For Immediate Release: Keith Appell (703) 683-5004 - Friday, January 22, 1999
Vol. Three, No. 3
Media Ignore Blatant Double Standard of Many Senate Democrats Who Convicted Perjurious Judges
Al Gore Voted to Remove Judges for Less?
As the Paula Jones case
headed for the Supreme Court two years ago, Meet the Press host Tim Russert asked
fellow journalists: "What's the most important thing the media can learn from this
case?" Stuart Taylor, a former Supreme Court reporter for The New York Times,
proposed this credo: "Look past your first impression and ideological orientation.
Look hard at the evidence, and take it where it leads. No double standards."
This makes Taylor a rare bird among Washington journalists. In the January 16 National
Journal, he reported on the obvious double standard being completely overlooked by
the rest of the press. How will Democrats planning to vote to acquit Bill Clinton explain
voting to convict federal judges for similar offenses in the 1980s?
In 1986, U.S. District Court Judge Harry Claiborne was removed by a vote of 90-7 for
lying on two tax returns -- or, as, Taylor put it, "for lying to the government about
a private matter involving no abuse of his official powers." Al Gore voted to remove,
and spoke passionately about why. [See box].
In 1989, the Senate removed Judge Walter Nixon by an 89-8 vote for committing perjury
before a federal grand jury by pretending to have no "recollection" of his
effort to persuade a prosecutor friend to drop a drug case against a business partner's
son. Al Gore, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, even liberals Tom Harkin and Chris Dodd
voted to convict and remove Judge Nixon. With the exception of two Tim Russert Meet
the Press questions to Democrats, and one ABC World News Tonight story by
Tim O'Brien (both on the 17th), these uncomfortable Democratic precedents have been
ignored by the Big Three networks. O'Brien played a clip of Sen. Phil Gramm insisting on
one impeachment standard for all federal officials, but loaded the story with his own
rebuttals as well as those from George Mitchell and Lanny Davis.
While newspapers revisited the cases as the Senate prepared for the trial (more for
trial procedure than for Democratic hypocrisy), the news magazines have not. Regarding
Judge Nixon, Time mentioned him last September, Newsweek hasn't raised
him since 1993. As for Judge Claiborne, neither Time nor Newsweek has
mentioned him since 1988. U.S. News only touched on both in a John Dean editorial
For reporters who think the trial story begins and ends with the Democrats'
determination to acquit, it ought to be news that the Democrats may soon face a
potentially unanimous double standard. All 26 currently serving Democratic Senators who
voted on Judge Nixon voted to convict.
While TV hosts like MSNBC's John Hockenberry and ABC's and NBC's morning shows jumped
to quote a demoralized Pat Robertson saying "it's over," a man who has no vote
in the Senate, the networks are ignoring the voting records and integrity of those who do.
-- Tim Graham
L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent Baker, Tim Graham, Editors;
Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd, Geoffrey
Dickens, Mark Drake, Paul Smith, Media Analysts; Kristina Sewell, Research
Associate. For the latest liberal media bias, read the
Home | News Division
| Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact
the MRC | Subscribe