Corporate media lies on the "nuclear option"
The term "nuclear option" was invented in 2003 by Senate Republican leaders, who liked the metaphorical explosiveness of it, which allowed them to feel like they still had balls after years of bending over to do whatever the Republican Central Committee and the White House told them to do.
(Note: there are a few Republicans struggling against enormous pressure to retain their honor -- hopefully there are such Republicans in the Congress, there just aren't many of them.)
Then the Republican National Committee ("RNC") research department discovered that the term "nuclear option" wasn't playing well with the public. So, the Republicans decided to "frame" the term as something that was invented by the Democrats. Guess what? Corporate media has gone along with that, not just FOX, but just about all of it.
For example, the New York Times (Sat Apr 23rd, 2005): "Democrats call this the nuclear option, while Republicans call this a constitutional option."
While it is true that the Republican leadership have taken to covering their tracks by using the term "constitutional option" -- it is an outright lie that the Democrats invented or are claiming the term "nuclear option" as their own, and the NYT knows it. But the NYT prefers to pander to the RNC rather than practice responsible journalism.
It amounts to free ad space provided to the RNC by the NYT and the rest of corporate media.
SENATE REPUBLICANS INVENTED IT AND NOW, with help from corporate media, TRY TO HANG IT ON SENATE DEMOCRATS
The idea and the term of "nuclear option" originated with former Republican leader in the Senate, Trent Lott, (known for his defense of the legacy of the southern racist Confederacy). Jeffrey Toobin, from March 7th issue of The New Yorker:
"Changing the Senate's rules on judicial filibustering was first addressed in 2003, during the successful Democratic filibuster against Miguel Estrada, whom Bush had nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Ted Stevens, a Republican Senate veteran from Alaska, was complaining in the cloakroom that the Democratic tactic should simply be declared out of order, and, soon enough, a group of Republican aides began to talk about changing the rules. It was understood at once that such a change would be explosive; Senator Trent Lott, the former Majority Leader, came up with 'nuclear option,' and the term stuck."
The Republicans INVENTED the phrase the "nuclear option" and now they are trying to weasel out of it by calling it a Democratic phrase. Because of a systematic bias to tilt public discussion in favor of Republicans, corporate media is going along with this twisting of the record. In isolation, it shouldn't matter whether it's called the "nuclear option" or called "abolishing the filibuster". It's notable, however, as an example of how the RNC is able to lead the media along any flip-flopping trail that it devises -- without fear of critical journalism from the world of corporate media.
BLOGGERS REPORT REALITY
In blogspace, however, the truth will out. For example, Armando (at DailyKos.com) writes:
'I've been made privy to the internal communications of a number of national news organizations at which there are now running arguments over whether to go along with the Republican claim that 'nuclear option' is a Democratic epithet or term of abuse which should be banned except in cases where Democrats are directly quoted using it.'
Another blogger has researched and found where last November, on FOX no less, the Republicans were calling it their expression and their idea (the "nuclear option") --
<< On November 14, 2004, there was the following exchange on Fox News:
<< WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about one of them, because some Republicans are talking about what they call the nuclear option, and that would be a ruling that the filibuster of executive nominees is unconstitutional, which would require not 60 or 67 votes but only a simple majority of 51.
<< FRIST: Yes. That's right.
"FRIST" refers to Senator Frist, the current Republican leader in the Senate. Frist also was found by the same blogger to have made this statement to NPR last November 16 --
<< Sen. FRIST: If we continue to see obstruction where one out of three of the president's nominees to fill vacancies in the circuit court are being obstructed, then action would be taken. One of those is the nuclear option. >>
From "Dr. Who Hates America" by Atrios (at BlogSpot.com) --
WHAT ARE THEY DEBATING IN THE CORPORATE OFFICES?
Armando has to wonder, if corporate media is debating this documented record --
'What are they debating? Whether to fully expose themselves as GOP Whores or not?'
From "Media Debating Whether To Ignore Frist's Lie" (by Armando at DailyKos.com, Sun Apr 24th, 2005 at 19:47:07 PDT). Unfortunately, this post by Armando has been dropped from the cache. However, other posts by Armando are still on-line about the same subject. Through Congressman John Conyers cache --
Here's a review by Armando of C-Span coverage of the filibuster issues -- C-Span is one of the very few reliable television sources --
Republicans Break the Rules
Mon Apr 25th, 2005 at 19:37:31 PDT
I had the pleasure this evening of watching C-Span's broadcast of a Center for American Progress forum on the filibuster this evening (Note: It is being rerun at Midnight EST.) I highly recommend it to everyone.
The speakers were Senator Robert Byrd, who delivered a good speech on the history of the filibuster, Prof. Steven Gerhart of the College of William & Mary and Norm Ornstein of AEI.
Now, it will make your blood boil and every single lie from the GOP is rehashed - but it is well worth it.
The conference especially reminded me of the aspect I have not emphasized enough - the fact that the Republicans MUST break the rules to eliminate the filibuster. Most of you will remember, but I will remind you anyway - because in order to end debate on a rule change, the Republicans would have to overcome a - you guessed it - filibuster.
What is their end run? The ridiculous argument that filibusters of judicial nominees is unconstitutional. Now frankly, this argument does not even reach the level of a laugh test it is so preposterous, as this conference will make clear to you. But that is not even the worst of it.
Even the argument that the filibuster of judicial nominees is unconstitutional is subject to Senate debate and, you guessed it, filibuster.
The Senate parliamentarian has declared that not allowing debate on the constitutionality of the filibuster rule violates the rules of the Senate.
The Republicans do not care that it violates the rules. They simply do not care one whit. The ends justify the means. The rules mean nothing.
Now Republicans will trot out statements from Dems deploring the filibuster (of course ignoring all the statements from Republicans defending the sanctity of the filibuster). But one thing they cannot point to - any action by Democrats violating the rules of the Senate to eliminate the filibuster. On the filibuster, the Democrats always played by the rules. The Republicans won't.
Norm Ornstein calls Frist's "nuclear option" unprecedented, as it is. He scolds the Media for misreporting the issue. As of course they have.
But, as Ornstein noted, these new Republicans, extremists in virtually every respect, have lost all respect for the rule of law (witness the Schiavo travesty) and for playing by the rules.
This is an unprecedented new era of naked, brazen lawlessness - courtesy of the new extremist Republican Party.
And the Media sleeps.
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