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Update: Lacking The Reich Stuff

CNS won't tell the whole truth about a Bush nominee. Plus: Gary Aldrich's anti-Clinton rants; John Fund's MRC gig; and a WND worst-personality poll names Osama bin Laden ... third?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 1/23/2002 is having a bad case of half-the-story-itis.

Hot on its deliberately negative coverage of the Clinton library, CNS refuses to tell its readers the entire truth about why some are opposed to Otto Reich, President Bush's appointee for assistant secretary of state for Western hemispheric affairs.

A Jan. 11 story on Reich's recess appointment by Bush says Reich's only crime is that he "irked Democrats ... by making statements by making statements in support of the Nicaraguan Contras and against the Sandinistas." A Jan. 14 story repeats the statement. You have to go back to a Dec. 21 article to get a little more detail; that article quotes Sen. Christopher Dodd as saying Reich "lacks good management skills, sound judgment, appropriate sensitivity to potential conflicts of interest, the confidence of other governments in the region and the ability to bridge partisan divisions in Congress."

The closest you'll find at CNS for an actual explanation (sort of) to the opposition to Reich occured in a March 2001 story, shortly after Reich's nomination. CNS couldn't be bothered to talk to anyone in the U.S. for it, however (though it probably would have been easier); writer Jim Burns quotes the Cuban foreign minister as saying that Reich is an "old anti-communist cold warrior who was involved in illegal activities in the dirty wars in Central America during the Ronald Reagan administration." But that's it; no further details are offered anywhere on CNS.

So, for the benefit of those CNS readers who are being deprived of complete, accurate information in the Otto Reich controversy, here are the detailed reasons for opposition to Reich's nomination: He ran a pro-Contra propaganda operation with the American public being the target of said propaganda -- an operation one government investigation termed "prohibited." (Fairness and Accuracy in Media's Jeff Cohen provides the details on this operation.) Also, while he was ambassador to Venezuela, Reich reportedly supported (or at least didn't strongly oppose) the entry of a man named Orlando Bosch into the United States. Bosch, described by some as a terrorist, had been serving time in a Venezuelan prison for blowing up a Cuban airliner.

Um, guys at CNS? Remember your mission statement? You know, the one "to fairly present all legitimate sides of a story"? Check it out sometime.

* * *

Meanwhile, in the type of delicious irony the ConWeb is known for, Brent Bozell and the boys merrily leap from distorting the truth about Otto Reich to accusing others of distorting the truth. And then some.

One of the presenters at the Media Research Center's "Dishonors Awards" media-bashing roast was John Fund, currently on a leave of absence from the Wall Street Journal.

Fund, who the Washington Post recalls "eagerly denounced" President Clinton for his misdeeds, is embroiled right now in an almost-Clintonesque sex scandal of his own. He has been romantically linked to the daughter of a woman with whom he had an affair 20-some years ago, and apparently at one point paid for an abortion. A recording of a phone conversation in which Fund and the daughter discuss the abortion has been posted online.

And -- surprise, surprise -- not a word about any of this on the ConWeb, akin to the near-blackout they provided to fellow Clinton-basher Matthew Glavin's park escapades. You have to go to the Washington Post to read about the double standard conservatives apply when one of their own gets caught in the act as the conservative elite at Bozell's $150-a-plate soiree studiously avoid passing judgment on Fund.

It appears the ConWeb doesn't want their readers to know that conservatives can't keep it in their pants, either.

* * *

Gary Aldrich, he of the Clinton-bashing tome "Unlimited Access" -- the unsubstantiated rumors the book is filled with caused Dwight Garner to remark in Salon that it "remind(s) us once again that a few of the millions of dollars publishing houses pour into advertising might be better spent hiring a few $12-per-hour fact checkers" -- has been granted a weekly column at WorldNetDaily. He must have figured that he would have gotten lost in the army of Clinton-bashers at NewsMax.

Aldrich, who is now running something called the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Rights, is still continuing his questionably sourced Clinton-whacking ways. He has managed to generate not one, but two WND columns out of a Washington Post series of stories detailing Bill Clinton's anti-terrorism efforts when he was president. Not that he attempts to prove the stories are in any way incorrect; he simply uses their mere existence as a reason to go off on yet another anti-Clinton rant, offended that he can't accuse Clinton of doing nothing about terrorism.

NewsMax, by the way, hasn't been completely shut out of the Aldrich action. It's now peddling an audiotape in which Aldrich blames the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Clintons and "why Aldrich believes the Clintons had sinister motives in undermining the nation's security."

* * *

Only on the ConWeb would there be a poll to name the "worst personality of 2001" in which Osama bin Laden came in third. But a WorldNetDaily reader poll managed to accomplish exactly that. WND polls tend to do that kind of thing.

The winner? Why, Hillary Clinton, of course, with 41 percent of the vote. Tom Daschle came in second with about 21 percent. bin Laden had only about 18 percent.

Apparently, offending conservatives is much less forgivable than killing a few thousand people.

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