Forward America--II

This blog deals with the American press. The editor's basic contention is that American democracy will not thrive unless the press vigorously explores all sides of basic questions and is not afraid to speak truth to power.

Sunday, March 30, 2008



The Eleventh Court of Appeals has granted former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman a release from prison on bail appeal. It found that he was not a flight risk and that his appeal raised significant and “substantial questions of law and fact.” He convicted of accepting a bribe in what appeared to be normal political conduct, rewarding a political contributor. Siegelman was released on March 28, 2008 and returned to Montgomery.

The former Democratic governor has claimed he was subjected to a political prosecution. The case has attracted considerable attention because so many irregular circumstances attended it. It was argued that Karl Rove was behind the prosecution, the jury was tainted, and that there were good reasons why the judge should have recused himself. Democrats have pointed to it as a perfect illustration of how politicized and corrupt the Bush Justice Department has become. We can expect that there will be enormous pressure and massive efforts to see that the conviction is upheld.

Siegelman intends to testify before Congress. His goal is to get Karl Rove to also appear and tell what he knows about the prosecution or take the Fifth Amendment. Rove has previously refused to answer a Congressional subpoena, and the Department of Justice’s refusal to act on two recent contempt citations suggests there is little point in subpoenaing Rove again.

Governor Don Siegelman was found guilty of bribery and sentenced to 7 years, 4 months in prison in June 2007. Richard Scrushy, a wealthy Health South executive, also went to prison. He gave a total of $500,000 to Siegelman’s Alabama Education Foundation, a campaign to use lottery money to support secondary education lottery campaign to support education. Scrushy had served on Alabama’s Certificate of Need Board under the three previous governors. It decides what hospital facilities need to be created. Scrushy wanted to get off the board, but the governor persuaded him to accept reappointment. The three previous governors had appointed this man to state boards, and he had contributed to them. Not long before this case, the lead prosecutor handled the conviction of another Alabama governor. In that case, the defendant profited personally but the prosecutor still recommended probation.

The Sigelman case was unusual in that the defendant did not profit from the so-called bribe. Prosecutors argued that the Siegelman campaign had guaranteed the debt of the Alabama Educational Foundation, and that Scrushy’s contribution in effect prevented the governor from having to pay off the foundation’s debt. It is doubtful if the governor personally would have had to pay off that debt. The rewarding of a contributor with an appointment is not unusual at the state or federal level. Professor Stephen Gillers of the New York University School of Law noted that the prosecution was unable to prove corrupt intent.

Siegelman was Alabama’s leading Democrat, having been elected to each of the state’s four top offices. This case, put a permanent end to his political career. Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General and co-chair of the McCain campaign, said: “I personally believe that what happened here is that they targeted Don Siegelman because they could not beat him fair and square.”

The case was based on the testimony of Nick Bailey, who had been indicted for taking bribes. The governor did not know his assistant was selling state contracts. Bailey also admitted that he was not present when Siegelman appointed Scrushy to the board. But he said that Siegelman came out of the meeting with a check for $250,000 to the foundation. The prosecutors had the cancelled check and knew that it was cut days after the meeting. Yet they did not produce the check during the trial.
Bailey told a friend, Amy Methvin, that that he was going to repeat in court what the prosecutors told him to say as part of a “quid pro quo.” The witness met with the prosecutors about 70 times to go over and memorize the testimony. He was repeatedly required to write out his testimony as an aid to memorization. Those notes should have been turned over to the defense. They were not.

Gary White, a Republican commissioner in Jefferson County, was pressured to give inaccurate testimony or face malicious prosecution himself. He refused and was prosecuted. Recently, a federal judge in Birmingham looked into the matter and “established a prime facie case of impermissible conduct” on the part of the prosecutors.

Time and CNN learned in October 2007 that another witness, Clayton Young, in the case also told US Attorneys on May 8, 2002 that he had also made illegal contributions to several ranking Republicans. The problem is these Justice Department officials did not move against any of the Republicans. Clayton Lamar (Lanny) Young, Jr. is a landfill developer and lobbyist who found it necessary to work both sides of the political street. He admitting making illegal contributions to Siegelman, but he added that he gave tens of thousands to leading Republicans such as one-time state Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now a U.S. Senator, and William Pryor, Jr., another attorney general who is now a federal judge. He named other prominent Republicans. Young went into detail about how the political money was laundered and reached the candidates. Somehow Time obtained the transcript of his testimony.

Attending the meeting with Young in the office of U.S. Attorney Canary was his personal attorney, US prosecutors, FBI agents and investigators from the office of the Republican state attorney general, and someone representing public integrity section of the Department of Justice in Washington.

The Justice Department people had an obligation to check out the entire story, not just the part about Democrat Siegelman. Not to do so would be to abuse prosecutorial discretion. Several of the attorneys present had worked for Sessions and Pryor. They had a conflict of interests here and should have reused themselves and also informed a third party about the details involved in the situation. Those involved in the prosecution neither looked into the charges against Republicans, nor recused themselves and found an honest third party to inform about what was transpiring.

Siegelman’s attorneys found some of Young’s testimony amid thousands of documents acquired through discovery, but Judge Mark E. Fuller refused to permit them to introduce the information. He ruled it irrelevant. Not long before Fuller became a federal district court judge; he had been involved in the campaign to prevent Siegelman from being reelected.

During the sentencing procedure, the home of Susan James, one of Siegelman’s lawyers, was entered and her files accessed. Nothing appeared to have been taken. The Siegelman home was also invaded at that time.

Prosecutors also demanded that he pay $118,000 in restitution charges connected with charges on which a jury acquitted him. The judge first ruled for the prosecution and later changed his mind.

Two jurors were caught exchanging e-mails about how they could sway fellow jurors to vote to convict. They also searched the Internet to find more evidence against Siegelman. Some of the Googled information was a WSFA TV Courtroom Chronicles blog presenting evidence against the former governor that was presented while the jury was out of the room. Their e-mails were even featured on a WOTM Special Report. The judge was not inclined to pursue the matter.

Chief Federal District Judge Mark E. Fuller denied bail while the case was on appeal. The judge also denied granting the former governor the customary 45 days the convicted are given to put their affairs in order. Siegelman was shackled in leg irons and handcuffs and taken out of the courtroom and off to a federal penitentiary. In essence, the judge decided the former governor was an extreme flight risk. Maybe this was because Civil Rights leader Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth stood by the former governor during the trial. The civil rights hero managed to escape his house in 1956 when the Klan tried to blow it up with 16 sticks of dynamite. Subsequently, Fuller’s office has delayed releasing the trial transcript, which has held up the appeal.

The U.S. Marshall’s service provided Siegelman with a tour of federal prisons, feeding him bologna sandwiches and similar fare and only permitting him to read the King James version of the Bible. The tour started in Atlanta; then he was moved in the middle of the night to Texarkana, passing through Michigan, New York, and Oklahoma. Finally, he was settled in the Oakdale, Louisiana federal penitentiary, where he worked as a prison janitor.

Before sentencing, Siegelman took his case to the press. Prosecutors retaliated by threatening to charge him with obstruction of Justice and heaping “disrespect on this court.” Judge Fuller wasted no time in indicating that 5 to 7 years could be added to the sentence. After the sentencing, the prosecution again raised the threat of contempt charges and obstruction of justice charges. After the Siegelman was jailed, Assistant U.S. Attorney Feaga threatened to bring obstruction of justice charges against Siegelman. Most likely he was referring to efforts to interest the press in this highly unusual case. Colonel Feaga is a reservist who is connected to t he JAG office at Langley Air Force Base, where Doss Aviation, a firm tied to Judge Fuller, is a fuel distributor. It is possible that Feaga could play a role in reviewing the contracts let there.

Dana Jill Simpson of Rainsville, Alabama, a Republican operative and attorney, signed an affidavit one month before the sentencing in which she swore that campaign workers discussed pressing the case against the governor in a 2002 teleconference with Rob Riley as a way to force Siegelman to not pursue his case in the disputed election. Simpson said she also heard Canary say he would get two of “ his girls “—US attorneys in Alabama— “to take care” of Sieligman. One of the women was Canary’s wife who was eventually forced to recuse herself from the investigation

During the call, the governor’s son, Rob, said that the work of “these girls” would insure Siegelman could never run for office again. She added that Bob Canary said he had discussed the matter with his friend Carl Rove. Adrianna Huffington has reported that former BellSouth exec Richard Scrushy became a big target in the prosecution because his conviction would help along a class action case against BellSouth, in which Alabama Governor Riley’s son was a lawyer for plaintiffs.

Mr. Canary had received $38,000 for serving as advisor to Riley’s running mate, Steve Windom, and that money flowed into a joint account with Canary’s wife, Leura. William Canary then became Riley’s campaign advisor. After the election, his wife Leura fact used her job as assistant U.S. Attorney against Siegelman. Republican political operative Bob Canary admitted under oath that he had been instrumental in getting the Department of Justice to go after Siegelman. . Subsequently, the Department of Justice has offered inaccurate and misleading information about the deep involvement the two women in t he prosecution.

The governor’s attorneys did not use Simpson’s sworn statement in the case; perhaps it came in too late.

Ms. Simpson’s house was burned to the ground and her car forced off the road by an Alabama law enforcement officer and was totaled. Attacks upon her have caused her to reaffirm her statement and add:

A former lawyer came to see me and said he was sent by Governor Bob Riley and Gerald Dial. This man asked me to do things that I worried were illegal and certainly unethical in the Senate election contest against Democratic Senator Lowell Barron, Senator Zeb Little, Senator Roger Bedford and Senator Hank Sanders [ all Democrats] . I did not want to get mixed up in these things and told him I was not interested in any involvement.

Simpson knew Governor Riley since their student days at the University of Alabama, and she has boxes full of files to prove she worked with him in many matters. Riley denies any close association with her. She broke with him in 2006 after being asked to do what she thought was “dirty, untrue” research to frame a prominent Democrat.

When a reporter for the Huntsville Times asked Rove about the case, he said, “I know nothing about any phone call.” Later, on March 3, 2007, Rove and his wife Darby held a dinner party for an attorney who had been a key member of the prosecution team in Montgomery at their vacation home at Rosemary Beach in Florida.

Acting US Attorney Louis V. Franklin, who put Siegelman away, claimed that only he had decided to indict Siegelman, but he took over the case only after others had pursued the matter. Franklin went out of his way to insist that Carl Rove was not involved in the case in any way. He made the very unusual claim that he was able to act virtually independent of Washington in this case. In his zeal to nail Siegelman, Franklin requested a 30-year sentence. Rove had worked several campaigns in Alabama, and there is strong evidence that he had worked closely with an FBI agent in 1990 in investigating the office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner John Hightower. Rove was then working for Hightower’s opponent, Rick Perry.

The effort to jail Siegelman began in 1999, before the conference call Simpson recalled. Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, the Republican who upheld the very questionable 2002 vote count, began an investigation of Siegelman. He decided there was not enough evidence to bring a case under state law, and he approached Karl Rove about bringing in the Department of Justice.

The “girls” who went to work on Siegelman had been Federalist Society members and recent Bush appointees: Alice Martin in the Northern District and Leura Canary in the Middle District. A federal judge was to throw out Martin’s case. Canary eventually had to recuse herself. After this, the case seemed to be losing steam. Then the younger Rob Riley told her in 2005, “We’ve found another judge.” This was Judge Fuller. Rob added that Fuller would “hang Don Siegelman.” The new effort to jail Siegelman began just as he was cranking up another effort to run for his former office. Later, Simpson told the House Judiciary Committee that Fuller hated Sigelman because Fuller believed the governor had him audited back when the judge was a district attorney. This testimony prompted Virginia Republican Randy Forbes to demand a Justice Department investigation of Simpson. Fuller was also unhappy with a Siegelman-appointee who replaced him as district attorney. The new D.A. dug up evidence that Fuller and his senior assistant were engaged in a pension-spiking scheme.

In 2002, Fuller was a member of the executive committee of the Alabama Republican Party during the Riley-Siegelman election. He has financial ties to a Houston firm that has been a CIA front, and he owns 43% of Doss Aviation, whose subdivision, Aureus International, sells supplies to the FBI, which was involved in the case. The Chief Judge, a federal employee, is listed as a corporate officer of Doss, a firm with many federal contracts.

It is claimed that beneath the surface, the fierce opposition to Siegelman in 2002 was due to his efforts to head off casino gambling on Indian reservations. These activities were to be controlled by Russian organized crime. Imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff had been involved in the scheme. A scandal subsequently erupted involving fraud connected with casino identity cards. Some Alabama businessmen who invested in the casinos also were bilked out of millions.

G. Douglas Jones, one of Siegelman’s lawyers and himself a former U.S. attorney has learned that at that time the Siegelman investigation seemed to be running out of steam. Then, people in Washington insisted that the local US attorney “Take another look at everything.” Jones says that the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ was “intimately involved.”

The case should be considered in the context of a hard-fought reelection campaign in 2002, which Siegelman conceded to Rob Riley after a two-week legal battle. During the campaign, a GOP deep cover operative was photographed placing Riley signs at a Klan rally. The idea was to then claim the man was a Siegelman employee. Siegelman lost after the results in heavily Republican Baldwin Country were restated to reduce his total by more than 7,000 votes. It was said that a computer glitch caused his total to be overstated. No Democrats were present when the county’s returns were restudied and restated. Attorney General Bob Prior ruled that there was nothing wrong with the procedures involved in restating the vote, and state courts upheld him. President Bush then rewarded Prior with a recess appointment to the federal bench.

CBS’s “Sixty Minutes” recently ran a segment on the Siegelman case which clearly demonstrated that the prosecutors used testimony they knew to be untrue and that they failed to exculpatory evidence to t he defense attorneys. When the segment aired, WHNT, which serves northern Alabama, had a mysterious service interruption. The station, which had been hostile to Siegelman, claimed there was a technical problem emanating from New York.

The House Judiciary Committee is attempting to review the matter, but it turns out that some of Rove’s e-mails relating to his Rosemary Beach dinner party for Steve Feaga, one of the prosecutors, have been lost. The White House has put out many stories about the millions of lost e-mails, the latest being that they were lost when the hard drives of replaced computers were destroyed. It was reported that Assistant Attorney General Craig Morford and former Senator Fred Thompson also attended the dinner party.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee are asking that the Justice Department turn over documents on the prosecution of Siegelman and on two other cases they believe may have been politically motivated. Although the deadline for turning over the documents has passed, the Justice Department had not complied with the request. Jill Simpson testified before six staffers of the House Judiciary Committee on September 14, 2007. Some Democratic insiders suggest she accept the free representation of a DC insider, David Laufman, who has long been associated with GOP causes and political operations. She decided to stay with one of her Alabama attorneys. On the day that the Eleventh Circuit announced the decision to release Siegelman on appeal bond, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers announced the committee wanted Siegelman to testify because the Justice Department was still stonewalling the committee on this matter.

The Department of Justice has rejected a FOIA request by an Alabama attorney who wanted to see the paperwork on claims Leura Canary had a conflict of interest in the case. On the other hand, it somehow it provided the Mobile Press-Register with a key document. That paper was also given all sorts of information about the Siegelman grand jury proceedings although providing such information violate Rule 6(e). The trouble is the rules do not apply to this information because there is no one to enforce them.

Investigative journalist Josh Marshall recently reported that unnamed lawyers in the DOJ believe the Department should take another look at the case and the prosecution. An FBI investigation of the prosecution’s ties to politics and the White House was opened, but great pressure has been exerted to prevent the agents from looking very far.

Governor Riley and his son have been accused of commissioning some distasteful research into the life of John Caylor, an investigative journalists, who has probed the Siegelman case and also alleged corruption tied to Governor Jeb Bush in Florida. Not long after the clandestine research began, Caylor’s mother, Nellie Ruth Caylor, was murdered on August 2, 2006 by unknown assailants. She supported her son’s activities and was afraid for her life. Her death was most probably a coincidence, but it is worth mentioning because there has been violence in the Siegelman case and because the police report on her death did not seem to match the facts. Caylor claims first-hand knowledge that an assistant prosecutor tied to the Siegelman case attended a dinner party at Karl Rove’s Florida house on or about March 3, 2007. Caylor claims to have copies of records that show that back in the 1980s Mark Fuller assisted the CIA in moving various kinds of contraband during the Iran/Contra days.

Fifty-two Republican and Democratic former state Attorneys General have signed a statement claiming the case needs to be reviewed by the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. There statement included reference to the jury irregularities.

The New York Times noted that the firing of the eight US attorneys provided evidence that the Bush has used the Justice Department partisan purposes, and it suggested that There is reason to believe [Siegelman's] prosecution may have been a political hit, intended to take out the state’s most prominent Democrat, a serious charge that has not been adequately investigated." One might even wonder about the remaining 1,192 Republican U.S. Attorneys. Are they pleasing the White House by engaging in political prosecutions? We know that this Justice Department has investigated seven Democrats for every Republican it has looked at. The most recent political prosecution is that of Cyril Wecht in Pittsburgh; who is being represented by the state’s former Republican Governor, Richard Thornburg.

If Siegelman was indeed a political prisoner, it is unlikely that most of the mainstream press will tell the public or that Congress will ever get the information it needs to review this matter. The case has the makings of “Watergate of 2008, ” or perhaps “Justicegate.” Expect the Bush White House to move heaven and earth to see that Siegelman’s appeal fails. This case is just the tip of an iceberg of political corruption in the DOJ. Conservative legal analyst Bruce Fine has noted: “We have a Justice Department that has substantially been turned into a political arm of the White House.” The prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman demonstrates this and shows that justice is again off the tracks in Alabama and the continued stonewalling of efforts to look into this case and those of the eight fired U.S. attorneys demonstrates that the Department of Justice has not returned to the rule of law since Alberto Gonzales left.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


Last night, a gentleman from Columbia, South cArolina called Mike Wallace on a call-in radio show, accused the media of a heavy liberal bias, and said Dan Rather had helped manufacture information against President Bush in the 2004 campaign. The latter charge is adressed in another posting here. Since the seventies, the claim of heavy media b ias has been made as part of an effort to arouse Middle America against a so-called elite that was trying to destroy its culture and mislead it.

Right-wing populism is based on the idea that the majority of virtuous Americans are victimized by an elite that is out to deceive them and attack traditional American culture. An essential part of the argument is that the mainstream press cannot be trusted, that it is dominated by a liberal conspiracy to lie to the American people. This complaint must be repeated on a daily basis to justify the existence of a plainly biased conservative information machine, most notably found on the cable channels and talk radio.

The press in the 1970s was blamed for the loss of the Vietnam War and driving Richard Nixon from office.1 Of course, liberals thought that most of the media took too long in reporting what was really happening in Vietnam. It could also be noted that there were very few reports about Watergate developments in 1972. Conservatives complain that the press frequently identifies people as conservative or right-wing but less frequently label people as liberals. Bernard Goldberg, a CBS correspondent, claimed in 2002 that the media was biased against conservatives because it labeled them more often than it labeled conservatives. This set off a debate about labeling that seemed to result in findings that politicians on both sides were labeled about the same number of times. He complained that the media spent too much time reporting on the homeless. He claimed that the census only recorded 600,000 of them and they were largely responsible for their own plight. They were largely mentally ill, drug addicts, or drunks. Another complaint was about the coverage of Palestinian grievances. The fact that there were no Jewish suicide bombers, he argued, should have persuaded media people that Palestinian grievances did not require extensive coverage. The AIDs epidemic, he argued, was blown out of proportion. The media, it was claimed, exaggerated the chances of straights contacting the deadly disease.

Ann Coulter complained that the press never mentions "the atheist left" or "atheist liberals" but frequently refers to "Christian conservatives" and the "religious right." She claimed the latter two terms were used to smear people. However, an analysis of the conservative Washington Times for the year 2000 did not turn up either "atheist liberals" or "the atheist left." That could be because there is no significant political force that could be identified this way. Stanford research scholar Geoffrey Nunberg looked into the matter of labelling and was surprised to discover that the average liberal had "a better than 30 percent greater liklihood of being given a political label than the average conservative does."

Some have complained that the term "right wing" is used more often than "left wing", but a study of Washington Times usage suggested that this leading conservative paper had a liberal bias because it used the term "left wing" more frequently than "right wing." A study of the use of labels by the several newspapers, including The Los Angeles times, The Washington Post, and The New York Times found that liberal politicians had "a better than 30 percent greater likelihood of being given a political label" than conservatives. When commentary and editorials were eliminated, neither side was labeled more frequently. David Cotreau of Virginia Commonwealth University found that most journalists consider themselves centrists. Those who do not identify themselves this way were more likely to be conservative than liberal on economic issues and liberal on social issues. In general, the press tended to be somewhat more conservative than the general public.

A more important test would be to keep track of how frequently the media reports information that is potentially damaging to conservative and liberal interests. A twenty-five year study conducted at Sonoma State University focused on important stories that received very little coverage. It concluded that that the press sided by established economic, political, and social power bases by not paying attention to these matters. .Next to labeling, conservatives seem to be most unhappy about the way stories related to culture are reported.

John Leo, a respected and very capable conservative journalist, complains that those who write news stories about gay marriage, the death penalty, cloning, benefits for illegal immigrants, racial preferences, and gay marriage make it clear that their personal views are different those of most Americans. Presumably they do this by choice of words, such as affirmative action rather than racial preferences, or the facts they chose include in their stories. Leo wrote, "Whether you call it a political bias or the class bias of a similarly educated elite, it amounts to the same thing. And it calls for the same reforms." Of the seven syndicated columnists whose columns appeared in a hundred or more papers in 1990, four were conservatives ,and only one– Ellen Goodman– was liberal. Few would consider her anything other than a very moderate liberal. Later, Leo admitted that two out of three political commentators are conservative and had no problem with that. 6 Decades before, Kevin Phillips wrote in Human Events that it appeared that government lacked the power to deal with "Big Media power" and that the First Amendment was "obsolescent" in this case. He thought "we need a new socioprudential approach that can solve the problem before the government throws the baby of a free press out with the bathwater of Liberal Establishment bunk."

By and large, media people are neutral about religious matters, which meant they are essentially more at home with secularist than with the Religious Right. Their lack of familiarity with conservative religion may come through by means of the adjectives that news writers use in reporting about it. William McGowan offered a better critique of the media in Coloring the News: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism. He thought the problem was that most media people come from the well-educated sectors of the sectors middle and upper middle class. These people are essentially centrists. On social questions, they may veer to the left. On economic matters, they tend to be moderate centrists. Anything to the right of them seems very conservative and hard to comprehend. For that reason, they characterize unfamiliar views view to the right of them as very conservative or rightist. Anything that seems far out to the left of them they call "liberal", but the truth is that there are not that many liberals these days.

By the nineties, right-wing criticisms of the press has made the media very sensitive to coverage on many matters, particularly regarding party politics and economics, that would make it appear liberal.However, there is probably still a bias against conservative Protestants and critics of abortion and homosexuality. There also remains strong media bias against Roman Catholicism that reflects both the education of most journalists and a long-standing American tradition, but it should not be confused with an anti-conservative bias. It may well be true that most national journalists are Democrats, but this could work to the disadvantage of Democratic politicians. Journalists might understand Democrats better because they are people like themselves and be able to more quickly notice when things go awry. Journalists may also register much greater disappointment when Democrats disappoint them, as Bill Clinton did in many ways. Joshua Micah Marshall suggested that this " was is a large part of what made the media's relationship with the Clintonites so toxic." On the other hand, the journalists had less in common with the MBAs and former CEO’s who staffed the second Bush administration and may have been confused or buffaloed by their claims to competence. They did not notice that Vice President Cheney, while leading Haliburton, was snookered into a disastrous merger that eventually cost the firm billions in asbestos claims. The Bushies start meetings on time, and noone leaks information to the press. The press seemed to accept these facts as evidence to support the claim that the administration was competent and efficient. Since the Reagan years, there have been more indications that the press could actually be tilting toward the right, but conservative spokesmen have not noticed this.

John Pilger, the noted Australian and British journalist, argues that most English-speaking journalist think they are objective, and do not sits down and think "I’m now going to speak for the establishment." The problem is that they have internalized so many middle class and middle 0f the road assumptions that they cannot avoid speaking for the powers that be." It would seem that the so-called right and left are labeled without about equal frequency. In most cases, it probably reflects mental laziness rather than ideological bias. Those who object to using these labels have a point; they are seldom accurate or very useful.In the eighties, the electronic media allowed itself to me manipulated by the popular Reagan administration. Reagan had fewer press conferences than any other modern president except George W. Bush. It was obsessed with secrecy and tightly controlled access to information. When White House officials appeared on television, the networks were forced to agree that they be given unequal time.

When Senator Christopher Dodd appeared on David Brinkley’s Sunday program in 1984, the White House required that he be shown between two Reagan spokesmen and that he be given less time than either of them. Secretary of State George Schultz would not appear on Face the Nation unless he was given two-thirds the air time allotted to political spokesmen. It is almost an article of faith for conservatives that the media is biased toward liberalism.

An analysis of media output in 1992 found that even when media accounts were balanced and unbiased, Republicans perceived the media as hostile to their candidates. It did not matter that journalists, perhaps influenced by the bandwagon effect, often picked up stories from the Republican National Committee and printed them with no effort at verification. For example, the story that Al Gore held a fundraiser at the Hsi Lai Buddhist temple in 2000 was repeated so often that Roger Parloff’s thorough rebuttal in the American Lawyer did not stop its spread or lead to corrections. Similarly, there was no effort to examine the veracity of the GOP-inspirerd story that Gore said he invented the internet. Even though television presented more balanced coverage, but Republicans saw it as more "hostile" than the newspapers. The study also showed that the media was biased toward Clinton that year perhaps as part of a bandwagon effect rather than out of agreement with a particular outlook. Many customarily Republican outlets were supporting Bill Clinton.

Although the above study found that newspaper content tilted toward Clinton in 1992, a huge majority of the nation’s newspapers endorsed the reelection of George H.W. Bush, and in 1996 that majority backed Bob Dole against Bill Clinton. Four years later, a majority of the big metropolitan dailies backed the election of George W. Bush against Al Gore. Despite these facts, conservatives continue to complain about a liberal press.

The claim of media bias also arises when the media reports something conservatives think should not be reported. Rush Limbaugh, who complains daily about a so-called liberal bias, becomes enraged when the press reports Democratic comments that are critical of Republicans. He denounced the New England press for reporting a speech Ted Kennedy made complaining that President George W. Bush offered very incomplete plans on what the US would do in Iraq after the Second Gulf War. In another example of alleged media bias, the conservative Media Research Center criticized ABC News before the beginning of the Second Gulf War because Peter Jennings asked soldiers "inappropriate" questions. He had asked if they felt any anxiety about the prospect of fighting. At the same time, Republican Congressmen were asking Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld why he had not imposed censorship on the media.

In 1996, Steve Forbes advocated a flat tax, and the press pointed out that it would most benefit the rich. Conservatives argued printing this claim showed that the press had . Showing the effect of the proposal may have helped Bob Dole in the Republican primaries, a man who has never been accused of being a liberal. Speaking about the coverage of his presidential campaigns, Patrick Buchanan said, "I’ve gotten balanced coverage, and broad coverage—all we could have asked. For heaven sakes, we kid about the ‘liberal media.’"15 There was even considerable evidence that conservative complaints about a liberal media had intimidated the print and electronic press sufficiently to assure conservatives favorable coverage. Screaming about "liberal bias" has been likened to "working the ref" in basketball and football. It has persuaded the established media that it must sometimes "bend over backward to prove they weren’t liberal after all." While not admitting this, Bill Kristol admitted that the "liberal media" seldom had much effect and added that "and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures." Former GOP national chairman Rich Bond admitted in 1992 that complaints about the liberal media was a strategy similar how a Little League coach would "work the refs" because "Maybe the ref will cut you a little slack on the next one." Conservative journalist Bill Kristol acknowledged in 2000 that "The press isn't quite as biased and liberal. They're actually conservative sometimes," and told someone else that "The whole idea of the 'liberal media' was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures."

The strategy of working the ref was implemented by three conservative organizations that screened media output. Accuracy in Media, founded in the 1970s, was founded by Reed Irvine, who looked for items that were favorable to big government or supposedly hostile to business, the family or religion. He later developed the theory that Kenneth Starr had covered up evidence that Clintons were responsible for the death of Vincent Foster. The Media Research Center, operated by William F. Buckley’s newphe L. Brent Bozell, III, is well financed and operates the most highly developed media monitoring operation. It makes no secret of the fact that it is a Republican operation. The Center for Media and Public Affairs is smaller and sometimes more objective than the two larger operations. People from MRC are frequently featured on talk shows, and the press pays close attention to its complaints of unfairness. All these complaints run counter to the effect that the electronic media is owned by huge corporations and that the print media is overwhelmingly in the hands of Republicans.

In 2000, twice as many newspapers endorsed George W. Bush as those that gave Al Gore the nod.These complaints and the impression that the nation is moving to the right has given media content a much more conservative coloration. Media outlet have been rushing to hire conservative commentators since the 1980s. In 2003, an ABC spokesman explained why John Stossel was made an anchor on the progran 2 0/20 by noting that the country had become conservative. He said," the network wanted somebody to match the times."16 If this explanation has validity, it would help account for why the press appeared friendly to liberal policies in the years of liberal ascendancy.

No matter how much the media modifies its coverage to answer Republican criticisms, it is doubtful if the complaints about a liberal media will diminish. They are very effective fueling right-wing populism with its sense of victimhood at the hands of an evil e lite. People on the New Right feel ennobled by persecution and are energized by just rage. In time, New Right political philosophy would assume the form of a religion for many of its adherents. They blended with it an intense professed patriotism, but often these people who spoke so often of their love of America made it clear that they could not stand many other Americans, particularly liberals who made them fearful for the nation’s because these people were to blame for most that ailed the nation. Goldwater and the new conservatives inspired many to enter the political arena, and over three decades they became Republican Congressmen and senators and filled important places in state parties and governments. Some of them became staffers in Republican administrations.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


After his reelection, George W. Bush refused to remove from the table the possibility that the US might attack Iran, and the neoconservatives continued to make their case for doing so. Recent developments, including Uzbekistan’s request that we close an important base, make the attack less likely.

Neoconservatives have been urging substantial air strikes in order to trigger revolts against the Iranian theocracy, which they claimed was a mere house of cards. to next attack Iraq .The neoconservatives have been suggesting that Iranian dissidents would only need a little help in toppling the Iranian radicals. The US would supply that assistance from Azerbaijan, where the Bush administration seems intent on building a base. It just welcomed the "election" of Ilham Aliev, son of the former dictator--who may have been dead two months before the voting.
In January, Seymour Hersh predicted that the US would move against Iran by late summer. Scott Ritter has written that there are signs the preparations for the attack have already begun .No doubt people in the Committee on the Present Danger, administration hawks, and neoconservatives also expected to see an operation underway.

Philip Giraldi, a respected conservative security analyst , has reported that Dick Cheney and the Pentagon have requested a plan for nuclear strikes against Iran to be deployed if there were another 9/11 event. Even the existence of such a plan would set off alarms in the numerous Shiite states that are friends of the US, and this would greatly distress friends of Iran like China. Let’s hope there reports are wrong. But given the administration’s track record and Cheney’s role in ginning up fake intelligence to support the case for invading Iraq, one cannot be certain or sanguine.

Maybe we should welcome the June election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran's new president. Sure, he played a big role in the hostage crisis, but his ascent should disabuse Washington policy-makers of the idea that it would be easy to topple the Iranian regime. His election marks to radical turn, and it is clear that non-westernized Iranians stood behind him. The Iranian regime is not a house of cards and will not collapse easily.

The recent Iran-Iraq pact, difficulties recruiting troops, and unanticipated deterioration of the US military machine are probably all factors in the promoting the abandonment of the Iranian venture This week, for the first time, 51% of the American public sees the Second Iraq War as a mistake. This information, along with other factors, might strengthen the hands of foreign policy realists in Washington and curb the Bushies appetite for adventurism.

This weeks hints that large numbers of troops would be brought home beginning next Spring suggest there has been a shift in policy. The Bush administration is also turning away from references to the "global war on terror." It certainly could not seek a modus vivendi with Iran while using such language. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is in place in Baghdad and is equipped to begin repair relations with Tehran. Without improvfed relations with Iran, it, will not be able to disentangle ourselves from Iraq while saving face and having some influence on the flow of its oil.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Ambassador Joseph Wilson published an op-ed piece in The New York Times two years ago, criticizing the Bush claim that Iraq had sought to purchase uranium in Niger. Days later, Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a covert CIA agent in Bob Novak’s column.

At the same time, journalist Matt Cooper was learning of her identity from a high White House source. It was said that Novak called cable television analyst Chris Matthews to announce it was open season on Plame, but Matthews would not confirm this account. Wilson openly accused Rove of being the leak From the beginning of the scandal, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr., chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney has been accused of mentioning Plame’s identity to reporters in the days before the Novak article appeared. For the next two years, the White House insisted Rove was not involved, and President Bush said he would fire the leaker.

Since July 10, 2005, we have know that Karl Rove told journalist Matthew Cooper that Joe Wilson was sent to Niger by "Wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues...." President Bush modified his position to saying he would fire a leaker if the law had been broken.

Rove reported the conversation with Cooper to Stephen Hadley in the NSC office, saying he was only trying to do Cooper a favor by steering him away from taking Wilson’s charges very seriously. According to the Associated Press, Rove told a grand jury he discussed Plame with both Cooper and Novak, but insisted that his intention was not to reveal her identity as a covert agent.

It is ironic that Ms. Miller has wound up in prison to protect a confidential source or sources in the Bush administration, which she served so well printing false information about weapons of mass destruction which the Bushg administration had fed her. The claimed right to protect confidential sources is based on the press's role as a watchdog of government. In this case, a reporter is in jail protecting a government source could have broken the law.

Rove was questioned three times by investigators and said he learned of her identity from reporters, including Tim Russert, who has denied this. Libby has also said he learned of her identity from reporters A June 10, 2003 classified State Department memo later turned up which revealed in a paragraph, marked "S" for secret, that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative. Rove said he had not seen the memo before his conversations with Cooper and Novak.

The administration empowered a criminal investigation of the leak. This satisfied critics for some time and bought valuable time for the White House and the Republican information machine to reframe the issues involved. Initially, a matter of potential criminal conduct was involved. It clearly involved despicable political conduct, and whole matter begged the question of whether the administration was again lying to the American people, as it allegedly had in ginning up sentiment for war.

Over time, the formidable publicity effort– aided and abetted by all all but a few conservative journalists–- cast aspersions on the honesty and motives of the Wilsons and reduced the question to one of pure politics. While not attacking the Wilsons, even David Gergen
contributed to the effort saying the outing of Mrs. Wilson was just ordinary Washington politics.
Boys will be boys, and her ruined career and the fate of her covert contacts must have been mere collateral damage.

Critics of the Wilsons have also insisted she was not a covert agent under the meaning of the law, even though the CIA had stated she was "an employee operating under cover." From the beginning of this sorry mess, the White House and the Republican information machine have attacked the Wilsons by claiming the trip to Niger was a "boondoggle" and an example of "nepotism." In fact Joe Wilson was an old Niger hand and undertook the assignment without pay. His expenses were reimbursed. His wife even lacked the authority to send him.

CBS News rarely reported on the case, just as it usually ignored the charges against John Bolton who had been nominated to be ambassador to the UN. Burned by its mishandling of charges regarding George W. Bush’s Texas Air Guard service, it simply steered clear of the Rove investigation, as though it involved mere politics. Under Republican control, the two Houses of Congress showed no interest in the matter, but Democrats did conduct an informal, unofficial hearing on the Rove matter. On the PBS program "Reliable Sources," which is supposed to render a balanced account of how the press handles major stories, the host complained that the Rove story had driven the Senator Dick Durbin story off the front page. Durbin , echoing the International Red Cross, had said that some of the abuse of detainees reminded him of Nazi practices. To press fairness watchdog Howard Kurtz, the Durbin remark and Rove matter were both simply political flaps.

Prosecutor Joseph Fitzgerald seems to have persuaded panel of judges that the Intelligence Identity Protection Act could have been violated. However, the law is very tightly drawn, defines covert very narrowly, and specifies that the leaker must have done so with the full intention of exposing a covert agent. Some observers believe it would be almost impossible to prove this. John Wesley Dean has suggested that indictments could be more readily obtained under two other sections of the U.S. code. However, to a layman’s reading, it would seem hard to apply these statutes. White House personnel sign nondisclosure agreements, promising they will not reveal classified information. Fitzgerald could also be looking at a violation of this agreement.

The whole thing might simply go away as it has been reported that Fitzgerald's power to investigate will expire in October, and the Justice Department official he reports to has been replaced with someone close to Bush. The press cannot be counted upon to keep the matter alive or to help in getting to the bottom of the scandal.

The Republican controlled Congress has refused to investigate this possible violation of lasws governing national security. Normally, the CIA automatically does a damage assessment after a breach of security like this. The assessment is then sent to the committees in Congress that deal with security matters. No assessment has been sent to Congress, and had one indicated the damage were minimal it would have been leaked to the press by now.

The investigation has bought time for the administration’s critics to trivialize the lying and ugly tactics that occurred. It has also resulted in the jailing of reporter Judith Miller, who refused to reveal sources for a story she did not write about the leak. In her first days in jail, she was even forced top sleep on the floor. Her jailing is a substantial dividend for people intent on controlling the press. It is likely to still further erode the mainstream press’s interest in investigative journalism.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Judith Miller's Incarceration and the Expanding Threat to A Free Press

David Broder, other reporters, and AP have avoided condemning Karl Rove for outing CIA agent Valerie Plame. They argue that he did not mention her by name, only saying she was Joe Wilson’s wife. Moreover, Rove only said she worked for the CIA; he did not act as a covert operative. It is now certain that Rove told Matt Cooper that Wilson’s wife was with the CIA, but it was only because the virtuous deputy chief of staff was trying to warn the Time reporter off a sensitive story. It could not have been to suggest Wilson would not have gotten the Niger assignment without her assistance. A standard conservative claim is that Rove was really not outing a covert agent.

If Rove wanted to honor the law and not out an agent, he could have avoided saying anything about her. Period. Yet, most of the mainstream media, has aired these RNC talking points--, using the he said-she said--, argued that his approach did not calls for no judgment and no investigation. Some of the mainstream media even repeats the charge that Democrats who worry about corruption–DeLay, Cunningham, or Rove– are simply reciting the nasty concerns of the wild people at Move

Now there is Judith Miller in prison for not disclosing her sources in an investigation of who outed Plame to the press. She did not partipate in the original story. Now we learn she has been sleeping on a cold floor because there is not a bed for her. What is this all about but discouraging an investigative press? Her story grows more complex by the day. It is generally thought that she was an instrument of the Vice President's office in publicizing questionable information about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and that she was a confidant of Scooter Libby, Cheney's chief of Staff. After 85 days in jail, she accepted a release on condition that Fitzgerald only question her about Libby. She subsequently retired from the New York Times in part because some at the paper believed she had not revealled to her editor everything about her conversations with Libby.

Libby was subsequently indicted for obstruction and lying. Because Patrick Fitzgerald said that Libby was the first to reveal Plame's position, famed reporter Bob Woodward came forward to reveal that some othr unnamed person in the White House had told him about Plame a week or so before Libby told Miller. Woodward had all along said this matter did not involve illegalities and was mere politics.

Scooter is not likely to roll over on Cheney. He knows as we all do that Bush Sr. pardoned 6 people involved in Iran-Contra, and that there was almost no adverse public reaction. Chances that Bush II would pardon Scooter if this becoems necessary appear very good.

At the least, the mainstream press should frame her story in the context of an aready declining investigative press. Maybe that is due to economics and/or the effectiveness of entertainment journalism.

Maybe a few thoughtful writers of commentary columns would have placed this in the context of an increasingly cowed press. There is certainly no lack of evidence that the press is become very, very cautious. Of course there is little evidence to prove anyone intentionally wants to cow the press. Still the contextual evidence is worth considering.

-- Hiring, with federal funds, three journalists to sell Bush programs

-- Hiring Ketchum and Associates, again with federal funds, to rank outlets and journalists--maybe compiling an enemies list

-- Stripping Helen Thomas of her position as senior member of White House press corps

-- Reducing access to sources for journalists who write tough stories. Cheney keeping New York Times reporters off Air Force Two ( petty-petulent- and paranoic for such an intelligent man!)

-- Overreaction and distortion of Newsweek's recent error

-- Public Broadcasting changes: three ombudsmen--all Repubublicans!-- to monitor political content, paying consultants to monitor Moyers and three others, featuring the editorial page writers of one conservative paper with no one to offer balance, etc

-- Keeping Jeff Gannon in press conferences to lob softball questions with invented quotes from Democrats. Subsequently Gannon referenced a top secret document in questioning Joe Wilson about his wife. If the investigation of Plamegate reveals where he got the document, it can be considered straight-forward and a success.

-- Continual complaints about a liberal media, despite clear evidence to the contrary. Maybe most jouralists lean a bit left, but they bend over backward to exclude information that will arouse the ire of conservative readers. In basketball, this would be called playing the ref with great success.

Finally, some respected unembedded journalists have had special problems in Iraq. Maybe this claim should not be mentioned became this is unthinkable and would make questions about administration theory appear radical, conspiratorial, and completely over tie top.
If today’s standards mandating self-censorship were applicable in the 1770s, Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, John Adams, and Tom Paine would not have had a hearing!

Monday, June 27, 2005


First we learned that columnist/television host Armstrong Williams had been paid $ 240,000 by t he Department of Education to generate favor5able publicity for Bush’s No Child Left Behind Program. Then it was revalued that $41,500 in tax money was also used to pay columnist Maggie Gallagher to sell Bush’s sexual abstinence program. Now we find that the Department of Health and Human Services paid columnist Michael McManus $10,000 to promote the abstinence program.

The media’s talking heads framed these three stories in the context of journalistic ethics. The use of federal tax funds to promote the president’s campaign for reelection did not come up. Appropriations bills frequently include clauses forbidding the spending of money for any kind of government propaganda.No effort was made to relate these three stories to the huge amounts the Pentagon spent on distributing bogus news story clips to TV stations or the money spent to sell the Medicare prescription drug program on television.

Even the Department of Health and Human Services sent out fake TV news stories on Bush Medicare with an "out cue" saying, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting." Of course, the story about $100 million being paid to the Ketchum public relations firm to devise strategies to best advertize Bush programs with federal funds almost never came up. That vast sum was part of the $250,000,000 the Bush administration spent on PR.

Once the debate erupted over Social Security "reform," the Social Security Administration mailed recipients a booklet telling them that the system was in deep trouble and must be changed. Five years before, it distributed a booklet entitled "The Future of Social Security: Will Social Security be there for you? Absolutely."Clinton spent about half as much as Bush the Younger on PR, but the difference was that the Clinton PR was aimed at getting people to avoid illnesses and eat healthy. Moreover, the Clinton era ads were clearly labelled as being sponsored by the government, but the Bush pieces do not reveal this. Most of the Bush spending was calculated to yield political advantage. The comptroller general ruled that it was illegal to distribute "video news releases" to media outlets, but the Justice Department quickly overruled him.

To link these stories or even question whether what the government did was proper could be seen as biased reporting, so the media exercised self- censorship.A smaller exercise of self-censorship involved the handling of the revelation that a White House press pass had been issued to Jeff Gannon, actually James Guckert, who had very little experience in journalism. Gannon/Guckert did news reports for several internet sites including Talon News, which is linked to some of George.W. Bush's Texas backers. He also wrote anti-gay material for a domain name called "hotmilitarystud." Though unable to obtain Congressional press credentials, he had a White House press pass for almost two years, and even pitched fawning, soft-ball questions to Bush. He continually did the same with White House press secretary Scott McClellan, sometimes inventing statement by Democrats. He had even been permitted to see secret documents revealing that Valerie Plame was a CIA covert operative. The talking heads rarely mentioned his inventions or soft ball questions or his claim to having seen confidential material on Plame. The focus was on how such a mistake could have been made, and some had to poor taste bring up some unrelated matters about his background. MSNBC briefly showed interest in the story, calling it "Gannongate."His departure from the White House press converences does not mean Scott McClellan will face many more tough questions. Hedrik Hertzberg, has written in the New Yorker that "Softball is often the name of the game at the White House press converences, and it is not uncommon for a correspondent to serve up an intentional walk."

Again, telling the whole story or trying to place events in an understandable context could be seem as displaying liberal bias, so self-censorship was again the rule. Maureen Dowd noted that not even "the Nixon White House [did] anything this creepy." Taken together, these stories suggest there is "an attempt to reinvent" the press.

In the second and third weeks of June, Republican talk AM radio made it clear what kind of press was desired-- one that would not report inconvenient facts. Those who reported on any turture or abuse in detention centers had their patriotism questioned.Here and there, a few journalists try to see the whole story, but their work is met with cries about the media's so-called liberal bias and unfairness. Bill Moyers, formerly of PBS, noted that the objection was not so much to his outlook as to the the fact that "I'm doing journalism that isn't determined by the establishment. You don't get rewarded in commercial broadcasting for trying to tell the truth about institutions of power in the country."

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Through intimidation, playing favorites, withholding routine information, excessive use of secrecy, formidable deceptions, and endless complaints about the so-called "liberal media bias," the Bush administration has succeeded in reducing the mainstream press to a largely stenographic role, that of simply putting out the Bush administration line. Bush media advisor Karen Hughes rightly observed that "We don’t see there being any penalty from the voteres for ignoring the mainstream press." Under the second Bush, the press has been forced to largely forfeit its role as critic and source of alternative information. Journalism students are taught that the press has the First Amendment role of holding those in power accountable, but the function is only inform. Bush’s Chief of Staff Andrew Card has denied that the mainstream press has a check and balance function. Without it, democracy will not function very well, but it will be easier for the Right to govern.

By the end of George W. Bush’s third year in the White House, Harpers’ Magazine publisher Rick MacArthur told a radio interviewer that the "White House press corps...has now turned into ...[a] full time press agency for the President of the United States." Later in the interview he added that the public should "assume that the press is now part of the government." On reflection, Mac Arthur would certainly back off from full meaning of these assessments, but he was correct in noting that the national press had lost its ability to critically cover this GOP administration.

The Bush administration had shown enormous skill in information management. It insists upon enforcing the Pentagon’s 1991 ban on taking photographs of coffins carrying the bodies of American soldiers at Dover Air Force Base. When the President held a huge rally for troops at Fort Carson, the press was ordered not to talk to any soldiers before, during, or after the rally. They obeyed, and only the Rocky Mountain News reported on the orders given to t he press. 1
The skill of the Bush administration in manipulating the press was demonstrted in 2004, when the Social Security Administrtion ran many advertisements clearly touting the advantages of Bush’s prescription care plan.

Few noticed that the advertisements could have a political effect. Later that year, the Department of Education, paid $700,000 to an agency to advertise Bush’s No Child Left Behind program, a major Bush bragging point. A public relations firm was also paid to rank and evaluate media outletes and reporters on whether they were favorable to this legislation. For some, this seemed like the enemies list Charles Colson created for Richard M. Mixon. The department also paid TV talk show host Armstrong Williams $240,000 to talk up the program in the black community. When the payment came to light, what little discussion there was about blurring the lines between a journalist and an paid advocate.

The federal government paid Maggie Gallagher $21,500 to promote the Bush approach to marriage, and another conservative columnist was paid $10,000 to do the same. The use of taxpayer money for political purposes was nearly a non-issue.

Even abuses of the White House press secretary’s briefings did not cause a great uproar. Minor conservative journalist Jeff Gannon–his real name was Guckert– was issued temporary passes to attend press conferences. Gannon once broke the story that John Kerry could become the first gay president. Scott Mc Clellan seemed to call on Gannon when he was in a spot and Gannon would get him off the hook, sometimes by manufacturing quotations from leading Dcemocrats. Gannon claimed to be one of the reporters who broke the story that Valerie Plame was a covert CIA agent, and he was the only one to see a confidential CIA document revealing her identity. In 2005, President Bush began pushing his plan to privatize Social Security, and Social Security Administration employees protested that their Administration had been forced to twist the facts about the systems solvency in order to generate support for the personal retirement accounts.

Writing in November, 2003, Russell Baker referred to "the curiously polite treatment President Bush was receiving from most of the mainstream media." James Warren, Washington bureau chief of the Republican Chicago Tribune claimed the press was so busy "sucking up to Bush" that "We have been effectively emasculated...." Columnist Anna Quindlen noted that Bush enjoyed " a Teflon coating slicker and thicker that that of Ronald Reagan." Even after turning a budget surplus into a huge deficit, failure to find Ossama bin Laden and Saddam and Saddam Hussein, and admitting that there was no evidence to connect Iraq with the 9/11 attack on America, Bush enjoyed gentle treatment from the press. Quindlen asked, "imagine what the response from Republicans—and reporters—would have been if Bill Clinton had been responsible for one of those things…."

About Me

Sherm spent seven years writing an analytical chronicle of what the Republicans have been up to since the 1970s. It discusses elements in the Republican coalition, their ideologies, strategies, informational and financial resources, and election shenanigans. Abuses of power by the Reagan and G. W. Bush administration and the Republican Congresses are detailed. The New Republican Coalition : Its Rise and Impact, The Seventies to Present (Publish America) can be acquired by calling 301-695-1707. On line, go to It can also be obtained through the on-line operations of Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do not consider purchasing it if you are looking for something that mirrors the mainstream media!