Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Conservative Pundits Can't Stop Ganging Up On Kerry

For some conservative pundits, the fact that John Kerry (D-MA) lost the 2004 presidential race just isn't enough.

I suppose, to them, it's just too easy. Kick a man while he's down? Sure. Distort what he says? No problem. Make snide jokes at his expense? Delighted.

On the March 12 edition of CNN's Capital Gang, the discussion was raising the minimum wage.

"(I)f the Republicans were on such defense on the issue of raising the national minimum wage ... John Kerry would have mentioned it in the course of the campaign," said Kate O'Beirne of the National Review. "I don't remember John Kerry ever advocating during this campaign an increase in the minimum wage."

Not true, said liberal panelist Mark Shields. "Senator Kerry did endorse the minimum wage. I heard him do it."

"Very quietly!" O'Beirne snapped back.

"Maybe in his pillow," chimed in host and conservative columnist Robert Novak.

***

So what's the truth?

As dcoumented by mediamatters.org:

-- "Sen. John F. Kerry called yesterday for a 36 percent hike in the federal minimum wage over the next three years, contending that such an increase would help 7 million working people escape poverty," reported The Washington Post on June 19, 2004.

-- "Mr. Kerry has spoken generally about raising the minimum wage throughout the campaign and supports legislation making it $7 sponsored by his colleague from Massachusetts, Senator Edward M. Kennedy," reported The New York Times, also on June 19.

-- The "economy" section of JohnKerry.com, the website for the Kerry/Edwards '04 campaign, featured a detailed plan to raise the minimum wage.

***

But why the let the truth get in the way of a good stereotype? Kerry the loser. Kerry the undecided. I'm surprised we didn't hear O'Beirne or Novak claim that Kerry "flip-flopped" on the issue. Or maybe O'Beirne or Novak could have trotted out that other conservative spin point, suggesting that Kerry was on the left of Kennedy on the issue.

Why are people like O'Beirne and Novak -- especially Novak, given his extremely questionable effort to out CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame -- still allowed to voice their opinions, even after they are caught telling lies?

If O'Beirne or Novak can lie about Kerry on Capital Gang, why should a viewer trust either of them when they make regular appearances on NBC's Meet the Press? Why should readers trust the facts they use to build arguments in their columns?

The off-the-cuff answer from conservatives is that everyone lies, but that doesn't wash, because saying someone lies and actually proving it are two different things. The networks? They probably would say that the ratings support keeping folks like O'Beirne and Novak on the air. But I would argue that there are more responsible conservative pundits available who would draw the same ratings.

The more difficult question is, of course, why do Kate O'Beirne and Robert Novak resort to lying? Perhaps because if they relied on the facts, they wouldn't have much to say.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

there has to be more interesting topics to discuss than whether anyone cares what novak etc have to say or not say about john kerry during his failed presidential campaign. what is the relevance here?

9:11 PM  
Anonymous joe said...

The relevance is that O'Beirne and Novak lie. The comments were made just the other day, as it says in the JABBS.

As JABBS said, why does any network -- especially CNN -- pay liars to spew?

If the roles were reversed -- Paul Begala lying about Bush -- I'm sure Rush Limbaugh would make it a top story, reciting a story from Matt Drudge, from a transcript reprinted on every conservative blog on the web.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Alias: "Cutiepie" Johnson said...

That's a standard conservative response -- their hypocrisy, lying, distortion, doesn't really matter. The ends justify the means, and so on.

When they imply that Dan Rather or Aaron Brown is guilty of such things, then it becomes very relevant.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone seriously needs to explain the difference to these bloggers between straight newscasts, ala rather, and the more frequent cable news magazine type of thing, like defunct crossfire, everything on fox, even meet the press to an extent.

rather's mistake was twofold. first he is a newsman and is supposed to represent the news, not opinion. and second, his timing before an election made him look horrible.

lying is never "right". whatever, the blogger retort "typical conservative response" shows a lack of understanding and intelligence on the part of the blogger writing it.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather: Made a mistake that was later deemed not "politically biased." Rather apologized, btw.

Novak: Lies about Kerry. Broke the law by outing a CIA agent. Never apologizes for anything.

Yes, Novak is a opinion writer and Rather was a straight newsman. And like the above blogger said, lying is lying.

But lying implies that you know the truth, but don't care. What was apparent in the Rather 60 Minutes piece was that he thought he was telling the truth at the time of the report, and very transparently, for several days thereafter.

What can Novak say? That he didn't know that Kerry was outspoken on the issue during the campaign? I guess that would make him ignorant.

Fine, he and O'Beirne are ignorant -- at least on this ussue.

But is it irrelevant? Hardly. Novak and O'Beirne are paid to provide opinions -- opinions based on a series of facts. When they start providing opinions on a series of lies (or based on ignorance of the truth, if you prefer), then CNN has to decide whether a) they should ask Novak and O'Beirne to step down, b) they should ask Novak and O'Beirne to be better prepared or c) they should ask Novak and O'Beirne to retract their incorrect statements.

Capital Gang may be an opinion show, but it's on a news network. CNN can do better in serving the public discourse.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do not generally disagree with anything you say above. You can call novak whatver you like. i dont like him, never have. there are many like him on both sides of the aisle and i dont like any of them. As far as these opinion shows, there is an interesting phenomenon going on relating to cable news. these shows have become the norm and i have to believe this is because in a 24 hr a day news cycle, not having them would equate to no viewership. When CNN was the lone 24 hr channel, they could get away with it but now with competition..... i guess i hold the actual news (on cable or otherwise) in far higher regard than these roundtable crapshoots (basically people yelling at one another). My opinion.

Interesting point you raise about the definition of lying (which i agree with): Was GWB a liar about the premise for going into iraq? In other words, using your definition, did he have the knowledge at that time that there were no wmds. and then using that knowledge, intentionally make up a story to the public to sell the war?

I say this because if Bush does fit your definition, you have to believe he knew this info. And if he does not fit that definition, then every liberal based media outlet in the country has been using the wrong definition of lying for their own political purposes.

3:58 PM  

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