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Unbalanced coverage of Gonzales resignation

Reported by Chrish - August 28, 2007 -

Much more time was devoted to the Michael Vick case this morning than was to the resignation of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and the segments on AG AG had a very similar sound to them - those mean Democrats forced a good (honorable decent patriotic principled) man of impeccable integrity out. There were some interesting takes.
Video coming later.

Brit Hume, on with E.D. Hill on Fox News Live, said "the Democrats who have been critical are piling on and saying harsh things about him, and Republicans have been largely silen" although Senator Arlen Specter said it was probably a good thing. "Gonzales was a man almost without fans in Washington at the end," because he was never accepted by the Republican conservative base in Washington and he was never accepted by the Democrats,

"um, he was simply a crony. I don't mean that word to sound any worse than it is, but that was the case here. This was a guy that [Bush] knew from Texas, who he was comfortable with, who got into a big job in Washington, and he was OK as long as the Republicans were in charge of Congress, but once that situation changed he was no match for the adversarial atmosphere and he did not perform effectively in it."

Hill sympathized that a guy from Texas was not prepared for the nastiness in Washington DC. She flattered Hume, saying he watches every little bit of this, and understands it all!, and wondered if anyone can say definitvely that AG broke the law in any way? No, no, assured Hume, but he did allow that Gonzales explanations (in regards to the federal prosecutors' firings) were conflicting so "it could be argued" that he lied, perhaps lied under oath, so in that sense you could argue but it's never been fully established that he committed a crime. There are arguments that he authorized things to be done, or went along with that were arguably illegal or unConstitutional, but there's no clear evidence that would say he committed or was party to any crimes.

Confirmation of a new AG may be a problem, as Congrress may refuse to even entertain any nominees until the White House turns over more ev..., uh material relating to the prosecutors' firings. Paul Clement, the Solicitor General, will be acting AG and is presumably above reproach for the position. However "some say" Bush may nominate another well-known crony, Michael Chertoff, although he has lately become more controversial (i.e., better known to the general public).

Later Hill had Brad Blakeman (former Deputy Asst. to Bush) to parrot the talking points: hopefully the Senate will confirm whomever Bush nominates, swiftly, so the DOJ can get back to the business of "keeping America safe." Odd, I thought their job was to uphold the rule of law through the courts, and the DOD and DHS were keeping us safe. Blakeman gave a glowing tribute to Gonzales and his patriotism and character and attributed the criticism of him to politics.

Hill returned to the meme that Washington is nasty, shifting the focus from what Gonzales is accused of to his accusers, who are "nasty" and only pursuing him for political reasons, not out of any sense of patriotism on their part - oh, nooooo. No patriots on the blue side of the aisle. Blakeman agreed and expressed sympathy for Gonzales' family and asserted that history willt reat AG very well.

In the next hour Jon Scott spoke with Wendell Goler at the White House. Goler said today's resignation culminated a months-long effort by Democrats (ignoring the Republicans who broke ranks) to force him out over what they contend were misleading statements about the "resignations" of 8 federal prosecutors and the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. Bush, he said, reluctantly accepted the resignation, thinking AG could have ridden it out, and said Gonzales' name was "dragged through the mud."

Goler read some comments: Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said Gonzales "presided over a time of great consequence and great challenge" and he appreciated his hard work. Senator Chuck Shumer (D-NY) said Gonzales did the right thing by resigning, and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) said now the Justice Department can move forward.

Bush has a lot on his political plate this month, expecting the Petraeus report on "the Baghdad surge" (note the change to focus on Baghdad as the insurgency moves out of the city and into the surrounding country) and Bush, intending to veto virtually all the Democrat's spending bills (without even seeing them!) will probably not be willing fight over a new AG this month.

Larry Sabato, Director ot eh UVA Center for Politics, opined that the Bush administration didn't need the distractions and it was probably a good thing that he resigned. Scott referred to the Congressional investigations and the White House stonewalling as "the flap" over the firings of US attorneys. Sabato more or less echoed ED Hill's characterization that if you want fairness, don't go into politics, inferring it was a dirty deal that dogged Gonzales. Sabato agreed that Gonzales probably could have "weathered the storm" but this is a good time to resign; in ten days, after Labor Day, everyone will have forgotten all about the scandals "real or imagined." "We automatically turn the page on Labor Day. This was a good move."

And WHO is playing politics?

In the next hour, with the next blond host, (Martha MacCallum) Goler revisited the talking points and video of Bush was shown.. He said (reading from notes) that it's sad that a "talented and honorable person" like AG AG was impeded fromdoing important work, because his good name was dragged through the mud for political reasons.

Goler reported that Gonzales is the latest "casualty" of the Democratic takeover in '06 that has allowed them to conduct investigations and oversight; Republicans feel their time could have been better spent working on the budget (which Bush is already promising to veto - see above.)

Gonzales own touching words were replayed, where he describes (presumably his) public service as noble and honorable.

There were repeated references to Democrats believing Gonzales had mislead them and the Justice Department being brought to a virtual standstill over the Democrat-lead hearings, and plenty of flattery and praise for Gonzales (including "crediting" him with crafting the rights-sapping "USA Patriot Act.") From this viewing one walks away with the impression that a political witch-hunt was launched by Democrats with no reason based in law or the Constitution, and Gonzales, who was doing a heckuva job, was only further demonstrating his noble and patriotic character by resigning.