ABC News Anchor in Washington Fired Over Alleged Partisan Comments and Fight With News Director

This weekend WJLA-TV announced that it had fired veteran anchorman Doug McKelway for a verbal confrontation this summer with the station’s news director. McKelway is a longtime journalist in the Capitol and his termination raised questions about the limits on fair commentary for anchors in political coverage.

In a brief story on environmentalists protesting the influence of the oil industry in Congress, McKelway referred to the small demonstration as “largely representing far-left environmental groups.” He went on to note that such protests “may be a risky strategy because the one man who has more campaign contributions from BP than anybody else in history is now sitting in the Oval Office, President Barack Obama, who accepted $77,051 in campaign contributions from BP.” It is, in my view, clearly wrong to suggest that the protesters were “far left” since many environmentalists are appalled with the level of influence of the industry in Congress and the Administration. The second comment, however, was fair game in my view and has been noted by other journalists in covering such stories — though it has been challenged on the grounds that it came from employees as opposed to company itself.

The second segment is more problematic. He added in a later piece that the Senate was unlikely to pass “cap-and-trade” legislation this year, because “the Democrats are looking at the potential for huge losses in Congress come the midterm elections. And the last thing they want to do is propose a huge escalation in your electric bill, your utility bill, before then.” That seems well over the line for reporting as opposed to commentary. It is the very talking point line put out by conservative advocates to justify more drilling and less regulation. It is greatly disputed and should not have been reported as a fact. However, the question is whether it justified termination.

That coverage led to a confrontation with ABC7’s news director and general manager, Bill Lord. In a letter to McKelway this week where McKelway was accused of insubordination and misconduct. It was the argument with Lord that was the direct justification for the termination decision.

McKelway has accused local news of having a liberal and pro-democratic tilt in the past. He comes from a long line of Washington journalists in his family. He also attracted criticism in 2009 when he was accused of threatening to punch a gay blogger over his practice of “outing” politicians who are in the closet.

McKelway is well known in my area not just as a newsman but as a musician. My family and I have enjoyed his performances with a local blue grass band that plays at restaurants and other venues. He is a very talented banjo player. It is a sad way to end a long career at the station, but McKelway is reportedly working on a book and could still find another venue as a journalist or commentator.

Source: Washington Post

131 thoughts on “ABC News Anchor in Washington Fired Over Alleged Partisan Comments and Fight With News Director

  1. Err, question: Would we even be having a discussion about whether his comments crossed the line from news to right-wing talking points if this guy worked at Fox News? Oh, wait, stupid question. If he were working at Fox News, he would be *promoted* for spouting conservative talking points. not fired. Nevermind.

  2. As the lines between journalism and commentary get blurred more and more by Fox News, more people in that position will be able to do a little dance: I’m a reporter. Now I’m just a commentator. Now I’m a reporter. Who me? Just a commentator.

  3. Most environmental groups are far, far left. that was a factual statement.

    Again utility bills and energy costs in general will rise due to cap and trade. It is a factual statement, it is not opinion. Just as the bail-out and the stimulus have lead to an increase in the cost of living due to inflation caused by the increase in the money supply.

    price of gold September 2008 – 911.00
    price of gold September 2010 – 1279.60

    some of that is due to uncertainty certainly but some is due to the effects of the bail-out and the stimulus.

  4. Oh what is a little petroleum based products such as oil with your food, water in the wet lands. Whats a little gas by-product in the air. Geeze can we oil just get a long. The proper lubricant makes things slide in much easier all the way around…..Just happens money is the lobbyists choice.

    So if you wanna have free speech in the media make sure you have a good contract….ask Dan Rather….but then again…the Bushes did it right…you report bad stuff about me…no problem…..You say you can’t get in because your press pass has expired…..we’ll get right on that…..

  5. Byron Do you really think if an organization lobbies for clean air and clean water that they are “far far left”?

  6. “McKelway is a longtime journalist in the Capitol and his termination raised questions about the limits on fair commentary for anchors in political coverage.”

    ********************

    As we all know, the First Amendment protects one from government censorship of ideas. Absent specific agreements to the contrary, private employers may hire and fire for much of what you say publicly and while on the job, and even for stupid comments away from the job that impacts the employer. Here it appears the firing event was a confrontation with a superior possibly constituting insubordination. Nothing new about that either.

    I explain to my clients in these situations that an employer has no obligation to support or foster your political views or your Constitutional rights. Principle is expensive in every sense of the word, and once should not expect to be free from consequences if what they say or do is contrary to the standards set by their employer.

    All in all, I suggest if you want a political soapbox, so be it, but you can’t stand on your employers without its permission or acquiescence. Banjo-playing McKelway had neither. Foggy [Headed] Breakdown, indeed.

  7. Concerning the statement…” And the last thing they want to do is propose a huge escalation in your electric bill, your utility bill ….”
    Obama himself said openly that this cap and trade legislation would necessarily make our utility bills skyrocket. This is not a direct quote but I think most of us have seen this statement on camera. This is called simply journalism. Stating what the prez has already made a point to say. You may not like it but that’s just too bad. Furthermore, on the enviromentalist demographics point, my experience is that they side predominantly with the left. Degrees of far-leftdom can be debated to no real point. It doesn’t matter. In all, and on the surface of what I see here, this talking head was let go for political reasons. He stated facts that were plain to see. Your boss don’t like it, yes you can be let go. But he was apparently doing his job. Yes he can make more money on Fox as they will let you speak the facts.

  8. There’s a long history of politicians and journalists deriding anything the public wants as “left” or “liberal” (or “an ideologue” or “unrealistic” or “not bipartisan” etc. etc.) and anyone that advocates for them as “shrill.” Glenn Greenwald has had good coverage of this throughout the years.

  9. Mespo:

    what if you speak the truth as Geeba Geeba pointed out? Or at least point out what was said by another? It then appears that it is nothing but political censorship. Obviously your boss can fire you but if this is a real news organization then it has lost a good deal of credibility and has become a shill.

  10. Byron,

    “Obviously your boss can fire you but if this is a real news organization then it has lost a good deal of credibility and has become a shill.”

    I’m beginning to wonder how many of our news organizations are “REAL news organizations.” I’d say, in this day and age, we don’t have news media–we have corporate media.

    Check out the following story from 2008 about executives at MSNBC, which is considered by many to be a “liberal” network.
    *****

    From Politico

    CNN’s Yellin: Network execs killed critical White House stories
    May 29, 2008

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/michaelcalderone/0508/CNNs_Yellin_Network_execs_killed_critical_White_House_stories_.html

    On Wednesday night, CNN’s Jessica Yellin talked to Anderson Cooper about Scott McClellan’s tell-all memoir and agreed with the former press secretary that White House reporters “dropped the ball” during the run-up to war.

    But Yellin went much further, revealing that news executives — presumably at ABC News, where she’d worked from July 2003 to August 2007 — actively pushed her not do hard-hitting pieces on the Bush administration. [UPDATE: Yellin now says it was MSNBC execs, not ABC]

    “The press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president’s high approval ratings,” Yellin said.

    “And my own experience at the White House was that the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives — and I was not at this network at the time — but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president, I think over time….”

    But then a shocked Cooper jumped in, asking, “You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?”

    “Not in that exact…. They wouldn’t say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces,” Yellin said. “They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical, and try to put on pieces that were more positive. Yes, that was my experience.”

  11. Nal,

    Good catch. Accuracy counts. That still doesn’t excuse Obama’s capitulation to the BP pressure to low-ball the damage of the spill or any of his other crimes, but I’m all for accuracy.

  12. Elaine,

    You are spot on. There is a huge difference between diverse independent news organizations and corporate media.

  13. FormalFederalNothing,

    “If you think _any_ mainstream “news” organization is giving you the real news, you’re wrong.”

    Is that what you think I was implying with my earlier comment?

  14. Byron,

    I’m with Elaine on this one.

    Other than Maddow, I only watch PBS News Hour. It’s not glitzy but the stories are well researched and presented in a manner that doesn’t insult one’s intelligence.

    I do get the NY Times delivered and use the internet for all other news … especially international

    I don’t think I have watched any other news channels in over a year.

    I get all my fake news from Stewart and Colbert.

    It works for me and keeps my irritation level very low … good for the blood pressure.

  15. Elaine M.,

    No. It probably would have been better to have said: “If one thinks…” to convey that I do not think that _you_ hold that view. I can see you’re skeptical of the integrity of the MSM already.

  16. The news media is owned by corporations with different political agendas. We all know that. Sidney Harmon just bought Newsweek and their better journalists are leaving. Howard Fineman is going to the Huffington Post.

  17. “I’m beginning to wonder how many of our news organizations are “REAL news organizations.” I’d say, in this day and age, we don’t have news media–we have corporate media.”

    Elaine,
    good point but I think the time to start wondering is past, replaced by absolute certainty.

  18. Mike S.

    I still think there may be some–though not many–real news organizations left. They may not be the organizations that most people go to for their news. I also believe there are REAL investigative journalists–including Jeremy Scahill, Jane Mayer, and Seymour Hersh–working to dig up the truth.

    I remember reading/hearing about the Knight Ritter organization not buying the Bush administartion’s talking points in the run-up to the Iraq War

    From Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting
    Extra! March/April 2006

    Wrong on Iraq? Not Everyone
    Four in the mainstream media who got it right

    By Steve Rendall
    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2847

    Excerpt:
    Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay

    Knight Ridder’s Washington bureau didn’t take the White House propaganda campaign at face value either. In a September 6, 2002 story, “Lack of Hard Evidence of Iraqi Weapons Worries Top U.S. Officials,” the newspaper chain’s Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay reported, “Senior U.S. officials with access to top-secret intelligence on Iraq say they have detected no alarming increase in the threat that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein poses to American security and Middle East stability.” Throughout the run-up to the war, the Knight Ridder reporters filed story after story raising questions about Bush administration claims, with headlines like “Some in Bush Administration Have Misgivings About Iraq Policy” (10/8/02) and “Infighting Among U.S. Intelligence Agencies Fuels Dispute Over Iraq” (10/27/02).

    Knight Ridder’s skeptical reporting stood apart from the more credulous coverage regularly put forth by most other mainstream outlets. When the New York Times reported on the aluminum tubes story, “U.S. Says Hussein Intensified Quest for A-Bomb Parts” (9/8/02), it emphasized the White House view that the tubes were hard evidence of an Iraqi nuclear program, and downplayed dissenting views. Knight Ridder published a very different piece, “CIA Report Reveals Analysts’ Split Over Extent of Iraqi Nuclear Threat” (10/4/02), recording strong dissent by prominent experts and portraying the tubes’ purpose as anything but a settled issue. Indeed, in the end, the dissenters were right.

    Strobel and Landay received accolades for their tough reporting from some journalism establishment outlets. “Almost alone among national news organizations, Knight Ridder had decided to take a hard look at the administration’s justifications for war,” wrote Michael Massing in the New York Review of Books (2/26/04). Writing in the American Journalism Review (8–9/04), Steve Ritea commended the Knight Ridder reporters:

    For about a year and a half, the pair had filed compelling stories on the issue and, on many occasions, it seemed like they were banging the drum alone. It wasn’t until earlier this year, when it became increasingly apparent Hussein had not been stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, that other news outlets grew more critical of the administration.

    But when it counted, Knight Ridder’s reporting too often went unnoticed—in part because more powerful media outlets were too timid or arrogant to attempt to build on Knight Ridder’s many scoops.

  19. I am a liberal progressive (without a party) but I am also a business manager that has been in charge of a division of a public company. Insubordination is a firing offense, and the faster the better. Employees do not get to use company resources to promote their own ideology EVER. I wouldn’t let them use the copier for fliers, I wouldn’t let them use a second of my airtime, or the makeup artists, and set, and cameramen, and producer, and graphics artists that are all paid for by company funds.

    Part of the FOX product is partisan sniping and derision. They revel in it and consciously profit from it, their CEO-approved marketing strategy is to appeal to this niche. Fox News anchors don’t have any freedom of speech either, none of them can stray far from their reservation without being fired as well.

    I see nothing wrong with this firing. If the News Director felt that partisanship could damage his ratings or endanger his advertising base, it was HIS JOB to reign in the anchor, and if the anchor refuses or gets emotional, it was HIS JOB to fire the guy, or lose any semblance of authority over his staff.

    As a manager I much preferred a cooperative atmosphere and I decreed very, very little, but in the face of outright mutiny and an outright refusal to follow (unquestionably legal) orders, firing is the right answer.

  20. “But when it counted, Knight Ridder’s reporting too often went unnoticed—in part because more powerful media outlets were too timid or arrogant to attempt to build on Knight Ridder’s many scoops”

    Elaine,
    You’ve gone to the heart of the matter. Even Cy Hersch today finds his stories not publicized widely enough to reach public
    cognizance. If a news story breaks that differs from the corporate message, the general public never hears of it.

  21. McKelway always struck me as a just another blow dry newsbot. Good to know he has another gig. The much beloved Joel Daly (Cleveland and later and longer in Chicago) was a C&W musician and kept at it after his news days were largely over.

    McKelway didn’t have his facts straight and seems likely to turn into another Bernard Goldberg or John “the moustache” Stossel, whining his way to guest shots on Fox or arguing the usual rightwing blather on CNN. Significantly WJLA is owned by Joe Albritton, who is no liberal.

  22. ABC, NBC, and CBS have lied about Republicans, Christians, and conservatives for over half a century. They don’t lie overtly of course, instead, they deceive the public with editing and word games. Left wingers can achieve their agenda only by deception and dishonesty.

    For decades they portrayed the right as evil and the left as good. They did it by unflattering camera shots and photo,s and hacked-up sound bites by right wingers taken out of context. And they contrasted that to glowing depictions of left wingers who cared for the poor and downtrodden (which is a lie).

    All of this amounts to a lie of the deceptive kind. It has done much to destroy America.

    This is how they did it and continue to do it:

    http://www.mediaresearch.org/static/profiles/DianeSawyer/GoodMorningBias.aspx

  23. You know, Elaine. Fake Christians. Like the ones who think they can force their beliefs on others or legislate morals. Just like their brethren the Fake Muslims. Any religion that relies on coercion is a falsehood. Really good ideas, including those found in religions, will stand on their own and need no coercion. Just like a God needs no humans or their assistance of any kind to do what it wishes. Coercion is a human game. A God can just make it so.

  24. From the Media Research Center website:

    What People Are Saying About the Media Research Center

    Talk show hosts, authors, conservative politicians and even journalists have praised the MRC for its work in bringing fairness to the media.

    http://www.mrc.org/membership/kudos.asp

    Here are names of some of the folks who have high praise for the Media Research Center:

    Rush Limbaugh
    Ann Coulter
    Cal Thomas
    Robert Nowak
    Fred Barnes
    John Fund
    Newt Gingrich
    Phyllis Schlafly

    Now there’s a line-up for ya!

    *****
    BTW, I’m so old that I remember when Diane Sawyer worked for Richard “I Am Not a Crook” Nixon.

    ;)

  25. Tootie:

    I am a “lurker” and read what you write with interest. I agree with most of what you say, you appear to be some sort of Christian libertarian. And you certainly seem to take a good deal of heat, some quite nasty. Although you seem to give it back.

    From what I can see most here do not understand our form of government very well even though they are lawyers(?). Or maybe they do understand it and just dont like it or have contempt for it? They also seem to be quite dictatorial in their pronouncements even though most are opinions and they also dont seem to understand that a good many precedents they refer to are nothing but opinions as well, some based on bad thinking. They seem to take them as gospel from on high. They question nothing except what they disagree with and they generally, like Nazis really, brutalize anyone with a differing opinion.

    Your thoughts?

  26. Speaking of Partisan stuff…..

    Remember the Impeachment Hearing Resume tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. Sept, 21, 2010…….

  27. Elaine M.
    1, September 20, 2010 at 9:36 pm
    REAL Christians? That would mean that there must be FAKE Christians? How is one to tell one from the other? Things are so complicated these days.

    ========================================================

    I suppose conservatives could require the fake ones to wear yellow cross patches

  28. Hmmmmm…..I wonder if you would be willing to die for your religion….then that could be the test…..of faith….didn’t say a good one but…..

  29. Awww. Isn’t Hubris cute. Calling people who rely on logic and precedent instead of unfounded unprovable beliefs Nazis.

    The ones who don’t understand our government here are the theocrats who operate under the delusion this is a Christian nation when it was specifically founded as a secular nation.

    The Separation Doctrine doesn’t just insulate religions from government, but government from religion.

    If you want to live under a theocracy, Saudi Arabia and Iran are nice this time of year.

  30. Nah,

    Anytime someone tells me that they are a christian, I check pocket to make sure my wallet is still in place and to make sure that is the only thing in my pocket as well…..

  31. Blouise,

    It should be a bunch of guys, because everyone knows women aren’t suitable for decision making decisions since they are so busy being subservient to the men folk.

  32. Besides, it’s hard to be on a committee when you’re both barefoot and pregnant. Or when your expected social role is to be seen and not heard.

  33. Buddha,

    “The ones who don’t understand our government here are the theocrats who operate under the delusion this is a Christian nation..”

    Some people would qualify that statement with the term REAL Christian. To them, it isn’t just about being Christian–it’s about being the “right kind” of Christian.

  34. lol

    “It should be a bunch of guys, because everyone knows women aren’t suitable for decision making decisions”

    SB

    “It should be a bunch of guys, because everyone knows women aren’t suitable for decision making roles

    This typo sponsored by Woodchuck Hard Cider.

  35. Elaine,

    You are, as usual, correct. It’s not enough to worship the same god, you must do it in the manner which they, the mortals, approve.

  36. the government? You dont understand at all. You just think you do. Use your logic and you can prove that a goat is a pig but not much else.

    if your Venn diagrams intersect bullshit and horse shit what set is that? Hows that for logic?

  37. AY would be perfect, mainly because he’s reluctant …

    By the way …. somebody is going to have to break this REAL Christian news to Buckeye and it ain’t gonna be me

  38. Buddha,

    Regarding your comment about women who are “so busy being subservient to the men folk.” I’ll have to tell that one to my husband. I already know his reaction.

    P.S. My husband’s father was of an older generation–yet he cautioned him when he was young not to marry a subservient women. Of course, my husband took his father’s wise advice!

    :)

  39. Buddha,

    Hubris is gonna lose his conservative operative license if he keeps trying to manipulate Tootie

    Now everyone can stand witness for me … I gave it a legitimate and sincere try …

  40. Hubris,

    Being that I am a lawyer, well, I do understand.

    The Constitution reads in the 1st Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

    That means that the government cannot sponsor or favor any religion including Christianity. It also means the government can’t prohibit you from believing what you choose, no matter how irrational.

    That’s not only logic, it’s the very definition of a secular form of government and it’s the law.

    I’d tell you to read Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), but I’m sure you wouldn’t be able to understand it given your last post. Too bad for you it is also the law.

    Stick that in your Venn diagram, Mr. Exaggerated pride or self-confidence.

  41. By the way, Hubris. You should recall Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

    It’ll keep you out of arguments you can’t win.

  42. I suspect that Hubris’s chair has been taken or he has enjoyed a few refreshing beverages … soon the language will get much stronger than horse shit or bullshit …

  43. Elaine … here it is from this morning on the Gaza thread

    Mike Spindell
    1, September 20, 2010 at 11:41 am
    Is it me, or does anyone else here feel that Islamic fundamentalists must be lousy in bed and know it. Come to think of it that would go for fundamentalists of all stripes who think women subservient to men.

    Classic!

  44. Blouise,

    Thanks! One has to wonder about males who feel they must subjugate women in order to feel like real men.

    *****
    Buddha,

    I’m still working on Hubris’s claim that our opinions are dictatorial pronouncements.

  45. Hubris is like a little kid … he’ll say anything to get attention … I don’t respond to Tootie because I disagree with almost everything she/he writes but I read the posts, I don’t ignore him/her … Hubris has proven to be a different animal so I don’t even read him anymore … sometimes I get caught though because I read other’s responses to him … it’s not a perfect plan but it suffices.

  46. I defuse nonsense and propaganda. It’s my nature. Fortunately I have a lot of help in that area around here. Most of the regulars have a low bullshit threshold and a willingness to speak up about it.

  47. Buddha,

    “I know personally I’m genetically incapable of goose stepping.”

    So am I. My father and all my grandparents were born in a country in Eastern Europe that was overrun by Germany in World War II. Millions of its citizens were killed and tortured. I don’t take kindly to being compared to a Nazi.

  48. Bud:

    that Hubris handle is a warning to you.

    By the way do you even know why the founders put that ole little clause in there?

    Hint it wasn’t to protect the government from religion. Government don’t need protection from the people as is obvious by what has transpired over the last century, but the people sure as hell need protectin from our government.

    you are a simple putz, Bakersfield and Spamheed have you dead to rights. I also doubt you are even a lawyer or have a degree of any type for that matter. Cause your thinkin is stinkin up the joint.

    But keep dreaming about how all logical you are, I haven’t seen one rational sentence from anyone on this site ceptin Spamheed, Bakersfield, Tootie, Rhubarb, Secret Agent Man, Agent Orange, and Rhubarb with a silent Q. The rest are dithering idiots or is that idiots dithering? I haven’t yet figured that out.

  49. “Obviously your boss can fire you but if this is a real news organization then it has lost a good deal of credibility and has become a shill.”

    I’m beginning to wonder how many of our news organizations are “REAL news organizations.” I’d say, in this day and age, we don’t have news media–we have corporate media.
    ==============================

    I wondering how many people realize there never has been any such thing as a “real” news organization, by what seems to be the common understanding of the term.

    In terms of the ABC Anchor who got canned for spouting partisan nonsense and Republican talking points, I would expect their ratings to improve as their reporting becomes more well-reasoned.

  50. The usual rightwing hijack from someone who blathers about talking points. This a newscaster who was fired by a not exactly liberally-owned station. He didn’t have his facts straight and he seems likely to have a second career as a right wing blatherer. Good tghing he also has the music gig.

  51. Hubris,

    Why rationalize away that you have picked the perfect name for yourself as demonstrated by your lack of logical skills and proofs? It was the one thing you have going for you. Since you obviously don’t understand the letter of the law as stated in the Constitution, here is just some of what one of the Founders had to say about religion and governance.

    “I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies, that the General Government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting and prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them, an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises and the objects proper for them according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands where the Constitution has deposited it… Everyone must act according to the dictates of his own reason, and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.” – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Samuel Miller, 1808. [emphasis added]

    “[N]o man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.” – Thomas Jefferson, Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, 1779 [emphasis added]

    And last but not least,

    “I am for freedom of religion, & against all maneuvres to bring about a legal ascendancy of one sect over another.” – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Elbridge Gerry, 1799

    It logically follows that to protect the civil and secular nature of government’s powers that the influence of religion on government – especially when used to promote one religion over another – that the 1st Amendment does in fact operate to limit the influence of religion on government to keep one religion from asserting dominance over another and that this was the intent of the Founding Fathers.

    I should also add your efforts at insult and puerile “nanny nanny boo boo” act is still just as ineffective as it has always been. It seems you have nothing logical or factual to offer yet again, Hubris.

    Sucks to be you.

  52. Bud:

    I sorta think that is pretty much what I said. But thanks for making my point.

    It’s so much easier to have the master of cut and paste do my research for me.

  53. Hubris,

    “By the way do you even know why the founders put that ole little clause in there?

    Hint it wasn’t to protect the government from religion. Government don’t need protection from the people as is obvious by what has transpired over the last century, but the people sure as hell need protectin from our government.”

    What I did was prove that the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment was meant to protect both citizens and the government from the influence of religious based laws – which was my assertion here http://jonathanturley.org/2010/09/20/abc-news-anchor-fired-over-alleged-partisan-comments-and-fight-with-news-director/#comment-160744 and here http://jonathanturley.org/2010/09/20/abc-news-anchor-fired-over-alleged-partisan-comments-and-fight-with-news-director/#comment-160759.

    You can try to claim I’m making your point when I’m actually making mine, but it only makes you look more foolish than you already do.

  54. “I wondering how many people realize there never has been any such thing as a “real” news organization, by what seems to be the common understanding of the term.”

    A fabulous point that needs no further explanation except the call for people to understand its meaning.

  55. Would that Hubris and Tootie were real Christians and let their lives be informed by the Gospels and not some Preachers who lack understanding and insight into what Jesus was teaching.

    Jesus = Newt/Sarah/Mitt, etc.? Read your Gospels and get the fact that they are hardly equivalent, or even on the same page.

  56. Mike,

    To keep theological debates to a minimum I always go by the definition that a Christian is someone who claims to follow Christ.

    Short, sweet, and from the dictionary. Also, that way I don’t have to worry about which particular teachings of Jesus (or whoever wrote down what he was supposed to have said a couple generations later) people are claiming to follow.

  57. no it wasnt meant to protect government at all. Government doesnt need protecting, it should be doing the protecting.

    What it is doing is protecting you from my religion or vice versa, it is protecting the government not at all.
    It is protecting the individual from something he/she does not want to do against the dictates of their conscience.

    There is a distinction. Your way empowers government, my way empowers people.

  58. Hubris,

    Since protecting me from your religion requires that the government wield secular power, it should come as no surprise that the Constitution empowers our government. It is, after all, the founding document granting all power in the first place. That is what the Constitution does: it grants rights to citizens and reserves powers for government. If it didn’t, it would be useless as a foundation for our legal system. That religious based laws are unconstitutional on their face is the mechanism that protects government from perpetrating abuses based on your religion by forbidding it, ergo, it protects the government from abuses by you and your religion that you would have enforced against others not of your faith and doing so under the color of law.

    It’s the same mechanism that protects Americans and our secular government from imposing Sharia or some idiotic Fundie Christian version thereof.

  59. Has anyone informed the Merc that the Bill of Rights came later, as promised, but after the ratification of the Constitution … just wondering if it has been pointed out to him … the Merc really doesn’t know his basic history … and doesn’t understand what little he knows. What in the world is he doing on this site?

    (Yeah, I know, I know)

  60. Blouise,

    Well if he’d lose the confrontational attitude he might actually get a conversation going. It works for Byron after all, and Puzzling, FFLEO, etc.

    Heck I remember having a civil conversation or two with Tootie, and even Wayne.

  61. “Mike Spindell:
    too bad you are wrong.”

    Hubris,
    Sad to say I’m not wrong. If you think your political ideas are commenssurrate with what’s in the Gospels (note I specifically say Gospels and do no mean the rest of the Christian Canaon) than you are delusional.

    Gyges,
    I generally agree, but in certain cases like Hubris, Tootie, et. al, their appalling ignorance of what they profess to believe just invites comment and invective.

  62. “That is what the Constitution does: it grants rights to citizens and reserves powers for government.”

    I wasn’t aware the Constitution granted us rights, I must have missed something somewhere. I was under the impression the Constitution protected our rights by delimiting the power of government.

    So all are rights stem from government?

  63. Mike Spindell:

    I have no where said or implied that I am a Christian or even religious. Just because I agree with Tootie doesn’t mean I am necessarily a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim or a Buddhist or a Hindu or a Jainist, etc.

  64. Hubris,

    Your lack of understand aside, rights as a citizen are delineated by the same document that delineates the powers and responsibilities of the three branches of government, the Constitution, and those rights are delineated as informed by the Declaration of Independence to further constrain government in accordance with the intent of the Founding Fathers. Rights and governmental powers are both creations in law based on the Constitution – read that carefully – they come from the same source, not one from the other. The part you are missing (and/or consistently misinterpreting) are commonly called The Bill of Rights – otherwise known as the first ten amendments of the Constitution.

    That’s basic high school civics.

  65. Buddha,

    Before Ms. Elaine M. chops your head off, schools don’t teach anything other than how to pass standardized testing. So Civics which was required when we were going to school has not been taught as thoroughly as it should be…Don’t forget this, unfortunately Texas sets the standards for school textbooks used…..Now that scary…..Bush touched this state too…..

  66. Bill of rights has nothing to do with where the power comes from. It was a compromise to further expand on the rights of citizens.

    But thanks for the “high school civics” lesson.

  67. Hubris,

    You truly live up to your name. Thank you for proving you are incapable of learning. My argument is based on fact and law. Yours is based on opinion, wrong opinion at that. You are free to be as wrong as you wish. The Bill of Rights is the legal origin of your rights as a citizen whether you believe it or not. That compromises where made to include the possibility of post ratification amendments pertaining to rights does not change the fact that the Bill of Rights is a component of the Constitution made by legitimate Constitutional amendment. That is was passed after ratification doesn’t lessen its authority and shows your complete misunderstanding of the nature of the Massachusetts Compromise and the legal fact that the Constitution is considered a complete document as integrated with the Amendments.

    Truly, your ignorance is astounding.

  68. “Mike Spindell:
    I have no where said or implied that I am a Christian or even religious. Just because I agree with Tootie doesn’t mean I am necessarily a Christian”

    Hubris,
    This is true, however, Tootie does have a quite specific agenda and your agreement with her certainly would imply a Christian connection. By the way you have the most apt screen name I’ve seen from any poster.

  69. Mike S.,

    Good to see you around. Did you see what happened to the Michigan State FB Coach on Saturday night? He had a heart attack not too long after they finally beat Notre Dame…..now if every coach has a heart attack after they beat ND, I think that might be divine intervention…..

  70. NO what is that? I am from a foreign country and english is not my native language.

    I would be most appreciative if you would explain.

    thank you in advance.

  71. AY,

    I would never entertain the thought of chopping off Buddha’s pudgy head! Why…I’d miss seeing that great grin grin here at the Turley blog.

    As far as the teaching of Civics goes: It may well be that some schools have stopped teaching the subject because students may not be tested on the subject. Of course, this is a big country with many thousands of different school districts that have different educational requirements.

    Don’t get me started on a discussion of the current national craze to test kids to death–and definitely not on a discussion of giving merit pay to teachers whose students do well on standardized tests.

  72. Hubris
    1, September 21, 2010 at 5:07 pm
    Bill of rights has nothing to do with where the power comes from. It was a compromise to further expand on the rights of citizens.

    ============================================================

    Nice try but no cigar … well, 1/2 a cigar. But not to worry … as you stated, you are from a foreign country and not expected to grasp everything … however, if contemplating applying for citizenship here … start studying … there are also tutors …

  73. Hubris,

    You being a foreigner and all I’d like to recommend a book to you … it’s easy to read and easy to understand and it might help you come to grips with, or at least gain a better understanding of, the Constitution and thus this blog which is populated by many Americans.

    “Original Meanings – Politics and Ideas In The Making Of The Constitution” by Jack N Rakove (It won the Pulitzer Prize (History) in 1997)

    I don’t know if it’s available in your native tongue, you being a foreigner and all, but try it in English.

  74. Tootie 1, September 20, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    ABC, NBC, and CBS have lied about Republicans, Christians, and conservatives for over half a century. They don’t lie overtly of course, instead, they deceive the public with editing and word games. Left wingers can achieve their agenda only by deception and dishonesty.

    For decades they portrayed the right as evil and the left as good. They did it by unflattering camera shots and photo,s and hacked-up sound bites by right wingers taken out of context. And they contrasted that to glowing depictions of left wingers who cared for the poor and downtrodden (which is a lie).
    —————————————–
    Tootie thank you, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out why the hatred, why the vitriole, why the separation….you (and maybe lots of Republican types, that I don’t know…) are incredibly angry and pissed off at people that YOU PERCEIVE are behaving badly when in fact, they are most probably just finally allowing themselves to behave as you do…wow. (and thank God for the ones that don’t…)

    remember that old saying….when you point a finger at someone, three more are pointing right back at you…

    in any event, thank you

  75. @Woosty: Do you understand that I am a left-winger, liberal, and on many points a socialist, and my AGENDA is complete and open books, complete access to all information, a complete minimization of all “secret” documents in the US Government, and total transparency in every meeting?

    How, exactly, does that lead to “deception”?

    I think if everybody in the country could know where every dime a politician received from the time they took office until 10 years after they left it, and be confident that information was real and accurate, WITHOUT deception, our political landscape would be entirely different.

    The same goes for corporate officers and corporate money. I’ve been a contractor with access to books of about eight major coporations, and if you knew the ways they (legally) deceive their employees, shareholders, suppliers and investors, you would be appalled. Some of these accounting shenanigans and payroll leeches SHOULD be illegal.

    The same goes for churches.

    At least for the lefties like ME, our agenda is ANTI-deception, it requires complete and verifiable truth and transparency by all non-private citizens. That includes politicians, the leaders and paid officers charitable organizations, and between all corporate officers with any fiduciary responsibility and their investors. We can’t get there by deception.

  76. Interesting article in The Boston Globe today:

    Peretz, Thomas, and the Middle East double standard
    By Matthew Duss
    September 22, 2010

    http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2010/09/22/peretz_thomas_and_the_middle_east_double_standard/

    Excerpt:
    LAST JUNE, veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas was fired for telling Jews to “get the hell out of Palestine.’’ While many were deeply and rightly offended by Thomas’s remarks, it was a sad end to a storied journalism career.

    Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post suggested that if “Thomas had said the opposite thing about the Palestinians, she’d still have her job.’’ Journalist Jeffrey Goldberg disagreed. “If you gave this long diatribe about [how] the Palestinians don’t exist, which is sort of the equivalent argument, I don’t think you’re going to last that long in the mainstream press.’’

    But recent events allow us to test Goldberg’s hypothesis. Martin Peretz, the longtime owner and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, mused on his blog, The Spine, whether Muslim Americans “are worthy of the privileges of the First Amendment which I have in my gut the sense that they will abuse.’’

    Coming under criticism, Peretz backtracked. “I wrote that,’’ he acknowledged, “but I do not believe that.’’ However, Peretz reiterated his equally offensive claim that “Muslim life is cheap, most notably to Muslims,’’ which he called “a statement of fact, not value.’’ Nor did he apologize for writing that the Palestinians are “a fictional people.’’

    Over the years, Peretz has regularly denied the existence of Palestinians as a real people with national claims worth acknowledging. For example, he has written:

    ■ “The defeat of the Arabs of Palestine and the five warrior Arab states in 1948, 1967 and 1973 made a fictional people into a political force. We do not yet know whether this political force will mature into a real people. Or nation. My bet is ‘no.’ ’’

    ■ “The Palestinians may not be the Palestinian nation. But they are who they are. It is not Washington that makes them fantasists.’’

    ■ “Only if you are ‘Eyeless in Gaza’ can you believe that these people [the Palestinians] are a ‘nation.’ ’’

    Peretz’s writing career has essentially been a series of, to quote Goldberg, “long diatribe[s] about how the Palestinians don’t exist.’’ Yet he continues to receive a special dispensation for these libels, while Thomas received public condemnation and a pink slip for her single denial of Jewish national claims.

    What can explain this? Certainly some of it has to do with money and power. As editor-in-chief of a prominent political magazine, Peretz maintains relationships with, and cuts checks to, a number of writers, most of whom would like to be paid by him again, and are therefore inclined to hold their fire (and, one assumes, their noses) as they continue to write for him. Indeed, former New Republic editor Andrew Sullivan and Slate’s Jack Shafer have criticized Peretz for his recent remarks but have also suggested that his stewardship of the magazine should mitigate his years of open bigotry. It’s interesting that none of Helen Thomas’s own path-breaking accomplishments were allowed to distract from her defenestration.

  77. @ Mr. Tony C.~

    I was responding to a Tootie remark, all above the line was authored by her. Still, you are waaaaaay further left of center than myself sir……

  78. Tony C.~
    “I think if everybody in the country could know where every dime a politician received from the time they took office until 10 years after they left it, and be confident that information was real and accurate, WITHOUT deception, our political landscape would be entirely different.”
    ————————————————-
    I don’t disagree with this…politicians are public servants and actually….isn’t this already on the books? And as regarding corporations…I wouldn’t be appalled at all. I am appalled only that they are allowed to cause so much harm as they do to people. All over the world….

  79. @Woosty: Once a politician leaves office they are not a public servant. They can immediately go to work for the corporations they helped while in office, and earn a million dollars a year with zero responsibility.

    While in office they do have to disclose their income, but it is seldom investigated or verified and they have a culture of looking the other way even for the opposition party, and the “ethics” committee is almost never more than a slap on the wrist. It is senators judging senators, and representatives judging reps, and if you think that is a formula for justice, you don’t understand their culture of protecting each other from scrutiny. We can’t even get Bush and Cheney prosecuted for the war crimes they still boast about.

    If you want a peek behind the curtain, just recent news should tell you campaign cash is spent like their own money. A Democrat hires his mistress as a videographer, a Republican pays off the husband of the woman he bedded by hiring an 18 year old kid at an exorbitant salary to be a “political consultant.” Hillary stays in $4000/night hotel suites during her campaign, and her senior staff gets the same treatment with different suites. They eat $400/plate dinners with a few $300 bottles of wine, all on the campaign tab.

    The numbers reported aren’t real, or verifiable, because the people in charge of verifying them are biased, they have no interest in exposing the truth. Sometimes the truth comes out and they have to make a show of it, but when is the last time the Senate censured a colleague without a hard-won news story about the colleague’s corruption appearing first? Trick question, the answer is NEVER.

  80. Tony C.

    I find your insights very interesting and wonder if there is a difference between requiring government transparency and corporate transparency.

    It would seem to me that the first could be a matter of law, but the second couldn’t. Of course deception in either is the problem.

    In the Obama administration, former lobbyists were not to be hired, and officials leaving were not to practice lobbying for 3 years. I take it you think this is not long enough?

    As far as coprorations go, the problems seem to have been with auditors and board of directors not doing their job.

    Like Woosty, I think you should write a book, if you are not constrained by contracts you have signed.

  81. @Buckeye, Woosty:

    I am not a reporter, I am currently a research scientist at a university, I was formerly a contract business consultant. In that former capacity I was frequently (meaning about weekly) at lunch and in meetings with corporate officers of one stripe or another, sometimes the CEO but usually VPs or people at the level of major division manager. For about three years I actually served as a major division manager of a corporation, that due to my efforts went public (sales from my division increased tenfold in three years, but that is what I was there to do, exploit an unusual market situation).

    Due to the nature of my services I had access to their books, taxes, and at least the legal financial shenanigans. I do not know what they did with their personal money. Unless the corporations were very small (and several were just privately held), I typically did have non-disclosure agreements built into my contracts.

    Of course, some of this should be obvious to you all. Do you think failed Congressman are really such whiz-bang negotiators that they deserve multi-million dollar a year salaries as lobbyists? Don’t you think that if they were that good, they could have gotten their way when they were IN office? No.

    This is how the vampire rich legally buy congressional votes for tax breaks and exemptions, union busting, government contracts and lax (or nonexistent) oversight. Congressmen that become lobbyists are just proof-by-example that the corporations will financially reward politicians that served their interests. They aren’t hired to do a job, they are hired to show off their winnings and by that demonstration turn others to the dark side.

    Others become Ivy league professors, or corporate funded think-tankers, or billionaires (like the Koch brothers) fund their wacko movements (see Dick Army), or stupid projects (see the Saudi funding of GW Bush’s business debacles while his daddy was President. And note that GW walked away with millions from these failed businesses, and for the Saudis, this is just one of the many things they did to curry favor with politicians, because a hundred million in perfectly legal but hilariously stupid investments is not a big price to pay with a hundred billion on the line.

    You will never record or hear a quid pro quo, because 99% of them are not that stupid. Unlike the American people, the vampire rich won’t fall for rhetoric, they wait for ACTION, and they will pay a fair price when ACTION is taken on their behalf, or consider it a debt they must pay in order to keep other politicians on the line. The politicians are the same. To prove you are serious: spend $50K on their retired buddy the lobbyist. Max out on a few campaign contributions. If you are rich enough to do that, you can get an audience. If you aren’t — They will eat lunch with somebody that is, because sitting politicians have the responsibility in this system of making sure *somebody* gets paid before anything gets passed, otherwise the pay to play system might break down before they get their share.

    The only exceptions are when they are at political risk; then they are given a pass to leave the reservation if necessary. Other than that, there are no contracts to sign or pledges to make, it is just daily examples that build an implicit understanding that the vampire rich will do their best to ruin you if you cross them, and will make sure you are living the good life if you serve them.

  82. @Buckeye: Boards of Directors do not do their job for the same reason. They are frequently CEO’s themselves, and if they are sucking profits out of their company to the tune of millions in compensation they don’t actually deserve, why would they object to you doing the same? That can only lead to heartbreak and empty wallets.

    Just enjoy your free retreat to New Zealand with our flown in 5 star chef, and your plus one (or we can provide a plus one that meets your specifications, since prostitution is legal in New Zealand), and the last two hours of the last day rubber-stamp a few corporate resolutions for us. It is all on the stockholder’s tab, and we will do the same for you when you need it.

  83. @Woosty, Buckeye:

    To wit: Here is an article on how the Federal Elections Committee resolves criminal campaign finance activity:
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/09/23/christine_o_donnell_law/index.html

    Basically the rules are incredibly vague, and even if somebody does break them, they try to resolve the issue behind the scenes, and will almost never file any criminal charges. Christine O’Donnell is paying her mother from her campaign funds, and paying her rent and buying her groceries. Openly. Against the Law. And what will the FEC do? “Try to resolve the situation.”

    That is code for “Wait until you stop asking us about it.”

  84. Tony C,
    Your posts have been excellent and highly informative. In relatively few words you diagnose the ills that contaminate our political system and are turning us into a Third world Nation. Please keep up the good work, you’ve become a real asset to this blog.

  85. of course like your website however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the reality on the other hand I’ll certainly come back again.

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