February 18, 2003
Has Rupert "FOX News" Murdoch Secretly Assumed Ownership of the Washington Post?
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Has Rupert "FOX News" Murdoch secretly assumed ownership of the Washington Post?
The once "liberal" Post has become Bush's number one cheerleader for the Iraq War among major newspapers.
And on Tuesday, February 18th, they were positively FOX News-like in their disingenuous attack on the Democrats for filibustering the Estrada nomination.
Why was the startling pro-Estrada editorial less than forthcoming? Let us count the ways.
First off, it quoted one Laurence Silberman as a distinguished source:
The sweet irony -- and the Post editorial writers must be laughing their heads off about this one -- is that Laurence Silberman, appointed by Reagan, is the ideal example of why some appointees should be kept off the courts, even if it requires a filibuster.
So what does the Washington Post surely know about Judge Silberman, but isn't revealing?
According to a BuzzFlash interview (May 2002) with David Brock, author of "Blinded by the Right," Judge Silberman openly advised him on ways to help attack Clinton, while Silberman was sitting full-time on the appellate court that Estrada is nominated for.
Here is an excerpt from one of two BuzzFlash interviews with David Brock:
And who was one of the judges that overturned the felony convictions of Admiral Poindexter, Bush appointee to oversee a computerized spying operation on private American citizens? Why, no coincidence here, Laurence Silberman: "Poindexter was convicted by a federal jury for lying and obstruction of justice. Though sentenced to prison, he escaped hard time thanks to conservative appellate judges Laurence Silberman and David Sentelle (later of Lewinsky affair fame), who overturned his conviction; they ruled that independent counsel Lawrence Walsh had relied too much on testimony that the NSC adviser himself gave while under congressional immunity.
And when a lower court unanimously ruled that Ashcroft had exceeded his authority in assuming broad wire tap powers, who was one of the three judges that said he was acting within his powers? Why, Laurence Silberman. Silberman sits on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, the final court decision making stop in deciding what powers the Bush administration can assume in violating our Constitutional rights. The Washington Post, in an editorial last year noted, "Yesterday the court of review sprang to life, overturning a lower FISA court decision and handing Attorney General John D. Ashcroft a major victory -- one that significantly changes the rules under which sensitive surveillance is conducted in this country." The Post blamed Congress for the problem, even though the lower court had ruled against Ashcroft and had taken the unprecedented step of releasing a dossier of wiretapping abuses by the Justice Department.
The American Prospect magazine noted that Judge Silberman has
resorted to physical threats in battling liberal judges: "A
decade and a half ago the court was notoriously polarized; The
New York Times even reported that Judge Laurence Silberman at one point threatened
to assault Judge Abner Mikva."
The Washington Post editorial board writers surely know Judge Silberman's insidious history as a partisan operative for the Ted Olson legal contingent of the right wing, yet they used him as their "distinguished" source, anyway. Why?
Beyond the cynical use of Judge Silberman as a "prestigious" spokesperson for Estrada, the Post employs other bizarre references. In arguing that Estrada is not too young for the courts (which no one is raising as a very serious issue anyway -- it's called setting up your own paper argument), it triumphantly points out that Estrada is younger than -- get this -- Kenneth Starr was when he was nominated. Say what!
As for stonewalling questions, Estrada did much more than that. Like Ted Olson, he was flirting with perjury. Whether he committed perjury in judiciary committee hearings or not would require an investigation, but the Post knows that this was more than just standard evasiveness. It was evasiveness that appeared to cross into dishonesty at times, because there is a point when saying "I don't know" or "I don't have an opinion" about a controversial topic is basically a lie. But again, we can only point out questionable responses. Only Congress could determine if Miguel Estrada did actually lie. If he didn't, for "technical" reasons, he came about as close as you could come without falling off the edge of the cliff.
The Washington Post editorial board states: "For Democrats demand, as a condition of a vote, answers to questions that no nominee should be forced to address -- and that nominees have not previously been forced to address." Excuse us, were the Post editorial board writers too young to watch the Clarence Thomas hearings? If that's the case, that would make them under 20 years of age right now, which may explain everything.
Maybe the Post should talk with Ann Coulter -- she thanks Estrada for his help in the acknowledgments for her latest book. If that weren't enough to make you question his motives, Democrats also have reason to be suspicious of Estrada because he was a key lawyer, working with Ted Olson, on the Bush Florida recount legal team. More than that, he is rumored to be one of the "Little Elves" that behind the scenes assisted in one way or another with the effort to impeach Clinton. The Democrats would like to get to the bottom of those rumors -- and they have every right to.
So we'll let Ann Coulter get the last word in before BuzzFlash winds this editorial up. In a January 31 appearance on Crossfire, Coulter had this exchange with Paul Begala (See: http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0301/31/cf.00.html):
Maybe Rupert Murdoch is pulling the strings after all at the Post. Stranger things have happened.
After all, the title of the Post editorial in support of Estrada -- and slamming the Democrats for finally showing that they have some spine -- is a paraphrase of Bush's challenge to the senate on Estrada: "Let's Vote."
We suspect the next pro-Iraq war editorial that the Post will run may be entitled, "Let's Nuke."
If it shows up on FOX News, you might just see it showing up on the Post editorial pages.
Coincidence or Not?
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
* * *
NOTE: The New York Times vigorously opposed Estrada's
nomination in an editorial entitled, "An Unacceptable
as far as the Washington Post beating the drums for war, the Washingtonian
Magazine notes: "The Washington Post issued a clarion
call for war against Iraq in a February 5 editorial, thus becoming
the nationís most hawkish major daily newspaper."
otherwise noted, all original