myers reported several critical mistakes made by Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco in handling the Hurricane Katrina crisis. The story even showcased a whispered conversation, recorded by CNN, between Blanco and an aide in which Blanco admitted she had been too slow in asking for federal troops.
The BBC is planning to run a series proving that Christianity has turned Bush into a deranged lunatic, according to one story written by Rupert Cornwell for The Independent.