Mark Finkelstein uses a July 6 NewsBusters post to claim that NBC's "Today" offered up a "predictable MSM response" to Al Gore III's arrest on speeding and drug-posession charges, claiming the show "sought to downplay the Gore incident by pointing to Republican politicians whose kids have caused trouble, while praising Chelsea Clinton as unusually mature." In doing so, Finkelstein tried to do his own downplaying of the foibles of the kids of Republican politicians and failed to mention extenuating circumstances regarding those of Democratic ones.
According to Finkelstein, "Al Gore III was arrested for speeding 100 MPH with pot and a variety of other drugs in his car. [NBC reporter John] Yang equates that with the Bush girls drinking -- but not driving -- while underage." But as we reported back in 2001, the Bush girls did a bit more than "drinking ... while underage" (apparently, doing so while not driving is an exculpatory factor for Finkelstein). Jenna Bush had accumulated two alcohol-related citations in a month while she was, presumably, under Secret Service protection as the daughter of a sitting president. Gore III's father, meanwhile, has been out of office for more than six years and was, presumably, not under Secret Service protection at the time of his arrest.
Finkelstein also noted that Chelsea Clinton "had her own alcohol-related run-in, but 'Today' chose to overlook it." As evidence, Finkelstein linked to an article in a British tabloid notorious for running pictures of topless women. And as we noted when it first happened, Clinton, unlike Jenna Bush, was of legal drinking age at the time, and Chelsea's father had been out of office for well over a year.
Indeed, the ConWeb -- including Finkelstein's NewsBusters boss, Brent Bozell -- spent much time and energy blaming everyone but the Bushes themselves for Jenna's misbehavior. Meanwhile, Finkelstein used an NewsBusters post earlier in the day to approvingly repeat a claim from MSNBC "Morning Joe" panelist John Ridley attacking the former vice president for caring more about the upcoming Live Earth concerts he's staging than his son. Finkelstein also asserted that Gore's statement that he was going to treat his son's problems as "a private family matter" was "a mantra reminiscent of his 'no controlling legal authority' line from years ago regarding questionable fund-raising." Huh?
The only surprise here is that it's Finkelstein issuing these nasty little attacks and not Gore Derangement Syndrome sufferer Noel Sheppard.