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||HOWARDS END! E. D. Hill slimed a favorite target. Anyone seen Howard Kurtz?|
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2002
TODAYS LEADING PRESS STORY: In todays New York Times, Hair Club member Adam Nagourney says that Gore may not run. Heres part of the reason:
NAGOURNEY: Many of Mr. Gores associates said he had been disturbed in the last month by what one described as the baggage he has with the media. Mr. Gore is distressed, one associate said, by a new round of news reports, echoing questions from the 2000 race, about whether he is reinventing himself for a presidential run. This associate described Mr. Gore as convinced that Mr. Bush could be defeated in 2004 but wondering whether another Democrat might be a stronger challenger.
Duh. We discussed this aspect of the coverage several weeks ago (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/19/02 and 11/23/02). More on this topic tomorrow.
E. D. HILL, FOXS NASTY DISSEMBLER: Maybe its possible to be more obtuse, but if so, we havent yet seen it. On Tuesday evenings Hannity & Colmes, Terry Jeffrey of Human Events tried a bit of misdirection. He wanted to get the focus off Lott. Try to believe that he said this:
JEFFREY: I remembered something from reading David McCulloughs excerpts of the biography of Harry Truman. Just to make sure I got it right I went back and read it about five times today. Because what Im going to say is very shocking, but if people want to check it themselves, look on page 164 in McCulloughs book about Harry Truman. When Harry Truman first ran for office, Jackson County judge in Missouri in 1922, he was concerned about the Ku Klux Klan vote. So you know what he did, according to McCullough?
Did Harry pony up the dough? Well flesh out the answer below. But we couldnt help chuckling at Jeffreys attempt to obfuscate and, yes, change the subject. Readers, the flap this week has not concerned Thurmonds conduct in 1948. Instead, the flap concerns a statement made by Trent Lott just last week. At THE HOWLER, were not big fans of Great Big Flaps, and we hold no view on the state of Lotts soul. But Jeffreys performance was something to see. When did Terry Jeffrey become a high priest of moral equivalence?
COLMES: Youre obfuscating and changing the subject. Were not talking about Harry Truman in 1922.
JEFFREY: Harry Truman, a Democrat hero, Alan, according to David McCullough, ponied up $10 to join the Ku Klux Klan.
Most conservatives simply said that Lott made a dumb statement. But others were trying to change the subject. Sean Hannity, of course, is always prepared. As weve long told you, Sean happens:
HANNITY: Heres what I want to focus on today
.What bothers me the most is the double standard by Democrats Sharpton, Jackson. Let me give you an example. We have back in October of this year, William Jefferson Clinton, in Arkansas saying wonderful things, what a remarkable man J. William Fulbright, former senator from Arkansas isa known segregationist. He gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award, a known segregationist, one of 19 senators who issued a statement entitled The Southern Manifesto, condemning the 54 Supreme Court decision of Brown vs. Board of Education, defending segregation. Why hasnt anyone condemned Bill Clinton for doing far worse than what Trent Lott has done here?
Why hasnt anyone condemned Bill Clinton? Duh! Because he didnt say wed be better off if Brown had been repealed. But Hannity had other targets to slime. As always, of course, there was Gore:
HANNITY: Its interesting. I never heard Al Gore criticize his father, who in the most important vote of his life, was nowhere to be found for the Civil Rights Act of 64.
He hasnt? Gores father led in civil rights throughout his career; his vote against the 1964 act was the one notable exception. But although its completely irrelevant to the matter at hand, Gores biographers describe the way he opposed his fathers decision. Heres a nugget from David Maraniss (The Prince of Tennessee):
MARANISS: [Gore and his father] had several arguments in 1964, when Gore Sr. opposed that years federal civil rights act, disappointing his son, and after that vote, which the senator called the biggest mistake of his career, he listened more attentively to young Als advice. Six years of bold outspokenness made Gore Sr. a folk hero among liberals and antiwar activists, but also a marked man back home.
As usual, Hannity was simply spinning. He engaged in an old hobby, sliming Gore.
A lesser breed was sliming Dems. And no one did it like the Fox & Friends crewthe gang who run the worst news show in the history of American television. A three-hour reading of con agit-prop, the program is a daily reminder of how low our press corps has fallen. On Tuesday morning, reliable loudmouth E. D. Hill made things even dumber than Terry. And she made things meaner than Sean:
HILL: Of course, Al Gore was sued by four Secret Service agents who said that he didnt promote them and he didnt do anything about it. And his familys black maid says that she was forced to sit in the hot Gore car outside whites only restaurants and no one did anything about it. But I do think that what Trent Lott said was wrong.
Of course, Hill saidand then she recited a pair of bogus stories. Start with her comment about the lawsuit. Filed in early 2000, the suit alleged misconduct by the Treasury Department, not by Gore. (Among other things, the lawsuit claimed that the Secret Service had quotas for agents guarding Clinton and Gore.) Gore was sued by four Secret Service agents? At best, Hill was just reading spin; at worst, she was simply lying. And just how nasty can E. D. Hill be? Lets take a look at that poor black maidand marvel at the remarkable conduct which goes on each morning at Fox.
Hills story truly does stand out, both in its rank contempt for the truth and in the nastiness which it reveals. The Gores maid says she was forced to sit? In fact, the incident in question dates from 1939, and there is no sign that the person in question has said much about it lately. Here is the passage from the Maraniss bio. What a shame that people like Hill hold stewardship over our discourse:
MARANISS: The Gores personally felt the evils of segregation during the long car trips they began making in 1939 between Carthage, Tenn., and Washington after [Al Gores father] was elected to Congress. They took along a black nanny, Ocie Bell Hunt, to look after their young daughter, Nancy. On the first drive, according to historian Tony Badger, they could find no restrooms for Hunt to use and had an exhausting time searching for a motel that would lodge an interracial traveling party. Finally they came upon a little motel in east Tennessee that would allow the Gores and Hunt to stay overnight, provided they arrived after dark and left before other guests in the morning. The trips continued in this humiliating fashion year after year, until well after Al Gore Jr. was born in 1948. He said in a recent interview that he thought he had some early memory of those incidents, but added that perhaps he merely remembered being told the stories so many times. That was a lesson in injustice that was driven home, he said. And it was reinforced by frequent commentary from my parents.
Hume and Barnes said that Lott should explain. Spinners like Hill took a different approach. And guess what? This conduct has driven your discourse for years, largely ignored by your good guy reporters. Howard Kurtz would rather eat live worms on Survivor than report on this kind of press conduct.
Racial injustice was a common theme in the conversations of Pauline Gore, who friends say was the one who fed the familys convictions
What kind of person behaves this way? Answer: The kind of dissembler who now drives your discourse. Too bad Howard Kurtz doesnt care.
TALKING TURQUE-Y: Here is Bill Turques account of the hot Gore car from his bio, Inventing Al Gore:
TURQUE (page 12): [Al Gores father] hadnt lacked for vivid personal encounters with segregation. On the familys car trips between Tennessee and Washington, the Gores were routinely denied accommodations because they traveled with Nancy and Als black nanny, Ocie Bell. Gore eventually found a hotel owner near the trips halfway point willing to put them up if they arrived after dark. And he clearly signaled his belief that the South needed to change; in 1956 he refused to sign Strom Thurmonds so-called Southern Manifesto
Hell, no, Gore said, loud enough for supporters in the press gallery to hear when Thurmond presented him the document on the Senate floor.
Somehow, Turque, like Maraniss, failed to uncover Hills tale of the hot Gore car.
ZELNICK SPEAKS: Sean Hannity is spinning each night, telling his viewers that Gores late father needs censure from Gore about civil rights. As weve long told you, Sean happens! What was Gore Seniors real record on civil rights? Sean Hannity will deceive his viewers, and Alan Colmes will sit by politely. But here is Bob Zelnicks account from his bio, Gore: A Political Life. The book was published by Regnery, the well-known conservative house:
ZELNICK (page 34): The ringleader behind the [Southern Manifesto] was Senator Strom Thurmond
[Gores father] examined the manifesto and concluded it was, as he would recall years later, the most spurious, insane, insulting document of a political nature claiming to be legally founded that I had ever read. Not content with Gores private refusal, Thurmond sought to embarrass him on the Senate floor, alerting the press corps that he planned to approach Gore during the afternoon of March 11, 1956. With the press gallery bulging with witnesses, Thurmond stepped toward Gore on the floor, handed him the document, and said, Albert, would you care to sign our Declaration of Principles?
Thats the way Gores father was described in the Regnery bio. But at Fox, a slimy man with a big, big mouth is spinning viewers blue on this subject. In the morning, Hill is inventing her nasty talesnasty tales that degrade a fine family.
Hell no, said Gore, returning it to Thurmond.
The actions of Gore, [Sen. Estes] Kefauver, and, at the state level, [Gov. Frank] Clement, and their courage and decency on the civil rights issue, would be more a source of political trouble than benefit in Tennessee, though none of the three ever lost an election because of his position, at least until Gores defeat in his 1970 campaign. Each reelection would be challenged and each man would be accused of being out of touch with sentiment in the state, or worse yet, a traitor to his region, his heritage, and his people. None of the three ever backed down. None ever engaged in racial demagoguery. None would ever require sympathetic chroniclers to explain that his conduct had to be judged in the context of his time and its political exigencies. Their courage would inspire later generations of southerners who sought to purge the region of its terrible racial heritage.
Readers, what ever happened to liberal bias? At CNN, Bruce Morton politely says that Strom never meant a word he said. Over at Fox, an outstanding family like Gores is routinely trashed. And spinners like Hill can lie as they pleasebecause Howard Kurtz would eat live worms before hed say one word about it. Quite literally, this spinning and dissembling has gone on for years. So has the cowardly silence of Kurtz. Readers, what ever happened to liberal bias? Anyone seen the beast lately?
WHAT WOULD HARRY DO? Sadly, Jeffrey took some liberties too. He seems to have missed the following section, where Truman gets his ten dollars back:
MCCULLOUGH (page 164): Harry refused at first, but then gave Hinde $10 for membership. Jones insisted on meeting Harry privately at the Baltimore Hotel and Harry agreed. But when at the meeting Jones told him he would get no support unless he promised never to hire Catholics if elected, Harry ended the discussion. He had commanded a mostly Catholic battery in France, he said, and he would give jobs to whomever he saw fit. Apparently the $10 was returned.
Of course, none of this has a thing to do with the statement made by Lott last week. But why did Jeffrey read the book five times if he didnt plan to say what was in it?