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Grapevine Whine - "Hey, We Were Only Kidding!"

Reported by Nancy - January 19, 2006 -

On Monday night (1/16) & again on Tuesday night (1/17) on Special Report, Brit Hume used Grapevine "pickings" in an effortt to smear Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) & to minimize Judge Samuel Alito's history of involvement with the radical "conservative" group, Concerned Alumni of Princeton. The attempted double-whammy, however, in true Foxian style, omitted some relevant background information & spun what was left until it bore little relation to the facts.

Here's "picking" #1 on Monday:

In suggesting that Samuel Alito had belonged to a racist conservative group, MA Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy relied heavily on an essay published by the organization that sounded like a bigoted rant. The essay, titled "In Defense of Elitism," reads in part, "People nowadays just don't seem to know their place. Everywhere one turns, blacks & Hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they're black & Hispanic." But the magazine's editor at the time says the article was pure satire, a send-up of what liberals think conservatives think. He added, "I think left-wing groups have been feeding Senator Kennedy snippets & he has been mindlessly reciting them."

Comments: Let's start with "Concerned Alumni of Princeton" or CAP. Calling CAP a "racist conservative group" is not far off the mark. The Nation has an excellent article about CAP that includes quotes from other articles published in their magazine

Launched in 1972 ... CAP had an ... agenda, which included preventing women and minorities from entering ... a bastion of white male privilege. In a 1973 article in Prospect , a magazine CAP published, Shelby Cullom Davis, one of its founders, harked back to the days when a gathering of Princeton alumni consisted of "a body of men, relatively homogeneous in interests and backgrounds. ... I cannot envisage a similar happening in the future with an undergraduate student population of approximately 40% women and minorities, such as the Administration has proposed." Another article published that same year bemoaned the fact that "the makeup of the Princeton student body has changed drastically for the worse" in recent years -- Princeton had begun admitting women in 1969 -- and wondered aloud what might happen if the university ... "remov[ed] limits on the number of women." In an unsuccessful effort to forestall this frightening development, the executive committee of CAP published a statement ... that affirmed unequivocally, "Concerned Alumni of Princeton opposes adoption of a sex-blind admission policy."

The same article also includes a more extensive quotation from "In Defense of Elitism" than Hume cited:
"People nowadays just don't seem to know their place. ... Everywhere one turns blacks and hispanics are demanding jobs simply because they're black and hispanic, the physically handicapped are trying to gain equal representation in professional sports, and homosexuals are demanding that government vouchsafe them the right to bear children."

While Prospect magazine is still being publsihed, their online archives apparently don't go back to 1972 (a search of the archives on the site for the title of the essay returned no hits). But the snippets published elsewhere are great examples of what reactionaries consider "satire."

Hume also didn't identify the editor he quoted, but The Nation does:

... the editor of Prospect was Dinesh D'Souza, who brought to its pages a new level of coarseness aimed at those who did not know their place. "Here at Princeton homosexuals are on the rampage," complained a 1984 news item in Prospect ,,,. Another article poked fun at Sally Frank, a Princeton alumna who was suing the university for denying women access to all-male eating clubs. It noted that a Rhode Island woman who'd won a discrimination suit against a mining company had subsequently died in an on-the-job accident. "Sally Frank, take note," it quipped.

Let's move on to Dinesh D'Souza "the magazine's editor at the time" whose name Hume conveniently omitted. According to Wikipedia, during his stint as writer & editor-in-chief for Prospect , D'Souza also wrote a cover story identifying a freshman who had begun a sexual relationship, offering details of the woman's sex life. D'Souza claimed that her name had been published as the result of a "proofreading error" & that "I care about the girl; that's why I wrote the story."

Wow, wotta sense of humor!

CampusProgress has a much more damning profile:

A darling of the right-wing-campus-newspaper-backing Collegiate Network, D’Souza helped found the infamous ultra-conservative Dartmouth Review as an undergrad. Under D’Souza’s “leadership,” The Review ran notoriously tasteless, bigoted, and just downright offensive articles of all stripes. Among his signature pieces: a parody of African American students at Dartmouth entitled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro”; an interview with a Ku Klux Klan member featuring a graphic of a hanged black man; and selected words of wisdom from Adolf Hitler. The Review consistently referred to gay men as sodomites, and D’Souza himself publicly outed one gay student in an article based on stolen correspondence between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance.
With his journalistic career on the upswing (if not the up and up), D’Souza was hired as the editor of Prospect , a magazine started by a conservative Princeton alum. D’Souza’s stint as editor helped him expand his already outrageous repertoire to include a sexist attack on the field of women’s studies. Also while he was editor, the magazine published an expose of a female undergrad’s sex life without her permission.

Looks like he's a charter member of the "family values" crowd.

Next, Hume's assertion that Kennedy "relied heavily" on an essay..." Baloney. Alito has a paper trail a mile wide, a mile long & a mile deep, & much of it is pretty unflattering.

Here's "picking" #2 on Tuesday:

MA Senator Ted Kennedy says he'll sever his ties with an all-male Harvard alumni organization after blasting Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for belonging to a similar group at Princeton. Kennedy criticized Alito for his affiliation with the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, which opposed admissions quotas for women & minorities, calling the group "radical" & "right wing." But Kennedy himself continues to pay dues to The Owl Club, a social group for Harvard alums that was evicted from the university in 1984 for discriminating against women. Kennedy says he's no longer a member, but admits donating $100 to the group last year & tells WHDH-TV in Boston, "I'm going to get out as fast as I can."

Comments: A "similar" group? Hume, like the rest of the reactionary noise machine, tries to equate The Owl Club with CAP, but that's a stretch of the wildest imagination.
The Owl Club is one of 8 "final" social clubs at Harvard (the Porcellian, the Fly, The Spee, the AD, the Phoenix SK, the Fox, the Owl, & the Delphic) that made the jump from fraternities to private social clubs around the turn of the century. George Washington & John Adams founded the Owl Club in 1745, before it was founded again in 1896 as the Phi Delta Psi fraternity at Harvard.

Big difference between belonging to a male-only social club & belonging to a group that wanted to exclude women & minorities from a whole university.

And here's a little detail, straight from the Drudge Report, that Hume chose not to include in his smear attempt (emphasis added): "Ironically, the Owl Club ... was evicted from the campus in 1984 for violating federal anti-discrimination laws authored by Kennedy ."

If you'd like to complain to Fox about this, email: special@foxnews.com

NOTE TO READERS: Please stay on topic (Hume's twisting of facts, smearing of Kennedy, support for CAP). O/T comments will be deleted. Thanks.