Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dishonest or Incompetent

You have to wonder why any conservative would go on a network talk show. You know they'll do whatever they can to make you look bad. Take Ann Coulter, for instance. Coulter goes on ABC's Good Morning America the other day and among other tendentious questions gets asked about her reference a few months ago to John Edwards in which she used the word "faggot."

ABC edited Coulter's reply to show her saying that she's learned her lesson. "If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

Sounds pretty awful, doesn't it? But of course ABC edited her comment so as to completely distort the meaning of what she was saying. Here's the full context of her remark:

"But about the same time (as her "faggot" remark), you know, Bill Maher was not joking and saying he wished Dick Cheney had been killed in a terrorist attack. So I've learned my lesson. If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot."

We here at Viewpoint have been critical of Coulter when we thought she deserved criticism, as she did in the John Edwards episode, but this time the criticism is deserved entirely by the dishonest or incompetent editors at ABC. Coulter was making the point that she was just joking about John Edwards when she used the slur "faggot," but that Bill Maher was not joking when he said that he wished Dick Cheney had been killed when he was in Afghanistan. Yet the media hammered Coulter and gave Maher a pass. So in the future, Coulter was saying, she should be safe from media criticism if she confines her remarks to the reprehensible sorts of things that Maher says about Republicans like Cheney.

Her point was well-made and she's exactly right. Anyone can say anything, no matter how vile, about a Republican and the media yawns, but they'll jump at the chance to distort a conservative's words in order to make them look cruel and mean-spirited.

As we said, the folks at ABC's Good Morning America are either dishonest or incompetent.



Michael Moore's film on health care in which he endorses the complete eradication of private health insurance and replacing it with a massive federal bureaucracy, puts Democratic candidates on the hot seat according to the LA Times:

Rejecting Moore's prescription on healthcare could alienate liberal activists, who will play a big role in choosing the party's next standard-bearer. However, his proposal - wiping out private health insurance and replacing it with a massive federal program - could be political poison with the larger electorate.

At a special screening in Washington this week, politicians, lobbyists, media pooh-bahs and policy junkies flocked to see Moore's film. And its slashing demand for action on an issue that voters care deeply about, and Democrats hope to capitalize on, generated plenty of buzz. Moore hopes that, after its general release June 29, "Sicko" will exert significant influence on the presidential campaign.

Instead of greeting the film with hosannas or challenging it head-on, however, the leading Democratic presidential candidates have sidestepped direct comment on Moore's proposals.

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of South Carolina all have staked out positions sharply at odds with Moore's approach. But none of them is eager to have that fact dragged into the spotlight.

If Moore's fire-breathing proposal catches on among party activists, who tend to be suspicious of the private sector and supportive of direct government action, the candidates' pragmatic, consensus-seeking ideas could look like weak-kneed temporizing - much the way their rejection of an immediate pullout from Iraq has drawn heated criticism from antiwar activists.

In "Sicko," the filmmaker calls for abolishing the insurance industry, putting a tight regulatory collar on pharmaceutical companies and embracing a Canadian-style government-run system.

One good thing about Moore's film, assuming that it's more honest than Fahrenheit 911, is that it should stimulate a lot of healthy debate about what kind of health care system is best for America. That's a debate we need to have.


Behind the Scenes

The Washington Post has a fascinating article on the evolution of the administration's policy toward detainees in the War on Terrror. The article will cause Cheney-haters to salivate, but more objective readers will find much to admire, as well as to question, in the piece.

Many of those who commented on the article are among the haters and they see Cheney as an evil, power-crazed, megalomaniac. A power-crazed man, however, would show far more political ambition than has Cheney. He did not seek the office he's in nor does he aspire to go higher.

He may be wrong about what he sees as the right course of action in handling detainees, though except for denying citizens the right to legal representation I think he's largely correct, but he's trying to do what he believes is best for the survival of this nation, and he has demonstrated a tremendous amount of personal strength and courage in the face of near universal vilification to do it.

Footnote: Those who think Dick Cheney is the incarnation of evil might reflect on how many evil men have ever done as much for charitable causes as has Cheney. As this article attests the V.P. has given more money to charity than perhaps any elected official in the history of the United States:

Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne gave away nearly $7 million last year [2005] to help the poor and for medical research.

According to income tax information released by the White House, the Cheneys' adjusted gross income in 2005 was $8,819,006.

The sum was largely the result of Mr. Cheney's stock options from Halliburton and royalties from three books written by Mrs. Cheney.

The Cheneys gave more than three-quarters of their income - $6,869,655 - to several charities, including George Washington University's Cardiothoracic Institute and a charity for low-income high school students in the Washington, D.C. area, Capital Partners for Education.

Doesn't sound to me like the sort of thing evil people usually do.