Pickering’s Enemies Not Liberal;
Clift: Gore "Should Have" Become President; CNN: Ted Kennedy "Roaring on Behalf of the Voiceless"
1) ABC’s Carole Simpson made sure viewers realized Bush
judicial nominee Charles Pickering is "conservative" and a man
in a soundbite tagged him as a "right wing Republican," but she
refused to apply an ideological label on his opponents. Instead, she
euphemistically cited "a coalition of fifty civil rights, human
rights and women’s groups."
2) When Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift mistakenly referred to
how Al Gore assumed office after Bill Clinton, she confirmed on the
McLaughlin Group that she thinks "it should have been the Gore
3) ABC and CNN celebrated Ted Kennedy’s 70th birthday.
CNN’s Candy Crowley gushed: "He is the last of the liberal lions,
roaring on behalf of the voiceless." She admired how "has
championed civil rights, pushed for improved education and better health
care." Next, anchor Judy Woodruff cued him up to criticize Bush for
not spending enough: "You’re now criticizing the President for not
putting as much money into education as you think should be there. Did the
President let you down on this?"
4) As read by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,
Letterman’s "Top Ten Ways I'll Improve New York City."
anchor Carole Simpson was careful to label Charles Pickering, Bush’s
judicial nominee now being held up by Democrats on the Judiciary
Committee, as a "conservative" and a man in a soundbite tagged
him a "right wing Republican," but she refused to apply an
ideological label on his opponents. Instead, she euphemistically cited
"a coalition of fifty civil rights, human rights and women’s
Simpson began the February 24 World News
Tonight/Sunday piece by showing a clip of Pickering before the Judiciary
Committee as he insisted: "I have a record of standing up for equal
protection, respecting the rule of law." Simpson
countered: "But critics of the conservative Republican strongly
disagree. Among them, the NAACP."
After letting NAACP President Kweisi Mfume
denounce Bush’s nominee, for a seat on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals,
for "a lack of tolerance," Simpson recited the issues which
upset his critics. Simpson then ran a soundbite of White House counsel
Alberto Gonzalez who suggested the "people who know him best" in
his hometown support him. Simpson noted
that Pickering is from Laurel, Mississippi "a hotbed of Ku Klux Klan
activities in the 1950s and 60s," but she acknowledged that local
blacks "respect" Pickering for testifying against a Klan leader
accused of the firebombing murder of a civil rights leader.
Larry Thomas, a pharmacist, for instance,
argued: "I still view Charles Pickering as a right wing Republican,
but then on the other hand, I saw him open his arms to try and embrace
change compatible to both races in south Mississippi." Simpson
avoided the liberal label: "But for a coalition of fifty civil
rights, human rights and women’s groups, that is not enough."
of the NAACP: "While there are some people on the ground in
Mississippi who say, well perhaps he’s changed, perhaps he has, but I
don’t think we have the wherewithal and the freedom to run that risk
because once the judge is there there’s nothing that can remove him
Eleanor Clift inadvertently confirmed on the McLaughlin Group that she
thinks "it should have been the Gore administration" assuming
office from Bill Clinton.
As usual, the McLaughlin Group over the
weekend ended with panelists making predictions. Clift volunteered:
"The GAO will finally issue its report on the White House, the
vandalizing of the White House in between the Clinton and Gore
administrations." Wincing, Clift immediately corrected herself:
"Clinton and Bush administrations." Then, as the other panelists
laughed, Clift added: "Well, it should have been the Gore
McLaughlin: "It’s going to be a whitewash?"
"Neither side is going to be completely happy."
media birthday cake for Ted Kennedy. ABC and CNN on Friday celebrated
Kennedy’s 70th birthday. ABC’s Good Morning America brought aboard his
son to pay tribute to him and on CNN’s NewsNight Aaron Brown praised him
as "one of the most powerful and hardest working Democrats of the
past four decades."
On Inside Politics, Candy Crowley gushed:
"He is the last of the liberal lions, roaring on behalf of the
voiceless." More like roaring on behalf of expanding government
control over people’s lives and limiting their opportunities. She also
admired how "he has championed civil rights, pushed for improved
education and better health care."
Next, anchor Judy Woodruff cued him up to
criticize Bush for not spending enough: "You’re now criticizing the
President for not putting as much money into education as you think should
be there. Did the President let you down on this?" Sounding like a
disappointed liberal, Woodruff worried: "Have you somehow unwittingly
given the President a leg up and the Republicans, on this issue of
-- ABC’s Good Morning America, February 22.
Diane Sawyer announced as noted by MRC analyst Jessica Anderson:
"Well, from the time he was a child, we all watched, we all struck,
we were struck by his courage, we all prayed and we all admired his
character as Ted Kennedy Jr. battled cancer. He lost a leg to bone cancer
when he was just 12, but from that time on, he has not only shown what you
can do with spirit and life, he has become an advocate for the rights of
others, for the rights of not only those who have disabilities, but cancer
patients....But it's also the 70th birthday of somebody we know very well,
Senator Ted Kennedy. Dad's 70 today?" Ted Kennedy,
Jr.: "That's right, yeah. Well you know, dad, if you're watching, you
had an incredible impact on my life and happy birthday. I love you."
"Wow, that's all the present a dad needs."
-- CNN NewsNight anchor Aaron Brown squeezed
this in before the end of the show: "Today a Kennedy turned 70. In a
way, that statement in and of itself is worth thinking about. President
Kennedy and Senator Robert Kennedy, Jack and Bobby, they died so young.
They never aged in our memories. It was the little brother who would grow
older, along with the rest of us, Senator Edward Kennedy. Easily, one of
the most powerful and hardest working Democrats of the past four decades.
And the one who's carried on the Kennedy name in all its complexity and
controversy. He's been known to joke that he could run three more times
and still not be as old as Strom Thurmond. Edward Kennedy at 70."
-- CNN’s Inside Politics devoted an entire
segment to celebrating the liberal Senator’s birthday. Reporter Candy
Crowley at least acknowledged his ideology as she gushed: "He is the
last of the liberal lions, roaring on behalf of the voiceless." Kennedy on the
floor of the Senate: "We stand to protect the consumers and to
protect the patients, to protect the children, protect the women, to
protect the disabled in this country. That is what this is about."
continued her tribute: "The 30-year-old with nothing but a name to
run on turned 70, as one of the premier legislators of the 20th century.
His name may not be magic anymore, but his word is."
Frist, Republican of Tennessee: "He's liberal. I'm conservative. He's
for more taxes, I'm for less taxes. He is a Democrat and I'm a Republican.
But he's somebody who shoots straight, who you know where he's coming
from. Who, when he gives you his word, he sticks by it a 100
"He has championed civil rights, pushed for improved education and
better health care. His name is on hundreds, probably thousands, of
Of course, conservatives would suggest his
sycophantic loyalty to teacher unions has meant he has helped trap poor
students in terrible schools.
Crowley then ran a soundbite from Senator
Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut: "Forget the bills. The bills, I
know, are important. I don't mean to forget them. But none of that would
ever have become law if it hadn't been for the passion that he brought to
the commitments and those issues over the years, and sustains it year in
and year out." Crowley
asserted: "He is an undiluted, undeterrable liberal, but a closet
pragmatist. He prefers half a loaf to none, something to nothing, results
over rhetoric. His alliances give fellow Democrats heartburn."
George W. Bush: "I was so proud of our work, I even had nice things
to say about my friend, Ted Kennedy."
Following Crowley’s piece, CNN played a
taped interview Judy Woodruff had conducted in the Massachusetts
Senator’s office. After asking him to name his greatest achievement
(working on civil rights in the 1960s), she raised the education spending
bill: "You worked very closely with the President to get an education
bill done." Kennedy:
"You spent some time traveling around the country, touting the bill.
Now we see in 2002 the President's budget. You're now criticizing the
President for not putting as much money into education as you think should
be there. Did the President let you down on this?"
Kennedy rejected her premise and argued it was
a "good bill."
Woodruff followed up by contending that
Kennedy was helping Republicans: "Well, in the aftermath of getting
this education bill passed, polling that has been done of the American
people, a number of polls done just last month, show people now favor the
President over the congressional Democrats on the issue of education, by
something like 2 to 1. You've got Democratic strategists out there,
including some you know very well -- Bob Shrum, James Carville -- saying
the public support for Bush and the Republicans on education is the
biggest threat to the Democrats regaining control of the House and
maintaining and strengthening control of the Senate. I guess my question
is, have you somehow unwittingly given the President a leg up and the
Republicans, on this issue of education?"
That same night, Friday, FNC’s The
O’Reilly Factor also featured a segment about Ted Kennedy prompted by
his birthday, but FNC offered two sides: a Kennedy author praising him and
criticism from Rich Lowry, Editor of National Review. Lowry suggested, for
instance, that Kennedy should be reprimanded for something not even hinted
at by CNN: Accelerating personal destruction in politics by inventing
"Borking" when he deliberately distorted Robert Bork’s record.
February 20 Late Show with David Letterman (http://www.cbs.com/latenight/lateshow/),
as read by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the "Top Ten Ways
I'll Improve New York City."
10. I'll personally pay every New Yorker's rent for the next four years
9. Get caught jaywalking and we'll impound your shoes
8. Once a week a different New Yorker has to mow Central Park
7. Subway cars now equipped with a complimentary all-you-can-eat soup and
6. Every weekend bare-knuckle boxing matches on front lawn of Gracie
5. Free full-body massages from your cabbie
4. I'm renaming the city "Funkytown"
3. Mandatory ten o'clock curfew for Bill Clinton
2. If a car alarm goes off, call me and I'll personally come and tow it
1. Okay, Arizona, you had your fun -- now we're coming to get our World
On #3, is that
10pm or 10am?
-- Brent Baker
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