- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Alterman’s lament

The author of a book denying the existence of a liberal media in America declared that the right-wing media “machine” is now so powerful that it acts as “a steamroller” of liberal ideals, Marc Morano reports at www.CNSNews.com.

Eric Alterman — author of “What Liberal Media?” — appeared at a workshop called “Reversing the Right’s Hold on the Media” on the final day of the three-day “Take Back America” conference in Washington sponsored last week by the Campaign for America’s Future. The group’s stated goal is to push the Democratic Party to the left.

Mr. Alterman said the dominance of conservatives in the media is now so powerful that “it’s a steamroller rolling over what is left of what [liberals] believe and what we have worked for.”

A clearly frustrated Mr. Alterman told the audience that liberals “don’t lack for sound facts.”

“We really just lack the capacity to get the facts out there,” he said, according to Mr. Morano.

Mr. Alterman added: “There is no left anymore. The center has become the left, what used to be the right has become the center, and the cavemen are in the White House.”

‘Fever swamps’

The New York Times and the New Yorker magazine seem to have embraced the latest conspiracy theory of Lyndon LaRouche and his followers, Robert L. Bartley writes in the Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Bartley quotes someone named Jeffrey Steinberg, writing on Executive Intelligence Review, a Web site devoted to the perennial presidential campaign of Mr. LaRouche: “Just weeks after the LaRouche in 2004 campaign began nationwide circulation of 400,000 copies of the ‘Children of Satan’ dossier, exposing the role of University of Chicago fascist ‘philosopher’ Leo Strauss as the godfather of the neo-conservative war party in and around the Bush Administration, two major establishment publications have joined the expose.”

Said Mr. Bartley: “In his part of ‘Children of Satan,’ Mr. Steinberg charges that a ‘cabal of Strauss disciples, along with an equally small circle of allied neo-conservative and Likudnik fellow-travelers’ has been hovering around the government for 30 years, ‘awaiting the moment of opportunity to launch their not-so-silent coup.’

“It does seem to be true that the LaRouche screed was first in line in thrusting Leo Strauss, author of such volumes as ‘Natural Right and History,’ into the middle of the debate over the Iraq war. The theme was later sounded by James Atlas in the New York Times and Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. …

“Looking at the striking similarities in these accounts the conspiracy-minded might conclude that the New York Times and New Yorker have been reduced to recycling the insights of Lyndon LaRouche. But it’s entirely possible that Mr. Atlas and Mr. Hersh have stumbled into the fever swamps all on their own.”

Hillary’s vote

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, paused for a moment in the Senate chamber yesterday to contemplate the vote on the judicial appointment of Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff — once a vocal member of her “vast right-wing conspiracy.”

She was the sole vote against Mr. Chertoff, who was confirmed 88-1 to a seat on the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Before joining the Attorney General’s Office, Mr. Chertoff led the Senate investigation into the Clintons’ failed Whitewater land deal.

At the Democratic policy table on the Senate floor, Mrs. Clinton appeared to clench and release her fists several times as she prepared to vote. Then she turned to the Senate clerk and jabbed a single finger downward.

At that, twittering broke out among a group of people sitting with Mr. Chertoff up in the visitors gallery. During the vote, numerous senators went upstairs to speak with Mr. Chertoff and those gathered with him.

Asked whether he was sorry not to have Mrs. Clinton’s vote, Mr. Chertoff smiled, shook his head and said: “It is a memorable and very happy day.”

No fishing allowed

The White House yesterday dismissed an effort to link President Bush to the hunt for wayward Democratic legislators in Texas, calling it a “fishing expedition.”

More than 50 Texas state House members went on the lam last month to deny a quorum and thus prevent passage of a Republican plan to reconfigure the state’s congressional districts.

Federal officials are investigating whether the Department of Homeland Security or other federal resources were used to help Texas authorities as they tried to find and bring back the Democrats, who had fled to Oklahoma.

Yesterday, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, one of nine Democrats seeking to unseat the president in 2004, demanded written answers from White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. to questions about the president’s involvement, if any.

In the letter, Mr. Lieberman recounted a May 27 telephone conversation with Mr. Card in which the White House official said neither the president nor White House adviser Karl Rove had contacted federal agencies about the Texas situation. But Mr. Lieberman said he wants those answers in writing.

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, though, said those questions have already been answered.

“I think there’s no need for us to go into a fishing expedition on something where I’ve talked with the people who are mostly appropriate on this, and they have told me they had no contacts or received any contacts,” he told reporters.

Diversity on campus?

An assistant professor at Smith College has been denied tenure after a fellow faculty member complained about his conservative writings.

“James D. Miller, assistant professor of economics, believes that the decision earlier this year to deny him tenure was based at least in part on his political beliefs,” the campus newspaper reports.

Three years ago, when he was reappointed to his position, Mr. Miller said he received a “purely positive” recommendation. He was “shocked” to be denied tenure — the academic equivalent of being fired — and said “what has happened since [his reappointment in 2000] is that I basically came out of the closet as a conservative.”

In explaining her vote against tenure, one faculty member complained of Mr. Miller’s writing for National Review Online: “I would also refer the committee to a piece included in Jim’s ‘Journalistic Articles’ packet: the Guest Comment on NRO entitled ‘Campus Colors,’ in which Jim says, among other things, that ‘professors are mostly left wing,’ that ‘the large number of non-U.S. citizens in American colleges necessarily makes these schools less patriotic,’ and that ‘practically the only way for a women’s-studies professor to get a lifetime college appointment is for her to contribute to the literature on why America is racist, sexist, and homophobic.’ I find it extremely disturbingly [sic] that this could be Jim’s image of academia.”

Mr. Miller says: “The person wasn’t disturbed that it was poorly written or illogically argued, but rather she was disturbed by the conservative political views expressed in the article.”

The professor later told the NRO of “good news since the student article came out.”

“Smith’s five-person Grievance Committee unanimously found that two members of my department violated my academic freedom during my tenure review. As a result, Smith’s president decided that I will come up again for tenure this fall,” Mr. Miller told the online magazine.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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