Mickey Kaus speculates on the upcoming Big Media coverage of the election:
ll-Hands-On-Deck MSM Drive for Victory! ABC's The Note has a thorough and knowing outline of "How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election" to try to ensure the GOPs do not regain any initiative. ...All ABC's Halperin & Co. left out, as far as I can see, is Point #13: Bury the news about the Secure Fence Act (if Bush doesn't bury it first!), Point #14: Do not mention the name "Alcee Hastings," and #15: 'Keep Foley Alive!' (though that may no longer be possible, even on NPR). ... 2:58 P.M.
The NY Times is somewhat on board with that, but there is a subtle problem - Jane Harman, the ranking Dem on the House Intelligence Committee who is marked for replacement by Nancy Pelosi, has been in the news herself for being too friendly with AIPAC. Awkward! The Times has plenty of readers who take an interest in Israel so it is tough to duck this.
On the other hand, Alcee Hastings is the candidate of choice of the Congressional Black Caucus, and from time to time it has been clear that there is a bit of tension between blacks and Jews within the Democratic Party; with that in mind, the Times does not want to report on trouble in paradise two weeks before the ascension of Speaker Pelosi.
The result is some of the more passive "reporting" we are likely to see - here is the Times presenting All The News That Fits Their Storyline:
For a Top Democrat, Further Climb Seems Out
Representative Jane Harman has gained national prominence as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, but even her supporters now concede that she is unlikely to become chairman if her party wins control of the House.
Standing in her way is another California lawmaker, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats’ speaker-in-waiting, who would have the power to pick the leader of each committee. The relationship between the two has soured in recent years over political rivalries and policy disputes, and Congressional officials on both sides of the divide say Ms. Pelosi would most likely look elsewhere to fill the Intelligence Committee’s top job.
“To say it is unlikely she will get the job is accurate,” said one Democratic Congressional official with knowledge of the party’s post-election plans.
...Ms. Harman, a moderate from Southern California, has been one of the party’s most outspoken voices on national security matters since the Sept. 11 attacks. But she has also drawn sharp criticism from more liberal Democrats, including Ms. Pelosi, who have privately said that she has not sufficiently used her position to attack the Bush administration for its prewar intelligence failures on Iraq and for its use of secret programs like the domestic eavesdropping carried out without warrants by the National Security Agency.
Fine, Ms. Harman is not enough of a Bush-basher, and what Dem could object? That said, neither Ms. Pelosi nor the Times may want to advertise that moderate Dems are getting Lieberated from their posts.
Here comes the all-holds-barred Hastings coverage:
Two candidates whom Ms. Pelosi is said to be considering for Intelligence Committee chairman are Representatives Alcee L. Hastings of Florida and Silvestre Reyes of Texas, both of whom currently serve on the panel.
The selection of Mr. Hastings, who is black, would help Ms. Pelosi shore up support from the powerful Congressional Black Caucus. But he has a checkered past, having been impeached and removed from a federal judgeship in 1989 on a bribery charge. Some Democrats fear that installing him in so sensitive a position would only invite Republican charges of weak Democratic leadership on national security matters.
The Times was apparently unable or unwilling to get any comment from Nancy Pelosi's office on this - even a simple "Ms. Pelosi was not available for comment" would have provided an extra chuckle.
And why is the support of the Congressional Black Caucus so important to Ms. Pelosi just now? The Wash Times reported that she may lack the votes to become Speaker - would the Times care to address that? Please.
Finally, there is the 'Friend of AIPAC' angle:
Ms. Harman’s efforts to claim the post have even attracted the attention of investigators. Federal officials said Monday that she was the focus of a year-old F.B.I. inquiry related to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group. The officials, confirming a Time magazine report, said the bureau had been looking into whether she had made improper promises to the group in exchange for its efforts to lobby Ms. Pelosi on her behalf.
But the officials also said that the accusations had not been proved and that although the inquiry remained open, it was no longer being actively pursued.
“Congresswoman Harman does not know what this is all about,” said her lawyer, Theodore B. Olson. “She has no information from the government that she is under an investigation of any sort, and the idea that she should be investigated for being a supporter of Aipac is frightening.”
TIME had more details and drama, but the underlying case appeared to be ridiculous. However - is Alcee Hastings also a friend of Israel? Inquiring minds want to know (but not at the Times). I have read that he is, but surely the Times' readers would like to see that pinned down.