Another Double Standard For MSM On U.S. Attorney Firings

The Fish Wrapper is back with another display of double standard-itis, this time on the firing of 8 U.S. Attorneys by the Bush administration. Back in March, 1993, Janet Reno requested the resignations of all 93 U.S. Attorneys at once. Where the double standard comes shining through is the fact that in the articles that the Fish Wrapper prints, not one mention is made of this fact.

Tuesday's front page article by Dan Eggen and John Solomon of the LA Times and Washington Post is a classic example. As explained by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center:

The March 13 Washington Post erupted on the front page with the revelation that the White House played a role in the dismissal of eight U.S. Attorneys. "Firings Had Genesis In White House," screamed the headline. Documents showed that back in 2005, White House counsel Harriet Miers recommended the idea to the Justice Department that all 93 U.S. Attorneys be replaced. Instead, the Bush team dismissed only eight.

But something quite amazing was omitted by those hard-charging Post reporters Dan Eggen and John Solomon digging through White House E-mails for their scandalized front-page bombshell. Didn’t Bill Clinton’s brand new Attorney General Janet Reno demand resignations from all 93 U.S. attorneys on March 24, 1993? Wouldn’t that fact be relevant to the story? Wouldn’t it have the effect of lessening the oh-my-God hyperbole on the front page if the reader was shown that what Bush did was one-tenth as dramatic as what Team Clinton did? Yes, and yes.

Bush’s attorney general fired eight. Clinton’s fired 93. The media think the eight dismissals were a scandal so massive some have begun calling on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. But they thought the 93 Clinton firings were not worth investigating for the length of a cigarette break. Can a liberal double standard be any more obvious?

No, not really. But why would the Fish Wrapper want to break that cycle? Even back in 1993, the liberal MSM barely gave any coverage to the Massacre of 93 as documented by the MRC.

Attorney General Janet Reno fired all 93 U.S. attorneys, a very unusual practice. Republicans charged the Clintonites made the move to take U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens off the House Post Office investigation of Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski. The network response: ABC and CBS never mentioned it. CNN's World News and NBC Nightly News provided brief mentions, with only NBC noting the Rosty angle. Only NBC's Garrick Utley kept the old outrage, declaring in a March 27 "Final Thoughts" comment: "Every new President likes to say `Under me, it's not going to be politics as usual.' At the Justice Department, it looks as if it still is."

Applying the same standards to coverage of Clinton's administration as they applied to Reagan and Bush is a major test of the media's fairness. So far they're failing.

There are a couple of other interesting things about the firings in 1993. AS the Wall Street Journal described on 3/14/07:

Congressional Democrats are in full cry over the news this week that the Administration’s decision to fire eight U.S. Attorneys originated from–gasp–the White House. Senator Hillary Clinton joined the fun yesterday, blaming President Bush for “the politicization of our prosecutorial system.” Oh, my.

As it happens, Mrs. Clinton is just the Senator to walk point on this issue of dismissing U.S. attorneys because she has direct personal experience. In any Congressional probe of the matter, we’d suggest she call herself as the first witness–and bring along Webster Hubbell as her chief counsel.

As everyone once knew but has tried to forget, Mr. Hubbell was a former partner of Mrs. Clinton at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock who later went to jail for mail fraud and tax evasion. He was also Bill and Hillary Clinton’s choice as Associate Attorney General in the Justice Department when Janet Reno, his nominal superior, simultaneously fired all 93 U.S. Attorneys in March 1993. Ms. Reno–or Mr. Hubbell–gave them 10 days to move out of their offices.

At the time, President Clinton presented the move as something perfectly ordinary: “All those people are routinely replaced,” he told reporters, “and I have not done anything differently.” In fact, the dismissals were unprecedented: Previous Presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, had both retained holdovers from the previous Administration and only replaced them gradually as their tenures expired. This allowed continuity of leadership within the U.S. Attorney offices during the transition.

Equally extraordinary were the politics at play in the firings. At the time, Jay Stephens, then U.S. Attorney in Chicago, was investigating then Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, and was “within 30 days” of making a decision on an indictment. Mr. Rostenkowski, who was shepherding the Clinton’s economic program through Congress, eventually went to jail on mail fraud charges and was later pardoned by Mr. Clinton.

So how much mention do you think was given to this side of the story by the MSM? Would it surprise you to learn that the answer is "absolutely none"? Not me. But that would mean actually covering both sides of a story that wouls shine a bad light on the Democrats, and we just couldn't have that now, could we?





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