Sen. Charles Schumer is a legendary pursuer of television cameras. But look at the way the national media are covering Schumer's heavy-breathing pursuit to make Attorney General Alberto Gonzales cry uncle and resign. It makes you wonder just how hard Schumer has to work to get press attention. The media appear Schumer-owned and operated.
One interview really captures how the press acts more like a Democratic goon squad than nonpartisan observers of the national scene. On ABC's "Good Morning America," news anchor Christopher Cuomo, son of Mario Cuomo, asked this pushy question on July 27: "Is Alberto Gonzales out of a job at end of business today?"
Cuomo wanted the attorney general whacked, and he wanted it now. He was asking the question to George Stephanopoulos, the former Clinton lie-spinner. At least George bluntly explained the game: The Democrats' price for confirming a new attorney general would be "very, very high."
The Democrats are trying to set up a game of damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't, and most of the liberal media are playing along with them, refusing to cover the naked politics of it. If our political press were truly nonpartisan, they might be pushing Schumer back about his record: a partisan double-standard for truth-bending politicians and Cabinet officers, and a sudden hunger for a special prosecutor after years of opposing the same under a Democratic regime.
Start at the top. How many Senate Democrats voted to remove Bill Clinton from office for lying under oath in a sexual-harassment investigation? Did they favor special prosecutors then, or did they treat them like unelected tyrants? Charles Schumer, for example, had the unique historical distinction of voting against Clinton's impeachment in both houses of Congress -- first as a lame-duck House member in December 1998, then later as a freshman senator in 1999.
How many Democrats would suggest that Hillary Clinton should resign, or should have never run for office, for hiding Rose Law Firm documents from the special prosecutor in the Whitewater investigation for several years (until they were discovered near her private office in the White House quarters)? Special prosecutor Robert Ray found that Hillary Clinton provided factually false statements to the special prosecutor in the Travel Office case. Neither Rep. Schumer nor Sen. Schumer cared.
And no one in the "news" media cares, either.
This controversy is supposedly about the dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys. So where was Chuck Schumer when the Clinton administration dismissed all 93 U.S. attorneys in 1993? Back then, it was perfectly fine. Now, he's outraged. No one in the "news" media cares about the hypocrisy.
How many Democrats suggested that Attorney General Janet Reno should resign after she took responsibility for the fiery deaths of cult members in the fiasco at Waco months after the incident? They didn't need to, as long as the national media were doing their bidding and hailing her as a hero. Time put her on the cover with the words, "Reno: The Real Thing," like she was as appealing as Coca-Cola, noting she was "cheered on both sides of the aisle in Congress." They dismissed her Republican predecessors in the office as "25 watt" dim bulbs by comparison. CNN called her a "rock star celebrity."
Journalists also cheered Reno when she lied to the family members of Elian Gonzales in order to conduct a surprise raid on their Florida home in the middle of the night to send the 6-year-old boy back to Fidel Castro. Tom Friedman of The New York Times raved on PBS about how she would be the toast of lawless towns: "What people in Bogota, Colombia, would give for five minutes of Janet Reno!"
Nine summers ago, Reno adamantly refused to name a special prosecutor in the Asian-foreign-contributions scandal, despite it being urged by her own appointed investigator, Charles LaBella -- a recommendation endorsed by FBI Director Louis Freeh. Neither Schumer nor the Schumer-sympathetic media found any reason to ask her to resign.
Chuck Schumer and Co. aren't really sticklers for honest testimony, but they are partisans seeking to win more Senate seats and the White House by any means necessary. They pose now as the avatars of accountability, after spending the Clinton years raging against prosecutors and congressional oversight probes. Sadly, you would never know that if you relied on TV news as the only source of your political information. They're doing the very same poses.