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FOX News "Contributor" C. Boyden Gray A GOP Jackpot

Reported by Ellen - July 9, 2005

Is there any other news organization with such a biased and agenda-driven group of analysts and contributors as FOX News? I doubt it. FOX News "Contributor" C. Boyden Gray appeared on Hannity & Colmes last night ostensibly to provide some insight into the process of the upcoming Supreme Court nomination. Not until more than halfway through his appearance and God knows how many Democrat-bashings later, did we learn that Gray has another job - that of promoting Bush's nominees. Talk about conflict of interest. Yet it was only Alan Colmes who even broached the subject. Substitute co-host Rich Lowry conveniently overlooked it altogether.

Lowry introduced Gray by identifying him as former White House counsel, FOX News Contributor and Chairman of the Committee for Justice. Lowry failed to mention anything about that organization whose website states that its purpose is to "defend and promote constitutionalist judicial nominees to the federal courts." What a coincidence that these are the same sorts of candidates Bush is likely to nominate. In fact, according to Media Matters, Gray's organization was "established with the encouragement of White House senior adviser Karl Rove to support Bush's judicial nominees." Lowry didn't mention that, either.

Instead, he started off by attacking the partisanship of Democrats and opening the door for Gray to do so, too. First, Lowry painted the Republicans as a model of bipartisanship. Speaking of Clinton's nomination of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Lowry said she was confirmed in about two months, that there were almost no Republican objections, that most of them voted for her "even though she had been general counsel of the ACLU, a left-wing organization, and even though her pick changed the ideological balance of the court. Do you think there is ANY chance that Democrats will behave in a similar, civil and co-operative manner in this fight coming up?"

Could there be any doubt as to how Gray would answer? You almost didn't have to hear. But here it is, for those who may have been on another planet for the last decade or so. Gray said it's not likely. He expects a lot of "mudslinging, a lot of mischaracterization, a lot of character distortions" but he thinks Republicans are ready to provide "a level playing field, to give a fair portrait of the individual... So I think the public will get a fair shot." (Comment: It would have been nice to give the public a fair shot by disclosing Gray's stake in this process, too.)

Lowry: Why do you think the Democrats are going to resort to those sorts of tactics? Is it because the party has become so reliant on the judiciary and the court to protect and advance its agenda? (Comment: I have to wonder why the Republicans are resorting to these sorts of tactics. Are they afraid of losing the nominee battle?)

Gray responded that the court is "their last sort of refuge. So they're taking it very, very seriously and of course they have a pattern, a history of doing just what you've discussed."

From the Republicans, Gray expects only the best. He thinks Bush will pick a nominee with "impeccable" credentials who will see his or her role as an interpreter of the law, "not making it up" and that the country will be proud of the pick.

Then it was Colmes' turn. He asked, sarcastically, "Did I hear you accuse the Democrats of mudslinging and distortion before it actually happened?"

Of course he didn't. Gray said it's just what he expects based on how Democrats have behaved in the past.

Colmes, sounding annoyed, said "I'm so tired of Republicans, in a partisan manner, accusing Democrats of the very same things Republicans do - as if Republicans are absolved of that kind of behavior." Then Colmes asked if Gray would support whomever Bush nominates.

Gray answered yes, it's the job of his group, not to influence the pick but "to support who he nominates."

Colmes asked, "Isn't it true that the group, Committee for Justice - the job of that group is to pressure the senate to support whoever the Bush nominee is?"

Gray answered, "We're to influence the public and if I find occasion to talk to a senator or two I'll do that." How extraordinarily fortunate that someone with a job like that could also have a job as a network news commentator.

Colmes asked, "How do you know ahead of time that you're going to like whoever the president nominates?"

Gray said he has great confidence in whoever the president is going to pick and would be stunned if he didn't like him because "the talent pool from which they're to pick is a very, very rich and deep talent pool and every single one of the individuals involved is someone I can support. Most of them I know." I suspect most of them he also chose but that kind of admission probably wouldn't be seemly for a news "contributor" to make.

Colmes said that Republicans always cite their confirmation of "Clinton liberal" Ruth Bader Ginsburg without mentioning that her nomination was decided upon in consultation with Orrin Hatch who thought she'd be a good choice, that she had a very moderate record "and they keep mentioning the ACLU as if that is some kind of mark against her character." (Comment: and as if working to uphold civil liberties is a radical activity.)

Gray took a surprising swipe at Hatch in response. "Oh, gosh, I don't know what the consultation is. Senator Hatch takes credit for Breyer and I know for a fact that that was a selection..."

Lowry interrupted just then saying, "We're going to have to run, unfortunately, but as far as I'm concerned, it's never too early to warn about Democratic mudslinging because you know it's going to happen."

Colmes (sounding annoyed): That's unfair.

Sure isn't... and it's not very balanced, either.

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