WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah has come to the defense of his White House correspondent, Les Kinsolving -- but he never addresses the base conflict that caused the situation in the first place.
In his July 26 column, Farah declared that Kinsolving "will no longer attend" White House press briefings because press secretary Tony Snow was not being "fair" to Kinsolving. This stems from an altercation between the two at the July 26 press briefing. According to Farah's excerpt of the briefing, Snow asserted that Kinsolving had "thoroughly twist[ed] out of context the answer I gave you" a previous story, which Snow called "a disservice to this White House and to the craft of journalism" and told Kinsolving to "pick up the phone and tell them [WND] to start cleaning up or writing corrections."
Farah wrote: "This is a rebuke, and a threat, and an attempt to control Les Kinsolving and WND's right to ask questions at the White House." But Farah never responds to Snow's base claim -- that Kinsolving "twisted" his words.
Snow's criticism appears to stem from a July 23 WND article, unbylined but presumably written by Kinsolving, which claimed: "Attempts by cities or other governments to sidestep federal policy and make their own provisions for illegal aliens won't get any attention from the White House, spokesman Tony Snow says." Kinsolving had asked: "Reuters reports that New Haven, Conn., will begin issuing to illegal aliens city ID cards to allow them access to city programs and to open bank accounts. My question: What is the president's reaction to this municipal…",
Kinsolving left out important context in his question to Snow; unmentioned was the fact that New Haven intends the cards as a way to, as the Christian Science Monitor reported, "protect them from crime that can happen because of a lack of documentation, and encourage them to be more willing to report crimes to police." And those "city programs" that the ID card allows illegals access to? That would be "libraries, beaches, and parks – and as a debit card for city parking meters and at 15 downtown shops." In other words, the city isn't giving away money to illegals, as Kinsolving seems to suggest.
Snow responded to Kinsolving's misleading question by saying, "Let me lay down a general rule, which is: The president, because of federalism reasons, does not talk about state, local, county, municipality, Cub Scout, Girl Scout, or other resolutions." Kinsolving twisted that to say that the law "won't get any attention from the White House," adding, "Nor is this the only time the White House has expressed little interest in what local governments do concerning the federal issue of immigration – legal or otherwise." As evidence of the latter claim, Kinsolving cited an exchange between Snow and Kinsolving after Kinsolving asked about the Portland, Ore., mayor's statement that he was "angered" that 150 suspected illegal aliens were arrested; Kinsolving asserted that the mayor "openly advocated overlooking existing federal immigration law" though he didn't explain how expressing anger equated advocating "overlooking existing federal immigration law":
SNOW: Was he not talking about an arrest, Lester?
SNOW: Well, then I hardly see that the mayor was in a position to circumvent the law.
Again, Kinsolving does not explain how Snow pointing out that the mayor had no power to reverse the arrests constituted the White House "express[ing] little interest in what local governments do concerning the federal issue of immigration."
So we have this allegation of bad journalism against Kinsolving and WND, which Farah makes no attempt to answer either in that column or a follow-up column on July 28 in which he alluded to the issue of Kinsolving "twisting" Snow's words only by noting that Snow "chew[ed] him out because he didn't like the way stories were reported and edited in WND," not addressing the specific allegation. Instead, Farah insisted that Kinsolving is a "truly distinguished journalist" and "a good and decent man" who "has character. He is a living institution – the kind of man who should be honored with dinners and testimonials, not treated like somebody's crazy aunt."
Really? We've previously noted the kinds of questions Kinsolving has asked -- which swing from Jeff Gannon-esque sycophancy to the stunningly irrelevant -- and they've definitely earned Kinsolving the privilege of being "treated like somebody's crazy aunt."
Farah manages to get something else wrong -- claiming that columnist Helen Thomas "is treated with respect – even deference by Snow." Not even close, unless Farah thinks Snow saying to her, "thank you for the Hezbollah view" -- and "stop heckling and let me conduct a press conference" are part of some new definition of "deference" Farah has conjured up.
UPDATE: Kinsolving has a history of getting basic facts wrong. Read more about that and other sycophantic questions under our "Daily Les" file (see also Holden's Obsession with the Gaggle). And the Raw Story has video of the final Snow-Kinsolving altercation.