- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Algore did not go gentle into that good night; he went dirty.

The final days of campaign 2000 were full of sleaze, most of it emanating out of the pits of Democrat desperation. One of the last “dirty tricks,” and one of the most revealing, involved the disclosure of the drunk-driving arrest of George W. Bush 24 years ago. Bush was pulled over for driving too slowly near his family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. He pled guilty and paid a fine of $150.

This story was treated by a number of newspapers in an appropriately subdued manner. However, the television and radio “news” media escalated it into a major happening, characterizing it as a “bombshell” that could turn the election on its head.

TV cable and network commentators and pundits hyped a molehill into a mountain. They pumped up the story with discussion panels, interviews, viewer call-ins, Web site polls, and commentary. Rather than let the story die a natural death, they put it on life support, making heroic efforts to prevent its demise, then marveled out loud that “this story has legs.”

The redoubtable Ted Koppel, host of “Nightline,” devoted two entire programs to this quarter-century-old event, wringing and wresting it of what little meaning it actually had, speculating to tedium about meaning it never had, and attributing to it a degree of “gravitas” it did not deserve.

Why is this important? It is important because it provides yet another brazen display of liberal bias. The drunk-driving story was used as a lifeline for the sinking Algore-Lieberman candidacy. It had the potential of besmirching the character of Bush, undermining his promise to restore honor and dignity to the White House, and disheartening those who were looking to him for moral leadership.

This is not to say that the liberal members of the media do not try to be objective. However, the human mind is notorious for accommodating itself. Deeply held convictions always find a way to rise to the surface and manifest themselves, no matter how great the effort to suppress them. These biases show through, by conscious or unconscious intent, in the selection of what is reported, what is not reported, and in the who, what, when, where, why and how of the reporting.

For example, the most important news story affecting either candidate was largely ignored or dealt with in a perfunctory manner. In mid-October 2000, reports surfaced that in 1995, Vice President Al Gore negotiated secret agreements with then Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and withheld them from the Congress. These secret pacts permitted Russia to violate U.S. anti-proliferation laws (which Algore helped write in 1992) by transferring a Kilo-class submarine, torpedoes, anti-ship mines, fighter planes, hundreds of tanks and armored personal carriers as well as nuclear technology to Iran. These illegal agreements were vigorously condemned in a statement issued by 11 former Cabinet members and high-level advisers from both major political parties.

This significant story was underreported in favor of extended coverage of personal attacks on Bush's character and moral credentials. However, these last-minute attempts to undermine Bush in the religious community were misbegotten, reflecting a serious misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian.

The stereotypical image of the Christian is that he has a closed mind, that he is anti-intellect, that he is self-righteously judgmental, that he will force his moral values upon others, and that he will, if given power, use it to persecute those who do not agree with him.

The truth is that no people in the world are more self-effacing than Christians. They are much more inclined to fault themselves rather than others. Christians have accepted their own insufficiency. They know they are flawed and desperately in need of redemption. They are trying hard to do better. They are not trying to have their sins declared virtues. They seek to have their sins forgiven, not approved.

George W. Bush is a born-again Christian. From the Christian perspective, this means that he has been transformed. God has fulfilled the promise he made in Ezekiel 36:26: “a new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you.”

From the Christian perspective, the young man who was pulled over to the side of the road in Kennebunkport no longer exists. George W. Bush is a new man, fully redeemed and eminently qualified to restore honor and dignity to the White House.

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