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 Media Reality Check

For Immediate Release: Katie Wright (703) 683-5004 - Thursday, October 19, 2000

Boston Globe, CBS, U.S. News & World Report Have Perfect Double Standard on Farrakhan Flaps

Jack Kemp Ripped, Joe Lieberman Skipped

     -- The media blackout of vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman's September 26 declaration of "respect" for anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and his desire to meet with him continued through Farrakhan's "Million Family March" on Monday. But in 1996, when GOP vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp reached out to Farrakhan, several outlets which are ignoring the Lieberman story played up the Kemp flap.

     -- The Boston Globe. The story began with Globe reporter Michael Rezendes on September 8, 1996: "Jack Kemp, the self-styled Republican ambassador to minorities and the poor, believes Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's self-help philosophy is 'wonderful'...Kemp was careful to say he does not endorse all the teachings of Farrakhan, who has been labeled anti-Semitic...But Kemp also said he admired the Million Man March organized by Farrakhan last year, and the speech Farrakhan delivered at the event, that he wished he had been able to take part." Globe coverage of Lieberman's remarks? Zero.

     -- CBS. On the September 11, 1996 This Morning, co-host Jane Robelot explained Kemp was "trying to mend fences with Jewish-Americans over remarks that he made about Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan." Reporter Troy Roberts began: "Jack Kemp is learning the hard way what many politicians have known for a while. Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan is a political hot potato, and anyone who gets too close is likely to be burned...Kemp praised the 'Million Man March' the Nation of Islam leader organized last year, and went on in an interview to endorse Farrakhan's philosophy of black self-reliance. But he failed to denounce Farrakhan's teachings that have been labeled anti-Semitic." CBS on Lieberman? Zero, even though The Early Show interviewed him on Monday.

     -- U.S. News & World Report. Columnist Gloria Borger (now also with CBS) wrote on October 14, 1996: "Reporters, by and large, have moved beyond their first assignment, which was to be present at the moment Jack Kemp stopped reading from Bob Dole's script or said something silly. (Remember when he praised Louis Farrakhan's 'wonderful' self-help philosophy?)" Later she noted Kemp's friendship with Jude Wanniski, whom Dole campaign aides blamed "for Kemp's Farrakhan faux pas." U.S. News on the Lieberman flap? Zero.

     -- The New York Times. On September 10, 1996, reporter Jerry Gray noted the flap, adding Kemp's "praise of Mr. Farrakhan came just days before he was set to speak in New York City before the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. And his comments, no matter how mild, are likely to upset some members of the coalition." Later, columnist and former Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal savaged Kemp (see box).

     -- But the only Times mention of Lieberman's remarks came on October 6 in an Adam Nagourney article on Hillary renouncing Suha Arafat on page B10: "she declined to 'second guess' the statement by Joseph I. Lieberman, the Democratic candidate for vice president, that he was willing to sit down with Mr. Farrakhan, who has been criticized for making anti-Semitic statements." They left out Lieberman's statement of "respect" for Farrakhan. -- Tim Graham



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