Media Malpractice

Rich Trzupek is a veteran environmental consultant and senior advisor to the Heartland Institute. He is the author of the new book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA is Ruining American Industry (Encounter Books).


Two candidates, two statements and two apologies: the continuing sagas of Kentucky’s Republican nominee for the US Senate, Rand Paul, and the Democratic Senate nominee in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, are indicative of the decisive battle pitting ideology against integrity that November 2010 represents. On the one hand, we have a candidate who honestly expressed his opinion regarding legislation that was passed over thirty years ago, legislation that remains in place and will continue to remain in effect in the foreseeable future. On the other hand, we have a candidate who fraudulently distorted his service record in a war that was fought during that same era, deeply offending many veterans who served our nation during that conflict.

Rand Paul’s response to the theoretical question of whether or not he would have supported the Civil Rights Act in 1964 was purely libertarian: he believes that the federal government should tread very lightly when it comes to imposing its will on the public sector, or when it comes to usurping states rights. His answer echoed Barry Goldwater’s position at the time, except that Goldwater was in a position to influence federal law as it was being formulated, whereas Paul was ruminating about a basic philosophical principle of governance: what right and obligation does the federal government have to correct injustices?

There is no doubt that Paul, like Goldwater before him, believes that institutional racism was indeed a grave injustice. Yet, because Paul questioned the method – not the goal – of correcting this particular inequity, the left and their allies in the mainstream media wasted no time piously declaring that Rand Paul is a racist and, by extension, the Tea Party movement that helped win his nomination has thus been outed as equally racist. One would be hard-pressed to find a better example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once the left finally realized that the Tea Party movement was something more than a few fringe protesters supposedly on the GOP payroll, and that Tea Partiers were in fact a potent, grass roots force to be reckoned with, liberal tactics to counter-attack the Tea Party movement shifted dramatically, almost overnight. Tea Partiers were no longer isolated GOP operatives, instead they became an insidious, racist, homophobic cancer that was infecting the Republican party in particular and the conservative/libertarian movement in general. Rand Paul’s theoretical answer to a rhetorical question was all the evidence the left needed to confirm their hypothesis: Paul would not have been elected but for the tea party movement, Paul is racist because he opposes the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ergo, all tea-partiers are racist. Q.E.D.

Responding to this tempest in a liberal teapot, Paul clarified his remarks a bit. He shouldn’t have had to, but Paul apparently still believes that a reasonable response will result in reasonable treatment by the mainstream media. It won’t – it never does – but candidate Paul gave it his best shot, saying:

“These are settled issues in the Civil Rights Act. I have no intention of bringing up anything related to the Civil Rights Act… I think [segregation] is sort of a stain and blight on our history — so, no, I have never really favored any change in the Civil Rights Act or any of that. But they have seemed to unleash the loony left on me.”

That brings us to Richard Blumenthal. While it’s hard to imagine that the state of Connecticut could elect a more despicable successor to occupy the seat of the thoroughly despicable Christopher Todd, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal appears to fit the bill. As the New York Times reported in a blockbuster story last week, Blumenthal had, on more than one occasion, said that he had served in Vietnam, and that, upon returning from Vietnam, he had endured the insults aimed at veterans of that war by anti-war protestors. Since Blumenthal never actually served in that theater, many a Vietnam veteran was understandably upset. Stealing a veteran’s honor is not only reprehensible, it’s also illegal.

Yet, as bad as Blumenthal’s fabrications were, his petulant non-apology after the story broke was even worse. Symbolically hiding behind a human shield of veterans dutifully applauding behind him, Blumenthal piously recounted his unwavering support of veterans, while writing off his lies as unfortunate, regrettable, mis-statements. His attempt to spin the issue fell entirely flat among many vets. Blumenthal didn’t “mis-speak,” he lied. Is there any doubt that he lied knowingly and willfully? How can you say that you were in a theater of war when you were not? How can anyone who has interacted with veterans as much as Blumenthal says he has not understand how important this point of honor is to them?

The cases of Rand Paul and Richard Blumenthal converge here. Both involve matters of principle and points of honor. Paul stuck to his principles even when the question chosen to challenge those principles involved one of the most emotionally-charged issues of our time. Good for him. That was the honest and honorable course of action and, despite liberal glee over this supposed gaffe, reports of Rand Paul’s political demise will, I suspect, prove to be greatly exaggerated. Voters are sick of ideologues, in either party. Integrity – that quality that so many on Capitol Hill lay claim to, but so few possess – will be the deciding factor in 2010. Americans have had enough of smooth talking politicians whose primary skill is the ability is to make saying nothing sound selfless and noble.

Blumenthal’s sorry performance was American politics at its worst. The focus of his sneering non-apology was to defend his record on veteran’s issues, which, he declared, no one may dare attack. Nobody did. The problem was not about veteran’s affairs, but rather the affairs involving one particular veteran: Richard Blumenthal. Faced with the choice of humbling himself by apologizing to the real veterans of the Viet Nam War whose honor he had stolen and the politically expedient tactic of attacking those who dare question his integrity, Blumenthal chose the latter course. It’s a sad testament to our current political climate to note that his choice was not surprising at all, which is why so many Americans – and not just tea partiers – are going to go to the polls in November to say that they have finally had enough.

  • Mark Montgomery

    Hey tea-baggers!! Forget Sarah Palin, now you REALLY have a fool to rally around: Rand Paul. By parsing the 1964 Civil Rights Act we can see what he and the tea-baggers stand for: discrimination based on race and physical ability. But then the tea-baggers are just a sad group of old, white, rich, malcontent republicans who hate blacks, hispanics, asians, the middle class and the poor and can't stand the fact that we have a black president. When they howl "TAKE BACK AMERICA!!!" they mean to take it back from the minorities. Luckily the middle class and the poor far outnumber the tea-baggers so they will have little effect in November and Rand Paul will fade away. Mark Montgomery NYC, NY 10036 boboberg@nyc.rr.com

    • Andrew

      you smell like a coward Mark

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Rifleman Rifleman

      It just seems that way because of your rectal cranial inversion. The dp proudly supports institutionalized discrimination based on race and gender. Holding some races to lower standards than others shows people like yourself view those races as inferior. The problem with hussein isn't his race, it's his ignorance smothered with commie ideology that's the big and obvious problem.

      We're taking the country back from commies, and you're just whistling past the graveyard. See you at the polls in November.

    • davarino

      He called us tea-baggers. Thats it, I give up. He found us out hehehe. Dude, thanks for the email address, but if you dont mind, I wont waist my time.

      We have a lot of people we can rally around. Who do you have? A liar, like richard blumenthal, a fraud like dodd, a cheat like rangal, a whimp like reid, a hag like palosi, sestak, obama, ….. and many of the others that are going down in flames.

      Enjoy : )

    • Mobamad

      Dude, I would rather be a teabagger, than the teabaggie.

      Plop goes the weasel!

    • MBA NJ

      Not knowing how old you are, this might not be fully accepted. However, there are a few activities in my past that I absolutely would have done differently. That does not mean I would not do them, but the details could be adjusted. I believe this is the tone of what was suggested in his replies. Consider either a physical project, or an essay that you thought you had completely exhausted. Perhaps I am suggesting the notion of hindsight helping us all answer such questions in the same way–different knowledge would create a different package.

    • DrBukk

      Your argument is ridiculous because you vilify those who disagree with you. In truth, Republicans want the best for all people. Republicans realize what is human nature and you believe in utopia . Giving trillions of wealth to the less fortunate has only degraded them if you look at statistics on crime, single motherhood, treatment of women, etc. Think about Aesop's "Dog in a Manger" who bit the hand that fed him and also tried to destroy the benefactor's income by laying down on the cattle's food and snarling to keep them away. That is what dependency does to a soul: fuels hatred and encourages destruction of their own surroundings.

      Rand Paul should simply say that all money is equal no matter who's hand is holding it, and let it be. You liberals want to say some people's money is worthless because of who they are, like Rush. Be careful where you tread. Man up and watch FOX news if you have the cojones.

      • LauraNo

        What I know is, giving trillions of wealth to the already wealthy has degraded this country and the middle-class, probably irreparably.

    • Unibrowser

      When a person fails to make their argument, or is incapable of doing so, they resort calling names.

      Mark, may your denture never grow too small nor the forest fall on your lawn. I doubt if you understand, but maybe, someday, you will.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/herbs814 herbs814

      Anyone who would use a smear like "teabaggers" is obviously a hatefilled fruitcake.

      Ron Paul will be senator because he represents what America wants in a leader: honesty, integrity, intelligence, wisdom, courage. Everything about Rand Paul is commendable.

  • Firebirds#48

    I moved out of Connecticut(The Constipation State). The Home of Governors and Mayors
    who constantly go to prison……check the record. Also the home of father and son Dodd.
    Two grand crooks…..father sacked, son honored. If Conn. voters put Blumenthal in they
    will continue their poor judgement in electing inept politicians who lie and feather their
    beds.Wake up Conn!!.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/The_Inquisitor The_Inquisitor

    Thanks for an excellent article. You expressed my views better than I could.

  • http://www.lifeshaven.net Utopian

    There is only One Who is fit to rule but the religions of the world don't want Him. Nevertheless, Man is unfit to govern himself. That's why the world is fading away to oblivion. Just look at the evidence: everything man puts his hand to he brings harm to. The prophet Joel summed it up: "the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them." Our leaders will never use their backbone to stand for life's true dignity nor remove the influence and authority of everyone who betrays it. Ultimately they are nothing more than two-bit con men who, when they audition for some government position they give promises knowing they won't keep. They promise integrity knowing that bribery and kickbacks rule a fundamentally corrupt government. And while outwardly showing courtesy to their opponents they slander all who stand in their way. If they'll step on them, they'll step on you.

    • J A Wyatt

      Well stated.
      Libertywatchman

  • Cuban Refugee

    What can we say about a new media that is so motivated by ideology that their Machiavellian efforts swept into office a man whose past associations and actions were so questionable that a proper background check would not have secured him a job as janitor in the White House never mind the exalted office of President? We are living in an era in which light has become dark, where hope is fading for decent, law-abiding people who wish to live in peace, one that has invited Lucifer to live among us in our rapidly falling world. The Fourth Estate was formerly one of our free nation's checks and balances — it now reeks of treason, betrayal and agents of evil who are complicit in the destruction of America and the free world.

    • http://www.lifeshaven.net Utopian

      Touché! What is coming on this nation will make Pearl Harbor and 9/11 look like a back massage. Having correct expectations means everything, my brother American. As you know, it all leads to Armageddon, which is simply this: Those who honor the Sacred Laws Christ obeyed will be assaulted by those who want to keep this system of treason against life going indefinitely. It's as simple as that, because the devil leads all men to violate the same Laws that condemn him, and he doesn't care which one trips 'em up. Blessings to you and those you love.

    • Jim C.

      Are you seriously suggesting it is the media's job to vet the candidate, not the FBI and Secret Service? Are you seriously suggesting the FBI and Secret Service somehow did not properly vet President Obama?

      Furthermore, are you suggesting that Obama's opponents have no legal recourse, know no lawyers, no investigators?

      Yes, I guess you are. Which makes you a nutjob. Treason, your ass. You've made the accusation. Get a lawyer and prove something for once in your life.

      • Cuban Refugee

        Just from the tone and offensive language of your reply, anyone reading both your post and mine would discern who the real "nutjob" is.

        Yes, the media's job is to INVESTIGATE and REPORT in an unbiased manner. Their purpose is not to be members of a fan club, adoring fans who see no
        wrong-doing when it is done by their preferred candidate, and who choose to ignore past associations and statements. Their sycophantic attitude toward this Bilderberg tool is one of the reasons why their TV ratings have plummeted and newspapers are going bankrupt.

        No, Jim C., I am not suggesting that the FBI and the Secret Service did not properly vet Hussein, I am telling you to your anonymous face that was the case; if they had, he would not be seated in the Oval Office as I reply to your confrontational message.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

        Ask yourself this question, Jim:

        "Would Woodward and Bernstein have gone after Humbert Humphrey the way they did Richard Nixon, had he been elected in 1968?"

        You could follow it up with:

        "Would the MSM have beat Humphrey to death in the media, had he been President in 1972?"

        Your responses to these question will say much about you.

  • MBA NJ

    To have someone boldly lie about his past, not for reasons of saving a marriage or a child's privacy or some other noble reason, but for pure greed is a deal killer. Condemn the liars who will also lie to US. If you place a hungry cannibal inside a room full of people are we really supposed to be surprised when he kills someone? America should wake up and realize that they should have voted for the American in the first place, not a puppet dolled up to look moderate. Curse the blatant liars who disrespect us, and in this case, also disrespect the real veterans who built our country on their real sacrifices.

  • interact

    As a Veteran of the Vietnam era – who actually served in a combat zone I find Blumenthal stands for everything that is wrong with those who would justify their lies – he is just another Kerry who sees embellishing their role at the expense of those who have remained silent about their service, but have managed to survive as ordinary everyday citizens the true heros.

    The concept of intellectual honesty and ethics is in short supply and it seems these knee jerk liberals along with populist conservatives have a specific common thread – they all attended ivy league universities – where honesty is apparently an unknown commidity and it's inherent legacy is that the value of ethics is in extremely short supply by these wanna be leaders .

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

      Hear! Hear!

      Stephen (DELTA/2/501/101st – 1968-69)

  • http://maxentropy.squarespace.com Bruce

    No problem here. Blumenthal is a Postmodernist so the 'truth' is whatever he says it is to serve his own 'reality' whatever that may be at any given moment. That's the Lefty paradigm that we currently live under. Reread Orwell's "1984".

  • Anti-P.C. Man

    Yes, there's a double standard, but Rand Paul's civil right comments were the only thing he's ever gotten right. He is still an anti-Semitic, anti-American, pro-terrorist moonbat who also thinks it's okay for our children to be hooked on dope. If I wanted to vote for somebody like that, I'd vote for his DemocRAT opponent. How could Kentuckyians be so gulible?

    Worse yet, liber(al)tarian scum like this have infiltrated both the Tea Party and GOP, so it won't matter either way if the Republicans win back control of Congress this fall if you ask me. We don't need a Tea Party, we need a military coup!

    • Chris Mallory

      You will provide citations for your accusations? If anything Paul is too supportive of Israel.
      Do not confuse the federal government with America. They are two totally different things. Paul is anti federal government, that does not make him anti American.

      Thank God the military rejects people like you from serving.

  • LauraNo

    This was posted on June 4th? You had two much easier to compare stories, Blumenthal and Kirk but that wouldn't fit your agenda would it? Yea, let's look at the media treatment of both men. What do we find? The republican story is being downplayed by that nasty. librul media. Kirk did a lot more lying, whereas Blumenthal slipped up (once as far as I know) after having already said he didn't serve in Vietnam IN THE SAME SPEECH. or we could look at the case of the republican governor who's father did not actually die fighting the Nazi's in Germany. Also being downplayed by the nasty, librul media.

  • WAYNE

    APPARENTLY THE LIES TOLD BLUMENTHAL MAKES NO DIFFERENCE TO THE PEOPLE OF CONNECTICUT. THEY ARE SO USED TO BEING LIED TO THEY TAKE THAT AS A MATTER OF FACT. DODD HAS BEEN LYING TO THEM FOR YEARS NOW THIS GUY IS HOLDING UP THE TRADITION. WE CAN ONLY HOPE THAT SOMEDAY THE PEOPLE THIS STATE WILL WAKE UP AND SEE THE LIGHT, CAN WE HOPE THAT THIS MAY BE THE YEAR? COME ON YOU PEOPL;E WAKE UP AND SMELL TEHE FLOWERS.