-By Warner Todd Huston
As the Media Research Center’s News clip Page, Newsbsuters, has proven many times (see here and here among others), the MSM’s focus on Bush’s firing of a handful of U.S. Attorney’s is wonderfully empty of any balanced treatment whatsoever. Not only has the MSM ignored the Clinton story — where he fired EVERY one of them — but they have also ignored the fact that Jimmy Carter also fired a U.S. Attorney for “political reasons”. Not to be left behind, the Boston Globe today reports an uncritical story about Senator Edward Kennedy’s (D, Mass) recent statement about the issue.
In a short report by Globe Staffer, Rick Klein, the Globe finds no room for any discussion of Clinton or Carter’s firings — par for the course for this shallowly reported story.
WASHINGTON — Senator Edward M. Kennedy yesterday accused President Bush of using the Department of Justice to further his administration’s “right-wing ideology,” saying that veteran prosecutors were replaced by political operatives in key states to ensure that “reliable partisans” are in place in time for the 2008 presidential election.
The Globe quotes Kennedy as saying “at least two” of Bush’s AGs were fired because they “refused to investigate spurious claims of voter fraud that were initiated by Republicans”.
The piece also quotes Senator Patrick Leahy (D, Vt) to the effect that they will continue this witch hunt even if Attorney General Alberto Gonzales resigns and Senator Chuck Schumer (D,NY) who is looking for a “smoking gun”.
The story also reports that a former chief of staff to AG Gonzales will be “grilled” about this faux scandal.
Lawmakers said they plan to grill D. Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, about the firings and about the involvement of Gonzales and White House officials in the decision-making.
Lots of indignation there, eh?
And not a word from the other side of the issue for balance.
Of course, we all know that the ginning up of this “scandal” is all smoke and mirrors meant solely as an attack on president Bush, to weaken him and to further destroy the GOPs chances in 2008.
We also all know that every president has the Constitutional right to fire any or all the U.S. Attorneys just like Clinton did. But, it wasn’t just Clinton, apparently. Even Jimmy Carter while in the White House fired an attorney that was making things too warm for one of the members of his party, making the action purely political in nature. And he lied about it to the people.
Human Events has a story detailing Carter’s political firing of a U.S. Attorney in 1978: “Marston: Carter ‘Lied Then, Lies Now’ on U.S. Attorneys Firing”.
Former President Jimmy Carter “lied then” about firing a U.S. attorney in 1978 investigating Democratic officials in Philadelphia and “lies now” in condemning the Bush Administration’s firing of eight U.S. attorneys and calling for Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales to go.
John Gizzi of Human Events reveals how unconcerned over this political firing a Democrat controlled Congress was in 1978.
What does Dave Marston think? “He’s trying to rewrite history,” was the response of the 64-year-old former prosecutor to the President who fired him. “Under the standard he has imposed on Gonzales, the President should have fired Atty. Gen. Griffin Bell in 1978.” Although it is so far unclear how much Gonzales knew about what the U.S. prosecutors were working on when they were forced out and what reasons were behind their exits, Marston pointed out that then-Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D.-Pa.) had actually called Carter on November 4, 1977 to demand Marston’s ouster and that the Prsident, in turn, called Bell and told him to “hurry up” in finding a new U.S. attorney in Philadelphia. Eilberg himself was the subject of a corruption probe by Marston’s office and, as Marston recalled to me, “the Justice Department was aware of this because I told Russell Baker [Bell’s top aide] that Eilberg was under investigation. And Russell Baker, who was a stand-up guy, confirmed this.”
A significant difference between his situation and those of the fired U.S. attorneys that Marston pointed out to me was that “Democrat controlled Congress in 1978 and did not investigate a Democratic President. Today, they control Congress and they will investigate the Republican Administration.”
And how president Carter lied about it… causing no furor.
In reviewing the transcript of Carter’s “Today” interview, Marston pointed out that the opening segment featured a clip of Carter from a news conference on January 12, 1978 in which he is asked about the Marston sacking and says: “I’ve not interfered at all.”
“That was on January 12th,” the former prosecutor pointed out, “and yet the evidence shows that he had called his attorney general about replacing me two months earlier.
Do you think we will see more on this story of Jimmy Carter firing a U.S. Attorney for political reasons in future stories about the Gonzales firings?
Yeah, I don’t either.
Warner Todd Huston’s thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, townhall.com, men’snewsdaily.com and americandaily.com among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a guest on several radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston
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