I talked to a liberal friend today who was up in arms at the fact that, in California's Central Valley, Rep. Richard Pombo beat former congressman Paul Norton "Pete" McCloskey Jr. for the Republican nomination. He's evil, disgusting, he has a horrible record on the environment. How could they vote for him?
Well, I said, it could have been worse. You know, of course, that McCloskey is a virulent anti-Semite and a Holocaust denial. Dead silence. No, she said, I didn't know that. I had no idea.
Another California election result was even less surprising: Rep. Richard Pombo beat former congressman Paul Norton "Pete" McCloskey Jr. for the Republican nomination to represent District 11, which is mostly in the Central Valley, south of Sacramento and east of the San Francisco Bay Area. Pombo's margin was 62.3% to 32%, with a third candidate picking up 5.7%. The incumbent faces Democrat Jerry McNerny in November. The district is only slightly less Republican than the 50th, so Pombo will be hard to beat.
This race is notable mostly because of the shamefully bad journalism it inspired. As we noted last month, both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle endorsed McCloskey, whose views place him mostly on the left, but ignored his anti-Semitic history. In a pre-election piece Sunday, noted by blogger Eugene Volokh, the Chronicle did make a nod toward this, but very deceptively:
Fiercely opinionated–his critics brand him anti-Semitic for praising the late Yasser Arafat and calling for a Palestinian homeland since the early 1970s–McCloskey can also gleefully poke fun at himself.
This is like saying, "David Duke's critics brand him a racist for opposing affirmative action"–a partial truth so misleading that it may as well be an outright lie. It makes McCloskey sound reasonable and his critics sound like fanatics.
In fact, McCloskey's critics made an issue of his having given a speech to the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust-denial outfit, in which he referred to the "so-called Holocaust" and said "I don't know whether you're right or wrong about the Holocaust." Also for giving an interview to the Spotlight, published by the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby, in which he boasted that the Republican Party, unlike the Democrats, "is not in the hands of the Jewish lobby."
McCloskey had no real chance at beating Pombo, and at 78 he is unlikely to run for office again. This is, we think (and hope), our last item on the subject. But we close with a question: Will the Times and the Chronicle be willing to conduct a similar whitewash of a future candidate who has a serious chance of defeating an incumbent they want to beat? We have no confidence that the answer is no.
This little bit of Chronicle and LA Times jiggery pokery tells you a whole lot about the state of modern journalism and about liberal voting patterns, doesn't it?
Interestingly, McCloskey's past isn't didn't get any airplay at all in the MSM — hence, my friend's ignorance. Contrast this with the fact that Ann Coulter's crude, mean-spirited and vitriolic attempt at humor is getting 24 hour a day airtime in cyberspace. Again, it tells you a lot.
I'm also reminded of the furor when Trent Lott got tangentially embroiled in some Confederate organization (I'm hazy on the details now). That was smeared all over the place. Admittedly, he was a Washington politico, while McClosky is a two-bit candidate, but the fact is the LA Times and the Chron bothed endorsed this two-bit candidate knowing his disgusting past. There's something here going beyond a mere double standard.