Eleanor Clift Almost Blames Democrats for Something

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift has certainly never been accused of being an impartial journalist. Quite the contrary, when compared with other antique media members, Clift has to be considered one of the most consistently biased — unashamedly and unapologetically appearing as though the ideas for her columns as well as her screechy sermonettes on 'The McLaughlin Group' emanate directly from Democrat talking points in her e—mail inbox.

This is why it must have been shocking for many readers to see the sub—headline of her most recent Newsweek piece:

The Original Old—Fashioned Liberal: The descendant of Irish immigrants, Ted Kennedy badly wanted a reform bill. In the end, his own party stopped him. [emphasis mine]

Now, before you get all excited over the possibility that Eleanor either had an epiphany or a rare moment of clarity, be advised that, in the end, she really didn't blame the Democrats for anything. In fact, her column was more of an opportunity to once again gush over the Kennedy family in ways that had to make the more prudish reader somewhat squeamish, and to nauseatingly elaborate on why Ted

is one of the most effective senators to serve in the U.S. Senate over an extraordinary period of time.

Somehow it seems impossible to imagine the majority of Americans — even Democrats for that matter — echoing such sentiments. As a result, counter to its billing, this column ended up being more of a praise piece for Ted than an honest exposť about how the Democrats hypocritically prevented the passing of a compromise immigration bill prior to the Easter recess.

Too bad, for it would have been refreshing to actually read such a thing in Newsweek.

Alas, it was not to be, for not only did the sub—headline erroneously lead the reader to believe that Eleanor might actually come out of the closet to spread the truth about this shameful performance by the party she loves, so did the set—up:

For one shining moment last Friday it looked as though the dream as presented in a legislative partnership with John McCain, a Republican who represents Arizona—ground zero of the immigration conundrum—would win enough votes in a Senate otherwise locked in partisan gridlock. Democratic leader Harry Reid appeared before the cameras to announce the two sides were close to a deal. A compromise fashioned by Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Mel Martinez of Florida had toughened the earned citizenship portion of the Kennedy—McCain bill and made it more palatable to Republicans yet still acceptable to Kennedy.'

After that compelling albeit deceitful tantalization, Eleanor, in spectacular Cliftese, predictably began equivocating:

But according to the recollections of those close to the principal figures, a battle ensued over how many amendments the Republicans would entertain, and Democrats feared that the GOP would use the amendments to strip away the progressive elements of the bill. Kennedy argued that he and McCain had the votes to defeat any troublesome amendments. This is the U.S. Senate, Kennedy reportedly argued. The leadership has to allow for amendments.

According to the recollections? This just happened a week ago, Eleanor, not a year ago. Furthermore, any impartial viewer of these proceedings would have to conclude that the Democrats — Reid certainly amongst them — were in no way interested in a bill that would stop the protests and get this issue off of the front page.

In fact, any other interpretation is as disingenuous as the behavior of these representatives Eleanor so reveres. Yet, this clearly wasn't how she saw it — or, at the very least, how she was willing to report it — and, as a result, it was at exactly this point that the reader should have guessed the sub—headline and the set—up were nothing more than false advertising:

But the Democrats were dubious. They'd been burned before. And it didn't take much persuading when New York Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer reportedly made the case that the failure to get a bill would be good for the Democrats.

Predictably, and seemingly with no shame or remorse, Clift explained for her readers why this was good politics:

As the head of the Democratic campaign committee, Schumer is focused on getting his party back into power in November. With immigration protests planned for Monday, April 10, the thinking was that Senate inaction would leave the Republican House bill out there alone for the GOP to explain and defend.

And there it is. What a travesty — a member of the press explaining to her readers the political benefits of a shameful legislative act just as cynically as those that dogmatically adhere to such a practice. This is why Eleanor will never be considered one of America's top journalists: she can't admit wrongdoing by her party even when its members intentionally obstruct what she believes is in the best interest of the country.

By contrast, her Republican counterpart at Newsweek, George Will, would have called a spade a spade here, and informed the reader that his party had allowed politics to trump good policy. In fact, Will did exactly this in an April 16 Washington Post column  wherein he severely chastised House Republicans for using 'their power for their only remaining purpose —— to cling to power' by voting to limit campaign spending by 527 organizations even though it clearly goes against the concept of free speech.
 
Sadly, Eleanor was clearly unwilling to demonstrate such impartiality concerning Democrat votes against an immigration bill that she obviously supported. Even some editorial divisions did a finer job seeing through the politics of this situation than Clift.

For example, on the same day that Newsweek published Eleanor's abomination, the San Diego Union—Tribune offered its readers a piece simply called 'Bad Politics':

You have to hand it to Democrats in Congress. If you're not concerned about leadership or honesty or consistency, and if all you care about are slick and deceitful maneuvers that make you look good while making your opponents look bad, then this bunch is for you.

The editorial accurately continued:

You can believe what you choose. But, unfortunately, we consider it just as likely that the reason the House leadership urged [San Diego Democrats Reps. Susan Davis and Bob Filner] to vote against changing a felony to a misdemeanor — and the real reason that the members did as they were told — was pure politics. Democrats must have known that Republicans had just given birth to a monster of a bill, and they had no interest in taking the fangs out.

The Union—Tribune appropriately concluded:

That makes some amount of political sense, but it doesn't make for a very compelling argument, and it certainly doesn't make the Democrats out to be saints — as they've been pretending to be on this issue. After all, they weren't just playing politics. They were playing with people's lives. 

By contrast, Clift didn't have the spine to reach the same obvious conclusion. As a result, her statement 'Kennedy lost the debate within his own party, and it's anybody's guess what happens next' rings hollow as does much of her heavy—handed proselytizing.

Shame on you, Eleanor, for leading us to believe that you might actually rise above politics yourself, and tell your readers the truth for a change. Or, would that go counter to your own Machiavellian motif?

Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer to the Free Market Project.  He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org.  Noel welcomes feedback.

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift has certainly never been accused of being an impartial journalist. Quite the contrary, when compared with other antique media members, Clift has to be considered one of the most consistently biased — unashamedly and unapologetically appearing as though the ideas for her columns as well as her screechy sermonettes on 'The McLaughlin Group' emanate directly from Democrat talking points in her e—mail inbox.

This is why it must have been shocking for many readers to see the sub—headline of her most recent Newsweek piece:

The Original Old—Fashioned Liberal: The descendant of Irish immigrants, Ted Kennedy badly wanted a reform bill. In the end, his own party stopped him. [emphasis mine]

Now, before you get all excited over the possibility that Eleanor either had an epiphany or a rare moment of clarity, be advised that, in the end, she really didn't blame the Democrats for anything. In fact, her column was more of an opportunity to once again gush over the Kennedy family in ways that had to make the more prudish reader somewhat squeamish, and to nauseatingly elaborate on why Ted

is one of the most effective senators to serve in the U.S. Senate over an extraordinary period of time.

Somehow it seems impossible to imagine the majority of Americans — even Democrats for that matter — echoing such sentiments. As a result, counter to its billing, this column ended up being more of a praise piece for Ted than an honest exposť about how the Democrats hypocritically prevented the passing of a compromise immigration bill prior to the Easter recess.

Too bad, for it would have been refreshing to actually read such a thing in Newsweek.

Alas, it was not to be, for not only did the sub—headline erroneously lead the reader to believe that Eleanor might actually come out of the closet to spread the truth about this shameful performance by the party she loves, so did the set—up:

For one shining moment last Friday it looked as though the dream as presented in a legislative partnership with John McCain, a Republican who represents Arizona—ground zero of the immigration conundrum—would win enough votes in a Senate otherwise locked in partisan gridlock. Democratic leader Harry Reid appeared before the cameras to announce the two sides were close to a deal. A compromise fashioned by Republicans Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Mel Martinez of Florida had toughened the earned citizenship portion of the Kennedy—McCain bill and made it more palatable to Republicans yet still acceptable to Kennedy.'

After that compelling albeit deceitful tantalization, Eleanor, in spectacular Cliftese, predictably began equivocating:

But according to the recollections of those close to the principal figures, a battle ensued over how many amendments the Republicans would entertain, and Democrats feared that the GOP would use the amendments to strip away the progressive elements of the bill. Kennedy argued that he and McCain had the votes to defeat any troublesome amendments. This is the U.S. Senate, Kennedy reportedly argued. The leadership has to allow for amendments.

According to the recollections? This just happened a week ago, Eleanor, not a year ago. Furthermore, any impartial viewer of these proceedings would have to conclude that the Democrats — Reid certainly amongst them — were in no way interested in a bill that would stop the protests and get this issue off of the front page.

In fact, any other interpretation is as disingenuous as the behavior of these representatives Eleanor so reveres. Yet, this clearly wasn't how she saw it — or, at the very least, how she was willing to report it — and, as a result, it was at exactly this point that the reader should have guessed the sub—headline and the set—up were nothing more than false advertising:

But the Democrats were dubious. They'd been burned before. And it didn't take much persuading when New York Senator Charles (Chuck) Schumer reportedly made the case that the failure to get a bill would be good for the Democrats.

Predictably, and seemingly with no shame or remorse, Clift explained for her readers why this was good politics:

As the head of the Democratic campaign committee, Schumer is focused on getting his party back into power in November. With immigration protests planned for Monday, April 10, the thinking was that Senate inaction would leave the Republican House bill out there alone for the GOP to explain and defend.

And there it is. What a travesty — a member of the press explaining to her readers the political benefits of a shameful legislative act just as cynically as those that dogmatically adhere to such a practice. This is why Eleanor will never be considered one of America's top journalists: she can't admit wrongdoing by her party even when its members intentionally obstruct what she believes is in the best interest of the country.

By contrast, her Republican counterpart at Newsweek, George Will, would have called a spade a spade here, and informed the reader that his party had allowed politics to trump good policy. In fact, Will did exactly this in an April 16 Washington Post column  wherein he severely chastised House Republicans for using 'their power for their only remaining purpose —— to cling to power' by voting to limit campaign spending by 527 organizations even though it clearly goes against the concept of free speech.
 
Sadly, Eleanor was clearly unwilling to demonstrate such impartiality concerning Democrat votes against an immigration bill that she obviously supported. Even some editorial divisions did a finer job seeing through the politics of this situation than Clift.

For example, on the same day that Newsweek published Eleanor's abomination, the San Diego Union—Tribune offered its readers a piece simply called 'Bad Politics':

You have to hand it to Democrats in Congress. If you're not concerned about leadership or honesty or consistency, and if all you care about are slick and deceitful maneuvers that make you look good while making your opponents look bad, then this bunch is for you.

The editorial accurately continued:

You can believe what you choose. But, unfortunately, we consider it just as likely that the reason the House leadership urged [San Diego Democrats Reps. Susan Davis and Bob Filner] to vote against changing a felony to a misdemeanor — and the real reason that the members did as they were told — was pure politics. Democrats must have known that Republicans had just given birth to a monster of a bill, and they had no interest in taking the fangs out.

The Union—Tribune appropriately concluded:

That makes some amount of political sense, but it doesn't make for a very compelling argument, and it certainly doesn't make the Democrats out to be saints — as they've been pretending to be on this issue. After all, they weren't just playing politics. They were playing with people's lives. 

By contrast, Clift didn't have the spine to reach the same obvious conclusion. As a result, her statement 'Kennedy lost the debate within his own party, and it's anybody's guess what happens next' rings hollow as does much of her heavy—handed proselytizing.

Shame on you, Eleanor, for leading us to believe that you might actually rise above politics yourself, and tell your readers the truth for a change. Or, would that go counter to your own Machiavellian motif?

Noel Sheppard is an economist, business owner, and contributing writer to the Free Market Project.  He is also contributing editor for the Media Research Center's NewsBusters.org.  Noel welcomes feedback.