- The Washington Times - Monday, June 13, 2005

Cheney on Dean

Howard Dean is “over the top,” Vice President Dick Cheney says, calling the Democrats’ chairman “not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party.”

“I’ve never been able to understand his appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I’ve never met anybody who does. He’s never won anything, as best I can tell,” Mr. Cheney said in an interview to be aired tonight on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes.”

Mr. Dean was elected governor of Vermont five times between 1992 and 2000. He ran for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, but closed down his campaign after poor showings in early primaries.

In recent weeks, Mr. Dean has described the GOP as “pretty much a white, Christian party” and said many Republicans have “never made an honest living.” Republican leaders have called on him to apologize, and even some Democrats have distanced themselves from his remarks.

“So far, I think he’s probably helped us more than he has them,” Mr. Cheney said in the interview, which was taped Friday. “That’s not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party.”

The vice president added: “I really think Howard Dean’s over the top. And more important … I think many of his fellow Democrats feel the same way.”

History lesson

“During a discussion with minority leaders and journalists [last] Monday, Howard Dean declared that Republicans are ‘a pretty monolithic party. They all believe the same. They all look the same. It’s pretty much a white Christian party,’” Peter Kirsanow notes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“He further stated that ‘the Republicans are not very friendly to different kinds of people’ and Democrats are ‘more welcoming to different folks, because that’s the type of people we are.’ Dean continued to defend his remarks as recently as Thursday,” said Mr. Kirsanow, a lawyer and member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

“Dean’s comments clearly suggest that the GOP is, if not hostile to a demographic broader than white Christians, at least cool toward including non-whites and non-Christians in the party. If Dean truly believes these statements, then he needs to both review his history texts and spend some time on current events.

“In terms of sheer historical hostility toward minorities, the Republican Party fares a bit better than the competition. For example, it wasn’t the GOP that opposed the Emancipation Proclamation. Nor was it the GOP that opposed the 13th Amendment prohibiting slavery, the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection, or the 15th Amendment guaranteeing voting rights. …

“Republicans didn’t institutionalize Jim Crow, implement school segregation, or establish poll taxes and literacy tests to keep non-whites from voting. Bull Connor, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, and Orval Faubus weren’t Republicans. …

“Dean may honestly believe that his party is ‘more welcoming to different folks,’ but tell that to Clarence Thomas, Miguel Estrada, or Janice Rogers Brown, each of whom was vilified in explicitly racial terms during their respective confirmation processes by members of Dean’s party.”

Ailes vs. Alter

“Let the media war begin,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“What started with a Newsweek column imagining the Watergate scandal today has turned into a delicious fight. Last week Jonathan Alter’s column took a dig at the Fox News Channel, suggesting that Fox boss Roger Ailes would have banned the word ‘Watergate’ on air, choosing instead the pro-Nixon ‘Assault on the Presidency.’ Funny stuff to lefties. But not to the folks at Fox, who saw nothing but sour grapes: Alter, it seems, had once sought a job from Ailes, but ended up working for rival MSNBC.

“After we told Alter of the Fox reaction, Alter went on Arianna Huffington’s blog, lashing out at ‘the bullies at Fox’ and taking another shot at Ailes. ‘Mr. Dish It Out apparently can’t take it,’ Alter wrote. He also claimed that Ailes, when writing op-ed articles about Republicans, routinely fails to note that he once worked for President Nixon.

“That was enough for Fox. It turns out that Ailes had wanted to keep the argument private, writing a confidential retort to Alter on June 7. It was only after Alter started blogging that the Fox people decided to air the conflict, releasing Ailes’ letter to Whispers. ‘I was disappointed by your recent cheap shot about me in Newsweek,’ Ailes wrote to Alter. ‘In nine years of the Fox News Channel, I’ve never banned any word, phrase, or story,’ he said. Yes, Ailes said, he did work for Nixon, but it was ‘for about five months as a TV producer. I had no editorial control. I was 28 years old.’

“Then came the twist of the knife: Apparently referring to media scandals like Newsweek’s retracted story of U.S. troops abusing a Koran, Ailes wrote, ‘The Fox News Channel didn’t report something that just got people killed, nor have we fired our executive editor, our top producers, our anchors, and we don’t have a former attorney general investigating our journalism.’ Ouch. And of Alter, Ailes wrote, ‘You’ve done some good work in your career. I wish you’d get back to that.’”

Three ‘centrists’

Three national journalists in recent days “have denied liberal bias or claimed they are really centrists,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker writes at www.mediaresearch.org.

“Asked by the Houston Chronicle if he’s ‘liberal or conservative,’ MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann admitted that ‘a lot of my personal worldview is unmistakably sympathetic to things in a liberal playbook,’ but he insisted ‘my point of view is about delivering information and context. It has nothing to do with a political point of view.’

“Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, recalling a conversation with Roger Ailes about joining [Fox News] related on Huffington Post that ‘I never pursued it after it was clear he just wanted me on his air as a liberal punching bag. When I told him I was a centrist on many issues and didn’t care to be announced as a liberal every time I appeared (his terms of employment), our discussions ended.’

“CBS’s Bob Schieffer, on ‘Imus in the Morning’ on Thursday, conceded ‘there may be one or two people in journalism’ with a political agenda, ‘but for the most part, most reporters are just trying to find out what happened.’”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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