Ken Cuccinelli, the conservative Attorney General of Virginia, came under attack on Friday night's All Things Considered on National Public Radio. This is one angle of Climategate the national media have noticed. But they pitch the battle as Cuccinelli vs. Science or Cuccinelli vs. Academic Freedom.
What's most infuriating is the notion that it's Cuccinelli who's "politicizing" science, and not Michael Mann's openly politicized e-mails explaining his data manipulations and plotting to censor his political opponents. Somehow, the Union of Concerned Scientists is painted as non-political.
Host Michele Norris began: "The University of Virginia says it will fight a demand from the state's attorney general. He wants the school to turn over private e-mails and documents related to a former professor's climate research. The case has sparked a national debate over academic freedom."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann used his regular "Worst Person" segment to attack Virginia’s Republican Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli, for planning to take part in a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency on the issue of climate change. Responding to a joke Cuccinelli made about holding one’s breath to make environmentalists happy, Olbermann mocked the Republican attorney general in what could arguably be a suggestion that he should die, as the MSNBC host recommended that Cuccinelli should stop breathing until 2014. Olbermann: "Good idea, Mr. Cuccinelli. we`ll let you know when you should stop holding your breath. I would think sometime in 2014."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, April 13, Countdown show on MSNBC:
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) has caused students across the Old Dominion to "rise up for gay rights,"* reporters Daniel de Vise and Rosalind Helderman insisted on the March 9 Metro section front page of the Washington Post.
Helderman and de Vise failed to consider the liberal leanings of the protesters, tagging the demonstrators in the lead paragraph as mere "campus activists" who are steamed over the state AG's "letter advising public universities to retreat from their policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orienation." A few paragraphs later, Helderman and de Vise suggested that an "erosion in gay rights at state universities" would have detrimental effects on attracting and retaining students and faculty.
The problem is, Cuccinelli's legal opinion does not mandate a "retreat" from discrimination, he just noted that under Virginia law, any change in non-discrimination policy wording must be authorized by legislation.
The Washington Post on Thursday continued its quest to defeat Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, bizarrely citing a "non-partisan" group that, in reality, has endorsed Bob McDonnell’s Democratic opponent. The article by Anita Kumar contained this loaded headline: "McDonnell critics question ideology: Some saw agenda in legal opinions."
Kumar quoted Claire Guthrie Gastanaga, a lobbyist for "Equality Virginia, a nonpartisan gay rights group." Yet, the front page of Equality Virginia’s website features a press release entitled, "Equality Virginia PAC Endorses Deeds for Governor." The organization’s website makes a distinction between its political action committee (EVPAC) and its "non-partisan" activities. However, Kumar made no such clarification. How can a group be non-partisan and endorse the Democratic nominee?
The liberal Washington Post, which for months has been running a seemingly endless series of attack pieces on Virginia’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, appears to have moved on to a new target, the GOP’s choice for Attorney General. On Thursday, the Post featured a column by Robert McCartney on nominee Ken Cuccinelli and included this ominous headline: "Cuccinelli: In your heart, you know he's to the right of right."
For the benefit of readers outside of Virginia, Cuccinelli is a pretty standard conservative. He’s pro-life, pro-Second Amendment. He’s taken positions in support of lower taxes and restraining spending. Certainly, he’s no moderate. Referring to him as "very conservative" would also be fair. But, according to McCartney, he’s a "militant conservative" and someone "who's so ardently conservative he makes [Republican] gubernatorial candidate Robert F. McDonnell sound like a mealy-mouthed moderate."
In an editorial on Wednesday endorsing Cuccinelli’s Democratic AG opponent, the Post used the same hyperbolic, scary language. The unsigned editorial derided Cuccinelli, who is currently a state senator, as a "provocative hard-liner," someone who supports "far-fetched initiatives" and holds "bizarre and incendiary ideas." The paper generally found his campaign "worrying."