Rather: Bush "Selected" President; Thompson's "Hardline Anti-Abortion Stand"; MLK Day Tied to Ashcroft's Pro-Confederate Agenda
1) Dan Rather twice suggested to David Letterman that Bush was not elected but "selected." Rather argued Bush's pick of Ashcroft, who takes "a hardline stance on a woman's right to choose" and Norton, who says "it's alright for people who own private land to pollute," contradicts promises of being a uniter. Those picks are "a little bit like moon walking in the end zone."
2) On the CBS Evening News Rather issued the same two hits from the left on Ashcroft and Norton. He offered a fresh one for HHS nominee Tommy Thompson: His "past ties to big tobacco as well as his hardline anti-abortion stand." John Roberts suggested Bush's Ashcroft pick "has aroused new suspicions over Bush's commitment to unity."
3) Tom Brokaw marked Martin Luther King Day by promising "race will be a major issue in the contentious hearings" for John Ashcroft, "especially since Ashcroft defended the Confederate agenda of Robert E. Lee."
4) ABC's Peter Jennings suggested blacks "love" Bill Clinton while "it's not possible to get through Martin Luther King Day without focusing on George Bush's choice to be Attorney General." NBC's Lisa Myers concluded black leaders will only be appeased if Bush adopts their programs and buys them off with spending.
Bush not elected, but "selected" as President, Dan Rather declared on Monday's Late Show with David Letterman. Rather revealed that his slanted reporting does coincide with his personal feelings about George W. Bush as he applied a series of liberal cliches about Bush to denounce his cabinet picks as too conservative.
Asked if Bush's nominees match his claim to be a "uniter," Rather sounded like Barbara Boxer as he complained that Bush knew picking Ashcroft would raise "race" questions while many would be upset by Ashcroft's "a hardline stance on a woman's right to choose" and he snidely described Interior Secretary choice Gale Norton as someone "who says 'listen, it's alright for people who own private land to pollute.'" Rather echoed how "a lot are going to say 'wait a minute, this is not uniter-divider country."
Indeed, Rather insisted "there will be an awful lot of people, even people who voted for him, who believe that these nominees is a little bit like moon walking in the end zone or hanging on the rim after you score."
If George W. Bush had said "these nominees is..." it would have turned into a gaffe at least some in the media would have used to make fun of Bush.
Now a fuller exposition of the comments uttered by Rather on the January 15 Late Show on CBS.
Letterman started by asking if Bush's cabinet
picks show him to be a uniter not a divider as he had promised during the
But then Rather elaborated and made pretty clear that like any liberal one or two conservatives in the cabinet is one or two too many: "It's a fair question and I think when you nominate someone to be Attorney General of the United States who you know is going to raise questions, rightly or wrongly, justifiably or otherwise about race relations, quote 'a hardline stance on a woman's right to choose' or abortion; when you appoint somebody, nominate someone, to be head of the Interior Department who says 'listen, it's alright for people who own private land to pollute,' I'm not saying that's right or wrong I am saying that a lot are going to say 'wait a minute, this is not uniter-divider country.'"
If Rather felt these characterizations of Ashcroft were unjustified would he delight in repeating them?
Letterman suggested that given the close election
"you would think he would be a little more prudent about this."
Audience laughter interrupted Rather, but he soon picked up and again forwarded his "elected or selected" formula: "Every President, two things we know: One, he has a right to appoint people, nominate people who are ideologically and politically aligned with him. And number two, everybody's who's elected or selected President has to pay off in a way those people who helped get him elected. Now with the so-called quote, 'Christian Right,' they really worked hard to get this nominee for Justice because they know how important that job is. Now whether President Bush should have, in effect, paid them in return for what they gave him during the election with this nominee we'll see...."
Dan Rather's opinions expressed on Letterman's show at about 6pm ET, though not broadcast until hours later, closely corresponded with the reporting he offered about 30 minutes later on the first feed at 6:30pm ET of the CBS Evening News. Previewing the conformation hearings this week, Rather warned that "Ashcroft's opponents say he is too divisive to make him a good choice to enforce the nation's laws, especially those protecting civil rights and abortion providers." Rather also highlighted how Interior Secretary nominee Gale Norton "has suggested, among other things, that private land owners may have a right to pollute," and with HHS nominee Tommy Thompson, whom he didn't get to on Letterman, Rather raised his "past ties to big tobacco as well as his hardline anti-abortion stand."
In the subsequent story, reporter John Roberts suggested "his unwavering support for John Ashcroft, his nominee for Attorney General, has aroused new suspicions over Bush's commitment to unity."
Funny how all the divisive attacks by liberals on Bush and his nominees never evoke media concern for their negative tone and undermining of efforts of politicians to work together in a bi-partisan manner. Maybe that's because journalists are part of the cabal doing the attacking. Do you recall any media concern in 1993 for Donna Shalala's "hardline pro-abortion stand"?
Dan Rather delivered a lengthy opening to the
January 15 CBS Evening News, as transcribed by MRC analyst Brad Wilmouth:
Roberts began: "Invoking the memory of Martin
Luther King, George Bush today declared his top priority as President will
be to make quality education a civil right....Keenly aware of his troubled
relations with African-American voters, the President-elect came to this
Houston school today to shake hands and mend fences. But his unwavering
support for John Ashcroft, his nominee for Attorney General, has aroused
new suspicions over Bush's commitment to unity."
After some matching soundbites, and a clip of Ashcroft, at a practice hearing, calling for an end to racial profiling, Roberts allowed another man in the Houston audience say Ashcroft should be confirmed if he can answer the questions about him. Roberts concluded: "Rather than attempt to defeat Ashcroft, what Democratic Senators will do tomorrow is lay down markers, the message to Bush that any future attempts to appoint staunch conservatives, particularly to the Supreme Court, will come at considerable political cost."
Tom Brokaw opened Monday's NBC Nightly News by promising "race will be a major issue in the contentious hearings" for John Ashcroft's confirmation, "especially since Ashcroft defended the Confederate agenda of Robert E. Lee." A nice formulation for Martin Luther King Day as Brokaw, for the second night in a row, without quoting one syllable of what Ashcroft actually said, demanded that George W. Bush defend Ashcroft's supposed affection for the "Confederate agenda."
As detailed in the January 15 CyberAlert, in an excerpt on the January 14 Dateline of Brokaw's interview with George Bush Brokaw demanded Bush react to how Ashcroft is "a man who said he's got to speak out on behalf of the agenda of Robert E. Lee." In fact, as only the most obtuse would not recognize, Ashcroft was not defending the Confederacy's pro-slavery agenda but how other values were also at stake during that war. After all, most Southerners did not own slaves so most who died in the war did not have that cause high on their agenda.
(Monday's Today also ran an except from Brokaw's interview and MRC analyst Geoffrey Dickens noticed he hit Bush from the left on abortion: "But already controversies await him. Especially the nomination of former Senator John Ashcroft as Attorney General, who unlike the President-elect, is opposed to abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Have you had these discussions with John Ashcroft about the differences in opinions that the two of you have about abortion?")
Brokaw opened the January 15 NBC Nightly News:
"Good evening on this Martin Luther King holiday, a prelude to what
begins tomorrow in Washington -- the confirmation hearings for John
Ashcroft, the former Missouri Senator who is George W. Bush's choice to
be Attorney General. Race will be a major issue in the contentious
hearings, especially since Ashcroft defended the Confederate agenda of
Robert E. Lee in an interview with the Southern Partisan, a magazine
promoting the culture of the Old South. Over the weekend in Texas I met
with President-elect Bush and asked about the Ashcroft interview and many
A bit later in the interview excerpt Brokaw pushed Bush: "You going to get together with John McCain on campaign finance reform?" When Bush was not adequately enthusiastic, Brokaw pressed him to get on board: "But will it be a first order of business for you to call John down to the White House or to call him up in the Senate and say how do we get together on this?"
Apparently, liberal political positions really trump any racial concerns for Brokaw since while he was denouncing what Ashcroft said in an interview with the Southern Partisan, "a magazine promoting the culture of the Old South," he was holding up McCain as a leader whom Bush should follow. McCain's South Carolina campaign adviser: Richard Quinn, former editor of the Southern Partisan.
For a transcript of Brokaw's entire interview, which inaccurately quotes Brokaw as referring to the "Southern Progressive" magazine, go to: http://www.msnbc.com/news/515320.asp 
Other noteworthy items from the broadcast networks on Monday night: ABC's Peter Jennings suggested blacks "love" Bill Clinton while "it's not possible to get through Martin Luther King Day without focusing on George Bush's choice to be Attorney General." But, ABC provided a more balanced look at Ashcroft's record than did CBS. NBC's Lisa Myers concluded black leaders will only be appeased if Bush adopts their liberal programs and buys them off with more spending.
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Peter Jennings trumpeted: "This has always been a special day for Bill Clinton and today, for the last time as President, he celebrated with people who love him."
After a story from John Cochran on Clinton's Martin Luther King Day activities, Jennings intoned: "It's not possible to get through Martin Luther King Day without focusing on George Bush's choice to be Attorney General. There's been a real storm of protest from political liberals about John Ashcroft and when his confirmation hearings begin tomorrow Democratic Senators will be primed with research about various political positions to which liberals object."
Linda Douglass explained how critics call Ashcroft an "extremist" who is "racially insensitive." Following a hateful soundbite from Al Sharpton, she listed Ashcroft's objectionable views: His efforts as Attorney General to block St. Louis school desegregation, as Governor how he vetoed a bill that "would have increased voter registration in heavily black St. Louis," in the Senate his fight against Ronnie White "and in an interview with a pro-Confederacy magazine, Southern Partisan, Ashcroft called Confederate Generals 'patriots.'"
Ironically, ABC showed a Southern Partisan cover showing a photo of a black man, Professor Walter Williams. But he's conservative, so he doesn't count.
Unlike CBS, however, Douglass gave the Pro-Ashcroft side some time, noting his supporters call the racism charge "outrageous." They point out, she relayed, that he voted to approve 26 of 28 blacks to the federal bench, as Governor was one of the first to sign a bill creating a Martin Luther King Day and he appointed blacks to state judgeships.
-- NBC Nightly News. Following Tom Brokaw's
opening effort to discredit Ashcroft quoted in #3 above, Lisa Myers looked
at how Bush is reaching out to blacks but leaders like Jesse Jackson are
calling for protests of his presidency as Al Sharpton called for an all
out "war" on Bush. "What will it take to heal the
wounds?" She answered, a complete capitulation to the liberal agenda,
though she didn't use the word liberal:
From the January 15 Late Show with David Letterman , the "Top Ten Bill Clinton Future Plans." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Hire relationship counselor; see if he and Monica can give it
And from the Late Show Web site, a couple of the "also ran" extra entries which didn't make the final cut:
-- Write tell-all book: "99 Other Interns You Didn't Hear
Numbers 9 and 6 may give him ideas.
-- Brent Baker 
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