Monday, April 25, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: Friday on NPR's Morning Edition, Mara Liasson offered a report on Tom DeLay's problems with ethics:

The Historical Context of DeLay Ethics Controversy
by Mara Liasson
Morning Edition, April 22, 2005 · House Majority Leader Tom Delay's ethics problems are not new to powerful House leaders. Jim Wright and Newt Gingrich also came under scrutiny from the bipartisan committee.

Liasson's offered a "history" lesson. Democrats were "corrupt" was Newt's argument, which Mara freely offers. Wright had to step down due to charges that he laundered money with a book deal, according to Mara. "mindless cannibalism to an end."
"But it was long" Mara tells us, before Newt was in the spotlight. And she tells us that now DeLay is in the spotlight. An ethicist is brought on who states this is partisan politics underneath though there are concerns of an ethical nature. Norm Ornstein of American Enterprise Institute (truly a "tool" to use my granddaughter's jargon) is offered as an example. DeLay is someone who "pushed the envelope" according to Ornstein.
There was a truce but now, Mara, tells us it's over. House Rep. Peter King (R) says it's a dangerous road to go down.
Jim Wright is then called. "Cycle of mindless cannibalism still?" Wright says yes.
Wright stepped down due to ethical concerns. So how is he an "expert" on ethics? Would Mara quote a convicted rapist to offer opinions on whether another rapist was guilty?
I doubt it and I also doubt that anyone will notice that Mara's spun nicely for the GOP. Wright, who was accused of many things but never of being a "liberal" is interested in redeaming his own tattered image so willing to play along with the "Congress is out of control!" spin. Professional "tool" Ornstein works for the right wing American Enterprise Institute which Al Franken will never be able to redeem, no matter how hard he tries.
Ornstein also "is a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS)" which Mara didn't disclose and I doubt the ethics of that. Ornstein shouldn't be given a platform on any NPR or PBS program without his serving on the board being noted.
Lastly, Peter King is offered to give opinions, King being the Republican House member out of New York.
The whole report stunk and if the topics is ethics, you speak to ethicists. When the topics is ethics, you don't give a board member a platform without noting that the man serves on the PBS board. These aren't complicated issues, they're fairly straightforward. But Mara's not a good reporter as anyone who's listened to NPR for any length of time can tell you.
I doubt any listener's understanding of what was going on was increased as a result of Mara's report.