The Terrapin Times

Monday, October 31, 2005

Graber Continues His Anti-Bush Rants ...

In less than one week, government and politics professor Mark Graber has participated in three university press releases centered on the Bush administration. In all three, including the most recent release offering statements on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, Graber has issued attacks on the Bush administration.

In the release issued this morning, Graber said that Alito's nomination "further demonstrates President George Bush's committment to the right wing of the Republican Party."

He criticized Alito for being "committed to the conservatism of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, rather than the conservativsm of Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy and, even William Rehnquist."

He worried that Bush "will have further opportunity to reshape the bench in the image of his most vocal, but not necessarily most numerous, supporters."

It seems that Graber would like to think that Harriet Miers, who withdrew herself from consideration for the Court last week, was a victim of the extreme right wing because she didn't extol the virtues of conservative judicial activism. In fact, Miers withdrew because everyone realized she was unqualified.

Graber also seems to forget that Bush's supporters are in fact vocal and numerous. Bush defeated Kerry in the Electoral College 286-251 and in the popular vote by more than 3,000,000.

A constitutional expert should know that the president is in charge of nominating people to the courts. And technically, he's allowed to choose anyone he wants to nominate. And if the Senate confirms them, he wins.

Of course Judge Alito is extremely qualified, considering his immense experience both as a lawyer and as a judge on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The only reason Graber should find him unqualified is that their judicial philosophies differ.

It's called democracy ... when people elect a president and federal representatives, those representatives (in this case senators) are responsible for representing the people. In the last election, the people clearly supported George W. Bush and Republican candidates for the Senate, so it looks like professor Graber can blame his own friends for not convincing America to vote for John Kerry.

And until he can do that, he should consider whining in privacy, where he won't make the university look bad.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Profs Rush to Convict Libby, Condemn Bush

University professors today participated in a press release commenting on the indictment of vice presidential advisor Lewis "Scooter" Libby, judging that Libby is guilty of leaking the name of a CIA agent and attacking the Bush administration for the leak.

Libby was indicted by federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald on five counts -- one count of obstruction of justice, two felony counts of making a false statement and two counts of perjury. He has not been charged with leaking the name.

Public policy professor I.M. "Mac" Destler compared the leak to the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon administration. He said the events have "very much the flavor of Nixon's Watergate: senior administration aides overreaching in going after critics of a controversial war, then compounding the offense by attempting to cover up their actions."

We repeat, Libby has not been charged with outing Valerie Plame.

Journalism professor Susan Moeller said that the intense media coverage is "entirely appropriate." She said the coverage is "a welcome ... analysis of the dishonesty of the Bush White House in convincing Congress and the American people to go to war -- and of the failure of the media themselves in diligently and consistently exposing the administration's spin and misstatement."

We wonder if Moeller is talking about the media's failure to report that Joe Wilson, the man who traveled to Niger for the CIA, was recommended for the trip by his wife, the outed agent. She must be talking about how the media failed to look into how Joe Wilson lies out of both sides of his mouth, claiming that the Vice President's office sent him (which is not true) and citing a non-existent written report he claims to have given to the CIA (which is also not true.)

Instead, the media focused solely on the leak of Valerie Plame's name, and conveniently forgot about the valid points brought up by the connection between Plame and Wilson.

Yesterday, government and politics professor Mark Graber accused the Bush administration of orchestrating the withdrawal of Harriet Miers in order to distract from the indictments.

It didn't work. And now Graber is attacking the Bush administration for what it supposedly tried to distract from.

"The indictment of Lewis Libby ought to be an embarrassment for an administration that seems incapable of embarrassment," Graber said. "The Bush administration seems concerned with taking all legal steps, and some illegal, to ensure that the agencies responsible for protecting the United States provide only information that confirms preexisting conclusions and enhances the administration's electoral strategies."

Apparently Graber wasn't paying attention to the scandal. The White House -- or, rather, whoever leaked the name -- wasn't trying to silence CIA "evidence." If had been trying to silence it, they failed miserably. Instead, they were trying to make it clear that Joe Wilson is not a credible source for such information.

He got the job because of his wife. He had a political bias against the Bush administration. And his findings were never actually officially published.

Once again, university professors abuse an opportunity to provide intellectual input to important issues. Instead of taking advantage of the chance to get the university's name in the press in a respectable manner, they use it to take cheap shots at the Bush administration and make unsubstantiated claims against Republicans.

Know the people who are teaching you.

Update: Diamondback 'Makes Up' for Unfair Steele Coverage

Two days after The Terrapin Times editor in chief Nathan Burchfiel sent a letter to The Diamondback questioning its unfair coverage of Republican Senate candidate Michael Steele, the student daily published a front-page article on Steele.

The letter (posted below in a previous announcement) addressed the disparity between the papers coverage of Democratic gubernatorial candidates -- who both received front-page stories with pictures -- and Steele, who was pushed to page 7 in a story that focused on students who protested his announcement.

The story printed Friday ("Steele admired as leader of black community") appears to be an attempt at making up for the mistake earlier in the week. But even the new article is focused on discrediting Steele, an African-American, in the black community.

The sub-headline reads: "Students say they want to know more before supporting U.S. Senate race." The story goes on to quote several African Americans who doubt that Steele will receive much support from blacks.

The story quotes three sources, none of whom express support for Steele. Ron Walters, a primary source for journalists who want to make a story about race, said that if blacks voted for Steele, they would be doing it "out of spite" for the Democrats.

The other two sources -- students in executive positions in the hardly nuetral chapter of the NAACP -- echoed Walters' speculation that blacks won't vote for Steele, without addressing any of his specific policies that hurt minorities.

We commend the Diamondback for trying to make up for their mistakes, but doing so by making the campaign about race is not going to help. Michael Steele is a good candidate for the Republican party ... not because he's black, but because he's a good leader with good policies for minorities and majorities alike. This sets him apart from his Democratic opponents, who apparently must resort to ignoring the issues and talking about race instead.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

UMD Prof: Miers Withdraw Planned to Distract from Plame Investigation

In a press release issued by the university touting experts to comment to the media about Harriet Miers, a government and politics professor suggested that her withdraw from consideration for an appointment to the Supreme Court was planned to distract from impending indictments into the investigation of the leak of a CIA agent's identity.

Mark Graber, associate department chair of the Department of Government and Politics, said, "There is a very good probability that timing of the Miers withdrawal was arranged to distract attention from the probable indictiments of major Bush administration figures this week (and another poor relief effort from Hurricane Wilma). "

He continued, "More evidence that this is an administration more concerned with managing the news than governing the country."

Miers withdrew herself from consideration this morning after an intense backlash from conservatives upset that Bush would nominate someone with questionable qualifications when he promised to nominate judges with a clear (conservative) judicial philosophy.

Why would a professor who's supposed to comment on this case go on a political attack against the administration? It reflects poorly on the university's ability to provide mature experts who are able to comment on the issues at hand without digressing into cheap and basless attacks against people with whom they disagree.

There is a time and place for Professor Graber to explain why he hates the Bush administration (hint: it's also not the classroom), but a press release on an unrelated topic is not that place.

And his last comment is an incomplete sentence.

For the full press release, click HERE

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Unfair Coverage of Steele in DBK ...

Below is a letter sent to Diamondback editors October 26 posing questions about the daily publication's coverage of Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele as juxtaposed with the coverage of Democrats.

I’m curious to find out who made the decision on the placement for today’s story on Lt. Gov. Michael Steele announcing his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. It’s interesting that when Martin O’Malley announced his bid for governor, the Diamondback ran the story above the fold on the front page; when Doug Duncan announced his gubernatorial campaign, the Diamondback ran a story below the fold on the front page; but when Steele announced his Senate run, the Diamondback ran a story on page 7.

For O’Malley’s announcement, the story was accompanied by a handsome photograph of O’Malley. The story on Duncan’s announcement was set off with a picture of Duncan. The article on Steele’s announcement was joined by a picture not of Steele, but of a “clash” between a Steele supporter and a protester.

Additionally, on the occasions of the two Democrats’ campaign announcements, the Diamondback printed columns or letters that supported the candidates. But on the same day it reported Steele’s announcement, the Diamondback printed a column from one of the student protesters denouncing Steele as a hypocrite.

Scott Goldstein criticized the Diamondback’s disparity between O’Malley’s above-the-fold story and Duncan’s below-the-fold story. I hope he takes note of the numerous dissimilarities between the coverage of Democratic gubernatorial candidates and that of the Republican Senate candidate. And I hope this doesn’t foreshadow favoritism-riddled coverage in the months to come.

Nathan Burchfiel
Senior – Journalism

Stay tuned for continuing coverage ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Steele Announces Bid for U.S. Senate

by Matt Kinnear
The Terrapin Times Staff Writer

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele today officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate at a speech to supporters at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md.

Steele pledged to be a “bridge-builder” between Republicans and Democrats. “The need for a new bridge is real,” he said. “I am going to the U.S. Senate to be that bridge.”

Supporters waved signs that said “Bridge of Steele Tour.”

Republican leaders have been urging Steele, who is the first black man to ever be elected to a statewide office in Maryland, to run for Senate because of his appeal to members of both parties.

Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one in Maryland. Steele ran alongside Gov. Robert Ehrlich when he became Maryland’s first Republican governor since Spiro Agnew won in 1967. The last Republican elected to one of Maryland’s two seats in the U.S. Senate was Charles Mathias, in 1980.

Steele described himself as “an independent minded” candidate who is prepared for change. He also spoke of a new Civil Rights movement—not of blacks getting a seat at the counter, but of blacks owning the whole diner—as he invoked the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.

“Too many in Washington today are not working toward that common goal of growth and freedom and an equal opportunity for every individual. Instead, too many on the left have their feet set in the concrete of old fears, old divisions and old ways of government," he said.

Steele is running for the Republican nomination for the seat that will be vacated by Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes, who was first elected in 1976.

Steele has raised nearly $400,000 for the election. White House strategist Karl Rove was a guest at an event in July that raised $75,000.

He is running against a crowded field of Democrats. U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin is currently leading the race, with former member of Congress and NAACP leader Kweisi Mfume slightly behind. Other candidates include Lise Van Susteren, Professor Allan J. Lichtman, Joshua Rales and A. Robert Kaufman. Kevin Zeese is running as a third-party candidate.

Stay tuned to for complete coverage of this story and the U.S. Senate campaign.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Terrorism at the George Washington University?

John McCormack, a reporter at The Terrapin Times' sister publication at the George Washington University, reports in the October issue of The GW Patriot that a former imam at the university appears to have some ties to terrorism and the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Read the story HERE.

McCormack recently received the John J. Miller Award for Outstanding Campus Reporting for his article. The award was given by Miller, a writer for the National Review, during the Collegiate Network's annual editors conference in Newark, Delaware over the weekend.

Congratulations to McCormack and the GW Patriot as well as the winner of Best Layout, the Gonzaga Witness, and winner of the CN Paper of the Year, the California Patriot at UC-Berkeley.