Burton & Bossie: Hitler & Wacko; Sidney Blumenthal Special Report
1) Networks virtually ignored
the Clinton scandals over the weekend. On Friday Dan Rather highlighted a
poll showing "57 percent want Starr to drop his investigation of the
President's personal life." On Saturday CBS characterized Gingrich as
2) House Republicans remind Al Hunt of the play
"Springtime for Hitler." And he denigrated David Bossie as
"a duplicitous wacko."
3) Sidney Blumenthal apologized for his "religious
fanatic" insult, but the networks are AWOL. Fox's Brit Hume suggested
why. Plus, Blumenthal used his reporting job to "damage"
conservatives. And a blast from his past: Why he's nicknamed "Grassy
fallout from Burton/Bossie and the executive privilege ruling dominated
the Sunday morning interview shows, the Clinton scandals virtually
disappeared from the network evening programs over the weekend. (Let go
Burton aide David Bossie put in appearances on ABC's This Week and CNN's
-- Friday night, May 8, the three broadcast
networks led with the fall in the unemployment rate. ABC anchor Peter
Jennings took a few seconds to report that the Justice Department lawyers
had recommended an independent counsel be appointed to probe Labor
Secretary Alexis Herman. Both CBS and NBC noted the not guilty pleas
entered by the two Hubbell's. CBS added a full report from Scott Pelley on
the status of Starr's probe. He asserted that Starr's report to Congress
could be ready by July, that Starr won't ask Clinton to appear before the
grand jury but will request a deposition, and that Monica Lewinsky will
get one last chance to come clean.
Introducing Pelley's piece Dan Rather
highlighted Starr's lack of public support and, once again, adopted the
White House spin about how the Lewinsky obstruction of justice
investigation is nothing more than a nosy look into Clinton's
"In a CBS News poll out tonight just
29 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial investigation of
President Clinton. And 57 percent want Starr to drop his investigation of
the President's personal life."
-- Saturday, May 9, the CBS Evening News
and NBC Nightly News (anchored by Keith Olbermann) both featured stories
on the DNC meeting and Democratic hopes to re-take the House. In her CBS
piece Thalia Assuras tagged Newt Gingrich's words as "harsh,"
declaring: "...Democrats in New Hampshire walked out on the Speaker
this week because of his harsh words against the President." His
"harsh" words? Here's the entirety of the soundbite CBS aired
from Gingrich's May 7 address to the New Hampshire legislature: "That
you have the right to know what happened if a law is broken."
Wow. Newt better lighten up.
-- Sunday, May 10 ABC's World News Tonight
included a story summarizing all the attacks on Dan Burton and Newt
Gingrich from appearances by Democrats on the Sunday shows. NBA playoff
action bumped NBC Nightly News, at least in the East, and golf run over
left CBS with time for a nine-minute newscast for affiliates which carry
the CBS Evening News at 6pm ET. CBS's priorities: They managed to squeeze
in two stories on Accutane, an anti-acne drug for teens, and one piece on
Whenever Al Hunt's mind turns to conservatives he thinks about Nazis. The
latest example: On CNN's Capital Gang on Saturday night, May 9, the
Executive Washington Editor of the Wall Street Journal spewed:
"I think Republicans are doing a
rendition -- remember that old Zero Mostel parody Springtime for Hitler? I
think that's what they're doing. The moral charge against Bill Clinton is
being led by Newt Gingrich, the only Speaker in history to be sanctioned
for unethical conduct, the most unpopular political figure in America. Dan
Burton, the committee chairman, now has, at least according to the
Washington Times, has his staff wearing latex gloves because he says
left-wingers are sending him condoms in the mail. His staff aide, Mr.
Bossie, most reporters I know think was a duplicitous wacko."
National Review's Kate O'Beirne snuck in a
quiet retort: "No, that's not true."
Hunt insisted: "Well, Kate, I think I
probably know a few more reporters than you do, and he's a duplicitous
wacko. And finally, while they're trying to decide what they're going to
do, Newt Gingrich is up in New Hampshire and Danny Burton's in Costa Rica
playing golf. I think they're all Clinton moles."
Aren't those sending in condoms the real
"Grassy Knoll" Blumenthal. A Special CyberAlert Report: Network
inattention to his "religious fanatic" comment, Brit Hume
suggesting a reason for media disinterest, an excerpt of the speech in
question, a piece of a Vanity Fair profile in which a journalistic
colleague suggested "he has the mentality of someone who joined the
Communist Party in the 30s," and details about a conspiracy book he
edited 20 years ago. It didn't start with the vast right-wing conspiracy.
On Saturday the Washington Times, but not
the Washington Post, reported that Sidney Blumenthal, a Special Assistant
to the President, apologized for calling Hickman Ewing, a deputy to Ken
Starr, a "religious fanatic." In a front page story on May 9
Jerry Seper reported:
"The apology came after more than 50 House
Republicans wrote to President Clinton, who himself often attends church
carrying a Bible, saying remarks made last month by Mr. Blumenthal during
a speech at Harvard University showed disrespect to religious freedom. 'I
did not intend to offend Mr. Ewing's or anyone else's personal religious
beliefs and I regret if anyone feels offended,' Mr. Blumenthal said in a
"Although he made similar comments
about independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr, he offered no similar
Burton's reference to Bill Clinton as a "scumbag," the networks
have ignored Blumenthal's insult which he uttered in an April 23 address
to the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. At
Clinton's April 30 press conference FNC's Wendell Goler asked the
President whether he stood by the characterization. That evening CNN's
Wolf Blitzer gave a sentence to Blumenthal's comment, but the broadcast
networks have all skipped the insult in the evening and morning. Not even
Friday's apology generated any interest, with none of the network evening
shows touching the matter. Not even CNN's Inside Politics on Friday
mentioned the apology.
But on Fox News Sunday one panelist
defended Clinton while another offered a reason for media disinterest. On
the May 10 show host Tony Snow raised the apology, prompting NPR reporter
Mara Liasson to defend Clinton:
"This is the kind of remark
President Clinton would never, ever make. I mean President Clinton is a
religious man, he goes to church every Sunday and he's been very
deferential and careful about hurting the feelings of any religious
A bit later FNC Washington Managing
Editor Brit Hume recalled how FNC's own Wendell Goler asked about it at
the press conference, "But stories like this do not automatically
resonate with the Washington press corps, which is as secular a group of
people as you will ever encounter and to them, right off the top of their
head, a remark like that seems not very newsworthy."
However, as the Weekly Standard's David
Tell contended in the magazine's May 11 editorial: "During Watergate,
if someone like John Ehrlichman, speaking with the President's imprimatur,
had launched an assault on Archibald Cox at a major American university,
it would have been front page news across the country."
Countering Blumenthal's characterization of
Ewing, Tell asked: "Because Hickman Ewing prays each morning, doesn't
drink, and attends the Fellowship Evangelical Church of Memphis, he is a
-- To give you a flavor of Blumenthal's
anti-Starr ranting, and the "fanatic" comment in context, below
is an excerpt from Blumenthal's April 23 address which I was able to find
on the JFK School's Web site thanks to a citation last week by Greg Pierce
in his Inside Politics column in the Washington Times. Blumenthal follows,
followed by more on his hatred of conservatives and belief in conspiracy
....We are plunged, at least in Washington, into a politics of
defamation, a consuming world of innuendo, false witnesses,
allusion, leaks, and smears. The abuse of the Office of the Independent
Counsel by Kenneth Starr is a transparently disguised attempt to destroy
The original intent of the Office of the Independent Counsel was to remove
it from politics. But Starr is profoundly political in his intent. The
problem is not simply the largesse from Richard Mellon Scaiffe, the
eccentric, right-wing billionaire, Starr's numerous conflicts of interest,
ideological and financial, his speeches at Pat Robertson's university, his
alliances, brazen alliances, with individuals determined to inflict
whatever damage they can on the President.
It is not simply that he has assembled a crew of prosecutorial pirates
with lengthy records of prosecutorial abuse, and installed a chief deputy,
Hickman Ewing, a religious fanatic, who has proclaimed that he operates
from a presumption of guilt. It is not simply that Ken Starr has
jettisoned the language of law, speaking
now of defilers of the temple, the apocalyptic rhetoric of a zealot on a
mission divined from a higher authority. The ultimate problem is that, in
his fervor, he is waging an assault on American rights, that he has
engaged in an anti-Constitutional destructiveness....
Ken Starr is a figure whom the framers sought, in their design, to
have rendered impossible, an inquisitor of unlimited, unchecked
power. Starr, however, lacks any skepticism about his own
certitudes, or even any sense of his unfamiliarity with criminal law....
But Starr is sure he knows the truth and that he should be its
judge. His self-righteousness, his insecurity, his partisanship, his
breath-taking hypocrisy, have fueled an onslaught on rights that is
unethical, illegal, and always political. Now he has appointed himself
grand inquisitor for life.
Ken Starr is on an endless quest, if not for vindication, then of
vindictiveness. But I am certain that in historical retrospect this
perverse episode will be viewed in its proper perspective, as Jefferson
viewed the alien and sedition acts, in his words, "a reign of
END of Blumenthal excerpt
Very mean-spirited, harsh and intolerant,
wouldn't you say? I thought Clinton wanted to bring us all together?
You can read his entire address on the JFK
School's Web site:
(I've tested it and this address does work. Of course delete the space gap
if one occurs at the line break. The _ is a _ not a -).
-- Blumenthal spent his days as a
Washington Post reporter urging his colleagues to do all they could to
hurt Republicans. Here are a couple of noteworthy excerpts from a profile
of Blumenthal by Michael Shnayerson in the May issue of Vanity Fair:
"At Brandeis University, near Boston,
in the mid-'60s, Blumenthal grew his hair long and joined the radical
leftist group Students for a Democratic Society. Brandeis was culturally
liberal and intellectually intense: Blumenthal's friend Ben Gerson, now
Editor-in-Chief of the National Law Journal, remembers him heading home
for his first Christmas vacation with a suitcase filled with Marx and
Freud, and coming back with all the books read."
Blumenthal was picked in 1985 by Washington
Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee to be an "'impact hire' -- someone
whose presence would stir things up," but after rumors circulated
that he wrote a Hart campaign speech the Post moved him off the national
desk. Shnayerson discovered:
"Shunted to the Style section, where
his lack of interest in 'objective' reporting would be of less
consequence, Blumenthal alienated more colleagues by 'holding forth,' as
he admits. 'He used to advise me on my stories, 'If you say it like this,
it will really draw blood,' recalls one Post reporter. 'Usually it was
about some Republican, how to have the most damaging impact. It had
nothing to do with journalism.'
"'He has the mentality of someone who
joined the Communist Party in the 30s,' says another Post reporter who
worked with him. 'The most important think was you worked for the party,
to advance the party. Sidney's main priority is to advance his ideology.
He's an ideologue.'"
You know Blumenthal has to be pretty far
over on the left for a Washington Post reporter to notice his ideology.
-- Finally, while this CyberAlert is
already quite long, a Washington Post article detailing Blumenthal's
involvement with CIA traitors and assassination conspirators. If I don't
run this now I never will and in fact I haven't found a quiet day to run
it until now though it appeared six weeks ago. From the March 30 edition
of Al Kamen's Inside the Loop column:
They don't call White House communications guru Sidney Blumenthal
"Grassy Knoll" for nothing.
We've been looking at parts of a very hard-to-find book he edited back in
1976 called "Government by Gunplay" and subtitled
"Assassination Conspiracy Theories From Dallas to Today." The
breathless jacket blurb talks of "Links in the chain of conspiracy!
How the Zapruder film totally disproves the Warren Commission Report; the
hard evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. government agent; the
strange history of the CIA; Richard Nixon's relationship with organized
Blumenthal, then a writer for the Boston Phoenix who later covered the
right for The Washington Post and wrote five other books, edited the book
and wrote the forward, two chapters and an epilogue in which he argued
that would-be assassin Sara Jane Moore, who in 1975 took a shot at
President Gerald R. Ford, was an FBI informer and "a product of the
very operations that were supposed to have foiled subversion."
"History itself, of course, is not a conspiracy," Blumenthal
sagely intones in the forward. "There are, however, conspiracies in
history. The assassinations of President Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and
Martin Luther King were not isolated, violent tragedies," he avers.
"We were warned what would happen. Richard Nixon and Spiro
Agnew...told us that we were being stabbed in the back during the Vietnam
War; that law and order was breaking down and that a conspiracy was trying
to manipulate ordinary citizens. They were right."
In addition to that riveting analysis, there are some curious contributors
to the book, which Blumenthal says "was almost instantly out of
First there's an introduction by CIA turncoat Philip Agee. Then there's L.
Fletcher Prouty, a retired Air Force colonel and author. He's "Man
X," the guy on the bench played by Donald Sutherland in Oliver
Stone's hallucinatory movie "JFK." Prouty's chapter is "The
Origins of Clandestinism and the CIA."
But most curious of all, Blumenthal was the editor of a chapter written by
Jeff Gerth called "Richard M. Nixon and Organized Crime." Yes,
the same Jeff Gerth who's now at the New York Times and who broke the
original Whitewater story.
Coincidence? We think not.
END of article
Blumenthal must make Oliver Stone proud.
-- Brent Baker
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