An obituary by the New York Times' Bruce Weber for Vermont Sen. Jim Jeffords, a soft Republican who swung Senate control to the Democrats when he disavowed his party and went independent ("Jim Jeffords, Who Altered Power in Senate, Dies at 80") appeared in Tuesday's edition.
The most ideological label Weber could find for Jeffords, who made headlines in 2001 when he defected from the GOP to vote with the Democrats in a split U.S. Senate, was "left-leaning." Weber used much of the obituary to criticize the GOP's "conservative orthodoxy." The same politicized tone showed in a previous Weber obit for influential conservative Paul Weyrich.
Using the Trayvon Martin tragedy as their hook, liberal lobby groups have set their sights on the conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its corporate donors, blaming the Sanford, Fla., shooting on the Sunshine State's Stand Your Ground law. ALEC supports conservative legislative efforts at the state level such as Stand Your Ground, as well as pro-business legislative priorities of interest to many food and drink companies.
But in reporting on recent victories by liberal groups in pushing companies like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds to drop their support of ALEC, the Washington Post's Tom Hamburger failed to clue readers into the liberal allegiances of "advocacy groups" attacking ALEC and its corporate donors.
Friday’s New York Times obituary by Bruce Weber of radical lawyer Leonard Weinglass, described in the Times headline as a “Courtroom Defender Of Radicals and Renegades,” glossed over the radicalism of Weinglass’s notorious clients. The text box gushed: “A man one colleague called ‘our era’s Clarence Darrow.’”
Leonard I. Weinglass, perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent progressive defense lawyer, who represented political renegades, government opponents and notorious criminal defendants in a half century of controversial cases, including the Chicago Seven, the Pentagon Papers and the Hearst kidnapping, died on Wednesday. He was 77 and lived in Manhattan.
Weber applied the usual Times gloss to Weinglass's radical clients, referring to Angela Davis, a prominent Communist Party member who twice ran on the party’s presidential ticket, only as an “activist and educator.” Davis also received the Lenin “Peace Prize” from East Germany in 1979, when that country was a Communist police state.
Over the past 40 years, he represented many other prominent clients, including Angela Davis, the activist and educator who was acquitted of murder, conspiracy and kidnapping charges in the 1970 killing of a California judge, and Amy Carter, the daughter of President Carter, who along with others, including Abbie Hoffman, was arrested during a 1986 protest against the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency at the University of Massachusetts. She was acquitted of trespassing and disorderly conduct charges.
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, took GOP Congresswoman Virginia Foxx to task for claiming that Republicans "passed civil rights bills in the sixties" as he accused her of having a bad memory, going as far as to compare her to one of the androids from the science fiction classic Blade Runner:
Up next wait ‘til you hear the latest from Congresswoman, whoa! Wait ‘til you catch this. Well this is another version of The Dream, let's put it that way. This is Virginia Foxx, in action. She's actually trying to say -- remember this? It was the Republicans, don't you remember? They are the ones that pushed through civil rights back in the sixties. Remember it was not the Democrats, remember that? Interesting memory there. Next in the "Sideshow." I think she's one of these replicants from Blade Runner where they had an imposed memory put into them. [audio available here]
After playing a clip of Foxx claiming it was Republicans "who passed the civil rights bills back in the sixties, without very much help from our colleagues across the aisle," Matthews charged it was the GOP who became the political "winners" in the South for "opposing civil rights." While Foxx's claim wasn't entirely accurate, Matthews also needs a history refresher course as the Republicans were pivotal in getting the legislation passed, something the late Paul Weyrich pointed out in a July 2004 column:
In its year-ending double issue Newsweek couldn't resist injecting liberal media bias into its mini obituaries entitled "Remember Them Well."
Yet the newsmagazine seemed to forget, perhaps intentionally, the left-of-center politics of prominent liberals profiled while using terms like "far-right" to describe the politics of deceased conservatives such as Paul Weyrich.
But wait, there's more, Newsweek used the occasion to link the civil rights struggles of the 1960s with the fight for same-sex marriage and to approve the first President Bush's breaking of the "no new taxes" pledge.
Take Studs Terkel, the hard-left Communist journalist who passed away at age 96. Newsweek ignored his political leanings, euphemizing them by referencing his "working-class empathy and patient, guileless style [that] helped a confused nation speak its mind."
By contrast, here's how the World Socialist Web Site eulogized him: