In an interview that was run on the CBS Evening News on Monday and picked up all over the MSM, including this AP news story, CBS purported to show former Federal Appeals Court Judge and Whitewater Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr slamming the Republicans in the U.S. Senate who would back the so-called "nuclear option" to end the Democrats' 4-year filibuster of numerous qualified judges:
Kenneth Starr — an appeals court judge on the D.C. circuit from 1983-1989 — came out against the Republican plan to ban judicial filibusters on Monday. He told CBS Evening News that it is a "radical, radical departure from our history and our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government."
Score one for the Democrats and their cohorts in the media, right? What a coup! The much hated, much maligned Ken Starr, a conservative and a former judge, calling the "nuclear option" to end the filibusters "radical!"
Not so fast!
Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO's The Corner in an article entitled Ken Starr's Real Views smelled something fishy and went straight to the horse's mouth:
CBS, AP, and other outlets reported earlier this week that Starr had said that getting rid of the judicial filibuster would be a "radical, radical departure from our history and our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government."
This seemed like a very odd thing for Starr to say, so I contacted him.
He forwarded to me an email he had sent to someone else who had asked about this matter:
"In the piece that I have now seen, and which I gather is being lavishly quoted, CBS employed two snippets. The 'radical departure' snippet was specifically addressed -- although this is not evidenced whatever from the clip -- to the practice of invoking judicial philosopy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee of integrity and experience. I said in sharp language that that practice was wrong. I contrasted the current practice . . . with what occurred during Ruth Ginsburg's nomination process, as numerous Republicans voted (rightly) to confirm a former ACLU staff lawyer. They disagreed with her positions as a lawyer, but they voted (again, rightly) to confirm her. Why? Because elections, like ideas, have consequences. . . . In the interview, I did indeed suggest, and have suggested elsewhere, that caution and prudence be exercised (Burkean that I am) in shifting/modifying rules (that's the second snippet), but I likewise made clear that the 'filibuster' represents an entirely new use (and misuse) of a venerable tradition. . . .
"[O]ur friends are way off base in assuming that the CBS snippets, as used, represent (a) my views, or (b) what I in fact said."
Okay folks. Time to let CBS have it with both barrels until they can prove with an unedited tape that they did not quote Mr. Starr out of context in such a way as to completely change the meaning of his words from being against the Democrats' position on judicial filibusters to vehemently opposed to the Republicans' proposed solution. Barring that, they better issue an immediate retraction and apology or prepare for the onslaught. This will NOT be allowed to stand!!!
Spread the word, my fellow bloggers! To arms! To arms!
Hat-tip: Right Pundit
UPDATE: The blogstorm has begun!
CJ (aka "Rumplemintz") is all over it at VRWC#1 Member:
We must demand that CBS register as a democrat 527 just like moveon.org.
UPDATE: Media Research Center has posted a scathing article entitled CBS Twists Starr Rebuke of Democrats Into Blast at GOP on Judges:
Monday's CBS Evening News, Ken Starr has charged, distorted soundbites from him in order to clearly imply that he had denounced the GOP plan to block Democratic filibusters of judicial nominees as "a radical departure from our history and from our traditions, and it amounts to an assault on the judicial branch of government." Gloria Borger had set up that bite: "Many conservatives consider the fight over judges their political Armageddon. But conservative icon and former federal Judge Ken Starr says it's gotten out of control."...
Borger can't claim she didn't have first-hand knowledge of what Starr said in the interview since the video clips played by CBS showed her sitting in a seat a couple of feet from him....
The article also includes a full transcript of the interview as broadcast!
UPDATE: Look out! John Hinderaker at Power Line, the blogosphere's heavy-lifter on MSM foul-ups and bane of CBS's existence, is on the trail! See his post entitled Where's That Video Tape?:
As we have noted repeatedly, the mainstream media have pulled out all the stops to support the Democrats on the filibuster. This, though, would appear to be over the line. It is also being reported that Starr has asked for a copy of the video of his interview and been turned down by CBS, but I haven't yet seen that in writing anywhere....
Hat-tip to CJ for spotting it first!
UPDATE: Charles Johnson weighs in over at mega-blog and Rathergate heavyweight Little Green Footballs.
You have to dig some of the comments on that thread, like this one from Gagdad Bob:
Ken Starr will forever be known as the guy who tangled with a sleazy political operation with no regard for the truth. Oh yes, and the man who investigated the Clintons.
UPDATE: Ouch! Just found this from Andrew over at Confirm Them (should have checked them out much earlier, darn it!), The Fake CBS Interview of Ken Starr:
Rush Limbaugh today read aloud an email from Ken Starr. According to Starr’s email, CBS took his answer from a question about whether judicial nominees should be examined on their judicial philosophy as opposed to their qualifications, and made it seem as though it were an answer to a question about the so-called “nuclear option.” CBS is now refusing to give Judge Starr the entire transcript of the interview.
Refusing to give Starr a copy of the full transcript? That's rich! Gee, I wonder why?
Check out Rush Limbaugh's comments on the whole affair, CBS Lied: Ken Starr Taken Out of Context:
This is serious. This is a specific attempt to malign Ken Starr, to misquote him, to take him out of context, and to use the out-of-context snippet or sound bite as an attempt to rally people against the Republicans and their triggering of the nuclear option....
...From now on whenever CBS does anything under the guise of news, that purports to shift the discussion on an ideological basis they are not to be trusted. There is a reason nobody is watching the CBS Evening News anymore, and it's not who anchors it. It's who's producing this garbage and who's putting this garbage together. Maybe in part the anchors here and there, but the bottom line is: CBS News cannot be trusted, because CBS News is not news. It's CBS commentary and editorializing under the guise of news. They are having to still make things up, take things out of context, basically lie about what people have said, in order to further an agenda, and the agenda in this case is, as usual at CBS, to harm Republicans and conservatives -- and in this case they used Ken Starr to do it....
...I wanted to pass this on to you and get it out there because to me it's huge. It is gigantic. It is. It is beyond irresponsible because it was done purposely. It can't be irresponsible and purposely done at the same time. Irresponsible would mean somebody wasn't paying attention. This is worse than irresponsible. It's dishonest. It's cheating. It's whatever you want to attach to it. But from now on I'm going to promise you anything comes from CBS, screw it. The first impression is going to be just like when I read the New York Times: Gee, what if that's true?
(Emphasis by author.)
Go get 'em, oh Great Maharushie! Read the whole thing! He has the full text of the e-mail from Starr included, as read on the air, as well as more stinging commentary.
UPDATE 5/13: Welcome PoliPundit, Brainster's Blog and Right Pundit readers! Thanks for the links, folks!
This story is now en fuego! Here are the latest links:
Lorie Byrd swoops in from PoliPundit: Starrgate?
Right Pundit updates: And the Heat Begins
Iron Teakettle was also among the first to blow the whistle: Ken Starr Defends Himself: Says CBS "Cut and Pasted" His Interview to Give Totally Erroneous Impression
Patterico's Pontifications was on it yesterday, too: CBS Distorts Ken Starr Comments About Filibusters of Judicial Nominees
Ace of Spades ante's up: CBS News: Still Fabricating, Still Forging Ahead
Wizbang! pops off: CBS Distorts Quote By Ken Starr To Attack GOP On Filibusters
Wizbang! also points us to the CBS News Video Clip
Captain Ed is on board: Did Ken Starr Bash The Byrd Option?
Lucianne Goldberg has this little nugget: CBS Lied: Ken Starr Taken Out of Context
Steve Foreman at Political Fan has audio: Political Outrage of the Week Podcast
Mickey Kaus dissents, says Rush is all wet: Rush Limbaugh vs. Gloria Borger
Patterico responds to Kaus: Response to Kaus re CBS Distortion of Starr Remarks