If Even CNN Gets It, Why Can't Durbin?
Tonight, the White House blasted Congressman -- rather Senator Richard Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, for his inflammatory remarks about our military. Last Tuesday, on the Senate floor, Durbin condemned the U.S. military for its treatment of suspected al Qaeda terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay prison. The senator compared the military's behavior at Guantanamo to the regimes of Adolph Hitler, Josef Stalin and Pol Pot.On the Senate floor, Turban Durbin tried to say he didn't say what he said. Turban Durbin may be able to fool himself, but he's not fooling anyone else.
The White House called Durbin's remarks reprehensible. Durbin refused to apologize.
As much as it's good Dobbs called it for what it is, that was the entire mention -- and it wasn't at the top of the newscast, but about a third through it. But that's the way it is at CNN.
Over at Judy Woodruff's show, it was about the same. Just past the half-way point, this occurred:
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin still is refusing to apologize for comparing the Guantanamo Bay prison to Soviet gulags and U.S. interrogators to Nazis. The White House is blasting this Illinois Democrat for his remarks on the Senate floor yesterday.In contrast, at Fox News led with Turban Durbin as the big story, with Charlie Gibson grilling Hugh's old adversary, Bill Press:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: I think the senator's remarks are reprehensible. It's a real disservice to our men and women in uniform who adhere to high standards and uphold our values and our laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Durbin, meanwhile, issued a statement saying the Bush administration should apologize for, quote, "authorizing torture techniques."
Hi, everybody. This is "The Big Story." I'm John Gibson.That's the coverage this deserves. Tough and complete. You might call it fair and balanced.
A senator who compared the actions of American soldiers at Guantanamo Bay to some of the most despised regimes ever is refusing to apologize.
Here's what Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin said about our treatment of detainees a couple of days ago on the Senate floor. ...
GIBSON: Those comments sparking all kinds of outrage and calls for Senator Durbin to apologize. But he says the White House should be the one saying sorry.
Joining us now, former radio talk show host and former chair of the California Democratic Party Bill Press. Should Durbin apologize?
PRESS: I don't think Dick Durbin should apologize. If you read what Dick Durbin read on the Senate floor first, he read an e-mail from an FBI agent who was sent down to Guantanamo Bay to investigate conditions there. I won't read the whole thing. I've got it here.
GIBSON: Well, no, I've got it here, too. ... They were chained hand and foot in a fetal position. ... They had urinated or defecated on themselves. The air conditioning was cold. They were shivering.
Pol Pot killed 1.3 million people, one-third of his country. The Soviet gulags were responsible for 50 million deaths. And the Nazis, we know all about that. Once again, should Durbin apologize, Bill?
PRESS: Dick Durbin should not apologize. ...
GIBSON: To compare it to the Soviet gulags is off the charts. And, Bill, you're the only Democrat that would come out today and defend him.
PRESS: Well, I'm proud to be here. And let me tell you what. I'm not here to defend torture. You can defend torture if you want. [What?! What torture, you idiot?] Senator George Allen, who is coming up next, can defend torture. ...
GIBSON: Have you or Dick Durbin ever attacked the Zarqawi guys who cut off heads?
PRESS: Oh, come on. That's ridiculous.
GIBSON: Did anybody speak out -- no, but come on. There's no sense of proportion in this debate, Bill, none at all.
PRESS: You show me one Democrat that's defended Al Qaeda. You show me one Democrat that's defended Zarqawi.
GIBSON: No, I am -- I'm looking for somebody to condemn those things.
PRESS: Listen, that was a cheap shot.
GIBSON: I want to see somebody to keep this in proportion.
PRESS: No, no, no.
I want to hear George Bush, I want to hear you, I want to hear Dick Cheney condemn the mistreatment, the abuse, the torture of prisoners by our troops at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. [They can't, because it's a Democrat fabrication.]
GIBSON: Bill, are you telling me that the way they treated the 20th hijacker, the guy who was going to fly a plane into the Capitol Building, are you telling me that that was torture that was unreasonable that shouldn't have been done?
PRESS: [Press avoids the question.] What I'm telling you is that we have a serious problem. We have a serious image problem around the world, because we are not treating, deliberately not treating people according to international standards and according to the Geneva Conventions.
Now, we can deny that. We can wish it away. We can attack the Democrats. That just makes the problem worse. You know what? This is not a partisan issue, John. [Cute.] You know that Senator Mel Martinez has said it is un-American what we're doing to people in Guantanamo Bay. We should shut it -- we should shut it down.
GIBSON: I'll tell you what I think un-American is, overstating the case. It isn't Pol Pot. It isn't the gulags. It isn't the Nazis.